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The Himmeli Hack

Holy Himmelis!  What the heck is a himmeli, you ask?  Well, they’ve been popping up all over the internet, and these geometric tube structures are all the rage! Himmelis are a Finnish type of mobile originally made out of straw.  The word Himmeli is Swedish for “Sky/Heaven” making it very appropriate to use these lil’ guys as a hanging decoration.

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I had an idea to install a TON of these awesome geometric designs over a dance floor for a recent wedding.  My initial search for the “how-to” led to tutorials made with brass tubing.  Not only did it seem a little heavy and dangerous to hang brass tubing….but dang…it was getting expensive.  Enter: The Himmeli Hack.   It begins with my favorite mantra, “There’s nothing a little spray paint can’t fix!”  Yup, you guessed it, a little metallic spray paint and an Amazon order of 500 clear plastic drinking straws and we were in business!  Himmelis for days!  They are lightweight, cheap and easy to transport!   Boom-shaka-laka!

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The best part is that there are so many options for the types of shapes you want to create and you can really let your imagination run wild!  Above are a few of my favorite designs.  Now, for a tutorial I recommend checking this out…I totally renegaded this DIY and didn’t measure a thing.  Sometimes it is more fun to fly by the seat of your pants! Here’s a peek at the finished design-it’s a Himmeli Party!

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Be Cool Baby Bash

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I am so excited to share the images from my baby shower! This event was a joy to plan…scheming and crafting with the little babe in mind was so thrilling.  I wanted to host a party that not only celebrated Baby Baca, but also honored the women in my life that have been so extremely supportive and loving, especially throughout the pregnancy.

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But first, a little back story to the design inspiration for the baby shower.  We decided to keep Baby Baca’s name a surprise and as a joke we referred to him as “Lou Diamond”.  Naturally when it came time to choose a motif, I thought, “diamonds” as a homage to his fun nickname!  I also love the phrase, “Be Cool Baby”….an obscure Pulp Fiction reference and decided to run with that too!

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I  incorporated the geometric motif throughout the entire event with diamond honeycomb paper products, 3-D geometric paper diamonds, confetti and kept it modern and fresh with a punchy palette of teal, aqua, coral and gold.

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I chose the Teresa Neptune Gallery, a local photography gallery in Santa Fe as the venue.  It was perfect for a brisk February day; cozy and intimate while providing the historical artsy Canyon Road charm at the same time.

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Wood blocks and paint pens were provided for guests to creatively contribute to a set of building blocks that would grace Baby Baca’s nursery.  It is so nice to have a reminder of all the lovely ladies in my life when I look at each block!

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Guests were entertained with metallic (!) temporary tattoos from Flash Tats and I even sported a special diamond tat from Tattly to honor my little man.

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I love that Beaucoup allows you to upload custom calligraphy to print on cocktail napkins…cause every event has gotta have a hashtag!

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We served coral-colored cocktails, named “Lou Diamond’s Party Punch” made of Prosecco, Lillet, grapefruit and blood orange with a touch of rosemary simple syrup.  Oh my goodness, even though I was drinking the virgin version, they were so freaking delicious!!  I am so excited to bust these out during our summer time alfresco soirees; they are perfect!

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I worked with Walter Burke Catering and  they did a beautiful job!  Guests dined on a yummy brunch of assorted quiches, obligingly cut into diamond shapes.  I asked for an ombre salad of winter citrus.  Isn’t it beautiful?!? It’s made of grapefruit, blood orange and navel oranges.  The best part was the most delicious kale/frisee salad with roasted butternut squash, spiced pecans and bacon!  Oh it was to die for!

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For dessert we enjoyed a beautiful cake by Maggie Faralla of Maggie’s Cakes.  I had so much fun dreaming up the design with her…and the tasting, oh, I was in pregnant lady heaven!  The “Be Cool Baby” sugar-paste letters were custom created by Sarah of Signe Sugar.  Her work is SOOO beautiful, I even kept the letters and display them in a diorama-style frame in the baby’s nursery!

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Let’s talk about those sparkly table cloths…just pure sequin fabulous-ness from La Tavola!

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More diamonds and glitter!  Yippie!

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On March 31 (10 days late!) we welcomed sweet baby Jay Nicholas Baca, the baby formerly known as “Lou Diamond”!  Now to get started on his first birthday party….

