Thursday, September 29, 2011

my party with a 20's twist: part two, food

I love everything about cooking for a party.

I love the shopping for your ingredients, especially if it involves something I've never used before,like smoked paprika, gold leaf, and saffron. In this case I even needed a paella pan. The wonderful Spanish deli I went to had an enormous one, it would feed a hundred, imagine that.
serves 100?it's heavy
I love the books I accumulate along the way with sticky notes and pages of recipes and the plans I scrawl out over endless cups of tea. The friends that sit around with you and listen to your ideas, the way they try and reign your ideas back a little, they keep reminding you that the aim is that you have fun. The same friends that come around the night before to prep with you.

I loved most of all the communal cooking. It felt very Like Water for Chocolate.

We had corn-chip crusted crab cakes with lime and mango mojo, sticky pine nuts and artichoke, gazpatcho (which so looked like vomit I couldn't serve it), fire-roasted peppers with caramelised onion and goats cheese quesadillas, manchego (this sheep's cheese was so good, my husband would not stop making "love ewe" jokes) served with membrillo quince paste, belinis, empanadas (these were beyond good, it took two people to keep Aaron off them), and of course paella.

Oh, and of course, the cake! It was a chocolate almond from Julia Childs, with chocolate butter icing.

Did I go to far?
empanada primordial soupempanada assembly lineempanada tortures us with good smells yet we cannot eat itempanada finale!crabs apparently DO have ballshusband warningsplodgecrumbly cornerluxurious but uselesstoo many candles, but not enough

Friday, September 23, 2011

my party with a 20's twist: part one, props


I wanted to share my 40th birthday ideas with you all. I feel that tasteful party ideas are so hard to find.

When I thought of having a party I knew I wanted it to be fun, memorable and have a 20's feel to it. I didn't expect people to dress up but they could if they wanted to.

In case they hadn't I had prepared a whole lot of props to use in fun photo booth shots.

These were some things I used...

  • Firstly a large wooden frame with the picture removed. An op shop one will set you back anywhere between $20 to $50 dollars. Ouch! This one was a lucky roadside find.
  • Some handmade headbands, elasticised lace, sequins, and some silver elastic, also some florals which can all be bought by the metre. I also used feathers. you could use gemstones or old bits of costume jewellery or beading they would be equally good.
  • A hot glue gun is needed or some hand or machine sewing. I made about 8 an easy way to add a 20's touch.
  • Your local $2.00 shop will have feather boas and parasols these are really good for photos. Keep these in some vintage suitcases, laid out. They look awesome, wish I had had more time.
  • IMG_4651
  • If you wanted to go further you could source a cloche hat in wool, felt or crochet even. Men wore boater hats shirts, bow ties, suspenders.
  • Stiff felt, skewers for moustache on a stick. This was a great way to add some fun. I asked at the always-fabulous Kit and Nancy (who also shares a  birthday with me) for some tips making them. An online tutorial with templates found at Lisa Welge also helped. Thanks xxx, these were brilliant.

You could have a backdrop like a velvet curtain, we just used the parasols or the wall.

Your party could use some cute cues, like these.

A welcoming framed backboard for guests to see as they come in with the words welcome come this way. I love the old pointed finger, but I'd left that too late and was stressing about not being ready. This blackboard was made from a painting also found on the side of the road, with the frame we used to take pictures. Nice one, me!
I also used a blackboard to encourage flow through the house and to get people outside. I made this one, it sat at the wine table.
Loads of candles, fairy lights and some LED lanterns made the place look amazing. I had decorated a 40th in this same house for my friend. She had purchased these lanterns. lots of them. At her party we grouped them en mass in corners and against windows at varying heights, they were whimsical and gorgeous.

Lastly my outfit.

I love you Savers, this dress cost me $6.99 at a 50% off sale.  Brilliant for a party, particularly with a vintage theme. Another wonderful store is Lost & Found Market in Brunswick, wonderful place. I found these pearls there for $12.00.
I will share my food for the night on my next post, just too much to fit in.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

secret project: dad (part 2 of 2)

I wondered whilst writing this whether this post would be lost on those of you whom don't know my husband Aaron. I thought it might be. Nah the sheer kick I got out of this ought to tell me that all you like-minded folk would appreciate the humour and the thrill of this big secret. If you know him you are probably in fits already.

