my weekend in pictures.

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{we attended a fun celebration for both a birthday & an MBA completion for our friend sara – congratulations!}

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{hit pike place market early saturday morning to pick up last minute party goodies – fresh flowers & french macarons! the tulips are so gorgeous & I have filled my house with them.}

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{the dessert table set-up for my birthday bash.}

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{kicking my feet up after a long & fun night of entertaining. loving this fantastic anthro skirt {no longer available}!}

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{leftover cupcakes & donuts for breakfast? sure! don’t worry, we also had some blueberry muffins…}

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{aaron showing our little friend jaz how to snap a straw.}

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{car accident + rainy weather = major traffic issues.}

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{meet fred, my grandmother’s new roommate!}

we had the most amazing weekend celebrating february birthdays with our friends & family. seriously, it was the best! sleeping in, eating macarons, & catching up with friends is the very best way to spend the weekend. now I am in disbelief that we are in the last week of march already – where did february go?

how was your weekend?

M

wedding weekend in hood river {the wedding}

this last weekend we were in hood river, oregon to celebrate my cousin jesse’s wedding to his bride elise. the venue was at Bella Vista Orchards, a few miles inland of the columbia river. the ceremony took place amongst the pear trees {with views of mount hood} & the reception in a tent on the property. it was a fun venue & a perfect setting for the bride & groom to celebrate their new union!

there were two suggestions made by the bride & groom via their invitation: one – no stilettos and two – head adornments were greatly encouraged. well, i decided to take my chances with heels {they were thick heels that are easy for me to walk in, plus with the length of my dress heels were a must!} & did pretty well, though the i understand the warning against heels given the uneven dirt paths & roads all around the venue. when it came to head adornments, aaron & i were totally in. aaron decided on his fez {that his brother brought back from egypt a few years back}. i originally thought i would make or buy a fascinator {a la duchess kate} but then came across this diy floral crown on my pinterest board & decided that would be perfect. i even talked my mom & sister into wearing them as well. my dad was a little more conventional in a classic polo baseball hat.

needless to say, we had a wonderful time celebrating!

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congratulations jesse & elise!

M

aaron’s thirtieth birthday party.

as i mentioned here we celebrated aaron’s big 3-0 this weekend with family & friends. his birthday isn’t really until this friday, but since that kicks off memorial day weekend, we figured it would be a better turn-out if we threw the party the weekend before.

i have spent the last few months planning & making party decorations, so it was really awesome to see it all come to life on saturday. originally i was going to do a james bond theme as it seemed like a good use of aaron’s white dinner jacket from andy & hailey’s wedding. but then i decided that as much as it would be fun to have the guys dress up in suits & the gals dress up in formals, it would be better as a theme for a big sit-down dinner (which we don’t have the space for). so i decided a beer theme would be fun for aaron (since i knew there would be beer at his party anyways) & went with that. i was able to find paper goods in the theme of a beer tasting & recruited a good friend who brews home brew regularly as our beer master.

i borrowed a few ideas from pinterest {if you are curious, my pinterest board for this party is here} & will share those & my sources below. for now, enjoy the pictures! {there were a few more pictures taken at the party, but for the sake of our guest’s privacy, i decided not to put all of them up here.}

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there were {and still are} thirty gold balloons hanging in our front window & each one {well, almost} has a happy birthday wish or favorite memory of aaron from our close family & friends. it means a lot to aaron & me to have received these beautiful notes & thank you to those of you who i harassed to get them to me in time for the party!

source & inspiration list:

thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us – we had such an amazing time! &, last but not least, happy {early} birthday to my wonderful husband!

M

highlights of 2012.

2013 lets do this{via}

happy 2013!

i love reading yearly highlights on other blogs & even though i try to keep up on the updates via this blog, there are hopefully a few fun things to share that you haven’t heard before. here’s the rundown of 2012:

january: i donated blood for the first {& last} time. we dined at emmer & rye in queen anne with my friend beth ann who was in town visiting. we survived snopocolypse 2012. the repairs on the jetta were finally completed from my rear-ending in november. sadie had surgery to get a small lump removed & have her teeth cleaned.

