Betty Draper Gets Sober – A Mad Men Party

Mad Men Party

Disclaimer: For the most part, I write about my recovery from alcoholism. But, I also write about my life in general. Things I’m passionate about, DIY projects, book reviews – and even parties. When I first got sober, I never thought I’d be able to go to another drinking party again, let alone host one. And, at first I didn’t. I was very careful about where I went and the situations I put myself in. As I’ve gotten further along in my sobriety, I’ve come to know what I can do and what I can’t do. What I feel comfortable with and what I don’t. Wine was my thing, so I stay away from wineries, wine tasting, sip and shop events and parties where wine is the main event. Although my husband still drinks around me, he chooses not to drink wine at home – I think mostly out of respect for me. I don’t keep wine in our house and, honestly, I don’t sit too close to someone who’s drinking wine. The smell still gets to me. With that being said, I don’t have a problem being around people who are drinking – socially and responsibly. It’s different for each person in recovery. Some people can’t be around drinking at all, or choose not to have drinking in their home. The key is finding what works for you without fear or embarrassment of what others will think. It’s not their life.

Up until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t hosted a “real” party since getting sober. But, with my husband turning the big 4-0, I figured it was time! We absolutely love the show “Mad Men” and had been talking about having a “Mad Men” theme party for awhile and what better excuse than a 40th birthday?!

So, with the decision made I put on my party planning hat and got busy! We kept it small, wanting to capture that quintessential cocktail party atmosphere. I created simple invites with silver cardstock and a velum overlay tied together with a red ribbon (I forgot to take a pic). On the invite, I requested that everyone “dress the part.”

With a little help from Google, I found some great ideas for décor and favors. For those who aren’t familiar, “Mad Men” takes place in the early 60’s, so I thought it would be fun to create favors using 60’s candy. I found a great online store called Old Time Candy where I was able to order a “decade box” of 60’s-style candy – how cool is that?!

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And, candy cigarettes because no “Mad Men” party would be complete without some smokes.

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For the favors, I used some simple red bags, some tags, a thank you stamp and a little ribbon (all things I already had) and divided the candy into ten individual bags. I think they turned out pretty cute!

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To set the stage for the party, I scoured our local Good Will for crystal ashtrays, serving platters and bowls. I wanted to find a classic rotary dial phone, but to my surprise they were out – they’re “retro” now which means they’re cool (which also means I’m getting old!). On the day of, I set the ashtrays around the house with a box of candy cigarettes nearby and a classic book of matches. Of course, my kids (5 and 7) were very confused by all the “smokers” in the house.

My husband was in charge of the bar area – which I was happy to delegate to him. Fortunately, we already had some pretty cool vintage cocktail shakers and barware. He stocked the bar with a number of items, so guests would have a variety to choose from. And, of course, we had some cocktail books on hand in case anyone wanted Don Draper’s favorite – the Old Fashioned.

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And, it wouldn’t be a “Mad Men” party without classic Coke in the bottle and Heineken (the featured beer on the show).

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And, for the martini drinkers, I brought out my grandparent’s olive green martini glasses. If those glasses could talk, oh the stories they would tell!

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Now, for the food! When I think 60’s cocktail party, I think cheese balls and pigs-n-blankets. You know, the really good stuff. Luckily, our local grocery store and Costco had all the fixings for a true 60’s spread! I also included sweet-n-sour meatballs, a cracker, cheese and salami tray, veggies with classic ranch dressing, artichoke dip, mini egg rolls and a dessert tray with a variety of bite-size brownies and cookies. Ta Da!

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Our guests came dressed to impress!

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Cheers to great friends and fun times!

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And, I’m happy to report this Betty Draper is still sober and loving it!

Oh, and just for kicks – because sometimes you’ve just got to laugh.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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DIY Wood Sign

Wood Sign Cover

Originally, I planned on making this sign for my son’s birthday in early December, but his birthday came and went and then Christmas and, well, here we are and it’s almost March! Between then and now, I decided to redecorate his room into more of a “big boy” space, and fortunately the sign still tied in with the new décor. I’m not sure why I kept putting this off because it was really a simple project – which, of course, are the best kind!

I purchased all of the materials at Michaels after seeing an example of something similar they had displayed. My plan was to spell out his first and last name, so I started with two wood frames. I found the wood letters I liked and sized them against the wood frames to make sure they fit before buying them. I then purchased a set of acrylic paints and a variety of cardstock scrapbook paper.

