Wednesday, July 30, 2014

World's Most Complicated Wedding Invitation

I have a talent for making things harder than they need to be. 

Kiah first wanted postcards wedding invitations. I thought that was too easy and wouldn't use up enough of my time, so with a short 3 1/2 months between Kiah getting engaged and getting married, the most efficient thing to do was to pick the hardest and most time-consuming option.

Mistake #1 - Thinking homemade invitations would be fast and easy.

My friend, Laura, and I attended a scrapbook retreat in April. We saw two sisters making wedding invitations for friends. The sisters cranked out 325 hand made invitations and made it look easy.

Mistake #2 - Choosing a complicated project

The one sister said she'd seen the cutest wedding invitation in a Scrapbook store.  

She showed me a picture and speculated that it would be easy to make. Said they'd be willing to come help.

After browsing Pinterest options, Kiah chose the invitation I'd seen at the retreat. Then she returned home to LaCrosse while I worked on this "easy" invitation.

Mistake #2 - Not asking my retreat friends to help

They live three hours away. They're both busy and I didn't want to bother them. Thought that between my daughters and friends, we could get it done. The invitation ended up taking two months to finish, much to my husband's chagrin. 
Mistake #3 - Not buying a necessary tool

When I bought the metal die, the clerk asked if I wanted the metal shim. The metal what??? She said the shim helps the metal die to cut cleaner. Nah. My husband is great at improvising. He could make something that would work. 

Mistake #4 - Not admitting I'd made a mistake

I gleefully cut paper and shot it through the Cuddlebug. Nothing. No easy, amazing, beautiful die cut.  Turns out I needed a "C" plate for the machine. Who knew? Of course could not be purchased in Ashland. Or any other nearby town. We found it seventy miles away at Hobby Lobby in Duluth. 

Mistake #5 - Not cutting my losses

Round 2. The Cuddlebug shuddered, creaked, and sounded like it would break any second. The crank was hard to turn. The paper was only cut halfway through. Ah! So that's why the metal shim was necessary. The metal die won't cut all the way otherwise. Drats! The scrapbook store clerk should have insisted I buy the metal shim! At this point I didn't want to spend any more money so used an improvised shim Keith had made.

Mistake #6 - Enlisting Laura's help

Everyone said the invitations were too much work and that I should do something simpler. Laura thought they were really pretty and offered to help. Laura spent many hours helping me assemble the invitations. If she hadn't helped, I might have listened to the 20 other people who I was crazy.

Cranking paper through the Cuddlebug was hard so we took turns. Every crank sounded like it would be the last. The paper had to be gently coaxed from the die. All the cut out pieces of paper were still firmly stuck in the die. 

Fortunately the die had holes in back to push the paper out. Unfortunately, there were over a hundred holes. 

We had to poke the paper out with a needle or toothpick before the die could be used again. EVERY STUPID TIME. No fast mass production here. I conscripted my girls to push the little pieces of paper out, cut paper, turn a few cranks, color letters, and cook dinner while I worked.

We originally planned to make 100 bases in one color and 100 tops in another. We planned to cut letters off the top layer and glue them to the bottom layer. After making 100 bases
, it became quickly apparent that our wrists couldn't handle 100 more cranks and Kiah would be celebrating her tenth anniversary before we finished. 

We nixed cutting the second set of 100 die cuts. We colored the letters on some with gel pens. For others, we cut letters with Laura's Cricut, put them through a Xyron sticker machine, and attached them to the base. Couldn't decide which color combination we liked best so few people got the same invitation.

We mostly made white bases with either gold, silver, or royal blue letters. Anna asked for a pink base.

The machine broke and sort of exploded on the 101rst crank. The crank unwound really fast and hard and banged my wrist. Thankfully Keith fixed it.  

Mistake #7 - Not listening to my husband

My husband sighed when he walked through the dining room. I avoided eye contact. Ignored him when he said that nobody keeps wedding invitations. That they get thrown away after the wedding. I didn't care. I wanted the invitations to be unique and beautiful. 

Mistake #8 - Using beads

We attached eight small white pearl beads to the invitation fronts. Hobby Lobby's self-adhesive beads for some reason did not stick.  Keith said to forget the beads, but I thought they looked better with. Laura figured out that the beads could be stuck on with a glue pen. 

I ordered pictures from Shutterfly when they had a free 101 prints offer. 

Kiah and Dayton didn't have many pictures to choose from since most of their dating had been long distance.

I expected making the invitation insides would be easy since I'd made lots of computer cards before. Unbeknownst to me, when we upgraded the computer, my trusty card making program had been deleted. Microsoft Publishing 2013 is not near as easy or intuitive as the Microsoft 2000 program I'd used for years. Took me awhile to figure out how to make it work. Lots of wedding invitation rejects landed in our scratch paper pile. 

Same thing with the mailing labels. Needed to learn all over again with Microsoft Word 2013. Printed a set of address labels before Amy noticed our return address was wrong. Sigh!

After I finished printing, Kiah informed me that she'd changed her phone number so her R.S.V.P contact number wasn't correct. Instead of reprinting, I wrote the new number with black pen. 

FINALLY - the invitations were done. The pretty beads meant the invitations had to be hand cancelled in the post office and required an additional .21 cents postage.  Double sigh!

