Wedding Guest Book Quilt

Remember when guest books at weddings used to be simple things?  There was a book and a pen with a feather on it.  Or not.  But it wasn’t complicated.  These days, there’s a little pressure to have something unique and creative for guests to sign when they arrive.  We went through LOTS of different ideas before finally landing on the one that appeared at my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding.

Guest book table with quilt sign - Crafty Staci

We cut 9” squares from home décor fabric (so it would be a little sturdier than quilting cotton) and provided fine-tip permanent markers for guests to write with.  Guests got pretty creative with it, with a few following the chevron pattern with their writing.  It gave them plenty of space to leave advice, notes and good wishes.  The plan was to sew the squares together after the wedding to make a quilt.

Guest book pens - Crafty Staci

We happened to find a quilt in the perfect colors to use as the table cover – no I didn’t make it.  Because we wanted to save it from any stray ink, and to give guests a hard, flat surface to write on, my husband cut a piece of wood to lay across the front.

Guest book quilt - Crafty Staci

Rather than stack the squares up somewhere, we wanted to display them during the event, so we hung jute cord behind the table and decorated some clothespins with washi tape.

Hanging quilt squares - Crafty Staci

We had the escort cards for seating right next to the guest book table to make it easier for guests and my lovely nieces and my nephew’s girlfriend who served as our guest book attendants.

Escort cards - Crafty Staci

We didn’t really have a plan for what we were going to do with gifts until a couple of days before the wedding.  It turns out a picnic table works beautifully to display the gifts at different heights.

Gift table - Crafty Staci

Back to the guest book table – my big project was the sign.  I cross stitched the words onto burlap in an embroidery hoop using this free software.  Then I added a layer of batting behind the burlap and stitched together some felt squares and cut it to fit the embroidery hoop.  I glued that to cover the back, since it could be seen from some angles.  I added a few twisted rosettes, which I learned how to make here, and found a picture frame easel to hold it.

Please Sign Our Guest Quilt Cross Stitch - Crafty Staci

You might be wondering at this point how that quilt is coming along.  Well, the mistake we made was not letting guests know that they needed to stay away from the edge of the fabric while they were writing on it.  After the wedding we realized that much of the writing would be hidden, even with the tiniest of seam allowances.  All was not lost though, as I just finished putting all the squares into a memory book where the bride and groom can still read them and remember everyone who shared their amazing day.

My thanks to Heather Fitch Photography for allowing me to share some of her photos here!

Wedding Drink Stand and Flavored Syrups

I didn’t know there was a term for it until we got into the process of planning one, but my daughter and son-in-law had a dry wedding.  For those who haven’t heard that before, it just means we didn’t serve alcohol.  We still wanted the beverages to be fun and not boring though.  We decided on lemonade, iced tea and water, but with lots of options to mix in to take it up a notch.

Wedding Drink Stand and Flavored Syrups - Crafty Staci

It all started with the mason jar-style drink dispensers.  Codi fell in love with them early in the planning process, so everything was planned around them.  My husband built the stand from the same rustic cedar as the cupcake stands I showed you last week.  He planned it at the perfect height for the drinking jars to fit underneath the spouts.  I added the “Drink” with my new wood burning tool (which I LOVE).  Then I made paper signs with my Silhouette to hang above so guests could be sure what was in each jar.

Wedding Drink Stand Signs - Crafty Staci

We made sure there was plenty of fresh strawberries, blueberries, lemons and limes for those who wanted to drop a few into their glass.

Blueberries for Wedding Drinks - Crafty Staci

I also made a sign for guests who might not be sure what a normal syrup to liquid ratio would be.  We had to do a little taste testing first.

Instructions to make drinks - Crafty Staci

The big factor in making the drinks unique and customizable was the syrups.  I bought some of them, and made others.  I found chalkboard tape at the craft store, and instead of writing on it with chalk, which could easily rub off with so many people and all that liquid, I cut out vinyl letters and stuck them on.  It kept all the different bottles looking uniform.  I already had an old Coke crate that was perfect for holding them.

  Wedding Drink Syrups - Crafty Staci

With the giant mint patch out front, I had to make the mint syrup myself.  Nothing else made sense.  Codi also wanted lavender syrup, so we went with homemade on that one too.  I kinda thought she was crazy until I tried lemonade with lavender.  It was delicious! 

Mint Syrup

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves

Boil water and sugar until the sugar dissolves.  Pour over the mint.  Cover.  Let sit for 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature.  Strain.  Add food coloring if you’d like a brighter green.

