Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jennifer's Joyful Boutiqe, Obsession du jour

It's almost November, which means J. and I are getting ants in our pants to find out whether the baby is a boy or a girl.  November 22 is the big day, which means I can finally start shopping for things like clothing, decorations for the nursery- you know, the priorities.  And that's why I've started trolling etsy for the cutest baby gear I can find... you know, just in case I don't get enough at my baby showers :)

Today, my obsession is with the etsy store Jennifer's Joyful Boutique!  Ok, so maybe some of these goodies will be a better fit if "its a girl" than for a boy, but I'm still having fun window shopping either way!  And key wedding tie-in:  this could be just the place to find your flower girl a hair accessory or a little thank you gift for the little ones in your wedding.

Ok so on to what I am in love with.  First, the custom art- such an affordable way to personalize a nursery!

Or what about a hair flower?  Brides love them, and what better way to add a little pizazz to a white flower girl ensemble for $7.95?  Or in my case, what better hair accessory to foist upon your baby (they can't stop you!) while you take 1000 pictures?  Yeah I'm going to be that mom.

 I'm also really loving the little clip and bow holders- also hand painted.  I live in a tiny house so I'm really into objects with dual purposes- and this is the perfect combination of decoration and storage.  It also makes it easy for your toddler to pick out what they want to wear, since everything is on display.  Maybe even teach them to put things away?

Definitely head over to Jennifer's Joyful Boutique to check out all the adorableness happening!  All images courtesy of Jen!

Disclaimer: this is totally my opinion and I was not compensated in any way for sharing this post.  However, I do actually know Jen- she's awesome- you will love working with her!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

DIY Mercury Glass- FINALLY!

I remember well how last year at this time, I was itching to find a good tutorial for DIY mercury glass.  Alas, everyone who had tried it said the same thing- it's very tough to do and very difficult to get a good result.  That is, until I came across this post at Domestically Speaking.  Maryann (who I'm dubbing genius of the century) came up with a great trick to take basic glassware from this:

to this:

The trick?  Spraying droplets of water on the surface before the paint.  Why didn't I think of that??!!  I solved my own problems by hitting the discount stores, but you could get major mileage out of inexpensive craft store or ikea finds, which would allow you more uniformity too.  Love it!  Head on over to Maryann's blog, Domestically Speaking to learn more!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Newspaper-Style Menus

You may recall a few weeks ago I shared some rehearsal dinner invitations I made for my little brother's big day, using antiqued baby pictures and an art-deco Chicago style theme.  Since their rehearsal dinner is at a steakhouse featuring checkered table cloths and old-Chicago styling, we decided to carry the theme through by making dinner menus that looked like old newspapers.  Look how cute they turned out!!  I'm a little in love, not gonna lie...

The fonts are all art-deco style fonts I found on, and for this project I featured March Madness, Deco Card and Herald Square.  And the baby photos are the sames ones from the invitation.  All in all, these took me about an hour to make, and I'm just going to print them on plain paper on a color printer and leave one at each place setting- the fact that everything is a little bit casual only makes it that much better, I think!

Are you working on any fun projects right now?

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Luckiest Girl in the World!

I know, we're still working on getting those images fixed- I'm sorry friends!  But I've got a REALLY great excuse I swear.  J. and I have been working hard to get a tenant into my condo, which in itself has been a project.  But the big news is twofold: (1) I just got a NEW JOB! and (2) we're expecting our first baby and we finally hit the 12 week mark so we can share the news!!!

The bliss is beyond measure.  We are ecstatic!  I mean, a baby, that alone is awesome.  But to be able to also say that after two years of working at it, I've finally found the perfect position for my career path (and they think so too)?!  It's all happening at once and it's almost too much- almost, but not quite- I embrace it with open arms.

So yeah, I'm sorry about the images, and I swear we're working on it.  The One! will go on!  To make up for the missing images, here's a shot of our little bean at 7 weeks 3 days to tide you over...

SO HAPPY!!  :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Progress! (and patience)

So you may have noticed... The One! just got a fabulous makeover from Designs By Kassie- and I just want to say right now, Kassie works quickly, is super responsive, has wonderful creative ideas, and was very reasonably priced.  I am so excited about our new look and hope you like it too!

Of course, while I was working with Kassie on the new design, all my old images stopped working.  Where did they go???  Here's what we do know- it wasn't Kassie's fault!

We think we figured out where they went (hello old server) but you may need to bear with us for a few days while J. and I get them back for you all!  But we sure do appreciate your patience and hope to have some good surprises for you in the next few weeks!!

image source

For the Love of a Good Menu

Anyone who has ever watched Top Chef knows how important presentation is. That goes for menus too- a great looking menu enhances the food and gets your guests psyched for eating. Mmmm I'm hungry just thinking about it. I've seen menus done in donzens of great ways, but my current obsession comes from my friend R's wedding. Girlfriend printed the menus using her home printer on standard-issue brown paper bags- perfect for carrying home the wedding favor post-celebration! I think this is such an adorable idea for outdoor, winery, barn, or really any kind of rustic wedding. But I also might use these for my next BBQ!  Or, someday, maybe I'll make little lunch bags for the first day of school- I can see kids loving them too... and brown paper bags cost next to nothing.  Oooh the possibilities!

