I think it’s fair to say that I would classify for inclusion in the “Creative” category. 

I remember writing a short story about a witch and a bear in Kindergarten.  And weaving a story about a witch and a bear together is totally complex because they don’t normally “go” together, so pretty much, it’s even fairer to say that I was a Baby Einstein.  You hear me Dan Brown?  I’m coming for your New York Times Bestseller spot, bitch!*

I have memories dating back to first grade when each week we had to bring in a small trinket to put in our “friend of the week’s” cubby.  And instead of giving the poor kid a cool new eraser or stickers, that unlucky fellow or [insert female version of fellow here] would get an elaborately made house out of lined notebook paper.  I’d spend an entire night making a 3 foot tall structure that I was just sure the kid would certainly appreciate.  I WOULD BE the coolest kid on the playground, fo’ shizzle. 

I still cringe when I picture the “kid of the week” walking out to the bus trying to carry a flimsy 3 foot structure made out of paper.  You can call me a dork for this and I promise I won’t be offended.

And then I remember a night when I was probably a year or two older when I decided to cut up a bunch of brown grocery bags to make myself a costume.  I cut leg holes in one and arm holes in another and then a big hole on top for my face.  I then cut out a bunch of shapes from my lined, notebook paper (I must have liked that type of paper…) and taped them to my face and arms.  I remember waking my dad, who was asleep on the couch and unaware of what I was doing, and asking him how to spell “Silly.”  In his daze, he spelled “Sally.”  Later, when my mom came downstairs to see what was going on, she found me, in full costume, with “The Sally Man” written in big letters across the front.  We still have the picture and I still find my mullet the funniest thing about the photo.

So, along with “creative,” I think you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m damn crafty.  So, of course I figured I’d be a do-it-yourself bride (I mean, really…how hard can it be?  Oy, famous last words…and in writing, no less…bonus!)

So my first project on the list (the list that is on lined, notebook paper…squee!)** was to make an elaborate Manzanita tree focal point for the guest card table.  I’m sure you’ve seen something similar to what I’m talking about in bridal magazines, especially around winter time.  If not, Google “Manzanita Tree Centerpiece.”  I fell in love with the look because a.) no flowers means more moolah in my pocket and b.) since it’s a winter wedding, it would make sense.

So I started off by picking up a large square vase and buying a whole bunch of 1 inch square mirrors from the local craft store. 

***Interruption*** I should probably tell you now, before going into this craft explanation, that I don’t really have “colors” for this wedding.  I went round and round with color palettes, but ultimately chose to embrace the entire winter theme and go with more of a “glitz” thing instead.  So that means lots of silvers, whites, golds, and…mirrors.  (Listen, I’m the bride here.  And if you want to see what I’d look like as a Bridezilla, just go ahead and mention that mirror is not a color.  Really, tempt me.)  Anyway, back to the craft at hand.  Game oooon!

So I spent an entire night gluing these 1 inch mirrors around a square vase with this special glue (that did NOT dry fast) while Tony gave me his moral support by playing XBox nearby and checking in periodically when I’d ask him to stop shooting zombies for, like, one second, and tell me what he thought. 

And, actually…it turned out pretty rockstar, if I do say so myself. 

That vase rocked my world for a good month when I’d periodically bring it out of the cabinet, admire it, glue on little mirror pieces that would pop off if I accidentally set it down too hard, and then place it gently back in the cabinet until it’s next moment in the spotlight.  Problem was, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do next.  I needed to get Manzanita branches, which, oooh-hooohooo…, don’t get me started on how expensives those little bitches are when you include shipping and handling on 4 foot tall branches. 

So I did what any reasonable crafter would do and hit up Ebay.  You can find anything on Ebay…for cheap.  And it did not disappoint. 

A man who owns his own land and harvests Manzanita branches?  :::Click that link:::

6 branches for a set price? :::Click, click:::

Shipping and handling, included? :::That’s going in the shopping cart, folks:::

So I got my branches.  And you probably think this story is over (and maybe after wading through all my wordiness you might be ready for this damn story to be over already), but alas, the story goes on. 

I had problems getting my branches to stay in the glass vase with marbles.  They kept falling over when I’d arrange them just so.  Manzanita branches are heavy motha’s.  That’s why they’re good for holding hanging candles.  But that’s why they’re bad for Katie’s sanity.

So here’s when Tony puts in some input (which you may or may not believe because that’s pretty outlandish and I have been known to come up with some pretty creative stories in my time, of which you may reference the “Witch and the Bear” story I told you about above).  He tells me sand will do the trick.

I am totally disheartened by this because, duh…this is a winter wedding theme and there is noway I’m using sand, we’re not getting all beachy, end of discussion.  So he follows me around Michael’s as I read the complicated directions on the Plaster of Paris and is completely silent with a blank look when I turn to him and say “You are totally helping me with this Plaster of Paris because I know I’ll get this shit on the carpet.”

So after he realizes that I’m going to employ his help for something a little bit, ok a lot, complicated he strong arms me into using the sand.  And it works!  Here’s how I got around having to showcase the sand, though.  I put the branches in a smaller vase that fit inside the larger one.  Then, I filled the smaller one with sand.  Next, I put the marbles around the vase and voila, this centerpiece is coming together at last!  I popped a few amber colored floralytes in the vase to make it glow (this won’t translate in the pictures, unfortunately, but it looks damn cool in real life) and I was thisclose to done.

The last step was to hang crystal garlands from each branch with a few hanging candles thrown in.  Tony and I don’t fully agree about the crystals.  I say “More is better,” but he thinks the crystals look too busy.  My Maid of Honor, Allie, cleared off a couple of them and, I admit, it does look better.  And, without further ado, here are a few pictures of the Manzanita Tree Creation (cough:::craft from hell:::cough, cough).

Disclaimer: Here’s the deal.  This looks pretty cool in real life, but it’s hard to get the “glowy” effect when you’re taking a picture in a dark room with a flash.  You sort of lose the effect.  And when you try to NOT use the flash?  You better have a steady hand. 

What do you think?  Like?  Dislike?  Wanna steal this idea for yourself? …(You better not because, if you do, “I will hunt you down.”) (And I intend for you to read that last sentence as if Mariah Carey was singing that to you).  Anyway – I attempted my hand at craft and this was the result.  Let’s hear it.  I’m braced for the constructive criticism.

*I think I’m still channeling a little prison confrontation from the last post.  Sorry, Dan Brown.  Not for actually alluding to you being a “bitch,” but for not actually having read any of your books.

**I do still get excited about lined, notebook paper.  Something about a full, untouched sheet of paper that makes me want to write on it.  I try not to fold it, cut it up into geometrical shapes, or tape it to my face anymore, though.