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Friday, March 23, 2007

thanks everybody!

I just wanted to express my appreciation to Grace for having me these past two weeks, and to all the readers who sent in emails. Also thanks so much to those who contributed articles. It was such a great experience connecting with the D*S audience in this way. I hope the handmade wedding guide has been fun and helpful to read!

more handmade gifts

And continuing the crafty gifts theme, this afternoon's last post starts off with Karen who wrote in about Judy Lee's bookbinding tutorial for making a photo journal on her blog five and a half. Judy's lesson includes loads of pictures and very clear instructions. (So glad to find Judy's great blog!) Karen writes:

"Using a photo of the couple, a sentimental place, or something from the wedding theme would be a great handmade gift; if the wedding is small the bride can even make little notebooks as her wedding favors."

And speaking of photos, here is some beautiful collage work by German artist Sandra Muller posted on her blog. Sandra's work has an heirloom feeling, with all of these pretty vintage family photos. She also has an esty shop if you'd like to collect some collage materials for projects or just inspiration.

And Heather Samples sent in some great photos and links. When she got married in her home state of West Virginia last spring, she received loads of handmade gifts from her loved ones. Heather writes:

"West Virginia has long been the stateside capital of glassmaking. Blenko still handblows their iconic water jug (in continual production since 1938) thirty miles from my hometown.

Although the older generation of quilters is dying out, there are still breathtaking hand-stitched quilts to be had, made on the old stretchers by women who've been doing it all their lives. This one came from a cooperative of elderly home quilters called Cabin Creek Quilts. Cabin Creek announced this month that they can no longer afford to stay in business, but you can find other pieces at www.mountainmade.com

Allegheny Treenware is the best place to find handmade wooden utensils and kitchenwares.

Finally, the bar cutting board was made by woodworker Brenda Good. More of her work (along with that of lots of other West Virginia artisans, including potters, more quilters and glassworkers) can be found at www.tamarackwv.com" Thanks for these great resources, Heather!

And finally today, there are so many talented quilters selling their goods on etsy, including a personal favorite Little Quilts. You can check out etsy's entire roster of quilters, which is - happily - expanding on a daily basis. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

handmade gifts revisited

Wow, these two weeks flew by. Today is my last day of blogging for the handmade wedding theme, and we'll be wrapping up with a great day of handmade gift ideas.

When Tony Visco and his fiance were planning their wedding, they couldn't find china pattern they liked. So instead they asked artist Yuki Murata of moderngoods to create a special registry of her unique designs for them. This idea allowed them to support an independent artist and get the tableware that suited them perfectly.

I really admire the work Jenni Hopkins, who specializes in painted and embroidered monogram pieces. It's such a perfect wedding gift, but special on any occasion.

These wooden bowls are produced by designer and craftsman Jim Doan. He handcrafts these original pieces in his Chicago studio and each is individually numbered to remind you they are truly one-of-a-kind.

And how wonderful is this line of customized dinnerware featuring the front door and family name of the bride and groom? Artist Jessica Rust can personalize any item on her site.

Katie Covington of k.talis jewelry submitted these beautiful examples of her custom wedding jewelry, that can be highly personalized:

"I use vintage and reclaimed pieces in my line of jewelry that would fit in nicely with a handmade or green wedding. Antique chandelier drops, vintage metal charms and keys are all paired with precious metals. Another idea for wedding jewelry is to make or commission a piece made that incorporates something special to the couple: stones found on the beach, initials of the bride and groom, an important image or motif. To remember family that has passed away I've created jewelry using buttons from a father's Naval uniform. Jewelry is a great to personalize a wedding and keep the people you love close to you during your big day. Almost anything can be made into jewelry with a little DIY know how."

Cindy Johnson wrote in about the R. Wood Ceramics Studio, which features a number of talented artists' work and even has a wedding registry!

And another reader recommended Miranda Thomas Pottery for great prices and exquisite handmade work.

I'll be posting some quilts later today, but I think these wedding samplers by Luci Summers are really lovely on a much smaller scale.

More gifts later, of a more crafty variety!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

green weddings finale

Since there were a number of readers who contributed to this topic of environmentally friendly weddings, I wanted to squeeze in one more post. I'm starting with jewelry designer Sally Brock, owner of Fancy in Seattle, who produces a gorgeous variety of reclaimed rings.

