Gender Reveal Party on a Budget – Everything from Snacks to Games to the WOW

I LOVE hosting parties! I also hate going to parties… figure that one out. 

There’s something about decorating the house in a special way, having an excuse to make delicious food, and ironing out all the little details that is just addicting to me. Even better than planning any random party, is planning one for someone else! It’s fun to be able to honor someone with your time and efforts with something they’ll remember for years to come. 

That’s why when my sister-in-law, Ari, found out she was pregnant, I demanded that I get to throw her gender reveal party. The baby was going to be my first nephew (since I wasn’t married at the time) so I really wanted to do this for them. 

There was one problem:

I’m a broke bitch on a budget. 

That said, I’m very good at being one of those! 

FULL DISCLOSURE: at the time, my boyfriend, brother, and his pregnant wife all lived with my grandparents. If you’re interested in hearing about that Brady Bunch let me know, I’m happy to share, but mostly that means that the party was in my grandparent’s house, too – hence the dark paneling and less-than modern decor. I think it’s the kind of interior design you only love when you love the people who designed it…

ALSO: my brother and his wife’s last name is Green, so I used a lot of pink, blue, and green for gender neutral. I suggest picking out a neutral color for your party (green, yellow, orange, etc.) as well because it helped even the playing field and keep me from revealing anything I didn’t mean to, like using way too much blue (spoiler alert).

The Mom-osa bar

If there’s one thing I know about Ari, it’s that she always loves a good mimosa. Obviously mimosas were out of the question (Here you go Ari, a mimosa bar that everyone gets to enjoy except you because you’re pregnant!) but isn’t the actual point of a mimosa the fact that it just tastes like juice, anyway?

This was the most expensive part of the party which was maybe: 

  • Drinkwear – $5
  • Sparkling cider – $16
  • Fruit Bowls – $2
  • Plates – $2
  • Plasticwear – $3
  • Napkins – $2
  • Table Cloth – $1
  • Fruit – $20 (I probably could have gone way cheaper on this)
  • Drinks – $5
  • Glass Pitchers – $15

Grand Total: $71

I also made cupcakes for funsies, but I didn’t factor that into the cost. I made vanilla cupcakes with green frosting and blue filling (spoiler alert, again) to eat AFTER the reveal.

Baby shower table spread with a mom-osa bar, pink and blue Dollar Tree utensils, and pink and blue ornaments.

I didn’t provide any actual food since Ari’s mother requested to bring some (and she’s an awesome cook so no complaining here!) Having some real food was definitely a bonus.

The Craft

This has dual purposes:

  1. A gift for the new parents
  2. Something to do for the guests

This onesie idea was on Pinterest and it was a no-brainer for me! 

  • Onesies – $10
  • Sign paper – ?? I’ve had this paper for a long time just waiting for a reason to use it!
  • Fabric markers – $32 ($16) I knew these markers would be getting a lot of love even after the event, so I wanted to get as many colors as I could! I should slash that $32 though because I use Michael’s Craft Store coupons (if you don’t, it’s a necessity) and with the average 50% off of a full-priced item, I got it for, well, half price! Super worth it.
Baby's first onesie decorating station.

The Puzzles

The puzzles are an excellent way to keep people occupied – especially people who might not know many other people or are feeling shy. I pulled the puzzles from all over, there are a lot of them online that people make and give away for free. I pulled a bunch then added matching borders so that they all looked cohesive. The games I chose were:

  • Word Search
  • Word Scramble
  • Nursery Rhyme Rhetoric
  • Baby Animal Match
  • Candy Concentration
  • Unscramble
  • Crossword
  • Celebrity Baby Name Match (a must, some celebrities chose some… interesting names for their kids!)
Baby shower printable games and puzzles hanging on a line to be taken and used.

If anyone is interested in matching gender reveal party game packets, let me know. I don’t want to post the ones I used because since they were only for personal use and are largely taken from other people, but I can certainly make some from scratch that match! Rhyme not definitely intended.

The Social Game

This game is good for getting people talking. Ari requested this one specifically and I can see why. Everyone who comes puts on the necklace of what they think the child would be, pink for girl and blue for boy! That said, I noticed that some people were uncomfortable with this game… there was a feeling of, “if I choose a pink necklace and the baby’s a boy, others will think that I’m disappointed”. That’s not necessarily true of course, but a lot of people just put on one of each necklace.

Pink and blue beaded necklaces for guests to wear as their guess - girl or boy.

The Baby-Centric Decor

I put up two things for guests to look at that put all of the focus on the pregnant mama. The first was, of course, the sonograms. They way they ended up on the wall kinda looks like a cross, but that’s just how it worked out. I also hung their most recent sonograms but covered them until after the reveal just in case anyone could read them! The second was a posted displaying Ari’s answers to old wives’ tales. There are a lot of fun ways to guess the gender of your baby, ways that people used to swear by! Now, of course, most of them are deemed to be pretty silly, but that’s why they’re fun! Here’s an example of a site with old wives’ tales you can test out. These are good conversation starters.

Old Wives Tales poster and sonogram pictures

The Details

I didn’t go too crazy on the details, but I wanted to do a couple fun little things.

For decorations, I found some clear ornaments at the Dollar Tree and filled them with some pink and blue Easter basket filler and hung them on the chandelier above the food table.

Dollar Tree pink and blue ornaments hanging on a chandelier.

The other little detail was for Adam and Ari’s first born – their dog, Riley. They adore their dog and since he was going to be there, I made him a special little bow to celebrate the occasion. I took lots of pictures as I did it so I can do a DIY later!

Pink and blue ribbon bow for the family dog.
And yes, I bought that ribbon at the Dollar Tree

The Box

The most important part! This gender reveal was during the winter so they wanted it indoors, but they still wanted the “hoo-rah” of a flashy opening! They decided they wanted a balloon-in-the-box style reveal. This box was SO easy to make!

Materials:

  • 6 sheets of foam board
  • Wrapping paper
  • A Bow
  • Balloons
  • Scissors
  • Tape

I bought all of this at the dollar tree so it was about $16 including the balloons.

To make the box, simply lay all four pieces of foam board next to each other and tape them all in a line. NOTE: leave about ⅛” between each piece, this will leave room for the material thickness so it will fold nicely.

Fold the pieces up to make 4 sides of the box and tape it together. Put the box you just made on top of another piece of foam board and mark the edges of it. Since you used full sheets of foam board to make the first 4 sides, you should only need to make one cut on the 5th side to make it a square that will fit the bottom of the box. BEFORE you tape the bottom on, use that to measure your top piece out of the 6th piece of foam board. Tape the bottom on. 

