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Totoro Cake Toppers

18 Dec

Writing my not-so-recent paper post reminded me that I needed to share this other little DIY from our wedding!  Kevin and I don’t have an aversion to wedding cake, but I think majority of wedding-goers aren’t typically into it. In menu planning, we challenged our amazing caterer to come up with some awesome mini dessert ideas that would satisfy everyone, and they definitely delivered. We had tiny cookies with shots of milk, salted caramel pot de cremes, mini strawberry shortcakes with orange biscuits, and mini ice cream cones with cookies and cream ice cream and peach sorbet!

Totoro Cake Toppers

Totoro Cake Toppers

I think one of our family members told us we “needed” a cake to cut, so we got one from Cookie Casa, my all-time favorite bakery that sadly has recently closed. We opted for a five-inch chocolate cake with a gorgeous blush rosette buttercream.  In my search for the perfect cake toppers, I probably came across every single Star Wars cake topper the universe had to offer and somehow didn’t love any of them.  ESPECIALLY the Luke and Leia cake topper… someone needs to correct those people. Seriously.

Kevin and I also love studio Ghibli, and I found these Totoro painted dolls on Etsy. The colors were perfect!

Before - Naked Totoros

Before – Naked Totoros

They needed a little something more, so I made a veil with a headband out of tiny pieces of tulle ribbon and fabric ribbon from the 99 cent bin at Michael’s. Jo-Ann Fabric had a cute little daisy chain lace that I just cut a teeny piece from as well to use as a veil garnish.

“Bride” Supplies

I found a black version of the ribbon and cut a tiny little bowtie together for the grey Totoro, and used superglue to adhere everything as it was the least likely to show up on the paint.  Here’s the handsome couple below!

After - Not-As-Naked Totoros

After – Not-As-Naked Totoros

Since the figurines weren’t “food safe” and we opted for that floral frosting pattern on our mini cake, we decided to forgo adhering a food safe bottom liner to the toppers and just had them placed next to the cake.  Unfortunately, it was a hot day so don’t mind our melty top hat of a cake.

Totoro Cake Toppers

Totoro Cake Toppers

Year One – Paper

31 Jul

Kev and I have been in the thick of home shopping the last couple of months and decided to take a break with a trip up the central coast.  Our first wedding anniversary last month was the perfect excuse for a little food and wine adventure in Paso Robles and Santa Barbara.  It was a great little extended weekend getaway to just reflect on what we’ve accomplished together and as individuals in the last year, and also reminisce a bit on our wedding day.  With the traditional “first year” gift being paper, we both agreed to just get each other cards since we were doing the trip and buying a home.  This reminded me to share some of the paper elements from our big day, beyond the stuff we created with the watercolor suite.

Year One - Paper

Year One – Paper

We had the traditional Japanese 1000 origami cranes as one of our motifs.  I didn’t start folding until about six months before the wedding.  I did 800, and several friends helped fold 400.  Yes, I was 200 over.  While I’d like to chalk that up to being an overachiever, I think in my frantic need-to-get-things-done mentality and balancing a very busy season at work, I somehow lost count and ended up making a lot more than I needed to. Oops!

For my non-Japanese friends, here is a little description of the significance of the cranes that we had on the back of our menus at each place setting during the reception:

1000 Origami Cranes

1000 Origami Cranes

Being fifth generation Japanese, I wasn’t planning on folding them but one of my distant aunts basically guilted me into doing it with a “You’re not Japanese if you don’t have the cranes. If you don’t do it, I’ll fold them all myself with my old lady hands.”  In the end, I think we were able to find a way to subtly include them and without having to end up with a crane-themed wedding.

Lining the Aisle

Lining the Aisle

We used the cranes as aisle markers, on each place card, and scattered them throughout the venue.

Place Cards with Mini Cranes

Place Cards with Mini Cranes

Another of my favorite paper elements was the perfect wedding day card that I found for my groom.

Til Death Star Do Us Part

Til Death Star Do Us Part

In lieu of a guestbook, we printed small cards using the “print suite” we had for people to write words of advice, date night ideas, etc.  I made a small bunting to decorate the vintage breadbox we used for people to drop the idea cards into after.  The font is the same font we used on our wedding invites, but a bit bolder, and the triangles were cut from a piece of gold glitter scrapbook cardstock weight paper.

"Cards" Bunting

“Cards” Bunting

I found a free watercolor image online and tweaked the color slightly to align closer to the blush we were using, and used that as a backdrop for several of the signs we created, including the reserved signage for our parents, bar menu, the 1000 cranes memo above, photobooth signage and the hashtag sign.  The gold ribbon was leftover from our invitations.  (PS – florals by the amazing Jamie!)

Reserved Signage

Reserved Signage

I think that about wraps it up for the paper elements of our wedding.  As I was looking through our photos for the paper crafts, I realized I have one more DIY project to share soon!

PS – Did I mention that all of these photos were taken by the AMAZING and highly recommended Rodney Ty Photography??

Happy First Anniversary, Kevin.  You’re done with year one of your life sentence.  I love you.

Shut Up and Dance with Me

Shut Up and Dance with Me

Learning to Watercolor

30 Dec

Thought I’d share a little DIY work I did for our wedding, now that we got our photos back.

