Monday, October 8, 2012

The Road to the Bee

I'm still blogging over at Weddingbee and am about to start sharing wedding photos there. As you may know from a past post, our photographer, Elisa Bricker of Elisa B. Photography, submitted our images to a wedding blog that demands exclusivity.  The images were "embargoed" until that blog, Style Me Pretty, did what they wanted with them.

While our wedding day did not go exactly as planned (thanks to the remnants of tropical storm Beryl that come through the area), we has a fantastic evening with our friends and family.   

I reintroduced myself on Weddingbee with their traditional "A Bee's Life" post and I thought I'd share it here.

Why I Blogged Our Wedding
I've been blogging for years, so it seemed natural to blog about wedding planning.  Originally, I vowed to only write about wedding things once per week on my design blog.  That worked for a couple months.  Wedding posts slowly pushed the posts about home improvement projects.  I found myself devouring wedding blogs instead of design blogs pretty quickly. 

How I Found Weddingbee
My love of blogs and all the beautiful images on them left me dissatisfied with the first wedding community I found.  I was relieved to find the Weddingbee forum where large images could be posted.  Like many brides, I love beautiful details and felt that the Weddingbee forum allowed those details to be shared better than any other site.

The Application Process
I put a bit of pressure on myself to maintain my blogs and didn't think I'd want the added responsibility of blogging for Weddingbee.  After a few months of being immersed in the Weddingbee community, I realized that I would regret not trying to become a bee.

I assumed that age and geography were working against me.  Another bee blogger, Mrs. Hawk, lives just an hour away from me and I figured there wasn't a great need for another blogging bee from the area.  I'm also in my mid-30s and Mr. Mink is older than I am.  Since most women seem to get married in their twenties, I thought I was too old to "fit" in on the blogs.  Of course, I quickly realized that age is my issue, not an issue for Weddingbee. 

Filling out the blogger application was something I did fairly quickly.  Once I submitted it, I put the entire idea of blogging for Weddingbee out of my mind.  When Mrs. Penguin's email arrived, I had to read it twice to be sure it was meant for me.  Marc didn't really understand what I was talking about when I told him I was joining the bee bloggers.  He knew I posted on the site, but didn't know there were blogs on the front page.

Why Mrs. Mink?
For some reason, I thought bees were assigned their characters.  I hadn't really thought picking a character before I was accepted as a bee blogger.  I briefly wavered between the mink and the opossum.  I thought the mink was so cute with her little kelly bag, but the opossum would have been a nod to our favorite band.  I think I spend about 30 seconds thinking about it and wound up picking the mink character.

Being a Bee Blogger
I'm so thankful that Weddingbee prompted me to document my ideas and projects over the course of the last year.  I'm also thankful for the Weddingbee community's opinions and feedback over the course of our planning.

I had originally been worried that my ease with home improvement projects wouldn't translate into a facility with wedding projects, but I quickly found that I was proud to share the things I was making for our wedding.  On the flip side, being a bee blogger made me face areas that don't interest me too much or ones where I'm not skilled. I'll be going into more detail about that in the future.

There were times when carving out time to blog wasn't easy, but I love that I can look back over my posts and see what I was thinking about throughout our engagement.   

Advice for Bee Blogger Applicants   
Most bee bloggers tell applicants to "bee yourself" and I would obviously echo that.  However, I also think aspiring bloggers should consistently set aside time to write on their blogs so that the pace of posting as a bee blogger doesn't pose a challenge.  In addition, I think liberal use of pictures makes blog posts more interesting.  You don't have to have a fancy camera or special training to do that.  Goodness knows I am not a skilled photographer!

Also remember that perfect can be boring.  While I think it's good practice to try to see the positive side of any situation, I think the Weddingbee community appreciates candor from bee bloggers.  I've already shared a few of the challenges we had during our planning and the comments have always been supportive and understanding.  There are more to come!

Lastly, I encourage anyone who applies to submit the application and then move on.  Keeping writing so you and your husband have a record of the things you did during your engagement and planning process.  If you wind up becoming a bee blogger, that will be a nice bonus.  If you don't become a bee blogger, you'll still have a collection of entries that will remind you of this exciting time. 
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Friday, October 5, 2012

How to Make Personalized Drinking Straw Flags

I think the little flags that people sometimes attach to old-fashioned, paper drinking straws are adorable.  They were a project that I didn't have on my list during wedding planning that I would have loved to tackle if we had used a signature drink.

  From A Little Sparkle on the Side (formerly Sparkle and Hay) / Via

Luckily, I know a few other people getting married in the next year and I was able to make some for one of them!  There are tutorials for these things all over the web, but I learned a few lessons along the way and I thought I'd share the steps I took to make drink flags.

Tip #1: Make your own template
I hunted around the web for drink flag templates and found plenty.  I probably wasted an hour doing this.  I downloaded quite a few, but didn't like them and wound up making my own little template by taking a few measurements and playing around with the guidelines in Adobe Illustrator.  I printed on plain, copy paper a few dozen times to get everything lined up properly before printing on some nice card stock that had a little texture.

Tip #2: Use a small, precise paper cutter
I thought I would have to use the "guillotine" style paper trimmer at work to cut the flags out, but the simple paper slicer that I have a home worked just fine.  It took a little longer, but I felt as thought it was a little more precise that the big cutter at work.

Tip #3: Try Elmer's double sided tape
I thought I would use the Scotch brand double sided tape I see everywhere, but came across this Elmer's version at the craft store and decided I liked it better.  The Elmer's tape is lined on one side, so you can place it and peel the backing off later on. 

Tip #4: Assembly line style works best
After I put tape on each flag, I started peeling the backings off and putting the ends together.  I started out doing all the steps, start to finish, but realized that assembly line style was the faster method.

Tip #5: Don't use thick paper
I slid each flag onto a paper straw (available online in lots of colors), pinched lightly, and rolled each straw a little bit to make sure the paper was secure.  Using that pretty, thick card stock was a mistake.  The paper didn't want to stay on the straw.  I wound up using a heat gun on the flags, hoping it would melt the adhesive on the tape to the straw.  The flags seemed to stay attached after that, but the ends still needed to be pinched to stay together.

 The finishing touch is cutting the ends of the flags to give them points.  Don't they all look so cute?

When I did this project again for a different couple, the thinner paper was a big improvement.

I had so much fun that I'm considering more freelance wedding crafting!  Let me know if you need any help with upcoming projects!
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Our Wedding on Style Me Pretty

I'm set to begin posting recaps of our wedding on Weddingbee, but I thought I'd share a link to a piece on Style Me Pretty about our wedding

Thanks for entertaining all the wedding post over the last year.  As you have probably noticed, I'm dipping my toes back in the design/DIY topics as my mind turns back to the issues that prompted this blog to be started in the first place. 

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