Wrap the whole box like a present. Then when it comes to folding the 6th side (which is currently missing) simply fold the paper into the box. Wrap the lid. On a separate, large sheet of paper, write (or have the mama/daddy write) what the gender is! Glue of tape that onto one side of the lid. Tape the lid onto the rest of the box on only one side, ensuring that the hinge is at the bottom of the lid so that when it’s flipped up, the words are rightside up.

The box is done! Decorate as desired, of course!

Once you get the balloons, organize them how you want them (I did three tiers of four balloons, then three, then one) and tape their strings together that way. After that, you can tape them to the bottom of the box so that they float out nicely.

If you just try to close the lid, odds are that the balloons will push the lid open. To prevent that, make a tearable tape lock: tape the box shut with just a little bit of clear tape (masking tape if you think the paper will rip) and before you tape down both ends of the tape, fold one end over to make a tab. The tab will be easy for mommy and daddy to grab and remove before the reveal.

The gender reveal box sits between pink and blue balloons and tissue paper flowers.

D’aww so cute!

Also fun fact, the box can fit a small child. If he were the brother it would have been SUCH a cute photo opportunity! Even though he’s not, still cute.

Warmly,

EGinny

Keeping Your Drains Clean with Almost No Effort: A Dollar Store DIY

The Problem:

Ew.

I’ve always lived with at least one other luxuriously haired female, so post-shower there’s at least this big of a nasty nest. 

The Solution:

A new shower accessory to be able to easily pick up the hair that’s keeping your shower water from draining

I’d argue that picking up matted, soapy, goopy hair from the drain is akin to picking the food remains out of a kitchen sink with no garbage disposal. Gross.

Step 1:

Remove the label from your bottle. Goo Gone!! I love this stuff. Just rub it onto whatever’s gooey and it will come off! If it’s not working, let it sit for a bit and it will work. It’s really mild so you can get it all over your hands no problem (some dish soap cleans it off). Fun fact: back in fourth grade I managed to work a ton of tree sap into my hair (don’t ask, I was a wild child) but after shampooing my hair with this awesome stuff, I got to keep my hair.

Step 2:

Cut the top off. I used an exacto knife, pressing in gently to I could control it better for the first round, then used the channel I made to push the blade in harder and get a cleaner cut. Once it’s cut out, sand it down until it’s nice and flat. To make a nice finish, take your lighter to it, waving it over the cut plastic quickly to melt the sanded bits until they’re smooth. I’ll go over that a bit more later.

Step 3:

When you look at your bottle, you’ll see two seams, one that goes down either side of the bottle. Those are the parting lines from manufacturing, but they work as great guides now! Measuring from the hole in the top that you just cut and down the seam, mark out three inches. Don’t worry about getting too much sharpie on it, we’ll clean that off later. The second two measurements will go from that same hole, but down the front and the back and will be .75”. If your bottle is different than mine you might need to fudge those numbers.

Step 4:

Connect the marks you just made as depicted below (the top is already cut off). Again, don’t worry about getting sharpie everywhere, we’ll get it off later. You’ll want to start with an exacto knife because you don’t want to damage the top or bottom piece, but once you can get your scissors in there, I found them to be an easier option.

Getting Nice Edges

Simply take some sandpaper to the rough edge until the curve is how you like it, then make quick passes under it with a lighter. Holding the lighter under it will melt the edges quickly, so just let the flame kiss the edge before pulling it back out.

Step 4:

Cut the “holder” half into the shape you like. I made two different holders because I wasn’t sure which I preferred, so I’ll give you the option to make your own choice!

If you want to show the tweezers like this…

Simply extend one of the drooping sides all the way around the other side in a large curve. I like this one because I thought the curves of the tweezers and the curve of the holder’s droop looked kind of artsy.

If you want to hide the tweezers like this…

Put the tweezers into the holder then hold it up to a light source. Put your finger down until it touches the top of the tweezers and mark where that is. Extend that mark in a straight line across the front and then up to the top in a small curve. I like this one because it totally hides their tweezers, concealing what it does and the grossness it holds.

Step 6:

If you just bought the suction cups, you can definitely fudge this. However if you bought them on something like I did, you can use the other product to help you on this next step. See how the suction cups were attached with that snowman shaped hole? We’re gonna do that on our hair holder. 

To get the shape, I did a rubbing just like we used to do in grade school! Any colored pencil/graphite pencil (mechanicals will work, but are more difficult) will work for this.

Cut out the shape and mark around where you want it on the holder. Make sure the smaller circle is on top! Then cut out the shape.

Step 7:

Mark where you want some drain holes on the bottom. Heat up your soldering iron and simply poke it through! Slow and steady wins the race here guys, give the heat time to melt the plastic, don’t shove it through too hard.

And those melted rings you have when you’re done? An exacto takes those off nicely.

My Dirty Little Secret:

I took this picture toward the end of the project, but see that big ugly hole? That was my first attempt to use a dremmel to make the holes. The plastic was too slippery and there was nowhere good to hold it so it got caught and the drill bit ate up the plastic… not so pretty! The soldering iron was much easier and safer!

Getting off extra sharpie and burn marks

LOOK AT THIS MAGIC, Goo Gone guys, it’s a beautiful thing! Just dab a bit on a paper towel and rub off the gunk.

Step 8:

Make some hot glue gun designs on the sides of the tweezers for some grip, showers are slippery! The put some glue on the inside of the tweezers so it can help grip the hair as well.

Step 9:

Let’s decorate! I used a marbling technique I’ll show you here.

This is where you’ll use the saran wrap covered bowl (to keep the bowl from getting ruined) along with a few different nail polish colors (dealer’s choice).

Fill the bowl with some room temperature water, then dump little bits of nail polish into it. If the water is too hot or too cold, the nail polish will dry quicker. If you’ve ever done your nails this way and want to use a toothpick to make some cool designs, it will work beautifully here! I opted to simply do the nail polish blotches which come out looking kind of like marble. 

Simply dip your holder into the water at an angle, then pull it back out, that’s it! It will take some time to dry, but not too long.

The holes you just made will probably be coated in nail polish, but a toothpick or pin will clean them out nicely.

