Posts in the 'DIY' Category

Bloominous Makes a DIY-er Out of Even the Most Brown of Thumbs

*Brought to you by our friends at Bloominous*

feature

Flowers. I like ‘em. They sure look and smell pretty. I didn’t have them at my first wedding. But the logistics of that (budget, especially) were kind of a nightmare. I know a lot of BABs tend to opt out, or opt for less, due to budget constraints. And to that end, florists tend to be out of a broke-ass’s price range while DIY takes up too much time to make it worthwhile.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 3.11.16 PM

Which is why, when I found out about Bloominous, I shrieked in broke-ass delight! Here was an opportunity to not only try my  hand at DIY, but try my brown thumb-riddled hand at floral DIY. I mean, I — me — this girl right here who once killed a cactus (true story) could actually work with flowers, making them pretty and arranged … and I wouldn’t even have to worry about the long-term care! Bloominous has an in-house florist in charge of curating the directions and designing the overall aesthetic.

Of the four collections, the Bohemian Desert spoke to me the most (color!!!). I made my pick, and sat back and relaxed. A couple days later, a large box arrived on my doorstep and I got prepared (read: beer) to get my hands dirty. But, since the flowers come cut-to-order, trimmed and de-thorned, there wasn’t really much dirty to get.

box.jpg

The first step is to get a big ol’ bucket — or similar vessel (I used a trash can) — of water and dump some flower food in there. Then you cut the stems and make sure there are no leaves that might get drowned when you let the flowers rehydrate (4-12 hours, the longer, the better). I let mine sit overnight so they could drink up all the waters!

Just draining in the sink, like a BOSS.

Just draining in the sink, like a BOSS.

Once the flowers are all boozy from libation, organize and lay out the stems in front of you, based on which project you’re going to tackle first. Lucky for people like me who are pretty flora-dumb, there are great photos and illustrations to go along with each stem and step.

metrosucculent.jpg

Metro Kitty judges my DIY skillz.

Arrange the bouquet, centerpiece or boutonnière based on the instructions. I mean, it’s really easy at this point. The Bohemian Desert collection features a succulent that has to be stuck with pins and wrapped with floral tape to attach it to a dowel and then shoved in the bouquet, which was the most complicated part for my clumsy little hobbit hands. And even that was easy. Of course being the picky, indecisive Libra I am, I rearranged the bouquet and centerpiece about 30 times until I was satisfied that there was balance.

bouquet table.jpg

I didn’t trim the stems because, well, I’m lazy. I call this look “lazy chic.”

I love that the bouquet came with the pearl-topped pins, which always remind me of buttons on the back of a wedding dress and harken to a v. special wedding-y kind of elegance. I was also impressed with the vessel for the centerpiece, as it was a simple black plastic vase, but was dipped or painted in gold for an added oomph. Because, you guys, it’s in the details!

centerpiece.jpg

All the color! And I did it mah-self!

Here’s the thing, you guys. This whole process was simple enough that I’m tempted to order a centerpiece once every couple of months just to have in my house. I know, for a fact, that my next wedding (not that I have a ring … yet) will be using something by Bloominous. The customer service was phenomenal and it actually gave me a sense of confidence in a DIY area that was hugely overwhelming for me. Plus, a little birdie told me that they’ll be adding two new collections soon … and those may just have to adorn various surfaces in my casa! And since you avoid the whole 300% markup deal that comes with using a florist, it’s super budget-friendly ($5 boutonnières, $40 centerpieces, $50 bouquets).

PSSSTT: Stay tuned between now and May for a special deals and news from Bloominous!

 

DIY or Die: Sparkilify Yo’ Wedding Shoes!

Based on the number of sparkly shoe pins on Pinterest wedding boards, a lot of you guys are interested in dancing the night away in some sweet disco ball kicks. Unfortunately, some of those babies can cost you multiple thousands of dollars because shoe manufacturers enjoy taking refreshing swims in pools of your tears. Today, we take the power back!

