The theme for our Prom this year is Masquerade!
So, as is the now-annual tradition, I have the privilege of planning/coordinating the aesthetic details, in all their (hopefully creative) glory! After last year’s fishy-centerpieces and Enchantment under the Sea theme, I was pretty excited at the potential for timeless elegance as a decorative choice this year! The ladies of the student council set the colors as black, white, and red, with accents of gold and silver. With those in mind, we tackled the details, and This year, we have quite the rundown as far as decor is concerned!
Detail #1: Making the Night Glitter
A few years ago (my how time is flying!) one of my favorite people of all time was planning her wedding. Being the ridiculously creative lady that she is, Kat (my roommate at the time) tackled scads of artistic details with DIY vigor. Of the dozens of creative things she did, one small detail from her wedding came to mind as we began to plan our Prom decor. . . Kat made her own colorful paper accordion wheels that added a splash of brightness to the chairs used in the ceremony. Inspired by Kat’s concept, I did a little research of my own and found these:
Despite being in Norwegian, I managed to figure out the way these bad boys are put together . . . mostly thanks to one of my students helping me over one of the folds! There are also tutorials on Youtube. . . my favorite has great visual models, but is also in a foreign language (German this time). Check it out if are making these and you get stuck! So, you start with simple paper (I used printer paper, after making sure it was a square 8.5″ by 8.5″)
I would walk you through the rest of it, but the tutorials from earlier really are better. When you have 8 of the finished pieces, you slide them together until there are 8 connected pieces!
They wound up looking pretty magical when we tied them to the back of the chairs – alternating gold and silver!!
Detail #2: Centerpieces
With a dozen cheap cylindrical dollar store vases on my hands (a combination of those from dances past and a few present-day purchased to match), I thought we might be relegated to less-than-perfection as far as centerpieces go. . . until I remembered a random spool of red ribbon I had picked up after Christmas in some sale bin.
Not perfect, but an improvement nonetheless. Fill these up with roses and baby’s breath and you are good to go! Well, baby’s breath and another little starry detail . . . I made up some gold and silver mini-stars in the same style as the big stars (only with about 2 inch square paper to start with). When they were done I hot-glued them to some slim little dowels to make the bouquet accents.
The final effect was quite lovely, if I do say so myself!
Detail #3: Tabletop Touches
Detail #4: Bathroom Baskets
We always try to keep some necessities available in the bathroom, for those just-in-case moments when students wish they had planned ahead! I happened to have a couple of baskets around, and so I decided to jazz ‘em up for the masquerade theme.
Good things to put in here include: tide sticks, wet wipes, band-aids, lotion, hand sanitizer, bobbie pins, safety pins, fresh shoe-laces (for mens dress shoes), deodorant, mints/gum, hair ties, lint rollers, hairspray, nail clippers, dental floss, and sometimes even duct tape! We even put socks (animal print, because disguises are du jour in a masquerade) in the girls restroom for when they ditch their heels on the dance floor.
Detail #5: Mad-libs and Favors!
Four original mad-libs (thanks to my friend Andrew’s mad-lib writing expertise), edged with an intricate paper cutter (thanks Martha Stewart) got tucked into the napkin folds, and then our favors included a mask for everyone, as well as a little bag of red, black, and white m&ms.
Everything coordinated quite perfectly.
As cute as the favors themselves were, I think what one of our students wrote for the tag was one of my favorite aspects of the evening – what a take-home message!
What a fabulous night!!!
I am a novice gardener . . . you know, the kind that still freaks out when there are spiders in the dirt and has to repeatedly call her Dad to ask if it is finally time to plant the cucumber seeds. I’ve never had a green thumb, or even wanted one, until recently. I think perhaps the gardening skill is a recessive genetic trait, like having twins, that must skip a generation, because it’s just never been my forte. Despite my natural lack of savvy, I firmly believe you’re never too old to learn, so I am working on it. Fresh veggies are too good to pass up, and I was raised in a canning family, after all. Somebody’s got to inflict that magic on the next generation!
(Confession: The above picture is a little misleading; I’ve never driven a tractor before.)
Now that my seeds (at least some of them) are in the ground, and my seedlings are being watered daily in hopes of many future tomatoes, I decided it was also time to make my garden a little more aesthetically pleasing. Enter the rocks.
