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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1920's Birthday Bash

This year I turned 29 years old…holy cow! I'm 1 year away from being 30!! In order to celebrate in accordance to what I believe were some of the best years in my life, my 20’s, I thought it would be appropriate to have a farewell to my 20’s birthday bash! I asked for all my dear family and friends to help by coming dressed in their ritziest 1920’s rags. It was overall a great theme! It made it a extra great time with good friends, family and some booze!!

To set the mood I made the invitations from a compilation of other invitations I saw online. I just goggled searched: 1920’s birthday invitations, roaring 20’s invitations and got some ideas, especially for the wording.

The invitations read:
The Roaring twenties are back
Requests the honor of your presence at a
“Goodbye to the 20's” Birthday bash
Guys suit up & Gals show off the glam!
Wear your finest 1920's rags to the ritziest joint in town
Prohibition is in the air. Your discretion is paramount.
Please Assume Alias. Admittance By Password Only!
Hors D'oeuvres, Dancing, & Drinks
To make the invitation I bought an 8.5 x 11 cardstock in ivory and a 12x12 black scrapbook pack.
A pack of back feathers, ribbon in 3 colors (I choose teal, purple and green)
I already had the wax stamp and was from my wedding invitations.
I printed 2, 5x7 invites on each ivory cardstock.
In order to figure out how to fit the black paper to fold just a little over I had a little trial and error.
I cut a small strip off the side, then in cut the remaining square in half and then a little of the bottom. Not sure if that makes sense so I made a little diagram, unfortunately I don’t remember the dimensions.

I just placed the ivory invitation on top of the black strip and folded the black strip to give it a black border and to cover most of the wording. I then tied the ribbon around and made a knot. I placed the feather on the knot and with the wax seal glued it in place, and voila!!

Invitations done!

What to feed my guest was the hardest part. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stick with 1920’s food since every time I goggled 1920’s food or meals always got some sort of deviled egg, cucumbers and black olive stuff. I’m not a fan of eggs, so I choose to just do a pasta since I’m sure my guest wouldn’t care as long as they ate something yummy, and it is way easier to make pasta, so Fettuccine Alfredo it was.

Now, the cake and desserts that was a lot of more fun!!

First, I want to say that my favorite piece from this table was the cupcake stand that I bought at Ross! It is so dang cute and it was only about $4.00 so I had to have it. My other favorite things are the little chalkboards mini tags that I used to label the food. I got them from Michael’s in their dollar bin section. It was a pack of about 12 so I only needed 1 pack, but bought 2 just in case. I also purchased a white pen from Michael’s that I used to write on the chalkboards (for fear of not being able to find mini chalks). You can find similar tags on Ebay but I’m not sure if they are the same thing, but they look very similar. I also bought a mini easel chalkboard from the same dollar bin, and my sister wrote a happy birthday message for me.

The Rosette Tablecloth was my ultimate favorite, when I found that fabric at the Fabric District in Los Angeles (that should be a whole other blog). I had to buy it and that was how I ended up deviating from my original color scheme, but it didn’t matter I love this fabric. I also purchased the chair covers and peacock feathers while visiting the alleys and it was a great bargain!!

I bought silver trays from Dollar Tree and I placed a round paper doilie on top (bought the doilies a while back also from Dollar Tree from their wedding section).

I made confetti flavored pink with white sprinkles cake pops (see here for about my a helpful cake pop maker) and I placed some on a bowl (also from Dollar Tree) and added some white river stones/rocks (another from Dollar Tree). The rocks allowed for the pops to stay standing. Since I made about 30 pops, I also placed some upside down on mini cupcake liners, and arranged those on a white dinner plate.

Cupcakes, Chocolate dipped strawberries, and chocolate mustaches completed the dessert table. To make the chocolate mustaches I purchased a Wilton Mustache Chocolate Mold and some Wilton Dark Chocolate candy melts, I followed the directions on the mold and presto!!
I used the same Wilton chocolate melts for the Chocolate dipped Strawberries.

