Archive for the 'Wedding' Category

DIY Wedding Pinwheels

My first crafting blog post!  I want to share how I went about creating these whimsical and colorful over-sized pinwheels that we used to outline the aisle for our wedding ceremony.


Awww…our awesome ceremony location.  Minimal decorations needed.



Here are some of our large pinwheels up close.  Each one was different.

Making these are easy. But getting them to actually spin was a bit tricky for me.  I played around with a few designs, but found the best way to get the pinwheel to freely spin…was using a wine cork.  Follow along…

Here’s what you need:

  • Paper! Cardstock weight works best, not too thin, not to thick.  Whatever paper you use, has to be cut into a perfect square (or already come that way)
  • Spray craft glue
  • Pencil with eraser
  • Ruler
  • Exacto knife
  • 1/8” hole punch
  • Brad nails (not actual brads, but the little small, thin nails).  It needs to have a bit of head to it.
  • Buttons (with holes just big enough for the nail base to go through, but not the head)
    • Each pinwheel needs two buttons
  • 1/4” dowel (the thickness depends on how large your plan to make your pinwheel – the bigger the pinwheel, the thicker the dowel).
    • In terms of height, the dowel we used was at least 3ft tall – since we wanted them to stick high out of the ground
  • Wine cork with a hole drilled in the bottom just enough for the dowel to fit nice and snug in there.
  • Optional: Hot glue gun and decorative item to hide the button (I found these cute silver heart brads at Michaels.  I just snapped off the brad part)

Here’s what you do with all this stuff:

1. I used 12 x 12 craft paper.  For each pinwheel, I chose two complimentary colors and some even had Hawaii-theme designs.

2. Glue the two pieces of paper together – so that each side shows the color/design you want.  This is where the spray craft glue is critical. It’s a bit messy and sticky, so do this in a well-ventilated area, but also where you have space to lay things out.

3. Using a ruler, find the exact center and mark it.  Eventually you’ll need to poke a hole through the center.  (I used a small thin brad nail, as it needed to be strong enough to go through two sheets of paper)

4. As you’d typically construct a pinwheel – at each corner, you need to cut a straight line about 1/2 way from the corner to the center.  I marked each endpoint, and then used a ruler and Exacto knife to make a perfect and straight line.  (Some templates have you cut down nearly to the center.  Just figure out what works best for your pinwheel).

5. Using a 1/8” hole punch, I punched a hole in each corner.  Make sure to place the hole on the same flap side (because each corner is cut and now has two flaps).  (The asterisks you see in above diagram).

6. Now this is where it gets tricky.  Take your nail and “thread” it through a button.  Fold over your flaps so the holes meet in the center hole.  Take the nail (with the button) and insert that into the hole.  You should have a full pin wheel and the nail is helping you hold it together)

7. Now take another button and slide it over the nail on the opposite side.  (You should have a button on both sides now)

8. Take your pinwheel (that you are still holding) and the wine cork.  Push very hard the nail into the wine cork.  Have it go as deep as possible.  This is why you need a shorter nail, otherwise it’ll just pierce through to the other side.

9. You can now insert the dowel into the end of the cork where you’ve previously drilled a hole.

10. You should now have a fully assembled pinwheel!  AND You should be able to hold it and spin it.  The button nearest the wine cork, gives the pinwheel just enough space so that it will spin without hitting the dowel.  (If you didn’t have the button or some other spacer, the pinwheel wouldn’t spin very easily.  Now, if you could care less about that…then you can just hot glue the pinwheel directly to the dowel).

11. To hide the button on the front, I took a small silver heart and glued it on the button.

There you go!

We also did paper pinwheels instead of flowers for our reception room.  These did NOT spin.  We kept these much simpler.  Three colors, but not double-sided.  Three different sizes.  And each glued to a small dowel).

We did use the silver heart brads to keep the pinwheel flaps together.


