Alina Sewing and Design

Smoky Mountain Honeymoon

This was the view from the bed. Um, awesome to wake up to!

Outside of our cabin in Sevierville, TN…and my smokin’ hot husband (sorry)

This picture was actually meant to show how steep the drop-off was behind our driveway. It did not succeed, but you can see a bit of how high we were and our view!

Christmas “village”

We antiqued.

We went sight-seeing.

One morning, we woke up to this…I took this from inside of the cabin’s loft. Seriously amazing!
We went horseback riding. (See?? He IS a cowboy…)
We went ziplining.

We went hiking.

We did some more sightseeing.

We did some (a lot of) eating. (And we got a free dessert for being newlyweds.) 🙂

We went zorbing. (See below video if you don’t know what that is!)

Zorbing in the Smoky Mountains from Alina Strain on Vimeo.

We did some more eating.

Some more antiquing.

Some shopping (@ Mast General Store in Knoxville).

And some flying.

Basically, we came, we saw, we did and we loved it all. Easily the best week of my life; not because of anything we did necessarily, but because I had an entire week of the Mr. all to myself with zero distractions, zero stresses, zero work/school, zero to-do lists…just one solid (almost) week of pure, simple quality time. This week, “real” life started again. It’s certainly an adjustment as I start working again (which means I’m at home alone) and he’s started his neurology rotation (…which means I’m at home alone for 10-12+ hours a day…), but we’ll get into a routine, I’ll make new friends and rekindle old friendships in this new-old city, and we’ll figure out the ebb and flow of life and marriage. Today, I chose to have an attitude of gratefulness (yesterday was a rough one) and expectancy. My love, in his honest love for me, reminded me that God has a plan in all of the struggles and that I needed to suck it up. He is right. My attitude is purely what it is by my own control, so this morning, I hit a “reset” button and determined to refocus, choose a better attitude and go to God first for strength (that’s not my husband’s job either).

Whew. Didn’t see all that coming…so to end on a happy note, we got some teaser pics from our photographer! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Visit her at Jackie Cooper Photo.

We’re Back, But We’re Still On Our Honeymoon…

Hello, loves!
We did it. We tied the knot, we got hitched, we said our “I Do’s”! 
And it was the best wedding day we ever could have asked for. Ever. And I mean it. 50+ degree day in December with clear skies, no wind, no icy roads, no hiccups…nothing but pure bliss! I loved every minute of it. Since we created, designed, and built nearly everything ourselves, I can’t wait to show you every detail of DIY that went into the perfect day. However…you’ve figured out by my lack of posting lately that we’ve been busy, busy, busy! Too busy to take pictures to blog about said projects. SO–my wonderful friend and sole wedding photographer, Jackie Cooper of Jackie Cooper Photo made it a point to take as many detail shots as she could muster. Once we get wedding photos back (which will be by January 14, at the latest!), you betcha we’ll be getting the play-by-play on! I can’t WAIT to share all of the details.
Sigh. After our [perfect] wedding day, we honeymooned in the Smoky Mountains (more on that later). We came home in time for Christmas with [both of our new] families, and we have this week off, too. 
Hanging out with Cooper (he stayed with his grandma and grandpa while we were gone)

 Enjoying our Christmas tree…

{Sidenote: this was a wedding gift! I’d been seeing the wedding invite ornaments floating around Pinterest and had every intention in making one…until someone did me better and made one for us! I LOVE these types of gifts!}
{Second sidenote: Beki at The Rusted Chain makes these ornaments. My mom gave it to us for Christmas earlier this month. It’s the perfect blend of handmade, lovely and rustic–just like our wedding!}
{Third and final sidenote: this was part of someone’s wrapping for another of our wedding gifts. It became an ornament as soon as we opened the gift! So many talented and creative people around me…who I definitely need to get to know better.}

Still hanging out with Cooper…who’s getting a bit of shut-eye.

Hello, husband. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Enjoying being MARRIED!

Having breakfast for dinner… (this photo alone may require my apologies to all vegetarians and vegans)

 Enjoying our Christmas presents…

Did I mention being married?