Check them out and tell me you're not in love too...

photo by me- from R's wedding!

Are you considering making menus for your next celebration?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Amazon Mom- For People Who Like Discounts!

No silly not that kind...

I just learned from the lovely lady over at 320 Sycamore, about a pretty kick*ss program called Amazon Mom where anyone who cares for a child (aunts, uncles, grandparents, sitters) can sign up and get FREE Amazon Prime for 3 months!  That's FREE stwo day shipping with no minimum kids! 

Of course, this is going to be super handy for all the brides out there.  And if you happen to also be a mom, there's some great kids deals like diaper discounts (its 30% off diapers and wipes)- but I'm planning to use my 3 months on CHRISTMAS SHOPPING! 

And nobody even paid me to write this.  I'm just really enthused!!

image source

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

You Just Can't Keep Me Away...

I know I know, I'm retiring.  But I had to share these little rehearsal dinner invitations I made for my little bro's upcoming nuptuals because they might be my favorite design ever, and I really did these myself!  The dinner is being held at an old Chicago steakhouse where the color scheme involves lots of vintage green, so I grabbed old art deco fonts from and went wild!  I kept things simple because the happy couple is definitely more into "understated" than "over the top" but I think they came out juuust right.

I love them, potentially more than I love the adorable couple (ok just kidding guys)!  :)


Monday, August 9, 2010

Moving On, Moving Up

A year ago when I started this blog it was kind of a bucket list thing.  I do a lot of writing for a living, could I write a blog for a year?  I thought so.  What I didn't anticipate was that I'd develop such a great group of followers, nor did I know how rewarding blogging would be!  I have learned so much about relationships, about crafting and planning, and about gathering as a community  in support of one another- miraculously, all through a silly, geeky blog.   And although it's been gratifying beyond measure to participate in this world, I have to face facts:  I'm waaaay too busy to do this for the long haul.  I will ALWAYS love weddings but I am officially over-saturated with wedding knowledge- knowledge I no longer need.   It's generally a good idea to walk away from something while you still love it, no?

Furthermore, J. and I are looking down the barrel of some big changes right now.  None are so big we can't manage, but  I need to take some time to prioritize my career and family right now- and unfortunately the blog doesn't make money or cuddle.  So even though it's a bummer to slow down, I need to focus on the rest of my life for a while.

The good news is that I can save some $$ because I won't be paying hosting fees anymore.  The bad news is that I have to move the blog to another (free) platform- which I will be sharing with you as soon as I figure it out- so all those postings won't be gone forever.  And don't worry, I'll still post from time to time when I have something good to share!  PLUS I'm still holding out hope that I can hand The One! over to a new bride-to-be who may be looking for a way to share her adventures (so please email me if you are interested)!

It's hard to figure out how to end a post like this without sounding cheesy, so I am forced to accept that I will always be a cheeseball, and end with two of the cheesiest things I can think of.  First, the always-quotable Elizabeth Gilbert:

"We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy's fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure--your perfection--is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart."

Elizabeth always nails it, doesn't she?  That's totally how I feel- I need to chill for a while and focus on some basics.  Oh and the second cheesey thing I hearby bequeath to you?  From Titanic...

I'll never let go...


Sarah :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Not Your Mother's Stencils

We're all familiar with the stenciling fads that people either love or hate- we all know someone who filled their house with them, and today they incite love or hatred (generally because they are deemed "too country" or because the artist wasn't very talented) among most people.   But today there are a new kind of wall decals which seem to have replaced stencils as the new "it" wall treatment.   The are peel-and-stick decorations that can be easily removed.  And I have to say that when used sparingly with an editing eye,I think they can be really cute!  Apparently I'm not alone in this feeling, and that is probably why they're also becoming a hit in the wedding world!

Best of all this trend is AFFORDABLE.  Custom designs on etsy or from internet vendors run anywhere from $25-100 which isn't bad when you consider I know people who spent $1000 per centerpiece (not me though!) and I have seen them in discount stores for less.  In fact, I recently purchased a little quote for my foyer for 75% off, and it was only $4.50.   I bet those of you out their with those fancy little cutting machines like the CriCut could even figure out how to make your own.  Definitely worth keeping in mind for budget ceremony decor!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New House!

I really don't think it's possible to overemphasize how busy this year has been.  My most recent excuse?  The lovely little colonial you see below!  J. and I moved in on Thursday with very little broken to show for it.  Yipee!  I can't wait to show you the inside!  In the mean time, if you need me you can find me unpacking, planning a housewarming BBQ, or maybe even passed out, because I am definitely feeling exhausted... but happy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We're Moving!

