Cheap 'n' Quirky Wedding

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Something Old Becomes New: The Recycled Hanky August 14, 2010

I was reading a book in which the author had an epiphany. I, in turn, had my own epiphany. Spoiler alert: I will reveal something that happens in the book Sleeping Naked Is Green, but it’s more of a great idea than a plot twist. While I’m getting warnings out of the way, here’s my full disclosure. I used to work for the publisher of the book. Now back to the fun stuff.

In Sleeping Naked Is Green, author Vanessa Farquharson tries to make one green change each day for a year. One of her changes is not to use disposable facial tissues; she switches to reusable cloth hankies instead. Needing more hankies while suffering from a cold, Farquharson takes a pair of scissors to an old set of bed sheets that were too worn for use and creates many hankies. Brilliant, no?

This is where my epiphany came about. I’d been trying to figure out what my something old would be and was having some trouble. Most brides carry some sort of hanky with them and I had the perfect set of sheets for this. My hoarding mother kept my childhood bed sheets with tiny pink and green flowers, my favorite colors when I was young. They’re nearly threadbare in the middle of the fitted sheet and the pillowcase is discolored so they haven’t been used in years. Here’s their chance to have new life! These sheets have great sentimental value since I slept on them nearly every night for my entire childhood; one’s bed is a place of comfort and security, things people look for when feeling stressed (uh, wedding planning) or overcome with emotion. Plus it’s eco-friendly! I’m recycling the material, it saves all of the packaging on buying a new hanky, and I even hand-sewed it so I didn’t use any electricity from a sewing machine. The top sheet was still the original color and was suitable for using (as the fitted sheet looked like it could rip if you breathed on it.)

My recycled bed sheet hanky.

The hems are differing widths because I used a corner piece (so I wouldn’t have to hem as much) and the side hem and bottom hem of the top sheet were different, so I tried to match those.

This project is simple: cut a square of material and hem it. I suggest folding the edges twice before hemming so that the raw edge is never exposed. You don’t necessarily have to use a sheet, you could use an old dress, curtains, a blouse, a baby blanket, or even new fabric. If it’s a fabric that you can cut, sew, and dab your tears of joy with, it’ll work. If you’ve got the gift of embroidery skills, you could embroidered your wedding date, your names, or a little message onto it or even make a nice little edging for it. Since we’re all busy brides, planning our brains out, just a quick hem might be the extent. That’s just fine; it’s cute, ridiculously quick, and can be done in front of the television.

So thank you, Vanessa Farquharson. You unknowingly gave me my something old and you gave my old bed sheets a new life.


I Dislike Tiny Clutches June 8, 2010

Since I dislike tiny clutches, I’ve been pretty concerned about finding a handbag for the wedding. I want something big enough to carry extra makeup, band-aids, lipstick, tissues, and everything. I realize there isn’t much I should have to carry on the big day, but I go nuts without having everything that I carry daily in one of my giant purses (they bridge on duffle bags.) So what did I do? I made my own giant clutch.

It’s by no means professional; it’s the first handbag I’ve ever even attempted. I used leftover materials from other projects: a sheet of children’s craft foam, an old white t-shirt to cover the bright green foam, the extra ivory voile material from the Martha Stewart flowers I made, as well as the flowers themselves (Emily, the amazing woman altering my dress, has made flowers for my dress and hair out of the excess dress material so I had to find a use for my flowers.)

The foam sheet I used for the purse, it was made of one big folded piece and 2 small side pieces

I would include instructions, but I really went into this blind. I took some photos to show how I constructed the form out of the foam. In retrospect, I would recommend going with a boxier shape and making a pattern for a tighter fit.

Stitching the big piece around the little side piece

The side pieces were 5″ by 2″ and I rounded the bottoms. The big piece is 16.5″ by 9.5″ and I wrapped it around the little pieces on either side. The nice thing about the foam is that you can stitch it with a darning needle so you can sew the pieces together into shape.

Sewing the foam

The basic shape of the clutch (just have to fold the top over)

Another retrospective recommendation is that you sew the lining onto the foam. I didn’t and now my clutch is unlined. At this point, it’s too ridiculous to try and add one (I’ve already attached the outer material to the foam and the flowers to the foam.) No one will be seeing the inside anyway. I pretty much cut the material around the foam clutch as I sewed. Not recommended. That’s why I suggest a more square shape and a pattern.

Sewing the material around the foam

Once I got all of that on, I sewed my flowers on! Flowers on stuff is so in right now.

