Monday, November 8, 2010

LAST BLOG POST on this site

Thank you for stopping by! Please find us at our permanent home

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Todd & Dorana - Our Handmade Weddings: A Simple Fairytale - Featured on

We're so excited to have our wedding featured in the world's largest handmade community! Thank you to all of Etsy Admin and members for helping us have the perfect simple wedding!

siempre- dorana

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The THANK YOU - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

How do you thank not just the people that help you create a memorable and joyous wedding, bring happiness to your life both personally and professionally, but also the people that helped you become the person you are and cheer you on as you aspire to be the person you want to become?

We wanted a special way to say thanks to those near and far!

Thanks to the incredible photography of our friend Stephen Shadrach, we collected our favorite photos of the day and a favorite quote and designed our special 4 Page Photo Thank You Card.

We were fortunate to have our good friend Kat Wauters from Etsy's bring our design to life!

It is the perfect keepsake and token of our incredible union.

Thank you for your wonderful customer service Kat!

A very special THANK YOU to our family and friends who helped make our day exactly what we had wished for!

To my ETSY "MORE MEANINGFUL GIFTS" FAMILY - there aren't words to thank you enough for all of your love and support!

siempre- dorana & todd


Photography by Stephen Shadrach.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The WISH - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

(Our Wedding Day featuring custom made gown by Etsy's, flowers by, bouquet crystal jewels by

I was thrilled to find a great Etsy Shop to make special personalized handkerchiefs as gifts for our parents and a special present for my new husband on our wedding day!

Linda from Etsy's offered the PERFECT sentiments, fast shipping and the best customer service!

My mother cried at my personal message and proudly shared the story to the ladies at the spa during our pampering that morning

"Mom, thank you for teaching me the importance of corn, Uncle Buck, laughter and love.
Love, Dani 12-26-2009"

Linda's handkerchiefs were a perfect way to put into words what I have known since me and Todd's first vacation!

Shortly after Todd and I started seeing each other, we went on a mini vacation to Disney's Epcot Center. It's one of my favorite places as traveling has been such a big part of my life; imagine going around the world in a short afternoon!

In Morocco as we giggled over the silly genie lamps in the gift shop, a woman held one up and asked Todd,

"What would YOU wish for!?"

He looked over at me across the way and said,

"... To spend the rest of my life with that girl over there!"

I didn't think I could love him more than at that moment...

Waking up everyday in the beautiful house that we're making into our home in this dreamy historic town, hoping to start a family soon, I know that a wish was granted that day...

But it is EVERYDAY that he makes all of my dreams come true and I love him even more!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The DRESS - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

After all, isn't always about THE DRESS!?

Everyone knows that I've been fantasizing about a Autumn wedding ever since that last scene in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves where Marianne walks with her white dress floating around her while gorgeous leaves fall down upon them with the incredible colors of gold and reds creating that amazing backdrop!

We didn't do too bad ourselves with this incredible backdrop off of 72nd and Broadway! This picture was taken after the snow storm right before Christmas as I did a trial run of my makeup, hair and unmentionables! (And yes, I promise, I AM wearing shoes - strappy red-satin knotted heels!)

I absolutely fell in love with the off-the-shoulder, simple gown that Mary Jane wore in the Spiderman 2 movie in 2005! I learned that the dress was basically glued onto her body to create that off-the-shoulder, form-fitting bodice and that we would have to do quite a bit of creative design and sewing to pull it off with my ample bosom!

Another favorite dress of mine had a beautiful empire, straight skirt with beautiful embellishments.

I, of course turned to the amazing talented artists on Etsy to find a seamstress that could combine my favorite dresses into my perfect wedding dress!

I could not have been more blessed to have found a more patient, miracle-working seamstress in all of the world; Linda Mampalao of Etsy's ! Aside from having less than 6 weeks to make my custom designed gown with both Thanksgiving and Christmas in the mix, she helped me pick out the fabrics and added her own special touches tying the two dresses together!

I wore my great aunt's vintage yellow topaz and gold calla lily earrings, the pearl and diamond necklace that my mother gave me on my 21st birthday that my father had given to her the Christmas after I was born, and amazing red satin strappy heels!

The weather didn't quite cooperate on our wedding day, but nothing could have darkened my day wearing this breathtakingly gorgeous gown!

We are hoping to take the dress with us on our honeymoon to have the opportunity to take more pictures of the two of us together in the sun!

