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Get Gushy: Love Parties

3 Feb

Just to be clear, this post is about Valentines Day and thus, love. I’ma get gushy. You’ll find no anti-VDay, black armband, burn-all-the-relics-from-the-shrine-you-created-for-the-man-you’re-stalking suggestions here. The only thing I find more annoying then people that treat Valentines Day like a serious holiday is people that get pissy about it and spread their doom and gloom around like peanut butter on hot toast (unless you’re a teenager, then you’re excused because you have to put up with competing for how many carnations you have sent to you, an evil popularity plot, probably set into motion by that cheerleading coach from Glee).

So if it’s a pity party you’re looking for,  you’ll find more solace in the hot deli at your local grocery store. But if it’s lovey dovey-ness you crave, well you’re in the right spot! Here are some excellent Valentines Day party themes for the ol’ 14th of Feb.:

1. Past Their Prime (Time): TV Couples Costume Party

Famous movie star couples have been done so why not have shindig dedicated to the great loves of boob tube past? Have guests dress as their favorite twosomes. For example:

  • Sam and Diane from Cheers (I get dibs on that if you invite me)
  • Kevin and Winnie from The Wonder Years
  • Sandra and Elvin from The Cosby Show
  • Blanche from Golden Girls and every male senior citizen from Miami (group costume)
  • Charles in Charge and the sisters because you know that’s what he was in it for
  • The Nanny and Mr. Sheffield
  • Burt and Ernie

I could go on all day, but everyone has a favorite so let them decide.

Invites and Decoration: If you want to get fancy and make invitations, style them after a TV Guide. You know, like 6:30-7: Live in the Kitchen with Appetizers!; 7-7:30: So You Think You Can Drink, so on. Decoration and atmosphere can be low key. Check out some classic TV theme song CDs from the library for background music and also find a recording of canned laughter and play it every time someone makes a lame joke. Create a makeshift photo area with props and a TV screen cut out from cardboard that guests can stand behind. Constantly interrupt your guests for commercial breaks. Make sure and do product placement all around your house. For example, make little cards in your bathroom that say “Your bathroom break is sponsored by Charmin Toilet Paper and a box of matches!”.

Food and Drink: Serve “Let’s go out to the kitchen” snacks on TV trays throughout the room. Choose foods that you would eat while watching the telly: popcorn, candy, whisky straight from the bottle, etc.

Extras: Make a trophy by gluing an old thrift store remote to some sort of platform and give it to best costume or do a TV trivia quiz for a grand prize.

2. Why Must I Be A Teenager in Love?: School Dance Party

Invites and Decoration: Style this party like a 1950s dance held in the high school gym. Send invitations made out of notebook paper and folded up as a note you would pass in class. Guests can check yes or no for their RSVP. Encourage people to dress up in old fashioned prom outfits: chiffon dresses, ducktails, pockmarks. Hang tissue paper streamers and a big paper heart that guests can tape their senior pictures up to for everyone to laugh at. Play doo-wop records for the dance floor and make sure there’s lots of slow dancing. Keep the lights low. Make your old friends be chaperones.

Food and Drink: Spiked punch, obviously. Other than that you can go two ways with the menu. Either serve 1950s cookbook style items: Jell-O Molds, entrees with two kinds of meat in one dish, roll #$%@ up in ham, use fancy toothpicks. OR, theme your dishes after 1950s pop songs. For example: “And They Called it Puppy Chow”, “Johnny Angel-Food Cake”, “Leader of the Pack-et Taco Seasoning”. That kind of thing.

Extras: Station someone in the bathroom to hide out and offer people cigarettes or give them swirlies. Call everyone’s parents to pick them up.

3. Love Potion #9 Party

It’s possible that your guests don’t really feel like dressing up. In which case, a Love Potion #9 party is the one for you. You can go as simple as a punch bowl with a Post-It that reads “Hey guys this is love potion”, or really get into it and throw a Mad Scientist /Gypsy blowout.

Invites and Decoration: Just call your friends and invite them. Haven’t I thought of enough ideas for you? Decorate your home like a bordello: scarves draped over stuff, lots of lamps, incense burning, and some sort of glass globe (magic ball) or tarot cards strewn about. Designate someone Madame Ruth (you know that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth?) to pass out random future readings to people. Definitely designate a makeout room with trippy music playing in case your guests start “kissin’ everything in sight”.

