My daughter wanted a beachside wedding with a chuppah. I had never heard the word before, but this is what my daughter and her husband to-be wanted to be married under, so this is what my daughter and her husband to-be got. A wedding chuppah. The best part is that it was a joint effort between myself and the parents of the groom! What a great way to get to know the soon to be in-laws better!
My daughters in-laws to-be (official as of September 2017) worked hard to create and build a wedding chuppah made of birch that could be assembled in place at the beach and then disassembled afterwards. The chuppah also needed a way to stay in place and not blow down so not only did they add braces to each corner, but they cemented the corner posts into metal buckets that were painted white to match the white birch bark. The end result was perfect!
The cover was my job. I needed to do something to create a top that would be appropriate and look nice. After measuring the dimensions of the finished chuppah (we had a trial run in the in-laws backyard), we calculated that we needed approximately 50 feet of material (25' per side). I ordered 18 yards of white gauze with a special request that it be one continuous piece. This allowed for a little extra 'just in case.' The gauze material was absolutely perfect! My husband and I unrolled the 54', folded it in half, cut the center line, and then re-rolled it up doubled to unroll and easily use the day of the ceremony. On the day of the ceremony we simply wove the the two separate pieces of material through the top birtch lattice and allowed it to hang down in the front and the back. With a piece on the right and the left side we created the curtain effect. We tied the material at each of the four corners about half way up the post with off white ribbon. The material at each of the bottom legs was a little long so we wound it around the base of the birch on top of the metal bucket. We also used a staple gun at the front and back center to hold the material in place and added a little bow/flower decoration.
Lastly, I made the giant dreamcatcher for the back of the chuppah. It was hung from the two corners and the sides to prevent the breeze from blowing it around too much. See how to make the Giant Wedding Dreamcatcher here!
This chuppah created the perfect setting for the wedding ceremony!
Materials Used (affiliate links):
Upcoming DIY Wedding Projects:
I want to make a special shout-out to Samantha Brancato Photography for taking such amazing photographs! Thank you :-)
Check out our other DIY wedding projects or check out our DIY Shower and Wedding videos on our Youtube channel! We also have several boards of great ideas on our Pinterest Page:-)
Have a great day!
There is simply nothing that compares to sleeping under the stars (sort of) on your own land for the first time! That is exactly what we did recently and I can honestly say we really didn't want the weekend to come to an end. With no cell phone service, no electric and no running water (other than our little creek) we were in our glory staying overnight. Even with the temperatures dipping down below 27°F our newlywed children were perfectly fine sleeping in their little tent!
None of us can wait until we can do it again! Really :-)
We loved camping out so much that we can't wait to do it again!
Read more about our land
and our future Homesteading Dreams here.
While obsessively searching through Pinterest for ideas for my daughters backyard wedding, one thing that kept coming up again and again was a welcome sign. There were many kinds of signs: some were printed, some were purchased, and some were even printed on wood for a real rustic look. I chose to go with a giant chalkboard sign like you see outside some country restaurants. I just like that rustic/country feel and I really wanted to try my hand at some fancy chalk writing. After some failure, and then a little more trial and error, I came to discover how much I like using chalk paint pens. They come in multiple colors and work really, really well! Beware though: If your surface is porous they may not wash off!
I can't really teach you how I wrote these signs because I really just winged it. I did do some searching online for different lettering ideas but after trying several of them I decided to just go with what felt and looked right to me.
What I can do however, is share some tips with you that I learned:
Products (affiliate links):
I have to say I was really happy with the way the signs turned out for both the shower and the wedding, especially considering I had never made a sign before! I also know it was a lot more economical than paying someone else to do them!
Check out our other Shower and Wedding DIY's here or on our You Tube Channel!
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Note: These beautiful pictures were taken by my daughters photographer Samantha Brancato.
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Why not make them for your next celebration?
I wanted to make something 'extra' for my daughters bridal shower and wedding and thought mints would be perfect!
Materials purchased/needed/used (affiliate links):
So simple to make!
So sweet a treat to share with guests!
And who doesn't want a nice fresh mint after eating?
Check out our DIY Showers & Weddings and
other DIY crafty ideas!
A few DIY's coming soon:
And here are a few that we already posted - click on the picture to read more....