Thank you Linda!

Photography by Stephen Shadrach.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


As I worked with my fabulous Etsy seamstress to create my dream wedding dress, I commissioned this gorgeous Andean Silk Yarn winter wedding wrap with a ruffled edge from the talented Maryum Karim of Etsy's!

What an incredibly special work of wearable art!

SO soft and luxurious, I was thrilled with the quality and craftsmanship of the gorgeous wrap Maryum made for me.

It was the perfect compliment to my wedding gown.

I have been so blessed with all the love and support from my Etsy family in helping me create our dreamy Etsy Handmade Wedding!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The CAKE TOPPERS - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

Do you know what you get when you throw two Alpha-type personalities in a kitchen renovation after buying a new house, hand them a couple of power tools they've never used before, demolish the floors throughout the entire house forcing them to move into a windowless dungeon for three months with two smelly cats and a 14 year old, 90lb yellow lab, that can't walk up and down the stairs on his own, sprinkle in a four-week engagement and Christmas wedding - all in less than 6 months:

Yoda and Chewbacca!

If you've ever experienced any of these things, then you're probably at least a little familiar with the conflict that can arise from such chaos; kinks in the budget, hot dogs cooked by hand-held plumber's torch 'cause you forgot to refill the propane tank and there's no stove, the occasional electrocution, and arguments... lots of arguments...

Arguments between two Alpha's who are NEVER WRONG.

It was during one of those arguments on day one million and 82 of drilling cement screws into cement backer-boards, preparing the hallway and kitchen floors for the 1500lbs of Kale Multi-colored Travertine that I yelled back at my now husband, for what exactly, I can't say,


"What!?" he replied.

"Don't call me that!

And Yoda wasn't Master of the Universe - that's HE-MAN!"

I raised my sword-like power drill up in the air, clenched with both hands pointing straight up and yelled:


collapsing in a fit of laughter!

And thus, "Yoda and Chewbacca" were born...

My rolling eyes now had a verbal partner: "OKAY YODA!"

"OKAY CHEWIE!" he always responds hoping to get the same rise out of me that he gets out of my Yoda-ing.

Now, to me, that sounded perfectly logical! I mean, have you seen my hairy Chewbaccaness!?

Yoda, wasn't a new nickname in our family... We've been calling my little sister Yoda ever since her little pointed ears coined the nickname as a baby!

Over the summer a fellow More Meaningful Gifts threadmate had ordered fondant little Yodas for her son's birthday cupcakes as toppers from fellow Etsian The Lil and I had bookmarked them for my little sister's birthday!

My brilliant idea was vetoed by my mother, but when I started planning our wedding, I KNEW I had to order her fondant Yodas for our wedding cake!

Even better, I wrote to Jenn and asked her if she could make a matching Chewbacca!

When I opened up those adorable little cake toppers I couldn't help but squeal in delight! I knew Todd would pee his pants when he saw them!

They were absolutely PERFECT!

Jenn even covered them in a sparkling finish- the perfect embellishment for a wedding Yoda and Chewie!

And after our ceremony when I brought my new husband to see the beautiful cake that my little sister had lovingly made for us on Christmas day and put together just hours earlier, adorned with the beautiful clay roses from Diane Phillips of and our special Yoda and Chewie Cake Toppers, the moment was just as I had imagined; filled with joy and laughter and even some magical powers with my new Master of the Universe!

Photography by Stephen Shadrach.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The CAKE - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

I have been fantasizing about my Aunt's Brandy-Almond Wedding Cake with cream cheese icing for the last 17 years!

After consulting with 14 - yes, fourteen local bakeries and driving my family insane, we decided that there would be no wedding cake - we'd have pies instead!

It seems that even though there are bakeries that can make a cake in the shape of The Eiffel Tower, not one was willing to make a cake that wasn't just white, yellow, or chocolate cake with some kind of filling in the middle!

So pies it would be!


We just wanted a couple of the amazing pies from the local pub...But my sister just wouldn't hear it!

"You can't have a wedding PIE! I'll make you a brandy-almond cake with cream cheese icing!"


We wanted PIES!

Did I mention that my wedding was the day after CHRISTMAS!?

Who on Earth would want to be baking a cake during the holidays!?

That Christmas Eve, my little sister came over with a sampling tray of variations of brandy-almond cake with cream cheese icing... JUST like the professional cake shows!

