Posts filed under ‘DIY’

Wedding Behind the Scenes – Centerpieces

Ryan and I now have 30 days until our wedding on March 20th. Going into this, I heard account after account of girls trying on a wedding gown and instantly knowing that was it– that was their dress. Although I feel like a pretty, pretty, ecstatically happy, princess in the dress I selected, I didn’t quite have that instant click the other brides described. (My clicking moment may have been dampened by me knowing exactly how many Computer Literacy laptops the dress was equivalent to).

I did, however, have such a moment with our centerpieces! Over the course of the last six months, we pursued many projects. We still have a box full of origami flowers sitting in the living room. We did architect some super cool floating origami lotuses that were lit by DIY LED lights (I’ll make a blog post with instructions on that), but when a serendipitous 75% off sale at Lowe’s presented itself, Ryan and I secured a whole army of succulents. Succulents teach about green roofs, leaf propagation, patterns in nature and survival techniques in drought conditions. But most importantly in our household, succulents are hard to kill! 🙂 Now we just needed something to plant them in!

We found instructions on DIY Bonsai Pots. I wasn’t particularly wowed by the project, but decided to try it out anyway. So three months ago, two of the teenage girls and I extracted a couple of containers from the formidable recycling pile. We used sand paper to rough up the surface. We painted the outside with craft glue and then rolled it in sand. When the glue dried, the container had a nice stony texture. The concept is very similar to the rustification technique George Washington used to make Mount Vernon appear to be made of stone. At this point, I was still pretty indifferent. Painting the pots is when the tide turned.

I watched my teenage companions paint, laugh and smack talk each other’s designs. Meanwhile the kids that weren’t painting voted on which design was best (mine didn’t win). It was right about then I knew we had it. It wasn’t the end products that convinced me, it was all the smiles.

DIY Pots - Vick Pleased with Results
Smiles Sold Vicky

Another serendipitous sale hooked us up with super cheap Christmas tins and the past few weeks, we have been pulling together the centerpieces. It’s truly been a group effort– so far we have had nine different painters ranging in age from 7 to 18. The centerpieces are still a work in progress, but here are some shots of the process so far:

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Sanding Tins
Vicky Sanding Christmas Tins (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Sanded Tins
Sanded Tins, Ready to Be Covered in Glue

Wedding Behind the Scene - Vicky Applying Sand
Vicky Rolling Glued Up Tin in Sand (Photo by Ryan Somma)


Wedding Behind the Scenes - Risha, Vick and Tyrek Paint
Risha, Vick, Tyrek

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Khalif Paints Pot

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Dada Paints

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Terrance Paints

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Jacal Paints

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Malena Paints


Wedding Behind the Scenes - Planting Supplies
Some of the Planting Supplies

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Ryan Plants Succulents
Ryan Planting

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Malena Plants
Malena Plants

We still have a few pots to finish up. Once all the succulents have been assigned to a pot, we’re covering the soil with white rocks. Each pot will be placed on a 12″ circular mirror and each pot will also be accompanied by a little sign acknowledging who designed it. With that in mind, I put a sticker on the bottom of each pot so I wouldn’t “get them confused”.

Yeah… those stickers turned out to be completely unnecessary.

Each pot is a reminder of the community I call home. Each pot is sentimental. Each pot makes me smile. I know exactly who did which one…and I suspect I’ll never forget.

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Vick, Tyrek, Khalif, Risha, Jacal, Terrance, Dada Pots
Vick’s Pot, Tyrek’s Pot, Khalif’s Pot, Risha’s Pot, Jacal’s Pot, Terrance’s Pot, Dada’s Pot

Wedding Behind the Scenes - Khalif, Risha and Jacal's Pots (Close)
Khalif’s Pot, Risha’s Pot, Jacal’s Pot

What couple could ask for more meaningful centerpieces?

February 18, 2010 at 1:46 am 5 comments

DIY Driveway in a Day

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but our new driveway was! We had been talking about a driveway for a while and this past month the mud has been worse than ever. One morning Ryan woke up and decided it was time. He went out and prepped the area and then had a dump truck deliver a load of sand (most of the sand is for a different project).

We shoveled sand to drive out the swamp that’s encroached in our yard.

New Driveway - Ryan Shovels Sand (Far)
Ryan Shovels Sand

New Driveway - Sanded Driveway
Sanded Driveway

And then the dump truck returned and gave us a load of gravel.

New Driveway - Big Ole Pile of Gravel
Gravel Arrives

Our neighbor Alvin lent us extra rakes and shovels and from then on out we were moving gravel. For hours…and hours… and hours. The project drew a lot of attention. Cars would slow down to look at us and pedestrains and cyclists would make comments.

“That’s what I call ‘Git er done!'” one guy told us.

Another man passed by twice and reported that our gravel pile was definitely getting smaller. It was good to hear, but my body was still tiring.

At one point I paused to wipe the steady stream of snot off my face and I saw a familiar silhouette walking down the street. It was Jacal. I could not have been happier to see him.

“Can I help???” he asked as I knew he would.

Then there were three of us shoveling and raking.

New Driveway - Help Arrives!  Jacal With Ryan
Jacal and Ryan Raking

Still as the afternoon light started to dwindle, bodies ached, and blisters bled, it looked like the project would have to be completed a different day. Suddenly more reinforcements arrived! Three more neighborhood kids came over to help AND a neighborhood adult!

New Driveway - Teamwork Completes Task (Adjusted)
Bobby, Ryan, Khalif and Tyrek Finish Up at Dusk

That night I parked in the brand new driveway. For the first time in months, I did not have to leap from my car to the grass. The mud has been eradicated.

It was thanks to a lot of hard work… and wonderful neighbors.

December 20, 2009 at 12:25 pm 6 comments

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