Sunday, July 15, 2012

Awesome Easy Glass Painting

Saturday was a day for crafting. Try this transformation - it's a great way to add life to vases you have lying around the house.

It's been made aware to me that S, fiancé extraordinaire, is a pretty awesome guy. So awesome, in fact, that he goes along with most of my crazy schemes, ideas and plans. When I call him and say, "S, we simply have to go out into the woods to collect car fulls of tall sticks for decorating my parents anniversary party!" He just shrugs and asks when and where (and then brings garbage bags so I don't litter his car with leaves and bugs and things).

So a few weeks ago, when I had a brainstorm for funky wedding decorating ideas, he was fairly cool about it. ("S, lets find dozens and dozens of clear glass vases to paint as centerpieces for the wedding!) He was so cool, in fact, that he helped me search yardsales and thrift stores Saturday morning for clear glass vases, and then took me to my favourite arts and crafts store to purchase more glass paint.

Clear Glass Vases

Four of the vases I picked up at a thrift store, for seventy-five cents apiece (score!) This gorgeous, intricate decanter was from a yard sale for a dollar - in retrospect, they may have not sold it to me had they known I was going to fill it with purple paint.

Gorgeous Decanter
I used PermEnamel for painting. It retails for $5.99 at the arts and crafts store I work at, but went to $1.29 on clearance - and then 50% off all clearance items as a summer sale. For 65 cents a bottle, I purchased many in anticipation of painting a lot of vases for this wedding. 

PermEnamel Glass Paint
This glass paint is perfect for painting more delicate vases. While other paints require you to bake the item in the oven, this paint dries within hours and cures within a week. It's not as durable as other glass paint, but it is waterproof. I chose several different colours of purple (the amethyst colour is gorgeous), as well as red (raspberry sherbet!) blue and silver to mix up into different purples. 

Painting the vase
A very long paint brush worked wonders for painting the inside of the glass. Painting the inside makes for a fabulously professional appearance, but was really difficult for narrow necked vases. Instead, pour paint into the vase and rotate and swish the paint around until the entire inside is covered. The paint cleans up quickly from my hands and the brush with just water. I can't vouch for whether it is washable from clothing - although my shorts are splotched with purple paint, I haven't even tried to wash them yet. 

Painted Glass Vases
In retrospect, my biggest mistake was doing them in the hot sunlight of the backyard. The paint dried too quickly and wound up being streaky on a few vases. They still look great from the outside, but the insides are mottled. The next batch will be better. 

S hasn't seen these yet - I'm hoping he loves them as much as I do. We're hoping to mix and match different shaped vases with different colours of purple paint as the table centerpieces at the wedding - and then fill them with assorted grasses or fronds or sticks...It's an inexpensive alternative to flowers, and we certainly have the time and energy to make them ourselves!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gum Paste Flowers - First Attempt

Look what I made! Gum Paste Flower

This week I decided to start experimenting with gum paste. After much research, I found a recipe I wanted to try. The recipe offered by Wilton on the back of their Gum-Tex container was supposed to be easiest for beginners. This is part of the plan to possibly make my own wedding cake - assuming I can master the art of sugar flowers in the next two years.

However, the dough didn't work out as well as I'd hoped.

Gum Paste Dough
See the picture? Yeah, that's my hard, crumbly, weird smelling dough. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but I definitely intend to try again. I let this dough sit for 24 hours and attempted to use it anyway - it worked well enough for the flower, but was really difficult to roll out and shape.

I'd post the recipe, and the instructions, but then you'd all be as frustrated as me while working with this horrible stuff. I'll follow this post up with my next attempt at gum paste - next time, it will be perfect, and I will start my second career as a fabulous pastry chef .... in Switzerland...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

In Love (with this necklace)

Love Necklace
I first stumbled across this 'Hello Necklace' on, and it was love at first site. It's funny how being in love suddenly makes you love everything. I work part time at a local arts & crafts store teaching acrylic painting classes and jewelry classes (not at the same time, but that would be interesting). So when I came across some lovely 12 gauge aluminum wire one day, I happily picked it up and stashed it with the rest of my hoard of art supplies (don't tell S - I want him to marry me despite needing an entire room for art).

Creating this necklace was surprisingly easy.

Necklace Supplies

I had a small package of Swarovski crystals, as well as copious amounts of jump rings. Way too many jump rings. Jump rings coming out of my ears. I really need to stop buying jump rings.

I like using round nose pliers when working with aluminum wire because it dents so easily, but I also used plain pliers for attaching the jump rings.

Halfway Done!

