Friday, February 15, 2013

Presidents' Day Party...decorations

Presidents' Day party decor

The invitations, the food, the food labels, even the extra food labels are all done. How about some decorations?

In addition to red, white, and blue dishes and napkins, I've got balloons and streamers to put up. Maybe you'll even want some bunting for your table.

Then, for extra fun, I searched the internet for presidential campaign posters, glued them to colored paper and strung them up on giant red rick rack. It was easy and you can find tons of posters on-line. Here are a few to get you started.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Presidents' Day Party...more food labels!

My RSVPs are coming in and fast and furious and people are offering to bring food! My food will all have fun, crazy labels on it. It just seems polite to have labels for what other folks bring.

So, I've created a few more general labels to have ready for other dishes. These would also work if you have a favorite party dish you want to serve but it didn't fit in with any of the labels I gave you already.

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Presidents' Day labels

Presidents' day party food labels

You've sent out the invitations and made all the food, now here's a way to let people know what they're eating at your party. Just print and cut out these labels. They can be attached to bowls with clothes pins or stuck right into the food with kabob sticks. Maybe just use ribbons to tie them to serving baskets.

For bonus points, decorate them with stickers, fringe or other trim!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Presidents' Day

Are you throwing a Presidents' Day party with me? We've sent out the invitations, now we're deciding the food.

You could go with recipes that Presidents and their wives actually used. Here's a link to a few of those. There's even a cookbook you can get for some more.

But I've decided to go a bit wackier. Here's my menu:

Buchanan Bourguignon
Theodore Rollsevelts
Washington Redskins
Lincoln Logs
Millard Filberts
Chestnuts A. Arthur
Calvin Coolwhip Cake
Ford Model Tea

Although I want the food to be fun and definitely tasty, I've tried to choose things I can either purchase pre-made, make ahead, or just aren't too labor intensive.

For the Buchanon Bourguignon, you can use any Beef Bourguignon or beef stew recipe and throw it in the slow cooker. Here's an example on

For the Theodore Rollsevelts, go easy by purchasing some nice bakery rolls, or get crazy ambitious with something off the King Arthur Flour site, like these.

For Washington Redskins, these from Domestic Fits sound delicious, but you could just as easily top boiled baby red potatoes with a store-bought sour cream dip.

Lincoln Logs? Go easy with store-bought cheese logs. Or try this one from Martha Stewart.

FDROs You could go way simple and just get a bag of Funyuns or make something like this Cheerios snack from

Bushmeat? Think deli tray. I'm getting some delicious sausage from our local Lithuanian bakery.

Filberts are another name for hazelnuts. Here's a great-sounding recipe for spiced hazelnuts from

For Chestnuts A. Arthur, I'll have to find a place to buy chestnuts so I can make this from If not, there's no shortage of recipes on line for bacon-wrapped water chestnuts.

LBJ PBJs will be peanut butter and jelly cookies. offers this chocolaty one with blackberry jam or here's a more classic one from Martha Stewart.

Your Calvin Coolwhip Cake could easily be a whipped cream cake from the store, or one of the many recipes on-line. Or try something more subtle (with no apparent whipped cream!) like this Martha one.

Ford Model Tea can come in many colors, as long it's black. To keep it caffeine-free, think blackberry. Make your own, go easy with teabags, or spice it up a bit, ala the mayo clinic!

Lots of ideas there. And soon I'll post some fun labels you can print out and put next to each of these items. I'll also post some decoration ideas.

Happy party planning!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Super easy, super dark curtain liners

How dark is your bedroom at night? Lots of studies show that the darker it is, the better you sleep. So if your curtains are too thin to block much light, here's a tutorial for you!

I choose black ripstop nylon for my liners because it really blocks light and it's lightweight. (Just make sure your curtains are heavy enough that you can't see the black through them.) I then lined the liners with muslin because I didn't want it to look, from the outside, as though I have black curtains!

To get the width of your liner, measure the distance on your curtains between the side hem stitching lines. (So not quite the full width of the curtain.) To get the length, measure from the bottom of the rod pocket to about half-way down the bottom hem. Add 1/2 inch seam allowance on all sides. This is how much ripstop nylon you'll need. Now add 4 inches to the width and 4 inches to the length. This is how much muslin you'll need. I was making two curtain liners but I got them both out of really wide muslin.

4 inches from bottom
Cut a 4 inch strip off the length of the muslin and pin it (right sides together if it matters) to the nylon 3 1/2 inches from the bottom. Sew at the 1/2 mark. (You're sewing 4 inches from the bottom of the nylon.)

Press down
Flip the muslin over and press. If you've sewn a little inacurately and it doesn't quite line up, just trim off the longer piece, whether it's the nylon or the muslin. You want them the same length.

Pin muslin
Pin the large piece of muslin (which should now be the same length but 4 inches wider) to the nylon, right sides together.

Stitch 1/2 inch from the edge.

Sew 1 inch from edge
Now stitch 1/2 in from your first line of stitching.

create pleat
Take the muslin and pinch it over on the edges to create a pleat of about 1/2 inch. Do this on both sides. What you want is to take up that extra 4 inches of width so that the muslin is the same width as the nylon. Adjust the pleats until the muslin is nice and flat across the width of the liner. Pin in place and stitch the bottom of the liner with 1/2 seam allowance.

Do the same with the top of the liner as well but leave a gap of about 5-6 inches for turning.

Turn the liner right side out.

Press liner
Press. The nylon side of the liner will have about a 3 1/2 inch band of muslin at the bottom and about 1 inch on the sides. At the top of the liner, the muslin and nylon are even. At the gap you left for turning, press under 1/2 inch. You'll be stitching over this in a minute so you don't need to sew it closed.

Pin in place
Find the center of the curtain and the center of the liner by folding each in half and pinning. Line up the centers and pin the liner, nylon side to the wrong side of the curtain, just under the rod pocket. Work your way out to the sides, pinning the liner in place. If the widths aren't exact, try easing in the fullness as best you can, so that the liner comes just to the edge of the side hem. It's your choice whether to pin from the liner side or from the front of the curtain but it's much more accurate to sew from the front. (I first pinned from the back, to make sure the liner was right up next to the pocket edge. Then I moved the pins to the front.)

Stitch ontop
Turn the curtain over and sew about 1/4 inch lower than the rod pocket stitching line. Make sure you use the right color top and bobbin threads. If you're using two different colors, like I did, make sure the tension is correct on your machine, so the thread doesn't peek through.

From the back of the curtain, you'll have just caught the top of the liner, just below the stitching line for the rod pocket.

Tack edges
Hang up the curtain and tack the liner in place, about half way down the sides and at the bottom corners.
Wren sewing
Enjoy your nice dark curtains!