Kev and I DIY’d whatever we could for our big day, including our invites. I didn’t like any of the “free” or “close to free” printable invitation templates out there, and also needed a sort of creative suite that we could use for various assets/signage (i.e., menu, RSVP card, table numbers, etc.). We all know I can’t draw, but I figured I might be able to get away with some amateur watercoloring. It’s fuzzy and messy looking at it’s prettiest, so how could I go wrong, right? Well…

I read forum after forum (after forum after forum after forum) about anything from what sort of techniques there were to what type of watercolor paints (tube, cakes, pencils) and brushes (natural, synthetic, cheap, expensive) to buy.  I bought a pretty decent (but still inexpensive) set of watercolor paints and brushes, and a basic set of watercolor pencils to help with corrections.  I also looked around for artists whose style is similar to the aesthetic I had in mind and quickly fell in love with Yao Cheng Design‘s seemingly effortless but beautiful work.  I even tried mimicking one just as practice, but I couldn’t even figure out how to mix anything close to the colors she used let alone developing the shapes, color concentration, etc.

Yao Cheng Fail

Yao Cheng Fail

After several more tries with different looks, I finally came up wtih a few I was satisfied with.  But then I couldn’t get the watercolor to scan accurately!

Some More Paintings

Some More Paintings

After looking into a few more forums, it turns out that a lot of artists have this problem too and end up just taking photographs of their watercolor in a lot of cases with an expensive DSLR.  Purchasing a DSLR defeated the purpose of DIY’ing the invite to save money, so… I had to figure out a way to make do with what I had and scanning it.  The wreath was the one painting that had the least error, likely due to there being smaller strokes to show texture, vs letting color sit heavier in other places.  However, here is the scanned version of the first attempt (yes, there were multiple attempts).

Original Wreath

Original Wreath

For whatever reason, scanning really washed out the painting and added a grayish-yellow tinge, and it  reminded me a bit of Lamb’s Ear which is pretty but not what I was looking for. I took it to FedEx Kinko’s, scanned it at work, and went to a couple other different printers, and I even went to a few art supply stores to ask where people took their artwork to get scanned.  Turns out that our hand-me-down printer/scanner from Kevin’s mom was the most color accurate of the bunch!  Still – the above image was not what I wanted.

So I painted another “bluer”/bolder version of the wreath, thinking the scanner would balance it out.  And it worked!

Final Wreath Painting

Final Wreath Painting

I also made a few watercolor doodles with the same colors that we incorporated as accents throughout the rest of our “creative suite”:

Watercolor Doodles

Watercolor Doodles

Here’s the finished product.  I purchased blush envelopes from Paper Source (with a discount of course!) to add our wedding colors into the mix, and framed the invitation creative with a blush border to tie it all together.  I found a Pantone color guide online that broke down Paper Source’s paper color specs pretty accurately.  I designed everything in PowerPoint because I’m useless with Photoshop, and thankfully my very kind and patient friend Lingie laid it all out in a printable file that I could send off to my go-to reliable (and inexpensive!) printer.

Our Final Invite

Our Final Invite

In forgoing a design fee, we were able to get it all done including envelopes and RSVP postcards for under $125. We splurged a bit by using a really thick matte textured paper for the invite that almost looked like watercolor paper.  Here’s what the final suite looked like. Photo courtesy of Rodney Ty Photography.

Invitation Suite

Invitation Suite

I also used some little watercolor doodles to accent our address labels, favor labels, table numbers, menu, etc. Check out the gallery for more!  All of the professional photos were taken by Rodney.

Shower Favors – Potato Chip Cookies

16 Aug

Shirley wanted a sweet-and-salty dessert for her bridal shower favors last month, so I made a couple batches of the Potato Chip Cookies that I had brought to her Super Bowl party back in February.  I made all the cookies the night before, and dipped them so the chocolate and crushed potato chips would have time to set overnight.

Potato Chip Cookies

Potato Chip Cookies

I got the kraft boxes and pink bakers twine from good ol’ Paper Mart, and lined each box with parchment paper so that no grease stains would show through the box.

Shower Favors - Potato Chip Cookies

Shower Favors – Potato Chip Cookies

Joanne created really cute tags for the boxes, and I assembled everything the morning of.

Ready for the Shower!

Ready for the Shower!

Happy Shower, Shirley!

Happy Shower, Shirley!

Happy Shower, Shirley!

Flower Boxes

6 Dec

Dare I say, I’m nearly caught-up on my backlog of posts!  Been doing shorter ones like this one to get the content out there! Bare with me!

Leslie had a great vision for doing flower boxes to put on the dinner tables at Shirley and Spencer‘s engagement dinner a couple months ago.  She bought all the supplies but wasn’t sure how to put everything together, so she called me over to assemble under her direction.  This is how they turned out!

Initials Flower Box

Leslie bought the white letters, and I used wooden chopsticks to hold them up.  I literally bobby pinned the fern branches down to some green styrofoam covered in faux moss.  Then I cut the flower stems and stabbed them into the styrofoam.

“Love” Flower Box

We weren’t sure how they’d turn out since I’d never done any sort of floral arrangement before, but I think it ended up being a solid collaboration.  The bride-and-groom-to-be really liked them!