Friday, March 20, 2009

Monogrammed Gifts

I have a wedding shower to attend this weekend, and it will mark the first of 4 that I have in the next 2 months. Wedding showers are always such a weird event, especially if you aren't a direct relative of the bride. They are all so different, and the food and games always vary based on the bride's family. When a friend got married a year ago I was surprised that after 12 years of knowing her, I didn't know many of the people at the shower. Of course that wasn't much of a surprise when after her arrival she ran up to me and exclaimed, " who are these people?". I've always said that I would never want to celebrate my impending marriage with people who didn't know me, and therefore couldn't really support our union. I understand however that there are often those "farther removed but still important relatives," and those "friends of friends that should get an invite". I'm afraid to admit that I fall into that last category with this weekend's shower. The bride and groom are great friends of my boyfriend's, and in the last few years have become friends of mine as well. Of course, we see them mostly at Superbowl parties, camping trips and the occasional birthday bash. I would consider them good friends, and Johnny is very close with them. So much so in fact that he is an usher in their wedding, which is probably largely how I got the invite to the shower in the first place. Of course I'm excited to go, and the groom happens to be the brother of Johnny's best friend, so I'm familiar with a lot of his family. A number of my girlfriends are going, and really it's always nice to get dressed up and sit in a room full of women trading advice and funny stories. The problem comes however in the gift buying. I just hate to stick with the safe, buy off of the registry. I understand that the registry allows the couple to choose the items that they need and would get use of, but it just feels so impersonal for you to tell me what to get you. Even still, I always stick with the registry for the basics, and than add some personal touches. It was upon thinking of ways to add a touch of personality to the gifts that I realize that I know almost nothing about this couple. I helped to paint when they first moved in, but they are currently flipping a house which means there are no color themes to work with, or even decorations to provide. I know that the bride makes a great chowder, but that doesn't really help me find a good gift for her now does it? Than it hit me, I'm just going to have to make something.

That's were the glasses came into play. I decided to buy some glassware and monogram it myself. I started with the basics, 2 wine glasses, 2 small tumblers and 2 large chalices. For a bachelorette party I threw in the fall, I hand painted all of the shot glasses as favors so I knew that this project wouldn't be hard and I already had the necessary tools. Tools meaning paint pens, because really that's all I used. I found the wine glasses for $2 a piece, the chalices for $1 a piece and the tumblers were a great $0.50 a piece, which made me feel better about the project. If it failed miserably on me, it wouldn't be a total financial loss. From there I grabbed some newsprint and wrote out as many different M's as I could think of. When I had decided on 3 different one's that I liked, I got to painting. The pens work just like markers so it is as simple as your average doodle and in a matter of minutes you have a personalized glass.

I decided to stick with simple for the wine glasses so I used the black and white to create a shadow effect. I surrounded the brim of the tumblers in hearts with the M as the centerpiece. The chalices are flanked in M's with little white dots between each. The entire project took a combined hour at most. I let them dry and than wrapped them up in tissue paper with a little note attached to each set. The wine glasses said " For your Fancy Wines", the Chalices said " For your Fancy Beer" and the tumblers read " For your Fancy Orange Juice". I figure even if the couple never actually use the glasses, the guests tomorrow will all oo and ahh and ask if I made them myself, and the bride will appreciate the effort. I got them the needed towels and washcloths as well and really those are the core of the gift, these just provide that little personal touch.

I always give wedding gifts in a laundry basket, because I firmly believe that you can't have too many laundry baskets. They are usually affordable and everyone could use an extra one laying around the laundry room or bathroom. I wanted to spice up the white basket a bit so I strung ribbon in the holes by weaving the different strands in and out of the holes and ending in a big bow. The wedding colors are black and white so I didn't have much color to work with, so I thought the pink diamond ribbon that was used for my sisters baby shower diaper cake would be a simple touch of color, and I had just enough ribbon left to weave the three rows in the basket.
On a funny side note, I found at a local store this week bins full of initial note pads and cards. With so many weddings coming up I couldn't help but stock up, and at a dollar a piece they were a great find. I put down my basket and quickly started sifting through the stacks. I needed M for this weekend and D and F for the upcoming showers. Of course, D and M are letters that apparently weren't expected to be big sellers because I sifted for half an hour before I was able to find one set of cards for each letter. I decided on getting 2 of the card sets, in 2 different colors for each shower and a magnetic memo pad as well to go with. I thought that they would be a cute touch to the top of a present, and I was only spending $9 and getting a head start so it was a great find. That is of course until I started to take the price tags off the M boxes today and discovered that they were W's. The cards open horizontally so I couldn't even begin to fake the W's as M's. In my dissapointment I quickly started racking my brain, who do I know that has a last name with a W that I can save these for? Maybe a future birthday gift, or does anyone date a W last name? The answer.. only one person. Me. Johnny has a W last name so I gave him a quick call. " Good news hunni, you just have to propose to me because I already bought our Thank You cards. " Luckily he laughed at me and said, " well at least they won't go to waste", but I couldn't help but to smile at my elementary mistake. 30 minutes staring at the cards and I couldn't tell that the M in my hand was upside down. Chalk it up to the dry air in a mall blurring my vision, or to my subconscious need to prepare for events that havent even yet occured in my life :)

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