You are the hero of your life.

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In my inbox every morning when I get to work, there is a message titled Today's Gift. This one was especially inspiring as I am currently swimming in a state of limbo, sort of like walking through a swamp; I'm getting there, where ever there is, just very slowly. It takes a lot out of a person to mentally slog through a swamp that their mind can sometimes become.  

The important message of being a hero to myself no matter if anyone else notices my efforts very much resonates with me. 

You are the hero of your life.

Each of us plays the starring role in the drama that is our life. We co-create the script, along with our Higher Power. Sometimes we forget our lines, and so we improvise as best we can. We are heroes, each of us, as we move through the events of the day, refining our character and using our gifts to shape the action of every scene.

We can each be a hero in the drama of recovery. To the casual observer, what we do and say may not appear to be at all heroic. But we - as insiders who are only too well acquainted with our individual limitations - can appreciate and applaud a difficult decision or action.

When we accept our role in life, when we pledge to use our energies to do the best we can, and when we rely on our Higher Power for guidance and support, we will be well on our way toward recovering.

I can be a hero today, even if it doesn't show.

The idea that we can't determine our growth on what other people see on the outside is an important one; the work we have done may not be obvious to other but it can be obvious to ourselves.  And in the end that is all it takes to be your own hero.

She Wears Flowers in Her Hair

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For my wedding, I purchased gobs of faux flowers thinking I might use them to embellish pieces of the wedding, maybe the wedding arch in the arbor- which actually was completely covered with grape leaves, signs around the grounds - only had time to create one, the poles in the tent at the Commander's Mansion - there was way too much color going on after we were done, so not needed. Now I have a whole plastic tub full of $1 a stem flowers and nothing to do with them.  

Except, wear them in my hair! I started wearing the extra broken off stems from our centerpiece making during my wedding weekend, cause I couldn't bear the thought of them going to waste. I instantly fell in love with how the bright, vivid colors spruced up my dark hair, made my appearance come to life, made me feel a little more put together, like a great pair of earrings.  I have a little flower vase in my bathroom with a full spectrum of colors and styles from which to choose on any given day. Sort of like dress up.

So my new thing, that little something that makes me me is a lovely fake bloom stuck in my bun, my ponytail or behind my ear. Maybe I am out of fashion or behind the times, but I am not sure I care. It makes people stare, smile, maybe even laugh behind their hand, but only cause they don't have the guts to be a little daring in an adult world that seems to prefer leaving fanciful things to the young. I want to be known as She Who Wears Flowers in Her...and I do just because I can. 

Kerri Russell

Garcelle Beauvais 

Courtesy of Lulu's Hut

Photobooth Fun, Lasting Memories


One of today’s hottest wedding trends is the resurrection of family friendly photobooths. Originating in 1925, their curtained walls transport us back to the days of country fairs; I still have photostrips with my friends at the midway, and first dates on the boardwalk. Companies like Shutterbooth Boston offer guests and newlyweds the chance to show off their fun, wild side and take home a glossy photo memory at night’s end. Photobooth pictures can be a creative alternative to a traditional guest book, giving couples a laugh in years to come.  Add silly props, vibrant feathers, outrageous hats, oversized sunglasses and a moustache on a stick to guarantee a fabulous time, all caught on camera, of course.

The DIY photobooth at my recent Commander’s Mansion wedding was a huge hit with guests of all ages.  As a bonus thank you, we decided to include individual pictures in each our personalized thank you cards. Here are a few of the fun ones!

Best of Boston 2010

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Waiting for the Best of Boston edition of Boston Magazine is always fraught with anticipation for those who are potentially in the running.  Who has the best haircut, best brunch, best wine and coffee, best party 2010? The "Best of" seems endless! As a wedding vendor, it’s always exciting to see who in the Boston wedding community made the cut. Will it be friend, foe, or partner?  It is a close-knit community here so either way it is a win.

But as a bride, seeing one of your vendors being awarded Best of Boston is a swoon worthy sensation - and it happened to me! MY wedding florist was awarded Best of Boston. Not only was it a great choice on their behalf but it validated what I knew all along!  Hallie Krechevsky is a GEM! 

