Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Decor in a Small Apartment

This isn't only our first year as a married couple. It's also the first year we will be on our own Christmas morning! So we wanted to jazz up our holiday decor a little this year! So I wanted to share a little of what we did.

Our budget was smaller than our 800 sf apartment, so sometimes creativity was in order! I'll break down all the little ways we made our home a little more festive this year! 

Wreath, of Course!

A wreath is a wonderful way to decorate, without taking up much space at all! My in-laws gave us this wonderful, real evergreen wreath, but with the simple red bow that accompanied it, I felt it was lacking something. I took a modern spin on it, adding a chalkboard wooden plaque on top! I can change out the words whenever I please! :) 

A Christmas Tree... 

This is our first-ever Christmas Tree! I told you, our apartment is small. So we found this wonderful 4', pre-lit gem at Michael's Crafts, on sale for $20! Steal! Remember, we have a tiny budget, so I placed a piece of cardboard on the top of an upside-down storage tub. I then covered the whole she-bang with a yard of some pretty shimmer fabric, and suddenly I had a raised tree skirt to help make our little tree the highlight of the room! 

...With Ornaments!


This ornament was inspired by an idea from Pinterest, our favorite creative friend. This is actually our first new Christmas tradition! I wrote the year with a special glass pen, and all the wonderful things that happened during the year. It's a wonderful keepsake, that can include children in later years! I'm also considering filling it with small items to further remind us of the year. Thoughts? 

My Maid of Honor gave us this adorable ornament as part of our wedding gift this year! She cleverly cut up our wedding invitation, and curled pieces to highlight them. She then arranged them in this ornament, finishing it off with some jute ribbon! Such a wonderful memory of our wedding we can bring out every year. 

Mantle (or top of TV unit) Decor 

We got these apothecary jars as a wedding present, and I love finding creative ways to display them! I simply bought some cheap but cute ornaments at the Dollar Tree to fill a couple of them. And the last one has candies, because who doesn't like some chocolate in their life every now and then?? These are on the top shelf of our "mantle" aka TV unit, along with our next items....

Jeremy was given these little village homes from his parents, so we might as well display them! Free decor! I paired them with one of my DIY creations from this year, a popsicle-stick tree! Its made from a cardboard cone, a wooden candlestick, and a mixture of mini-popsicle sticks and flat toothpicks. I then spray painted the whole thing with silver glitter paint, and glued a baker's twine garland around it. Each swag of the twine is finished off with a small sticky crystal. I was stumped on the topper, but my grandma saw what I was working on (we did these as a Thanksgiving bonding craft this year), and conveniently pulled out the cute little bow from her stash of goodies! Thanks Grandma! 

We Can't Have Christmas Without Stockings!  

I made these burlap stockings this year as well! I simply followed some directions I found on google. It's easier than you think, I promise! Though I will say, the burlap isn't the friendliest fabric to work with! I topped it off with a black and white fat quarter I had sitting around. (don't forget, cheap!) To personalize each one, I had these wooden letters from my scrapbooking days, and I mod-podged glitter onto each one! 
And being in an apartment, 3M's amazing removable wall hooks are a renter's best friend!

And of course, we can't forget Jetson's stocking too! I just carefully painted mod-podge onto this wooden coin in the shape of a paw, and sprinkled the glitter onto it! I then used another coat of the mod-podge to seal it all in. 

Share with me the creative, cheap, and space-crunching ways you've decorated this year! And I hope I can get your creative juices flowing! Until next time! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Don't Let Thanksgiving be Run Over

Everyone has seen a version of this classic comic, but nothing has changed.
This past September, I was walking my dog past my neighbor's apartment, and my dog started growling in their direction. I look over to see a plastic reindeer on their patio. "Great", I thought, "We can add plastic animals to the list of inanimate objects my dog is afraid of." But then I paused. "It's SEPTEMBER. Why is there a reinde.......: as I looked more, I realized there were cling snowflakes on the window. Candy cane lights in the bush. And a fully decorated Christmas Tree clearly visible inside their home.

As I pulled my antler-fearing dog away from the scene, and wore off the shock, I officially decided my neighbors were nuts. 3 months before Christmas?!? Their decor will be up for 1/4 of the year! I pass this apartment every day, and while my dog has finally gotten used to the reindeer, I realized I was getting more and more annoyed. Actually, more than that. I was angry.