There were brandy-soaked cakes, brandy baked in cakes, some with chocolate fudge fillings, some with vanilla pudding fillings, some with vanilla pudding and fudge filling... You name it, my little sister prepared it!

We sampled, okay we devoured the entire tray of delicious mini cakes!

We chose the Lindt chocolate and vanilla pudding filling and ironically, the almond cake without the brandy!

It's funny how once you get what you think you want, it turns out that it's not what you want at all!

On the morning of our wedding as my sister, mother and I enjoyed our pampering pedicures, she sat back to tell us the tale of how she and her fiance stayed up all night baking our cake...

"We ran out of cake batter and it was too late to start making another batch, so I sent Rumon out to get a box of yellow cake mix...

But it's almost ten o'clock at night on Christmas Day and everything was closed..."
"He walked up to a Hispanic man closing a Bodega (Spanish convenience store that has everything,) in Paterson (not exactly Disney) and says desperately,

"Sir WAIT! I just need a box of cake mix!"

"We're closed - it's Christmas!"

"Sir, PLEASE, it's my sister-in-law's wedding tomorrow and we're baking her wedding cake and


Don't make me go home without cake mix!"


Exactly why we wanted: PIES.

From the PUB.

Down the Street.

We laughed hysterically as she painted the picture of her fiance practically mugging a poor convenience store worker on Christmas desperate for a box of cake mix!

Our Almond and Lindt Chocolate with Vanilla Pudding Cake with cream cheese icing was absolutely delicious and beautiful!

THANK YOU PIANCA AND RUMON for making us the most incredible wedding cake - the thing that I'll be fantasizing of for the next 17 years!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The FLOWERS - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

(My father and I right before walking down the aisle.)

I remember surfing through the endless pages of shops when I wa
s first introduced to Etsy's Handmade Community.

When I found it, it was love at first sight!

I was completely awestruck by the beautiful images and was dumbfounded when I read that the amazing floral creations from DK Designs Hawaii were made out of CLAY!

OF COURSE she was featured on the Martha Stewart Show, she creates such life-like flowers out of CLAY that even a Botanist like myself had to take a second look!

I was mesmerized for hours as I shared the link to her shop and website with everyone I knew!

When my little sister announced her engagement, I bought her a small sample bouquet from in celebration and to start planning her big day!

I knew then and there that my wedding would have none other than Diane Phillip's amazing floral creations!

Imagine my nervousness when we turned our engagement into a
four week affair in the middle of the holidays! I sent Diane a message preparing myself for the possibility that she wouldn't be able to do our flowers.

We were ecstatic when she agreed!

Diane created the most gorgeous open ivory and red rose bouquet and flowers for our wedding! Even in the short time, she allowed me to send her a piece of the lace overlay of my gown to use as the wrap on the handle of the bouquet - it was absolutely stunning!

When I had mentioned to our family that we were doing clay flowers instead of traditional fresh flowers, you can imagine the looks of disgust - I think they imagined me walking down the aisle with a clay pot in my arms!

Everyone was mesmerized as we presented them with the special corsages and boutonnieres and my bouquet is still as beautiful today as it was on our wedding day!

(My stepmother and stepsister pinning the
boutonnieres on my new husband and father.)

We ordered extra flowers to adorn the wedding cake that my little sister made for us and we saved and preserved them to send back to Diane to make a Boxwood Wreath for us to hang in our new home!

I can't ever thank you enough Diane for helping us create the special magical touches of our wedding day, last forever.

Photography by Stephen Shadrach and Diane Phillips of DK Designs.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The FAVORS - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

I never imagined that I'd ever be a Christmas Bride! Imagine my surprise deciding on a wedding date of December, 26th - the day after Christmas!

What a stressful endeavor, a wedding... so many details. I've realized just what a wonderful blessing it is that we decided on such a short engagement! The longer the engagement, the more expectations, the bigger the bridal party, the bigger the show!

The most difficult decisions for me were THE FAVORS! I knew I didn't want anything chotchkie or cheesy - nothing that would be thrown in a drawer and forgotten...

And then it hit me! After all, it was CHRISTMAS!


Coquito is Puerto Rican coconut rum eggnog and a family favorite. It couldn't be just any kind of Coquito - nope - it had to be special!

I found a great wholesale distributor of full-sized glass liquor bottles! Of cou
rse I could have made small flasks instead since Coquito is suppose to be enjoyed as a shot, not a drink, but the image of my elegant wedding favors fitting into the back pocket of a pair of jeans, was not what I envisioned!

