Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Year, Old FRIENDS


Watching episodes of Friends on television always makes me laugh.  I just love the silly conversations and the quirky friendships on that show.  For my first monthly dinner of 2017 I decided to make Friends my theme.  It was an "New Year, Old FRIENDS" theme, but this would be a great theme for a birthday party, wedding, shower...you name it!


Invite:  I designed my invite with the purple door and gold frame from the show.  I utilized the same font as the show with the signature dots in between the letters.  The font is called Gabriel Weiss' Friends Font and you can download it here.


Entry:  I attempted to create the same purple door and frame on my front door.  I bought a lavender tablecloth and wrapped it around my door.  I created the frame with bright yellow poster board and markers.  I incorporated Joey Tribbiani's famous pick up line "How you doin'?" which I cut out using my Cricut machine.


Decor:  Since the Central Perk coffee shop is such a prominent setting in the Friends episodes, I wanted to try to incorporate it into the decor of the party. I also incorporated famous lines/symbols from the characters throughout.


I looked online and called around the various craft stores, but I couldn't find a huge coffee cup in my price range.  I randomly stopped at Ross two days before the party and found this one (and for only $5!)  I painted it black and printed the Central Perk logo onto printable vinyl that I then cut out and attached to the front of the mug. I filled the mug with a foam piece and then a layer of coffee beans on the top.


I made some photo props to represent some of the most famous episodes/lines from Friends that I stuck into my centerpiece coffee mug.  I also borrowed the complete season of DVDs from a friend to use as decor on my table.


I made my plates and napkins representative of the Friends door.  I cut the napkins like the yellow frame making sure to leave the folded side of the napkin uncut at parts so it would stay together.  On top of each napkin I added a mini KitKat bar with the famous Ross quote, "We were on a Break!"


For place cards, I superimposed my guest's face onto the face of a Friends character in a popular scene from the show.  I purposely did not do a "perfect" match because I thought that made it even funnier.  These are just a few of the examples.


As part of each place setting, I added a roll of Mentos along with the Joey's quote about being a "Mento" (mentor) for young kids.


A look at the entire place setting.


I set up a side table with drinks and an appetizer.


I made this sign out of foam board and card stock using my Cricut to cut the letters.


Instead of wine glasses, I decided to use coffee cups.  I bought mugs from the dollar store, and printed the Central Perk logo on vinyl.  I cut out the logo and adhered it to the coffee mug.  If you use waterproof Mod Podge, it will stay through washings. For wine charms, I made tags of the characters on Friends.  I even included characters like "Princess Consuela Banana Hammock" and "Miss Chanandler Bong" which gave my guests a fun laugh!


The wine labels I created on PhotoShop.


Menu:  Again, I tried to incorporate different scenes/well-known lines from Friends into my menu.  I started with a cheese and crackers appetizer. 


I bought a cow cookie cutter from the local cake shop for my cheese.  "Moo cows" as my 3-year old called them.  This was Joey's "moo point" a.k.a moot point.


I served lobster bisque with a bread stick cut to be a lobster.  This goes with the episode where Ross compares his connection to Rachel to lobsters that mate for life.  The bisque was good, and I received many compliments from the guests.  The lobster cookie cutter I bought at the same cake shop as the cow one.  I made the breadsticks out of pita bread that I then spread melted butter and Italian seasonings on. I baked them in a 375 oven for a little over 5 minutes.  Aren't they cute?


For the main dish, I made a shepherd's pie, and then layered it in a trifle bowl to represent Rachel's English Trifle.  In the episode, the pages of Rachel's recipe book stick together so her trifle is half meat/main dish and half dessert!  Even though Joey loves it in the episode, I decided to keep mine as just the shepherd's pie.




For dessert, I made a super-easy Coffee Cheesecake.  I knew I wanted to do some type of coffee-related dessert to pull in Central Perk again, but then I remembered the cheesecake episode of Friends where Rachel and Chandler love the cheesecake so much they eat it off the floor after accidentally dropping it.  Sometimes coffee-flavored items are too overpowering for me, but this Kraft recipe was delicious.  Just the right touch of coffee flavor.


Favor:  I decided to make personalized notepads for my take-home gift.  I designed the layout on Photoshop with the dimensions of 4.25 x 5.5 so that I could fit 4 on an 8.5x11 paper.  I printed out the copies, cut them using my paper cutter so they were all the exact same size, added a heavy piece of card stock to the back, and then glued the top together with Elmer's glue to make a spine. Make sure you use a vice of some sort to hold all the papers together tightly when you glue them, and leave it until the glue has completely dried.  I left mine overnight just in case.


