{DIY} Homebrew Attempt #3

wedding wheat

Our third homebrew (thus the “003”), a Kobayashi Wheat with Sorachi Ace, has been labeled and sealed as one of our wedding favors.

wedding wheat

Pete designed the labels, which we printed on Kraft sheets from Paper Source (cue angels singing — that place is amazing).

wedding wheat

We decided to incorporate one of our wedding colors by dripping yellow wax down the bottles, Maker’s Mark-style.

wedding wheat

With a makeshift double-boiler (an aluminum can inside of a pot), we melted batches of wax beads.

wedding wheat

Emma Stone stared at us from the newspaper as we took turns dipping the bottles in the wax (c’mon girl, no one believes you wear Colorburst).

wedding wheat

We cracked open our first one last night and it tasted like beer to me (in that I didn’t like it), so I deem it a success. We’ll probably keep a few extras for upcoming anniversaries…hopefully by then we’ll have a few more homebrews under our belts.

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Summer Hiatus: I’ve Missed You

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted on here, so let me just say that I’m impressed you’re still reading. I apologize for the silence on my end, but things have been a bit busy as of late. When I’m not working at my full-time job at Generocity, I’m tackling absurd amounts of yard work with Pete, shooting weddings on the weekends, processing photos, or planning our own backyard wedding.

I haven’t had a chance to share our engagement shoot with you guys, so here are some of our favorites by Morrissey Photo. Even though I’d rather be behind the lens any day, it was really easy to be ourselves in front of them since they’re two of the nicest people on. the. planet. Thanks again to Matt and Lauren for following us around the Love Letter murals in Philadelphia, you guys are the bestest.


Images by Morrissey Photo

In other wedding planning news, we sent our invites out to our parents and siblings. I had a lot of fun working on these with Pete — I made the illustration for the back and Pete designed the front (I contributed the talk bubbles with our initials). It’s been really nice having this whole wedding planning thing be a collaborative effort while crossing tasks off our to-do list.

wedding invite

wedding invite

wedding invite

Not that it’s as thrilling as envelope liners and photos of the Ginger, but I’ve been posting more actively on my photography blog, if you want to give it a look-see every week or so.

{DIY} Homemade Strawberry Jam Favors

Pete and I have been watching a lot of food documentaries on Netflix as of late, and afterwards, we were excited to shop locally and go to our neighborhood farmers’ market for the first time. We figured since strawberries are in season, now would be a good time to test a recipe for our jam favors.

homemade jamIf you’re interested in canning, I would recommend our friend Marisa’s book, Food in Jars. We used the Quick Strawberry Jam recipe from this book, which we doubled to make about 8 cups.

homemade jam

The recipe is fast and easy — first you just have to combine sugar and Pomona’s Universal Pectin in a bowl. Then, place the strawberries in a saucepan and crush them with a potato masher.

homemade jam

Start to bring the berries to a boil and then stir in calcium water (the recipe is included in the Pomona box) and lemon juice. Afterwards, you slowly pour in the sugar pectin mixture and stir to dissolve.

homemade jam

Return the berries to a boil and stir to ensure that the mixture is heated thoroughly. Then, remove from the heat and let them rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to release air bubbles, and skim off any foam.

strawberries

For the final step, ladle the mixture into clean, hot half-pint canning jars, leave 1/4 inch of headspace, and release the trapped air. Once you wipe the rims clean, you just have to screw on the jar bands and process them for 10 minutes.

strawberries

Then, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, and let the jars rest in hot water for 5 minutes.

canning

One of the jars didn’t seal entirely, so we were able to test the jam to see if it was wedding-worthy. It turned out pretty delicious — we’re excited to add some blackberry and raspberry jams to the mix for our favors in the next month or so.

strawberries

We’re definitely hooked on going to the farmers’ market for fresh produce, so we’re looking forward to visiting on Saturday mornings to see what’s new in season.

canned jam

I’m glad this batch came out much better than the failed peach ginger recipe. We plan to add a homemade label and decorate the lid with twine and fabric (I blame Pinterest for our surge of craftiness).

jam noms

My latest morning ritual now includes eating jam on a bagel while devouring a ginormous chocolate-covered strawberry, courtesy of our friends Valerie and Daryl for my birthday. Apparently one of the perks of growing old is being treated to such delights. It is awesome.

birthday flowers

Pete spoiled me for my birthday by surprising me with a dog card from my favorite art boutique in Philly, beautiful flowers, and tons of amazing food (if you haven’t noticed, food is the way to my heart).

birthday flowers

We’ve been checking a lot of tasks off our growing to-do list, including making our latest homebrew, so bear with me as I overshare our wedding plans.

Has anyone else tried making homemade jam? If not, you should definitely test it out, it’s fun and pretty inexpensive in the long run.

Wedding Stuff: Tree Decor & Vintage Rings

Since we’re planning a backyard wedding, we have been trying to come up with thrifty ways to dress up the dogwood tree we’ll be getting hitched under. I really wanted to take strips of fabric, cut them at different lengths, and dye them, ombre-style (Pete: “What’s an ombre?”). Our colors are technically yellow and grey, so I decided to go with golden yellow RIT dye. I loosely followed the tutorial by Green Wedding Shoes on how to make an ombre fabric backdrop.

