Sunday, April 29, 2012

{Lensbaby} @ the Carthage Square

Yesterday, fueled only by coffee and cinnamon rolls, the group of art teachers at the Beehive Collaborative went on a little walk around the Carthage Square after a morning of creative collaboration. I took my camera and Lensbaby 2.0, as we made our way to the little diner on the corner.

It is interested to photograph the same location with multiple cameras, films, and in a variety of seasons...even though the subject matter stays the same, the results can be shockingly different. Here is a Holga roll of the court house.
These were all taken on my Nikon D5000, with my Lensbaby 2.0.

Click here for more photos from the day. 

Photos from the Beehive Collaborative

Saturday, I spent the day with Joplin area art teachers at the Beehive Collaborative in Carthage. You can read more about what we did here: The Beehive Collaborative 

This was a great experience to open my inner creative channels. After working on the 'Self-to-Synergy' project, all I wanted to do was photograph, draw and explore artistic mediums. I would definitely recommend this experience to you if you have a group of friends or a work group that is interested in opening a creative dialog or team building.
The instructor Josie Mai, led our group through a creative process.

We were instructed to design a symbol to represent ourselves, which we created in silhouette form, and installed in the space. The one above is mine....I created a lamp with many 'lights' as a nod to the pressures of being always 'on' as a teacher, daughter, woman, photographer, artist, etc. Sort of a visual 'don't drop all the balls you juggle'. The posed arms of the light reference Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflower paintings, with drooping sunflowers. The projections sticking out of the lampshades are a nod to Matisse's cut paper designs, sprinkled with a few symbols to directly reflect my personal attributes.

After installing the silhouettes, we went for lunch on the Carthage Square (I post additional photos here)....but first I got out my Lensbaby and started snapping photos!

It was a great day. As a teacher, it is hard to find time to explore my own creative ideas, this was a great opportunity to refresh my passion, and renew my energy to finish out the school year. I also have some new ideas to explore this summer, both for the classroom and for my own personal artwork. This was just what I needed to jump start my creativity.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Favorites {A Treasury}

So often, I browse Etsy, mark an item or a shop as a favorite and then never look at the stuff again.

Most of the things that I {heart} on Etsy are things that I want for myself or that I love looking at.

Today I decided to honor some of those favorite things by listing them in a treasury.

This is my WISH list, and I wanted to share it with you (not because I want presents) but because I want to show my appreciation to these fantastic little artists for all of their hard work, I know that running an Etsy shop isn't easy. These are the little things that I think about after I close my computer....Seriously, Hand Crafted Wooden cat eye glasses, SWOON!

To visit my treasury, or any of the items below, click here: Thursday Favorites

Owls are my favorite animal, but I recently admitted to my students that foxes are my 2nd favorite.....

Have you ever made a treasury on Etsy?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tips for Hosting your Own Mad Men Cocktail Party

Hosting a Mad Men Cocktail party with a group of friends or several couples is a fun way to spend a Saturday night. 



I thoroughly enjoyed planning all of the little details and researching ideas for this party. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it! For this event, I looked on Pinterest and on a lot of blogs and party planning websites for tips. One of the first things I did, was go to the AMC website to 'Mad Men' was too much fun!

Then I designed an invitation. I was going to order some off Etsy, but I only needed I just bought a couple of new ink cartridges and printed them onto card stock at home. They were really easy, and I kept them simple. I designed this in the Print Shop.

The house was decorated and cleaned....I tried to clear out all of the clutter, and use vintage decor items around the house. 

*please excuse the blurriness living room is incredibly dark, it is hard to get enough natural light for a decent shot of the decor. I tried to use as much vintage stuff as I could....I already owned all of the cameras, and I framed a couple of vintage ads and family photos. I had a couple of vintage books and games that I put on the shelves in my living room.

We found some vintage magazines and I ordered a bunch of candy cigarettes to use as props.

MAD Menu+Cocktails

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes
Cheddar Cheese Fondue (served with bread, broccoli and fresh mushrooms)
Sesame Chicken Skewers
Deviled Eggs
Pecan Encrusted Cheese Ball (served with an assortment of crackers)
Shrimp Cocktail
Pigs in  Blanket
Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Bugles (served with French onion Dip)
Strawberry Cheese Cake Jello (Made by Martha in a beautiful mold; she also made yummy caramels)
Spinach Artichoke Dip (From Drew)
I also found a SUPER delicious Lemon Pound Cake at tasted like a chocolate cake doughnut...SO GOOD. 

