Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chalkboard Wine Glasses

Monday I posted about my sister's rehearsal/wine tasting welcome dinner. When she decided on the wine tasting theme, I got all kinds of excited and started pinning all the wine ideas ever. Then I decided that she just had to incorporate chalkboard ideas into the theme as well because they seemed to go SO well together. One of the ideas we saw was to make chalkboard wine glasses and I said I really wanted to make them. 

I read all the tutorials about dipping versus spraying and all the methods for drying and avoiding dripage such as here (dipping), here (spraying), and here (spraying). 

I took all the information I learned and decided to try my hand at chalkboard wine glasses. We found wine glasses at IKEA that were pretty sturdy (none broke during chalkboarding them or all night!) and bought 60 of them! They are an even better deal than the Dollar Tree, though you need to buy 6 at a time. 

I laid out my spray painting tarp outside and weighted down the corners.
Then I taped off the wine glasses (I did one at a time-taping and spraying so I had to only pick each one up once).
I taped off with blue painter's tape about 1/2 inch from the bottom. 

At first I taped a paper towel around it based on one of the tutorials I read.
I sprayed the first one, but right away realized that the taped down and tucked in paper towel wasn't necessary. 

After that I just kind of held the paper towel around the bottom with my left hand, while I sprayed with my right hand. I sprayed a pretty light coat on, so there was barely any dripping. 

I put them upside down on a piece of hardy board I found that was leftover from our shower project. 

After about 30-45 minutes of drying, I came back and gave them a second coat. Chalkboard spray paint ALWAYS requires two coats. For good measure, I let them dry another 30-45 minutes and came back and gave them a third coat.
For the second and third coats, I did the same thing: lightly hold a paper towel with my left hand around the bottom to protect the glass, and spray with my right.

I sprayed 48 glasses total because that is how many people Erin was expecting!
After the last coat was dry to the touch, I pulled off the painter's tape so that it would come off more easily. Just a few had drips or leakage and it scraped right off with my fingernail since I did it right away. A few also had paint that crackled. I am not 100% sure why and not sure why it happened to only a few of them, but one guess is that it was a VERY hot day outside and it was above the temperature recommended on the can. 

All in all, it went very quickly and only took a couple hours start to finish. Putting the painter's tape on took the most time of anything!

After they dried for 3 days (the can recommends at least 24 hours) I primed them (got tips here) by rubbing a small piece of chalk on its side all around the base in different directions. Then I wiped them down with a damp (not wet) paper towel. This helps ensure that the chalk doesn't leave an impression on the chalkboard that doesn't go away.

After that they were ready to go!

We put the wine glasses on the edge of the bar. Guests were invited to come up, write their name on a glass, and then start the tasting process. Each guest got to bring home their glass as a favor!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Wine Tasting Themed Welcome Dinner

This weekend was my sister's Chicago wedding! On Friday was the rehearsal and then welcome dinner. Because they had so many people from out of town and so many important people they wanted to have involved, they opted for a less formal wine tasting and dinner. We volunteered to have it at our house and I had so much fun pinning all kinds of fun wine ideas!

Practicing at the church

The girls

So cute!

We had tents and tables set up in the backyard. Erin rented round tables and high top tables so it was a great socializing atmosphere. Apparently we have a bar that has been in the barn! Who knew!? Not me. The bar looked great and was perfect for the night. 

Some of the yummy appetizers. 

I cut up carrots and celery and served them in wine glasses with ranch squirted in the bottom based on this pin

My favorite part of the night! The cheese plate!

Tasting and drinking wine!

My sister socializing with friends

Guests went up to the bar, chose a wine glass, and 4 different wines to taste and rate. 

I sprayed wine bottles with chalkboard paint (saw the idea here) and wrote "Welcome" on them. I also insisted on making these salt and pepper shakers I saw here. So easy! We drank the wine (I pushed it on everyone in the last 2 weeks), carefully washed the bottles to protect the labels, and then  punch holes in the top with a nail and hammer. I put 3 holes for the pepper and 5 holes for the salt. The reason it was funny I insisted on making the salt and pepper shakers? They didn't actually have any food that required salt or pepper! But they looked cute!

Writing down notes about the wine. My sister found a grid here that she had for each guest with the info about each wine on the back. 

The happy couple!
I made the sign for them on my Silhouette. It was a fun decoration outside. 

I just had to post this because I have been a huge fan of cucumber mint water lately. I found this "recipe" here and have been making it the last couple weeks. 

It was a fun night of relaxing, drinking wine, eating cheese, socializing with friends and lots of family from out of town and a great way to have fun and relax before the wedding the next day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bridal Shower Ruffle Apron

I love coming up with a theme gift, so when I was thinking about my sister's bridal shower gift, baking came to mind right away! Many many months ago, I pinned this apron tutorial , but was worried about my {lack of} sewing skills. After making this apron for my sister-in-law and this baby blanket for my nephew, I felt like I could tackle this ruffle apron. I just HAD to make it for my sister.