Hallie’s Flower Garden, nestled in the corner of Fromaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, home to a delectable array of artisan cheeses, is bursting with chroma, scent, texture, and personal attention.  Her shop a throwback to less hurried times when people ordered flowers in person instead of over the internet. I can only imagine this Best of Boston 2010  honor had something to do with Hallie's distinguishing eye for color, or her plucked fresh for the most lush, exquisite garden feel, or her unassuming, unrushed nature that makes you want to share your life story.  Her staff is just as attentive and knowledgeable and complete the Hallie's Flower Garden experience.

For my own story, I had a wedding florist debacle and walked into see Hallie - the store is on the corner of the street where I work, - a little tentative but with a very clear vision. She and I talked for a while, she asked me about my fiance, how we met, our life plans - no one else had asked me that, only how much was my budget.  She got me and wasn't pushy about it.  And come time for the actual flowers, she actually purchased some from the wholesale market for our DIY projects, she was infinitely patient and flexible. I credit her patience and OK attitude with my ability to let go and trust. It turned out to be a perfect combination and now all of Boston knows what I know! Uh OH, secrets out!  Congratulations Hallie!

A vegan wedding cake? No, really? YES, really.


I have a love affair with Red Velvet cake, as in can't get enough, adore the flavor, texture, color.  It just looks and smells decadently rich, like good dark moist potting soil. Not that it smells like dirt but it is a grounded and savory flavor and when you inhale deeply, it fills up every possible nook and cranny, lingering for a sweet reward later on. But I am getting ahead of myself.

As we all know there are so many choices when it comes to wedding cakes. We have all seen the amazing creation by high end and expensive cake companies. Given my love affair with Red Velvet, you may be in slight disbelief that I decided to try a vegan wedding cake.  WHAT no EGGS, no MILK, NO BUTTER? Are you nuts? You will serve your guests flavored cardboard!  I choose vegan because of my excellent friend, co-worker and vegan baker extraordinaire Jack who would be dismayed at the praise I am going to lavish on his most incredible, absolutely gorgeous creation.   

Now I love Jack's baked good but at first, I had my misgivings. Well his cake may LOOK good but how does it taste?  A non-vegan hears the word vegan and thinks: BORING and TOFU. I am NOT about boring and I don't do Tofu. Funny thing is, Jack doesn't do boring either and after the cakes I've seen him create and the heaven sent delicacies I've tasted from his kitchen, I had to trust that it was possible.  I mean the man makes a chocolate ganache like you have never had in your life, we are talking GET YOU HIGH ganache.  He actually made me a birthday cake replica  as a test, so I knew I was in good hands.  The amazing thing about today's food is that it's possible to create cakes using non-diary items and it tastes just as good. 

Flash forward: Our wedding day, it is hot outside, still air under the tent, and there sits our vegan wedding cake in all her shining glory.  Will she withstand the heat, will her vegan-ness come though, i.e cardboard, will the scrolls Jack so lovingly placed on the sort of crusted over frosting stay put long enough to photograph?  My trusty baker friend had worked days to devise, create, construct a cake mounting plan, hours slaving in the hot kitchen and many more hours just for the frosting.   It sure looked good but looks can be deceiving. 

DJ annouces, "And now time to cut the cake." The moment of truth; after months of waiting, and talking and testing - Jack actually made a complete test cake in the event something happened to the real cake - collaborating about design, creating a recipe to achieve the correct taste....oh my god it was here and I was there with my new husband and then...we sliced effortlessly through that creamy off white frosting, which matched my dress by the way, and released that savory, decadent, rich soil smell I had been waiting for, wafting in the air around me as my husband gently placed a small piece in my mouth and I his.    

I closed my eyes and savored my Red Velvet bliss....
no vegan cardboard, no tofu, nothing boring in the least.

I don't remember much about my reception, the day flew by so fast. But I do remember it stopped long enough for me to enjoy a little slice of heaven.  It may have been the love Jack added - this was his present to us - that made it taste so sweet but let me tell you, if I ever get married again, I am going vegan all the way cause it is possible to have a great cake and be ethical in our food choices. 

It was almost, ok not really, fat free AND red velvet. My two favorite things.

