Bonjour et Bienvenue à Mon Nouvel Appartement

There is no better place in the world than my apartment.  It is my home, my sanctuary and my crafting headquarters.  As with any chateau, mine needed a proper fete to celebrate its awesomeness.

It was hard to find a lot of good apartment-warming ideas online so I have compiled some of my secrets to share with you!

Theme

Picking a theme for your party is super important, it makes everything else much easier because the activities, food and decorations will all stem from here.  Because my place was christened “Chateau la Mere” from the beginning, nothing but a French, Parisian theme would do!  This part was really easy for me, however themes can be hard to invent and decide on.  First and foremost, think of what YOU would like – it is your party and your place, so you get the ultimate say!  I’m sure if I had a Minnie Mouse themed party my friends would have still left full, happy and satisfied (although I would have probably been the only one to dress up for it…)  So what I’m trying to say is let your imagination run wild, and do what is going to be fun for you and your guests.

 

Invitations

Okay so I had all of these fantastic ideas of cute invitations that I could send out to people.  But let’s face it… not only do I not know any of my friends’ addresses, who wants to pay for postage? Or pay for paper?  Hell, I don’t even know my friends’ email addresses!   Go green, and cheap, and do a facebook evite.  If you have friends that are decidedly “off the grid” then shoot them an email or give them a call, but sending an invitation online is an easy way to make sure that the people who you want included are not overlooked.

 

If you really cannot completely break away from a traditional invitation, think of making a graphic invite that you can upload to the electronic invitation to give it a bit more personalization.

Decorations & Supplies

I didn’t want to go crazy on decorations, I mean I’m all for going big but this is an afternoon party that I planned to last no longer than 4 hours so I didn’t want to get too invested.  I just bought some simple crepe paper and went to town.  You can buy this at the 99 cent store!  How great!

Crepe Paper Eiffel Tour on my front door

Keep your decorations clean and simple, but also try and tie them back to your theme.

More Crepe paper action, these streamers are still hanging in my kitchen!

Activities

Although this is a short party, I really wanted to make sure that my guests were properly entertained during their time at the Chateau.  Little activities and prizes make the experience just that much more memorable!  There are a lot of fun, quick games that you can play, but since this was a housewarming party I decided to avoid any cliches and just offer a craft (duha!!) and a photobooth experience.  Both are very simple and easy to set up.

The craft did set me back some cold hard cash because of all of the supplies I needed, so if you don’t want to spend too much you might want to avoid this.  Because of my LOVE of maps, and the fact that my kitchen is pretty much an homage to my obsession, I thought it would be fun for my guests to make their own state so that I could make a friendship map of sorts!

I turned my bureau into a crafting spot for my guests

I provided an array of felt fabric squares, puffy paint, pom poms, hot glue, feathers, beads… you name it.  I made my own state and taped it to the wall as an example as you can see in the photo above.  I also wrote out instructions of what to do on cardstock and posted it on the wall as well – just letting them know what all of the mediums were for, the rest was up to them!  You of course were able to take the states home, however everyone wanted for me to keep them so that I could do something (which I have yet to do!) awesome with all of them.  They are my keepsakes from the day!

SAY FROMAGE! my mocked up photo booth

For the photobooth, I simply taped up a sheet to my ceiling…which was actually quite difficult because my ceiling doesn’t take much of a liking to duck tape.  The sheet formed a barrier around my desk where I set up my macbook.  Guests were able to select their background of choice and then have at it!!  We got a lot of great photos, and afterwards I created a facebook photo album so that everyone could see their lovely faces :)

Bethany and Carey win best photo, for sure

Food & Drink

The Spread Station

This is where your theme really comes into play.  What would you eat if your theme was reality?  If you’re throwing a Spice Girls party have a station with a bunch of different candies – cause you know those girls were always hyped up on sugar (or life, one or the other…).  So since my party had a French theme I went very simple – I offered cheese and crackers purchased relatively inexpensively at Fresh and Easy; and I also offered home made crepes with your choice of nutella or jams to top them off.  Both options kept everyone full and happy for under 20 bucks!

The Sweet Spot

I LOVE dessert, so of course I had to offer some sweet options.  The cupcakes were both purchased on the cheap as well as home made by a friend, the cookies were sent by Mom (I’m loved, I know) and I bought a HUGE brick of chocolate that I just broke up into tiny pieces.  I had sooo much left over, but that’s what sharing at work the next day is for, right?

Les Boissions!

Fresh and Easy’s Big Kahuna wine is similiar to 2 Buck Chuck at Traitor Hoes, however it tastes better (in my professional wino opinion), is cheaper AND they all have screw tops!!  This was a great way to give the French experience on a budget.  I believe I spent more on the plastic cups than the wine.  I also offered a seasonal apple cider (this was in October, obvi) and a dessert wine.  My total for the beverages was probably around 20 bucks as well.  If you can stick to wine and beer instead of offering a variety of liquors and mixers, you will most likely save in the long run.