 

Photography: Articulate Photo,  Venue: Teresa Neptune Gallery, Rentals/China: Classic Party Rentals, Linens: La Tavola Linens, Floral: Artichokes and Pomegranates, Cake: Maggie Faralla, Sugar Paste Letters: Signe Sugar, Catering: Walter Burke Catering, Decor and Calligraphy/Signage: Mama, Jessie Baca Weddings and Events, Tattoos: Flash Tats,  and Tattly, Custom Cocktail Napkins: Beaucoup, Mama’s belt (aka: pregnancy definer!): Anthropologie, Mama’s hair and  make-up: Jess Evans,

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Spiked! A DIY for you!

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Raise your hand if you want a life-size cactus made out of succulents and moss at your wedding!!  You’d be surprised that this request has come more than once after Reid and Erin popularized the living cactus at their wedding last year and the talented Andrea Soorikian made their vision a reality with the original “Curtis the Cactus”.  This time, I tried my hand at constructing a lil’ Saguaro of my own.  I loved creating it so much, I wanted to show you how!

To make your own (almost) 4 feet tall cactus, here’s what you’ll need:

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One thing you should know about me, I hate measuring, reading directions or anything that will make your life easier.  So for me to record actual measurements, is a really big deal. You’re welcome.  Also, I purchased 3/4″ PVC pipe and just stood in the hardware store fumbling all the fittings, making sure they fit.  I also made sure the PVC fit snugly into the metal pipe base.  Also, with a little elbow grease and the wonderful help of my assistant, Sarah, we were able to cut the PVC pipe into the proper sizes with a regular ol’ hand saw…forgot to draw that.

 

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I found all of these moss-y, foam-y goodies at Hobby Lobby.  The moss is awesome-it comes on a thin, plastic grid that can easily be cut with scissors and molded however you want.

 

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Now, some of you may know that I start every wedding season with a succulent farm.  By the end of the season, it has grown, been used for multiple weddings and I am usually sad that I can’t drag every single one of them in for the winter.  Every time I do, the poor little things get leggy and sad and there’s not much hope for them by the spring.  So, that said, this project was absolutely perfect to use up my 250+ succulents for their last hoo-rah!

 

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So, once you’ve got your PVC pieces cut, as you begin to assemble, stab the foam disks and stack them as you go, securing the PVC fitting with epoxy once the foam is on and the pieces attached.  The parts that go around the elbows and tee fittings were done afterwards by wiring separate pieces.  Then, begin the very satisfying moss wrap.  The moss ribbon is fantastic for the corners and tops of the cactus and the moss sheet easily goes around the base and secured with moss pins.

 

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Now, time for a little personality.  I gave my cactus some cute racer stripes to define where his spikes would go with the brightly colored Spanish moss….yes, I think it’s a “He.”

 

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Then I prepped all of my succulents.  The larger ones I put onto toothpicks (unpainted) and the smaller ones I just used a thin gauge wire.  They were easily stuck into the foam, through the moss.

 

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Once all the succulents were in place….dang it took a LOT!  I put the painted toothpicks in clusters of 3-4 along the moss stripes.  The finishing touch were the paper “flower” blooms placed on top of on the arms. Que cute, no?  I just love this little guy!  He is going on the center of the place card display for this weekend’s wedding.  It is a surprise for the bride and I think she is just going to pee her pants, it’s so cute!

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Holy Hypertufa!

Hyper-whaaa?  Yeah, you heard right, Hypertufa…a fabulous mixture of peat moss, vermiculite and Portland cement.  Combined together is makes a material that looks like concrete, but comes in at a fraction of the lbs.  My dinky pencil-arms LOVE that!

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I wanted to share a little tutorial for some square planters that I made in which to plant succulents.  They turned out so cute and if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty this project is pretty easy!

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What you’ll need for 8-10 planters: 1 gallon scoop of each Vermiculite, Peat Moss (both found at nurseries or hardware stores if you’re lucky), Portland cement (at hardware stores for sure).

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You’ll also need a bunch of 1/2 gallon milk and OJ gallon containers for your molds and quart and pint-sized containers to create the inside of the mold.  These are usually from half and half or buttermilk, or egg nog..you get the idea)

Dump a scoop of everything into a big bucket.  Add water slowly while you mix..this is where it gets messy.  Use your hands to get everything mixed really well.  You’re looking for the consistency of cottage cheese, not too runny, not too dry.