Since we were going for a whimsical feel – we used mason jars filled with beach sand and arranged three pinwheels per jar.  It was so cute!

The mystery gift

So I have a bit of a mystery to share with you.  It’s more of a “who gave it?” rather than a “who done it?” type of mystery.

Here are a few elements of the story that are important to know:

  • Our wedding was wayyyyy back in February.  And I opted not to have a bridal shower (although I ended up having a small one with just a small circle of ex-WaMu ladies). 
  • We registered at Macy’s

Here is the mystery.  In late June, a box from Macy’s was waiting on our doorstep.  Sure, not a big deal – perhaps a late wedding gift.  When we opened it, we found this:

oval bowl

The Rosenthal Oval bowl from Macy’s.  Yes, something that was on our registry.  Such a pretty, big, serving bowl.


We obviously wanted to know who this generous gift came from so that we could send the appropriate “thank you” card.  So we read the little note that came with the bowl. 


Hmmm.  We don’t know a Julie and Tim.  We even Googled them.  Tried to find them on Facebook.  Nothing.


In addition to this note, there was the gift receipt that showed the full name and address of “Julie and Tim.”  Even with a last name, we don’t know them.  And we certainly don’t know anyone living in the city that was listed as their address. 

Our first thought was that there must be another Lisa or Micah (or some combination of our last names) registered at Macy’s.  Well, the answer is no. 

And upon further investigation, the card reads” “Sorry to miss the shower!”  We didn’t have a shower – or certainly one that anyone named “Julie and Tim” would have been invited to.  Additionally, the language on the card suggests that the shower is in the future – otherwise, it would have read “Sorry we missed the shower.” 

Here’s the best couple of theories we have as to what the heck happened:

1. "Julie and Tim” really do know a Lisa and Micah getting married.  They assumed Lisa and Micah were registered at Macy’s.  So they look at Macy’ – find a Lisa and Micah registered there and quickly click on the link without double checking to make sure it’s the “right” couple.  They see the Rosenthal Oval Bowl – still left to be fulfilled – on the registry.  Cool…it’s on sale.  What a perfect shower gift.  Add to cart, ship to couple (the address remains hidden to the buyer), and add a nice note.  Done and done.

2. “Julie and Tim” are two funny people who just LOVE sending registry gifts to random couples they don’t know.  We just happened to be the lucky recipients of their latest hijinks. 

Obviously, this raised a dilemma for Micah and me.

Do we send “Julie and Tim” a thank you card?

  • If we do send one – do we acknowledge that we don’t know them…but thank them anyway?  Do we run the chance of them actually knowing us and being offended that we are saying we don’t know them?  (Could we possibly know a “Julie and Tim” – and they have merely slipped through the cracks of our brain and we have forgotten these long lost friends?)
  • Or, do we not send a thank you card and just return the gift to Macy’s, as to keep our consciences clear?  The problem with this choice is that the real intended recipients of “Julie and Tim’s” gift – they may never know that “Julie and Tim” had sent them something.  And then in turn, they never send “Julie and Tim” a thank you card.  And in turn, “Julie and Tim” become a little upset that their generosity was not appreciated.  And in turn, “Julie and Tim” decide they don’t want to attend the wedding either.  Thus, a potential friendship is destroyed.  Ack…no thanks.  That just feels like a karma-mishap in the making.

What did we do?

We ended up talking to a person at Macy’s and explaining our situation.  She had said she’s never heard of such a thing happening before.  But she recommended we send “Julie and Tim” a thank you note anyway, but acknowledge in there that perhaps they sent the gift accidentally to the wrong people.  In the meantime, she told us to keep the bowl.  Woo hoo!  (It’s not like the “other” Micah and Lisa actually wanted this bowl).

So that is precisely what we did.  Micah crafted a nice thank you message that showed appreciation for the wonderful gift…and then at the bottom of the card – that’s where we included the point of “uh…we don’t know you.  Please contact Macy’s to get this sorted out.”  (Not written so bluntly of course).  The bowl has been sitting on  our countertop – doing a wonderful job of looking pretty and holding our Costco bag of onions.