After a little time on Etsy, I found customized wine bottle labels to match our Red Rose Theme from! I was absolutely thrilled with how beautiful the bottles and the personalized labels came out!

We then wrote the recipe on Letterpress Cards from and attached them with personalized ribbon from!

After 12 dozen eggs, mountains of coconut cream, and 6 gallons of Bacardi Gold, all the anxiety of choosing the perfect wedding FAVORS for our guests, faded away as we watched our friends and family toast the night away with our special brew!

Photography by Stephen Shadrach.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The RECEPTION - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

Vibrant Red Roses and delicate White Hydrangeas created a dramatic accent throughout the reception and ceremony among the all black and white dressed party! The floral vision brought to life by my best friend, Heather Peterson included custom double-sided knot Satin ribboned rectangular glass vases with green Spanish Moss and lit branches! (The double-knotted Satin Red Bows matched my shoes and dress!)

Dozens of flickering tealight holders with red satin bottoms trailed the center of the tables on top of custom made white Satin table runners made by Etsy's Teresa Swift of!

Thank you for finding the perfect fabric for our table runners Teresa!

Photography by Stephen Shadrach.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The LETTERPRESS - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

Todd has always been a big fan of the art of Letterpress, so it was important to me to have some Letterpress pieces in our wedding. I was thrilled to find Lisa of Etsy's!

Words cannot begin to describe the amazing design and quality of our custom Red Rose Coasters and Place Cards. They were exactly how we had imagined them and brought a truly special touch to our wedding reception tables!

Our guests were very impressed with the beautiful print work and I ordered an extra set of Place Cards as the Recipe Cards for our favors. THEY WERE PERFECT!

We were touched by the beautiful handwritten Thank You Card and good wishes that Lisa took the time to send to us.

In this process, we learned that how you're treated AFTER the sale is just as important as the way you're treated before the sale. Lisa has been an invaluable resource of information in her trade as we now help my younger sister plan for her wedding this summer!

Thank you SO much Lisa for helping us achieve our dream handmade wedding!

Photography by Stephen Shadrach

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The AMBIANCE - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

Our intimate outdoor wedding turned indoors was magical with special touches from some of our favorite Etsy Handmade Vendors!

Perhaps the most photographed was a beautiful personalized luminary that glowed throughout the evening along our "alter" from Jessica Wolf of Etsy's

Jess was so accommodating and friendly throughout the process and we were thrilled with the packaging and speedy shipping! For the perfect glowing personalized token at any special occasion is it!

Photography by Stephen Shadrach.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The WELCOME - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

The plan was a small outside intimate wedding with 25 of our closest friends and family, celebrated in our new historic town and home.


Alas, Mother Nature had other things in mind; torrential rainfall! It poured from before sunrise into the following day!

As I walked out of the salon with my hair in cascading waves, the howling wind turned my umbrella inside out while the rain crashed down sideways! I struggled with the umbrella trying to protect my hair as I slid on the pavement losing my flip flops (yes, flip flops - note to future brides: don't get manicure and pedicures done the day of your wedding!).

I remember shuffling through growing puddles of water and thinking to myself, "I can't believe this! This is our WEDDING DAY!"

All morning long I had been convincing myself that the rain was GOOD LUCK!

I had read that rain on your wedding day represented fertility and stability and income and guaranteed a long happy marriage!

But as I drove home realizing that we wouldn't be able to take
pictures in our new town and have the service in our beautiful side yard, I was so disappointed!

I made the turn into our driveway and was greeted by our beautiful custom made Wedding Sign created by Jennifer of Etsy's Funki Folk that my future husband had attached to our mailbox!

All of the disappointment over the weather and anxiety immediately melted away! It wasn't quite what I had always imagined... it was better!

Jennifer's beautiful welcoming signs set the perfect stage for our living room wedding!

I had been exchanging emails with Jennifer for over a year and we were so thrilled to finally be able to take advantage of her unique personalized signs!

We also ordered a "RECEPTION" sign that Todd stole and positioned over our new Wet Bar in the kitchen!

We can't wait to order my little sisters' signs to welcome her guests to her June Wedding! Thank you

Photography by Stephen Shadrach.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Treats - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

There are no processed foods, candies, potato chips, no junk food of any kind in our house... really! In fact, one of the greatest joys of going to my best friend's house is poking through the magical cabinet in her kitchen that transports me to another time with Pop Tarts, Doritos, an endless tub of Halloween candy, chocolates - lots of chocolates and my all time favorite: Marshmallows! And not just any marshmallows, but the big fluffy marshmallows - not the teeny tiny ones that we do keep around for the rare occasions we make hot chocolate.