Cake: Flour, water, soy milk, beets, undutched cocoa powder, sugar, white vinegar, baking soda, red food coloring, vanilla, chocolate extract.  
Icing: powdered sugar, shortening, soy margarine, vanilla, coconut extract, soy milk, corn syrup.


PS I talked to Jack who wrote up his own version of the Red Velvet 2010 incident.  He also said he used over 22 pounds of sugar for both cakes. Thanks Jack! 

And the show must go on...


So we got married, now what? Not that married life isn't great, although it is sort of like dating life only we wear rings and share money....sometimes.

My issue now is what to do with my time. My brain is constantly brain storming and therefore I have trouble settling on one task. I have a few business ideas, some blogs, some writing, some event planning, lots of wedding stuff on the brain. But I haven't even sent out thank you cards or put away wedding presents.  Truth is those things lack the creativity I am yearning for these days. Post wedding blues I guess.

I would love to turn this blog into an advice, life, love, relationship, recovery, empowerment column.  Is anyone reading? We will be traveling soon and I need an outlet for that initiative as well. And I have plans to extend my wedding and event planning work and freelance writing with Beantown Bride. So much to think about.

In the meantime, honesty, love and healthy words via my GF Laura who may have gotten them from Dr. Drew.



Well one Brazilian dinner, two drinking parties, one Corningware Celebration and Matrimonial Jubilee, one rehearsal + set up, over 50 Knowles/Hachmeister/Smart/Monteau/Lund/Snell/Holder/Leth Family members, seven members of the Brazilian delegation, and one tear filled, stuck shoe, perfectly orchestrated Commander's Mansion wedding ceremony later, we are hitched and couldn't be happier!  We had a HELLUVA party, complete with Samba and Sangria, a photobooth with tons of props, gorgeous and CHEAP flowers from Trader Joe's, lots of music, laughter, love and oh yeah, great food from Ross at Culinary Inspiration, colors so vibrant they make you giddy with excitement!   This was thought up, planned, purchased, orchestrated and enjoyed by us.  DIY is the way to go....lots and lots of time and attention to every single last detail but we wouldn't have it any other way. Of course, we could not have done it without so much support, guidance and love and I thank my moms, Juliano's mom and all my GF and family members for their help.

We spent a week in Bar Harbor with the intentions of heading to Brazil for an extended honeymoon and another wedding.  More on that this blog will go back to its original intention, you know for the SO MANY reader who were pining for it. HA!

Here are some photos from Darren Pellegrino to savor!

Mellissa and Juliano's Wedding

One month to go - looking back..


When I got engaged my already married sister gave me some great advice, choose three things you care about, focus on those and let the rest go.  And I took it to heart. My number #1-  location, we chose the Commanders Mansion in Watertown, a Civil War era mansion tucked way on a few acres of meticulous landscape in the heart of an urban area. We fell in love with it the moment we stepped inside and in the month long search following – we felt like we HAD to look elsewhere – nothing lived up to the gold standard of our Mansion. I was a Commander’s Bride and we knew it was the place.

Unfortunately, it necessitated the DIYing of my #2, invitations and my #3 decorations and everything else in the wedding.  Because we were trying for a $10,000 wedding, we also had to increase our budget. But it was also a gift to me. Choice #1 gave me the chance to become intimately connected with every aspect of our wedding celebration, making each element uniquely our own, special touches of personality added throughout, completely us and not someone else’s version of us.  It allowed for my Type A, need for control personality to be put to good use, I only had to worry specifically about three things.

Well three things are never really just three things. But I have also been very lucky as all the "things" of my wedding fall in place.  My wedding cake is a gift from a baker friend with whom I work….I get to try out all the tests he does. My bridal necklace, a gift from a jeweler friend, we designed it together one rainy Saturday afternoon in the midst of tea and chatting.  My invitations, a labor of love, designed, cut, glued, folded, reglued sitting on the couch in my living room AFTER an all day round one of putting them together with my maids and mom. My cats love to bat around the scraps of paper strewn hither and yon and I keep finding snippets of ribbon stashed in their secret hiding places. 

