Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Sister's Wedding, the Fashion Edition

This is a really crappy photo, but it's the only one I got on my camera showing my sister and I's vintage inspired bridesmaids dresses full length.

My sister the Bride decided she wanted black dresses on her attendants; and she let us pick what we wanted. The other 4 girls were "honorary" bridesmaids, and they  entered the church and lined the isle, holding lit candles, since the theme of the wedding was "Lover Of The Light". (A song by Mumford and Sons, which was also the song we all entered the church to -  including the bride!) my sister Noelle and I dithered about what to wear; whether or not we wanted to match, etc. etc. I looked all over the internet at just about every dress out there and nothing settled with us. I have a dozen or so vintage, black cocktail dresses in my closets and we had pretty much decided to just wear those, when I discovered the dresses above on eBay for $50.00 with free shipping.

I decided to order one, just to see it. It was perfect and my sister loved it; I loved it, so we made our decision. Then I bought black crinolines from a seller in China for less than $20 a pop - which was waaaay cheaper than a lot of crinolines I looked at from US sellers. We just had to wait forever for them to arrive.

I did wear a vintage beaded belt with my dress, which you can't really see here. We carried simple baby's breath bouquets that I made, and wrapped with jute twine.

 My sister Noelle showing she's got swag. Also, my brother's girlfriend Lindsay behind.

 My sister Naomi and our parents.

My sisters and I, and our niece Abigail, who is wearing one of my vintage dresses.

Everyone waiting around on pews for their turn with the photographer. The girl in the foreground is also wearing a vintage black velvet sheath dress.

I have decided letting bridesmaids pick their own dress within a color boundary is the way to go! So much less stress, and everyone ends up liking their dress, and can wear it again, probably. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Vintage, DIY Wedding

I am flat - out exhausted, physically and emotionally.

My sister got married this weekend, and it was a DIY wedding.... and we DIY'd all of it - except the cake. Someone else did that.

First of all, the lovely bride:

I bought these brown paper bags on eBay and Mom found the stamps. These were for the candy favors. They will be for sale in my Etsy shop soon, because we made waaaaay too many.

 A little before of the reception hall: the flourecent lights were covered with tulle and Christmas lights. My sister wanted a soft candlelight look. Right here I have to say: While my sister, my mom an d I hatched all the ideas amongst ourselves and were heavily inspired by Pinterest, the work was carried out by our friend Faith Freeman and her daughters Joanna and Alice. Mom and I lent our help mostly in the evenings; but the bulk of what was done took two and a half days and was done almost exclusively by these lovely ladies. And my husband, who did the heavy lifting and moving, and was go-fer boy. :)

 Aaaaand my buffet. Purchased at Goodwill in really awful condition. I've been sanding and stripping and painting and babying this thing since Christmas.... I'll do a detailed before and after soon.

 Of course, with a sister that sells burlap bunting banners for a part time gig, she wanted to use banners in her decor. We also made burlap table runners.

She came to my house and said "I like this, and that, and that, and also this", and pointed to everything she wanted in the wedding, and we packed it up and used it. Including the tree slices. We had fallen a large dying tree in the yard and so we used slices of the branches as pie and food stands. Almost everything used as decor for the wedding was mine... she wanted to use vintage things instead of lots of flower arrangements.

Doors was one of the first things my sister decided she wanted for the wedding. We had some doors, of course, but our friend Daniel works on a construction crew in Northern VA that removes asbestos from old historic buildings and remodels them; so he had access to all the doors we wanted. He drought down a load, and he and my husband put several sets together.

My husband also made the trees, which was my idea .... that I almost regretted because it was one of the most difficult things we did. We screwed pieces of wood to the bottoms of carefully sculpted tree branches and placed them in burlap bags filled with gravel. Mrs. Freeman and her team strung them with lights. 

  One of the trees was designated as a "Wish Tree"... also my idea. (I got the inspiration from a smaller wish tree thing I saw on Pinterest. But ours was bigger.) Instead of a guest book, people wrote a message on a tag and tied it to the branches. Later, we removed the cards and put them in a pretty box for her to look at later.  The small stable next to the tree is something from my house as well...

Several tables had lights underneath, so the appeared to glow.  It was awesome.

We used doors in the corners, to give the rather hum drum room the feeling that it was a older space.

 My old suitcases were made into a gift card box.... the photo is of my great grandmother Sophie Rose Kelly, whom my sister is named for. The mini banner is one I sell in my shop.

 Years ago I had bought hundreds of white hankys at an auction - and never did anything with them. Mrs. Freeman draped them over the backs of the chairs and taped them in place - it was a genius plan!

This set of doors blocked the closet door and the tree behind it was just an awesome touch as well. It covered up the fire extinguisher. :)

 The cake table.... and banners from my shop. Every window in the place had Christmas lights in them, and the effect was AMAZING.

 The candy buffet..... the glass candy jars are from my friend Sally, with the antique shop. I have wanted to do a candy buffet for years and finally did it!!!

I don't think I have enough sisters to have weddings for me to do ALL the ideas I have. I guess if I wanted to act on all my wedding ideas, I'd have to become a wedding decorator.

I have about 100 gallon size pickle jars in an old barn on our farm. We cleaned some of them up and put sand in the bottom, and a candle, and put them all over the back deck ovelooking the lake, and lined both sides of the sidewalk leading into the building. It was fantastic.

