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Archive for the ‘Budget’ Category

nov16Just last week, the leaves that were golden yellows, vibrant oranges and eye-popping reds. A sprinkling of leaves woud slowly dift to the ground with the slightest breeze. With every step, the leaves would crunch under my shoes. The last of the leaves are holding on with all their strength and soon will be gone. Thanksgiving must be coming. I am beyond excited for the holidays! Feast your eyes on this moodboard that will inspire a DIY budget friendly tablescape.

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Dried Goods: In one of my posts, “DIY Projects :: Seasonal Centerpieces“, I featured non-floral centerpieces from Nettleton Hollow. This is a seasonal project that will highlight your Thanksgiving table and help celebrate a bountiful celebration.

In A Nutshell: Faux acorns make an easy and affordable way to dress up your dinner’s surroundings. Fill apothecary jars with seasonal fillers with nuts, cranberries, dried leaves and branches for a striking arrangement. (Pottery Barn; $14)

Perfect Pear: Use seasonal fruit to help guide your guests to their seat. Make sure to wash the pears, in case your guests munch on the place card. 

Spilled Beans: An easy DIY project that will have your guests asking you to share your secret. Incorporate the colors of fall when you pair pumpkins with lentils and other dried beans. Candles will also warm the gathering space, so be sure to keep plenty around.

Glorious Gourds: As farmers markets close up shop, be sure to grab some lovely squashes. Place in a neutral bowl to allow the colors of the bounty to pop. Martha also suggests adding kumquats for a splash of citrus color.

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nov11 Melissa is the genius behind Lean with Green blog. A blog that compiles the best of the Northwest deals and budget saving tips. I was invited to write a guest blog post about, “Hosting a Party on a Budget“. It has great tips on cutting back, but still having a fabulous party. With the holidays coming up, it is worth checking out. Cheers!

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ps. Happy Veteran’s Day! I hope you have the day off!!

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jul30To cut costs, you can cut the wedding invitations. Companies such as Evite allow you to invite your guests without having to address or mail a since paper invite. The invitation styles can range from super cheesy to semi-formal. Since this service is free, it can be bogged down by obnoxious advertisements and blinky links. It might be a good alternative to the email invitation, but is it formal enough for a wedding? Another company, Paperless Post offers the same service as Evite, but creates a more formal environment. Customizable designs that reflect the style of your wedding can help portray the formality of the event. No advertisements will scream across your screen, as there is a small fee for each “postage stamp” you use on an invitation. The first 25 stamps are free, each additional is about 0.08 cents. In comparison, the average wedding invitation costs 0.61 cents.

I signed up for the free service and “made” my invitation. It was extremely simple to set up and word my Summer Soiree. Once I completed the steps, my invitation was ready for delivery.

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My invitation pops up!

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After I email my invitation to all my guests, I can keep track of my guests’ replies with the tracking tool. I can even remind the guests of the RSVP deadline. Remember, bad RSVP etiquette is never flattering.

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Is this something you whoudl use for an event such as a wedding? Or do you prefer the romance of a paper invitation?

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jul20If you recall, I am organizing a zebra print inspired baby shower in August. Once I returned from my vacation (check), I would start and/or finish the DIY projects I planned.  Read my old post, if you want to refresh your memory or have no idea what I am talking about. The first project I immediately pounced on the napkin dying. It literally took me two months to track down Rit Dye Fuchsia #12. Of course I could by it on the internet at various stores, but each box was about $8 dollars (including shipping). No thanks. I called all craft stores and fabrics stores in the area. This is not exaggeration. I was determined to find Fuchsia #12 before I went on vacation. Thank goodness for Fabric Depot. The helpful staffed informed me if their always in stock Rit Dye and they had at least 5 boxes of the pretty pink powder. Thus, I bought two boxes (plus 25% off from the sale FD was running) for under 6 dollars. You never know when you need a second box of Fuchsia #12. Now, let the show begin!

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1) I gathered the napkins and checked the tag to make sure it is a fabric that can take up the dye. A list of fabrics are on the inside of the Rit box. I washed my stark white napkins in the washing machine and did not dry them. Filled up a large stock pot with warm water and watched it until it boiled (ha).

2) Then, I rinse napkins with warm water in the sink and dumped a cup of salt in the stock pot.

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3) Filled up a glass measuring cup with 2 cups of hot tap water and poured the powder in the cup to dissolve it. I used all stainless steel, glass or disposable items to avoid staining my kitchen utensils.

4) I then poured the dark pink liquid into the pot and added a tablespoon of laundry detergent. Soap makes water wetter, allowing the dye to adhere to the fabric easier. Thanks to Bill Nye Science Guy for this science tip. See.. Mom and Dad. I did learn something from watching TV.

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5) The warm napkins were gently placed in the boiling pot to avoid the dye from splashing onto the counter tops. I stirred the napkins around every few minutes with my Sherwin Williams paint stick. I turned down the heat so the water was simmering.

6) Once the napkins achieved the shade I wanted, I removed them with my BBQ tongs and placed them back in my sink. I rinsed them with warm water until the water was clear and the pink dye was no longer present. Tossed them in the wash and dried them as I would colored cotton clothing.

Upon inspection, I found the color faded more than I would have liked. So I repeated the steps again with my extra box of Rit Dye. Luckily, I thought to buy two. :)

Total Cost
Two boxes of Rit dye: $5.96
Package of 12 white cotton napkins: $9.99
Total per napkin: $1.32

You can sell your napkins to the next bride. Using Bravo Bride or The Knot (message board: Trash to Treasure) you can sell your weddings goods and recoop some of your expense.

