Speakeasy Engagement Party

Geoffrey, a dapper father of two amazing kids, and Katherine, a brilliant and beautiful triathlete, found each other at just the right time in their lives, and I’ve loved watching their romance grow. G popped the question in the fall, setting their wedding-planning year into motion.

I was honored when Katherine asked me to be in her bridal party and was eager to start planning the first celebration alongside her local bridesmaids, Brandi, Brittany and Mandy. We enjoyed brainstorming, crafting and creating an engagement party for the adorable couple, and I was excited to host the evening at our place. We decided on a speakeasy theme with mood lighting, gilded boozy-bottle décor and 20s attire.

Our unique version of this Wedding Paper Divas invite helped set the theme into motion for a roaring engagement party. Guests RSVPed to our party-specific gmail address and google phone number (Great idea, Mandy!), where they could receive the speakeasy password, “manatee.” The password was selected for no reason other than the bride-to-be’s irrational fear of the gentle sea cow.

Liquid Leaf-painted jars and clear mason jars were sprinkled around the party and illuminated with a mixture of real and battery-operated tea light candles.

Beer and wine bottles from the hostesses’ homes, plus some collected from a local watering hole, were spray painted in silver and gold and placed in clusters with candles. Getting the labels off the bottles required a long soak in a soapy cooler + a Brillo pad.

Brittany’s pretty damask ribbon added a nice touch around a grouping of bottles and to a gorgeous feather arrangement (which I neglected to capture).

Guests could take their pick of flapper flair. We created complimentary hair do-dads using assorted feathers and hair clips from the craft store. A basket filled with 20s-era props was also nearby for those looking to ham it up. Chalkboard clips made easy labels and complimented the speakeasy theme. We relocated our kitchen chalkboard to the fireplace and added the couple’s names using chalk pens, mimicking the invitation font.

At the bar, a 20s drink was in order, so we did a little research and selected “the Bee’s Knees,” a gin-based drink. I’d say it was definitely more gin-based than juice-based. Lemons and fresh local honey made it a sweet signature beverage in addition to beer and wine options. The Pandora station played Jazz Age tunes until we got a little crazy with the iPods later in the evening.

At the appetizer table, we included a few of the bride’s favorites, such as bruschetta and of course the Junior League Feta Black Bean dip. The delicious strawberry cupcakes were homemade by bridesmaid Brittany – her striped cupcake liners and turquoise dessert stands were a pretty addition to the color palette.

On the patio, an overturned Jack Daniels half barrel (Home Depot) with a glass top (Bed, Bath & Beyond) created a rustic, speakeasy place to rest a beverage. The little chalkboard buckets were a Target dollar-bin find, and they looked super cute with the couple’s initials. Thankfully, the yard was in bloom, so bunches of camellias in buckets helped dress up the patio.

Guests kicked it up celebrating Katherine & Geoffrey. And most importantly, K & G looked like they had a blast. Happy engagement, you two! We look forward to your big day and every celebration along the way! We love you!




Clip Clip Hooray!

Chalkboard paint opens a world of crafting possibilities, including this idea from Debbie at Happy Clippings. She explains how to make a chalkboard paint craft that’s versatile to use and easy to create. Use these fun little clips to label food bowls/trays at parties, identify stored items, hang photos or family artwork (on a string or with a magnet) or personalize gifts.

Visit Debbie’s site for the full tutorial. You’ll need some mini plywood pieces found at your local craft store (browse other shapes to change it up!), clothespins, painter’s tape, foam brushes and chalkboard paint (Rust-Oleum brand from Home Depot worked great for me).

My friend Lindsey came up with the solution to clasp newly painted clips onto a plate, making for easy drying and a handy holder for craft-night goers.

I am already putting these clips to good use and hope this project is one you’ll enjoy as well!




You won’t need a helmet to make this pelmet!

First, you might be thinking, “I don’t like cheesy rhymes. I’ve come to the wrong place.” Second, you might be thinking, “what is a pelmet box?” Well, I didn’t know either, until I found this DIY tutorial on Pinterest thanks to Jenny at Little Green Notebook!

A pelmet is a decorative window treatment, like a cornice or a valence. I knew I needed something of the sort for the bare window in our green guest bathroom. When I say our guest bath is green. It’s greeheheeeeen! From the sink to the tub and every tile in between, it’s green. To complement this minty room, I went with a sunshine yellow-striped shower curtain and found a funky mirror that just so happened to have all the colors I wanted in the room, unapologetically adding to the colorful-50s-Florida feel. The subtle lemon-pattern fabric I found for the pelmet project was just the ticket.

