Apr 29, 2011

Pretty Petals: My DIY rose petal aisle runner

Having seen several photos of aisles completely covered in flower petals I swooned and fell in love. Here was my inspiration photo from theweddingsource.com

How can you not love that romantic floral carpet of pink to walk on?  Thinking of my options it became quite difficult to think of how I could do this.

I could purchase real fresh rose petals and scatter them, however I do not have a flower girl and would have to have them the entire ceremony.  Fresh rose petals are quite expensive.

I could purchase freeze dried rose petals and scatter them.  These are also expensive.  In order to get the coverage I wanted, it would be a lot of petals.

Other issues included blowing petals.  My ceremony is outside and they could fly everywhere, especially since I'm on the water.  Scattered petals will be a pain to clean up after.  My venue will either not allow or just really hate me for putting these down.

So what was I to do?  Well, I could get that pretty pink petal look on a smaller scale and be quite happy with it.  So I decided to do petals on either side of the aisle densely clumped together as my runner.  Fresh roses and freeze dried would cause the same issues as above, however fake petals glued down would not present the same issues.

- lots of petals.  I decided on a 25ft. runner so that means 50ft total for both sides of the aisle.  I purchased most of my petals from dollar tree.  Each bag contains 100 petals. I bought 3 bags white petals and 5 or 6 bags pink petals.  I also purchased 3 boxes of 300 fushia/ hot pink petals from Jo-Ann fabric for $1.99 each.  They gave them to me for the price of the tiny boxes.  Ha! I win.  So 900 hot pink petals plus 300 white plus 500 pink is about 1700 - 1800 petals total.
- tulle ribbon.  I purchased 6" wide 100yard length ribbon at AC Moore for around $5 I think?
- Scissors
- Glue gun
- Glue sticks
- lots of free time
- flat rocks or thin tiles
- velcro

  • Roll out your tulle to your desired length.  I wanted a 25 ft. runner so You would to 50ft, then fold in half and cut so your tulle is even lengths.
  • I dumped all the boxes of petals into a trash bag and shook them up so they were mixed well.  This makes it much easier to get a variety of petal colors.
  •  Lay out your tulle flat on a surface you will be working on.  If you are concerned about harming the surface underneath with hot glue, place something down to prevent burning or destroying your surface.  I worked on my linoleum floor, which was rather easy to pull glue off of after I was done.
  • Start at the end of your tulle, placing a drop of glue on your petal and sticking down on the tulle.  Overlap petals in varying directions and layering up as you go.  The key to making it look realistic is the randomness of petals.  It might help to actually grab a handful of petals out of your bag and just drop them on the floor in a line.  This way you can visually see how petals would naturally fall.  Some are right side up, some upside down, some on top of others.  Try to match this randomness.
  • Another key tip is to not glue down the whole petal, except on the tulle (bottom layer).  If you do they will all look squished.  You want to make them look light and airy.  As if they were freshly tossed onto the ground.
  • Once you finish a runner, flip it over and place your velcro on the underside in long strips in varying places.
  • Take your flat rocks or thin tiles and place the opposing piece of velcro on the top of them.
  • Adhere your tulle runner to the rocks via the velcro and viola! you have a non-blowaway aisle runner.
The other nice thing about this is that you can easily remove the rocks/tiles after the ceremony and the aisle runner is easily rolled up to be stored away or moved to another location (aka inside my reception hall) where it will be used again.

I will say I am big into DIY, but DO NOT undertake this project unless you have the patience of a saint and lots of time.  It took me 3 days to do 1 25' section.  My back and neck really bothered me after doing this as well.  It's very time consuming and tiring.

It also makes a big mess.  The glue balls up constantly and you have to clean up little "pills" of glue all over, stuck on glue and fabric hairs from the petals.

Video of How-To construct your Petal Aisle Runner

Apr 27, 2011

Sneek Peek: So many dresses. Which would I pick?

Probably my favorite from the bridal salon.  Sparkles galore a flowy skirt and one shoulder.
Decisions, Decisions. So many dresses to choose from. We clearly have some contenders.

I have gone to 3 places to look at dresses. The first was a bridal salon that had a selection of lovely gowns. The price tag did get me a bit scared and I found a dress I liked, but did not love.

