Category Archives: Paper + Fabric

Crafts as gifts, hobbies and my creative outlet

A Vintage Inspired Halloween Dinner Party

nikkiikkin halloween 1

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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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

Pineapple Cake Pop Display

nikkiikkin luau table 1

Yesterday my Luau Dance dessert table was featured on Amy Atlas, its always an exciting honor!  (see the full post and pics HERE).  I made this luau table for my daughter’s 5th grade dance.  I didnt have much time to let my ideas evolve for it, as this was a fast track project.   My offer to create, design & budget were all submitted for approval in just a day or so.  So I was lucky that I didnt have creative block, but this isnt my first luau either!    I immediately knew I wanted to make a centerpiece that mimicked the bountiful fruit offerings at a traditional luau but I couldn’t do it with a cake.  This crazy idea to make a cake pop pineapple came out of know where.  I kept thinking that it reminded me of a croquembouche but in my research I couldn’t find many attempts of other cake artists doing a cake pop croquembouche.  I either had a brilliant idea on hand or an epic fail!

nikkiikkin luau table sketch

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So I sketched it out, trying to eliminate any potential bad ideas and in my head it seemed like an idea that should work.  I basically decided I was just “chocolate-glueing” cake balls onto a vertical stryofoam surface.  If it didnt work, plan B was going to be a tissue paper pineapple for the centerpiece and just cake pops elsewhere on the table.  Having the plan B definitely helped my confidence.  That, and asking for advice from my sister Jes and friend Jen.  They always put me in my place, they don’t sugarcoat it for me when its just wrong.  As I started down the road on this experimental trip I took pictures with my cell phone and had a group message going to them about my “pineapple progress”  Thats about as much DIY tutorials I do around here….sorry!

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It seemed yesterday most of the comments on Amy Atlas’s Facebook picture of my party (its up to 250 likes btw!) were about the cake pop pineapple.  I figure some people might be wondering how to make their own sculpted cake pop creation.  So took a look at my text message pictures and sure enough, I had enough to pull together a behind the scenes board on how I made it.  Its not a styled DIY or step by step tutorial by any means, but you can get the concept along with my descriptions.  So here it is!  (Click on the image to enlarge it to full screen for better readability).

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Filed under Celebrations, Paper + Fabric, SugarCoated

Woodland Fairy Treasure Hunt

Macy's Woodland Fairy Dessert Table

Macy’s Woodland Fairy Dessert Table

Two years ago we celebrated my daughters 9th birthday with a Woodland Fairie theme.  For the party my daugther, Macy and I created a treasure hunt game meshing symbolic fairy trinkets from Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and fairy folklore.  I used vintage clip art from The Graphics Fairy and From Old Books to create a treasure hunt card that complimented our invitations and printables from B. Nute Productions.  Since posting the party the treasure hunt card has been hands down my most pinned image and referred link from Pinterest.  It is also requested to purchase or be shared often.   I am finally doing something that I should have done 2 years ago.  I am giving this file away free here in this post!  You  may download the card here:

Treasure Hunt free printable }

Enjoy and please be kind and give credit if you use it.   Most of all, I love to hear feedback about your party! XOXO Nikki

Dont miss out on the rest of the Woodland Fairie party HERE!

Nikkiikkin fairy treasure hunt

 

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Easy Halloween Invitation

It may seem like there isn’t much going on at Nikkiikkin but I have a lot in the works that I’m excited to share very soon!  Right now Im going to squeeze in a few last minute Quick and Easy Halloween Party Idea posts with a decoration or treat that anyone can do!

I have been hand making most of my party invites for more than 10 years, even before I had kidos, we had BIG Halloween and Valentine’s Day parties every year.  While I was digging through our Halloween decorations I came across something that I should have thrown away, but glad I didn’t.  I found the printing process that I created to make one of my favorite Halloween invitations from 2005.  This is pre-photoshop ability for me and it wanted to share it to show that you can make creative invitations for any event without needing knowledge of photoshop or purchasing printables.  You just need a marker, Word and a copy machine!

Here you can see that I literally cut and pasted in my text that I printed from Word.  I drew a simple Halloween silhouette scene (pretty sure I drew this by looking at some other Halloween illustration) and I copied the page onto orange card stock at a kinkos.

What we loved about this invitation it’s that we personalized it to each guest by adding a color photo copy on the back (because my pictures were real pictures from film, not digital) of the guest at a previous party or of our decorated home if we didn’t have a picture of them!

