The One Second I’ve Waited Two Years For

I have so much to share in this post.  This post is not about sweets or interiors or even ballet.  Its about being a proud parent and an exciting event in my daughters life.  Its a post about that one time (of many more to come maybe) Macy was in a movie!  It is info, picture & video heavy because Ive been saving it up for two years, not joking.  And Im really using this post as a personal web log to save and cherish, I hope you enjoy reading along.

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In April 2012 as Macy prepared for her 4th grade state tests we receive a call from her agent that she had been “booked” for a feature background role in a movie.  Macy had been going on auditions for about 9 months with a couple of call backs and a lot of disappointment.  Im no stage mom and I hardly knew what was going on half the time or what we were getting ourselves into but I understood the word “booked” and it was a big deal.  Macy didn’t audition for this role, in fact I had blacked out her week for state tests, meaning I told her agent she was unavailable.  We really couldnt believe that of all weeks this would come up on this one.  But it seems that the director had hand picked Macy from her headshot and she was guaranteed the part, we just had to say yes.    So we did what any parent would do, we freaked out.  4th grade state tests are super important in NYC, the results are sent to middle schools when the application process happens in 5th grade.  We thought we were pretty crazy for allowing anything to disrupt Macy concentration but fortunately the filming took place in the afternoon after the tests.  So it was actually possible for us to let her do this without any conceqences.

We weren’t told much about the movie, just it was a pre-production flash back scene for the character “Young Marie”, it was set in 1960′s Brooklyn and called Blood Ties.  I was able to find out other info just because the movie already had an IMBd page.  It was a crime thriller and full of well know names, squeal!    The cast includes Clive Owen (Chris), Billy Crudup (Frank), Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, James Caan & Lili Taylor (Marie).  It is directed by Guillaume Canet a french director and husband of Marion Cotillard.

Macy was to have a wardrobe fitting on Monday and the filming was on Wednesday, so we handled it like this:  We told Macy that she had won the part but it wasn’t until Friday so there was no point in getting all excited until after the tests were done. We went to the monday fitting but we surprised her and pick her up at school early on wednesday afternoon after her test was finished. Heres a video of me picking up Macy from school and telling her she was doing the scene that day:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90596255″>surprise news</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The wardrobe fitting was fun, it was in Williamsburg (Thats Brooklyn FYI) and Macy tried on three 60′s era outfits.  The costume department went with a vintage white peasant top, jeans and blue keds.

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We were to report to a Little Italy address for the filming.  The location was the production offices where we met the other two children that were in her scene and the kids were dressed.  The scene would include a Young Frank played by Eli Tokash and Young Chris played by Austin Williams.  I got to chat with the other parents while we waited, Young Frank had taken a  red eye bus from Virgina and Young Chris lived in NYC, he was a seasoned child actor who worked for 6 years One Life to Live and also had roles in Michael Clayton and The Good Shepard.

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Young Chris, Young Frank & Young Marie In Blood Ties

 

Since this was a pre-producitons scene there wasn’t a lot to it.  It wasn’t like the trailers and cables and crew that we run across in NYC everyday. No catered food tables (darn!)  It was just a small crew and the scene was to be filmed with a real Super 8 camera as it was to be used as a home video that one of the characters watches in the movie.

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We loaded up in a van with the director, crew, the other kids and their families and they took us to a gritty park in the Lower East side, I think they intended for the kids to just play baseball there.  We waited around for a while while the crew and director discussed the location.  It wasn’t to the directors liking, he envisioned grass.  So they loaded us up again and took us to Central Park.  I took a few videos while we were waiting and watching.  My favorite is the part where the director is talking with the kids and shows them the vintage gloves they are to use.  Macy tells him hers isn’t good, it has no laces.  I wanted to be mortified that she was giving him any grief but this is typical Macy, she’s not really trying to be difficult she was just letting him know.  He does seem to mind though, he just gives her another one.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90589812″>Macy filming blood ties in NYC</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The kids played tag, baseball and climbed on the natural rock formations in Central Park, the director acted as the “Dad” filming the kids with the Super 8 camera, directing them to do what kids do, including picking on the little sister.  There was no real acting or lines.  It was very casual and fun for Macy and it didn’t take more than an hour.  After we were done we returned to the production office and Macy changed.  And that was it.  Then the anticipation began!