It’s been a good six weeks, and still no return word from “Julie and Tim” Sad smile There was this small part of me thinking – maybe “Julie and Tim” are super cool people who will write us back – and we’ll become pen pals, and then friends, and then laugh at the hilarious circumstances of our friendship.  Okay…that’s a stretch.  But still – we were hoping for some type of response. 

Part of me is considering “paying it forward” – or a quasi-version of it.  Maybe we’ll randomly find a couple’s wedding registry – send the couple a gift, and then see what they do. 

So my super-sleuth readers – is there another more plausible theory out there for me to consider?  What would you have done?

In case you forgot…

…we got married about eh…6 months ago!!!  Fine, 5.5 months ago. 

We seriously had such an amazing time.

From homemade sausage-making:



To meeting up with friends at Dave & Busters:



To our awesome pre-wedding BBQ:



To our crazy separate bachelorette/bachelor parties-Hawaii edition:



To our fun and memorable wedding:


And of course the party that followed:



And that was our wedding.72

And here ya go for those wanting the condensed version.  All our wedding day hoopla, in about 6 minutes.  (If the video doesn’t load right, you can click here to go to the site to view.

Lisa & Micah Wedding Highlights (New) from WE Media Services on Vimeo.

Rooney to Roonaka to…Tanaka!

We are finally making the rounds to officially change my last name.  Apparently, changing it on Facebook is not “official” enough.  And I say “we” because I didn’t feel this process should be my responsibility alone.  It’s something that impacts me a great deal, and requires a good bit of effort to make happen – there’s no reason husbands can’t shoulder some of that burden.  Micah was happy to oblige.

With that said, Micah has been researching away at all the different forms to fill out, offices to visit, websites to check out, rules, regulations, etc. etc.  This has been quite helpful as this is stuff I don’t have to do! 

On Friday, we embarked on step #1.  A visit to the Social Security office to request a new card with my new last name. 


We lucked out.  The office was just a few blocks from Micah’s work.

We only had to wait five minutes or so…and then a few minutes of the employee plugging away at the computer.  Done and done!  My new card will arrive soon (which is a good thing since I can’t for the life of me find my original one) and now, according to the government…I’m a Tanaka!

Next step…the oh so fun visit to the DMV!  Seriously dreading this one…some of the offices in Seattle regularly have two to three hour wait times.  Shoot. Me. Now.

Bachelorette party, yurt-style

Just came back from a super fun overnighter bachelorette party for my friend Karen.  (She was a bridesmaid in our wedding and I’m one in hers in…just about a month from now).

She opted for a girl’s getaway filled with wine tasting, delicious food eating, yoga and…yurts at Cave B Inn, which is located on the Cave B Estate Winery in Eastern Washington near Quincy, WA.

I’ve never stayed in a yurt before, and really – didn’t know what one looked like.  I can’t say all yurts out there are quite as luxurious as the ones we stayed in though.


YURTS! It’s basically a hybrid of a small wood cabin + tent.  Some have electricity (ours did), some include bathrooms (ours did), and some even have TVs (ours did not).


Inside our yurt.  It was surprisingly big.  It had a queen bed, plus a leather semi-sectional sofa to the side, mini-fridge, and small table.

And check out the bathroom! It’s huge!! (The toilet is hidden but to the right).  This sucker is bigger than our own master bath!

So those were our yurts. Really fun way to go. They were a bit of a hike from the main parts of the winery and inn – which made it a pain to drop off your bags since we couldn’t park cars near there. 

For those who aren’t so yurty – Cave B did also have actual nice, bedroom units that dot the hillside and have an amazing view of the Columbia River.

