Lil' Red

Happy Halloween! Well, first I hope everyone is safe, sound, with power, cell service, etc. Second, Happy Halloween! I'm so glad the kids around here will still get to go trick or treating tonight. Emma's still a little young for that, but I made her a costume anyway because we all know I just couldn't help myself.

I used Simplicity 1774, red fleece for the cape, and blue gingham for the dress. The pattern could not have been easier, especially with fleece because that meant I didn't have to line the cape. I did add some topstitching to give it a more finished look. And I used buttons to fasten the shoulder straps instead of hook and loop tape. Mostly because I forgot to buy hook and loop tape.

We were late getting out the door this morning, so this was the best I could get. (Note to self, learn how to use my Speedlight. That grain is killing me!) What you can't see here are the adorable new white chucks I got her to go with her costume, which of course are her favorite part.

Have a happy, safe, and sugar-filled Halloween, everyone!

activity blanket tutorial

activity blanket tutorial

Emma has been obsessed with clips and zippers lately, so I thought I'd make her a little activity blanket so she could clip and unzip to her heart's content. (I can't even tell you how good it felt to bust out my sewing machine for the first time in months.) And, it was so simple to make that I actually made it during naptime on Sunday afternoon. Plus I used scrap fabric, and I love any project that puts even a little dent in my stash.

If you're just learning how to sew, this is a great beginner project because aside from the button holes it's just a bunch of straight stitches. And there's no need to be intimidated by button holes... most newer machines do all the work for you!

Here's what you'll need to make your own:

Materials:

  • Two 15.5 x 15.5 in. squares of fabric
  • Two 15.5 in. pieces of grosgrain (or similar thick ribbon)
  • Four 6 in. pieces of nylon webbing (or similar thick webbing, ribbon, straps, etc.)
  • Two 14 in. zippers
  • Two plastic buckles/clips
  • Buttons (at least 6)
  • Lighter (yes, you read that right!)
  • Coordinating thread

Directions:

Create your clip "activities" by sewing your 6 in. pieces of nylon webbing to each end of the buckle. Now here's the fun part - use a lighter to seal the cut ends of the webbing. Yes, it's a little sad that the most badass my life gets these days is taking a lighter to some frayed edges, but I take what I can get. :) Besides, it really is the best and quickest way to make sure your ends don't fray.

Next, lay out your "activities" on your front fabric to get the spacing right. I just eyeballed mine, leaving about an inch and a half between activities.

Pin only the zippers in place and remove the rest of the activities.

Sew your zippers into place.

Set the blanket aside for now and grab the ribbon for your button activities. Mark the spots for your button holes at 4", 7.5", and 11".

Sew your button holes. I used 1" buttons for this, and wouldn't go any smaller. (Note, if you use grosgrain and have some fraying when you open your button holes, use your trusty lighter to carefully seal the edges.)

Next, lay your activities out on the front fabric again, pin and baste into place.

Then, grab your back fabric and pin it to the front fabric, right sides together. Sew together using a 1/2" seam, leaving a 4-5" opening at the bottom.

Press your seams open, then turn the blanket right side out and sew a 1/4" topstitch around the perimeter.

Last but not least, sew on your buttons. I chose to sew mine on at the very end because I'm paranoid about Emma being able to get them off, creating a potential choking hazard. I figured two layers of fabric would be a sturdier hold.

And once all the buttons attached, you're done!

Emma is loving it so far, and I'm excited to see how her interest in it changes as she becomes better at manipulating each activity.

Let me know if you make one, and leave a comment if you have any questions!

watch her grow

Emma's approaching an age where she might actually stand still long enough for us to mark her height on a growth chart, so I've been scouring the Internet looking for just the right one. I want something that has a clean look and that can be easily moved to our next home in a couple of years. Here are my favorites:

 This one is a little more than I want to spend, but I love how fun and unique it is.

This one is simple and cute, and would be really easy to DIY.

Measure Me Stick from Studio 1am

This is my favorite among the wooden ruler variety, but I'm still not sure it's the best fit for our decor.