Then there were bloopers. Dayton's grandmother received a blank invitation. A friend received two of the same pictures. The invitation beads made indents in Kiah and Dayton's picture. Two weeks before the wedding, Kiah's friend mentioned that she hadn't received her wedding invitation yet. A search turned up eight invitations still in the envelope box. 

I don't regret making them but wish they hadn't been so time consuming. Before all was said and done, eight people had helped me. The invitations cost .60 each, but if all the woman hours were tallied, they'd be very expensive. 

Last week we received a postcard wedding invitation. I marveled at it's simplicity. When the next daughter gets married - we're doing a Facebook invite.   

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Times

I haven't written a blog post in so long, I hope I remember how. One phone call changed the course of my spring. From that moment on the bulk of my attention was focused in one direction. 

My 24-year-old daughter, Kiah, called on March 28 with the wonderful news that her boyfriend, Dayton, had proposed. It's been four years since the last Vik wedding and Keith and I aren't getting any younger so if our children don't want their kids to have old grandparents, they should get married sooner, rather than later. 

Sooner, rather than later. I should be careful what I wish for. They decided to get married on July 12, which at the time was 3 and 1/2 months away. 

At first I panicked. Weddings are a lot of work and we didn't have much time. I barely slept that night. I got up in the middle of the night and started making to-do lists. I finally calmed down by telling myself that to get married, all one needs is a minister, a bride, a groom, and two witnesses. Everything else is extra. If things get done, great. If not, they would still get married. 

We're really happy with how things turned out so I want to share about this blessing in increments. Today will be a little background. 

Kiah had not dated for four years after a painful breakup in 2009. She focused on college, work, fitness, faith, friends, and enjoying her family. 

For a few years she had no interest in a relationship. If a guy looked at her twice, she quit talking to him. She said married people were boring. Thought her married friends were settling, that there were more exciting things to do than get married. I knew when she met the right person, she'd change her mind. 

Two years ago in 2013, Kiah went to work for the summer at the Bible camp where Andrew worked. Andrew confided that he hoped to set Kiah up with someone. I recommended that he not tell her, because if she got wind of his matchmaking, the match would be over before it began. Ironically, one of the people Andrew had in mind was Dayton's brother. Right family, wrong brother. 

Kiah called home to talk about her summer. She said there were no guys she was interested in. So what else was new? She hadn't been interested for awhile so that didn't surprise me. I asked who she had enjoyed getting to know. She mentioned a few people and then said there were three brothers that she really liked. She said they were nice, fun, hard working, funny, and everyone liked them. 

Kiah returned to camp the next summer (2013) She called to talk about her summer and said, "You don't have to worry Mom. There's nobody here I'm interested in."

I told her I wasn't worried. I firmly believe God is my children's matchmaker and does a much better job in that department. I trust God for His timing.

We talked a month later and she confided in me that she was interested in the youngest of the three brothers she had gotten to know the previous summer. 

She was concerned that he was four years younger than her and wondered if that was okay. I told her that once people get past high school, age doesn't matter as much. Maturity doesn't always correlate with age. I know young people who are mature and old people who aren't. 

I went to camp six weeks later to see my new granddaughter. Kiah asked if I would pray with her about her interest in Dayton. She wanted to trust God and didn't want to get weird. She asked if I thought it was okay for her to ask him out. 

I didn't know what to say. When I was young, guys did the asking. It had been so long since I dated that I wasn't sure what was acceptable now. Andrew said it was okay so she decided to take a risk. I wouldn't have been that brave. 

She asked Dayton to hang out and they did, but it was very awkward. He later confessed to being scared. He liked her but wasn't sure he wanted to pursue a relationship at the time.

Picture taken by a fellow camp member the first time they hung out

After camp they started corresponding online. They used up more than their fair share of Facebook's personal message space. Dayton lived in Florida so they were a long way apart. Kiah was unsure for a few months how he felt about her. 

On December 23, Dayton called to ask Keith's permission to date our daughter. Keith had never met Dayton so wasn't sure what to say, but based on his children's endorsement who did know Dayton, he gave his blessing. 

Two days later, on a Skype date, Dayton sang her a song and asked her to be his girlfriend. She was ecstatic, happy to know that he returned her affections. 

Kiah and Anna went to visit Dayton and his family in January. 

First official date


The visit went well. Dayton visited in February but spent much of that time with our family when Keith's mom passed away. 

Dayton's family is bigger than ours so I figured we wouldn't overwhelm him. But we did anyway. Turns out a big family with mostly brothers is way different than a big family with mostly girls. Girls are a whole different breed.  


I knew they were talking about getting married but no movement had happened in that area. I don't endorse pushing people into marriage, but if they wanted to get married this summer, the sooner he asked her the better. I decided to quit worrying because worrying makes me weird and doesn't fix anything. 

Unbeknownst to us, Dayton had called Keith to ask permission to marry Kiah. Kiah went to visit Dayton's family again in March and this is when he proposed. Dayton fixed her a nice dinner, wrote her a very sweet song, and asked her to marry him. Very creative and romantic. 

We were all very excited. Andrew would finally get a brother after wanting one for 22 years. The sisters were amazed at Kiah's about-face. From thinking married people were boring to wanting to get married as soon as possible. We all liked Dayton and looked forward to July 12 when he would join our family.

Stayed tuned for more installments in the Kiah and Dayton saga.