I tried on several other dresses that were lovely, but were never "the one" I know so cliche to say it, but it's true. You have to feel like it's the perfect dress for you. If you don't you just can't buy it.

Very pretty gowns.  I'm in love.
loved it on the hanger, not so much on me
I did know one thing. I wanted sparkle, sparkle, sparkle on my dress. Not big huge chunky rhinestones, but little sparkly beads all over. A very pretty and timeless dress. I also knew I could not wear pure white, especially satin. My skin is so olive it looks strange and glowy on me. I also knew I wanted something very fitted on top with some flare on the bottom. Whether it be mermaid or A-line. Not really a fan of the princess poof. It's a bit much for me.

Vera Wang White for David's Bridal
A suggestion is to try on everything. You might have your heart set on a certain style, but if you find dress after dress isn't doing it for you, you may want to try on other cuts and styles. For example if you're quite busty it would be a bad idea to go for a sweetheart neckline, even though it's quite popular.

So with only one that I liked a lot at the Bridal shop I headed over to David's Bridal hoping to find something nice that was more affordable.  I walked in and lo and behold Vera Wang designed a collection for David's Bridal.  I had no idea!  I was so excited.  Especially when I saw they had a Wedding gown in Pink!  (well technically the color is called "blush"  whatever)  Here I am in the Vera Wang white.  It was very fun, but definitely did not meet my criteria for needed bling. 

It was only good once I put on a sparkly belt (which by the way was super-overpriced. $150 for a belt.  Are they crazy?).  I have since been told by people that the Vera Wang dress looks like toilet paper.  Lol, so now that's all I think of when I look at the photo.

yuck.  What an awful dress on.
Onward to the lowest cost place on the planet for a wedding gown (O.K. maybe Salvation Army is cheaper, but seriously, who goes and gets something pretty there?  They're all from the 1980's)  Try number 1 below ended quite unsuccessfully.  It's quite horrid if you ask me.  It makes me look fat and it's very unflattering.
yay a trumpet gown.

Moving along....  Next we have what I've been looking for in shape.  A trumpet gown.  Love the shape, however it doesn't meet my bling criteria and I did not like the black beading on top.  It's too plain and I have no desire to wear anything black on my wedding day.  Not my color scheme and very nontraditional.

So which did I pick?  Was it a dress from David's Bridal, the Bridal Salon or the Running of The Brides?

Answer: Running of the Brides, but I'm not showing you my dress until the wedding.  Sorry, but you'll just have to wait.

Apr 26, 2011

Paper flower tutorial

If you read my last post about being crazy for paper flowers, you'd know that I had promised you a tutorial on how I'm doing it. Well, here it is! I'm using coffee filters. Why? Well, mainly because they're cheap and easy to work with. The one's Martha Stewart recommends are a bit more expensive (I think the #2 filters?).

I'm just using plain old traditional coffee filters that you can buy in bulk. I've dyed mine several different shades of pink and ivory to give them a more romantic / aged look.

The Ingredients:
- Coffee filters
- water
- tea bags
- food coloring (i used the neon colors)
- a few small bowls
- lots of drying space
- floral wire
- floral tape (or regular clear tape)
- scissors
- martha stewart pattern


  1. Separate your coffee filters into groups.  For example: Dark, medium, light.  Or Pink, Purple, white.  However you want your colors to go.
  2. Put out your bowls of water.  In my case I did two bowls.  One with 1 drop of pink food coloring and another with a tea bag.  You can obviously tailor this to however you want your colors to look, even mixing tea with dye.
  3. Full Color: Dip your groups of coffee filters how you want them to look.  You can dunk all of the "dark" group into the dye all at once and let it soak up the dye.  Separate each filter to let dry out.
  4. Tips or Edging: In my case I only wanted the "edges" of the petals to be colored darker so I made sure to only dip the tips in the colored water.  You can also do double dips on some of your filters to get even more variation to your colors.
  5. Make sure you let all filters dry completely.
  6. Step 6A.  Fold your dried filter in half
    Step 6B. Fold coffee filter in half again so you get a fan shape.
  7. As you can tell I did not use the #2 filters she she shows.  I took a regular round filter and did the following.
Step 7. I sort of mishmashed patterns together to make petals.

