Monday, January 24, 2011

Will You Be My Valentine?

I've already raved about this site on which the Graphics Fairy shares her amazing vintage images with us. I've wasted little time getting busy using her images in various real and test projects and ideas. I couldn't resist using this Valentine image just as it looks, for a little Valentine's Day card set. I *love* this sleek colorful, sweet image with the tiny little heart on the envelope. I wanted to spice up the background just a bit, so I gathered some little origami paper pieces I had lying around and scanned them. I chose a red pattern to use as the background to bring out the blues and reds in the picture. I love the result, don't you?:

I included black crosshairs to make cutting them easy.* They would make great postcards, or provide a nice colorful surprise to a recipient if placed in a simple homemade envelope. Use magazine pages or plain red/pink paper to make the envelopes. Check out the free download for the vintage valentine's day cards here.

Now, getting away from Valentine's Day, these would make AWESOME invitations, save-the-dates or RSVP cards. You could simply white out the "To My Valentine" line and replace it with a text box with you and your partner's name on it! I may even make a sample at some point and share it here. If you have any questions about how to insert a text box, contact me, I'd be happy to help.

* On some printers, the cards print with a white border on the outside. Just cut that white part off to make the card look symmetric in border color.

Featured on:
and here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Picture This!

Both Jake and I do photography. Some days it can become quite an obsession. I'm more of the object-urban life-journalistic inclined photographer, while Jake prefers nature and wildlife photography. So you can imagine my delight when another fellow photographer sent me this link. Thanks Andy!

This is a fresh new creative take on save-the-dates. Not only are they aesthetically wonderful, but can you imagine the joy and surprise felt by the recipient upon opening up this lovely package?

Not everyone can pull this off, but it's personal to the couple, and a true DIY endeavor. Well done!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Save the Date Download

I've gotten a lot of emails and questions about this post where I described our idea and process for our save-the-date cards. A few people asked for the format of the card--so I thought I would just offer it here as a free download. It was really simple, actually, but I know that during the wedding planning process, anything already created for you can help out. Even lining paper and margins up can turn into an unnecessary headache. I don't know how helpful this will be given that our envelope size was a bit unusual, but you can play around with the text and size as you wish. Let me know if you want any of the other templates, I'm happy to share.

This was the simple back of our wordle save-the-date card:

Download the document with google docs right here. Print on cardstock and cut along the black lines for that size envelope (ignore that little black line extension on the bottom right). More save-the-date ideas on my original post.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Feel free to ignore this tangental, ultimately insignificant rant.

I have to let it out somehow. I know it's trivial, and most of you will think I'm a little crazy.

But I hate the word "embellishment."

Actually, I only hate that word when used in the context of crafting.

For those of you who started crafting before you knew that it was called crafting; or for those of you who fell in love with crafts by picking up random materials from around your house and glueing, taping, stapling, clipping them together or by finding new uses for junk laying around your house or discarded by others--do you ever feel that sometimes "crafting" has become a bit

If you have no idea what I am talking about, you will likely only become increasingly annoyed with my post. Stop reading now.

When I was little, I used to sit around with my friends and make "art projects." That is what we used to call it in the olden days. At least that's what my peeps called our often misguided but honest attempts to create stuff.  I later learned I was a "crafter" and that all the little things I found around the house and added to my projects were called...(drumroll please)..."embellishments." Buttons, ribbons, cut outs, magazine clippings and stickers now had their own grandiose group label. No longer appreciated for the beautiful, simple, individual objects they were born to be, they now only obtained value by being added to something else to make that something else even prettier. Their only role in life now, was to embellish other creations. How's that for a slap in the face!

I think it sounds sort of snobby and dare I say slightly classist? Embellishment as I remember it used to be a word we used to describe an object that itself beautified something else of which it was not part. For example, "This Matisse painting is exactly the embellishment that I was looking to add in my living room to give it that artsy feel." Or embellishment referred to an exaggeration, usually by an author or story teller, which made the story more appealing or entertaining.

I think that the word embellishment as used to describe buttons and other scrapbooking "add-ons" is a marketing ruse to try to get you and me to pay more money for simple little items we could find for pennies at the drug store, hardware store, fabric store, or in our junk drawers. It's a way to get us to believe that these are objects we need to purchase rather than make; to buy rather than gather from our home or our friends. A fancy name for objects that, rather than be celebrated and collected for their uniqueness, now come in artificial, environmentally-damaging, perfectly plastic-wrapped containers in uniform colors, sizes or shapes, without variation. These embellishments are necessary, we are led to believe, in order to create the "perfect" card, scrapbook, gift, or craft. I, myself, have been lured into buying a box of embellishments (buttons) from a designated craft store, only to be laughed at pitifully by my mother/sister/friend upon disclosing how much I paid for said embellishments. "Those are only buttons! You paid how much for those plain little buttons?!" OK, too much. Never again.

