Design

From the Aisle to Your Front Door: How to Repurpose Your Wedding Decor

So let's face it. It can take a lot of money, time, and stuff to pull off a successful wedding; especially for the gal (or guy) brave enough to tackle the design component on their own. If you are like me, and decided to do most of the wedding decor yourself, chances are you will have quite a bit of stuff left over after the wedding day. It would be a shame to think that all of that time, money, super-powered creativity, and all of those crafting injuries (I'm looking at you hot glue gun) would go to waste. I am all for a Do-It-Yourself wedding because they are a) more fun to plan, b) more personal, and c) able to give you greater control over the design and creativity. However, with a DIY wedding, you are faced with what to do with the wedding day "leftovers". So today, I am going to help you think through how to reuse and repurpose some of your wedding decor pieces in your happy, new home together. 

 This candelabra was used on our sweet heart table at our wedding and now sits on and end table in our living room

This candelabra was used on our sweet heart table at our wedding and now sits on and end table in our living room

Photo by: Annamarie Akins Photography

Think Ahead

When thinking through color choices, it can be tempting to get sucked in to the Pinterest vortex (as I like to call it), see a million images, and think "Ooohh I want it that way. And that. And that!" There are some wedding color trends that are classic, some that are trendy, and some that are just plain confusing. When thinking through what colors you would like for your wedding, I would like to challenge you to consider your personal style (both individually and as a couple), and select color choices that make sense not only for your big day, but for your forever as well. If your house has absolutely no navy in it whatsoever, and you choose navy as one of your staple color choices, then you will mostly likely be left with a lot of items that don't fit within your style and can just add clutter to your home. It may be tempting to try a wedding color palette that is a deviation from your norm, but with a DIY wedding I would advise you to stay true to who you are as there is no "return to vendor policy" for DIY. Further, this decision will enable the wedding to be more meaningful for you, your spouse, and your guests. Think about how you would like to decorate your home, create an inspiration board like the one I made for the Maggie's Misc brand (shown below), and go from there. And most importantly, have fun with it! 

Dual Functions

When creating decor pieces for your wedding, think about designing pieces you would like to see featured in your home. With the help of a bridesmaid, she and I created a fun sign for my wedding that I was able to repurpose later and use as art in our home. We painted a piece of wood in one of our wedding colors, added my husband's (and now my) last name and wedding date, and fastened two screws on the back. During our wedding, it was hanging on a garden stake as guests came up the winding drive, and was the first main decor piece that they saw. It helped set the stage and tone for the wedding and is now hanging on the wall in our hallway at home as a reminder of that special and sacred day (I also used wedding decor and made a wreath that hung on the front door in our new home). Think about making a sign that is not just trendy, but something you would feel comfortable hanging in your home for years to come. For example, chalkboard has been really trendy over the last few years, but ask yourself if you think you will still like the "rustic chalkboard" look in five, ten, or fifteen years. In addition, think of selecting picture frames, candles, vases, or even your guest book that you could easily use as decoration in your home. One way of accomplishing this is with your paper goods. If you are planning to design your own menus or programs (or even if you have them designed professionally), think of designing something that could be framed and double as artwork in your living room or office space. Finally, this same concept applies with practical items like napkins, dishes, and more. Considering using wedding napkins in a solid color so that you can reuse them at a party, during the holidays, or even for entertaining in your new home. 

Photo by: Taylor Bates Photography

Sentimental Suggestions

You can never go wrong with a little bit of sentiment. You can really get creative with ways to use your leftover wedding items for thoughtful and meaningful gifts. For example, the first Christmas following our wedding, I used the leftover fabric from our sweetheart table, hot glued it onto a canvas (although I recommend using a staple gun here), and made my mom a one-of-a-kind and sentimental piece of art for her bathroom. On the back of the canvas, I wrote an inscription saying "So you can always remember our wedding." You also can find ways to repurpose wine corks and bottles by making Christmas ornaments for friends, or using the bottles as vases, candle holders, or as a unique edging for your garden (as shown in the photos below). Finally, think of creating a "time capsule" of sorts that can be saved and opened later by your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. This is a creative way of conserving a part of your history for generations to come, and affords them the opportunity to potentially use some of your items as heirloom pieces for their wedding or to cherish and enjoy in their homes. 