Doing some reading (which also includes enjoying said Christmas presents)…

 Watching movies…

Playing games……

…while Cooper still gets more shut-eye…and looks adorable doing it. He’s such a cute little model. 🙂

We’re also being productive. We opened all of our cards on Christmas Eve and our gifts on Christmas Day (I’ve never gotten so many presents on Christmas!!), returned all duplicate wedding gifts, have picked up our official marriage license, changed my name with social security, driver’s license, tag office, etc., and moved him in (for the most part) since he didn’t live here until post-wedding. I’m SO glad we had another week off when we got home!

On another note, I CAN’T BELIEVE January is close enough to touch! 2011 has been a great year–bring on 2012!

Stay safe and talk to you next year, friends!

Wedding Week, Merry Christmas and a Friend

Hello, Umbrellas!!

We are now FIVE days away from wedding day–crazy, right?! I spent the last half of last week up in KC to spend some time in the office, train those who will be covering for me (I’m going to be off Dec. 15 until Jan. 2!), and attend the company Christmas party Friday night.

Alex, Krissy, Me, Lauren and Tyler (Cowboy was back in Wichita studying his hiney off for this week’s board exams!)

Krissy, Me and Lauren in the photo booth. They’re “kissing the bride” in the last picture–haha!!

Because I was going to be out of town, I set a goal for myself to finish most all of the wedding projects by the time I left. I am SO thankful I did because I came home to just small projects and items to finish up. Cowboy is still studying his hiney off; he’ll take his shelf exam for the family medicine rotation from 1:30 to 4:00 on Friday…and rehearsal is at 4:30! Dios mio, we are busy people! Also…to those of you considering a December wedding, also consider the fact that it will also be Christmas time, aka Christmas present time…no one told me that! 😉 No, I’m actually really excited about the December wedding (and the fact that we got discounts due to being “off-season”!) and everything will be done and finished in time. I am excited OUT OF MY MIND that it’s finally here and that we’re going to see so many of our non-local friends and family. I’ve done a happy dance at least 14 times in the last 24 hours because I just can’t help myself!

I need to say it:


I probably won’t be posting again before the wedding (and definitely not during our honeymoon), so I wanted to share a blog to keep you occupied. My Love of Home is actually written by Lauren’s mom. Since nearly all of the kids have moved out of the house, they decided to downsize into a fixer-upper across town. They have done SO much work in such a short amount of time–they are my DIY heroes! Go check out her latest series of posts–and make sure you start at the beginning to get a true sense of their transformations–we’re talking knocking out walls, doubling the size of their laundry room (into the garage), brand new kitchen cabinets and countertops, cleaning up the backyard and adding a “beach” where their portion of land backs up to the river…and of course all of the spackling, painting, sanding, painting, tearing out carpet and painting! I promise you won’t be disappointed!

OK, loves, until after the wedding and honeymoon, goodbye, goodnight, and a very Merry Christmas to all of you! Stay safe, warm and eat lots of yummies!


Luke’s Studio: the Reveal

I have a confession to make: though I continually apologize for my recent (ahem…the last six…err eight…weeks) lack of posting, I just have to be realistic and say I don’t see that changing until after the wedding (which is in like…THREE WEEKS). While I’d like to be talking to you guys regularly, I just don’t have time! After working all day, we usually have plans starting at 5:01 or are running out the door to run errands (all wedding stuff). We also finally coordinated schedules with the pastor who is marrying us and JUST start premarital counseling last Friday (I didn’t live here, then we were up to our necks in moving every weekend for five solid weeks, then the pastor was in Israel for a few weeks…now it’s the holidays!) Oh man. So here we are…down to the last few weeks and more items on the to-do list than there are days left.

But I’m excited. I’m ready to be married already to this crazy, godly, over-thinking, busy, smart, handsome, compassionate and encouraging man that’s about to be my husband. I’m ready. I know this wedding won’t go entirely as planned, things won’t happen like we are envisioning and the mid-December weather is nothing but unpredictable. But we don’t care…as long as we’re married at the end of the day, then everything will have gone perfectly.