While it might be too late for sending out Halloween invites, there is still time for you to use this same method for tent cards, favor tags and toppers!

Next up in Halloween Party ideas:

Black Magic Candy Apples

Halloween Crow Curiosity

 

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Filed under Holiday, Paper + Fabric

DIY Maps on Closet Doors

Maps are nostalgic.  They take us back to a time and most definitely a place: a city that you visited, were born in or went to college in.  We all can relate some part of our life to a map.   I used to hang souvenir maps of amusement parks on my wall as a teenager.  I relived and dreamed about my trips to Disney World, Cedar Point and Sea World.  When I was designing Hudson’s nursery we made sure to include a map of New York City, the Hudson River being his namesake.

Wanting to take NYC maps in our decor to the next level, I decided to wallpaper the closet doors in the childrens’ room with MTA maps.  These are the easy to get, free maps of our subway system in New York City.  All you have to do is ask a MTA booth attendant for one.  So over the course of a few months  I randomly asked for them until I had about 6 or 7 maps.

To hang the maps on the doors I had some criteria, the most important being that it had to be removable with no damage.  The maps also needed to withstand wear and tear that a 2 year old can inflict on it.

I bounced ideas off of my DIY and interior design friends and several ideas came up.  One was to mod podge the maps to canvas sheets and wrap the doors with the canvas.  This was a great inexpensive idea because rolls of canvas for framing doesnt cost much but I wanted something that would be more durable.

The next idea was combining the maps with clear contact paper, the drawer liner type.  This idea stuck with me but I had many questions about how the end result would look.  Contact paper only comes in 24″ width rolls so that meant that there would be a seam.  Would the seam show?  Is clear contact paper really clear?

I decided to go with the contact paper idea because a single roll of supermarket contact paper could cover 2 closet doors and this project was only going to cost me $6!

Then I sat wondering how I would hang it.  Would I roll out the contact paper sticky side up and arrange the maps on it first, then hang it like real wallpaper?  Or do I tape the maps to the door and then cover it with the contact paper?  I went with the latter.  I sparingly used double stick tape to stick random sizes and shapes cut from the MTA maps on the door. Then I covered it with full sheets of contact paper leaving extra at the top and bottom to wrap around to the back of the door.  The side of the doors where they meet each other also needed to wrap to the back, but I didn’t need to wrap on the hinge side.  Ensuring the contact paper wrapped to the back of the door was an important part.  The contact paper will surely peel if it stops at the edge of the door or on the side of the door.

So did the seams show?  Nope!  Is the clear contact paper truly clear?  YES!  I was prepared to except that the image would be hazy or blurred from the transparent looking vinyl but it wasn’t, it was just as clear as without.

As an after thought and bonus I realized that this vinyl surface could be written on with dry eraser markers.  I haven’t let Hudson do it yet, but I think that he will have fun drawing out a path on the maps or marking up sites he’s been too.  Macy has also used the maps as a quick reference as we were heading out the door and discussing which train to take.  She’s been riding the rails for 6 years now but she is just now interested in knowing how to get around, not that she will be going anywhere alone until she’s like 20.

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Filed under NBID, Paper + Fabric

Candy Party Cake and Invitations

For my daughters 10th birthday we celebrated at Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York City.  The party is all-inclusive but the cake and invitations included were not my style so I made my own.

My candy cake was inspired by the signature cakes that Dylan’s Candy Bar uses in photo spreads and displays in the store.

The striped second tier was the most tedious to decorate.  Each fondant stripe was cut to a taper as it wrapped the top of the cake, making a beautiful color wheel.  The top-tier mimicked a strip of nostalgic candy buttons and was topped with real lollipops.

Each sweet guest was sent a custom candy invitation that included a real candy necklace.  See my post on making these candy invitations HERE.

Also pictured is a gumball necklace that my daughter made and wore at her party.  I’ll be posting my methods and tips on making those soon!

To see how the party at Dylan’s Candy Bar turned out click HERE!

Like the cake?  It can be yours!  I am now offering a made to order Faux / Prop Candy Cake in my Etsy shop.  She the listing HERE!

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Filed under Celebrations, Paper + Fabric, SugarCoated

Do You Know Vera?

Vera Neumann

No not Wang or Bradley.  Neumann.  Ive been in love with her prints for half a dozen years but only until recently did I figure out who she was.  The first time I came across her signature logo was at an old dusty dress shop on a town square in the middle of no where Tennessee.  My friends and I were antiquing and came across scarves and napkins.   We saw potential in the beautiful patterns to become pillows.   I was curious from the beginning about who Vera was but in my initial internet search many years ago there was nothing that gave me any knowledge about the person or company that illustrated these colorful patterns.

