Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pretty Packages

The weather is playing tricks with my mind because the calendar clearly says it's almost November but the temperatures still feel like it's....well, not November.  But, I think we have a cold cool front coming this weekend and I hope it's here to stay for a few weeks so I can be all "Hello, Fall.  Why don't you stay a while?"  But, first things first..... 

Since I haven't made anything in the last couple of weeks, I figure I'd post some pretty packages since gift giving is a year around thing.  Some of these are old school, but I figured I'd post them anyway.  Because I'm WILD!!!!  Inside joke.  Sorry.   

I love cardboard boxes.  Actually, I hoard them. True story.  This one was really cute, but had lots of writing on it.  Instead of covering it with wrapping paper, I used some scraps to hide the writing.  Slapped on a tulle bow. Added a tag. And called it a day.  

My nephew Alex is 16 and not a fan of pretty packages.  He has an awesome, clever sense of humor, a taste in music that'd make an aunt like myself proud, and a style all his own.  He is quite the artist and appreciates design, but doesn't really care for bows and pretty tags.  So, for Christmas last year, I decided to make his Christmas present stand out from the others I've wrapped for him.  I basically wrapped his present and then beat it up and patched it up with duct tape.  It was honestly the first time he'd ever said anything about the wrapping on his Christmas presents.  He smiled and said in his low, raspy voice, "Sweeeeeet."

For any party I am attending, I like to wrap gifts according to the theme instead of sticking with traditional wrapping paper.  It just kind of starts the party early for me.

I am a big believer that the wrapping of a gift is as exciting as the gift itself.  So I treat my gifts almost like the cards I make and add and take away and add and take away until I feel like it's just as fun as what's in the box.

If you know me at all, you know that I am obsessed with four things:  1. doilies, 2. ribbon, 3. washi tape, and 4. anything that clips.....clothes pins, binder clips, paper name it.  This is what it looks like when I combine all of my obsessions on one gift.  Love.

I used to be really concerned with how difficult a gift I wrapped would be to open. But that's what scissors are for, isn't it?  At the end of the day, if it is going to look pretty, I just go with it.  And sometimes I spend too long figuring out how I want to wrap a gift and don't have time to make a card. But then I am left with a gift receipt.  My solution? Stick it inside a baby envelope.  It's the right thing to do.

Well, I think that's all for tonight!  I'm doing the unthinkable and busting out the Christmas decorations this weekend so I can start putting everything out.  I don't usually like to skip holidays, but I can't wait to get Christmas going at the Bean's since I will be missing 3 solid weeks out of my most favorite time of year.  Crazy?  Maybe.  But  it's going to be  Maybe I'll throw a Christmas party.  In November. :) 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Engaged in the details

I have some fun stuff to show you today.  I was trusted to design and create almost everything for my friend Julie's brother's chai pani (engagement).  He's become sort of a little brother to me so I was happy to do it. I love weddings and all that they entail, but mostly I love the details. I'm sure you've noticed that by now. 

Bhavik is one of the most fashionable guys I know.  He's the kind of guy you want to dress, only he can probably dress himself better than you could.  So, as far as design, I wanted things to look clean, modern, I aging myself here?....hip.

Since it was an engagement and not an actual wedding, I could take some liberties and veer away from the traditional Indian aesthetic.  Julie and her sister wanted to use fall colors for the event, but since I wanted to keep it fresh, I came up with a color palette that was sort of a modern take on fall colors.  I chose a modern font, and, since I've been obsessed with stripes lately, I incorporated it into the look and designed a striped pattern that would pretty much go on everything.  Overall, the combo really fit the vibe I was after and showed a bit of Bhavik's personality. 

I started with the itineraries.  I wanted something that didn't waste a lot of paper, was unique looking, and was, of course, functional.  Each itinerary was 1/3 of an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper.

I made the itineraries into a fold down card using the striped pattern I designed and took that as an opportunity to put some color on the front.  The front side was folded shorter to reveal 1" of the inside of the card.  On this reveal, I included a message from the family saying 'thank you'. 

They were all attached to the white welcome boxes (I love gable boxes and loved that Julie let me buy them for this event) using a clothespin (I love clothespins and use them whenever and wherever I can.  It's sort of my thing now). 

