Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
These decorations bring sparkle to tables and serving areas -- and they last far longer than jack-o'-lanterns.
Tools and Materials
Similar glitter in Garnet, Tourmaline, and Bronze (available for $4.99, by Martha Stewart Crafts, frommarthastewartcrafts.com)
Paper plate or newspaper
Brown acrylic paint
Glittered Pumpkins How-To
1. With paintbrush, spread layer of white glue over the surface of a small pumpkin. Place pumpkin on a paper plate or newspaper to catch excess glitter.
2. Sprinkle powder glitter over glue, covering completely. Let dry for an hour, then shake off excess powder.
3. Coat stem with brown acrylic paint, let dry. Once dry, the stem can also be covered in brown glitter if desired. The pumpkins will keep for months.
1. It's easiest to do half the pumpkin and sprinkle with glitter, let dry, and continue with the other half.
2. There's no need to completely cover the bottom, since it's not seen. Also, it's fine if your pumpkin has marks or mild blemishes, since you will be covering it with glitter.
From Mashable - some great ideas, a few for the tech savy, but overall some great inspiration and resources!
by Josh Catone
I’m getting married next July, and being a Mashable editor, I’ve naturally attempted to use social media wherever possible when planning my wedding. Some things for the wedding have required me to go the traditional route — picking out a venue meant actually going to see a few, and to my knowledge, there isn’t yet a way to actually taste food over the Internet. There are plenty of local wedding vendor directories and review sites that were helpful in locating vendors to try out, but actually checking them out in person is a must.
However, much of the wedding actually can be planned via social media and the web, especially if you take a more DIY approach and assemble bits and pieces of the event on your own. I’m taking that approach to the planning of my own wedding and have been relying on social media and web-based tools to help. In this post, I’m open sourcing my wedding planning work-flow and sharing all the tricks I’ve learned so far. Feel free to share other ideas in the comments.
The first thing my fiancé and I did when beginning to plan our wedding was pick out a color scheme. Once we had our colors picked out, it became a lot easier to start planning everything else pertaining to the design of our wedding, from the bridesmaid dresses to the decorations to the invitations. Check out COLOURlovers and Adobe’s Kuler for active communities of designers that create and share color palettes. If you are color challenged, these sites will help you identify colors that go well together, and if you’d rather create your own scheme, they offer tools to easily create color swatches.
Once we had our colors figured out, the next thing we used the web to help us out with was creating our save-the-date cards and invitations. We looked into traditional, wedding-focused print shops, but we decided that they were both too expensive and not personal enough — we wanted something designed just for us, not picked from a catalog. I am lucky enough to have a close friend who happens to be a great graphic designer and she volunteered to create my save-the-date cards and invitations, but prior to her generous offer, I was planning to use a crowd sourced design site like 99designs or crowdSPRING to get my wedding collateral created.
Before I actually send out my save-the-date cards, I need to get my wedding web site made (the cards have the web site URL printed on them). The web site will have information about hotels and air travel for guests, about local attractions and wedding-related activities, and about the all-important wedding registry (more on that in a moment). I also plan for the web site to also serve as a central repository for the distribution of post-wedding media.
There are plenty of services online that offer web sites catered specifically to weddings, but since I have design-savvy friends and a moderate amount of technical knowledge, I’m planning to go the DIY route. I’m in the process of putting together a page built on WordPress (). I’m self-hosting, but there’s no reason why WordPress.com couldn’t work as well (or any other hosted blog solution).
WordPress is actually a great tool to power the back-end of a wedding web site. It lets you keep people automatically updated via blog posts (and RSS), lets you easily add static pages, is infinitely customizable, and there are already a slew of wedding specific themes available for free on the web. WordPress also has iPhone () and BlackBerry () apps, so you can update your page on the go. In addition to a web site, I am considering setting up a private Twitter () stream and Facebook () Event page for guests, creating multiple channels for people to stay updated.
Of course the main reason for a wedding web site is to tell people what sort of presents to get you. Right? Right. We considered going the traditional route and registering at stores like Crate & Barrel or Bed, Bath & Beyond — and we probably will register at one of those to accommodate for older or less tech-savvy guests — but no store really completely matched our taste or the small, but eclectic list of things we’d like to get as gifts. That’s why our wedding web site will most likely point to a Universal Wishlist from Amazon, which allows users to create a custom registry combining items for any store on the web, or one from MyRegistry.com, which lets couples create a registry from hundreds of different stores, and request cash gifts (i.e., for a honeymoon or single, big-ticket item).
That’s the virtual stuff covered, but what about the tangible items? What about the things that really matter, like what the wedding party is going to wear? I have one word for you: Etsy. Etsy is probably the world’s largest marketplace of handmade goods, and in it you can find almost anything you need for your wedding. It has been an invaluable resource for us while planning our wedding, and we like being able to support small business at the same time.
Etsy has a weddings category, but branch out and search the rest of the site for the type of items you need. We’ve been able to find everything from bridesmaid dresses, to neckties for the groomsmen, to wedding bands.
It should be clear by now: planning a wedding is a mammoth undertaking (and ours is relatively small at just over 100 guests). Keeping track of all the details can be difficult, but two tools are potentially invaluable for staying organized as the list of items you need to keep straight for the wedding grows larger. One of those resources is Backpack. Though initially designed for business use, Backpack is a single-page, wiki-style organizer that can be amazingly useful for keeping track of who is doing what, what is left to do, and what has already been accomplished. Because Backpack pages can be shared, you can also use the app to get your wedding party involved — dole out tasks to bridesmaids, groomsmen, and relatives and keep track of everyone’s progress.