I don’t care about bacon wrapped scallops or specifically designed centerpieces that will die on three days.
But more about later.....

Beantown Bride Post - The Groom

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Author: Mellissa A. Knowles
Photography by: Eric Limon Photography

The Groom- a wedding duo's often overlook other half-plays an important role as a support system and planning partner for his bride-to-be. He may be content to just "pitch-in" when asked or manage non-wedding life, the house (my husband-to-be put in a new kitchen floor) or the car. Either way, planning a wedding is a trial run for how you will work together as a married couple.

Remember: A wedding is a massive undertaking, definitely not a one-woman show. Even through your fiance may be aesthetically challenged when choosing centerpieces or favors, he can be involved in so many other ways. So, give him a chance to show you he can handle anything you thrown at him, be it alter flowers or a kitchen floor.

Five helpful tasks for a groom:
  1. Plan budget
  2. Choose groomsmen's attire
  3. Plan rehearsal dinner
  4. Arranging wedding day transportation
  5. Plan honeymoon

The countdown...


Today it is 55 days to our wedding and I feel like I am woefully unprepared. They say the last two months are hell on the way to heaven...ok...there is not they, I said it.  Yeah...that is what it feels like somedays, I am not able to enjoy the engagement because the invites are out, the tree is not made, the notes not cut, the napkins not ordered. Everyday we move closer, everyday another things gets added just as something is completed, so you never really get to cross something off your to-do list. It stays the same.

No matter how many deadlines there are, I officially bypass all of them.  I think I need to start working backwards, admit my frailty, humanity and my upper limits and just be wabi sabi as my mother says.

The wabi sabi aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".[1] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist assertion of the Three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence.  

Thanks goodness for Wikipedia. 

This is a rambling post.

Currently I need to finish - 
- invitations -  3 weeks late
- veil and shoes
- wish tree
- arch decoration
- wine bottles
- maps 
- dictionary
- ribbon wands
- vows and ceremony
- music
- our dance
- flowers
- hair trial
- bathroom baskets
- programs
- signs
- hooks

So I have a few things, not in that order. It is all possible. And what is not, will be Wabi Sabi.  F*** wabi sabi.

What's in a color? Apparently everything!


According to Project Wedding:
"The colors you choose for your big day reflect your personality and style. You can create a sophisticated environment or a whimsical escape. Colors can influence moods and exude sensuality, coziness, earthiness and youthfulness."
So I have chosen festive fuchsia, caribbean blue and saffron yellow. I think the names sort of say it all with having to go into a long psychic reader type analysis. But I will indulge anyway.
Blue: Soothing, compassionate and cool, blue is the color of tranquility and royalty. Blue belles are deliberate, introspective, conservative and patient, tending to be sensitive and wise. Serene and cool, blue denotes cautious partners who are faithful but require a calm and harmonious existence. From watery aqua to a deep shade of midnight, blue can be soft and sweet or strong and bold.
(Apparently they like parasols too) 
I went with the purple section cause they don't talk about Festive Fuchsia. BUT purple IS my favorite color and more appropriately, die for.  So I'm including purple and pink. 
Purple: Often associated with both royalty and luxury, purple is a passionate color. Choosing purple symbolizes dignity, tolerance and value. Violet lovers tend to be unconventional and observant, with a multifaceted personality. Tolerant and witty, purple devotees are likely to achieve authoritative positions. From light lavender and lilac buffs, who tend to be charming, witty and cultured, to deep eggplant lovers, who are creative and talented, purple can be provocative or sweet.
Purple + Pink with a dash of red, which is a passionate, romantic choice, impulsive and outgoing = FESTIVE FUCHSIA

Pink: A softer, girlish choice, pink is the sweeter side of red. A delicate hue, pink represents a sensitive heart that is affectionate and nurturing. The bride surrounded with pink has a maternal grace and compassion and a desire for protection or shelter. The rosy hue fan may also have a strong personality, but one that is willing to share.
Saffron yellow, again, not mentioned so I am combining orange and yellow to get the best of both worlds. 