I also had a Candy Buffet. I already owned clear vases, bought those awhile ago for another candy buffet for a baby shower for my brother and sister-in-law (that was shown in the blog about the Rosette Ball). To stick to the theme this time I went in search for 20's candies. I found a list of the candy to purchase through Old Time Candy. I ended up purchasing Mary Janes (those came in a cute box so I used the box as decoration on the table) Red Vines, Sugar Daddies, Dum Dums and Strawberry filled hard candy, all from the Dollar Tree (yes, I know I love this store). On that table we also added some pre-made pastries that I bought for the dessert table, but I ran out of room. The mini cinnamon roll bites were so good ($6.99 at Costco) and some cheese cake and raspberry filled tarts, I just couldn't not add them somewhere.

I did purchase Candy Cigarettes from The Old Time Candy, and they were a hit!! Wish I would had also bought the Charleston Chew candy!! Those were not as easy to track down in a store.

I also made some No Bake cheesecake and yogurt parfaits with fresh fruit and pre-served them on plastic shooters. The best part was the little appetizer spoons and forks that I bought for those (4in forks and spoons from Party City @ $5ea. pack of 40).
For the No Bake Cheesecake I used JELL-O® No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes.

Instead of cracker crust I crumbled a chocolate cupcake and added it to the bottom of the shot glass before adding the cheesecake. Added a slice of a strawberry, an dollop of cake frosting and chocolate syrup.

The yogurt parfait was just granola, vanilla yogurt, strawberries and blueberries. Alternating in layers, although due to limited space I think it was just one layer of each.

My cake was Chocolate with fresh strawberry filling!! I followed a rosette cake tutorial: here.
Unfortunately, we had to keep my cake inside the house, since we didn’t make enough space for the cake on the dessert table. Though, it was probably for the best so outdoor issues didn't ruin it. The Cake and the DIY stand looked pretty nice if I say so myself. My inspiration, had a price tag of $40 for the smallest one in a store, so I went DIY. I followed the instructions from this pin. The only slight different was, instead it was sprayed white and had added trim. The spray and trim were purchased at Michael's. I couldn't find the info on the their website, but it was in the same aisle as all the ribbon. I only needed 1 spool and it all came out to like $7.00 including spray paint, plate and wine glass (instead of candle holder).

For the table, since I wanted a dinner style party, I got 3 rectangular tables and placed them in a long line. I bought fabric to match the rosette fabric from the dessert table and used that as a table cloth. Since I host thanksgiving at my house I have charger plates galore, so I took those bad boys out, mixed an matched them and added my collection of wine and margarita glasses to add a glamorous touch. My mom made the floral centerpieces for me using fresh roses, star gazer lilies, baby’s breath, Irish bells, Hydrangeas, Blue Delphiniums and a peacock feather. I had 1 candelabrum from a while ago, and I found another at my local Swap meet for $2 and I borrowed the other from my sister-in-law.

I dangled fake pearl beads from the candelabras and placed candles (even citronella ones for the uninvited guest) and mirrors for decorations. I also bought mini wine bottles, and placed them in little wood crates I bought from Michael’s for a dollar. I added some gift basket shred and it looked cute.

For additional décor I bought 18ct black music notes form Party City to add to a canopy and the front wood gate.

If you noticed we had a few spots with great fabric hanging around, it worked out for a little photo spot. There's plenty of make your own photo booth props you can find online, just Google photo booth props, print them on card stock glue the prop into the foam paper, with the skewer in between and presto, they were done. I'm sure you can find some on Pinterest as well. We were also very lucky to have a friend show up later in the night and set up a full on real photo booth, he also had his own props and everyone had a blast. 

I also pulled out some of my vintage feel items from around the house and added a extra little sitting/photo spot. Always eye items you already have! (The trunk you see there is a family heirloom that my mother-in-law gave me when we purchased our home...after I had been asking for it for a year, hehe!!) You'll be surprised how well the items you find laying around work and way cheaper then buying more just to use for one party!