Paint

Paper

First, I measured the inside of the wood frames and cut the cardstock paper to fit. I used an all-purpose craft spray adhesive to attach the paper to the inside of the frame. Make sure you cover the area you’ll be working on with newspaper or an old sheet so you don’t get spray adhesive on everything. I made the mistake of spraying directly over our granite countertops – luckily I had some Goo Gone on hand!

Next, I painted the letters with acrylic paint. This was the most time consuming part, but once I got into a rhythm it went pretty fast. I let the letters sit and dry for about 20 minutes before moving onto the final step.

Once the letters were dry, I positioned them where I wanted them on the wood frames and used a hot glue gun to glue them on.

Since the base of the frames were too narrow to stand by themselves, I used some adhesive tape along the base to attach them to my son’s dresser top. Overall, I think they turned out pretty good!

Wood Sign

And, my son loves them, which is all that really counts to this mom!

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Faux Shutters

Shutters Closeup

Well, it’s been a long, hard week, but I’m starting to get my mojo back! As you may know from my last post, I had a bad bout with my OCD and it really took everything out of me. It’s hard to understand if you’ve never experienced it, but just compare it to being absolutely exhausted, to the point where you can’t think straight. That’s pretty much how it is – kind of.

I think God heard my prayers (and all of those who were praying for me) because today was better. I felt more like myself – more alive. And, with that feeling, my inspiration to write came back – hurray! This is life. Some days will be harder than others. I know that, but it still doesn’t make it easy. However, it does make me more grateful for the days that I feel alive and well.

With that being said, I have a fun project to share with you! We recently finished a small remodel on our house (that’s a future post) and in turn had to replace our electrical box, which happens to be in our master bedroom. The picture that once covered it no longer fit, so I was challenged to find something new that would cover this obtrusive accessory.

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I spent weeks looking for something that would be just the right size. I even had one of the local décor shops looking for me as new shipments arrived. No luck. On a whim, I stopped by World Market one day to look around and ended up finding the perfect solution. I can’t tell you how excited I was. It was like I hit the jackpot – well, not really, but almost! At the time, the faux shutters opened to a mirror, but after looking at the back I realized I could remove the mirror and create an area that would perfectly frame the electrical box.

Before

Once I got it home, I went to work removing the hardware from the back, which was pretty simple despite having TONS of tiny little screws. My husband took a shot of me hard at work – who doesn’t like a woman holding a screwdriver?!

Working

Once I got the mirror off, I measured and hung it over the electrical box – it fit perfectly!

After

Now, when we need to access the box (because we do tend to blow fuses now and then) we can simply open the shutters and there it is. Plus, they’re super cute and add a fun flare to our basement bedroom. Now, I just need to find something to do with the extra mirror! Guess it’s time to get those creative juices flowing!

I’d love to hear how you’ve repurposed new or old furniture around your house!

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Furniture Feature Fridays

The Shabby Nest

Fabric Bulletin Board

Board Closeup

I’ve had this bulletin board for quite a while now and FINALLY got it hung yesterday! I’m loving the bright cheerfulness it adds to the typical darkness of our basement office – no windows means lots of color!  Believe it or not, this bulletin board was in sad shape when I first got my hands on it. I wish I had a before photo, but I don’t so you’ll just have to imagine a sad, plain brown bulletin board. My mother-in-law found it at a rummage sale she helps put on every year and knew I was in the market for bulletin boards so she quickly confiscated it!

My first step was giving the icky wood border a fresh coat of paint. The easiest way to do this is by laying down a tarp or old sheet in the front yard (if it’s sunny) or in the garage and holding down each corner with something heavy so it doesn’t flip-up if a gust of wind catches it (I’m speaking from experience!). Put your board in the middle and spray paint the wood border. Don’t worry about spraying the cork because this will be covered with fabric anyway. You’ll want to let the paint dry overnight before the next step. I used a black gloss indoor/outdoor spray paint, but any color would work.

Paint

Once the board is dry, take your choice of fabric and lay it over the cork portion of the board and cut around the inside of the border. I use the inside of the border as a guide for my scissors so I get a fairly even cut. Next, tape off the wood border with blue painters tape and spray the cork portion of the board with adhesive spray. Remove the tape and take your fabric and carefully apply it to the adhesive sprayed cork. This is the most challenging part because your fabric will want to gap in certain areas, but just continue to lift and smooth until the entire cork is covered.

Next, take your ribbon of choice, measure each side of the border and cut. You will have four pieces of ribbon. Run a thin strip of craft glue along the inside of the wood border and attach ribbon, smoothing as you go.

Glue

Let the entire board dry overnight and you’re done! I love these boards because they’re so versatile. I have one hanging in my office, closet and two matching boards that I use at Christmas to hang cards from. They also make great gifts! My step-mom uses one in her closet to hang her necklaces from – the possibilities are endless!