Flowers on my clutch

And here’s the back. Right now I have it closing with velcro, but it’s not a satisfying solution.

The back of the clutch. It's still a work in progress.

So now I have a clutch that is 9.5″ x 6.5″ x 2″. Looks like it will fit my makeup, tissues, band-aids, camera, phone, eye drops, and more than I actually need on the big day. The moral of the story is if you can’t find something that fits your needs, put on your creative hat and make something that does. Plus I get to brag about how I made it.


Marriage to Glasses: A Love-Hate Relationship May 14, 2010

I took this photo when I wanted to show off my new glasses 2 years ago, but I had to do the over-the-glasses shot to avoid glare.

Oh glasses. I need them to see and they can be a cute accessory, so I love them for that. Unfortunately, they get dirty, they get foggy in the winter, they can create awkward photo angles, they can reflect a flash if they don’t have anti-reflective coating, they can get in the way of comfortable hugging, and they can look super-dated in old photos. I mean, think back to photos from the ’80s. Take the following, for example. Cute dress, dated glasses:

Classic outfits, dated glasses

Heck, I’m not above dated glasses. Check out these winners I sported in elementary school:

The glasses I picked out in the third grade. Yes, they're multicoloured plastic.

I actually just ordered some contacts today. I have very dry eyes so I can’t wear them on a regular basis, but I’m making an exception for the wedding (I’ll shove a bottle of eye drops in my bra if I have to.) I want my wedding photos to look as timeless as possible, so I’m going sans glasses. Plus I want big, fake eyelashes, which may brush against the glasses. I need to go for the contacts, but I realize that not everyone can wear contacts since I’m nearly in that boat myself. So what to do?

Offbeat Bride has an article with 2 options for wearing glasses at your wedding. You can get some really flashy glasses for your day. Funny how I found this the same day as I ordered contacts…

Planning a ’50s wedding? How cute do these brides look in their glasses?

'50s-style glasses at a '50s-style wedding

OMG HOW CUTE IS THIS ONE?! Their blog can be found here.

OMG how cute are these two? Check out their ceremony at

Classic glasses make for classic photos. That’s my best answer. Have you made any decisions about wearing glasses on the big day? Or even to other formal events? Are you wearing spectacles to any upcoming spectacles? (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. The cheese just came out.)


Making the Garter My Own April 17, 2010

Filed under: accessories,crafts,crazy deals,diy — clln @ 2:21 am
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I really wasn’t excited about the garter, it wasn’t a priority for me and I really didn’t care what it looked like. That is, until I bought the cheapest one I could find and spent some time looking at it.

I don’t regret buying it, it was $6.99 at Michaels and I used a 40% coupon on it so it worked out to just over $4. Couldn’t go wrong. Couldn’t. Go. Wrong. Plus it was blue and at the time I was still having trouble finding blue shoes to fulfill my blue requirement. And really, how closely are people looking at it anyway? It’ll be hidden for most of the day. It still needed some help though.

Being a crafty kinda gal, I decided that the garter would be my next project. I like simplicity, so the glued-on bow was the first to go, followed by the lace. I just pulled off the bow and then carefully cut the lace off and let me tell you, it was liberating. I was so pleased with the way it looked with no embellishments:

The garter sans embellishments. It's naked!

There’s no way to get the glue remnants off though, so I decided to make two very, very tiny fabric flowers using the same idea as the Martha flowers in the last post. I used scraps from the material for the flowers which were too small to use for anything else, so they were saved from the garbage. Not only did it cover the glue, but it keeps up the fabric flower theme from the rest of my outfit (my dress and hair will feature them.) Plus, I feel like it’s personalized now and that’s important to me. It also puts the “cheap” in Cheap ‘n’ Quirky, my changes didn’t cost a cent because it was made with scraps. The supplies to make my own from scratch would have cost much more.

It’s much more “me.” I’m pleased. What kind of garter are you going with? Has anyone found a cute pattern to DIY?


My Martha Stewart Flowers April 16, 2010

Garden roses from the Martha Stewart pattern

I’ve been working on my Martha Stewart fabric flowers for a while now, the ones I mentioned in an earlier blog post. I went a little nuts and made a ton. See, the voile fabric was on sale so I bought a lot. $4 for a meter of green and a meter of ivory. So basically I have enough to use a couple of the large ones (attached to pins/brooches) on my dress and plenty of small ones (attached to bobby pins) in my hair in place of a veil. Since taking that photo, I’ve made many more ivory ones.

