DIY Boutonniere

For our budget wedding, one of the things we are saving on is flowers. Since we are going with a vintage theme, baby’s breath fits into our budget wedding very well. If baby’s breath is not your kind of thing, it is very simple to just add your own flower to the boutonniere. (Nobody will be able to tell if they are supermarket flowers or fake flowers unless you say something by the way.)

My DIY Boutonniere

My DIY Boutonniere

For the boutonnieres in our wedding, I am using all things I found at the thrift store, and then threw in some things I already owned. My list of supplies was:

  • Baby’s Breath (cut from valentine’s day bouquet of roses)
  • Twine (from around our farm, but very easy to find in a craft store; Ribbon is a beautiful alternative)
  • Brown colored pipe cleaner (I actually found a package at a thrift store for a quarter, but cheap at craft stores as well)
  • Tape (I find floral tape, clear tape, or scotch tape all work)
  • Button (The one pictured is an old one I had, but we found cool wood ones to use in our real boutonnieres at the thrift store)
  • Needle and Thread (I used a burnt orange color for a hint of our orange wedding color)
  • Accent if you choose (Here I used an orange tulle cut in the shape of leaves for the background. I like the idea of burlap, ribbon, feathers or leaves for this)

How To:

  1. Use the Baby’s Breath (or other flower) as your base. Wrap the stem in tape. Some use floral tape, but in my opinion, it doesn’t make a difference if you use clear tape or scotch tape for this project, since it will be covered anyway.
  2. Situate your background accent the way you want it to lay. Slightly bend more flimsy materials to help them stand up behind the main flower.
  3. To hold everything together and give your stem some more substance, wrap in brown colored pipe cleaner. At the bottom, bend and insert the sharp end up into the stem.
  4. Now for the twine: Start by securing the end of the twine to the pipe cleaner near the top. You can use a dab of super glue or hot glue for this, but I chose to use a needle and thread to avoid glue spots and add some rustic character to the boutonniere. If you are using the needle and thread, it will take several wraps around the pipe cleaner and twine to get a secure start. Wrap the twine from the top to the bottom of the pipe cleaner. At the bottom, insert the end of the twine underneath the layers of twine in the back. Here again, I chose to use needle and thread to secure my twine end, but you can just use a dab of glue.
  5. Attach the button. I especially wanted to use needle and thread to add a touch of my orange wedding color here, but a dab of glue would be a very simple way to adhere the button to the boutonniere.

Add your own touch and have fun!

©Chelle Photography

Other DIY boutonniere blogs I love:

http://blackboximage.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/diy-flower-boutonniere/

http://www.weddingchicks.com/2012/09/18/how-to-make-a-boutonniere/

http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2011/06/diy-feather-boutonnieres-.html

 

Budget Wedding: Our Top 10 Ways We Are NOT Spending

According to this article by USA Today, the average cost of a wedding is $26,989 (Sadly, that number is lower than previous averages!). I have learned that anything with the term “wedding” or “marriage” in the title is suddenly five times the price, even if it similar to an object one would be using outside of a wedding. I was recently looking at cake stands. A local craft store was selling a “wedding” cake stand for $45! That just sounds outrageous to me!! (We are choosing to make our cake stand from a dollar store candle stick ($2) and an old vintage plate I found at a thrift store ($1)) That is a $43 savings right off the bat. This will hardly dent the $26,989 price tag the average couple is spending on their wedding, though.

We really needed to cut our spending down. Mitchell and I are 19 and 20, broke kids about to start college together. I have worked for non-profits the last year and racking up the medical bills like a professional money-spender. We have been trusting all of our needs to the Lord, and trying not to waste our resources he gives us. We are therefore setting our wedding budget at $2,000. Not impossible. Actually, it hasn’t been as hard as it has seemed. Many have gotten married on much less. Everyone’s story is different, but I wish budget weddings were a bigger thing.

