Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Lentz!

I've come to realize that no matter what time of day you've scheduled for your wedding, you still don't have enough time to get everything ready - not even if you've got nuptials at midnight. The day of the wedding was quite hectic. I suppose it didn't help that I needed to pick up my rental truck for the big move the day after the wedding, Jerry's car broke down and my makeup expert was stuck at a doctor's appointment for an hour past our appointment time. My mother and sister carried the bulk of the workload and got everything presentable and I can't ever thank them enough. Frankly, no matter what kind of unepected things life throws your way on your wedding day, just remember it's the end result that's important. For me, that means I am married to the most wonderful man in the world, the love of my life, Jerry!


Cake Beef

Three days before the wedding and I decide it's wise to check up on last minute details, like calling to make sure they have the directions for the cake and cupcakes correct. We did decide to order them from Sam's Club, and the total for 70 cupcakes and one 5-inch round cake came to around $40, which is less than most people spend on a cake topper. I had left explicit instructions and was just hoping they could read my handwriting even though I had gone over everything with the employee when I placed the order. Of course, when we went back to do the ordering, the worker was nowhere to be seen. We waited patiently for about 5 minutes when I spotted a hapless produce worker. Although it wasn't his department, he came over to help. He said, after searching through the back of the bakery, that the lady working should be there as it is store policy if you're taking a break to let your coworkers know. He then got me an order form, and although he couldn't tell me any prices, he did what he could. When the bakery lady finally reappeared, the produce guy said, "Where were you?" She said, "I was on break." He then reminded her about the policy of letting people actually know you were on break, and she said, "I'm to grown to follow those rules." When she was good and ready to get to work, I set about describing everything I wanted. I wrote it out, read it to her, looked in her face to see if what I was saying was registering, then asked if she understood. All was well, and the order would be ready the day before the wedding. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I called about the cake only to find out from the lady on the other end of the phone that doing what I wanted was just not possible. They have a 5-inch round cake that comes with 10 cupcakes, and since Jerry's great niece and nephew were going to be there and their birthdays were coming up I thought we should include them and wanted half of those cupcakes to be Spiderman and the other half Hello Kitty while making the 5-inch cake pink. Since they were kiddies, I wanted the super-sweet frosting on the cupcakes but the more subdued flavor on the cake. No-can-do, she informs me. I also ordered two 30-piece cupcakes of mixed flavors, and was told I couldn't do that, either. You apparently can't mix frosting flavors, divide up characters in the same order, or have chocolate and vanilla cakes in the same order, either, although that was not what I was told when the order was placed. Then the disembodied voice tells me, "This is not a specialty bakery." Hmm, she must have had these problems before to be ready with that smart-ass remark so quickly. I told her I was fully aware they weren't a specialty bakery, and after some changes on my part, I think we'll still come out with almost the same chocolate to vanilla cupcake ratio and buttercream to whipped frosting ratio. You may be wondering what I did about the Spiderman and Hello Kitty cake toppers I wasn't able to get, so I'll tell you. I opened my laptop, found cute pictures of each of the characters and printed them out in glorious color on my printer. I then cut them out and attached the pictures to toothpicks with the help of a glue stick. I ended up getting what I wanted to begin with, even though I had to do a bit of the work myself.

Finishing Touches

Is it really this easy? Do I really have everything checked off my list of things to do (aside from last minute stuff, of course)? Yesterday I went to town with Mom and the girls and we ran a few errands. Payed for the venue, ordered the cupcakes, got some extra napkins. Aside from buying backup drinks for people who don't care for punch, that's it! I've gone over my to-do list several times and there's nothing else to do but wait for the big day. Jerry's wrapping up the last minute additions to the music playlist, too. Of course, that's when I'll be running around like crazy finally remembering things I even forgot to write down on my precious list. Got my makeup appointment with the fabulous guy at Belk - first he said 3:00, but when I asked if he could do false eyelashes he got a gleam in his eye and said, "Let's make it 2:30 just to be safe." Think I'm capable of doing my own hair. Can't do it too early because of some genetic defect that never allows anyone in my family's hair to stay looking like they want it for longer than 1 hour, no matter how much product is involved. The wedding's getting closer and I'm so excited!

Our Rings!

I had been looking around to find someone to solder the 2 pieces that would make up each of our wedding rings for a while. Some people didn't want to do it because, frankly, they didn't make the jewelry and wouldn't be making enough profit. Greedy bastards! After seriously contemplating using J.B. Weld, I decided to try one more place, and their jewelry-maker on staff was very nice. He really liked the ring design. I showed him exactly how I wanted the initials to be centered on the rings and he did a little drawing so he could get it right. Then the sales lady came over so she could take a picture of what I wanted to he would be sure to get it right. Only she placed everything backwards in the photo! I showed her at least 5 times how I wanted it, but she just couldn't get it through her tiny brain. Luckily, the jewelry guy knew what I was talking about (and just to be sure, I asked if it could be taken back apart should it be done incorrectly). He told me he could have it ready by the next day since I had come in at 4:30 in the afternoon. Good enough for me! After running a few errands I got home to a ringing phone. It was the jewelry store telling me the rings were ready. He liked them so much he couldn't wait to get working on them. It cost $34 to get them both soldered, which was about what it cost to have them made, but at least they're finished and ready. We love them - Jerry's design is perfect!