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Choosing our homesite was pretty easy, in fact it is the reason why we chose to buy this land in the first place (read more here). However, a road, well thats a different story. With 30 acres of land I can honestly say we have yet to venture through all of it. There is much that we have yet to see, but the more we hike around the happier we are! Recently we were hiking around and found what appeared to be roads even though they had some trees fallen onto them. We realize now that these are old logging roads from many, many years ago. And believe it or not one of them goes right to the homesite we chose! This was so perfect a find that it solidified for us that we chose the perfect spot for our home. All we had to do was some general clearing so we bought a chainsaw and started clearing all the fallen trees and debris on the old road to the homesite! The road is wide enough to drive in with our 4 wheel drive jeep and truck. The only thing left to do is remove a few rocks and make a better 'bridge' over our somewhat seasonal stream! For now, however, it is the perfect rough road for our ATV!
I really wish we did before and after pictures, but we just weren't thinking since we were so excited to get started! Anyway, you can see the cleared road pretty well below. The flags are there so we could keep track of how wide we want it and a few rocks or stumps that we still need to remove. We also made a temporary bridge of some of the cut logs so the ATV could easily cross the seasonal stream. The first 300 feet was basically cleared already and just needed to be weed wacked (yes we used a handheld one and swung it back and forth) and we worked our #4@# off to clear another 400 feet beyond that and up the hill so now we have a driveway of about 700 feet to our homesite. It was a lot of work for the two of us over the course of a two day weekend so hopefully next time our adult kids will come along to help! After all, they are each getting 5 acres of their own :-)
A few words on chainsaw safety: Take the time and spend the money to do it right! Here is the equipment we purchased for my husband (or myself) when using the chainsaw:
Interested in reading more?
Then check out our homesteading dreams.
Well that's another mini-step crossed off of our to-do list for our homestead! We set a goal for buying a truck this fall and we can now check it off! And of course, having a truck really will simplify our lives in so many ways.
Here's how and why:
I am sure we will find many other reasons why having a truck is necessary in the Adirondacks. A few off the top of my head: it will make it easy to get our canoes and kayaks to the local River and it will be the perfect travel space for the dogs we plan on adopting one day (can't wait)!
Read more about our future homestead dreams here!
Choosing our homesite was pretty easy. With the type of home we are building, the homesite was pretty much one of the most important determinations with respect to the property we purchased (Read more about the land we purchased here).
We plan on building an earth sheltered home. This means that all, yes all, of the windows will need to be south facing to make the most of solar gain in the winter (we have plans for special windows to minimize gain in the summers, more on that in a later post).
Also, even though it is an earth sheltered home we intend to have an entrance on the north side as well (most earth shelters only have an entrance on the south side).
For those two reasons we needed a bermed location with a small slope to the north, but a larger slope to the south so we could 'blast' through it and have a level north entrance, but the other side would be all windows facing south. All trees to the south would also need to be cleared to allow full access of the sun all day. If all goes well will will just need to add some dirt over the top of the home!
I know this sounds a little confusing, but you can check out these earth sheltered homes by Formworks in Colorado to see what we are sort of planning. We are in the process of working on plans with them and I will share those soon!
This is the site. This is facing due south. We would need to cut through this small berm. The other side of the berm goes downhill for several hundred feet so we will have quite a bit of forest to clear. I know it is all hard to see/visualize, but since the house is relatively small (32 x 28) it should really work just right!
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The past few months have been a little hectic for our family. My daughter, the oldest child, was married in September. She had a wonderful backyard wedding with about 250 people! Yes, 250! This was really only possible because it was in the backyard but it was well worth it. So basically over the next few months I will be posting about how we planned this tremendous party. In fact, I have already posted some information about her shower and making two different dream catchers(see them below) that were used as part of the ceremony and as decorations for the party. Today, however, is about using mugs instead of plastic cups.
I know, plastic is so much easier. You just use it and throw it away. But seriously, with 250 people, how many would we need to buy? I couldn't imaging the nightmare that this would create with garbage after the party. And after all, all the plates, silverware, etc. were going to be recyclable bamboo! So why would we ruin the environmental theme by using plastic cups? We wouldn't. And in fact, we used mugs for the bridal shower as well!