Now you can clean up that nasty hair without even having to touch it! And before your family yells at you… again…

Warmly,

EGinny

Your Ring Bearer’s Sister and Flower Girl’s Brother

Luckily for my then-fiance and I, it was super easy to choose the minis for our wedding – our flower girl and ring bearer. There was only one little girl the right age and one little boy, each from different sides of the family. Josh had barely gotten the engagement ring on my finger when I was planning how I was going to ask them to be in the wedding!

Just like with our bridesmaids and groomsmen, we wanted to do something fun for the little ones! For the curious, this is what we did for the “bigs”.

On top of honoring the ring bearer and flower girl, we also wanted to take into consideration their siblings. Our ring bearer has a little sister and our flower girl, a big brother. We wanted to keep to tradition with just one flower girl and ring bearer, but we also didn’t want their siblings to feel left out or like they were less special. 

Even better – I get to make FOUR gifts for the minis!

I decided pretty early on that I wanted to do puzzles. The flower girl (4) was just starting to read a little bit but the ring bearer (3) couldn’t read at all yet which was perfect! I could give them the puzzles to put together and they would be able to put together the whole thing before their parent could read them what it says, and why they did the puzzle to begin with. 

I ended up making the puzzles in Adobe Illustrator.

What to do when making a puzzle:

  • Look for natural parts in the design you’re turning into a puzzle, then create the male/female attachment between those pieces. 
Seven pieces here, made for the youngest nugget, but I think also the most successful

What NOT to do when making a puzzle:

  • Grab an image of a puzzle pattern, overlay it on your design, then use that. It makes the edges very weird. 
Like the puny piece on his right shin – what was I thinking?

Unfortunately I didn’t make this discovery until the six-year-old tried to put it together, but he did it! Weird edges and all.

Yucky pictures, but the smallest writing on the two middle puzzles simply say, “Love, Uncle Josh and Auntie Erica”

To go with the puzzles, I wanted to give a stuffed animal that somehow represented the event. This was when Toys R Us were going out of business (I know, I’m sorry if I pulled at a wound) but the nice thing was that I had my pick of the stuffies! I could afford them all! That said, ever hear of something called “overchoice” otherwise known as “analysis paralysis”? Basically, there were too many options! I sent this picture to the fiance for some help.

They’re all so cute!!

We finally ended up on the four little puppies because they had collars to which I could attach little licenses that said “Damon 03/17/10” to commemorate the event. I debated Sculpey Clay or laser cut wood licenses, but finally went with the wood because for me it was easier. 

Finally, I wanted to do a little something extra for the ring bearer and flower girl since they were the ones putting in the work. I found a little bowtie to tie around the ring bearer’s pup’s neck and a little flower crown with some jewelry for the flower girl’s puppy. 

Please excuse my grandmother in the background – we lived with her at the time and she was pretty excited about the puppies, too!

In the end, these guys were a hit! The flower girl and ring bearer seemed excited to be doing a job they knew nothing about, and the siblings were happy not to be left out.

If I were to do this over, I would simply fix the puzzles to work a little better. I also might put the childrens’ names on the licenses, too.

Then again, if I were to do this again I’d probably do something entirely different just for the fun of it!

All four cuties having a blast on the dance floor!
They’re such hams I love it

I’ll share how I made the flower girl’s dress (and the surprise in contains!) in a future post – stay tuned!

Warmly,

EGinny

They’re the Silliest Little Things and I Love Them

The other day during my drive to work, I was listening to an Every Little Thing (ELT) podcast about earworms – you can listen to it here, it’s a great show for anyone who’s looking for something new to listen to! Now, one of my absolute greatest fears are parasites. I would much rather have something large and attacking me from the outside then something small and attacking me from the inside. Thank goodness this episode had nothing to do with worms whatsoever! Apparently the term “earworm” is used to describe a song or melody that gets stuck in your head. I don’t know why it’s called that, maybe because it’s something little that hangs out in your head and you can’t get rid of like parasite, but the term gives me the creeps. Besides, if earworms were actual parasites, I shudder to think that I would be absolutely full of them. My earworms don’t even need to have a melody to them! At one point during the episode, the Earworm Expert mentioned something about an earworm having a melody which made me wonder, what it’s called when you get a word or line stuck in your head? For example lately, my earworm has simply been the name “Rogelio” which is a character from the show I’m currently binging called Jane the Virgin (terrible name but the show’s worth a watch) and the name just plays in my head 

over 

and over 

and over 

kind of like it’s a song, but it’s just a word. I’d argue it’s even more annoying than having a song stuck in your head.

Anyway, according to the ELT episode, there’s a test you can take to find out how susceptible you are to contracting earworms. 

I looked it up I got a 128 out of 164, and since the average is 113.5 I’m more susceptible than average, but not as susceptible than I thought I would be!

Take it for yourself here – it’ only 34 questions

The question that had me most interested was, “I sometimes see vivid images in my head when I listen to music”. If you’re ever sitting across the table from me with neither of us speaking (or I’m not listening), there’s your answer. In my head there’s a musical of earworms dancing away! If you play any song for me and I’ve heard it at least once before, I can rattle off to you the entire choreography of the song – maybe it’s a music video, maybe it’s a tap dance, maybe it’s ballet, who knows! Every song’s different. 

So for the longest time, my earworm in residence was You Broke Up with Me by Walker Hayes… and now I have it stuck in my head again. Here, I’ll share the love!

I recommend you leave this playing as you scroll down

I don’t know if it was the happy beats or the whistling or what it was but when listening to that song, what popped into my head was a series of peanut people all dancing the silliest little dances! These mini concerts come to me in varying levels of clarity. Sometimes I could absolutely draw for you what’s going on in my head,  other times it’s a little more vague, but for this song I had one little character, one little peanut, that stood out to me that I just HAD to put on paper. 

~Full disclosure: in my head, for some absolutely unknown reason, the character was actually my high school friend Amanda (who I talked about here) but when I put pen to paper I decided that the grandma look would be more hilarious. So here you go: grandma booty 

This is the first time I’d ever attempted to animate a drawing of mine so I had to learn as I went. I did a quick ballpoint pen sketch and took it to my cintiq to trace it. I ADORE my cintiq, drawing would terrify me without one. This is the one I have and I swear by it! For anyone looking, two things to note:

  1. Touch screens are more expensive and more annoying. How can you draw when your hands can move things too? Could you imagine trying to draw with pencils also attached to the tips of your fingers?
  2. Many of the tablets are phasing out tactile buttons (one you actually push) in favor of touchscreen buttons, but if you have the option for tactile buttons, do it! Sure, it doesn’t look as fancy, but you can just brush your fingers along the side of the tablet to hit the button you need without ever having to peel your eyes away from your drawing.

