Saturday, August 20, 2011

Here We Go!!

Well... I didn't get to show you all the details I planned, but I guess there's always time for that after the wedding! I'm checking in SUPER quick to say goodbye as a Ms :) In a few hours I'll be a married woman!

I'll have more posts - and more TIME for posting - next week when we get back from our mini-moon in Traverse City!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Little Details: The Photobooth

Josh and I aren't having favors for our guests. We decided we didn't want to deal with them, and instead, put the money towards a photobooth. Actually, a "faux"tobooth is probably a more appropriate term, since it's not a true booth. We borrowed a PVC pipe structure from my friend's mom (and my second mama), and Josh's mom sewed panels for the background out of this fabric we scored on sale at JoAnn's for $1.49 a yard!

TaDa!! I'm excited to see what kind of pictures we get from this!

Then, there was the question of what kinds of props did we want. My answer: Anything and Everything!! We went a littttle crazy at the dollar store buying all kinds of things for people to deck themselves out in as they take pictures. 

 There are: Mardi Gras beads, feather boas, cowboy hats, fur stoles, bandanas, glasses, glasses, more glasses, a dinosaur head, magic wands, tiaras, leis, wigs, a gigantic bow tie, and a red clown nose!

These may be my favorites - glittery pink and purple cats eye glasses with a bright gold rock star wig!

We plan on printing the photos out ourselves after the wedding and mailing them to everyone along with their thank you notes. I hope everyone enjoys the "faux"tobooth as much as I know I will!

Can you think of anything else we could add? What fun combination would you wear in your picture??

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Little Details: Flowers for my Girls

This was one of those little details that I came up with on a whim and cost virtually nothing. My favorite kind of project! I had a lot of help with this one, too - just like all the projects for the wedding. Josh's mom and sister were oh-so-kind enough to help me out with this crazy idea!

I thought about making hair flowers out of fabric for my flower girl, which morphed into making them for my bridesmaids and hostesses, too. It only took about 3 hours to get them all done, and I think they're adorable!
First, we cut lots of different sizes of circles out of different types of fabric. Most of the fabric was given to me by my aunt, so it was free. It was left over from the card box she had made. There is still a ton left over - we could probably make 100 more flowers!
Then, the edges had to be melted so the fabric would curl a little. This was the most fun, yet the most stressful part. It seemed like it only took a split second for the whole piece of fabric to be up in flames!
Lots of layers of circles waiting to be sewn together.

Josh's mom and sister sewed the layers together - about 7 layers per flower.
If you look in the background, you can see the silver beads that became the centers of the flowers. Josh's mom had these in her craft supplies with the original price tag - $.35 for the whole long strand!

Blurry picture of the finished product
Here are all of them we made, minus a few white ones that didn't really turn out. We hot glued them to aligator clips, and they're all set for my girls if they choose to wear them!
I love them! I don't know if any of the girls will want to wear them, but they can keep them for the future if they want. My flower girl will have a white one for the ceremony, then a pink one for the reception. We made pink ones for my cousins who are passing out programs since the pink matches their dresses better.

What's a quick, cheap project you've thrown together lately?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Little Details: The Coloring Books

We're going to have approximately 30-35 kids at our wedding reception, and I thought the parents might appreciate a few things to keep them occupied during the cocktail hour and dinner. I had seen some brides make entire kids' tables, complete with kraft paper table cloths and lots of fun crafts to keep the kids entertained. I LOVE that idea, but  I just couldn't make it work for our space/budget/guest list, so it was on to Plan B: a coloring book.

I took a bunch of clip art, added my own captions, and Voila! A coloring book emerged! Most of my clip art images came from, and I used Discovery Education for the word search creator. Here is the draft of the book. At this point I had cut and pasted pages together so they were in the order I liked. Now, my next task (hopefully to be completed tonight or tomorrow) is to get them copied/printed.
The cover - I've already fixed the margin issue where the bell is cut off

Page 1 - Pay particular attention to how my and Josh's hair and outfits change throughout the book :)

Pages 2 & 3 - A maze to help the party bus get to the reception (Josh thought this was particularly funny), and a coloring page with a custom caption that tells what we're having to eat!