I tried to make as many 'Mad Men' era foods as possible, and use as many retro serving dishes as possible.
I found these napkins at Target...there are so many fun 'vintage prints' available....I really liked this one!!
I made some little tent/pick signs for each of the dishes, using cardstock I pre-stamped them with a little retro stamp...I hand wrote each item.

For the bar, we set up a table with a bunch of vintage bar glasses. I created a pretty tray with various cocktail garnishes:
Orange slices
And for the first time, I tried those lemon+oranges, so yummy!
Cocktail Onions
Olives (and jalapeno stuffed olives)

I had umbrellas, straws and swizzle sticks and tons of mixers.

I printed out a cocktail recipe sheet so that people could make their own drinks throughout the night. We also served glass bottles of coke.

Party Games+Photos+Music

For an event like this, a few drinks and some appropriate music is enough to make the party, but we decided to plan a few games for the night. We did compiled a play list of Ultra Lounge  music for the night, but there are lots of great pandora stations and a couple of iTunes play lists if you just look around.

Don's Creative Couples Compete
Everyone split into teams (so couples were together). Each team was responsible for a 'pitch'....they had to work together to develop a poster and a slogan for a company. I had big sheets of poster board, rulers, stencils, pencils, sharpies, markers and colored pencils for them to use. We also had an easel for the presentation.

Around 11:00 p.m. everyone gathered in the living room to hear the presentations.

If you are interested in playing this game at your Mad Men Party, here is the list of companies and products we came up with. WE MADE THESE UP!! A few are 'period' products, like Twister, but for the most part, we  seriously just had a couple of brainstorming sessions and jotted down funny things. We tried to do as many 'adult' things as possible....

I printed these out, cut them apart, and people drew from a bowl. We only used 5 from the list, since we just had 5 couples, but it was so fun to see how everyone worked together and the wide variety of concepts for each of the products was just amazing.

New line of electric razors and shavers for both men and women. For use on their nether-regions.
Chanel No. ___:
New Line of perfume, chemically matched for pheromones. A love potion designed to help people attract others who are chemically suitable according to scent.
Milton Bradley:
Adult board game. Twister, which uses human bodies as playing pieces.
Secor Laxative:
New energy drink laxative. A body cleanse without the ‘tired/drained’ feeling.
New hygiene pad for men and women with loose bowels due to diarrhea or sexual activity. Worn with belts and pins.
Fruit of the Loom:
Fart absorbing underwear.
New adult flavors. Alcoholic Popsicles in ‘adult’ molds.
New bullet developed with the Chinese. It is a firework that can be discharged from a pistol that either screeches, explodes, or is a dud. Funny bullets.
Developing a prototype for a new reusable toilet paper.
Trojan Condom:
Fits to every man. One size fits all. Like a shrink wrap.
Love potion lip balm. Stimulates a man upon impact.
Franco American:
Spaghetti-Os. Kid-friendly pasta with shapes such as: cowboys, Indians, spacemen, stars, and sports shapes. Less messy than regular spaghetti. Also, spaghetti-o's with franks. Meat chunks.
Exotic TV Dinners with special gourmet foods like reindeer pate, mangosteen, balut, durian fruit, frog legs, casu marzu, and fish sperm shashimi. The meals need a catchy name to embody the feeling of the interesting food.

People really got into those candy cig props!!
 I tried to take everyone's photo as they arrived. As I mentioned above, my living room is really dark, and we had the extra areas designated as 'work stations' for the I didn't have a good photo booth spot in the house, but a photo booth with good lighting would've been ideal (next time!)

So Retro Glam! I had my stylist help me with the loofah beehive!

We also played the 'Pass the Orange' game...I think that was from season two, it was really fun!
I actually did not take as many pictures as I would've liked once the party got going. My long fake eyelashes made working the camera a challenge.

I will say I felt a bit like Megan Draper (in the season premiere, after Don's birthday party, where she is cleaning up and doesn't want to get sweaty) on Monday when I was washing all those dishes...Most of my vintage dishes are not dishwasher safe, so I had a mountain of cocktail glasses and corning ware to wash! Totally worth it!

It was a beautiful night and I can't wait to do it again, getting all dressed up is just so fun!