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Hooray for Swag!

What better way is there to say, “Hey, thanks for traveling all this way to celebrate with us, we LOVE you!”  Providing welcome bags for you wedding guests is a sure-fire way to kick a destination experience up a notch and keep everyone smiling all weekend long!

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How adorable are these bags for Hanna and Reece?  Wedding Chicks has an amazing array of customizable templates for canvas totes.  Re-usable and snazzy…I’m in!

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I also love when a little note can be included, but even better if an itinerary makes it into the bag.  Often destination wedding weekends are full of activities and events so keeping your guests informed with shuttle departures and of course tips about inclement weather and high altitude are always handy.

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I love to include a copy of The Essential Guide, a beautiful publication with shopping and dining info and also fun articles about Santa Fe.  The best part, they’re free! Also…Water, water, water…you can never hydrate enough here in Santa Fe.

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Local treats are always a must.  Walker’s Red Chile Caramel Popcorn (I’m biased because caramel popcorn is my favorite thing in the whole world) is to die for.  They also have a mui caliente Green Chile Caramel Popcorn, yum!  Hanna and Reece also have a tradition of baking each other pancakes, so the Santa Fe Culinaria’s Blue Corn Pancake mix is delicious and I’m also a huge fan of their packaging.  To go with the pancakes we found the sweetest mini honey bears from Sun Mountain Honey.  Señor Murphy’s, a Santa Fe favorite, made us individually packages Piñon brittle, with raffia to match. I love sharing and supporting local New Mexican vendors!

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We also included a little first-aid kit with sunscreen (we are much closer to the sun here in Santa Fe!), Advil for altitude sickness or hangovers…because those margaritas do hit harder at 7,000 feet, Cowboy-themed Band aids for blisters and adorable custom chap sticks.

I’d say this is a pretty sweet bag of goodies.  Let the fun begin!

 

 

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Sabrina and John featured on 100 Layer Cake!

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I am over the moon!  Sabrina and John’s spectacular wedding day is featured on 100 Layer Cake!  This was one of my favorite weddings of 2012 and I’m so excited to finally share it with everyone.  Working with Sabrina and John was a dream…we hit it off right from the start and our collaborations were fueled with some serious creativity!

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Sabrina designed her invitation suite and the contemporary aesthetic and neon palette served as the inspiration for the rest of the wedding.  The Center for Contemporary Arts, provided the most incredible raw, urban backdrop with it’s high ceilings and exposed brick walls.  The fact that guests were able to mingle and dine within the actual art exhibit was so unique!

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Sabrina and John got down with some buttons!  Instead of traditional escort cards, the created a pin for each of their guests with a fun fact.  They were great conversation starters and provided such a unique and personal touch from the bride and groom.

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Since the meal was being served family style, we didn’t want too much on the table.  I made cement-looking vessels out of hypertufa and planted them with succulents (if you missed the tutorial, it’s here).  Accented with a script table number, the settings were simple, urban and threw a nice little wink to the Santa Fe landscape.

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To soften things up and to bring the ultimate marriage of modern and organic was the living wall that I built for Sabrina and John’s ceremony backdrop.  Combining elements of rusted re-mesh grids, wire, moss and muslin, we gave a nod to the Southwest with Choya cactus, air plants and succulents.  This was by far my most favorite project of the season.  Here’s a fun lil’ behind the scenes video for you!

Living Wall from Jessie Baca on Vimeo.

Click here to see the feature on 100 Layer Cake, to read about their amazing menu and to see the full photo gallery, click here.

Photo one, Karen Kristian, All others: Articulate Photo

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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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Papel Picado Inspired Invitations

I am so excited to share a beautiful invite for one of my brides.  Talk about stunning, Avie Designs knocked it out the park with their signature Papel Picado inspired invite suite.  I couldn’t think of a more perfect motif for a wedding in New Mexico!