Embroidered growth chart on Apartment Therapy

This one is easily my favorite of the bunch... I have plenty of scrap fabric I could use, and it has both an heirloom and modern feel to it. It's nice enough to keep out if we want, but can also be easily rolled up if we want to keep it stored. I'm determined to make it before the end of the year. Or at least before Emma's like 5 feet tall. :-)

in defense of crafty moms

If you're a mom on Facebook, you very likely saw this blog post going around last week. And while I agree with some of what the author had to say, it also made me feel a little defensive. Mostly because Pinterest is my happy place, and it threw me for a loop that it caused anyone to feel pressured and discouraged. You mean not everyone logs into Pinterest and gets lost for hours in seemingly endless inspiration?? I guess the difference between me and the author is that I craft because it's who I am... I was a maker long before I was a mama. Second only to my family, crafting is my raison d'etre. So while yes my child wants ME and I want her, I can't just be "mama." Being a maker is what nurtures me. And if I don't make time for that, then I'd feel like I lost part of my identity. So as much as the author doesn't want to be made to feel bad for struggling to do a fancy braid in her daughters' hair, I don't want to be made to feel bad for sewing my daughter a Christmas dress or looking forward to her birthday as an excuse to give my Silhouette a workout. I don't do any of this to make other moms feel inadequate, nor do I feel peer pressure to go overboard at pretty much every crafting opportunity - I do it because I simply can't help myself.

So anyway, back to Pinterest... fellow moms, I beg you, please don't turn my happy place into the latest thing that's wrong with modern motherhood. One of the things I've always loved most about the design/DIY/sewing community online is how insanely supportive and encouraging everyone is toward one another, and until that article, I thought Pinterest worked the same way. Yes, there are things about it I could do without. I avoid the Popular page like the plague because it's the Internet equivalent of Top 40 radio... it exists only to remind me how little I have in common with the masses. And I scan past people's fitness pins like salads on a restaurant menu - we all know that's not why I'm here... give me a pulled pork sandwich and let me be on my way. But, that's the beauty of Pinterest - it can be whatever you want it to be. If you like the recipes but the crafts make you feel like a lazy mama, just unfollow your friends' crafting boards. Why set yourself up to feel bad? That's just silly.

Trust me, I have plenty of imperfections that Emma will likely remind me of daily when she's a teenager, so for now - let me have my homemade ice cream and personalized quilts. Those are the things I'm good at. Do I think they make me a good mother? Of course not. But on those days when Emma has eaten nothing but Os and raisins, only managed 2 twenty minute naps, and is in her 3rd outfit of the day, I can lay her down to sleep for the night in a room filled with stuff that I made her and feel just a little better about myself.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites

photo-12

Jared has been searching for the perfect soft pretzel recipe for at least two years, and after combining a couple of recipes, he finally found it. Yes, my husband likes to do things like make us homemade soft pretzel bites on the weekend. He's kind of awesome. Anyway, these little puppies are perfect for a party, sports get together, or random Sunday. And I love them. Here's the recipe...

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 cups flour , mixed with
  • 1 tablespoon salt , more flour if needed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • coarse salt

Directions:

  1. In large bowl, stir yeast, sugar and warm water.
  2. Let rest til yeast is dissolved and is a little foamy.
  3. Stir in 1 cup flour. Then rest of flour mixed with the 1 Tbl salt.
  4. Knead on lightly floured surface til smooth.
  5. Place in oiled bowl, rolling around til all oiled. Cover and let rise till doubled in size.
  6. Divide dough into eight balls. Roll each into a 20-in. rope; cut into 1 inch pieces.
  7. In a saucepan, bring water and baking soda to a boil. Drop pretzels into boiling water, two at a time; boil for 10-15 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
  8. Place pretzels on greased baking sheets. Bake at 425 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt.

I prefer them with honey mustard, while Jared is more of a French's Yellow kind of guy. Either way, they're excellent plain, but even better with any kind of mustard. Enjoy!!

{craft the catalog} West Elm Shadow Fossil Leaf Pillow Covers

I immediately fell in love with these pillows when I saw them in the West Elm catalog. They seemed so unique and I love the go-with-anything grays. But I have a hard time spending a lot of money on throw pillows, so I got to wondering if I could DIY something similar using a fake fern as a stencil. The result? Well, see for yourself...

I love them! And I hope you do, too. Plus, hello... less than half the cost! Here's what you'll need to recreate the look.

