Saturday, July 14, 2012

Great Gatsby party

I just went to Bourbon and Branch for a friend's birthday this past week.  It wasn't just a 20s flapper party but a Great Gastby inspired party.  I rented a costume from Costumes on Haight .  It came with a dress and hat for about $20 (2 day-1 night rental).

I also rented pants and a hat for my husband.  I had bought him suspenders and some fun glasses but the he is so tall that the suspenders just pulled the pants up into Urkel-ville, and I still have no idea how the glasses are supposed to stay on one's nose ....

even with a fairly sizable nose, these did not stay on my husband's face

I also looked up Great Gatsby makeup and found this great YouTube tutorial.  Great Gatsy makeup  You can't see my eye makeup in the picture below (we started getting artsy with the pics), but 20s makeup really emphasized a downward slope of the makeup to make "sad puppy dog eyes" and lips in the shape of a bow.  This can be done with a sharp lip liner and concealer.

Anyway, I had a blast and will always take any excuse to dress up and put on fun makeup.  More fun to be had in the future!

DIY: personalized kraft notebooks for take-home wedding gift

the completed project

This was truly a project of love.  Partially because it was personalized, and partially because it was a bit of a hassle.  But with some instruction, perhaps it will be easier for you!

I wanted something special and personalized for the take-home wedding favors.  I was inspired by a photograph in a wedding magazine of a couple huddled in an embrace on Baker Beach on a very foggy San Francisco day.  The bride wore black Wellies with her white wedding gown and the groom held a black umbrella.  

Because you actually can barely see the bridge in their picture so I Google imaged pictures of the bridge from Baker Beach.  

I sketched the view of the bridge (I fully admit to tracing a large portion of the bridge details), and then free hand drew "the couple".  My husband is 6'2" and I am 5'4", so I tailored the image with a taller man and shorter woman with long dark hair so that it looks like my husband and I.  I also put the woman on her tip toe ( en relevĂ©); I used to be a dancer so I frequently stand on my tip toes especially to hug from my husband while he usually hunches down.  

The sketches took time; I started with pencil and used a Pilot black ink pen to finalize.  I cut and pasted (old school style with actual scissors and scotch tape) the small figurines into my sketch of the bridge.  The photocopied it several times to have everything lined up and shaded just right.

Once I got my sketch, I used and scanned my picture to make a custom rubber handled stamp.  The biggest challenge was figuring out the size to fit the kraft notebooks.  I ended up with a 5" x 8" stamp for $68.00.  I also bought an Archival Ink #3 Pad in Jet Black for $12.00.  It was the largest ink pad I could find at 4.25" x 6.25".  My stamp was larger than the ink pad but this ink pad is raised so that you can move the stamp around with ease.  I also had to later buy extra ink so I suggest you do so right away.  I got a Ranger Archival Ink Stamp Pads jet black 1/2 oz. bottle for $5.59 on Amazon.  A 1/2 ounce is plenty; when you need to refill, just lightly put the tip of the ink bottle and squeeze as you move around the ink pad.  

I had to make some extra cuts with an Exacto knife once my stamp came because if I pressed too hard, ink spots would show up.

It took lots of trials to figure out exactly how to get a perfect stamp.  And even once I "figured it out", there were still a few duds in the pile.

The technique I found to work most of the time:  
1. press the stamp onto the ink pad holding for 3-5 seconds in different positions so that you get every part of the stamp.  Use the palm of your hand to create evenly distributed pressure.
2. checked to make sure every part is saturated
3. carefully line up the stamp onto the kraft notebook, and press down on each section of the stamp, holding your palm firmly in place for about 5 seconds each time.
4. lift and admire!

I bought the kraft notebooks on Amazon for $10.36 for a pack of 3 with free shipping.  I did a lot of research and found this to be the best deal because of the free shipping.  I bought the Large sized, plain paper (no lines) Moleskin Cahier Journal.  I ended up using a large red Sharpie marker to color in the umbrella.  I tried several different markers and found this to be the easiest and best looking.  I made about 130 of the notebooks, and used a small custom stamp with our names and date of the wedding on the back as well.  

