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Loose Leaf Tea Favors

When the weather outside is frightful, what better way to spend the day than curling up under a warm blanket and sipping something hot? Brian and I got married late in September, which is pretty much the beginning of fall in Seattle. I stumbled upon this idea on HGTV and sure enough these tea favors were a hit with the guests. But beyond weddings, I think these would also be perfect as holiday favors or any occasion for that matter. Create several flavors and package them in threes in a pretty box and you’ve got a wonderful hostess gift, or a stocking stuffer for the tea lover!

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We put up these mini chalkboard signs for our tea favor display, and you can do the same too if you want to assemble them on a table and let guests mill around them. These can easily be cut out of balsa wood, but you could also purchase ready made ones on Etsy. We got ours from this Etsy shop.

Tip: Use a chalk marker instead of regular chalk. It’s cleaner and your letters appear more crisp!

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Happy concocting!

We used:
Tazo loose leaf teas
1.25 oz clear glass vials from Specialty Bottle

Our September Wedding

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend and are now gearing up for Christmas. After five months and a major life event I am finally back in the blogosphere. Brian and I got hitched in September, on a typical rainy Seattle day. The last final weeks leading up to the day were crazy busy! But after all the hard work and help from our awesome friends and family members, we were able to pull off a fantastic wedding. We decided to hold off on the honeymoon since we had a bunch of family fly in from out of state. Plus shortly after that I started a new job. So it’ll probably have to wait til next year!

In the next few posts, I’ll be sharing some of the DIY stuff that we did. Weddings are expensive no doubt. But I believe you can set a realistic budget for yourselves, look for creative ways to stick to that budget (and there are tons!) and still have a wedding that best represents you as a couple. In the meantime here are some of my favorite photos:

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Dress: BHLDN
Headpiece: handmade with a flower applique from my dress, faux feathers and birdcage veil netting purchased on Etsy
Jewelry: Anthropologie & J Crew
Brian’s ‘Bill Fucking Murray’ cuff links: the Chivery
Flowers: Seattle Wholesale Growers Market
Photographer: Kevin from Alex Studio

We had the pleasure of working with some very awesome people, most especially Stacy Kvam (former manager of Melrose Market Studios), Beckie McCann of Vintage Ambiance, Jessica and Lee of Skillet Street Food, and Danny and Matt from WaSound. These people were so great to work with and have made the entire wedding planning process virtually painless and stress-free. These guys rock!

Happy holidays everyone!

Wedding Invitations

So Brian and I were on a mission to get our invitations out before August. We have been behind on a bunch of things and I was starting to panic when it hit me that the wedding is only two months away. Gah! But now that we got the invitations out the door I certainly feel a lot better. It took us about a week to finalize the graphics and I had initially wanted these to be letterpressed, but since we dragged our feet for way too long there just wasn’t enough time. So we proceeded to do all the printing and cutting ourselves. At the end of it all I am glad we did it this way. There was a greater sense of accomplishment, the teamwork was flawless (no meltdowns or murder plots whatsoever), and we get to high five each other for a job well done. High five, sweetie. Although let’s not procrastinate this much anymore in the future.

This invitation suite looks nothing like our save-the-dates, but that’s because 5 months ago we didn’t have an idea of what our wedding would look like. For the graphics I wanted to incorporate elements that we’ll potentially have at the wedding: bare bulb lights, dahlias, an airstream trailer (our caterer will be arriving in one), and geometric patterns. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. Below are some behind-the-scenes-type photos that I wanted to share. Pardon the bad lighting on most of these. Cheers!

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Getting Back Into the (Wedding Planning) Groove!

Wow, you know you’ve been gone a long time when you log in to your account to find out that the WordPress dashboard looks completely different! It has been really busy the past couple of months (reasons reasons) and I have miserably fallen out of my blogging groove, even the wedding planning has come to a halt. But the cold hard truth is that September is just around the corner, which means Brian and I need to seriously get our act together. So earlier this week we started working on some concepts, even managed to drag ourselves to the paper store (where we spent almost 2 hours) to look at paper stock for the invitations. One of the challenges of having a designer for a fiance is that decisions take longer to make, because he too needs to weigh in on every little detail. The good part is that there are twice as many ideas bouncing around the table, and even better is the part where we finally agree on something, check it off the list, and move on to the next item and proceed to beat it to death! But I digress.

The other day I put together a mood board that kind of represents what we both want for our wedding. Our venue is located in a historic 1927 building with very cool industrial details — concrete floors, old brick walls, timber and steel. We decided to incorporate some industrial elements to the decor, and some vintage pieces and flowers to balance them out and give it some softness. In addition, we wanted to incorporate some geometric forms that speak to our love of modern design.

www.abbeyhepner.com

www.abbeyhepner.com

(photos of venue by abbey hepner )

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Since we’re having a casual cocktail style reception, we plan to have bistro tables and tallboys, and some couch seating in lieu of banquet tables. There will be 25% less seating to encourage guests to walk around and mingle. And of course there will be ample space for dancing.

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We plugged a few things in CAD to help us better visualize the layout and check that everything fits in the space. We will be projecting a photo slide show on the brick wall, and I am planning on having Brian build us a honeycomb backdrop for the ceremony area (after the wedding, we get to use them as shelves at home!)

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Can’t wait for all this to come together!
Inspiration for the ceremony backdrop here!

Save-the-Date Pulpboard Coasters

Hi everyone! So we finally got our coasters last week and we couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out. If you’re having a casual wedding like us, coaster save-the-dates might fit the bill for you. They are fun and functional, and very fitting for a cocktail party reception. Letterpress printing adds another level of interest to it, transforming your message into a tactile piece of art.