Food and Drink: This seems to me mostly a drinking party. Mix up several different punches of all different colors (use food dye to make them really distinct). If you want to stay true to the song, mix one punch up “right here in the sink”. Place cards in front of each punch that says what type of “potion” it is: Love Potion, Unrequited Love Elixir, Stalker’s Brew, Tonic for Commitment-phobes. Include little snacks to soak up somma that potion so no one get’s pulled over by “a cop down at Thirty Fourth and Vine” on the way home.

Extras: Do NOT actually drug people.

That’s all for now! I won’t invite myself if you throw one of these, but I will hold it against you forever if you don’t let me come.

Harvest This!: Five Fall Party Themes

22 Oct

Great reasons to have a Fall House Party at your place:

  • To convince people you’re not anti-social…without having to go outside.
  • Pass off your sub-par cleaning skills as Halloween decoration (Keep the cobwebs. Clean your toilet.)
  • Good way to get the person you’re stalking to come over and check out that new shrine you’ve been working on.
  • Built-in group to pitch your new pyramid scheme to.
  • Because I have some great fall party themes and I’m going to tell you about them right nnnnnnnnn…

Now.

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Pop the Bubbly: Cheap and Distracting Fun for Kids

16 Aug

You’ve been to the zoo, the farmer’s market, the fireworks, and the water park. You tried to start a fun summer school thing, but it never really took off after the nature walk lesson you planned where it took you a half hour just to get everyone sunscreened and bug-sprayed and the neighbor kid complained the whole time and no one could find the right shape of leaf to trace and you ended up getting them ice cream in the hopes that they would become lethargic enough to pass out on the sun-porch while you dabbed calomine lotion on your mosquito bites and cried to yourself.

If the only activity you’ve got left up your sleeve is crossing off the calendar days until school starts again, if  you started empathizing with Betty Draper when you watch Mad Men on Netflix Watch Instantly,  if you’ve found yourself yelling, “Godblessit, can I just finish my damn wine cooler?”,  then you are officially sick of your kids.

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Emotional Record Organizing for Lovers

28 Apr

“Beautiful music evokes sentimental memories and a nostalgia that can recapture tender nuggets of romance”. I picked that up from the liner notes in my copy of Jackie Gleason Presents Music to Make You Misty. It’s super cheesy and the woman on the cover of the album quite obviously has droplets of dried Elmer’s glue on her face as a stand-in for real tears, but Mr. Gleason has a point. Songs can sway your mood or help you really dig into your current one. Feeling like you might rob a liquor store just to get out of this godforsaken town? You’ll be humming Springsteen when you do. Getting ready for a job interview, an awkward breakup, or anything else that feels epic at the time? Something by Queen will suffice. Boxing up your ex’s crap? May I suggest “You Better Call Tyrone“?

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Bird Killa: The Barbara Ann Story

5 Apr

As any self-respecting lady of leisure (read: unemployed) would, I have become the recent owner of a cat. Her name is Barbara Ann. We call her Barb.

Barb grew up in a trailer park for cats just off of the express-way. At least, that’s where we found her. From what I can gather, her mother ditched family and friends to run off with a tom-cat who had briefly struck it rich while filing his claws on a lottery ticket that had fallen onto the sidewalk from someone’s pocket. Drifters like him seldom stick around and this tabby was no different. He was long gone by the time the litter arrived. Hearing he’d run off to California, Barb’s mother decided to name her new fatherless kittens after Beach Boys songs: Barbara Ann, Rhonda, Surfer Girl, Kokomo, and Good Vibrations, which held sort of a double meaning for Barb’s mom.

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Momma Musta Took the Kodachrome Away: Found Pictures Lamp

14 Mar

A couple of years ago, when I was living in Chicago, I spent a Sunday afternoon strolling the neighborhood garage sales and buying as much as I could carry back to my house for as much money as I had in my pocket which was/is never more than $11. I spend a lot of Sunday afternoons doing this and, since I’ve recently become unemployed, I imagine I’ll spend a lot of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons doing it too. But on this particular Sunday, on a tiny corner of a picnic table, was a dirty plastic bag of film negatives with no price-tag. The garage salesman didn’t even look like he recognized them, so he gave them to me for free. It slightly resembled the scene from “Little Shop of Horrors” when Seymour finds Audrey 2. Da doo.