My notepads were 50 pages each (every page has this design), and I thought that was the perfect amount of pages.


Next to the notepads, I had this sign.  It tied in my reason for giving a NOTEpad, but also let my girls know I'm Glad We're Friends.


Just love spending one dinner a month with these ladies.  Sickness and life's commitments prevented all 10 of us from being able to make it to this particular dinner, but the 7 of us FRIENDS who made it sure had a nice time.  Thanks for being "there for me" ladies!



Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Christmas Story Party

My favorite movie of the Christmas season is A Christmas Story.  How can you not feel for Ralphie when mom makes him put on that bunny suit? Or when everyone tells him "you'll shoot your eye out" every time he excitedly tells them about his desire for a Red Ryder BB gun? And come on...you know you want a giant leg lamp in your front window for the neighbors to see your MAJOR AWARD!  If you haven't seen this classic movie, do yourself a favor and watch it this Christmas Eve when it plays in the 48 hour marathon.


Invite: I designed the invitation based on a poster for the movie, but added the leg lamp. I tried to tie in some of the well-known movie quotes in the text.


Entry Decor: In the movie, Ralphie sends away for a Little Orphan Annie decoder ring.  He listens to the Little Orphan Annie show regularly and anxiously awaits the decoder ring's arrival.  When it arrives, he decodes the message and is disappointed that it basically just tells him to "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine."  Turns out its just a gimic and advertisement.  For my entry sign, I created an alphabet/number code like the one in the movie.  I added a "Welcome Secret Society members" message to the decoded message.

I also made a giant pencil out of construction paper and set it with a jar of Ovaline.








Decor:  For the centerpiece, I had a Red Ryder BB Gun, broken glasses, a Chinese to-go box, and a frame with various quotes from the movie.  I designed the Chinese box based on the movie. In the movie, Ralphie's family is forced to go to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas since its the only thing open and their delicious turkey meal has been destroyed by the neighbor's dogs.  The restaurant is next to a bowling alley, but Ralphie's dad thinks "Bow-Ling is the name of the restaurant because the neon W is out on the sign for the bowling alley.


I bought the glasses at the dollar store, and then used a hammer to crack the them.  My husband owns a Red Ryder BB gun, so I just borrowed that from him.


I also placed A Christmas Story pint glasses on the table.  I attached photos from the movie to chopsticks to place in each glass.


Our Elf on the Shelf "Jake" was added to the fun as well.  Jake had glasses and a Red Ryder BB gun just like Ralphie.


Check out these leg lamp wine glasses! I made these out of scrapbook paper and placed one at each place setting!  The lamp shade was just lifted off when it was time to drink from them.


For placecards, I made FRA-GEE-LAY boxes! (The leg lamp in the movie came in a wooden box like this, and Ralphie's dad doesn't pronounce fragile correct. He thinks  it's pronounced FRA-GEE-LAY and that "It must be Italian!")  I bought wooden boxes at Michaels and the cut tongue depressors to glue to the sides and top.


In the movie, Ralphie gets a bunny suit from his aunt for Christmas.  I made bunny ear napkin rings to tie in this part of the movie.  To make them, I cut toilet paper rolls, and then hot glued pink felt around them and into ears on the top.  I used pipe cleaners in between the light and dark pink of the ears to make them stand up.



I borrowed a leg lamp from a friend to decorate my side table and made a sign with "It's a Major Award" - a famous quote from the movie.


I bought a crate from Michaels and used scrapbook paper to glue stencil letters to say "Fragile" and "This End Up."


I made wine labels with sayings and images from the movie.


Menu:  I created this menu for each place setting.  The "Deck the Harrs" lyrics are what the Chinese restaurant employees sing to the Parker family.  Their accents make it difficult for them to pronounce certain words.


We started with Egg Rolls that I purchased from the grocery and just had to cook in the oven prior to serving.


Next was Crock Pot Cashew Chicken. It was super easy to make and yummy too.


I also made Mongolian Beef.


And a vegetable chow mein that was delicious.


For dessert, I made Ovaltine cookies! I made them into ice cream sandwiches for extra fun.  Ralphie's gotta drink his Ovaltine right?!


Favor:  I made a couple items for guests to take home.  When Ralphie cusses and says the F-word in the movie, his mom makes him put a bar of red soap in his mouth.  He later has a dream that the soap poisoned him.  I bought a soap mold and used red chocolate melts to create "soap" bars.


I also made Rachel Ray's 5-Minute fudge to give to each guest.  The tag was another quote from the movie.


Another photo of some of the details.


This party was so fun.  We had a blast!  I even have my ugly Christmas sweater with a leg lamp!

Have A Christmas Story party of your own this year!