#MyBestFriendsWedding Bonus Chapter – Bouquet Preservation Ornaments

Looking back on all the crafting opportunities my best friend’s wedding brought me has been incredibly fulfilling, and as the wedding craziness came to a close, there was one more project I wanted to tackle: preserving the bouquet.

This idea came to be because through all of my endless Pinterest perusing I kept seeing pictures of preserved bouquets, and so I asked Michelle if she had any plans for it and when she said she didn’t, I asked if she minded if I tried something, which she agreed to. I really didn’t know what I was going to do or how I was going to do it, but I had a few options in mind from my favorite pins:

  • A framed “pressed” bouquet: I really liked this option because Michelle’s bouquet had lots of colors and a similar “spread” look, but I knew this one would be virtually impossible to make because hers was HUGE and shrinking it would take away from its original shape. Upon deeper research I also came to realize this preservation technique was no DIY and would turn out to be really expensive.
  • A paper weight: this option looked truly stunning with the added plus that there could be multiples made for the mothers of the bride and groom, etc. When I first saw it, I assumed I’d be able to do it myself with resin, but then I did some research and realized that the resin is a really strong chemical that would tamper the flowers and it would end up looking a mess.
  • A Christmas ornament: this was basically the only option that looked truly DIY-able, could also yield multiple items and was very pretty, so that basically made the decision for me and I got to work!

I brought the wedding bouquet home with me from the reception and put it in water so that the flowers would survive while I figured out the action plan and bought the materials. I read that silica gel was the perfect medium to dry the flowers, and when I went to ask about it at JoAnn, turns out they have actual flower drying crystals. Since the wedding was in the spring, there were no Christmas products in stores, so I bought the clear ornaments from Amazon. The two final touches to complete the look were a thin burgundy ribbon to cover the line where the ornament comes together, and some copper/rose gold jingle bells because if you thought I wasn’t going to add some sort of rose gold element to this final wedding craft, you haven’t been following this journey very closely…

Below a quick gallery look at the steps to get the flowers dry:

I handled the flowers and the gel with latex gloves to avoid any skin reactions or allergies. I placed a layer of the drying gel as a bed in a long Tupperware container. Cut all the usable flowers and pretty leaves from the stems, and filled them with the crystals. I used the entire container of drying crystals. The instructions said to leave them for two weeks, but since I was mid-moving, I actually left them in there for over a month. When I took them out they were all beyond dry and after I shook off the drying crystals, they were ready to go!

The process of choosing the flowers for each ornament was pretty easy, I tried to make them all different and as filled as possible. I ended up being able to make six of them, and I think they turned out really cute! Which, I should say here that the original stunning bouquet is a creation of Ever After Floral Designs in South Florida. I’ve been to two weddings where they provided the florals and they were INCREDIBLE. (Note to brides: their bouquets are extremely elaborate and heavy, and will give you the arm workout of your life!)

The last step was to find a container to give them to Michelle, and I ended up finding the PERFECT one by looking around JoAnn and finding an empty box of a product that I later spray painted, you guessed it – rose gold.

On the left you can see the variety of flowers and leaves I included in the ornaments to preserve the same look and feel of Michelle’s bouquet. In the middle are the rose gold box, jingle bells & burgundy ribbon, and on the right, the final ornaments!

Once the ornaments were done I did a trial fitting into the box and, guys – words can’t explain my excitement when I realized the ornaments fit PERFECTLY in that container I found in JoAnn, as if they were supposed to go in there in the first place. It was a total “eye-ball” guesstimation success. I added some shredded paper to cushion them and that’s all she wrote! The final product:

Have any of you guys done a bouquet preservation project? Drop links to your pictures in the comments, I’d love to see some more cool ideas!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!