The finished project. I got in a bit of a fight with the embroidery function on my sewing machine, I need to get better at that, but finally figured it out. For a SUPER beginner, the apron was simple enough to do, but took me probably more time than typical to figure out exactly what was expected in each step. I would never have been able to do it as one of my first projects. When I went to the store to pick out fabric, I fell in love with this pattern immediately!

I've been in love with mason jars recently and saw this idea somewhere on Pinteret (apron in a mason jar). I looked up several different "recipes for love" online and compiled them into my own. I didn't want to use a real recipe since I made her a cookbook.

  I accidentally stole the background from an Etsy shop in google images, so I am not going to post it to copy. But below is a similar one with MY combination of ingredients that I made myself.

The whole gift!
Apron in a mason jar, cookbook of my favorite recipes, some Tastefully Simple items, measuring cups, measuring spoons, kitchen timer (since she just burnt some cupcakes when she didn't use one!) and baking kit.

I have seen a couple different baking kit ideas on Pinterest and decided to make on for her. I got a bunch of different types of cupcake liners, Wilton food coloring, cake release (best EVER for any cake molds), cupcake decorating dips, and some decorating bags. 

The cupcake liners ended up being perfect because she made a Ramadan dinner for Wael's family a few weeks ago and wanted to make cupcake. She couldn't find liners ANYWHERE in Cairo. In fact, she even went to Cinnabon and tried to bribe them into giving her the liners they use. She finally found them before the dinner though!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Arabian Nights Bachelorette Party

On Sunday I posted about sister's Around the World themed bridal shower. Directly after cleaning up at my parents' house from the shower, the girls headed over to my house for the bachelorette party. We chose to do an "Arabian Nights" theme. It seemed like it would be classy and romantic. It was also REALLY REALLY hard to find ideas for. Pinterest failed me! But I did spend LOTS and LOTS of time on a ton of websites and gathered enough ideas here and there to pull it together!

We started off with drinking, chatting, gifts, and games at my house. Then we had a limo come pick us up and brought us to a few different bars downtown. Usually the downtown Chicago bar scene really isn't my thinking, but it was fun for the night!

Projects and Decorations

Some of the girls getting their things from the foyer.

We decorated the family room area (we call it the Piano Room even though there actually isn't a piano in there anymore) all out with the theme. I bought 6 yards of red fabric and sewed 2 pieces together to make a huge tablecloth to drape over the coffee table. I also found a sparkly sheer fabric to go over the top. 

I've been lusting after those spray painted wine bottles with words written all over them that are all over Pinterest. Adam agreed to dumpster dive in our recycling bin for me and found 3 empties. I  was worried about spray painting wine bottles because none of the spray paints specifically listed glass. I bought primer and some of the higher quality spray paint. I sprayed with the primer. Then wrote with hot glue. Then sprayed the spray paint on. One had a heart, another I wrote "love" and another I wrote "love" in Arabic  حب . If you think it would be hard to write in English with hot glue, imagine writing in Arabic with hot glue! I took a picture of it, sent it to my soon-to-be brother-in-law and asked, "What does this say?". He said, "Love". So I was happy it looked right! 

In the wine bottles were gold tapers (they had to be shaved down to fit inside) and they were on gold doilies from the party store. Around them we had white votives in glass holders. I also found fake gold coins at the party store which we sprinkled all over the room. Bonus: I can reuse them in my classroom!

View from another angle

Another Pinterest project was this print for above the fireplace. I saw this post about using engineer prints to get a large photo mounted. I used this site to get my Arabic words. I designed this "subway" art in Photoshop. But I had a TERRIBLE time with the Arabic words. When I copied them and pasted them, the words flipped around. Arabic is read right to left and for some reason Photoshop and Word had a really really difficult time with it. I googled and googled and couldn't figure out a good way to do it as a high quality image. I finally asked a friend of Erin's in Egypt  for help and she sent me the words in a PDF. Problem solved! Printed at Staples for around $3 and used a coupon at Staples to get the big black foam board to mount it on (originally $7). To get it straight I measured off the whole thing and marked it. I had Adam hold down one side while I lifted the other and sprayed it with spray adhesive. Then we did the opposite side. I must have sprayed a bit too much in one area, because it did smudge a little, but you live and learn!

In the foyer we had a table where the girls picked up mardi gras beads, light up rings and personalized cups. We got these cups, they were actually a bit more expensive when we bought them, but free shipping! Her girlfriend had the idea for the cups in the limo! I of course had to personalize them using my Silhouette cameo. I found the lamp shape in the Silhouette studio. I found this free font called "Arab Dances" that looks like Arabic with the lines and dots but is actually English. I cut it all out on Silhouette vinyl. Each girl got one. 

