I like to think of myself as the Sandra Lee of Wedding DIY. I kinda DIY'd my invitations. I kinda DIY'd my OOT bags. I definitely made my own favors, but kinda DIY'd the packaging. Trust me, if I could have made the time to do every single fold, crease and tag punch-out myself, I would have. The reality is that I'm a working girl and did not have the time, so I DIY'd based on what I had available to me. You should too - whether it's from scratch or with a lot of help from planners, friends, family or Michaels. Just make it your own! This is the place for all things DIY!


The Great Cookie Bake


So something I totally underestimated in time was baking all the cookies for our favors. I figured if we started at 9am or so, we'd be done around noon. Plenty of time to chill and hang out afterwards, right? Wrong. We didn't finish until like 2:30pm or so.


First of all, the guys were assembling to go get their tuxedos that morning. In our house. There were only three guys there (The Candyman, his Best Man and my Dad) but it was like there was a tornado of testosterone in the house. The Candyman and The Best Man were threatening each other to a wrestling match. Lots of loud and big smack-talking. Then my Dad made some sweeping, political statement (he refers to himself as a Federalist, The Candyman calls him a crazy, angry Republican) that got The Candyman all up in arms and when those two start a political "discussion" it goes on and on and on and on and on....so I stopped the whole thing by screaming, "EVERYONE NOT BAKING COOKIES, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!" So they left. And it was almost 10am. Damn.

Now, I believe that these cookies are the best effing cookies ever. I have lots of people who have had them who feel the same way. They also fit my color scheme of chocolate brown, ivory and sandalwood. I'll share the recipe at the end (and no, it's not the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe). These cookies are high maintenance to make. There's a ton of prep work.


You have to grind the oatmeal into an oatmeal flour.


You have to beat these up with a hammer so that they are bite size pieces.

You have to mix all the goodies together to make just the right consistency.

You roll them into balls so that they come out the same size, then they have to cool (yeah, this is where I jacked up the timing. I really didn't think that through).

We had two stations going at once, each with a double recipe. That's a lot of freakin' cookie dough, people.

Here's the MOH chronicling the whole affair!

After the cookies cooled, my Mom slid one cookie into a bag and taped it shut. We were able to fit 3 cookies per box, but we did have to squish them down a bit. Since they were all still ever so slightly warm, this didn't hurt them a bit.

I put the cookie recipe on the top, then put the lid back on and slid the pre-tied ribbon back on. Let me say, this was the best thing I did: to pre-tie all those damn bows saved me oodles of time on this project. If you're DIYing a lot of things, try to think of as much stuff to do in advance to save time on projects that can only be done right before the wedding day.

The Amazing Cookie Recipe

2 cups butter, room temperature
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
24 oz. chocolate chips
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla


Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

This is the "official recipe." However, I do not follow it. If you use all of the blended oatmeal, the cookies will be too dry. I generally leave out about half a cup, but I really just go on the taste of the cookie dough (What? A good cook tastes as she goes!). Here's the other important tip: mix the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together in a separate bowl and add that to the butter mixture first. Then slowly add in the oatmeal flour until it's the right consistency.

The Hershey Bar I use is dark chocolate. I've used Ghirardelli dark chocolate too. No difference. Milk chocolate bars mixed with the semi-sweet chips isn't as good - it's too sweet. I also don't grate it. I beat the bars with a hammer to make bigger chunks. Don't do this on your kitchen counter. I go outside and do it on the pavement with the wrapped bars in a plastic bag. I use walnuts for the nuts. Pecans are too sweet. Almonds are just gross. I've tried it, trust me. I also did pine nuts once. That was just weird - they were too oily. The only other variation that I think is slammin' is substituting half of the semi-sweet chocolate chips with peanut butter chips. The Candyman had a food-gasm when I made them this way. The best advice I can give is to make sure there is always more "stuff" in each rolled ball than dough. Consider the dough just an adhesive to keep all the chocolate and nuts together.