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We over heard a lot of information just waiting for this scene to take place, such as the filming to end in July, so I knew it would be a long time to wait before the movie was released.  I assumed it would be at least a year.  So we tried not to get too excited because this  didn’t seem like a very important scene and we all know that scenes get cut from movies all the time.  We also knew that we wouldn’t be told anything about the movie before it came out or invited to any pre-release screenings, it just wasn’t that big of a role.  So we kept the news about it all very low key, only telling our family.  As the filming got started I was able to see press on the other scenes being filmed all around NYC, a lot were in Brooklyn and Queens.  Here are some press shots.

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Then in May 2013 we got really excited, the film was shown at Cannes International Film Festival!  Release dates for other countries started showing up but there wasn’t any US dates!  Something obviously was going wrong with the distribution in the US, it was killing us to know that the movie was done and we couldn’t find out if Macy’s scene was in it!

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So here it is March 2014, nearly 2 years after the scene was filmed and Jake and I run across Blood Ties on iTunes.  I could say that we were a little disappointed that it didn’t make it to the big screen.  We honestly don’t know why, it had all the right names to make it there.  I really wanted to see Macy’s head 10′ tall and scream out “thats my daughter” to a bunch of strangers in a dark theater.  But at least it was finally available to watch.  Then the real suspense began.  At this point I almost didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to know for a fact that the scene was cut.  We already knew that Macy wasn’t listed in the cast on the IMBd page.  Young Frank and Young Chris were, but I also knew that the boys had a bigger scene to film together that didn’t include Young Marie.

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So we didn’t tell Macy, we put the kids to bed and we watched it with very low expectations.  The movie is 2 hours long and we both liked it. It was a good story about brotherly love, hince the title Blood Ties.  One brother is a cop, one is a criminal that just can’t be good.  They don’t get along very well but do what matters most for each other.  So at 1 hour 54 minutes into the film Clive Owen (Chris) sits in his living room with a projector and watches old family movies.  Jake and I jump up and run to the screen.  Its like 5 seconds tops but it shows the boys climbing the rock formations and at the last second MACY COMES RUNNING AT THE CAMERA SMILING AND LAUGHING!!!!  We scream, its midnight at least but we don’t care what the neighbors think, OUR BABY GIRL IS IN A MOVIE!!!

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So here is the scene, don’t blink because you’ll miss her!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90596023″>Macy’s scene in Blood Ties</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

When we told Macy the good news she reacted the way most people would, she jumped up and down in excitement.  Big or small it was an experience that she enjoyed and also even thought she wasn’t in the credits (double darn!) she can put it on her resume.  We do plan on getting her name on the cast list on IMBd, there are several extra actors that have attached themselves to the list that are uncredited, we think Macy deserves that just as much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blabla Cat Cake

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Blabla Kids makes contemporary hand knitted dolls, apparel, toys and blankets.  Since 2001 its precious stuffed critters and dolls have been created from natural fibers and knitted by artisans in Peru. I could call them  heirloom toys but it seems every kid I’ve come across carrying one of the stuffed animals nearly loves the thing to death.  Luckily parents have figured out that the toy can be repaired and I’ve seen several miracle repairs shared on social media.  So it seems that they really are meant to be a life long friend for some kids.  When my neighbor asked me to do a cat cake for her daughter’s 2nd birthday, I knew that the cat had to be her Perchance Blabla doll that she calls “Cat”and is never seen without.

 

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Perchance the Cat and her Blabla kids cake

There are several Blabla cats to choose from but its not perchance that my neighbor’s daughter carries the one that blends in purrfectly (I had to do that one) with her home decor, shes cool like that.  Ive raved about her wallpapered column before and its now been an awesome backdrop to 3 of my cakes (Ive yet to post the new superhero cake)

 

nikkiikkin blabla cake 2I love to do petite cakes, 6″+4″ are my favorite.  I was extra inspired by all of Blabla’s joyful designs, when I sat down to sketch a cake I couldn’t stop coming up with beautiful ideas.  I now have a few to-do cakes that I look forward to making soon.

