Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Costume Countdown

Sometimes I love stress.  Not the average stress we face, like paying the bills or working through our children's more difficult stages; but the kind where there are deadlines, but the process in general is a good time.  Creative stress.  Halloween costumes are certainly a creative stress.

I tend to start brainstorming several months prior, but we don't often commit until a few weeks before the big night.  I have the best intentions of making both my kids' costumes, but I usually end up buying one and making one.  It allows me to put 100% into one outfit and my son prefers the instant gratification of store-bought anyway.  

Last year was the exception, when I made both of their costumes (in thanks to Xander's love of The Great Pumpkin).  A sheet with some tulle-covered holes was hardly any work though.

Xander's costume for trick-or-treating this year has already arrived via Fed Ex, and I'm sewing away on Milly's.  If she longs to be what half of all little girls long to be this year, I'm going do my best to make hers a bit different.  I've learned felt and fleece are perfect for costume making.  They're cheap, warm on a cool night, don't require hemming, and have some give when you're just making things up as you go.  While I like to follow rules, I've never liked to follow patterns.  Do you have costumes all figured out yet?  It's hard to believe Halloween is almost a week away.  

If you're still looking for some last minute entertaining ideas, Xander's Friday the 13th birthday party was full of frightfully fun food and decor.  

And this post has some quick and easily additions to add some spook to your spaces.  

What costumes are you putting together this year?  


Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Handmade Wedding Invitation

This summer a girl I grew up with reached out asking for some invitation sources for her upcoming wedding, and if I would be able to sit down with her and her mom to brainstorm some ideas for her big day. I knew her mom was an incredible artist and wedding planner, so I wasn't quite sure why they would need me, but I figured it would be fun and agreed to it.  Their main issue at the time was working out the invitations.  I listened to Mary's wants and threw out some thoughts. Her mom came back with, "have you done a lot of wedding invitation design?" which I quickly answered, "never."

But Mary and Libby were confident in my ideas, and a complete joy to work with.  During our discussion it was clear that we were going for what I've been calling "handmade, not homemade." No burlap here.  Mary prefers a simple aesthetic while her mom loves color and detail.  Creating watercolor branches in varying styles and incorporating handwritten elements mixed with a clean font played to both of their tastes.

First I made this laurel medallion with the bride and groom's monogram.  Once we finalized this piece I built off of it to create the invitation suite.

The reception will be in the Comfort's backyard - which is breathtaking - including Libby's new art studio/barn (This space is full of so much life, just like Libby, hence the pop of color for the reception card).  I can't wait to see their vision come to fruition and feel really honored to have been a part of the process.

If you're married, I'd love to hear about your wedding invitations.  How did they reflect your big day?   


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Inspiring Office Furnishings with Plaidfox

I haven't talked about our building process for several weeks now, but mainly because it's been no news or rather disheartening news.  On Friday I dug a hole in the rain to discover that a utility line we were told was a temporary phone line that could be abandoned was actually a working cable line that was marked improperly.  Back to the easement drawing board.

Between all of the home issues and a busy month, I'd taken a break from house planning, but I'm ready to get back at it.  It's what will keep me hopeful and motivated.  Probably the space I'm most excited about is the study.  With great light for photography and lots of storage, it will be the perfect space for me to create.

We plan to do floor to ceiling built-ins along the two interior walls with cabinets on bottom to store fabric and supplies and shelving on top to display books and pretty things.  I want the room to be a place I can make a mess and simply close the doors at the chance of unsuspected visitors, but also be elegant enough for entertaining.

The bones of the house will all lean very traditional, but my love of color and more modern pieces will come out in the furnishings.  The study will boast classic built-ins and crown molding, allowing me to take some risks with clean and colorful furniture and accessories.

While we still have a while before I'll need to be decorating, the planner in me can't help but dream, so I put together some boards to inspire my future work/play space.  Have you heard of PlaidFox yet?  It's a wonderful new retail website that boasts hundreds of beautiful things for your home.   If your in search of something special for your space, this is a great place to start.  It's simple to search and very well-curated.  And if you're not sure what you're looking for, their Style Test is a lot of fun and rather accurate.

To no surprise, I wound up to be Traditionally, Eclectic.  What's your style?


This post is sponsored by PlaidFox.  Thank you for supporting the companies that make The Makerista possible.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fresh, Fall Florals on a Budget

I'm more of a plant person than a flower person.  The thrifty one inside me can't see the sense of spending a ton of money on something that will need to be thrown away sooner than later.  But there are certain occasions when I think flowers are a must, and weddings are one of them.  So when some dear friends asked for some help with their reception decor, I talked my way into planning and creating the florals.  (Does anyone else do that?)  Before last Saturday I had only done a few floral arrangements, but I've learned some tricks that gave me the confidence to tackle this project, all on a tight budget.

The key to this budget-friendly arrangement is using a handful of other natural items along with flowers.  Flowers are expensive.  Leaves and grapes?  Not so much.

You will need: roses, snowberries, sweet gum branches, grapes, a vase, gold spray paint, scissors, and 1/4" clear floral tape.

Start by spray painting the outside of your vase and letting it dry.  I picked up a bunch of glass vases from the thrift store for around $1 a piece.  Once you've tried an arrangement with a floral tape grid, there's no turning back.  This is the secret to getting the flowers to stay where you place them, and it's totally worth the extra prep work in the beginning.  You can try cutting scotch tape into skinnier strips, but it does not have the staying power that the real thing has.  I don't make an arrangement now without this stuff, and one roll of it will last a really long time.

I like to start with the bigger items first and then fill in with the smaller as I go.  First, cut and place 3 to 5 roses in your container, grouping some together.

Next cut and place some snowberries.  I kept these a bit long for some height and a more organic look.  Natural arrangements are very on-trend and that's great for those of us who aren't pros.  It's a much more achievable look.

I then used the spray paint to haphazardly gild some of the leaves.  You don't want to completely cover them, just add a bit of shine here and there.  After several hours of gilding inside, I'm shocked to announce that my clothes were paint free.  That NEVER happens.  I did have quite the headache though.

Insert the leaves.

Now, you'll notice there are some gaps where you can see the tape.

I cut up grapes in bunches of 5 to 7 and filled the holes with the bunches.  Extra points if you can get a bunch cascading down the side of the vase a bit.

It's a simple arrangement that gives a fresh nod to fall, all on a really great budget - less than $10 an arrangement.   

Do you like arranging flowers?  I'd love to hear any tips you might have.

A big thanks to Amy at Victorian Gardens for helping me get the beautiful florals!