Wednesday, July 23, 2014

~ Discount Diva ~ Breaking it Down but Not Breaking the Bank ~ Wedding Showers ~ Session 2

It would seem that everyone I know has something big going on this year . Between weddings , babies and birthdays a girl could go broke . You know through reading past posts that I truly enjoy gift makinggiving and receiving . It is obviously one of my main love languages . And I KNOW that I am not the only one in the position of requiring a little creativity , resourcefulness and having to always keeping an eye open for a good deal in order to keep up with all the celebrations . So , this series of  "Break it Down " posts is going to focus on creating/purchasing thoughtful , useful , and fun gifts with out breaking a sweat or the bank . I plan to address bachelorettes , weddings , baby showers and birthdays through out the next several weeks .

First let me start by saying that I LOVE Shutterfly and have used them many , many times to create items not only for myself , but for loved ones . Past projects have included a portfolio of events photo book from my time as an event planner , personalized note cards using a picture from my trip to Washington State ,  Christmas Cards ,  shutterfly prints that I turned into post cards , calendars , magnets , Christmas ornaments , and several other great things . I always have wonderful results when using Shutterfly and have always been able to make products with out spending too much . Shutterfly is the kind of company that rewards their customers by sending them occasional discounts and freebies . This is the kind of company I like to work with !! Not only are they allowing me to be creative and thoughtful with my gift giving they are helping me to stay on budget . Side Note: If you are wanting to check out Shutterfly discounts prior to becoming a customer then follow them on Instagram , Facebook or Twitter . They are great about posting deals to their social media about once a week or so . It is a great way to try them out with out spending too much hard earned cash . With that said I of course want to start this post with one of my most recent Shutterfly projects , a cook book !

One of my former RA's and sweet friend is getting married to my former co-worker and  Cuban bff  , this November . I no doubt wanted to do something to celebrate the marriage of not just one , but two of my favorite people . I had done several photo books for friends in the past , but really wanted to  make something creative , meaningful and different for them . While brainstorming I finally came up with a Cook Book idea . This cook book would have recipes from her friends , family and former team mates . I thought it having recipes she grew up with or had made with friends would make it extra special and extra fun . At first I wasn't too sure how it all would work so I enlisted the help of the MOB ( mother of the bride ) to help me get a hold of family recipes . This is one of those times when social media really comes in handy . With the MOB helping me to attain family recipes I reached out via FB private message to friends who would contribute to the project . Warning : This kind of project will take a bit of time . Gathering that much info from varied sources is never quickly done . Once I had gotten what I thought would be enough recipes for a 8x8 - 20 page photo book I started working on design , editing , and special touches . The "title" of the cook book was " Made with Love " . The thought being that 1 . All these recipes had come from people who love the bride and groom . 2 . the bride would be making these recipes with such excitement and love for her new groom . 3 . The bride and groom could look at all the contributors and feel encouraged that these people are there for them as a resource as they travel on the marital journey .
Chevron Cover ~ Colorful Recipe Pages w/ coordinating
graphics and special personal touches specific to
the bride and groom (i.e. Mr & Mrs. ) .
Binding : Titled and Addressed to the Bride Making sure
this book stands out amongst others .
I had originally planned to add pictures of the bride and whoever the recipe was from , but that would have taken a lot of room , plus it was just not possible to get all those pics . I wanted the book to be personal inside and out so , I added touches through out the recipe pages that would make it very "Mr & Mrs " . For example : I placed the bride and grooms initials (carved on a tree style ) on varied graphics . I was also sure to add their Mr . & Mrs . titles as well , like on the coffee cup graphic seen below . Every bride LOVES seeing her new name on things !
I love the K & P ~ it's almost as if it was doodled
into a note book .

