Friday, March 29, 2013

How to keep Pinterest simple

It's all too easy once you discover the brilliance of Pinterest to start Pinning everything 'clever' you see, tell yourself you will tackle that DIY or organize your house THAT way...but never go back to that pin.

Half the problem is over pinning or making so many boards, you never look at half of them because they all start to merge into one. Make Pinterest work for YOU, don't overwhelm yourself with it. Here are my tips to a healthy relationship with Pinterest:



Step 1: Keep the name of the boards you create simple
Don't go overboard when naming things on pinterest, if you like something and realistically think you could or would give it a go then pin it. For example, you have seen how to use old cereal boxes as drawer organizers and don't yet have any Pinterest Boards made.

- create a new board and name it something relevant such as; Home Organization
- in the description part of the board write in something such as; reusing cereal boxes for drawer organization.

Don't over word or complicate it. You'll end up losing interest otherwise and won't tackle much at all with the mentalitly that there's too much to do and very little time.
 
Step 2: Make time to freshen your boards
Once a day (generally after both my children are in bed) I will sit down for about 20 minutes and finalize emails, organize photos on my computer AND refresh my boards on Pinterest. I go through and make sure everything that I have Pinned is useful and relevant to us/ me. I have gone through many pins on my boards and found they weren't as helpful as I first thought whilst quickly scrolling by.

I have very recently starting pinning posts directly onto Pinterest in an attempt to make it easier for more people to access the information. I try to make sure each time that the posts that I'm pinning (sounds confusing..but isn't) are relevant to the boards they are going on.

You don't need to do this once a day obviously, just designate some time to go through on a regular basis and make sure you are not inundating yourself with too much.

Step 3: Attempt at least 3 things on your Pinterest a month.
They don't have to be large tasks, it could be something simple like wrapping a mason jar with burlap and lace, pouring in some sand, placing a candle in the middle and wa-la; fancy table centerpiece. I write in the monthly view section of my day planner 3 things I want to try and do from my Pinterest Boards, this makes all those I really wish I could do that moments disappear because at least I am attempting some of my never ending I wish I thought of that projects.

I am getting married in February 2014 and in more ways then one Pinterest has saved me time, money and the feeling of being overwhelmed by helping me find alternative ways to achieve the same picture I have in my head (It should be clear I don't get paid by Pinterest, I am simply in love with it)

That's my three top tips for how to avoid feeling overwhelmed on Pinterest. Feel free to 'follow' me on Pinterest, or if you're not already you can follow me via the blog (the link should be on the left hand side I believe)

That's it from me folks, I'm off to a full day of Easter preparation with my little love Lily (some great ideas on Pinterest for kids Easter craft)

Until Next Time,


Monday, March 25, 2013

Managing Money

I did a post a little while back on the Cash Envelope System and wanted to revisit this topic and discuss whether it is working/ changes that I would like to make. Feel free to read my original post on the Envelope System here.
As I am in the midst of wedding planning, our budget more then ever needs to be adhered to if we are going to afford a wedding and a few family trips this year, so last night I decided to give myself a challenge (because having the flu and two small children isn't challenging enough.) I would make a new cash envelope system and this time stick to it for at least 31 days. I wrote down why my previous attempts at it didn't work and here's what I came up with:

- I didn't like the idea of carrying around so much cash in one location
- I would out of habit, reach for my debit card and pay for fuel, food, clothes etc instead of using cash
- I always forgot to withdraw cash and put it in the envelopes
- The tabs could use more relevancy to what I need the cash for

Going through each of the points on why it didn't work out on my first attempt, I decided to correct each point, make a new envelope system and give it another try. We pay the brunt of our bills online, but things such as: clothing, fuel, food, take out, and auto I would like to start paying careful attention to as they are easily under-budgeted.

 

I used a floral dress that I had bought for $5 from Kmart last year that didn't fit me and I was never too keen to wear, as well as a clutch/wallet that I have had for a few years and never use. I don't have a sewing machine so this entire project was done by hand and all in all took 3 hours (broken up around chores and children.)

