Our Wedding: Flowers & Centrepieces

Alright, alright. Technically you could argue that the flowers should have been included in my post about our décor. But I loved our flowers so much that I thought I should let them shine all on their own! The flowers were done by Linda at Killaloe Flowers & Gifts and I couldn’t have been happier with them…. my bouquet was possibly my most favourite thing about our wedding (ahem… I mean after marrying my one true love, and spending time with our wonderful friends and family). I paid for my first few years of university by working part-time in a flower shop, and I think we’ve established that I’m picky as hell even about things that I don’t have first-hand experience with, so the flowers needed to be top notch. And they were!

For the centerpieces, I wanted a sort of cluster of different items for a more laid-back look, and played around with a few different things until I was happy. I decided on lace cutout pots from Ikea, mason jars that I collected from flea markets/borrowed from friends, square glass vases from Dollarama, and mosaic tile table numbers (kindly loaned by my sister-in-law). The favours looked super cute on the tables too in their little blue boxes with the monogram I designed (truffles from koko chocolates).


(bottom left photo credit: My Tran Trung)

For the bouquets, I went with white roses, seeded eucalyptus, and dusty miller (grown by the florist herself)!  For my bouquet, the florist added in some purple limonium and white lisianthus… it was stunning. I gave her a few pictures to work with and she came up with something really beautiful! For the gents, the boutonnieres were also white roses, with seeded euc added for the groom.


bridal party

Sigh. Aren’t they just gorgeous? (and how pretty are those ladies?)

Funny side note about the flowers, and weddings in general: the week of the wedding, our florist called to say she was not able to get the white kalanchoes that I had requested for the centrepieces. Instead she was going to get a white mini rose, which was fine by me since I love roses. The day that I picked them up, she told me that she was super sorry but the roses that came in were YELLOW. I used every ounce of good manners and reason I had not to flip out, and the quiet voice inside my head said “Cathy, the colour of the rose does not matter. Everything is going to be perfect because you are marrying your best friend. Nothing else matters, not even the colour of the centerpieces that you have been agonizing over.” I took a deep breath and told her that we would work with it. Luckily, the buds were nice and tight and hadn’t opened yet, and they were more of an off-white buttery colour than yellow, so no one noticed! Sometimes, not losing your mind on a poor lady who is just trying her best pays off and karma gives you a break.

So there you have our flowers! Stay tuned for my next post full of wedding DIY goodness, featuring the sash(es) I made for my dress, as well as my silk flower fascinator.


Note: all photos taken by LilyCreek Photography & Art Studio unless otherwise stated.

Our Wedding: Décor

Although I spent a lot of time on the invitations and stationary, decorating our wedding ceremony and reception hall was a big job too. Since our dinner was held in the restaurant of Spectacle Lake Lodge, it needed some tweaking to have the look I wanted… Mostly this involved hunting through flea markets or stores for the right item, but I also made a few key pieces.

For our ceremony, I was tempted to make a program to match our invitations- but one of my first DIY projects was refurbishing an old flea market frame into a magnetic chalkboard, and I knew it would look awesome as our program. To write out the program, I did a few Pinterest searches until I found an example of one I liked. Then I used a chalk marker to write, erase, and write again until I was happy.*


For our seating plan, I loved the look of salvaged window frames that I found on Pinterest. I found the perfect window at Tin Barn Market, a really cute shop in Merrickville, ON.  I printed out the seating plan and traced over it on the window using white Sharpie markers (water soluble, not oil). At first I was using clear tape to stick the paper to the underside of the window, but I had to do some emergency tweaking the night before the wedding and I discovered (duh) that I could just literally put the window on top of the paper and trace over it without using tape!


When I found a really cool piece of driftwood at my family’s cottage a few summer’s ago, I knew I could make something unique with it. Our wedding gave me the perfect excuse to figure out what exactly! I bought tealights and glass holders from Ikea, measured the diameter of the glass holder and bought a forstner drill bit from Lee Valley (I actually bought the wrong size at first, which is why I am now banned from measuring things).  My husband drilled holes into the wood where I wanted the candles to go, and we hot glued the glass holders on… you could also drill deeper so that the glass just sits in the recess. We paired the driftwood with photos of both of our parents and sisters from their respective weddings.


One traditional wedding item that I never planned on getting was a cake topper. I just didn’t think it was for me, and everything else about our wedding was not really all that traditional (for example, I opted not to wear a veil… and DIY’d a fascinator instead). But then I made the mistake of doing an Etsy search for a cake topper and I found this adorable pair:


How CUTE?? I guess they were more steampunk than “rustic elegant” but I had to have them. Maybe it was all the Daft Punk I was listening to at the time… or maybe they reminded me of a Get Up Kids album cover, a band my husband and I both liked when we were dating.  They were one of the few things that I really splurged on and spent more than I reasonably should have. But je ne regrette rien!

