July 2016

Wedding Planning: DIY Flowers and Alter

Hi there!

Thank you so much for all of the love on the recent launch of my E-Design Services! It is something I’ve been itching to do for quite some time, and I’m happy that the timing is finally right! I am floored that I already have booked four of you to work with in the last week. I am so excited to get going on these projects, and I’m hoping to be able to share them with you soon!

I also wanted to say thank you for the love on the last Wedding Planning series post- DIY Rustic Wedding CakeI am so happy with how our $60.00 cake turned out, and so grateful for all of the help from our family in pulling it off! Sicher-623Its been way over two months since our wedding, I still can’t believe it. I received our wedding photos back from our wonderful and amazingly talented photographer Lauren Nievod. You might remember her work from our engagement photos that I shared last winter. I am really excited to share our wedding using Lauren’s photos little by little. Just in case you’re new around here lets recap the overall wedding plans to get you up to date:

We decided right off the bat that we wanted a very small and affordable wedding. 20 guests and under $10,000.00 to be exact. To be honest, a wedding was not very important to either of us and the expense of a full blown wedding seemed silly. We wanted to be able to invest our money into a new home instead. We decided to take a different approach, and to think outside of the box for a venue. We opted to rent out 7 rustic cabins around a lake in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. We would enjoy some time in nature and with our family before we would be married at a scenic overlook on the property. I knew that we would have to be doing a lot of the work ourselves because of the remote location and in order to keep costs down.

Last Fall, Brian’s sister was getting married. Before her big day her florist quit unexpectedly, leaving her without anything… She was searching for a good florist that could do her wedding but was having no luck. Now, I’ have no real experience as a florist but I stepped in and offered to do her flowers for free.

The one major catch was that I live in Washington DC, and her wedding was in Pittsburgh. There wouldn’t be enough time from when I got into town to the ceremony for me to style fresh flowers. I knew I’d have to do all the flowers prior to her wedding and then travel with them to her wedding. Now, we all know real flowers weren’t making that kind of trip and still looking nice. We decided to go with faux flowers and see how they looked. To my surprise they looked and felt so real. Everyone was pleased, their wedding was beautiful and I chalked it up to a win!Image-10585447-230671450-2-WebLarge_0_f39112fe6fac46704fb91505a0950cb3_1

With the experience of helping on a prior wedding under my belt, I felt pretty good about DIYing my own wedding flowers. I knew I needed the basics- bouquet, boutonniere, flowers for the isle. I also wanted some sort of flowers to decorate the arch we would be married under. Like any other bride- I spent approximately 7 billion hours on the internet getting ideas. I shared some of my ideas in this post showing off our Navy & Blush color scheme.Navy Blue and Blush Wedding Colors Actually AshleyWith that inspiration in mind, I went shopping. I purchased all of the faux flowers and vines from my local Hobby Lobby. It took me a few weeks at a slow pace, but I got it all done with lots of time to spare. Here is the overall view of the scenic overlook where we had the ceremony:Sicher-221For the front of the ceremony area I wanted to add a little welcome sign. I purchased a board at Home Depot, then took it home and stained it in Midwax’s Walnut. I used the Silhouette Cameo to design and create the vinyl lettering for the sign. I bought a $15 easel from Michael’s and spray painted it in navy. We draped a Hobby Lobby vine over it, and using some green floral tape we attached a few simple pink roses to it.  Sicher-222Sicher-228Sicher-226For the isle, I created little floral bundles using various faux flowers combining them with floral tape (and a lot of hot glue). I cut long strips of navy ribbon and attached it to the floral bundles, allowing them to flow down a bit. Each bundle was slightly different, but I tried to use the same flowers in each to create unity. I used simple plastic pew hooks to attach the flowers to the chairs. These were so simple and fast to make, really any crafty guy/gal could tackle this project!Sicher-224Sicher-229We wanted to make the birch archway feel a bit more glamorous, so we decided to add drapery. I purchased $9.99 (for the pair!) curtains from Ikea. We used a left over birch branch as the ‘drapery rod’, and simply used zip ties to attach it to the arch. The curtains covered the zip ties so it all worked out! We attached the ready-made vines from Hobby Lobby directly to the drapes using a staple gun. I had made two longer floral clusters for either side of the arch, and a small flower cluster for the top. We attached these to the drapes with navy ribbon. Sicher-234Sicher-232Here is how it all looked during the actual ceremony:

