Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Moved

That's right - I've moved. I received such a response from my personally designed wedding invitations that I've since decided to start up my own invitation design business. So head on over to get your Daily Dose of Chocolate and follow me as I open up my Chocolate Paper Boutique!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbors' Loubs

That's right, I have a mad obsession with Loubs - aka Christian Louboutin shoes. If I was a shoe, I'd want to be a Loub. Thank you Christian for ruining me for life now when it comes to shoes...no other shoe I've found can compare to the design and style of my coveted Loubs. Unfortunately, I'm just a lowly graphic designer and therefore unable to grant my feet the luxuries they so desire and deserve...such as these gorgeous, sexy, fabulous, amazing, stunning, hott, (I could go on and on) and of course fierce pair of Loubs:
Hello Lover! And I found them in red on ebay - hello ruby slippers to go with my underlying Wizard of Oz themed reception...Christian Louboutin's Very Noeud Slingback in Red Satin.
But alas, even at half the retail price, still too much for my tiny little purse strings. Enter my old trusty friends at Nine West. One day, while dreaming about my Loubs and desperately searching for a suitable alternative, I ran across these puppies on a site called 6pm.com:
Red satin: check! Peep toe: check! Slingback: check! Oversized one-sided bow: check! Although that sexy stiletto heel is missing, these cute little Nine West Sweetlife shoes look very similar to my dream shoes...and they ARE red satin, although this picture makes them look a bit more velvety...similar enough to be worthy of my wedding shoe! And at $40 final price I found on ebay, including shipping, I can start saving up for a pair of real Loubs by the time I turn 30. And after my second dress fitting and walking around in these puppies, I have to say that I'm glad for the chunkier heel as I know my dogs would be barkin in those Loubs after only a few hours...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Insane Invite Project

They're FINISHED! After a span of three weeks, over 15 hours of work, 7 trips to Michaels, 3 trips to the post office, 1 lost ruler and a couple break downs, the invites are done and the guests have received them! Hallelujah!

Being a graphic designer, along with a perfectionist and control freak, I decided a long time ago that I'd design our invites myself. I later decided that I would be able to print and assemble them too, no problem! Well, sparing you the details of the long hours, sore arms and the numerous thoughts of "I could have just paid to have somebody do this for me," here is how I did it (along with the help of a couple bridesmaids and the groom)...the DIY, Insane Wedding Invite Project of 2008:

STEP 1: Cutting, scoring and folding the folders.
Equipped with my 8.5x11 80% Recycled Black Cardstock from ActionEnvelope.com, my ruler (that is still lost, by the way), my Martha Stewart Bone Folder, cutting board and sanity still intact, I began by scoring each piece of paper down the middle, then creating a "perfect" crease, before finally cutting the folded piece down to the desired size. Multiply that by 125 and there you have the folders!

STEP 2: Printing & cutting the invites.
I printed everything at work, with their permission of course, and took it home for the cutting. Again, with my cutting board, ruler and trusty exacto knife, I went to work. Multiply 125 invites by 16 slices per invite and that gives you "the guts." Thanks to Bridesmaid Beckie for assisting with the cutting of the invite cards...the claws thank you!

STEP 3: Cutting the ribbons.
I originally wanted to make the "folders" a tri-fold, so that a third panel would wrap around the folder to keep it closed. However, due to the size of the paper I was working with, that wasn't a feasible option. Enter Red Satin Ribbon...what was one of the easiest parts of this project also became detrimental to my poor Flexible Stainless Steel ruler, seen pictured above in what would be it's last photograph before it went missing...I still have hope that we will find you one day ruler...

STEP 3a: Burn baby burn!
This step was surprisingly therapeutic after all that cutting and the tragic loss of one's ruler. In lieu of buying a bunch of those little bottles of that liquid that prevents the ends of the ribbon from fraying, and in lieu of using up all of my clear nail polish, I went the burning route to prevent frayage on these pretty ribbons. Just hold the end of the ribbon close enough to the flame that it seals...you don't want to actually touch the flame to the ribbon, and I promise I'm not speaking from personal experience. ;)

STEP 4: Printing and cutting the seals.
To "close" the red ribbon that is going around each folder, we made "seals" with two peices of cardstock. One, seen above, had our beautiful red poppy printed on the ivory cardstock. The second was a 2" square of the black cardstock.

STEP 4a: My beau learns the joys of double-sided tape!
This is the step where the groom jumped in...he's crafty like ice is cold. Taking the poppy square, sticking a piece of permanent double-sided tape on the back, placing it in the center of the black square, and pressing was all that was needed to assemble these fun little seals. And as he so kindly pointed out, not at all as tedious or time consuming as the next step that I was working on at the same time...

STEP 5: Photo corners are your friend.
The "guts" of the invites are held in the folder by those cute little photo corners...yes, there are self-adhesive photo corners, however I was unable to locate any that looked as nice as the "lick-n-stick" corners, which had that classy, vintage feel we were going for. So, with a damp rag, I got busy lickin'-n-stickin'...