Perfectly Suit-able

We ordered Jerry's suit from I know ordering online can be a crap shoot, but this time we came out the clear winners. We found a black lightweight 2-button wool suit for only $59.99. It was European cut, just the way Jerry wanted, a slim cut that said order 1 size up as they run small. As a bonus, they were offering free shipping, so we saved a big $2.50 right there. When the suit came in the mail it was better than I expected (although it did get good reviews on the website). I pulled up the cuff to make sure the size was correct and saw the MSRP - it was $375! Wow, we did really well! I was worried maybe it wouldn't work out, so I was very pleased when Jerry tried it on and it was a perfect fit. He looked so handsome (he does all the time, but the suit was very becoming on him). All I need to do now is hem up the pants. That shouldn't be too big a chore. We've already got the skinny tie (from Hot Topic for $10) and white shirt (also a good deal at Burlington Coat Factory - a Perry Ellis for $17). I think we've got ourselves covered!


Some Things Ring True

How pretentious does it sound to say, "We've had 2 silver artists work on the creation of our wedding bands designed by Jerry"? Well, that's not how it's intended but that is how it's going. The wonderful lady who crafted our bands doesn't do casting, so I found someone else on etsy to do that part. This artist told me the incredible story of breaking her neck several years ago and until recently not even being able to use her right arm and hand at all. She found out she loves jewelry design and creation, and when I sent her the poorly crafted Sculpey piece for her to make our ring top castings, she was so excited to get to work on them that she had to force herself to stop and go to bed the first night she worked on them. She even had a bit of silver left over and made me a matching charm for a necklace. I can't wait until we get them in the mail and can finally get our rings finished. She asked to hear our story, and she really seemed moved by it. It's great to see so many people have a wonderful reaction to it. There are so many bad things that go on in the world, and even in people's personal lives, that I think everyone still loves to hear a happy ending, no matter how jaded they pretend to be. Nobody, though, is happier about it than I am.


Flower Pen

Got inspired once again by, this time in reference to the guest book. Mom got the cutest journal with a loving sentiment on the front that's just perfect and only cost her $3 on clearance at Burlington Coat Factory. Yep, they sell more than coats! My sister asked me about a pen, and truthfully I hadn't thought much at all about one. I figured I'd probably end up pulling one out of my purse and using that. Well, not anymore! The idea of having a pen that looked like a flower was just too appealing. I modified what they said to do on the website, of course. Instead of using a plastic flower I made one from the scraps I had left over from cutting the bottom of Erin's dress off. Then I ran a wire through it's base, twisted it around a regular ink pen and taped it on with electrical tape (it was handy and is thicker than Scotch tape so I'm hoping it'll hold better). Then instead of florist's tape, I used fabric glue to glue some bright green ribbon to the top and started winding down the pen. Once I reached the bottom, I cut the ribbon to length and tacked that side down, too. It still wasn't over the top enough for me, so I decided this flower needed some leaves. I broke out the hot glue gun this time, gluing a circle of more green ribbon, pinching it in the center and gluing that down, then glued that to the bottom of the rose. Now, that's a pen worth writing about!


Must Be A Sign

Making signs that lead guests to the wedding has been on my to-do list for quite a while - ever since I wrote a blog about where we were going to hold the event and posted the cutest picture of these rustic wooden signs leading the way. I really wanted some free scraps of wood, so I set off to my local do-it-your-own-damned-self store to see what they had. I met a friendly older guy wearing those new style butt shaping sneakers and he walked with me over to the lumber area. He didn't see any scraps where they usually have them so he was about to give up. I asked if he could find someone who'd been working back there; maybe they knew if they threw everything out already today. He stops this large Hispanic guy named, I kid you not, Nufo. Sounds like some kind of dirty text-speak abbreviation. Nufo was very nice and accommodating, though. He took me to the section where there was a cart of scrap pieces. They had quite a bit. The only bad thing was it wasn't free - it was a big 51 cents per piece. I spotted exactly what I wanted in 2 large pieces. It isn't wood, exactly, but it looks like wood, even has grain. It looked too long to put in the tiny car, so I asked if that stuff could be broken, and was assured it was easy to do, as that's why it was in the scrap pile in the first place. I didn't want to break it until I got it out to the car, though, so I'd have to pay for 3 pieces instead of 2. Yes, I'm that cheap. Nufo asked what I wanted it for, and I told him about my signs and our idea about having the least expensive wedding ever. He was interested and asked some questions. I told him about the blog and he said, "You don't need a blog, you need to write a book!" Glad he was nice enough to carry my purchase to the cash register, because the cashier took a little convincing that my treasure was only going to be a grand total of $1.09. She either finally believed him or just didn't care anymore and rang me up, then Nufo toted my stuff out to the car, snapped the larger piece in half and loaded it in. I may enlist Erin's creative talent to help me paint the actual signs, and I love that I won't need to use power tools to cut them down to size!


