Nov 30, 2010

Self-serve Refreshments

Today GB has some super helpful details for your own DiY wedding out there. I personally die for cucumber water. Why does it taste so damn good?
When you're going through the wedding planning process, you eventually hit the Wave of Practical Details. Among these are basic hydration arrangements for your guests... because dehydrated guests are not what you want. This may be part of your catering or venue package (and I recommend double checking that they have a plan), but if your wedding is outdoors or at all DIY then you probably need to figure out how your guests are going to wet their whistle with something other than whiskey and wine. This includes the standing around time BEFORE the ceremony. A self-serve beverage bar is an affordable alternative to paying for bar staff to come a couple hours early just to hand out water. While it's practical and low-budget, it doesn't have to look cheap.

Here's a couple of cute self-serve refreshment tables

A wide variety at this rustic wedding on Ruffled
From a backyard wedding on Ruffled
We borrowed a dispenser from a friend and bought another one to use and have around after the wedding. Keeping it simple, but with a touch of class, we served two flavored waters: orange and cucumber:

Torrey Mandell Freeman
Photo Credit: Torrey M F

The creative opportunities here are labels for the beverages, decorations for the table, and the beverages themselves (um, anyone want to make horchata? Cause that sounds delicious). I made a cut-paper sign ("Refresh") and some festive oilcloth, which I bought by the roll here.

On the nuts and bolts side, it's a good idea to start researching available beverage dispensers early. Borrow as many as you can and give plenty of time for ordering any additional ones you need to buy as stores may not carry too many of these in inventory, if at all. Here's a little help on some research:

$43 at Crate and Barrel

$50 at Bed Bath and Beyond

$60 on Amazon


Is anyone else having one of those days? Maybe it's the rainy weather or lack of sleep but I need a little something to cheer me up. I love these sculptures from Chiasso that I saw on Elements of Style today. And I'm so happy that Oh Happy Day had this how to for felt ball garlands as the anthropologie ones were a bit uh...pricey.

Nov 29, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...

I've already mentioned how much I love Christmas (here and here). I sometimes think it's silly to spend so much time discussing decorations for a day that I won't even be at home. But, something about sparkly lights and ornaments just makes those short days and windy nights easier to deal with. I've been so inspired by some great ideas out there, I thought I'd refer you to just a couple in case you are totally bored by your normal inspiration.

I am loving these more natural design ideas from Bo Bedre, via Emma's Design Blog. I mean if you've got that all white Scandinavian design thing going on, you might as well just add some green and red and you're already there. These natural looks use a lot of antlers (the perfect answer to indie decorators who love Christmas) big branches, rough linens, and leaves.
And I can't get over this more urban Christmas scheme on Ikea's Christmas Decoration blog. I love the assortment of unmatching chairs, Christmas cards, and bulbs. In the end, isn't that how our Christmas tables always end up looking when we have a nice full house? It's definitely an organized chaos look that suits those of us who have trouble saying no to a sparkly bulb.

And I have been flipping out for this technicolor Christmas spread from Rue Magazine since I first saw it. How much do you love those streamers coming down the wall? What inspiration have you been drawing from?

Nov 24, 2010

Wednesday = Friday (Thanksgiving Week)

I'm starting to think that this post should just be called "what I ate this weekend." I guess it's pretty clear where my interests lie. I had another fantastic weekend. Friday night I went to Lyon Hall for dinner where I had an amazing wurst. Then Saturday morning, PB and I went out to Tyson's corner where I may or may not have spent $50 on some adjoining mittens. We also had some friends over for an amazing dinner (so amazing I forgot to take pictures). PB made this steak salad and this sweet potato soup.

Then on Sunday I met one of my hippest friends at the farmers market where I picked up some orange cauliflower for Thanksgiving and some pork shoulder (that PB turned into a great Sunday dinner). And I discovered Filter. Finally a new non-starbucks cafe in NW!

Okay, kids, have a happy thanksgiving!

Nov 23, 2010

Cut-paper Signs

GB has some more great little DIY's from her beautiful wedding today. But I totally think these would be easy to do for a big thanksgiving party as well, don't you?
We already covered big chalkboard signs, which can either serve as big roadside signs to direct traffic or convey a ton of detailed menu information in one place. But there can be a need for lots of little signs, especially at an outdoor wedding, if only to label basic facilities or leave a message for guests.

First, a little sampling of small signs from weddings around the blogosphere:

Chalkboard in a frame on Ruffled
Handwritten message in a frame on Green Wedding Shoes
Hanging framed chalkboards on Green Wedding Shoes
I used the little signs to have some pops of color, using cut paper.

  1. First, I scoured some old magazines for full-page photos. A largely monochromatic image works best, or black and white photography. I got a little extra fancy by picking images that were relevant to what they would be conveying: I found a page of old-fashioned lined paper for our "guest book" sign since guests would be writing and for our "favors" sign, I found an image of growing crops since our favors were marigold seeds, etc.
  2. Next, I outlined where the letters would go BEFORE I started cutting. I find it helpful to center the middle letter(s) and work out from there. I also like to outline on the back side of the page to minimize markings, but that involves drawing the letters backwards, so use tracing paper if necessary.
  3. Then, I used a snap blade and cutting mat to cut out the letters. Tape a piece of construction paper underneath and trim any excess paper to fit into whatever sized frames you are using.
  4. BONUS step: Find some chunky frames at the thrift store and spray paint them to match the construction paper. Can't find chunky frames? Go to Ikea.