Everybody probably has access to at least a few rocks (if you’re like me, you probably cleared a whole slew of them out of your vegetable beds recently) and I decided it was finally time to give new life to some of these babies. . .
See, I was browsing Etsy not too long ago and saw some fun inspiration:
Now, these particular stones were magnet-backed and meant for the fridge, but it was the idea of fun messages via painted stones that I liked rather than the magnetic-ness. . . $28 is, however, outside of my nonexistent budget for painted rocks. SO, it struck me that, although my meager versions of them might be less polished (literally: I don’t have much in the way of sealant lying around the house currently), it might be fun to try making some of these myself! That said, I assembled the extensive list of required ingredients, rocks and paint, and set to work making some stone garden decor!
As is wont to happen, I happened to see a cute idea on Pinterest for using rocks to label plants. . . and Idecided they might add the perfect touch of whimsy to my dubious garden’s image! Nothing screams I-know-what-I’m-doing like adding a bunch of rocks to your garden, right?
My favorite use for dill: blending with a mix of sour cream/mayonnaise for a light garnishing sauce . . .
Chives can be tasty in salad or cut up thinly on top of a potato and leek soup. . . or even on pizza!
My favorite use for basil is sliced on top of fresh tomatoes. . . and sometimes the whole basil-tomato combo can really make a simple omelette transcend to whole new levels of delicious!
Speaking of tomatoes. . . I really can’t wait to get these babies in the ground! I have a deep-seated love for fresh-grown tomatoes. I made some other markers outside of those for my herb garden, but I’m not putting them out yet because the seeds haven’t sprouted up yet (it feels like they are taking forever). Labeling bare ground feels a little like putting the cart before the horse!
There you have it. Maybe I’ll keep adding to this collection over the summer if beach-walking/rock-collecting starts to be part of my regular schedule again!
Isn’t my gardin rockin?
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
At least, that’s how the saying goes . . . but sometimes our trash can also be our own darn treasure, non? Why should “another man” get all the benefits of your trash? That’s right, you seize that trash and you make it your own treasure. (Insert ironic z-snap here.) Check out what I made from something that would otherwise have been in the trash:
Not too shabby, is it? Which is why it is now worth saving your old goopy nail-polish the next time you find some extra lying about or are looking to purge your supply! Keep reading to see how that gooey mess can become a pretty piece of jewelry. . . or maybe even something more . . .
To make these flowers, you need:
old goopy nail-polish
*If you want to make it/them into a necklace, you will also need a chain and some links to close it – they’re easy to find on Etsy!
Starting with just wire, cut yourself about a six-inch piece. Then use pen as the petal-measure, wrapping the wire around once and twisting it to secure the round shape.
You repeat this process 5 times, or until you are satisfied, then bend your petals around to give them a less circular shape . I personally did this one by hand, but I’ve since done some better ones using needle-nosed pliers!
Once you have the flower framework of wire, all you need to do is drip goopy nail-polish over the petals and then allow them to dry. This makes a delicate-looking tissue for the petals! Since I only had old clear nail-polish, I decided to paint over that with some of my less-congealed colors, and I was pleasantly pleased with the effect!
Now all that remains is to turn it into something usable or wearable! Since your flower still has a “stem” of metal, it makes sense to use that to create loops in order to hang the flowers from a necklace or chain. Other ideas I’ve toyed with include flower-girl headdresses (lots of these in pearly white would look lovely as a wreath, which could be put together using florists tape!), summery-topped bobby-pins, and daisy-chain bracelets.
Now, I am still a nail-polish jewelry novice, but I have some pretty exciting ideas for these little flowers!
Last weekend, I joined my sister’s family to do the 2013 annual Walk for Hunger. . . just to be clear, this means that I was one of three adults responsable for a five-year-old, a three-year-old, two two-year-olds, an 11-month-old and an 8-month-old. (Did I mention that my sisters are foster-moms?) It was definitely an adventure – I even made t-shirts the night before!
All of the kids shirts looked like this:
Then the adult shirts looked like this:
Get it? You know, because they rolled along in strollers, and we pushed them???