Photo #1 found on: Hub Pages; Photo #2 found on: Cottage in the Oaks; Photo #3 found on: Life Popper

So there you have it. I hope some of these tips have helped you think through ways to repurpose your wedding items and how to plan ahead when doing a DIY wedding. If you are on a budget, get creative with your decorations, and think of ways you can use your leftover weddings items again in the future to potentially save you some cash later on. It's amazing what a little planning, a hot glue gun, and some elbow grease can accomplish!

As always, thanks for stopping by.

~Maggie ♥

 

 

 

 

Maggie's Misc - A Branding Shoot

One of the things that tickles me most in life is watching God love on His children through other people. There is a lot to be said for kindness and generosity and the impact it can have on those around us. I have been blessed with some very generous people in my life (parents, aunts, uncles, friends, and more) which is one of the reasons why my heart is so passionate about being generous toward others in return. I recently had the opportunity to experience this generosity in my business by Annamarie Akins of Annamarie Akins Photography. 

I first met Anna at a Tuesday's Together networking event back in May. It was obvious right away that she is a gifted soul. We met for coffee a few weeks later at Cafe Caturra in town and chatted for over three hours. Annamarie is always so full of light and grace and challenges me to think of the grace of I am extending to others. A few days later I text her to see how much it would be to do a branding photo shoot for my business. I had been wanting to do a Maggie's Misc shoot for quite some time but didn't quite have the resources yet. Annamarie blessed me by offering to do the shoot for me, and even did it coming off of 11 back-to-back wedding weekends! She is one of the best photographers in Richmond, so I really hit the jackpot for the business when she agreed to do the shoot! Creatives: I would recommend doing a branded photo sesh for your biz and if you do, Annamarie is the bomb (yes I did just try to cram as mach slang into one sentence as possible; you know, just to lighten the mood :-) (and yes, I am aware that no one says "the bomb" anymore but I am getting older and don't know what the kids are saying these days).

When thinking through the shoot, I knew I wanted the photos to represent the Maggie's Misc style, and my own personal style as an extension. I am a complex human in that while I am a very deep and old soul that values faith above all else, I often am called "funloving" or "free spirit" by people who know me and personality tests I have taken. I sometimes forget that I have this side to my personality and I like that these photos show the light, happy, and bright side of me. In one day I can go from thinking deeply and even crying over the brokenness and suffering in the world to laughing hysterically about nothing as my husband and I lie in bed at night (I am pretty sure I have a condition that causes me to have uncontrollable laughter when I get sleepy. It's a real thing. I'm convinced of it.) I also am drawn to soft, colour palettes that are feminine and yet not too girly. My mom and I were discussing the other day that even when I was little pastels were my favorite colours and I guess things have come full circle. I like all different types of colors: bright colors, bold colors, neutrals, etc. I am willing to work within many various styles for weddings, parties, or events and even like expressing my creativity in different ways. It is lovely, though, to have something that I feel looks "just like me." I am so happy to share some of these photos with you and I hope you adore them as much as I do!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

~Maggie 

Important Aspects of Styling for Weddings + Shoots

Hey Folks! This blog post is for wedding industry folks and brides alike! I have been really pushing and challenging myself to grow in my design skills over the last year, even more so over the last 6 months, and I have learned a ton and have simultaneously watched the quality of my work grow. I have watched videos, read articles, and found inspiration from others (although I am a big proponent of not following too many people on social media as to avoid the "comparison black hole" as I like to call it; however, the most beneficial and and impactful education I have received is from good-ole-fashioned trial-and-error. Yep. Making mistakes is a great way to learn. I have learned a great deal about colors, lighting, textures, creating depth and dimension, continuity, voice, and much more. Today, I would like to share with you just a few of the tips I have learned for styling an event, wedding, photo shoot, or anything involving creating art with objects. 