Here are the Top 10 Ways Mitchell and I are not blowing our money on the day we start our life together:

1)  Skipping the Venue.

Have an outdoor wedding, instead. There, you’ve cut the second largest cost of the average wedding right there. We are getting married in his parents’ beautiful backyard. It will   be a little cramped, but we will feel at home. What my mother did reserved a spot in a local state park for her wedding. It was free for them, and the guests just had to pay for parking. We were also thinking of using the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden as our venue. The one downfall with that one is that it is very public, and we would have a large audience of people we didn’t know. Doesn’t really bother me too much, but we had the backyard as a choice, so we went with that. Many churches will offer the church free of charge to members or regular attenders, also. We chose not to do that, but it was also a free choice many will have available, so ask your church’s elders if you are a regular attendee.

2) NOT Catering In.

This was one of the harder choices in my family, but our largest money saver. Our local catered (our cheapest choice where we live) charges $16 a plate for off-site parties. With our estimated head count of 127, we would be busting our $2,000 on just food alone (not including the cake). Instead of the catering route, I, the bride, am going to make several pans of lasagna and freeze them to bake on the day. We are also serving a lettuce and spinach salad and fruit salad on the side. Our estimated food cost is $150-$300, but that is MUCH smaller than our original choice. There are a lot of foods that are generally easy to serve to large groups of people. Italian is almost always a great choice. My cousin had a taco bar at her wedding, and that turned out really well and was very easy and inexpensive. (The tacos are inexpensive to cater in, anyway, if you like that).

3) Skipping the Booze.

This was an easy choice for us, since neither the bride nor the groom are 21 at the time of our wedding. I have no clue how much we are saving skipping serving alcohol to our guests, but I am guessing it is a good amount. Since I have grown up on a dairy farm and have forever been an endorser of dairy, I am very excited to have milk and cookie toasts as an alternative.

4) DIY Save-the-Date and Invitations.

I can not believe how much companies try to charge for save-the-date cards and wedding invitations. It would be fun to afford an upper-end luxury invitation such as those at this site, where prices range from $14-$90 per invitation. Those are easily out of the question on our  budget. I have searched for what feels like forever for inexpensive invitations. I have fallen in love with many less expensive but still spendy ones, like this one, for more than $3.00 per invitation for our number of invites (adding up to $130, even on the cheaper end of what I have found). I ended up finding many great free printables, though. My favorite collection of that is here, on weddingchicks.com. I am probably one of their biggest fans. As for stationary, I have been extremely lucky to find a $2 set of save-the-date stationary at goodwill, and a $7 set of invitation suite stationary at another thrift store. That I am sure was a blessing directly from God. Very inexpensive compared to the alternative there. Micheals and other craft stores have inexpensive invitation suite stationary for around $20 a box, like here and here.

5) Not Hiring a Planner.

How I have handled this mostly, (sounds really weird) ignoring a large piece of the advice around me. A lot of people throw in their opinion about what they thing you should do, and if you try to listen to all of them, before you know it, your big day is their ideas and you are overwhelmed.  I have used a lot of great online resources to help plan our big day. Theknot.com has a lot of wonderful resources, such as their wedding checklist here and their wedding budget helper here. I have deleted many things from both of their lists (as they get somewhat frivolous for what we want) but they have helped me keep things straight really well. If you need inspiration or ideas for your big day, sign up for pinterest. It is really one of the largest helps out there. Just don’t get lost in the grand ideas.

Somewhat different but also related; Ignore outside opinions.

I touched on this briefly, but really, so many people feel they have great ideas for what to do. Where to buy the right this or that, what to serve your guests, where to hold it, what flowers to have, and it can all get so overwhelming so fast! As some advice really helps in wedding planning, so many of the tips people throw out there for weddings can just be so over-the-top or more expensive, mmaybe just not for you. Only we know how we want to spend our big day. Ignoring other people’s opinions can really allow you to simplify to what you and your soon-to-be-spouse want. Don’t be afraid to leave out items that “normally” are in a wedding day. If you don’t want to serve food, DON’T! If you don’t want rows of seats for the ceremony, don’t do it! (Haha we aren’t having rows of seats for our ceremony, and a lot of people are upset, for whatever reason.) Anyway…

6) Not Hiring a Florist.