Okay, perhaps there is the occasional tub of vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip cookies, warm chocolate chip cookies and CHOCOLATE. Not just any chocolate though - NIKI'S CHOCOLATE!

There is something about those little white boxes with the freshest, most decadent little bits of sweet heaven! Our favorite: ROCKY ROAD - just something about those fresh soft marshmallows!

We couldn't imagine celebrating our wedding without Nicole Varrenti's of Etsy's's incredible treats!

With whimsical Caramel Apple Pops and Chocolate Covered Coffee Spoons, they were just the special sweet touch of our Handmade Etsy Wedding!

Friday, January 29, 2010

The INVITATIONS- Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

We've all seen it before.

The bright fuschia dress from a guest that somehow appears in EVERY wedding photo!

NOPE, not at OUR wedding!

It took some serious convincing, but after much begging and pleading, Todd relented and I was thrilled!


My mother was mortified!

"You can't let people wear white to your wedding!"

Of course I could!

My custom made gown was a beautiful ivory and with everyone and everything in black and white, I was certainly the belle of my ball!

The only color throughout the event were signature Red Roses in my bouquet, flowers, and my Red Satin strappy heels!

The theme of the wedding was beautifully set with the calligraphy lettering for
our invitation by Jerise Fogel from Etsy's

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009 and the Introduction of Renovation Girl and Comp Boy!

I am SO excited to finally get the opportunity to catch up on the last eight months!

Had someone told me eight months ago that we were going to buy a new house in a
dreamy historic town, spend six months giving birth to a new kitchen as a DIY project from studs to custom wet bar, get ENGAGED AND BE MARRIED BEFORE THE NEW YEAR, I wouldn't have believed it!

For the next couple of weeks, I am thrilled to walk you through our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING that we planned in less than 6 weeks for well under $5000 including a custom a Dorana design wedding gown!

Please make sure to follow my a Dorana design Blog to read about our incredible Handmade Wedding!

Make sure to stay tuned HERE to read more about the adventures of


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Engagement Announcement - Our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING - Dorana & Todd 12/26/2009

I am SO excited to finally get the opportunity to catch up on the last eight months!

Had someone told me eight months ago that we were going to buy a new house in a
dreamy historic town, spend six months giving birth to a new kitchen as a DIY project from studs to custom wet bar, get ENGAGED AND BE MARRIED BEFORE THE NEW YEAR, I wouldn't have believed it!

For the next couple of weeks, I am thrilled to walk you through our HANDMADE ETSY WEDDING that we planned in less than 6 weeks for well under $5000 including a custom a Dorana design wedding gown!

Please make sure to follow my Personal Blog to read about our incredible home renovation!

Dorana & Todd's

Custom Engagement Announcement

created by graphic artist and Etsy member

We worked together with Kat to design our Engagement/Moving Announcement and are still hearing RAVE reviews from all of our friends and family!

Make sure to check out for custom Holiday Cards, Save the Dates, Announcements and wonderful personal service!

My little sister is getting married this June and Kat once again helped us design her SAVE THE DATE magnets and they were thrilled!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - Custom WEDDING REQUEST for Groom's Gift - "I THINK I Love You!" DDOTS ART CARD

I was thrilled this summer when received a custom card request from Bride Tracy for a gift for her Groom on their wedding day!

Every couple shares many special quotes and sayings. When they first said "I love you" to one another, he was so nervous that he blurted out,

"I THINK I love you!"

She replied,

"I KNOW I love you!"

It became a little joke between the two of them and she thought it would be a perfect quote for her special Wedding Card!

I'm SO pleased with how it came out!

I am so happy to have been invited to share in such a special moment!

siempre- dorana

Monday, January 11, 2010

Crafting Cat Approved Handmade Kitty Bed by

There are antisocial cats, and those that only search for you during mealtime, and those that need to be a part of every breath you take throughout the day!

I am blessed with one of EACH!

Here is my dear Merlin as he succumbs to an afternoon nap after pouncing on a pile of thousands of tiny dots that were piled up on my hammering mat. Pleased with his kill, he curled up in this wonderful cat bed knitted by fellow Etsian!