I only drew one picture of the peanut dancer on paper before going to my cintiq, using that to draw the moving limbs. Let me tell you, this small animation experiment gave me even more crazy respect for the old-fashioned animators than I had before – I seriously don’t know how they did it! When it came time to actually start animating, I learned that you can do that on Photoshop. There’s a tool called “timeline” and it allows you to hide and unhide layers based on, well, a timeline! You can export it as a gif and voila!

Animation! 

Bro dude workin’ his best
Lose yourself in the music
I’m pretty proud of the tennis ball on the bottom of his cane
HIP THRUST
He reminds me a bit of a Sr. Seuss character
Her quads must be BOMB

They say when you dream, every single person that you see is somebody you’ve actually seen in real life – that your brain can’t make up a new face. It makes me wonder if I’ve seen these people in real life before… I will never not share these peanut people, they’re one of the absolute silliest things I’ve ever made and I love them.

Warmly,

EGinny

Flooding the Basement – Something We Did Very Right

In its day, I think the basement in my new house was spectacular. There’s a rod iron handrail, green tile, shag carpeting, drop-ceilings, wood paneled walls, even a mirrored bar! Of course, it isn’t hard to figure out when this basement got its upgrade – the groovy 70’s!

What I imagine our basement looked like in its hay-day – but with green tile mixed in there

Unfortunately as time went by, much of it fell into disrepair and began to fill with dust and grime.

You’ll have to excuse the terrible pictures, they’re from a video tour I took of the first time my husband and I walked through the house. I took video tours of all of the houses we visited because my grandmother liked to see them!

By the time Josh and I got our hands on the house, you couldn’t even walk down into the basement without shoes on. In fact, you literally couldn’t even make it down the stairs because they must’ve been covered in shag carpeting at one point and now they’re covered in carpet nails. 

We figured that out the hard way.

A couple of times.

That said, it’s a poured concrete basement that’s nice and dry with high ceilings, so we wanted to make use of it! First thing was first: we cleaned.

And cleaned.

And cleaned.

We decided that the very first thing we had to fix was the floors. They were so gross and we couldn’t clean them to the point where we felt comfortable walking downstairs then back up into our clean first floor without fearing that we were tracking mountains of dirt with us. We got an enormous pick (digging bar, wrecking bar, no one seems to be able to agree on a name for these monsters). Actually it’s my pop’s pick, I have no idea why he has an enormous pick but I decided not to ask questions) and chipped up all of the tile! It was amazingly easy and totally fun. 

Once we did that, we realized the glue that had been used to hold down the tile was just dirty. It wasn’t coming up per say, but every time we walked on it, our feet would get black. We needed a new floor in the basement.

Badly. 

But we didn’t want to spend a ton of time or money on it.

Or any money, really.

Plus, what kind of floor do you get for a working basement? Not carpet, we’ll be using some of the space as a shop. Not tile, we saw how that went before and it didn’t look to have lasted. Not laminate, too much mold risk.

We ended up finding the perfect solution: Epoxy paint! This isn’t a sponsored post, but if Rust-Oleum sees this, hook me up – I’ll speak your praises all day! 

Truth is that we didn’t have to think to hard to figure out what to do, my parents did this to their basement years ago. But I remember how difficult it was to figure out what to do with their floor and once we heard about this stuff it was a no-brainer. 

The first thing we had to do was scrub the floor with something really, really strong. We used Krud Kutter; it’s cheap and super effective. 

Then, we used the hose. 

Here’s how it went down: my cousin and I each had mops and we would scrub a small section of the floor with the Krud Kutter solution. My aunt would then come through with the hose and spray down the section while my mom used the wet/dry vac to vacuum the water up almost as quickly as it went down. It was quite the process. I never thought I’d be drowning my basement with a garden hose, but it worked! We then, and this is important, toweled off any wood that got wet and set a dehumidifier going which we emptied the second it filled constantly for about a week (even after we’d painted the floor). Even after all that, the floor STILL wasn’t terribly clean, but it was clean enough.

Back to the Rust-Oleum Floor Epoxy, have you ever painted a wall? If so, then you already know all that you need to know about how to use this stuff. Epoxies are two part solutions, that’s what makes them so effective. Instead of a regular paint, you get a Part A and a Part B and neither part will solidify on its own, but together they become rock solid. You pour one part into the other (which they thankfully leave space for so you don’t need a separate mixing bucket) and you’re off! Literally, you paint the floor like it’s a wall.

So satisfying

It’s important to note that the pattern of painting is slightly different. There are paint chips that you sprinkle onto the floor after you paint it which dry into the floor. Because of this, you don’t want to paint patches that are too big for you to be able to reach the edges to sprinkle the chips. We did about 4’x4’ sections which worked well.

Just like when painting a wall, you can also tape off areas where you don’t want paint.

We couldn’t imagine trying to crawl under the boiler

A few tips:

  • Paint the edges first like you would a room. We painted the edges second for half of the basement and I don’t know why, but you can’t see the edges if you paint them first but you can if you paint them second.
  • Use a roller with at least a ½” nap. This will make the paint go on a little thicker which is good. In the instructions it lists different nap sizes for different surfaces, but for the DIYer I think a ½” nap is a good catch-all.
  • Don’t worry about the paint drying too quickly. I had it in my head that once you mixed the two parts together, you had to hurry and paint fast or it would dry, but that’s not the case. Don’t get me wrong, after you paint the floor it will dry in a day, but the “pot life” (how long you have to use the mixture before it hardens) is longer than they warn. I’d say we had it sitting out for at least three hours no problem. Plus, we sealed a can for a couple weeks with mixed epoxy and it STILL worked when we opened the can again.
  • Use the chips! The paint chips are what’s so brilliant about this! They add just a little bit of, I don’t know, eye confusion. In other words, it’s much easier to see dirt on a single-tone floor than it is to see when the floor is already covered in little pieces of stuff. We went light on the paint chips for fear of running out, but we had nothing to worry about and had a bunch left over. 

Now, let’s remember what the floor looked like before:

Ew

And here it is after!

Aah!

Crazy how different the whole basement looks, right??

Next we have to paint the walls, especially under that old coal stove exhaust pipe, but all in due time.

