How to Make a Brooch Bouquet

Recently, I stood by their side as one of my besties and one of my husband’s besties tied the knot. There’s nothing sweeter than having two of your best friends get married to each other! The bride had a vision of a rustic wedding themed with burlap, gold, lace and TOMS, and asked me to make her brooch bouquet. It went perfect with her theme, and would be a keepsake from the wedding – plus something the bride could pass down to other brides she loved, or maybe a future daughter! Of course I was honored to help her and wanted to share how I made this easy DIY bridal brooch bouquet!

how to make a brooch bouquetHere’s the main materials you need:

  • 1 bushel of faux hydrangeas (this can be found really inexpensive at your local craft store)
  • Approximately 40-60 brooches/pieces of jewelry/faux or real flowers to add-in (i.e. burlap flowers like this one). The more you put, the less of the faux hydrangea you will see. I used about 40 pieces.
  • 22-gauge florist wire (I used about 2 rolls and chose silver because it would blend in when looping through my brooches)
  • Green Corsage Tape (I used 1 1/2 rolls)
  • Scissors/Wire Cutters
  • Whatever you want to wrap around the handle – In this case, burlap, twine, and lace ribbon
  • Pearlized Ball Head Straight Pins
  • Hot glue gun

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial

The brooches are really the expensive part of the bouquet, but you can typically find sparkly items like jewelry on clearance to help fill in the space. And if you want to take a sentimental approach, I really loved how my friend Katie collected her brooches and would recommend it to anyone.

Katie asked the special women in her life to bring one brooch to her bridal shower to add to the bouquet, that way she would have a memory of each person as she walked down the aisle.

brooches at a bridal shower style trials

She received brooches with history such as her Grandmother’s brooch, and others that people thought reminded them of her or vice-versa. She put a piece of tape with that person’s name under each brooch so she would always remember who gave her what. Katie’s bouquet ended up being an eclectic mix of jewels, which I think turned out beautiful – I personally love mixing metals. However, if you’re wanting to stick to one color or metal, you could plan that out to best fit your style and theme.

Step 1: Creating Stems for Each Brooch

You’ll need to cut the wire into 24″ long pieces, which you’ll loop in half through the brooch (giving you about a 12″ stem). For each brooch, I used at least 2 wires, then you twist them all together. Don’t worry if the stems end up being slightly different lengths after this is done, you’ll fix that later.

How to make a brooch bouquet for a wedding

Next, you’ll wrap the green corsage tape around the metal stem, which helps hold all of the pieces together and camouflages the wire. It’s a little tricky to work with, but I found that the tighter I wound it while making sure to overlap the tape, the better it stuck. I kept it on the spool and simply twisted the stem around to quickly get this done.

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 1

Step 2: Making the Stems a Bouquet

This next part was actually not as easy as I had imagined. You’ll now want to take the hydrangea to use as your base, then place each stem strategically  in the hydrangea making sure to keep it’s round shape. You’ll want to be extra careful as to where you place the brooches, because once they’re in the bushel it’s hard to rearrange because the wires may get tangled….especially towards the end when you have already placed a bunch of wire stems.

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 2

It’s up to you whether you want to show any part of the hydrangea, because if you have enough brooches you can literally cover the entire thing. You’ll see we added burlap flowers to the bouquet as well to tie into Katie’s theme, so you really can customize it. It’s also up to you whether you want to remove the green leaves from the faux hydrangea all together, but I left a few to tie into our green bridesmaid dresses.

Next, cut the stems at the bottom to your desired length, which also makes sure the bouquet is one length.

Step 3: Wrapping the handle

This next part was pretty easy, and I just followed what a real florist typically does to wrap the handle. Here you can take ribbon, or burlap from a spool as I did here, and tightly wind it around the handle.

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 3 burlap

With a brooch bouquet, it looks best if you wrap the entire handle rather than leaving exposed “stems” since they are really a bunch of wires. You could use a hot glue gun to hold together, but I used decorative push pins to lock everything into place. That way I could easily adjust things if needed, it added an extra design touch, and again this mimicked what florists do with real bouquets.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

I wanted to add a little something to finish the top of the handle, and the bride also had a personal touch to add as well. For the top handle part, I took a piece of lace ribbon, sewed across the top to create a stitch line, then cut a stitch at the end to pull. When the thread was “pulled,” it created a natural ruffle to the ribbon. This step isn’t necessary though, and I think the results would have looked just as good if I didn’t “ruffle” the ribbon. I just pay way too much attention to detail!

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 4 lace

Next, I personalized the handle by taking a spool of twine, winding the twine around itself and hot-gluing into place. I glued a “W” charm on top of the twine background because this would be the bride’s new last initial.

Brooch Bouquet with family member picturesThe bride added these adorable picture charms to the handle, and printed pictures of family members who were no longer with us as a type of memorial. These were simply pinned in place as well. Doesn’t she and the bouquet look gorgeous?!

Bride with Brooch Bouquet

What do you think of the results? Will you be making a brooch bouquet?