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february: we took a trip to new england & managed to visit all six new england states. we spent a long weekend in boston. i celebrated my 27 {yikes!} birthday & valentine’s day with my love in manchester, new hampshire. we celebrated thanksgiving in february with my law school friends {this is a reoccurring event in which my friend miriam cooks up a big thanksgiving dinner at various times of the year}. we celebrated leap year!

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march: my mom visited for a long weekend. i oversaw work to the townhouse {new venting for the dryer}. we house-hunted on the weekends with our realtor padraic. i started & completed all three books in the hunger games series. we saw the hunger games at the IMAX. we saw {& were disappointed by} king tut at the pacific science center {no tut, just his stuff}. aaron took a work trip to vegas. we made our first {& only} offer on a house. our offer was accepted!

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april: we took a post-offer tour of our new house. we celebrated easter dinner with my grandmother. we showed the townhouse to potential new tenants. i co-hosted a baby shower for amanda. we packed up all of our belongings for the big move. we closed on our house after signing lots of paperwork & handing over a very large check. we moved.

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may: we were rear-ended {this better not become an annual event}. my mom & dad visited for a long weekend & helped with some house projects. we celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday! we celebrated aaron’s 29th birthday! i took on my first pro bono case with VAIJ. we hosted a small dinner party with old idaho friends kami, travis, & their adorable daughter olive. we spent a night on the town in bellevue at aaron’s organization’s ship party with lots of aaron’s co-workers.

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june: we saw dia frampton in concert at chop suey. we hosted a small dinner party with my law school friend marcus, his then-fiancée katy, & their beagle maggie. padraic & his partner justin threw us an awesome housewarming party! we ventured down to alabama for andy & hailey’s wedding. i had lots of phone interviews.

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july: we attended herschel’s first birthday party {the son of one of my law school friends}. we celebrated the fourth of july! i started going to fitness classes with my neighbor leanne at community fitness. we hosted a small dinner party with andy & hailey, just back from their honeymoon! we attended thanksgiving in july at miriam’s. sadie & i drove down to idaho. i got my haircut & had drinks with my CBC {high school} girlfriends. we loaded up the car & took a roadtrip {sadie included} to stevenson, wa for marcus & katy’s wedding. we saw the dark knight rises at the IMAX.

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august: we celebrated our second wedding anniversary with a picnic dinner at greenlake! we attended our first neighborhood potluck & met lots of our neighbors. we joined a summer bocce ball league with ben & sarah. i did yoga in the park with our neighbors – the friends – & tens of other people. i shopped & noshed with my friend ashley who was in town on a work trip. we attended the pratt’s housewarming party {a couple i met & befriend while i was in americorps}. we attended padraic’s wig birthday party. i met my pro bono client. i was offered a position doing media license management & started working. my bff carlie came into town – our first house guest! we attended a moroccan dinner feast at ben & sarah’s house. aaron’s parents visited seattle for a week.

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september: we attended a final farewell summer bbq. we visited indiana to see family & surprise meg at her baby shower. we attended a colts game with our friends colt & erin. we celebrated sadie’s eighth birthday!

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october: we visited peru & got to hike around one of the new seven wonders of the world machu picchu. my mom & sister anya visited for a long weekend. my friend meg was in town to visit! aaron made an unexpected trip back to indiana to attend his late grandmother’s service. we attended ghouls near greenlake, ben & sarah’s annual halloween bash, as a somecard. we celebrated halloween with our very first trick-or-treaters!

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november: aaron attended a week-long conference for work & stayed downtown. i watched the election results while painting the bathroom trim & texting aaron updates. we hosted our first {vegetarian} thanksgiving. we spent the long holiday weekend working on the house.

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december: we attended a housewarming party for amanda, george, & madeleine. we brunched with our neighbors – the friends – at the 5 spot in queen anne. my mom visited for a long weekend. i brought back a pinterest christmas & recruited some friends to join in on the fun. we celebrated the holiday season with six holiday parties with friends & co-workers. i won rookie of the year at work. we enjoyed a double-date night in bellevue with some newly engaged friends. we loaded up the car with presents & made the trek to idaho for the week of christmas. we celebrated christmas! we made it safely back to seattle only one day delayed. we plan to ring in the new year with friends & watch the space needle firework show.

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reflecting back on this year, i am reminded how blessed we are & also how different this year has been than the year previous. it has been such a wonderful year & ringing in a new one is a bit bittersweet.

how was your 2012 – was it a year to remember or are you itching to start 2013 already?