#MakingIt Week 2 Fast Starter & Master Crafter Challenges – WCB Style

I know what I said last week after the first episode of Making It, when I was excited and ready to craft my life away to feel like I was part of the show but… I definitely overestimated both my time and materials at hand, and underestimated the size of the challenges the crafters would be facing. I hate breaking promises but with my current workload leading to a huge event in Las Vegas next month, my days and nights are consumed with working for it around the clock, and I simply won’t be able to recreate the challenges as I’d like… 😦

Part of the commitment was that I wouldn’t buy anything new in order to craft for them, and between the terrarium fast starter and fort (YES, FORT) master challenge, I literally have nothing at hand that I can use to put them together. I mean, sure I could whip up some sheets and a stick but that’s not going to match Billy’s brilliant Food Truck fort level and I just don’t want to make something crappy either.

This long sob story to say: I’m still closely watching the show, and even though I may not be able to craft along with my adored cast, I will for sure share my vision of what I would’ve made had I been on Making It.

Also, can we take a moment to yet again praise the chemistry and TV magic brilliance that are Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman together? They make the show next level great.

Back to business: so for this week’s Fast Start challenge, the makers were asked to create a terrarium with elements of their childhood/home. My girl Amber won the challenge by whipping up a stunning Golden Gate Bridge with hand-glittered card stock and gorgeous cotton clouds, and I couldn’t be happier. I love all the makers on the show, but I’m always rooting for her deep down.

WCB Style Fast Start Challenge: If I had been on the show, my terrarium would of course have to reflect my home country of Venezuela in some way. In my 13 years of life there, I actually moved four times, so I don’t have a distinct home memory aesthetic I could recreate BUT, the national tree of Venezuela is the Araguaney, which is a stunning tree because all its leaves are yellow, and when I was born, my family lived in a neighborhood called Araguaney sooooo I’m having a strong feeling towards that. I’m picturing creating a tree out of tissue paper, chicken wire and floral tape with lots of foliage. I would probably most likely also have made a tiny rocking chair out of toothpicks/ice cream sticks, as most of my childhood memories include my grandma sitting on a rocking chair by a window either chopping veggies or waiting to see my mom driving up from our apartment. The last thing I’d add would be a kite of the Venezuelan flag, because I vividly remember crafting kites at school, so it would be a nice way of adding the touch of national pride + personal nostalgia story. It may have looked something like this:

But probably less perfect, ha! I just want to help get my vision across visually however I can 🙂

WCB Style Master Challenge: Listen guys, Billy’s food truck fort was like the most epic thing I’ve ever seen – brilliant concept, flawlessly executed, a total trend recognition… so let’s be honest and say whatever I would’ve come up with would not have been anywhere near that good, and move on. The only concept I can muster is a tree house craft room. I always wanted a tree house ever since seeing this scene in the movie Jack, and then I’ve been crafting since I gained motor skills, so that would be my ideal kid fort. It would be all wood, painted white with pastel pink and teal trim, and have kid safe crafting tools inside. Something like this, but much more kid-like.

And that’s it guys! Time to set my expectations at a realistic setting and buckle down because the W in WCB is really in charge right now until after September 14! Not much time to craft, but ALWAYS time to watch Making It!

Anyone crafting along? What are you making? Show me in the comments below!

 

#MakingIt Week 1 Fast Starter & Master Crafter Challenges – WCB Style

Hello friends! If you follow my crafty twitter handle @WCBCraftStudio, you know that last Tuesday I lived my best digital life during the premiere episode of NBC’s new hit show Making It, live-tweeting and commenting on the most memorable moments. From Amy and Nick’s pun-offs, the projects, the creativity, and the whole feel-good vibe of the show, I hereby submit my application for Full-Time #MakingIt Stan and Ambassador.