Pages 4 & 5 - Cutting the cake, and then a page for them to draw their own cake or cupcakes

Pages 6 & 7 - Josh and I sharing our first dance, and pictures of our ring bearers and flower girls, complete with their actual names! You can really see the shoddy construction of the draft version of the book here :)

Pages 8 & 9 - A word search with our names and wedding words, and a page for them to draw a picture of themselves and tear off to put in our card box for us! I'm excited to see some of the pictures we end up with

Then, of course, there was the question of what would be used to color with. We chose the good ole standby: Crayola Crayons! I waited for weeks for the packages of 8 crayons to go on sale for less than $1.00, but they never did, so we decided to buy the packs of 24 crayons (for $.40!) and divide them up into groups of 6.
Josh's sister dividing up crayons! Nobody wants all the ugly colors, so we made sure there was a good assortment in each batch!
We packed them into little plastic baggies and tied them with this ribbon that I scored at WalMart the day after Christmas for $1!
Our bag of lovely crayon packages!

This was a FUN project to do, and really didn't cost anything at all other than my time. So far, we've got $5 invested into crayons, bags, and ribbon, which I think is pretty good. Hopefully these are a hit with the kids because I'm pretty excited about them!

What are some fun, inexpensive, kid-friendly crafts or activities that you've used/heard of/liked when you were little?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Little Details: The Unity Tree

Ok kids, we're 6 days away from the BIG DAY! What?? How did that happen?

I figured that in the days leading up to the wedding, I'd share some of our little details. I know I've been a bad wedding blogger lately, but I'm sure you'll understand that I've been ridiculously busy! Now that summer school has wrapped up (with a fishing trip thrown in, no less!), I've got a little more free time on my hands to share with you all :)

One of the little details that Josh and I are excited about is our Unity Tree. I'm not sure if that's the actual name for what we're doing, but it's good enough for me! Instead of lighting a unity candle or pouring sand, we will be planting a tree together during our ceremony.

This was once a dark shade of ugly green, but  Josh painted it this pretty silver color that matches our wedding much better.

These silver buckets will hold dirt from our families' homes to symbolize our roots (no pun intended) and former lives individually. Then we'll pour it into the bigger bucket over top of the tree to show our former lives coming together to cultivate something new (the marriage/tree) :)

Josh with his mom and dad working to transplant our tree from the yucky plastic tub it was planted in into our pretty silver spray-painted bucket.

It was a tight fit
 Since this isn't a widely practiced tradition, we decided we should include an explanation of the Unity Tree in our programs so everyone understood its significance. This is the wording I came up with:

As a way to commemorate their union, Ashley and Josh have chosen to plant a tree. Both Ashley and Josh have collected soil from places that hold meaning to them, and will use that soil to plant a Celebration Maple. The tree will be permanently planted at their home as a symbol of their marriage, reminding them that both the sun and rain God provides in their lives are needed to make their marriage grow stronger.

 I think it sums everything up in a cute, corny way. After all, if you can't get a little corny at your own wedding, when can you??

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fiesta! Forever!

One of the things Josh and I talked about while preparing to register was our lack of need for "fancy china." Neither one of us saw a practical use for it, and we didn't feel comfortable adding 12 $100+ place settings to our registry (nothing against people who have fancier china - it's just not our thing). We wanted something fun, useful, and bold - so Fiestaware was our answer!

We both loved the colors, and the price was much more affordable. If something breaks, we won't have to put a mortgage on our house to replace it! I had visions of mixing and matching our place settings, and I knew we couldn't pick just one of the many colors. In the end, we registered for twelve place settings: 4 of each of these fabulous colors!