This labor of love was worth it in the end but took up a great deal of time because of the sheer number of notebooks I had to stamp and color in.  But I think it was worth it in the end.  =)

DIY wooden signs

I saw a bunch of cute cute hand painted wooden signs when I was traveling in Costa Rica.  And since then I've seen them sold in many places.  When I was getting married I thought of buying some off Etsy, but figured why not tackle it as a DIY project?

It turned out to be an easy project, but I had a lot of trial and error with type of paint brushes bought, types of paint, etc, etc.  So here is the HOW TO without the extra stuff you don't need.  This project will take a few days to allow for the paint the dry in between coats & stenciling.

1. wooden board
2. transfer paper or carbon paper
3. medium to large sponge brush (per background color you will use)
4. 2-3 smaller bristle paint brushes, size depends on the font you will use.
5. paint
6. a pencil to trace the font 
7. chose the sayings and fonts and print off your computer (if you need larger font you may have to do an old-school cut and paste with actual scissors and tape)
8. masking tape

Paint the background color of the board using the larger sponge brushes.  Note on the paint label how long you will need to wait for it to dry.

While the paint dries, print out what you want to stencil.  My signs said:

i do
we did

After the background paint has dried (consider 2 coats if you want something more opaque or just one coat if you want the wood texture to come through a bit more, see bottom pic for an example of the 2 looks), tape the transfer paper onto the board.   Tape only at 1 side, or lightly tape, so you can lift it up and check out your transfer.  Also, be sure to tape the brighter side down so that the color goes onto the board.  This may be obvious but I had the paper the backwards the first time.  Note that you can reuse the same bit of paper a few times so don't throw it away.  My picture shows a big hunk of paper that I realized later that I could reuse the parts that weren't traced on.

STEP 4.  
Tape the computer print out over the transfer paper.  You can see where I had to tape the "cockt" and "ails" together because I wanted the font larger than could be printed on one 8 x 11 sheet of paper.

You can use a pencil (or red pen!) to trace the outline of the font.  Make sure you check that the tracing is being transferred.

trace over the computer print out

check to make sure the transfer paper worked?

you can see the yellow transfer if you look closely

Use a smaller bristle brush and paint the font.  Note that dabbing can be as effective as brushing paint on, especially if the wood has gnarly knots or rough nicks in it.

in progress ...


DETAILS on materials, where to buy, etc:

For the wooden boards, I went to the hardware store wood section and grabbed someone to help me.  I ended up with 2 five foot planks of redwood because of lower cost and texture (thought I would need to  use sand paper to get a distressed look but that was extraneous). I had them cut each board into 3 pieces and used the front and back of each wood piece to save money.  So my "Welcome" & "cocktail" signs became the "Thank" & "You" signs for the end of the night. 

I bought the transfer paper at a Flax store in San Francisco on Market street.  The lightest color they had was yellow.  If you plan to paint over the tracing, it doesn't matter what color you buy, but consider a lighter trace paper for darker wood and darker trace color on lighter wood.

I bought a small can of flat house paint that I got at the hardware store and also craft store paint in small tubes.  You definitely get more bang for the buck with the house paint and I found the consistency to be easier to work with, however you can mix the craft paint with water to thin it out a bit.

I bought eyelet screws to put at each corner and used ribbon to hang them from garden hooks which were staked into the ground.  *Hopefully I"ll have a pic when my wedding photog gets our pictures to us.  She was great at photographing all the details and although my wedding dress had pockets, I did not have my camera on me that day!  

(wood on the left was painted with one background coat and the wood on the right had 2 coats)

Let me know if you have any questions and I'll be happy to try to answer them!  Next up:  stamping kraft notebooks for a personalized take-home gift.