Shang da doo.

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Thriftfulness Home: A New Home For Ma’ War Paint

29 Jan

There’s an old Lorrie Morgan song called “War Paint” about (and this is just me attempting to interpret the many complex metaphors of this song) putting on makeup in order get back out “on the path” to pick up a new man. Battle preparation, getting ready for the bar, same thing really.

My own collection of war paint was outgrowing the travel-size carrying case I was holding it in. And we all know you can’t keep war paint locked away. If I wanted to be prepared for the war path (AKA, dinner date with my fiance), I was going to have to have my eyeliner at the ready. What I really needed was a Kaboodle, but I had given my last one of those away around the same time Lorrie Morgan married her fourth husband. What’s a warrior/girl to do?

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Back to the November: Thanksgiving Recap

9 Dec

I know it’s jeeeeest about getting to panic time for the holiday season, at least for us craftsters who planned on hand-whittling the  state birds for each second cousin this year. But if you could all take a moment to think back in time, to those days before you swore off the shopping mall after getting in a fist fight with your sister over Tickle Me Mickey or whatever that thing is; before you stopped speaking with your in-laws over holiday schedule disputes; before you got too drunk at the office Winter Festival party and embarassed yourself again. Way back to a day called Thanksgiving. Ah, weren’t things easier then?

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The Yellow Kitchen Curtain: My Descent into Domestic Madness

11 Nov

“Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast and her crawling shakes it all over…” - The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It was 1 AM on Sunday, November 7. But really it was 12 AM…or 2 AM. The time change always screws me up.  So there I was, awake in bed,waiting for my husband-to-be to return from a late-night band gig, and that’s when-as the late great Shel Silverstein would say–the Whatifs crawled inside my ear. What if the dandelion wine we’re serving at our first Thanksgiving is awful? What if the duct-taped rearview mirror on our car falls off? I settled on: What if I left the coffee maker on at work and the building is currently burning down? Yep, that should sufficiently keep me up for the rest of the night.

After googling “Can a Mr. Coffee burn a building down?” (you can find pretty much whatever answer you want to find) for a bit, I decided to put my anxiety about becoming an accidental arsonist to good use by making some cocoa almonds, a delicious snack I saw in a cookbook that I’ve forgotten the title of  (but I’ve added the recipe below). However, as I was standing in my well-lit kitchen at 2 AM (or 1 AM or 3 AM), I noticed we had no curtain on our kitchen window and, of course, immediately began to worry that some creep was watching me coat my nuts in chocolate. Well, it’s only 2 AM (or 1 AM or 3 AM), never too late to make curtains! This way it would make an interesting police report when they arrested me for burning my workplace down: “The suspect was found humming to Patsy Cline and sewing a long curtain to hang next to her oven, presumably so that she could then set her own apartment on fire.”

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You Wanna Be My Second?: Trusty Food Substitutions

9 Oct

Danny Zuko was Kenickie’s backup driver at Thunder Road and won. John Kimble was the sub in Kindergarten Cop and look how much ass he kicked. And Sister Mary Clarence showed us that you don’t even have to be a real nun to fill Lauryn Hill with the light of day (check the rhyyyyyme!) in Sister Act II. Substitutes are doin’ it for themselves.

In my opinion, the same goes for food substitutions. Many times, my tastebuds are bigger than my wallet and I find that the recipes I clipped from various cookbooks and television shows don’t really fit my budget. Or I’d have to buy an ingredient that I’ll only use 2 tablespoons of and then have to waste the rest because I won’t bother to find another recipe to use it in. Or I’m super hungry and I don’t want to run to the store to get one little old ingredient. Broke. Careless. Impatient. What’s new?

It’s at this moment that my eyes light up…because I’ve opened the fridge…and found a round of substitutes that I can recruit to round out my meal/dessert. Bring in the alternates!, I holler. Boyfriend and possibly the neighbors downstairs shake their heads. She’s at it again.

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