Lavender Syrup

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lavender buds

Simmer all ingredients until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes.  Strain.  Add food coloring if you’d like a lavender tint, as it comes out more of a light green.

I especially liked how this looked at the end of the dessert buffet.  Another thing I’m already looking for my next excuse to use!

Wedding Dessert and Drink Buffet - Crafty Staci

My thanks to Heather Fitch Photography for allowing me to share some of her photos here!

Rustic Cedar Wedding Cupcake Stands

I had put Wedding Wednesdays on hiatus for the busy holiday season, but since we’re starting out a typically mild January, I’d like to finish out the series.  I have a few more DIYs and amazing builds by my husband that just can’t go unblogged.  I’ll be wrapping it up at the end of the month, but for now, lets talk cupcakes.

Rustic Cedar Cupcake Stand on Crafty Staci

The bride and groom decided they wanted mini cupcakes rather than a traditional cake.  It ended up fitting in well with the dessert buffet and the gluten-free requirement.  They chose three flavors, but the biggest issue was what to serve them on.  We considered round wood cuts, but my husband happened to find some rough cedar that made perfect stands, and took him little time to make.

He went with three stands – one three tier and two double tier.  He cut the bottom piece for each 30 by 12”, the next piece 22 by 12” and the top for the tallest stand 14 by 12”. 

Cutting boards for cupcake stand on Crafty Staci

He used giant nails to create the layers.  These things were 12 inches long and 3/8” diameter.  They almost looked cartoonish.

Nails for cupcake stand on Crafty Staci

He marked a spot at the midpoint front to back and about 2” from the end on each side.  Then he stacked the boards, making sure the top was centered over the bottom and drilled a hole, using a bit just slightly smaller than the nail, stopping about 2/3 of the way through the bottom layer.  He repeated the process for the top step on the tallest stand.

Drilling holes for nails for cupcake stand on Crafty Staci

He centered the holes in the top tier over an opening on his table saw and hammered the nails in.

Hammering in nails on cupcake stand on Crafty Staci

He then lifted it over the bottom layer, inserting the nails into the holes.  He hammered them in, making sure it was level and the nails were fully in the bottom layer without poking all the way through.

Adding top layer of cupcake stand on Crafty Staci

He was finished with all three stands in under half an hour.  At that point in the process, time was getting short and anything that could be finished that quickly and come out looking so amazing was a win.

Finished cupcake stands on Crafty Staci

These stands were absolutely perfect for the mini cupcakes.  They fit in well with the country décor and were even the right size.  I haven’t had the heart to get rid of them yet.  I might go buy myself some cupcakes just so I can use them again.

Rustic Cedar Cupcake Stand Tutorial on Crafty Staci

Book Review: Cupcake Envy

I’m here today to a book review courtesy of Tuttle Publishing.  They have provided me with the book in exchange for this review, but the opinions are all my own.

I think the title of the book I’m reviewing today, Cupcake Envy, must be a play on words.  Before I opened it I thought it meant everyone would be envious of the cute cupcakes the reader would make from it.  After reading, I realized it actually seemed to mean that ordinary cupcakes would envy the amazing mini cakes found within the pages.  This book is eye candy, pure and simple, but doesn’t stop there.

Cupcake Envy - Book Review by Crafty Staci

The author, Amy Eilert, refers to these treats as cakelets.  They’re more than a cupcake but smaller than a regular cake.  She starts off the book with the charming story of how her business came to be, followed by a chapter laying out the pans, tools and ingredients you’ll want to consider using.  I thought the Tricks of the Trade section was nice for those of us who are novice cake decorators.  Who knew vodka was a handy decorating tool?

Cupcake Envy Book Review by Crafty Staci

There are basic recipes included for cake, icing and frosting, and then comes the fun part – decorating.  It starts off with some lovely, girl options.  My favorite was Playing Dress Up.  Each project has a difficulty rating in the upper right corner, and this one is Easy/Intermediate.

Playing Dress up from Cupcake Envy Book Review by Crafty Staci

The next chapter is all about edibles, like this sweet Cup ‘O Joe.  Wouldn’t this be perfect for Mother’s Day?

Cup O Joe from Cupcake Envy Book Review by Crafty Staci

A bag full of groceries?!?  I never would have guessed that would make such an adorable cake theme!