It's a Wrap?

Maybe I'm psychic - sometimes Jerry says I am but I know he's just joking. Woke up with a splitting headache while staying at my sister's and the feeling of dread that I was going to be late for my appointment. Mom got Jill and me a wonderful gift for Christmas - a massage package from a local spa! Of course, when I woke up the clock on my side of the bed said 7 a.m., so I was okay to go back to sleep. Besides, I never sleep past 9 anyway. I wake back up at 10 and figure I'd been really tired because of work, so as I was lying there contemplating running to get everyone sandwiches before heading off to the spa, Jerry jolts up and asks me what time it is. I look at the glowing red numbers and tell him it's only 10. That's when he tells me it's 11 on the clock on his side. I grab my cell phone for an unbiased 3rd opinion and get 11. Damn you, Ben Franklin and your daylight savings time! Jill changed every clock but the one I was using! I bolted out of bed, threw on some clothes and was headed out the door as fast as I could to meet Jill. We decided we'd like to go at the same time and asked them to schedule it that way. When we got there, the entire thing was done in separate rooms, so we might as well have not changed up our schedules to be sure this could be some sister time. The massage therapist comes out to greet me and asks how I'm doing. I'm not one to mince words, so I tell her I've got a headache and feeling kinda stressed. "Maybe you'd like to reschedule for another day?" Is she crazy? The massage should relieve the stress, and maybe the headache (although it was from pollen). I tell her no, I'd like to go ahead and have my treatments, please. This place apparently only had one room with a shower, so I was the lucky girl who got it first. She told me to strip down to my undies and lie on my back on the table under the sheets so she could do the scrub. I was rubbed with a sea salt almond oil paste that felt good until she hit my legs. Holy cow, that was rough! I'm directed to go shower so she can do my wrap. I go into the shower room and try to manipulate my underpants in such a way as to get them off without making a salt deposit. It was impossible, so I shook them out in the shower hoping to dislodge most of the salt. Now it's time for the wrap. I put the towel around myself and slide the door open. I ask her if I need to put my undies back on. In my mind it wouldn't make sense, and I'm no prude, but since she had me keep them on during that salt scrub I had no idea. She acted uncomfortable and told me I didn't need to. Okey, dokey, I get on the table and get ready for that wrap. I've seen them on TV shows and movies, I kinda know how it's supposed to go. It didn't go like that at all. She had me lie on my back and brushed me with some kind of herbal powder on my legs and arms. Then she had me sit straight up while she applied it to my back. Why she couldn't have me roll over and put it on my back is a mystery to me. Once my back was slathered she says, "Okay, you can go shower off." Where's the wrap? Since I hadn't had one before, I thought maybe that's how this particular one was done. I shower once again then have to head to another room for my massage. So, apparently Jill got the massage first then the wrap. The massage was good when I finally received it, and once it was over I waited a bit for Jill to come out and we compared notes. Turns out she got wrapped up in several layers of sheets and got to lie there in her powder. So, all that time I was waiting for her to come give me that massage she was taking some kind of break, I guess. I called Monday morning and spoke to the office manager, who apologized and offered me a free scrub and wrap so I know how it can be done right, and not with the same therapist, either. I'm going to schedule that a day or 2 before the wedding. Hopefully it'll be done correctly and I won't break out!


Still Shopping

Went shopping with Jerry, Jill and the girls yesterday. Jill was on the hunt for her matron of honor dress. The first place we hit was the bridal shop where I picked up Marilyn and Erin's $10 dresses. For some reason the dresses that cost $10 were few and far between, and then to find them in one of our several wedding colors was about impossible. Lots of pink and brown available, which reminds me of a box of assorted chocolates. She finally found one in the right colors but in a size that was too large for her (12). It was really cute, tea length, black with a white band across the top with white straps. She could have worn it after the wedding, too. So she takes it into the dressing room and yells out the door, "Can someone help me zip this? It isn't going on. This can't be right - that's not even my size!" I try the zipper to no avail. Finally the sales girl floats back in our direction. I ask, "Are the sizes here smaller, like vintage dresses (where a 12 would really be more like a 2)?" She says they aren't, then looks at the dress. "Oh, that's a junior bridesmaid dress - that's for a child." I start laughing as the wave of relief washes over Jill's face. I pull up the tag - nowhere on it does it state that this dress is for a child. Nice. After that we head to the mall, but all they've got are super-mini dresses or over-the-top sparkly prom dresses. Although she didn't find what she wanted everyone had a good time. We did find Jerry a nice shirt for his black wool suit that we ordered from, which was a grand total of $59.99 with free shipping. It'll get here tomorrow, and I'm optimistic it'll be a good fit. While at the mall I also went by the makeup counter where that fabulous makeup artist, Tim, works, but unfortunately he was out to lunch. One of the pinch-faced ladies who also works there and seemed annoyed that he was the one I wanted to talk to finally relented and gave me his business card. I called him when I got home and as of now it's too early to book and appointment with him, so hopefully I'll remember to call back 3 weeks before the event when he'll know his schedule. And, he says it's no charge! I think I'll try to remember my false eyelashes to see if he can stick those suckers on, too, because I have the worst time trying to get them on. Little by little we're whittling away at the things that need to be done before the wedding. I hope we can keep up the pace!