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Little Owl Love Story Cookies

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Just in time for Valentines Day I have  cute little cookies to share that are all about LOVE!

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A dear friend asked me for cookies for her brother and sister-in-law’s baby shower.  She gave me a few inspiration ideas and an image of a stuffed owl they were using as decoration at the party.  The little handmade brown owl was a perfect inspiration for a cookie, but I wanted to do more than just an owl on a cookie.  I decided to tell a little owl love story with my cookie set.  My cookies started with boy meets girl and little mother and her egg to the happy family of three.  Along with a few portraits of the stuffed owl, adding a pink bow for cuteness.

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I have never made a set of cookies like this before, I typically stick to one or two designs in each set.  But since the color pallet didnt change for each design I didnt find it hard to create 5 different ones.  (soon I will show my MLP cookie set that was a challenge to change up in colors and designs)  It’s certainly a design idea that I could do for any bird theme so I will be adding these cookies to my etsy shop!

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The etsy seller for the little stuffed owl, Green Owl Curiosities,  can me found HERE.

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How I begin planning a birthday party

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Hudson, 1year photo by Dave Lamarand www.lamarandstyle.com

Hudson’s 4th birthday has snuck up on me this year.  I usually have a few ideas for what theme or gifts he might like bouncing around in my head way before Christmas, but there really wasnt any more room for more thoughts this past December!  I realized his birthday was a month away and I had no theme, no gift idea, no date, no location…..luckily Im pretty seasoned at this, instead of freaking out I just got started.  I thought that since I was at the very beginning of my party design process that I’d document it and share.

First of all I had to get Hudson to give us a theme.  It went sort of like this:  “Hudson, its almost time for your birthday, what kind of party do you want?”  Hudson age 3years 11months:  “a red bird and a blue bird and a black bird party”  He then got to work and drew me this picture:

Hudson Bird party drawing

Clearly there is a bird, he tells me that the orange parts are a house (duh) and I got excited when I thought he drew blue party chairs, (CHAIRS!! Im a chair fanatic if you didnt already know) but those are “short caterpillars”  and at the bottom are green checks.  So you see, he pays attention to my methods and habits, I make a lot of lists!

Hudson is a cool little kid that doesnt take that long to make a choice and he STICKS with it.  I refrained from saying “Sorry Baby, a bird party is not on my grand party list of themes that Ive fantasized about since having you” but I did show him some parties on Spaceship and Laser Beams, a party site that specializes in only boy party themes and printables.  I asked him what he thought about some specific themes, hoping that he would like something from my grand party list.  There was one image of a monster party that he got excited about and that was that.  He liked it, I liked it and its on my list! Hudson is having a Monster Bash party this year and since that night it is all he talks about.

There are plenty of party check lists out there for timelines of when to do what to get it all done.  I dont really work like that. I do have an order in which the process has to happen and I have a rule about sending invites 2 weeks before.  But thats about it.  I think the least amount of start to finish time I ever accomplished a project was a dessert table for Macy’s 5th grade Luau in 2 weeks and it rocked!  I can easily think of many parties that I started on 2 months or more in advance.  I do know one thing, the longer I have to plan and design a party the more it ends up costing, so short on time really means less time to shop and thats not a bad thing!

First things first, I always start with an inspiration  that comes from something personal about the guest of honor.  Last year was easy, Hudson was obsessed with superheros.  This year he doesnt have a current favorite toy but we always have a few favorite books.  The Monster That Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz is a great book that we all love.  Besides the message I adore the colors and illustrations by Kristie Edmunds.    So I wanted that book to be the spring board for our party.  I pin and pull images into a desktop file like everyone else and if I have the time I like to make mood boards.  Even my husband doesnt really understand my vision sometimes unless I do a mood board.

So here is my mood board and Im super happy that there are a ton of inspiring Monster Bash parties out there and even the perfect printable set on etsy to be the imagery for Hudson’s party.