At the Market from Cupcake Envy Book Review by Crafty Staci

If you’re planning a baby shower this year, there’s an entire chapter that’s sure to impress friends and family.  If making desserts for a whole party is too intimidating, one sweet cakelet just for her is sure to be appreciated by a new mom.

The guys weren’t left out here, with a chapter to themselves, right down to the manly intro.

Macho Men Chapter from Cupcake Envy Book Review by Crafty Staci

This garden cakelet is one of my favorites, but how could anyone bring themselves to actually EAT this?  It’s just too pretty.

How Does Your Garden Grow from Cupcake Envy Book Review by Crafty Staci

I have to admit, they lost me a little in the Offbeat and Edgy chapter, but I’m probably not the target audience there.

There’s a handy section just following that though, full of ideas to use if you don’t have fondant available.  I realized as I reached the end that it has those ever-useful flip-outs on the front and back to use to hold your place.

Cupcake Envy Book Review from Crafty Staci

For me, getting fancy with my cake decorations means adding sprinkles on top of the frosting which, in truth, is probably to hide the crumbs.  I’ve never even touched fondant.  However, after drooling over Cupcake Envy, I’m inspired.  I really want to give these little cakelets a try!

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks

I love giving a little something handmade with something store bought.  It makes it just a little more personal and special.  I don’t know how many coffee cup sleeves I’ve given along with a coffee shop gift card or travel cup.  So many, in fact, I think just about everyone I know has one and it’s time for something new.  These bookmarks can be made from fabric scraps, take no time at all and would be great paired with a book or bookstore gift card.

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks - Crafty Staci 1

I made about two dozen of these, just using pieces of fabric from my scrap box.  You need two 4” by 4” pieces of iron-on interfacing and three 4” by 4” squares of fabric.  Cut one of the interfacing squares in half diagonally and save one half for your next bookmark.

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks - Crafty Staci 2

Iron the triangle of interfacing onto the fabric you want for the corner.  Iron the square of interfacing onto the piece you want to face the front behind the corner.

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks - Crafty Staci 3

Fold the fabric with the triangle in half diagonally, where the interfacing edge is, and press.

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks - Crafty Staci 4

Lay the square with interfacing on it face up.  Add the triangle on top in the upper right corner.

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks - Crafty Staci 5

Lay the other square on top, face down.  Pin.

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks - Crafty Staci 6

Stitch around the outer edge with a 1/4” seam allowance, leaving 1 – 1 1/2” open at the bottom.  Clip the corners.

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks - Crafty Staci 7

Turn right side out and press, turning in the opening.

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks - Crafty Staci 8

Stitch all the way around, close to the outer edge.

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks - Crafty Staci 9

Slide a gift card inside or slip it onto a book.  This would also make a great little gift all by itself!

Quick Fabric Corner Bookmarks - Crafty Staci 10

Giveaway Day Winner

Congratulations to my Giveaway Day winner – Sandra!  Here’s her favorite holiday gift:

“This year I made quilted Christmas postcards instead of regular cards. The recipients were really thrilled with them. One niece wants to learn to make them as gifts next year. Love to share ideas with loving family.”

How much do we all wish we knew Sandra right now?  What a great Christmas card idea! 

Sandra’s prize of three Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeve Kits is on its way to her today.

December 2014 Giveaway Day prize at Crafty Staci

My deepest thanks to everyone who entered!

December 2014 Giveaway Day

It’s that time of year again – Sew Mama Sew has organized their semi-annual Giveaway Day!  I don’t often participate in the December party because I’m so busy it’s difficult to come up with something good to give away, but this year I have the perfect thing.

December 2014 Giveaway Day at Crafty Staci

I’ve gathered up three of my most popular DIY Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeve Kits and they can be yours!  They make great gifts for people who sew, or stitch them up yourself for those coffee lovers on your list.  When they’re finished, they look a little something like this:

Crafty Staci's DIY Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeve Kits

One winner will receive all three kits shown in the photo.  This giveaway will be open until midnight PST on Friday, December 12, 2014.  At that point a winner will be drawn at random and notified via email.  If I’m unable to make contact with that winner by 6 pm PST on Sunday, December 14, 2014 a new winner will be drawn.  This contest is open to international entries.

Coffee Cup Sleeve Kits from Crafty Staci

To enter, just leave a comment here telling me about one of your favorite handmade gifts, given or received.  Be sure to visit Sew Mama Sew to enter all the other great giveaways starting today!

