projects

on writing

I’ve decided to try my hand at writing a novel. (Or maybe a short story or two. We’ll see how it shakes out in the end.)

This is an idea I’ve attempted over the years, starting a few pages here or there, but eventually abandoning my efforts. I was never pleased with what I wrote, often questioning how good my ideas or writing were. Sometimes I simply became too busy, or misplaced my budding manuscript.

But 2015 just feels like the year to give writing another go. I’ve been incredibly inspired by the movie review blog my husband and I have been writing since December 2013. Forcing myself to write and edit nearly everyday is not only good practice, it’s helped spark my imagination. After watching 400+ films (and counting), you inevitably start to think about how you’d write some stories differently.

I’m also working on not being so hard on myself. So what if my first draft is crap? That’s what first drafts are for. Hell, that’s what second, third, and tenth drafts are for. This is probably the biggest hurdle to writing, one I plan to finally overcome this time. Worst case scenario is that I discover I’m not good at writing fiction. No worries, I have other hobbies I can focus on.

As for being busy… well, that’s life. When is it ever not busy. Taking time off to just write is the dream, but it isn’t realistic right now. I’ll definitely be setting some deadlines for myself, but ones that I can actually meet. Again, I won’t beat myself up if I miss a date by a day or even a week. I’ll only start to worry if I reach June and haven’t even started. (Actually, let’s move that up to April.)

(The only foil I can confidently say I won’t be succumbing to this time is losing my notes or story. I’m much more organized these days. It also helps that I don’t plan on moving in the foreseeable future. That’s a surefire way for things to go missing.)

So I’m now armed with a notebook of story ideas, Stephen King’s On Writing, my library card, and The Elements of Style. I’m seeking inspiration wherever I can: reading, watching the news, visiting art galleries, meeting new people. And most importantly, I’ll continue writing whenever possible.

Let’s just see how this goes…

centerpieces

In my previous post I shared my inspiration and final save the dates for my wedding last July. This time I’ll be sharing the reception centerpieces.

When designing the centerpieces I wanted to accomplish two things: 1. play on the movie theme in a fun way, and 2. save money. Early on in planning stages I noticed a trend of non-floral centerpieces on Pinterest. I liked this idea, it was a nice nod to the couple’s shared interests. These decorations were also unique, and if I chose to forgo flowers completely, would be much less expensive than traditional centerpieces.

inspiration1

book & photo frame centerpiece from CJ’s Off the Square blog; rolled sheet music centerpiece from Wedding Bee forums/Andrea Dozier Boutique Photography

Next I needed to brainstorm objects that would bring to mind a movie theater. Movie reels, popcorn, 3D glasses, clapperboards, boxed candies… there were lots of fun options! I wanted a variety of heights and shapes, so I chose a combination of popcorn boxes, boxed theater candies, and 3D glasses.

final_product

sweetheart table decorations, photography by Alexandra Siebenthal; guests having fun with centerpiece items in the photo booth; smaller centerpiece placed on cocktail tables, photography by Alexandra Siebenthal

I stuffed the popcorn boxes with crumpled newspaper, and had them topped with popcorn. Other than that I didn’t have a specific vision for what the centerpieces would look like. I left that detail up to the venue’s coordinator the day of. She did a great job, even adding some science fiction movie postcards I had originally ordered as thank you cards for additional height and color.

The final product turned out great! These centerpieces were a big hit with our guests. They loved wearing the 3D glasses and snacking on the candy and popcorn throughout the evening. The decorations were a fun nod to the movie theme and added to the casual feel of the event.

And the best part (as far as our bank account is concerned)– this all cost less than $60! I did have a little help in the form of an Amazon gift card I earned through MyPoints.com, but even without that the total would have only cost around $100. Not too shabby considering  some floral centerpieces can cost $100 each.

centerpiecesPin friendly image– feel free to share!

Want to recreate these centerpieces? Here’s where I found everything:

  • Popcorn boxes from Amazon.com
  • Unsalted, unbuttered popcorn from my local grocery store (I didn’t want butter to stain the venue’s linens!)
  • Boxed theater candy from Wal-Mart (Our local store had a big bin with a large variety at $0.98 per box.)
  • 3D glasses from Amazon.com
  • Science Fiction movie poster postcard book from Amazon.com
  • Tea lights provided by the venue (but you can purchase them quite cheaply from Ikea)

save the date

For those of you who don’t know, I was married this past July. Since crafting, design, and baking have always been a big part of my life, I knew I’d be DIYing some aspects of the wedding. Now that the wedding is past and I have more time to post, I’d like to share some of that planning here.

To start, I’ll write a bit about our save the date cards. Early on in the planning my husband, Ben, and I decided to have a movie theme for the event. We also wanted the wedding and reception to be laid back and casual, so what better way to set the tone than through this first announcement to our guests.
inspirationWedding Chicks Mad Men inspired Save the Date; design seeds macro purple; design seeds ranunculus petals

While our wedding theme was movies, my inspiration actually came from a save the date card referencing the tv show Mad Men. I loved the silhouette, bold colors, and strong fonts in this card. The color palette is inspired by the bird of paradise, my favorite flower. However, I opted for subtler hues of purple and orange for a softer feel.

finalproduct‘Amity Jack’ font via dafont.com; ‘SF Distant Galaxy’ font via dafont.com; printed by Moo.com

I used the Mad Men card as a jumping off point and created postcards featuring each of our favorite movies: Jaws for me, and Star Wars for Ben (his favorite is Episode V, but I used the Episode IV poster because it’s more recognizable). We realize neither of these movies scream “romance,” but we felt that was part of the fun. And they would definitely be uniquely us! I added wedding bouquets and a garter to the original movie posters, and downloaded the film fonts for added authenticity.

It was fun designing my own save the date cards. However, I realized I am a very demanding client! I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, but I spent a lot more time reworking the graphics, swapping colors, and nudging pixels than I expected. Still, I’m very pleased with the final product and received many rave reviews from our guests!

Pinterest was a great resource for finding wedding inspiration, and is where I found the Mad Men save the date cards. I can’t recommend the site enough for those who need help planning a big event. Should any of you wish to pin my inspiration and final product, here’s a full graphic:

savethedates

side project

My husband and I have started a blog. In it we review the 1000 odd DVDs in our collection, in (mostly) alphabetical order.

I’m excited to watch the many movies I haven’t seen, and revisit a few favorites. I also hope that writing on a regular basis will spark my creativity and help me keep up with this blog as well!

Feel free to join us over at From The Abyss to Zoolander!

’tis the season

holiday2 The holiday season is right around the corner, and I’ve been busy whipping up a set of greeting cards to celebrate!

I love alliteration, which is why I used “Happy Holidays” as my jumping off point. From there I thought of other Christmas phrases using the letter h. Once I had my words, I chose colors that complimented both the season and each individual phrase. The snowflakes and frosty texture help tie the set together.

These cards were designed by me, and printed by MOO. Sets are available in packs of 3 or 12 through my Etsy shop. Envelopes are included, as well as matching sealing stickers for the perfect final touch!