Hudson 4th bday board

This post is already lengthy enough so I wont describe each item but  I am working in a different way with this party.  We will be having it at a local cafe and I will not be allowed to bring in my own cake and cupcakes!!! OH NO what will I do?? Dont worry, it will be fine.  Im pretty sure simple fondant toppers on the cafe’s cake and cupcakes will satisfy our guests and my discerning eye.  Plus Im looking forward to all of the benefits of a party thats not at home…like not having to clean up my apartment!!

In addition to the mood board I have a list that I refer to when Im forming the initial design of a party.  I think about all the party supplies I will need to find or make.  Which ones will work or not work for my party, which ones I think should be spectacular or just supportive in the theme.  Knowing what products are readily available is a good way to make a budget and keep myself on track for my favorite part, the hunt and gather!    Ive made a cute little check off sheet to share and included my favorite party supply resources below.  Whether you are in NYC or not you can check out any of them online, most of the time their speciality items are worth the shipping.

Intial Design check list

NYC Local Stores:

Online Only Resources:

Happy party planning, more details to come!

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Farewell to the Nutcracker

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2013 has just minutes left.  I decided to take the countdown as a challenge to get one more post in this year!
What a year it was for me and our family!  While I’ve shared a lot on instagram and Facebook I havent have a moment to post more than once about what Im spending the majority of my life doing   in December: the nutcracker and cookies.
Id like to wish a farewell to my daughters first year in the New York City Ballet Nutcracker!  She has had a blast and although it was a lot for our family to juggle, as a mother I can sort of compare it to childbirth and say (now that it’s over) it wasnt so bad to go through.
Im glad that Macy had the extra time to develop some great friendships with some really nice girls  and I’m glad that I had the extra time to chat with some really nice parents.
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Of course there were lots of cookie involved.
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I was thrilled to make Nutcracker cookies for so many people and organizations this year.  My original little guy made his way to events at the Ohio Dance Theatre and the San Francisco Ballet, as well as several other of my etsy clients.
I also made a new Nutcracker design for Joffrey Ballet School NYC for the dancers recital gifts.
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But what was most enjoyable was sharing cookies with the children’s cast at NYCB’s Nutcracker.  Macy was super proud to pass them out and when they announced that I had made one for each of the 65 kids the parents applauded me…..I covered my face in astonishment.  The children were so sweet, many of them came up to thank me, its like they really understood how much time each little cookie took me and they appreciated it.  I made a solider, angel and sugarplum fairy with the costumes as close as possible as I could get to the real deal.
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I loved taking snapshots of the life going on under the stage each night (incase you aren’t familiar the children perform about every other day for 6 weeks)  Since there is not wifi or cell service on the Lower Concourse of the David Koch theatre the children entertain themselves in traditional ways, like card games and Jacks.  Yes kids still know how to play Jacks!  They celebrate birthdays, give secret santa gifts and squeeze in homework.  Parents read the newspaper, address their christmas cards and occasionally share a bottle of wine.
I thought a collage was best way to share all of those backstage shots, for my readers and for Macy its sort of a keepsake.  One of the snapshots of Macy made it as our Christmas card, sometimes those are the best!
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I hope all of my other ballet moms had unforgettable holiday performances and I look forward to continuing to share and chat with you all next year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
XOXO, NIKKI

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Nutcracker Gifts for a Ballerina

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Well, it must be a tradition for me to become so busy in October that I can’t post regularly.  It happened last year and again this year.  Its nothing new for me to become entirely occupied with my projects daily, but this year I can’t place the blame on just a Halloween party and our fabulous costumes.   We have been consumed with my my 11-year-old daughter Macy’s ballet life.  Our chic tween, will be a solider in The Nutcracker with New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center this year.  We are so proud and excited for her!   She is a student at School of American Ballet and throughout the year she has amazing opportunities to be invited to perform with NYCB, last May she also performed in Firebird.  Since the last week of September she has attended 2 days of rehearsals a week on top of her 4 days of regular class.  Starting the day after Thanksgiving she will be in performances every other day…24 performances in 6 weeks to be exact!

