It’s very hard for me to do anything simple and modern looking. It just is. I love to look at trendy simple things: clothes, home decor, scrapbooking pages, patterns….anything. And I love it. But when it comes right down to it, it’s impossible for me to duplicate that look in anything I touch. It starts out simple, but very soon another element creeps in, an extra detail here or there, some brighter color sneaks in….and soon whatever I’m working on is full right up with all sorts of visual junk! Yes, I am a messy person, and it usual shows up even in my “designing” (art, decorating, crafting, junk making, whatever you want to call it). It’s hard to stop myself. I know, I know, I’ve heard: Art is knowing when to stop. And I agree. And I guess that’s where the line between crafty and artist is drawn. All this to say, I felt rather proud of myself for creating (in my mind) a simple modern-looking Thanksgiving table setting this year. It was excruciatingly hard to hold back and not add more and more, but I forced myself and getting some new simple dishes from Ikea helped (and a time crunch helped, too).
Last year’s Thanksgiving table here was more like what I usually do. This year I tried a new color scheme, and I must say I liked it. I just loved the bright colors (that is normal for me) what wasn’t normal was the more simple decorations.A plain white cake stand, a dried gourd (from Guatemala), a couple of small pumpkins and pomegranates, a few candles, a bunch of purplish carnations and a few green flowers. Yes, it did involve a shopping trip to IKEA for a few things: new blue dishes, a couple of blue candles, purple table runner, purple juice jug and purple serviettes. I had lots of orange things already in my stash 🙂 No time for place-cards this year, just a few plain wooden leaves from Walmart. I did print out some Thanksgiving things on kraft paper, but we didn’t really use them…..they were to make a thankful paper chain. We were thankful without the craft. The rest of the photos were taken under the dining room lighting so the color looks kind of weird…. I quickly crammed all the flowers into an orange bowl (and left the other non-color-coordinated flowers in the kitchen).simple but pretty, I thought. And yes, that is an old fashioned jello mold!For that old fashioned, traditional touch. I enjoyed it, even if few others did! I had made one awhile ago, from an old recipe, then totally lost the recipe!! So this was kinda made from my memory: grated carrot, crushed pineapple, orange gelatin (jello), and a cup of plain yogurt. Does anyone have a recipe like that? It would be nice to have the exact amounts!
My daughter the turkey,I mean, my daughter cooked the turkey this year! She did a good job, though we had a few nervous moments 😉
There was a kids’ table this year, with a few Snoopy treats…very simple (not like the other Peanuts kids’ table)When the younger kids couldn’t take the wait for supper, we gave them a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving meal. It’s what Charlie Brown and Snoopy served in the classic cartoon: buttered toast, pretzels, popcorn and jelly beans! (It’s starting to be a tradition!)Another food that is now a Thanksgiving tradition around here is Guatemalan enchiladas! I think this was the day after Thanksgiving, though traditionally they are served on Nov. 1st in Guate. (It was a short weekend with family, so we had to cram a lot of food into it) Mmmmm good!! I’ll have to post the recipe someday…. 🙂 And so that was our little Canadian, American, Guatemalan Thanksgiving!!
Time for a family movie night! We just had to get around to watching the Narnia movies sometime during our Narnian Christmas theme. Yes, it did start out as a November Narnia theme during the C.S. Lewis memorial week, but now it has transformed into a Narnian Christmas! The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in the series, but the first movie (Disney version) that has come out in recent years, so we started with that one. I wanted the kids to enter into the land of Narnia to watch the movie. I’ve been thinking about this theme for awhile, and about ideas to do, so have been gathering a few props. But in the end, I had to throw this movie night together quickly because there happened to be a free, non-school-night that would work.
What images pop into your mind when you think of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe? I guess those three things would be the first obvious ones, the Lion Aslan, the wardrobe full of fur coats which leads into Narnia, and the White Witch who has made it always winter and never Christmas in Narnia. And if you thought of something to eat…would it be the Turkish delight that tempts Edmund into betraying his siblings to the witch? How about that famous symbol, the lighted lamp post, where Lucy first meets the Faun, Mr. Tumnus, in the middle of a wintry wood.