Here’s how:
I demonstrated on a pair of Converse as they had excitingly sparkly sides but boring toe caps, and as a person with child-size, hoof-like feet, my pants tend to cover up the majority of the shoe other than the toe cap, so clearly said toe caps needed to be kicked up a notch, namely to “Super-sparkle-unicorn-fart-SHAZAM” levels, but you can use this method on anything that’s not currently alive. Take the item you want to funkify, and clean it until  there’s no more dirt and grime or gross buildup. Rubbing alcohol works magic on white shoes. Get some Gem-Tac or E-6000 (both work well, but the E-6000 is super stinky so I prefer Gem-Tac), a china marker, and an approximate buttload of flat-back rhinestones in the color of your choice. You’ll want to make sure you’re buying glass rhinestones rather than acrylic–even though glass is more expensive, it’s also more reflective and plastic will get scuffed up easily and look cheap, rendering your item ugly and your time wasted. Get more than you think you’ll need; you can calculate the approximate amount you’ll need here. A rule of thumb for crystal estimation–to fill a square inch of space with an 7ss stone, you’ll need 144 crystals. To replicate the sparkliest of shoes, you’ll need somewhere in the realm of 30 gross (or more!), which is why I suggest buying them all at once from an online store that gives you bulk pricing, because the small packets in the retail craft stores are a total rip. To take a shoe from plain to drag superstar isn’t cheap–prepare to spend around $100 on rhinestones…but it’s still significantly cheaper than a pair of Louboutins! You can use whatever size rhinestones you want. The smaller the stone, the more more sparklicious impact the project will have and the more luxe it will look, but bear in mind it will be fussier and require many many more stones per square inch, driving up your costs in time and materials. I used SS16 (4mm)on this project, for example, but on something smaller like a cell phone, I’d want to use a smaller stone.  Spread some Gem-Tac on the area you intend to cover (it’s easier to work a bit at a time than covering the whole surface with glue, because it dries relatively quickly.) and pick up and place the rhinestones with the tip of the china marker. You can use tweezers instead if you’re a fan of frustration, I won’t judge. Rinse and repeat until you’re done. Once you’ve let the glue dry, you’ve got a piece of eye-searing sunshine on your hands. Take that, manufacturers of overly-expensive shoes!

after

BLAM. Sparkle time!

You can create a more high-fashion look by mixing a variety of stone sizes like I did on the lenses of my gaga-esque sunglasses. Just place the stones randomly in a way that looks good to you, working one small area at a time. It’s ok if there are small gaps, the glue dries clear, and if it bothers you, you can always put a tiny stone in the gap later.

1236670_10151675535748940_363819167_n

Use this power wisely. Or go nuts! But when everything you own is covered in rhinestones, don’t say I didn’t use the word “moderation”, because I did, just now.

BONUS: If you’re looking to make a pair of wedding fauxboutins, you’ll want to get your red sole in place before doing any crystal work.  Here’s how you do that:

*Carefully tape off all the areas on the shoe that you don’t want to be red. Don’t skimp on the tape, buy the best stuff you can find as your edges need to be crisp to look right. If you’re taping on lace, I’d recommend wrapping the shoe in cling wrap and then taping over that so you don’t risk damage to the fabric from the tape, because even delicate surface tape is intended for tougher stuff than lace.

*Prime the sole with a multipurpose primer. Aerosol primers and paints are great but make sure you have covered every single surface on the shoe you don’t want painted or you’ll be very upset.

*Paint the soles the red of your choice. You can use spray paint, house paint, auto paint…the original runway Louboutins were done with red nail polish! Keep your coats thin and even, with a minimal amount of brushstrokes for the best results. If you want to coordinate further, go with an orange based red if your wedding incorporates warm colors or a blue based red if you’re going cool. Just like with lipstick and teeth, orange reds make offwhites look more yellow, and blue reds make them look more white, so keep that in mind if your shoe is not pure white.

*Let them dry thoroughly before doing anything else. Don’t poke, prod, lick, wear, or otherwise touch the shoes for at least 24 hours. I mean it!

*Use a surface sealant to make the color last longer. Again, aerosol works fine.

Your red paint job should look great but it’s not entirely impervious to scuffs and scrapes–after all, you’ll be walking and dancing in these babies on a variety of surfaces.  Be careful when walking on your new soles, they can be slippery! If you want a flash of red on the heel but to keep the grip of the sole, tape off the toebox when you’re doing your paint job.

May the crafts be with you,

On the Cutting Edge: Craftsy Offering Free Knife Skills Course

 

Whaddup, BABs? This wintery weather has me cooking up a storm (soups, pastas, even a pot roast!), but sometimes I’m a little slow in the prep area because I’m so cautious with how I handle my knife. I take FOREVER slicing and dicing to perfection. And with the amount of veggies I like to pile into my dishes, the cutting often eats up the vast majority of my time in the kitchen.

So when I saw this nifty little email touting Craftsy’s class, Complete Knife Skills with Brendan McDermott, I got uber excited. And of course I couldn’t keep it to myself.

Not familiar with Craftsy? Welp, you should be. Especially if you’re planning on DIY-ing shizz for your wedding day. Craftsy offers lots of free mini courses and many more full-length courses (the priciest I saw was $59.99 for a studio photography course) in areas ranging from knitting to cake decorating to paper crafts and more. So whether you’re planning on making paper flowers for your wedding decor or would like to create some bling for your bridesmaids, and you don’t really know how to go about it, check out Craftsy and learn how to do it all yourself.

Partner Love: MyOffers Serves Up Tips On How To Create A Truly Unique Wedding Experience

Oh, hey newly-engaged BABs! We know that starting to plan your wedding can be a bit overwhelming, and sometimes finding ways to create your big day that oozes your love for one another without murdering your bank account can be tough. But fear not! Our UK partner MyOffers is here to get those wedding wheels spinning with 8 fun, funky and outright fantastic ideas to make your big day truly yours.

