Friday, March 7, 2014

Annual Valentines/Bring Your Own Crab Dinner Party

Well, this is my first Blogpost! Wish me luck!  I have received help and support from more people than I can list here but you know who you are and thank you!
I have an awesome group of close friends. They range from their early 20's to their early 50's. And myself? Can I pretend I'm about in the middle? When I met these people we had parties in our garage. We have a kegorator, a dart board, a Foosball table, a fire place and a couch out there. And God Bless them, they have followed me into the house for civilized Dinner Parties! I'd love to write about some of my past parties in the future but today I'd like to share my "Valentine/Bring Your Own Crab" Party. For a few years we rented a cabin in Lake Tahoe for Presidents/Valentine's weekend. We always did a bring your own crab night but we haven't gone in a couple of years. I still wanted to capture that feeling so I started hosting these Dinner Parties. We all look forward to this one! Everyone brings about a pound of crab, (or steak or something for the crazy non crab eaters) and a side dish. No appetizers are needed as we must save room for all the crab! Then we sit at the table and drink champagne and eat crab!
My friend Keri has two daughters. Sage and Sierra. I love that they come over and help me set up and do fun projects! We have so much fun! This year we're into the whole "photo booth" thing. I printed out the mustaches and lips over at Living Locurto . We created a cute background (found here) and gathered together a few props from around the house and from the Dollar Store. We set everything up on the bathroom counter so people could style themselves. Then I enveloped the hallway in red lights. Not sure I like how the pictures turned out but it felt festive!

My friend Julie took the photo booth pics and she got everyone in at least one profile for a future project I'm really looking forward to doing.

My favorite thing is creating the tablescape. As I'm on a very tight budget I try to gather things that I can use again and again, or things from the Dollar Store. My favorite trick is using the clear plates I got from the Dollar Store. I have about 20 of them. My Dollar Stores don't carry these anymore but Walmart does. In sets with salad plates and bowls. Perfect! With each dinner party I can use these plates with different place mats or decor items. Like last V Day I used heart shaped paper doilies with everyone's names written on them. This year I wanted to get an 8 1/2 x 11 pad of Valentine themed scrapbook paper to use as place mats but I had to come up with a new idea when that wasn't in the budget. I love my new idea so much more! I took colored pencils, markers and a package of white card stock, all of which I already had, to our Super Bowl party. Sage, Sierra and Jillian were there and were excited to make a "Valentine Card/Place Mat" for each of our guests! They turned out great!  
 Another trick is to buy my tablecloths 7/$5 at Costco. They're just whitish paper with a thin plastic backing. That way they are a neutral color, I can use stamps or markers on them and I don't have to worry about stains on my tablecloths as we can just roll them up with all the garbage and toss them out! I bought 20 black napkins for my Halloween Themed Dinner Party hoping to use them for other holidays as well. I had intended to decorate the table with Red, Pink and Black but didn't end up with much else black on the table except for one pair of black glittered champagne glasses. I also decorated with corks as this is a passion of mine and I love to craft with corks. I used them in the hurricane vases with a candle in the middle and then made napkin rings also. Making the napkin rings was fun! I got the idea here.
I love to have a game after dinner. Sometimes we don't get to it because we're having so much fun just sitting around the table. I can't wait to tell you about my Minute To Win It Party but this time it was Bingo! I asked for the game stuff for Christmas. It reminds me of childhood summers at Trinity Alps Resort, playing on the covered deck at night in front of the General Store. It was 10 cents a card, winner takes all and the grand prize was an Ice Cream Sunday. After I bought prizes for the Minute To Win It Party we decided that maybe everybody would bring either a white elephant or $10 wrapped gift that we could just keep in a pool and hand out to game winners at any of the parties. The winner this time took home Binocular Glasses! Who'da thunk there was such a thing?
I have some great tiered plates I put out while we played Bingo with pink, heart shaped cookies, homemade Tagalongs, homemade Twix bars and cheesecake stuffed strawberries. I did the strawberries the day before and they were kind of a fail. The strawberries started turning into strawberry shortcake strawberries. Get it? All juicy and sugary. I would try it again, I think, but you can't let them sit too long.
All in all it was a great night!
What's your favorite Valentine's memory?
Hope you got some good ideas, enjoyed my story and would like to hear more. Check back soon for my next post.

1 comment:

  1. Nice!! Love all the ideas. Would love for you to do a guest-post sometime on how you organize your dinner parties over at my blog: The Path to an Organized Tomorrow! :)