Both of my girls celebrate birthdays this week – Sophie turns 4 and then four days later Alice turns 2 – and we’re hosting their joint birthday party this weekend! We’re keeping the party very low key with just a couple of little friends and their parents in our teeny backyard patio, but of course I can’t resist the opportunity to do a bit of decorating! We’re going with a rainbow unicorn theme this year, with colorful honeycombs and paper party decorations, some very special cupcakes, unicorn balloons, and a few iridescent elements. Here are some of the images I’ve pulled for party inspiration!
Hi Everyone! We have another fantastic guest post from Nichole of Coral Pheasant coming up in just a bit, but first I wanted to pop back in to share a quick DIY project that I’ve had brewing in my head for the past couple of months. I thought these DIY Shibori-inspired watercolor placemats might be fun for outdoor celebrations over the long Labor Day weekend – or even for the holidays once we’re forced to move things back indoors. I love Shibori patterns, and I also love dyeing fabric, but the fabric dyeing process can be kind of intense and I wanted a bit more control over the results. So! I decided to break out my 30-color Koi Watercolor Pocket Field Sketch Box and see what I could do with watercolor paint and placemat-sized watercolor paper. These placemats would be a fun and unfussy addition to an informal dinner party (when you don’t necessarily want to bust out the fancy linens) or put a few together to create a colorful table runner!
I made two placemat designs: one inspired by the traditional Shibori triangle fold technique, and another striped design loosely inspired by the rubber band resist technique. The triangle fold pattern was actually inspired by my Shibori-inspired shower curtain that I picked up from Target a couple of years ago (of all things), and the striped pattern was inspired by the pattern on this chair. The two patterns work really well together, and I love the mix of cobalt and indigo blue. Also! This is a first for me, but I thought it might be easier for all of you to watch the actual painting process rather than try to photograph each and every step – so I made a video tutorial! Please forgive the video quality (it was just me and Hyperlapse on my phone), but it was so fun to put the whole process together, so hopefully I’ll be able to do more of these videos down the road!
3/4″ or 1″ Flat Wash Brush (I used a 3/4″ flat brush from this set)
To Make the “Triangle Fold” Placemats
Step 1. Using a pencil and the 12″ ruler, draw very light straight vertical lines at 3″ intervals along your paper. Then, starting in the top left corner and continuing across the page, use the 18″ ruler to draw very light diagonal lines to connect the vertical lines. Once all of the lines have been drawn, the paper should look something like this (I highlighted my lines in lavender so you could see them more easily):
Step 2. Using the brush provided in the Koi Watercolor Pocket Field Sketch Box or a Size 6 round brush, paint the lines a deep indigo color. Use a lot of the indigo pigment and very little water to achieve a deep, saturated watercolor paint color. I recommend working in small sections from left to right (or right to left if you’re left handed) – you’ll see why in the video, because I made a mistake and smudged the wet watercolor paint after painting too far down one of the diagonal lines! Apply different levels of pressure along each line to create wider and thinner sections of each line. Let everything dry completely, about 10 minutes. You can use the drying time to paint more placemats.
Step 3. Use the round brush to add a small amount of indigo pigment to a small cup of water. Once the placemat is fully dry, use the tinted water to go over each line to create a diffuse dye-like effect. Finally, add an extra dose of indigo pigment where the lines intersect. Let the placemats dry completely and they’ll be ready to use!
To Make the Striped Placemats:
Step 1. Using a pencil and a 12″ ruler, draw very light straight vertical lines at 3″ intervals along your paper.
Step 2. Using a 3/4″ flat wash brush, paint varying horizontal widths (mine were between 1/4″ wide and 1″ wide) along each vertical line and alternating between cobalt and indigo on every other line.
Step 3. Use the thin edge of the brush to connect the horizontal sections along each vertical line. Add a layer of tinted water over each horizontal width to blend and create a more diffuse dye-like effect. Let the placemats dry completely and they’ll be ready to use!
These placemats could easily pull double duty as place cards by writing the name of each guest in a visible location. Or, if placemats just aren’t your vibe, put a few together to make them into a custom table runner! I could totally see them providing a much-needed pop of color between a wood table and a wood or slate cheese plate. Or on top of a console table serving as a temporary bar or dessert station! So many options!