Sicher-325I kept Brian’s boutonniere simple. I used two small with faux flowers as the base. I mixed in faux eucalyptus to add greenery and a pop of navy with the little blue branch. Once I liked the arrangement of the faux flowers, I began to warp the bases with floral tape. I used hot glue to secure the tape at the end, then wrapped the base in navy ribbon to hide the tape. Lastly, I tied a small bow out of twine and hot blued it under the flowers.Sicher-237For my bouquet I kept is small and simple. I used 7 larger roses and peonies in a mix of blush pink and white to start. I then added in layers of lamb’s ear, eucalyptus, and the same blue branches. Once I was happy with the size and shape I began to wrap the base with the floral tape, hot gluing as I went. I left the very bottom of the stems exposed to try to achieve a more ‘real’ look. After it was all secure, I wrapped the base with navy ribbon. I cut a long piece of ribbon and attached it to the bottom, allowing it to flow freely. Sicher-515I am so happy with how the faux flowers turned out. It saved me so much time & money, and I honestly don’t think anyone noticed they were fake!

Sicher-224Later in the day we went to a local restaurant to eat dinner. I took two of the chair flower clusters with us. I made simple “Mr.” and “Mrs.” signs using pre-cut wood, spray paint and the cameo cutter. I used tiny little clothes line clips to attach them onto the bottom of the flowers Sicher-567It was such a simple way to reuse the same flowers from the ceremony!

That’s it for our DIY wedding flowers. The overall costs of the vines, flowers and supplies to make them came to $650.00. I know that seems like a lot for fake flowers, but I had a bunch left over. Not too bad considering the average wedding florist budget is around $1500.00. (My coworker spent $7,500.00 on her wedding flowers, yikes!). I hope you enjoyed the post. Please check out my Instagram and Pinterest pages to see more from our wedding!

Until Next Time,


Wedding Planning: DIY Rustic Wedding Cake


Hello there!

Its been over two months since our wedding, I can hardly believe it. I just recently received our wedding photos back from our wonderful, beautiful, and amazingly talented wedding photographer Lauren Nievod. You might remember her work from our engagement photos that I shared back in February. My jaw about hit the floor when I opened the photos from our wedding day. She captured each moment so beautifully that looking back at the photos was truly like reliving the day.

I am really excited to share our wedding through Lauren’s photos little by little, one detail at a time. I want to do it like this so I can share more details about each piece that came together to make our wedding day perfect. Today I am giving you the full run down of our DIY Rustic Wedding Cake. But first, lets recap the larger wedding plans to get you up to speed!

We decided right off the bat that we wanted a very small and affordable wedding. 20 guests and under $10,000.00 to be exact. To be honest, a wedding was not very important to either of us and the expense of a full blown wedding seemed silly. We wanted to be able to invest our money into a new home instead. We decided to take a different approach, and to think outside of the box for a venue. We opted to rent out 7 rustic cabins around a lake in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. We would enjoy some time in nature and with our family before we would be married at a scenic overlook on the property. I knew that we would have to be doing a lot of the work ourselves because of the remote location and in order to keep costs down. That meant DIYing all of the decorations, flowers, invitations and you guessed it, cake!

Luckily, Brian’s mom is an avid baker and had actually made the wedding cakes for his sister’s wedding last year. I quickly roped her in for the project. We started with a plan, which involved finding a few photos from Pinterest of rustic cakes that I liked. We also made up a “mock” cake with cake pans that I shared on Instagram for me to see the size of the cake she was planning.

We decided on a three tiered cake. I wanted to have two flavor options for the wedding, and the top tier to save and freeze for special occasions like anniversaries. My mom and I found a perfect cake stand at Home Goods. It would be so simple to recreate by using a piece of sliced wood and gluing a small wooden bowl to the bottom. The size of our largest bottom tier was determined by the diameter of the cake stand. It ended up being a 10″ Chocolate cake with Peanut Butter Cream for the bottom, 8″ Vanilla cake with Strawberries and Cream Cheese for the center and a 6″ Yellow cake with Berries for the top. Our wedding was centered around the mountain surroundings, and being on a lake I really loved this inspiration image for our cake topper.