Supplies:

  • 1 1/2 yds fabric (heavy weight cotton)
  • 2 shades of gray paint (I used Folk Art Steel Gray and Medium Gray)
  • 2 fake ferns (I got mine in a bunch from Michaels)
  • 18x18 pillow insert
  • 12x16 pillow insert

Start by cutting your fabric... you'll need:

  • 1 piece that's 18.5x18.5
  • 2 pieces that are 18.5x12.25
  • 1 piece that's 12.5x16.5
  • 2 pieces that are 12.5x11.25
Then lay out some trash bags to protect whatever you're working on, and paint your first fern the lighter shade of gray. You can use whatever you want to paint the fern... I found a foam brush worked pretty well. Try to get good coverage with your paint, and make sure to get the stem.

Then stamp the 18.5x18.5 and 12.5x16.5 pieces of fabric. Press firmly, but don't worry about any imperfections. This isn't supposed to look perfect.

Wait a few minutes (not several, just a few... if the paint dries on the fern it will peel off when you go to re-stamp) and re-stamp over what you just did with the same paint color. I found that double stamping made it look much better. Again, try to line it up but it doesn't have to be perfect. Then repeat with your darker paint color. The West Elm pillows have the darker gray layered over the lighter gray, but I tried that and it just looked like I screwed up. So this was my alternative.

Let the fabric dry overnight, then heatset with a dry iron. Use your other fabric pieces to sew a basic envelope pillow. I won't bore you with a tutorial since there are already several good ones online. I particularly like this one.

Here's how they look in their final resting place... our bedroom!

Let me know if you have any questions about the tutorial! I hope you guys are liking these DIYs. I have one more planned out for now and am looking for more, so let me know if you see anything you think is ripe for knocking off. :-)

{craft the catalog} West Elm glass terrariums

As I mentioned on Friday, I'm starting a new feature on the blog called Craft the Catalog and I'm so excited to share the first installment! I got the idea for Craft the Catalog while browsing through the latest West Elm catalog before bed one night... I spotted these beautiful terrariums and thought how nice they'd look in our living room. Aaaaand then I looked at the price. $29 for a fish bowl? $69 for a slightly fancier terrarium?? And that doesn't even include the plants (which, let's face it, I'll eventually kill.) I was certain that with a little searching and elbow grease I could recreate the look for a lot less. And (thankfully) I was right...

{Ikea lantern / Petsmart fishbowl / plants and soil from Home Depot}

Not an exact match, but considering how much I saved I'm thrilled with the end result. I don't have a before picture, but they definitely brought some much needed life to the top of our bookshelf...

I already have two more projects planned, so I hope you guys like this new feature. I'm planning to do both home goods and clothing, making only things I'd actually want to buy (I set this rule for myself so that I wouldn't just make things because they were easy to DIY.) Look for the next project in a few weeks!

link love - 12.02.11

Holy moly, it's December! December is without a doubt one of my favorite months of the year... chock full of good food, family, and traditions. What's not to love? Well, unfortunately, things like the Black Friday insanity I read about in the news last week. What the heck is wrong with people?? I understand wanting to save a little money, especially in these rough economic times, but come on. There's no need to get all violent on your fellow shoppers when you could be saving tons of money by sitting in the comfort of your own home, DIYing up some lovely handmade gifts. It's time to put down the pepper spray and pick up the Mod Podge! Here are a few easy projects to inspire you...

  • Limoncello on Restored Style - I first had limoncello when I went to Italy in high school (not a lot, mom... just a taste. When in Rome! Or Sorrento, in my case) and it is so delicious. So I was delighted when fellow Portland blogger Kristen posted a fantastic little tutorial for making homemade limoncello, complete with these fantastic free downloadable gift tags.
  • Salted Caramels on Barefoot Contessa - There are few things in life better than salted caramels. It's one of the world's most perfect flavor combinations. I've never tried to make them myself, but I fully intend to this month, and give the 75% I don't shovel into my mouth away as Christmas gifts, wrapped up in cute little tins.
  • Tile Coasters on The Cottage Home - I love this idea! I have more than enough scrap fabric to make tile coasters for everyone in Portland, but considering we've been rocking the same ugly Ikea coasters for the past 6 years, I think the person who needs these most is me. :-)
Not the DIY type? There are tons of amazing handmade presents for everyone on your list over at Etsy. Happy making and/or shopping!

{nursery progress} the big reveal!

