The Zestful Bride Chronicles

One of the biggest days of my life so far, my wedding day, has come and gone! My hubby and I were dating over three years when he had proposed to me on our trip to Disney World in 2011. It was a surprise (because I had snooped through his suitcase before we left and I didn’t see a ring!) and not a surprise at the same time since we talked about marriage from very early on in our relationship. When you are an unemployed graduate school graduate living at home with your parents, money is extremely tight,  but after the death of my grandfather I desperately needed something to take my mind from my woes and the wedding planning ensued!

One thing I knew I wanted for our wedding was a surprise wedding dance. I have been dancing my whole life  from toddlerville through college (the most recent venture was dragging my unfortunate husband and friends to  ballroom classes). I also come from an EXTREMELY musical family and I’m a choir  kid as well.

So, really, the dance was just in the cards.

Through my research of what others had done for their surprise wedding dances, I found some gems! These truly make my soul happy! Here are a few of my favorites because of their song choice, their uniqueness, and their ENERGY. And for those of you who want to see the finished product, here is my bridal party’s (I’m a proud momma!) 

I was passionate about kick-starting our life together with a zestful, uninhabited show of joy and our dance definitely did that!

Now, on to the Adina and Gem surprise dance gems!

I love me some Bieber!   

Like I said, I am a choir dork, having been in many choirs and the opera company in college. So, while this isn’t a surprise DANCE, it was definitely a surprise…

Just gets better and better!

And last, but not least, a father daughter surprise dance 



Make Your Own Veggie Burgers!

The most I expect you to walk away with is a vague idea of how to make your own veggie burgers. I hardly ever use recipes, and when I do, I don’t follow the directions. That’s why this tutorial is lacking specific measurements, but it still resulted in the best veggie burgers I ever made.

First you start with your basic ingredients: a can of beans, a can of mixed vegetables, and a cup of cooked rice.


Next, use a food processor to puree the beans:

ImageDrain the can of vegetables and mix into the bean “base.” Here’s where the guesstimating comes in. In order for the patties to hold their shape, I used whole wheat flour to give the mix a thicker consistency. Just add a little at a time until you’re happy with the “stickiness.” This is also where you rummage through your fridge and start finding random leftovers to throw into the mix: I chopped up half an onion and threw in a handful of sprouts!


Last thing you need to add: condiments! I used a few shakes of paprika and crushed red pepper to give it some kick.


Scoop dollops of burger mix into your hand and shape into patties. It might get a little messy (sprinkling flour on your hands will reduce the amount that sticks to your hands) but it wasn’t too much of a problem for me. Fry those babies up in some olive oil on low-to-medium heat! Flip them over carefully: they’re fragile until they’re fully cooked.


When they’re done, put them on whole wheat burger buns, top ’em off with even more veggies, some ketchup & mayo and bon appetit! One can of beans yields about 10 patties, so it’s awesome for parties or if you just don’t want to worry about making food for the next three days. :-)


DIY: Chevron Scrapbook

It took me a while to hop on the chevron-patterned bandwagon. It may be “so five minutes ago,” but I was waiting for hipsters to stop liking it.

While packing up my classroom for the summer, I found an old scrapbook. Like many scrapbooks, it had a hideous cover…


but it wasn’t anything a little paint couldn’t fix. I went with chevron because it is a simple, timeless pattern, and I decided to use a palette I’ve recently become obsessed with: gray-white-yellow.

Step 1: Bury the ugliness under a couple of coats of acrylic paint!

ImageHide the hideousness! Obviously, use a color from your predetermined palette for this first coat… I was very apprehensive and I decided I didn’t like this purple after I measured and penciled the pattern.

Step 2: Start measuring!


I have no idea how to explain how I managed this. If you’re going to attempt to create your own chevron pattern, I recommend this tutorial:

Step 3: Masking tape is your friend!


I used masking tape to create a “stencil” for the first stripes I was going to paint. Painter’s tape is supposed to be the ideal choice but it’s pricey, so if you’re using masking tape, press down well for crisp lines and peel away carefully. Wait for the first stripes to be completely dry before you lay down masking tape over them to paint the next color.

Make sure to apply at least two coats using a foam brush if you have one!

Step 4: Seal the deal!


To keep your paint from chipping, apply two coats of matte varnish. Love that stuff. :)

Done and done!

The scrapbook cover is now hip!


Made Today: Crochet Baby Crowns

Hello Makers! Happy March :)

Today I heard on the radio that March is National Craft Month – Pretty exciting! So, I had a little time on my hands and cranked out something special.

Recently, a dear friend of mine gave birth to her first child. She requested a little something special for her lovely new princess – And here’s what I made!


Using the tutorial from Little Rays of Sunshine, I adjusted the center peak to be triple crochets instead of double to give it a little more height. I hope the little lady loves it! Happy Making :) 


DIY: Painting Furniture

If you’re like me and you need to personalize every single thing you own, painting furniture is an easy way to infuse your household environment with personality.

Let’s start with this practical, boring chair that I found by a dumpster.

Before: Boring! Zzz

Free: Good for your wallet and the planet.