Can You Stand It?

Ever wake up with one of those headaches that feels 3-D, sitting in the center of your poor brain, pushing it's way towards your eyeball as if that were the path of least resistance to escape your head? If not, you're lucky. Me, not so much. That's how I welcomed daylight savings time, minus one hour of sleep and plus a screaming headache. Wouldn't have been so bad if I could have just hibernated in bed for a couple of hours, but I had to get to work. Had a much better day the day before - even got some free stuff! Okay, one was a set of funnels, and I haven't figured out a way to use them for the wedding yet, but the other was a square candle stand painted a garish gold with fleur-de-lis all around. Brought it home and painted it a less garish fuchsia and highlighted the fleur-de-lis with pink. Now it can be used on the buffet table to hold a bowl or something. We also got a free lunch, but you get what you pay for and we got sticky spaghetti noodles, watery sauce and skunky tea. Oh, well. Held me over until we got home and could get a snack to eat. Also hit a book store that was going out of business (what a shame). Erin got several Manga books for ten cents each - not bad considering they usually sell for $10, and I picked up a couple of books for Jerry that I think he'll enjoy. He's so well read; I really admire that about him, among the thousands of other things that make him wonderful. Only 75 days until the wedding, and it can't come soon enough!

Busy Bee!

I may be slacking on my blog entries, but I'm certainly busy with the actual wedding. That's much better than the other way around. I have made a little ring bearer's pillow, finished both Marilyn's and Erin's dresses (which don't look as good on the hanger as they do on the people, so no posting of that picture here). I also printed up a few invites for the people who don't have email (like my grandparents). I also made some more decorations. We're going to hang record albums from the ceiling, so I made about a dozen strands of them with the help of some fishing wire. Hey, they were free and that seemed like a good thing to do with them. When we're done with them, maybe my friend Ruth would like to take them with her so they can be used for our class reunion. I'm all about recycling! On top of the records, along with Marilyn's help I made several dozen paper hearts. If you want directions on how to make those, please see my earlier post. I just used magazine paper strips instead of ribbon and stapled them instead of using floral wire. I'd pat myself on the back but over the last 5 days or so I've had a pinched nerve between my discs at the level of my shoulder blades. It seems to get better for a while then comes right back. Friday I had a really bad spell and Jerry fixed me right up with a great massage. I felt fine for the rest of that day and all day Saturday, but woke up this morning with the same problem. Having to work with back pain is no fun, so my work day is gonna feel even longer than usual. At least I've got several wedding to-do projects out of the way!


Perfect Proposal

Here's the proposal - Jerry outdid himself. It was perfect, of course, a proposal that will raise the bar for other men. Not that they should propose in this exact way; that's not what makes this perfect. Rather, it's the fact that he took a personal moment in our lives and made that the scene of his proposal. He put a lot of time, energy and effort into it, and it couldn't have been more special.


Flower Girl Dress

This will be a short one. I finished Kendall's flower girl dress! Jerry and I both like it. I just love the pattern of the fabric. This is done in the pillowcase dress style, and I did it without a pattern. I just measured the fabric against a pillowcase with the hem folded up so as to be the right length, then cut my fabric to size. Next, I cut "J"s for the arm holes, folded over the edges (making sure to make the openings for the ribbon to run through at the neck edge. Unlike the design online, I made a little keyhole opening in the front of the dress so the bow could be tied in the center. Then I hemmed up the contrasting band for the bottom and attached it. Once the ribbon was in, the dress was finished. I think it took about 1-1/2 hours total to make. I hope she likes it as much as we do.


How To Make Record Album Bowls

I decided to go ahead and make some centerpieces for the tables at the reception. If you haven't signed up, you might like to join your local Freecycle. That's where I got the supplies for my latest project. I asked for record albums in any condition, and a nice lady was kind enough to donate about 75 of them to our cause. I got online and searched for directions on how to make record album bowls, because I'd seen them and really liked them.

First, make sure you don't have some great album you'd like to keep (even though you probably don't own a record player).

I cleaned the records first, per Jerry's suggestion, as it has to be easier to clean them before they are hot and the dust sticks to them. All I used was a damp paper towel.

Once the oven is heated to 350 degrees, place the album on top of a coffee mug that's resting on a cookie sheet.

Keep an eye on it! The directions I found online said to leave it in for 5 minutes, but it didn't take nearly that much time. After about 15 seconds I could see the record start to wilt. I would open the oven, turn the pan and let it continue to wilt. Once it has drooped sufficiently on all sides, remove it from the oven with potholders.