I can’t even begin to say how inspired I am by the show. So much so, that thanks to an idea from my dear fellow craft-obsessed friend Sandy, I’ve decided to take on the challenges from each episode and make them as if I were there myself. Is it a coincidence that I post blogs on Tuesdays, and the show airs on that day too? I think not! Now, I don’t want to go too crazy committing to this because 1. It can become a pocket hole if I go all in and 2. Ain’t nobody got time for this, literally. Ergo, I’m going to set some ground rules for myself:

  • I will only take on projects that I can realistically make. If there’s something like woodwork or crochet/embroidery involved, I will skip that challenge.
  • I will only use materials I already own to complete the challenges. I have way too many craft supplies that due to my workload I won’t be able to put to use any time soon, so what better way to get creative and spend less? This will probably restrict me in future challenges, but that’s for the best. I’m not allowed to spend ANY money on materials. We love a fiscally responsible crafty queen!
  • If there’s a challenge that is similar to a craft I’ve made in the past, I will simply refer back to those projects, and won’t make anything new for it.

Ok, I think that covers most bases. With that said, let’s get to last week’s challenges!

  • Fast Craft Week 1: for this challenge, the idea was to get to know a little bit about the crafters, their personalities and preferred mediums by asking them to make a 3D animal that represented them. I’m a big fan of unicorns and dolphins. Since Amber chose a unicorn for herself (because of course she did, since we’re soul sisters and all), I’ll go for the dolphin. I had the idea that because it’s a dolphin and I love water and I wanted to work with card stock, I could try to decorate the dolphin like those tiles in the pool with the white grout showing in between? Check out the journey!
making-of-dolphin.png

Here’s the step by step progression of the dolphin going from 2D flatness to 3D glory!

And here is the final result!

20180807_231533126_iOS

Here’s my 3D paper mache dolphin! His name is Paolo, and he loves to be a statement dolphin! Doesn’t he look like he belongs in a pool fountain or something?! Obsessed! (But totally couldn’t have made it on the show because he definitely required more than 3 hours of crafting!) 

  • Master Craft Week 1: last week’s first big challenge involved the makers getting creative by pulling together an unconventional photo album and a quilt made out of any material except fabric – both crafts were meant to reflect their personal family heirloom/history. For the unconventional photo album, I’m going to tap into my repertoire and bring back the big number 80 I made out of photos for my grandma’s 80th birthday. I crafted that baby from scratch and I think it’s a nice show of family heirloom and my craftsmanship!
80 Picture Album

For this unconventional album craft I drew and cut two eights and two zeroes out of black poster boards for front and back panels. Then, I cut white poster boards into thick strips and taped perpendicularly for 3D view. Thanks to Shutterfly for an offer of 101 free prints and VOILA! 80 years worth of memories for all to see ❤

For the quilt, I honestly would’ve probably chosen paper as my medium just like Amber did, so instead of going down a rabbit hole of endless paper-cutting, I will just link to her awesome post where she reveals some filming secrets and the super cool historical background that made way for her paper quilt!

My friends, I cannot express – truly – how happy this show makes me and how much I’m looking forward to the next episode. I even have some conspiracy theories brewing about what the next challenges will be based on the patches they use as weekly prizes and I just can’t wait to see it all unfold. How do we only have five episodes left?! My heart weeps.

Did any of you recreate any of the challenges from the first episode? Drop some links in the comments below!

 

Top Amazon “Prime Day” Deals For Crafters!

Hi crafty friends! I know I usually post on Tuesdays, but since Prime Day begins today at 3:00pm EST, I figured saving some cash was worth breaking the rules!

 

Here are some items for a few crafting disciplines you may want to look into and take advantage of the Prime Day discounts –

As crafters and maybe small business owners, there are many devices that may fit your needs, so take a look at the offers for those tools here.

I’m posting this now and will keep editing throughout the day as I see new deals pop up. Also keep in mind, Target, eBay and other companies are also showcasing a good amount of discounts to compete with Prime Day, which means there are even more chances to score some awesome deals for all of us. YAY!

Friends & Family: Karen – Brush Strokes & Chef Goals

KarenIn my never ending list of talented cousins, the next one at bat is Karen! And as you may have seen from my previous Friends and Family posts, I write the corresponding blogs around the subject’s birthday to kind of pay homage to them in some way. Karen’s birthday just passed this Friday, so happy birthday prima!