While my cookie, cake, Halloween and craft to-do posts have piled up,  I really just want to fast forward to current events because the Christmas season happens in a blink and I want to enjoy it and share it!  So lets just talk Nutcracker gifts, shall we?  Since I proudly made Macy’s announcements on social media Ive gotten a few requests for gift ideas to commemorate her experience, as well as other ballet moms asking for ideas for their own ballerinas.  I already had a pinterest board and desktop file full of gift ideas so why not make a post for it?

I looked for gifts that were not only a symbol of the nutcracker suite, but also sings to a ballerina’s heart:  hello gorgeous pointe shoes!  What really fueled the idea for this post was my excitement for a tastemakers tag sale at One Kings Lane featuring vintage and bespoke NYCB items.  Signed point shoes, vintage costumes & play books and beautiful canvas prints.  I hopped on One Kings Lane 5 minutes before the sale started yesterday, I banged on the door at “0 minutes” and I went straight for a colorful tutu print by Wendy Whelan, NYCB principal dancer and photographer.  After I bought it within in 2 minutes of opening, I watched all the signed toe shoes be scooped up with in 5 min and half the entire sale sold in 10 minutes.  My print was limited to a dozen and sold out in 30 minutes.  Im so glad I was on top of that one!! I intended to make a post with one of a kind items from that sale, but there isn’t anything left!  I sill included 2 items for inspiration in your search for a special gift.  See item info and links below.

nutcracker gift guide21. Nutcracker Sugarplum Fairy fine art print 8×10, $35 - Clementseye.etsy.com

2. Marizpan and Candy Cane NYCB Tonner Dolls – collectors items that can be found on ebay

3. Signed Pointe shoes from Tiler Peck, NYCB principal dancer, $150- One Kings Lane, sold out :(  Signed pointe shoes pop up in different places like eBay too, so be on the look out, having a pair that once belong to well known ballerina is a dream for aspiring young dancers.  If you can’t find a signed pair, a custom made embellished pair of pointe shoes are the next best thing – Pointe Creations, (prepare for beauty overload when you click on this link)

4. Nutcracker set of 8 note cards, $19 – Clafoutis For her thank you notes to friends coming to see her perform!

5. This SWEET Clara doll has a disclaimer: you have to make it yourself!  Wee Wonderfuls sells rag doll patterns…but maybe you could request a custom doll, its worth a shot!

6. Tutu Print by Wendy Whelan NYCB principal dancer and photographer, $55 - One Kings Lane, sold out :( again sorry to post an unavailable item, but its TUTU gorgeous to not include.  Use this image as a inspirational springboard for your search of a similar print.  UPDATE:  OKL has renewed quantities of this print, but sale ends 12/15

7. Official NYCB Headshot of Allegra Kent, $15 – eBay  So graceful, so ethereal! I’m thisclose to ordering this for Macy.  Allegra Kent was a NYCB principal dancer joining at age 15 in 1953, she danced for 28 years!

8. Sugarplum Fairy t-shirt, $24 – Covet Dance She’d wear it proudly all year!

9.  Nutcracker Illustration Art, $15 - TheArtfulBumblebee.etsy.com These colorful and playful illustrations come as cards or 8×10 prints

10. Nutcracker cookies, $54 per dozen – By yours truly!  Nikkiikkin.etsy  Im making these puppies like hotcakes this season, fresh, homemade, so delicious and an absolute knockout in detail.  This Romeo has special powers, watch as the little girls squeal with delight, I promise some nearly cried from joy when Macy passed them out to her dance class last year.

11. Jewelry is always a girls best friend.  Ive selected 3 necklaces that will be a special reminder of the hard work and beauty she displayed on stage.  Tutu Style, $38 – SharonTasker.etsy.com, Little Ballerina Ballet Shoes, $24 – SmallBlueThings.etsy.com, Personalized Nutcracker Necklace, $27.50 – BeautifulAsYou.etsy.com

12. It’s a trinket box, it’s a decoration, it’s just really dreamy.  Sugarplum fairy holiday box, $30 – SparkleLovesWhimsey.etsy.com

13. Sugarplum fairy ornament, $24.95 – PetalBelles.etsy.com Macy still loves the idea of fairies and their magical world, this is a nutcracker crossover, so its perfect and there is no reason that it has to be packed away with the Christmas tree.