All that said, we’re working on projects out the wazoo! I’ve never crammed so many DIY projects into such a short period! Don’t worry, I may be making you wait, but I will eventually be sharing all of this! I partly wait because of time and I partly wait because I don’t want to take the fun out of it for the friends and family who will be there. 🙂

BUT…I do have a fun little reveal for you today. Remember when I kept talking about a “client” room a few weeks ago? It was for a co-worker whose husband was deployed. She wanted him to come home to a space that was all his. So, with a small budget, my job was to provide the furniture and some fun elements. I was responsible for the couch (Target), chair (vintage…from Craigslist…I wanted to keep it!), coffee table (thrifted), 6-foot leaning chalkboard (I built it; I’ll give you a tutorial…after the wedding, lol!), metal/wood rolling cart and tall media stand (Crate and Barrel, but I owned them), and a lamp, pillows, etc…all for less than $300.

Watch the video below!

100 Days of Wedding, a To-Do List and a Barn Sale!

Umbrellas, we have SO much going on behind the scenes over here! Between wedding planning, searching for our first house together, Cowboy’s clinical rotations and med school schedule, being in two different cities (read: traveling every weekend one direction or the other), working on a client room (details coming soon!!), planning moves, and actually executing the wedding plans…I feel like I can barely catch my breath! Fortunately, we have been able to knock some major to-do items off of the list. To give you an idea, in the past month we have:

  • Ordered wedding bands
  • Had my wedding dress altered
  • Taken care of all bridesmaid and groomsmen attire (it’s all here and final alterations are being made!)
  • Found and signed the lease agreement on our first house together (I move in FIVE weeks!!!)–SO excited about this one.
  • Cowboy finished his surgery rotation and has started his internal medicine rotation
  • Had my engagement ring sized
  • Bought the materials for about six different projects…and are about half-finished with several of them.
  • And about twelve other things I either won’t mention or am forgetting.
  • Did I mention I work full-time? And I’m traveling every weekend?
Thanks to the gracious and wonderful people around me, I have two different showers coming up in the next two weekends (in two different states!). After that, I have one weekend to pack and then I start moving the first weekend of October. Ummm…that’s in THREE weeks! Since we have both our house and my apartment for the whole month of October, I essentially have a few weekends to move things back and forth. Which means…I don’t have a free, unplanned weekend until October 22! (Which is only EIGHT weeks before the wedding…oh me, oh my!)

By the way, today is 100 days until the wedding…which means tomorrow breaks the 100-day mark and I have a feeling everything is going to FLY by after that. That means excited, busier-than-ever, hustling Alina! If you only see but a blur of me within the next 99 days, please forgive me! I’m doing my best to wear 16 hats at once. 🙂

In other news, I plan on making an appearance at the Hesston Barn Sale on October 1 (more traveling, lol!). If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out!

Our DIY Wedding Invites – Sneak Preview!

As I’ve mentioned before, our wedding will primarily be DIY-ed. Partly because we fail to understand the reasoning behind spending a fortune on a wedding, partly because I’m a DIY enthusiast and mostly because we want this wedding to feel like us. Our vision is for every part of our big day to say something about who we are, what our relationship is like and what we love.

As you probably realize, once you have your venue booked, date & time set, and other details nailed down, it’s time to think about who you will be inviting…and how you will invite them.
For this part, I decided to try my hand at designing our invitations. I’m so in love with our story and how God intertwined our journeys together, so incorporating it was a must. I’m also a sucker for anything and everything typographic. I am SO visual.

From here, my oh-so-talented mother enters the picture. Her and a friend of hers make & sell cards as a side business–and they’re stinkin’ good at it. Think beautiful layered card stock, stamps, die-cuts, embellishments, blind press, embossing. So, add my graphic design portion to her ability to put a beautiful card together and you have our wedding invitations. Since invites won’t go out for another six or seven weeks, I don’t want to spoil too much of the surprise, so you get only a peek for now! (By the way, the above photos are of a mock-up version, not the final product.) 🙂

When I was doing my research on custom wedding invitations (remember…I wanted the invitation to include our story), everything I came across was $1,000+…before postage. To sum this up, by doing the invitations ourselves, postage will nearly be the most expensive part! I estimate we’re saving an easy $850.
A big thanks to my mom, who is not only spending the time to put them together by hand (she’s nearly two states away…otherwise, I would be helping!), but she’s graciously offered to pay for the materials she needs. What would the world be like without moms?
Has anyone else DIY-ed wedding invites (or found other budget-friendly options)?


Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear about exciting shop updates, product launches, and opportunities to test our patterns before they go public.

You have successfully subscribed! Add to your contact list so that our emails go straight to your inbox.

Pin It on Pinterest