Frugal & Fanciful: A Tip for Engagement Parties and Bridal Showers

When it comes to bridal showers and engagement parties, frugal and fanciful can go hand in hand. All it takes is a little bit paper and some DIY spirit! Here are some great ideas that anyone can tackle:

Candy stations provide a pretty backdrop to your event. It also creates a fun gathering place for all the sweet-toothed guests. Wrap your favorite candy in colorful tissue and twist the ends together. Add a sticker to personalize.

Not only do favors make great decor, it is versatile enough to accommodate any style and budget. Use origami paper squares and double-sided tape to create a pouch. Fill with sweets, tie with ribbon and add a mini tag, and voila! Fun and festive treats for all.

Your gift as a centerpiece? You bet! Cut out heavy corrugated paper to form "cake layers" to wrap your gift. Tape ribbon around the edges to cover the seams. Create flowers by using tissue paper and cleaning pipes.

Your bride-to-be will get a kick out of it!


Gifts for your Bridesmaids

There were many things that I loved to do for my wedding and one of them was picking out the perfect gifts for my bridesmaids. I'm sure many of you feel the same way so I am here to help you with my guide for picking out the perfect additions for your Bridesmaid from the {NewNew} Etsy Street Team. I love receiving a basket or bag of goodies (above photo are the bags I made for my wedding party) so I present you a few of my favorites.

Dewonapetalhome's travel tin candles are always good to have on hand and smells great.

I love handmade soap and it just adds an extra touch of elegance to any bathroom. Nordeasoaperie's lavender soap would make a lovely addition.
Monogram is still in & so is the desire for handwritten notes. Fubabee's personalized note cards is the perfect item to have so that you and your bridesmaids will always be in touch.

Monogram this, monogram that. How about these lovely embroidered napkins from cakehouse? Love them!

I don't know about you, but now that I have my own place, I'm all about decorating, and littletilegnome's coasters will certainly jazz up any coffee table or counter.

Let's not forget the jewelry. It may not be original, but offer your bridesmaids a handmade & unique piece such as Joannetracydesigns and I'm sure they'll be blown away and treasure it forever.
Still need more ideas? Give them something sentimental with my very own personalized scrapbooks.

There are so many fabulous gifts to give. I could go on and on. I hope this guide helps you out a bit. Oh, and if you happy to make an extra gift basket by accident, feel feel to send it my way.

Wai Sze

Custom Wedding Mirrors

The words "cool" and "wedding gift" are rarely used together, but when it comes to Joan Huggard, they are. My husband and I married in Vegas, and Joan's gift to us - a stained glass mirror surrounded by pictures from the occasion - was by far one of our favorites, certainly the most unique and, of course, cool. Whether they're for yourself or someone else, I highly recommend Joan's products to anyone who is looking for that inimitable and one-of-a-kind creation.
Consider yourself a creative person and don't want to order from a bridal registry...Want to give something completely unique this time around...
What does one generally do with their wedding photos anyway? Maybe one will up in a silver frame, the rest most likely reside in an album on a shelf somewhere. Why not showcase them in a way that the couple can be constantly reminded of their "special day".

Joan Huggard of Citybitz will use your very own photographs to create a unique gift which will be cherished for years to come.

Here are a few examples:

We hang our mirror photo collage at the entrance hall of our home, where it is prominently on view. We get an array of compliments from it every time someone enters. It's an awesome conversational piece.

Joan exceptionally seems to have immersed herself in our mirror. I've known Joan as a friend for over five years. She is a distinctive and charismatic person, and I vow that she puts an extension of herself in her work. This is evident in the way Joan intuitively selects the photographs based on people, places and moments, in order to capture the very essence of our mirror's collage theme.

Joan has a rare gift for combining the personalities, emotions, and underlying feelings of an event. The picture of our first kiss as the official married us, placed perfectly behind the snap shots of a rustic Mexican valley, is a classic that my husband and I will treasure forever. Our family was so impressed with the mirror photo collage, that we commissioned her for another for our in-law's anniversary.

For information regarding sizes and pricing email

Wedding memory quilts

There is something timeless and sentimental about a quilt, and quilts can be a great way to capture memories from a wedding. I've made two wedding quilts. A bit of how-to:

Bridal Shower Quilt:
--The bride decided on her favorite quilt colors. I selected light-colored fabrics in a variety of solid and subtle cotton prints and used a rotary cutter and cutting mat to trim the fabrics into large squares.
--At the bridal shower, each guest was given a fabric square and a selection of permanent fabric markers. Participants were asked to write a message to the couple on the squares-- well wishes, words of wisdom, etc... Guests were asked to leave a one-inch blank border around the edge of the fabric square for a seam allowance.
--After the shower, I sewed the squares into a simple patchwork quilt. To add graphic interest I also included a few appliqued quilt squares.
--The end result was great. The couple married in 2002 and still have the quilt, which includes messages from their closest relatives and friends.

