I love Black Friday. I love watching the sunrise over Boston as we return home at 6am after a night of shopping. I love turning on Christmas music for the first time, as our household maintains a strict no-Christmas music until after Thanksgiving rule. In its own way, I even enjoy the 2-hour journey to move the last 3 miles at the entrance to our local outlet malls. Black Friday is very much part of our holiday calendar.
This year, however, we did something we have never done before—a pre-Friday reconnaissance mission. Having received the Michaels’ Black Friday flyer in the mail, I found out the Heidi Swapp’s Minc machine was going to be a Doorbuster deal. The Minc is a foil applicator, akin to a laminator but instead it adds metallic foil to toner print. I have lusted after this machine for months—I watched it in action on YouTube, I read reviews of it on Amazon, and I daydreamed about how much better my wedding invites would look if they were foiled.
At half price, I could no longer resist the call of Minc. I was determined that it would be mine, and I knew other crafters would feel the same. Doorbusters are low priced, limited supply deals designed to entice customers into the store. To be victorious on Black Friday I realized I could not waste time the morning of—I needed to know the store layout in advance so I could make a beeline for the Mincs. And thus, a week before Thanksgiving we found ourselves in Michaels working out the best route. After four years together, my husband did not really even bat an eyelid.
The research paid off, Black Friday arrived and I joined the crowds outside Michaels. When the doors opened at 6am, in we ran. There was no messing about with Christmas décor, or getting distracted by the pull of adult coloring books—oh no, not me. As others fell by the wayside, I kept my focus, striding with purpose to the Minc machines at the back of the store. Victory was mine! As others ran around like headless chickens, I picked up my Minc and several packets of half priced colored foil. Eye of the Tiger playing in my head, I calmly strutted back across the store towards the checkout, fully appreciating how Rocky felt upon reaching the top of the steps.
The Minc is better than I could have ever imagined. I’ve invented wedding projects just so that I can foil things. Martha Stewart, patron saint of all things wedding, says that a logo gives cohesion to the day, so I’ve taken this as encouragement to add our initials to every item I can. And I have to agree, Martha, there is indeed an air of cohesion about our big day…
Rather than using a designer, I wanted to design all our wedding stationery myself. It certainly saved a lot of money, and I really enjoyed writing zero in the invite design column of my wedding cost spreadsheet. More importantly, apart from time the computer crashed and lost everything, and the other time that I missed a typo and had to begin all over again, it was a lot of fun.As we got engaged on the Cape, where hydrangeas line the beach paths, ice cream parlors, and whitewashed picket fences of wealthy Republican driveways, I knew I wanted to incorporate hydrangeas into our stationery. After image searching online, I could not find a hydrangea that met my approval, but I did find a rubber stamp on eBay that fit the bill. Once the stamp arrived I loaded it up with black ink, and scanned the stamped image at high resolution. After cropping and editing the image so that the background was transparent, I was ready for the designing.
For the invite design I used the online photo editor, picmonkey.com. It is easy to use, but I won’t lie, the invites took hours, and if I’m being honest, days. In part this was because I am a craft perfectionist with strong opinions on fonts and paper types. For any Archers listeners in England, you will understand that I’ve really sympathized with Lynda Snell and her quandary over font choice for the “Resurgam”garden. Thankfully, I faced no such dilemma having decided long ago that Ecuyer Dax was the font for us, and I have used it for all our wedding stationery and signage. As our wedding colors are gold and blush pink, I wanted to use the same colors in our invites and website. After many hours spent rotating hydrangea images, moving things a millimeter to the left and right, and copious proofreading from my mum and husband, the invites were finally ready.
Having been ambushed with questions during the design process—“do you like option A or B, best?,” “what about C or D?,” “Do you like this pink or this pink?,” “ Does this pink match the bridesmaids dresses?”—I suspect my husband breathed a sigh of relief that it was finished. However, moving from designing to printing spawned a new frontier of questions regarding print quality and paper thickness. For several weeks we seemed to get new paper samples in the mail every day, and I spent considerable time waving them back and forward looking for the perfect paper thickness.Once it came time for printing, I ended up ordering from three companies, Vistaprint, Tinyprints, and Shutterfly. In the first batch my husband was missing eyes, and a yellow splodge ruined my perfectly positioned hydrangeas. On the second, the pink background looked too white. While we now affectionately refer to the incident as “Splodge-gate,” tensions were rather high at the time. Thankfully my mother is a master of the complaint letter, and passed this skill on to me. The third batch, just as Goldilocks found with baby bears’ porridge, were perfect.
Being a firm believer in the importance of first impressions, with invites done I turned my attention to envelopes. I wanted to gold foil the addresses using the Minc machine, but ran into problems when my printer did not have a 5 by 7 envelope setting. While some people might have abandoned ship at this point, I refused to be beaten by a laser printer. After a little bit of thought, I realized that I could stick the envelope to a standard piece of paper and fool the printer into printing on the envelope. And so I painstakingly stuck each individual envelope to a paper template using washi tape, and then gold foiled each one. In retrospect, given that there were 130 envelopes, this was mad—but well worth it.When it came to decorating the inside of the envelopes, all my years of couponing and post-valentines sales purchases really paid off as I raided my ever-growing scrapbook paper collection, and selected all the pink and gold hued paper. I cut out envelope inserts and stuck them inside the envelopes. With envelopes filled and stamped, I took my batch of pink and gold beauties to the post office, and felt a little apprehensive about letting them go. However, within days we started to receive RSVP cards with messages from our friends and family, and with each pink hydrangea card that arrives in the mail box we get more excited about the big day.
Inspired by the success of the invites, I have used Picmonkey for bridal shower and rehearsal dinner invites, wedding signage, menus, and order of services. The Minc rarely gets put away and is a regular fixture on our dining room table—I’ve yet to find anything that can’t be improved with foil. Our carpet, for example, is now permanently flecked with foil remnants. What I will do when our wedding is over and there are no craft projects left, I dread to think. Until then I am going to enjoy every minute of my little gold foiling factory and maybe begin to plan for next Black Friday…