The album cools rather quickly, so start moving it to the shape you'd like. I kept the potholders on my hands for a bit so I didn't burn myself. After a while you can use your bare hands, just be careful. Once you feel resistance, time is very limited so start shaping quickly.

Set it on the counter and let it cool. Put down paper towels if you're afraid of messing up the counter top, but I didn't encounter anything like that. I made a dozen in less than an hour. I plan on putting non-edibles in these bowls. If you decide to put food inside, put another bowl in it or line it with plastic wrap!



I've got about 3 major projects going at once on top of an 8 hour work day taking about 12 hours to complete, so I haven't found much free time for writing lately. Here's an update, though. The place we were seriously considering renting, down to the point of having a contract drawn up and the deposit ready to be sent, has fallen through for us. When digging deeper into why a place would want me to take out an insurance policy, it seems the reason is because they don't have any insurance of their own. WTF?!? They have people in that building at least 2 days a week and no insurance? What if someone slips and falls trying to shake a leg during their concert nights? Talk about people living on the edge! They asked us to give them a week to get some before going with someone else. Well, the week's up and Mom has reserved another place. And no deposit needed. And no payment until 2 weeks before the event. And it costs half as much as the original place. And they have insurance! The best way to describe the place is "bare bones". I have no problem with that; we can decorate. Even if every single person on our list does come, and that's about 70 people, the place will accommodate them all. The parking lot is paved, too, which it wasn't at the other venue.

So, what projects am I working on? First, I've been folding tissue paper like a madwoman making giant poms for decorating. For some reason I was better at this when I was in elementary school. Now I more often than not fold it unevenly and end up with a lopsided fan. I guess it's because the tissue is so large that it's harder to handle. I press on, though. I now have 25 of those suckers made in various colors. Oh, and as an aside, after taking Marilyn to get her stomach and esophagus checked out at the hospital she felt like walking off the anesthesia so we strolled the mall. I had a bright idea about scoring some free tissue from Victoria's Secret. I went in and asked a sales girl if I could have 8 sheets, as they were my wedding colors and I wanted to make a pom. She said, "No problem, just tell them after you finish shopping that you'd like some extra." Silly girl, I wasn't shopping! Marilyn and I were smelling the new lotions when Jerry reappears from the back of the store with a bag, and when he holds it up I see it's full of tissue! He's so wonderful! I ended up with enough tissue to make 6 more poms. The second project I've got going is Kendall's flower girl dress. I am making a pillowcase dress and it's about halfway done. Thirdly, I'm trying to work on Erin's dress. I had to chop about 8 inches off the hem as she doesn't care for tea length dresses. Once I get that sewn up I'm making a lace overskirt of black. I think it's going to be really cute. Marilyn wants a corset for the middle of hers, but I'm not even going to worry about that until I get these projects done. With a little over 3 months to go I need to get busy!

Blazing a Trail

Just when I think everything's under control my mind reminds me I need something to worry about so I can function normally. So, since my sister and mom are helping out I thought I was having a little load taken off. Oh, not so. While trying to get the venue of choice to send me a contract so that I can get my deposit back should they sell (which,rumor has it, they may) or burn to the ground. Instead they hit me with a surprise "you need to get some insurance on our place of business, even though we have it insured" clause. Nice! So, worry kicks in again, but not too much. I call around to 3 different agencies; the first 2 have yet to call me back with a quote and the third lady gave me one over the phone, "$450 total is probably the least you're looking at." I say, "Really, for 3 hours I need to pay that much? We're not even serving alcohol! I doubt that's how much the business pays for a month's worth of insurance." She tells me she'll call to see what she can do. I've yet to hear back. If I hadn't asked for that contract I wonder when they were going to decide to hit me with that insurance rider. After I'd made a deposit, no doubt. That'd bring the total of the venue up over $675, and for that price I could get us a much swankier place. I just don't want to spend that much for a couple of hours. Now the worry kicks into high gear. Where the hell are we gonna hold our wedding? Our save the date cards just went out, so the date's set! I call around - several hotels have their banquet rooms booked. Seems this is also a good time for family reunions. Then I remember Jerry did a play just down the road and emailed the manager. He says it'll be about the cost of the place we're considering, and I don't need insurance as he has his own. That sounded good to me, and I felt pretty good we had a great second choice should the first place not budge on this rider idea they have. Then I get an email this morning, "We may be back up and running by May, but you may want to look for another place." That sounded pretty cryptic until Jerry gets a phone call, "Have you seen the front page of the newspaper? The theater burned completely down yesterday!" Oh, for the love of Pete! Good thing he had insurance. I'm still looking for a backup - keep your fingers crossed for us!