7. Now you're ready to start drawing your pattern out. I did not use every petal shape in the martha pattern. I ended up using a mix of petal 2, petal 4 and petal 7.  In most cases I just winged it.  As you can see in the photo below, this is how I arranged the petals to be cut out on the filters.

8. Start cutting.  I find it easier to cut out petals from several filters first, so you don't stop attaching to cut more.

9. Grab your wire and take the smallest petals you have and wrap them around the tip of the wire.  Attach to the wire with floral tape or clear tape.

10. Take the next size up in petals and wrap around, taping as you go.  Repeat this with larger and larger petals as you go around.
11.  Another tip to mix and match your petals for the closest look to real flowers is put the sharpest edge petals in the center and put the softest on the outside.  You don't have to do it this way at all or do all soft and all sharp petal flowers.

So what can you use these lovely flowers for other than decorations?  How about centerpieces, favor box decoration, corsages, and more!

A completed paper rose!  Don't you love the variation in color?

Apr 25, 2011

Paper flower crazy

I think it's official.  I've gone crazy for paper flowers.  I've devoted my time to making as many paper flowers as I possibly can.  Tutorial to follow shortly on how I'm making them....

Why, you may ask?  Well I've found that when you have one or two of something it's nice, however when you have hundreds and hundreds of a beautiful thing it gives that amazing "wow" factor that makes an event over the top.


A fantastic example of this is the Chanel fashion show that used hundreds of white paper flowers to cover every inch of the stairways and walls.

This stunning idea was then spotted again at this Alvina Valenta fashion show with a mix of white and yellow paper flowers.

Don't want the hassle of making hundreds of these intricate flowers yourself?  Check out sellers on etsy for bulk paper flowers that are handmade and beautiful.  Another great way to get that floral coverage without all the cutting and arranging is by purchasing floral fabric. You can easily roll out the fabric and cut it to the desired shape and size.

Another interesting way I've seen paper flowers used is as a pretty and interactive accent to walls.  You could easily replicate this in a child's bedroom by painting a tree on the wall or using one of those removable wall stickers and adding 3d paper flowers.

Are you inspired yet?  I'm tempted to cover every square inch of bare wall at my wedding with beautiful paper flowers.  I do have 5 months to go, that should be enough time... ;)

These walls of paper flowers are simply lovely and gorgeous.  They're sure to be a hit at your next event or wedding and guaranteed to be talked about for years to come!

Apr 19, 2011

Cotton Candy Cocktail Signature Drink

If you read my recent post on how-to make your own Signature Drink Bar Menu's for your next event or wedding, you would have noticed a certain special ingredient on the list...cotton candy.

We decided on a very limited bar selection.  This included Beer (probably 3 kinds: 1 light, and two regular options), Wine (2 reds, 1 white option) , extremely limited liquour (maybe 2-3 kinks) and two signature drinks (both incorporating the same main component, vodka).  The reason for this was simple, to save money and waste.  If we offered everything under the sun for drinks, we'd have a lot of opened-for-one-drink leftovers.  This way we minimize waste.

My idea came from an episode of David Tutera's My Fair Wedding.  In it he served a simple drink with cotton candy as the "sugar rim". When the drink was poured over it, it melted into the glass.  It was a really cool show-stopping drink.  I have to have it.  Isn't it the most fabulous thing you've ever seen?

Apr 15, 2011

DIY Dancefloor Instructions

Today's post comes after checking into the cost of a dancefloor for my venue.  Unfortunately my venue is carpeted and I need to put something down for my guests to dance on.  I was expecting a cost of maybe $150 to rent one, but I was quite surprised to find out that the cost is closer to $600+.  Yikes!

Being as crafty as I am, I considered how I would do it myself and devised a fantastic plan.  There are several ways you can customize your floor to exactly what you're looking for.  I'm going to give two options.

