A quick note…

To say that things have been kind of busy, and I’m hungry all the time, and I’ve been hating everything I’ve written lately (probably because it’s all written in a state of hanger), so I’m taking a little break and I’ll be back in a couple weeks. Eat a cookie for me!

The Wedding!

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this is the photo that best sums up our state of mind about our upcoming nuptials.

So as you might imagine, I’m pretty pumped to get married. It is very strange to type out those words, as in my mind I’m still a total kid and nowhere near old enough to get married. It’s also really surreal feeling – I was definitely surprised when David proposed, but it wasn’t totally out of the blue – and it feels so natural to be in the stage of my life right now, and yet I feel like I’m not supposed to be actually planning my wedding. I guess since I’ve been kind of in the wedding industry for a while I got used to looking at inspiration pics and ideas and not ever seriously thinking of them in the context of my own wedding.

Anyway, let’s be real – I’m obviously going to blog about wedding stuff because CLEARLY  a wedding is the craft project of a lifetime – and I do wedding stuff for other people, so I’m excited to talk about my own! However, I don’t want it to totally take over the blog (or my life..?).

So to kick things off, I thought I’d lay out my mindset right now – I’m afraid of descending into bridal craziness, so I think it would be good to have a reminder for myself to refer back to.

1. I’m more excited for the marriage than the wedding. I think the wedding is going to be awesome and I’m definitely enjoying planning and anticipating that day/weekend, but I think the most exciting part is at the end of the day, when it’s all over, it’s just going to be me and David taking on life together. I don’t want to get too gushy but that’s what makes all this so special for me.

2. I’m not going to be stressed about the planning process. It’s supposed to be fun, and if I find myself making it not fun, I need to take a step back and remember that this is all totally optional and it’s going to be fine. It’s like when you see those girls on Say Yes To the Dress crying because they just don’t know what dress to pick and they’re ‘overwhelmed’ and you’re like bitch, please. Stop ruining it for yourself! Or at least, I am.

3. The wedding is probably more about our loved ones than it is about us. And I want it that way! Our number one goal for this wedding is for everyone to have an awesome time. Our friends and family are really important to us – and I’m really looking forward to hopefully having all of my favorite people in one spot. I want to make it clear how much I appreciate them! Don’t get me wrong, I’m realistic enough about myself to realize that I’m going to have my princess moments, but I think that the best weddings I’ve been to are the ones where the focus is NOT on the bride having her ‘princess’ day, but where the focus is on celebrating the merging of two families, and appreciating the people who helped you get to that point.

4. Probably my biggest weaknesses are that I tend to underestimate how much time it will take me to do something, overestimate my abilities, and procrastinate. So as I actually start planning, my goals are to: Prioritize what is important to me, and not waste time/money on what’s not. Do things as they come up – I tend to think ‘oh, I have plenty of time’ and end up doing it at the last minute, which rarely turns out the way I’d like. And finally, I want to have everything pretty much locked down a month before the wedding – meaning all my big projects need to be done at that point, or scrapped, or as my friend Jessica says, not worrying about glitter when I should be spending time with my family and friends.

So, that is my wedding manifesto. Please pass along any good wedding/marriage advice you have, and I’d love to hear about any books on relationships/marriage that you think are good – I’m kind of compiling a reading list…

 

 

A Quickie Lack Hack

ikea  lack coffee table hack

Happy Friday! The roughest week of the year is over – doesn’t it feel great to have that behind you? The whole transitioning-back-into-real-life thing has been especially rough for us as David has been battling some sort of illness that’s knocked him completely out of commission for way, way too long. He’s finally recovering, but it made it pretty hard to keep any kind of schedule for a while there.

Today I want to share a quick change I made in our living room. We have had this IKEA Lack coffee table for a while, as a side table, and we decided to transition it back into a coffee table. One problem – I totally hate the way it looks, and the way it, paired with our couch, screams ‘they shop at IKEA!’. So, I was happy to find these tapered legs for super cheapies, and swap out the squared off legs for a whole new look. I rubbed a little mineral oil on the legs to finish them, and we ended up adding these brackets for stability, (after my brother collapsed the table by putting his feet on it) but for a total of like.. 20 dollars we have a whole new coffee table look – perfect for the interim while I search for the ideal table.

I also love how this vantage point gives you a view into our ingenious storage system – flat packed linens under the couch. I swear you can’t see it unless you’re sitting on the kitchen floor, but real talk – I took this photo back in December so I wanted to crop out anything that indicated it was the holiday season, and this was the only vantage point… and I totally blew it by just telling you that.