Brian’s little sister Chelsea was taking a wood shop class for her final year of high school, so just like her mom, I roped her in for a project. It was so nice to have so many details created with the love of our family. It truly made each item so special. Chelsea did an amazing job creating the canoe and ores.Sicher-98Sicher-102Unfortunately I haven’t found a good source where you can find your own carved canoe cake topper, but I’ll keep you posted if I can source one! Brian’s mom made the cakes at her home before bravely driving them the 3 hours down to the lake (with three dogs in the car, mind you!) The morning of the wedding she brought them to the cabin I was getting ready at to ice and decorate. Sicher-97Sicher-100Once she had beautifully iced the cake and added the canoe cake topper, I was called in to help decorate. Brian’s sister and Grandmom had already laid out the flower selection for me. We used all faux flowers from Hobby Lobby for the entire wedding. I wanted to have the flowers for the isle and bouquet done well a head of time so silk flowers fit the bill and looked so great. Honestly, no one really realized the flowers were fake until they touched them.Sicher-48Sicher-50Placing the flowers on the cake was really trial and error. With the icing being a sort of messy look, it was easy to pull them off and replace them as we went. Sicher-116Sicher-118Sicher-113Sicher-112Sicher-122We started with the three largest flowers placing them diagonally down the cake starting with one by the canoe and moving downward. We then layered in the smaller flowers to create groupings at each layer. Lastly we used bits of small vine like flowers to connect the groupings. I couldn’t be happier with the final result! Overall the cake was very inexpensive.. the cost of 6 boxed cake mixes, some fresh fruit and ingredients for the icing, the faux flowers (mostly left over from the other wedding flowers) and the $20 Home Goods cake stand! I think we spent under $60 for the entire cake. Here are the photos of it all done, and the cake cutting:Sicher-623Sicher-626Sicher-628Sicher-632Sicher-635And it wouldn’t be a good wedding if the dogs didn’t get some cake!Sicher-637Sicher-639Sicher-640I made this cute little sign with my Silhoutte Cameo. I picked up the navy board from Michael’s craft store for .99 cents. I also grabbed a wooden plate stand and pink spray paint for the sign holder. The grooms “cake” was a big bowl of dirt with a gummy worm B for Brian. Sicher-644Sicher-642Thats a wrap for our DIY style wedding cake. I can not thank Brian’s mom and sister enough for their help and contribution. We are so grateful for their love and support! Be sure to stay in touch! You can find me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook to see even more! Be sure to check back for when I share our isle decorations and florals with you!

Until Next Time,


E-Design Services

Hi There!

Today I am excited to share a new service I am kicking off here on Actually Ashley Blog! With our big move to Ohio just around the corner, I am “retiring” from my full time job as an Interior Designer here in Washington, DC and transitioning to working Part-Time from our new home. I am excited to have enough free time to dedicate to beginning a new E-Design Service! I have received so many inquires about designing privately for you all and I am so excited that the timing is finally right to do so! See below for all of the details:Actually-Asshley-E-Design

What exactly is E-Design?
E-Design is a digital interior decorating service for you to get a custom designed space for your home regardless of your location or budget. With years of experience in the design industry, Actually Ashley will decorate your room, or entire home, without having to retain a traditional full-service interior designer. E-Design is a do-it-yourself decorating solution that provides you with design boards and source lists to create a professionally decorated space that you can buy and install at your own pace. You provide us with your room measurements, before photos, & budget and we will custom design your personal digital plan and source list that fits your needs, style, and space.

What will my E-Design Package Include?

  • Digital Consultation: Upon reaching out, Actually Ashley will ask you to fill out a quick and easy questionnaire to get a better idea of your wants, needs and style. Once we establish a design direction and your budget we will begin designing your space!
  • Design Boards: Do you have a hard time envisioning what a fully designed room might look like? Our E-Design Boards will help you see the space by showing you images of all furniture, wallpaper, art and other decor. These boards will show you how the different design components come together to create a fully decorated space.
  • Space Planning: After you provide measurements of your room, Actually Ashley will provide a furniture layout of your space drawn to scale. Each item in your Design Board will coordinate to your space plan and show you how to arrange your new furniture in the room.
  • Revisions: Your E-Design Package includes one revision round to provide solutions to an concerns after the initial designs are provided.
  • Source List: We will provide you with the designs and you do the rest! After creating your e-design boards and space plans- we will provide an organized shopping list with easy links for online retailers for you to purchase every item in the design. You can purchase all at once, or at your own pace to create the room of your dreams!

How are your E-Design Services Priced?

Our E-design Services are priced based on the size and scale of the room requested. Decorating Services will begin upon payment and will take 2-3 weeks to deliver full E-Design Package after your digital consultation.

$350.00- Foyer, Powder Room, Breakfast Room, Home Office, Nursery and Kids Bedrooms

$450.00- Family Room, Living Room, Bedrooms and Dining Room

$500.00- Kitchen and Bathrooms

$50.00 Per Hour- Need help selecting a good paint color, picking a backsplash tile or want to know what headboard would go great with your existing style? If you have a quick design questions I am here to help!