Tip # 1: Tell A Story

In an effort to educate and train myself, I watched several of Joy Thigpen's, (owner of Once Wed) videos on wedding + photo shoot styling. One of the things that really stood out to me is how much she emphasized that each photo, both individually, and synergistically should tell a story. This realization caused me to think deeper into all the elements involved in every single aspect of my work. If we are not telling a story with our work, then we are not capturing our audience for the long-term. Our work, whether photography, graphic design, styling, painting, writing, or more should both captivate and engage our audience in an authentic and mindful way. 

The photographer, Taylor Bates Photography, does a great job here of telling the funny story of my husband and I goofing around on our wedding day through these photos. 

Tip # 2: Be Authentic

I know I have mentioned this in previous posts, but I would like to emphasize and stress the importance, again, of staying true to yourself. Granted, my style has changed and evolved as I have learned and grown (you should always be growing or something is vitally wrong) but even with this growth, I have allowed myself to stay true to my authentic style. That doesn't mean you can't find inspiration from others' work who you share a similar style with, but you should always be looking for a way to let your true voice (or the voice of your team) shine through in all of your work. If you are bubbly, be bubbly in your work. If you are thoughtful, be thoughtful in your work. If you are wild and daring, be wild and daring in your work. There are 7 billion people on this planet, so style and art is often going to blend over from one person to the next, and we are all influenced by someone, however, the one thing that makes you unique is YOU. You have thoughts, ideas, dreams, life experiences and visions that make you unlike any one else walking on this planet. Trends can be good for breaking the monotony of the current sensation, and they can give creatives fresh, new ideas. However, there are some trends I will never ever adhere to simply because they in no way convey the style or personality of the Maggie's Misc brand. Plus, I figure if I wait it out long enough another one will come along shortly. Couples: when thinking through your wedding day, think about what makes you and your fiance unique, both individually and together as a couple.   

Each of these photos are different, yet each convey the Maggie's Misc, style, voice, and brand. 

Tip # 3: Create Continuity

All works of art should convey both depth and continuity. This same concept applies to styled photo shoots or weddings. I have seen people get lost in Pinterest land and pin anything that looks pretty and then when you look at their inspiration board there are no elements of cohesiveness or style. When planning your wedding (or photo shoot) stick very close to the theme you have decided on, not straying very far off course. There have been times that I have changed the entire theme altogether because I was being drawn to images that were very far from my original vision. If you are doing, classic, do classic. If you are doing modern, do modern. Don't combine modern, vintage, hipster, rustic, shabby chic, elegant, and classical elements. You know what this gives you? A hot mess. Just because each of those styles may have something that appeals to you, doesn't mean you need to incorporate each of them into your wedding. Sure some elements of modern and hipster may blend, some elements of classical and vintage may blend, but each of those elements should singularly and cohesively make sense for your overall vision. This means thinking through how that vision is conveyed in each step of the planning process. 

Photo by Tiffany Heidenthal Photography from a recent styled shoot we did together called "Our Quirky Love." The photo depicts a sense of continuity in color, theme, and style.

So there you have it. Just a few of the tips I have learned while striving and working to be a better creative. I hope this helps. For questions, please email maggie@maggiesmisc.com. Thanks for stopping by, friends! Happy Friday!

~Maggie ♥

Decorating on a Shoestring Budget: It Can Be Done!