Anyway, it’s really nice to have a coffee table again, and I thought I’d share in case you, too, are regretting your decision to purchase a Lack anything.

 

Aubrey and Brenton

coral navy and champagne letterpress wedding invitations designed by one and only

Today I am bringing you some invitations I designed last year for Aubrey and Brenton. They were married in Cary, NC (you can see photos from their wedding here), and wanted an invitation suite that would be glamorous and autumnal, but not use traditional fall colors. We started with a photo Save The Date, and used elements of that to move into the main invitation, which we kept a little more muted, but livened up with a coral ribbon.  Aubrey wanted to find a way to include lace without being too predictable, so I included a lacy border, which incorporated a little old world glamour.

coral navy and champagne letterpress wedding invitations designed by one and only

We had these letterpressed on navy blue paper with a shimmery champagne ink. It had such a nice glow without being too over the top. The envelopes also had a shimmer to them, which gave everything a luxe and textural feel – perfect for the high end look Aubrey wanted. You can click here to see the full suite.

These were letterpressed by Angel Bomb  – it was so fun to get them in the mail!

I loved designing and making these invitations, and even better, I feel like I learned so much from the experience. To be completely honest, a lot went wrong in the process of making these, and while holding the product in my hand made the trials and tribulations worth it, I think the experience was really valuable as well. I’m heading into 2014 very confident now about what I want to do (and even more importantly) HOW I want to do it – I think it’s going to be a great year!

If you’re interested in talking to me about your own wedding invitations, head on over here and send me a message!

Happy New Year!

letsdothisphoto via unsplash

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year!

Not to totally brag, but I had a really stellar 2013. I take any opportunity to reflect, so obviously I’ve been doing a lot of that recently, and I’m just trying to really slow down and appreciate what’s happened, and what’s happening. I feel like I’m really gaining some clarity and direction for my business, I’ve pushed myself to try new things, oh, and I got engaged and it was perfect. I know everyone says that, but even just like, having that memory in the back of my mind to think about whenever I feel a little down has made me feel so much happier, and so aware of all the things I have to be grateful for. I still can’t believe it.

I love resolutions, and fresh starts, but I don’t think that resolving to do something for an entire year is necessarily the best way to go about achieving your goals. So this year, I am focusing on what outcomes I want, and working on creating systems to make those happen. What’s true for me today won’t necessarily be the same thing in February, and I think that consistently revisiting how I am going about achieving my goals and making adjustments is the way to go.

I also like the idea of having a theme, or a word, to set the tone for your year. This year, I want to grow.

I want to grow my business.

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘first they sleep, then they creep, then they leap?’ It’s meant to describe plants, but I like to think that’s how things are going to go this year – first it slept, it’s been creeping, and now it’s time to start growing by leaps and bounds! I’m in a good place, I have a good plan, and I’m excited to share the journey with you all.

I want to grow my skills.

In 2013, I tried a lot of new things, and in 2014, I want to keep learning and getting better. Work-wise, I want to get really good at calligraphy, learn more about how to best use my letterpress, learn to foil, and get better at the time management and organization side of business. On a more personal note, I want to get better at my hobbies, like sewing.

I want to push myself to grow.

Whether it’s forcing myself to face my deepest, darkest fears (like dying in a fiery plane crash) or coming up with ways to overcome my everyday obstacles, like procrastinating or being lazy and only doing laundry ever 3 weeks, I want this to be a year of personal growth. Being engaged has really made me consider what I’m bringing to the table in terms of being a person. I think being happy and healthy is a choice (for me) and I think it would be really nice to enter into a marriage feeling like the best possible version of myself, and feeling prepared for all the challenges life can throw at you. For me, this means focusing on actually trying to be happier, whether it’s being able to acknowledge problems without letting them consume my thoughts, building a morning and evening routine, or making space to do the things that I love. I also want to spend more time learning, and create a system for overcoming those nagging tasks that can drain away your motivation (you know, like paying off student loans, or getting your oil changed, or whatever.) Basically, I am so excited to be engaged, and I want this to be the best year ever.

I want to grow my confidence.

It’s hard to feel confident, and even harder to talk about NOT feeling confident. This kind of goes hand in hand with everything else I’ve talked about, but I think feeling confident has a lot to do with a positive outlook on life, and also maybe identifying some things that make you feel not-so-great and fixing them. I’ve noticed I feel a lot more confident when I consistently eat healthy foods (imagine that!) so I’m definitely going to focus on making that a part of my routine. I also want to start dressing better – even though I work from home and often don’t even see anyone, I’ve noticed I feel so much better when I’m well dressed. I’m going to try to start only purchasing clothes that I really love – and give myself permission to splurge occasionally, instead of buying sale items that don’t make my heart skip a beat. I’m also going to fake it until I make it. If I act confident, eventually I’ll feel confident… right?