Option 1.  Permanent Floor.
This option is great if you are having a party in your backyard or someplace where there is no need to transport your large floor. (unless of course you have the means to transport a fully assembled floor)
1. figure out how many guests are coming to your venue.  The standard calculation is 3sq. feet / guest.  If I'm having 130 guests, I can say that that will equal 390sq. feet.  Not everyone dances.  You can expect 50 -70% out on the dance floor at peak times.  So this calculation could be a little high.
2. Get some plywood.  I looked online and a standard size was 4'x8' in plywood.  For ease of setup I calculated what I would need for a dancefloor size w/o or with minimal cuts.  I came up with 16'x20' which equals 320sq. feet.  That should be good for  my guest count, assuming the 50-70% of people dancing. and it requires no cuts!
3. Lay out your dance floor as shown in fig. A.
4. You will need supports for your floor.  This is so you have something to screw the boards into and so your boards don't wobble or warp under the weight of people dancing.  See fig. B.  I did 4' intervals of supports.  I have no idea what size boards you will want for supports.  In my diagram I've given exact measurements, however you probably can't find boards in exactly this sizing.  You'll probably have to cut or piece things together.
5. After you put down your supports in the pattern you need, nail or screw them together.
6. Lay your boards over the top of the support frame and screw them down.  Do not nail these down.  They will lift as people get their groove on if you do!
7. Coverage options.
- You can purchase peel and stick laminate tiles to cover the top of your board.  Depending on what style you like the tile costs will vary.
- You can fill in your screw holes in the boards and any gaps you may see with a nail filler.  Sand down your boards after to a smooth finish and clean off the top of any dust.  Paint with whatever designs you want.  Get creative!  Seal with a couple of coats of polyurethane and let dry before using.  You should have a finish that lasts at least a couple of parties.  Add trim or edging if desired.

Option 2.  Non-Permanent floor (transport-friendly)

This option is great if you are having a party where you need to bring your floor on-location to set it up or if you don't have the means to travel with a permanent floor.

1. figure out how many guests are coming to your venue.  The standard calculation is 3sq. feet / guest.  If I'm having 130 guests, I can say that that will equal 390sq. feet.  Not everyone dances.  You can expect 50 -70% out on the dance floor at peak times.  So this calculation could be a little high.
2. Get some tongue and groove plywood.  I looked online and a standard size was 4'x8' in plywood. (they also make it in other sizes like 2x2 etc. if 4'x8' is still too big to travel with)  For ease of setup I calculated what I would need for a dancefloor size w/o or with minimal cuts.  I came up with 16'x20' which equals 320sq. feet.  That should be good for  my guest count, assuming the 50-70% of people dancing. and it requires no cuts!
3. Lay out your dance floor as shown in fig. A.  Hammer with a rubber mallet and block of wood(wood is buffer).

4. Trim off any tongue and groove that is hanging off the outside edge.
5. Flip your floor over to the backside and mark the top and bottom (right and left if you need to as well!) of each piece (so you know what direction to set them up in again when you put it together).
6. Flip your floor over to the frontside.  Sand the top and clean if desired.  Paint the top in whatever design you want.  Polyurethane the top with a couple of coats.  (WARNING: make sure your boards are tightly held together before you start.  If paint and polyurethane seep in the cracks they will be hard to separate and your design will be 'off' when you put it back together)
7. Let dry and pull your boards apart.  You will still need a truck bed or vehicle that can store the load of carrying that many boards to your location.
Figure 1

Figure 2
8. Assemble your boards at the location by following the backside marks you made earlier and hammering the boards together with a rubber mallet and wood block.  Add trim or edging  to the sides if desired.

Apr 12, 2011

DIY Signature drink menu

Are you on a really tight budget for your next Event or Wedding? Have you considered a signature cocktail instead of a full bar? Signature drinks are a trendy option that allows you to offer your guests a fun cocktail on a limited budget. Most guests won't even notice the difference. Instead of offering them everything anyone could ever want, limit your selection, or simply offer the signature drinks, beer and wine.

Have fun making your menu. One of the best parts of offering your signature drinks is making your menu. You can name your drinks based on your theme and even invent entirely new themes. For today's DIY How-to I'm showing you how to make a cute Signature Drink Menu for almost nothing. So for those that are on a budget, this project is fantastic and cheap!

