Saturday, March 31, 2012

Making of a Wedding: The Invitations

Step one in preparing for a wedding: the invitations. This first step was undeniably the most difficult of all for me. Mostly because I had never done a wedding invitation before, and also because I was totally clueless about what dd and her fiance wanted. I did know what they didn't want... NO PAPERPIECING.... and NO ASIAN THEMES... *SIGH* I was being denied creative access to the two things I enjoy the most...paperpiecing (what, no Cricut?), and Asian themes ( cherry blossoms?)
After spending months of working on and creating about 10 samples and variations (all of which were rejected), dd came across a photo of the lovebirds figurine you see in the photo above and announced she wanted to do a lovebird themed wedding. Finally, I had some direction and ran with the theme.

After coming up with the first samples of this invite, I thought, "Okay, this seems simple and easy enough...." But I didn't realize how much time it would take to print and cut all those pieces of paper for all those layers! Thank goodness for all the help dh provided scoring and putting together most of the base card and pockets on these! When dd and her fiance were here in November they helped with much of the layering and assembly as well.
The embossing folder I used on the invites is a Cuttlebug European folder called Jamara. Although there are several beautiful embossing folder designs available in the US, most of them (A2 size) weren't wide enough, whereas the European folders are 5x7. I purchased mine from Crop Stop where I found a huge selection of embossing folders from several different companies. Best thing is that they will ship any number of embossing folders, dies and stamps to you at a incredible flat rate of $2!
To do the embossing (3 embossed panels on each invite!) I used an electric Big Shot machine. Never could have gotten it done without it! I'm sure my arm would have fallen off trying to crank 600 pieces of cardstock through my manual Big Shot. Thank you to my bff, Aunty Pat for letting me use her machine.
The birdcage and lovebird images printed on the invitation are from Cricut's Straight From the Nest Cartridge. LOL! I just had to get my Cricut involved in this project one way or another! The images were imported from Design Studio into Photoshop where I added color and saved them as jpegs. The branch image is part of a digital flourishes package I purchased from my favorite digital craft store, My Grafico.
The beautiful papers and cardstock I used...White Gold (cream colored cardstock with shimmery gold undertones) for the basecard and embossed panels; Opal Text (creamy pearlescent text weight paper) for printing and the mats; were purchased locally at my favorite store for beautiful papers, Creations Unlimited. Colored cardstock is Pinkini and Green Tea from Bazzill.
Two hundred twenty five invites were finally completed by early December and ready for mailing... whew! Now I understand why they charge so much for custom made invitations!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Year of the Dragon Calendars

While in the midst of all the craziness and stress of getting stuff ready for dd's wedding last month, I received some happy mail from my dear friend Gene...these two beautiful Year of the Dragon calendars! These could not have come at a better time...I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with what seemed like an endless number of wedding projects, and finding Gene's calendars in the mail really brightened my day and brought a smile to my heart!
Just LOVE this octagonal easel calendar which now sits on my computer desk...all the gold leafing details, pretty sakura blossoms...and the stamped and embossed dragon medallion she used as the stop on this looks almost like real metal!
...And this larger calendar magnet Gene sent now adorns my 'frig! Just can't get over how amazing and intricate this Cheery Lynn Designs dragon die is! Also love how she used the Sizzix Architectural Accents corner dies to create the frame for the, super creative!
One more dragon year calendar I received that I want to share...this adorable mini calendar was created by a sweet friend, Darcie who also spent time to give me a much needed mini lesson on Copic coloring techniques...thank you, Darcie!
I just love my new calendars! I've always thought they make such great useful gifts, but just never have the time to make them. I'm so lucky to have such talented and thoughtful friends....thank you ever so much, Gene and Darcie!

Friday, March 16, 2012

For My Daughter, the Bride to Be...

