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DIY Decor: Pieced Pillow Covers

Pillows may seem like an unusual form of wedding decor, but our venue has a number of long, plain wooden benches.  Adding groupings of pillows will, I hope, create some pops of color as well as soften up the modern lines of the venue’s interior space. Plus, my mother Margaret is a quilter extraordinaire, and I love sewing and fabric arts. Designing and making pillows is a great way for us to collaborate across the miles and share in the fun of the wedding-as-creative-canvas. I also plan to re-purpose some of the pillow covers for home decor after the wedding—another good reason to choose wedding colors reflective of those I love and live with every day. To save money as well as storage space, we’re creating slip-on pillow covers that fit pillows we already own (my blessed mother measured every throw pillow in her house). Each pillow cover we create for the wedding will be one-of-a-kind.

For the pillows featured here, Mom purchased a suite of fabrics online and supplemented from her stash. Most of the fabrics are from the Happiness, Blossoming, and Journeys collections by Kathy Davis for Free Spirit fabrics. I drew the (very rough) sketch to illustrate what I envisioned, a pillow featuring multiple fabrics in stripes of uneven widths. Using my sketch and the fabrics she’d selected, Mom created the beautiful pillow in the rocking chair shown in the large photo, above. The orange fabric, from the Happiness collection, is called “Sweet Words” and features words like “happiness,” “joy,” and “beauty.” Perfect for a wedding celebration!

Our Process

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DIY Decor: Tabletoppers

I’ve taken to calling the look or design of our wedding, as I envision it, “Vintage Whimsical.”  Steve said I’m probably the only person on the planet who knows what I mean by that, and I suspect he’s right. 🙂 The centerpiece idea here may offer one illustration.

My creativity tends to be object-inspired: when I see a fabric or dish or some other design element that appeals to me, I start putting it together in my mind with other colors and objects. So, once I found the aqua bottles and the fabric–a wonderful combination of bright, modern colors with a lacy, romantic design–the tabletop decorations pretty much composed themselves. Though they may undergo some tweaks in the coming months, the photos capture the initial idea.

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Color Me _______

A week after my bookstore visit, I had chosen my wedding colors.

In my defense, my headlong plunge into planning wasn’t entirely a result of my inability to resist the wedding industry’s wooing—though it’s a persistent suitor. When you’re a bride-to-be, the special offers start coming your way, and fast: coupons and websites and bride bags, sweepstakes open only to the betrothed. The steady stream of messages proclaiming your special status is seductive, but the truth is that the most special thing about you in the eyes of the industry is that you and your family are preparing to drop some dough. All those folks fawning over your bride-ness are hoping that (a) it’s a lot of dough, and (b) you’ll send it their way.

It’s sometimes irritated me, actually, that we féte brides and grooms with such fervor, while we all but ignore many milestone accomplishments that result from flat-out hard work. The happy couple, after all, has already won the lottery of luck and timing, so why do they get the cake too—not to mention the complimentary tasting? Follow the money, though, and there’s no market for grandly celebrating something like, say, earning an advanced degree. Most grad students live on the edge of poverty, and mass graduation ceremonies—usually long and boring and involving uncomfortable chairs—are a much harder sell than a garden party with free booze and a DJ.

But I digress. 🙂

I was excited about our engagement, of course, and in love, and all those long-tamped down and tossed aside dreams from my girlhood rapidly re-surfaced. That’s the state in which the wedding industry can have you at hello, the danger zone wherein they can talk you into moneymakers masquerading as must-have traditions, whip you into a frenzy of wants disguised as needs. Caution is well advised.

For me, though, the industry, with all its wiles, wasn’t the greatest source of temptation.  Continue reading