For those of you that have been following along, you know that the first few years of marriage were very financially trying for my husband Don and I. We were tested with three job losses in just under a year and half, large combined student loan debt, and rent that we could not afford. Some of those circumstances were out of our control, and others weren't. It was tough but just like most things in life, when your back's against the wall, you do what "you gotta do". I have always been resourceful but these last few years have kicked it into full swing! I have learned how to save a penny, pinch a penny, stretch a penny, and make a penny. I have learned how to reuse and repurpose all kinds of things and I have also learned the value in spending wisely, investing, and saving. Now I was never "bad" with money, but I was never "good" with it either. I didn't understand the value in buying things discounted or saving for the future. I am still not a big proponent of keeping the purse strings so tight that you never open them because that means you are living in fear. I don't want to live in fear about money, I just want to be smart, give generously, and think ahead. 

On to my point. I started really getting in to decorating in college. I moved into my very first apartment with no roommates during my junior year and it was also at this time that I had just discovered Pier 1. This is not a good combination: college kid + retail shopping. Do not do this at home kids! I have grown and adapted a lot since then and I would not consider myself materialistic as I can be very content with what I have (or don't have). I also prefer to be generous or spend my money on experiences over things. However, I do like a neat, pretty, and welcoming home. Do I need this? No. But I do think you can make your home pretty even with a small budget. You just need to be resourceful and practical. 

I have moved a lot in my life. I once added it up and so far I have moved 35 times in 30 years. How is that possible??? When we moved into this house in January I told my friends and family to question my sanity if I said I was moving again any time soon. I wasn't kidding. Granted a lot of this moving happened in my young adult life as I moved to and from school, moving cities for school or work, and getting married (although we did move quite a bit as a child too). All these moves were stressful but they did mean I got to try my hand at decorating over and over and over again. And if you know me, you know anything that allows me to be creative is a happy place in my books. Read below on just a few ways I have decorated my home on a shoe string budget. 

Keep Your Home Neat + Tidy

The first step in decorating any space is keep it neat and tidy. I don't care if you have the nicest house on the block, if you are a complete slob it will look like a pig pen. Think of inexpensive storing options or having a yard sale to get rid of things you don't want or need. My rule of thumb: if I haven't used it in a year and it's not sentimental, chuck it. Nothing is as distracting in a space as clutter. 

Utilize Your Local Thrift Stores

I know this one is not earth shattering; we do live in the era of thrifting, DIY-ing, and repurposing. Thrift stores are amazing, especially if you have a taste that leans more on the vintage or nostalgic side like I do. However, you have to know which ones to go to. If it has the word antique in the name; chances are the prices will be very high. Keep in mind, antique (unless it's a car) means 100 years or older. Vintage can be as new as 20-25 years old. We have a local thrift store called Class and Trash that I have gone to for everything from shopping for furniture to styled shoots. I found this couch for $95 during our last move and the owner said she believes it's from the 1930's (insert game show bell and eye heart emoji here). The key is going to stores that are constantly getting in new inventory, have an established reputation and online presence, and are willing to negotiate. The nice thing about Class and Trash is that they can even custom build furniture like farm tables and benches if you can't find what you're looking for. I would like to add one thing here: never underestimate a good yard, estate, or garage sale. You honestly never know what gem you may find hiding. As long as something is sturdy and has good bones, you can always make it what you want later.

Repurpose Your Own Decor

Remember what I said earlier about getting rid of things? Don't do this with neutrals or classic patterns. For example, I have a white throw pillow that I bought in 2007 when my style was more earthy, warm tones, and Asian inspired. However, I held on to it, and it still works in my home even though my style has evolved into cool tones, classic, and vintage inspired. Whites, greys, blacks, browns, and even certain shades of blue can work with a variety of different styles and color palettes. Don't be afraid to cut up, take apart, and reuse items. I have a bunch of old windows I got from a house that was in the process of renovating. I just stopped by and asked what they planned to do with the old windows out front and they said they were planning to throw them away. I asked if I could have them and they just gave them to me; 17 of them! I have repurposed (and even sold) some of them into art. I have one hanging in my office that was made out of craft paper, Modge Podge, and wall decals. The whole thing cost maybe $12 and it's perfect for my office space!

