Friday, May 28, 2010

DIY Cake Topper

I know I've already made the lobsters cake topper, but I couldn't help myself. I told you before, I love cake toppers!!! They're so cute!!! So here's a little tutorial for how to make your own. I bought all the supplies at Michaels and it all cost me probably less than $10. 

First, assemble your supplies. I bought two little people in a package for $1.99, plus these little jar shaped wooden "cat" bodies, and some little balls to use as their heads. I also found a little wooden bead from Michaels that I wanted to use as a little bun on the back of my bride head. I may or may not have squeezed it out of another package because I didn't need 20 of them for $5. Don't follow my bad example boys and girls.

Next, get out your drill and drill a little hole into the bottom of your bride and groom. I cut a bamboo skewer and then sanded the ends with a nail file to stick in the hole. This gives you a pick to stick in your cake, but also an easier way to hold it while you're painting. When you put the skewer in, put some wood glue on the end to make sure it stays! The cats already had big holes in them, so I stuck a straw with a glue dot on the end in them. I figure the cats will be placed on the cake, so it's not crucial they have something to keep them upright since they're so small anyways.

 After that was done, I used white craft glue to attach the cats round heads to their bodies and my stolen hair bun to my bride. When that dried, I started sketching out my bride, groom and cats in pencil on my wooden forms. 


I had a cardboard box that I stuck the skewers through to keep them upright and help with drying. It was perfect. And now, paint! I used acrylic craft paints that were on sale 2/$1.50 at Michaels. they dried quickly and were really easy to work with. 

Now comes the part where you learn from my mistakes. I didn't have black paint. Cleverly I thought, that's okay, I have a black paint pen with an extra fine tip, that'll work perfectly! And it did. At first. I outlined all of Dan's clothes, put his cute little face on him. Then I did my face. The paint got a bit stuck, so I shook up the pen and tested it on another page and it was fine. I put one eye on my bride, and then.....

ACK!!!!! My paint pen exploded!!!! Don't ever ever use a paint pen for something like this!!! I liked the look of my little people with the wood instead of the skin tone paint, but ummm this is not okay! So I sanded down my mini-bride's face (poor girl) and did a quick run to Michaels to pick up black paint as well as flesh toned paint. Thankfully the flesh toned paint covered over what remained of the black paint and I was able to salvage my cake topper.

Look ma! No more black eye! So now I moved on to the cats. They were pretty straight forward and mostly involved brown paint and dry brushing. It's hard to paint a tabby, they have so many stripes! For our black cat, Peter, I mixed silver and black to give him a bit of a shimmer so he wouldn't look like this big black scary thing on our cake. 

Here's our whole cake topper family, I think they turned out pretty cute! The whole thing took me an afternoon, but it would have been an hour shorter if my paint pen hadn't exploded!

Mud+Photographer=Ridiculous Engagement Shoot!

I don't think I've had the chance to explain to you my love for our photographer Justin Demers. A couple of years ago my friend Maggie got married, and when I saw her photos each and every one of them made me stop and say "Wow" or "Oh my gosh, that's SO Maggie!" and finally "Who is this photographer?!". I bookmarked his site and secretly looked at my wedding photography porn when Dan wasn't around. It was an unengaged girl's guilty pleasure. As soon as Dan proposed, I was mentally writing an email to Justin asking him when he was available because I would work around his schedule. I wish I were kidding. We would have gotten married September 18th but Justin was booked that day, so September 11th it was! 

(Photos are from Maggie, taken by Justin Demers)

It was really hard just to pick a few to post here. I think my comment on the photo of her dress was "If this guy gets any better I'm going to throw up." So anywho, you get the point. I love Justin. He's become part of the incredibly talented Stillmotion team based out of Toronto and I'm so excited to have the chance to work with him!

Wednesday we finally got to do our engagement shoot. I was dying to do this last year, but Dan wanted to wait, so I was a patient little bride and agreed. It was a bit of a comedy of errors since first we wanted to have our Winnebago as part of the shoot.

