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Archive for August 19th, 2014

Problem Solving = Creativity = Good Party

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

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Wow! Mom’s party was such a great experience! She had such fun seeing friends from so many parts of her life and her past. She’s a lovely person, and her friends are excellent company.

I am painfully inexperienced at planning parties/gatherings. This special occasion was the perfect time to just dive in and learn. If creativity is problem solving (I believe it is), I got an excellent lesson in creativity while putting this together.

The Perfect Cake

My dear friend April loves to bake and decorate cakes. It’s her primary visual artform. She volunteered to bake the cake for Mom’s party.

Just look at how beautiful that cake is! The flower decorations and her plate look so perfect together. April thought of Mom the whole time she made it. Even the frosting was custom for her. It was moist and tasty, too. We got nice comments on it all day.Cake80th450

I fond those curlicue candles somewhere, years ago. They were just waiting for this event, don’t you think?

Music

A few times during the party, Mom asked Brian and I to sing. Many of her friends had never heard us sing before! It was a joy and an honor to do that for her. After all, she paid for uncountable voice lessons for me over many years… decades, even.

Heftones80thFireplace450Minor Freakout

Thursday I found myself at the food co-op trying to figure out how much to buy. I had a moment of thinking “why did I think I could figure this out?” After all, our family includes me and Brian, Mom and Fred, and brother Eric and his wife Diana. We six people are  the entire roster of all of our relatives in the entire state of Michigan.

I realized that although I’ve had parties before, they were always potluck. When guests bring food, you end up with enough to go around. I was puzzled and a little freaked out standing there at the store.

I called one of Brian’s sisters who entertains often and well. When she didn’t answer, I called Diana. She helped me figure out how much I might need. I ended up with a 7-pound bag of carrots, a few bunches of celery, and two gallons of organic apple juice (to be mixed with unsweetened soda water).

In the end, we had more food than necessary. This is a high class problem! Food80th450We’re still eating carrot sticks 3 days after the party, and that is after we gave some away. I’ll return some of the unopened items as well.

Planning Challenges

Decorating rooms is not one of my skills. I’m not a big fan of decorations that get thrown away. Candles please me, but they didn’t seem right for this event.

Finally the answers came to me… balloons for the table decorations would be perfect. Facebook friends directed me to a place nearby that would be open in the morning when I needed to pick them up.

The Corsage Dilemma

Mom doesn’t love the disposable nature of flowers, and also often has an allergic reaction to them. I wanted her to have a corsage.

I figured out that maybe a ribbon of some sort might make a good corsage. I have a lot of satin ribbon here at the house, but not in the colors I wanted to use.

Finally it hit me that the curlicue ribbons available for wrapping packages might work well. The balloon store also had ribbons of that sort. I bought two and stuck them together to get colors which suit Mom. Yay! She loved it.

GuestBook80th450Very Special Guest Book

It occurred to me that Mom would value a guest book for this occasion. First I asked her if she had one of her own. She did not.

After thinking about options, I remembered that I had a beautiful handmade paper/hand-sewn book. It was made by Susan Hensel, an artist friend who used to live in town but now lives in Minneapolis. The book was perfect for the event, with a dark blue cover and pale turquoise and white pages. Yay!

A Mistake

The one thing that went wrong was minor. I used Mom’s ring molds to make 2 ice rings for the punch bowl. I found some organic green grapes which might look nice frozen with juice. I figured the grapes might thaw more slowly than a liquid.

I had purchased one lime, intending to slice it thin and float the slices in the apple juice/soda water punch. At the last minute I had a doubt that the ice ring would look festive enough. (Note that this happened well after midnight, not a great time for changing plans.)

I sliced the lime and added it to the ring, put it in the freezer, and went to bed. The next morning, it was not frozen.

It may be that our 2nd freezer is not as cold as the first. However, the consensus was that citrus takes a lot longer to freeze than water.

Live and learn! I was freaked out for a few minutes. Then I realized that the party’s success was not dependent on ice.

I’m glad I was able to get to that thought rather quickly. There was a time I would have obsessed over the one imperfection instead of enjoying the many successes of the day.

PS

You may know that my favorite color is turquoise. Take a look at these photos, and notice that I came to that preference  honestly!

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