Mad Men Party Wrap-Up

I did not want the night to end when we threw our Mad Men-themed birthday party a few weeks ago. There are more ideas in the first post about our Mad Men party and the retro menu can be found in another post as well. Here are some of the finishing details that pulled it all together – not the least of which were the fab costumes of our guests!

Lucky Strike cigarette boxes

Mad Men would simply not be Mad Men, without all the smoking, particularly the Lucky Strikes. At the same time, I’m not such a devoted fan of the show that I was about to start up a carcinogenic habit. As a compromise, I printed up some empty Lucky Strike cigarette boxes and filled them with Hershey’s Ovation Dark Chocolate Mint Sticks, which have that long thin cigarette shape.

There’s a great printable Lucky Strike box from Namida on Deviantart.com. It has a fun disclaimer on the side and otherwise looks quite authentic.

To save ink and paper, I printed two copies and then placed just the box images side by side, so I could make additional copies with two boxes per page. I printed mine on heavy Index Card Stock (110 lb paper) and then set them up in the front hall, under a vintage Lucky Strike ad, for guests to enjoy. I will say that this project was more time-consuming than I had anticipated, but they helped set the tone at the party and made a fun party favor, too!

Mad Men party.  Party favors: Lucky Strike boxes filled with mint chocolates and displayed under a vintage ad | Jewels at Home

Party favors: Lucky Strike boxes filled with mint chocolates and displayed under a vintage ad.

Mad Men Photo Booth

I love photo booths. I still have favorite strips from my school days and when Steve and I were young and goofy (now we’re not-so-young and still goofy). With today’s technology, it’s so easy to make your own photo booth, and that giddy sensation of not knowing exactly when the flash will go off, of trying to squeeze all your friends into the frame, is easy to recreate in your own home.

Mad Men party.  DIY photo booth with great accessories | Jewels at Home

DIY photo booth with great accessories.

To make the photo booth, I used

  • large cardboard boxes spruced up with fabric panels around the outside
  • a custom Mad Men photo booth sign
  • iPad with Picibooth app, attached to the inside of the box with Command Picture-Hanging Strips
  • three different backdrops

I hung all the curtains from our regular curtain rod, so it was easy to switch backdrops, just like the traditional photo booths!

Mad Men party.  DIY photo booth with iPad mounted inside | Jewels at Home

DIY photo booth with iPad mounted inside

Mad Men party.  DIY photo booth with three fun backgrounds hanging on a curtain rod | Jewels at Home

DIY photo booth with three fun backgrounds hanging on a curtain rod.

I provided some props, like costume jewelry, a fedora, fake cigarettes, and Lucky Strike boxes, all arranged under Peggy’s breakthrough Belle Jolie ad. Our guests had plenty of their own themed accessories, too!

Mad Men party.  Photo booth accessories | Jewels at Home

The photo booth got a lot of action that night. I loved going back later to see all the sassy poses, and I especially loved discovering that our seven-year-old had gone up several times to take pictures himself!

Mad Men party.  DIY photo booth with backdrops and accessories | Jewels at Home

Guys and Dolls – Fab Costumes

I cannot take any credit for the following photos, but I just had to share all the great looks that crossed our threshold that night. Honestly, it was like opening a birthday present every time I opened the door! It was enormous fun for us to see how much fun our friends had creating their costumes. From crinolines to bouffant hairdos, bow ties to patent pumps, every one looked perfect!

Mad Men party.  Costumes | Jewels at Home

Mad Men party.  Costumes | Jewels at Home

Mad Men party.  Costumes | Jewels at Home

More Mad Decor

I wanted to feel immersed in the Mad Men world everywhere I looked, starting with our front door, where I hung a large framed Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce logo:

Mad Men party.  Tons of ideas for decorating and entertaining! | Jewels at Home

Another logo was prominently displayed over the buffet table:

Mad Men party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

This vintage typewriter sparked a lot of conversation!

Mad Men Party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

Leading up to the party, I became obsessed with collecting vintage barware in thrift stores and on eBay.  I love the collection of Dorothy Thorpe silver-rimmed glasses displayed at our kitchen bar area and the classic California-themed tumblers gathered on a tray.

Mad Men Party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

Mad Men Party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

If you’re looking for some fabulous artwork to display, this book has fun illustrations Mad Men: The Illustrated World by Dyna Moe, including this one that I framed to put next to the dry bar area.

Mad Men Party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

I said I didn’t want the evening to end, but it did end perfectly.  After most of the guests left, some of our college buddies hung out with us in the living room to catch up some more, and one of them snapped this pic of me and Steve at the end of the night.

