June 14, 2015

 photo June14IsSkunkDay.pngSkunk Day june14

Yes, you read that correctly.
It's National Skunk Day.

In honor of the day, I am resurrecting a
tablescape I did several years ago.

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As a small child, I collected ceramic skunks. (There's no explaining that, so I'll just move on.)
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The skunks, along with the shadow box in which they were displayed, disappeared about the time
I turned 12, when my bedroom changed from Little Girl Pink to Teenage Whatever.
I found the collection when I was cleaning out my folks' garage shortly after my mother passed away.
In truth, I'd completely forgotten that I'd ever owned them. The discovery produced a flood of memories,
and for a few minutes, I lost sight of my original task.

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The gold-rimmed skunk plates were part of my skunk collection and hung on the wall of my bedroom. One of the plates still had the plate hanger attached to it when I went to haul the collection down from the rafters.
I suppose the bitter sweet surprise of finding them and recovering a once forgotten bit of my childhood just wouldn't allow me to toss them out. So they remained in the box in which I found them, moved from here to there and back again, but never opened until I once again set upon the task of decluttering a back bedroom closet.

The two largest skunks shown here are salt and pepper shakers (also part of the original collection).
There was a skunk bank, seen at the top of this post, and the aforementioned shadow box, which apparently went to Shadow Box Heaven long before I left for college.

I remember I had names for each one of the ceramic critters. Except for the skunk with a name tag on his tail (Phew), all the names escape me now.

The dice are from a vintage 1950's game called Skunk.
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I loved playing Skunk as a kid. The game's original score pad rests beneath a vase of pink lights. My grandchildren and I play now. The game sets up fast and the rounds go quickly. Not wanting to destroy what's left of the score pad, we use xeroxed copies when we play.
The wimpy carnations came from my garden.
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I offered the skunk collection to my granddaughters. Although they were still little girls at the time, they were old enough to know that I was hoping one of them would take me up on the offer, and they were visibly uncomfortable when they turned me down. They are just as sensitive and caring today as they were back then.

In the end, Phew was the only one I kept.
I kept him because … oh … gosh … I just …
well, you know.
My heart wouldn't allow me to let him go.

Black and white salad plate: Crate and Barrel
Black dinner plates: Yard sale, originally from Marshals
Placemats and napkins: Jo-Ann Fabrics

March 4, 2015

Let's Celebrate Pi Day

Oh, I forgot.
You hate math.
If you're still reading, don't close out!

I'm making it my job to help you cross over to the nerd side and join in the celebration.

It'll be fun.

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First, you'll need to take a 30-second Refresher Course on the Value of π.
Stop your whining. This isn't going to hurt.

Pi is the relationship (or "ratio" in Mathspeak) between a circle's circumference and its diameter.
If you divide a circle's circumference by its diameter, you'll get the value of pi (3.14159…).

No matter what size circle you use (gigantic, medium, or teeny-tiny), you will always end up with 3.14159…

So . . .
Start with different size circles, wave your No. 2 pencil, and POOF, all your results will be the same.
That's a little bit like magic, don't you think?
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Now, let's begin by getting you in a party mood.
We'll start with a centerpiece.

Last month's Mardi Gras beads become this month's vase filler.
A cardboard clock serves as a base. The first 12 digits of pi replace the clock's standard numerals.
When placed on the table, small pink LED lights peek through the beads. Mini pennants top it off.

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This year's Pi Day is extra special. It's not just any old Pi Day. It's . . . . .

Ultimate Pi Day!

March 14 was chosen as Pi Day because the digits we use to represent
March 14 (3/14) correspond with the first three digits of π (3.14).

In 2015, the date and time are represented by the first 10 digits of π:
3.141592653 or 3/14/15, 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m.

This only happens once a century!