Now that Emma is finally here, I can show you her finished nursery! The expression "labor of love" has a whole new meaning for me now, but we did put a lot of hard work and care into getting her nursery just right. If you remember back to my initial post about the nursery, this is the design plan I started with:

And here's what the room looked like before:

Starting with a firm budget of $1500, we set out to try to create a sweet, DIY inspired, eco-friendly nursery...

Here's the breakdown of what we DIY'd:

DIY'd:

As I mentioned before, we set a firm $1500 budget for the nursery - and while my husband had serious doubts about my ability to stick to that budget - I'm very proud to report that I came in UNDER BUDGET at $1302.24. The biggest expenses in the room were the Naturepedic organic crib mattress ($259), the Ikea Hemnes dresser ($199), the DaVinci Rivington crib (on sale for $191.99), the Elfa stacking drawers for the closet ($99), and the Naturepedic organic changing pad ($89.10). Together, those purchases made up almost 2/3 of our whole budget. We could have cut corners a bit by not going organic for the mattress and changing pad, but raising Emma in an eco-conscious way is very important to us, so we were willing to invest a little more for those things.

Here are close-ups of most of the things I DIY'd:

Bird mobile

Paper circle mobile

Golden Slumbers print

Murder in the City print

Monogrammed throw pillow

Personalized baby quilt

Bunting

Gum Drop ottoman

I hope you like it!  Well, really I just hope Emma likes it. :-) It was a lot of hard work, but we couldn't be happier with the final result. Leave me a comment if you have any questions about resources or any of the DIY projects!

{nursery progress} paper circle mobile tutorial

paper circle mobile

Here's the how-to for the paper circle mobile I made for our daughter's nursery... (similar ones sell for upwards of $50 on Etsy, but you can achieve the same look for much much less.)

What you'll need:

  • 2 12" long 1/4" dowels
  • Drill and very narrow drill bit
  • Fishing wire
  • 12 jump rings
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Clear beads (I used CraftDesigner faceted beads in crystal)
  • Pencil
  • Permanent marker
  • Needle or pin
  • 3 shades of the same color cardstock (this is to achieve a gradient effect... you could use all 1 color or multiple colors if you prefer.)
  • 1.5" circle punch
  • Hot glue gun
  • Screw hook

1) Prepare your dowels. Using a pencil, make a mark at 1.5", 3", and 4.5" from each end of the dowel so that you end up with 6 marks on each dowel. Then make a mark a 1/4" from the end of each dowel, and drill a very small hole (big enough for the wire to go through, but not so big that the bead will go through.)

2) Punch out your circles. You'll need 108 circles - 9 circles for each string, 3 of each color on each string.

3) Poke holes in your circles using a needle or pin.

4) Cut your fishing wire. You'll need 12 pieces of wire, approximately 24" long - don't worry about them being exact because you'll cut the ends once you're done putting on the circles and beads.

5) Prepare the jump rings. Using your needle nose pliers, stretch out a jump ring so that it's wide enough to fit onto the dowel. Then tie on a piece of the fishing wire and knot it, trimming the excess of the short end.  Repeat for the other 11 jump rings.

6) Place the jump rings along the marks on the dowels. Use your needle nose pliers to close the jump rings around the dowel.

7) Mark your fishing wire. Once the fishing wire is knotted onto the jump rings, take your permanent marker and make a mark every 2 inches from the knot on the jump ring.  Make 9 marks on each string.

8 ) String your circles and beads. Starting with the darkest shade of your paper circles, string one of your pieces of fishing wire through the pin hole in the paper circle. Then take a clear bead and knot the fishing wire around it at the mark closest to the dowel/jump ring. Repeat for the other 8 circles - circle, bead, circle, bead, etc. - going from your darkest to lightest shades of circles. Cut the excess wire after the last bead.  Repeat for the other 11 pieces of fishing wire.

9) Attach your dowels. Use a hot glue gun to attach the dowels together, crossing one over the other.

10) Hang your mobile. Cut 4 generous lengths of fishing wire, and knot one end of each piece of wire around a clear bead, cutting the excess of the short end. Slip each piece of wire through the holes you drilled at the ends of your dowels, so that the bead stops underneath the dowel preventing the wire from slipping through. Screw your screw hook into the ceiling where you want the mobile to hang (use a drywall screw if needed.) Once you determine how high or low you want your mobile to hang from the ceiling, tie the four pieces of wire into a knot and loop the knot onto the screw hook.