It took me a while to realize this anger. What was it even towards? Not my neighbor. They are crazy, but seemingly harmless. It wasn't about the commercials already chiming holiday tunes, as obnoxious as that is. Heck, it wasn't even how the black hole of Black Friday is slowly, year after year, sucking in it's preceding day for more hours of petty fighting. That's a whole other debatable beast.

No, I was angry for November. Not at it, for it. It's my birth-month, so I've always been partial to it. Yet somehow it has become only a speed bump in America's hurry from Halloween to Christmas. While somewhere, wrapped up in it's crunchy leaves, lies a holiday fighting for room.

Thanksgiving. It's not a huge day in my family (though I'd like to change that with my new budding family). But I truly feel that it is one of the most important American holidays of the year. A holday that's skipped over, time and time again. It's barely a blip on the American radar. Sure, everyone celebrates it. People (who can) go home to their loved ones to stuff their faces and maybe watch the big game. But why does society as a whole press the gas pedal, flattening this important holiday into oblivion?

This is why:
Thanksgiving cannot be commercialized. It will not be commercialized.

And this capitalist society resents it for that. There are no cards or candy. No flowers or gifts. No eggs to decorate or costumes to wear. No overpriced fireworks. Thanksgiving cannot be sold. There is no profit to gain. Thanksgiving is, at it's essence, being happy with what you have, right now. And no one can capitalize on that ideal. So society crowds it. Breathes down it's neck. Tries their best to make Thanksgiving uncomfortable by trading costumes and ghouls with ornaments and trees. By placing the most selfish day of the year right next to it. But wait! Why stop there? They go and decide that Black Friday isn't big enough, so they steal hours from the hemorrhaging holiday itself. Apparently, going the other way into the weekend doesn't appear greedy enough. They like greedy. They want greedy.

So my call to action is simple. Give thanks. Acknowledge your blessings. Cherish the memories. Whether you are surrounded by your crazy extended family while sneaking a forkful of pie, or you are far from home, but surrounded by friends who all brought their favorite dishes. If you have a little fight in you, help keep Black Friday on, well, Friday. Hang those Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving. Christmas is awesome, and represents so much to so many different people. But let's not desensitize ourselves of the holiday. Don't let it take over a quarter of our year. If we keep it short, it will be all that much sweeter and enjoyable when it does finally come. And then, we can finally give Thanksgiving, and the whole month of November -with it's colorful leaves and crisp air - the respect it deserves.

With pie. Lots and lots of pie. :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Favorite Groom Pictures

So much emphasis is placed on the Bride, and I think it always has. But I wanted to give some much deserved to my groom, my husband! It seems every girl now wants a picture of how their groom reacts, whether it's excitement, or a tear. No tears here, but lots of smiles!

All photos by Katy Weaver Photography

Love this guy. :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

DIY Program Fans {with free template}

Aaaahhh, wedded bliss! Now that we are finally husband and wife, I can start posting my wedding DIY projects! Even better, I have some professional pictures to show them off! Thanks Katy Weaver Photography! The not-so-awesomely-perfect photos are courtesy of myself and some friends in these upcoming posts.

This DIY I'd like to delve into is our program fans, which were a big hit at our wedding! Especially when the temperature was almost pushing 90 degrees during our ceremony.
Katy Weaver Photography
Pretty, no?

I created this design, and printed it via VistaPrint, just like my DIY invites. You can find the template below, if you would like to create your own program fans!

Notice, that the two sides share a middle line. When I cut out the program, I folded it in half along this line first, and cutted both sides at once. This created almost a book. I simply glued a large popsicle stick between the two, so the two sides are permanently folded over the stick. Then decorate as you wish! 

Seriously, that easy. 

Here are a couple more of my crappy shots of the programs. Link to the template is below.

For anyone interested in the template I created and used, here it is in powerpoint: Program Fan Template
To upload to Vistaprint: The slide has been created to be the exact size of the "flyer" option on VistaPrint. Once you finish your design, save the slide as a PDF. This keeps the slide from re-formatting when you upload it. Once it is a PDF, you use that to upload onto the "flyer". The flyers aren't super heavy duty, and there was quite a bit of flex in the fan when completed, but they still did their job beautifully.

To learn how to save your pennies on VistaPrint items (I saved over 70%!), check out the blog of a friend of mine: weddingtips101

Happy Planning!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Best Bachelorette Game {EVER}

This weekend, my girls hosted the best bachelorette party! It was a wonderful mix of a little fun and a little naughty. We stayed at a beach house on the coast, and it was simply wonderful. :)

One of my bridesmaids was inspired by a game played at her own bachelorette, but made one all her own. I just have to share it for anyone looking for a HILARIOUS and fun game that involves all the girls for a little raunchy fun!