There are two basic paint colors, tan and grey, so we went with tan to brighten the basement as much as possible. We learned later that you can actually buy tint colors for something other than tan or grey if you want online. Honestly, though, I think the tan will look good with anything and I’m glad I didn’t have the option of a wackier color because I might have gone for it when I shouldn’t (hot pink basement, anyone?)

The other half of the basement progression from just washed, to painted edges, to finish. You don’t want to see it pre-washed…

I’d rate this project as pretty simple if you’ve painted a room before, medium if you haven’t. You have to be okay with not getting it quite as perfect as a regular wall since it is a basement/garage/concrete. I don’t know about everyone’s basements, but when I was down and inspecting everything (as you inevitably do while you paint) I noticed that the lines between wall and floor aren’t as crisp as drywall and blue tape doesn’t stick as well to concrete and there are little holes everywhere, but once I pulled back I didn’t notice any of that in the final product. This is a good “do your best and don’t worry about the rest” type of project.

I hope someone finds inspiration from this post – I think all basements should get this done! Even if we decide to completely finish the basement later, we can still carpet or laminate over the paint and feel even more confident in the cleanliness.

Let me know what you think!

Warmly,

EGinny

When Babies Smash your Masterpieces

Meet my baby nephew, Caleb.

My DIY today is for him for his first birthday! My sister-in-law, Ari, wanted to do a smash cake photoshoot with him (doesn’t every mom?) and asked me to make him a onesie for it. She showed me a picture and asked me to recreate it. I felt weird about that – I know it’s just personal use, but still. So instead I came up with a bunch of designs and asked if one would work instead.

Which would you choose?

She picked one out and we were rolling! I used a vinyl cutter to make a stencil of the design, then I used black fabric paint to create the design on the shirt.

Once fabric paint goes on, it does NOT come off. Which is good I suppose…

Attempt #1 didn’t go so well… I noticed after cutting out my stencil that I had cut over someone else’s failed cut but I figured that there was no reason not to use the slashed up stencil since it’s just a stencil and not the final product, right?

WRONG

All of those little micro-cuts allowed paint to seep through. Ugh.

Attempt #2 went much better. Plus, I added a back.

Not gonna lie, I felt pretty clever for this one
Here’s the shoot!

BONUS DIY: I also made the smash cake. I really wish I’d taken a picture mid-process, but honestly I probably didn’t because I was so. Frustrated. I needed to make a 6″ cake but I only had 9″ round cake pans, so I could just use those and cut a 6″ out of it, right?

WRONG

again.

That leaves edges of cut cake and you know what that means when you frost it? Cake bits and crumbs EVERYWHERE. The whole thing started falling apart.

That’s when I learned about dirty icing!

Dirty icing is something that I’d heard on one of the many baking shows I watch (Cake Boss, anyone?) but never knew what it was. Basically all it is, is frosting that’s been heated up until it’s really melty, then spread on the cake in a thin layer that covers everything and tends to get mixed up with cake bits (hence, dirty). Then it hardens so when you frost over it, no one’s the wiser.

So that’s what I did and it worked like a charm! After that, I coated it with a crazy thick layer of blue frosting so Caleb could make a huge mess!

The oversight there is that extremely thick layers of frosting are confusing. See the picture above? The kid’s up to his third knuckle in pure frosting. Apparently he wouldn’t tear into it without some help!

One other misstep, though this one couldn’t be avoided, is that I had to use dairy-free butter in the frosting. That stuff melts so fast! Just trying to frost the cake in a room that wasn’t especially warm I could feel the frosting become soupier by the second. I’m sure that advanced bakers have no problem making their dairy-free frostings act exactly like regular frosting, but I certainly did.

Besides, the whole thing was just made to be smashed, right?

I don’t think a slightly bowing cake bothered him a bit.

Warmly,

EGinny

Coffee, Weddings, Friends, and Foes

You’ll learn more about these cheeky characters. Far left? Meet Zane!

It came as no surprise to anyone that the part of my wedding I was most excited for was the performance of it all! Think about it, weddings are giant performances: you have a script, costumes, hair, makeup, you even have a rehearsal at the beginning and a cast party at the end! This isn’t to make light of the seriousness and the importance of the ceremony, it’s just about the excitement of the celebration that comes with weddings! There’s a lot to celebrate when two families are joined together.

When it came to our wedding, my (now) husband and I had a wedding on a budget, but I 100% got my fairytale wedding. Honestly, wouldn’t have changed a thing (I feel weird saying that when there is one thing, my grandparents couldn’t make it). The fact that they couldn’t make it doesn’t stick in my mind, though, because a few weeks later my husband, grandparents, and I all got wedding ready took some pictures. So overall, them missing the wedding meant that I got to wear my dress twice, so who am I to complain? 

The only weird part of that whole thing was that we took the pictures outside at my grandparent’s house and the neighbors (suburban neighborhood) were having a party. There was a slight awkward moment of, “yeah, we’re already married, this is just for show…” I think everyone got a good laugh!

Back to the actual wedding, I had such a blast prepping for the wedding with my friends and family! When you’re on a budget, there are so many opportunities to DIY with the decorations and the gifts and the numerous get-togethers leading up to the big day. 

As a recently married woman, may I make a suggestion to all the girls out there who are planning their big day? Try to diy at least one thing. It can be a small thing, like getting invites with many inserts that you have to put together or folding napkins a certain way ahead of time, but investing time with your friends and family to work on the wedding is both exciting and calming at the same time. It’s exciting because you’re prepping for your big day! Then it’s calming because you’re with people who are helping and supporting you through what would otherwise be a stressful planning process. I made things for our wedding with my parents, his parents, and I wrote letters of thanks to the people in the wedding who mean a lot to me. There’s time for reflection when you make something and that’s hugely valuable. 

This first diy I did with my husband to be – bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts. 

We decided pretty early on that we wanted a coffee-themed wedding. There were a few reasons for this:

  • We wanted to steer the focus off alcohol and onto a different drink. I’m not saying we don’t enjoy a good drink or that we don’t like getting drunk together, but our wedding wasn’t a time we wanted to remember through a drunken stupor. 
  • Wedding on a budget – alcohol/open bars are very expensive and comparatively, coffee can be done cheaper.
  • Neither of our families are big drinkers. Only the current generation of mine drinks (not our parents) and his only really like craft beer and gin socially, not heavily. 
  • My husband wakes at 5am and passes out by 8pm and only retains consciousness between those hours with pots and pots of coffee. We couldn’t have the groom passing out!
  • We wanted something unique and no one in our families had a coffee-themed wedding! 