The Bouqs Review and Mason Jar Vase Cover

I received a bouquet free of charge for this review and this post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

As a DIY blogger, I get offers to review items often.  If I feel like it’s a product that’s relevant to what I do here sometimes I accept.  When I was contacted by The Bouqs recently, my first instinct was to say no.  I wasn’t sure if fresh flowers really fit in here, even though I love bouquets and the photos on their website were drool-worthy.  But then I realized I had a project I’d been wanting to make that would pair perfectly with a beautiful bunch of flowers!

The Bouqs and Fabric Mason Jar Vase Cover by Crafty Staci

Lets start with those flowers.  They offered a list of options I could choose from, and I went with a bouquet called Fortified.  I was very excited to see these in person, but I have to admit, when this box arrived in the condition it did I feared for the delicate cargo inside.

The Bouqs box - Crafty Staci

I’m pretty sure it was the bat in someone’s lunchtime baseball game.  I didn’t need to worry though, because when I opened it up I found these without a bit of damage.

The Bouqs first opened - Crafty Staci

The packaging inside kept the contents from feeling any of the roughness that the poor box had been through.  They were secure and well-wrapped.  They even had this goopy gel on the ends, which I can only assume kept them hydrated.  It did its job well.

Gel on flower stems - Crafty Staci

I was prepared to be critical of these roses because I wanted to make sure this was an impartial review and not pull any punches.  But these roses were (and still are) GORGEOUS.  Everyone who has seen them so far has commented on how beautiful they are.  I would order them again in a heartbeat, with my own money, which I did for my grandmother’s birthday.  If I had one complaint about the roses, it would be that they arrived a day early and had it been for a special event that could have been disappointing.  However, they did deliver Grandma’s sunflowers on her birthday as I requested and sent my confirmation the moment she received them. 

I’ve had these roses for eight days now, they’ve opened perfectly, and not a single petal has dropped.  I haven’t changed the water or clipped the stems since the day they arrived.  The Bouqs will get my business again.

Roses from The Bouqs - Crafty Staci

How about that container?  I was trying to think of a way I could use fabric to change up a vase for different seasons, so I came up with this cover that slips over a 1/2 gallon mason jar.  And it’s reversible!

Fabric Mason Jar Vase Cover by Crafty Staci

To make this you’ll need two rectangles of fabric that are 17 by 12” (I used a fall fabric for Thanksgiving and a snowflake for Christmas) and two strips that are 1 1/2” wide by 42” (or the width of the fabric). 

Fabric to cut - Crafty Staci

Fold the two long edges into the middle on one of the strips.  I recommend a bias tape tool for this.

Making bias tape - Crafty Staci

Unfold the short ends and fold each to the inside 1/4”, then refold.  Fold the entire length in half with the raw edges to the inside and press.  Stitch close to the folded edges.  Fold the tie you’ve made in half and stitch close to the fold to hold.  Repeat to make the second tie.

Ties - Crafty Staci

Bundle up most of the tie and secure it with a pin or tying.  This will keep it from accidentally getting sewn into the wrong seam.  Place the tie fold you stitched even with the 12” edge of the fabric rectangle, 2” from the top.  Make sure your pin head is on the outside.

Pinning the tie - Crafty Staci

Fold the rectangle in half, lining up the 12” edges.  Stitch 1/4” from the edge, backstitching over the tie.  Repeat for second rectangle.

First seam - Crafty Staci

Press the seam open and center it in the back.  Stitch across the bottom, leaving 2” open on one of the rectangles.

Second seam - Crafty Staci

Flatten the corners with the bottom seam centered, as shown.  Stitch across the corner 1 1/2” from the tip.  Trim off the corner.

Boxing the corners - Crafty Staci

Turn one right side out and stuff it inside the other.  Match the seams and edges.  Pin in place.

Upper edge - Crafty Staci

Stitch all the way around the edge.  Turn right side out through the opening at the bottom.  Hand stitch the opening closed.

Turned right side out - Crafty Staci

Push one side back into the other and press the fold at the top.  Stitch close to the fold.

Topstitching - Crafty Staci

Slide a half-gallon mason jar inside and tie the top to use as a vase.

Fabric Mason Jar Vase Cover on jar - Crafty Staci

Or you can use it as a gift bag for a quart-size mason jar full of goodies!

Fabric Gift Bag for Quart Mason Jar - Crafty Staci

Mine is sitting on my table, holding my fiery flowers from The Bouqs!

Beautiful bouquet from The Bouqs - Crafty Staci