I’m kind of concerned about how the petals don’t stay up too well; I’m considering using hairspray to help the petals stiffen, but I’m not sure if it will stain the fabric. Maybe starch?

The large flower on the left is floppin'.

I mentioned that I plan to wear these in my hair and not wear a veil. Well, I tried making the flowers out of tulle to really be a replacement for a veil but let’s just say that I don’t recommend this type of material for this project. As you can see below, the tulle “flower” looks more like a pompom:

The pompom, err, I mean tulle flower.

Now I just have to wait for my dress to come in to make sure it looks decent. Gaaaaaah, I ordered the dress back in November, it should be here any day now. I can’t wait for it to get here!


Something Blue April 15, 2010

I’ve been looking for blue flats for a while now. Flats so that I don’t tower over my groom, blue so that I fulfill the “something blue” requirement. I didn’t think it’d be so hard! Well, after seeing blue and silver sequins (not cute, looked like fish scales,) studded straps, and other horrors, plus goooooorgeous heels I’d look like an Amazon warrior in, I found these:

My navy Joe Fresh flats

Look at my score from Joe Fresh! Damn, I’m going to miss Joe when I’m no where near the Canadian border. They’re not too loud, they’re blue, they’re flats, I can wear them again, and they were only $19! Really, no one is going to see them until the garter comes off since it’s a floor-length dress, but I still wanted them to be classy and simple.

I don’t mean to turn this into an ad for Joe Fresh, but I also got a $19 sundress to wear to the giant bridal shower, a couple of lip stains (my fave out of the lip stains I’ve tried,) and some jewelry. Gotta stock up when I go. My sister, who is one of my bridesmaids, even picked out her necklace to wear at the wedding there. It’s become an unexpected source for my wedding accessories.

The moral of this story is this: don’t be afraid to shop at a discount store for wedding stuff. If you were going to wear costume jewelry anyway, why not get $7 earrings that look like the $35 ones from a boutique? No one will know. Plus you can probably wear it again. I’d say it’s cheap and classy.


Two Pearls in a Pod April 4, 2010

Peas in a pod earrings

I’m not sure if this is a little on the casual side for my dress, but check out these adorable freshwater pearl earrings from Shana Logic. And they’re made to look like peas in a pod. Get it? Two peas in a pod! Like you and you’re partner may be two peas in a pod! Cute. If they weren’t currently sold out, definitely a maybe.


Fashionable Fabric Flowers February 28, 2010

I was lucky enough to be asked to help out with a photo shoot for a friend-of-a-friend who is in a fashion design program. I got to model a dress from the beautiful line created by two very talented young designers. This has given me so much inspiration for the wedding. Without giving anything away or posting any photos (the line must remain a surprise until they present it at a fashion show in April), I’ll just say that I’ve been inspired to use fabric flowers.

My wedding gown needs a little something. It’s a modified A-line dress with a dropped waist that starts about mid-thigh (is that right? Have I learned the right jargon from Say Yes to the Dress?) and it needs a little embellishment where it starts to flare out. I had originally considered a brooch, but after seeing the use of fabric flowers, I’ve now decided on my embellishment. Luckily, my MOH helped to make many of the fabric flowers used at the shoot, so I have an expert to help me make them.

Also at the shoot were flowery headpieces and fascinators. I decided a while back that I didn’t want a veil, now I think a fabric flower on a hair clip will be a great alternative. I wish I could post photos of their exceptional line, I’m sure you’d agree!

Since I can’t post the photos yet, I can give you a link to Martha Stewart’s photo gallery of fabric and paper flowers. I’ve been looking at this for inspiration for weeks now, trying to figure out how to incorporate them into the wedding. They’ll last forever so they can be made in advance, they’re unique, they’re cute, and while I haven’t priced out the supplies, I imagine they would work out to cheaper than going to a florist for centerpieces. I love love love the pom-poms! Or how about any of the following for a little dress embellishment or hair accessory?

Martha Stewart fabric flower boutonnieres

Or here’s an example of a fabric dahlia as a dress embellishment:

A Martha Stewart fabric dahlia on a wedding dress.

This will probably cost me less than most brooches I was looking at, it will make a bigger impact, and I like that it adds a personal, homemade touch to my dress. Perhaps some of the bridesmaids will want to wear one in their hair as well. I’m excited! We’ll see how excited the bridesmaids are when I reveal that there’s yet another project to work on. I’ll post photos when we work on them and maybe my photos from the photo shoot once the line has debuted.