pop goes the easel

Hi guys! As promised, I am back to tell you how we made our wedding table numbers.  I will also be sharing the secret to making them freestanding easels as I’ve been asked a few times now…

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In case you missed them, the wedding tablescape posts are here and here.

So my inspiration for the table numbers came from those adorably rustic vintage school slates.  I originally planned to collect enough to prop them up as table numbers.  Well, I found two.  And then stopped.  Twenty slates seemed like an excessive amount to seek out.

vintage school slates

source: Pinterest

After collecting more than enough silver pitchers and aqua mixing bowls for the centerpieces, I figured it was time to straight up DIY something.  And in this case, definitely more cost-effective too.

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With the style of the vintage slates in mind, Ryan cut plywood into twenty 5×7 pieces.  He then stained each walnut.  I love the color choice as it warmed them up just right.

DIY chalkboard table easel

He left me to the chalkboarding part.  I taped off an inch border on each board and painted the centers with chalkboard paint.

DIY chalkboard table easel

The internet is filled with chalkboard projects so I’m sure I don’t need to go into much more detail.

DIY chalkboard table easel

Speaking of the internet, this is the point where I started shopping online for little picture easels to buy individually.  I quickly found that it was going to run at least another $100 which seemed unreasonable for table numbers.

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Enter Ryan again.  The man with the plan.  Refreshed and recharged from his bachelor spa weekend in Woodstock.  Riiight.

Anyway, his big secret to the freestanding easel…

drumroll…PVC insulated industrial staples.

Boom.

staples

Just hammer it lightly in the back, don’t staple it. These are intended for electrical use but sure do double nicely as an indiscreet easel!  I also like that they are permanently attached as it was one less thing to keep track of in wedding planning & packing.

The secret to DIY chalkboard easel

Plus, I will be using these chalkboards as price tags/signs at popup vintage markets moving forward.

So that is the answer to the million dollar question, my friends.

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wedding tablescape

I am a hoarder.

I think we all know that by now.  That is pretty much how I ended up in this biz.  I love old stuff.  I love making stuff pretty.  I love collecting.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about my wedding centerpieces.

For months leading up to the big day, I collected silver water pitchers and teapots preferably tarnished.  A couple of antique champagne buckets as well.  In fact, I collected more than I needed.  Because I am a hoarder.

The shapes and sizes of the centerpieces alternated on each table with the floral palette being the commonality.

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I already had a growing collection of vintage aqua blue mixing bowls.  This is my mantel from last summer proudly displaying the collection which was growing rapidly at the time.

Mixing bowl collection  and a ladybug

The color scheme was just right for our wedding so I was determined to incorporate my personal collections into our centerpieces.

We had 20 guest tables, 4 food tables and like 10 cocktail tables, I think.  In my mind, they all needed to be adorned with fresh flowers.  Arranged by me.  Large and small.

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Was I nuts?  Maybe.  I like to think I came to my senses though when I came up with the brilliant idea of only arranging fresh flowers in half of the containers – mostly the silver pieces plus some blue ball jars which coordinated with our wedding invitation.

spring mason jar wedding invitation DIY blue green (5 of 10)

My solution to remaining sane was to arrange the other half of the centerpieces the weekend prior to the wedding.  I used flowering plants instead of fresh flowers since they would keep easily and that way I could divide and conquer on the centerpiece front.

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Each mixing bowl was filled with pink flowering vinca, trailing vines and succulents.  Topped with moss and Cape May wine corks.

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Bonus, most of these plants have been flowering in my garden all summer.  The wedding centerpieces were merely a layover for them!

Another collection of yellow McCoy planters in 3 sizes were displayed on the food stations.

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So that left the larger vessels which were arranged just a few days before the wedding, packed up and then driven across state lines.  I think I successfully pulled of the task.

flowers 2

Here’s a glimpse at what my kitchen turned floral shop looked like all in the name of DIY…

flowers

That makes me happy.

So I am going to tell you the secret to pulling off arranging your own wedding centerpieces without going insane.

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#1 Be Flexible

I was not committed to specific flowers, only a color scheme.  I arrived at the wholesale florist that particular day, 3 days before the grand event, and did what I do best.

Shopped.

Lilacs were in season so I started there and then built a springy palette around it.

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Having worked in flower shops for years, I know the old requests of “no mums or carns.  No babies breath.”  I grew to dislike all of those common flowers during my florist tenure.  But guess what, I got over it.  I actually like these and as Carrie Bradshaw once noted, pink carnations are making a comeback.  Yes, still.  I’m fond of the hot pink minis so into the arrangements they went.

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And the spin on mums?  Sunflower-esque pom pom mums.  Both these and the mini carnations are great filler flowers.

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Moss covered pods were a nod to Ryan’s woodsy style.  Pink waxflower, lisianthus, sunflowers, pink tulips, variegated pittosporum, green status and more…

I took my selections home to my kitchen turned floral studio and got to work filling antique champagne buckets, ice buckets, ball jars, silver water pitchers, tea pots and a few smaller mason jars to don the cocktail tables.

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#2 Be Organized

My to-do list was mostly completed at this point in the wedding planning process.  Had it not been, I don’t know that I could have pulled it off.

This tip is also two-fold.  You have to be organized from the beginning as it relates to collecting your vessels.  See: hoarding.

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Honestly, DIYing these centerpieces was probably the most zen part of wedding planning for me.  Other than the spa, of course.

If you are a DIYing bride with some floral design abilities, I have faith that you can tackle your own centerpieces too!  If not, you can always ask your florist to use your own collected vessels and vases to personalize your centerpieces.