Attaching the jump rings was easy, and to that I looped some eye pins on which I strung the Swarovski crystals. Necklace chain is easily found at department stores, craft stores, my basement, or repurposed from an existing necklace you aren't crazy about. I personally like that last option - it saves me from accumulating too much jewelry.

The final product was everything I hoped for and more. A fabulous present for someone? Perhaps I should make a matching set for my fabulous future Bridesmaids? And - when I get over this overwhelmingly loving mood, I really must make that Hello necklace.

Lovely Love Necklace

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dollars and Cents (and Sense)

When assessing how much a celebration like this was going to cost, S and I made lists. Well, I made lists - S just shook his head and rolled his eyes.

Some immediate things we needed to consider were:

1. How many people? While S has a relatively small family, and would have been more than happy to elope, I have a lovely large (loud) family and wanted them all there to celebrate our day with us.

2. The ceremony location: the cathedral we ultimately decided on is booked about a year in advance. We had strongly considered an outdoor location, but the thought of getting rained out was seriously off-putting. The hassle of booking a tent and chairs for the possibility of rain (plus some kind of ground cover so our guests aren't standing in a pool of mud) wound up being too expensive for our budget.

3. The reception hall: we visited many halls. Our first choice was a hotel ballroom. It was a great location, had a lot of amenities, but also a lot of additional fees. Corkage fees, cake cutting fees, hall rental fees, catering fees (want coffee with that? It'll be an additional 2$/person) plus gratuities. Oh you wanted your cake cut too? That'll be an additional $2.95/person. Don't even get me started on the open bar!

Our second choice was the Italian club my parents have been part of for years. It was a smaller hall, didn't have any anterooms, but was so much easier to deal with. Catering for this many people? Then there is no hall rental fee! Cake cutting fee? What the hell is that? Dealing with a smaller hall made for a much more personal experience.

Opinion of Probable Cost: Wedding Style

At work I often have to assemble an Opinion of Probable Cost (OPC) for different building projects - adding up different materials and labour costs, plus a contingency and taxes, to figure out what a project might add up to.

Wedding Cost Estimate

I adjusted the costs to reflect typical costs in my area, while still allowing for some contingency money. It adds up fast! As we begin to pay for things, I'll update the 'Actual Cost' column to track our spending. Poor S just about had a heart attack when I showed him! I'm really glad we have two years to figure this out...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Proposal

Three things crossed my mind when S proposed to me.

1. Oh! I'm the happiest girl in the world!
2. I can't wait to tell my friends and family!


3. How the hell are we going to pay for a wedding?

It's been a month since then. 

I spent the time calling different halls, churches, inns. I researched destination weddings - because eloping would be a welcome relief to S, who is now faced with having two hundred of my loud Italian relatives descend on him at our wedding. Poor guy, but I did warn him what he was getting in to.

Our guest list stands around 250. Our hastily established wedding bank account now contains $710.58. Possible? Not remotely!

I have 25 months before the wedding. This is my todo list:

1. Earn, beg, borrow, or steal around $25 000.

2. Find a FABULOUS used dress and alter it to fit my curvy frame. But who knows? Possibly over the next two years I'll find a way to afford an adorable vintage one?

3. Take engagement photos. Find someone to do it for free. Wait to print pictures until after the wedding is paid off.

4. Make 'Save the Date' cards. I'm thinking photobooth pictures, kisses and silliness and big signs reading "We're getting married!!"

5. Make wedding invitations. Recycled paper? Only if I'm recycling it myself!

6. Make Bridemaid's gifts: Little do those lovely women know, but I've acquired some gorgeous hot pink T-Shirts that I will paint. Glitter will likely be involved, they will be sensationally girly, and I can see them squirming with horror already. (real Bridesmaids gifts will be involved, more research to follow)

7. Design table centrepieces - I'm thinking re-purposed old bottles and vases, painted multiple shades of purple? I love this idea already!

8. Wedding cake. I can bake, fairly well, and I can decorate (also fairly well) so reasonably I should be able to decorate my own cake, right? I shall immediately start baking 'test' cakes and decorating them fabulously. Poor S, he has a lot of taste testing to do.

9. Make wine. Investigate wine kits sales. Luckily our hall has no corkage fees! Heck yes for lucky breaks!

10. Thank you cards - make them? Buy them? Wholesales?

11. Design seating chart. I can't wait to figure out who gets to sit with S's grandmother!

12. Put together music playlist. This will be fun.

13. Find Bridesmaids dresses. I want my fabulous girls decked out in purple, with different styles to suit each one. We're going to have fun with this one!

14. Coordinate wedding rings. Diamonds? No diamonds? S loves the idea of tungsten rings. All the rage or a passing phase?

That's enough todo list for now. Thoughts?