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Drop a blob of your mixture in the bottom of the larger container and pat it down so it’s about 3/4 of an inch thick.  Place the smaller container inside and press more of your mixture around the sides.  Once all the molds are filled you’ll want to keep them in a cool place so they don’t get too hot, too fast and crack.  Some tutorials recommend placing the molds in a plastic bag and that will work too, it just slows your drying time.

 

Then you wait.

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After about 4-5 days you’ll be able to cut off the molds.  I usually just drop a knife in and slice along the edge of the carton.  Let the molds cure for another day or two and after they are totally dry you plant them!  You can even water them safely without worrying if they will wash away! (Note: this is based on our extremely dry climate in Santa Fe…if you live by the coast, this will take weeks)

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Aren’t these fabulous!  I’ve used the for many-a-centerpiece and I’m excited to show you them in action….coming up tomorrow, a very special post!

 

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Kicking it up a notch

I am a huge fan of printed menus at weddings.  Well, to me, any party seems snazzier with a beautifully coordinated menu offering mouthwatering descriptions of what you’re about to enjoy.

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Not only is it an aesthetic element to punctuate the entire table design, it is also a nice gesture to give guests a sneak peek of what’s in store.  Or, if there are guests with dietary allergies, they can get a jump on letting their server know if there is anything they cannot eat.  I’m gluten-free, so if I can tell my server before my meal comes out, I feel much more comfortable than having something placed in front of me and having to say, “uh, I can’t eat this…” and then sit there awkwardly, wheat-lusting at the plate next to me.

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Back in November I designed an intimate, 16 person wedding.  The focus was on the elaborate meal, so of course I wanted to create a menu that was equally as thoughtful.  I also made place cards that coordinated.  I wanted to share the DIY steps so you too can create these.  But, take note; don’t attempt this if your guest count is over 150…because they are extremely time consuming and you’ll want to stab yourself in the eye after the first 20.

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I found all of the wood at the local craft store…for pretty cheap!

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Leave the stained disks outside for a while, ’cause they will stink!  And nothing set’s off the appetite like wood stain.

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I printed the names and menus on a beautiful opalescent paper.  I sprayed the teal paper that went underneath with a light dusting of gold spray paint…everything had a beautiful glow and contrasted nicely with the rustic wood.

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Because OCD dreams are made of those little details!

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Then add a dib-dab of hot glue to keep everything in place…

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Que pretty, no?

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The nuptial dinner was held in the Piñon Dining Room at the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado.  The extraordinary florals were from Andrea Soorikian Design and the chargers, linens and napkins were from Classic Party Rentals. All dining room shots by Ginger Russell Photography…the rest via the ol’ iPhone!

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Disco Harvest DIY

 

Peal off the tape and VOILA! the finished product!

There’s the craft-ninja herself, setting the disco punkin’s out for their beauty shot.

Disco Harvest!

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Real Wedding~Maggie and Kosta, the Reception!

My favorite part about planning a wedding is the design process.  I love getting to know the couple’s aesthetic when it comes to color, texture and style and put my right brain to work!  I usually ask the couple questions like: “how is your house decorated, where do you like to shop, and how would you describe your ideal day?”  Basically anything that gives me insight into their world helps me to develop a look and feel for their wedding. (Might I also add that Pinterest is an amazing tool for helping me understand what a bride has envisioned! )
Once I feel I have a clear idea, I love to draw sketches and renderings of what the designs may look like.  I’m always amazed when the final product is nearly a replica of the sketch.  See for yourself, how Maggie and Kosta’s wedding reception came to life! Photos courtesy of Ginger Russell Photography

The reception took place in the very beautiful Tabla Restaurant at the Hotel St. Francis.  I love this space because it offers a very clean and sophisticated canvas on which to design.  Maggie loved materials like peacock feather, pods, pine cones, moss and succulents.  Luckily the arsenal within my studio had everything she needed, like vintage teal mason jars and birch stump planters (not to mention my succulent farm). But the best thing for me was receiving two giant bushels of dried cotton from her father’s farm!  I worked those into the design of the tables and wow, was it stunning.  It completed the look in addition to being a very sentimental part of the wedding.