    Dormain & Anthony Wedding 240
    Photo credit: Sara V
    Dormain & Anthony Wedding 239
    Photo credit: Sara V

    Nov 21, 2010

    Inspired by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

    In my view, there are two ways that you can come to love a song: you hear a song and something about it immediately knocks you off your feet or it takes you multiple listens to discover all its hidden melodic and lyrical references until you are sucked into it. With "home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, it was the former. The first time I heard it, I was hooked. And like all truly great music, it has definitely been inspiring both my fashion and interior decor tastes.

    The band uses an eclectic group of musical themes and instruments including wild west-like whistling, heavy base, thumping rhythm, clapping, old-timey piano, lutes, and plenty of almost Mexican sounding horns. These varying instruments and themes evoke a bohemian, wild western, international kind of look.

    The western influence definitely led me to a lot of outfits with dramatic hats, colorful scarves, and statement making boots. But there's also something overtly feminine about these outfits: a touch of fur, some leopard print sandals or some red lips, which mirrors the sweet crooning of the female singer, Jade Castrinos.

    From an interior design perspective, the music evokes rooms with a collection of non-matching antique furniture, something Dolly Parton would be happy to sit for a spell on. But it's not pure country, there's also something very 70's bohemian rock and roll about the whole thing. So I also love the idea of a lot of Navajo prints and wood textures.

    What do you think? Do you like this mix of western, bohemian, 70's ness?

    Images via Refinery 29 (1 and 2), Sea of Shoes, Altamira, Design Sponge (5, 6, and 9) Emma's Design Blog (7 and 8).

    Nov 19, 2010

    A Steal!

    So I'm looking at this awesome want list on Moodboard one afternoon and I fall helplessly in love with these Anat Chelsea boots. Visions of tight pencil skirts and textured tights dance through my head, but alas, while $320 isn't totally out of my price range, it's a bit more than I wanted to spend on a boot with a heel that high that I definitely cannot pull off at work. I'm considering my options when I stumble upon this 6x6 boot over on urban...for only $98!

    I love those moments, don't you?!

    Nov 17, 2010

    oh... that corner of the room.....

    There's this corner of my bedroom that's just....bleh. It's not that every other area of our apartment is perfect, but at least, I know what I want it to look like. But this area? It's become a depository of jewelry, knickknacks, dvds, books, and magazines. So I looked around for a little inspiration and here's what I came up with.

    Something nice and clean, a few little cute vases or bottles (or tea cups even) a few stacked books, maybe a plant or a retro table lamp.
    Do you have a corner like this in your home?
    Images via 1. the City Sage, 2, 3, 4, 5 Design Sponge

    Nov 16, 2010

    Wednesday = Half Way

    Even though I had to work a little this weekend, it actually turned out to be really satisfying. On Friday night, PB got us some super delicious sopresatta, wild boar sausage, gouda, pecorino, and a special brie and we played trivial pursuit (I won!). Saturday night we followed up a much needed trip to the gym with sushi from kotobuki (sooooo delicious) and watched Moon. On Sunday I had brunch with the ladies at Founding Farmers (I've only been talking about doing this since May) followed up with some shopping in Georgetown. I am trying to decide on a new perfume and I've narrowed it down to Stella MaCartney, Burburry's the beat, and Coach Poppy. And (perhaps most importantly) I experimented with above the knee socks.

    Oh and we took funny picture of Grizzly while he was sleeping in weird positions. Next weekend I'm planning on cooking dinner with friends, heading to the Dupont Farmer's market, and maybe even trying out a new restaurant.

    What are you looking forward to?

    Crane Mobiles

    I really like origami paper. Not that big into actually folding origami, but the papers I see at the art store are always so beautiful that I've been known to buy a pack or two without any specific plans. Not so for the wedding - I had plans. Big plans. Plans that still, actually, didn't have anything to do with folding origami. But with some excess papers floating around, I thought I'd make a couple paper cranes to hang out around the wedding. Then I got some feedback from some savvy lady friends (no, not THAT kind of lady friend! Geez...) that a "couple" wouldn't do. Fortunately, they were willing to help me crank out, like, a couple hundred cranes. I was still a little skeptical of the flock of cranes.. until I saw this wedding on Ruffled:

    OH! Now I get it! Gorgeous right? But, I can also see why you need HUNDREDS (or go for a cool thousand if you want to make a wish) because they do kind of need to be in a swarm to have any visual effect.

    Then mere DAYS later (again on the wonderfully DIY friendly Ruffled wedding blog), I see this wedding (on the left):

    I love how the mason jars add some visual weight (and literal weight) to the mobile. Unfortunately, it seems like everyone and their mother uses mason jars in weddings these days (okay, I guess I was looking at A LOT of outdoor/vintage/diy weddings). That glass is also heavy and could complicate the structural integrity and I didn't want to have lit candles, but empty jars sound kind of... depressing. Then I happened to be poking through the Ikea web catalog and found these:

    Perfecto! Oh, and you only want $4 for these adorable lanterns? Um, okay, I'll take a dozen!
    So, we strung up the cranes with fishing wire onto some wooden dowels, with the lantern hanging from the center to keep it balanced. And that's the story of how we made these crane mobiles.

    Photo credit: Ian KB

    Now I just wish I had a backyard with willow trees to hang them from permanently. When I look back at photos from our ceremony, I love how the mobiles dreamily found their way into some frames:

    Photo credit: Ian KB

    BONUS: We also used some lanterns as center pieces, with a little crane tucked inside:

    Photo credit: Julia C

    Mobiles are kind of awesome in general - they essentially decorate THE AIR. Not a table, not a wall, just airspace. One tip though: keep those little birdies paper-clipped together from early in the construction process or you will have one big, tangled mobile mess on your hands when you try to set them up. I transported each mobile in it's own brown grocery bag (they're free for now!), which I think saved a ton of hassle.

    Happy folding!
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