Even those cheapo, not-as-many-as-were-advertised, smoke-smelling, discolored buttons I purchased on ebay made me feel better about my money spent than those generic, oh-so-perfect, ideas-included, rip-off buttons I bought at that chain, overpriced (unless you obsessively cut out their weekly coupon) craft store (you know who you are!). You can tell how inexplicably angry I am by my overly long sentences, can't you?

OK, so by now you either think I am nuts or you are rethinking the word embellishment, or you realized all of the above long ago. But being the solution-oriented person I am, I have investigated some possible substitutes for the word "embellishment" in the context of crafting. They are, in no particular order:

adornment - beautifier - decoration - garnish - frill - doodad - ornament - trim - enhancement - frou-frou - enrichment - add-on - supplement - addition - addendum - attachment - accessory - extra


Yes, I vote for doodad. I know I certainly would not pay $6.99 for a pack of 10 doodads. Would you?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thank You, Internet!

Sometimes I get down on technology. Like in this post. (By which I still stand!)

The whole virtual reality really gets to me. People text instead of talk, blog instead of actively create, or live vicariously through others instead of exploring the world on their own. Everywhere I go, people are connected and addicted. I've seen countless near-death accidents by people texting while crossing these New York City streets (yes, Andy, that includes you! Ok, you were talking on the phone, similar thing...), and I've been to nice restaurants where each person at the table next to me is eating their meal with his/her cell phones front and center on the dining table, next to their crystal wine glass, shining that ugly blue hue each time a new (likely meaningless) message comes through. Disgusting. I've had enough of paying for a concert, only to have my view blocked by someone holding up their iphone to best record the show for youtube. And nothing ruins a peaceful bus ride through the city than a loudmouth yapping away about the mindless details of her life to which I would rather not be privy. I try not to get too friendly with people who interrupt my conversations to constantly check their mobile devices or  tweet about their latest observations. Goodness knows I have expressed my annoyance with blogs in general and the lack of self-confidence they can instill in our decisions, and I won't take that back now.

But every once in a while, I find a resource so relevant, so wonderful, so darn useful in my life, that I put all my cynicism aside, and, if only temporarily, embrace technology for what it can offer.

Today I stumbled upon a site so lovely that it instantly instilled my confidence in you, World Wide Web. The author of the site is Karen, and the blog is The Graphics Fairy. Click and you will be transported to a land of free, beautiful, creative vintage clipart images covering almost any subject imaginable. Karen lets you use any of these images for free, she has researched the copyright on each one she finds before claiming you can use it, and even provides ideas for various projects using the images. I mean, could you ask for more?! To find such kind generosity on the internet, really warms even my cold heart.

If I had know about this site when I was planning my wedding, I would have had a field day! Think of all the fun paper crafts, or transfer images you could make with this single vintage wedding photo. And she has so much more.

Having just discovered this website, I only had a chance to use three images (old game cards) so far to make little mini cards for my sister as a gift:

I plan to make the envelopes myself using an envelope templates such as one found here.

Thank you Graphics Fairy, for instilling my faith and love once again!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter Wonderland Wedding!

I was boring and had a summer wedding.

But I really admire those of you who have chosen to have your wedding in the winter. This seemingly, has many benefits:

* If you get cold feet, you can make a bride snowwoman to take your place. Maybe no one will notice!

* You can throw snowballs at annoying guests.

* You can make your Chuppah out of snow (think: igloo).

* You don't have to worry about finding the perfect dress. Just find the perfect winter coat and call it a day!

* You can ask the waitstaff to dress up in penguin outfits to help guests get into the winter spirit.

* You wouldn't have to pay extra for refrigerator space--just tell the caterers to store the food outside.

* You can glue together icicles from outside for a stunning abstract ice sculpture.

* You can refer to your fiancee as a "stupid penguin" if he is wearing a tux and irritating you (my mean side is coming out now).

All jokes aside, I really do think a winter wedding could be even more fabulous than its summer/spring counterpart. And though I don't plan on getting divorced and remarried anytime soon, I can still have ideas, can't I?