Grab a party hat and a noise maker.
Get ready to use your best celebratory
voice. (Think New Year's Eve.)
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Begin your countdown at T-10.
At the end of the table a countdown clock rests on (what else?) a pie plate. Party-goers can use it to count down the lasts seconds before Ultimate Pi. These online customizable clocks can be displayed on computer monitors, tablets, and smartphones.
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Pi is an irrational number.
That means that all the digits to the right of the decimal point will never repeat in a recognizable pattern, and will continue on forever and ever, without end.

Anything that mind-boggling deserves our attention.

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Each party guest finds a place at the table by locating a place card printed with a number sequence that represents his or her birthdate.

Inside the folded place card, guests will find
information concerning their number sequences
within pi's never-ending decimal.
Visit The Pi-Search Page to find the frequency and location of your particular number sequence.
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With all those digits going on forever and ever, it's no wonder mathematicians sought a way to tidy things
up a bit. About 300 years ago, the Math World settled on the use of the Greek letter π to represent this
infinitely long number.

Which brings us to the third reason you will want to celebrate Pi Day.


The symbol for pi is cool looking.
Don't roll your eyes. You know it is.
It's got way more style than symbols like ÷ and and .

On March 14, raise a glass to mathematical coolness.
 photo PiGrey.jpg

 photo PiNapkinInMug.jpg

Speaking of cool, get a load of this napkin fabric.

It drove the color scheme for this rest of the party decorations.

Cardstock circles, printed with the pi equation, were glued to the drinking straws.

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Pi is a transcendental number.
Wow. It's transcendental. How awesome is that!

"But what does that mean?" you ask.
Who cares? Just the sound of the word "transcendental"
is enough to establish the importance of π.

In fact, pi is so important that the House of Representatives
designated March 14 as National Pi Day in 2009.

Pi Day even has its own official website: piday.org.

 photo Placesetting.jpg Placemats are 18-inch square napkins.

Each napkin placemat is a different color.

Pi Day is also Albert Einstein's birthday (which, coincidentally, makes him a Pisces). Even though you may not fully grasp the finer points of Albert's famous equation, you've got to admit he was his own man when it came to hair styles.
If Time Magazine thought it fitting to honor Einstein as The Person of the Century, surely you can take a few minutes to whoop it up on his birthday.
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If .b = 1 birthday party guest . and . p = 1 party favor,
4b + 4p = good times

I chose the frisbee as a party favor because it was shaped like a circle.
However, Lee M-S left a comment on this post, pointing out that the inventor of the frisbee based the toy on baking pans from a certain Connecticut bakery. The name of the bakery? The Frisbie Pie Co.
The History Channel's "This Day in History" post for Jan. 23, as well as a New York Times article entitled "How the Frisbee Got Its Name", appears to support the comment. Thank you, Lee.
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An SOS pad was used to remove the logos from the tops of the frisbees.
Pi symbols, cut from black Contact paper, replace the original designs.

You can serve lots of great pi-appropriate goodies at your celebration.

Pinterest has lots of suggestions:
sweet potato pie, fruit pie, pizza pie, pot pies, apple pie juice, Boston cream pie (a cake, really), mud pie (yummy ice cream) and green salad laced with pine nuts and pineapple chunks.

We're having pizza pie. After the countdown, we'll be eating pi pies in a jar.
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Placemats: napkins made with fabric from Jo-Ann's Fabrics
Black dinner plates: no markings, Yard Sale
Flatware: inherited, no information
Frisbees: Big Lots
Black Contact paper: Amazon.com
Canning jar mugs: Goodman's
Napkins: fabric from Spoonflower.com, Pieces of Pi, Black
Hats and noise makers: Party City
Straws: Amazon.com
Beads: Mardi Gras 2013

This post is partying with Centerpiece Wednesday at The Style Sisters, Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday, and Between Naps on the Porch.

February 16, 2015

It's Mardi Gras in NOLA!*
And almost everywhere else, it's just Tuesday.

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I live where it's just Tuesday.

And most Tuesdays come with responsibilities.

Tuesday Responsibilities extend to every member of my family, except for my baby grandson (who, come to think of it, has to keep on his own schedule too).