3 Cheers for Pom-Poms!

We've been thinking about different ways to decorate the venue (which, by the way, I did manage to reserve). The space is pretty big, so we'll need plenty of stuff. Luckily my sister Jill's friend Catina still had all the stuff left over from her wedding 2 years ago. Hmm, maybe she should read my post about hoarders. Anyway, her colors were pink and white and she said I'm welcome to use anything she had as long as it was back before her sister gets married a few weeks later. Okay, not only am I cheap, I'm lazy so I asked Catina if she wouldn't mind just taking all her stuff with her when she left my reception. She's got no problem with that, so we'll borrow her stuff. She's got some flowers, I think. She also has pew markers, whatever those are, but since we don't have any pews I guess I won't worry about them. I start looking at decorating ideas on wedding sites. Wow, they really know how to spend money! I did see a lot of pom-poms, though. You know what they are - they're those tissue paper flower looking things that are suspended from the ceilings. They sell on etsy for around $3 each. Not bad, but I think I can do better. While at picking up prescriptions at Wal-Mart I went over to the gift wrapping section and grab 2 packs of white tissue with black polka dots, 6 sheets each for $1. Each pack will make 1 pom each, although I know an ideal pom has 8 sheets. Later we're at Dollar Tree and I grab a pack of plain white tissue, but this is 40 sheets, or 5 poms, for $1! These are very simple to make. All you do is stack your 8 sheets of tissue, then fold them accordion style. Remember making paper fans as a kid? It's exactly like that. Then find the center and secure with wire (I used left over wire from making the flowers). After that, just trim the edges, either rounded or pointed, whatever you prefer. So far I've got 7 poms. I know I've got a lot more to go, but it's a good start. Unfortunately, Dollar Tree only sells white tissue in 40 sheets. Maybe I can hang outside Victoria's Secret and ask shoppers as they exit the store if they wouldn't mind donating their hot pink tissue to a worthy cause.


Taking the Cake

I've been pondering something - if neither Jerry nor I am paying for something for the wedding, do I include it in our budget? I was doing this to keep track of my spending, but if I'm not spending I'm prone to think I don't need to count it. My mother and sister have gotten in on the planning and are so excited. I really think I could just step back and let them take over and they'd have such a great time. I do realize, though, that handing over planning means handing over any control I have. It's funny, though, to walk through a store with them. We all went to Sam's Club last night to see what they had. Jill found some pretty neat plastic plates that are square shaped that I really liked. Of course, she asked if I liked them when I finally made it over to that part of the store. When I said I really did, and I wouldn't mind having real dinnerware that looked like that she said, "Good, because we all decided we liked them, too." I'm almost positive she would have put them back if I'd not liked them. Almost. They also threw into the cart flatware, napkins and several boxes of those yummy pinwheel sandwiches they can keep in the freezer. Every time they'd look at something they'd turn to us and ask if it was something we wanted. Then we strolled over to the cake section. Their prices were pretty good - 30 cupcakes for $12. I just had one problem - I hate the taste of generic grocery store frosting. Just the thought of it sends me into a sugar coma. I know some people love it, and bully for them. Mom decided the best way for us to know if the frosting was good was to purchase a box of cupcakes. She got the ones with Elmo (you know, the Sesame Street monster) rings on top. They came in all sorts of bright colors - yellow, green and blue. Since we were in several cars we opened the plastic container of cupcakes, which, in case you're wondering, takes 5 people to do while standing over a shopping cart and trying to keep the tray balanced while trying to pry off the lid that, once you pry one side off tends to re-seal itself shut on the opposite side. Jill, Jerry and Erin all grabbed a cupcake, each of a different color. Everyone agreed the whipped topping frosting was delicious and the cupcakes moist. Somehow Jill managed to keep the yellow from staining her lips. Erin, however, looked like she was a zombie with her green teeth and lips. She thought it was hilarious. So did Jerry, who only fared a little better, looking like he had corpse lips with a blue tinge. Everybody was laughing and having a great time. Good to know that the icing colors stain, too. I was hoping to have cupcakes of all of the wedding colors. When I asked the girl at the bakery what they meant by "black frosting available for only a limited time", she said that meant it only came in that sugary-sweet icing and not the yummy frosting everyone enjoyed. Okay, so I'll order about 4 black cupcakes, and the folks who eat them will have black teeth and lips. Serves them right for liking that nasty frosting anyway.

To Top It All Off

I started a project during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and just recently finished. Not that I worked on it every day. It actually took me a while to build up the nerve to really get started on it in earnest, but I have finally finished our cake topper! The first thing I had to do was research on line how to go about making characters out of Sculpey. A wire frame, or armature, was the secret to holding up those cute characters. I drew off a rough shape to my character and bent wires until I had the shape I wanted, coiling the ends of the wires at the feet so my character could stand up. After figuring that all out, I took the plunge and started putting "flesh" on my wire skeleton. It was a little scary to do at first, but I just decided to dive right in. Erin even helped out, as she's been working with Sculpey a lot longer than I have. She made my feet and legs, put pink shoes on the bottom. That took us about 3 days total, working on and off when we could. I used some tools my Mom bought a couple of years ago when she dabbled in making fondant flowers and put a pattern on my dress. The more I worked on the project the more I enjoyed it. I showed it to Jerry every step of the way so he could see how it was going and give me a second opinion. He loved it every time, which made me very happy. I did everything except put eyes on them, not sure if they even needed them. I didn't tell that to Jerry, but when he saw them with blank faces he said, "I don't think they even need eyes - love is blind." On the same page, as always. Hopefully my hair will hold curl as well as the Sculpey me did!


