The Stag Do was done and dusted. Now, with a few weeks to go until the nuptials, I could focus on building and buying various decorations and gifts for the wedding itself.

The Card

I’ve posted before about my “trilogy” of handmade greeting cards, which the couples received for their respective weddings. Above is the card I made for the newest newlyweds…
A pen drawing coloured in with watercolour paints, based on Potter Puppet Pals, writing (with a quick quotes quill) and… sysadmin stuff (a phone, displaying a monitor, displaying a skull and crossbones). Also featuring their cat in the middle.

I drew it out in pencil on A5 paper, then (to make things more complicated than necessary) scanned it in and moved elements around in Photoshop. I also roughly digitally coloured it.
Then I printed the lines out again at A6 size, with higher contrast, and traced it onto my watercolour postcards via the light box.

I’d run out of the ribbon used on the previous “trilogy” of cards, and it’s no longer sold. Can’t match the old set, then. New, red ribbon it is!

For the unitiated, it’s a Princess Bride quote.

For the lettering inside I switched to watercolour pencils – you can wet the applied pencil to smudge it slightly!
The lettering is a neat font called Wanderlust Letters, with some leaves and a Buttercup added around the edge. Just like the cover, I traced it through using a printed template and a lightbox.

The Gifts

The presents were bought from Etsy. Thoughtfully chosen, but homemade by other people. Except for the letter ornaments below… which the Maid of Honour made, so all credit goes to her.

I’d also like to point out that mums are excellent for neat gift wrapping.

The Photo

The happy couple’s cat couldn’t join them at the venue, and had to stay home alone (awww).
I took one of a mutual friend’s expert photos, and Photoshopped the cat to match the groom’s ‘uniform’ of flat cap and tie-less collar.

(It’s not a coincidence that the outfit resembles Luke’s from the Professor Layton games either.)

This was then printed out at Boots, put into a frame from The Range, and discreetly placed in the Bride and Groom’s rooms for the night before.

I’m watching mew.

The Room

This next section didn’t require too much creativity, but the process still bears mention.

Their honeymoon is to Tokyo, so we decided that the decorations would be Senbazuru. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish, such as happiness, good luck, or long life.

By the time inspiration struck me for this, I would have had to fold masses of cranes a day.
So I ordered them from Etsy. Quickly finding that completed sets can cost hundreds of pounds, I ordered a more “economical” set from halfway across the world…

6,000 miles to go…

They were dispatched late. Then I was given varying arrival dates, which meant the parcel could arrive weeks after the wedding. There was also a language barrier.
I had to formulate a backup plan.

Amazingly, no local florists sold petals! Not even for flower girls? Confetti? Nope.
A few packs of fake ivory petals would have to do, along with some alphabet bunting (arranged to spell ‘MR & MRS’) and a few LED white rose lights to string around the four-poster bed.

I bought some swanky wrapping paper from M&S, express ordered a heart stamp from Amazon, and got to work.

To make them double-sided, I glued the hearts back onto the roll and cut them out again. This was easier to do than expected for a reason that’s hard to describe… 2 layers of paper Vs 1 layer of paper has a certain feeling when working with scissors.

After a couple of nights of this, working away on the living room floor while watching TV, the backup plan was ready.

Then, the day before the wedding, hours before I left for the hotel… the thousand paper cranes arrived.
I was very lucky.

I handed everything over to the hotel staff, with instructions on how to lay things out. I was too busy to go and see the results, and all I’ve got is this little peek from the wedding photographer!

That bwessed awwangement

That’s the end of the wedding post trilogy. I’ll leave you with a photo of my phone case for the day. It’s one of those phone cases that you can put your own photo in, so I took this illustration by RONLEWHORN and adapted it.

Here’s your YouTube link to the Princess Bride reference. MAWWIAGE!