That’s it for now – I feel like if I manage to accomplish all that, I’ll be doing pretty awesome this time next year! What are your goals, hopes and dreams for 2014? Please share – if there’s one thing I like better than making my own resolutions, it’s hearing about other people’s resolutions!

Year Round Wrapping Station

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A dream of mine came true the other day. An actual dream. The dream of someday having my very own wrapping station. I don’t even know why I dreamt of this since I was just a young girl, flipping through my mom’s home magazines, but I did, and now I have my own. I thought I’d need more space and like, more people to give gifts to, but it turns out all you need is a pegboard and some determination.

Before you think, ‘this girl is crazy, who the hell needs a wrapping station?’, let me just say – it is AWESOME. It is so awesome. Like, I didn’t even realize how tough I had it before. Tough in the sense of total non-problems, but still. I never had a clear space to work with, so I’d always end up on the floor with an explosion of supplies around me. I’d be done cutting my paper and not know where the tape was. I’d be measuring out ribbon and then the scissors would be gone. I’d finally be done wrapping and there would be a mfing dog hair taped to the present. Or one of my hairs.  Caspian would step on my presents. Nothing would get put away for weeks because I’m lazy and figure if I’m going to be wrapping more presents any time in the next year I may as well leave it all out. Things that were as annoying to experience as this step by step guide through the trials and tribulations of wrapping without a station probably was to read. I’m too sleep deprived and excited about life to write a good blog post!

Anyway, I had some space behind my office door and an eye for opportunity, so I seized the day and made it happen. After looking around, I realized a couple things that I’m going to share with you now. Contrary to what you might think, Lowe’s does not have ‘cool pegboard wrapping station kits’ just laying around. They also hide their dowels so don’t even bother. You can make everything you need with a couple dowels and basic pegs, so don’t bother buying fancy pegs, it’s not worth the money. I totally got this idea from Martha. I’m just here to spread the word.

I bought this pegboard (which came with all the pegs I needed, and was cheaper than the current price), these dowels, and this basket to throw extra stuff in. I am really liking it. It makes wrapping gifts way easier, since I am next to a big table and I can see everything I’m working with. I also have a great handle on my ribbon inventory and tissue paper inventory now, so I’m more likely to wrap cuter gifts.

I’m really happy with how this turned out. It makes all the little annoyances of wrapping gifts disappear, and leaves just the fun, creative part. It also makes me feel like a baller, since I thought wrapping stations were reserved for rich ladies with too much space to fill, but here I am, you guys. Livin the dream.

Okay you guys, that’s it from me – I’ll see you all next year!

Letterpressed Christmas Cards

santa letterpress christmas card

I am all about some holiday cards. I just love getting them in the mail, and I OF COURSE make a big project out of sending them. I have been working on this year’s cards since November, and I am going to share them here because unlike last year, when I did a terrible job, like, I don’t even know what I was thinking, this year I’m really proud of them!

I made them with my new letterpress. I haven’t talked about my press too much since I got it. It was a flea market find, and it feels like a miracle that it came into my posession.  I have loved letterpressing since I was introduced to it in college, and I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled since then. While it is definitely an investment, I am so happy whenever I’m working on a letterpressed product that I know it’s going to pay off. There is just nothing like the feeling of making something with your hands, and having dreamed about owning my own press one day, so to actually have one is pretty amazing. I am excited to keep making things with it.

santa letterpress christmas card

For my cards, I did a 2 ‘color’ job – one was a blind deboss, because Santa’s hat has white puffs, duh. I paired them with mostly red envelopes and did a more organic lettering style on the front. My favorite part is the vintage stamps I found! They are so cute and even though I’m sure the post office was hating on me, I loved how they added a special touch.

letterpressed calligraphy christmas card

I also letterpressed my mom’s cards. For these I hand lettered the front, and then scanned it into the computer to make the plate. We paired these with pale green envelopes and gold lettering – can you tell I am looking for any opportunity to address envelopes?

letterpressed calligraphy christmas card

I’m really happy with how these turned out. I learned a lot on the project, and it was great to work out the kinks on something pretty low stakes. Projects like these are so fun for me, because I think about my recipients as I work on them. That’s something I love about sending things in the mail. It’s so personal, and it gives you a great opportunity to think about your friends, and why they are your friends.

holiday card outtakes

Oh, and just for fun, here’s the outtakes from the pictures we included. Caspian really hated the whole process, but we had fun!

