Inspired By: Weddings

Summer is the season of weddings and I thought it would be fun to share some of my picks inspired by this theme. Our team members are so talented and there was plenty of wedding inspiration to be found in their shops!

Tell me: Who's attending a wedding this summer? Anyone getting married? :)

By Nnenna of star-crossed smile

Romantic Wedding Favors

Seventeen years ago my husband and I had, apart from the keg of beer and some catered Chinese food, a completely Handmade Wedding. We had very little money but plenty of friends and relatives ready to help us out, and since I lived at the General Theological Seminary in Chelsea, a completely gorgeous spot to get married in. So I gave myself a year to complete all the tasks, which included designing and sewing the dresses for myself and the bridesmaids, making the cake, the flowers, the invites, the decorations and of course, the wedding favors.

I first looked for a nearby ceramics studio, and inquired to see if they would fire a box load of flat hearts for me and what sort of clay I needed to order. I am not in the ceramic arts, apart from taking a few high school classes, but I know that different studios use different kinds of clay and fire them at different temperatures. You don't want to get porcelain clay if the people with the kiln never fire anything that high.

I then ordered a 50lb. bag of white clay and proceeded to roll out the clay just like you would for cookies, only I had two wooden strips about 3/8" high on either side of the clay so the rolling pin would rest on them and all the hearts would be the same thickness. I then used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the hearts. I poked out a hole from front to back with a pencil, and used a small damp sponge to clean up the edges on the back, and any imperfections left by my fingernails. Clay shrinks in the drying and firing so take that into account. I let them dry on newspaper for a few days, and then took them to the ceramics studio to be fired.

When I got them back I had no intention of dealing with glazes and a second firing, for as I said before, I had more time than money. Instead I dipped them in a very, very watery acrylic bath. I mixed up three colors with my acrylic paints: white, magenta, and a little red for the warm pink, phthalocyanine blue and white for the sky blue, and ultramarine blue, magenta, and white for the lavender. I then slowly mixed in more and more water so that each was more like colored water than paint. Using my fingers, I dipped each heart in one of the colored waters and then put it on wax paper to dry, though I think I would use tweezers or tongs to do it today. It makes for a very pleasant soft watercolor effect and the 300 hearts were done in no time.

I painted the flowers on the hearts in relatively simple shapes, using just these two kinds of brushes, a synthetic #1 round and a #8 or #10 round. The flowers and color scheme matched the wedding party and the flowers I had painted on the bridesmaid dresses. It is important, when using acrylics in this manner, not to use the colors straight out of the tubes or too thickly. My paint is always in a consistency somewhere between olive oil and water. If you are not handy with brushes, practice on paper first, and work with the pointy end of the bristle to make sharp points to the leaves or petals. The leaves may look like one brush stroke, but in fact require two to three strokes to make those shapes.

One friend painstakingly wrote our names and the date of our wedding on the back while another tied on the ribbons, and our nieces handed out the favors to our guests. Many of my friends and relatives still have them!

I think today there are many different air-drying clays you could use instead of actual pottery clay. They are available at art stores and online suppliers and would require a little research. There is certainly a greater variety of cookie cutters! You are sure to find a shape with special meaning for the special couple. For an experienced crafter this is a fun way to handmake a wedding favor that your friends will keep and remember.

Price Conscious Wedding Party Presents

Weddings budgets are inevitably stretched as everything little thing (items you never thought you could spend hours/days obsessing over) adds up. To thank those special people in your bridal party who were by your side helping further your perfect day, here’s a list of some budget conscious yet unique items to stock up on. Best of all, the selection below, are gender neutral.

For $15 and under, you could purchase a bag of yummy chocolate candy from Craquerockshop, or another indulgent option would be a room diffuser such as the Ocean Mist Reed Diffuser by DewOnAPetalHome. If you want to present something more permanent, consider a stoneware plate such as the Bike Your Heart Out piece by MayLuk. A nickel-plated seahorse keychain from CoquiAinjelfire also bears an inspirational and magical sentiment.If you have a little more to spend, consider functional yet decorative favors such as a gently aromatic Vintage Tea Cup Candle ($22) by LuCrafts
or these delightful Silhouetted Wood Coasters ($25) by Peppersprouts.
The {NewNew} on Etsy is full of more original items with which you may shower tokens of appreciation to your special people, without ever breaking the bank.


How To: Crafty Wedding Favor Bags Filled with Sweets

So you want to have a crafty wedding? Taking on the entire task of making and planning everything yourself can often be too much to bear. Instead, why not pick just a few things to make for your special day? Favors are a great place to start: they're simple and can be adapted to suit your tastes and colors.

These sewn favor bags are perfect for filling with any kind of candy or sweet you desire. I filled mine with my favorite handmade candies from Papa Bubble. Aren't those little hearts just adorable? If you are making cookies or little cakes simply make the bag a bit bigger.

