Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine Party 2013

The past week has been a rough one at the farmhouse. A NASTY flu bug hit all 3 boys AND me. This bug starts with a fever and very sore throat. It robs you of your energy and leaves you with a cough. And lasts for at least a week. Both of my school boys were home all week. My eldest is normally a very sturdy, robust child that RARELY gets sick. This bug had him on the couch all week long. This is the same child that when he gets a stomach flu will not stay on the couch and has been 'caught' throwing up outside while playing. So when he stays on the couch for a week, you know it's bad. :)

As if this was not enough stress, I was responsible for co-hosting a Valentine's Party on Saturday night. At our church, the couples married in each decade has a Valentine party, i.e. If you were married from 1990 -1999, you are part of the '90's party, etc. Each year, 2 couples are nominated to host next year's party. Last year year my husband and I were nominated with another couple. This year our group had 19 couples, 17 of which attended. 34 people to cook for and feed.....

When I began planning the party, I mentioned on Facebook that I was planning it and promised to show you pictures when it was all over. Well, my brain was on overload and much to my disgust, I forgot to take pictures. *hangs head in shame* I even had my camera THERE. Grrr! I cannot tell you how mad I am at myself. So, I will attempt to tell you about it and fill in with pictures taken AFTER the party.

I was responsible for the decorations and wanted to use as many things as I could that I already had. I had a bucket of glass insulators in the garage that I had gotten at an auction. I paired them with some rusty bed springs and viola! Votive holders. I added some epsom salt inside so the votive would peek out the top a little. I tied a double red twine bow around them to give them a little something extra. It was an easy and cute project.

The party was held in our school gym. It is very bright and impersonal. In an attempt to 'soften' the atmosphere, I hung drop cloths on the volleyball net. This divided the room in half and gave it a little cozier feel. For the meal, we turn the overhead lights off and ate by candlelight. In addition to the votives on the table, I also made 4 sets of these:
I got the idea from HERE and pretty much followed her tutorial. The only difference was I turned the cans upside down and used the bottom as a surface for the candle. The picture above shows how they were on the table and the picture below gives you a better idea what they looked like.

As you may have figured out, the colors were red and aqua. For the tables themselves, I used 2 sets of 4 (8 tables) of the 8' plastic banquet tables. The tables are only 2.5' wide so I put 2 side by side and another 2 end to end making a total table size of 16' L by 5' wide. For table cloths, I used 4 6' X 9' drop cloths from Lowes. They worked out perfectly! Down the center of the table I ran a red burlap runner. Burlap is cheap, especially when you can get it on sale with a coupon. One length of fabric did both tables as I split it in half length-wise. In the very center of each 16' table I had an aqua jar with red roses.

For place markers I made these blocks personalized for each couple. (I made 18 of them.) I had seen the idea on Pinterest but there was no link, just a picture uploaded by user. I will attempt to give some idea of how I made them in case someone wants to try it for themselves. :)

For the block itself, I used 2X3 lumber from Menards. To weather it, I used the vinegar/steel wool method that is all over Pinterest. For the top and bottom I used screen stock from the millwork section of Menards. It's 1 3/4" wide. I stained this with darker stain because the 'weathering' process didn't darken it much.
I cut the 2X3's 7" long and the screen stock 7 3/8". Using small finish nails, I nailed the top and bottom on to secure the boards together. For the date and the ampersand, I used silver metallic linen woven paper from Hobby Lobby and for the heart, I used aqua weathered board scrapbook paper, also from Hobby Lobby. I used my Cameo to cut them out and matte Mod Podge to apply them. I wanted more dimension for the letters and since I had very little money invested at this point, I decided to splurge and I bought these awesome rusty letters from this Etsy shop. The service was OUTSTANDING! I emailed her for a quote on Tuesday night at 10:00 EST. She answered me in 15 minutes. I emailed her back saying I wanted them and she set me up a separate listing. All within half an hour. THEN, I had my order in the mail that Friday all the way from Washington state. I did pay a small rush charge since I needed them by a certain time but she went out of her way to see that I got them by when I needed them. Awesome service!

Anyway, back to the blocks. I tacked the letters on using small carpet tacks that I had on hand. I also applied clear wax to seal everything BEFORE I added the letters. The couples got to take these home as a keepsake.

For the appetizer/dessert table decorations I used my chippy white picket fence behind and hung it with a heart-shaped grapevine/berry wreath that I made. I couldn't find a heart-shaped grapevine wreath at Joann or Hobby Lobby so I bought a wire heart form and used some of our grapevines. I added berries that I had gotten on clearance after Christmas and a burlap ribbon bow.

This table also had more of the votives and a larger spray of roses in a larger aqua jar.
See that rusty little heart? That was a free gift from the shop that I bought the letters from. I think it is adorable!

This pretty much sums up the decor. There are a few more things we used for props but they have taken down and I can't get pictures of them. I'm very sad that I didn't take pictures before the guests began arriving because this doesn't really give you a true idea of what it looked like.

If you have any questions about anything, please ask!
From the farmhouse,


  1. What a gift you have! Everything is so lovely. Don't be so hard on yourself about the photos. I know exactly how it feels having done it many times myself, but you have had that awful flu. I had it last week also. I hope you are feeling much better now!

  2. I know it all looked adorable. I love the insulators in the rusty springs, so cute!

  3. Your talent and creativity always amazes me. I also love the aqua insulators as votive holders!
    Since my bed springs were harvested from a different box than yours I'm not sure if the insulators would fit in mine. I may have to stop by sometime and see if they would. :)

  4. Sis and I used to sell similar insulator candles at the craft shows we did ...the only thing is we added a "garter" ruffle of homespun...and also put a little sand in the bottom of the insulator because once the candle burns down, the glass can break or crack..causing the wax to spill out on the table or worse...the sand puts out the fire first. I see yopu have a voltive holder set inside yours which is a good idea . your pictures are all great...and I am loving your blog!

  5. Rachel, the decor is beautiful! The punched tins are even prettier than the original idea!

  6. I am so sorry to hear of your sickness, hopefully warmer weather will put an end to it. Your photos are so very inviting, they make me want to break out and get the supplies to try some of your projects for myself. Hope you are having a blessed day.

  7. When I follow someone's else tutorials - their's is always better - but I like YOUR tin can candle holders better. Way to go - you're amazing!

  8. I tried to respond to your comment but it couldn't deliver it to your e-mail. Don't know if that's a problem on my end or your end. Just wanted to you to know so you could double check!!
    Thanks for the comment and your party sounded fun! Wish i could have gone!!


Thanks for taking the time to make my day with your comments!