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!

Here Today, Here Tomorrow

Well hello there,

It was almost a year ago that I started this blog.

It’s hard for me to remember who I was, what I wanted, where I was going, what I was doing back then.  This past year has been a B L U R.  A lot of shit went down last year, but honestly, when does it not?  I remember the major details – where I went, who came in and out of my life, the health dramas, the changing of apartment and the changing of job. It’s crazy how when you’re in school time seems to CRAWL by, longing for the end of the Term and impending brakes.  Once that formulaic structure is removed from your life, it’s like a ball rolling down a hill.  Always trying to keep up with the pace, trying not to fall (at least too hard) … it seems much easier to miss what you are passing by.

I still feel lost and unsettled.  I still feel like I know where I want to be but struggle to enjoy the time that it is taking to get there.

But overall I have a pretty positive outlook on the past year.  A lot of growth, a lot of change, and if anything my unsettling feeling keeps pushing me to seek out where I am running to.

 

With the pace of things, I HAVE been crafting.  Nothing crazy, nothing like I was before, but things have been made my loyal subjects.  So don’t take offense to me posting my Halloween costume blog in the middle of February, but I have a short back log of things to get through before getting to the new.  Hopefully my creative road block will open up by the time that happens.  So thanks for stopping by, and be sure to come back.

 

xoxo

The Black Mamba

Smashin Fashion – June Gloom Glamor

Hello Loves!

I am so sorry my crafty adventures have gone unchronicled for two weeks now.  Life has taken ahold of me and I’ve been delving into many different endeavors.  Some crafty, some crazy, but all things that have kept me away from my dear computer.

I am working on some projects for a few special upcoming June Birthdays…doesn’t it seem like your friend’s birthdays always have to come in clumps??  Anyway, I obviously cannot post the magic until the unique gifts have been gifted, so stay tuned!

In the meantime I will leave you with an awesome new thrifting find that I found at a vintage store this weekend.  Unbeknownst to me, this vintage store was literally in my backyard the whole time and I had no idea!!

I picked up two items, one I will share with you today – a great pair of high waisted plaid shorts.  Totally Ralph Lauren but not.  I’m assuming they hail from the 60′s based on the styling, fabrication, construction and tag.  It’s been super chilly for June, so I accessorized with my candy apple red turtleneck and denim jacket.

 

So hang tight while I get things in gear, and in the mean time…stay crafty my friends

XOXO

Mamba

Bienvenue à ma Garde-Robe

It’s no secret how much I love everything French- the food, the culture, the language and of course the fashion.  Today I decided to channel my favorite city Paris and some stereotypical residents  (the mimes) in my fashion choices today and just thought I would share (sorry for the bad picture quality):

Dress – sample sale find at work

Bandeau – Target

Bolero Cardigan – Express

Butterfly Belt – Kimski makes Little Tokyo

Leggings – Target

T Strap Suede Shoes – Urban Outfitters

Regardez mon robe rouge si vous plait!

Sweeter 16

CELEBRATE ME!

CHEERS! I'm old!

Wednesday was my sweet 16th birthday (plus 8 years, sweet Jesus plus 8 years).  Of course I celebrated in style with my roommate, coworkers, family and friends throughout the day.  I got up as per usual at 6:45AM and finally opened up a bday package that had been sitting in my room unopened for several days.  After discovering the delightfully thoughtful wonders that were inside said box, I showered, and discovered that my bathroom was covered in confetti and the kitchen was decked out in it’s birthday best.  On top of the awesomely festive decorations I had one of my favorite breakfasts – bagel and lox mmmmm ready to grab and go on my way into the office.  Upon arriving at my place of employment I was ominously stalled in the kitchen by my oddly nervous coworkers.  Something was up.  I’m no fool, well actually I’m quite gullible which they took full advantage of later, but when I was finally granted access to my desk I found this:

Office Bday Offering

The extent of the decorations and goodies goes well beyond the above photo, but let’s just say that it made this girl feel like a million and a half bucks (half more than I usually feel :-p).  Later in the day I was paged to the front desk where an extravagant vase of sunflowers, roses, and a few other floral delights was waiting for me.  As I carried the flowers fit for a funeral to my desk I ran into a coworker to whom I said, “They’re probably from my parents, unless I have a secret admirer that I don’t know about.”  Much to my surprise the card was inscribed with the following:

“Roses are red, violets are blue, you don’t know me but I know you. xoxoxo Your Undiscovered Better Half.”

