Archive for the ‘Great Gatherings’ Category
I made 12 Halloween costumes this month for kids 3-22. I used only clothes and accessoires I could find at Goodwill. It’s amazing what you can do with a little thought.
The key is to check out all the departments. Red Riding Hood’s cape is actually a tablecloth.
The pirates vest is a woman’s suede jacket with the sleeves removed (no sewing required)!
A shower curtain becomes a princess cape.
You have to think outside the box!
Your house is probably all decorated for Halloween. But what about your party table? Here 10 fast and easy steps to setting a spooky table.
- Stick with traditional Halloween colors of black and orange.
- Forget looking for the perfect tablecloth. Head to the fabric store. I found a mini check in black and white.
Tip # 3:
- Instead of a charger or placemat, I used glitter scrapbook paper at each placesetting.
Tip # 4:
- The secret to finding dishes in a specific color (like these orange plates) is to be on the look-out all year long. I scooped these up months ago, knowing they’d be perfect come October 31.
Tip # 5:
- The napkin rings are glow-in-the-dark fangs! I tied them around a folded napkin with a bit of ribbon.
Tip # 6:
- It wouldn’t be Halloween without a few scary elements.
- The eyeball floating in the wine glass will surely surprise my guests.
Tip # 7:
- Then I cut plastic spider rings to fit around the stem of each glass. Give everyone a different color so they know which drink is theirs.
Tip # 8:
- The skeleton is just for the fun of it.
Tip # 9:
- The table runner is a recycled lace blouse from Goodwill! Cut off the sleeves, collar and buttons. Unless the fabric is a loose, weave (and unravels easily) you don’t have to hem the edges. Lay it down the center of the table, but scrunch it up. You don’t want it to be too neat.
Tip # 10:
- Finish the centerpiece with candles and piles of pumpkins.
No matter what you serve, your table will be memorable.
Upcycling tip for July. I found a bunch of old floral frogs. They’re little metal stands with spikes you put in to bottom of a dish to hold fresh cut flowers. Today, most flower arrangements use a foam block that absorbs water.
You have to be careful when handling because they’re very sharp! But they’re charming throw-backs and I wanted to find other uses for them.
How would you use them? Let me know.
We host a brunch every 4th of July for friends before we head out to the local parade and festivities. Not one to repeat a theme, I design a new table setting and menu every year. You all know I’m not much of a cook, but Tom is becoming a pretty good one. I don’t mind the meal planning or even the grocery shopping, if he does cooking!
We live on our back porch all summer long. I found this wrought iron, glass topped table and chairs at a flea market for only $125.00 a few years ago. A little spray paint and new fabric seats and the set is worth hundreds of dollars more. Instead of buying a table cloth to fit the table, I purchased several yards of flag fabric at Goodwill for $4.99.
I layered white enamel plates (I collect the blue bordered ones from Sweden) on red tin plates.
These festive little party picks look like fireworks. I like them in a cup but you can use them to skewer chunks of fruit or vegetables.
When a table cloth has lots of pattern and color you might want to keep all the accessories neutral. But I prefer to pile on textures and patterns for a stand-out table.
For the centerpiece, I brought out a Tom’s old toy fire truck and topped it with teddy bears. Just like a home-town parade.
My friend Bonnie Giesfeldt made most of these teddy bears. Aren’t they adorable?
How do you celebrate Independence Day?
My friend Roberta Boczkiewcz wrote and published her first book, Unintended by Irene Stewart (her pen name). She told me about it several months ago, but swore she would never reveal the title or let anyone read it. Since I love to entertain, I tried to talk her into having a book launch party. When she said no, I suggested she could be the “unknown writer” and wear a bag over her head!
Fast forward to May, when her husband Bruce called and said, “I think we need to do the launch party, will you help?” Since Roberta has a June birthday , we decided on a double purpose party.
The book launch set the theme, so I started with old books from Goodwill. I folded pages into pennant shapes and cut stripes from pink zebra tape to write Happy Birthday. Then I stapled each letter to a length of raffia and tied it between pendant lights over the bar.
Unintended is available only on-line, but you can’t have a book signing party without something to sign. Bruce had copies of the cover printed and glued to small notebooks. Roberta personalized each “book” with a fancy feather pen.
I immediately thought about a vintage typewriter for a prop, after all, the name Irene Stewart conjures up images of a 1930′s glamor girl!
So she can remember everyone who came to celebrate, I found an old kiddie, Buster Brown dictionary. I asked each guest to find a word to describe Roberta, circle it and sign their name. It will be a funny keepsake.
The delicious food was catered by Lee John’s in Waukesha. Yummy, yummy. We set up food stations on the pool table so everyone could mingle and snack. Little mini book stand let people know what they were sampling.
A friend made a special birthday cake in the shape of a hiking book
(one of Roberta’s other passions). It was adorable!
Another friend Joele, made adorable mini book stir sticks .
The party was a huge success. She was surprised and gracious and her circle of friends learned something new about Roberta. If you you’re looking for light summer reading, check out Unintended by Irene Stewart.