That's it!  Comment or email if you have any questions. There are a lot of variations you could do (like drilling holes and using beads to hang the strings instead of jump rings) so don't feel like you have to stick to the steps exactly.  This is just what worked for me.  Happy mobile-ing!

{nursery progress} a tale of two mobiles

IMG_5441

Yes, you read that correctly... I ended up making not one, but two mobiles for the nursery. If you'll remember, I started out with the idea to DIY a mobile like the one I had in my mood board:

But then my friend, Rachael, sent me the link for this bird mobile tutorial and I decided to make that one instead.  Here's how it turned out:

I was so so happy with how it looked, especially once I hung it over the crib - but the idea of that original mobile kept nagging at me.  I love a good challenge, and finding a way to DIY something I saw selling on Etsy for $80 was just my kind of challenge.  So... much to my husband's dismay, I decided to make a second mobile for the nursery.  I had no idea where I'd put this one - if it would replace the bird one, if I'd end up with two mobiles, if I'd junk it altogether after punching out a gazillion little circles.  Luckily, by the time I finished it late one Sunday night, I was completely smitten.  It was so fun and cheery... just looking at it made me smile.  I knew I had to find a home for it in the nursery.  So over the changing table it went...

Here's a close up:

I used 3 shades of yellow paper to get a gradient effect, fishing line, clear beads, wooden dowels, and jump rings.  The whole thing cost me maybe $15.  I'm hoping to get a tutorial posted for it next week so stay tuned!

nursery progress: the design plan

Before we found out the baby's gender, I thought I had my mind pretty made up about the direction I wanted to go in for the nursery if it was a girl. (I didn't really have a clue for the boy, so from a design perspective it was rather convenient that the baby turned out to be a girl.) I never ever thought I'd be a pink nursery kind of person, but when I saw this color palette I was a convert. It was the right combination of feminine, fun, pretty, and vintage. I just had to sell Jared on the idea. So I created two mood boards: one with the pink palette and one with a cute yellow/aqua palette I'd seen on one of the baby design blogs I subscribe to. The plan was to make the pink palette so good that he just had to go for it, and make the yellow/aqua palette just so-so. Hey, I never said I was going to be totally objective about this process. :-) Here's the pink mood board I came up with:

Here's the thing. I liked it, but didn't love it. I had a much harder time than I thought I would finding the right fabrics and accessories, and I'm still not 100% thrilled with what I ended up with. It's cute and girly, but it just didn't come together as well as I had hoped.

So then I moved on to creating the yellow/aqua mood board:

And you know what? I completely fell in love with this room. Creating this mood board was fun, unlike the stress I felt trying to create the pink one. It was so easy to find great fabrics, art, and accessories to bring the room to life - which gave me hope that actually shopping for all that stuff would be a breeze. And I really liked the feel of it once it was all done - it's so sweet and cheerful - girly without being too obvious about it.

So I sent the mood boards to Jared for his thoughts, not telling him which one I liked better. He genuinely liked them both, but said there was something about the yellow/aqua room that sold it for him. Phew!

Now that the design was done I went back to the budget worksheet I'd put together to see if we could really have the nursery of our (okay, my) dreams on a $1500 budget. Thankfully, with a good amount of DIYing and a bit of repurposing, it's actually possible. Here's the plan:

To buy:

  • Crib
  • Mattress
  • Dresser
  • Rug
  • Light
  • Sheers
  • Cornice kit
  • Hardware (the Anthro hardware is a bit of a splurge, but it's one of those elements that really makes the room for me)
  • Bookshelves
  • 3 Frames
  • Hot air balloon print
  • Slide out bins for the closet floor

To DIY/sew:

  • Painting the walls, ceiling, trim, Poang, bookshelves, and built-ins
  • Fabric covered 7" cornice for the window
  • 2 changing pad covers
  • Crib/play quilt (Amy Butler pattern from Little Stitches for Little Ones)
  • Gum Drop Ottoman
  • Padded arm rests for the Poang
  • Toss pillow for the Poang
  • Paper circles mobile
  • 2 DIY art prints

So yeah, kinda a lot in the DIY column. I'm desperately going to try to get at least the quilt and ottoman done before the end of my 2nd trimester. The other DIY projects are on the easier side and I can enlist help for those if need be.