By now, you guys probably all know that I enjoy pretty much all areas of crafting and creation of things, and I’m versatile with my hands, but if there’s one specialty I haven’t been able to master is cooking. I can sometimes get baking right, since everything is measured to a T, but unless there’s a military grade recipe to follow, there’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll mess it up. This is one of the reasons I admire Karen so much, because she not only crafts her heart out and can do just about any craft there is, but she can also cook amazingly well, and actually graduated just last year with her degree in culinary arts!

Karen has always been able to paint and draw fairly well, but she found her niche in the kitchen, and this has actually become her business endeavor with her sister Lizeth (her feature will come around her birthday in September). PKL “Un Mundo de Detalles” (A World of Details by PKL, PKL being their roommate Paola, Karen and Lizeth) was born in the Spring of 2017 as these three crafty and business savvy women came together to execute a plan for a full-service party decoration and gift basket company. From the beginning, they have explored multiple revenue avenues with gift kits or special holiday themed baskets, party planning/decorating services, catering and desserts. On their feed, you will see all kinds of creative cakes decorated in fondant for customers with all sorts of interests, whether they’re doctors or sports fans, their cakes are a clear (and yummy) reflection of their personality. And Karen is behind all of that.

She is a great chef, an avid baker, and a jack of all trades for crafting. With limited resources and in a very hard market, they have managed to get off the ground and grow the business little by little, and are in high demand for their work all around the city, and even beyond.

Whether she’s using a brush on a canvas or on a marinade, Karen is a tireless worker and always delivers on her promises. Her work is detailed and her professionalism in such a hard industry and 100% customer-facing role is admirable.

Here are some of my favorite Karen pieces:

 

She imitates Britto, but with her own twist, incorporating the culture and folklore of her native Colombia. She uses all mediums fearlessly and creates one of a kind masterpieces, every single week. For this and many more reasons, Karen is my Friends & Family feature this week, and I hope you follow her on her journey as she continues to grow and succeed.

Felicidades prima ❤

Friends & Family: Francis – Little Jack of All Trades Who Packs a Punch!

FrancisFor today’s Friends & Family feature, I’ve selected my younger cousin Francis, whose birthday is coming up on the 29th so let’s wish her a happy early birthday from the WCB crew!

When I think of the Shakespearean line “and though she be but little, she is fierce,” it is literally personified by my cousin Francis. Short in stature but with the personality and strength of the Empire State building, this little tycoon has never had it easy, yet she manages to always have a smile on her face, and tackle any challenge that comes her way head on.

Francis, my other cousin Cindy and I hung out constantly through our childhood, and they probably influenced me more than they know. With the years and with the circumstances in Venezuela, we were far from each other geographically, but never in spirit. We always stayed in touch through the early stages of the technology boom of the 2000s, and every chance we got to reunite, we milked every second.

I won’t go into detail about her early life, but I will say that she was the most independent seven-year old you could’ve ever met, having lost her dad at a young age and fending for herself without any fear. A few years ago, Francis’s boyfriend moved from Venezuela to Minnesota to pursue a college baseball career, and asked her to come with him. She would study English, and depending on her visa permit, she’d work part time. By work, I mean she literally managed to cross every possible industry off the bingo card, doing the oddest, most physically demanding and out of her comfort zone jobs you can imagine. Upon her arrival, she started off as a server at a Mexican food restaurant. Can you imagine working as a server without speaking the native language? I remember being terrified for her. But she did it. From there, the road has been a roller coaster, to say the least. She worked at a corn factory canning corn, from 6:00pm until 6:00am. She worked in a car factory assembling parts. She worked at another factory building window frames, burning her hands constantly. She worked at an attorney’s office as a part-time assistant. She was a nanny. Any opportunity that came her way, she took.