Since that was the case, drink-themed bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts seemed in order. I say “drink” because we knew that some of them weren’t coffee drinkers (I know, weird) but we wanted them to enjoy their gifts so we planned accordingly. 

Since we got engaged right before Summer, we decided to get the girls iced beverage tumblers. They’re wicked popular right now, but I decided not to plan anything for the wedding based on trends purposefully. If it’s trendy, fine. If it’s not, I don’t care. 

I did lots of research and found an Etsy seller who does beautiful work! The tumblers each say the girl’s name and the wedding date, so it’s wedding-y but not blatantly so. I’ve been in weddings before where I got beautiful gifts but I feel like I can’t use them after the wedding because they say “bridesmaid” on them. It feels weird. So I wanted everything I got my girls to be personal but not super wedding-y. 

I then filled the container with tea bags (since they all like tea but only one likes coffee) and wrapped them up in cellophane. 

Please excuse the weird photo placement – at the time, we were living with my grandparents so my photo backgrounds were limited.

I still see the girls using them! That makes me so, so happy. 

Josh wanted to get his guys glass mugs. He likes the aesthetic of glass mugs (good thing, too, once ya’ll see what our actual wedding looked like) so we went with those. Again, a ton of research later, and I found an etching artist that we liked. Since the mugs themselves were so expensive, we opted not to fill them with anything so all we needed was packaging. We found these boxes for a buck a piece at the Dollar Store along with the blue filler (since we only needed one bag, just another buck!) Every once in a while one of the guys will send a picture of himself using the mug and Josh seems pretty pleased about that.

My one regret is that lately on Pinterest I’ve been seeing these little notes that go with groomsmen gifts that say something like, “my future wife is making me give you something cutesy to ask you to dress up and stand for an hour while I get married. So uh, would you? There’ll be beer.” and I SO wish I’d thought of that.

A Changing of the Guards

Now, since this is a DIY blog, I feel I should point out when the DIY part of this got a little more important. Of course we bought the mugs and packaging, but we did put it all together ourselves. All was going great until, well, see that guy’s name on the mug in front in the photo of the groomsmen’s mugs? He wasn’t in the wedding after all. There was a bit of a falling out and Josh took a hard blow, but remember what I said about the importance of friends and family and support during this whole process? Well he has a lot of love and support but Chris wasn’t just not showing support, but actively showing a lack of it. 

It’s funny, I think we all feel like we’re supposed to have a bff in our wedding party, but if you’re going through a time of change which includes a change of friends, maybe the friend who’s fading out shouldn’t be there anyway. Live and learn.

In the end, Josh and I are lucky that the falling out occurred before the wedding because we were both harboring a lot of guilt deciding that we wanted to have the same number of bridesmaids as groomsmen over wanting to ask his brother-in-law (who would make the groomsmen outnumber the bridesmaids) to stand by his side. Chris was gone, brother-in-law (Zane) is in, and when we’re crippled and old we will always look back at our pictures and be glad of that fact. 

When we decided to ask Zane to be in the wedding, we wanted to do it asap which meant I had less than a week to get another mug! I contacted the seller who, understandably, had a full to-do list and couldn’t accommodate such a last minute order. So I decided I should just do it myself. 

I’m very fortunate to have access to a vinyl cutter so I stole the design (I’m sorry, I just wanted it to match), copied it in Adobe Illustrator, changed the name, and cut it out. The next part I’d done before – simply peel off of the vinyl of the pieces you do want, leave what you don’t, then transfer it to a mug that you bought at, where else, the Dollar Store. Finally, coat it with some etching solution, wait, wash it, and peel off the vinyl. If anyone wants a full vinyl cutting DIY let me know. It came out better than I’d hoped with all the little details! 

Needless to say, he said he’d do it!

The moral of the story seems to be that not only is wedding planning time a good time to reflect, but making things yourself helps with that too.

Warmly,

EGinny

Exfoliating Scrubs – The Bad Decision I Keep Making

I have skin that closely mimics the Sahara desert: pure crystal white and dry as heck. The whiteness I can’t do anything about (real tan, fake tan, nothing works) but I CAN do something about the dryness! I still remember in middle school when I discovered exfoliating and it was MAGICAL. I could get rid of all the flaky skin for like, a solid day! …before I had to do it again because my skin. Is dry. As heck. 

So my love affair with skin scrubs is certainly not unwarranted, though I do go a little overboard I’ll be honest about that. There are just so many different kinds! Especially if you diy them! I’ve found scrubs recipes that include:

  • salt
  • sugar 
  • honey 
  • brown sugar 
  • Water
  • olive oil 
  • vegetable oil 
  • coconut oil 
  • lime juice 
  • lemon juice 

the list goes on and on.

Basically any sort of skin scrub comes down two two main ingredients:

  1. Exfoliant: This is usually either sugar or salt 
  2. Lubricant: oil, honey, something like that

Now I’ve tried these scrubs a bunch of times and they always go wrong, and yet, I still keep making them over and over and over. I’m not sure what my addiction is but I promise you I have not yet made my last one!

Here are the three basic recipes I tend to deviate slightly on:

  1. I started off by making a sugar scrub with equal parts white sugar and brown sugar and honey. According to the internet, white sugar has coarse granules that really schluff away skin, while brown sugar is a little bit less coarse for the finer bits. I’m honestly not entirely sure why I insist on using honey almost every time I make a scrub, other than the fact that it just feels kind of wholesome, don’t you think?
    The trouble with this scrub is that the shower inevitably becomes sticky as all get-out and leaves nasty residue all over the bottom of the bathtub, which, sure, if it’s your tub – go for it! But my mother wasn’t too thrilled about this recipe.
  2. Next, I tried salt with olive oil. I don’t remember exactly but I’m sure I mixed other things in there, too. I’m never just satisfied with two ingredient recipes. I used the salt because I figured, you know, the ocean’s good for your skin, right? I don’t know, that sounds right. Then I used olive oil because it’s a little fancier than vegetable oil but coconut oil is too gosh darn expensive. Also, this is pre-coconut oil craze so it was even MORE expensive. This scrub had an even greater area of attack on the shower than the last one! You’re basically pouring oil into your bathtub… this recipe was thrown away quickly after I used it once NS my mom stepped into the tuB. I heard a huge THUNK, “EGINNY”. Our tub was a slimy, treacherous place for days.
  3. The third sugar scrub recipe that I’ve made consists of coffee and honey with just a tiny bit of oil, maybe a little brown sugar. Theoretically, the coffee is an even milder exfoliant. Plus, I have it in my head that maybe if I scrub it on my legs enough it will start to stain them like some sort of wonky coffee suntan, and as somebody who’s skin is practically translucent (No, I’m not joking, the foundation color I use is actually called translucent)
That’s it

I can’t help but hope for even a pathetic little tan.