Go Vintage:

Whether you go for a classic ‘50s look, run with the swinging ‘60s, or delve into ‘80s noir, vintage weddings are always en vogue. Delicate dresses, themed decoration and kitschy details turn these weddings into scenes from period dramas, or postcards from eras gone by. Planning a vintage wedding can also be easy on your bottom line by making your own decorations and rifling through thrift shops. There’s tons of ideas and inspiration out there, all you have to do is find what speaks to you and go for it!

Run Away Together:

Forget the stress of organizing every far-flung relative and friend; forget the potentially huge list of expenses; forget about worrying over the weather; forget about diplomatically creating seating plans; forget about getting married with anyone around. Find a country you love, and go there. Get married on a beach, under the stars, or in a church in a town you’ve never been to before. Have a quiet ceremony, tie the knot and when you’re ready, re-emerge into the real world, happy and married. Elopements can serve as a secret memory, an inside moment you and your beloved can share for the rest of your life.

Under the Sea or Up, Up and Away:

Dive under the seas if you’re a SCUBA pro, take a boat out, or simply go for a paddle: As long as you don’t mind getting your feet wet, a water-filled wedding ensures that you’ll have the most unforgettable day. If water isn’t for you, take to the skies! Hot air balloons, bungee jumping and sky-walking … the possibilities are endless when you decide to take your feet off the ground. Although you won’t be able to have many guests with you at the time, there’s plenty of opportunities for an aquatic or aviation themed party afterwards.

Guest Cameo:

Plant members of a band around your guests, a la the opening scene of “Love Actually” (Eds. note: This scene makes me tear up EVERY TIME), have missing friends flown in from around the world – or simply trot up to the venue on your beloved horse. Having little surprises like a dog, an old university friend or a hidden singer can bring a whole new element to a wedding, especially if it’s kept a secret from everyone.

The Theme Scene:

If you’ve got a theme in mind, run with it. Get your guests to dress up, decorate your venue accordingly and go all out when it comes to you and your betrothed’s wedding day attire. From Alice in Wonderland, to rock’n’roll – push the boundaries and see how inventive people can get.

Get Your Hands Dirty:

If you’re low on cash, or don’t fancy blowing your savings on one day, make the most of what you’ve got. Find a friend with a gorgeous backyard, go DIY on your decorations and trawl charity shops and secondhand stores for your attire. Get close friends and family to pitch in with their own elbow grease, and your day will truly be created by love.

Think Outside the Location Box:

Don’t just stick to churches or courthouses: There’s nothing stopping you from branching out and holding your wedding in your favorite place. From museums to libraries, and bookshops to barns, put your own stamp on your day by holding it somewhere new and meaningful. Love flying? Check out an airplane hangar. Got a knack for history? Preserved forts and homes often host events and provide unique locales.

Get Festive at a Festival:

Welcome your friends and family to a WedFest, and say goodbye to formal seating plans, three-course meals and rigid dress codes. Find a large piece of land, with room for camping, stock up on alcohol and easy-to-eat finger foods, and rally together everyone you know who’s been in a band, owns a guitar or fancies themselves as a DJ. Let the wedding fun begin!

Written in part by Ben Skinner of competition website MyOffers who offer wedding dresses and other accessories in their free competitions. Visit them online at www.myoffers.co.uk

{Real Bride: Mellzah} When Enough DIY Is Enough

How cute is this? How hard would it be to make one for myself? AND SO IT BEGINS.

I am generally all about DIY projects; if I see something I like, my gears start spinning as to how I can recreate it for myself, and wedding planning has provided ample opportunities for me to build and tweak and tune every detail to my heart’s content. It also has provided me ample opportunities to go overboard.

At one point, I read an article criticizing wedding DIY as creating a culture of a disposable day filled with throwaway things…and I took that as a cue to dye, cut, sew, and hand-embroider all of the wedding napkins lest people think poorly of me for using monogrammed disposables. That particular madness ended when I changed the wedding colors/scheme and didn’t want to start over from square one…at least I have a heck of a lot of cocktail napkins to use from now until the end of eternity.

The commitment to quality DIY, however, didn’t stop there, and got much worse for a while. For instance, we picked our venue because they were on the preferred list of a caterer we tried at the Seattle Wedding Show. Later, when we discovered this particular caterer was out of our budget (severely so), we were glad that the venue provided a sizeable kitchen and didn’t require you to hire one of their preferred vendors because we were going to (wait for it) cater our own wedding. I figured out recipes, tested them, figured out how to scale them up/pre-prepare and freeze them, but ultimately decided that while it might be possible to do this ourselves, that I didn’t want to spend my wedding day freaking out about what was going on in the kitchen, or IN the kitchen, which is where my perfectionist ass spends 99% of the parties I throw. I also didn’t want to set my bridesmaids on that task, in the back in their pretty dresses, frying up eggrolls, not least because grease tends to do a number on chiffon.

