Thursday, April 28, 2016

Easy tips for memorable celebrations

"I felt," she told me later, "like I'd stepped into a fairy tale garden."

I did, too! What a dreamy afternoon tea in the garden!

A luxurious party without exhaustion, stress or overspending.
Epic win! Want to know my secrets?

For my friends and me, making things look special matters. But I have a very limited budget of time and money.

Tip #1 - Buy a few beautiful crafting items and use them to the max. My new Sizzix Garden Party dies were used to make the coasters above as well as toppers for the Italian sodas below. They are as simple as turn the crank on a die cutting machine and you're done! Super simple but they look so fancy, don't they?

And since I'm so thrifty (ok, I'm absolutely cheap!) I want everything to work many ways. My welcome sign, the ribbony "treat" banner, and the albums we used for favors were all the same simple die: the bracketed album from the Garden Party Sizzix die collection.

Since gatherings are more fun when there's something to do, I gave each guest an album made of watercolor paper, along with paints and brushes, and we ventured into the flower beds to paint.

The other thing that made this party sing was the beautiful tea table.

I used my dear friend Brenda Walton's Sizzix dies  to make labels for the table and the all-important favor boxes, all of which I embellished with quick watercolor and calligraphy. Eye candy!

And a word about the food... Don't be shy! Ask for help.
My brilliant niece Janelle played pastry chef and her sweets and savories were scrumptious.

When my friends from ages 3 to 89 left, they took a bird hanging in the cherry tree as a reminder of the fun we enjoyed.

Yes, my garden was full of weeds. 
But nobody cared. We were too busy having fun!

I spent only a few hours to prepare. My budget was very small.

The sun shone, the party looked festive, and we laughed all afternoon.

We need more celebrations and more laughter, don't we?
The pretty Garden Party dies made it all fast and easy.
And yes- we are already planning another one!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Memories of a magical afternoon

Sometimes the memories of a happy day linger on... 
Yesterday was that way.

I'd crafted with my new Sizzix Garden Party dies. Janelle had baked like a contestant from the Great British Bake Off, and it felt as if every spring flower I'd ever planted bloomed on the same sunny day!

The table was set and the guests arrived. 
Soon there was laughter and renewed friendships and we feasted surrounded by love and flowers.

Even my dogs seemed to know it was a time for joy, spontaneously popping into the photos and enjoying the fun (and a stolen bar of chocolate when no one was watching!)


Everything looked so lovely!

And it was (I must admit it) all so simple and easy. 
My craft philosophy is make it looked like you slaved over it (but you didn't.)

Want to throw a party in your back yard? 
Pour yourself a cup of tea and get ready for relaxed party planning.

Recipes and crafty instructions, and even hints on how to hide your weeds are up next.

Monday, April 11, 2016

In full bloom

Spring in Skagit Valley is so beautiful it's a wonder anyone accomplishes anything.
For those of us who live out among the fields, the temptation to stay outdoors is almost overwhelming.

I cycle for hours, draw and paint and sketch and photographing the fields non-stop until the tulips have been mowed.

This year the salmon parrot tulips have been my ultimate favorite. Those coral tulips streaked with pink and white, green and yellow have such beautifully ruffled edges.

I will be planting salmon parrot tulips this autumn for next spring's bloom.

It's so lovely you can hardly believe what you're seeing. The colors seem photoshopped, too beautiful to be real.

Now it's time to begin working in our own garden, and holding parties outdoors to enjoy it!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Party decorations!

Let's be honest:
You're as crazy busy as I am. 

When we plan a party it's got to be lightning fast but we want it to look fantastic and set a mood that's both relaxed and decadent.


My go-to strategy for the "petite soiree" I'm planning is the Sizzix machine and my new Garden Party dies. 

Today we're talking buntings for your trees!

Always the cheap crafter, I used scraps of paper to roll out fancy roses, birds, and tags. 
I even saved the teensy scraps... I'm pretending they're tags, too.

Then I lettered and painted them brightly
and tied on natural fiber strings.

Use your embossing folders if you like... the sunshine makes the shadows absolutely gorgeous!

Use only materials that will compost and this becomes the simplest craft project ever...
Hang the festive die cuts and tags in your trees to sway with the breezes.

The last time I did this everyone wanted to take a few home~ what a nice little parting gift.
And all from scraps, done in a jiffy.

Whatever remains in your garden will eventually turn into compost, decomposing and becoming part of the soil.