As the sewer of the group, I took home everyones Vera treasures to turn into pillows.  But I hung on to my set of napkins afraid to break them up until I knew who Vera was.  My napkins were pink tulips in various completed illustrated stages, some line drawings, some painted.  Being that they were pink and I had a 3 year old little girl at the time I gave them to her to use in her dress up and pretend play.  They were often set at her tea table or wrapped as blankets around her stuffed animals.

The first set of pillows I made for my friends were scarves in brown polka dot and floral patterns on cream backgrounds.  I sewed ice blue satin to the back being very careful not to cut the scarf incase we wanted ever wanted to take apart the pillow and reclaim it.    I loved them so much, it was hard to send them to her because they also matched my Dwell Studio bedding at the time.

Vera Neumann Scarves made into pillows

The third Vera treasure moved around with me from Tennessee to New York to North Carolina and back to New York again.  It was a larger scarf in two shades of springy green with polka dots and a center circle design.

Vera Neumann scarf

Then it was in New York this spring that I ran across a book about Vera Neumann.  Eureka!! I had finally found Vera!

Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon

image via: craftycookups.blogspot

Excitedly I searched and found so much information from recent product launches with Crate and Barrel, MAC cosmetics and Anthropologie to blogposts celebrating her endless illustrations, Etsy sellers crafting with the linens and information on her company history, which is still very much active.  Here is an excerpt from The Vera Company website:

“The Vera Company owns the extensive library of prints, original artwork, scarves, and the trademarks and copyrights of the late, iconic American artist, Vera Neumann. Vera was a pioneer in design who successfully cross-licensed her designs into linens, scarves and sportswear. Her company began at her kitchen table in 1947 and grew into a multi-million dollar international business. All Vera products started as original pieces of art from her own hand and sported the distinctive Vera signature (often with a ladybug) trademark. After years of being dormant, the beloved Vera brand is back and is experiencing a resurgence among old and new fans alike – for once you know Vera, you adore her.”

Between the 40’s through her death in 1993, with several company changes, Vera designed everything from wallpaper, bedding, table linens to dresses, blouses and her signature scarves.  All signed with her name and sometimes with a ladybug.  8,000 of her designs are copyrighted in the Library of Congress.  With so many works of art designed over a span of 50 years a Vera original can pop up anywhere.  An iconic Vera scarf was all Marilyn Monroe wore in her famous “Last Sitting” shoot in 1962 by Bert Stern.

Marilyn Monroe in Vera Neumann scarf

So I missed the boat on the Anthropolgie products released in 2009, the collection was called We Love Vera.  Apparently it happened during the month that I moved from New York to North Carolina.  So I see how I missed that,  I really wasn’t out shopping while I moved my family across the country and I guess my catalog wasn’t forwarded either.  Design* Sponge gave an excellent report on the launch here.

We Love Vera dress Anthropolgie 2009

We Love Vera skirt Anthropolgie 2009

We Love Vera dress Anthropolgie 2009

We Love Vera skirt Anthropolgie 2009

I also missed the MAC Cosmetics launch, but some products are still available online here.  The embossed “scarf” corner of the face powder is a perfect design element to represent The Vera Company.  Here is a good blog post on the rest of the collection (BTW this blog author gives EXCELLENT make-up tutorials on YouTube, I just realized she the same girl who taught me how to apply my Red Queen halloween make up).

MAC cosmetics Vera Collection face powder

But I did NOT miss the Crate and Barrel launch of dish towels and aprons.  Mainly because I receive the CB catalog every few weeks and I had already learned about Vera from the book.  So she was in my radar now.  I picked up a few dishtowels (the ones pictured below) and they go nicely with my green backsplash and orange Air Chairs.

After getting excited about discovering the beauty of Vera I realized I still owed my friend a pillow from the scarf that moved around with me for half a dozen years.  I turned that green dotted scarf into a large euro size pillow with luscious white silk envelope back.

Vera Neumann vintage scarf pillow

Vera Neumann vintage scarf pillow

Vera Neumann vintage scarf pillow

So now you know Vera and next time you are out vintage shopping or maybe just at the mall, pick up some brightly colored works of art and start your own collection.

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Filed under NBID, Paper + Fabric