Later, I thought “Wouldn’t it be fun to do all the flowers?” We didn’t plan on having floral on any of the tables, so it just meant bouquets and bouts…and then I remembered that more people get bouts than the wedding party, and mothers and grandparents should have corsages and then I thought it would be nice to have a little floral at each table, and it was already galloping out of my control and I knew it was going to explode into a giant pain of wilted, angry “Why did I think it would be fun to do this?/ I don’t have time to do this! /I’ve decided to set the venue on fire instead.” the day before/the morning of, and that my fury face, though funny, doesn’t translate particularly well to lovely photographs.

This is how I devised my rules of DIY. When I decide to take on a project, I ask myself the following questions:

 Is it necessary? As in: do I need it or just want it? Will it be an integral part of the day, or something that that I’ll look at later and wonder why I’d wasted the time and effort? By this question, something like personally designed and assembled invitations would be worth pursuing as they’ll presumably be tacked to the fridge for a while and set the tone for the event itself. Envelope calligraphy that will just be thrown away…not so much.

Does it have impact? Is it something that the guests will see and take in as part of their overall impression of the day, or is it something that only I would worry about and notice? With this question, I was able to focus my efforts toward special centerpieces, and not decorating the bathrooms (I trust that people will still know that they’re at a wedding when they step through the door).

Is it reasonable? Will making it prove just as expensive or more expensive than buying it? Is it a reasonable use of my time, or will I feel upon completion as though I climbed Mount Everest by myself, naked, with only a vuvuzela and a herring strapped to my back in an aquarium? I am aware that I can generally ask my friends for help, but I also want to be reasonable in my requests for their time. It’s one thing to spend an afternoon together working on a project, and it’s another to spend every weekend for a month toiling in a friend’s sweatshop because she had to have handmade paper menus for her intimate wedding of 500. For instance, it took some time and effort to make our wedding website (and very little in the way of financial resources), but no more time than was reasonable, and we found the results extremely worthwhile. Not so much with the napkin thing.

Have you ever done anything like this before? Maybe you’ve always wanted to take up calligraphy or floral arranging or, I don’t know, welding your own seats out of found scrap metal, but if you’ve never done it before, practice it way ahead of time. If you’re not familiar with the process, things could take much longer and not turn out the way you’d like. Spraypaint has the unfortunate tendency to not dry when it senses you’re in a rush, glue likes to fail, and spot welds will crumble before your eyes: these things are law. When you give yourself plenty of time, you can invest a little and see if the project is worth pursuing or if you’d rather not undertake the task.

Is there a better way? Just because I first envisioned making it one way doesn’t mean that it’s the best, most resource-effective way to do it. It’s worth taking the time and brainstorming other ways to see the task through to completion. For example, I’ve got my heart set on Battlestar Galactica dog tag escort cards, but my initial idea (based on a tutorial I found online) of flattening pennies on a steel plate proved extraordinarily difficult (I’d have to take a few breaks to rest my shoulder during the flattening of each penny) and the results weren’t proving to be worth it. I’ve got a couple of new ways to do it battling it out in my brain and I know that one of them will prove more effective than spending every night for the next two months pounding pennies.

Can it be done in advance? The less a DIY project can be done in advance, the greater the side eye you should give it. Your time is a resource, and in the last few weeks leading up to your wedding, it will be at a premium. You don’t want to be making favors, assembling centerpieces, arranging flowers, frosting cupcakes, and putting the finishing touches on your dress the day before, unless you get that exciting runner’s high from stress.

Speaking of time: Is it worth it for the amount of time you’ll have to exchange for it? What’s the personal cost to you if you miss a year or more of baby showers, birthday parties, movie nights, and cookouts because your every free moment is devoted to wedding projects? Are you willing to look back on that year of your life as The Year of Wedding Projects?

Do you really want to DIY it, or do you just not want to pay for it? Granted, planning a huge shindig at the expense of our married future has never been one of my aims, but I’ve been particularly conscious of it because of my time here at The Broke-Ass Bride, because I don’t think it’s authentic for me to preach to everyone the virtues of hard work and saving a dime if I don’t do it myself…but at the same time,  I have come to realize that I don’t need to be punishingly strict with the budget, and that some things are worth paying for to have them off my plate. So we’re paying a caterer, and we’re paying a florist, and that frees up my time and mental energy to work on the details that are important to me (the perfect ipod playlist to get the party grooving)  AND have some much-needed me time. All that should matter in regards to our budget is that we end up with a total cost that seems reasonable to us. Yes, some people will spend less than us, and some will spend way, way more, but everyone has different circumstances and for us, it’s worth spending a bit more to have a party that we’ll remember fondly than a shindig that we’ll groan just thinking about the work involved.

