Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Put it in your pocket

I am swamped getting ready for my 40 guests for Passover dinner Friday night!  One of the things I crossed off my list yesterday was preparing the place cards and napkins. I wanted a cute way to display my DIY Haggadah (prayer book for the Seder), so I went to a pocket fold.  Pocket-folded napkins are a great way to show off programs and menus and are super simple to do! Since most people only see these at weddings and events, it is a fun way to elevate a home celebration!
First lay your napkin flat on a surface with the "good" side up.
Don't worry too much about seams as you can smooth them out as you go.  I got my napkins 5/$2.50 from Smarty Had a Party years ago.  Next, place your program or book/menu in the very center and fold the bottom up about half-way over your object:
Then, fold the bottom of the napkin up again to meet your top fold like so:
Now is the tricky-ish part.  Flip the whole thing over and fold one side to the center:
When you fold the second side in, you want to tuck it into the flap created by the first side:
And voila!  Pocket-folded napkins!
Fun, huh?  Whatever you celebrate, celebrate it beautifully!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rock On (The never-ending saga)

Remember when I wanted to get two pieces of marble art like this one Grandin Road?

They were perfect, but I needed two of needed the more expensive 48" ones!  You may remember that my husband likes "real" art, whereas I like to get stuff that matches the decor.  We both actually liked these but not the $510 price tag for the gold framed-pair.

Well, the HomeGoods-Powers-that-be smiled on me once again.  I found this exact thing in 39" for a cool $100, but, alas, only one.  I couldn't buy a mate on Grandin because they sell a smaller one and a larger one but not the medium size.  I started scouring every Home Goods in our area for the mate--I even drove to an out of state (but close by-ish) location.   I didn't find the mate, but bought several things that were close-enough until finally my dining room started to look like the HomeGoods or Tuesday Morning art department.  Forgive the blurry pics, but here were some choices: 
 Some were brightly colored while others were more like muted waves.
 Others were the exact same picture but sans gold speckles or frames:

Finally, I conceded it wasn't going to happen.  In a last ditch effort, I decided to using Google Reverse Image Search to see if a 39" Gold framed piece was out there.  If you aren't familiar with this feature--you actually upload an image and google will find the image on the web.  I have saved lots of money by price comparison this way.   

Low and behold, Lamps Plus had the medium sized piece at a medium sized price with gold speckles and all.  I was all set to order just one from them to be the mate to my Homegoods Find, but I noticed the frame was silver.  I thought about buying one and painting one or both, but decided just to buy a pair from Lamps Plus. I returned the rest.

The lamps Plus packages arrived quickly and the pieces are absolutely beautiful!  The packaging was perfect and they arrived in fantastic shape.  We unpacked them and threw away the box.  Three days later, we got out our ooks and hung them.  We gazed upon them lovingly--they are really dreamy!

Then a half an hour later, we heard the crash.

In some sort of  weird accident, the actual hook on the frame fell out, sending the frame crashing down.   With only a short while until guests were set to arrive, I did a quick repair on two of the four corners, but it is clear that the frame is forever ruined.   

I spoke to the most helpful and polite customer service rep and she is helping me through this process. I am not sure of the outcome yet, but my experience with her alone is very positive that I think it will work out favorably!  I still love the image.   Until then, the saga continues.....

Passover Planning and Online Party-Supply Shopping!

I am linking up with Kelly's Korner.  She's talking on-line boutiques.  I don't buy a lot of clothes on-line anymore because I Stitch Fix, which I guess is my favorite online boutique.  BUT I sure do love a good on-line party resource, and thought I would share those.  I am using a lot to plan for Passover right now--you can skip the religious part if you just want to get to the shopping!

 I have been giving my house a deep, deep cleaning and reorganization.  For our family, this Extreme Spring Cleaning can only mean one thing: Passover is coming! If you are unfamiliar with the custom, Passover commemorates the Jewish people's Exodus.  It's a really meaningful holiday with themes of oppression, freedom, wonders,  miracles and G-d's mighty hand.  Central to the observance is to refrain from eating leavened products during the holiday because the Israelites had to leave Egypt without allowing time for their bread to rise.  Its why our Matzah (and other people's communion wafers) are so flat. You are supposed to clean your home so that not one crumb of "forbidden" food could be found in your house during the week-long holiday.  My observance is not as strict as some, but I think it is a perfect time to clean up my act (actually and spiritually). And, I happen to be having forty (yup 4-0) people to dinner the first night!!!!!!!!! Here is what I am planning:
I am always prepared to entertain a crowd and have oodles of folding tables and chairs at the ready.  This crowd tested even my massive supply--I have to bring in.  Rather than have a hodgepodge of mine and the rental company's chairs, I am just renting tables and 40 white folding chairs and these beautiful peacock-inspired linens.  I actually have 50 hot pink cloth napkins from a shower I gave once (more on that in a minute), so navy and pink became my theme.  Won't big pink blooms look so preppy and fresh on those navy cloths???!!!