Snowflakes. I found this tutorial for a five point snowflake from How About Orange. I made a bunch to put on my door (mainly because I needed something to replace the sagging Halloween skeleton cutout I left on there too long):

I found them a challenge at first, I admit. If you recall, I am the idea person and Jake is the one who actually tends to figure out patterns and technicalities. So he figured out that on step 8, the white part is actually what you cut out. I was having trouble because I thought that the grey lines were what needed to be snipped. Tip: in other words, the correct way to do it is to imagine the white parts as holes and the grey lines as solids, and cut accordingly (and no, I don't feel stupid just because every comment after the tutorial stated how easy and simple this was, thank you). After the folding and cutting was complete, I thought how wonderful it would be to use these snowflakes as a theme in your winter wedding.

They could be used for indicating seat assignments: 1) Assign colors to each table. 2) Cut out the number of seats per table in its assigned color. 3) Creatively write the guest's name on the back of the snowflake. You could even laminate them, punch a hole through a piece of the lamination and hang them up on a display (cork board, branches, etc) and guests could take them home and reuse them as decorations or ornaments. You could also simply lay them out on a table that has white glitter scattered on it.

You could also include these cutouts in your save-the-dates or invitations. If you really want to get crazy, you could make sure the snowflake had relatively thick "arms" and write your save the dates right on them. The snowflake is a super easy theme to accommodate, because there is so much snowflake craft paraphernalia.  You could punch snowflakes in your invites to continue the theme, use snowflake wrapping paper to accentuate the envelopes or paper you use, or use snowflake stamps to decorate your napkins, invites, save-the-dates, paper runners, etc. The best part? All this snowflake schtuff will be on sale after Christmas! Achooo! I mean, yahoo!

Snowman/woman. Take just about everything I mentioned above regarding snowflakes and plug in snowperson. There are just endless variations on this theme for a wedding. Since snowpeople are essentially a couple of white circles, making snowpeople crafts for your wedding would be a cinch. The materials would be cheap, and you could personalize them by printing a bunch of small photos of you and your honey, and cutting out your heads and pasting them onto the snowperson head. You could even print these photos on your home printer to save money.

Snow Globes. Is anyone as obsessed or mesmerized with snowglobes as me? I find the way the little glittery sparkles gently fall to the ground in some idyllic winter scene completely relaxing. Maybe your guests will be like me and be entertained all night by shaking the globes you put out as table centerpieces. Talk about cheap yet creative thrills! Even better, make them yourselves. Good ole' Martha Stewart has a tutorial right here. I have not tried it yet, but do let me know if you have and how hard/easy it was! You know what I am going to suggest for the little figurine in the center right? Yes! A mini wedding couple like the kind you see sold for cake toppers. Those can be pretty pricey, though, so I would search through craigslist or ebay for post-wedding couples looking to get rid of some of their wedding extras. Doesn't have to be a human bride and groom though! How about lego people or smurfs or snowpeople? Get creative--give your guests a good chuckle. Search through the web for similar items for sale and see if you can make them yourself, or find them in thrift stores or flea markets. The nice thing about creating these type of crafts yourself, is that they don't all have to be identical. You could use different figurines for each globe. If you don't want to make a whole bunch of these, how about putting some out as decorations on the food or guest book table?

Find this cutie here.
Pine Cones. I have already blogged about how much I love these here. Need I say more? Now, run along to collect yours!

These are just some initial thoughts but I promise to keep you posted as I think of more, or find tutorials and DIY projects across the blogosphere.

Right now let me see if Jake would be into getting remarried. In winter.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Take Me Away!

Remember those old Calgon bath commercials? Maybe you are too young. The chorus was, "Calgon! Take me away!" In the background of this series there are always screaming kids, annoying husbands or other crises. And the solution is to take a luxurious bath. OK--check it out for yourself:

Or a "newer" version:

I often get that "take me away" feeling, but not necessarily because of kids, dogs, or bosses. Sometimes I just spend too much time on my computer and wish someone would physically pull me away from my sweet Mac. Compared to most people, I probably don't spend much time on the computer at all. I don't have a data-enabled phone, rarely text, don't do facebook or online social networking, and *try* to keep email at a minimum. While I know others are more addicted, I still feel too much of my day is spent staring at a computer screen, even if that is mostly the fault of my job and hard work at said job.