This scrub seemed to do the least amount of damage as far as sticking to the bottom of my tub because I was very careful with the amount of honey and oil that I used. Then after using it, I sat in the tub watching it all swirl down the drain and thought that this is probably a really terrible idea and maybe I don’t want to have to call a plumber in a week after my tub stops draining due to buildup of coffee grounds.

Please enjoy this foggy picture of my leg that I took after using the coffee scrub. It truly does not capture the devastation that the bathtub felt that day.

As a concept I love skin scrubs. I use them after I shave to get off all the nasty dead skin and whatever moisturizer is in it also leaves my legs feeling like a baby’s butt. It’s pretty great. There’s something about them that just feels so luxurious and sensual. Even my cheap, crappy old homemade sugar scrubs tend to sit on the shelves of my bathtub for months because I see them as a sometimes luxury. That said, don’t leave a sugar scrub in your shower for months it will mold. I speak from experience. Ew. 

So after I’ve nearly trashed my bathtub, given my mom a concussion, and stuffed the pipes up, do you think I’ll make another skin scrub? Heck yeah I’m going to make another skin scrub! I’m thinking my next recipe will be brown sugar, a little bit of white sugar, just a little bit of coffee grounds, a tiny amount of honey, and I might even swing for some coconut oil.

I love the feeling of freshly exfoliated legs, but exfoliating soaps on the market are so gosh darn expensive – I don’t know if I can spend that much money on my leg skin. Besides, they’re always so dainty! They say there’s exfoliant in it, but there’s maybe one grain of sand. I want something ROUGH. I want to rip up all that nasty dry skin on my legs and get it gone! Which, yeah, probably not so healthy for my legs, but it makes me feel real good.

Here’s another weird thing about my skin scrub addiction – every time I make a new one, I put it in a mason jar. 

It’s in the shower. 

Mason jars have metal lids.

What’s the sense in that?? They rust after one use and yet every time I make a new skin scrub, I put it in a mason jar with a metal lid. I don’t know if it’s just the ambiance of a mason jar with homemade sugar scrub in it or what but I just can’t get myself to put it in a regular plastic container. It just seems weird.

And I don’t mean rusted for aesthetic, because apparently that’s a thing.

Also, I should mention that I would never make any of these scrubs as gifts. I make them for myself full well knowing that I may destroy my bathtub and I will take the blame for it if it happens, but I couldn’t bear to see anyone else use them without a full disclosure that they may need to find a local tub fitter when they’re done.

Who else has a DIY that they know they probably shouldn’t do but they do anyway?? I can’t be the only one…

Warmly,

EGinny

Bonus tip: occasionally I’ll make mini versions of these scrubs for my lips (never with salt, gross) but occasionally with a little sugar and oil. The best mix in for that is a Kool-Aid packet! Makes it a pretty color and it tastes delicious. Warning, it does stain.

Dog Coat Freebie!

My life has been blessed with ankle biters.

98% of my family is allergic to dogs, so one member got a standard poodle, and the rest of us got little tiny things so our holiday get-togethers look like doggie daycare for guinea pigs.

On top of all the dogs being knee-high to a grasshopper, we also constantly shave them to the bone to try and eliminate any potential shedding (even though they all have hair, not fur). All of this is to say that we have a large wardrobe for small dogs!

My husband and my perfect pooch

Meet Eloise – a Havanese which is a breed from Cuba (yeah, we’d never heard of one of those, either).

It was pure luck for us that she pawed her way into our lives! About four years ago, my brother (eight years my senior) and his then girlfriend found themselves on the dog hunt. They needed a hypoallergenic dog (shocker) but wanted a big dog personality! By that I mean loves to run, swim, chase, fetch, all that good doggy stuff. Through their searching, they came across the Havanese breed. When they went to meet one, it was love at first lap! They immediately found a breeder and set up to get a puppy who they named Riley.

Here’s the little bugger at his littlest

They were, unsurprisingly, great dog parents. They kept in touch with the breeder to give her updates.

About two years later, my then boyfriend, Josh, and I decided we wanted a fur-baby as well and we knew it had to be a Havanese! We got in touch with my brother’s breeder and she told us that she had two mamas about to give birth – a tried and true, black and white mama dog named Layla, and a little red first-timer named Cinnamon. Hearing red fur got me excited because I have red hair so it sounded meant to be, but she insisted that Layla was the better dog to claim a puppy from so we reluctantly agreed.

For circumstances out of anyone’s control, we ended up not being able to get a puppy at all. Puppies are energetic and need focused training that we weren’t able to provide.

To help mitigate the total bleakness that our not being able to get a puppy left in our hearts, my parents let us “borrow” one of their dogs.

Meet Heidi!

This little girl was my puppy. I bought her with my own money when I was in 8th grade but, of course, I had to leave her home when I wen’t off to college. Enter: Scruffy

Scruffaluffagus, Scrumple, Scruffle-puffy, he has a lot of nicknames

He was my sister’s pup until, more circumstances out of our control, he went to live with my parents as well. Four years of living together and Scruffy and Heidi are now completely inseparable. When Josh and I borrowed Heidi, we think she had fun, but she was homesick – she definitely missed Scruff and he certainly missed Heidi too.

We love Heidi, but we couldn’t separate these two

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law gets a call from her breeder that she has a dog who had one litter of puppies, but was really too small to become a breeder dog and did she know of any good homes for her?

Heck yeah! Josh and I were able to adopt a (mostly) potty trained dog without the puppy energy!

Any guesses what puppy the breeder needed a home for?

Day 1

The little red head! Cinnamon ❤ She was named Cinnamon because she’s a Valentine’s Day Baby, but she never got to know her name so when Josh and I changed it (we like people names for dogs) it took her less than a day to get used to it.

She needed a serious grooming!

The best part?

Starting a band

Riley and Ellie are half-siblings and they love each other!

Now that I’ve gotten to prattle on about my dog for a while (thank you for listening, I always love to talk about her) here’s the meat of the post! The coat pattern!

Here’s the basics. If you’re savvy, you could blow this up and trace it, but I’m also going to offer a full size printable at the bottom!