Orange: Spontaneous and daring, brides who choose orange are bold. Because orange is a happy and trendy hue, orange enthusiasts tend to be popular, have excessive energy and are part of a large social circle. From a bright and happy backdrop to an exotic, spicy richness, brides who prefer orange tend to be fearless and curious, with a zest for life.

Yellow: The color of a sunny day, yellow denotes happiness and hope. Exuding warmth and vitality and usually possessing a great sense of humor, people who love yellow have cheerful spirits and optimistic values. You tend to look forward to the future and are intellectual, creative and idealistic. Yellow represents enlightenment and spirituality, lending itself as a great color on your day of matrimony.

So there you have it. In summary we are: soothing, compassionate and cool, royalty and luxury, and passionate with dignity, tolerance and value, impulsive and outgoing, affectionate and nurturing, spontaneous and daring and happy, exuding warmth and vitality and usually possessing a great sense of humor.
I think that covers the grand scale, the full spectrum of complex personalities and wedding color choices.  We got 'em all.  Hey, at least you can't say we are boring!

Parasols are pretty


I am in love the idea of brightly colored, slightly opaque, slightly translucent rice paper parasols on a sunny wedding day in June. The very thought makes me giggly inside. I picture myself twirling and twirling and twirling it around as my ladies and I walk together across a sweet green field towards my beloved. There is something very romantic and whimsical about the idea of a parasol.

I think I might have to go buy a few.....but what color for a bride? I love the deep fuchsia color but may have to settle for something light instead. The maids get to have all the color fun!

These colors are totally perfect. But I want the fuchsia!

My two dresses went to therapy....

Labels: , , , , , , | 0 comments» work it out and they still don't like me. I am not sure what to do and am in a bit of a state over the fact that I have two dresses that don't like me and I don't like them. One I bought from Running of the Brides with my mom and sis and at the time, I think I forced myself to love it cause it was a good deal, a nice designer and I wouldn't have to think about it anymore. Upon learning that it would be $500 to alter, more than half of what it costs, I found another dress that very day at a bridal shop we were visiting it and immediately purchased it. Much to my chagrin, which I close my eyes, it is not the dress I see in my wedding pictures. It is beautiful but is it me? What is me?

Dress selection has an interesting way of pulling up all sorts of old hurts, images issues, self-esteem problems and mother/daughter relationship buttons. I continue to ask myself, how do you want to be seen, how to you think people see you, are you stuck in a box in people's minds and can't get out? More important, are you stuck in your own box, banging on the walls, looking for a crack to break it wide open and let in some air?

[As I type, visions of Pink Floyd's The Wall pop into my head]

All this over a dress, which I thought could be JUST a dress. But it is far more than JUST a dress. It is an extension of my psyche, my personality, my isms, my identity. I guess. I mean for some people, it is certainly not that big of a deal....oh this one looks good, I'll take it, and off to the next thing.

I purchased my dresses emotionally and financially but not lovingly. And I think that is where the problem lies. Not lovingly of myself, my worth, my value, my own right to want what I want, not lovingly respectful of my own process, or patterns or desire to be just as perfect as the brides I see in all the magazines and blogs.

This lovingly issue is getting in the way - of work, I look at dress websites instead, of my personal life, Juj told me yesterday "this is getting a little out of control", of my planning time, I have appointments with bridal shops and only 108 days left, of my emotional serene path, I am starting to feel the pressure.

With all the pro and cons, do this, do that, 'best dresses for you body' type of advice running around the internet and magazines these days, it is really really hard to also reconcile the emotional aspect that comes with being perfect in your imperfection for one day, the most important of your life.

With all that being said, I am still heading out to another bridal shop tonight and I will let my dresses fight it out between themselves, stuffed in Juliano's closet because I couldn't bear the thought of looking at their heartbreaking beauty and glorious baggage any longer.

Beantown Bride Post!


I was asked to do some writing for the blog Beantown Bride and today, my first submission to them was published. How exciting! It is a Real Wedding piece on Jason and Barrett, a very sweet couple, who were married last year. The task was to summarize their relationship and wedding in 250 word, no easy feat! But here it is.......enjoy and stay tuned for more posts to come!

