Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tis the season...

to get married!

2011 looks like it's going to be a very busy, happy and celebratory year! Last week we received two Save the Date cards for weddings this Spring. The week before that we got the news that Dave's little sister got engaged. Add that to the two already existing weddings scheduled for next year- my best friend Paige in Lake Tahoe in August and my cousin Marlu in Las Vegas in June and that my friends makes five weddings next year! Something is definitely in the air...I guess that would be love.

Re-inspired by all the Save the Dates we've been receiving, I thought I'd post about the Save the Dates we sent for our wedding.

Although we were having our wedding at a winery we knew we didn't want to theme it out with wine inspired everything- colors, favors, invites, etc. We loved the location and the vistas it offered but wanted the wedding to stand on its own, away from the winery. So instead of going with wine inspired colors in the red and purple tones I choose green and brown, accenting the lush surroundings more than the grapes.

The Save the Dates were our one nod to the winery. Cruising around online one day I saw wine bottles used as wedding invitations and really liked the idea but knew that I didn't want to use them as my actual invite. Dave suggested them for the Save the Dates and I thought that was perfect. Our one nod to the winery theme would be our first contact with our guests and what a unique and fun way to set the tone.

We decided against sending actual full bottles of wine because it was simply too expensive. Even at $10 a bottle for a cheap bottle of wine it would cost us $500 for just the wine, not including shipping costs and that was just way more than we wanted to spend on Save the Dates.

I started by having Dave customize the design on a wine label I liked to fit our wedding. If you're not experienced with Photo Shop there are many sites online that you can choose a template from and have them printed. Here are a few sites that I found with really nice designs: Gloria J Designs, Stoney Creek Wine Press, My Own Labels.

We ended up spending around $30 for printing all 50 labels on a thick, shiny stock paper at Kinkos.

Next we needed wine bottles- lots of them! Being the HUGE tree hugger that I am and having enough time (we were engaged in 2007, married in 2009) we decided that we'd work through our cache of wine over the next year and save the bottles. On this plan we ended up drinking through about half of the bottles we needed. The rest I ended up ordering online along with the corks through Shore Container which cost me about $20 for two cases (24 bottles) and $14 for 50 corks.

Next we glued the labels to the bottles. Since we had used a thick stock paper I decided to use plain old Elmer's glue to apply the labels. I knew the labels were thick enough that the glue wouldn't wrinkle or bubble up the paper.

At that point we were basically done but something felt like it was missing. It felt weird that the bottle was empty so we decided that we'd put a message to our family and friends in the bottle along with destination info and our website address that had complete information about the entire event. After printing out the messages we rolled them up, fastened them with a ribbon leaving one end long enough to travel up the neck of the bottle and attach to the bottom of the cork.


Now this was definitely the most expensive part of the project. But since we were having a small wedding (we anticipated 60 people attending) the cost of mailing them was probably more than most people spend but doable since our guest list was small. Depending on where in the country they were going (our furthest was to Alaska!) the bottles cost between $3 - $6 to send. It ended up being around $200 to send the whole bunch. Altogether the project cost us around $265 total- not too bad for creating a unique and memorable Save the Date!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The house that We built.

Okay, so we didn't actually build the house or even have it built. We spent three years renovating a ranch home in Reno, NV from top to bottom and in the end it felt like we built it. It was ALOT of hard work and at times pure and utter craziness. Luckily, we had no idea what we were doing so we didn't really know that we were over our heads. There were months spent living, eating, sleeping in one room, a month when there was literally a hole in the kitchen ceiling (in the middle of winter) as a result of taking down a soffit and another month when we used a garden hose (again in the middle of winter) to spray water on the popcorn ceilings to soften the plaster so we could scrap them. Good times.

We worked so, so hard and in the end the house was beautiful and just what we wanted. And then what did we do? Kick back and reap the benefits? Of course not. Because, well, I don't know about your life but mine just does NOT work that way. For some reason it has never, ever and I mean EVER gone accordingly. Not complaining, I'm just sayin'.

Almost as soon as we finished we decided to move across the country to Ohio. Dave had a great opportunity to work for his dad and so being the kind of people who would rather try and fail than to just wonder "what if", we moved. We were unable to sell our home before the move (that's a whole other, LONG story that I'll tell later) so we hired a property management company to find renters and hit the road.

Since we no longer live there, I suppose this post (and the ones to come about renovating our Reno house) is a tribute to the little house that we worked so hard on and that we loved. So I'll start with the basics- transporting the floors, walls and ceiling from 1970's ranch to modern day fab. Other than Harvest Gold and Avocado Green appliances, nothing says 70's more than popcorn ceilings and textured walls. We were lucky enough to not have shag carpet but what we did have was pretty old and dirty. Initially we were just going to install wood floors but then thought we'd get rid of the popcorn ceiling too. Then we figured we just couldn't do those two things and not do the hideously, super textured walls!

We started with scraping the ceiling. Popcorn ceilings come off quite easily, all you have to do is spray it down with water (warm water is the best), wait until it soaks in and then scrap away. It's easy to do but a lot of hard neck and back breaking work!

Dave did most of the neck and back breaking scraping. I did the spraying.

After we finished scraping the ceilings, we moved on to the walls. Getting the texture off the walls was a whole different story. After some research we discovered that they couldn't be sprayed and scraped like the ceiling, instead they had to be sanded down. We decided to hire someone to come in and get it done in one day instead of doing us doing it ourselves in small areas at a time, prolonging the dust storm factor.

The unbelievably, out of control texture.

After the walls we moved on to what had originally started this whole thing- the floors! We had hoped that we would luck out and find hard wood floors under the carpet but in a 1970's ranch the odds of that are slim to none and of course, we found none. So we got to work starting in the family room laying, cutting and nailing boards.  

Every night after work we'd lay 8 to 10 lines of boards. That actually worked well and we made a lot of progress by the end of each work week. That combined with weekends, we were able to finish off the entire house in a few months.

Boo Kitty enjoying the cushy carpet for the last time.

Dave laying boards in the hallway.

 Boo Kitty investigating the new flooring.

So that was the big three. Doesn't seem like much when I'm writing about it but it really was so much hard work and it seemed like it was going to last forever. We worked hard and I'm very proud of how it turned out. With that said, we have decided that our Do-It-Yourself days are over and that our next house won't be such a huge fixer upper. A few projects here and there are okay with us but major things like the floor, walls and ceiling...those need to be right before we buy.