I just finished sending these out to my portion of the guest list yesterday and I’m excited for everyone to receive it. Two things that Brian* and I agreed to incorporate in the design for the coasters: our pets, and typewriter-style fonts (he was very adamant about the latter). After we came to a consensus on the final design, I think the rest of the pieces came together pretty easily.

The coaster was designed in Illustrator. If you’re doing the same make sure to convert all the text into outlines (this is a neat trick that I had learned) prior to sending off the file to the letterpress folks. This alleviates font hassles, in case they don’t have the specific ones that you’re using.

Letterpress is fairly inexpensive contrary to popular belief. The trick is to limit your color palette. The more colors you incorporate in your design, the more expensive it gets. A color is counted every time a separate printing printing plate is needed, so if you’re a budget-conscious bride it’s best to keep things simple.

Our funny little postage stamp was Brian’s brilliant idea. It still cracks me up every now and then. Below are some photos of the final product (with some personal info deleted/blurred). I also included some info on where we had them made at the end of this post. I hope you’ll be inspired to make one for your own shindig. Cheers!

Original design: First Bar (all rights reserved!)
Letterpress printing: Laughing Owl Press
A2 kraft envelopes (100% recycled): Laughing Owl Press
Postage: https://www.usps.com/send/create-mail-and-postage.htm
Rubber stamp return address: rubberstamps.net
Awesome typewriter-style fonts that we used: Roger White Typewriter (the date on the coaster), and Typewriter Condensed (the address portion of the rubber stamp)
Colors used: Peach (Pantone DS 70-3U), and Brown (C55 M60 Y65 K40)

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*I think this is the first time I’ve used Brian’s real name in this blog. Eh. I figured it’s about time you all get to know him!

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Growing up in the Philippines and being raised by a single dad, I didn’t really get to celebrate Easter very much. Last year I got a kick out of dip-dyeing eggs for the first time (much to Breezy’s amusement) using regular food dyes. This year I wanted to try something that I’ve seen on Pinterest which involves using natural pigments from vegetables and spices. I had turmeric, a few beets that have started to soften in my crisper and some frozen blueberries. Beets make red, turmeric makes yellow and the blueberries make purple. The result were Easter eggs in beautiful pastel shades. And the process is really simple:

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Beets:
Cut them up in pieces and boil them in about 2 cups of water

Turmeric:
Use about a tablespoon and boil in 2 cups of water

Blueberries:
Use about a cup of blueberries per 2 cups of water.

Strain each mixture into a bowl or mug and let cool to room temperature. Then add about 2 tablespoons of vinegar per cup of mixture. Begin dip dyeing your eggs. For richer color, let the egg stay submerged longer until you get the desired shade. I heard you can also leave them in the refrigerator overnight.

Super fun! Here are some other colors that you can try (for next year):

Violet Blue  – Red Onions Skins, Red Wine
Blue – Red Cabbage Leaves
Green – Spinach Leaves
Greenish Yellow – Yellow Apple Peels
Golden Brown – Dill Seeds
Brown – Coffee or Black Tea
Orange – Yellow Onion Skins or Paprika

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend!

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Letterpress Coasters

Breezy and I were bouncing around ideas for save-the-dates that would be fitting for a cocktail party reception. At the end of the day we came to a consensus that letterpress coasters would be the way to go.

Although a century-old form of printing, letterpress has exploded over the last several years and I’m seeing it everywhere from invitations to business cards to restaurant menus and of course, coasters. In this digital world where everything is reduced to pixels, I think people have started to get a newfound (or rekindled) appreciation for things made by hand. And to me there’s something refreshing about getting back to basics. I have embraced the digital world no doubt (Hello, Adobe what would I do without you) but at the same time I don’t think I can ever let go of the trusty old sketchbook.

I finished the design for our save-the-dates this past weekend, and Joe over at the Laughing Owl Press is on board and currently working on it. These guys have an impressive body of work as evidenced on their website, they use equipment that date as far back as 1908 (what?), and they are super easy to work with. Sent them my file and that was it. Now I sit back and wait. I’m very excited to see how they turn out.

I’ll be posting our design at a later date, I can’t show you just yet or it won’t be a surprise, so in the meantime here are some gorgeous designs from various creative minds out there. Porn I say! Letterpress porn.

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Easy DIY Baby Shower Gifts

I attended a former co-worker’s baby shower last weekend. As always I try to give people something handmade because I feel it’s more special that way. Granted, hectic schedules don’t always allow it. I mean let’s be real, by the time I get home from work and walk the dog and make dinner, all I want to do is relax on the couch. And the weekends are somehow always filled with chores. Gah! It never ends! So, pfff! Who has the time to MAKE gifts?! Well you know, these two things here are super easy to make, that’s why I wanted to share them with you. Crocheted hats for babies are really only a couple of square inches in area, and even if you’re a beginner, you can most definitely make one in half a day. Top it off with a puffy pompom and you’ve got an adorable little snow hat. The pattern for the hat below is by Kristi Simpson and you can get it for 3.99 on Etsy.

Another easy project for a baby shower gift is a receiving blanket. Every mother-to-be needs one. Or five. Make a blanket that’s big enough so baby doesn’t outgrow it too soon. I made the one below at about 45″ square. Purchase about 1 1/2 yards of plain flannel fabric (you can always save the extra for another project in the future), and about 1/2″ yard of printed lightweight cotton fabric as an accent. Cut your main fabric and hem the edges, then cut about a 4″ to 6″ wide strip of your accent cloth, fold the edges and sew it on one side of the blanket using a zigzag stitch.

Sew 4 Home has an easy step-by-step on how to sew a mitered hem. Check it out!

And there you have it! You can’t go wrong with either of these gifts. And both of these you can do in less than a day. Happy gift-making!

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