For our gift table, we made a card box out of old wood pallets. We more or less followed a tutorial I found on Instructables.com. The best part about a wood pallet project is, it’s FREE! Well, providing you have the necessary tools and hardware lying around anyway. We scored our pallets from the loading dock at my workplace, but I’ve seen them in big stacks at Canadian Tire, Home Depot, and at the Ottawa Trainyards. I also made a bunting banner to go with it. Admittedly, it is large for a card box but now it does double duty in our living room as a storage box (you can see how we made it here).


To put the finishing touches on the hall décor, I used aqua blue glass vases to tie in our wedding colours in various spots. Some of the vases I filled with artificial cherry blossoms, and I used one of the larger vases with a large pillar candle on the mantel, along with my flea market lanterns and Ampersand sign (an Etsy find). For our “guestbook” I wanted to do something unique, so I went with these adorable wooden hearts. We put the hearts in a keepsake box I found at the Third World Bazaar a few years ago, and once they were signed our guests placed them in a mason jar. Finding the mason jars at flea markets was probably the most time consuming thing I undertook for the wedding- I paid anywhere from $2-20 for them depending on how much energy I had for haggling!


(bottom left photo credit My Tran Trung)

All of our decorations really pulled our “rustic yet elegant” theme together… plus it was so fun shopping for everything! Stay tuned for my next wedding post: our flowers and centrepieces!


Note: all photos taken by LilyCreek Photography & Art Studio except where otherwise stated.

*Although easy to wipe off with water at first, when I tried to erase the chalkboard weeks after our wedding the chalk marker wouldn’t come off. So if you want it to be temporary, you may want to avoid the chalk markers and stick with good ol’ chalk. I found this really awesome link on Pinterest that shows how to do a faux hand lettered chalkboard, I’m definitely going to do it that way in the future!

Our Wedding: Invitations & Stationary

Welcome to the first of my wedding series blog posts! I will try not to ramble on horribly about how awesome my wedding was…. But seriously, who doesn’t love their own wedding? It was the best! My husband and I did a lot of it on our own, since we don’t live in the same city as either of our families. The wedding planner was this girl right here… so please forgive me for being proud of our hard work!

One of the first projects I took on was designing our stationary. I have a bit of a font/paper/design obsession, and anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am a perfectionist, so I really wanted the invitations to be special. That being said, one of my good friends is a graphic designer (she is one half of Wishtree Invitations & Stationary Inc) but we were on a tight budget and were trying to save money wherever possible. So I downloaded some open source illustrating software called Inkscape and set about teaching myself how to use it!

I will be honest with you: it took hours. Actually if I’m being really honest, designing our invitations, save- the-dates, and all the other stationary probably took days. There was a lot of trial and error and my future husband definitely lamented the waste of so much paper. But I have to say the end result was totally worth it! So, without further ado, here are some pictures of our invitation suite and stationary that I designed:



(photo credit LilyCreek Photography & Art Studio)

We weren’t originally planning on sending a save-the-date, but since both of our families were travelling significant distances, our parents convinced us to. I had a look on Etsy and Pinterest to see what designs I liked, and made one up with a cute picture of us. We then printed it on 4×6 photo paper and mailed them out (although we sent them via email and Facebook to most of our friends).

For our invitations, I made the RSVP part of the design. When you flipped it over, there was a dotted line to cut along so it could be mailed back as a postcard. Our wedding was small and intimate, and we were inviting our guests to spend the weekend with us at a cottage resort to celebrate, so we wanted the invitations to also be pretty laid back. I checked the Canada Post regulations for postcards and made sure all the margins and blank areas they needed for processing were correct.

save the date layout 2_watermarked

invitation layout4_watermarked

One of my favourite parts of our stationary was the map I made. Our wedding guests were coming from all over Ontario, parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as Australia and South Africa… so we wanted to make sure everyone knew how to get there!

map layout 2_watermarked

After doing all that, I was pretty much addicted to Inkscape, and since I’m a little OCD I decided why not make ALL THE THINGS match?! No one stopped me, so I made an itinerary, labels for water bottles and our welcome bags, a sign for our “guest book”, and of course a cute monogram tag that we tied to our truffle favour boxes!  Wheeeee!!

stationary layout2_watermarked

And if you made it to the end of this ridiculously long post, I’m grateful (naturally I made our Thank You cards too):

thank you layout2_watermarked

In case you’re wondering, everything was printed on plain old white cardstock from Staples that I cut to size. If I was going to do it again, I might invest in higher quality, more arty paper with a bit of texture. But I still think they looked really great considering I had zero background in graphic design! The art-deco pattern, flourishes, and floral designs came in a digital scrapbooking set (who knew that existed?) that I found from the Etsy shop aestheticaddiction. The pretty script font is called Monterey BT and the serif font is Garamond.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back for the next post in my Wedding series… Décor!