 

Each pay I am going to take the budgeted amount out for each category and once that money is gone, that's it for that category. Although I am still figuring out how much we will need for fuel at this point. 

I have 5 cash envelopes built into the wallet along with 4 card holder spaces.



I haven't permanently labelled the envelopes at this point but I am going to simply put sticker labels on them so I may chop and change categories should I want/ need to. In regards to having lots of cash all in the one place, I won't be carrying it around with all the money in it. This is simply a 'holding device' for me to check and see how much money in each category I have left until our next pay.

Which do you prefer?

The Denim Pocket Edition


or the Black & Floral approach with a snap clip.

How do manage your money? Debit Card? Credit Card? Or do you use a system similar to the Cash envelope?

Feel free to pin this to Pinterest via clicking on the posts title, then scroll to the bottom of this post and the 'pin it' button will have appeared :)

Until Next Time,


Friday, March 22, 2013

Wedding Planning on a Budget pt3

SMILE! 
From one bride to be to another, here's what I have learnt so far

This is where there would normally be a 'sorry I'm wearing no makeup' but I am not sorry. Not even a tiny bit.

Celebrant:  

Our celebrant was a recommendation from the venue owners of our ceremony & reception. After emailing back and forth only a few times, I knew that Brett (one part of the team) would be a perfect addition to our wedding as our celebrant. Brett brings a 'fresh' dynamic to the celebrant industry and though we have only spoken via email at this point, we will be meeting later this year and I hold no reservations on whether or not we will get along.

In regards to our budget, Brett was over our estimated amount by $100, however since we have saved over that amount by DIY stationary it evened out and I am more then happy with our choice.

My tip for choosing your celebrant is; to make sure you are comfortable with them, if in any way you just don't feel like you get 'mesh' well then continue to look until you do. Seeing what other couples experiences with them were doesn't hurt either. Celebrants can charge what they like for their services, so make sure you know and get in writing what is inclusive in their price.

Photographer:  

Lisa, our photographer was another recommendation but this time by a photographer who wasn't available for my wedding date, nor did my budget fit their price range unfortunately. Lisa is 'newer' to the field but her portfolio is amazing and suits my style perfectly. I wasn't sure that I had a preference in regards to the style of wedding photography however after seeing Lisa's portfolio, I had a little oooohhhh moment and realised this was it!

Like our celebrant, we are meeting with Lisa later this year and again, I have no nerves about whether we will 'mesh'. Lisa was $400 cheaper then my estimated budget amount! That's certainly something to smile about.

My tip for choosing your photographer is; don't be shut off to the idea of giving someone 'newer' to the business a chance. Everyone starts somewhere and if you open your mind to the idea, you may be pleasantly amazed at how talented a lot of the 'newer' photographers are. Also don't be afraid to ask to see portfolios, generally photographers will have an online website, but this isn't always the case so make sure you ask. If you have a certain style you have in mind, be sure to speak up and make sure your photographer is on the same page.

Make sure you have in writing what is included with the photographers pricing, and be aware of what would happen if you need to cancel or change the date (some photographers may not refund unless they get sufficient notice, and even then there is no guarantee of getting all your money back.)

The Dress:

I purchased my dress online *queue gasps* and I have only just received it so I will update you more on how I feel/ look with it later on. I must say though it isn't as daunting as a lot of people may think, I had great communication with the manufacturer of the dress so I didn't feel left in the dark about anything. Before deciding to buy a dress online that I had never seen or touched, I decided I would do again a LOT of research and see what other brides had to say...I looked for all the nitty gritty reviews and wasn't disappointing.

The majority of brides LOVED their dress but there was a few that had to have their dress altered and ultimately thought differently of the dress once it was on them, all in all though I didn't come across anything so negative that I thought oh that's horrible, I'm going to a store! I think once I get some time to stare at myself in a wedding dress I will let you know my absolute honest thoughts :)

My tip for choosing your dress is;flatter YOUR shape not a current trend. You will know your best features and it's imperative that you feel beautiful in that dress. You're going to be in it for a while on your big day so make sure it's not cutting into you or smothering you with all its layers.