Please let me know what you think of this tutorial in the blog comments! 🙂


We Got Another Puppy! How to Introduce your New Puppy to your Resident Dog

This post brought to you by American Kennel Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hubby and I noticed that our long-haired chihuahua, Milo, is extremely social but has lost a little spunk this past year. We don’t think it’s because he’s getting older (he still acts like a puppy around other dogs), but rather that he’s at home by himself all day. He needed a friend…I mean, look how high-strung he was? 🙂

We’re excited to announce that we adopted another furry friend this past weekend. Meet Charlie Bear. 🙂

Charlie is a purebred AKC registered long-haired chihuahua, just like his soon-to-be brother Milo. When researching, I found great resources on the AKC website that can definitely help anyone interested in finding a dog. For example, they have this tool where you can search for breeds to get info on each kind such as grooming details, temperament, size, and where you kind find breeders. We figured going with the same breed would probably make the most sense for us, since we are familiar with long-haired chihuahuas and hoped they would bond quicker. I also liked that they have an AKC Rescue Network, where you can find dogs that need a new home.

Whether you’re getting your new furbaby from a breeder or a shelter, of course you’ll want to do your research. Getting a dog is a major life decision, so here are a few tips/questions I found to think about when making your choice.

Breeder Questions

1.) If working with a breeder, make sure the breeder is responsible. You should ask to see the puppy, the parents (or at least one of them so you can get an idea of what your puppy’s future may hold), and the premises where the puppy is being cared for. It should be clean and odor free, and the puppy should be well fed and not appear sickly.

2.) Pay attention to how the pup interacts with the breeder. Does it shy away from the breeder? Does the breeder seem to genuinely care about the puppy?

3.) Don’t expect to bring the puppy home until it is 8-12 weeks old. The puppy needs that time with it’s mom and littermates for socialization and to grow strong.

4.) Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The breeder should want to answer all of your questions, and likewise want the puppy to go to a good home. Good questions to ask would be about the breed’s strengths/weaknesses, any knowledge of genetic diseases, and documents. The breeder should be able to share proof of health and make sure the pup is up-to-date on it’s shots/vet visits while still under their care.

Below is a great example of responsible breeders…and seriously, can we talk about how cute these mini wirehaired dachshund puppies are?!

Shelter Questions

1.) Don’t be afraid to ask why the dog is in a shelter. Was it rescued, a stray, surrendered by the previous owner (and if so, why)? That knowledge may help determine what kind of care the dog will need.

2.) What was the health condition of the dog when he came to the shelter, and what kind of vet care has the dog received since? Are there any special medical conditions or dietary needs you should know about?

3.) Training – is the dog housebroken, good around kids, other pets, strangers, etc?

Of course Milo will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll never forget the first day I brought him home.

We read a lot on how to introduce your new puppy to your resident dog, and went with these steps. It went flawless, so I wanted to share!

Tips on Introducing your New Puppy to your Resident Dog

  1. Introduce your dog to the puppy on neutral ground, that way he won’t get territorial. Avoid your house and yard. We let them meet at a school playground down the road so there was a lot of open space, and did this on the weekend so there wasn’t anyone else around.
  2. Ideally you should put them both on the ground, and stand with your legs apart in case the puppy gets scared and wants to seek refuge under you. Avoid holding the puppy and letting the dog smell him because he will feel trapped.
  3. Keep a CLOSE eye on them, and if any fights break out of course separate them. Luckily Milo is a little lover, so I didn’t have to worry about fights.
  4. Bring them back to your home, and let them start out in your yard before bringing them inside. Baby steps. I let them both hang out on our back porch too, then finally brought them inside.
  5. From here, try to keep your schedule that you had with the resident dog the same. You don’t want him to resent the puppy, and of course always keep an eye on them when together until they are very comfortable around each other.

dog meeting puppy for first time style trials

I admit I was nervous for the transition and having to train a puppy again, but I just know once they get comfortable they will be best buds. Charlie already seems pretty comfortable himself.

long haired Chihuahua puppy style trials

They really are so much more than just pets, aren’t they?

Do you have any tips or ideas on introducing a new puppy to your resident dog? I’d love to hear them, so leave me a comment below!

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How to Write A Wedding Speech

When I was asked to be my big sister’s Matron of Honor (Maid of Honor), I was ecstatic! Of course, yes! However, I had a looming twinge of “OMG, I have to write a speech” lurking within. The thought of summarizing what Danielle meant to me seemed impossible, plus she wrote a beautiful speech for my wedding. I wanted to do a good job for her.

I tried searching a few things on the internet for ideas/tips, and didn’t really come up with too much. So I sat down and thought about it more, then came up with a “Ultimate Wedding Speech Formula” that I think really helped. I wanted to share these 10 wedding speech tips in case it helps a fellow MOH, plus list out my speech so I’ll have it stored to remember.

