Sunday, October 22, 2006

What's Black and White and Read All Over?

As mentioned, I was busy preparing for my book group meeting this week. Most of the preparations were things that we had been meaning to do around the house, but by setting a date that they actually had to get done by, made them happen. For example, getting the carpets cleaned. We've been here 4 years with 2 bulimic cats, so that task was definitely past due.

Other things were my own doing. Once we agreed that we would switch the location of the meeting based on who chose the book that month, we (read I) were specifically warned not to go overboard. I generally don't like to break rules (especially ones that were made with me in mind), but it had been soooo long since I've hosted a party! I love throwing parties - the planning, shopping, the last minute preparations are like a natural form of Prozac for me. Well, except the hour or so before the party is set to start - that time requires a little swig of something to take the edge off. If I felt I could make a career out of throwing small-scale theme parties, I would do it in a heartbeat.

The book I chose was The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. A little heady for everyone's tastes. Not that we insist on vapid bestsellers, but this book takes a little more attention to make it through. Even our "best reader" that usually finishes the books didn't make it to the end (we are scoffed at by outsiders for the high percentage of members that do not always read the books.)

I am usually a stickler for themes being carried throughout, but my desire to have a Halloween party won out over serving Indian food. Furthermore, keeping with my goal to have black and white decorations set the tone for the event. I never found a lot of b&w decorations out shopping, so I was left to make my own ~

Some feather masks, a la Martha

A glitter covered witch's hat

I really winged this one. I made it out of drawing paper, so it was pretty flimsy. I hope by spraying in with Super 77 and covering it with glitter, it would gain some rigidity, and luckily it did.

And little paper cones for holding black and white wrapped truffles

I was really really happy with these turned out. I was sick to my stomach all week wondering how I was going to assemble them. I just couldn't work out all of the details in my head. Friday night when I finally set out to do them, everything all kind of worked out. I had just enough black and white wrapping paper to cover half sheets of cardstock to make the cones. I added a crepe paper sleeve to the top of the cone that twisted in on itself to cover the candy. The letter "badge" is made by making a fan out of crepe paper folded out into a circle, with a cardstock circle and jigsaw alphabet letter colored white and with a touch of glitter glue (to go with the sparkly pompom). Finally I added a ribbon handle, a ribbon to hold the sleeve closed, and a spider ring. Since I hadn't thought all of the details through, I wasn't ecstatic with my ribbon choices, but it's what I had on hand at 11:00 Friday night, so it had to do.

BTW - I just started a Flickr group for Party Favors. I didn't really see a group specific to these little gifts that in my opinion no party should be without. Please join and share the little presents that let your guests know how much you appreciate them!

In planning a party, I always go to the dollar store first to see if anything is available that can save me some money in my decoration budget. I was pleased with my dollar store finds for this party - a PVC "chandelier," flocked mice, star garland, and a feathered boa (to disguise my unmatched chair). Other cool finds from a party supply store were the spider paper napkin rings, the napkins themselves, and flickering LED votives.

Oh - and there was food. I get so carried away with the decorations, sometimes food is an afterthought. We had cheese (white) and dark chocolate ("black") fondue. With the cheese fondue, I served cauliflower, mushrooms, bread, apples, and black grapes, and with the chocolate - pears, bananas, angel food cake, and brownies. As close to black and white food as I could get. And chocolate martinis - yummers! Sorry - no pics of the actual gnoshing. I still have not conditioned myself to take pictures during the action. Besides - I think my book group members are wary of the whole blog thing, and seem to get a little nervous when I pull out the camera...

Next month's book is not a single book, but a theme. Everyone will read a book of their choosing written in diary/journal format, or a book about keeping a journal. One person may even have access to journals kept by her husband's grandparents. What a great idea! There were also taunts to get the member of the group that currently keeps a journal to share some juicy bits from her past. She doesn't think that is going to happen. I would be interested to read a journal-type book similar to The Diary of Anne Frank, but from a different time period, if anyone has any recommendations?


telfair said...


I think you truly could make a living out of organizing parties and events. These favors and decorations are truly spectacular!

jungle dream pagoda said...

I am sooooooooooo impressed,can I borrow your black/white halloween theme for next year? I totally know what I shall shop the after Halloween sales for!
A published diary(that just happens to be my fave)is Frida Kahlos diary it is a reproduction of her actual diary with all her surrealistic art(although Frida always argued she painted her reality).It is in Spanish with a translation at the back half of the book.

Catrina said...

Beautiful table & set-up!!

Miss Bliss said...

I love this so much! I am speachless, love the black and white, perfect. The favors are amazing, wish I was coming to your party!

vegasandvenice said...

Oh what a fabulous looking party! Everything is so enchanting!

Alicia P. said...

MAN! It's just awesome, Jen. What a spectacular and inspiring job you did. I am having a little dinner party on Friday and now I'm thinking, favors, favors . . . I need favors.

eviedee said...

I am SO SO SO impressed with your decorations! I adore properly executed themes!

Rebecca said...

Um, were we separated at birth because I just threw a tea party and totally made copious amounts of decorations and favors out of paper. For real. I like the way you work! :)

Hagit said...

oh WOW! I want to relocate this minute and join your club. Pity you didn't read much - I LOVED that book - it's very difficult to get through, but I just felt like I dived into the culture and I loved her use of capital letters and Italics. I think it's a masterpiece. Apart from that, your paries and decorations are just perfect. I must do something similar soon! :)