The cans were old tin cans that I repurposed for the back of our "getaway car" at our wedding and the filing cabinet was a $9 find at Goodwill. I added a little craft paper to the front and Voila! Now it matches my office and it didn't break the bank! 

Garden on a Budget

I have just recently gotten really, really into gardening. I find it to be quite therapeutic and healing, and it allows me to tap into my creative side with something that is living and organic. I am quite fascinated by it truthfully! But let's be honest. It can be expensive. Very expensive. It could be easy for me to spend a lot of money on gardening because I see it as more of an experience than a thing. However, since we don't have an unending supply of money (and I'm guessing you don't either) and since spending too much money on myself prevents me from being generous, I have discovered a few ways around the expense. One of my favorite flowers growing in my garden right now is a variety of succulents that has beautiful flowers that open and close each day and night. I have honestly never seen some of these colors growing naturally anywhere before and they were only $1.99 for a 4 pack. I planted them in small ceramic pots that I painted and decorated myself which saved tons of money. I also have them sitting in an old palette that was just laying around at a nursery and was going to be thrown away. Go to places like Lowe's, Home Depot, nurseries, even and maybe even junk yards, and look for items that are going to be thrown away. Ask if you can use them, and most people will probably say yes (I've have only been turned down once but that was because the item didn't belong to the store and they had to give it back). You can get really creative here! Think of planting your spices and veggies in an old tire or whiskey barrel. Also, I just discovered that Lowe's has old flowers that haven't been very well taken care of and in need of a little TLC. They have them in the back of the store in their Clearance section. I have found plants for $1, nine for $3, and so on. All they need is a little love and you can bring those babies back to life! 

My mom gave us old black Adirondack chairs from her garden and I threw a little spray paint on them and it added instant color to my backyard!

Embrace Your Unique Style

It can be easy to see images of spotless, beautiful homes and a style that seems sophisticated and flawless and think that discounts your handmade-DIY-thrift-store-stylin design. FALSE! This was something I had to come to terms with recently. Because of my profession, I constantly see images floating around the internet of beautiful spaces, perfectly put together homes, and design that is eye-popping; and as women we don't really need to look for reasons to be insecure right? Don reminded me recently that the people with these designs also have something we don't have: money. Decorate for what your budget will allow and them embrace your style and authenticity! Don't try to live or look like anyone else! Be uniquely you! 

So there you have it. This is just a tiny little bit of what I've done to decorate on a budget but you can see that there's no need to spend a fortune if you are willing to get creative! It may take a little extra time, planning, and effort but your wallet (and peace of mind) will thank you!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

XoXo

~Maggie ♥ 

Design Tips from a Self-Taught Designer

Okay so let's be real - we all have insecurities right? One of the insecurities that I have had to work to overcome since starting out on this journey is the fact that I did not go to school for design. During my time in undergraduate school I studied Art History & Marketing. Granted, I was immersed in the art world even back then as I volunteered in the Slocumb Galleries on campus and helped with installations and exhibits. However, my degree was a B.S, not a B.A. or B.F.A. (So many acronyms!). 

My fondness for art didn't really begin until college. Growing up, I excelled academically in the areas of Science, English, and Writing so the natural assumption was that I was an academic. Book smart if you will. I competed in Science fairs at the state level and went to a Science & Math camp a couple of summers in elementary school. I made straight A's for most of my time in elementary and middle school. However, in high school we were required to take Art classes to graduate. I took Pottery, Drawing, and Fiber Arts. It was Drawing that really stood out to me. I even had one of my ink drawings published in our school publication. However, high school was not my favorite season of life (is it me or did we all feel awkward then?)  -- so these classes were merely something I just had to do.

 A drawing of my goldendoodle, Kasanova from 2012. 

A drawing of my goldendoodle, Kasanova from 2012. 

