Hello lovely people,
For the past few days my sister and I have been preparing for our New Years Party to ring in 2016. Portland isn’t particularly known for it’s nightlife– rather, it’s known for it’s brunch life. So, we figured that since we just moved into our new place, it may be the perfect opportunity to have everyone over to enjoy some night life, ring in the new year, and catch up since we’ve both been so busy. We are excited to welcome our friends into our new home, as we have both worked so hard to get to where we are.
I am starting my new job on January 4th, as the International Graphic Designer for an investment firm in Washington. It is an amazing opportunity and I am so blessed to have had Rebecca Davis Kelly as my professor to prepare me for such a difficult career six months after graduating college. I did it! Seeing as I was working long hours at Enterprise Rent-a-Car while adjusting into my life here in Portland, I figured it would be best to have a few days off before I started my big girl job. With nine days off, I started this blog up and have been planning our new years party with my sister. While she is working through the holiday break, I have been enjoying my time at home, decorating the house. If you know anything about me, there is nothing I love more than crafting!
For this party, we wanted to keep it on a budget seeing as my medical bills will start rolling in soon and I just started paying off my student loans. We also just moved into a new apartment, which is a little more expensive than our last living situation. Previously, we were sharing a studio apartment. I was sleeping on a futon, but was still so blessed to have a home here in Portland. My mom always said, “well, you just make it work! You gotta get creative!”. Just like our sleeping quarters, I had to keep the decorating budget tight, but really wanted the party to be special. I wanted to use my creativity to the max, so I decided to Pinterest and voila– ideas were flowing and I knew just where to go.
The thing I love about Portland is that there are ample opportunities to up-cycle and it’s actually trendy to do so. The thing I love about up-cycling is that it is cheap.There is a store in the SW of Portland called SCRAP that’s just a few blocks down from my house. It is the best thing for design and studio art students, wedding planners, child development program directors, or craft addicts, such as myself. They sell everything from old paints, to fabrics, to old cassette tapes, just to name a few. If you didn’t think you’d ever need something, you come out of that store with 100 of those pointless things you never thought you’d need with 5 different concepts in your head of how you could use them. So, it’s without saying that if you go in, you need to have a plan. With the help of Pinterest, I made mine:
- New Years banner
- Photo booth
- Food labels or packaging
- Resolution board
- Sign above bar
There is ample room in our living room to decorate, seeing as we just moved in and don’t have anything on the walls just yet. My sister recommended creating a resolution board. Seeing as not everyone is down for a Bananagrams round robin, I thought the resolution board would be a great way to have everyone involved in the party. If we throw a party next year, I’d love to reflect on those resolutions again to see how we’re all doing with our goals.
The first thing on the list was poster board, platters for food, balloons, some sort of door mat for wet shoes (we are in Portland), and toothpicks. I found four small door mats and figured I’d piece them together with duct tape. I ended up putting back the poster board, thinking maybe, just maybe, there would be some at the craft store.
Always go with your gut– it will never fail you. Though I did not find poster board at SCRAP, I did find old wallpaper. On one side has an ugly floral print, but on the other side was this beautiful cream paper with sunlight stains that aged the paper perfectly, giving it a rustic, authentic look. It was a whole roll and only cost me a dollar, which was cheaper than paying for five regular poster boards at the dollar store. I loved thinking that I just saved money, but also that the floral print could have ended up in the landfill, or worse, on someone’s wall.
My next favorite find was this set of three hand sewn paper triangle banners. It was made out of old sheet music and featured some great throwback tunes like “Hot Cross Buns”. One banner even had Lord of Dance sheet music– impressive. In this same section, I found a gold streamer to put on our balcony to dress up the outside as well. There was another streamer in black that I grabbed for the photo booth. All three costing me less than five dollars! Who doesn’t love bling at a new years party?
The only other thing to get was paint, which I found for fifty cents. Black, like my soul, and appropriate for sign making. I checked out and my total was less than $11.00. I couldn’t beat that!
When I returned home, I unloaded my new finds and invited my friend Elena over. She’s also from New Hampshire and since I hadn’t seen her for a week, we were long overdue for a date. She asked what we were crafting and I didn’t really know for sure until we rearranged the furniture. Luckily, our new leather couch breaks apart seat by seat, which was great. We created three different seating areas. (Thanks for the couch Nana and Poppy!).
From here we planned out the wall decor. We hung that up on the wall and then vertically placed a sheet of the wallpaper to the right, so people could write their 2016 resolution. While I was transforming the nostalgic sheet music banners to read “NEW effing YEAR”, Elena made cute little food flags to mark what the food selections. We had fun catching up and talking about what every girl talks about: what Elena’s cat Lucy does in her free time, how Lucy wouldn’t accept the invite to our party, and how someone was recently murdered on a trail near Mount Hood. Mind you, we also talk in a middle-aged New Hampshire accent to keep things in good spirits. Since Elena had to get up at the crack of dawn to work, she left and I continued with my crafting.
In the wicked good New England spirit I was in, I decided to make a sign for the bar– and by bar, I actually mean “Bah”. There will be four Keene Staters at the party and five New Hampshirites total, so it’ll make sense to about a fourth of the party off the bat. The fifty cent black paint also came in handy to cover up old ink drawings I had made on drawing paper because I didn’t have any black construction paper. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s up-cycling twice on one item. With these, I cut out mustaches and props for the photobooth. My favorite is the cheetah bowtie I made using acrylic metallic paints that I had laying around. I also just happened to have several sushi mats stowed away in my random craft box from impulse buys I made at SCRAP when I didn’t go with a plan. They came in handy for the sticks to hold up the photo booth props. I taped the sticks together using the painters tape the maintenance team left in my shower…Sorry if you were coming back for that, guys! Lastly, I hung up the glittery streamer background, blew up some balloons and hung them on the wall, and shoved the sticks of the props into a styrafoam block. Voila– a photobooth!
To complete the party, I wanted to make some fun, easy food for people to grab. Though my friends, Allison and Amanda, are generous and bringing quite a bit of food, I still wanted to do something special, myself. Keeping my budget in mind, I used what I had: popcorn, marshmallows, and chocolate! Though I can cook like a chef, I am awful at baking, so I had to keep my sweets simple. With Pinterest in mind, I went with chocolate covered marshmallows and sprinkles all over. The sushi mats were already dismantled, so I used the rest of it up by poking them through the marshmallows for easy serving. They came out to be adorable and super yummy! For the popcorn, I decided to use the scrapbook paper that Elena had been holding onto for two years and never used and made some cones to hold some popcorn as a healthy, gluten free snack for my friends. I say friends, but I really mean me– I LOVE popcorn! Since I was making myself a snack anyway, I made the whole batch for the party and used truffle oil with a bit of butter to flavor it up a bit. So the oil wouldn’t seep through the scrapbook paper, I created wax paper inserts and poured the popcorn in. Finally, I sat back and looked at all my creations. I would say that this party is dressed for success!
2015 is finally coming to an end and I’m super excited to say “Alohamora” to the door of 2016. I’m not sure what is behind it, but I know that I’ll be using my creativity on a daily basis with my new job, which makes me very happy. Another thing I’m excited about is this blog and learning about how I can impact my readership’s journey and vice-versa. My new years resolution is to make new friends, other spoonies, chronic illness warriors, and supporters. You may not be at this years party, but who knows, maybe next year you’ll be writing your resolution on my board!
With all of my love,
-Chronically Jill in the terminal 2015!