It wasn’t too hard to find some of these things and to quickly decorate my room for movie night. I love the idea of the warm fur coats that the kids push through to get into the back of the wardrobe, and later borrow to wear in the wintry Narnia. Of course I dreamed of making wardrobe doors that would open up and lead into Narnia (I was just going to make them out of large cardboard boxes) but (also of course) I didn’t have time to make all of my ideas. So I passed on the wardrobe and just focused on pushing through the fur coats to get into the land beyond. No fur coats around here, so I used my faux-fur throw (the dark brown color was perfect). Here’s the simple how-to:Get a fur blanket and a tension rod, install the rod in the door frame and drape the blanket over it, that’s all!This is what the inside of the door looked like. The blanket was too heavy to cover the whole door, which would have been cool, but I didn’t have safety pins to pin it, and clothespins didn’t work, so just draped it hanging as long as I could. It gave the right effect, when each kid pushed past the fur “robe” and slipped into Narnia….To create an instant and easy forest did require one purchase. I found this canvas picture of an evergreen tree at IKEA. When I first saw them advertised, I thought that they were kind of strange, especially when I saw that ornaments were pinned on, as if it was a Christmas tree, but now I totally changed my mind and love my canvas tree picture! I scored this one in the As-is section for half-off, but here in Canada the regular price is about $14.50. It looked really big in my room, and only took 5 minutes to tack up on the wall, right along the edge of the ceiling, though it does have a sleeve at the top to run a rope or curtain rod through…It really gives the feel of being in a winter forest, though there isn’t actually snow in the picture. And in the process of setting up movie night, I found out that the tree glows in the dark!! How fun is that? Especially where the lamp post shines on it…Which brings us to the all-important lamp post (lamppost? lamp-post? I don’t know how to spell it…) which I wasn’t going to do without. Another IKEA hack!! I have a small Ikea lamp that cost about $7, it uses smaller round bulbs, so I just pulled off the shade and made a lantern-like top out of black cardstock (heavier than paper, lighter than card). Since I was rushed, I didn’t spend much time on it, and the post at the top is proportionally way too big, but “la idea es esa” you get the idea. I won’t leave the lamp post turned on for long, for fear it will burst into flame. It would probably be great with a night-light bulb in it, but oh well. The top is just a square of cardstock, creased cross-ways and basically just setting on, with 2 dots of glue. There are 4 kinda rectangle shapes glued to a paper circle at the bottom, just to give the illusion that it’s wider and solid at the bottom. And that was it, but kinda cute!It’s not at all sturdy, but fine for just a display. I’m sure there would be ways for making it last longer…oops, I forgot to take a before shot of the lamp….I draped a white sheet over the little bookcase (for snow) and set out a few things…. (hey, right when I typed that sentence out about snow, I remembered that I was going to throw white tissue paper on the floor, so that when you stepped “through the wardrobe” you would “crunch” on the snow!!! What a bummer I forgot!! That would have been super easy but really cool).
The craft store (Michaels) had a great plastic lion (used a 40% off coupon!) for Aslan, I really like the expression on his face. We had Susan and her horn from a McDonald’s meal from a long time ago….And of course, a box of Turkish delight! Didn’t have time to try making our own Turkish delight from this recipe from SprinkleBakes that I want to try, and I think (the adults) we were kinda tired of the real stuff anyways, so Henry picked up some of my favorite chocolates….yummy! That went over well! So the rest of the “decorations” were easy, just lots of comfy pillows, and a small white tree with white lights…I had wanted to make chocolate beaver lodges for dessert, but just let it go for another time… We all piled together and got comfy, ate pizza and our Turkish delight for dessert, and enjoyed the Narnia movie! Happy to report that a fun time was had by all. It helps to have heaps of snow outside in the freezing weather and early darkness to make you feel reallllly cozy! Hope this helps with some ideas for a family movie night for your family!
We did it! Everything finally came together for our son’s Lego Star Wars party…after weeks of thinking about it, checking out ideas on Pinterest, the anticipation….and now it’s done! I’m afraid that I plan things in my head, then leave everything until the last minute…so I’m usually rushed. This time was a little better. About a week before, we made a trip to IKEA and I picked up some fun things (that I had wanted for a long time anyways) so that gave me some inspiration to work with. From the bulletin boards on Pinterest, I got a bunch of good ideas and free printables. And the final thing: a photo sale on at Costco, so really, the coolest items were ordered as photos from Costco.
I was kind of thinking about why I do these things, these detailed creative things. Really, I don’t do it to show off….I don’t like show-offs and I don’t want to be one, so I was investigating my real motives, and decided that this is not one of them. I don’t do it to impress others. I do want to impress my kids and husband, that I admit, and I like to do that! (it’s fun). I figured out that I also like to do these things because I get a picture in my mind and I want to see if I can do it: I guess that would be called a challenge. It’s a challenge to me to see if I can create what I can think up (ok, or what I can copy!! I’ve always been a good copy-cat and like to see something and try and copy it). And I guess my other motivation for right now was this: I was wondering if I could get into the party business….still wondering about that. Part of me really wants to and the other part of me says no way, only do it for your family!! And I guess the reasoning behind that is that I am organizationally deficient and tend to work up to the very last minute and improvise a lot! In fact, some of my best ideas are last-minute and made using something I find laying around in my basement or kitchen. So, I’m just playing with the business idea…
Anyways, for the fast version, here’s a slideshow of party photos, and following are individual photos and the links from where I grabbed the cool ideas!