M

see highlights of 2011 here.

a shower for baby garner-ballard.

one of the reasons we picked the weekend before last to take a trip to the midwest was so that i could attend meg’s baby shower. {sidenote: meg is a cousin of one of aaron’s cousins, but that is just semantics & i consider meg family!}

one of the really fun parts about the shower is that kendra & i kept our trip on the DL, & showed up as surprise guests for meg. so fun!

aaron’s aunt & cousins – sharon, abbi, & maggi – threw the shower & they did such a wonderful job. the décor was so adorable & i was loving the color scheme. meg knows that she is having a boy, but i love that the shower didn’t scream “BOY!”

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{those cake pops were delish // a fun sign for baby GB}

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{stripey straws for the drinks // fun colored candy}

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{maggi, meg, kendra, & kenley // mama & daughter}

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{meg was spoiled with lots of love in the form of presents!}

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{meg opening presents with her sister kait by her side // kenley wanted in on the present-opening action}

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{meg enjoying a handmade card // i made some art of meg’s nursery}

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{love you meg & happy shower!}

where is the farthest you have flown for a baby shower?

M

p.s. maggi, abbi, meg, & kendra all have blogs, so if you aren’t already a reader, you should definitely check them out!

sweet home alabama: andy & hailey’s wedding.

as you know, we were in alabama this last weekend celebrating the nuptials of our good friends andy & hailey. since aaron was a groomsman, we decided to head down to the south a few days early & spend some time with the bride & groom to-be & the rest of the wedding party.

{redneck night at flora-bama bar.}

we spend thursday afternoon on the beach on the florida panhandle & then changed into our finest redneck attire to dance the night away at flora-bama bar (named for its location on the border of, you guessed it, florida & alabama).

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{our travel buddies: colin & carolyn.}

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{the groom & bride to-be: andy & hailey.}

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{colin, hailey, & chris.}

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{shannon, hailey, & two of andy’s adorable nieces.}

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{andy & hailey.}

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{the beautiful sunset. & also colin watching the nba finals.}

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{andy, hailey, & jaime. andy & hailey were donning their new trucker hats. his says “hitchin’ a bride” & hers says “randy for andy.”}

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{me, andy, tyler, & alyssa.}

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{rehearsal dinner.}

the rehearsal dinner was held at oak hollow farms in fairhope, AL in a beautiful, old (air-conditioned!) barn. there were twinkling lights hanging draped from the ceiling – as seen in this week’s my weekend in photos – & wood chips on the floor. we had delicious southern food, including catfish, pulled pork bbq, sweet southern tea, & peach cobbler. the toasts by the best man, & maid & matron of honor were given, followed by lots of dancing & karaoke. aaron even got on stage & sang me everything by michael buble which is what he surprised me with at our wedding; it was wonderful!

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{the rustic centerpieces.}

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{me & carolyn.}

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{colin & carolyn.}

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{the hosts & parents of the groom: barb & alan.}

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{hailey & andy.}

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{me & aaron. the dress for the rehearsal dinner was southern, so aaron wore a bow tie, & it wasn’t even a clip-on (i learned to tie one before we left)!}

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{hailey, andy, aaron, & me.}

{wedding day!}

aaron stayed in fairhope with the rest of the wedding party on friday night while carolyn & i stayed at a little motel in town. on saturday, the wedding party got ready in fairhope, took some pictures, & headed to mobile for the ceremony. carolyn & i spent the morning at target, before heading to mobile to lunch & do some shopping before we got ready.

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{apparently this guy’s rack makes a nice place for hanging dress shirts.}

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{andy getting ready for the big day.}

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{the first dance.}

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{me & andy.}

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{me & aaron. doesn’t he look so handsome in a tux?}

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{cutting the cake.}

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{the cake was delish. so were the sugar cookies & the french macaroons. two thumbs up to the bride for the dessert selection!}

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{the traveling four-some all the way from seattle!}

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{my dress was matthew williamson which i got from rent the runway. (this is a referral link.) the wedding was black tie optional & since aaron was wearing a tux, i figured i should wear something a little fancy since i was his date. it was so fun to dress up & i think we should start dressing more formally in the pacific northwest. who’s with me?}

