Broke-Ass Category: Event Design & Reception Decor

9/12

One of the trends I immediately fell in love with on Pinterest was the paper flower. I thought they were beautiful and were a great way to cut down on floral costs. So, after pouring over hundreds of pictures online, I decided that I wanted to use paper flowers to decorate the wedding arch and the sweetheart table backdrop. I am toying with the idea of using them to create a selfie-station as well, but I am still undecided.

To be sure that I wasn’t biting off more than I could chew with this project, I decided to have a trial run. I wanted to make sure that:

  1. I was skilled enough to make them, I didn’t want to commit myself to something that was beyond my skill level.
  2. The time and stress involved in making the flowers were worth the savings. If I’m going to be up all hours of the night stressed out, it might be worth it to buy them ready made.

So, this week I decided to embark upon my flower-making journey with a classic flower.

A rose, by any other name, would still smell as sweet.

Now, normally I am not a fan of roses. Don’t get me wrong, they are pretty; but I prefer calla lilies, orchids, and peonies. However, I think roses transform perfectly into paper and would look gorgeous on my arch and backdrop. So, once I’d chosen the rose, I searched online for a template and tutorials on how to make them. During my search, I came across Pearl’s Crafts on You Tube. The rose that I saw her make in her videos were exactly what I was looking for. She also had some other flowers that I thought would be perfect for what I was planning for my wedding.

After looking through the comments, I discovered that she sells the templates for the flowers that she makes. So, I emailed her with a few questions including how much the templates were, and how and when would I receive them. Judy got back to me right away and was very sweet and helpful. Her templates normally run $13, which I though was reasonable. However, fate was smiling down on me that day, and she told me she was running a sale. So, I got the rose template plus three other templates for $25. And, the rose template includes a small, medium, and large version, so that was a great bonus.

Once I had the files, I printed the templates on 65 lb cardstock and mentally prepared myself for an evening of tracing, cutting and gluing.

No tools, no problem. Well… maybe it’s a little problem.

I knew from watching the videos, and from speaking with her that Judy used a cameo silhouette to cut out her petals. My sister has a Cricut, a similar machine, and she offered to let me borrow it whenever I needed it. Work was hectic this week, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to learn how to use the Cricut, as well as work on the rose. So, I decided to trace and cut the petals out by hand with scissors. I didn’t think it would be a big deal to cut out some petals. WRONG! By the time I got done cutting everything, my hand was killing me. I took a little break to massage my sore hand and kept on pushing.

Another tool that I was missing was the bone folder, which Judy uses to curl the petals of the flower. Now, she provides alternative methods of curling the paper, but I decided that I wanted to buy the tool. It wasn’t expensive, and I had a 40% off coupon for Michaels. (I love Michaels and their 40% off coupons.) Once again, I was too busy and unable to purchase the tool in time to make the rose. Rest assured, that I will be visiting Michaels before the weekend is out and my coupon expires.

After some moaning and groaning, I traced and cut out the twenty-six petals that are needed to make the rose. Now I was finally ready to start gluing

Petal power and folding finesse.

Once the petals were cut and folded, I glued four of the small petals together into a t-shape. Once I had two t-shapes, I began to roll and glue the petals together to make a cone. This would become the center bud of the flower. My bud didn’t come out exactly how I wanted, so I was a little discouraged. But, I continued to fold away until I was finished in the hopes that the finished product wouldn’t look so bad. Needless to say I wasn’t a happy camper at this point.

You catch more bees with honey than vinegar.

Next, I began to glue the twelve medium petals to the underside of the bud, two at a time. Once each petal was attached, I would bring the edges toward the bud and glue them down. This was kind of tricky as I didn’t want to have any ugly folds or ripped paper. I discovered that if I tried to force the paper where I wanted it to go, it would not obey. However, if I let it fold naturally it would look much nicer and give me less trouble. If you are kind to your paper, your paper will be kind to you.

Would you look at that, this paper is starting to become identifiable.

Once I got about halfway through gluing the medium petals, I could see the rose start to take shape, and I began to get excited. For the first time, I felt like maybe this was doable. Maybe I could make the beautiful flowers that I had seen on Pearl’s Crafts or Pinterest. At one point I got up from the kitchen to show my fiance my work. I felt like a little kid showing their dad what they made in art class that day, but I didn’t care. I was proud of myself, damn it!