It is really crazy to me how much a florist can charge for flowers. Mitchell and I are really at an advantage with decorating, since we will be outdoors and the family has a good amount of wild flowers and gardens already in the backyard (another perk of the outdoor wedding). We will be doing fake flowers (made of paper and such) for a lot of our centerpieces and boutonnieres. Here is a tutorial on how to make paper roses (I have saved tons of sheet music for this). Here are more paper flowers. Here is a tutorial on how to make a boutonniere. If we choose to use a touch of real flowers, and we will just be getting those at the super market (nobody will know the difference, honestly). I will be making all the bouquets, and we are using just Baby’s Breath. Since most people will not do that, but it is still a great idea to make your own bouquet, this is a great resource for how to make different bouquets.

7) Ditching the DJ.

In this wonderful age of technology, why not use what we have? Someone you know has to have a nice set of speakers. Create your own, customized playlist for the big day. Use an iPod, CDs, your laptop… I love Spotify. You can choose any songs you want, and your guests can make some requests.

8) Using Ebay and Thrift Stores.

I have felt questionable toward purchasing my wedding dress from Ebay and table linens and stem ware at thrift stores. The results so far though have been wonderful! My dresses (I could afford 2 since we were saving so much) came to $200, and you could never tell they weren’t designer. I have found old, beautiful faux pearl jewelery at antique shops for $1. I have found a great collection of lace and linens for a tenth of the cost it would have been to buy new. We are doing something creative and different with our tableware and buying all old (but nice), mismatched plates and stem ware for our dinner. So far, we have spent $18 on 50 stem ware glasses and 3 large boxes of mismatched antique plates. We will be picking the best of them for our guests after we finish collecting about 150 of each.  So far we have spent far less than any rental or new purchase would cost. I have found great old picture frames for painting with chalkboard paint, beautiful vases for centerpieces, the list goes on and on. I am very excited for our thrift store finds to be put to use. We have even found modern and conservative bridesmaid’s dresses that match for under $30 each (on Ebay). Definitely beats buying designer or from any bridal shop in my book!

9) Making Our Own.

Decorations. Food. Alterations. Cake. Well, we aren’t doing all of these things ourselves, but there are so many family member and wonderful close friends that are really happy to help us where we are having trouble. We were lucky to have both a friend and a family member jump on the question of if they could gift us a cake within the first week of our engagement. Although that might not be the case most of the time, maybe it would be a good idea to humble yourselves and ask if someone close that you know loves baking cakes if they would make one for you guys on the cheap (I think it would be fair to offer compensation). It would save a lot from the bakery price of a cake. And what about cupcakes? And who would ever know if it was from a box (I find them better most of the time). As for centerpieces, there are so many ideas out there. Be different. Maybe have something other than a large bouquet of your favorite flower. This can really save you money in every area of your wedding. It depends on your skills and what skills are around you.  A cousin of mine made her dress while her mom made all the bridesmaid’s dresses. It is still the most beautiful dress I have ever seen. Before I fell in love with the dress I got for $100, I was about to offer her $300 to make me a dress! Why not? It would still be saving money, and you could get anything you want! We were offered free pictures by a family member. Really, it depends on the gifts of those around you. Don’t be afraid to ask.

10) Don’t Invite Everyone You Know.