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The bride, Kinleigh has great taste and a wonderful sense of color.  I just adore her choices. The combo of the cool turquoise, papaya and a chocolate accent just gives me the flutters!

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To save a little dinero, the guests were asked to RSVP online, so we were able to eliminate an additional envelope and postage.

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Get your buns over to Avie Designs!  They’ve got all sorts of lovely stationery in addition to wedding work and their style is just delightful!

 

 

 

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Get out the confetti cannons!

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Each card is like a present because it comes in a glassine envelope filled with confettii…hello party card!

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Now this isn’t just any ol’, run-of-the-mill confettii.  It’s hand-painted confettii.  And yes, I’m crazy.

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Well, not that crazy, just picky.  The colors on the business card were so carefully picked (from this inspiration board) and I wanted the confetti to match perfectly, so naturally I decided to paint it and punch it myself.  There’s a good chance if you were on the phone with me over the last 4 months, I was probably punching confetti while we were chatting!

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The actual card is printed on the most beautiful textured, heavy-weight stock.  I owe the beautiful design to the ever talented Cameron Johnson of Softground Studio.  She carefully researched my blog for inspiration and when I asked for something colorful, yet simple, modern and playful, artsy yet elegant, she nailed it!  I am absolutely in love with the fonts she found, ooooie!  Bless her heart, she put up with my nit-picky requests, Can we move that dot a millimeter to the left, can the leading be spaced just a hair more, can the blue be bluer? Cameron’s patience and attention to detail is above and beyond and I couldn’t be happier with the end result!

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Studio Tour

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I should first mention that I have a chair problem.  I LOVE chairs! Would you believe that there are 12 chairs in the studio?  These lime green beauties were a consignment store score; with a fresh coat of paint and an oil cloth re-upholster, they are a fabulous statement in my meeting area!

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I am also stoked on my pink (!) mini fridge.  The dinosaur magnets hold up a few of my favorite Save-the-Dates.

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More chairs….and my beautiful view of the quaint yard, framed by the acequia and an orchard.  Whenever I have been staring at the computer for too long, I can pop outside to be surrounded by nature and get some perspective.  Deer and little kittens have been known to stop by too.

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Here’s the craft corner where all sorts of projects go down.  And do note…this picture documents the first and last time it was only being used for one project.  Right now it is COVERED with a few of my favorite things… glitter, confetti and hot glue…creative chaos!

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Look, another chair!

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More on my cowboy obsession later…but I like to keep family photos by my desk while I work.  These are of my über-stylish grandparents.

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Here are a few more vintage scores that I use for weddings.  The candy dishes are actually antique glass bowls that I epoxied to brass candlesticks!  I always say, if it’s not bolted to the floor of the studio, we can use it for your wedding!

 

Photos courtesy of the lovely Ginger Russell

 

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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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Deep Breath.

Phew, I made it.

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Wedding season has officially come to a close.  2012 was a stellar year filled with more work than I have known and more reward than I have known.  There were challenges, lessons and a whole ton of personal growth.  I now realize I am capable of more than I thought was possible and that I actually made it through the big beast of September…which I convinced myself that I wouldn’t be able to do.  I did not do it alone, there are many friends, family and colleagues that have offered their hands in support and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I look forward to the coming season, one that is swiftly filling up.  But before I do, I have scheduled some much needed rest and time for re-creation.  Yes, that actually needs to be scheduled around here.  I even have a small beach trip in my future.  Standing on the edge of the ocean always opens a sense of awe and wonder and will pave the path for fresh ideas and inspiration.  Of course a few deep breaths of the salty sea air won’t hurt either.

Photo: Nick Abrams

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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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Featured on the Grace Ormonde Blog~ Kim and LB

I’ve got exciting new folks!  A film by Luminance Pictures documenting Kim and LB’s wedding at Loretto Chapel and the reception I designed at Rio Chama is featured on the Grace Ormonde Blog.  Click HERE to see it all!

Photo by Ginger Russell Photography

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