Walk through my questions the next time you have a DIY project that you’re on the fence about—I hope it will help you pare down to projects that are reasonable for your time, skills, and budget. And if you have any DIY questions, feel free to hit me up in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out. I’m so not handmaking 500 pieces of paper for your menus, though.

 

I made Cronuts, and you can too!

It’s like a donut and a croissant are having raunchy, sloppy sex in your mouth. Need I say more?


OK.  Well, to be more specific, it’s a donut-shaped, deep fried croissant; oftentimes filled with flavored crème; and/or rolled in sugar; and/or topped with glaze.
Is your mouth watering yet?

If you’re late to the game on the nationwide Cronut craze, let me briefly enlighten you. It all started when Dominique Ansel bakery in New York introduced these flaky/creamy/crunchy/doughy delights, resulting in (and I kid you not), people lining up around 5am to procure these precious pastries due to the limited number available each day, and the fact that they sell out in like, 5 minutes. Word of these tasty treats swept the nation, and just like that, a culinary craze was born.

Now, bakeries around the US are launching their own take on the Cronut – dubbed with other unfortunate portmanteaus such as the “doughssant” and “frisant” and “crullant.” BUT, my intrepid friends, rather than wait in line for hours and hours and paying between $3-5 per pop for a hyped up pastry hybrid… why not make them yourself? If I did it, being the least baking-savvy person I know, and succeeded… YOU CAN TOO!

And the dozen or so tasty treats that were the fruits of my 3-day long labor? WORTH IT. Worth every minute of prep. Worth every ounce of stress. Worth the look on my boyfriend’s face when he tried it. Worth the pleasure that radiated from my lips down to the nethers of my very groin at the taste, texture and “HOLY SHIT I MADE THIS THING THAT TASTES SO GOOD”-ness of it all. If you don’t believe me, check out the video at the end of the post :)

Now, would you like the recipe? Well, then. Here you go!

There are several parts to the process.

THE DOUGH.
(Start this step first, because while it’s not complicated, it takes for-EVER.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons softened butter (I used salted butter for this. I like salty sweets)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 1 cup (ie: 2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 5 cups grapeseed oil

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and water and heat to just about 100 degrees. You’ll know its ready when you stick a finger in and its only a little warmer than your skin – kind of like the baby formula test. Then introduce the yeast, mix well, and let stand for about 5 minutes. While you’re waiting, lug out your stand mixer and slap on the paddle attachment. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter on low speed. Add the yeasty milk to the stand mixer and blend just until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure everything gets some mixer love. Pat your dough into a ball, place into a greased bowl, lay a damp tea towel over the top of the bowl and set it in a warm spot. Let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Then, use your fists of steel to punch that dough down a bit and refrigerate it for 1 hour or so. You can wait longer, just not shorter.

During this hour, you might find it handy to proceed to THE CRÈME. (see below)

After the dough has chilled for an hour or more, put the butter between 2 pieces of parchment paper and use a rolling pin or wine bottle to flatten and shape into an 8×8-inch square. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. And if your butter gets too gooey and won’t cooperate, throw the whole thing in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up.

Then, roll out your chilled dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12×12-inch square. Peel away the parchment from your butter square and lay it on the center of the dough square rotated to land diamond-style (not square style). Gently wrap the corners of the dough over the butter block to meet in the middle and pinch the seams closed so the butter is completely enclosed in dough. Roll dough out into a 20×8-inch rectangle, then fold it into thirds, like you would fold a letter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or more. Then repeat the rolling, folding, and chilling process 2 more times. And each time, tell yourself: it’s worth it.

Once your dough has been through all 3 rounds of the roll/fold/chill process – roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 6×18-inch rectangle. Cut into 6×6-inch squares and stack all the squares on top of each other. Roll that pile of dough into a 6×8-inch rectangle. Cut 12 round shapes out of the dough using a ring cutter (or tracing the mouth of a drinking glass and roughing the hole with a paring knife, like I did. Honestly you don’t need the hole.), and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (an unheated oven will do) until you can press the dough and it holds the indent, which takes roughly 30 minutes.

Place the oil in a large pot and heat to 350 degrees. Be careful not to overheat and scorch the oil! I did, and it was a literal hot mess of smoke detectors and stench. I had to throw it all out and start over again. Keep an eagle eye on that temp, yo! And remember the first pancake rule: start with one cronut, so you don’t ruin the whole batch if you overfry on your first attempt. Note how long it takes to get to the perfect golden-brown you like (usually about a minute. Maybe even less.) Fry each cronut for that long, making sure to flip them about halfway through, until they’re perfectly perfect. Place on a paper towel lined plate to cool.

(pardon my messy kitchen. But do NOT pardon my adorable pajamas. They’re from Anthropologie, and I’ve never loved any PJs more.)

Once they’re cool, use a pastry bag with a long, thin tip to pipe the CRÈME (see recipe below) into the center of each cronut. I found that going in through the bottom produced the best results. (Going in through the sides just split my delicate cronuts at the seams. No bueno.) Then roll them in the SUGAR COATING (see recipe below), and drizzle with GLAZE (see recipe below.)