Barrett and Jason
Author: Mellissa A. Knowles

Barrett Ward and Jason Ellis are avid Red Sox fans, so it makes perfect sense that they met at a game, watched the Sox on their first date and were engaged near Fenway Park. As Barrett recalls, even though Jason was late to pick her up the first time, "It was the most perfect date I had ever been on." And of their proposal, "I don't remember what he said, all I know is I said yes."

Jason and Barrett's wedding celebration took place on August 15, 2009 at Roxbury Latin School, where her father teaches. Rev. Tony Jarvis, a close family friend who baptized Barrett as a child, married the couple. As she walked down the aisle, Barrett's dark purple calla lily bouquet popped against her champagne colored, silk shantung Romona Keveza gown, purchased at a Brides Against Cancer Event in honor of her grandmother. Her bridesmaids wore Aria dresses in a complimenting pear shade while the men wore classic black tuxedos with green ties.

Guests dined on grilled chicken and cannelloni at long, family style tables with simple green hydrangea centerpieces. The couple gave each guest an individualized jar of homemade mustard. Sun streamed through large reception hall windows, as the newlyweds danced to Allison Krauss "When You Say Nothing at All." Remembering their special day, "It was probably the hottest day of the summer. Everyone was dripping with sweat on the dance floor!" Heat aside; they agree the most memorable part of the day was "I Do."

Wedding Day Details:
Photography by:Gwyneth Colleen

Inspiration for the day - Blue


I am in love with the color combo of our wedding, festive fuchsia, caribbean blue and saffron yellow. It is fresh, vibrant and really speaks to us. And what I love most? Apparently the colors we chose are now the hot colors of the year, according the The Knot. Yup, you heard it here first, we are hot. I love being "in" "hot" "trendy" although I don't need The Knot to tell me so. HA!

Here is The Knot's picture for the new "hot". My colors to a T! (minus the saffron)

Here are my other favorite blue things today....oh yeah 123 days til the wedding!

The fuchsia flowers with the blue door make my heart melt. I got this here.

Hello Sangria...our signature drink. I love this picture!

This may just be too beautiful to eat. From our friends at Cakes and More

If I had my say, the whole world would be beaded! So much so that I ordered these from where they have a fabulous selection of loose beads!

Have a happy day!

Inspiration for the day - Centerpieces


Ahhh....I love these. So classy, simple and unfussy....they have a confident personality.

Paper Scraps + Celery = Fabulous Gift Wrap


I found this absolutely fabulous blog called Creature Comforts with an appropo post for DIY gift wrap using celery. For anyone who knows me, I am having a love affair with celery. This could be more perfect. I am reposting this blog and give credit to Ez over at Creature Comforts Blog. Check em out!

Yes, you read the title correctly... Celery! Today I put together a little photo tutorial on creating your own gift wrap and tags using celery as a stamping tool. This has been done before (it's not an original concept)... this is just my take on it.

I got into trouble for calling my last project "eco" so I don't want to make the same mistake here. I do however encourage you to use paper scraps that you have laying around your home. For the wrapping shown here I stamped paper bags from Trader Joe's as well as scrap tissue paper and other tiny bits of paper I had saved up from random craft projects.

You will need:For the Gift Tissue (shown in the main image) you will need:
Scraps of tissue paper (white or colored)
Paint (I used acrylic, but you can try other options)
Celery stock base. You will need to have cut this as smoothly as possible to leave a nice straight stamping surface)
Art tray or plate (basically just a flat surface that you can pour your paint onto)

For the Gift Tags:All the supplies listed above + paper scraps such as paper grocery bags, patterned, lined or graph papers
Standard Hole Punch
Large craft punches in the sizes you wish
Twine, ribbon, or string.

Optional:Jazz up your package with little treasures from around your home. Buttons, beads, pinecones, mini animal figurines, etc... all have potential!
Create sturdier gift wrap using paper grocery bags (for small gifts) or kraft papers.
Don't forget to save the wrapping after your gifts have been unwrapped. Even if it's been torn you can still create gift tags, etc from the leftovers!

Step 1) Cut open a brown paper bag so that it lays relatively flat. You can use either the printed side or the blank reverse (I used the printed in my example because I really loved the design).

