For the Faery Book Swappers-
Since the 1st is a holiday weekend, its ok to wait till Tuesday to mail your packages. And please note that it will take me a couple of weeks to make that many books and get them mailed back to you!
My Daddy came from a large family, and every year, we gather at our "Downey Dinner" to reconnect. The 9 siblings take turns hosting, and as the family grows older and parents are passing on, it falls to the cousins to take over hosting duties for the pitch in meal.
This year was my dad's turn, so my sisses and I took over as co-hosts.
Of course, I felt like we needed to foof it up a bit! But we didn't want to spend much on top of our share of the costs that we already had (plates, cutlery, beverages, meat, and the hall rental).
The Downeys are from Southern Indiana farm stock. All nine kids grew up in this little house. So, I thought the theme for the reunion should be kind of down home and country. I chose red and white table cloths from the dollar store, and collected some old canning jars from garage sales.
My niece had a boxful of clear marbles, and we poured a few into each canning jar to weight them down, and then sat the jars on doilies (from my stash) in the centers of the tables.
At Michaels, I found a scrapbook tablet in just the right colors, called "Recollections" in paper sack brown, sepia, and red. There was a touch of forrest green too. It featured love letters and memorabilia, some birds and other pretty little bits to cut out and use as embellishments for our project. It was a little fancier than I wanted, I'd hoped for calico or checks, but these colors were just right, so I went for it.
We decided to make the centerpieces be Family Trees. So, we printed off a pile of pictures in different sizes and started cutting them out, and gluing them to shapes we'd cut from the scrapbook paper. We tried to make sure that all nine sibling's families were represented in the mix.
Then, we walked around to find some branches in Bobbie Sue's yard and discovered that the lilac bushes had branches that worked perfectly. Lots of branchy little arms to tie pictures to.
Next, we punched holes and tied strings to the photos, and they were ready to tie to the sticks.
The Family Trees were a little tall for centerpieces, and I expected to see people moving them aside, but it didn't look like they were much of a problem. And people spent a lot of time looking at them, and there was some extra mingling with everyone going from table to table to check out the variety of snapshots.
It was a fast and simple project, I cut out 6 large rectangles from paper that looked like it would make a good background, and inked the edges. When there was something pretty on the page like the bird in this one, I cut around it, so it stood out from the side.
Next, I took some of the darker pages and cut out the letters, glued them down and drew around them with red marker.
Two holes were punched in the top and a length of ribbon was run through all the letters.
In the tablet, there were some pages that had this glittery, red "love" on them, so I cut a couple of those out to hang below two of the letters.
(a sliced star fruit and some fresh strawberries prettied up the jug of lemonade)
We took an idea from the Clampetts and covered the pool table to use as a buffet for the salads and main dishes. The desserts had a separate table. I knew a lot of treats were coming, so I washed off the piano bench (cleaning the legs and under part extra good) and set it on the table to make more space. And this photo was taken early on, by the time all the goodies arrived, this dessert buffet was full to the brim!
This is just something I thought was funny, yes, I know, weird picture. It looks like the fried chicken is trying to escape from the foil covering it! (or maybe its just waving to the guests as they arrive?)
But you can kind of see the room behind the franken-chicken, and see the red and white tables with the Family Trees on them.
The hall was a nice space, and the perfect size. There were some gorgeous antiques around the room and many of the framed pieces on the walls were attractive. The ones that were not pretty, or old, we took down for the day. I preferred plain white walls to pink and blue wreaths on the wall with our red and white decor.
Actually, I didn't move it, I had the Bumbles do it. Whats a Bumble? Remember the animated Christmas special, Rudolf? At the end, the abominable snowman, who Cornelias calls a Bumble, puts the star on the top of the tree. Whenever I need a tall person to reach something for me, I call them my "Bumble".
My sisses and I had a good time co-hostessing the bash. It was just too bad it was such a quick trip, my husband and I packed up and drove 8-1/2 hours back home as soon as the room was cleaned up, so we could get back to the newborn puppies.
I'm glad my sisters are coming out for Romantic Gothic Ghosts! That will make up for having our sister time cut short due to Twinkle's over active birth of nine tiny Yorkies. When they get here, those pups will be running around under foot and will be such fun to play with.
I bought the $19 scrapbook paper with my 40% off coupon, spent $4 on canning jars, and $15 on table cloths. We had the string, ribbon, doilies, clear marbles, and glue already. The only other cost was printing the photos. We did a combo of some from the computer and 11 cent prints from Walgreens.
We didn't have to spend a lot of time on the decor, besides cutting and gluing photos. And we like to have a craft day when we get together any how, so that part was fun.
It was a fast and cheap way to decorate for a family gathering!