Needless to say, 6 children, three double-strollers, several hours, and twenty miles later, I was pretty wiped, but I can proudly say that it was for a good cause!
Unfortunately, as is my way, I subsequently contracted some sort of stomach bug and was down for the count most of the week. . . boo. But not to worry, Friday is here, the sun is shining, and I’m going to share some new projects with you soon!
I think my car has a magnetic force field that attracts bad drivers.
Specifically, the bumpers on my cars. In the past two years alone, I have needed three new bumpers.I thought that maybe the third bumper was the charm. . .
but just a few days ago, while stopped at a stop sign, an elderly woman named Virginia decided to take the left hand turn a bit too tightly. Proof positive that Virginia is not just for lovers, friends. I have to say, nothing sounds worse to me than the crunch of cars colliding. Maybe it’s because it usually is followed by the awful realization that an incredibly annoying process has just begun.
You all have likely heard the expression :
I say unfortunately because, in my case, I’m getting lots of practice doing car accident follow-up. Yay. In hopes that somebody might benefit from my unfortunate new skill in coping with said accidents, I have decided to share the privilege of my dubious expertise.
What happens after the crunch:
#1: Pull over, and prepare yourself for:
God-knows-what, because you might have just butted heads (or bumpers?) with The Incredible Hulk on a grumpy day and he might be currently exploding out of his pants into a giant snarling monster of fury who is planning to smash you verbally even more than he already has with his car.
Or, if you are lucky, there is a slight chance that your little incidente has just occurred with Bambi’s mother reincarnate, and is currently sobbing from the sheer trauma of a fender bender. Whatever happens just stay cool, polite, and professional. Remember: they call these things accidents because NOBODY means for them to happen! Also, please note that this step is crucial in avoiding what is commonly known as a “hit and run”. . . which happens to be a felony in most states . . . so don’t skip step one, people.
#2: Grab Your Papers
Like traveling through enemy territory, step two is all about having the right papers. Much like a spy attempting to go undetected in said enemy territory, not having the right identification papers could be dire! You are going to need your license and your car’s registration. Also, if you have a pen, this will expediate the process incredibly (read: keep a pen in your car). At this point, it might also help to have a handy-dandy form that I made. If you print a few of these off and keep them in your dashboard, just have everybody at the scene (yourself included) fill one out and then exchange them!
Accidents Happen – A Form For All (click to download the PDF!)
#3: Ask “the Question” (Prove your Humanity)
Please note, at this point, it is customary to ask, “Are you all right?” all around. This is to show that you are not an unfeeling monster, but do have some decency as a human being. This is usually the first thing that should be said. It’s always good to lead as a human. At this point, you may also want to be careful to be as intelligent a human being as possible, especially if you are at fault for the accident, because nothing is worse than being smashed into and subsequently inflicted with an obnoxious personality.
#4: Look at the Damage on Both Cars
Snap a picture if your camera phone is around . . . just in case somebody tries to scam you down the (proverbial) road.
#5: Part ways, and head off to file accident reports, call insurance agencies, and eat comfort foods as needed.
I am currently in love with making shakes, and not the Chik-fil-A/insanely delicious/add-five-pounds kind. I’ve been having some healthy smoothies to replace breakfast and as a snack here and there, and I’m loving them. Here are my two favorite healthy shakes of late:
The Breakfast Smoothie:
- 1/2 Scoop Raw Protein Powder (I use Vanilla)
- 2 Tbsp flax seed
- 1 c. almond milk (or Soy, if you don’t like Almond – I love Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk!)
- 1 c. frozen mango
- 1 banana
The Sweet-Tooth Snack/Dessert Shake:
- 1 banana, frozen in chunks in advance
- 1 c. almond or soy milk
- 1 Tbsp Cocoa
- 1 Tbsp peanut-butter (you can go healthy or not here, I just use whatever is on hand!)
- 1 Tbsp truvia/stevia (optional, but it makes it more of a dessert)
Give them a try if you’re looking for some healthy goodness this spring/summer, I promise you won’t be disappointed (unless you’re expecting a handspun Chik-fil-A chocolate milkshake – my personal gold standard for unhealthily decadent shakes, which these are not). Enjoy! I would love any suggestions from readers for other shakes . . .