 (Personal Photo)

However, the good ole Colonel is parked up in Uxbridge with a broken exhaust and potentially a seized rear axle. No go. Next we thought, okay fine, we'll head out on our dock! That's tons of fun!

 (Dan's pride and joy, our dock with a motor attached. We've named it the S.S. Barely Legal. 
Sorry I don't have a better photo.)

Hmmm well no snow this winter meant no spring thaw and melt, which means the river is about 18" below it's normal level and our dock is stuck in the mud. Canoe it is! So we got in the canoe, paddled around a bit, took some photos, came back in the house to see if we could get some shots with the cats, and then Dan said to me "Let's go in the river." Ummm pardon? "Let's go in the river." Do you mean like in the river? Because it's kind of gross. "Yes. Let's just wade in, it'll be fine." Never ever trust a boy when he says "It'll be fine." It was fine at first. And then Dan knocked me over, so I took him down with me. We were both sitting in smelly Credit River mud, and so naturally, a mud fight ensued. I think we surprised Justin, it surprised me a little, but it was a lot of fun and I can hardly wait to see the photos!!! 

You thought at the end of all this you'd get to see our engagement photos didn't you? Well if I have to be patient so do you! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

And now, a little ring porn

(Personal Photo)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Button button who's got the button?

Ages ago I saw this photo and it's been my inspiration for our escort cards since:

I went to Joanns and picked up 10 different coordinating fabrics to use as our jam jar skirts and for our escort card buttons. The trick is to make sure they are all different enough that in the smaller size for the buttons they are still distinct from each other and easily identifiable. I'm still having table numbers but I really liked this added element to the table settings.
I bought my button forms (size 45, or 1-1/8") online at Start To Finish Supplies. 150 buttons plus the button mold/tool cost me just shy of $60 including shipping. This is WAY better than buying them at Joanns where 3 buttons will cost you about $3.50. I also bought a pack of 3 buttons at Joanns previous to shopping online to test it out, and I'm happy I did because it gives you a little half moon template for cutting your fabric. Super important!
Making the buttons is really fast and simple, trust me. First, use your template, fold your fabric over the half moon and cut out your circles. I cut 16 of each since I'm having 16/table (two rectangular tables of eight pushed together). So in the photo below I have my half moon template, my cut fabric circles, the two pieces of the button, the button mold tool above and a finished button.
Next, put a fabric circle into the white bottom piece of the button maker tool and put the larger front piece of the button on top. Push these down to the bottom of the mold. You can turn it over and see if you like how the pattern of your fabric is aligned and make adjustments.
Next, put the back piece of the button on (hook side up) with the edges of the fabric folded inside. 
Now use the blue piece of the tool and push down hard on the back of the button. If your fabric is thick, you may have to try stepping on it with your heel.You'll hear a little pop noise when you've got the back on.
Now pull out your button! Voila!
Make sure you have a good helper to guard your new buttons. They will be coveted by many ;)
Here are our buttons and our matching jam jar skirts! Adorable!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Sneak Peek

What's been taking up so much of my time? Mostly helping my grandfather sell his condo, but beyond that, I've been working on the invitations. I'm not ready to do the grand reveal just yet, so this will have to tide you over! 

One jerry rigged sewing machine.

Still have some trimming to do.... 

And a heck of a lot more sewing to go! (Crafting is never complete without some trashy day time television. Evidence: Remote within 6" of arm reach.)

This weekend is a wedding crafting bonanza, so I'll be able to bring you some great finished products soon! Have a terrific weekend!

*All photos are personal photos.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wedding Dress Muffins

I loves me some baked goods. I drool at the sight of a bakery, I don't even need to smell it. This is a genetically inherited trait from my father. We have a running joke that if you're ever out with him some where and you can't find him, look for the closest bakery. I kid you not, it works every time. We were on a roadtrip once and we saw a sign on the side of the highway that said "Mmmm pies"; we heard the words escape under my dad's breath and then he pulled a U-turn to find out if in fact they were delicious pies. The sign did not lie.