Eat these suckers PROMPTLY. I’m talking post-haste, m-fers. They will not be anywhere near as good a few hours later, and by the next day, they’ll still be sweet and tasty, but the magical texture will be lost forever. CONSUME WITH PURPOSE, people.

And instagram lots of pictures to make your friends insanely jealous. Comme ça:

THE CRÈME.
(I made a simple vanilla crème and it was the bomb. If all I got from this endeavor was making this crème alone, it would have been worth it.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup fine sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Gently heat the milk and 1/2 of the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, but watch that it doesn’t burn. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, the other 1/2 of the sugar, flour, and salt. When the milk is warmed through, slowly temper the egg mixture by adding in a little milk at a time, whisking all the while to prevent scrambling. When all of the milk has been incorporated, pour the mixture back into saucepan and warm it, whisking like there’s no tomorrow, until the mixture is boiling and thick. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and (if you detect any small lumps) push it through a fine strainer into a bowl. Lay plastic wrap directly on the service of the crème so a skin does not form, and stick in the refrigerator until ready to use. Good luck not eating too much of it in the meantime!

THE SUGAR COATING.
(I did cinnamon-sugar. You can do just sugar if you want. Or a different flavored sugar! Mmmm, sugar.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Mix it together. Simple pimple.

THE GLAZE.
(I did a simple, drippy, glazey one. you can do full-on icing if you want!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 cup water

Whisk ‘em together. Easy peasy.

And this, friends, is what it looks like when I have my first bite. At 1am. After nearly 3 days of mixing, folding, rolling, and chilling and frying, and filling, and coating, and glazing.

Seriously delicious. Even my most pastry-loving friend deemed my Cronuts in his Top 10 pastry experiences ever! And having had very little experience baking, working with pastry, or deep-frying ever before – I have to say it was a really fun experience and super fulfilling challenge. With quite the rewarding end!

So tell me…. What do you think? Will you try making your own Cronuts?

Real Wedding: Claudi & Luan’s $9,000 Budget-Friendly, Do-It-Yourself South African Wedding

What happens when two besties say “I do” in a sunny South African wedding with lots of DIY touches? Magic! In October, Claudi and Luan took the big plunge with a $9,000 budget for an 80-person wedding farm-style wedding. This wedding inspiration duo took their crafting talents to the limits creating beautiful hanging decorations like hearts and flowers and personalized shoes for the groomsmen. Their hard work resulted in a personal yet super pretty ceremony with noteworthy little touches throughout the day.

Names: Claudi and Luan ten Cate
Occupations: Luan, in flight chef for Etihad Airways; Claudi, housewife

Wedding location: Olive Mystery Wedding Venue, Bapsfontein,  Gauteng, South Africa
Wedding date: Oct. 25, 2012
Wedding budget: Approx $9,000
Approximate guest count: 80
How would you describe your wedding? Fun DIY farm-style wedding
What was your favorite part of your wedding? The photo shoot with our amazing photographers, Izelle and Gerhard.
What did you splurge on? The venue and food

 

 

What did you save on? EVERYTHING ELSE
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Yes, I would spend more time with the guests.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? Incorporating what Luan wanted as he was living in Abu Dhabi during the whole planning process.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? To spend more time on myself and a little less time making everyone else happy.

 

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

  • The decor and flowers
  • The cake/candy buffet table
  • Venue
  • My dress
  • Our photo shoot

Top 5 least favorite?

  • Not having enough time with the guests
  • The day going by so quickly

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?
“You need to stay on top of things and manage it carefully!” This advice is the worst because micro managing everything will just annoy those around you and face it, not everyone is as excited about your wedding as you are. In fact weddings tend to bring out the worst in some people…

The best?
Relax and let go. Nobody has the script for the day, they won’t even notice if the flowers are fuchsia pink instead of baby pink. The ambiance and atmosphere is what creates the mood and feeling so be happy and enjoy it.

If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges?
Even being married for six months has its challenges. Like my husband not understanding the concept and importance of closing the toilet lid. Also, relocating to Abu Dhabi and having to start a life here from scratch is quite a challenge.

Any other bits of wisdom?
Don’t sweat the small stuff! The world will not end if the linens are navy instead of sapphire or if the white roses have a slight green tinge. Remember what the day is for. It is about saying “I do” and if the wrong flowers or linen will prevent you from saying “I do,” then you should reconsider getting married. My philosophy is, if you are not willing to get married in a moldy old court house without the whole white wedding then you should not be getting married. Then you are getting married for the wedding and not the marriage!

Also, try and do as much as you can by yourself. Your wedding is the day you can recreate all those amazing DIY projects you keep pinning on your wedding board on Pinterest! This keeps it personal and saves a lot of money. All it takes is some creativity.

