Hello! I'm so glad you're here!
First thing’s first. My name's Dickie, short for my middle name, Dickinson. I’ve spent the last eight years working as an event planner and when I’m not designing and planning events, I can be found designing and making handmade ditty bags (as featured in Virginia Living Magazine where I was included as one of Virginia's Top Wedding Vendors for 2013). just a little ditty… combines my passions: event planning, designing and sewing handmade ditty bags, photography and blogging.
just a little ditty… began as a blog in 2008 with a simple purpose: to share inspirations with the world. I’ve always loved quotes, cards and words of encouragement as well as making handmade things and wanted to create a place to write, share my love of photography and bring people together in the spirit of positivity. While I was thinking of what to call the blog, a memory flashed into my mind of my grandfather carrying his tote bag filled with handy tools that he took whenever he went sailing. He called his tote his “ditty bag.” I hoped to fill my blog with handy little bursts of happiness to help people through their days. Reading through my blog archives you’ll find quotes that inspire me, pictures that make me laugh and songs that keep me tapping my toes. Through it all, you’ll discover my inspirations and what makes me tick.
I was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia and had an incredibly blessed childhood growing up in the country with two best friends--my triplet brother & sister. We grew up in an old house, originally built in 1804, that my parents restored. We hardly ever watched TV, instead spending our days playing outside, exploring the surrounding woods that included trails and a pond. My dad loved woodworking in his shop, my mom loved to sew and they passed on their knack for making, fixing and repurposing things.
The same year I started blogging, my mom gave me a sewing machine that came with eight sewing lessons. My mom had taught me to sew when I was younger and the lessons gave me a chance to hone my skills. As my sewing improved, I wanted to learn how to put a zipper in. Once I got the hang of that, I wanted to make something with a zipper. While thinking of what I could create, I noticed a pile of old clothes that I was going to take to Goodwill along with some fabric I had bought at a thrift store but never used. I grabbed my scissors, started cutting and combined the fabrics and scraps into my first bag. I started off making the bags as gifts for my friends and when someone asked me what they were called, once again my thoughts went to my grandfather’s “ditty bag.”
What started as a hobby evolved into another passion and I’ve sent over 1000 unique ditty bags into the world. My ditty bags are created from new, repurposed and vintage materials. No two are alike. Whether a bag is created from an old pair of well-loved jeans, a favorite skirt, mom’s wedding dress or grandmother's apron--every bag is a chance to tell a story and to make new memories from old ones. I’ve made custom ditty bags lined with someone’s special blanket, a favorite tie and a flannel shirt from a father. Brides have asked their bridesmaids to send meaningful pieces and I’ve incorporated the fabric with the bride's colors to create custom bags for each friend to carry on the wedding day. Whether you purchase an original ditty bag or have one custom-made, each one carries with it a story of the past while giving new life to old memories.
While I enjoy blogging and sewing ditty bags in my limited free-time, the majority of my days (and many weekends!) are spent working as an event planner.
I didn’t know anything about event planning when I scored an internship with an event planner during my 4th year at the University of Virginia but I knew a lot about planning and teamwork. Growing up as a triplet meant I was part of a team since inception and I had great models in my parents, watching them coordinate raising the three of us while doing their best to give us equal time and opportunities. The more I learned about planning, the more I loved it. I played team sports in high school and instantly felt at home around all of the vendors that unite to pull off a great event. I also found a natural fit with the core skills required for event planning: being creative and organized, task-oriented and able to improvise. As I gained more experience planning events, I discovered that the skills I used for creating ditty bags, photography and blogging helped me be a better planner.
After planning events for other companies for almost six years, I went on my own in 2010 and added event planning to just a little ditty….
Wedding planning lends itself to ingenuity--from making the most out of a budget to transforming a barn or tent into a beautiful ethereal experience and designing the little details interspersed throughout the wedding as a nod to the couple’s story. It’s an opportunity to spend a year (sometimes longer!) getting to know the bride, groom, and often their families while working with them to create their dream wedding as part of the goal to celebrate combining two lives into one.
I love the countless opportunities to be creative in wedding planning while finding the unique angle to make sure that each and every event feels like it was custom-made for the couple. I want my clients to experience their wedding day in its entirety and focus on the people surrounding them, not on what’s happening next. That’s my job--to help the day unfold as naturally and seamlessly as possible. And to make it fun…and of course memorable!
And that, ultimately, is the reason I do everything I do, because life is about making moments into meaningful memories.
I’m also involved in two other new companies involving this same philosophy. I co-founded Stonegate Event Rentals, an event decor company, with my brother, Ben. I help with styling and design. I also co-founded NSPYR (“inspire”), a publishing & production company where I work on photography and social media.
I didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur but in the course of doing what made me happy and working really hard, I’ve found a way to earn a living. I’m incredibly grateful to get to do what I love. Every time I see the smile of a happy bride and groom surrounded by their family and friends…and every time I get a photo sent back of a ditty bag in the world, I get another burst of energy to keep going…
So whether you’re interested in event planning, want to buy or create a ditty bag or are just looking for a pick me up, I hope your time here brightens your day just a little ditty at a time!
I began my event-planning career when I interned with a premier Charlottesville-based event planning company during my 4th year at the University of Virginia. Knowing that I loved everything about events, I decided to try my hand in corporate events. I worked with SNL Financial for 5 years planning conferences and training seminars for investment and industry professionals in the banking industry.
After teaming up with Dickie to plan my own wedding in September of 2011 (you can find me and my husband on the event planning tab of the website!), I decided I was ready to jump back into the world of wedding planning.
Since then, I’ve planned and executed dozens of events, in many different venues, all over Virginia. There is nothing like the feeling of making the most important day of peoples’ lives happier, less stressful, and beautiful. My favorite part of the wedding is the couple’s first dance. We get to be a part of creating the moments that will be their memories forever – and it’s why I love planning events.
I approach planning weddings, like I approached my own – with the utmost attention, thoughtfulness, organization and passion. Wedding planning can be stressful, so I measure the success of an event on how relaxed and stress-free the bride, groom and family are, not only on the day, but also throughout the planning process, because that means I’m doing my job. I’d love to have the opportunity to help make your big day everything you want it to be. I’ll handle the details, while you work on making memories and taking in each and every second of your big day!
What our clients have said about working with Maureen:
“Thank you SO much for everything!! This weekend was absolutely amazing and everything was even more perfect than I could have imagined! We could not have been happier with how everything turned out. Working with you was by far the best planning decision we made.
- Bride, October 26, 2013, Clifton Inn
“Words cannot even begin to describe how thankful we were to have you as part of our wedding. You took away all of our stress and made the day perfect. Thank you for helping us create lifelong memories. My family loved having you there and were very impressed with your professionalism.”
- Bride, May 19, 2012, King Family Vineyards
“I cannot begin to thank you enough for all of your help over the past year! You have been such an invaluable resource. You really thought of everything and helped make our day so special.”
- Bride, October 20, 2012, Ash Lawn – Highland
“Could not have done this without you. Thank you so much for your patience and grace in handling all the little details!”
- Mother of the Bride, October 5, 2013, Private Farm