AKA an excuse for lots of photos of pretty flowers. Mirrored runner from IKEA. Orchids $10 from Kings Cross markets. Ivy stolen from the end of the street. Giant silver baubley lantern thingies, DIY here.
Did you know you can’t import dolce de leche from Argentina? Neither did poor Bennie, barman extraordinaire and drinking partner. When he told me his stash of the sweet stuff got confiscated at customs, there seemed an obvious “hostess” gift to concoct for our Melbourne man-in-the-know. Check out the so simple recipe here. Now to find some bubble wrap…
It’s not a childhood memory of lolly bags full of pick-and-mix and choke-hazard toys that makes me love a party favour. It’s certainly not a generous nature, in fact I kind of cringe when guests arrive at a party and ruin all the pretty.I do think it’s a lovely thing for guests and shows your appreciation, especially if it’s a party where people bring presents themselves or have to make a trip out of town etc etc.
But really, I think it’s the opportunity to make one more thing MATCHING that really motivates me (yes caps were deserved right then. My relationship with matching is a fraught one. So, so satisfying and yet often crippling and certainly dysfunctional. But I digress)
Anyway, a cheesy pun (no not cheesy bun, this ain’t a food post) dropped into my can’t-sleep-planning-party mind one night and I thought I had a great idea for a party favour for the kitchen tea I was planning. Mr B suggested that punning someone’s name might not go down so well, but a bit of careful questioning reassured me and 50c tea towels from IKEA sealed the deal.
Like most of my graphic-based projects, it started like this:
Yes, that would be texta on a piece of scrap paper. I knew the screen I was borrowing for this task was quite small, so I tested out the scale and then sent this terrible drawing to my very long-suffering graphic designer mate.
“I want something swirly and retro but fat and two different typefaces but kinda the same and then a stampy sort of one at the bottom but not too stampy, actually the tea bit could it look like a rodeo. You know, rodeo-y…”
She’s very patient.
So, after some playing around I had me a pdf of the design I wanted to print. Briefly considered the idea of cutting out a stencil myself. Had a talk to myself about the wedding fan project. And the wedding pom pom project. And decided to outsource.
Hello, Arcade Print. Thank you for “shooting” my screen, even though it took three goes and you really probably undercharged me. And thank you for happening to have the perfect blue fabric paint left-over to sell to me at a bargain price. Turns out the guy who did the job for me is an ex-pastry chef – hope he wasn’t too disappointed by the emergency thank-you friands I gave him.
Anyway again, back to business (I’m all kinds of tangents today, aren’t I? Sorry ’bout that).
So, I knew I had an evening coming up where Mr B would be out of town and scheduled in my screening so he wouldn’t have to be confronted by my excessive craftiness, and away I went.
I made sure I taped the borders of the screen really well on the advice of Mr Arcade Ex-Pastry Chef. You could just see the few gaps round the edges where the gunk they use to shoot the design on to the screen finishes, so covered them up, plopped a few spoons of fabric paint along one edge and squeegied the squeeger thing over it a few times.
Mmmm, messy! See the squeeger thing? Can’t remember the proper name for it.
And surprisingly, they all turned out pretty well! A few were slightly uneven from by very undisciplined squeegering, but I think the simplicity of the design and the big but thin cotton squares of tea towel were my allies in making it work.
Once I found room to air dry 30 tea towels in my loungeroom (oops, didn’t think that through before I started, did I?), it was pretty much done. Ran over them with a hot iron the next day and they were ready for their debut.
I went to a cocktail party recently. The host was a proud peter-pan, recently tamed into cohabitation with his lady-love in a grown-up house with toilet paper in the bathroom and knives in the drawers. The invite proclaimed there’d be mango daiquiris. High summer, definitely mango season. Eager anticipation. When we arrived, there was a tray of mangos. A blender (borrowed). Some booze, random. Some lemons and one mug of sugar syrup, still warm. No surprise, the two bottles of bubbles we’d brought quickly disappeared among thirsty guests while the hapless host greeted and meeted but didn’t mix any bloody drinks. Of course, guess who ended up elbow deep in mango pulp? Moi.
If you’re going to put drinks on, make it SIMPLE. This beautiful tray of mini mojito-y things are perfect – they were brought by a guest to a dinner party recently (sounds like we actually socialise now, don’t it?). He brought a bottle of premium vodka, a shaker, muddling stick, a bag of brown sugar, big jar of lemon juice and a bunch of mint. The host had just returned from travel in north Africa and brought out the tray and glasses. We took turns making rounds and it was just perfect, fresh and strong and unifying.