Project of the day: Flower Girl Dress

So I managed to get the flower girl dress for my daughter completed last night! Here is the before (as I once again forgot to take a picture of the before I found it online...sadly no picture of it without the sweater on- but you get the idea).

It is a pretty cute little dress and is a nice ivory color so will look lovely with all the other dresses. Here is what I did. With the wider plum-colored organza ribbon I had purchased I pinned three layers of the ribbon over the belt (I needed three layers to make the ribbon opaque and look plum because I was unable to locate the ribbon in the same color that was not transparent). I then hand-stitched down the middle of the ribbon and around the button holes (the belt is buttoned in the back and there is no bow). Then I added 1 rose and several hyacinth flowers with ivory pearls to hold them on to the belt and the sweater to give it some more character. The weddings in the spring North of home so it may be sweater weather.

Here's how it looks now:

I think it'll look so darn cute with that head-wreath! Can check that off my list now :)


Crafting Project: Flower Girl headpieces

My daughter (who is 18 months old) has been selected to be a flower girl in an upcoming wedding for her Aunt (my younger sister). It occurred to me just recently that I have been in over 9 weddings personally (this will be my 10th as I'm in the same wedding as my daughter), and due to my family size (I'm the 7th of 10 kids with an extensive extended family) there's always some special event to attend. But I had never before realized how pricey it is to participate in a wedding with a kid in it too. Flower Girl dresses and head wreaths and shoes, baskets, etc are really not proportionally priced (nope- that child's size 5 shoe costs the same as my adult 6.5...I know I'm slightly behind for not realizing this before).

My sister has been an angel when it comes to allowing some wiggle room (since my daughter won't be 2 yet and the dress she had selected for the other flower girls didn't come in a smaller size) she allowed me to select a nice inexpensive ivory/champagne colored dress and I will be adding plum accents to it. (Her wedding will be lovely with sliver, champagne and plum as her colors). The dress I bought is cute and will be adorable when I add the plum sash to it. (I promise when I do it- I'll post pictures).

The sticking point for me was the head wreaths. My sister had selected head wreaths that matched the other flower girl dresses (and would have looked lovely with my daughter's dress too) but they were too big for my daughter's head (she is rather petite) and cost $30 a piece! Which isn't horrible, but since she's 18 months I think it would be wishful thinking to expect it to stay on her head past 2 minutes...and potentially will be trashed quickly). I luckily have a very understanding sister who allowed me to make my own head wreath for my girl (as her dress was different anyway) so here's what I came up with:

I went to Hobby Lobby with a swatch from my dress as I am short and had to shorten it to avoid the embarrassing potential tumble down the aisle (a plum color) and matched it to two widths of un-wired organza ribbon. Then I found a lovely cream/ivory/champagne ribbon. I also found small roses and a hyacinth in plum to use. Then I brought all home and measured my daughter's head so I would have the right length of wire to use. I do jewelry making for fun, so I had some jewelry wire to start from and few ivory color pearls to secure flowers with on hand.

I started with a circle of wire slightly bigger than her head, then wrapped a second wire around that and added flowers as I twisted to make a simple wreath. The roses were on a post so when I removed the post it left a small hole in the center- perfect for stringing the wire through, adding a pearl and then stringing back through the hole to continue wrapping. After I had made it all the way around I wrapped all the wire with the ivory ribbon (to prevent any poking or wire from showing) then wrapped it loosely with the plum ribbon. At the end I attached several long ribbon strands and made a bow to have the streamer look of the expensive variety. I think it turned out quite lovely.
Here it is on my little girl (while she enjoys her breakfast). The downside of course is that the ribbon and flowers cost $21 for all of them. (So only a 9 dollar savings) However my sister loved it so much she asked if I would make the other two for the other flower girls (and bonus- I used less than 1/3 of the flowers on the silk plants I bought). So It ends up being only slightly more than $7 per head piece- which is a huge savings for all of us. And I think these will look just a bit more lovely than the $30 ones as they are exactly the bride's colors.

Here are two of the finished ones- my daughter's is the large one and the really small one is for a little girl who will be wearing her hair in a bun and wanted a wreath to go around that instead of the whole head. Should look adorable on her too! I do have to go and get some more of the ivory ribbon, and I ended up using champagne faux pearls on the other two as I ran out of ivory ones and then I will be doing the other one. I should be good on flowers (as the little one used fewer flowers so the last wreath should be just perfect for the last little girl. Tada!

Yay for weddings allowing you to continue your crafting obsession and save some money in the process. Once I alter the little flower girl dress I will post about that too. I still have to re-hem my dress and then the extra material may be used for another project as well. We'll see.


January in review

I know I have mentioned I have been doing a lot of invite work (wedding invites, parties, etc). And of course we built a fort- which has been tons of fun, but in the back of my mind I was curious...what'd we spend. And since I want to be completely honest and straightforward on costs I'm going to share amounts (all except the actual debt amount which I don't feel comfortable sharing). So let's see:

We spent (minus the plumbing bill which was out of my control) a grand total of: $346 (I rounded up for ease) in the month of January! This included food, gas and any "other" items. How that broke down-
$158 on food (not bad considering we made guacamole for a party which was nearly $10 for avocados alone and made cupcakes from scratch for another- which remarkably were pricey).
$101 on other (gifts, household items like detergent, mailing supplies, etc) and then
$117 on gas...also not bad since my husband drives for work.

We were pretty proud of ourselves though- we made every meal at home this month and didn't eat out at all (except family dinners at other people's houses). We didn't go to any entertainment that cost anything.

All resulting in having a bit more to go towards our debt. I would love to say that it was thousands that could go towards our debt, but we've always been fairly frugal so maybe one to two hundred extra. Which, frankly isn't enough to cover the interest on a credit card, but it meant more of that payment went to the principal which is how things get paid down.

In addition, I have been doing the LearnVest debt boot camp which gives you tips to improve your financial standing. So that's been helpful as well. If you have any debt you've been pushing under the radar because you're nervous about facing it- it's a good tool to look at (also, free so definitely worth it).

Something else that has assisted us is this extra mild winter. This week I have played outside every day with my daughter because the weather has been in the 60s, but I've also had my windows open and the heat off for a portion of the day. That should make a big difference on the gas bill for the year (we do budget billing so we won't see a change right away). Also, part of that $101 above for other...I spent $40 (plus a $30 amazon gift card I had) on new CFL floodlight light bulbs that can be used in can lights for the basement to replace all the incandescent light bulbs. They claim you save approximately $40 per light bulb by switching so we should be saving $440 on those alone eventually. I'll do a review of them once I have them installed and see how they compare to our current light bulbs.

Also, for energy saving purposes, we put the fort back up downstairs to hold in all the warm air from the fireplace/heater we have down there since the room is so big. It's amazing what a difference in temp there is just going outside the fort and we can turn off the heater sooner.

So over all January was great for cost savings, but kind of was hard on my crafting...we'll see what I can do about that.

to leave you with something fun: here's a picture of my daughter enjoying our mild weather. Happy Groundhog's day!