Should you be ordering online, make sure you know your measurements, if you're buying in store don't be afraid to ask for a better price but remember to be tactful about it.

The Decorations:

Our ceremony comes with two Lily arrangements, black chairs and a red carpet as standard and whilst I want to keep the ceremony decorations minimal and very simple I knew I would involve some of my DIY into the mix. I don't want to give too much away at this point, but I have done a whole lot of browsing on Pinterest and Google Images and come up with what I think is both minimal, simple and beautiful.

I am opting away from real flowers at our wedding, as I have noted before I am not overly a 'floral' person so I loved the idea of having something simple to compliment what decorations will already be there without having a whole lot of floral going on.

My tip for choosing your decorations;  If you are going down the DIY path use avenues like Pinterest and Google (there's more but honestly I am mind blanking) to draw inspiration from. Save the images you find helpful in a folder titled: Ceremony Decorations, and save image away!!


There you have it, my experience and tips for now :) I will be discussing how to map out your wedding budget next week so make sure you check back in, if you're not already a follower of the blog.

Until Next Time,




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wedding Planning on a Budget pt2

Hi! I'm back for a second dose of updates on my own wedding planning progress, as well as some tips I have picked up along the way for wedding planning on a budget. If you missed part 1 of this 'series' then just click here. This post is a little on the lengthy side, but as I go along with my wedding progress, I want to share with you all the knowledge and advice I can :)

At this point of my planning I have organized the following:


Ceremony & Reception: Booked (same location)
Photographer: Booked
Celebrant: Booked
Bride & Groom Party organized: now to ask them..
Caterer: Booked (part of the reception package)
Invitations: made
Save the dates: made & sent




All bought from Kmart for under $30 (some of it isn't included in the photo)

Now for the 'tips' part of it all. Firstly I want to share with you all that by the time I get married next year I will have been engaged for 2.5 years, however it was only a few months ago that I got serious about starting to plan our wedding. I felt so uncomfortable initially thinking about getting started, I had no idea where to begin and since we had a budget (and a tight one at that!) I wasn't sure how people went about paying for things.

-can you layby a photographer, celebrant, a venue? Is that an option?
-how much time before the wedding should I start booking things?
-why is everything with the word 'wedding' attached to it, so damn expensive??!
-do people DIY a lot of things in weddings?
-why am I up so late talking to myself...

My Beautiful Wedding Ring Set!
The only thing I knew that I wanted from my wedding/budget was the type of ring I was going to wear. Square cut. That's all *laughs at self* I didn't ever think about how much a 'square cut' ring would cost, let alone how big or small it would be. This was the only aspect of my wedding that I knew I didn't want to compromise on, and I am an extremely luck lady and have a husband to be who picked beautifully (with a little guidance..) Plus, we got an amazing deal on it and stayed within budget!! Woo!

Everyone and every budget is different and knowing what is important to you and your groom is the the first place to start.Whether you're going down the path of getting a wedding coordinator or doing it all by yourself (with some help from family and friends doesn't always hurt) you should:

Understand what exactly it is you are getting for the money that you are handing away.

This is where I want to reiterate a tip from pt1, keep all documentation together. Whether you buy your wedding dress online; print out a receipt or whether you're simply talking back and forth via email with your venue about a quote, keep it all together, so if that quote happens to suddenly change for no reason, you have documentation on your side.

Don't be afraid to have a list (even a long one) of questions to ask someone who is potentially going to be involved in your wedding

If you're lucky enough to have someone helping you (Maid of honor or your mum perhaps) ask them to assist you in making a list of questions for each party involved with your wedding. I was given my my mother-in-law (to be) a wedding planner book which came with great information and tips on what to ask each area of the wedding before signing any contracts etc.