What I believe made the party, besides the booze, photo booth, family and great friends was a Rockola (aka jukebox) I rented. Unfortunately, it did not have much English Karaoke music, but since it is very versatile and it played music videos and plain ol’ music, and although a little out of era, we played Frank Sinatra (it’s still Jazz right?!) for a few hours until everyone was brave enough to make their own music request.

This was a very stress free event...other than trying to decided what to wear. Though figuring that out was a fun excuse to look at vintage pictures, watch "Great Gatsby" with my sister. Research is very helpful.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Product Review: Moon Dough

After the joy then outrage that came after this item appeared in our home, I felt compelled to share our experience with this "Moon Dough."

Honestly, when this item first appeared I had nothing but good thoughts. It's hypoallergenic and it doesn't dry out! How awesome! It also claimed to be easy to clean. I was all aboard. All I keep imagining was my daughter's dried out play-dough or little bits found in the carpet and figured this was a solution...I was sooooo wrong.

*This was after LOTS of kneading & Playing (right before clean up)*

When you first open it you are instructed to knead the dough. It felt neat, really soft, kind of smooth & silky, but really like powder or floury clumps that really don't seem to want to stick together. So as instructed I keep kneading and kneading, over and over again. As you can imagine by the time I gave up on trying to make it look an stick together like a nice lump of dough my daughter was way beyond waiting. What kid doesn't get upset when they get a new toy and have to just sit there and watch mom, who looks like she's having all the fun. Well I finally gave up at let my 4 year old go for it. Let me remind you, this is for 3 & up so I thought we were safe.

Here's the after math:

I felt awful because even with my grandmother and I sitting by the kid this stuff went everywhere. We were watching an trying to help and it just would not work. My daughter was even frustrated, as were we. It was a huge mess and she was even behaving. We never had this kind of problem with our play-dough. It was literally everywhere! It's all so light weight an flaky that it just refused to stay on our table cloth area. The kit came with a place mat, well I was so glad that we still put a table cover under it and protected our whole table, I don't think any bit of it stayed in place. Lots of little flakes EVERYWHERE & Moon Dough stuck inside the toys. They left the ends of these cool stamping toys open so of course she thought she could stamp out holes, we'll clearly it wasn't meant to be used that way. Also digging it out of the tubes was aggravating. Don't get me wrong, the stuff takes form of their molds, but all the extra bits crumble away and because it isn't dough, but more like a silky sand it comes apart as you try to clean or move bits. We really spent more then 5x the effort cleaning and setting it up then actually playing with it. Clearly the work vs reward ratio was way off on this item.

From now on we will be sticking with the dough we all know and love.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Collage Mat Idea

Once upon a time, my mom & I took a great girls trip to Vegas. One of the places on our little get away we got a caricature made. It was a odd size and drawn to the very edge, but a GREAT memory! My mom kept it, but never knew what to do with it, so before she got a chance to hang it I snuck it away an got down to work.

I was lucky, I took tons of pictures and every where had free tourist magazines (being a scrapbooker I snatched everyone up with plans of future pages), but you can do this with any items relating, even just a color scheme. If you want grab some scrapbook stickers for a extra touch do it, I did. What else you need it: scissors, photo-safe glue stick, 4 scrapbook photo corners, acid free poster board and frame of choice.

*Just for example, I'm demonstrating on a much smaller scale.

Cut down your poster board to the size of frame specifics, I believe this was a 16x20 and my image was a 14x18, so it gave me 2 inches around to decorate.

Get out your magazines, scrap paper and photos. Time to get to cutting!

Yes, that's a Ikea Catalog, but it works. Also, my photo washed out the color, but it was more blue.

When considering the background you want your base to be full of color, though it shouldn't show, this just makes a good base for if part does show. Make sure the whole poster board has solid pages of great colors glued to it.