The final step was to glue the six large petals. The petals were glued down side-by-side, one over-lapping the other to give the rose a finished look. Once I’d done five of them, I looked at my rose and I felt that the last petal wasn’t needed. I placed it on the flower, but it made the rose look uneven, so I left it off.

I earned my paper rose wings today. Yay! Now, somebody get me a drink.

I started making the rose at 9:00 P.M. I finished just after midnight. Yes, that was three hours of my life tracing, cutting, folding and gluing a single paper rose. Now, during that time I was also watching the tutorial, massaging my aching hands, and showing off my masterpiece. I’m sure once I get comfortable with the process it won’t take me so long. Plus, I’ll have the Cricut, so hopefully that will save me some time.  Having the bone folder will also save me some time as rolling the paper with a glue stick to curl the petals was awkward and time-consuming.

And the verdict is in…

Am I skilled enough to make the paper flowers on my own? YES. It was easier to make than it looked. Yes, I had some ugly fold lines, and I ripped the tip of a petal, but you can’t tell. The flower looks beautiful if I do say so myself. And I do.

Is making the flowers myself to save money worth the time, effort, and stress that goes into creating them? YES. I am confident that I can significantly cut down on the amount of time it takes to make the flowers. And, making the flower wasn’t particularly stressful. Even though it took me three hours from beginning to end, it didn’t feel that long. I can definitely see myself making paper flowers for other events. All in all, it was a good experience, and I am excited to continue learning and to start building up my paper flower stock pile. Full steam ahead!

Next up, the dahlia. Wish me luck!

  • 8/7

    So, one thing I wanted to wrap my head around before I got into the nitty-gritty of wedding planning was my list of DIY projects. I wanted to give myself plenty of time to do a test run for each project so that I could determine if:

    1. I had the skills or could learn the skills needed to create the item. I consider myself a crafting veteran, but I haven’t done EVERYTHING.
    2. I had the time needed to create all of the items before the wedding without pulling out my hair from the stress.
    3. I will actually save money by doing it myself, or if the money and time would be better spent on buying it ready made.

    I’m lucky in that I have a lot of family and friends who have offered to help with my various projects. But of course, I don’t want to take advantage of their generosity. So, while I have the option of outsourcing various projects to my loved ones, I want to use that option sparingly. My wedding isn’t the center of their life, and I don’t want to stress them out with a million projects.

    I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills.

    So, with that said, I sat down with my wedding binder and wrote down everything that I could possibly DIY. I’m not going to do all of them, but I wanted to see what my options were. Once I wrote everything down, I started moving items into two buckets:

    1. DIY Projects – these are projects that I felt my fiancé or I could take on ourselves.
    2. Outsource To Family & Friends – these are projects that I have asked people to take charge of because it involves a skill set that they already possess.

    I love making lists, it’s a sickness.

    Putting my inner crafting goddess to work.

    I’ve always loved decorating for parties, from my mom’s 50th birthday to my daughter’s 1st birthday and everything in between. I love, love, LOVE it! Therefore, decorating for my wedding was a no-brainer. Immediately, I placed ceremony décor and centerpieces into the DIY projects bucket. Next, I added stationery to include: Save-The-Dates, Invitations, RSVP cards and Thank You cards. I made the invitations for my daughter’s baptism, and I felt with enough time, they wouldn’t be a problem. Then, I added the backdrop for the sweetheart table. I’ve made backdrops before, for personal use and work events, and I felt that making one for the wedding was doable. 

    Lastly, I stuck the selfie-station and the paper flowers in this bucket as well. I’m a little worried about making all of the paper flowers I need to decorate the ceremony and reception space. So, I might end up making some and buying some, or swap them for something else. We’ll see how the test run goes. As for the selfie-station, I haven’t decided what that will look like yet, so I have more work to do. However, I know I want to make it myself.

    Next at bat: my fiancé.

    I chose two projects that I had my heart set on, but doubted I could do them by myself. Since my fiancé is a whiz at building things, I asked him to build the ceremony aisle arches and door-frame ceremony entrance. I know you are probably asking yourself, what the hell are those? I wanted to give my ceremony aisle that wow factor, by adding some arches draped in fabric. Something you don’t see often. Since we plan on the ceremony being outside, I wanted to create the illusion of “entering” the ceremony space. Hence the doorframe.

    My blueprint for the ceremony aisle arch that my fiance is going to build.

    Outsourcing: No need for references.