Step 2) Put paint (any color you want) onto your tray/plate (you may need to brush it around so that it's not all in one lump). Take your prepared celery stamp and dip it into your paint. Check and be sure that it's fully coated.

Step 3) Press your stamp down onto your paper with steady even pressure. Be sure not to rock it from side to side or let it slide around. Lift off your paper with a smooth motion.

Step 4) Repeat as desired. In the image I am stamping an area intended for gift tags, so I chose to make more than one print so that I could cut several tags from it.

Step 5) Once your stamp has dried (if you're impatient like me, you can dry it with a hairdryer on a low setting) use craft punches to cut out your tags. Punch at the top with a standard hole punch (so you can string twine through it later).

Step 6) Using tissue paper or other gift wrap sized paper, repeat steps above until paper is covered in as many stamps as you like. TIP: For tissue and other thin papers, be sure to place a scrap piece of paper beneath the sheet you are working on in case some of the paint comes through. If you use more than one celery stock you can overlay colors for a really cool effect.

Step 7) Allow paper to dry completely and then wrap up your gifts.

Step 8) Embellish as you like!

This is also a great project to do with the kids in your life. Always be sure to supervise, and take care when selecting your paint (you might want to pick something that is not permanent). Whomever you create this with or for, have fun!

DIY Wedding blog post #1

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This is my first DIY project posting, originally on Weddingbee website. I will also post it on Project Wedding website. I think it means I am a bona fide DIYer!!

When I started planning my wedding, my already married sister gave me some advice: choose three things that are important to you and leave the rest to someone else. Invitations and decorations top the list and although I have a whole slew of DIY projects up my sleeve, this is by far my favorite.

THOUGHT PROCESS: Sangria is our signature drink so corks and empty bottles will be decorating the three different wedding locations. With this in mind, I really want to have some interesting flower holders at the cocktail hour for people to take away as favors. But who wants a boring old empty wine bottle and another bud vase? Thinking cap!

I saw this catalog for a company called Artful Home and tucked in the back were these colored bottle that had been reversed etched with very cool sayings (the entire bottle was etched, leaving the letters in clear glass). Sayings like: LOVE - Warning causes dizziness. Recommended in excess, DREAMS: Drink deeply and believe. They were perfect wedding sayings but outrageously expensive bottles so I decided to make my own version! No etching only style.


Wine bottles - lots of 'em. I retrieved the wine bottles being thrown out after a christmas party at my work. No worries, they knew what I was doing. Straight ones are better than v-shaped ones I have come to find out. Soak the labels off and clean well. I like clear ones, but colored ones are fun too

Paper and printer - you will have to experiment to see which works best with your printer. Paper cutter, Glue stick, Embellishments - I used a silver paint pen.

Using Word, I took the sayings from the catalog, added our names and wedding date, put them into a border I got from Clip Art, played around with color and accents and then printed on a laser printer at work. SHHH.

Here is my first attempt:

I lined the edges with a silver paint pen, trying a couple of different options - silver paint, a silver sharpie, but the silver paint pen worked the best.

This is the final label product although the picture is not as crisp as I would like.

Here is the corner.

So now that I have the label, a bottle is in order. I recommend buying lots of bottles of wine you like, sharing them with your FI, all in the name of science, well, an experiment, ok, a trial of sorts. Or you can steal them from parties you attend. I found that the perfectly round bottles, while boring in shape, make for the best specimen.

I thought I would try spray glue first, I hear it is good for everything. At my first attempt, it turned out gloppy, too thick in one area and not enough in another. It oozed out the sides of the label as I tried to smooth it out...yuck. It also soaked into the paper in the areas where is was thicker and ruined the label. Here is what it looked like.

So for my next experiment, I tried a super bond glue stick and a completely cylindrical bottle which made the smoothing out a lot easier. I would highly recommend using the glue stick cause it allows for adjusting.

Here is one of the final products, with some added ribbon and voila - a personalized wine bottle/vase to go the tables at our cocktail hour and to scatter around the mansion we are using for our wedding day festivities. Tags will be added with little notes encouraging people to take these home as a momento of our wedding.

It is an easy project and adds a personalized touch to your special day. Enjoy!