One (or many) of the bridesmaids creates "gift bags" for the bride before the big night. She places different mixes of items into the bags. The picture above is from one of my bags. She makes enough bags (with 3-5 things each) for each bridesmaid or party-goer, except the bride. Yes, she can make one for herself. The best way to do this is make all the bags look the same. All of mine were white paper bags with white tissue paper covering the goodies. You'll see why in a minute that this is important. The bridesmaid also needs to bring enough index cards and pens/pencils for each girl as well.

Here are some of the things included in my bags:
Sex Toys
Headache Medicine
Pregnancy Test
Bubble Bath
Edible Underwear
Phallic Candy
Listerine Strips

When everyone is ready to play the game, the bridesmaid brings out all of the bags, and places them in the middle of the girls. No one knows what is in which bag, and the bride doesn't know what's in any of them. Each girl randomly takes one bag, an index card, and a pen, then secretly looks in her bag. 
*Keep the items secret even from your fellow bridesmaids!*
On the index card, you write a scenario of the bride and groom using ALL of the items in your bag. I quickly found out, the raunchier, the better. Make it as detailed or as funny as you would like. Then put the index card into your bag, and recover the items with the tissue paper. 

I as a bride found this was a perfect time to sip my mimosa and watch the sunset from our balcony! 

Once everyone is finished writing their scenarios, all of the bags are placed back in the middle. The bride then opens each one, shows off and explains the items in the bag, and proceeds to read the story on the card. If you would like, you can also have the bride guess who wrote each scenario for a fun bonus game. 

Make sure someone has a camera on hand, to capture moments like this.....

...and this...

Happy planning everyone!
PS... want a couple more pics? I thought so:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Hey all! I made my first meme! I thought I'd share. The first time I saw this car by my work, I thought I was seeing things. But nope, someone really customized their Mazda to say this...

Just thought I'd share the hilarity :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

DIY Pinwheel Tutorials

I have had a few inquiries as to how I've made my pinwheel decor for my wedding, and I decided I'd share my experiences.

When I started this process, I realized that I had not made a pinwheel since elementary school. So I had to look up how to make one. So I will help everyone who had the same problem I did. This first image is a wonderful diagram of how to make a simple pinwheel.

While a pin and a pencil eraser are a good way to make a pinwheel functional, I am here to make them a little prettier for weddings and other events. I will make note though, that none of the styles I will show are functional, just pretty. None of them spin, sadly (for all of us kids at heart). But they sure do look good!

Let me begin:

Pinwheel Boutonnieres

Katy Weaver Photography
-Felt Sheet
-Hot Glue
-broach pins

The first DIY I will go through is the pinwheel boutonniere. I made these from 3" squares of felt that I cut from the sheets you can find at any craft store. This DIY was fairly simple, as you only have to hot glue the ends into the center. I then hot-glued a button to the center, and a broach pin to the back. Done!

Pinwheel Escort Cards

Pinwheel Escort Card

Katy Weaver Photography
-Scrapbook Paper
-Kraft Paper (or any solid color paper you want to write on)
-Paper Cutter
-hot glue
-faux pearl stickers

 The escort card is very much same as the boutonniere. I used scrapbook paper cut to 3" squares, and again hot glued the tabs to the center. This time, I took the self sticking half pearls to finish off the center of the pinwheel. Lastly, I took a piece of kraft paper (about 1"x5") and glued the end to the back of the pinwheel.

Note: I will be hand writing the names and table numbers on the strips. If you want to type them, you can print out names on the paper directly, then cut out each name, leaving enough room to the left of the name to glue the paper to the back of the pinwheel.

You'll notice in the picture from our wedding, that the pinwheels have those flat filler marbles in the center. These we had to use to hold them down, since the wind kept blowing them away! You can do that too, or put some kind of weight on the back when you are making them. Even better, you could put magnets on the back, and stick them to a large sheet of metal decorated for your wedding!

