Prom: Life’s a Ball!

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:

starry origamivia

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″)

The Beginning

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!

Putting Together the Pieces

After we finished making 70 different stars, we decided to use gold and silver spray paint to make these little beauties really shine.painting the stars!

Once we were done, the finished product is quite lovely!three stars

With a little hole-punching and some fancy ribbon, these were ready for action!Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 6.49.50 PM

They wound up looking pretty magical when we tied them to the back of the chairs – alternating gold and silver!!

stars upon stars

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.

Trying to Embellish the Vases...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.

Small Stars So Sweet

The final effect was quite lovely, if I do say so myself!

Put it all together, and . . .

Detail #3: Tabletop Touches

Tables that GlimmerWe finished off the tabletops with some scattered little “diamonds” and a couple of twirled white pipe-cleaners!

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.

Bathroom Baskets for a MasqueradeGood 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.
masks and sparklesEverything coordinated quite perfectly.

Sweet Favor

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!

so sweet!

What a fabulous night!!!

Piece of Cake? Apparently not.

You would think that, once you master the technique, writing on cakes wouldn’t be too terribly difficult. . . but there is significant evidence to the contrary.

cake wrecks...via

I have done my fair share of chuckling at the cake wrecks that are posted online. I think the unintentional ones are my favorite.


But, yesterday, when I went to get some cake for my little brother’s graduation pic-nic, was the first time I’ve ever experienced the pit-falls of professional cake decoration first-hand!

The first cake wasn’t so bad. . . 

Happy Graduation . . . cake

. . . but the second was a little less fortunate. What did I ask for? I asked if it could read:

“Hooray! You did it!”

What did I get?

Graduation Cake Wreck

Yup, that’s right. Ho-Yay.

Really: Look closer!


Well, suffice it to say, my brother was thrilled with the message! This is him making his best “Ho-YAY” face before digging in:


And with that, my brother, the baby of the family, finished college and set off for bigger and better things (ahem: he’s getting married in 1 week!). I’m so proud of him!

Rockin’ the Garden

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!

it's sort of in my roots. . . pun intended

(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.

well helloooo

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:

life is greatvia

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!

herbologyVoilà my new set of herb markers!

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?

It's a pretty big Dill

My favorite use for dill: blending with a mix of sour cream/mayonnaise for a light garnishing sauce . . .

chives - the c is crucial

Chives can be tasty in salad or cut up thinly on top of a potato and leek soup. . . or even on pizza!

basil, not of baker st.

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!

my favorite fruit and vegetable

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!

isn't it though?

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?

Snow Day To Do List:

Seeing as how I was highly grumpy when facing ANOTHER 16.5 inches of snow today (BLARGH), I decided it would be best to stay productive. Here are some snippets of what I did today, in hopes that they might inspire you out of the White Witch Blues. (Ahem: always-winter-never-Christmas, yes?)

#1: Make Homemade Cocoa-Based Brownies!

Gooey, Fudgey, Chocolatey BROWNIES(If you want my recipe, just click this link!)

#2: Get “Artsy” and Give New Purpose to an Old Frame!

2013-03-08_15-42-21_337It seems that no matter where I am, I always have access to a ridiculous amount of plain paper and markers. . . which is a good thing. SO, having spray-painted an old frame in the basement, I set about making a useful piece of bathroom art.2013-03-08_15-42-31_490Once I had the artsy reminders drawn, I decided to clean up the old frame one last time and then see how my finished product looked. . . what do you think? Ta-Da!

#3: Watch a Netflix Movie.

belle islevia

It was cute. Plus I got to listen to Morgan Freeman talk in the process of watching it, which is always a plus. I still say I would pick Jim Dale to narrate my life instead, but Mr. Freeman’s got some smooth tones regardless. Plus it was pretty adorable.

#4: Make the Best of the Shoveling.

I hate shoveling, and this year has definitely stretched me as a human being insofar as developing a higher shoveling tolerance. Then, just when you think you’ll be able to see the sidewalk again . . . WHAM! More snow. SO, I decided that even snow can be made to look springy, and I made (drumroll please) . . .


My Attempt at a TailI even tried to give it a pompom bunny-tail. . . but it got pretty cold, so I decided to call it a day and go wash all the cold off in a steamy shower before meeting up with my favorite little frère for a late dinner!

All in all, my snow day experiences were a  success, despite my initial snowy angst! I strongly recommend any/all of these activities, should you find yourself facing the chilly prospect of some snow-day-blues!

JOYEUSE St.Valentin!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Check out  some of the notes that I shared with Friends  (and students!) on this lovely day:

narwhalstars sold

pine coneshoney badgers

And. . . because laughter is just wonderful:

My handsome valentine:

love in it

The cupcakes I made for my students: 





The adorable sweet notes that I received at work today!


A very Happy Valentine’s Day to you if you are reading this!