Enjoy!

Simple Valentine’s Pillow

Love Pillow

I know, didn’t we just celebrate Christmas?! Yes, we did, but like all holidays there’s always another one around the corner! Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a loving person and I enjoy romantic gestures, but it’s always seemed way too commercialized for just one day. I kinda feel like it’s just another way for big box stores to make money off of us. Okay, so enough of the negativity! This year I’ve decided to embrace the positive side of Valentine’s Day and show the love! If nothing else, I’m doing it for my kids because they LOVE any and all holidays!

I’ve been wanting to make a small pillow with some burlap I had leftover from another project and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Add some red felt I also had leftover and “wahla!” (or however you spell that) a Valentine’s Day pillow! This is a super simple project, especially for the novice sewer and crafter.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 yard of burlap

1 12×12 square of red felt, or a similar size

Poly-Fil pillow stuffing

1 package of Heat n Bond

Iron

Ironing board

Letter stencils, if desired

Directions:

1. Cut two 14×14 squares of burlap. I used a tape measure and fabric pen to mark measurements.

Measure

2. Follow directions on Heat n Bond and apply to felt with iron.

Heat Bond

3. To achieve symmetrical letters, trace letters on paper portion of Heat n Bond with stencil or by hand and cut out. For a more whimsical look (like mine), cut out letters by free hand.

Iron Letters

4. Once your letters are cut out, follow directions on Heat n Bond to apply them to one square of your burlap. You will need to remove paper backing from letters, pin them in place, turn burlap and letters facing down on ironing board and iron as directed. Once letters are ironed on, place both squares of burlap together, with letters facing inward and sew 1 1/2 inches in along the top and both sides of pillow.

Sew

5. Trim excess burlap off around seams, leaving about a 1/2 inch. This reduces the bulk once the pillow is turned inside out. Turn pillow inside out, making sure corners are pushed all the way out. Stuff pillow with Poly-Fil until desired fullness is achieved. Fold seams inward on bottom of pillow and pin to hold in place. Once you have pinned along the entire bottom, you will need to hand stitch closed.

Pin Seam

I’m using my pillow as a cute little accent pillow in our living room. You could also give as a gift to show someone your love on Valentine’s Day and all through the year!

Enjoy!

Easy DIY Envelope Pillow Covers

Envelope Cover

My mom was an amazing seamstress. Unfortunately, I paid little or no attention when I was younger, especially in my teen years when I was much too busy dealing with the latest drama. But, I digress!

Over the years, I’ve dabbled in sewing from time to time and even asked my in-laws for a sewing machine for Christmas one year. However, most of the time it collected dust. It wasn’t until I got sober and needed something to focus on, that I actually took it out, dusted it off and started using it (after I re-read the manual a dozen times!). I started off small by making some burlap and fabric banners (I’ll have to post those later!) and eventually moved on to larger projects – but not too large!

Surprisingly, I’ve found a lot of enjoyment in teaching myself to sew and satisfaction in completing a project. It’s one of the many ways I’ve practiced following through with things, which hasn’t always been my strong suit! I’m far from an accomplished seamstress – if anything I’m a total amateur. Regardless, it’s a fun way to express my creativity and practice not being perfect – because, believe me, my sewing is NOT perfect!

Okay, so on to my latest sewing project. We recently got new couches for our living area and I desperately wanted some new throw pillows. Instead of buying them like I usually would, I thought “what the heck!” I’ll try making some covers for my old pillows. It can’t be that hard, right? Well, there’s A LOT of ways to make throw pillow covers. Oh, and did I mention I like easy, no fuss projects? I’ve never done a zipper, so that was out. A sewing friend of mine mentioned she always makes envelope-style pillow covers, which sounded much more doable. Being optimistic, I bought some cute fabric from an adorable fabric and quilting store in Sisters, OR called the Stitchin Post.

Okay, with fabric in hand, I Googled envelope-style pillow covers. I wanted to use two different patterns, for front and back, so I looked for directions that incorporated those elements. Like I said, I like easy projects, which also includes EASY directions! I found a great tutorial over at Redbook Magazine. With cutting, ironing and sewing, the whole project took about an hour – allow for a bit longer if you’re trying to prepare dinner and answer kid questions all at the same time!

Overall, I’m really happy with how they turned out! The only thing I would do differently next time is add a few more inches to the width of the front panel, so a total of eight inches instead of five as it suggests. My pillows have a small gap at the envelope closure and adding a bit more fabric would prevent this.

Apparently, even our kitty, Tally, approves of the finished product!

Envelope Kitty