Wow, it's hard to believe that we're moving today, but we really are.  It's kind of incredible to remember how we got to this day.  I bought my condo in March of 2008, tried to sell it between January and June of 2010, failed, and decided to list it on the rental market instead.  In the mean time, J. and I have been working nights and weekends to renovate his house, one we've had a tenant living in for the past 2 years.  It has been a ton of work.  A ton.  We are both absolutely exhausted and that doesn't even count the pending moving exhaustion we're sure to feel later today!

So with all that said, you'd think I'd be too distracted to notice the small part of me that's feeling sad to leave.  I am not a person who feels nostalgic about everything- I have moved many times and never felt much sense of loss.  I try to follow that time-tested cliche: it's best to live life looking forward and not backward.  But something about this move is different... a significant slice of my life took place in this condo- it's the place J. and I first lived together, where we got engaged, and where we began our married life.  I already miss seeing the pictures on the walls, snuggling in front of the fireplace, or sneaking down to the pool after a thunderstorm before everyone else figures out the pool is open again.  And I will miss the way this house is pure, unadulterated "me."


The new house is a force to be reckoned with and together, J. and I have put our stamp all over it.  It has original subway bathroom tiles, fabulous hardwood flooring, adorable architectural features like arches, and period-appropriate schoolhouse light fixtures throughout.  We have demolished, polished, sanded, patched, stained, painted, weeded, and installed this house to near-perfection.  Enough is done that we can move in, and enough is left to do to keep us interested (hello yard!)!  It's the kind of old, shopworn, creaky old house that I grew up in- the kind of house that really gets me.  This house has a story to tell.  I'm excited to figure out that story, even if the story starts out, "once upon a time there was a house whose previous owner was bad at fixing things properly..."

I will try to share some before-and-after photos with you guys soon!  But in the mean time, onward I go!

image source

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Succulents for Norkle

Today, a gratuitous post of succulent wedding inspiration for friend Norkle, who is hoping to incorporate them into her own upcoming nuptials.  In addition to being easy to do in advance, they are adorable, no?  They are sort of vintage, sort of modern, sort of southwestern, sort of romantic, colorful, soft, playful- I think that's why they've become so popular!  All images link to their sources, except the first which is my own photo, from a friend's recent wedding!

Would you incorporate succulents into your own wedding?  How would you use them?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Black Friday Magic- Liberty of London on Sale!

I'm not even going to pretend this is a wedding related post, though Target's Black Friday sale (today, online only) certainly could be the perfect place to score some wedding gear for your centerpieces or favors.  Nope, what I want to talk about is how, as a part of that sale, Liberty of London goodies are 25% off! I am on a spending freeze right now and I already have a LL canister in the guest room so I cannot, repeat CANNOT, buy anything.  It's white knuckle city around here.  So please let me live vicariously through you all!  Go check this great stuff out today if you have a chance!  All images are from Target's website:

I'm going to go to work now and daydream!  But let me know if you score any awesome deals!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Perfect Thanks

A few weeks ago I helped throw a baby shower for one of my besties and bridesmaids, we'll call her E-Rod, and we had a seriously fun time eating, decorating onesies, and joking around about what the baby would look like and which of his/her honorary aunts he/she would like best (I won that contest hands down, obviously).  So with all that fun as it's own reward, I was especially touched with E-Rod gifted us these adorable and thoughtful thank you gifts. 

Inside these adorable (and shower-theme coordinating I might add) bags, E-Rod included a lovely thank you note, along with awesome swag- Starbucks gift cards, Vosges chocolate bars (oh baby) and Mad Housewife Merlot.  Have you ever seen anything cuter?  I love that this is something anyone- even the noncrafty folks- can do, and on any budget.  I'm shamelessly planning to steal this fabulous idea one of these days! 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm a sucker for it...

Seersucker!  Ok, I know, bad bad bad play on words.  But who can help it?  Little ring bearers in summery seersucker suits are potentially the cutest thing I've ever seen.  And more affordable then tuxedo rental too!

You can score this one for $39.99 at In Fashion Kids

My good friend R.'s ringbearers wore seersucker ensembles for her wedding, wearing their vests (sans jackets due to the heat- a great built-in contingency she planned for), and they looked incredibly adorable.  With hot pink bow ties too.  Who is in love?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A 4th of July Engagement Celebration!

Sometimes having a wedding blog is really, truly, awesome.  Like, for example, when I get to share super cute, super fun parties with everyone!  This particular celebration was in honor of my brother A. and future sister-in-law Diana, which was held at my mom's home in Ohio on the 4th of July!  The weather was perfection and we ended up with a huge crowd and loads of tasty food, courtesy of my mom.  I made the invitation-postcards on VistaPrint, my dad brought the red velvet cake and 1931 Packard with him, and the decorations were scored on a budget from the Christmas Tree Shop (my favorite)!  Guests brought some great gifts for the happy couple, including customized honeymooner tees, and a book of family recipes my mom and I collaborated on.  It was such an all-American party too, with bocce ball, whiffle ball, horses, flowers, and lots of family.  Who could ask for more? 

We are so excited to welcome D. into our family and I can't wait to share their upcoming October wedding with you all!