When choosing favors, I like to go with the edible variety unless there is something you can find that really fits the couples personality.  Most people toss the favors at some point anyway.  For this event, the bride loves yogurt covered pretzels and Bhavik loves the color orange, so Julie and I packaged the pretzels with orange gummy bears.  While we were packaging everything, my house smelled like a dreamsicle.  :) 

The tags I made were simple.  I think it goes without saying, I used up a printer cartridge or two, but totally worth it.

We used small cellophane bags and attached each tag with a mini stapler.  Above is a close up of the favors when we finished. 

And here they are all ready to go.

And here they are in action.   They looked sooooo cute on the tables. In hindsight I probably should have take a snap of the entire table so you can see how cute they were. But, oh well. 

One other detail that Julie requested was signs to put at each event.  On Saturday, there was a cocktail hour and dinner.  Sunday was a breakfast and then lunch following the chai pani ceremony.

This was the one thing I was a little afraid of making because of the size of it - something about the size intimidated me - but Staples came to my rescue and printed the signs I designed and had them ready within 24 hours. Very simple.  And it was a nice touch to each event.  I felt like it personalized it a bit more.

I am pretty angry with myself that I did not get a picture of the guest book I made.  It was pretty cute, but you'll have to take my word for it.  I just might email the bride to see if she'll send me a pic of it at the risk of sounding crazy.

My next duties were centerpieces.  We hired a florist for Sunday's lunch following the ceremony, but we wanted something simple and cost effective for Saturday.  Something I've realized about myself is that flowers make me happy.  So, I almost see it as a must at these types of events.  Luckily, Central Market carries an awesome variety, so I bought a few stems and placed them around the bar tables at the cocktail hour and the other round tables.  
This is one of my favorite flowers ever.  I am not big on sunflowers unless they are the giant ones, but these colored ones just make me smile every time I look at them.  It fit our color scheme and make such a statement as just one bloom since the bar tables had black linens on them. 

Since the sunflowers were a bit pricier than other flowers, I also bought these spider mums to put at the other round tables that were there that were going to have white linens.  The cocktail hour was supposed to be outside by the pool area, but unfortunately we got rained out - hence the wet centerpieces - so we had to move everything inside into the hotel restaurant.  My centerpieces were too small and simple to make an impact in such a dark, large area, so they were basically non existent. :(  That was upsetting, but I guess that's what I get for not thinking of a plan B.  At least I got some snaps of them before they were moved, though.  These centerpieces were reused for the breakfast.  Nice call, Julie. 

The next centerpiece I put together was for the welcome dinner on Saturday night. 

Again, we wanted something simple and cost effective, so I stuck to just one bloom per table.  I scored some orchids from the florist, so I included those as well.  For more color, I used some sashes that my mom and grandmother made for my wedding as a table runner.   And don't be fooled by the rocks that I got.....I'm still Pintobean from the block.  Yeah.....Mr. Bean got sick of me saying that over and over again.

Moving on....I miscounted the number of tables I had to put blooms on - I am still confused as to how I did that - but the orchids came out to play and pretty much made it look like they always meant to be included.
I was also able to work with a florist for the lunch on Sunday.  I was able to do what I wanted here as well.  My friend's family really trusts me!!  Ha!   I tossed out my ideas for the centerpieces and, man, did the florist deliver.  I've worked with her before, so when I got the preview she said in her South African accent, "I know what you like.  You like 'different'."  Yes, I do.  In fact, I love 'different'.  :)

The first centerpiece was small.  I wanted to incorporate moss, unique flowers, and lots of color. 

The second centerpiece threw me for a loop.  I wanted just small, short vases with moss, rocks and a floating flower.  The florist surprised me with this.  Love. 

The third centerpiece I wanted square moss boxes and orchids.  Since the florist was working within our budget, she gave me this.  And I couldn't be more pleased.  This centerpiece was my favorite one.  Love. Love. Love.  

No, my friends, my duties didn't end there.  I also needed to decorate the basket that was going to be given to the bride.  Much like the basket I made for Bhavik's chandlo.  Only this time, the family wanted the basket to be open, so my options were limited.  I decided to keep the basket simple so it wouldn't clash or compete with the items inside.