Not exactly the youthful complexion I had in mind.

I figured with a little over 4 months to go I should start a skin regimen that would have me looking great by the big day. I washed my face daily with a non-comedogenic foaming wash and before heading off to bed I'd apply some Retin-A cream, which is well known for it ability to smooth out the fine lines and make your skin look glowing. It also is very drying. That's how you get younger looking skin, by peeling off the top layer, I guess. Knowing that, I diluted the Retin-A with some moisturizing lotion given to me by a dermatologist. Smart, right? That's what I thought, anyway. After 2 weeks of this ritual I woke up to a horrible break-out. Not just a few little blemishes but several full-blown ugly, 3-D monsters on my face. No amount of makeup can hide them, either. Trying to keep it from becoming even worse, I spot treat with a medication for just that sort of problem, again from the dermatologist. None of that over the counter stuff - the free samples of the expensive stuff. That didn't clear it up, but instead made my skin very dry. That means when I tried to camouflage with makeup it really stood out because the foundation really accentuates the dry skin. Ooh, pretty! I immediately stopped that face cleansing routine. I have to look at this positively - at least I didn't start that routine a few weeks before the wedding and have this scary look going on then or I'd be spending a lot of time on Photoshop fixing my face before emailing any photos. Now my goals are much simpler than a youthful complexion, I will now just try to keep from breaking out!

Cake Ache

A few weeks ago Jerry and I went to Publix (a nice grocery store chain) to pick up a few things. I figured since we were there and I was strolling through the bakery section anyway, I'd ask a friendly worker about cake prices. She pulled out a little sheet she had hidden away and asked me how many people were attending. As of now we've got a list of about 50 people, so that's what I said. They price their cake by the layer, so a 14 inch layer costs so much, and a 10 inch layer a little less, etc. But don't forget to add in the cost of a filling. Everybody wants filling in their cakes. That seemed to cost about $4 extra per layer. Every little added on flourish also costs extra, of course. Well, I'd be happy with a plain cake, no flourish. I plan on adding a band of ribbon around the base of each layer and putting our cake topper, where else, on top. She does a little math on a scrap of paper (without adding the filling cost in, mind you), and it came out to be about $200. That's $4 per slice, if you were trying to figure it out in your head. I've seen enough of those fantastically impossible wedding cake shows to know that $200 sounds pretty inexpensive. But those wild cakes you see on TV are very fancy, take hours and hours of artistic work and usually serve 150-200 people. These things start around $1000. Now, if you break that down and get a cake for 200 at $1000, that makes each slice $5. When I look at it that way, the Publix cake doesn't seem like that great a bargain. She also didn't know if they could make the fondant in any color other than white and, of course, the person who might know was nowhere to be found. I know frosting would be a disaster in late May, so it needs to be fondant. Maybe I should keep looking around. I know I don't want to go to Wal-Mart for a wedding cake. I've gagged down enough of their birthday cake at children's parties to know I don't want to serve that to anyone I like on purpose. Maybe I'll call a few mom and pop businesses and see what their prices are. Suddenly those cute little cupcake towers don't seem quite as silly as they once did.


Feeling a tiny bit accomplished.

The other day I sat down with my large collection of flowers I had made and divvied them up into 5 separate bouquets. I let the girls select some of their favorites, and thankfully then really didn't like too many of the same ones. Once they were all in their own little piles I twisted all of the wires together and then covered the wires with floral tape. Then, from a tip I picked up from a youtube video, I wrapped the stems with a Kleenex and then taped that down. That makes the "handle" look smoother and helped keep the wires from poking so much. After that I wrapped each bouquet with some light pink tulle I'd bought a while ago. I secured these down with a white hairband then reinforced it with a little hot glue. I had 2 yards and had enough to finish 4 of the bouquets. Erin's bouquet was a little different. I had a lime green bath puff that I cut the string off of. It looks exactly like tulle, but these come in colors that may not be available in tulle. I wrapped the handle and then made the ruffly part underneath the flowers (I have no idea what that could be called aside from wire camouflage), securing it with a white ribbon. It looks really cute and if I hadn't told you it was a bath puff you'd never know it. After finishing with the tulle, I then wrapped a ribbon around the base of each hairband and secured it with hot glue as well. Each bouquet contained a ribbon heart, so I decided to match the ribbon with the heart for each one. Then I tied a bow on each. For mine I used one ribbon in each of the colors, but instead of tying a bow, I tied a knot. It just seemed more appropriate. They look cute!