Now that the wedding is only a few short months away, I really have to try harder to cut back my bakery habit. I took inspiration from this carrot and banana muffin recipe from Eating Well, making a few substitutions since I didn't have quite everything they called for. The original recipe has 198 calories and 6 grams of fat per muffin, awesome! It's super healthy and really delicious.

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup bran
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar, or 1/2 cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking
  • 1 cup mashed bananas, (2 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded carrots, (4 medium carrots)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 18 standard-size (2 1/2-inch) muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water; let soak for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, oat bran, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until frothy. Add brown sugar (or Splenda) and whisk until it has dissolved. Mix in bananas, milk, oil and vanilla.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients; stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Gently stir in carrots and the drained raisins. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with nuts.
  6. Bake the muffins until the tops spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Honeymoon: Destination Awesome

I cannot begin to explain how excited I am about our honeymoon. Dan and I both knew we didn't want to book into a gigantic all-inclusive resort, it's just not our style. For our honeymoon we wanted to do something private, exotic, once in a lifetime. We were originally looking at Tahiti/Bora Bora/ Moorea which would have been lovely, but oh my gosh it's a small fortune to get there! We also wanted to do the over the water bungalows, and let me tell you, those puppies aren't free. And on top of that, none of the pricing included food. It was a negative on all points.

I started researching something a bit closer but that would still meet our needs: I don't want someone above, below or on either side of me. There's a certain sense of *privacy* I want for our honeymoon after all! Plus Dan often forgets to put on pants, so really, we're looking out for everyone here. We wanted great food, an option of activity or not. We didn't want to be forced into "tonight's dinner show" or have to make friends with 37 other honeymooning couples. I spent many many days online Googling. Somehow one site led to another, and I found it. The Royal Belize.

Seven and a half acres of paradise just off the coast of Belize. Our own private island. Yes. I said private freaking island!!!!! For honeymooners you get the whole island to yourself. There will definitely not be someone above below or beside me!!!! Sorry for all the exclamation marks, as you can see, I'm a little bit giddy about all this. For ten amazing days, I get my new hubby, a chef, and some maintenance staff and the little fishy in the ocean. Oh my gosh. Let's all sit back and bask in the glow of the photos I've stolen from their website.....................

 (The main dining hang out type area under a gorgeous thatched roof)

 (Le Shack. That's the best damn shack I've ever seen! One of three different villas on the island. The Hermitage is undergoing renovations right now and I can hardly wait for it's unveiling!)

 (The pier. The little gazebo at the end is cutely called World's End)

(A private palapo with hammock for easy afternoon reading and naps)

(Ahhhhh lovely. Maybe we won't come home.....)

So I hope you're all thoroughly jealous by now. I can't wait!!!! Now to get back to the 30 Day Shred so Jillian Michaels can kick me into bikini ready shape!!!

**All photos courtesy of Royal

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Pasta Perfection

Wow. Okay I made an amazing discovery tonight and I beg you to try it!!! We were feeling a bit lazy in terms of cooking today, so we stopped at a local bakery to grab some bread and some frozen gnocchi. Then we popped over to our organic butcher and grabbed a couple mild italian sausages and some bacon. 

So cook up your sausages and bacon, we did ours stovetop. While that's on the go, boil your water and throw your gnocchi in. In a smaller pot, we took some President's Choice Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce and warmed it up. Add about a half a ball of mozzarella sliced up and let it melt into the sauce. Now for the magic: add a drop or two of liquid smoke to your sauce. Start small, taste, add more if needed. Now chop up your sausages and bacon and add it into the sauce and let this mellow for a bit. Drain your gnocchi when it floats and fry it up a little in the sausage-y bacon-y goodness pan. Add your sauce. Die in the goodness. 

Seriously, I was licking the pan when it was time to clean up dinner. I'm not sure we've made a pasta that tasty in my lifetime. The liquid smoke totally makes it. So simple but so freaking delicious. I'm really debating going and eating the leftovers right now....