Just for Fun

Hanging Around

We did play a couple games. It is HARD to come up with bachelorette party games. The Internet is actually NOT very helpful in this area. 

One thing we did was invite anyone who was interested to bring lingerie for her. She opened them up and had to guess who it was from. Then we put names on cards and her husband will get to pick what she wears each night of her honeymoon!

The other game we did was ask Wael questions beforehand. We then asked Erin the same questions. If she got the answer the same as him, she got to dole out a drink. If she got it wrong, she had to take a drink. There were lots of laughs during this game!

Some of the bachelorette party questions we asked:

Where did you kiss for the first time? And who started it?
What was your first fight about?
Who spends more money you or him?
What does he think your most annoying habit is?
What do you think his most annoying habit is?
What is something he thinks you need to stop doing?
What is something he thinks you want him to stop doing?
Who will be in charge of doing chores around the house?
What is your secret name for him?
What is his secret name for you?
What is something you would love him to stop wearing?
What does he think is the best part of a woman’s body?
What does he say you think is the best part of a man’s body?
If you could marry a famous person, who would it be?
If he could marry a famous person, who would it be?
Which one of you hogs the covers?
What is his favorite place to be kissed?
What is his favorite place to kiss you?
Who has the coldest feet?
Will your wedding night be filled with passion or will you get a good night’s sleep?

Me, Erin, and a friend in the limo

All the girls in front of a rooftop bar we visited

Most of the girls in a quite busy nightclub (before it got busy!)

The night was a blast and I had fun pulling together all the various ideas for the theme!

If you are planning a similar theme here is a list of our ideas:
  • red and gold (or jewel toned) fabric draped over walls and furniture
  • throw pillows all over the floor
  • icicle and twinkle lights around the room
  • lots and lots of candles (many from the Dollar Store)
  • gold doilies
  • mardi gras beads and pretend jewelry (some from the Dollar Store)
  • fake gold coins sprinkled around the room
  • incense (from the Dollar Store!)
  • spray painted wine bottles
  • food: hummus and veggies, pita chips, wine
  • plastic gold wine glasses (from the party store)**
  • gold paper plates from the party store
  • red damask napkins from the party store
  • cups with gene lamp and Arab Dances font on them
**I had the idea to spray paint wine glasses gold to be like chalices or goblets, but then realized spray paint isn't food safe. I wasn't going to spray INSIDE the glasses, but it still seemed wrong. So I was VERY happy to find the plastic gold wine glasses.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Around the World Bridal Shower or Travel Bridal Shower

Warning! This is a super photo heavy post! 

Saturday was my sister's (long awaited) bridal shower. The wedding is in 2 weeks so we've been in crazy mode preparing for the wedding and the shower. Also the bachelorette party was Saturday night, so it was super crazy town!

As soon as we started thinking about bridal showers, we came up with the Around the World theme. Since my sister is quite the world traveler and always has had a heart full of wanderlust, this fit right away. My mom and I were sitting one day and started coming up with TONS of ideas. We just couldn't stop. Once we started writing them and talking to her other bridesmaids, we had quite the list and had to par it down. I wanted to include all the photos in one post so that if anyone else is planned a travel bridal shower or around the world bridal shower, they can see ideas in one place!

We ended up deciding to decorate the house (my parents' house) like an airport. My parents did a great job with the signs. We decorated each of the rooms like a country where she has visited or lived. The food was from all over the world. Since the countries where she has spent time aren't necessarily the countries with the yummiest food, we combined the two!

The front of the invitation. 
My mom cut out globes and we mounted them on blue cardstock. We put little symbols on various countries of importance: apple for NYC, chili pepper on Chile where she studied abroad, fleur de lis on France where she first traveled, camel on Morocco, and pyramid on Egypt! We cut out umbrellas with an overlay on the Cricut to go over the whole world. And of course a "You're Invited" stamp pointing to Chicago!

The back of the invitation. I got the template from this blog where she used it as her wedding invitation. Fabulous! Gate M stands for her new last name and seat 12 stands for the year!

Decorations and Food

The entrance
(I blurred out my parents' last name)

When you walked in, there was a table with a sign showing everyone which "gate" was each country.

At the entrance, we had an itinerary, nametags, and a mad libs game.

The living room was "Rwanda". There were stuffed giraffes Erin has collected over the years, baskets Erin brought us from there, and a photo of their rolling hills. Erin had a Catholic Relief Services internship in Rwanda over the last 6 months.

Signs pointing to the "gates" and "toilets"

Baggage Claim (purses)

Exit Signs

Itineraries we had in a few places around the house.