What you need:
(these instructions are for making one bag, so multiply it for the amount of guests you have)

4" x 12" piece of wax paper
Paper and scallop edge scissors
Sewing machine and thread
Hole punch
Scrap of wallpaper or wrapping paper
Scrap of colored cardstock
5" string or thread
One shank button

1. Fold your piece of wax paper in half to make a 4" x 6" rectangle. Fold the top down 1 1/2".

2. Sew down both long sides of the folded wax paper, backstitching at the beginning and end. Trim the threads. Tip: Use a leather sewing needle to sew through paper and make sure to change the needle before you go back to sewing fabric.

3. Use the scalloped edge scissors to trim the top part of the wax paper bag.

4. Cut a simple flower shape out of the decorative paper and punch a hole in the center. Type, write or print out your message on cardstock, punch a hole in one end and trim with scalloped edge scissors. Also, gather your button and string.

5. With the top of the bag folded over, punch a hole through the top of the bag in the center. Fill the bag with candy or other sweets.

6. Insert one end of the string through the hole from the back of the bag. String the written tag on first, then the flower and finally the button. Bring the other end of the string over the top of the bag, wrap around the back of the button and tie in a knot behind the button to hide it. Trim the string.
And there you have it! Simple and sweet favor bags for your special day!


DIY Centerpieces

Weddings are expensive, which is all the more reason to do as much as you can on your own. My sister is getting married in May, and even though she lives in Florida, the land of flowers, her centerpieces are going to cost about $400. I can't imagine spending that much on cut flowers that will end up dead and unappreciated, so I wanted to share an alternative for those looking for "greener" (and cheaper) options.

Last summer, my friends Coleen and Beth had a commitment ceremony at the lovely Full Moon resort in the Catskills. Though most of the details were taken care of by the planners at the resort, the ladies came up with some great, living centerpieces on their own.

First, they found small metal containers at Ikea, and baby palms at Lowe's.

Because they chose very small plants and containers, the centerpieces were able to do double duty as take-home favors for the guests.

The addition of some inexpensive vases filled with river rocks and candles (all from Ikea) emphasized the peaceful, natural atmosphere of the resort.

If you want to be both greener (ecologically-speaking) and more colorful, consider using plants from your local NYC Greenmarket.

All in all, Beth tells me they spent about $120 on centerpieces/favors for fifty guests, which is reason enough to skip the flowers (no offense to my sister, whom I love and adore).


How-to: DIY Wedding Favors

When my mother remarried nearly 10 years ago, her wedding was all about DIY from her dress to the wedding favors. That's where the inspiration for this blog comes from too! It's a fairly simple, yet sweet keepsake for your guests to remember your union. To honor her 10 years with her husband, Frank, I bring you:

Wooden Heart Magnet in an Organza pouch

Wooden heart cutouts (available at most craft shops)Magnetic self adhesive tape (ditto)Paints/paintbrush and/or metallic paint pens.Other embellishing paraphernalia (trimming, glitter, sequins... you get it)Small organza bags

1. Lay the wooden heart on a flat, protected surface.

2. Put a piece of magnetic tape on the back, but not too much that it extends beyond the surface of the heart.

3. Draw, paint or otherwise embellish the heart (this one was sort of 'tie-dyed' and used silver metallic paint pens) and Voila! You have a sweet little memento for your guests to recall your special day, and it hold coupons, to do lists or childrens' art on their fridge!

-Lorina Ladrillono of The Original Beadscarf

A DIY Wedding Story

Finding the perfect spot to be married is no easy task. My husband and I were lucky enough to be invited to host our wedding at a beautiful old summer house in Maine, where my husband had spent his childhood summers. Who could pass up this house, with a breathtaking view over the Atlantic?

With a limited budget, lots of energy and no wedding planners on this tiny island, DIY was the only way to go. The end result was a fabulous, fairy tale weekend that is still talked about amongst family, friends, and locals from the island.
Here's a few ideas that we learned from experience:

1. Get help! Don't be afraid to ask family and friends to help. Don't try to do it all yourself!

2. Seek out good people to do the things you can't. If you don't know the first thing about paper, find a creative paper person and trust them with the whole thing from save-the-date cards to thank you's.

3. Handmade gives you exactly what YOU want. There are amazingly creative talents out there. Seek them out! For example, talk to a dressmaker. You can get the exact dress you want, with the perfect fit, and usually at a much more reasonable price than rack and designer dresses.

4. Think outside the box. For example, we hired a professional photographer, not a wedding photographer. He was an amazing artist with the most incredible eye. We received the film (pre-digital days) which we had to develop but we have THE most amazing photos.

5. Use local talent. We hired a local gardening guru (not a florist) for the flowers. She cut all of our flowers locally the morning of the wedding, both from fields and cutting gardens. They were magnificent - and fresh!