Soda Shoppe Sock Hop!

sock hop?!

Its a Soda Shoppe Sock Hop!!!


What better way to brighten up the winter months than with the charming colors of the fifties and the sweet classical feel of a soda shoppe? Think  of young Jimmy Stewart serving up soda fountain drinks. . .

    georgebailey via

Now, as my three student Dance Committee volunteers and I sat reading off the list of suggested themes from a list, I saw that common ideas for the impending winter formal included:

  A. Winter in Paris

  B. Masquerade

  C. 50s

  D. Pokemon

It was safe to say that option D was out (the middle schoolers were attempting sabotage of the HS dance) . . .  and we decided Masquerade was a little too formal for the winter semi-formal. Lacking enthusiasm for attempting to reconstruct the Eiffel Tower in order to effectively achieve Winter in Paris, we turned to our final option: The 50s. As I sat across the table from a sophomore and two juniors, all born in the 1990s,  trying to explain the lovely Era in question, I mostly encountered confusion. I gave up explaining context and wound up listing random things that typified the fabulous fifties.

Now, I solemnly swear this was not something I necessarily intended to be taken at face value…but one of the girls heard me say “Soda Shoppe” and the idea was a hit!

Without further ado, we undertook some fancy  fixings!

Soda is a Favor(ite!)

Soda seemed like the thing to do when it came to favors, and there were some darling little straws I found on Etsy that seemed like just the right touch of colorful detail!

Our next step? Centerpiece Planning…

I started to meander through the world of clever arrangements and stumbled across this image:

ice cream carnations!Carnations I can handle, it seemed like the right place to start was collecting soda glasses. Thankfully, these seem to little the aisles of thrift-shops like newspapers in an episode of hoarders! It only took two trips!

Ice Cream Shoppe LOVE\

After that, it was a cinch to arrange the carnations the-day-of!

Ice Cream?

Next on the list? Accumulating an obscene amount of Records!

Mysteriously WONDERFUL!


There is a magical place in Gloucester, MA called Mystery Train Records. . .  where there is actually a wall of records that they allow you to take for free.! Sure, you can only take 5 at a time, but with enough trips, or a decent enough crew of friends, it can be done cost-free in just a trip or two! As much as they are magical finds in and of themselves, I lack a record player to truly do them justice, so I settled for using them as foundational pieces for some attractive centerpieces and table decor!

2013-02-01_18-21-25_29  2013-02-01_18-20-56_939

It made for a really charming background! Especially when we add in the Candy Jars!


That’s right, I said Candy Jars


Seeing as how soda fountains also doubled as sweet-shoppes, it was only appropriate to include a hefty amount of colorful sugar for the centerpieces!

Centerpiece Candy!

Mad libs are always a nice touch – a cherry on top!


Mad libs are just a great ice-breaker!

Madlibs as usual!

Sometimes Madlibs can be the key to easing the social interactions at the start of an evening – you know, just the thing to get everyone laughing and goofy, even if they are always somewhat inappropriate!

Then there was the question of music!

What would a dance be without music, no? In lieu of the snazzy jukebox one might actually have found in a fabulous fifties Soda Shoppe, we instead went with the more popular option of a DJ. . . it was not likely we would find a jukebox with Gangnam Style in it. One of my artsy student helpers put together this lovely painted jukebox to lend to the decor.

The Jukebox!  Requests

We used it to point people towards the request list, which students kept filled up all night long!2013-02-01_18-18-47_825

Overall, the event was a success,

Ready to Sock Hop

I got to wear a petticoat, the decor was adorably effective, and the students had fun! There were fewer moments of chaos and mayhem amid the planning than usual, and everyone had a lovely time! Even the catered food was delicious, which is pretty darn amazing!

One Sweet Evening

I hope the next dance is equally as fun to plan and organize!


Stay tuned, it sounds like the prom will be masquerade-themed, so throw me any ideas that might be inspiring as they come!!!

LOVE-ly Ideas!

V is for Valentine


Top Ten Inspirational Ideas for VALENTINE’S DAY!

#1: Make & Share the best medicine

love is the best medicine

via and via

#2: Walk in Love

heart walk





#4: Give Caffeine To Those You Truly Love

Valentines Warmthvia

(go to “Eat Drink Chic” for the free printable)

plus, if you are feeling especially loving, and can bake, you can include these!

#5: Sweeten that Coffee (or tea) with LOVE




#6: Wear your heart on your . . . legs.



#7: Say it with FROSTING!

Hidden Messages


#8: Hand-deliver any secret messages with some lacey flaire!

doilies doilies everywhere!


#9: Watch and revel in as many romantic or happy relationship (including Friendship) movies as possible!

Oh Rhett Butler, you suave charmer, you!


#10: Send small messages without inducing cavities!

Healthy Love!


And, whatever you do, don’t stop with just Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Afterparty!