Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Whimsical Woodland Tahoe Wedding

My best friend Paige was married in August in a beautiful ceremony held on a private estate near South Lake Tahoe. The estate boasts a small, clear pond and a grassy field in front of a beautiful large, log cabin home. Such an amazing, secluded location!

Paige's wedding was so, so gorgeous and so very uniquely a reflection of her and her husband Mat. Even more impressive is the fact that they did EVERYTHING themselves. By everything I mean that they literally did it all without the help of a wedding coordinator, day-of wedding coordinator or even help from a property issued event manager.

With the help of family and friends they set up their entire wedding; the reception tent, ceremony site, bar, candy bar, cupcake/cake station.. etc! Only the reception tables and food were left to be set up by the catering company. The day of her wedding, two hours before guests were scheduled to arrive, Paige was still out there answering questions, directing things and setting up. It was hectic but she was still calm, collected and focused! What a ROCK STAR!

There were so many great details to this wedding. To me the most memorable will always be their actual ceremony which was different, lighthearted, fun and touching. So different from most of the formal, regular wedding vows I've heard before. Mat's childhood friend officiated the ceremony, becoming an ordained minister just so he could marry them! When I first heard this I really wasn't sure how it'd turn out and thought them both brave to trust him with such an important moment. But he absolutely did not fail. Like I said before, it ended up being so unique, touching and memorable... great job Casey!

Another favorite detail are the amazing photos of the couple in a canoe out on the pond with a Just Married sign on it taken by Marie A. Rummel Photography, a local Lake Tahoe and Sacramento based photographer. Amazing!

The next day they hosted an informal continental breakfast at the property and invited everyone to stop by, hang out and enjoy the property. A lot of people swam in the pond, took a spin around it on paddle boards, played badminton or just hung out recapping the previous night's memories.

More amazing photos from the wedding courtesy of Marie A. Rummel Photography:

 The unbelievably gorgeous bride and groom! 

Paige and me (7 months pregnant- notice my strategic flower placement!)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Baby steps...

No... I have not had my baby yet and this post has nothing to do with babies...

It's about our newly, freshly painted dining and living rooms! We've been in our house for two months now and we're taking little baby steps toward making it our own.

A few weeks ago we hired painters to come in to rip the wallpaper off the dining room walls, paint the windows, crown, base and chair rail trim a crisp white (which were this odd yellowish/ecru color) and paint the walls in both the dining and living room.

Usually instead of paying someone we would normally do something like this ourselves BUT since I'm super, duper prego at the moment and my husband is super, duper, crazy busy at work these days we decided to hire a company to come in and do it.

We've worked with contractors before and all I can say is that unfortunately, most of the time you realize that you would have/could have done a much better job than they did. So needless to say our painters were not the creme of the crop. Hell, they weren't even the nasty bits left over at the bottom... they were just not good. After having them re-do things several times we finally got the rooms to where they were decent, paid the bill and brushed our hands of them.

Anyhoo... we love how fresh and updated it looks now. I know everyone always says it but it truly is amazing what a coat of paint can do for a room... for anything! Here are the before and afters...

Dining Room:

Living Room:

We obviously still need to get a new chandelier and some sort of buffet for the dining room and oh yeah, some actual furniture for the living room would be a good idea too! :) But like I said... baby steps in the right direction!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Flip flop cupcakes

My sister-in-law was married in Cincinnati this weekend. It was a gorgeous wedding and she was the most beautiful bride! Look for a post of all the cool details soon!

Back in July she had a beach themed wedding shower. The party was fantastic and looked great, with the beach theme definitely carried throughout. I volunteered to make flip flop cupcakes, an idea I found on a ton of websites online. They seemed pretty simple to put together, with the fondant flip flops the only thing that really required extra time.

I'd never worked with fondant before so I wasn't sure what to expect. Instead of making my own which seemed complicated and more trouble than it's worth, I picked up some pre-made fondant in the wedding/baking section at Joann's Fabric. They have a bunch of different ready made colors to choose from and even some fun patterns like zebra or leopard print.