    The first project I added to this bucket was the wedding cupcakes. At first, I was going to do them myself. I used to work in a grocery store bakery as a cake decorator so I knew I could make them. But, I was worried about the timing and being stressed on my wedding day. One of my bridesmaids was also a cake decorator, so when she offered to make them I said, hell yeah! She’s going to do a tasting and everything, just like going to a bakery. I can’t wait. 

    Next, I added the wedding signage to this bucket. My sister/ bridesmaid got a Cricut last year for Christmas, and it has upped her crafting game significantly. She doesn’t want to be “in charge” of the signage, but she can take the lead. Then, when she is busy, she can pull me in, which is just as good. If I had to do all of the signs by myself, I probably wouldn’t do half of them.  

    Finally, I added the ceremony canopy where we will stand while we say our vows. My future sister-in-law/ grooms-maid is going to knock out this project for us. She is also handy, like her brother, and I thought she would do a great job with it. We are going to tag team it, she’s going to make the frame, and I am going to make the drapes.

    My plan for the centerpieces, this is an early draft.

    Don’t rush me, I’m still thinking about it!

    Now, there are three projects I’m still mulling over, and I go back and forth on them:

    1. Flowers – I don’t want to make my bouquet, but I am unsure about doing the flower arrangements. If I can get some reasonable quotes, I would prefer to hire someone to take care of them, and not have that hanging over me. If I had more experience with flowers, I wouldn’t worry so much, but I seriously lack a green thumb.
    2. Favors – I want to have some type of edible favor, but I don’t want the stress of baking something in the days leading up to the wedding. That’s why I outsourced the cupcakes. I am mulling over the idea of using candy, and have to hit up Pinterest for some more ideas.
    3. Bridesmaid tank tops – I like the idea of my bridesmaids having matching tank tops on while we get ready the day of. I love those pictures and think it would be fun. However, I don’t know much about making them, and I haven’t researched ordering them, so they are still an unknown at this point.

    Commence with the crafting parties!

    Now that I have my list, I can start testing projects. My plan is to do a few each month so that I have time to come up with alternative ideas if needed. I would like to have a game plan in place by the New Year, so I can create a crafting timeline. I will make an offering to the crafting gods, in the hopes that they will bless this massive endevor. Luckily, nothing is set in stone and if some projects have to go, then they have to go.

    Wish me luck!

  • 8/1

    It's really weird: Growing up, my little sister and I did not get along together at all. We are five years apart and at a young age the difference is unforgivable. In more recent years we are both coming to the realization that it's possible that we are both humans. It's a strange tingly new feeling. We actually talk to each other now and hang…

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    7/24

    After I got engaged, I spent a lot of time day dreaming about what my wedding might look like. I imagined the ceremony decor, reception centerpieces, flowers, and so on, but I never imagined a theme. I always thought themes were for proms, birthdays, and holiday parties, but a wedding … not so much. Themes can be beautiful and fun … for someone else. I…

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    7/17

    We’re in the home stretch for the wedding now. The countdown is at seven weeks. Last week, at the eight-week mark I had a mini panic attack about how close the wedding was and how much was undone. To calm myself, I sat down and tried to do two of the larger tasks that were left. I was finally able to tackle the program and…

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    5/10

    Pinterest is a wonderful wedding planning tool. There are so many options, suggestions and design ideas that quite possibly anyone, even without a "crafting thumb" could follow the instructions and make something wonderful. For months, I have collected these ideas on my special secret wedding planning board and I even shared with others that my planning progress was right on track, primarily because I had…

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    4/21

     This sponsored post is brought to you by Evite® and Olive Garden as part of the Evite® Influencer Program Wouldn't we all love to jet off and have a romantic destination wedding, especially somewhere as gorgeous as Tuscany? Unfortunately, with Broke-Ass budgets, dreamers can dream ... but, in that same vein, doers can make a dream come to life without even stepping on a plane.…

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    3/3

    Place card holders are a great way to dress up a place setting, but if your guest list is more than, uh, 20, it can quickly add. But creating your own diamond place card holders out of cement makes for a unique aesthetic. This simple DIY combines a couple of my favorite trends -- the industrial-chic look and modern, geometric shapes. Bonus: They're a functional gift once they've…

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    1/31

    My Pinterest board is filled to the brim with ideas. I've considered everything from building an altar from used pallet boards to growing my own rose garden and assembling the bridal bouquet. It's time for an intervention! I've known for years, well before I was officially engaged that I would be a "do it yourself" bride. Not just because of the cost savings but also…

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