All of this took us a lot longer than we thought. If I had borrowed an extra cookie sheet, we could have finished a lot sooner as we could have had double batches baking at the same time. As we were finishing, the guys had come back from tuxedo-fitting and cheese-burger-eating and were smack-talking in the living room while the girls slaved away in the kitchen. Typical. :)

You know what? I know this recipe by heart. I do. I just went back and looked at the template I used for the recipe card I put in the favor boxes. It's not right. Eh? I'm wondering if the version I actually printed is the same one I just looked at. I know I halved the recipe for the cards, maybe I jacked it up by doing that? OK, how freakin' lame would that be if I gave all my guests the wrong recipe??? Perhaps the only upside to that is that no one will be making them as well as I do! Well, except for all you people I just gave the recipe to. :) Oh crap. Oh well. Enjoy!

P.S. If you received one of the favors and note that the recipe is wrong. Please don't tell me. Just use the correct recipe above. Denial is sweet, as are these cookies.




Bending in the Wind

So yesterday I got yet another huge project dumped on me at work. Yay! Again, do these people not know I'm getting married in FIVE DAYS?????

Anyway, I sprint out of work to meet The Candyman at our therapist's office for our last pre-marital session. It was pretty cool! She asked us all sort of questions about when and how we knew the other was "the one," what we wanted the other to know on our wedding day, what we thought our thoughts would be. It was a great exercise! Afterward, I hauled my cookies over to a restaurant to meet a client for dinner and then bolted home. There, I found an email from the mother of my MOH (they have been driving across country this week, visiting friends and making their way to Nashville) saying that she and her husband would be arriving in Nashville a day early. RUT-RO (said in my best Scooby voice)!

God forbid folks check in without the OOT bags available to hand out! What is the point of the OOT bag, I ask you, if it is not there at check in? The whole idea of the OOT is therefore blown to bits. OK, so maybe not blown to bits. Perhaps I'm being a bit too dramatic. Perhaps.

At any rate, The Thirty-Something Bride needed to organize herself and fast! All the bags were on the living room floor in a sea of cotton totes. I know I have more than I need, but I did not know exactly how many people were coming when I started ordering stuff. Oh well. I could have waited and saved a few bucks, but then I'd by scurrying around more now than I already am. I think that's worth a few extra dineros - in hindsight.

The problem was that I needed to replace the old OOT Welcome Letter with the new one. Since I totally FAILED at getting all the pertinent info on the first round, I had to reprint. No biggie though as it was super fast. However, I didn't have enough little sticky things to close them, so I wasn't sure what to do about that. I was going to head over to Michael's to find inspiration, but it came to me on my own for once.

I still have left-over card stock, so I found a cute design over on Martha Stewart, and totally lifted it into Publisher and made my own label in my own color, with my own font, etc. I laugh at the "print only" on-line templates! *Muah, ah, ah!* I used my left-over glue dots and just made a quick seal-like thing. No, this wasn't really a new project, but a re-do project. Big diff. ;)

The Candyman pulled all the old letters and stuffed the new letters for me. So sweet. I do believe it might have been a little too much OOT for the poor Candyman.

So I started trying to organized which bags went where since people are kinda staying all over the place (part of this I totally get, the other part, not so much). I had made a few bags with some extra stuff - for the folks who were staying longer or who had kids and such and I was confusing the hell out of myself. I decided on another quick fix, just to keep from losing my mind. I ran upstairs, typed guests last names into a format I used for my favor thank you tags and printed. I punched out the names with my tag puncher thingy, punched holes in them and ran some extra ribbon through them so I could tie them onto the bags. That way, I knew which bags were to be delivered where and which to stuff extra stuff into. The whole process probably took me an extra 15 minutes, tops.


I think they are kinda cute! I dropped two groups of bags off at two of the hotels this morning. One lady was so sweet, the other, not so much. I don't know why this bothered me, but as I was handing over my totes, delicately, by the handles. She was just grabbing at them on the sides, knotting the bags up in her sweaty little fist (I'm sure it was sweaty). I mean, hello woman! Do you not know how much work I just put into these? Then, she was just tossing them on the floor. Oh no, she did not just do that. The last group I handed over to her, she went to grab at them and I pulled them away from her sweaty little palms and gave her the Icy Stare of Death and said nothing. She looked at me, cocked her head in confusion, the light came on and she reached again for the handles and placed them nicely on the ground. I smiled sweetly, thanked her and left. Do not underestimate The Thirty-Something Bride's Icy Stare of Death.