Do you have examples of E-Design?

Yes! You’re in luck! To celebrate the launch of our E-Design Services, Actually Ashley is providing a free E-Designs! Today I am sharing a Modern Kitchen with clickable links to explore the design for yourself, free of any charge! Check it out:




1. Pendant Light 2. Backsplash Option One 3. Backsplash Option Two 4. Counter 5. Cabinets6. Faucet | 7. Floor Tile | 8. Cabinet Hardware

1. Pendant Light- Progress Lighting Alexa 4-in W Brushed Nickel Mini Pendant Light with White Shade- Price: $64.54

2. Backsplash Option One- Anatolia Tile Java Mixed Material (Stone and Glass) Mosaic Wall Tile- Price: $10.98 each

3. Backsplash Option Three- Anatolia Tile Java Mixed Material (Stone and Glass) Mosaic Squares Wall Tile – Price: $10.98

4. Countertop- allen + roth Sugarbrush Quartz Kitchen Countertop- Price Dependent on Size

5. Cabinets- Wolf-Dartmouth in Dark Sable- Price Dependent on Quantity

6. Faucet- Giagni Fresco Stainless Steel 1-Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet-Price: $199.00

7. Floor Tile- Style Selections Ivetta White Glazed Porcelain Floor Tile -Price: $2.19 each

8. Hardware- Style Selections 7-1/2-in Center-to-Center Brushed Satin Nickel Bar Cabinet Pull- Price: $5.37 each

Source for look photo: Unknown, Pinterest.

 Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you’re as excited for the new E-Design services as I am! If you’d like to check out more of my professional designs from past projects- check out my online portfolio here and my resume here and here. If you’d like to try out the E-Design Services please shoot me an email at

Pick Five- J Crew

Rounding up my five favorite picks from J Crew

Hey there!

I have been really enjoying my new Pick Five series. I recently wrapped up my five favorite items from Pottery Barn and Z Gallerie– and received lots of great feedback! Thank you for reaching out, it is always so great to hear from you guys! Today I want to switch gears from home goods to fashion. I am rounding up my favorite picks from J Crew. I have a quite few items from J Crew- and I am always so impressed with their quality. I have washed my favorite J Crew button down about a hundred times and it still looks brand-spanking-new. While they may be a bit more pricey than another store like it- I know the items will last. I also love how J Crew’s style seems sort of timeless. While they have some trendy items- overall I think their style looks just as great from five years ago. I’m sure I will still love their clothing in another five years. So here is the 5 items I am totally digging from J Crew right now: Actually-Ashley-Pick-Five-JCrew



1. Classic Popover Plaid Button-Down  |  2. Graphic scarf with Tassels  |  3. Gingham Linen Shorts4. Austrian Lace Pencil Skirt5. Beaded Tassel Earrings

  1. Classic Popover Paid Button Down- $78.00- I love J Crew’s plaids. They are always such great color combinations and are easy to mix and match. This one I particularly love because it it made from a gauzy-cotton material that is great for the hot summer nights!

    2. Graphic Scarf With Tassels- 59.50- This is a great layering item and so easy to pack for a weekend trip! I love the navy and kelly green colors for a preppy summer outfit.

    3. Gingham Linen Shorts- $59.50 now $39.99- I struggle to find shorts that fit properly. Its either a perfect fit on my legs and huge in my waist, or it fits my waist but are WAYYYYYY to short. I love J Crew because they have shorts that are long enough for my frame. I love this navy and white gingham pattern and they are on a super great sale right now!

    4. Austrian Lace Pencil Skirt- $198.00- This cutie comes in white or black. It is such a great staple for a work wardrobe as it seems so timeless! J Crew says: “We updated the classic pencil skirt in luxurious lace from Hämmerle & Vogel, the Austrian fabric house that’s been making beautiful textiles and embroidery since 1900. We love that our designers added a sleek, comfortable inner lining that really highlights its intricate details.”

    5. Beaded Tassel Earrings- $65.00- This is such a fun accessory! I love wearing long earrings when I pull my hair back to really show off the jewels! These come in the green color shown as well as a more classic gold! 

Thanks so much for checking in! I have been having so much fun with this “Pick Five” series, and I hope you’re loving some of my selections. Check out my previous posts: Pick Five- Pottery Barn and  Pick Five- Z Gallerie. Also be sure to follow along on my Instagram and Pinterest Pages. I try to update them as often as I can. Thanks so much for checking in. Hope to hear from you in the comments below!

Until Next Time,