Archive | September, 2010

the good stuff.

29 Sep

cookies are made of butter and love.


sheets: birthday banners

22 Sep

I love transforming the seemingly ordinary into something wildly special. Take a twin bed sheet for instance: with a little acrylic paint and the grandeur stroke of a paint brush, this stretch of cotton boasts a message far more alluring than, “it’s time to make your bed”. Even more enticing is the familiar nod towards tradition. I fell into one such tradition 4 years ago and have steadily been increasing the creativity behind these public displays of birthday well-wishing. Each year hosts the opportunity to hang these colorful bed sheets from the fence or bridge surrounding a neighborhood middle and high school, where two very lively and incredibly special girls who’ve stolen my heart attend school. Shockingly (not really), my “dream-big” idea for each sign steadily increases every year- as does the amount of time it takes to complete the aforementioned project.

I have learned, through one almost disastrous occasion, the required set-up one of these ventures:

Take a step back to May 14, 2008 with me… a night my mother would probably love to forget.

Art studio: the clean, beige carpet in the upstairs of my parents’ house.

Canvas: you might think it was the sheet, however you and my parents would be wrong.

Masterpiece: Many of my projects come down to the last-minute (credit this to my best-work-happens-under-pressure mantra), in this case I knew I had to have the sheet painted by the next morning but my week had been filled with packing and preparing for a 14 hour drive to Rhode Island. Anticipation for my summer in New England crowded out all reason and practicality- leaving only the midnight hour with which to complete said birthday sign before waking up around 6 am to devotingly drape the bridge. After multiple hours and lamp-lit design inspirations, I finally crossed the end-product threshold. Eyes heavy and brushes cleaned, I innocently peeked under the sheet- however, to my confusion and dismay the sheet wasn’t exactly separating from the carpet. Slowly and a little against my better judgment or will, I continued to pluck the sheet away from the floor to reveal an exact replica of the bed sheet design on my parents’ upstairs floor. I could pretty much reason on my own that my parents had no interest in outfitting their bonus room with the adolescent message “Happy 8th Birthday Ally”. Maybe I cried a little (or a lot) or maybe I considered running away (yes at the age of 21) to avoid my parents’ backlash after waking up in the early morning hours to find a custom pink and yellow motif covering the bonus room. Soapy bucket and scrub brush in hand, I set out to wearily wash away all evidence of my careless, yet entirely innocent charade. 2 hours and a handful of blisters later I had successfully rid the carpet of any and all evidence alluding to the incident at hand, shamelessly hoping that my parents’ older eyes wouldn’t notice the slightly less-beige carpet. Let’s be honest- I told my mom the next morning all about the previous night’s antics, she expressed her curiosity as to the damp state of the floor. Not to worry- we had 14 hours to talk it over. So problem and future precautions exhausted, I arrived in Rhode Island and quite possibly confirmed those Northerners’ suspicions about Tennesseans disregarding the use of shoes and attributing my blisters to roping the cattle or tobacco farming.

birthdays: afternoon dessert party

13 Sep

I love birthdays. Always have. Always will.

It’s one day of the year that is entirely your own. Birthdays are the culmination of everything that makes my heart happy. Sweet treats. Candles. Fine papers. Ribbon. Paper chains and banners. Cards. People you love. Birthdays are the perfect excuse to be completely over the top. So when a small inkling to conjure a surprise, after-school dessert party complete with:

paper pom-poms

rich, gooey cupcakes

grosgrain ribbon-wrapped boxes filled with chocolate-covered peanuts and topped with hand-made peach flowers

ribbon adorned mason jars (just try to drink out of one of these without wishing you were sitting on the front porch)

and bright flowers cultivated from the backyard

entered my mind… there was no turning back. I hauled myself all over town and enlisted Martha in order to execute this scheme.

These paper dahlias are a simple way to add lots of color and charm to any party or gathering. I used the same template for the flowers atop the boxes. Instead of fluffing the tissue paper equally on both sides as in the pom-pom, pull all the layers to one side to create a flat bottom.  

  No birthday is complete without the perfect bauble to celebrate. Happy Sweet 16 Abs!

Note: never tell small children about surprises… they will no longer be surprises.

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