Maybe we are just a more popular couple than I thought, but our original guest list before we thought about how much the extra people would cost was about 250 people. We took that down to 127 (begrudgingly), but simply could not afford or fit that many people into our big day. We would have had to change to a larger venue, made twice the amount of food, had to offer a shuttle service, the list goes on. Many people advice cutting kids, but we love kids, and many of our little siblings, little cousins, and little nephews and nieces are our favorite people. We cut the lines at step aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles, friends outside of those on our wedding party or those we were raised by (as in, the woman making our cake nearly adopted me legally as a child), and anything beyond first cousins in that area. This was our number one struggle, and has caused a lot of tears and frustrations in our families. I wanted a small wedding, but my dad wanted the whole church to be invited. Mitchell’s grandfather had been married several times and now has caused there to be 30-ish aunts and uncles (including past and present steps).  Just know that, if you are having troubles in this area, you are not alone. This was a necessary step in our money-saving, and definitely the hardest.

All in all, make it YOUR day. Throw any of my advice out the window if you don’t like it. Share with me what you think or what you have done to keep costs down for your big day!

Why Christians Should Listen to Macklemore || Jeff Cherry

Why Christians Should Listen to Macklemore || Jeff Cherry

I really love this blog. As a Christian who, myself, appreciates Mackelmore’s music but is often troubled by his lyrics, I really love that another Christian says, “Hey, we should listen to Macklemore!”

That is, we should look at the lyrics in some of Macklemore’s songs, where he speaks of many of our downfalls as a church, and we should grow from that to be a better light for the world.

Anyway, check out his blog. I really appreciate his insight on the topic. Way cool.

Inexpensive “Will you be my Bridesmaid?” Gifts

Inexpensive “Will you be my Bridesmaid?” Gifts

I just loved the free printables I found on weddingchicks.com! Here it is. Their printables are just great; you can cutomize them with your own colors and such. And they have everything from free invitations to save-the-dates to these! I … Continue reading

The Story of Peter

The ride home- he didn't feel very good...

The ride home- he didn’t feel very good…

The day I brought Peter home- Our first "I will love you forever" kiss

The day I brought Peter home- Our first “I will love you forever” kiss

Ok, I am going to get all cheesy and write a post about my new adoption. I am just so in love!

My family has fostered puppies for a while now with animal shelters in the Kentucky/Indiana area. When we got the call about the two pups who had been abandoned on the side of the road, I was happy to come along to the pick-up. The site was heart-breaking; two wormy, dehydrated, emaciated puppies covered in fleas and their own mess. The little white one was the sicker one, but he appreciated our love like none other. Peter, the brown pup, had  a wonderful personality. For one, in all of his pain and discomfort, he really enjoyed his bath. Well, I fell in love with him right away.

Peter learned his name really fast. No matter how short the time from the last time we cuddled, any time I would call his name, he would run at me full speed ahead and jump into my arms.

Full-blown puppy love.

I quickly decided I had to adopt him. I couldn’t imagine breaking the bond we had for anyone else.Peter!

He is a really smart pup. Everything we share is worth so much. I am very happy to have been the fortunate one to rescue him. Even being offered $200 for my mut was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard, because no amount of money could buy the silly love I have for this dog.

Adopt please. There are shelters full of pups dying every day. It is really heart-breaking seeing pups as wonderful as Peter being killed just because someone would rather have a full-bred dog with papers.

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Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

I have recently tried to keep a lot of my boring personal life out of my blog, but that really leads to an awful case of writer’s block and a non-moving blog. So, I figured I would just offer a little update to any followers who may be interested and hope that God gets a little glory from it all.

So over the last couple months, I have been serving in the homeless shelter in southern Indiana, and then more often in Hope Central, serving those needing a little help making ends meet. I had been keeping busy also helping foster dogs, with 18 of them at my place at one point. I adopted one, had accidentally fallen head over heals in love with a previously abandoned and starved little boy puppy (pictures will surely come soon, I am so in love). God had been using me in many ways, as I could see, and blessing me beyond what I deserve. He is so wonderful.