My pelmet-making process was not glamorous (I used cardboard instead of foam board as the instructions suggest, which was part of my problem and why you’ll see no step-by-step photos here). While my technique wasn’t as pretty, Jenny’s how-to worked, and I was pleased with the results. If I can do it, you can!

With a pelmet box and a splash of white paint, the guest bathroom feels much brighter. Thanks to the Little Green Notebook for this inspiring idea!




Loopy Way to Save Christmas Cards

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and has a great time celebrating the New Year! I am back from a little break, during which Josh and I enjoyed visiting family all around the Sunshine State. Among my holiday highlights: dancing to Nicki Minaj and other Top 40 tunes with my adorable, foot-loose two-year-old niece, Lila.

Opening Christmas cards is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Each one makes me feel a little closer to out-of-town friends and family. Many have kiddos nowadays, and it’ll be special to watch them grow in person and also see those little faces change in print, year after year.

Each holiday, I enjoy flipping through greetings from years past. My mom saves cards and usually displays them in a basket near the fireplace, and I am starting to do the same at our home. Rather than placing Christmas cards in a drawer, I recently created little flip books, so Josh and I can better save and enjoy them each year.

Holiday Card Flip Book How-to
This was super easy using a one-hole punch and a bag of assorted book rings (any office supply store). Stack and arrange your cards (largest in the back for easier flipping), punch holes in the corner of each card, then loop them! I added a cover page with the year for each stack using some card stock and a paint pen.

Thank you for visiting Oh My Goodness Gracious and being some of the blog’s first readers! Starting this blog was a 2012 resolution of mine, and it continues to be a fun and rewarding creative outlet – thanks for being a part of it. From our family to yours, have a wonderful 2013!




Holiday Wrap Stars 2012

Creative wrapping makes gifts even more special. These holiday gift wrap tips are kind to your wallet and keep things simple enough to let you enjoy all of those Christmas movies in the background.

Dish Towel Wrap

I learned this wrapping technique from my friend Randi after she gave us a bottle of wine wrapped in a lovely and practical kitchen towel. It’s a great way to jazz up that fun bottle of beer for the cousins or your next holiday hostess gift.

  1. Fold towel almost halfway
  2. Insert wine/large beer bottle into the fold
  3. Flop the towel over, and begin to roll it like a burrito
  4. Continue the burrito rolling…
  5. Once you get to the end, fasten it (sneakily) with a safety pin

Add a fun ribbon at the top to finish it off, and give it to someone you like!

Basket Case

Baskets make a great presentation and can be part of the gift itself! I like bread baskets like the one below (World Market) – a great item to have around the house, plus it was perfect for the assortment of items I had in mind. When arranging, place taller or larger items first, then fill in the gaps, working to make sure everything is displayed. Straw makes a pretty, natural alternative to traditional shredded paper filler.

Quick-trim Ribbon

You’ll look like a pro with this quick ribbon technique. Using a wider ribbon (1 inch or more) and a sharp pair of scissors:

  1. Create a few loops, enough to create the number of “fluffs” you want – in this case, three on each side of ribbon
  2. Fold your loops in half
  3. At the fold, snip off each corner
  4. Unfold ribbon
  5. Attach to gift by tying a knot around the center of unfolded ribbon
  6. Arrange to desired shape, and trim ends into a sharp V

Postal Paper + Neon

Why not? First of all, look how much postal paper you get on one roll (Office Depot). Second, the khaki color looks great with a flash of neon ribbon and/or paint. Play around with colors and designs, customizing gifts with your paint brush!

Have fun, Christmas elves!




Turn Simple Jars into Superstars!

I was excited to try this DIY gold-painted vase project {from Style Me Pretty} after gathering a variety of inexpensive and recycled containers at home. My little collection of mason jars, pasta jars, and even pickle and jam jars got a touch of instant gild thanks to a fun product I’d never tried before: Liquid Leaf!

The Supplies:

  • Jar(s) of Liquid Leaf or similar brand (available at most craft stores) – one was plenty for seven jars + a small bowl
  • Foam brush
  • Variety of glass jars
  • Newspaper / protective table covering
  • A bowl you are willing to trash (or one you are planning to make fabulous*)

There is not much instruction needed. Just create! I opted for more painterly brush strokes, similar to the Style Me Pretty samples, going for thick-yet-imperfect coverage at varying heights on each jar. After a few hours of drying, my jars were complete! *The $2 grocery store bowl I used for the paint became a fun little living room accent. Bonus!