Firstly I want to share the inspiration for this project in case you want to make one of your own. Black Apple's Paper Dolls. This book came to us one day in the post from a life-long friend of Aaron's. She had meet Beatrix on our last visit to the United States two years ago. I know that she will be thrilled to know that Beatrix has used the book and that she conspired and used the book to surprise her Dad. I hope she gets a good laugh too, seeing as she knows Aaron well.
it begins

The dolls are printed on thicker card and the clothing really evokes the character and style of each featured fictional character.
source material isource material iisource material iii

Beatrix took one of the dolls and fashioned it into her Dad, complete with specs, tattoos. Seeing as she'd begun this project on the day he was home sick she had access to his bag, his specs, and his shoes. We each had episodes of tip toeing in whilst he was cocooned in blankets to rummage for his clothing and socks.
constructiveThe man with on red shoe

I caught her sneaking out with a note pad with the drawing of the pattern for the shirt with boxes on it. I thought Ohhh my, she knows how to do her research, I love it. The following day whilst we had full access to the wardrobe she sought out his red long sleeved t-shirt with the circles. She knew that he'd worn this at her birth and every birth since. He was blown away by that, I tell you.
a tiny jumper

I know you might be thinking does he actually get around in pink stripy socks with skulls and does he actually own a top hat, and who would wear crocs with socks? Yes and yes and yes. I knew he lacked some kind of conventional style when I very first meet him. He has no idea that you cannot wear a hoodie and a hat at the same time. I never knew just what a caricature he was till we played around with the outfits and were laughing out loud.
nakedpink skulls and campers
Even the way these paper dolls lend themselves to movement and motion whilst being still. The one particular outfit he is kind of jutting forward shirt too small and body leaning sideways, that is him all over. We even asked Eliza (who is four) who it was when we had put an outfit together and she said "Aaron" we laughed even harder.
top hat with rabbita high windcold day
I cannot tell you the admiration I have for Bea's skill, the technique and attention to the smallest detail, she is only ten. The only help I gave was stitching on the drawers for the wardrobe.

I highly recommend surprising someone you know with something like this, particularly if they are a slightly peculiar individual. Aaron was just taken aback, he told me quietly "Can I say this is the best present I have ever been given?"
brenneman: the spring collection

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

secret project: dad (part 1 of 2)

In my last post I mentioned being ill with Bronchitis and being looked after.

The letting go of all your normal tasks, the hope that your partner will go out there and be just like you. That they will hang that basket of two day old laundry, that they will unload the dishwasher before making more dishes, that they will eat fruit,just let it all go.

This time I tried not to think, to make it harder it was Sunday, I always like to tie things up on Sunday for the start of the week. Father's Day there was no breakfast in bed or cards or handmade gifts. Or gifts full stop, since I was sick in bed again.

Monday found all children home from said school and Aaron returning home at 10 am looking pale and lethargic, no questions asked it was my turn to do the looking after.

My eldest being only slightly sick wanted to make Aaron his Father's Day gift. I knew vaguely from my Death Bed on Sunday that she had attempted a mobile phone holder, but that she gave that one up. Well come Monday her new idea seemed like it would be fun, that it would be a bit of work that I'd give her some help. I didn't expect to be blown away at her determination, her accuracy her sneaky sleuth skill at gaining resources for her project.

Lucky her dad was barely conscious in bed, on a couple of occasions I was almost caught.

This project took all of Monday and some of today because between the two of us we were getting really carried away!

planning is important
This project made me think this 10 year old daughter of mine is just something special. At times you know I am a lost in her and her dad's shared sense of sarcasm, their like minded maddening sense of humour and intellect as she pulled off the best Father's Day- birthday- anything- present ever.

She knew what would tickle his humour and she nailed it. And hey I cannot be too envious of their father daughter thing when her artistic nature came from me, we had fun the two of us.

I will show you all the real thing tomorrow, cause truth is it's late here and I am needing to fight this chest thing. I need to be well on Friday, too, cause somebody is turning the big four-oh.

Friday, September 2, 2011

in sickness and in health

In a week where I have been ill (with bronchitis) I managed a day in bed thanks to a very caring husband.

I had two days of feeling pretty off and then an Ok feeling weekend, and then BANG, coughing, chest tightness, shortness if breath to the point where unpacking groceries required a sit down to catch my breath. I'm on the mend, and am thankful for my husband, my friends, and for a new Frankie magazine. Also thankful for the nice bedroom I managed to create this weekend whilst having a good day, it has made every early night pleasant.
glimpsemeshpersonal crack
Here is the footstool I also covered on the weekend, after semi creating a sewing corner in the lounge room, ahem maybe this is why I ended up sicker after the weekend. Sometimes you know It's really hard to know what's good for yourself.
Note on the footstool, it has an elastic to make it easy to change and to wash,this wasn't my original intention but staples through hardwood just won't work. So I am really glad for a happy accident.

I hope you are well in your world.