We have gotten so accustomed to communicating through new technologies, we sometimes forget the risk involved. Identity theft and fraud are rampant and can totally destroy your life for a while when it happens. I was reminded of this when last week, a friend of mine got her gmail account hacked into. At first it seemed innocent: an email sent out from her account with a plea for money because she was "trapped" in London / Caribbean / Africa / Europe. But when I forwarded her the email back (rather than replied) to let her know someone had hacked her email, and received a reply (!) I knew this was more serious. Turns out someone stayed in her account for about 2 hours. During that time, they had extensive conversations with various friends and family of hers as well as acquaintances. The hacker got personal data including bank info, amazon orders, job applications, ticket purchase confirmations, etc. And this is someone who rarely even uses her email. She had to spend a week undoing the damage, changing all the bank accounts and passwords she could get her hands on. Not pleasant. We should always remember that the data we send over the internet--no matter how much we think we can outsmart others--is vulnerable.

Yes, I know this is a wedding/crafts blog. But I'm allowed to go on a tangent, especially when it is something about which I feel passionate! Technology is no exception.

And now, to the real point of my post. A wonderful new article written in the Wall Street Journal about unplugging yourself and your family. I couldn't have said it better myself. Not only the text, but the images are really super! It scares me to think about the kids presently being raised on DVD players, computers, TV and other electronic technology. How they lose out on so many tangible, concrete skills and joys, makes me sad. Instead of living, they are watching; instead of talking, they are typing. It's about so much more than social skills and personality--research has shown that these kids' brain waves and mental cognition is actually being altered, and for the worse.

Enough said. Check out the article here. And then turn off your computer and take a bath.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Save The Date, at a Vimeo Near You.

This is cool. Just when I thought I had seen all the wildly creative save-the-date ideas, I stumbled on this brilliant and adorable video as posted on Craftster:

To our closest family and friends... from Alina Adam on Vimeo.

What a great idea! It makes me think fondly of the couple and I don't even know them! Great job, Alina and Adam. Wow.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Simple, Inexpensive Guest Book

I didn't have a guest book at my wedding. I figured it was:

1) One more expense i didn't need;

2) One more object to store in my tiny apartment post-wedding; and

3) Not necessary since I gave guests an opportunity to make personal comments both on our wedding website and on the RSVP from the wedding invitations (which they did, to my delight).


I know a LOT of people who really, really really want a guest book for sentimental reasons, or in order for the guests to be able to express themselves in writing during the wedding celebration. If a guest book is what you are after (and please, give up something else you were going to buy, in exchange for this indulgence!), you might consider using Snapfish. I have always found Snapfish easy and inexpensive, and this morning I got an email about some of their new products that look really cool. Looks like you can get your custom guest book for only about $40. And this way you could choose your own photo for the cover rather than get one of those generic pictures you had nothing to do with creating.

Photo Courtesy of Snapfish website

(No, I don't work for Snapfish, nor did I get bribed to write this post. I just have used them often enough to know that you can get simple, fun, functional items from them, that won't cost you half your paycheck. I'll show you some of my snapfish creations in another post, OK?)

If you go this route, I would recommend brightening your photos a bit more than normal. I have noticed that my snapfish photos come out darker than I thought they were on my computer screen. This likely will be different depending on your computer screen, but I would be safe rather than sorry. Speaking of sorry, whenever there have been "mistakes" in my prints or I was not happy with the product, Snapfish always refunded me and gave me the chance to reprint without a fuss.

They have tons of other products that could be used for your wedding, too. You could even order one of their new stationary sets for $8 and use those simple paper sheets for the invites, save-the-dates, or RSVPs! Check it out.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My First Giveaway!

With the new year comes new endeavors. I am excited to announce that I will have my first giveaway contest coming in the next few weeks! For those of you long-time bloggers who have had many a giveaway--forgive my newbie enthusiasm, as this is a first for moi.

I hope it is not the last, but either way, I am happy to be able to provide something tangible (and free) for my readers! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a nice introduction to 2011 thus far! Things have been good around here. A long time friend visited for a laid back, relaxing and silly New Year's Eve complete with party tiaras and fancy champagne. No hangover for this busy bee! It's time to dream of new beginnings, maintain closure and fond memories for the times past, duly note regrets, and a welcome those things yet to come.  One thing is certain: life will surprise me in one way or another this year. It always does.

And now, for my 2010 in pictures.

All Rights Reserved. Photos not to be used in any way without written permission of Wedding Thrift.