Mardi Gras may be a state holiday in Louisiana, but there's simply no way to carve out time for the big bash at my house.

Still, once you've taken children to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, it's hard to let it go.

* Pancake Day
In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and Canada, the last day before the Lenten Season is known as "Pancake Day", as it is a common custom to eat pancakes on that day. Traditionally, eating pancakes helped to use up rich foods that were to be avoided for the next 40 days (fat, butter, sugar, and eggs).

PLUS ---------->
I need to
start using
all of these
souvenir beads!

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Early morning seems to be the only time I can gather my family together for a little celebration.
Welcome to our Mardi Gras breakfast.
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I never understood the reasoning back of putting something at a place setting that has no real purpose.
Consequently, I never do it.
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And here I am doing it!

I spotted the crowns (Plaster of Paris, I think.) at a yard sale and immediately thought of Mardi Gras. After purchasing all they had (3 pink ones and one black one), they got a coat of gold spray paint. I tried setting them among the beads and feathers, but they got lost.

Mardi Gras Napkin Tutorial:
Wrap beads loosely around an old dish towel and spot glue with a hot glue gun. Remove the do-dads from one of your fancier necklaces and glue to the wrapped beads. If necessary, spot glue in a few more places where the beads touch each other. Slip the bead ring off the dish towel and onto a napkin.
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I first used these place card holders at a Charles Dickens Christmas luncheon.
The name cards are meant to be placed above the horizontal wires, between the curlicues at the end.
One drop of hot glue transforms them into hanging NOLA street signs.

 photo c69e674b-966c-4248-9195-37fcd1c65f25.jpg The morning revelers were served King Cake Pancakes. I used a recipe found on Tablespoon.com, which is basically a Bisquick pancake with nutmeg and cinnamon.

Everyone found a small plastic baby in the middle of their stacks. Orange juice filled the wine glasses.

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The Kitchen Assembly Line

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A cardboard and PVC pipe lantern acts as the main centerpiece. Forgoing the commonly used Bourbon Street sign, I attached a St. Charles sign to the post.
(1) When we went to New Orleans we were looking for
The Family Celebration Side of Mardi Gras.
So, we naturally avoided Bourbon Street.
2) While there, we stayed with wonderful friends who live on St. Charles.

If you're skeptical about taking children to Mardi Gras, check out this article on the Mardi Gras New Orleans site.


Dinner plates: Tabletops Unlimited, Misto-Gold, Bed, Bath and Beyond
Green salad plates: Homer Laughlin Fiestaware, Shamrock, Amazon.com
Purple bread and butter plates: Homer Laughlin, Fiestaware, Plum, Amazon.com
Stemware: Rambler Rose, Tiffin Glass Co, inherited
Flatware: Hampton Forge, Kingsley Gold, Macy's
Crowns: Yard sale - Price tags on the bottom of all four indicate Hobby Lobby ($19.99 - yikes!)
Lamp Post Place Card Holders: local shop in Glendale, CA, but they can easily be found by doing an internet search
Green napkins: fabric from Jo-Ann's Fabrics
Purple placemats: Bed, Bath and Beyond
Beads, boas, coconuts, and coins: Mardi Gras, 2013

Lamp Post Centerpiece - Some Steps

 photo Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 6.40.10 PM.png A Google search (criteria: lamp post instructions scholastic) should produce the link shown at the left.
Click the link and you will be taken to a pdf file.

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I printed the pdf patterns at 75% and glued them to cardboard.
I only used cardboard shapes #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6.

Hot glue, black duct tape, and a 1-inch diameter piece of PVC pipe went together to create the lantern and pole.
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A 5-way fitting is used as the base. The entire lamp post is sprayed black.
The base will be weighted down with holiday beads when the lamp post is placed on the table.
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The panes of the lantern were made from a yellow pocket folder
purchased at Staples. It's attached with double sided tape.
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This post is partying with Centerpiece Wednesday at The Style Sisters, Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday, and Between Naps on the Porch.
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