What you'll need:
- Heavy Cardstock
- Fonts you like (download free fonts at places like Dafont.com)
- My template (It's simply an letter sized piece of paper cut in two and then backers placed on them)
- Scissors or a paper cutter
- Tape or glue

  1. Download my template or create your own.
  2. If using my template, cover up whatever drinks/designs you don't want and put in your own.  I recommend using a program like Adobe Illustrator, but if you don't have it any other editing program will do.  Even Microsoft Word is a good candidate.
  3. Print your Document out on heavy cardstock.
  4. Cut out your template with a paper cutter or scissors.
  5. Fold on the dashed lines.
  6. Place a piece of tape on the folded strip of paper or glue down to the back of your menu.  Do not place the bottom part of the "stand" directly on the bottom of your menu.  Raise it up about a half inch or so.  It won't stand up nicely otherwise.
  7. Viola! you have a cheap or free Drink menu.

Place your folded "stand" about 1/2" up from the bottom of the back of your menu
You can also enhance your menu with feathers, gems, ribbon or other embellishments.  I will be placing a rhinestone in the center of my compass.

Apr 11, 2011

AC Moore Deal Alert!

Every weekend that I went into AC Moore I would stare longingly at this gorgeous tall vase they had.  Only problem was that it cost $45.

I really wanted to use this vase as a beautiful centerpiece on my escort card table, but didn't love the pricetag.  The other problem was that my inspiration photo (above) not only had the giant vase, it also had lots of tealight holders and those tall candleholders that have a pedestal.

Armed with several AC Moore 40% off coupons I was determined to march inside and get my Tall vase (and possibly other vases in several trips to different cashiers...shhhhhh)  But I didn't have to.

Just about every single piece of glassware was marked to 50% off!!!! I couldn't believe my luck.  So I grabbed my giant vase for $22.49!  I also grabbed two tall pedestal candle holders that were originally marked $12/piece for $4 per piece!  I got one mini version of the pedestal candle holders for .50 and 1 grabbed 10 tealight holders for .50 cents a piece.  Originally $1.00 each.  I also grabbed some "wine glass candles"  They look like mini wine glasses filled with poured wax.  $2.99, originally $4.99.  The only thing I had to use my 40% off coupon for was floating candles for tall vases I planned on buying at the dollar store, since those vases were not 50% off at AC Moore.  I spent a total of $40 in AC Moore and couldn't believe all the fantastic stuff I got! woohoo.

Check it out Event Planners, Coordinators and brides;  before it's all gone!

Apr 5, 2011

DIY Pomander Centerpieces

Love floral centerpieces, but hate the pricetag?  My florist quoted my $145 per table for this.  I made what you see here for $12.  These are fake flowers.  However, if you're brave you can order flowers and make them a couple of days before your wedding.

For Faux flowers:
- Syrofoam ball
- glue gun
- glue sticks
- faux flowers
- a base to hold the flowers (i used a candlestick holder)
- greens

For Real Flowers
- a tall bucket
-floral foam ball
- floral tape and wire sticks
- greens
- a base holder
- a base to hold the flowers (i used a candlestick holder)

Faux Flower Instructions:
  1. Start to glue your flowers in a circle around your ball, but stop before the base.
  2. Start gluing flowers in the other direction around your ball, stopping before the base.
  3. Fill in flowers in the rest of the areas that are empty
  4. Add greens or filler if desired
  5. Place glue around your base/vase the pomander will be sitting on.  Place the bottom of your pomander on top of the glued base.

Real Flower Instructions:
  1. Soak your floral foam ball in water in your bucket until soaked through.  The ball will float at first and sink when soaked through.
  2. Snip the stems off your flowers to the desired length and stick into your ball, starting at the top and moving around the sides.  If your stems are not strong, use floral sticks and wire to strengthen the stems and then insert them into the ball.  Stop before the base.
  3. Add your greens by attaching them to the stems of the flowers and wrapping with floral tape.  You can also alternatively attach them to the floral picks/sticks, but this may add more bulk than you want.
  4. Place your base holder into your vase/base.  If it is noticeable, you may want to fill your vase/base with gel, beads, rocks, etc. to hide your base.  Stick your pomander on top of the base holder.  The holder should penetrate the bottom of your pomander to keep it steady.  You can alternatively make your own for your centerpiece.
Watch the Video How-To Instructions below on how I made my DIY Pomander Ball