Mad Men Party.  A complete guide to decorating and entertaining | Jewels at Home

Good night!

“Jewels”

Mad Men Party – Menu

It’s hard to pick a favorite thing about our recent Mad Men- themed party, but the food was a definite hit. Do check out the other posts on the pre-party brainstorming and the Mad Men party wrap-up for more ideas.

To Drink

True to the spirit (haha) of the show, I’ll start with the drinks! Steve played bartender for much of the evening, which I think satisfied his connection to the TV series – he mixes himself a drink in one of our roly poly glasses for each new episode.

Mad Men Party Bar Menu including both classic and whimsical items | Jewels at Home

Mad Men Party Bar Menu including both classic and whimsical items. No one went for the Mountain Dew…

Mad Men party bar set-up with menu and collection of vintage Dorothy Thorpe glasses | Jewels at Home

Mad Men party bar set-up with menu and collection of vintage Dorothy Thorpe glasses.

In the dining room, we had a dry bar including some fabulous California-themed vintage glasses from our local thrift store.  I love the whimsical art with Sally Draper serving drinks.  It’s from Dyna Moe’s book, Mad Men: The Illustrated World.

Mad Men Party dry bar set-up with vintage glasses and Mad Men-inspired art  | Jewels at Home

Mad Men Party dry bar set-up with vintage glasses and Mad Men-inspired art.

Fab vintage glasses for a Mad Men party | Jewels at Home

Fab vintage glasses for a Mad Men party.

To Eat

Besides an array of appetizers set out in “chip and dip” format, Steve and I each had our pet projects for the evening’s menu.  His was definitely more refined – a Beef Wellington.  Since we were eating buffet style (and serving 25), he made a “deconstructed” Beef Wellington, and it was perfection!  His have-to side dish was a wedge salad with blue cheese.  I confess to eating just the blue cheese and bacon, but the wedge did look good on the table…

Mad Men party menu.  Deconstructed Beef Wellington | Jewels at Home

Deconstructed Beef Wellington

Mad Men party menu.  Classic wedge salad | Jewels at Home

Classic wedge salad.

My retro dishes of choice were a Waldorf Salad – modernized with some dried cranberries – and a Jell-o mold.  I did look up some traditional Jell-o salads, but I couldn’t bring myself to put vegetables into gelatin, even for the sake of authenticity, so I made mine with canned Mandarin oranges and strawberries.  It was delicious and definitely a nostalgia item for many in the room.

Mad Men party menu.  Contemporary Waldorf salad with dried cranberries | Jewels at Home

Contemporary Waldorf salad with dried cranberries

Mad Men party menu.  Jell-o mold with strawberries and Mandarin orange slices | Jewels at Home

A mid-century housewife moment: Jell-o mold with strawberries and Mandarin orange slices.

20130512-224423.jpgMad Men party menu.  Jell-o mold with strawberries and Mandarin orange slices | Jewels at Home

A big thank you to our friends who came back in time with us for a fun evening!

Mad Men party menu: Jell-o mold, Waldorf salad, Beef Wellington, wedge salad, and more | Jewels at Home

“Jewels”

Mad Men Party – Setting the Scene

I haven’t had a birthday party in 20 years, but this year seemed like a good time to get friends together for a joint party to celebrate Steve and my birthdays. Really, it all came out of my recent discovery of Mad Men (yes, I am late to the game but twice as devoted to make up for it), and the party seemed like a perfect excuse to dress up in fun 50s and 60s garb while swilling yummy cocktails with our nearest and dearest.

Are you planning a 50s/60s-era Mad Men party? What do you have in mind? Here are some of the props and ideas I can’t wait to try out. (Update: check out the new posts on the Mad Men menu and party wrap-up!)

Clothes

For guys, a suit with a skinny tie will look very dapper. Maybe a fedora?

Girls, the ideas are endless. You can go elegant late 50s or mod 60s. I see 50s- and 60s- inspired styles almost everywhere these days, but some specialty sources you’ll have fun browsing are ModCloth, Etsy, and eBay. Don’t forget your local thrift and consignment stores, too!

I’m still going through my closet for the perfect dress(es!) to accessorize with some pearls or this vintage rhinestone necklace:

Art Deco rhinestone necklace. Fab collection of ideas for a Mad Men party. {Jewels at Home}

Decor and atmosphere

I plan to set the scene with accessories like this old typewriter I found at an antiques store. I think it predates the 60s, but it still creates a great atmosphere. The typewriter needs a new ribbon – perhaps I can call UNderhill 3-2261 for service, as the sticker suggests?