The groom is a huge coffee fan so a at home
specialty coffee recipe was a must !
After finishing all of the online design elements I was very proud of my work . I saved it and waited for one of those awesome Shutterfly deals I mentioned earlier to order it . Normally a 8x8 , 20 page photo book costs around $19.99 plus tax and shipping . I hit it lucky and only a few days after finishing my project I was sent a FREE Shutterfly Photo Book code through the " My Coke Rewards " program . I was ecstatic , as nerdy as that may sound ! I was able to order the book for free and pay only shipping which cost under $9.00 . I found this to be a very reasonable price for a cook book , much less a personalized cook book . Once I received the book I still had some additions to make due to the fact that sadly I was not able to get in touch with everyone who might want to send a recipe . In trying to think of a solution a friend suggested adding recipe cards to the empty back pages of the book . I love how it turned out ! I think that the added recipe cards and envelope will allow the bride and groom to add things as time goes on making the book even more special . I loved this project so much that I am sure I will make it again in the future !
To add the cards & envelope I used stick glue AND
mounting corners . I had both on hand from all
my scrapbooking supplies . I also had the cards
on hand from a past purchase at the Target dollar spot . #WORTHIT
After all the design elements were finished I added a personal note to the front pages & wrapped it . Had I been able to attend the upcoming bridal showers I would have added some cooking utensils (from the Dollar Tree ) or the couples registry to the packaging , but since I will be unable to attend due to distance ,  I had to prepare it for mailing as is . To do so I simply " flipped " the box it was shipped in and addressed it . I received a video message a few days later from the bride and groom . I think this picture depicts perfectly the bride vs . groom feelings about pre-wedding rituals such as showers , registering , etc .

Congrats Mr . & Mrs . Laso !!!!

Another fun , inexpensive gift for brides is address labels . Again , another Shutterfly project ! I have been giving this gift for over a year and it never fails to be a great one . Shutterfly frequently offers free address label codes via their social media , leaving only tax and shipping . A page of 24 address labels normally cost between $7 . 99 and $9 . 99 + tx/shipping . When you use a freebie code they tend to end up being only $3 . 27 . I repeat , a bride LOVESSSSSSSSSSS seeing her new name/address !!! So , even if you gave her nothing else this would be an AMAZING gift . I plan to add some inexpensive " Thank You " cards to this gift in the future ( something that can also be found at places like the dollar tree ) . A little something to help the overwhelmed bride feel not so overwhelmed . But , in the past I have combined the labels with a "pin-did " as a gift . My " pin-did " is a home made ornament based off an idea I found on pinterest . com . Unless you live with out internet access I am sure that by now you have heard of Pinterest . I love making ornaments and usually paint one each year for children of my besties . It has become something some of the kids expect and I love getting creative each year . Plus the fact that the kids know those are their special ornaments when decorating the tree makes it even better . Back to the couples , another thing that new couples seem to love is their first Christmas . I have seen new couples use all their gift cards received at the wedding to purchase Christmas decorations , which I think is a great idea BTW .

Hobby Lobby is my go-to store for most craft supplies . They always have great deals and if it isn't on sale there is usually a coupon on their ap , online or in the sales paper . For the ornaments I make I usually purchase clear glass round ornaments in a box of 12 . The normal price is $8 . 99 , but they are almost always on sale for 50% off . A 12 ornament box at half off is $4 . 49  and breaks down to $0 . 37 cents a ornament pre-tax .  I keep these ornaments on hand year round . For the wedding gift ornament I take the wedding invitation and cut it into strips ( be sure to have written down all the important info you need for attending the wedding prior to this step ) . The strips are which ever way will allow the information to still be legible through the ornament , i.e. the bride and grooms names , the church name , the date , etc . I then curl the strips as I would a ribbon for wrapping décor and then place them inside the clear ornament . Depending on the couple and the invitation I will add glitter , ribbon , or something that goes with the décor of the invite to accent inside the ornament . I then hot glue the part of the ornament used for closure/hanging back onto the ornament , tie a ribbon for hanging and I'm done ! I think that this ornament is a unique and fun way to keep your wedding invitation with out having to pay to have it framed , hidden away in a scrap book/photo album or work it into your every day home decorations . It can become a highlight of holiday decorating and something to " show the kids one day " .
This is a pic a friend/bride sent me of the
ornament I made her .
So , the ornament and address labels or the labels and a pack of " Thank You " cards can cost just under $4 . 00 . Now that is a number I can deal with . Especially considering it is personalized and a memento from their special day ! I possibly would even add in a few holiday odds and ends found at Hobby Lobby or The Dollar Tree such as ornament hooks , gift bags , or a roll of cute wrapping paper with some tape . MAY I REPEAT MY MOTTO : It doesn't have to cost a lot to be worth a lot !!! These little things can really help out a new couple .

These are just a few ideas that I hope spark your creative fire on how you can survive wedding season with out going broke . Please check back for later posts on baby showers and birthday gifts ! How do you celebrate friends big days ? What are some special gifts you have given or received ? Share with us in the comment section below !!

Please feel free to click on highlighted words/links found through out this post to see past posts or links to couponing , quick fixes , deals , bargains , phone aps , stores or companies that I use , etc. 

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