Elements of Party Style in a Pinch

Pinterest mocks the best intentions of every party hostess with its myriad photos of perfectly executed fairytale parties for little girls and twee vintage inspired decor for adult parties. What's a gal with a full-time job, design deadlines, and zero time to do?

(Click for source)

First, I accepted the fact that I could not execute a party to rival the scale of TomKat's nuptials, and no one was expecting me to pull a Martha and construct the table and chairs from hand-hewn wood planks I carved in my backyard. It was just a party with some friends and they understand the demands of my life. They were coming for the booze, anyway.

This did NOT mean that I needed to sacrifice my artistic vision competely. I assessed the possibilities amongst things I already had. I knew that I didn't need anything over the top- the setting for my party is pretty idyllic in and of itself- A little brick backyard patio with lights already strung from a wooden sukkah that covers the patio (my landlords are Jewish and built it last Easter- I love it!) and a cute little table. My favorite feature? Definitely the lights!

First, the table. This is where my hoarding of pretty/interesting/funky/cool fabrics (your mileage may vary) comes in handy.

I happened to have these on hand and decided that these could double as tablecloths. They contrasted nicely- in a “patterns gone wild” kind of way- with these paper plates I picked up from Ikea ages ago in anticipation of a shindig just like this.

Yes, this picture was taken the night of the party and yes, that is an empty wine bottle in the background. I TOLD you they were just in it for the booze!

But the piece de resistance? My vintage pyrex collection, which I rarely break out, due to a debilitating fear of something breaking into a thousand pieces (especially my “Colonial Mist” bowls). I think it's on par with this:


This stuff conjures up visions of frilly aprons, casseroles, frigidaire tiffany blue rerigerators (maybe that's just me?), and makes me want to do my best Jackie O. hairflip imitation and put on Mad Men.

I have this! The dish, not the crappy husband. (click for source)

It's bright, colorful, and adds just a little vintage flare to any meal without having to break out the tuna casserole recipe. Every year, I go to Brimfield Fair and pledge to only buy a couple of rare pieces and every year, I surpass this alotment. By a lot. So sue me.

Temptation at Brimfield- how am I supposed to resist??

Having raided my stashes, I then thought about additional touches that I could make myself. I'm not talking papier mache statues of each guest, but small measures that give an added element of festivity. Naturally, I turned to my embossing gun (it was either that or my glue gun and after the last time I got burned with it, we're on the outs) and one rare free night, I used swatches from my paint chip collection (built up over many years of hoarding paint chips on the rare occasion I make it to the suburbs and a Lowes or Home Depot) and made little menu cards- one for each dish. This is a clear glitter, so it's not over the top, but adds a little sparkle that will reflect nicely in candlelight when it grows dark.

Lastly, the flowers. I needed a vase or other acceptable vessel-something for (I hate this word. Gag me for using it) the tablescape (auto spellcheck wants me to type “tables ape”- how utterly fitting). This was easy. I have an unnatural love for decoupage, and one of my favorite canvases is the wine bottle. I love that I can make candlestick holders or little vases. I figured I could pair my favorite one with a blue mason jar picked up at Brimfield Fair last year and voila- table decor.
A couple of clear mason jars for utensils and BOOM, I was in business and ready to move onto the menu. But that, my friends, is for another post.



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