Even mother nature pitched in with adorable pine cone place cards!

I created custom table runners with fabric from Santa Fe Fabrics.  We wanted to keep Tabla’s beautiful wood tables exposed, but bring in a touch of teal, while at the same time keep it rustic with a frayed edge linen.

Then, there was cake.  Now this wasn’t just any cake, it was a fine Maggie’s Wedding Cakesexquisite creation, shaped like a church in Santorini! Oh, snap!  The cake was not only an homage to Kosta’s Greek heritage, but it signified the very Church where Kosta proposed to Maggie.  They even had a family friend create a beautiful watercolor of the special spot which also graced the cake table.

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without succulents and a peacock or two!

10 months prior, Maggie and I were brainstorming and cooking up plans for a beautiful wedding.  After all of our hard work and thoughtful design it was a pleasure to see a beautiful reception filled with smiles, laughter, great food, fabulous desserts and even some Greek dancing!

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Sneak Peek

Just wanted to give you a peek into the inspiration for this weekend’s wedding.  There will be beautiful shades of purple and silvery sage, lots of spring wildflowers provided by Artichokes and Pomegranates, and corazon Milagros, all set against the beautiful backdrop of the Hacienda Dona Andrea.  The bride will be walking down to the aisle to John Lennon’s, Grow Old With Me played on banjo, which I think is going to sound so cool!

I’m also excited to have quintessential decor for a Santa Fe wedding like Papel Picado and of course the most adorable succulent place cards.  We’ve been planting our hearts out over here at the studio, and loving every minute!

 

 

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Life, Instagramed

In honor of Facebook‘s recent acquisition of Instragram, I thought I throw out a little honorary post for y’all.  I was a late comer to the game, but I now realize that I FREAKING LOVE Instagram.  My preference is to tweet when it comes to social media, but when I can do it with pictures; especially as a visual person, Instagram is the tee-taas!

The best part about Instagram is that I can totally look like a semi-profesh photog with a lil’ ol’ iPhone.  Hello digital tilt-shift!  I also love that I can easily document my DIY projects and random pretties that pop along throughout my day.  For those of you that don’t already follow me on Instagram, here’s a little re-cap of the latest.

Candy Dishes and Cake Plates

~Made out of vintage brass candlesticks and found glass plates

Pinto Bean Cactus Terrariums

~ Styled for an art opening showcasing vintage saddle blankets

Pendelton Wool Hip Purse

~For a friend going to Coachella….Santa Fe Fabrics sells this glorious material by the yard!

Seagull Piñata

~ Also for Coachella, modeled after this.

Re-Upholstered Vintage School Chair

~Indian Ikat Fabric from Santa Fe Fabrics…they still have some left and it’s phenomenal!

Chevron Room Divider

~ Gettin’ down with my favorite chop saw…I do love my chop saw.

Apple Pie in a Jar

~ Dreaming up alternative wedding cake ideas with Marja Custom Catering

Visiting Casa Rodeña Winery

~This is an absolutely beautiful wedding venue.  Raise your hand if you want to host a dinner is their barrel room, or anywhere on the property for that matter -I’m your gal!

Styling Dessert and Cocktails for Surprise Birthday Bashes

~Gluten-free lemon cake balls, carrot cakes and raspberry tarts, French 75s and Bubblin’ Broncos (Rosemary and Balsamic Simple Syrup+ Prosecco= Bomb!)

Hitting up Revolution Bakery

~Welcome to Santa Fe’s only 100% Gluten Free bakery.  This is a big deal people- I can eat bread again, and not hard, dry, nasty, fake bread, but real glorious bread…and pastries, and muffins and cookies!  These are carrot cake muffins with golden raisins and a maple glaze.  I also had an awesome lavender cherry oatmeal cookie.  I realize I am a SUCKER for anything with lavender in it!

If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is TheHitchingPostSF – I hope to see you!

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Weekend craft warriors ~ Ready, Set, Go!

You can even watch the magic happen before your eyes:

The Hitching Post with Jessie Abrams Baca | Papel Picado Luminarias from SantaFe.com on Vimeo.

The Hitching Post with Jessie Abrams Baca | Papel Picado Vase from SantaFe.com on Vimeo.

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