  1. MOH Wedding Speech TipsKeep it around 3-5 minutes. People tend to get distracted after that.
  2. For me, it was easiest to write the middle of the speech first, then add the intro and conclusion after.
  3. Beginning – Introduce yourself. How are you related to the Bride?
  4. Personalize it – Tell at least one detailed funny or heartwarming story that is personalized about the Bride, such as what it was like growing up with her. Make sure it’s not all inside jokes that nobody in the audience will understand!
  5. What about the Bride makes you love her? What are some of her personality traits? How has she helped you, and what does she mean to you?
  6. Don’t forget the groom! How long have you known him? How did things change after the Bride met her future husband? Tell a personalized story about the groom or details about why they’re perfect together.
  7. Add something interactive if it makes sense. Include a relevant prop, or ask the audience or Bride & Groom to do something. This makes things more memorable and engaging.
  8. Look towards the future – Now that they’re married, what do you wish for the happy couple? End with a toast, quote, or piece of advice for the couple.
  9. Don’t forget to end the speech with raising your glass and asking everyone to toast to the Newlyweds!
  10. Practice! I practiced wearing heels (I know it sounds silly, but helped!), practiced in the mirror, practiced in front of my friends and hubby, and of course didn’t forget the hairbrush microphone. 🙂

I didn’t want to blank out, so I brought up a piece of paper with the speech written on it. Note cards wouldn’t really work because you’ll be holding a microphone and maybe drink, so I made sure my speech was condensed to one sheet of paper. Because I practiced, I didn’t really need to look at it that much. I tried to remember key points, and tell the stories in my own voice rather than reading word-for-word, so they were more authentic. Here I am giving my speech:

Maid of Honor giving wedding speechObviously I’m looking out at the guests in this shot, but another important step is to really look at everybody you’re addressing. Pay attention to your body language, and make sure to look at the Bride and Groom.

So here it is, the speech I gave at my sister’s wedding:

Hi Everyone, my name is Kristen. Many of you know that I’m Danielle’s sister and the middle of the three Barnhart daughters. I’m thrilled to be Danielle’s Matron of Honor on this special day. Many of you know Danielle as a friend, family member, or co-worker, so I wanted to let you in on what it was like actually growing up with Danielle from my perspective.

Growing up, I was an awkward little girl with glasses and braces. You know, the “creative” type. Luckily, I had an older, beautiful and talented sister to look up to. Danielle was smart, popular, and gifted in piano, tennis, and dance. Although I’m sure there were times where the 5 year age gap deemed me her “annoying little sister,” she was always looking out for Lauren and I. I eagerly accepted her hand-me down clothes even if they had holes or stains, and loved when she took the lead at teaching us stuff such as how to do a cartwheel, or putting on a fashion show starring us and all the neighborhood kids.

As we got older, I probably drove her a little crazy with stealing her clothes. I remember this one time specifically when I stole her new shirt to wear to school. She went to school earlier than me, so getting it on was pretty easy. But because I came home after her, I had to bring one of my shirt’s to throw on over hers before I got home so she wouldn’t notice. I thought it was genius, but somehow she figured it out and a big fight broke out. Okay, I know I was in the wrong, but because of Danielle’s generous nature, she only locked her closet for ONE day after that. Again, always watching out for her sisters.

Looking back now, it’s apparent that she really paved the way for Lauren and I because she was so successful in her milestones and wanted us to be as well. We followed in her footsteps with piano, tennis, dance, and becoming sorority sisters. I even went to the same college as her, and she opened our eyes to the world of designer fashions. GOOD LUCK, Chris. 🙂

I’m sure many here know that Danielle’s been a great role model to not only us, but many others ranging from the “cool babysitter” to the caring dance coach. After Danielle’s years on the Orlando Magic dance team, she actually coached a professional dance team I was on. It was there that she later introduced me to my husband, Gary, who also worked for the team. My future would not have been the same without the help of Danielle.

Over the years, our relationship has grown to more than just sisters. I turn to her as my mentor, the one I can lean on for advice and support, or simply if I’m looking for a shopping buddy. We understand each other, and truly are best friends. Danielle, I am SO incredibly lucky to have a sister like you. Thank you for always listening, being a great example, and just being there.

I didn’t know Chris until they started dating, but I’ve come to find that he is the perfect match for my sister. Chris and Danielle both have that kind, thoughtful, generous nature about them, and are very family-oriented. And come on, he can play the piano better than us! Chris’ methodical thinking balances out Danielle’s impulsiveness, bringing out the best in each other. It’s incredible to see a girl from the midwest find her sole-mate from Virginia in Florida, and their wedding story proves of fate as well. She always had a crush on Chris in college, and says she wouldn’t have passed her business class without his help. Years later after graduation and random occasions of bumping into each other, the stars aligned and they finally had the opportunity to try things out. Obviously it worked, and although he’s been a part of the family for awhile, I’m happy to officially call him my brother!

Danielle and Chris, please hold each other’s hand. [hold hands]. I’m so excited to see what this next chapter in life brings you, and I’ll leave you with this one piece of wisdom. One of the best things in the world is when someone you love holds your hand. I wish you a lifetime of happiness, love, and hand holding through thickness and thin. Congratulations, I love you both. Let’s raise our glasses to the bride and groom!


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