Perhaps the world's worst how-to

I've been seeing these really cute "flower balls", or more correctly pomanders, being carried by flower girls in lieu of a basket with flowers for the poor child to scatter all over on-line wedding sites. The picture is of the one I made. Looking around, I discovered I happened to have leftover ribbon from making the bouquets, one 3 inch Styrofoam ball (the other was that came in the set of 2 was cut in half and used to make eyeballs for a Halloween costume) and 4 bunches of artificial pink hydrangeas I bought a year ago to use as home decor. Here's how I made a pomander for Kendall. First, I took a skewer and drove it straight through the Styrofoam ball. Then I cut about 18 inches of ribbon, sealed the ends with a lighter, and found the center. Placing the blunt end of the skewer in the center of the ribbon, I then pushed the ribbon inside the ball through the hole I'd already made until it emerged from the other end. Be careful not to shove it entirely through, but tie the loose ends in a knot to secure it. Next, I cut each bloom off the plastic, leaving about an inch of stem. Starting at the top, I stuck each bloom into the ball until it was completely covered with flowers. I had just enough. I then got out the hot glue gun and made sure everything was stuck down well. Now Kendall can carry this cute pomander in the wedding and have a little memento to take home as well.



Went back to check out Savannah yesterday (online, that is). Signed up for a free weekend they were giving away. I'm all for a free trip. That'd be the best way to pay for a honeymoon. Browsing around I see that just about every bed & breakfast and hotel starts around $100 a night and just goes up from there. I guess that's to be expected from a town that makes almost all of its money from tourists. I just don't see any way around paying that much for a place for Jerry and me to stay, no matter where it is we decide to go. We don't know anyone who owns a hotel or has an extra house just sitting around. Since work was verrrry slow yesterday I took all of that extra time I had and did some searching. There were lots of sweepstakes listed, so I decided not to waste my time with a prize I didn't want - like a trip to the Superbowl. Not only do we not enjoy football, I think it would be weird to have the honeymoon before the wedding. It is being held in Dallas this year (if I read the sweepstakes descriptions right), and that is on our list of potential places to go. I can't imagine the crowds in town that weekend. Of course, it'd probably be a great time to go anywhere else in town and not worry about overcrowding. Doubt the museums would be filled to capacity that day. The only bad thing about winning an expensive vacation is that we'd have to pay taxes on it. I figure the taxes would be about what we'd spend on a hotel, but since we'd have air fair and stuff included we'd come out ahead in the end. That being said, I am a realist and realize that the odds of winning a sweepstakes is pretty slim. We'll keep planning our honeymoon, just with our fingers crossed.


A Cautionary Tale

Helped Marilyn pay for a car so she can have something for college; my portion is her Christmas/graduation present. Like most used cars, this one needed a little something done. Okay, a big something done - it shimmied at 55, so it needed an alignment. Then when they went to check the tires, it seems one was dry rotted and the other had an exposed wire. We wouldn't want a blow out, so I had to get them. While in the waiting area of the local Road Mart, one of the guys working there decided to tell a story. I can't remember what brought this on exactly, but he sure was ready to let us all hear it. "I've been married 25 years, and the first Christmas we were married I went out and bought my wife what I thought was the best gift I could have given her - a $200 vacuum cleaner. I was so proud of it. I wrapped it up real nice and took it over to her momma's so everyone could watch her unwrap it. After she opened it in front of everybody her momma took me into the kitchen and told me, 'Son, don't you ever buy a woman something to clean with as a gift!' I learned my lesson." I could just tell by the way the story flowed from his mouth that he'd told it a million times. I'd be willing to bet this is his one good marriage story. I turned to Jerry and asked him if he'd ever do that. He said, "If it was a Dyson. But then I'd probably get it for myself."


Location, location, location!

Jerry just found out that the venue we were seriously considering is up for sale. They haven't gone out of business or anything. It seems more like they're looking for some investors to keep their place afloat. So with 5 months to go, it looks like our plans are up in the air as far as location. Good thing Jerry said, "Let's not put down a deposit quite yet, they might not be in business then," about 4 months ago when we found the place. We should be able to get updates, and maybe by 3 months out we'll put down the deposit. If they've closed their doors, I guess we'll have to go somewhere else. I have a couple of places in mind already whose cost fits our budget. One is the place where Jerry did a play recently. It's not very fancy and could really use some cleaning up, but there's plenty of space and already has tables and chairs. The other place is a little art museum in the town where I grew up. It's not ideal because I don't ever remember seeing seating, so I wonder if I'd have to rent it separately or if they just don't allow them there. I've been there several times for art shows and they do seem to have several long tables to put out appetizers, so maybe they've got some chairs stored away somewhere. I also vaguely know the lady who runs the place as well as the lady who owns it. Wonder if they'd make a deal to a fellow artist. Maybe Jerry and I should think about other places to consider, just so we'll have something to choose from should our first choice fall through. I must be a little concerned about it as that's what I dreamed about last night - Jerry and I were just driving around stopping in all these businesses, asking what they charge for holding receptions. I'm hoping real life prices are much better than the ones in my dream!