The night before, Henry, Lyra and myself stayed up assembling these cute little paper cubees of Star War figures to decorate with. You can find them here http://www.cubeecraft.com/ then print them off, cut and some assembly required (they are about 3 inches high). Any paper geeks out there? you will love these!!
More paper stuff: these cute little lego brick boxes to fill with candy. They were originally large boxes, but I wanted them for the treat bags. You can find the printout here: http://deliacreates.blogspot.com/2011/01/lego-brick-favor-boxes-and-free.html
I found these cool shiny black bags at IKEA for treat bags, and printed out tags for the boys’ names here: http://www.livinglocurto.com/2009/08/star-wars-free-printable-tags-stickers/ I also included a “squinky” in each bag, from a cute little set of star wars toys.
And an “autographed” photo of Luke Skywalker. The rest of the candy in the treat bags, the boys were allowed to choose themselves from the Dessert Space Station.
A couple of my own ideas for the table setting: light saber straws and utensils. We found salad fork&spoons at IKEA in all the perfect colors, so I wrapped them up in green and black serviettes for the handle of the sabers, then the boys had to eat with them!! The straws were IKEA straws, bundled up in bunches and taped together at the top. They were surprisingly fun! The boys played with them and bent the tops around, and used them to slurp up their Yoda Soda punch!!
There were a few shiny metal things from IKEA that were great for serving at the table, the coolest being a plant pot stand on casters!! love it!
I had big plans for creating a Millenium Falcon spaceship from a lampshade (from IKEA of course) but it didnt’ get done, so I just set it on the table with a light in it…it was a good effect, even without all the work…eventually it will become a pinata I think… Also from IKEA, some cheap blue curtains and Christmas lights….
First we had lunch, complete with Wampa Burgers (“rib” sandwiches), Wookiee Veggies and Storm Trooper Cheese Ball.
I saw the idea here: http://kitchenfunwithmy3sons.blogspot.com/2011/05/lots-of-star-wars-party-ideas.html and other cool ideas.
At the last minute, there was no lime sherbet, so I put a few scoops of vanilla and dumped in the lemon/lime fizzy drink + a few drops of food coloring= Yoda Soda fun! Lyra helped serve the punch. This idea and the C-3PO H20 (idea and water bottle labels) were from here: http://imtopsyturvy.com/lego-star-wars-birthday-party/
After lunch, the boys went to play some Wii games, and Lyra and I quickly cleaned up lunch, and set up the Dessert Space Station and Birthday Banner.
The Banner and all the name cards, I had made up 2 nights before and printed at Costco. I had downloaded a font (Star Jedi Hollow from dafont.com) and I used a lego-ish digital kit by Lindsay Jane called “Brickworks” here’s her blog where you can find a store: http://lindsayjanedesigns.blogspot.com/ I like her digital scrapbooking kits!!
So we set up a bunch of candy and cupcakes with name tags….This was the only orignal name I came up with!! haha, the rest were from others’ Star War parties (previous links and this one for the Tie Fighters: http://catchmyparty.com/photos/465815) But I liked mine “Death Star Droppings”! Hoth Chocolate Cupcakes (I broke down and bought a $1 cake mix, threw in some chocolate chips and iced with canned icing.) The cool parts were the silver cupcake liners and the blue sugar+chocolate cookie crumbs=topping. Since I was doing so many desserty things, I just printed out cupcake toppers and punched them out with a circle punch, instead of making things out of icing or whatever. The cute printables are here: http://www.skiptomylou.org/printable-lego-star-wars-cupcake-toppers/
A few more decorations:Here’s the Storm Trooper “man doily” that I mentioned in my post yesterday. Here’s the link and template for that (recommended for a very handy adult, prob. not a kid!) : http://mattersofgrey.com/diy-star-wars-snowflakes/
Banner was my own invention, but wall art that I stuck onto my frames from here: http://pinterest.com/pin/201606520788779181/ and here: http://pinterest.com/pin/201606520788779184/ and this fun one from here: http://pinterest.com/pin/201606520788771057/ I recreated it myself from scratch and put on the doors,
disclaimer: I have never watched any Star Wars movies, so please forgive any strange/wrong spellings or Star wars labels!