I added a layer of glitter onto the basket using mod podge for some subtle bling.  Over the glitter layer, I rubbed on antique gold acrylic paint.  It really added a sheen to the basket that I did not expect.  The pics don't do it justice.  Finally, I added some trim from India. Thanks, Sharmee.  It was hard to let go of the trim because I intended on keeping it in my archives, but it pretty much made the basket and the items inside it come together.  Definitely worth the sacrifice.
Here is the finished product.  I think it looks pretty amazing.  The antique gold paint really highlighted the antique gold in the outfits. And the trim highlighted the border on the sari, the shoes, and the purse.  It really came together nicely. 

Julie's sister Alpa and I worked on the linens together, but Alpa really put her a lot of work into the backdrop. My only input was to add the orange to it instead of it being all that mulberry color.  Alpa had the decorator add some crystals for some bling and it looked really amazing.  Awesome job, Alpa. 

You'll see the bags I made at the front of the stage here.  I was really, really disappointed that they chose to turn the hand painted fronts away and show off the plain, unpainted backs.  But, what to do? 

Here is their close up.  Disappointing.  But it was cool to see them being passed out to the 11 people they were intended for.  Hopefully the photographer got a couple of snaps of them facing forward.  :(

Overall, the entire weekend went really well.  I was pleased with how everything looked and grateful that everyone seemed to enjoy it all.  I cannot tell you how cute this couple is together.  I swear they could be the stars of a Bollywood movie.  They are pretty awesome people so I can't wait for the wedding and to see their future babies.  They will be so beautiful.  :) Congrats, Bhavik and Asmini!! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Obsessions

It's beginning to look a lot like fall!  The weather is cooling and I'm already itching to get my Christmas decorations out.  This year I'm starting Christmas early because I'll be gone for 3 weeks starting November 23rd.  Since I won't have time to put everything out after I get back, I told Mr. Bean I want to have the house decorated by November 1st. That way at least he'll enjoy it while I am gone. I'll be missing 3 weeks of my most favorite time of year, so I think I will be motivated enough to start early, but we'll see how that goes....

This month's obsessions is dominated by TV shows.  I know it seems like Mr. Bean and I watch a lot of TV, but we really don't.  We do, however, make time for watching things we like.  Here's some shows that are on the top of the list of my far.  

{image via Beyond Hollywood}
Pan Am.  I've been counting the days for this show to begin.  Mostly to see the clothes.  I have a soft spot for '60s glam.  Everyone always looked so chic back then.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the show has some weight to it when the pilot aired last Sunday.  Can't wait to see more of the clothes.

{image via Hulu}
The Sing Off.   Mr. Bean and I got addicted to this show when it was first aired as a four night special.  We were ecstatic when it came back for a second "season".  And when we heard it was coming back a third time as an actual show?  We jumped up and gave each other a hi-five.  Because that's what all the cool kids do.  My favorite performance yet?  The Beezlebubs' "Magical Mystery Tour".  So.Much.Fun.   But, you can't deny the talent of the season one winners, Nota.  

{image via Kube57}
Anderson.  Need I say more?  I have had a crush on Anderson for probably a decade now.  I love watching him on AC 360.  Love his RidicuLists.  I joined twitter just to follow him.  For real.  But I really love watching him when he fills in for Regis on Live with Regis and Kelly simply because I love to hear him giggle. The first time I saw Giggle Gate, I watched it about 25 times in a row. Now every time I watch it, I have to watch it at least two times.  My absolute favorite part of the show?  The very end of the credits where they show the production company.....there is about 2 seconds of AC giggling.  Love. 

Violent Femmes.  It's been a Violent Femmes kind of month for me.  I've been listening to my old school faves lately and I've kept Violent Femmes as my Pandora station for a few weeks now.  Kiss Off is one of those songs that I always like to listen to when I am pissed off. And lately I've been listening to it a lot.  

That's it for this month.  The last couple of weeks have been an insane roller coaster ride for me.  After this weekend, I aim to do something for myself.  And that just might mean some late spring cleaning.  I feel the need to purge.