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