Thursday, December 20, 2012

{Paper, Parties} Wreath Place Cards

Remember when I said that we had set a record for the number of guests in our place at the December Birthdays Party? Well, we blew it out of the water the following Saturday when we had 22 people here, including 15 adults and 17 kids.

This was my first foray into "letting go" and using Chinette and plastic silverware instead of dropping change on extra dishes and silverware. As ridiculous as it is, I am totally proud of myself for that. But I did hide the silverware UNDER the towels so that I wouldn't die every time I walked by it.

This party's theme was "wreaths. Very simple wreaths, as putting "berries" on them was averaging 10 minutes/piece, so I stopped after 1.5 wreathes.

I also made wreath wine "charms" and little menus for each seat. Since we live in a postage stamp, we decided to plate the food. Each guest marked their food selections and handed them off to us like a pair of short order cooks. 

Does this look familiar? I had an idea involving felt wreaths and pillar candles, but going to Michael's on weekends frightens me.

{Parties} Office Christmas Party

I whipped up a quick Christmas party for my officemates. We scored the Cityscape bar a few hours before it opened to the public, ordered some pizzzas, and hung out and enjoyed the company and the the views.

I was decorating this out-of-pocket, so I tried to do it on the somewhat cheap with tissue paper flowers, personal decorations, and cute Christmas crackers and cupcake flags from Mara-Mi.

 The cupcakes were from Sugar Bliss, of course. Their "hot chocolate" cupcake is like pure crack to me. Or at least what I think crack would be like.

The views are so amazing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

{Paper, Parties} Oh, By Gosh, By Golly, It's Time for Mistletoe and Holly

We celebrated our family's December birthdays at our place...with a houseful of people! Twelve adults and four kids was our (then) record for guests.

I had been hemming and hawing and brainstorming for an affordable idea for this table for over a month and ended up putting it together with things that I had around the house an hour before guests arrived. Andy and I found these antique candlesticks at an antique store in Wisconsin over the summer. I was so excited to see that they hold the electric "candles" that I bought a few years ago and never got to use. The flowers were a holiday bouquet from the grocery store. Andy was so proud of himself for picking them out.

I learned the hard way at Halloween that no one pays attention to photo or numbered wine charms. I used my Silhouette to cut personalized "wine charms" for everyone. They were brilliant.

But the place cards...they're definitely in my top 5 of all time. I loved them!

Each guest had a unique-ish design. I had 14 in total.

Even the kids got place cards - although, not a single one of them cared.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

{Paper, Parties} Global Warming-Inappropriate** Birthday Party Photo Place Cards

Christmas has been in full swing up in here -- even a 2.5 week battle with bronchitis* and sinusitis couldn't even bring us down this season. The real fun begins this week.

The first of seven parties that we attended this month was a celebration of my mother-in-law, who turned a number that shall not be named. We celebrated at Chicago Cut, as is our sorta-milestone-tradition, with our other sorta-traditions, photo place cards and cake.

The cake was from Sugar Bliss. I *totally* recommend them! I scored the parrot tulips at the deli in the East Bank Club. How lucky was that? I was way too sick to walk to a real florist.

I made the cake topper by layering die-cut snowflakes with 3D foam squares and attaching them to wooden skewers. Not ideal, but it worked in a 2 a.m.-the-night-before pinch.

For the place cards, I used my Silhouette to cut 5.5 circles with the guest's name and a hole for the photo. Then, I inserted the photo and some shiny white paper behind the name. I attached the entire piece to an ornament card and embellished it with an off-white ribbon and more shiny white die-cut snowflakes. The napkins are cheapos from Home Goods. They're OK. They shrunk to cocktail napkins in the wash.

*I am pretty sure that I broke or pulled something major when coughing. 

**When Andy and I selected this not-to-Christmas Christmas snowflake theme back in October, we weren't expecting it to be 60 degrees in December. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thanksgiving Place Cards

I woke up on Thanksgiving morning and decided that my mother's table needed some place cards. Oddly enough, I had turkey cards and plenty of jewel-toned place cards and paper in my stash. I grabbed some streamers that I had laying around and whipped these up while watching the parade and getting the stink eye from Andy, re: my getting into the damn shower already.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Annual Halloween Dinner - 2012

We hosted our parents and Aunt Ruth for the annual Halloween dinner on Sunday. This year's place card theme was witches flying in the foggy night.