DIY Cones

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A couple years ago my cousin gave me this sequined tree as a gift for Christmas. I love it – I like the modern shape and it’s sparkly so it’s really pushing all my buttons. After a few years decorating with it, however, I decided it was a little lonely and needed some friends. I’ve been seeing these cones everywhere, but it seems like such a bummer to pay actual money for something that I might not be into in a couple years. I’m weird about decor like that – if it feels like an heirloom and I love it, I will spend whatever I have to, but if I feel like it’s trendy or not well made, I am the cheapest person in the world.

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Lucky for me, I had seen these DIYs a few weeks ago, and I had them in mind when I picked up some tinsel garland at Target last week. I went a little rogue on the making a cone – I just used an old clothes box and twisted it, and then trimmed the base – you can see that one of them is a little tilty. I used hot glue and it took me maybe 10 minutes to complete both of them. I love them. I love that they match, I love how fluffy they are, and I especially love that it cost me $3 to make both of them, as opposed to $10-$40. Not that those are an exact copy, but it’s the same look.

If you’re feeling like you want to pump up your holiday decor last minute, this is a great project to try. I also think it would be cool to make a mega cone that’s covered in ornaments, but that might be another project for another year.

DIY Wire Ornaments

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When we were putting up our tree this year, I realized I never shared these ornaments I made last year. I love those wire hangers that people use in wedding photos all the time, and I thought that would make an excellent ornaments. It took a little practice but I could pretty quickly make some cute ornaments that looked great tied around a bottle of wine or across a present. I actually made some that were personalized too, but a batch of our ornaments somehow went missing (?!) and I can’t find them anywhere. I’m trying not to freak out, since I’ll probably come across them somewhere really dumb in March, but I also really hope I didn’t lose the lasercut Etsy ornament I bought David last year, and a bunch of handmade stuff. (sob)

Anyway, I thought maybe you, like me, would need a last minute gift idea, and these are pretty easy! All you need is wire and jewelry pliers.

Grown Up Drinks For Christmas

christmas drinks for grown ups

Aaah, the holidays. The season of family, friends, cold weather, good cheer, and … cocktails! A problem I run into every year is that I want to drink something festive, but I can’t think of anything appropriately Christmassy that isn’t super sugary. Well, this year I’ve kept my eye out for good seasonal drinks, and I have a little something for everyone.

David and I actually came up with a couple recipes, too. We altered a couple standbys to make them feel a little more seasonal, and so far they’ve been a hit!

christmas drinks for grownups

The Nog Russian

Basically, a white Russian with eggnog instead of cream. So good, even if you’re not a huge ‘nog drinker. I’d recommend making your own eggnog, because I think it tastes way better. If you’re local, we did find some really good stuff at the Fresh Market – it’s from Homestead Creameries.

1 oz Kahlua
2 oz vodka
2 oz Eggnog

Pour the Kahlua and vodka over ice and stir – you want them to be mixed up so your eggnog doesn’t curdle. Add the eggnog, enjoy!

Peppermint Mudslide

equal parts of:
Kahlua
Peppermint Schnapps
Irish Cream

Stir together – add a splash of vodka to taste – we like ours with more of a bite.

Little Jerry

This drink is named after Little Jerry Seinfeld, for no reason at all, except that’s the episode we were watching when David came up with it. It’s been my standard winter drink for a couple years now – it’s refreshing and light, but the grapefruit and almond make it taste wintry.

2 parts grapefruit juice
1 part vodka
.5 part amaretto
Mix. Add a cherry if you like – I usually do.

I’ve been seeing some great recipes on Pinterest too:

We made this Bourbon Epice the other day and it was super tasty. We didn’t have cinnamon bitters so we just used regular and added a piece of cinnamon bark – it did the trick!

This cherry whiskey smash is right up my alley. I love any drink that has ‘smash’ in the name.

The cinnamon maple bourbon sour sounds appropriately festive.

Cranberry ginger vanilla margaritas are very on theme (red and green!) and are a tasty alternative for people who uh, don’t love bourbon.

I’ve also been really digging mulled wine. Super simple to make, really tasty, and you can pretend it’s healthy.

These spiced pomegranate cocktails sounds fruity and delicious, and once you’ve gotten the simple syrup made, easy to put together.

I saved the best for last. The winter spiced old fashioned. OH MAN. I think this girl is my new best friend.

Time to get festive!