So here it is version of the neat-o tri-fold screen card created by Aunty Mollie a long while back! I wanted to do a special card to include with dd's shower gift, so I finally sat down with Aunty Mollie's beautiful card to try and figure out a way to come up with something similar. Using her card as a template, I traced the shape of the base card onto a piece of paper, scanned it, then had MTC trace it into a cuttable file.
Here's how the card looks on the inside after removing the belly band...
I think the hardest part was to get a cuttable file for the frame on the inside of the card that would fit just right and allow the two sides of the card to close nicely flat. It took a bit of fiddling around, but I was finally able to size the frame so it would fit.

Wedding gown inside the frame was put together with scallop circles cut from ice gold text weight paper using dies from the small and large set of Nestabilities. These were then folded and layered by adhering one inside the other. Scallop edges were then stickled and embellished with pearls.
Just about the time I was putting this card together was about the same time we had just finished folding the 1001 origami cranes for dd's wedding... And since I wanted to add some Asian flavor to my card to go with my mom's Asian themed shower centerpieces and favors, I decided to use my Carl Craft origami crane punch to punch out a few gold cranes to add behind the dress and to the bellyband. The resulting finished card was nowhere near as awesome as Aunty Mollie's, but dd seemed pretty happy with it!
Ok, I guess that wraps it up for the wedding shower on to the wedding preparations!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Showers Of Love

Here's the invitation created and sent to the guests by my sil Sherry, for dd's wedding shower. Just love the girly feminine look! So pretty!!
Sherry used her Cricut and the Wedding Solutions cartridge to cut the hearts from glittered cardstock, and a Sizzix 3 Dots embossing folder (from Birthday Set #2) for the base. She used a Stampin Up! scallop trim border punch and 'You're Invited' stamp from their Sincere Salutations set for the ribbon border, and I think the little popped up butterfly is a Martha Stewart SWEET! Thank you so much, Sherry!
Also want to share a few of the lovely handmade cards dd received with her gifts that day...
This beautiful sakura decorated gift card holder was created by calabash cousin, Sherry... She always does amazing work! Check out all the layers she used to create these blossoms and notice how she puffed up and shaped each individual petal  with a shaping tool for a wonderful 3D effect...
And these two sweet cards from our super talented Aunty Mollie...she used her brand new eClips cutting machine to cut the images on these! Love all the extra touches she added to make each card so special and one of a kind....neat umbrella background embossed onto the basecard with stickle glitter raindrops....and shiny silver brads for the towel bar! So creative!
Many thanks from the heart from dd and myself for everyone who made this day so wonderfully memorable and extra special! Thank you everyone for braving the traffic that day...sitting in traffic waiting for President Obama's APEC entourage pass was NOT FUN!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Beckoning Good Fortune

Ready for a cultural lesson? When dd and her fiance returned to the islands in November to finalize details for their wedding, my mom and sil threw a wedding shower for them. My mom, who is a plastic canvas fanatic, stitched up "maneki neko" or "fortune cat"vases for the centerpieces and filled "masu" boxes with mochi for the favors.
The "maneki neko" or "fortune cat" is a Japanese symbol of beckoning good fortune (see how the cat has his paw lifted as if to say, "Come in, come in, good fortune!") The kanji characters mom stitched on the gold coin read "sho fuku" which translates to "welcome in, good fortune!"
The little square black laquered boxes are "masu" boxes, which were once used by the Japanese to measure rice. In old Japan, one's wealth was often measured by "masu", or the amount of rice they owned. The character in gold on the boxes is read as "fuku" which translates to "good fortune".
The masu boxes were filled with dd's favorite "chichi dango" or sweet milk mochi, wrapped in cellophane bags and closed with these pretty sakura. Each delicate petal on these blossoms were painstakingly hand shaped from paper clay and put together to create each sakura by my amazingly talented "calabash" (extended family) cousin, Sherry. Aren't they absolutely beautiful? Thank you so much, Sherry! Your sakura added such a special touch to the favors.
And many, many thanks from the bottom of our hearts to my sil and mom for working so hard to throw such a lovely wedding shower for dd at such short notice!