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{the ringbearer with his cool shades on.}

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{the bride dancing with her father, barre.}

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{the groom dancing with his mother, barbara.}

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{yes, that is the garter around her head!}

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{the send-off. we showered them in rose petals on their way out to the get-away car while the band played.}

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{congrats to the new mr. & mrs. steiner!}

{my up do.}

a few people asked about my hair, so i thought i would just include this quick note. i knew i needed my hair to be up & off my neck. also, my hairdresser always taught me: the more the dress, the higher the hair. basically, if you are wearing a strapless dress, you can leave your hair down, but if you have straps, you should have all of it up.

my hair is thick & super long right now, so i needed an updo that had different sections. i basically followed this hair tutorial, but did regular french braids instead of french fishtail braids (my arms get too tired to do fishtail!).

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it is definitely wedding season. have you been to any recently or do you have any to attend later this summer?

M

my weekend in pictures: mobile, AL.

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{aaron & colin – one of our travel buddies & also a groomsman – had matching bags.}

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{the view from our garage apartment at the dumas family bay house in fairhope, AL.}

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{toes in the sand!}

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{um yep, it was 83 degrees at 9 pm. welcome to the south!}

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{we joined the rest of the wedding party at flora-bama bar, right on the boundary between florida & alabama – dressed in our redneck attire.}

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{this is aaron wearing my redneck camo hat.}

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{a special delivery for the groom.}

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{the rehearsal dinner venue was an old barn that was decorated with such pretty lights!}

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{a&m peanut shop in mobile, AL.}

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{the courtyard at our cute little southern hotel.}

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{the wedding service.}

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{roses & feathers decorated the chandeliers at the reception.}

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{a little snack of cheese & meat at the reception.}

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{toasting glasses.}

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{the wedding party arriving at the reception.}

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{sadie was so excited to snuggle on the couch after a long weekend with her new beagle friend maggie. thanks marcus, katy, & maggie for keeping sadie company while we were away!}

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{we were too lazy to make dinner on sunday night (after leaving at o’dark thirty & traveling all day) so we hit up pies & pints near our house.}

we spent the long weekend in the deep south celebrating the wedding day of our very good friends andy & hailey. aaron was a groomsman & looked so handsome in his tux. to say it was hot & humid would be an understatement, but we had an amazing time. congrats andy & hailey! {wedding pics to be posted later this week. i hope.}

how was your weekend?

M

a housewarming.

our realtor PJ – if you need one, he is the best! – offered to throw us a housewarming party as a closing gift. pretty sweet, huh? PJ’s husband, justin, owns two local restaurants – the hanger in georgetown & the ridgeback café in ballard – & was brought in as our crepe expert. yep, we had fresh, delicious savory & sweet crepes hot off the crepe iron to serve our guests. and, it turns out, a lot of wine (i guess that is what happens when your host brings a case of wine & then every guest brings a bottle. we have enough wine to throw a few more parties!).

our little housewarming party took place this last saturday evening. it was great to get friends & family together & show off our house (most of the guests hadn’t seen it yet & others hadn’t seen all the updates we have done).

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{a few appetizers to go along with the crepes.}

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{me, justin, & PJ chatting about home décor & food.}

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{our sweet neighbor antonia!}

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{since we had to endure threatening skies & rain at times, we got a double rainbow!}

have you thrown any parties lately?

M

diy baby shower project: paper flags.

i wanted to add some extras to the baby shower dessert table & thought cupcake toppers & stripey straws would be perfect accessories! {sidenote: we didn’t actually use the straws during the shower, but they were very festive!}

not surprising that i found some pinspiration!

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{ribbon flags on drink stirrers: oh joy! blog}

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{paper flags on stripey straws: etsy}

amanda (the mama-to-be) loved dalmations as a child – the dog breed, not the movie! – & so i incorporated a bit of animal print into the shower theme.

i couldn’t find any dalmation printed paper at my local craft stores, so i scoured the interwebs & found this pdf of dalmation spots. i simply printed a few pages on my home laser jet printer.

supplies:

  • paper for flags
  • glue stick
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • something to glue flag onto (straw, lollipop stick, bamboo skewer)

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{stripey straws from amazon//lollipop sticks i picked up at michael’s}

i turned the paper so the printed side was down (this way you can see your pencil marks!) & began measuring. i wanted pretty small flags & ended up cutting paper strips that were 3/4” by 3 1/2”.