Through all of that, there was one thing she took on that kept her sane and gave her an outlet for her creativity: she started making and selling jewelry.

 

This was probably one of the few things that kept her sane. She really enjoyed letting herself run with ideas, learn a new method every day, and proudly selling her work. And I SO commend her for that.

Today she’s going to school and working as a bank teller. When you look at the definition of uphill battle and the “American Dream,” this is it. I believe her dream is to be a dentist and I know if she sticks it out, she will get it done.

So Fanchi, I am SO proud of you for all you’ve gone through, all you’ve accomplished, and all you have yet to do. The sky is not the limit for you, but rather the beginning. Feliz cumple cosita ❤

A Corporate Meeting With a Taste of The World Cup

As you may remember from this post in the beginning of the year, I have the opportunity to be the Hannah Montana of Corporate America and crafting, because I work on corporate matters during the day, and I get to bring in my crafting life to corporate at night.

My old SAP colleagues love to reach out with out of the box and exciting requests for me (and for them) and this one even brought me a new experience in a new medium!

The last team I worked for at SAP was the Global Content Team – a group of seriously smart and out of the box thinkers who find new and innovative ways to tell the SAP story in written, video, infographic, or any other form they can come up with. Because most teams at SAP are comprised of employees from all over the world, they tend to meet in person at least once a year to evaluate their performance and decide on their strategy for the months to come. This year’s offsite meeting took place in Budapest, Hungary, during the World Cup. Because of that, my colleagues reached out to me asking to create some fun props and maybe a concept for a team-building exercise that incorporated the sporting event in some way. That was really all they asked for, which gave me carte blanche to run with the idea, but was also an extremely broad canvas that I wasn’t sure where I would take.

My thought process was the following: they would have a Welcome Dinner on the first night, followed by a day of team-builders, ending in a Closing Dinner. So I could make three sets of props, or something of the sort, one for each of the days. They also mentioned they were going to get the team members soccer jerseys of their corresponding nationalities, which made the idea light bulb go off for me to round out the concepts:

  • Day 1, Welcome Dinner: to start things off, I pictured a sort of Venn diagram situation, where on one circle I had World Cup related props, on the other one I had props that represented the roles of the team members, and in the middle I put the country flags of all the team members, which was also the common ground that connected the World Cup props with the team member roles. Here’s what I mean:

Welcome Evening

  • Day 2, The Team Building Exercise: with having such a global team, the number one issue is probably having everyone on the same page, when they’re not even remotely on the same time-zone. This was the light bulb that went on when I found out they were using shirts: even though the team is spread all over the world, they are still one team, and they have the same goals… “One Team, One Goal.” SCORE! So I designed a banner, using a soccer ball as the O for “goal”, with spaces for their pictures (laminated, like the ones that are used in the Panini albums), and the exercise would be for each team member to get up and grab someone else’s picture and describe how their strength matched a soccer team position.

Team Builder

  • Day 3, Farewell Dinner: for the last day, after a jam-packed agenda and I’m sure lots of serious talks, I figured this was the perfect time to encourage letting loose and having fun with some off-brand corporate sayings (and a few World Cup ones as well to keep the cohesiveness of the theme throughout). I was inspired from a few different sets of props online, and came up with this bunch:

Farewell Evening

I heard feedback that the team loved the props and really had their fun with it all, and that the One Team, One Goal exercise with the banner and position-matching was a breakthrough moment for the team, and it definitely accomplished the goal it set out to do, which made me incredibly happy! There was also an HR business partner on site, and they reached out to inquire about other ideas for possible work in the future – and so the double-life continues 😉

Here are the pictures of the final product come to life – isn’t it cool how similar it all looks in person versus the digital proofs? Also, check out the thickness of the props when they’re stacked? Hand-cutting those brought back a lot of memories

What do you guys think of the props and concept? I had a lot of fun doing this, and even though I never thought I’d do the sturdy props again, my hands were a lot less hurt this time around!