Ikea Råskog Craft Cart

I am trying to get creative with storage in our apartment, since we have been running out of space lately. Ever since we got engaged and got married, and acquired grown-up things… but we somehow still have most of the stuff we had when we were students. Except for the things we lost in the Great Bedbug Episode of 2011, but that is a whole other story.

Anyway, I have amassed quite the collection of crafting/sewing supplies that I used to keep in a cupboard in our kitchen (as much as I complain about the lack of space in our apartment, our kitchen is pretty big). Whenever I wanted to work on something, I would schlep all my fabric, buttons, thread, hot glue etc into the living room and take over the coffee table. Then when we actually wanted to use the space (like for example when we binge watched seasons 1-3 of Downton Abbey) it was a pain to clear it all away. Solution: craft cart!

When I saw this cute little kitchen cart at Ikea I thought I was the only bright spark who ever thought of using it for craft supplies… then I searched for “Raskog craft cart” on Pinterest. Oh well, at least I knew it was a good idea!

And so I give you my new craft supply storage solution. Props to my awesome husband who figured out the right way to attach the various nuts and bolts, when I was convinced they had just made the bolts 1/4 inch too short.

2014-01-25 11.55.14

The top shelf has some small tin pots for scissors, pens, hot glue gun, etc and my sewing kit. The middle shelf is for my current project, which will eventually be a baby mobile, now that I know how to make one. The bottom shelf has all my thread and other craft supplies stored in recycled pipette tip boxes (hooray for working in a laboratory!).

How about you? Do you have a Råskog cart or other nifty storage idea/life hack?


Workshop at Malenka Originals

After months of blog-stalking Malenka Originals, I finally got the chance to attend an intro to Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint™ (ASCP) workshop! I first read about Malenka Originals and the owner, Katrina Barclay, in the Ottawa Citizen when the shop first opened. Ever since then I have been itching to try ASCP to refinish some old pieces of furniture- you know, the ones that you wish were a slightly different colour/style but that you keep because they’re functional, or the budget doesn’t stretch to replacing them just yet.

The beauty of ASCP is that it goes on with minimal prep work (read: no sanding or stripping required!), takes little time to dry, is very forgiving, and can be modified to do any number of finishes or techniques. You can thin it with water or apply it in thick layers, use waxes or layer the coats to change the texture, sand through multiple layers to give dimension, or paint it on in smooth, even coats for a more modern finish. The paint comes in a variety of colours that are really beautiful and richly pigmented, and they can even be mixed to extend the palette!

I knew right away which piece I wanted to take to the workshop: an old nightstand, inherited from my husband’s roommate in university. It had a dark reddish brown finish that was scratched in places, and it didn’t match anything else in our bedroom. But it was solid wood with a good little drawer and a shelf, so it was super functional. It just needed a makeover!

At the workshop, Katrina taught us how to do a variety of techniques using 2 colours of paint and clear or dark wax. I opted to go for a combination of a wet and dry distress using Old Violet, a blue with grey and purple undertones, and Paris Grey, a grey with blue undertones. I skipped the dark wax because it would have given the paint a brownish hue that I didn’t want.

Here is what my nightstand originally looked like:

nightstand1_watermarked nightstand1_watermarkednightstand1_watermarked

I first applied 2 coats of Old Violet,


and added some Paris Grey, wiping it off here and there to get a distressed look;


in some places, the original dark finish came through underneath, which actually looked pretty neat!


Then I alternated between applying clear wax and using fine grit sand paper to take off the Paris Grey, revealing more Old Violet underneath. The wax gave it a smoother, almost glossier finish. The wax can be worked into the different layers of paint and brushstrokes, giving it a sort of antiqued texture.


Once I was done painting and waxing, I exchanged the old drawer pull for one from the collection that Katrina sells, which really put the finishing touch on it!


I painted the inside of the drawer with only Old Violet, for a little pop of the pretty shade of blue.


My sweet little nightstand is now just as beautiful as it is functional!


Now I’m looking around my apartment and wondering what else I can use Chalk Paint on… whatever it is, I know what colour it will be: Provence, the colour I chose for the free sample pot that was included in the workshop!

Definitely check out Malenka Originals if you’re in Ottawa, and attend a workshop if you can… but be forewarned they book up fast! Visit the website for more info: http://www.malenka.ca.