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Next up…Ryan’s secret to getting the mini chalkboard table numbers to stand on their own.  And if you missed it, check out details on incorporating atlases into your tablescape here.

Centerpiece photos by Love Shack Photo

directional guidance

It has been a crazy busy summer already.  We’ve barely come up for air.  Honestly, a small cry from how we planned to spend our summer.  But someone once told me life is what happens when you make plans.  So true.  Less planning, more living.

So when we do get a minute to breath, we relish in reviewing our wedding photos over and over again. We notice something new every time and relive that perfect day when just about all of our friends and family were in the same place, just a few months ago.  Which, by the way, doesn’t help us select photos to frame and to put in an album nor determine which should end up on the cutting room floor, as they say.

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Speaking of, there are so many hysterical dance floor photos that I am considering posting an outtake reel here…although I may be disowned by a few people.  (If you beg me, I will totally post it though.)  Signature dance moves, silly faces and all.

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N-E-way, where did we leave off in the wedding DIY deets?  We talked about the cake and the must have cake table.

Dana & Ryan Cape May Wedding

We talked about the DIY trailhead highlighting where all of our friends and family traveled from.

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I think that transitions nicely into the map thang we had going on…

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I racked my brain over what to do with the table settings.  We knew right away that we would have food stations for dinner. This created a party atmosphere (which isn’t hard to do with our group) as opposed to a formal sit down dinner where people felt like they couldn’t get up and mingle as they please.  There is nothing wrong with that setting but it just wasn’t what we were going for.

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With all of that said, I didn’t want the tables to be bare either since the food would be served at the stations.

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Enter 160 atlas pages to the scene, my friends.  I found old and new ones.  The blue, green and yellow colors coordinated perfectly with our springy palette.  Each page served as a charger or place mat.  Also, a subtle nod to the “On the Way to Cape May” theme.  With a splash of burlap for good measure.  Oh and here’s a secret for you if this look is up your alley:  Take your atlases to FedEx/Kinko’s to have the pages cut in bulk.  It will save you hours upon hours of time tearing and cutting pages.

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Bonus, everyone was encouraged to scribble notes to us on their map.  This ended up being totally entertaining for guests as they waited for dinner and an icebreaker at a few tables.

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Plus, we jumped on the instagram trend and incorporated our own wedding hashtag (#recanize) and encouraged guests to share their candids.  It is a blast to relive them every time and we plan to make a little album of candids with maps as the scrapbook pages.  One of these days.

For brides-to-be out there, we placed note cards at each table communicating the hashtag info to guests…

instagram hashtag

Go ahead, take a look at the hashtag on instagram.  You know you want to.

And one more map for the road….ha, get it? Road? Ok.  Our guest book was a guest map which we framed.  People signed all over the country and of course Cape May had a little heart on it.  I found this on etsy.

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I have to admit that I restrained myself from being an etsy bride.  I only ordered this map, which was made locally, and Wilson’s seersucker bowtie and leash which is just priceless as far as I’m concerned.

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Next up…the centerpieces.  And why I might have been temporarily insane for doing them all myself just days before my wedding.  What was I thinking?  Come back on Friday to find out!

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All professional photos shot by the talented folks at Love Shack Photo.

shortcuts

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’ve got a secret.

And I’m going to share it.

See my romantic tablecloth?  What do you think?  Quite v-day-esque I feel.  It suited the aesthetic I wanted for last Sunday dinner.

Would you believe that it is actually a vintage linen bed skirt?  True story.  Full size/double.  In fact it would probably pass more naturally for a tablecloth if it was on a rectangular table instead of my oval one.

But anyway it is a bedskirt that belonged to my grandmother and was occassionally displayed on her French provencial bed that is now in our guest room.  It has been in a drawer for years because I honestly had no intention of pairing it back with the bed.  Last weekend I was passively looking for a violet or pink vintage tablecloth.  I never came across it while shopping.  When I got home, I followed my own advice and shopped my home for what  I already had.  Sure enough the ruffly bed skirt was a shoe in for the dining table.

So as long as I am sharing secrets…I’ve got another one…

The skirt turned table cloth was wrinkled after being stuffed in the drawer.  I ironed it right on the dining table.  Before you gasp…I had a cushiony protective table cover between the cloth and table.  I used the iron on the lowest setting and just lightly hit the wrinkles and smoothed them out.  I’ll admit this can be risky so use your best judgement.  It certainly was a shortcut that saved a lot of time although was not a perfect solution but since the queen wasn’t coming to dinner I was fine with the results.

To recap: tablecloths and ironing boards are out. Bed skirts are in.

For a picture tutorial on my felt heart rose bouquet, check out my guest post at Great Hall Scott.

What shortcuts do you have to share when tablescaping?

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happy thanksgiving

From our table to yours…

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is our first year hosting. And we’ve never cooked a turkey before!  (It seems were could stand to use an iron on our tablecloth – oh well.)

Our placecards are  shimmery gold cardstock with a stamped sentiment…and our placecard holders are simple – pinecones.

Our napkin rings are none other than copper pipe fittings. The color is perfect and they come in a variety of sizes.

The centerpiece didn’t set us back more than a few bucks. It is simply a grocery store bouquet of alstromeria – one of my favorite flowers for their versatility.

I arranged the bouquet in a glass vase and spruced it up with dusty miller from my garden.

And fading brown astilbe, also from the garden.

Gobble ’til you wobble.

Enjoy your feast!

I know I will…assuming everything goes off without a hitch over here!

What will you be feasting on?

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