Next I needed to find a tiny flip flop cookie cutter, one that would fit to scale on a cupcake. After looking around at several places and scouring online I realized I wasn't going to find one small enough. I ended up buying a set of oval shaped cutters of which the smallest size would make the perfect cupcake sized flip flop. Then I had Dave bend in one side of the cutter, making a dip in one side forming the flip flop shape I was looking for. I used this to make both sides, the left and right side of the sandals. I also had him shape a larger cutter into a surf board by pinching in the top of the oval to form the top of the board.

From there I just rolled out each fondant color and cut my flops out two at a time, making sure to turn over one of the sides to make a complete left, right pair.

For the straps I rolled a contrasting color out to a very, very thin tube and bent it into a v-shape. Then, using a tiny bit of water, I lightly wet the fondant where I attached the straps. Laying the strap down I pressed it into the moistened fondant then used a knife to make an impression in the middle of the strap for looks and to also help attach it.

For the sand I frosted the cupcakes with vanilla frosting and then coated each with a layer of brown sugar. After I applied the brown sugar I realized that some of it, the layer touching the frosting was melted into the frosting. I think a better option would be to use ground up graham crackers because they won't melt and will maintain more of a sand like look. Later before I put the cupcakes together I ended up applying a second layer of sugar. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Nursery!

We are finally almost finished with the nursery for our impending little one! I say finally because I'm 9 months pregnant so talk about waiting to the last minute! And I say almost because we're still hunting down a few items like a fun area rug and some sort of diaper pail.

But even without those things we're still pretty much ready to rock! I just love how it turned out! Here it is!

I know it's not the most original idea since birch tree themed nurseries are all over the internet right now but I just love how we decided to use a very dark, charcoal gray for the two walls with the birch trees on them and then a light gray for the other two walls so that the whole room wouldn't be so dark and feel too heavy.

Thanks to my mom and dad for purchasing the crib, changing table and shelves for us! I decided on using the Ikea Expedit bookcase on it's side with 4 inch legs added to the bottom for the changing table because it was more versatile and to me more interesting than a plain old changing table. Dave was unsure about it for awhile, especially since he loathes cheap Ikea stuff (I LOVE cheap Ikea stuff!) and especially because that meant we'd actually have to go to an Ikea, go inside and be surrounded by all the cheap crap he hates. But bless his heart he went along with my vision and we made the trip there (all the way to Pittsburgh, a two hour drive).

Once we picked the color scheme I searched the internet for matching sheets and a crib skirt but couldn't find anything that wasn't pastel blue, green or jungle lion/tiger theme. So after a little research I found this blog that shows you how to make crib sheets. I must say that it's actually pretty easy! The crib skirt I just winged it without a pattern. I measured the dimensions of the crib platform, the length of the drop to the floor and then cut the pieces to those sizes, adding a 1/4" for the seams. Using the mattress as a template I traced around it onto my base fabric for the skirt and then sewed the side pieces to those.

I decided to make a pennant to hang over the crib from the left over crib sheets and skirt fabric. Again, this is a super simple project. Just cut out whatever size triangles you want to use, leaving a 1/4" to 1/2" seam on the sides to allow for seams. After I ironed the seams over to make it easier to sew down I realized that I didn't even need to sew them at all so I just left them like that! Then I took a coordinating 1" wide ribbon, folded it in half and sewed each triangle between the ribbon, making it one long pennant.

The light fixture was originally an ugly 80's floral, frosted etched half dome globe that I just thought we'd replace with a plain, clear frosted one. Lucky me though, my husband is just as creative and innovative as I am and one day came home with this!

A frame that he made out of wood to look like a drum shell. Yes, he made the frame himself out of wood. I don't know how but he did. And yes, he plays the drums and actually makes custom drums from fiber glass. Yep, our little guy is destined to be a drummer. Not looking forward to all the noise but the thought does excite me since I've always wanted to play the drums!

We wove thick charcoal and turquoise ribbons through the drum, securing it with hot glue as we went along and then added a frosted circle to the bottom to diffuse the light from below. Voila! Instant light fixture!

The two shelves above the changing table I thought would be big/long enough to hold more photos of our immediate family than it did. They were filled up right away with books, stuffed animals and a only a few of the pictures/photos I wanted to use so I decided to do a photo collage of frames to the right of the the baby's crib, each featuring an immediate family member. I figure when he's older we can do the point and ask game there, you know the- "who's that" and "who's that" game.