Another great application for those planning a wedding is the WeddingWire iPhone application. WeddingWire’s app has a built-in vendor search, but more importantly, it has to-do lists and a budget calculator. One thing I learned very quickly while planning my wedding is that everything costs money, and often times deposits are due at specific dates (for the food, for the venue, for the flowers, for the transportation, etc.). The WeddingWire app can help you keep track of who needs to get paid, when, and how much.
The Big Day
All that planning is really the hard part — or so I’m told — but there’s still a lot to do on the wedding day itself. My brother, who was married five years ago and also took a do-it-yourself approach, was actually up at 3 AM the night before the wedding assembling programs — I don’t want that to happen to me next summer! So I’m trying to keep everything organized, and one way I’m doing that is by using services like RememberTheMilk, which offers to-do list apps for the iPhone, Android (), and other mobile devices so I (and my bride-to-be) can keep the wedding day task list close at hand and make sure everything gets done.
Because I’m a social media nerd, I’ve considered integrating Twitter into my wedding reception. We’ll certainly have a traditional paper guestbook that people can sign and we can keep as a memento, but in an effort to go geeky, I may attempt to use Twitter to create a real-time guestbook that anyone at the wedding can contribute to and see. The plan is to create a special Twitter hashtag just for the wedding (#catonewedding, for example) and ask people to tweet their thoughts, well-wishes, toasts, or maybe even song requests during the reception. Then, behind the dance floor, we would project the real-time stream of tweets from wedding attendees using Twitterfall, a laptop, and a projector.
Another option in the same vein is the Brightkite Wall, which ties updates to location, supports SMS (for those with older phones), and can insert camera phone images into the stream. I’ve been to events utilizing the Brightkite Wall, and it really is a lot of fun.
Of course, while not every wedding needs tweets (though they can’t hurt!), every wedding does need music and photos. On the music front, we’re planning to use a laptop and iTunes playlists rather than a band or DJ. It’s low budget, but works well and allows us to create separate playlists for different parts of the evening (i.e., soft, background music for dinner, upbeat dance tunes for after the meal, and “Closing Time” by Semisonic when we want everyone to leave). At any time during the reception, it will be easy for someone from the wedding party to man the laptop to take requests.
One thing we won’t be able to do due to a lack of wifi, is utilize the Apple Remote iPhone app that can hook into iTunes DJ and allow anyone at your party to browse your iTunes library from their phone and make requests or alter the playlist. That would have been an awesome way to get wedding guests involved in the music decisions and out on the dance floor, but the lack of wifi at the old farmhouse we’re renting for our wedding won’t make it possible.
Update: Some commenters point out that this should actually work via a local area network — no net access required. Good point, and I’ll definitely look into it!
Another thing a wedding needs is pictures. We’ll be having some of ours taken the old fashioned way — by a wedding photographer — but given that everyone has a camera phone in their pocket these days, we’re anticipating that a lot of our guests will be snapping photos. We plan to invite everyone to share the photos with us via special, private albums on Facebook and Flickr (), and we may even assemble our favorites into a book using Blurb () for any close relatives that might want one (like grandparents who may not even own a computer, let alone know how to view a private wedding photo group on Flickr).
Just as important as the wedding? The honeymoon. And social media and web tools can be just as helpful (or perhaps even more helpful) in planning your honeymoon. For ours, we’re hoping to travel around Europe for a couple of weeks, and though our plans are still in their infancy, one site that I know will be a huge help to us is YourTour.
One thing that has always frustrated me about most travel booking sites on the web is that booking a multi-leg trip that requires travel between and accommodations in more than one city is a major hassle. The recently-launched YouTour, which right now works only for France, allows visitors to easily plan out multi-leg trips, including transportation, hotels, and activities in both circular or linear itinerary patterns. Support for more countries is reportedly coming in the future, but even just in planning the French leg of our European honeymoon, YourTour should prove extremely helpful.
Another site that I have on my radar for honeymoon planning is Stay.com, which lets users build free, customized guide books that highlight the specific places you’re planning to visit — from museums to restaurants. The site supports a handful of major cities right now, but has plans to expand. In many ways, Stay.com is similar to Offbeat Guides, a service that automagically creates travel guides based on your itinerary with information gleaned from around the web. In my testing, though, the results from Stay.com in the cities they support was generally more relevant to travelers. Though both sites could do with a bit of polish (and each is still under active development), the concept of personalized travel guides is a powerful one and as the technology gets better, services like Stay.com will become must-haves for globetrotters.
Of course, as mobile phones become more powerful, the need for paper guides will decrease. There are a number of iPhone travel tour applications already available, such as those for a select group of European locales from travel writer Rick Steves (iTunes link) that were featured in a recent iPhone commercial.
Clearly, how to use social media to plan a honeymoon could take up an entire separate post, and I am only just beginning to plan mine. Please share any other honeymoon planning apps, sites and tips that you know of, as well as any great social media resources for wedding planning in the comments below.
See also: HOW TO: Plan a Wedding on the Web
Monday, September 21, 2009
I emboss my paw prints on every card I send– because my dog loves my mom too, right? And how nice it will be to just emboss all my envelopes with my address clip ahead of time before I sign and stuff them with all of my holiday cards. Easy, easy, easy!
Here’s a tip: emboss paper napkins on the edges–stars, holiday trees, anything. Just did it for a friend’s baby shower with the playful stars motif and everyone thought I bought them like that!
Embossers also make great gifts– for mom, auntie, brother, sister-in-law. Buy one machine and just keep giving them a new plate every year! Truly the gift that keeps on giving. LOVE IT!