Anyway, as my busy life continued, day after day my heart had been giving me some troubles and making life a little challenging (at least I think it is my heart). I had been getting dizzy most times when I stood more than 20 minutes and even climbing one flight of stairs was becoming increasingly difficult and would result in more dizziness and blurry vision. For a somewhat in-shape 19 year old, I know these things aren’t normal. After one episode of walking a few blocks ending in passing out, vomiting and shaking for two hours, my cardiologist back in Minnesota told me I had to find a flight back up north as soon as possible to find what was going on.

So, here I am, in Minnesota for heart testing. I have had two appointments so far in the week I’ve been here, and I have a final one in 3 days. My symptoms aren’t typical for just Marfan’s Syndrome (which I was diagnosed with at the age of 10), but hopefully they find what is going on so I can feel better.

Whatever the doctors find or say, I know God has all control. If I am in your prayers, thank you, and pray that God takes all glory from whatever he has in store for me, that I can be a tool for him.

My encouragement this evening:

From Psalm 41 (ESV) “Blessed is the one who considers the poor. In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health. As for me, I said. ‘O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!'”…”By this I know you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But you have upheld me because of my integrity and set me in your presence forever.”

Going Back to a More Artistic Me?

I am sitting here listening to Lana Del Rey’s album, “Born To Die”, missing who I once was. For any of you that are not so familiar with Lana Del Rey’s music, I think I could describe only as, artistic. Perhaps weird, as many of my friends and family members describe her. I love her, though. I find myself having not appreciated anything outside of the “normal”, bland world I have lived in for some time now. The most I have exercised my creative mind recently was through blogging, which I have not used much imagination in yet.

I reminisce.

Spoonbridge and Cherry

Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, Spoonbridge and Cherry, 1985-1988
aluminum, stainless steel, paint

Growing up around Minneapolis, a city of artists, I really have grown up with an appreciation for contemporary art. I remember my first field trip to the Walker Art Center (home of the infamous “Spoonbridge and  Cherry” piece) in 6th grade. I was captivated, learning the potential of the skills I had learned throughout life in art classes.

I had always loved art. I started taking community education pottery classes with a bunch of adults around the age of 10. I fell in love with this form of self-expression and loved to see others expressing themselves in the same way. I grew an appreciation for making our world more beautiful and interesting through these contemporary art pieces I saw around me.

I learned to love an absence of rules in art especially (perhaps this is why I really hated art shows and contests through school, which I never took part in). I guess I appreciated learning skills and rules in art, but the thought of binding one’s artistic abilities inside of these rules seemed suffocating and bland. We are human, each created different and unique. I still cannot comprehend the thought process of “art judges” or critics. One’s thoughts are only personal, and I cannot understand why anyone else would care to conform, especially not in the art community.

A friend of mine had taken part last year in one particular art “contest”. The “winning” pieces at this gathering were the

most realistic looking, not much out of the ordinary was appreciated. The judges panel, a bunch of self-proclaimed “artists”, chose for first place a drawing of Brittany Spears, which looked nearly like what she would look like if she were standing in front of you. Second place was a painting of a scene from “The Pirates of the Caribbean”, where a large squid-like creäture was taking over a ship. As the judges were explaining why they chose these winning pieces, one of the self-proclaimed artists grabbed the microphone and tried declaring that their opinions did not make any of the art more artistic or better than any of the other pieces, and that their feelings were just feelings, and did not make an impact on the greatness of any of the pieces. He was somewhat kicked off the judges panel, as all the other judges took his comment toward the students offensively.

I would just like to say, that is not an art community I would like to be part of. Judging art does not even make sense. Is it even really art, then, if one opinion matters over another according to some law?

Anyway, the Walker Art Museum had become a favorite place of mine, where I could live in a different world, where you could sit in a garden and make art and appreciate other people’s art pieces as well.

This is really making me miss Minneapolis. I hear San Francisco is similar in the richer neighborhoods, with an appreciation for art and the outdoors. Perhaps I should visit.