Budget breakdown

Venue and Food: $5,000
Decor and Flowers: $300
My Dress and Accessories: $700
Groom’s Outfit:$300
Bridesmaids dresses: $70 (for all the bridesmaids)
Groomsmen Outfit: $200 (including All Star Shoes)
Hair and Makeup: $450 (for all the girls and my mom)
DJ and Photobooth: $900
Invitations and Stationary: $50
Photographer: $850
Extras: $200

Vendors

Photographers: Iz Photography by Izelle Labuschagne

Wedding Dress and Bridal Accessories: Ivy Bridal House, Rachel van Loggerenberg

Venue:   Olive Mystery Wedding Venue, Anja Bands, olivemystery@gmail.com

Décor and Flowers: DaisyDoo Décor and Styling, Marie Bührlen, daisydoodecor@yahoo.com

Wedding Cake and Candy Buffet:   Daisy Doo Designer Cakes, Claudi ten Cate, daisydoocakes@yahoo.com

Bride and Bridesmaids’ MakeupAngelstar Make up, Jeanne- Marie Eloff

Lighting, Sound and DJ:   TUKS FM, Nolz van der Merwe

PhotoboothPhotobooth Inc., Rob Sulcas

These love birds highlighted their style with a budget-friendly party full of personality. Small projects at home made a big impact by adding a little extra something to some already beautiful settings — great lesson for any bride-to-be! Get creative, have fun and focus on everything you want out of your day. 

 

Sponsor Intro: Me & You Video: Because You Can Film it Too!

I wish we lived in a world where everyone could afford a videographer for their wedding, but we don’t. Of the nearly 2 million weddings that take place in the USA each year nearly 66% do not hire a professional videographer.

The truth is, we all would love to have one but, when trimming the budget, the first thing to go is often the videographer. People think: “we’re getting beautiful professional photos, so we’ll just have a guest bring a camcorder” – which is an understandable thought…. but you shouldn’t have to settle for a blurry shot of the ceremony that Uncle Harry the mouth breather filmed from the back (Sorry Uncle Harry,  but it’s true), or just a bouncy Blair Witch style shot of the reception from your friend who is the life of the party.

Well now there’s a cure! In less than an hour, Me & You Video will give anyone the knowledge they need to pull off a great DIY video of your wedding!

"She's the life of the party" but can she film the party?

Haynal Papp, owner and founder of Dolce Studio Films (winners every year since 2005 of Washington’s Best Videographer in Washington Bride & Groom) takes you through a step-by-step tutorial to give you the tools to capture a great wedding video, while staying under your budget.

When we asked Haynal if she was worried about undercutting her own videography business, she replied: “I created this product to help those people who don’t hire professionals either because they can’t afford to or don’t want to.  I’ve spoken to so many people over the years that regret their decision to have a friend or family member film their wedding for them. I knew that I could impart highly useful information to save many people’s video memories from certain disaster.”

Haynal goes over the simple list of Do's & Don'ts

From personal experience I can say that we only have one regret from our wedding day. It was allowing an acquaintance to be our 2nd shooter. He was an amateur photographer and wanted to strengthen his portfolio. Despite many offers to just have him come as a guest, he insisted that he very much wanted to help. He took about 3 pictures from the ceremony and that was about it. As a result, we have no shots of our cocktail hour whatsoever. This guy isn’t a bad guy, he just didn’t have any experience or guidance, and he wasn’t prepared. His battery died during the ceremony and since he took a few pics he thought his job was done. If we had had a similar video like Me & You Video to play him before hand, he would have been just as good as any professional. He could take great pictures…. he just needed direction.

Meet Haynal and check out this preview of what her Me & You Video has to offer:

Let someone who knows what shots to get, where to stand, even who to ask for help guide you and your friend or family member to an awesome wedding day video. Compared to the thousands of dollars for a professional the investment is a drop in the bucket, but the knowledge that you’ll have a great document of one of the biggest days of your life is priceless.

Want more Previews? Just head over to Me & You Video and tell ‘em The Broke-Ass Bride Sent ya!

DIY Or Die: Hair Fascinators

Today is awesome! Know why? ‘Cuz today, we get to introduce you to our newest member of team broke-ass…. its Maddie, our intern extraordinaire! Please join me in giving a warm welcome, and enjoy her sick, crafty skills! Maddie is a recent college grad and LA transplant by way of Iowa. She’s a fellow ginger (which makes her even more awesome) and she’s settling into her new life, living with her long-term boyfriend and making our lives brighter and better every day!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love basically any sort of DIY project. If I buy a perfectly good dresser, I strip it, paint it, re-do the knobs and make it my own. If I buy a perfectly good dress, I rip some seams and add some new buttons and create a new look. JoAnns, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Home Depot are my Mecca.