Vintage typewriter - great prop for a Mad Men party! Complete list of party ideas in this blog post.  {Jewels at Home}

And of course, a fabulous bar is a must. I’m putting together a little collection of Dorothy Thorpe silver-rimmed barware, including roly poly glasses that look like them came straight out of Don Draper’s office.

Vintage Dorothy Thorpe monogrammed glasses for a Mad Men party! Complete list of party ideas in this blog post.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage Dorothy Thorpe roly poly glass for a Mad Men party! Complete list of party ideas in this blog post.  {Jewels at Home}

I considered getting a chip and dip dish, like the one Pete and Trudy Campbell got as a wedding gift, but I didn’t really want to spend money on something so specific, so I’m going to fake it with a bowl and platter.

If time permits, I’d like to make up some mock Lucky Strike cigarette boxes filled with something – chocolates, bread sticks, pretzels, candy cigarettes?

Music playlist – some Jazz and blues classics, Beatles, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bob Dylan, Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel.

Since this is a big birthday for both of us, I’m also considering doing a slide show – inspired by the Kodak carousel – maybe including some “Instagram”s of recent pictures.

I’ve also started printing posters to frame for products that Sterling Cooper worked on, such as:

  • Lucky Strike
  • Right Guard – aerosol can
  • Menken’s department store
  • Secor laxative
  • Liberty Capital – executive account
  • Belle Jolie lipstick
  • Mohawk Airlines
  • Samsonite
  • Patio cola
  • Heinz – baked beans
  • Sugarberry hams
  • Playtex
  • Jaguar
  • Kodak carousel
  • Pepsi snoball

Menu

This is a tough one. What are some retro dishes that people would actually want to eat? Waldorf salad, quiche, shrimp cocktail? We’re also thinking about some classic dishes to make for fun – I want to make a Jell-o salad, and Steve is talking about Beef Wellington.

For drinks, cocktails of all kinds, including Don Draper’s Old Fashioned, Betty’s Mint Juleps, martinis, and maybe a punch bowl. Another fun addition would be some Heinekens, which were also featured in the show.

Activities
We’ll have plenty of fun just hanging out together, but I’d also like to put out some vintage board games – Scrabble, Monopoly, Yahtzhee, Farkle and some games Steve picked up at the neighborhood rummage sale last year – and maybe set up a card table.

vintage board games

Game of the States from 1960 and Gettysburg from 1958 for $1 each! Looking forward to playing these!

Send any more ideas our way. Can’t wait to show you what we put together!

“Jewels”

Retro Travel Art and Accessories for Kids’ Rooms

Every time I walk into Lavish in Hayes Valley, I find a great piece of wrapping paper to use for a new project. At just $4 a sheet, these provide a lot of creative bang for the buck. First, there was the graphic red print I used to line J’s nursery bookcase. Next, I found a sweet hydrangea paper for my craft studio. Most recently, I was inspired by this retro air travel print from Cavallini & Co..

Retro air travel paper from Cavallini a& Co.

Retro air travel paper from Cavallini a& Co.

I didn’t originally plan a themed bedroom for our older boys, and I still want to keep it pretty neutral. The travel theme evolved first from these beautiful retro-style city posters by Karen Young of Loose Petals.

Retro-style city art prints by Karen Young of Loose Petals.

Retro-style city art prints by Karen Young of Loose Petals.

When I saw the wrapping paper, I knew it would tie in perfectly. I framed a section of paper as art – easy! – and then used more for DIY pencil tins and magnets for our DIY racing stripe magnet boards.

Upcycled DIY pencil tins with cool retro air travel paper.  From Jewels at Home.

Upcycled DIY pencil tins with cool retro air travel paper.

Upcycle advertising magnets with some fun paper.  Jewels at Home.

Upcycle advertising magnets with some fun paper. Jewels at Home.

Here are those new items pictured in the boys’ room.

DIY upcycled pencil tins with a cool retro air travel paper.  Jewels at Home.

DIY upcycled magents with a cool retro air travel paper.  Jewels at Home.

DIY upcycled magents with a cool retro air travel paper.  Jewels at Home.

 

Kids' gallery wall with retro travel art, DIY wall initials and DIY frames with clips to change art.  Click for details and tutorials.  {Jewels at Home}

Kids' gallery wall with retro travel art, DIY wall initials and DIY frames with clips to change art.  Click for details and tutorials.  {Jewels at Home}

And here’s a summary of the fun projects I did with this new paper: pencil tins, magnets, and framed art:

Ideas for fun wrapping paper projects: DIY pencil tins, magnets, and framed art.  Jewels at Home.