I asked my photographer, celebrant and venue persons questions if I wasn't sure about anything, and honestly by doing this I feel much more comfortable with everyone that is involved with our special day and they are just as relaxed because we each party knows what's going on. I am lucky enough to have all our conversations via email however if you speak with them via the phone, simply make a note of the call and what was discussed so you can keep track :)

Make a list of all materials you need to purchase

I keep a list of everything I have bought/ need to buy in my designated (A4) notebook. Since I have a budget and am doing a lot of DIY throughout the wedding, it's important for me to keep track of it all. It's super easy to go to the shops, see some pretty stationary on sale and think I could use that for my wedding! You proceed to buy it, don't use and boom! there's $$ out of your wedding budget wasted.

I have broken down the DIY's that I am doing and list all materials needed for each of them. For example:

DIY Fabric Floral Bouquet
-corsage pins (100)
-white silk fabric (4 rolls)
-peach fabric (3 rolls)
-soft pink fabric (2 rolls)
-foam balls (5-4 small, 1 large)
-handles (5)

Now I have never made a fabric floral bouquet so when it came to budgeting for one, I went online, sourced out all the materials, got an 'average' cost amount for each material needed and then averaged I would spend $35-40 per bouquet which isn't bad considering you can spend A LOT more on real flowers that won't nearly last as long.
 
A great and affordable craft supply website is http://www.save-on-crafts.com/

That's my tips for now (again, I'm still plodding along with my wedding plans) stay tuned for more skinny budget tips, tricks and advice on Friday.

I want to say a big CONGRATULATIONS to my childhood sister-from-another-mister Jess and her partner in crime Chris on their engagement yesterday!!! You are both two great people and I love you and can't wait to help in any way I can with wedding plans of your own xoxox

If you found this helpful, please feel free to 'pin it' via clicking on the heading, then a button should appear at the bottom of the post to link to Pinterest. If you'd like me to cover a topic or answer a question, please feel free to leave a comment :)

Until Next Time,








Friday, March 15, 2013

DIY Fabric Flowers

This type of Fabric Flower is SUPER easy to make, and you've probably got all the materials you need for it already making them FREE as well!


I was inspired to make these while planning my wedding and seeing just how expensive real flowers can be, since I am not a huge floral lover (more a mason jar and candle type) I wanted to have something on the day that could last well after the guests had gone home yet not cost nearly as much as real flowers.

You can use these for many, many different things a few ideas are:

Buttonholes for weddings
Bouquets for weddings/ceremonies
Hair accessories
Hat Embellishments
Jazz up a simple tank top with a few of these as embellishments
Embellish your shoes with them 


So here's what you will need (very basic flower) and how you go about making one:



Materials Needed:
Any silkly fabric. I used a dress and top that I were in my 'giveaway' box of clothes.
Scissors
Lighter/Matches
Candle (Please, please, please be careful)
Measuring Tape (if you want to have a gradual downsizing of circles)
Cotton: you can use a hot glue gun or fabric glue (I didn't have these on hand)
Sewing Needle
Embellishment: a button, brooch or rolled up fabric for the center


Method:
Cut your fabric into a circle of any size (obviously the bigger the circle the bigger the 'petals')
I roughly cut my circles out but I would advise to do a much neater/ slower job with it then I did


 Depending on how you want your petals to look, you can cut small strips into the circle. I personally didn't like how it looked after heating the edges so I opted not to make any cuts in the rest of the circles.


I really can't stress to you enough to be careful when heating the edges of your material. Most of these type tutorials come with a 'please don't burn your house down' type warning and I can see why, don't put your fabric too close to the flame, you simply want the fabric to curl from the heat of the flame, not stick the fabric in the flame and set it on fire.

I heated the edges of the fabric next to the kitchen sink so I had quick access to water if needed. Using different coloured/ textured fabrics will give your flowers much more dimension/ character.


After you've curled your fabric edging it's time to start layering and make your flower come to life (so to speak.) For the middle of my flower, I tightly rolled some black lace from an old t-shirt and placed it in the center of my top layer.