Here is what the Wish Tree looked like at the end of the evening.

Ok that's a lot of photos, so I'll quit now and show photos of our vintage inspired dresses another time.

It was the best wedding ever, even if I do say so myself, and I LOVE using vintage stuff instead of a zillion flower arrangements!! The only roses we used were in her bouquet, (which I made) and the corsages. All the other flowers she wanted was baby's breath. Which we did use tons of.

Vintage, DIY weddings for the win!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Embellished Clutch Handbags

I had a small stash of plain ol' clutch handbags sitting around doing nothing so I decided to embellish them after I taught myself how to stitch these roses onto t hings. Old stuff gets a facelift!

I started out with vintage cotton rag strips that I tea dyed. Then I used some kind of sheer material in my scrap box that was harder to work with because it was slippery; but once I figured out the trick of it it was a snap. I even figured out how to make little leaves.
To the cotton roses I added beads from a broken vintage necklace, pearl buttons, and other little findings.

1. Black velvet clutch
2. White beaded clutch
3. Crochet envelope clutch
4. Black jersey clutch

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chalk Paint: My First Try

So anyone who reads DIY blogs or decorating blogs knows that chalk paint is a huge big deal right now. I love the look of chalk painted furniture, and have always wanted to try it. But at around $40 for a quart, I was reluctant to shell out for it! So I just used flat paint watered down for the same effect with some nice results. Still, I really wanted to try the real deal.

Then one day I ran across a "fake" chalk paint recipe on line somewhere, involving plaster of Paris. I still stalled, because plaster of Paris is just not something I think about buying at the home improvement store.

Then, I read somewhere about making a fake chalk paint with baking soda....  now that, I can handle!

So, I needed a furniture candidate to be my guinea pig, in case I royally messed up.

I found just such a piece at the local recycling center, in the dump. Yes, the dump.... the legs were wobbly and needed tightening, and the drawer missing, but someone just gave up on it and dumped it instead. That's okay. I rescued it in a flash.


The main thing I like about this piece is it is solid. Like I always say, it's not worth putting pretty paint on crappy furniture. This thing weighs about 25 Lbs. I kid you not. Once we tightened up the screws on the leg brackets, it was solid as a rock. The other thing I like about it is that it was FREE!

One of the things they say about chalk paint is you don't have to sand or prep the item you're painting. But I did lightly go over the surface with 60 grit sandpaper and my electric sander.

I used some leftover paint from another project and poured about 2/3 cup of paint in a plastic container with a lid, and added 1/3 cup baking soda, and 1/4 cup water and stirred it up. It still didn't look right so I added the rest of the paint in the can (about another 1/2 cup or so) and more water, until I had a mixture that resembled the consistency of pancake batter. Then I slathered the paint on.

It was gritty, and dried quickly so I had to work fast. I learned several things pretty quick:

1. Don't try to "touch up" a spot that already has paint on it. Trying to add more paint over a spot you just painted a minute ago takes almost all of it off as you go, leaving "gaps" in your painted surface. That was tricky to deal with.

2. A little primer is a good idea. A few small stains did leak through.

3. You're probably going to have to do 2 coats; I did. There were too many bare spots on my piece after one coat. You can kind of see this in one of the pics above, where I show the brush streaks in the first coat. All of that got covered in the second coat. But let it thoroughly dry first! I guess that depending on your piece, you could do one thick coat, but I hate thickly coating a piece with paint because of drips. Ugh.

4. Work fast with chalk paint. Fast, fast.

After I got it all painted, and dried, It felt gritty and rough. So I sanded it a bit with some 150 grit sandpaper, by hand. Then I distressed it. I discovered that this stuff really bonds well! It was a pain in the neck to get down to the original finish in my distressed spots! I had to apply a lot more pressure than usual. So, this paint isn't going anywhere. Which is good.

(The drawer is missing from the table, but I am going to cover the hole with a false drawer front and pretty knob.... eventually. For the time being, I am just going to turn it around so you can't see it.)

Next, I decided to try glaze. I have never glazed anything before but have been dying to try it. So off I went to the home improvement store and I bought a Rustoleum product that looked good, and some furniture wax to go with it. The glaze ran me about $15, but a little goes a loooooooong way so I will be able to use this on many, many more pieces. So, it is totally worth the money if you do a lot of projects. The paste wax was $10, and again: a little will go a long way so - it's worth it.

The glaze goes on with a brush and is then wiped off. It left my previously bright white piece with a nice tea dyed look.

When the glaze had dried overnight, I waxed the table by applying with a soft rag, drying 15 minutes, and buffed it with a dry, clean rag. It turned out great. I am very, very happy with the result. I am thinking about keeping this and using it in my den.

The wax really smoothed out the gritty texture, without a high gloss look (I do not like high gloss.)

 I am really happy with the performance of the fake, baking soda "chalk" paint result!

I am thrilled with the glaze (although I did decide not to use this on my buffet project, as it turned out darker than I thought, and darker than indicated on the can. But I think that was because of the way it reacted to the chalk paint. It absorbed more and therefore, darkened more.)

I am thrilled with the furniture wax finish. No stinky shellac fumes!

I am altogether pleased with the entire result. :)

Obviously, because I have never used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I do not know how the baking soda recipe compares to the real thing. But still plan on one day giving Annie Sloan a whirl. :)