Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happiness : Laguna Beach at Sunset

 Our photography challenge word of the day yesterday was happiness.  Walking along cliff drive in Laguna Beach at Sunset filled me with happiness.  The lovely golden light, the fresh sea air, I couldn't make myself leave.  What a beautiful experience.  I am so lucky to live close enough that I can drive here whenever I want.  Happiness comes from actually doing it!  I could have been home zoning out in front of the television or on the computer and missed this wonderful experience; I am glad I didn't. The photo challenge word will change daily, today it is Leaves I think and I am off to explore some foliage,  but I think that for me personally I am going to hang onto the word Happiness as a personal mantra.  So many beautiful places and experiences are all around me.  The key to happiness is actively seeking them out.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


My daughter and nieces and whoever else wants to join us are having a photography challenge and today is the first day.  The main objective is for us to be more creative and get out and use our cameras more.  Everyday for the next 30 days we have an assigned category of the type of photo to take.  Today is Favorite Food.

For me that meant a trip to the candy store, and a photo of just about anything in there.  I love candy so here is the one I am going with.

Lollipop, Lollipop, oh Lolly, Lolly, Lolly!!

Cute! Colorful!  Probably all kinds of things technically wrong with it, but it got me remembering how to change the ISO on my camera, and all the fun stuff about f-stops, light meters and shutter speeds.  I got the camera off of auto for the first time in a while, so I am calling today a success!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Graduation Party

I've started an Etsy shop with lots of fun banners and decorations.  These Burlap and book page banners are so cute for a graduation party!  Please check out my shop!

Hip Hip Hooray for my darling daughter, who graduated from college in January.   She wanted to celebrate with her friends close to her college so we were lucky enough to be able to host a gathering for her in a beer tasting room nearby.  The whole atmosphere of the place, with it's brew tanks and selections of craft beers was a great environment for her college friends.  A perfect mix of warehouse chic and cute.

My daughter loves all things owls and since owls are also associated with being wise, they made a fun addition to the party decor.  I wanted to use inspirational quotes from writers and people my daughter admires as decorations, so I created small faux chalkboards.  I also liked the idea of using old book pages and sheet music for decoration since she is both a writer and musician.  I made the banner in the front of the table by choosing silhouette Internet images from things my daughter loves, printing them onto old sheet music, cutting them into triangular pennants and sewing these pennants onto slightly larger burlap pennants and then onto a ribbon.  

The owls were undecorated wooden cutouts from Michael's that I covered in burlap with sheet music wings and a little graduation cap from card stock.

What to serve at these events is always a struggle and I only had about 15 minutes to set everything up.  Enter the cheese table. I gratefully found photos of one on Pinterest by All The Frills located in Australia.     I was able to get an idea for an assortment of cheeses which I ran with as well as an inspirational quote of "enjoy" that I blatantly copied for my much smaller chalkboard backdrop.  I also printed some black graduation cap onto card stock, cut them out, glued them to shortened skewers and used a white paint pen to write the name of the cheeses. 

The cheese bar was a huge success.  I received so many compliments and thanks from her friends.  It was really simple to do and I will definitely be repeating this for future adult events.  I served the cheeses with cut up baguettes, crackers, grapes, and a few tepenades and sauces.

 In order to include some of her favorite color of teal into the event,  I made fabric banners, painted the chalkboard frames teal and covered a paper mache B with mod podged scrapbook papers.  I wish I had a better photo of the large frame in the back.  I choose some cute photos of my daughter from her college years (some of these I got off of facebook) along with interesting and fun facts about her college experience; her semester studying in Italy, fun things she did during a semester studying comedy in Chicago, as well as stories I knew, like her car getting towed while she was still in it.   She told me it was a fun conversational piece during the party  amongst her friends who hadn't all heard about some of the things on the board.  (In my rush to get things set up my husband hung them up. :-) .   I had purchased the vintage typewriter for her as a graduation surprise which I also included in the decor.

I whipped up some fancy cups for the graduate.... cause she is classy now! I Love  Pinterest for this kind of thing.  I saw a picture of these someone had pinned from a store where they were for sale as hillbilly wine glasses. I thought they were funny and they were easy to make, and perfect for the college graduates!  Since they had really nice beer glasses at the location I just made a dozen of these for fun. The bases are candlesticks from the dollar tree glued with E6000 glue onto red plastic cups.  They needed to dry for a few days before using but they were super easy to make.

I made centerpieces for the tables with books and candles.  I think stacks of books are a cute base for any graduation centerpiece and for my daughter, the writer, they were extra fun.  I found these adorable little owls and made a simple graduation cap out of glittered card stock and a little rolled up piece of parchment for a diploma and glued them on.  I assembled the centerpieces on site but they were really quick to put together.  I added a little strand of pearls to glam them up and a small chalkboard with different congratulation type sayings to keep with my chalkboard theme.

Some of my daughter's good friends and a peak into the beer tasting room, fun huh?

More pictures with her friends (my daughter is the blonde holding the fancy cup!)

There was a lovely long bar along one edge of the glass that separated the tank area.  This is where I displayed many of my small chalkboard quotes.  I found the little frames at Michaels.    Since I had the cute frames I needed to make my own chalkboards.  Enter the black foam core board.  It was super easy to do.  I just cut the foam core to size, painted on my quote with a white paint pen, smeared a little chalk on afterwards and glued these to the painted frames.  Looked just like a classy little chalkboard, and they cost a whole lot less and were much easier to cut to size.   I had about 15 of them scattered around the area, cute decorations and fun for people to browse and read.

I also decorated both sides of a chalkboard sandwich easel that I already had for the entrance of the party.

All in all it was a great celebration!  Simple to set up, a quick break down, and lots of time to enjoy the moment and have fun!