DIY Decor: Vintage Finds Cakestand

This is a quick and simple project, and a great way to create a unique pedestal cakestand that will (ahem) “elevate” your wedding (or holiday) pies, cakes, or cookies!

A few weeks ago in “Perfectly Imperfect,” I shared some of the thrift store finds I’m re-habbing to use as part of our wedding decor. First up, turning mystery object #7 and plate #2 into a cakestand with character. For those of you (still) wondering: mystery object #7 is a vintage toothbrush holder! It was obviously in need of a coat of paint, so I selected Valspar Signature, satin finish, in “Trolley” to coordinate with our wedding colors. (Note: A lot of hardware and home stores now mix and sell half-pint sample sizes, which makes it easy to purchase just the right color for a small project.) Continue reading


Perfectly Imperfect: Beauty, Brokenness and DIY Decor/Before

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” -Marilyn Monroe

Perhaps one reason I resist aspiring to perfection is my long-time love of vintage and antique goods. Perfection is a shiny veneer, pretty enough to look at, but usually a temporary state—and, frankly, a little boring. Wear and tear tells a story: a little rust lends a venerable charm, a few dings show an object was used and valued, a crooked hand-sewn seam or repair imbues an inanimate linen with tangible humanity. The Online Etymology Dictionary describes the root of “imperfect” as deriving from the “mid-14c., imperfite, from Old French imparfait, from Latin imperfectus ‘unfinished, incomplete’.” All of the imperfect objects in the gallery, above, were found at thrift, consignment, or antique stores, and all will become part of our wedding decor. When I look at them, I see the beauty in their imperfections, and the possibilities in that beauty. They are indeed “unfinished and incomplete,” though my goal is not to “perfect” them, only to highlight their inherent loveliness and enhance it by finding fresh uses for familiar things.

“To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.” – John Ruskin

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What (Not) to Expect When You’re Expecting (a Ring)

A ring (not unlike a relationship…hmm) calls forth all kinds of expectations: deeply, sometimes even subconsciously, held ideas about how something should look or feel or be, how others should act or respond. The “unexpected” expectations are particularly tricky, since most of us don’t even realize we hold them until something we didn’t expect happens instead.

For example, I didn’t realize how much I was looking forward to people asking to see my ring until a lot of folks didn’t. I suspect people refrain out of politeness: they don’t want their natural curiosity to be confused with nosiness (or judging the rock). I was equally hesitant to thrust my hand out uninvited, lest my excitement be misinterpreted as showing off or demanding admiration. But I quickly realized I had indeed expected most everyone to respond to my news the way the women in my office did: all three stood up, crowded around me, gave me congratulatory hugs, and then took my hand and gasped. Such moments were part of the dream for me, and I thrilled to the, well, thrill of it all. After all this time, announcing I was engaged did feel kind of miraculous.

This is my "It's a miracle!" face.

This is my “It’s a miracle!” face.

I love my ring and the story it tells me. I chose it myself, sort of, and it’s the “sort of” piece that makes me cherish it all the more. The story of that “sort of” is itself a parable about expectations.

Over drinks with Steve late one December night at Billy’s, the specter of marriage arose, and he hinted he’d want to know, at some point, what kind of ring I liked. I’ve always loved vintage clothes and jewelry, and some years ago at an antique show, I’d tried on and fallen hard for a filigree band set with a small diamond. Based on that, I told Steve I liked art deco styles. Later, it occurred to me that the filigree piece was the only diamond ring I’d ever given more than a passing glance. I had no idea what I liked. Continue reading