 (These frames are driving me nuts! Most of them are hung on a single nail so even though I obsessively level them every time I walk in the room they all seem to move a little over time. I need to get those non-slip corner thingys for them to keep them in place!)

The mobile was a random last minute craft that I threw together one afternoon after I organized all my fabric and craft supplies in the office. I had everything I needed and didn't spend one cent on anything. First I cut out the pattern for the bird body, beak and wings, traced them onto felt, cut them out and then hot glued the beaks and wings to the bird bodies. Then using embroidery floss I blanket stitched around each of the birds to secure the two sides together, stuffed them with some left over batting I had and closed them up. The black wooden oval they're hanging from is a bag handle that didn't get used from a different project. I used one strand of embroidery floss to attach each of the birds to the oval and used the rest of the remaining floss to hang the mobile up.

Painting the graphic on the walls by far took the longest time to do. Here are step by step photos of the progression of the walls:

Once we decided on what we were going to do we had to figure out how to get it on the walls. No small task since I don't consider myself an artist at all. Sure I'm crafty but that's so different from being able to draw and paint. I was going to free hand the trees at first, just wing it ya know but Dave said "No Way!" and suggested that I tape in the outline of the trees. I really didn't think this was going to work because I thought the trees would end up looking too straight and un-natural, like obvious blue masking tape trees.

I gave it a go though, just to get a visual. The first tree I taped in ended up being too short and too thick, a tendency that I would do to all the trees until I stepped back and realized they were too thick and "thinned" them out. After the first two trees I pretty much got the hang of it and the rest went fairly quickly.

Dave painted them in and an hour or two later we pulled the tape to reveal our cool little trees!

Next I hand painted the leaves onto the trees. Again, I was super nervous, not wanting to mess up our so far perfect mural but after taking forever to paint a few of them I just snapped back into my old self and just "winged it", just painting different leaf shapes and re-shaping them if they were a little off.


Feeling confident after my successful leaf painting stint I tried my hand at drawing templates for the birds. Here is where my streak ended. After an hour of trying to free hand draw the birds and coming up with some pretty funky, disproportionate birds I gave up and asked Dave to give it a shot. Thirty minutes later he walks into the room with 5 different birds, all perfectly to scale! Who knew he could draw! :)

We taped the templates to the wall, traced around them and then filled them in with our turquoise accent color. The trees, leaves and birds all required three to four coats of paint to cover over the dark charcoal paint.

So that's it! Little baby Martin's nursery in a not so little nutshell. It was fun putting it together and feels good that we took the time and put in the effort to hand make everything we did- all for our beloved little one! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our new house!

We've been moved into our new house for a month now and so far we've made pretty good progress! Especially since I am now 9 months pregnant! Yikes!

Thought I'd share just a few pics of the house pre- move-in. We love it so much! It's pretty much a blank slate so we're just starting the process of picking paint for each of the rooms and deciding what updates we're going to do first.

Our house hunting process was a long and arduous one, as most of them are. We looked at many, many homes, considered homes in other nearby towns and even put an offer on a house we thought was perfect. The house was a pre-foreclosure and in the end, ended up being a big pain in the ass and just not worth dealing with. We were disappointed but as with everything in life, when one door closes another opens and soon after we found a house that worked for us in the exact neighborhood that we wanted to be in from the very start. We feel so lucky that the previous house we made an offer on didn't work out. Our house is soooooo much better and BIGGER! :)

Like I said before, we've actually made some great progress in just the one short month we've been here. One of the first things we started on was, of course, the baby's nursery! We just put the finishing touches on it yesterday (only two things left to track down- a rocker and a diaper pail) and I will be putting up a post for it and all the details very soon! I LOVE it sooooo much. It turned out amazingly better than I ever expected. There are so many handmade, cool details that both me and my husband came up with and made ourselves.

For now I leave you with a few pics of our house....  gotta say again that they were taken before we moved in so I lay no claim on any of the furnishings. ;)

 Traditional colonial

 Large foyer!

 Yep, that's a lift chair that you spied in the previous pic! Of course we took it for a spin a couple times. :) It's actually come in handy with me being pregnant, I use it to carry heavy boxes and the laundry up and down the stairs. It's for sale if anyone is interested!

 My soon to be office/craft/sewing room!

The light and airy sun room.