A lot of people questioned the cost. Believe it or not, in my opinion (and my daughters as well), the cost was worth it for several reasons. First, we weren't using plastic which we all know is not good for the environment because it literally never decomposes. Second, we allowed guests to bring them home as a souvenir. This was especially good for couples because they would have two to bring home and use. This was also good for use because we wouldn't be left with hundreds of left over mugs! However, any left over mugs could still be used for future parties, for gifts, or many other ways! And what made these extra cool is that regular mason jar lids screw right on to them so they could even be used for storage! Anyway, back to the cost. We did end up buying a few cases from Amazon and they were definitely more expensive.
For the bridal shower we purchased the Libby Drinking Jar With Handle (Amazon affiliate link). A case cost 28.95 so we paid approximately $2.41 per mug. We had to do this because we needed them fast. Since there would only be about 40 or so people at the shower I simply tied a paper tag around each mug and let everyone write their own names on it for the party (note the mug filled with markers). The mugs are also filled with tickets for the 'Chinese' auction game! Directions were provided on the welcome sign shown below.
Items purchased for the bridal shower mug display (affiliate links):
For the wedding we had a lot more time to wait for delivery so we actually ordered about 12 cases of mugs from Dollar Tree. At dollar tree they were $1 per mug plus tax. Much more cost effective! But again, you need to have a lot of patience and time for delivery because I think they literally came from China. You also need to be prepared to go and pick them up at your local Dollar Tree Store. The unfortunate part of this was the fact that every mug came with a sticker on the bottom that took my husband and I three nights to peel off of the mugs in all twelve cases. Oh, and guess what! They were literally identical to the mugs we got from Amazon! Just no Libby name on the box! The Libby mugs didn't even have the name brand on the mugs either so they were really, truly, the same.
Items purchased for the wedding mug display (some are affiliate links):
Heres How They Were Done:
We have no regrets about using the mason jar mugs instead of plastic! One comment we recieved from guests at the shower was that it was a little difficult for them to drink from the mug being that it had the funny edge to screw on lids.
Because of that comment we provided optional drinking straws at the wedding. Some people chose to use them, and some didn't.
I know, you think maybe it defeated the purpose because they too are plastic, however, the amount of plastic used by 100 or so straws was nothing compared to how many cups we would have gone through!
We would love to hear from you so please share your thoughts and experiences with us!
Check out our other DIY Shower and Wedding Ideas here.
This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.
Having an RV (recreational vehicle) is awesome! It gives us the freedom to be able to travel and always have a comfortable place to sleep with no worries. It is also super convenient to just pull onto the side of the road if you have to go to the bathroom! No more painful waits for the next rest area or searching for a gas station with a working bathroom. Maybe that's just me. Either way having an RV with all the comforts of home and stocked with just about everything you need for traveling makes traveling simply delightful!
However, our RV, being inexpensive and small, did not come with most of the comforts we wanted nor did it have a lot of space for all of the above, so here is what we did to make it like home for us.
1. The Bed
We chose an RV that had a bed that never needed to be 'broken down.' In other words, in many smaller RV's the bed is also the kitchen table and benches. We made sure this was not the case for us so even though our RV is small (18') it has a permanent bed. The bed also had to be a decent size. Our RV is a queen size bed and this was very important to us.
2. The Entertainment Center
OK, I know it is not camping if you have an entertainment center, but really. It's not exactly camping to stay in a nice trailer with the comforts of home anyway! At our age, we just don't care. We want to travel all around the country and at the end of the day we like to relax and watch some TV. Even if it is just a DVD, we don't care. It is relaxing. So Since our RV didn't come with an entertainment center we had to make our own!
3. The Bathroom
I don't know about you, but this room is pretty important to me! In a small trailer you get a small bathroom. In our case it is really, really small. In fact, it only came with a tiny shower, a toilet, and a mirror on the wall! Nothing else but a door!
4. The Kitchen
Of course this is really part of the bedroom, the living room, and the dining room! Ha Ha. But who cares? It's still my kitchen and I knew I could improve upon it!
5. Key Holder
Now our trailer is always organized, ready, and feels like home no matter where we go!
I already posted the Poliwrath Costume DIY, so now here's the Butterfree Costume DIY I said was coming soon!
Check our our other DIY craft ideas here and have a safe and happy Halloween!
Welcome! I'm Kathie, an educated, happily married mother and step-mother to four adult children. I wholeheartedly believe in creating and living a simpler, happier, and healthier life in this stressful and modern world! I work at creating a simpler life in ways that are as economically wise and environmentally conscious as possible. Please join me on my journey:-)