6. Look at what you already have that you can use. I carried an antique fan from my grandmother in lieu of flowers. Also, our tables were decorated with items from our home. We added some candles and flowers to make it cohesive. The tables were beautiful and much more interesting.

7. Consider a weekend wedding. I mean the whole weekend. For our wedding, people came up early, helped put up tents, decorated tables, ran errands and generally helped out. Each evening, when the work was done, everyone gathered on the deck for wine, ocean views, and conversations. My husband and I received loads of help and everyone has four days of incredible memories!

Some {NewNew} shops to help with your wedding:
Both Waisze (top) and Fubabee (bottom) have beautiful designs for all your wedding stationary needs.
DewonaPetalHome carries fabulous candles that burn for hours of dancing and general wedding fun!
Winsomehollow has fabulous creations for centerpieces.
Both Wishbyfelicity (top) and NatureManipulated (bottom) have gorgeous handmade jewelry for your wedding day.

Search on newnewteam for more handmade goodies for your DIY wedding day!


How-To: Swarovski Crystal Cuff Bracelet

Hello everyone and welcome to my first public blog post EVER!
Today I will attempt to show you how to make a five-stranded beaded cuff bracelet. This is great for bride's jewelry or for the wedding party. I made them for my mom and maid of honor (sister) and it was a big hit. I matched it to their dresses and the wedding colors.

Time: About 40 minutes, longer if it is your first time attempting this kind of craft.
Materials: see below
Skill level: Intermediate
Skills involved: crimping, stringing, jump rings

**For teaching purposes I will be using bright colors in order to better illustrate the design. You do not need to go this bold in your piece. It looks very sleek and simple with only one color. Once you have mastered the construction you can also play with patterns. Have fun! It's your wedding!

For the bride, this would work beautifully with either Swarovski crystal style ab2x or their white alabaster ab or ab2x colors. You can also subtly incorporate the wedding colors, or slip in some azure beads to check "something blue," off your list. Whichever you choose, it will help you personalize your wedding and save you a lot of money by doing it yourself.

All the materials you need are featured below:

-Beading wire (.12mm)- 5 strands of about 6" each
-10 silver crimp beads
-2 silver/silver-plated jump rings
-1 large silver/plated lobster claw clasp
-1-3 inches of a larger silver/plated chain, for extension
-2 of the 5-hole silver/plated spacer bars
-2, 5-looped silver/plated link of your choice

-150 swarovski crystal 4mm bicone beads
You will also need these tools:
Jewelry Pliers
Jewelry Wire cutters

Ok here we go!

Step 1:
a) Take one of the 6 inch wire strings, string a crimp bead on it, and put it through the first loop on the 5-hole link. Then put the other end of the string back through the bead so it looks like this:
b)This is the tough-ish part: The crimping tool has two "crimps" to choose from. Begin by using the second crimp in to crimp the bead, then follow up by crimping the bead with the first crimp on the tool.

I suggest practicing the crimping before you start this. Test to see that the crimp is working and will hold the wire in place. Make sure to leave a little slack and don't crimp too close to the loop. This way your bracelet will be flexible and move with your wrist. The finished crimp should look like this:
Step 2
String one or two clear crystal beads, just to add some length. Then string nine beads of your chosen color. Once you have nine colored beads, string the wire through the first hole on your first 5-hole spacer bar. Add nine more colored beads and then string the wire through the first hole on your second spacer bar. Follow up with one or two more clear beads. The strand should look like this:Step 3:Repeat step 1a) to finish the strand. Make sure that your 5-hole links are both facing the same direction. This crimp will be harder. You may want to leave just a bit more slack. Here is the finished strand:
Step 4:
Repeat steps 1-3 (brian mcknight lyrics, anybody? never mind.) and build each strand. Be careful to leave the same amount of slack with your crimps so the strands are exactly the same length. If they aren't, don't worry about it. It all evens out when it is curved around your wrist.

Here is strand 2:Here it is with all of the strands:
You can use your imagination to envision it with all one color, but I wanted to make sure I was very clear. Don't be discouraged if you need to redo a strand or two. If you notice, I redid the green strand and put it on the end because I liked it better that way. Remember, relax and have fun!

Step 5 (almost done!)
Take your pliers and use them to pick up a jump ring. They say you should do this with 2 sets of pliers but I am cheap and just use my fingers. Gently open the jump ring by pushing to one side, NOT by pulling it apart. Observe below:
Once your jump ring is open attach the back side of the 5-loop link and the lobster claw clasp. Then close the jump ring. It should look like this:

Step 6:On the other side, attach a jump ring and the extender chain to the other 5-loop link so it looks like this:

Guess what? You are DONE! The finished product should look like this:
Now imagine it in white sparkly crystals coming down an aisle. Beautiful!
Here is my sister wearing hers. I used a square pattern here:
Please feel free to visit me on Etsy to ask questions about this post or to order a custom version of this bracelet.

Thanks for following along with me today. May your wedding be as amazing as was mine!