Now comes the fun part! Better to have too many then not enough. Pull every image you even are slightly considering to use. I stick to 3 types of cuts. Rounding (kid w/towel), exact (yellow truck) & square (plant an mom w/kid). In the past I used lots of fancy cuts with my scrapbook scissors, but when trying to layer them together those always got left out because the edges would clash too much. Also, since it's a collage you don't want it all uniform.

I like to make piles. Piles by size and by cut style. Work largest images first to smallest. Remember to change up the angles when gluing to make it more interesting. If you are just making a collage fill the whole thing, but if you are using this like my project as a mat, work edge to inward. Square cuts are the easiest around the edge since it needs to fit in a frame, though you can trim extra bits away. 

As you are working the mat, remember you don't need to fill in the whole poster board. I kept my main subject handy an would lay on top every once in awhile so I can get a rough idea if I covered everything or didn't cover parts of the background image that I wanted showing. Once I was happy with my background,
mat I laid the caricature flat and in the middle then attached my scrapbook corners to the collage. I did not add one bit of glue to the main subject, if anything happened it could be easily removed and frame changed. I picked up this frame at Aaron Brothers, check for coupons and for Penny Sale dates.

It's a great statement piece and it really brings back so many memories, much more then just 1 picture alone could ever do, it also made a great surprise gift.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thanks to the Troops

*Photo Courtesy of Maximo Photography*

I was originally planning to do a "Happy 4th of July" idea for the little ones, but after a chat with one of our good friends, Riley's Godfather, I changed my thoughts. He has just left the service after many years of commitment and multiple deployments. We happened to be watching a commercial about the new Crunch Girl Scout Cookie Candy Bar, brought up memories of care packages. He started to to tell me how nice it was and how fast they went. Clearly this conversation got my brain turning.

I started thinking of the ways in the past that we've donated, sent items or made a Thank You cards here and there, started searching around for something that we should do, then I came to a shocking end. I think after years of battle after battle and economic downfalls all around the charity to our troops was slowing and in some cases even meeting a end. One of the biggest organizations I remember was Give 2 The Troops. I found their site and was instantly saddened. A recent update stated they had to put a halt to their collection of items for the troops, because they no longer had the funds to send them. It's just knotted my stomach to think that the troops' one little bit of home and comfort, reassurance of strangers was no longer able to reach them. They are seriously in need of funds.

Though, if you know someone personally and were just hoping for ideas on what to send, I was once told that anything that can be added to water, like Crystal Light were appreciated. Wet wipes and other toiletries, because "living in sand isn't easy." Also lots of food, snack like items, think items that don't go bad and are very portable, like energy bars and jerky. Don't forget or under estimate the power of cookies. We take for granted the taste of cookies, sometimes, but as my conversation with a friend reminded me, a box of Girl Scout Cookies is appreciated. I'm sure on non-cookie season Oreos or somethings should work.

After seeing what happened with Give 2 The Troops I went on a quest to see if any organization was still up and running. I did find another organization, it is working kind of similar called Operation Gratitude. If you can't give money to get items from Give 2 The Troops you may wanna poke around there and see if you can meet any of their needs.

One last organization that I actually have worked with is Operation Homefront. It is a great way to give back to those at home and their families. Check out their Current Needs tab, even seeing that was a strong reminder of how below meeting needs these organizations are. If you live in San Diego, or a military town try calling to contact because they use to have plenty of year round drop off sites. Baby items were always a need and lots of food. They also list that they are way short on their goals of collection.

I'm not trying to bring us down, but put a little extra thought out there while we enjoy our barbecue and fireworks. Just think on this upcoming patriotic holiday about those who serve year round with lots of sacrifice and how to give back. At the same time this is a great way to teach your child the hows and whys of giving to others.

For those of you that happen to be a military family, I found this site with a list of Military Discounts. Check them out, not sure which are up to date or are at whatever location, but hopefully this helps. An, Thank You for all you give!

Please Be Safe & Enjoy the Holiday!

Please leave a comment if you know any other good organizations or Military Discounts that you think people should know. Thank you.