The glitter was a very stupid good idea. 

Andy cooked from 9 a.m. - 2:30 a.m. a few days before and made a spectacular meal out of a few of our favorites.

Click to view our previous Halloween dinners: 2009 (ghosts and bats), 2010 (bats), and 2011 (jack-o-lanterns).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Our Wedding Stationery

To celebrate the fourth anniversary of our wedding, I thought that I'd share some "real" photos of our wedding invitations, programs, and a few other paper products recently photographed by Laura of FMN Design for our wedding album. Creating these items for our wedding was a labor of love and as much of a fond memory of our engagement as all of the Andy-time, parties, and generosity from loved ones.


Coat Check Tags and Food Cards

You can see my other paper products in my recaps: misc. paper, out-of-town bags, guest book, and favors.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

France 2011: La Roque-Gageac and Beynac

On our first full day in the Dordogne, we visited La Rogue-Gageac and Beynac. Since we rolled into town in the evening, I quite literally had no idea of the visual feast that awaited us just around the bend from our hotel.

Enjoying paninis riverside. 

It was supposed to be cool (it was anything but), so we didn't pack any shorts or bathing suits for canoeing. One of my biggest regrets of the trip. The Dordogne River was crystal clear and SHALLOW! My favorite type of water! :)

We ventured to the top of the town and paid 9 EU each to enter the Jardi de Exotique, which turned out to be a two block long row of different bamboo varieties. #forreals

We also found some Andy-sized leaves!

There was some good people-watching in the this man. Who wasn't running or practicing ballet. You should have seen the front of his pants. #blush

Next we headed up the road to Beynac, which was, for me, one of the greatest surprises of the trip.

Taking the picture below still didn't phase me as to what I was up against.

This was actually Andy's position for most of the trip...sitting on the side or in shade waiting for me to take photos. But, he most likely put two-and-two together at the bottom of the hill and was saving energy like a hibernating bear.

I loved these 200+ year old roofs, which are now apparently, a novelty for the wealthy French.

At this point, the grade was pretty weak.

You can't swing a cat without hitting a castle.

I sent Andy back to the car with my purse to feed the meter, while I hung back and took 54 photos in eight minutes. Once again, I had no idea what was awaiting me around the (very steep) bend.

That is a real sidewalk. And this is when I realized that my shoes sucked.

See that little gray door on the left near the center of the photograph? Look how low it is and it's just about 150 feet from where I am standing to take this photo!

Andy overheard some German man saying in English, "Man, good for that big guy for making it this far." as he walked by him.

Seriously, the view CONSTANTLY got better.

This is what all of your self-portraits look like when there is a nine-inch height difference. We have approximately 13 versions of this shot from throughout the trip.

And, at the top, we found Ch√Ęteau de Beynac!

It was creepy and hulking, just like a castle should be. And it had Andy-sized doors! First the leaves, now the doors? We should move to France. (As you can see, he's a good sport, as his height amuses me much more than it does him.)

If you've seen one mediocre vacation photo of a castle, you've seen them all. Here are a few of my fave from the inside.

I had Andy go downstairs and take my picture at the top. While I was waiting for him, a tour guide in a beret came out and chased me around the top spanking me with these weird sticks and laughing. And I have no idea why. Oddly, this is the second time that I've been spanked in a castle. The last time was by a geisha in Japan, which is not nearly as dirty as it sounds. I just put my shoes on too soon.

I am installing this set-up if I ever have to park on the street in the city again.

 There was a really interesting-looking cemetery just outside of the castle. I always like to photograph cemeteries to see if ghosts will show up later. (Ha! It *could* happen someday.) I always say a prayer, because it feels like I'm infringing on their privacy to be looking at all.

We wrapped up this magical day with a meal at a Michelin star restaurant back in our little home base, La Belle Etoile. It was spectacular. You couldn't avoid foie gras, as it was literally served with every single dish. I tried a little and decided that a little goes a long least for me!