IMAG0081We learned that this whole region was carved out in only 129 years by the melting and subsequent flooding of a massive glacier in Missoula, MT (some 13,000+ years ago).  The virulent floodwaters carved out the series of canyon-like channels that are abundant in this region.  Normally, extreme landscape change such as this would take thousands of years…so 129 is pretty damn spectacular!

Ok, less nerd – more summary of the weekend.  I’ll just touch on the highlights.

Group yoga: Upon arrival, about eight of us did some 90 min of group yoga.  We had our own private instructor and he led us through a series of common and not so common yoga moves.  It was fun and very low key and relaxing (there wasn’t the pressure of having to be a perfect yogi).  

Wine tour: After checking in to our yurts – and having the weather take a serious sour turn, we embarked on our private wine tour.  The really awesome thing was having the owner of the estate lead the tour for us girls. He gave us lots of really interesting stories of his estate, education about wine and wine-related geography and was fascinating to listen to.  I will impart one of his educational tidbits upon you:

  • A wine estate refers to a winery in which the grapes are grown and harvested on the property, and the wine is made and bottled on the property.  A 100% internal operation from start to finish.  Pretty cool.
  • Okay, one more thing. In the U.S. (with its vast ability to import wines from pretty much every region in the world), there are about 80,000+ wines that consumers can choose from.  Ouch – that’s some harsh competition.

Wine blending: After our tour, we went to the tasting room where we had the opportunity to blend our own wines and eat cheese and crackers.  Since my wine knowledge is quite limited, I just enjoyed sampling the different wines – and let others play mixologist. 

Mix away! Or do as I did…drink a little of this, with a little of that. Smile

Dinner: We moved on to dinner-time, despite stuffing ourselves silly with previous activity’s cheese and crackers.  Our dinner consisted of a three-course AMAZING dinner – each paired with different wines. It was so much fun and each course was seriously awesome.

Bachelorette festivities!  Sorry, what happens in Karen’s yurt, stays in Karen’s yurt. Smile  We opened some gifts, played some party-appropriate games, and stuff like that.  Oh, and got about five noise warnings.  Seriously, these yurts have ZERO sound minimizing ability…but we were having a party, and we’d been drinking wine for the past four hours!

Spa time: The following morning, some girls opted for massages at the spa (myself included).  It was so nice and relaxing!

Pool time: The weather was hot and sunny for oh…long enough for me to decide to go to the pool and lay down for about 15 minutes.  Then it got cloudy and cold.


That’s all folks.  A super fun weekend for a super fun bachelorette!

Bridal time baking

My dear friend Karen is getting married in June – and we just had her bridal shower yesterday.  As being one of the bridesmaids, I of course, offered up my help in hosting the shower…in the form of providing all the desserts! 

Now, I struggled with identifying the right mix and amount of desserts to bring.  I could have just ordered some cupcakes from one of the many awesome cupcake places around Seattle – but what fun is that?!  Instead, I mixed it up a little – literally.  I made each of the four desserts – some old favorites, some new.  Here’s what I ended up bringing – and I must say (fine, fine, LOUDLY brag) they were all HITS!

1. Oreo Truffles.  These things are so easy to make, yet is always a major crowd pleaser.  It was a happy day when I discovered these delectable bites on Bakerella a few years ago. 


I’ve raved about these before on my blog.

2. Coconut cake.  You gotta love Paula Deen.  I was tempted to make the ridiculously time-consuming Martha Stewart coconut cake version – but realized, that’s crazy Lisa, and opted for the more time-friendly Paula Deen version – but even implemented more shortcuts. 

I had never made this cake before – which is a little stressful since this was going to be the “showcase” dessert for the shower.  You know, the ones that bring the “oohs” and “aahs.”  But I was a determined bridal shower baker.

Some of the changes I made: I used a vanilla-flavored boxed cake mix (gasp!!!  Oh hush!).  My plan was to add a teaspoon of coconut extract to the boxed mix, but oops…forgot that step.  But instead, I added the extract to the filling part – and it was delish!  I also toasted up a bunch of the coconut and completely covered every last part of the frosted cake.  That made a huge difference in adding to the coconutty flavor.  Oh – and I didn’t do three layers, just two – and that was just fine especially considering I only own two round cake pans, not three. 