Recently I’ve been DIY-ing my little apartment and decided it was time to create something more fun and less functional. I discovered that if you ever want to concern your boyfriend, a good strategy is to leave bridal magazines lying around your apartment and then drag him with you to fabric and craft stores so you can makes birdcage veils and fascinators and run around the wedding section like a crazy person. Yea, he’ll think you’re just totally normal after that experience. It’s okay though because craft stores like Michael’s have fun kids sections too and if your boyfriend is anything like mine, he’ll be intrigued and delighted that you can buy things like toy helicopters to paint and dinosaurs to put together. So buy your man some ridiculous crap at the craft store and he’ll shut up about you wandering the wedding section for an hour.

Anyways, this weekend I decided that I needed a little sparkle and pizazz in my life, and making a new hair accessory was just the thing I needed. With a little time and craftacular shinanigans I ended up with this bit of bling to rock my ginger locks.

Oh yeeeeah!

But rocking the goods is only half the fun, won’t you join me on my crafting adventure…

I started out by choosing some silk flowers…. which generally run from four dollars and up, but it’s incredible how realistic they look. It’s always nice to use real flowers in your hair too, but then they die and the fun is over. I picked out a big blue rose and some pink orchids to play around with. I know that some of the flowers can look huge and ridiculous, but don’t be afraid to take risks and go bigger. Go find a mirror in the store somewhere and and stick the flowers in your hair to get a good idea of how they will look with your style and hair color. Play around with it and find something that you love.

I got all my craft supplies gathered all together! Silk flower, rhinestones, hair comb, and a fun feather piece!

I also bought some feathers and rhinestones (I love me some sparkle!) and for the orchids I bought some netting. You can use tulle or Russian netting for birdcage veils, and it’s fairly cheap so you don’t have to worry about buying too much if you are going to end up with extras. I also bought a cheap package of hair combs so that the fascinator stays in your hair and you don’t need to worry about messing with bobby pins. Every time I use bobby pins I end up using way more than I need just in case they fall out, and inevitably I leave a trail of pins behind me wherever I go. A hair comb will stay securely in place and will be way less of a pain in your bootylicious bum.

I got home from the store, laid all of my craft purchases out on my kitchen table and created a little workspace. I started with the blue flower first. For this project, I needed some hot glue and a a tweezer to pick up the rhinestones and iron them on. When you open up the rhinestones, be sure to do so forcefully so that they go flying all over the place. Nope, just kidding. That’s just what I did. I live in a small enough apartment though that they couldn’t have gone flying very far. I bought hot-fix (or iron-on rhinestones) as I deem them the easiest little nuggets to work with. Just grab your tweezers, and iron that sucker on there! I’ve even been known to attach the rhinestones with a flat iron for hair in a pinch when I can’t find a regular iron. Innovation, people! Also, I only rhinestone and bling-ify the outer three or four layers of the petals as they are the only ones that will show. Don’t waste your time or energy putting rhinestones in the center unless you know that your flower will lay flat.

Start out by taking the flower apart and gluing it back with hot glue piece by piece and put the glue in a little spot in the center

Pop the stem off of the back of the flower either with some scissors or simply by pulling it off. I like to take the flower apart in layers if I’m going to be adding rhinestones. I also like to glue it all back together piece by piece for extra staying power. Just dab a little bit of hot glue in the middle and be careful when you handle the silk flower as the heat from the glue will seep through. I burnt my fingies nice and good! Once you’ve glued all of the floral layers back together you can chillax. That sucker ain’t going nowhere! Glue the feathers in before finishing with your top layer of flower. This way the base of the feathers are hidden. Once you put the flower all back together with the hot glue, glue back on the piece of the stem to hold it all in place.

hide the feathers in between a layer of the petals on the flower

The plastic part of the stem will be easier to glue onto the hair comb than the silk flower as a whole. Now just attach the comb to your flower and stick that sucker on into a ponytail or a bun….wait for the glue to dry though!

Once you put the flower back together, just attach the comb.

Here's how it looks on

Now wear it some place fab...like in your bedroom with a purple t-shirt you bought at target.

Broke-Ass Bonus!:

I also made another hair piece using the orchids and some netting. In order to secure the netting, you’ll need a needle and thread. You’ll have to play with the netting a bit to really get it to look how you want, but you can scrunch it up as much as you want and never ruin it.

scrunch the netting together and hold it so you can sew it in place.

It’s very resilient, so don’t worry about being too delicate with it. Once you get it in the shape you want, pinch the end of it together where the flower is going to be and sew it tightly so that it retains the shape you desire. Then just glue on the florals and the comb and voila!

See how easy that was?

You have two fantastic hair pieces with one tiny budget. Make one for yourself or have all of your bridesmaids over for a DIY partay! Drink champagne, have some brunch, and make hair pieces…. it’s a perfect day with the girls! Don’t operate a hot glue gun while consuming champagne though. I can’t be held accountable for such things. Have fun!

And just for fun? Here's the craft that my boyfriend made while I was busy making hair things. He sure is