Monday, July 22, 2013

Playing Dress-Up the Grown-Up Way

My favorite thing about a summer birthday is that I actually get to spend it in one of my most favorite places - outside.

I have been working on sprucing up our outdoor space since the beginning of summer.  The IKEA Ammero is in its second summer and it has held up very well withstanding snow and wind.  This space used to have a lot of red tones (see "before" pictures here), but I was ready for a younger, fresher look.  I went for the unusual combination of summer blue and coral.  Which as it would turn out, would also be the theme for my intimate summer backyard birthday party.

I sewed the chevron print curtains and all the printed throw cushion covers.  I ordered the fabric online from, which I later realized also sold at for cheaper shipping.  The solid orange ones are from IKEA.  The sheer curtains were the same ones I've had from last summer.  

With a Cricut Mini, I made all the pennant banners with printed cardboard stock.  It took longer to make than if I had just bought some at the store, but these are more personalized and really fun to make.  

I sewed these table runners using leftover fabric from the pillows.  The candle votive holders are also made of cardboard stock die-cut in a lovely pattern.  Yes, I also made those. 

I had requested my gracious friend to get some helium balloons in blue and coral.  They completed the festive theme for the party!  I never really knew how everything would come together.  So it was an utter delight to to see that everything did!  

In keeping with the theme, I picked up these paper straws and cut out moustaches from black cardboard stock.  I happen to have friends who don't mind poking fun at themselves.  To hold plasticware and the straws, I dressed up these mason jars with strips of leftover cardboard stock that I used for the pennants.

In a moment of synchronicity, while wandering around Target looking for nothing in particular, The Dutch and I saw these paper plates and napkins that exactly match our party decor.  They were $1 each pack of 8 - at 70% off!  Time to hoard!

And remember those votive holders?  Post-party, they will transform and be recycled into thank-you cards like this one I started tonight:

You'll know when the party was a roaring success if there is no shortage of loud, boisterous laughter until late.  We had a constant stream of delicious food and libations, and had a wild time playing games like little children.  And I am convinced it's these simple things that make life great, colorful and beautiful: love and togetherness with family and friends.   

I'm re-reading Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" and I have never thought this before, but I find the madness of his wild spirit rather intimidating. Yet, as double-three makes a gracious exit, I yearn to live like the one typefied by Kerouac:
"... the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars...."

Cheers to more colorful celebrations of life!  
Thirty four, BRING IT ON.  

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