Pinwheel on a Straw

Katy Weaver Photography

Katy Weaver Photography

Now for the pinwheels with a handle! This gets a little more complicated, but once you get the hang of it, they are actually pretty easy. 
-Paper cut to 6" squares
-Flat head tacks
-plastic disposable straws. I used narrow, transparent, green ones that blend in inside the wine bottle.
-hot glue

For this one, you do not need to hot glue the tabs to the center. Instead, poke the thumbtack through each tab, then through the center of the pinwheel. This holds the paper without any glue. Then, you simply, yet gently, push the remaining part of the tack into the straw, about 1/4" - 1/2" from the top of the straw. Only push it into the straw, not all the way through. You will see that the sharp end of the tack is now enclosed by the straw, not exposed. 

While the straw does a decent job of holding the tack in place, I decided to squeeze some hot glue into the top of the straw, so it could grab the end of the tack and harden around it.

Bridesmaid Pinwheel "Bouquets"

Katy Weaver Photography
I also want to include how I made the bridesmaid pinwheel "bouquets". They took a little more engineering, since the paper is much heavier in such a large size, but they weren't hard, I promise!

-A 1/4" dowel from a craft store. I bought 2, and cut each one in thirds, creating about 12" lengths
-12" scrapbook paper
-Floral or jewelry wire. Get some that is fairly thin and easy to manipulate.
-Double sided tape (you could use a tape runner, or even a glue stick)
-Hot glue
-small piece of chipboard/cardboard
-Large Button

I first cut down the dowels to 12" sections, and had Father-in-Law carefully drill a small hole in them, about 1" down from the top.
Then, pick two coordinating scrapbook papers, and glue/tape them back to back. This helps stabilize the large paper size, as well as adds a decorative element to the pinwheel. You could also pick a heavier weight paper that has a pattern on both sides. Cut like a pinwheel, and hot glue the ends to create the pinwheel shape.
Take the small piece of chipboard, and cut it to be smaller than your button. I actually found chipboard scrapbook buttons, which work perfectly. Once the chipboard is cut, poke two holes in it, to make it resemble an actual button.
Place the dowel in the back of the pinwheel, and the faux button on the front. Starting in the back, thread the floral wire through the dowel hole, poking through the center of the pinwheel, and then through one of the chipboard holes. Then, go the other way, threading it through the other chipboard hole, back through the pinwheel, and back through the hole in the dowel. Cut the wire, leaving plenty of tail on both ends. Wrap the excess around the dowel until the tail is almost gone, and if you can, poke the ends back into the dowel hole, hiding the sharp points.
Hot glue the wire into place.
You may use a duct tape to carefully hide the wire/glue, but I didn't, since the back of the pinwheels were never seen.
Hot glue your actual button over the top of the chipboard one.

Katy Weaver Photography

Done! See how easy that was? Pinwheel decor for all aspects of your wedding or event. :)

*I apologize for my lack of instructional photos.  I hope to clear up my written instructions when I can. Feel free to leave a comment to ask me any questions, I will be happy to help!

Monday, May 20, 2013

DIY Wedding Invites (for less than $.35 each!)

Oh my goodness, I haven't posted here in a while! I really want to, but all of my DIYs lately are of wedding things. And to be honest, I want them to be a surprise to my guests! So you will suddenly see MANY more posts after July, I can guarantee it!

BUT I have officially sent out our invites to our guests, so I felt it is safe to show them on here now! You have no idea how EXCITED I am for these. They are definitely my favorite wedding related DIY yet. I designed them myself using Microsoft Powerpoint (yes, Powerpoint!) because I am too poor and cheap to get Publisher or Photoshop.

I then printed them using VistaPrint. They are an online resource that has many of their own designs, but you can also upload your own.... onto tee shirts, invites, mugs, flyers, you name it. The best part, is they are always having awesome deals. Actually, my invites were recently posted on a friend's blog, who helps brides and other people with finding the best deals via VistaPrint. Check her out here!

I created our invites like a fan. If you look carefully, you can see a small button brad in the top left corner, that holds everything together.

And without further ado, here are my invites! Certain information has been covered for our safety.

Katy Weaver Photography

Front Cover

Close-up of front cover

Entire invite, fanned out

invitation page

RSVP page. It is perforated where indicated, and guests can simply tear it out of the packet,
fill it out, and  drop it in the mail! 

This is a close up of the RSVP card itself. It is a postcard, so we didn't have to
deal with the hassle of including an extra envelope. 
This is the back of the RSVP card. See, Postcard! :)

This was the last page, stating our website, and that you could find most any information there.
We also gave guests the ability to RSVP online as well. 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE our invites! What do you think? And for them to be so incredibly affordable, who wouldn't want to design their own and print them on the wonderful VistaPrint? I can't wait to hear what my guests thought about them!