I just got off the phone with my MOH's mom! I think she'll be here in time to have lunch with me!!!!!! It's starting people, it's starting. Hang on, it's going to be a wild ride!!!!!




Our bad-ass ride.



First, I called Reggie today, our day-of driver-extraordinaire. We had originally planned for a 6:15pm pick up, but we needed to move it up to 6pm. I love talking to Reggie. I can't wait to meet him. How weird is that? Every time we get on the phone, I'm like chatting with the guy for an hour. He told me that he drove Holly Williams (grand-daughter to legendary Hank Williams) and her new husband this past weekend. They got married at historic Cedarwood. Amazing. I hope someone posts some pictures soon. Apparently, Kid Rock sang some tunes at the wedding. Pretty bad-ass, I'd say!


Things at Casa de Candyman and The Thirty-Something Bride are a little on the stressful side, but only because we're getting down to the wire and have a bunch of bullshit we have to deal with like insurance adjusters, car rental people, car dealerships and all that goes with one getting their car stolen. Happily, all we need to do now is wait for our reimbursement check and we are all set. Whew! Done! Who else has that crap on their to-do list?

Remember how I said I wasn't going to do the match boxes? I lied. I've been working on them sporadically and I finished them this weekend. They are cute as hell. I'll bet no one even notices them! I love them though and it was a good mindless-in-front-of-the-TV-activity.

On Saturday I delivered all the floral crap to my florist. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have all those bud vases OUT of my house. I sold a portion of them to her for the same price I bought them for (actually a smidge more as we just took off her delivery and set-up fee off the cost of our bill). Nice. After the wedding, I'll be selling 85 more, so get ready.

I also put together the centerpiece for the kid's table. I wanted to do something sort of fun for them. I really wasn't sure what, but I knew it would have something to do with candy. Last week I headed over to Party City, just to get ideas. I got one. I bought these crazy lollipops with really long plastic stick-things that were $.33 each. I also bought this gigantic bag of candy for $9.99.


Mmmmm, SweeTTarts and Smarties. I can make myself sick off those things!



I poured most of the candy into one of those glass hurricanes I was contemplating using as a centerpiece oh, so many months ago. Then I used the long "stemmed" lollipops like "flowers." I also went to the dollar store and bought a big bag of Pixie Sticks to use as "filler." My florist would be so proud of me.....


I'm going to take the extra candy and just scatter it all over the table too. Instead of the formal boxed favors, I'm going to put out boxes of Cracker Jacks I got for $.50 at Wal-Mart. Fun! These kids are going to be so jacked up on candy that by the time they get to the dance floor, they'll be going nuts! It's going to be awesome. I'm sure their parents will be so pleased....

I also got the drink menus printed out to put at the bar. It took me forever, but I FINALLY decided on the red wines. I bought a case of Puerto Viejo Reserve Pinot Noir (it will pair well with our chicken dish), two cases of Jean Bousquet Malbec (it's a favorite that I got ON SALE!) and a case of Dancing Bull Zinfandel because it was kick-ass cheap and actually, pretty darn tasty.

The Candyman and I also went to a party where I got a little sauced and I connected with a groovy chick who might get me involved in an area (business related) that I've been contemplating for a while now. We also went out for sushi. Our sushi guy made us this:

It was a really busy weekend, but it was a good weekend. The sun FINALLY came out on Sunday and it remains shining today. I wonder if it'll hold another 13 days??? Keep those fingers crossed people! Hope everyone had as good a weekend as I did. I'm tired, but in a good way.


Make it Stop!

I think I need a DIY intervention. Now.

Today, the office folks are taking me out to a celebratory wedding lunch! Nice! I thought it would be a great time to casually invite the group to our Pre-Wedding/Rehearsal Gathering. Casually.

That is until I woke up this morning at 4:30 am, unable to sleep. Again. Please note that I took a Benadryl AND a Tylenol PM last night. Ha! I laugh in the face of these so-called sleep inducing drugs.