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Now the finished product! Just a little pressing before the party and they are all ready to go! Do you have any questions you are “dyeing” to ask? Or any coloring mishaps from the past? For me, I slightly dyed my hands as I was rinsing them in the warm water bath.

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jun17Etsy is chock full of creative shops. I can browse around all day and get lost in this virtual mall of homemade goodies. Not only will you find crafts, but edible treats and wedding dresses can be found. This week’s collection is all about Etsy. maybe you will connect with a designers. Custom is always better than off the rack, especially, if the price is right.

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1) Short n’ Sassy:  This strapless satiny number is a peppy and will add a punch to your party. The full skirt allows movement (and dancing) for your joyous occasion. The fitted bodice will make sure everything stays in its proper place. (veiledbeauty; $325)

2) Earth Angel: This silk and and lace option just oozes with delightful details and feminine touches. It features symmetrical peplums that sway with every step. The recycled bustier is outlined in ruffles, as is the hem of the skirt and train.There is no denying that this dress fell from heaven. (sarahseven; $1400)

3) Streamline Sheath: a stunningly simple sheath dress with a soft but plunging neckline, giving the bodice a lily like shape – hence the name of this gown!
The shaped bodice cups the breasts and gives full coverage, but makes a feature of the flattering decollete plunge. The dress is empire cut, with two darts each side fitting the form, back and front. Full length with a back split in the hemline for ease of movement. The fabric is a heavy double crepe with a matte satin bodice.
(LondonDemimonde; $500)

4) Versatile Green Dream: If your mind often changes and you want to keep it green, this dress is for you. The dress can be tied in a variety of ways to express your current mood. Made of organic cotton and bamboo jersey, making the fabric’s texture is creamy smooth and eco-friendly. (isadoraclothing; $360)

5) Déjà Vu: I’ve seen this dress before… ;) However, at the almost a 1/6 of the cost, this dress is just a stunning as the first laid eyes on it. Side pockets are hidden in the seams of this billowing full length pleated skirt. Spaghetti straps add a dash of delicate to this impressive gown. (AnnabelAndRuby; $340)

6) Hand Picked: This dress was made by a caring hand. From the hand embroidered embellishments to the hand beaded crystal accents and lace detailing makes this an exquisite wedding gown. The tank bodice and low v neck make this dress a flattering and svelte silhouette. (bellinabridal; $795)

Would you buy a dress from Etsy? How about your wedding dress?

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jun11Farmers markets are starting to reopen and the summer blooms are just bursting with bright and bold colors. They sweet fragrance entices you to buy a bunch. Now what? Here are some simple tips to make your fresh picked bouquet look beyond spectacular and last longer than expected.

  1. Clean and Water: Remove any leaves that are going to be submerged in water. This will make your water last longer (ie. cleaner) and your flowers look look clean. Cut stems at angle and put in water immediately.HW0_44999
  2. Cut, Refresh, Repeat: It can be tedious, but it will help prolong the life of your flowers. If you don’t have time to change the water, use an opaque vase, to disguise the murky water. Use warm water for everything. Except hydrangeas, they require hot tap water. Tulips don’t need fresh water, so no special treatment for them.
  3.  Special Stems: Hydrangeas or lilacs are woody and need lots of exposure to the water. Split the stems several inches up from the bottom to expose the white inner part of the stem to the water. For bulbs, tubers and iris, score the bottom of the stem. Also for tulips, use a needle and prick the throat of the tulip to prevent it from growing.
  4. Same Colors: Buy flowers that are the from the same color palette for an easy and chic arrangement.
  5. No Crowding Please: When using a larger vase or wide mouth bowl, it may require using a large quantity of flowers, but all you need is scotch tape. Create a grid on the top so your flowers will sit in its own section. CRW_0093No crowding!
  6. In Your Hands: Hold the flowers in your hand. It is easier to rearrange then placing them in the vase. Once you are satisfied, tie with some string and place in your chosen vessel.
  7. Wilt-free: Try not to place your flowers in front of a warm sunny window. The heat will stress your flowers and cause them to wilt.

Do you have any more tips or tricks? Please share!

(Tulips: Podesta Baldocchi; Calla Lilies: Gifford’s Flowers)

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DIY :: Cake Stands

june04I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream cake. It comes in all shapes, sizes, flavors and colors. No matter how you dice it, slice it or flavor it…I love it. Last month, I wrote about displaying your delicious treats on cake stands and pedestals, but don’t want to spend the money? Use these creative ideas to make your own. Just don’t glue your fingers together, it is harder to eat the cake that way.

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1) Jack Be Nimble: Using commonly found items like candlesticks and plates can be a quick and easy way to create a stunning display. Dig around grandma’s cupboard or rifle through your local second hand shop for affordable deals.

2) Dessert Dish: To coordinate with your current dishware (a la Martha Stewart), use the cereal bowl and dinner plate to create a matching cake stand. A little ribbon goes a long way. Don’t forget it!

3) Cake Plant: Here is a creative idea! Using terra cotta pots and saucers in a non-conventional way takes the cake. Customize the cake stand to your theme or color palette by painting the pots.

4) Crystal Clear: Ikea never fails me. Using the cheap glass plates and a drinking glass will produce a lovely cake pedestal.

5) Paper or Plastic: This project requires more patience and craftiness, but is still quite easy to complete. Add more appeal to the stand by using detailed and textured ribbon.

Which one would you make? I will try the 2nd option, so it will match my current dishware. Nerdy. I know.

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