Then, using black thread and a sewing needle, I sewed the lace to the silk making an effort to conceal the cotton. 


This was the very first fabric flower that I have ever created so I wanted it to be a very simple one to keep me positive about making more haha! I have since started experimenting with different fabrics, ones that don't entail me near an open flame and I have come up with the below creation so far.


 This flower was made with a tank top that didn't fit me and a button that had fallen off something and made its way into my button collection. I tied a knot in one end of the material strip, then proceeded to twist/wrap the remaining material around that knot. 

Then using a needle and thread, I sewed the twists and button in place. It took all of 2 minutes.

Have you got your own way of making these? I'd love to know

Until Next Time

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wedding Planning On a Budget

I won't bore with a lot of details on my MIA recently, it's not very exciting; my household is sick so while we're recovering I have been laying low. Whilst on recovery mode I've also been doing some wedding preparations. 12 months and counting!

Here are my tips that I have learned along the way for planning a wedding on a budget:

Be realistic when making your wedding budget: Our wedding budget started at $10,000 (we are waiting on guest numbers) which was a figure that (I predict) we could save in the amount of time we have, whilst still maintaining our everyday expenses and not having the need for loans. Once you have a budget then comes the prioritizing, are a large amount of floral arrangements important to you, or would you rather spend extra money on a photographer? Find out what's truly you and your style then work with your budget to achieve that.

For Luke and I having a band playing at our wedding isn't a huge priority so either way we aren't fussed. We are more then likely going to be using speakers and songs compiled on an Iphone/Stereo instead of a band which will allocate more funds for other areas of our wedding that we are fussed on. 

Booking the Ceremony & Reception at the same venue: This decision came easy to us especially as parents ourselves, we will be having around 11 children attend our wedding so we want the parents to feel comfortable and limit any traveling where we can. Also having both the ceremony & reception at the same venue eliminates any additional transportation costs we might endure, freeing up more funds.

DIY but don't get lazy: At current I have made our wedding stationary (save the dates, invitations, rsvp's) myself and have just recently decided to DIY mine and my bridesmaids bouquets using fabric flowers (tutorial will be up Friday) I allocate some time during the day to researching DIY wedding ideas and write down things I think I could realistically achieve.

If you're going to DIY something make sure it's worth your time and effort doing so, if at any point you're not enjoying yourself or you know you aren't giving it 100% walk away for a bit, and/ or maybe ask someone to give you some help.


These are two fabric flowers I made with old t-shirts and dresses, they're my practice ones but I am happy with the turn out of them both :)


Keep all documentation together: One good thing (the only good thing!) about me having the flu lately is I have had to do all of my communication with photorgaphers, celebrants, venues etc via email as I had lost my voice. Due to this though, I now have complete documetation of what has been discussed, quotes that have been provided and any deposits/information shared all in a folder in my mail called Wedding Prep. I have also made it a habit of mine to print (or write) out any documentation I need to and place it in a display folder for easy access,

Don't lose track or sight of your budget: Budget doesn't mean misery, it means being able to plan the perfect day without losing control over costs. I have my wedding budget in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet on my desktop, every single time I turn my computer on I check the budget and make then save any changes needed. I have set it up so that I can see how much $$ of the budget we have used and how much we have left, I have also included notes such as deposits we have made/ payments needing to be made and when.

Inspiration boards: A great way to stick to your budget while still enjoying the wedding planning process is to have inspiration boards, whether you are sticking to a theme such as vintage or nautical or you're just sticking to Tradition, it's great to have inspiration infront of you that allows you to keep on track (and style) of your big day.

You don't need a fancy cork board above your desk, I simply have a 'Inspo Board' made up in Microsoft Paint with various wedding images from Google that help me get an idea of how my wedding could look.

Please feel free to Pin this to Pinterest so other brides to be/ or just anyone curious can see it :)

Don't forget to check back in if you don't already follow my blog, as Friday I will be sharing my DIY Fabric Flower Tutorial ;) Happy Wedding Planning!

Until Next time,


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