Wedding Chuppah:
--After hearing about the bridal shower quilt that I'd made, I was asked to make a chuppah for a friend's wedding. A chuppah is a canopy under which a Jewish wedding takes place. The photo on the right is an example of one used at an outdoor wedding (from 'paperandthreads').
--Large cream-colored cotton quilt squares (cut to 10x10 inches) were mailed out to 30 of the couple's close friends and family. Each person was asked to decorate a quilt square with some kind of memory for the couple, and then mail them back. Participants were asked to leave a blank one-inch border around the square for a seam allowance, so I didn't sew into their designs.
--The completed quilt squares were beautiful! Each one was an individual work of art, some serious, some silly. The squares included handwritten messages, iron-on photos, embroidery, etc....
--I sewed the squares into a patchwork quilt and added a border around the outside edge of the quilt. At each corner of the quilt I added a buttonhole.
--To make the quilt into a chuppah, I purchased thick wooden dowels (approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter) and cut them to an appropriate height. At the top of each dowel I screwed in large metal rings. The chuppah was attached to the wooden poles with ribbons that tied through the button holes and the metal rings. The poles were decorated with flowers and vines for the ceremony.
--At the wedding ceremony, the couple married under this special chuppah, filled with well-wishes from many of their wedding guests. The chuppah is in their wedding photos and is a lasting memory of their wedding and the good wishes people had for them as they embarked on their marriage.
knitted bridal accessories and old world wedding traditions

Some traces of the old traditional weddings are still remaining today and are reflected in the wedding tradition itself, the symbols of unity happiness and prosperity; messages that stand the test of time.

One of the most popular and practiced today is the custom for brides to wear “something old, new, borrowed

and blue”. The "something old" represents the bond to the bride's family and her old life; "something new"

represents the couple's new life together and their future hope for happiness, prosperity and success; "something borrowed" from a happily married woman is meant to impart similar happiness to the bride; and "something blue" represents fidelity and constancy.

Wearing white also dates back to Victorian times when Queen Victoria abandoned the usual royal tradition of wearing a silver gown, instead choosing to wear white.

The wedding tradition of the groom wearing a boutonniere originates in medieval times when a knight wore his lady's colors (through flowers) as a statement of his love.

Flowers and bouquets have long been used in weddings.

In addition to adorning the bride with flowers to promote good luck and good health flower meanings allow the bride to express her feelings for the groom. Orange blossoms signify purity, daisies loyalty, violets modesty and red roses signify true love.
The traditional folk costumes embrace traits of the various cultures representing the old traditions beliefs and customs passed on from one generation to another. They convey the skill and inventiveness of native designers – mostly women, who manufactured themselves their outfits of homespun thread (usually wool, linen, cotton, hemp, silk), using traditional tools.

Soy Candles: Natural Choice for a Wedding

The growing trend for brides of today is toward handmade and recycled elements to creatively reduce waste of precious resources. We’ve seen innovative ways to recycle vintage wedding gowns, how to make handmade flowers and containers, creative ideas for wedding and shower favors, and host of eco-friendly ideas to consider for your wedding, shower and reception.

One oft-neglected element is candles. Who doesn’t love them, especially at a wedding? They have deep spiritual symbolism as the guiding light for two people beginning a new life together. They testify to the solemn vows spoken during the ceremony and bring ambiance to the celebration. We feel their presence from the subtle glow that gives the room a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Brides love candles and lots of them. But have you considered the amount of waste in the many candles on your table? What about the smoke and irritants they emit into the air? Did you know that paraffin is classified as a chemical preservative? In addition, paraffin wax is a petroleum by-product, so the candles often emit smoke into the air. Who likes that?

A new up and coming technology is using soybeans as a wax base. It is an exceptional alternative to paraffin. Soy wax is completely vegan and renewable, the candles are long-lasting and clean-burning and also supports the local farming industry The wax has a beautiful creamy texture and also exceptional scent throw, both lit and unlit. An added bonus is the ability to clean the used container with hot soapy water – no scraping and scrubbing!

Marty Vanslette, owner of provides beautiful handmade soy candles for weddings, showers and parties. After working with paraffin wax for many years, she moved to NYC and left her supplies in storage. When she began reading about soy wax, she took her molds and supplies out of storage and decided to give soy wax a try. She was totally amazed with the creamy texture and superior properties of the soy wax so she began making a variety of candles as gifts before setting up shop on the internet. Unscented pillars, votives and tea lights are her best seller for large gatherings. She also assembles shower and party favors with an assortment of soy candles attractively wrapped. She exclusively uses EcoSoya wax which is guaranteed 100% soybean and carefully selected botanical oils. From their website: “Every ingredient has met with the approval of the United States Food and Drug Administration and Kosher Certification criteria. EcoSoya™ soy waxes are FREE from pesticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Material”.