Here's Sally:

"More and more I've been getting orders for custom wedding/engagement rings. I've started collecting some vintage (really ugly 80s honking gemstone rings) removing all the stones, and recycling them for a greener alternative to purchasing new stones. Each ring is custom designed, and made entirely by hand in my Seattle studio. I also work in silver, a more affordable alternative to the usual jewelry stores- as well as gold, platinum and the fancy stuff."

Lauren Feeney of Philadelphia had this to share:

"We're having our wedding (April 14th!) at the train station (30th St.
in Philadelphia) so that our guests can ride the train instead of
driving (eco-friendly and safe!). I'd imagine most cities now have
underused train stations that may be willing to rent out space for
events. We're also sourcing foods locally when possible, giving out
tree seedlings as favors, and having Carbon Planet audit and offset the event."

And here are some more readers' tips:

Jessica Timpany, now planning her Sonoma wedding, said the following:

"We opted to use a caterer that specializes in local and organic,
sustainably grown food. The Girl and The Fig Caters is a branch of the Girl &
The Fig restaurant in Sonoma. John, their chef, knows all the local
veggie, meat, cheese people in the Sonoma Valley; and using local food
cuts down on carbon emissions. Organic food obviously reduces the
pesticides workers are exposed to and that seep into the ground.

Other things we are doing:

- Offsetting our carbon "footprint" with carbonfund.org
- Donating to breast cancer research fund in lieu of a gift to our guests.
- Using Cranes Lettra 100% cotton paper for invites, not a tree harmed!
- Organic, local and sustainably farmed flowers.
- Using many living succulents and Tillandsia (living air plants) so that
people can take them home and they can live on!

And Simone Alpen is doing the following for her Stowe, Vermont wedding:

- making our own stationery with recycled content and Gocco
- trying to find a letterpress outfit that will print on recycled content paper
- find salon near the wedding site that uses eco-friendly products (i.e. Aveda)
- we made the decision not to register for any gifts. It was hard (esp. for some
of the traditionalists in our midst!). But we decided that it didn't make sense
for us (we're in our 30's, live in a small Cambridge, MA apartment with limited
space for china settings!). So, for those that are still dying to send along
something--we'll register at a carbon off-setting site (i.e. climatecare.org)
- make our own centerpieces from seasonal and local materials
- when setting our dinner menu we're going to push for a meal that includes as
many local, organic items as possible.

Simone also recommended these resources:


Thanks so much for these wonderful contributions!

green weddings - week two

This afternoon we're following up on last week's topic of environmentally responsible weddings. Kara over at Treehugger has contributed a great article, full of useful tips and resources. Treehugger is a fantastic blog on all things "green", so check back with them regularly for environmental news and info well beyond the topic we're covering here today. I'll be back this afternoon with a few more readers' ideas. But now I give you Kara:

"We are seeing 'green weddings' becoming more and more popular as each year passes. Even the New York Times reported that couples are taking a new look at traditional weddings and seeing green. And with that comes many more options and tips to help eco-friendly couples reduce their carbon footprint on the big day.

This past January, we saw the launch of Portovert Magazine, the only magazine dedicated to eco-chic ideas for engagement parties, bridal showers and weddings. It’s the paperless equivalent to Elegant Bride, Martha Stewart Weddings and InStyle Weddings. In February, Portovert launched the first U.S. wedding carbon calculator in partnership with Native Energy. By visiting the Native Energy’s website, visitors can easily calculate the carbon emissions produced by the principal wedding-related carbon sources: guest travel, lodging, and venue power and heat. For as little as $12 per ton of carbon offsets, brides and grooms can make a quick, easy investment in renewable energy by choosing one of three options: helping build new wind power projects, new family farm methane energy projects, or a combination of both

When it comes to planning a wedding, we like Organic Weddings, Ethical Weddings and Green Elegance Weddings. These three websites offer tips for couples looking to throw an eco-friendly wedding. Organic Weddings offers advice on catering, organic wine and beer, ceremony atmosphere notions and even music suggestions. And with the average wedding costing $25,000 today, Green Elegance Weddings makes it easier for couples to find the resources they need to direct more of their dollars towards green products and services.