The Dining Room was France. Erin's first trip abroad was to France the summer after she graduated from HS. Our parents let her go herself to meet a family there. We had a flag, placemats of French streets, French paintings, and French doodads.

 The powder room's theme was "Morocco". Erin was in the Peace Corps in Morocco for 28  months. There was a camel peeking at you as you were on the toilet, a sign about not smoking, and a picture on the door of what her toilet looked like in Morocco. Really a hole in the ground!

The kitchen was decorated as Mexico. Erin visited Mexico with a friend while she was in college. She switched from a French minor to Spanish minor while in college too! We had the banners, a chile pepper pinata, and Mexican fiesta dishes.

In addition to yummy food with labels with the flag of the country the food was from, we had a huge world map (Amy's mom had it sitting around?!) that we mounted. Guests put push pins in to represent where they had visited. It made for great conversation starters. "Who has been to New Zealand?"

Our "In-Flight Menu" was also posted a few places around the house.

Our favors were luggage tags with either: the Eiffel tower, Big Ben, or the Parthenon on them with a little insert thanking everyone for coming. They were a great find at World Market (where they now accept Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons!)

We had an around the world dessert table with cupcakes, kolaczkis, and crepes. I made red velvet and nutella cupcakes because those are some of Erin's favorite flavors! I printed this cupcake liner template and cut out liners from a map of Chicago! I love how the map cupcake liners turned out. I also made cupcake flags with the flags of the countries we decorated with. I just made them in Photoshop and glued the flags around toothpicks!
(Note about red food coloring for red velvet cupcakes: You need to use an awful lot to make the cake red, so I used red gel food coloring instead of a million little bottles of the normal stuff and having a bunch of blue, yellows, and greens leftover. You can use Wilton food coloring or this. I found this blog that explains the conversion from liquid food coloring measurements to gel. I used about a 2 teaspoons full and it was MORE than enough. I would use less next time.)

For lunch we had a taco and tamale bar in the Mexico room.

Lemon Mint (from Egypt) and Sangria

I somehow don't have any good pictures of the Family Room which was "Egypt". My soon-to-be brother-in-law is Egyptian and lives in Egypt. Erin JUST found out her placement for the fellowship she got starting in September is Cairo. Yay! They can be together. We had a slideshow going from the Egypt wedding on the TV, Egypt souvenirs around the room and some of their engagement pictures.

Amy made these adorable map centerpieces that were on the tables around the house.


First, we played a Wedding Traditions game. Guests were put in groups of 4 to get to know one another. Cathy (Erin's girlfriend from high school) described wedding traditions from different countries and they had to guess the country. Some were easy. Some were very hard! We had prizes from around the world for winners!

During lunch, guests wrote notes to Erin and Wael to open at specific points in their life such as: honeymoon, 6 months, first Christmas, first Eid, 1 year, 2 years, 10 years, find out pregnant, first baby, second baby, first fight, buy a house, move to US, Erin gets stationed in another country. We are excited for her to open them as those events occur!

I had quite the case of the dropsies and spills yesterday. I do not recommend putting frozen raspberries in Sangria is you are going to put them in a beverage server. They got stuck in the spigot and I had to dump it all out and put it back in. Then left the spigot open and Sangria was everywhere!

Amy put together an Erin Trivia game. Guests answered questions about Erin, Wael, and their travels!

Erin trying to figure out how many times she has been to Egypt. The answer was 11 or 12! P.S. I got 100% on the quiz!

1. List 5 Countries Erin has visited. 
2. How old was Erin the first time she traveled internationally on her own. 
3. What was the first country Erin visited by herself?
4. What country has Erin not visited that she really wants to?
5. Where was Erin stationed when she met Wael?
6. How many times has Erin been to Egypt?
7. How did Erin and Wael meet?
8. How/when did Wael propose to Erin?
9. Name 3 cities Erin and Wael have visited together.
10. What was Erin's favorite TV show growing up?
11. How long have Erin and Wael known each other?
12. Where do Erin and Wael plan to go for their honeymoon?
13. What does Wael do for a living?

During present opening, we set a timer for every 1-2 minutes. Every time the timer went off, whomever's present she was opening got a prize! Of course the prizes were in a suitcase!

The apron I made for her (see more info in a post later this week!)

My  mom was super excited to do the Mad Libs game. Wael and Erin wrote me stories about how they met, I took out key words and guests filled them in when they picked little cards that said "1. adjective" ,  "2. noun-place" or "3. phrase or saying". The story was hilarious!

The Ladies

Me and my sister!

The bridesmaids

Mom and her daughters


The shower was a HUGE success. I am so thrilled with how it all came together and how much Erin seemed to enjoy the day. She didn't know anything about the day until we were all set up. It fit her so perfectly. I can't believe the American wedding is in two weeks!