The Oh My Goodness Gilded jars have been great for a variety of purposes, from tailgate accents to fancy paintbrush holders. I can’t wait to use them in a cluster stuffed with flowers or atop pub tables.

Tip: The Liquid Leaf works great on most glass items. Try it with candlesticks, vases or frames!




Bring the outside in!

A few yard clippings can liven up a room. Take a stroll – maybe with some wine in a tumbler – and you’ll find a variety of arrangement-worthy plants at your scissor-tips. It may be fall, but for many, especially those in the South, there are still plenty of opportunities to bring some green in from the garden and create a fresh centerpiece or room accent.

When landscaping, it is helpful to plan ahead, selecting things you can use for arrangements down the road. For my mom, in Stuart, Fla., she makes good use of Philodendrons, Crotons, Ginger, Hibiscus, Bird of Paradise, Ferns and Sea Grapes. Over the years, she’s built her very own botanical garden. Oh, how I wish I had her green thumb.

Up in Tallahassee, I can keep a Croton or two alive, but my favorite yard clippings are the gorgeous and low-maintenance Camellias I lucked into when we bought the house. Some of the early bloomers are starting to emerge locally, and I know we’ll be seeing some gorgeous pinks and whites over the next few months.

Natural Arrangement Tips from Mom:

  • Asymmetry is a good thing. Make your clipping arrangements look like they’re from nature.
  • Arrange things in odd numbers. For example: three accent leaves…
  • Try not to have too many leaves in the water of your vase. They will decompose – trim off any leaves touching the water.
  • When clipping anything from the yard, beware of unwanted guests. Check leaves and flowers for bugs.

Mom taught me a little trick for prolonging the life of a Bird of Paradise flower. The one we trimmed was on its last legs. She first trimmed off the dead bits toward the back then gently pulled the pouch apart to pull out a new fan.

Another great way to arrange yard clippings is by using a flower frog! They are helpful for unruly arrangements. Learn how to use a flower frog from Martha Stewart, and find suggestions on how to make your own frog.

I made a flower frog using crisscrossed Scotch tape over buckets for these Camellia arrangements in Tallahassee last year. Happy strolling, sipping and snipping!




Home Turf Tailgate

Going into one of the biggest games of the football season, our tailgate deserved something fresh. I found myself at Home Depot on the Thursday before the game buying a ginormous strip of AstroTurf to create a unique table runner – the added turf was just the ticket for this tablescape.

I used a chalkboard we usually display in our kitchen (made using an old frame and some spray chalkboard paint) as a canvas for one of my favorite lines in the song “We Are the Boys of Old Florida.” The letters looked nice and bold using chalkboard pens.

Patterned craft paper went the distance to create not only the table’s flag banner but also some mini-flag cupcake topers. I found the “We are #1” toppers at Michael’s, and the mini SEC helmets (which come in a set of all SEC teams) were also a fun addition to the cupcake stand.

My approach to tailgating is no different from planning any other gathering. You must consider things like the guests attending, the number of guests, time of day and flow of the event. Knowing this would be one of the busiest games of the season and with a tailgating window around lunchtime, I opted for grab-n-go foods that didn’t require much fuss or prep for mingling guests.

On the menu:

  • Publix chicken fingers with a side of ranch dressing – manageable and delicious
  • Pepper jelly, cream cheese and Ritz crackers
  • Cucumber sandwiches made with white bread, cucumbers and chive/herbed cream cheese (Just smear a little cream cheese on one side of each slice of bread, add cucumber slices and you’re done!)
  • Seedless grapes
  • Orange-flavored cupcakes (box mix) with whipped frosting (I loved how the orange cake mix showed through the white cupcake liners.)

Added creature comforts such as mints and hand sanitizer help keep guests clean and minty fresh. I was inspired by She’s Kinda Crafty to decorate the pump dispenser – she outdid mine for sure!

We were excited to again use our customized tailgate cups and pom-pom drink stirrers, serving Bloody Marys and sweet tea vodka-lemonades to our family and friends.

Last but not least, my husband’s tailgate contribution may have outshined the whole spread. He brought and chilled the largest bottle of beer I have ever seen, nine liters of St. Feuillien Triple. As someone once said, “Win or lose, we’re here for the booze!” …and the football, friendship and fun! Have a great time tailgating this weekend, wherever you may be!

More tailgate tips:
Tailgate Tune-up
No Celebration Penalties Here!