I hope you enjoyed my list and found something that you think your ballerina would cherish.  I also have a pinterest board with many other ideas, check it out HERE.

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A Vintage Inspired Halloween Dinner Party

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Halloween Dinner Party 2012

Last year this Halloween dinner party was featured on Amy Altas just a few days before Halloween.   We all know that as soon as its November 1st no one wants to look at Halloween pictures anymore. So I’ve held on to these pictures for almost a whole year!

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My party was inspired by vintage Dennison Bogie Books.  After deciding that I needed to know the origin of the iconic screeching Halloween cat face that pops up everywhere, I did a little research and discovered Dennison Boogie Books dating as far back as 1912.  I fell in love with its wholesome and kitschy suggestions and illustrations of a bygone era.  Most importantly I found inspiration in revitalizing the use of crepe paper as in inexpensive decoration material.

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I sought out a few vintage Dennison Halloween die cuts and illustrations on ebay to reproduce, ordered a republished copy of a 1926 Bogie Book and a few rolls of crepe paper.  The rest of the decorations were from our curated Halloween collection.  And of course all the treats were made by me!

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The invitation is vintage, sort of, I designed and drew it 8 years ago….pre photoshop knowledge.  Back in the day, I loved to make hand cut and one of a kind cards from card stock.  A reader informed me that the technique I used to make this card is called typesetting, who knew?  I just did what I had to do to get stuff done, I still do!  You can check out more about this card HERE and know that you can still create a beautiful invitation even if you don’t have skills of a graphic designer.

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What about that about that wall??!!!  I love big showy backdrops and I was channeling Dorothy Draper with the black and white stripe fringe crepe paper.   Crepe paper can deliver that big of a punch without breaking the bank,  it was so easy to create and so inexpensive.  I covered a 12 foot wall with just 6 rolls at $2 a roll!

Tabletop:

The placemats are vintage Dennison illustrations that were once used on crepe paper banners.  The desert plates are crate and barrel and target.  We always cruise the thrift shops for Halloween decorations, the older and creepier the better.  These candle sticks are brass cast-off that we spray painted black.

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The crow curio is a combination of a glass dome sitting and a styrofoam round decorated with fringed crepe paper.  You can see an up close how to about it HERE.

Sweets:

The treats included a scary black cat and spider web cookies, mummy Oreo pops and a three-tiered Trick or Treat cake.

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A cake this size would easily serve 100 people, so I made two of the tiers as fake dummy cakes.  The cake layers features a Dennison Cat made from fondant, silhouettes of dancing witches and a harlequin pattern reminiscent of a paper lantern.  I finished the cake off with a witch, moon and bat silhouettes fondant topper. You can see more of the cake HERE.  And I have had a request to share the template I used for the dancing witches.  Well, there wasn’t one, I drew it!  But I might go back through my files and see if I can find the inspiration and my original sketch.  If I can I’ll clean it up and share it as a download.

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Instead of caramel or red candle apples I came up with “Black Magic” candy apples by coloring the sugar with black gel coloring. Then I dipped it in black sanding sugar for extra sparkle.  See more about them HERE.

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I had more guest (and more decorations) than one table could hold, so the littlest kids at our party had their own table.  Here I used more Dennison inspired imagery.  I created a paper chandelier right from the instructions in a Bogie Book and made tussie mussies to hold candy for the the kids to take home.

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nikkiikkin halloween 18

And just incase you’re wondering, I didn’t rent orange chairs, those are our own dining chairs.  We use orange in our home decor so it was easy for our Air Chairs and Panton Jr chair to become part of the party decor.

Each year our Halloween decorations box grows, it grew alot last year and I cant wait to reuse almost all of these decorations this year at our Halloween Open House party.  But the questions is do I wait another year to share those pictures or do my readers want to see Halloween posts in November?

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Filed under Celebrations, Paper + Fabric, SugarCoated