Peacock - fitting, right?
Pictures courtesy of

I'm happy to report that we've received ALL of our place settings of Fiestaware, plus EVERYTHING else we registered for! Platters, baking dishes, even the adorably shaped pitcher were gifted to us. We have the best family and friends :)

My first piece of Fiestaware - a platter in Peacock sent all the way from my friend Amanda in Minnesota!
I love that we have a brand of dishes that are considered classic, even if the colors turn out to be dated in twenty years. I'm always on the hunt for Fiesta in antique stores, and maybe I can one day pass along my 'vintage' pieces to my kids!

Do you have any Fiesta pieces? What are your must have colors?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Do you Heartsy?

By now, it seems like everyone has heard of and fallen in love with Etsy. If you haven't, go to that link and prepare to be amazed and watch your time dwindle away as you scour the site for every little piece of adorableness imaginable. (The jist of Etsy: people make handmade things and sell them here. It's like a giant virtual craft show full of anything and everything.)

Now, I may have been living under a rock, but the last few months I've fallen in love with Heartsy. It's basically Groupon/Living Social for Etsy, where they focus on 5-6 shops and offer at least 50% off their goods. And, if you're a VIP, you get sneak peeks and even more money off! It's fabulous! I'm not sure how I found it, but I have found SO MANY deals it's unbelievable. Seriously. I've purchased two sets of necklaces and earrings for the wedding - pictures to come - along with photography and bath and body products.

One of today's deals is $28 for $65 worth of merchandise at zhuzhudesign. Look what that could get you:
Add caption
Add caption

Sparkly Ametrine six petal flower necklace 14K gold  $62

Gold plated swirls with mystic quartz drop in pink 14K gold $36

This might be my favorite: Micro faceted chalcedony flower necklace, $58

So, if you're an Etsy lover like me, go score yourself some deals! You can use my link (I get a credit if you sign up and make a purchase) or go on over on your own - just do it now!

If you already use Heartsy, what's your favorite purchase so far? Or, if you're new to Etsy, what do you see that you love?

A Monday-ish Tuesday

Was yesterday Tuesday? Because it sure felt like a Monday to me.

I woke up with flaming red, irritated eyes. Pink Eye: 2 (this month), Ashley: 0. Not a happy girl.
Josh woke up to a very lop-sided truck. Flat Tire: 1, Josh: 0. Not a happy guy.

So, in between loads of laundry and scrubbing every surface area I touched in the last 48 hours, I sat down to relax with a new book: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. This is set 10 years after the last Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book, so the girls are in their late twenties.

(Confession: I have only read the first Sisterhood book... but I've seen the movies and I didn't feel lost when I picked up this book. I knew  the back stories well enough, although the movies take some liberties, so it was like settling in with a reunion of cheesy as that sounds).

You Guys. YOU GUYS. Go get this book ASAP. Seriously. I'm not even 100 pages in, and I already had a completely unexpected emotional response to this book. It's great so far. Honestly, I thought the first 30 pages were a bit slow, but I stuck with it. I'm SO glad I did.

Another book I'm kind of loving right now is a young adult book. I try to read a lot of young adult fiction so I can stay current with what's new in that genre and make recommendations to my students. I found this book on one of my favorite YA blogs, Cynsations.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
If you like dystopian literature, you better scoop this one up. I'm a big fan. It's not depressing like 1984 or Brave New World, but it's just as disturbing. A virus has wiped out the reproductive capabilities of anyone over the age of 18, so people pay teenagers to have babies for them. It's turned into quite the career for some of the genetically gifted, who sign contracts and hunt down the perfect specimen to "bump" with. Some are pro-bump, others are against it. The novel centers around twin girls, separated at birth. One has an impressive contract for when she gives birth, the other has been raised in an almost Amish-like "Goodside." I don't want to give too much away, but just know that it's a page turner more for the oddness of the parallel universe created by McCafferty than the investment in the characters' lives.

What have you been reading lately?