Final Tips and Tricks

Everything turned out great, and it was wonderful to see everyone that made it out!  As simple as everything looked, I actually spent a lot of time prepping and was more than exhausted when all was said and done.  I prefer to attend parties, instead of hosting them haha but I learned a lot and had a super awesome time so I’m glad it all came together.  Here is a rundown of some key tips for a successful housewarming party:

  • Be prepared to spend money and time, as with any party, but make sure you keep everything under control by setting a budget
  • At the end of the day select a theme that you LOVE, but just make sure that your guests will be comfortable with it
  • Don’t go crazy with the decorations, just add nice touches to tie in with the theme.  You don’t want to detract people from the beauty of your new place!
  • Play music in the background and have little activities for people to do when they fall in and out of conversations
  • Provide seating and tables.  If you don’t have these yet borrow some OR have your guests bring them – BYOC, bring your own chair!
  • SOCIALIZE AND HAVE FUN.  As the host it’s easy to get caught up in the preparation and making sure everyone is happy but remember this is YOUR party so take time to enjoy it before everyone is out the door!

Decor-it Yourself – Mapping it out

I am in total nesting mode, and it’s not even funny.  I have been super ADD with my crafting and decorating as I am overly inspired to make this place my home.  For the first time, I really feel like I might be staying put for a LA hot minute (which means more than 1 lease term).

While I was unpacking, I was hit by the Muses when I came across my vintage map calendar.  It is two years expired but I held onto it knowing that I would find some way to re-purpose its awesomeness.  And then it hit me, why not give my white kitchen walls some life.

The first step was to cut out the maps around the image lines

Next I arranged the maps I liked the best in a collage and called on my best friend – double sided tape to bring it all together.

But the collage wasn’t enough, I had to pull out the paint for a little extra craftiness :)


A few foam squares later and I had the perfect piece to make my kitchen map-tastic!



Crafting Fix #8 – Mixed Media Madness

My shining moment as a painter occurred seven years ago in my high school art class.  While training our fingers the dexterity required to execute an acrylic painting (remember, this was before text messaging – at one time this skill needed to be developed) we were given the assignment of taking an actual landscape and using its elements to create a different world.  By some work of creative cavalcade I turned our school parking lot into an ice skating rink.  That brief moment of painting glory has yet to be relived in my adult life, but I decided to bust out the paintbrushes and exercise my acrylic blending skillz to create a new masterpiece.

Lately I’ve been inspired by mixed medium art.  I love how crafty and kitschy it is.  At our latest LA art walk I saw this piece that really got my juices flowing:

Can you see the map on the main circle?!?

I <3 maps!  My initials spell out MAP.  Therefore, ergo, crafting that involves maps make me beyond happy.  So, I decided to take a crack at it tonight and here’s what I came up with.  Certainly not art walk worthy, but I’m sure it will find its way onto some wall in my new apartment…

I Call it “Through the Smog”

Crafting Fix #5- Mommy Day Madness

Everyone who has had the opportunity to meet the Mary knows that she is pretty much the best mom on the planet.  She has regaled us over the years with kitschy care packages and stories of her glory days because we all know how life was all so exciting “back in the seventies”.  So what way to honor the most amazing woman on the planet than with a crafted gift from the heart.

Me and Mary in Malibu

Mary is a simple lady, she doesn’t like much flare, but she does love random home goods.  How many times have we been in TJMaxx for 2 hours while she scales the home decor aisles like a treasure hunter on a beach with a metal detector.  So in honor of spring and my parent’s relatively new gazebo, I decided to make a wind chime.  I hit the craft store for supplies:

Foundation Supplies:
- wire hanger (white)…cue Mommy Dearest reference
- jewelry wire (blue)

Decorative Supplies:
- seashells
- mirrored mosaic tile
- strand of beads
- glitter doilies

Noise-making supplies:
- wind chime from Big Lots

After gathering all of my supplies I started to make the base – what everything is going to hang from.  It is important that the support is there – the wire must be strong enough to hold some weight because the chimes are not light.  I was going use only the jewelry wire but decided to go with the wire hanger for the main circle because it was a lot thicker.  I used the jewelry wire to form the hanging mechanism.

Base Camp – complete.  Make sure to glue supports down when you’re satisfied

Next comes the fun part – decorating!!

In order to start bedazling the kitsch out of this wind chime, I hung the base from my fire sprinkler (proceed with caution!).  My comforter fell victim to some hot glue, but other than that it was the best way to go about this.

I wanted it to look like I pulled this out of the Pacific Ocean…

What time is it? Glue Gun time!!!

Minnie looks on in horror as I go at my new project…

Dangerous work, crafting is

She sells, sea shells, by the sea shore

Ariel would be proud

I recycled the metal pieces from the store bought wind chime and added them to my own creation.
Frankensteining is always encouraged!

Mirrored pieces add flare while twine helps to keep everything together and properly supported

Sorry this is the best pic I have of the finished product
Remember, social networking while crafting is for advanced students only

Everything was a great success except for the fact that I shipped it out the day before Mothers Day….whoops.  Hopefully I can post more pictures once Mary hangs it outside :)

Happy Mother’s Day!  Keep it Crafty!