The same goes for plates. I simply don't have service for forty and renting can become tricky as some of our guests will only eat on dishes specifically designated for Passover.  I know this can sound quite foreign if you are from a different religion (and I personally have a slightly relaxed stance on it), but I want everyone to feel comfortable. Which brings me to one of my favorite places to shop on-line:   Smarty Had a Party!

Find Smarty had a Party here .  It is on-line only and is my go-to source for partyware.  They have the most beautiful selection of disposables that leave you wondering if they are disposable at all.  With intrate shapes and amazing colors, they will wow you with their dishes.  I selected a silver polka dot set for this event.  They even have an eco-friendly line of bamboo if you are nervous about the waste factor!  My favorite are the picks and mini dishes that make even simple appetizers and mini-desserts that wow.  Find those here .

Another thing from SHAP that I love to the moon and back are their unreasonably reasonable cloth tablecloths, napkins and runners.  At about 50 cents each and in a variety of colors, the napkins are almost cheaper than buying paper.  These are not heirloom quality linens, but they are real, and people often comment on how nice it is to have cloth as opposed to paper.  I have used mine for gatherings and teacher appreciation meals, and oodles of friends have borrowed them.  They hold up!  Don't even get me started on the $3 pintuck runners!!!!!!  I was not paid to say this, I just love this website!!!!!  After countless orders, the only thing that didn't wow me were the   "satin" linens (which is probably just a matter of personal taste anyhow).  .....but they don't have is personalized stuff (whump, whump), which brings me to a second favorite online store for personalized party supplies.

I am a lover of personalized items and monogrammed notecards.  This extends to an extreme need to have foil-pressed napkins.  I think I got this from being in a Southern Sorority--we ordered napkins practically anytime anyone sneezed!  I am surprised we didn't have any with "achoo" written on them.   I like ones with our monograms, the theme of the party, clever sayings, and the like.  There are many, many websites that sell these items now, but it was not always the case. Long ago, long ago I discovered The Stationery Studio.  It was probably one of the first of its type on the web and can still be found here.

The Stationery Studio has it all from preppy papers and invitations to personalized bags and (of course) napkins.  I called on them for my Passover celebration to create Napkins that say "Next Year in Jerusalem!"  This is a common phrase for the holiday--it doesn't refer to actual Jerusalem, but more may we all live in a city of peace.  While I was at it, I had them make polka dotted cups that say "L'Chaim"--its like Jewish "Cheers!"

Finally, I have to say that I was inspired by have been drooling over these cups by Memphis-based party planner and Esty seller Natalie Chang.  Her Christian themed cups had this Jewish girl's mind racing.  I would have done custom with her and will do so in the future when I have more turn around time (I love supporting Memphis business even though I live away now).  How sweet is that coffee cup? She also sells pre-made napkins and other cups here: 

The last thing in my inspiration board is a graphic from the Haggadah I compiled.  That's the prayer book that you use to conduct the Seder (ritual meal the first night).  I cannot find the source where I got those sweet graphics but they really make the book pop and will help the kids know where we are in the service.  There are so many good Haggadahs out there, but the ones for small children seem too simplistic and my middle-aged kids would never sit through the adult version.  So I made these--mostly paraphrasing other people's smart words.  My cool fonts disappeared when I uploaded it,but I thought someone out there may benefit from seeing mine here

If you celebrate, have a meaningful holiday and if not, I hope you will spend sometime checking out these great shops!!!!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Spring Cleaning In Progress

Today Kelly's Korner SUYL is all about organization.  That's funny because I haven't blogged much lately because I am in deep cleaning and redecorating mode.  It's going to make for some fun reveals later.    In the meantime, you know the phrase "you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette?"  Well, I am in the broken egg phase of deep cleaning, redecorating, and clutter-removal.  I have been working so hard to empty every drawer and cabinet in my house (closets come later) that I have Goodwill and re-sale piles everywhere.  That's right, I have cleaning clutter!  That's a thing: the struggle is real!  In the meantime here are some posts of last years Spring Cleaning, I am basically up to the same thing:

I'm doing this again: cubby clean-up 

And a little of the  laundry room:
I am definitely cleaning my fridge right now like this:

Fortunately, I don't have to do the utility bath because I already did this peg board project:

And the icing on the cake will be when I get to do my closets for Spring. I am throwing it back to my most popular series ever (not that is saying much)-- my work with a closet stylist and organizer can be found here, here, and here:

I notice that my blog doesn't have great links in general to get to all my other organization posts--I guess eventually I may have to Spring Clean in here too!