Sword and Shield Stags, Part 2

Part 1 was about the largest (and most fun) props from the Stag Do I hosted last month.
Now onto part 2, which focuses on the smaller props and accessories I made for the par-tay…

A golden hat

The Groom needed to stand out from the rest of us plebs. Sashes are for hens, and this was not the kind of group to all go out in full costume. I ruled out the ‘Helmet of Justice’ from Knightmare because, well, you can’t see where you’re going. That would get old fast.

Being a Discworld fan (and he’s a bit of one himself), I plummed for a Moist Von Lipwig inspired hat… with a bit of local hero Fred Dibnah mixed in.

The base hat was a flat cap from Primark. Four reasons led to this choice:

  1. You don’t want to repaint and cut holes into something pricy, or riun a costly item and need to buy another!
  2. It came in One Size (fits all), so no chance of a cap that’s too small.
  3. The groom had tried it on briefly on our suit shopping trip.
  4. The hats in the costume shop were made of an uncomfortable, hard plastic.

The hat got a couple of coats of Rust-Oleum Gold Fabric Spray Paint – pricy, but works like a charm – while I waited for the golden goose feathers to arrive from Amazon.
Punched some holes through the outer lining of the cap using scissors, then slotted some feathers in. Fanned them out a bit, put a second hole behind the first for another row of feathers… they didn’t even need glueing in!

Modelled here by the groom’s father. Looking sharp!

You there, Lord of the Rings

(stealth Black Books reference there)

I didn’t know everyone attending the Stag Do, so I thought name badges would be a good idea.
That idea then warped into “make them wear Lord Of The Rings character badges”.
This doesn’t help when you don’t know all the character’s names, but what the hey, s’fun.

The top left badge is Peter Jackson’s cameo.

Photos from the internet were printed out, then backed onto gold card and cut out into circles.
The Range (one of the GOAT shops for these tasks) sells adhesive brooch badge backings, so I could turn them into badges on the go.

More importantly, all of them got a pair of googly eyes (except Sauron; he got one).
My favourites included furious Gimli, majestic Shadowfax, and hot Denethor II.

I made more than needing and took them in a bag, letting the stags choose their monicker in a Lucky Dip.

Later on, they were attacked by dinosaur stickers.

Mistah and Missus

A minor one – Mr and Mrs question cards!
A logo I found on Google Images, combined with the Word doc of questions and answers I received from the fiancée, all laid out and spruced up in Illustrator, then printed out onto card and cut out.
For every question the Groom got wrong, he received a rose clip in his hair. He got 4 out of 10 right. Groom looked pretty.

I’ll do one more post about creations for the wedding itself, and then that’s that for these guys…


Sword and Shield Stags, Part 1

Did I mention I was picked to be a Best Man this summer? Well, that happened. Which means that one of my duties was to organize the Stag Do.

Here’s post 1 of 2 about the props I made for my friend’s Stag Do, and a few things I learned along the way.

Picked because:

  • the historical role of the Best Man was to stand guard, in case the adbucted bride’s family came a’knocking,
  • because we’re all nerds,
  • I thought that gently beating the Groom would be funny,

Ladies and Gentlemen… a sword and shield on a budget.

And the nerds rejoiced.

Continue reading

Making Money

This week, the UK’s new Pound Coin entered circulation – Its biggest change in 34 years. While I do have an interest in coins, going to one of a handful of locations to clamour for one of the first in the country? Not that interested. A fancy quid will crop up in my change soon enough.

Left: Old and Busted (1983-2017). Right: New hotness (2017-).

Anyway, money. At work, we have competitions and offers. Some of them have cash prizes, so I had to draw us some coins. The best way, I decided, was to do them in Illustrator with the 3D effect – this let me draw it once, then copy and paste, repeating, resizing and rotating the graphic to add variety.

Partial artwork of Win £500 flyer

My 2015 custard coloured coins – Make it rain!

I’m going to briefly go over how to make a 3D coin in Adobe Illustrator, then talk about the new Pound Coin graphics I created last month.

Continue reading