I have to say brag again – this cake was damn good.  Super moist and a great coconut flavor and texture.  Make it, love it, and workout extra hard the next day. Smile

I should have used my pretty cake platter, but was worried about what it would do during transport.  It was nerve-wracking enough making sure the top layer didn’t slide right off while in the car. 

3. Brown butter toffee blondie bites.  Now, I couldn’t NOT channel my inner Martha Stewart (it IS a bridal shower after all).  So, I set about to make this recipe (which again, was new to me)

The hardest part of this recipe is getting the butter to brown, not BURN.  It takes patience and never taking your eye off the butter!  I highly recommend researching how to brown butter BEFORE you attempt to do it – as opposed to what I did: brown the butter, think it’s ruined, start looking for a new recipe to make, get curious and Google “how to brown butter,” realize my brown butter is in fact correctly browned, and then resume making these blondies.

To make them a little prettier than my typical hand cut way (which results in not very evenly-sized squares), I took a small round biscuit cutter (or use whatever small cutter you have) and made them into little circle bites.  Very cute!  Oh – and I substituted chopped pecans for the chopped walnuts. 

4. Lastly, I felt some fruit was in order.  So, I went with a platter of strawberries and pineapple – and made this delicious whipped fruit dip.

Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of the dip.  But, it’s dip.  Not much to it.

The recipe I used was easy to follow, but the end result was a little too runny.  So I added about a half cup of cream cheese to the mix, a few more sprinkles of sugar – and it was perfect!  Good enough to just eat with a spoon – but don’t do that…it’s not yogurt people!

In the end – I felt these four desserts made for perfect palette pleasers.  Sweet, fruity, light, chocolatey – everything you crave for with desserts was covered.

The hard part – making it all!  I did all of this after work on Friday evening – with the shower being the next day.  Oh…and the even harder part, the resulting cleanup – there was a hurricane of flour, sugar, bowls, beaters, and pans that was not met with open arms.  But that’s where happy husband comes in to rescue me!

Further evidence of my baking obsession – I made my gift for Karen baking-themed!  A super cute mixing bowl, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a very delicious red velvet Barefoot Contessa cupcake mix.

One of our favorite wedding gifts

First off, let me say that we loved and appreciate all the wedding bounty we received.  We are very grateful for all the amazing kitchen equipment, gadgets, Hotel Collection towels, wine glasses, cutlery, place settings, gift cards, money, etc. etc. 

With that said, I am going to call out one particular gift that we just happen to LOVE LOVE LOVE!


The Cuisinart Countertop Water Filter and Cooler

This thing is awesome.  The one we have holds two gallons of water and sits nicely on our countertop.  At the press of a button – you can have cold water, room temp water, or hot water.  And it’s hot hot water – perfect for tea anytime. 

We got so used to having a nice hot/cold water filtration system while we were living in Korea.  So we looked into the best options for having one at home.  We weren’t looking to go office-style cooler – you know, the big stand up versions.  And we wanted something better than our Brita water filter (I HATE having to fill that up so much – and we drink a lot of water.  Plus it doesn’t do hot water).

Although this Cuisinart one is not as awesome as our Korea system (that one never needed filling up since it hooked into our kitchen faucet), it’s a great alternative.

I still don’t like filling it up (Micah takes care of that), but it doesn’t need filled up as often.  The other two small downsides: it’s a bit slow to fill up your glass and it needs plugged in – so it’s a little loud when it’s doing its “thing.”  (But it doesn’t make noise all the time).

Nonetheless, I highly recommend!!!  It’s a bit pricey, so it was a perfect gift for us (thanks Rory and Jessica), as we probably wouldn’t have bought it on our own. 

Where in the world…

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