We've already gotten the first step of the nursery makeover done - bringing in an electrician to install a light switch for the overhead light (fumbling to find that little chain the middle of the night just wasn't going to happen, plus we feel like having a switch that dims is going to come in very handy) and adding another outlet to the wall where the window is. (For the record, the electrical work was not included in the $1500 budget because we felt like it was something the room needed regardless of what we used it for.)

The next step is paint! Luckily, Jared's "never painting another room in this house ever again" vow is no match for the love he has for his pregnant wife and beautiful unborn daughter, so we'll be tackling the painting together. I'll try to post pics of our progress along the way, so stay tuned...

our DIY wedding invitations

After our relatively pain-free experience with DIY Save the Dates, we decided we might actually be able to pull off DIY wedding invitations. I spent a couple weeks searching sites like Wedding Bee and Snippet & Ink for inspiration, and finally decided on the style of invites I wanted - a pocketfold with a matted invitation, accommodations and directions enclosure cards, and an RSVP. I tried to be consistent with our wedding colors and design elements (red/orange/blue, Hatch show print style typography, birds, and birch trees.) Here are the details:

The belly bands were made of ribbon that I sewed into a band after slipping it through the tag (cut from white cardstock and shaped with a corner punch.)

Pocketfolds from Cardsandpockets.com, ribbon from Fabric Depot, cardstock from Paper Source, custom stamp from Rubberstamps.net, trees, birds, and wood planks for the sign board are from istockphoto.com.

Invitation mats from Cardsandpockets.com, envelopes from Paper Source; fonts: Miama, Mesquite Std Medium, and Palatino; tree and bird vectors are from istockphoto.com; white cardstock and printing from a great local (and green!) print shop here in Portland called NW Printed Solutions.

I designed the stamps for the logo tag and return address/rsvp and had them custom made by RubberStamps.net. They did SUCH an amazing job, and the turnaround time was extremely fast. I wanted to use custom stamps because it was cheaper, easier, and greener than using labels or our home printer for the tags and addresses. Plus they had a great DIY rustic look to them.

The full invitation suite

Hatch-style Save the Dates

***I'm very excited to bring you the first post in a new series I'm calling "made to wed," featuring all the DIY wedding crafts from my and Jared's big day.*** Around this time last year, I was in full-on wedding mode.  Jared and I had just gotten engaged, and with 9 months to go until the wedding, there was a ton to do.  Once our lovely Mt. Hood location was booked, it was time to get started on the Save the Dates.  I knew right away that I wanted to do something in the style of a Hatch show print.  Jared and I began collecting show posters not long after we started dating, and they now make up much of the artwork in our home.  Most importantly, we felt like the look was something that was both representative of us and the tone we wanted to set for our wedding.

Here are the steps that went into creating our Save the Dates...

1) I designed the Save the Date in Photoshop at 4.25x5.5" so that we could get 4 cards out of a standard 8.5x11" sheet of cardstock.  I wanted the cards to have a vintage look to them, so the original design had a grainy pale blue background.

2) When we took the design to Kinkos to be printed, the folks there recommended using this great grainy pale blue cardstock they had instead of trying to do a colored background on white cardstock.   We tried it both ways, and they were totally right.  In addition to printing, we also had Kinkos cut the cards for us.  The cost was minimal and definitely worth how much time it saved us.

3) We wanted to back the Save the Dates with magnets for easy fridge-hanging for our friends and family, so we rolled out a magnet sheet from the Xyron and cut it into small strips.

4) The cards were then run through the Xyron to create a sticky backing.

5) Paper Source A6 note cards in bluebell were used as the backing for the Save the Dates, after cutting them to 4.5x5.75".

6) The final step was to adhere the magnet strips.

7) Only 83 more to do!  ;-)

I can't even tell you how thrilled we were with the final result.  Of all the paper goods I did for the wedding, the Save the Dates were by far my personal favorite.  The biggest challenge was settling on a final design, but the design process was actually kind of fun.  Okay, okay... I was in a total engagement bliss haze at the time - everything wedding-related was fun.  But, there was something really exciting and gratifying about doing our own Save the Dates.  We're DIY people, so it only made sense that our wedding be as DIY as we could make it.  Next up: the invitations...