Marty hand-pours each candle and tests each candle type to ensure they burn property. In addition, she has a unique buy-back program and will repurchase unused wax to recycle into new candles. What better way to make your wedding even more eco-friendly and guilt-free?

-Marty, DewOnAPetal
Dew On A Petal
Dew On A Petal Home
Dew On A Petal Too

Trend: Trash the Dress

What is more iconic of a wedding other than a wedding dress? Brides are finding more ways to preserve the memories by "trashing their dress." What does it mean, you ask? It can be as subtle as dipping your dress in the water for beautiful beach photos like I did or as extreme as submerging yourself in a pool of water. Take a look at Michelle Megna's Daily News article on my Trash the Dress session and decide for yourself if it's a yay or nay?

Wai Sze

Wedding DIY: Ribbon Flower How-To

I love the look and ease of making homemade ribbon flowers, but seldom have the occasion. So when wedding season rolled around here at the NewNew, I was happy to have an excuse to share a couple with you.

The only supplies and skills that you need are ribbon (I prefer it with wires removed if it is floral wire, but that is to taste), needle, thread, beads and the ability to sew a running stitch.

Primrose (4-petal flower)

Start with 4 pieces of ribbon cut to 3.5" lengths. The dotted line indicates the stitching path you will take. You don't really need to mark it, I just keep it approximately 1/8" from the finished edge and 1/4 from the raw edge.

Start with the first petal and do a running stitch around the 3 edges. Pull thread tightly when you reach the end.

Sew one loop through the gathered ribbon to keep the petal together tightly. Without cutting thread, repeat on the next piece of ribbon, pulling it next to your first one. Remember to sew the loop between petals and repeat for petals #3 and #4.

Sew #4 to your first petal in a ring. Add a few additional stitches to keep the center together adding beads to some of the stitches. Tie off your thread at the back with a knot and admire your handiwork!

Daffodil or Fuchsia (5-petal with trumpet center)

Cut one 10" length of ribbon, marking lightly in pencil every 2" of your outer edge of the finished flower. The dotted line across the top is the stitch line for the trumpet, which you can mark if you need a guide (I like to freehand it).

Sew your ribbon into a ring with a running stitch and pull thread tight. Follow along your trumpet stitch line all the way around the ring.

Before you pull the thread tight, flip your trumpet edge through the center so the raw edges are on the under side of your flower. Pull the thread tight and it should look like the picture on the right.

Sew out to one of your marks from the center of the to the edge and pull tight. Like in the primrose, sew a loop to secure. Repeat at all 4 remaining marks (the 4th is your stitch that made the ribbon into a ring). Then add beads to the center to style your flower.

I glued together a few of these flowers along with a ribbon to make a simple bridal hair clip. The addition of the blue ribbon is so it can qualify as the traditional "something blue." Ribbon flowers would also make a fabulous veil base, boutonniere, mother-of-the-bride corsage, wedding favor, etc.

Why not dress up your creations with some beads from the {NewNew} team?

SweetSwoozie for crystal or GlassHouseSupplies for something more colorful.


A Proposal Story in Paris

A brief background: My husband Mike & I are college sweethearts. We met through one of my best friends, whom at the time was trying to find me a boyfriend. She didn't however, push Mike towards me because he didn't seem to be my type. I think she was right, he wasn't my type, but lo and behold, he was the One I was going to marry 9 years later.

The proposal happened in the beautiful city of Paris on May 13th. It was right after a horrible dinner at a tourist oriented French bistro. Mike suggested we take a stroll to Notre Dame. We spent some time inside and then Mike lured me towards the garden. Sadly for him, the "gated" garden was closed for the evening! He seemed very disappointed and at the time I didn't understand why.(We came here on the first day of arrival.) We proceeded to loiter in front of the Notre Dame for a good 15 minutes. At this time, I started to wonder if something fishy was going on.

After 7.5 years of being with him, I knew this day would come, but I really didn't expect it to happen in Paris (then again, why not Paris?) so I was a bit delusional trying to figure out if he really was planning on proposing or was I really just imagining things. It took Mike another 15 minutes to finally find a spot on a bridge behind the Notre Dame. Unfortunately, by the time he actually proposed, I was in a bit of a daze. (The dude made me wait ½ an hour!) He did go down on one knee, but I made him get up right away (I get embarrassed easily.) The last thing I saw was my rock, I eventually said "yes" and that was that. It was truly perfect.

In retrospect, he almost had to propose at the Eurostar rail station 2 days prior(en route from London to Paris) because he hid my ring in his back pack. The security guard thoroughly searched his bags and almost pulled out the ring (stored in a PSP plastic holder) while I was there standing next to him. So.. although I had to wait ½ hour, I'm glad it didn't happen at a rail station!