Fast forward to my first year of college sitting in my first ever Humanities class, learning about ancient cultures and the art, architecture, and artifacts they left behind. I was enthralled. To me, Humanities made art make sense. I wanted more. From there I began my study of Art History, taking as many classes as I could and these were, quite honestly, some of the hardest, most in-depth, and writing intensive courses I have ever taken. Art History is Art, History, Philosophy, Sociology, Humanities, Anthropology, and Math all blended into one. It was also during this time that I began exploring art on my own. I would sit in my living room floor with some Italian music in the background and just paint. It was very cathartic (although some of those first pieces are questionable at best). I enjoyed it but I doubted myself, and that doubt held me back - both in the development of my skills and the artistic risks I would take. I went on like this for quite some time. 

It wasn't until my first job at Chmura Economics & Analytics that my design abilities really started to grow. The owners knew I was interested in art and events, so after many years of working for them as an intern, they made me their Event Planning & Design Consultant. In this role I not only planned their events but they also started delegating graphic design responsibility to me as well. My skill level in Adobe consisted of editing photos in Photoshop but this was the type of job where little direction was given so I simply had to "figure it out". I was challenged to push myself and my limitations. By the time it was all said and done, I had designed all of the marketing material for their conferences, Christmas cards, a logo, my wedding programs, and more: I gained experience in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Little did I know at the time that those skills would help me to eventually design a website for my very own business one day. 

Chmura planted the seed but planning my wedding watered that seed. My mom and I did nearly all of the design work for the wedding ourselves. I could feel this seed of creativity that had been planted inside of me start to take root. I would find that few things brought me as much joy as playing with colors, fabrics, textures, and creating something with my bare hands. After our wedding, and during an especially hard season of life, creativity brought me joy, purpose, calm, and meaning. When I opened my Etsy account last year I had no idea what I was doing but I just started creating. Anything and everything. I found inspiration everywhere. I spent the next year immersing myself in all things design. The more I tried (and failed) the more I learned and the sharper my skills became. The ironic thing was that a byproduct of all this trial-and-error was an increase in my confidence level overall (both personally and artistically). Over this journey of starting my own business I have been challenged more creatively than in my entire life combined. I have played around with interior design, event design, crafts, photography, graphic design, web design, calligraphy, floral design and gardening as of very recently. I am admittedly better at some things than others but I like to push my creativity in all fields so I never stagnate. I am allowing the seed to be continually watered. All the while I can look back and see how far I have come. 

An evolution of my work. 

So if you are just starting out on this creative journey, read below for some tips I have learned along the way. 

  1. Expertise is a process. Give it time and learn as much as you can along the way.
  2. Creativity was not meant purely for our enjoyment. It was meant to bless others. Find a way to love and bless others through your gifts and talents.
  3. While staying true to your style, take risks. My personal style leans more toward classic than trendy, but I want my clients to know that I can accommodate a variety of tastes and styles, so I push myself constantly. I never want to stop challenging myself and stagnate as a result.
  4. Tutorials are your best friend.
  5. Don't compare your skill level. There are people more advanced than me and if I spent my time focused on what they are doing I would live in a constant state of discouragement. Instead, I use it as inspiration to push myself towards becoming better and sharpening my skills. After all, they had to start somewhere and my guess is they have had "fails" along they way as well. (Remember we only see their successes).
  6. Don't let rejection hinder your growth. Whether you draw, paint, act, sing, play an instrument or take photos, these types of careers come under scrutiny and criticism by their very nature. Art and creativity are very subjective. You may hear "no" many times before you hear "yes". That's okay. Keep going. 
  7. Don't be afraid of failure; it's inevitable. I set a high level of expectation for myself and believe in doing my very best in whatever I set out to do. However, I am human. Where would we be if Benjamin Franklin gave up after failing to find electricity? Don't live your life in the dark.
Table setting evolutions. 

So there you have it. I hope this blesses. Keep going dear beloved. You were created with a beautiful, beautiful purpose in mind.

Thanks for stopping by!

XoXo,


~Maggie ♥