I guess what I meant to say in all of this is how I have been missing my interaction in the artistic community. Perhaps I will go read some Freshly Pressed artistic blogs. Perhaps I will soon invest in my dream of owning a wheel and a kiln. Anyone know where to find a cheaper one of either?

A Typical Day of Wonderful Work

Today is not a special day. But I think that makes it a great opportunity to blog.

I get to work today at Hope Central, a very inspiring circle of people in this petite community where I am staying.

The Hope Central organization offers services to Boonville, Indiana such as;

  • Manna Market- a shop-for-yourself food shelf, where families can take as much as they need and only what they’ll eat (also has toiletries when donated)
  • Bibs and Bottles Boutique- a free resource for moms of infants and toddlers, offering free baby food, bibs, sheets for cribs, and all sizes of diapers and wipes
  • Abba Clinic- a free clinic for offering services to people with no insurance, offers great pregnancy services with ultrasound machine and testing
  • Grace Garments Clothing Bank- a free clothing store for anyone who really just needs some clothes
  • Education Services- the organization offers financial classes, health classes, and fitness classes from time-to-time

I have had the wonderful opportunity of working in the free clothing bank for most of my time with Hope Central. It has been such a blessing. My most memorable moment in my short 2 weeks was the rainy, gloomy day 2 brothers walked in, ages 10 and 13. These boys had no shoes, shorts and t-shirts on, and drunken parents sitting at home. We found one boy a pair of shoes but couldn’t find shoes for the 10-year old (it was heartbreaking, but we found him some slippers). They brought home what would be their only pairs of jeans, their only coats, and some sweatshirts we found each of them. Somebody stepped up and gave them a healthy, hot dinner to bring home that they could eat for the night, along with the food they found in Manna Market. Their entire situation was just heartbreaking, though.

Now, I wear TOMS and believe I as a more privileged person should allow others the luxury of having a nice pair of shoes, just as myself. Not having shoes in the one boy’s size was such a heartbreaking experience. We live in a non-poor community. We live in America for heaven’s sake!! That these two boys were not going to school because they grew out of their shoes was not ok. It isn’t something I would have imagined to see as a problem for such young boys in America. It is something I imagine happening more in Africa or South America, but not here.

I guess it is situations like these, though, that God uses for us to show his love to the most broken people in our world. I am happy somebody informed these boys of us as a resource.

I can not wait to go in today and serve. Every time I do, it really is a wonderful experience. I am blessed in so many ways through being a vessel to bless others.

Want to help out at Hope Central through giving? Here is their contact information on their facebook page. Or, here is their website. They always appreciate gift cards to maintain their Bibs and Bottles Boutique and help keeping stocked up on baby food, wipes, and diapers. If you are close, it is a great place to give your clothes and shoes.

News Anchor Addresses Her Bully

I saw this video posted on facebook today. I love this news anchor’s reply to a bully’s comment toward her personally.

Beauty is more than skin deep. Every girl and woman needs to know she was created beautiful. Every one that has ever been bullied deserves to know that they are better than somebody’s comment of negativity.
I loved this bit of encouragement for today. I think it is inspiring that in less than 24 hours, she has received almost 2 million views, and touched so many lives so quickly.

October is anti-bullying month, I guess this is a great little tribute to the realization that bullying is not ok. I have seen bullying and its effects all around me my whole life, and it is a serious issue in this world. It is not a fake issue in our world that a girl is called fat to the point of wanting to kill herself. It is not a fake thing that a boy is called ignorant, weird and annoying to the point of skipping school twice a week. These two are examples that happened to people very close to me, I saw the harmful effect of people’s words on their lives. These kinds of words are unacceptable, and everyone needs to take a stand against bullying together to make a difference. I admire the example everyone has made banding together with this video.

We need to teach kids words of encouragement and courage for themselves, and that bullying is not ok. We also each need to set an example foremost.

I would love positive comments about if this video or post touched you in any way.