STEP 6: Envelope Liners
This step was going to be omitted, however, in my insanity, I just couldn't go without them! Even after sending the above prototype picture to one of my bridesmaids who was supposed to tell me I didn't need them, it was inevitable from her reaction that they were a must! Therefore, she was required to help out with the cutting of the liners (see below action shot of the assembling party with another bridesmaid helping out as well). To line the envelopes, I measured the inside of the envelope, leaving enough room for the envelope glue to still show, created a pattern from an image I found in Photoshop, printed and cut the pattern. Then we took the cut paper, stuffed it in the envelope, made sure it was centered, then folded the envelope to create a crease in the liner. Finally, we used Tombo Mono permanent adhesive to glue the top edge of the liner down to the envelope.

STEPS 6a & 7: Assembly Party
Thanks to Bridesmaid Ashley and Maid of Honor Tracy for helping me out one night with lining the envelopes, stamping the envelopes and the rsvp's, and putting the corners on the invitation inserts. That saved me two more nights of working, easy!

STEP 8: Address labels with my Xyron.
There are two reasons we decided to go the label route when it came to addressing our labels, 1: neither one of us can do calligraphy, and 2: a white pen (which is all I could find, no ivory pens out there anywhere) would just clash with the ivory of our invite paper. So, off to Michaels to purchase my first Xyron! After printing and cutting the addresses, I simply ran them through my little Xyron and voila! Address labels!

STEP 9, 10 & 11: Wrapping the ribbon, adding the seal and sticking on the address labels.
I was so busy working that I failed to take any action shots of these steps, but they are pretty self explanatory. I do want to tell you that I of course found another way to use our double-sided tape with the ribbons and seals. I wrapped the ribon around the folder, stuck a piece of double-sided tape in the middle where the two ends met, and placed the seal on top, so just one piece of tape for the whole shebang! The groom placed all the address labels on the envelopes and did a fine job...like I said, he's crafty!

STEP 12: Stuffing and sealing.
FINALLY! We can see the light! With the help of my trusty damp rag, we stuffed and sealed our assembled invites and envelopes...

And they're off to the post office! I was so excited I took like 20 pictures of my babies all packed up in the box...I know, I'm crazy...I lost my sanity back at step 3, along with my ruler. After all that hard work, it was almost impossible for me to leave our invites all alone at the post office. But, we took them the next day to the Loveland, Ohio post office and three days later they started arriving at my guests home. It was a labor of love in more ways than one, but definitely worth it! Now on to the next project...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Chillin Wit My Gnommies!

Over the weekend, four of my wonderful bridesmaids threw by beau and I a fantastic co-ed luau party (in lieu of a "shower," as I tend to get uncomfortable with people oohing and ahhing while watching me open presents). The party was a blast and a good time was had by all. I was well aware of the planning and work going into this party, so I wanted to get my friends each something special as a thank you for being so great, but something fun to match their crazy personalities...enter: the gnome. Three out of the four 'maids attended the University of Cincinnati with me, and the other was a Bearcat fanatic regardless - Go Bearcats Go! So I knew these adorable little UC gnomes would be appreciated by the girls - PLUS, it works out that their colors are the same as our wedding palette - Go Bearcats Go! Below is a picture of the finished packaging - complete with these cute little thank you cards I found at my favorite discount retailer, Target.
Thanks again girls! It was a BLAST!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Moo Point

As many of you may already know, I went the insane route and decided to design, print, cut and assemble our invites myself...thanks to some of my wonderful 'maids, I've had some help in doing so and can now sleep at night without worrying about whether or not I'll get them done. And of course I've also already planned to do the same for other items such as place cards and favor tags. However, I just ran across a wonderful print site - I'll be honest, my attention was caught by their name - Moo - so I thought I'd check it out...prices are reasonable, products are cool AND you can create your very own designs...how cute would their MiniCards be for favor tags or place cards? Or their Note Cards for table numbers? Or their stickers for some unexpected fun?
Go Moo!
(Be sure to check out their blog for even more creative ideas!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Claw

Working on my DIY invites - measuring, cutting, cutting, folding, cutting and some more cutting. My hands are now stuck in claw positions, a la Chandler Bing vs. Ms. Pac-Man, but I promise to post the entire process avec commentary once they are mailed out. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise for any of the guests before they receive the invites in the mail!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Getting Back To My Roots

No, I'm not talking about my hair - being the natural fair-skinned brunette that I am, I never had the confidence to go blond. No, I'm talking about my family roots. I'm an avid Today Show watcher, and the series they ran a couple weeks ago about tracing family roots has really inspired me. It may help that as the wedding day quickly approaches, I find myself remembering more and more those who are with me in spirit, and wondering what they would think of my new venture into family life.

There are apparently a lot of helpful resources online for researching one's family history. The article, "Tracing your own family roots," from the Today Show provides several resources to start with. Ancestry.com seems to have a lot of helpful forms and charts to use on my search.

So, I think that I am going to embark on the journey of figuring out my family tree. Who knows? Maybe I'll be able to incorporate it somehow into the wedding...although, I'm not so sure I can convince the husband-to-be that it'd be a good idea for him to do the same thing...to be continued...