We’ve written about some of the details on TreeHugger as well, including ethically made wedding dresses like Wholly Jo’s or, if you’re looking for a more sexy style, Faernyn’s Grove. And since you’ll only be wearing the dress once, you can try a
paper dress although it may be a bit far-fetched. Forego the confetti and rice and use flower petals as a beautiful yet sustainable alternative. And check out GreenKarat for ethical wedding rings. They offer a voluntary carbon offset tax, which allows you to buy credits toward neutralizing carbon emissions associated with the energy usage of mining and making jewelry. Look for invitations that are tree-free or recycled like the ones from Invite Site and when registering, look for an online store that offers eco-friendly options.

Lastly, instead of giving wedding favors consider making a donation to one of your favorite causes. With so much time and money spent and many of your closest family and friends joining you for your special day it’s a great time to make it count. After all, they have to listen to you on your day, right?"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

article update

And a quick note to mention, check back to yesterday morning's grow your own flowers article to see added photos!

flowers finale

This morning we're finishing up flowers and decorations with lots of additions. Let's get right into it with this great submission from Kat from outside Philadelphia:

"My husband and I had a handmade, Italian garden theme with pop flourishes of a lemon, coral and magenta palette. It was a really strong combination of colors, so we were sure to combine them everywhere. A friend did the flowers - roses and
snapdragons from Costco; lanterns and ribbon hung in the garden."

Cathy Skraba creates these flower arrangement containers specifically designed to hang from chairs. Great idea, and a nice looking touch:

Speaking of flower arrangements for the aisle - Andrea Katz of Bend, Oregon had this gorgeous idea:

Laura Brunow Miner of Lawrence, Kansas hand-picked her lily bouquets and has some great tips for resources:

"I spent a week completely immersed in the concept: visiting florists, buying inexpensive flowers to experiment with arrangements, and scouring the internet.
In the end I decided upon the simple and modern Calla Lily for the bouquets. I chose four stems of stargazer lilies in a bell jar at each table for the table arrangements. The flowers came from growersbox.com and pacificcallas.com. The bell jars were very inexpensive and purchased at a grocery store."

Here is another beautiful homemade chuppah design sumitted by Robin Busch-Wheaton of Berkley, CA:

"My husband, Elliot, and I made our simple but bright chuppah using a piece of fabric from a thrift store and different lengths and widths of red and orange ribbons."

Sarah Drake of Chicago was on a budget when she assembled her flower arrangements. So simple and elegant:

"We spent about $200 at the farmers market and about $100 on vintage
medicine bottles for the reception centerpieces."

And finally a subtle and classic look from Trisha of black white bliss who simply had petals sprinkled down the aisle.

Thanks again to all the readers who wrote in. We'll move on to eco-friendly wedding ideas this afternoon, so check back later!

not for the weak-at-heart

Here are a few larger-scale projects if you want to get really ambitious with your crafting. The first is another great idea from ReadyMade Magazine, a homemade chuppah made of birch tree trunks and flowers. They were even kind enough to create a special link for easy-to-follow directions. My thanks to the folks RM!

Carol Barclay of Rochester, NY sent in these great photos of her daughter's backyard summer wedding, featuring a tree branch arch and driveway stencils. They did a few heavy-duty projects for decorations, and their efforts really paid off:

"The ceremony was under a handmade sycamore arch in the back and the
dinner was under a fluttery tent in the front, so I wanted to make
the path between the areas into a special walkway. I stenciled silver scrolls the whole length of the driveway! It took over 6 hours on my knees... and we had a gathering of neighbors out checking out what I was up to."

Katy Verga of Arizona had loads of great handmade things in her wedding. I particularly liked the way they tackled the issue of baking hot weather at her backyard wedding. It's tough to pull off a weather solution that is functional AND elegant:

"Because our wedding was on a May afternoon in steaming Arizona, & we were inviting our guests to sit out beneath the near scorching sun, we knew we would need to provide some sort of shade. My creative mom came up with the idea of long stretches of sheer white fabric. We hung the strips from our roof & lengthened them to a string of wire hung throughout the trees. They worked! Lots of shade & a nice soft ambience that made the whole afternoon feel more intimate. Tiny bells hanging in the trees made for soft song when the breeze would catch them."

Thanks so much for the submissions. More flowers and decorations coming tomorrow morning...

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