So, I'm laying there, snuggling up to The Candyman and starting to toss and turn and I know I've got to be disturbing him. No sense in both of us not sleeping, so I got up. I contemplated the gym for about a half a second, then realized that I couldn't quite breath through my nose yet and quickly dismissed that crazy thought.

I'm never really quite ready for Mafia Wars or Scramble on Facebook that early, so I sat at the computer, contemplating what used to be my sewing table, which is now covered in PWC (Piles of Wedding Crap). I was staring aimlessly at the remaining card stock and cute little ivory flowers I have left over and......it happened. Another project. But it was a really small one, I swear! Here, see for yourselves.

I just whipped up a little invite for those folks not invited to the wedding. I only needed a few of them (our office is small).

I just used a pretty little font, similar to what I've used throughout my other wedding stuff, but this one is more swoopy. Swoopy - look it up.
I stuck a little flower on it with my left over flowers and glue dots.
I printed two per sheet and used my paper-cutter I bought at JoAnn's (on sale, thank you) to cut in half.
I used my Martha Stewart bone folder (Michael's, on sale) to fold in half.

I used my heart hole punch (Michael's, with coupons) and the left-over ribbon (Michael's, with coupons) to close them up the same way I did my fun registration booklets.

I had purchased the "All You Need Is Love" stamp out of the $.99 bin at Michael's, but never used it. Until this morning around 5am.

It's not too bad, right? Or do I need the aforementioned intervention?


Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

Before I was so rudely interrupted by hideous, mindless thievery, I was talking about my fabulous girl's weekend I had last week! Now, where was I?

I mentioned eating our way through the sushi menu at Peter's. I mentioned getting our first wedding present (so cool) and I think that's where we had truckus-takeus-interruptus.

Saturday morning I headed over to my friend Jan's house where Kathy was staying for the weekend to help us with OOT bags (The Candyman's aunt asked him not too long ago, "What's an oot bag? Not O.O.T, but saying oot. That's what we call them now, our "oot bags."). I was greeted with mimosas. Not a bad way to start the day, I must say.

Just a few updates on the details:
Natural covered tote bags from CheapTotes.com, $.79 each.
Iron-on transfers from Micheal's using my trusty coupons, about $.80 each.
A plethora a goodies I collected from Costco over a few months:

  • RiceKkrispie Treats
  • Blow Pops
  • Bottle Water
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Lance Cheese & Crackers
  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Double Mint Gum
  • Mini Candy Bars
  • A Map of Tennessee (free from AAA!)
  • Welcome Letter

I added the welcome letter at the last minute because we've had SO many questions about the weekend activities that I figured I've save us some phone calls once people start arriving. It includes events, times and directions. Hopefully, it will help - if people read them. I threw those together at the last minute using my pile of left-over card stock and little confetti flowers from my invitations. I love those little things.


The total cost of the Costco goodies was about $70, but I spread that out over a good bit of time, just buying random things here and there during my regularly scheduled Costco trips. Each bag cost approximately $3.34. It ended up being a little bit more than I had planned (I was aiming for $2.75), but since we only did 40 of them it wasn't a huge cost hit. I think if we were doing large quantities, I might have forgone some of the goodies. We had PLENTY!

Once we'd had a little a.m. mimosa, we plugged in the iPod, our irons and got to work. I will say this: the iron-on directions that come with the transfers are a bunch of BULLSHIT. We messed up a few before we realized this. It says you should NOT run the iron across the transfer as if you were ironing it, but just place the iron, pick it up and place again. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Happily, the font and style of the bags leans towards an antique type of feel, so the ones we messed up really don't look that bad. Besides, anyone looking close enough has way too much time on their hands.

Jan ironed all the bags flat (I had washed them because that's what the direction said to do. Now, I'm thinking I could have skipped it) and Kathy and I ironed the transfers on.


Jan, ironing.


Kathy and The Thirty-Something Bride ironing on the transfers.

Ta-da! This one actually has a place where it's messed up (can you find it?).



Jan helped me fold and seal all the letters and then we stuffed.

The Loot!



Thankfully, Jan is letting me keep these at her house until we take them to the hotels. Whew!



We started the whole process around 10:30 am and finished before 1pm. Many hands, make light work. That would have taken me ALL DAY to finish that project. We had enough time to go shopping....


More on that later!

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