All day long I was wondering who the hell did I not know but who knew me and where I worked….and apparently most of my coworkers as they seemed in on the deal….Nothing really seemed to get done.  Emails went unanswered, meetings transpired and comments piled up on my desk to be processed, all the while this unknown lover of mine floated through my brain.  My frustration built as the day went on and after several fits my coworker let me know that Mr. Unknown was actually a conglomeration of several people in my department.  Because I spend so much time at work not only are they my second family, but apparently my love interests as well.  They got me, and good, and for that I just laughed instead of yelled because it was a great prank at the end of the day.

After finally getting the hell outta dodge at 7PM I headed home to get ready for the evenings events.  I had organized a small get-together of awesomeness to celebrate my awesomeness at Tiki-Ti.  This place deserves its own post, so stay tuned for my review.  Seriously, one of the coolest places in LA and definitely the least pretentious bar in Silverlake.

I was lucky enough to score the last two days of the week off from work (wooo floating holidays!) and head down to Carlsbad with my parents who were in town for my dad’s business trip.  Carlsbad feels like the other end of the planet compared to LA – it’s clean, quiet, filled with free parking, and filled with “normal” housing developments and things of that nature.  It was a much needed break from the city, however I don’t think I would enjoy living there for another few years when I am truly burnt out from Urban living.  The setting was very serene, and after meeting up with some family friends it was very welcoming and familiar.

Carlsbad Sunset

I was able to do a little shopping, and by a little I mean I could have bought a little country for what I spent….but it was some definitely needed retail therapy.  While I was in the BCBG outlet store I found this display:

Pattern pieces and pattern cards on the wall @ BCBG

I LOVED it, but realized I was probably the only person in the store who really knew what it all meant and the difference between a sleeve and a bodice panel…that lesson is for another day :)

All in all I had a wonderful birthday celebration, made sweeter not only by cake but by my family and friends.  I’m hoping 24 will be filled with crafty goodness – for both you and me dear reader!  Stay tuned as my adventures unfold!

Stay Crafty My Friends,

Black Mamaba

Craftacular California Craftsman

Crafting in the happiest place on Earth

Who knew that my most recent trip to Disneyland would grant me the opportunity to geek-out with some craft goodness.  We stayed at the Disneyland Grand Californian Resort – the newest and largest resort in the land of the Mouse.  After we checked in, I was scanning the plethora of reading materials that were provided by the overly joyful hotel staff and found that there was a “Arts and Crafts Tour” that was being held the following day — JACKPOT.

Yes, Disney is a big corporate giant and all the jazz, but they really did try to incorporate a homage to the California Craft movement.

We learned that every little piece of Disney goodness is developed by the Imagineers.  They practice a project development process called “Blue Sky”, where they are given a title of a project and are given the green light to expound upon every aspect of a concept in order to ascertain a story for a that concept.  Whether or not the end viewer, the Guest, is aware of all these little details is another thing…. but just know that every single itty bitty detail of a new Disney development is thought through by a group of people before it hits your eyes.

The Grand Californian Resort is no different, and I’m glad I went on the tour or else I would have never picked up on the immense detail that was put into the design and decor of the hotel.  The California Arts and Crafts movement stemmed out of the Gold Rush and Manifest Destiny.  Thousands of people crossed the country in search of a better life, and once they arrived they used the beauty around them as inspiration and the plentiful access to natural resources to build their new lives from the ground up.

“Nature is the Source of All Artistic Expression”

The hotel architecture draws inspiration from key California styles, most notably California Craftsman.  Smaller design elements are drawn from the state as well including the California state flower – the poppy – finds itself intertwined into a gigantic floor tapestry.

~Atrium of the hotel~

I really identify with the Arts and Crafts movement.  Because I work for a company that specializes in pumping out merchandise for the mass market, I find solace in the fact that I truly get fulfillment from creating new things from what is around me.  We live in a world of sameness, it is more difficult than ever to be unique today than it ever has been before.  How do you set yourself apart in a culture derived from the likes of Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Costco?  My answer is to create and innovate.  Even if things end up looking a little jankety jank, or even if I don’t finish the project I’m working on (which seems to be something that happens quite often…), I am still making something new.  And I love that.  Creating things makes me feel alive.

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men.  No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”

What inspires you to craft?  Leave your answer in the comments below!