It’s a pretty simple pattern – you could make it sleeveless and it would be even simpler! If you’re a beginner sewer, here are a few tips:

  • Get fabric that doesn’t fray like fleece. That way you don’t even need to hem anything (turn over the neck and belly edges)
  • Take note of the places that say “cut on fold” that’s important!
  • IMPORTANT FOR ALL: This is a very looong coat because I designed it for Ellie who is dachshund in proportions. Be prepared to have to cut it shorter. It shouldn’t go past the base of your dog’s tail.

I created this pattern because like I said earlier, I shave my dog to the bone every few months, and I don’t want her to get cold! Here’s the result below.

My goal was to find a fabric that wasn’t itchy – she was constantly scratching her back when she wore her regular sweaters. It seemed to work until one day I brought her outside while she was wearing it and it picked up EVERY LEAF IN THE DRIVEWAY AND THEY NEVER CAME OFF. It was actually impossible to get all the leaves off. They were so stuck in the soft fabric! No matter, this coat was so easy, I’ll just make another one.

Warmly,

EGinny

A Super Successful Bridal Shower Gift that Everyone Can and Should Make!

I spend more time on Pinterest than I do sleeping so I didn’t expect to see anything new at my bridal shower when I was opening my gifts.

I was SO WRONG. I guess Pinterest is pretty big… my future sister-in-law walked in with this amazing thing!!

Ever see one of those before? It’s a wedding countdown! It’s like an advent calendar for Christmas when you’re counting down the days to get your gifts only instead of toys, you’re counting down to the biggest gift of all – marriage.

Awww. So Sappy.

I Snapped opening it every day
I tried to wait until every night except the last night so I could look forward to it all day!

When your wedding’s coming up, you’re all excited and enveloped by the impending magic, yet you still have to go about daily life – commute, work, all that jazz – and be around loads of people who don’t see the days as any more exciting than the last. so it’s nice to have something to come home to that just feeds that excitement a little bit.

So, since I loved my advent so much, I HAD to make one for my friend Emily’s upcoming nuptials!

I tag-teamed with my sister-in-law (a different sister-in-law, I have five!) and off we went to our favorite store: The Dollar Store. Okay I KNOW that sounds a little cheap, but think about it, if you’re going to give someone 10-12 gifts, they can’t all cost and arm and a leg. Plus, Emily’s wedding was extra special because not only was she getting married, but she has a 7 year-old daughter whom we wanted to include.

Our mission: 24 gifts – 12 for the bride, 12 for her daughter/flower girl. AND we wanted each day of gift opening to be related in some way (for example if we gave Emily socks, we wanted to give her daughter socks).

Now, we did our research (Pinsearch?) before we set off and tried to get ideas, but most posts only showed the final gift of wrapped presents and not what was IN all of the presents, so we were kinda on our own.

Our method was to stroll around the dollar store until we found something that one of the girls would like, then try to find something or think of something to go with it. As we went we began to have ideas for things we couldn’t find at the Dollar Store so we got just a couple other things at Marshalls (another FAVORITE of ours!)

So here’s the whole shabang!

Plus I made little notes to go with each in hopes of explaining why we chose some of the gifts we chose.

Since this is an advent calendar, you count down like a rocket launch.

12. Candles – a fragrance we liked for Emily and a cutsy cupcake for her daughter. Dollar Store.
11. Their favorite candies – thankfully she wasn’t on any pre-wedding diet or anything. Besides, with only about a week to go until the wedding she wouldn’t want to do anything to make her dress not fit anyway! Dollar Store.
10. Hairbrushes – you can seriously never have enough. Dollar Store.
9. Panties/socks – we had to get the bride panties, but it felt weird to buy her daughter some too, so we got her socks. Marshalls.
8. Nail polish – something girly that they both love! Dollar Store.
7. Matching spandex – we blew our budget with this gift… but the bride and groom met while training for a marathon and what mom doesn’t want to match her little girl?? We HAD to! Marshalls.
6. Magic expanding facecloths – if you haven’t gotten any of these before, you need to! They’re so much fun, they’re facecloths, but they come vacuumed into a shape (in this case a heart) then they expand in water. The bride also had a theme of Beauty and the Beast for her wedding so the princess washcloths were perfect. Dollar Store.
5. Bath bomb/bubble soap – we knew the bride loves bath bombs, but we didn’t know how her daughter felt about baths… so we got her play bubbles. Dollar Store.
4. Wine glass/snack water bottle – this gift isn’t quite done in the pictures and it’s driving me CRAZY because I know I have a picture of the final but I can’t find it anywhere! I have access to a vinyl cutter so I used that to personalize the sticker with a “Mrs. Greene” sticker, then we found an adorable drink/snack combo water bottle for her daughter. In liu of a picture of the final glass, here’s a snapshot of the design. Dollar Store.

I was pretty proud of it 🙂

3. Flip-flops – the bride was going somewhere South for her Honeymoon and her daughter was getting a beach vacation after the wedding, so these seemed appropriate. Dollar Store.
2. Pregnancy test/Small plant – okay, so this one’s the most risque… but the bride had, on more than one occasion, mentioned a honeymoon baby so we had to! And what do you get for a little girl who shouldn’t know anything about the miracle of birth just yet? A seedling! Dollar Store/Marshalls.
1. Earrings/Candy Necklaces – we knew we wanted to give the bride some jewelry to open the night before our wedding, but there was no way we could swing two pricey pieces. Besides, we’re pretty sure the 7 year-old would much rather candy than some silly old necklace or something. Marshalls/Dollar Store.

The final result!

My sister-in-law and I decided at the beginning that we didn’t want to restrict ourselves to only gifts that we could tack on a board, especially for two giftees, so we decided at the beginning that we were going to use a basket.

QUICK TIP: Make sure to budget in the basket or board to hold everything as well as the wrapping paper and jazz. We got the PERFECT wrapping paper at the dollar store, but the basket wasn’t cheap at Marshalls. It was worth the extra money, though, because we wanted her to be able to use it after.

Also, I definitely suggest writing a “rules” or “how-to” on the gift. Especially in the hullabaloo of getting ready for a wedding, no bride can be expected to sit down and figure out how this whole thing works or remember you verbally telling her. I certainly couldn’t. I re-read the instructions on my count-down a bunch of times before opening my first one so I could ensure I got the whole experience!

I’m already pumped for the next wedding so I can make another one of these!!

Warmly,

EGinny