{I forgot to take pictures, but the procedure was fairly simple. Bear with me.}

I wanted to create a random, horizontal stripe pattern using different shades of green paint. I marked opposite sides of the seat using a pencil in 2cm increments and used masking tape to create the stripe borders, then filled in with paint. Once all the stripes were done, I applied three coats of matte varnish.

Here’s a close-up of the finished seat:

So hip!

Not too shabby.

For the insignificant cost of craft acrylic paint and some varnish, I turned a dumpster find into an eye-catching accent chair. If you want to give furniture painting a whirl, I suggest checking out Craigslist for curb alerts!

Another angle.

Feast your eyes!

      Happy painting! :-)

     Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate.

DIY: Library Card Book Plates

One day I hope to have a personal library to rival Belle’s (you know… the beauty from Beauty and the Beast). Walls covered in literature, stacks of novels and biographies. Ahh, just thinking of it makes my heart happy. As any book nerd knows, it is important to claim ownership of your beloved books. I was on the search for book plates (think name tags for books) to put on the inside cover of my books. I was unable to find a variety I was happy with (that didn’t cost an arm and a leg), so I dug through my bag of crafty tricks and came up with this little project.

I was so pleased with how these turned out, I made a bunch for some friends of mine as gifts. These are super easy to make and cost nearly nothing if you’ve already built your own craft supply arsenal as I have.

There are two ways to tackle this project. I went for the technology route and added my name using an image editing program. However, the low-tech method is just as easy!

Library Card Book Plates


Blank library card template – You may use mine :) librarycardblank

(You can find many via Google, I found mine years ago and edited it for my liking.Unfortunately, I no longer know where the original was posted, but I have edited it quite a bit to make it my own. Please contact me if you recognize this as your own, I will gladly give credit)


Alphabet stamps/ink

Tacky Glue


Print the template onto heavy cardstock – Use fun colors! White works, but why not go crazy with colors?! In Windows, you can print the image multiple times on one sheet. Here’s how I did it:


Cut out each book plate. I have a paper cutter that cuts straight lines… I LOVE IT. Aside from my bone folder and X-acto knife, it’s my favorite craft tool.

DSCN7391 DSCN7392

Using your alphabet stamps, simply stamp out the owner’s name in the space provided.


Bundle up the finished product, and done! To secure these into your books, Tacky Glue works, as does double-sided tape.


Alternatively, you can go for the high-tech method. Using your image editing software (I use Paintshop Pro), open the template and create a new text layer. Simply type in the owner’s name and print. Voila! Done-zo. The font I use is called Traveling Typewriter. Google it, it’s easy to find.

Write whatever you’d like in the space below the owner’s name. If these are for your books, keep track of who has borrowed them; record when you’ve read and reread the book; make mention of when and where you purchased the book. If these are for a gift, write a message to the person who will be receiving them. You can even give a book with one of these cute bookplates already affixed inside!


The best part about this project is that you can make TONS of these cards quickly! If you have as many books as I do, that will be a life saver. Enjoy!



Flea Market Project – Key Necklace

I am a big fan of flea markets. What red-blooded craft junkie isn’t?! I am a pretty lucky duck in that I live in the same town as a very neat flea market. Each Saturday and Sunday the flea market is buzzing with shoppers and vendors. Some vendors sell mass-produced low quality clothing or questionable electronics. Other vendors are people who have cleaned out their basement and are looking to get rid of a bit of what they consider to be trash. This is where the treasure is…

A few weeks ago, I walked the flea market with my mom with a goal in mind. I wanted to find some keys. I’ve been seeing skeleton keys all over Etsy and Pinterest – but most of them were replicas made in some far off nation looking to recapture the elegance that once was function. When I see a skeleton key, I think of the ring of keys my Grandma has in her Victorian home. For her, these keys have been collected over years of garage sale hunting and antique shop adventuring. Her keys are used to open doors and curio cabinets that were locked for decades. If a key didn’t fit, it would be added to the key ring and filed away and the hunt for the right key would continue. Now it’s my turn to start collecting.

Mom and I walked up and down the aisles at the flea market; it was a beautiful day and I knew I’d find at least one vendor would have a couple loose keys to sell. I found some other neat things along the way, but keys were hard to find. Finally, we happened upon an older gentleman with a table filled with old bits and pieces. A small plastic bowl held what I had been searching for – KEYS!

There were big keys, small keys, rusted keys, keys that still held a little shine, keys that were ornate, and keys that looked like they came right out of a dungeon. I talked to him for a little while and he told me that he had collected the keys over the years and most of them were probably older than he was. He even had one key – a large, rusted, utilitarian style key – that had come from an old jail cell. Made in America, he said! The real deal! Just what I had been looking for. He told me the smaller keys were usually from cabinets, desks, and other pieces of furniture, while the larger keys were to doors. Good to know! I fished through the dish and picked out about a dozen keys to take home.


What a score! I am so happy with my find! Fiddling with these keys, examining their unique bits of rust and wear, you can really appreciate how old they are and it’s hard not to wonder what doors and locked drawers they’ve been separated from for so long. A few keys will make their way into some crafty projects – but I feel that some will end up on my own key ring – you never know when there will be a door that needs opening!

Skeleton Key Jewelry by FrostedTreats

Keys with a new life