There’s still plenty of paper leftover. I’m thinking it would be perfect for luggage tags!

Yay! I’m excited to see the boys’ room slowly coming together!

“Jewels”

Whimsical Retro Nursery

Here is the first room tour of Jewels at Home. The tours are my motivation to “finish” (and clean up!) our house, room by room. In reality, our spaces are a constant work in progress, reflecting the dynamic nature of our lives, but it’s a great feeling when a room gets to the point where it’s ready to share. Let me know if you have a room in your house to share on Jewels at Home!

Our house was a fixer-upper when we bought it last year. Besides maintenance problems (clogged sewer pipe!) and cosmetic issues (pink, pink, pink!), the house was built as a sort of grand space that meant a small number of large and formal rooms, when what we wanted as a modern family of five was more separation of spaces for sleeping, working from home, and playing. I’m glad I spent so many hours staring at the real estate brochure with floor plan, because I figured out that we could convert the “dressing room” off the master bedroom into our ensuite bath and create an entrance through a hall closet to turn the old master bath into another bedroom. Adding the bedroom, that we are using as a nursery, has been a huge value for us.

Bedroom before

BEFORE: This space was the dated and pink master bath. By making a new entrance through a hall closet, it became a new bedroom!

I figure the reason that the nursery was the first room in the house to be “finished” is probably because it’s a small room, and, of course, because it’s SO fun to decorate a nursery! A child’s room is a place where your imagination is the limit!

Whether it’s because we are indecisive or enjoy change, we’ve moved a lot, and each of our kids has had a different nursery. I’ve loved putting them together, and while there are elements that have naturally been shared by all of them, each is also unique. Our current nursery has established itself with a whimsical retro feel. I preferred to make our kids’ first rooms pretty neutral – no car or princess themes here. I know from experience that they will develop their specific interests soon, but I chose not to make them a focus in the nursery.

This “Connor” rug from Pottery Barn Kids circa 2003 was the jumping off point for the colors in the room. I love its palette of dark and light blue, sage, and red. Cheerful for a child’s room, but not too juvenile and cutesy.

Connor Rug

"Connor" rug from Pottery Barn Kids has the inspiration colors for the nursery. The red is picked up by the wrapping paper on the inside of the bookshelf, and the blue in the toy bins (which are old diaper boxes wrapped in fabric!). The sage green is in the bedding, including the sleepsack hanging on the wall.

The roman shades from Country Curtains are a find that I cannot recommend highly enough! They are attractive, safe and easy to use (cordless and raise and lower with a spring, like a roller shade), and inexpensive. They’re not custom, and they didn’t have a size that was right for our other rooms, or I would have bought more! Even though they have a “thermal” rather than blackout lining, I find they cut a lot of light for nap time, maybe because of the dark color.

reading chair

Here is our cozy chair for reading, nursing, and snuggling.

I didn’t buy any new furniture for this room when we moved in, because I figured that a nursery arrangement is always temporary anyway. I took a tip from one of my favorite designers, Sarah Richardson, and even though I mixed wood tones, I made sure that each wood tone was found at least twice in the space, so it doesn’t look out-of-place: the crib and dresser have an espresso color, the bookshelf and picture frame on the opposite wall are a light wood, and the floor and chair have a medium tone. I added the wrapping paper to this bookcase in this post on dressing up bookcases: “Decorating Inside the Box.”

bookcase wall

The bookcase has room for display and storage. The mix of dark and light woods can work, as long as you have each wood tone in multiple places in the room.

Change table

This change table is an inexpensive version of the popular modern nursery furniture. I love the wall decal of a branch right next to the window, extending the outdoors into the space. I customized it by adding the letters spelling "sweet dreams."

A lot of the accessories in this room have special meaning. On the shelf and off to the right are a lot of accessories from my childhood, including the lamp, a bronzed shoe, and a “ducky bank”. In our reading corner, I made the quilt, and my close friend knit the baby blanket on the arm of the chair. The display wall between the windows has a paper quilt block from an old friend, a name plaque with motifs from MY baby blanket, vintage switch plates from my baby room, and an oversize letter “J.” You can see how I made the letter here. The jungle animal clothes pegs next to the book shelf is special, because my mom, who did not survive to meet her grandchildren, bought this for them in anticipation many years ago. Last but not least, the squeaky “Jumping Jack” below was a gift she bought for me as a newborn baby with her first paycheck after returning to work. My parents told me, he made me laugh for the first time, and all my kids gave enjoyed him too.