I need to stop pretending like DIY projects will go as smoothly as they look on wedding blogs. I have discovered that I am not especially crafty. I might be able to take lovely photos and draw illustrations, but when it comes to cutting fabric or handling a hot glue gun, I. Am. A. Mess. For this project, I measured out the different amounts of fabric dye in the pans, with the hope that the strips of fabric would have different monochromatic tones. Unfortunately, when I went to get the pot of boiling water from the kitchen, a gust of wind swept the pans upside down, sending the dye all over the place. Sigh. Pete came to the rescue and salvaged the dye while putting rocks into the pans to weigh them down, but we had trouble getting the dye to stick to the muslin fabric since it was often folded over and not fully dyeing.

When I was cleaning up and feeling fairly defeated, I glanced down at the newspaper our bucket was sitting on and saw an entire front page written by our officiant, Naila, complete with photos of her and her boyfriend. It was just what I needed to remind myself that all of these DIY projects might not go perfectly, but at the end of the day, Naila will marrying Pete and I, which is kind of the best thing ever as far as I’m concerned (although Turkey Hill’s Choco Mint Chip is a fierce competitor for runner-up).

The fabric might all be the same color, but I still think it will look pretty (when it’s less wrinkly and thread-filled). Here’s an idea of the look we were going for (below), with pieces hanging at different lengths above us during the ceremony.

In other wedding news, Pete and I got our wedding bands at Halloween in Philly. I went with a delicate, art deco/victorian ring to match the 1915-1920s era engagement ring.

Pete went with a really simple, thin gold band that looks a bit like his father’s, which I think is nice. He has never worn jewelry before, so he just wanted to go with something as comfortable as possible.

Our wedding is five and a half months away, so we still have some time to play around with more projects. We’ve mostly been focusing our attention on fixing up the yard…I’ll be sure to share more about that soon!

{A Day of Crafting} Our Festive Wreath Roundup

This weekend, Pete and I went to the Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar with our friends Valerie and Daryl. Although we showed great restraint in not buying anything, we gained lots of inspiration and motivation for wreath-making. You might recall my wreath ramblings from a while back, so I was excited to officially make my first ever wreath.

Us girls got to crafting and enjoying a 30 Rock marathon while the boys went on a man-date which consisted of record shopping. Pete came back with A Chipmunk Christmas, so I have that to look forward to.

While I had only finished a few inches of my wreath, Valerie had already made two gorgeous, festive wreaths that look particularly moody in this lighting. Her looks were inspired by this crow wreath (how cute are those burlap flowers?!) and this black and white striped wreath, while mine was inspired by this yarn wreath. Valerie made her wreaths from fabric she already owned and some materials from the dollar store…yay to us being thrifty! Oh, and thank goodness for Pinterest. I love me some holiday inspiration.

My wreath materials consisted of some sparkly ribbon, yarn, felt balls and hand-sewn, felt birds I purchased a few years back from the lovely and talented Alexandra Hunt (aka Mrs. Shortcake from Weddingbee). And most importantly, a whole mess of hot glue gun sticks.

Although I ended up covered in glitter and ripping off my freshly painted nail polish with hot glue, I felt a sense of mini Martha Stewart-esque accomplishment that I can only hope will repeat during the week ahead.

Pete always peeks at me through our front door, thus the face and finger prints that are in desperate need of some Windex attention.

Has anyone else crafted their own wreath or holiday decor this year? I would love to see your latest creations if you want to comment with links below!

Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar

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This weekend marks the Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar, with festivities beginning this Friday night, November 18th with a VIP preview party from 6pm to 9pm for $25. My friends at Love Me Do Photography will be providing photobooth fun, so be sure to check it out! The craft show will be free and open to the public on Saturday, November 19th and Sunday the 20th from 11am  to 6pm at the 23rd Street Armory in Philadelphia. I am looking forward to attending with friends and afterwards, we plan to make our own holiday wreaths inspired by the talented Philadelphia area craftsters. I’m all stocked up on yarn and can’t wait to get started and share what we’ve made with you guys. I am hoping mine vaguely resembles a wreath by the time I’m finished, but if it ends up being a bundled mess of hot glue and yarn, I can always give it to my parents to hang on the fridge (only half serious, mom). Hopefully this will inspire me to give our front door a fresh coat of white paint since it is looking sad and yellowed.

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Anyway, if you are in the area, be there or be square! I haven’t attended the holiday bazaar before, but I’ve been to all of their summertime craft shows in the past and they’re always a hit—especially when it comes to scoring original items for your friends and family.

{DIY} Holiday Wreath Love

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As much as we may not care to admit it, the holidays are approaching at the end of the month, which means decking the halls with all things festive. There will be some wreath-crafting taking place in my not so distant future, so I’m trying to wrangle up some of my favorite DIY holiday wreaths to inspire. I tend to be drawn to the not-so-obvious, colorful wreaths with lots of detail. I haven’t settled on a design just yet, but I wanted to post these to share with readers who are interested in making their own decor.

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Who else is considering handcrafting an alternative-looking wreath this winter season? Be sure to comment below to show off your creations if you’re crazy ahead of the game and you’ve already made your own holiday decor!