What was your proposal like? For those not yet married, how do you imagine it would be?

Oh how I wish I could be in Paris right now.

Wai Sze

Dual Purpose: Flower Containers

As with any traditional wedding, I wanted flowers at my reception. I looked high and low for the perfect vase that was both affordable and would fit my garden theme. I found nothing. Then I had an epiphany: I didn't need to limit myself to actual vases. Lots of different containers work for flowers, so why not cups?

I'm a huge fan of Japanese stoneware so I knew I was on to something. The latte brown cups are very earthy looking and not perfectly round, which made them the perfect containers for my garden flowers.

As seen at my reception:

At home:

These "vases" have become my everyday cups. I use them for dinner parties and to drink the recommended 6-8 cups of water every day.

None of my wedding guests knew that these were cups, which makes for an amusing scene when they're at my house and I start drinking out of what they assumed was a vase!

I hope this inspires you to look around your house or places you normally wouldn't think of for your wedding. Not only do you end up saving money, but you'll be helping Mother Earth too.

- wai sze, waisze designs

Gifts for the Groomsmen

As much of an honor as it is to be asked to be a member of a wedding party, it can also involve a good deal of work and financial outlay on the part of those who agree to be groomsmen, especially the best man. While it's easy to lose sight of in the midst of wedding planning chaos, it's important to find a token of your appreciation for the friends and family members who help to make your wedding day special.

Here are a few finds from among the Etsy shops of The {New New} team. Any one of these is a thoughtful way to let your groomsmen know you are thankful for all their help.

Evaporation Tie from ikyoto.

Money clip from citybitz.

Fused glass cuff links from glass house jewelry.

Graffiti swirl t-shirt from KimmChi.

Business Card Holder from citybitz.

Space Invaders Notebook from Air Raid Design.


WEDDINGS: Something Blue

Well, the old saying goes "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something BLUE" will bring brides good luck on their wedding day. I'm not sure how many brides still practice this tradition, but it is a great way to add a dash of color to your wedding day. Here is some locally made jewelry for brides-to-be and the groom.

Earrings by [from left] crystal by Honorata, amazonite by JoanneTracyDesigns and crystals and moonstones by Kimmchi

Necklaces [from left] shell bead necklace by DewOnAPetal, MTLopez9
Cufflinks by WabisabiBrooklyn, cameo ring by PulpSushi.

So keep that superstition alive and well with some creative and funky choices to enliven your wedding attire.


alternative gift registries

i figured that registering for my wedding would be a blast. we would get to pick out things that we loved, and people would buy them for us! what could be bad about that?

then i found myself standing in the middle of bloomingdales, registry pricing gun in hand, at a total loss. i had already breezed through the kitchen section, zapping mixers and saute pans and knives with abandon. and now there didn't seem to be one other thing in the store that i would actually want in my home.

what i wanted was vintage things! handmade things! things with personality! things, in short, that would never find their way into bloomingdales. and there was no way to register for those things.

but now, there is a way. a whole bunch of ways, in fact.

alternaive gift registry networks are now all over the web. they allow you to register for virtually any item sold on line. so now you're not limited to big department stores or housewares shops that have their own registries. you can register just as easily on sites that sell more unique, handcrafted goods—like etsy!

below is a list of some of these registry networks. the features vary, as do the philosophies behind them—some are from a more eco-conscious, anti-corporate stance, some just want people to be able to get presents that they actually want. :) some function more as wishlists (like the popular amazon function), and some function more like traditional registries, so keep that in mind if you think some of your guests might be less than computer savvy. i've put an * next to those that are more like wishlists than traditional registries.

the alternative gift registry

- cakehouse

Wai Sze Designs

Hi! My name is Wai Sze and I'm a new member to the group. I'm so excited to be here! Growing up, I've always been into crafts - be it knitting, cross-stitch, paper, polymer clay and even jewelry. At the current stage of my life, I can say that I'm finally focused and right now I'm all about scrapbook paper and everything I can do with it! I make greeting cards, altered tin favors, scrapbooks & gift tags! My etsy shop has given me a renewed sense of how great life can be once you've realized what your passion is. To all those that have been struggling to do something, either big or small, find your passion and focus on what makes you happy. That's really all that matters!

Here's a few of my recent work that I am very proud of.

A wedding scrapbook done for a client as a gift. The theme: pink and each page included the pre-planning and stages of the brides wedding.

I dated my boyfriend for 8+years and finally got married last September. These wedding favors epitomized all the DIY work I did for our big day. Now I offer these to other brides for their weddings.

Gift tags are so fun and you can use it for anything. I really love how these turned out and by far one of my favorite in my collection of tags!

Hope you've learned a bit about me. Again, I'm thrilled to be a part of New New and hope to be an integral part of the team.

All the best, Wai Sze