20120423-172040.jpg

My baby toy is bringing smiles to the next generation.

The end result of this transformation is a cozy, comfortable room that brings a smile wherever you look!

“Jewels”

Oversized Letter Decor: Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

… a very good place to start!

Art that features initials is so versatile. It looks great as part of a wall display, on a shelf, or on a door. It could make a great gift for a baby or child – it makes a kids – and the parents – feel so special to see their name on things!

There are lots of great ideas for projects featuring artistic initials, and I want to try them all! I decided to start with a simple 3-dimensional cut-out initial wrapped in paper or fabric. Here’s how I did it!

1) Buy or make a base letter: I’ve seen oversize wooden and cardboard letters at craft stores, so you could definitely start with one of those. In this case, I was feeling lazy and cheap – not to mention I do my projects when the kids are either napping or in bed at night, which makes trips to the craft store hard! So, I decided to cut out my own letters from cardboard. I had some extra-thick cardboard leftover from “dish pack” boxes from our move. These are great for lots of cardboard projects, because they are made from a double layer of corrugated cardboard and thus stronger and warp less.

You can find endless fonts by searching on the internet. I settled on Archive Garfield for a classic feel:

Archive Garfield

Archive Garfield upper case letters example from Myfonts.com

My Fonts website

Whole alphabet at Fonts.com

You could print out the letters you want, enlarge and then trace them, but I decided to wing it freehand. First, I decided on the overall dimensions I wanted – nine inches high – and marked that area on the cardboard. Then, I sketched the letters inside the space, using a ruler to make the straight lines. I also made some of the areas a little thicker than they are in the original font, so they would not be too fragile when cut out. I ended up using a popsicle stick to reinforce the thin part of the “K.” Also try to avoid narrow gaps – the inside curve of that “J” turned out to be tricky to wrap around. I used white glue on the very short tabs of paper and held them in place by wedging some bubble wrap in the gap until the glue dried. It turned out fine.

20120415-210502.jpg

Sketch or trace the letters onto cardboard using a ruler to help. Make sure the lines are not too thin and also try to avoid narrow gaps.

2) Apply paper or fabric: This is where you could get creative and use scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, maps, photos, fabric, whatever! I would recommend cutting leaving a one inch margin around your letter – I didn’t have that much, because I was using a scrap leftover from decorating the back of our little guy’s bookcase, which made it harder. Also, if you are using corrugated cardboard, I would just put a couple of spots of glue from a glue stick on the front, because if you glue it down thoroughly, the corrugation will show.

Cut tabs to help ease the paper around curves and corners and then glue down the tabs. Because I had a small margin, I needed to use some tape to help. Once I had the paper wrapped around, I used a popsicle stick with a little white glue on it to help smooth any areas where you could see the tabs, like around the curves.

20120415-212742.jpg

Lightly glue your letter to the back side of your paper or fabric. Cut out with a one inch margin (more than I had!) and cut tabs for the corners and curves. Glue!

3) Voila! and Finish! You could clear coat your letter with clear spray paint or Modge Podge. I wouldn’t do it with the corrugated, because, again, it would make the corrugation show through. It would be a nice finish for wooden letters, though.

20120415-220836.jpg

Finished product! A 3-D initial wrapped in beautiful paper.

4) Hang and enjoy! I’m using 3M Command Picture Hanging StripsEdit. These are very easy to use and have the additional benefit of adding more dimension to the letter, so it really stands out from the wall.

20120415-220903.jpg

3M Command (TM) Picture Hanging Strip – easy and removable!

This initial is for our youngest’s room as part of the wall collection below. The “quilt block” is actually made of paper and was a gift from my friend Penny many years ago. And the vintage nursery switch plate covers go beautifully here, too. The one on the left is mine from when I was little. The other one was picked up at a garage sale for $1. They can also be found on eBay for about $15-25. I didn’t really have a functional use for them, but I think they work perfectly in this display. This whole wall relates back to the other side of his room, where the same paper is lining the bookcase, and a vintage lamp from my childhood provides a reading and night light.

Nursery wall

The “J” in its place on the nursery wall.

And now, here’s a sneak peek at the other kids’ initials! I let them pick their own paper. I was thinking stripes, but I love how the stars turned out.

DIY paper-wrapped wall initials by Jewels at Home

DIY paper-wrapped wall initials for my boys’ rooms!

“Jewels”