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then i ran a glue stick along the entire back of the paper strip & wrapped it around the straw/stick about an inch or so from the top (this is totally a personal preference). i also pinched the paper closed right near the edge of the straw/stick in order to make sure it was well adhered (see last picture below).

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finally, i cut a small triangle from the outside edge of the paper strip. you could use a pencil & ruler to mark this, but i did it just with scissors since it was such a small cut.

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VOILA!

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{sorry this isn’t a better picture of the cupcake toppers, but you get the gist!}

what do you think of paper flags to decorate cupcakes & straws?

M

diy baby shower project: paper pinwheel board.

i had a few requests for the projects that were part of amanda’s baby shower. as i mentioned in the original post, i looked to pinterest for inspiration and ideas, so these are all definitely pinspiration projects (this will be a series of project posts).

i was fortunate because very early on in the shower planning process i found the ultimate inspiration on pinterest & pretty much ran with that idea. i loved the look of white serving dishes & stands & i knew that i wanted to create a paper pinwheel board that would be the focal point for the dessert table.

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{original post here: vintage themed dessert table.}

gorgeous, huh? i hadn’t made pinwheels before, but just a few days later i was catching up on blogs and found this tutorial on making paper pinwheels. it was definitely a sign that i had to at least attempt this project. {sidenote: this was a bit of a time-intensive project that spanned over about five evenings spent in front of the TV.}

supplies:

  • paper or colored cardstock (i used three different scrapbook papers, plain white computer paper & two different cardstocks; the paper is definitely easier to fold!)
  • doilies (optional)
  • hot glue gun & lots of glue sticks
  • thick cardboard (i cut apart two boxes i had from amazon.com)
  • thick poster board with a foam core
  • scissors
  • medium-sized circle punch (optional)
  • ruler
  • pencil

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i don’t have any pictures of the process & i apologize. i really didn’t think i would be doing a tutorial of this project, plus my fingers were covered in hot glue which is not conducive to taking photos.

i followed the tutorial from the lovely cupboard: cut strips of paper, fold & glue. the paper strips i used were between two and five inches. i also learned that the bigger the pinwheel, the more strips of paper that you need to glue together before making it into a circle.

perhaps it was because my folds were not always perfectly the same, but my pinwheels didn’t want to lay flat on their own. i remedied this by gluing a small (about one inch by one inch, or so) piece of cardboard to the back of the pinwheel in the center. this kept most of them together & lying flat on their own, & also gave me a good flat surface to attach it to the poster board.

i am not sure how the pinwheel board in the inspiration picture was constructed, but once i started laying out my pinwheels on the poster board, i figured out that i would need to elevate some of them in order to get the right effect (i.e., no white poster showing thru) & to get the pinwheels to overlap. i made about a quarter of the pinwheels before i glued any of them to the poster board, just so i could make changes in the positions of the pinwheels to get the right look. only a few of the pinwheels are actually glued directly to the poster board; most of them are raised up by cardboard. in order to get the pinwheels up off the board, but still attached, i cut lots of little cardboard squares (like the ones i talked about for the back of the pinwheels) & stacked & glued them together into little cardboard towers until i had the right height. {sidenote: if you are interested in seeing more pictures, let me know and i will update the post.}

some of the larger pinwheels also have doilies & smaller pinwheels on top of them; i liked the look of this layering, but you could skip this part. also, i added a paper circle in the middle of each pinwheel in a contrasting paper to give it a more finished look (but also to hide the imperfect folding!). i just cut out circles by hand so they aren’t perfect, but if you had a circle punch that was big enough, you could use that too.

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{the pinwheel board right after i finished it. the colors in this picture are really close to what they are in real life.}

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{the pinwheel board on the dessert table}

in order to make it stand (it was quite heavy considering it was made out of paper!) i had aaron add cardboard triangles to the back to prop it up; you could also hang it from a wall with poster hangers (like the ones made by 3M) which is probably how it will be displayed at the new house once i find a place for it {anyone have ideas as to where it should go?}.

if you end up making a paper pinwheel board, i would love to see it, so please share pictures!

would you make a pinwheel board for a shower, party or just a fun house decoration?

M