Brewing Up Another Bash

payams-invites-1

Nothing coaxes me out of a blog-writing stupor more than a new party to percolate on. And boy do I have one to soak in these days! Payam has given me permission to plan him a big 45th bash in Las Vegas! Woo hoo!

Personally, I hate Las Vegas. Ugh. I can’t even begin to tell you how much,  but I can definitely plan a Vegas bash. Ocean’s Eleven, classy whiskey glasses, high rollers, desert landscape, neon lights and debauchery? I’ll design the heck out of it!

payams-invites-2

Payam, of course, loves Las Vegas for all the exact reasons I hate it. Somehow, we meet in the middle here. I love a design challenge and this one has captured my interest like no other.

Yes, Payam rolls his eyes when I’m cutting cardboard and ordering special buttons off the internet when a simple text or Evite would handle the whole thing just fine but he’s learning to understand me. I’m just not a solo-cup kinda party girl! I won’t even let him buy alcohol with handles on the bottles! I know. I can be annoying this way.

But I also can kern, pick pantone colors and shave five pounds off your face using photoshop. So there’s that. Not that I did that of course. Payam is just as cute as these photos in real life. I’m just saying, I could.

payams-invites-3

Aren’t these buttons cute!!? They’re the little 1-inch ones that kids collect and stick on their backpacks. I think all birthday parties should have seventeen pieces of flair like this. It’s just so fun!

I’m so into these buttons that I really, really, really want to buy a button-maker but the good ones cost $300! And after using the PTA’s big 3-inch button maker that is made out of metal and works like butter, I don’t think I could settle for anything less. I think at some point it might be a good business move for me because I could sell buttons online and at conventions so I’m putting it on my list…someday!

payams-invites-4

I sent these out to Payam’s best friends and now we plan everything else. A private dinner, a trip to the Neon Museum, maybe a party on our hotel balcony and a slideshow of embarrassing and adorable little boy Payam pictures on the wall…I can’t wait!

 

Galaxy Hot Chocolate in Galaxy Mugs!

galaxy-hot-chocolate-2

I’m about to blog Bug’s amazing, 11th-birthday, galaxy-themed party but I have a few galaxy things I want to share first individually and I’m thinking a bunch of posts is better than one crazy long one. Or maybe not. Who knows.

First up is Galaxy Hot Chocolate in galaxy-painted mugs. Amazing right? I was inspired by this super-over-loaded sugar-blitzed-unicorn hot chocolate. (Thank you Plumeriacat for the heads up on that one!) We tried to visit the store that makes these. They are local but the line was out the door and around the corner so we made do with our imagination.

galaxy-hot-chocolate-1

Basically, we made hot chocolate in a crock pot using this recipe.  This was a great idea because it could sit on the counter slowly-warming for two hours without me having to worry about it.  We tried to add purple food coloring to the mix to make it more majestic but the coloring didn’t stick. The brown of the cocoa was too powerful. I think I could have made it with white chocolate but I’m not a fan of white chocolate. (blech!) In the end, the hot chocolate was a light purple-brown color but that didn’t really matter because Bug’s birthday party was outside at night and you couldn’t really see the hot chocolate under layers and layers of whipped cream anyway. We topped the towering whipped cream with these sprinkles which are so so so so cool, by the way. Totally worth splurging on. I wish I had made some homemade star marshmallows and bought a whipped cream dispenser and maybe colored the whipped cream lavender but I had to cut my losses by that point. You can’t do everything all the time I’ve learned.

galaxy-hot-chocolate-3

What I heard at the party was that the hot chocolate was DELICIOUS! “Like a candy bar melted in a cup!” said Annalie.  I wish I would have doubled the recipe though because we ran out! Every kid got one cup but they would have gone back for more if there had been any. I also poured it into a thermos dispenser so that the kids could serve themselves without slopping sticky hot chocolate all over the place with a ladle. This worked well until the pump got sticky and refused to pump anymore. Now that I understand how the pump works I could easily clean the seal and get it working again but out in the dark, during the party I had no such wisdom. So we popped the top off the thermos and poured it the old fashioned way for the last two kids waiting.

galaxy-cups-1

Now you are probably wondering how we made the galaxy mugs. It’s not a perfect craft but it was pretty fun.

First, we bought a bunch of cheap, dark gray mugs from Ikea. I would have preferred black but no such cups existed in my price range. Gray was fine. Then I bought special made-for-glass enamel paint. There are a lot of porcelain paints that you can buy online but unfortunately I had a deadline and couldn’t wait for the premium brands to get to me in the mail. I had to sort it out at Michaels, my worst favorite place in the world, but I was lucky and found the one friendly employee who let me in on some folk art secrets. If there is a wine glass symbol on the lid you can paint this on glass! Who knew! Probably everyone. But this really helped me. The cool thing about this particular paint is that you can bake it on and it holds up to regular hand-washing. I wouldn’t trust a dishwasher (though they say you can) but it can take quite a few washings. I tested.

So where was I? Right, paint. After you are sure you have food-safe, non-toxic, made-for-glass-and-ceramic paint, you begin the process. First clean any fingerprints or sticker residue off the mug with rubbing alcohol. Then smudge on some black paint with a foamy sponge. I even used my fingers and it seemed to work well too. Then dab on some lighter colors like purple or teal, but use the colors sparingly. Smudge and smear and squint your eyes so that if everything is blurry your smudges sort of remind you of a nebula. This part is tricky and you will convince yourself that it all looks like crap but don’t worry! This is part of the process and when you add the white splatter stars it will all come together! Just trust me.

galaxy-cups-2

Smudge, smudge, smudge and then! Load up a toothbrush (one that you don’t care about obviously) with white enamel paint and gently flick on some stars. I don’t have a magic method to this. You want small atmospheric white dots and not big oblong splatters so you’ll have to experiment with how you flick the toothbrush and distance you flick paint from the mug a bit until you get it just right. If you don’t get it just right, don’t worry. Just tell everyone the splatters with tails are comets. Like I said it’s not a perfect craft. But it’s fun!

galaxy-cups-3

It’s spacey, right? No? Squint more.

After we smudged our way through eleven galaxies, we painted each guest’s name on the other side of the mug so we could use the mugs as party favors and table name place markers at the same time. Then we popped the mugs (all together on a cookies sheet) into a cold oven and heated it up to 350. We baked them for 30 minutes and then turned the oven off and let them cool. I actually just left the mugs in the oven overnight because I wasn’t going to bake anything that night anyway and took them out the next morning.  It’s important not to check on the mugs when they are cooling or take them out of the oven because if the ceramic cools down too fast the cups can crack. Better to be safe than sorry.

galaxy-cups-5

Then on the day of the party we set each person’s mug at their place at the table. Everyone loved taking home a mug. Of course, I had to mad-dash hand wash everyone’s sticky mug while they were playing games in the other room but I didn’t mind because by that point I needed some peace and quite in the kitchen for a few minutes anyway. I’m one of those weirdos who finds doing chores soothing and kids screaming about Pusheen not so much.

galaxy-cups-4

All in all, it was really fun and I’d definitely recommend this hot chocolate and making a galaxy mug to anyone planning a galaxy party. I’m not sure everyone needs more mugs in their house (we don’t!) but that’s their problem, right? Heh.

Next up: Galaxy Pancakes!