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!