Photo Credit: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper
You may recognize the artwork by Ashley Buzzy from the party coasters, but the artwork was actually created exclusively for this print. I gave the words – “follow the call of the disco ball” – to Ashley and asked her to work her magic. After seeing a sample of Legion Paper’s Colorplan paper in this absolutely GORGEOUS shade of lavender, I knew it was the perfect fit for this 5×7 art print. The talented team at Mama’s Sauce printed the artwork in hologram foil, and voila!
So dreamy, right?? I just love the way the hologram foil changes color in the light. If you’d like to have one of these art prints, please just leave your mailing address here and we’ll pop one in the mail to you!
I loved Ashley’s artwork so much, I decided to turn it into a fun sign for the party! I also made a second sign using calligraphy by Mon Voir from last year’s Paper Party. Both signs were made with vinyl over an acrylic board spray painted on the back. The idea is basically the same as this DIY acrylic sign tutorial (one of my all time favorites on OSBP!), but with vinyl lettering cut out using my Silhouette CAMEO instead of written out with a paint marker. I spray painted each acrylic board with a couple layers of silver glitter spray paint, then added a layer of mint green to one sign and pastel lavender to the other sign, and finally added the vinyl lettering to the front of the acrylic board.
Finally, the party welcome signs! Mixbook (one of our party sponsors) offers canvas prints in a range of sizes, and the 16×20″ size just happens to be perfect as a welcome sign for a cocktail party! We made a total of three canvas prints: one to display in the lower lobby, one to display at the party entrance on our floor, and another directing guests to the photobooth. Each print used the watercolor background from the Paper Party invitations and the party logo created by Ashley Buzzy. Michele from Meant to Be Calligraphy then wrote a unique message on each print using a black paint pen. I love how these prints turned out!
In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that we offered two signature cocktails to guests at Paper Party 2016. In the past we’ve offered an open (cash) bar so that guests could order whatever they liked, but I’ve always wanted to do a custom cocktail menu – after all, it is kind of one of the things we do best around here! So we finally did it! Andrew came up with two recipes that we thought worked well for both the time of year and the number of guests (we were estimating around 250 people): a Pineapple Mai Tai and a Lavender Collins. They’re both so, so good and perfect for summer get togethers! Today we’re sharing the recipes for both drinks, along with the cocktail coasters, stir sticks, menus, and matchbox favors that we made for the Paper Party!
First, the stationery! Sarah from Parrott Design Studio designed the gorgeous cocktail menus – I printed them at home using my Epson WorkForce WF-7610 printer (which can print borderless!). I printed a smaller 5×7 size to scatter around the venue, and a larger 8×10 size to display at the bar.
We also worked with Foryourparty.com to make some fun wood cocktail stir sticks in shiny lavender foil, coasters in shiny lavender foil, and – my personal favorite – Riviera matchbox party favors with shiny silver foil on lavender Color Plan paper. I just can’t get enough lavender these days!
Okay, so I may have gone a bit coaster crazy for the party this year, but after seeing this absolutely AMAZING hologram foil called Micro Glitter at Bella Figura when selecting a foil for the Paper Party invitations, I asked if they’d be willing to print up some coasters for the party. Can you blame me? The Micro Glitter hologram foil is just ridiculously awesome. It reminds me of a disco ball! How could I resist?
Okay, now on to the cocktail recipes! I wanted one of the cocktails to be fruity and tropical, and the other cocktail to be effervescent and refreshing (especially after a long day at the Javits Center). A Pineapple Mai Tai and Lavender Collins were the perfect fit! I highly recommend giving both of these cocktails a spin at home!
1 oz Silver Rum 1 oz Aged Rum 1 oz Lime Juice 3/4 oz El Guapo Orgeat 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice 1/2 oz Orange Curaçao
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker filled two-thirds with ice and shake gently. Strain into a lowball glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with a mint bouquet. Enjoy!
One quick note about shaken drinks: If you’re making a large quantity of a shaken cocktail recipe in advance, chances are you won’t individually shake each cocktail in a cocktail shaker. But! Shaking a cocktail with ice adds water to a drink, so without it the drink can come out a bit on the strong side. When pre-mixing a large batch of cocktails in advance, you’ll need to add extra water to the recipe to compensate. We recommend adding about half an ounce of water per serving for these kinds of drinks.