Friday, March 2, 2012

Grandmother's Purple Party

Last weekend I was able to fly home to Washington to help celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. My mom asked me to make the invitations. I came up with a simple theme: the letter "G" (my grandmother's name is Glenys) & the color purple (her favorite color).
There was a lot of info that needed to go onto the card: it was supposed to be a "surprise", & we asked guests to write a story, a memory or a special note to my grandmother that would be collected in a binder & given to her as a gift. So I tried to keep things as simple as possible. I was able to print 2 invitations on one 8 1/2" x 11" piece of white cardstock. (I rounded the corners with some scalloped scissors.) I also added a "G" to the top of each invite which was created by ironing Heat-n-Bond to a piece of vintage purple fabric. (I printed a letter "G" onto cardstock & cut it out as a template. Don't forget to trace it backwards onto the Heat-n-Bond.)
The envelopes were cut from brown kraft paper & sewn together with purple thread. I stamped the front lefthand corner with a festive birthday stamp & glued a purple sparkly polka dot to the back flap.

This was a very fast party to throw together. I had all the ideas in my head, but once I arrived in Washington, I spent the next 3 days making all the decorations. (Recruiting help from my sis, mom, dad & a some cousins too!)

We decided to put purple primroses on the center of each table. Dad repotted them in some really cool chocolate colored terra cotta pots. I wrapped purple yarn around the top rim a couple times to jazz 'em up. And then I created little planter decorations for each pot. I cut out more "G"s from the same fabric as the invitations. I ironed these onto 2" circles punched from purple cardstock. (I found packages of cardstock at Michael's that included 5 colors: 3 different purples & 2 different greens, a total of 50 sheets. It was the best value at 3 packages for $10, even though we didn't use the greens.)
I used a light purple cardstock to create 1 1/4" x 8 1/2" strips. Two of these strips glued together & folded accordian style created the base for attaching the "G" circle. The "G" was glued to both sides of the accordian strip.

To finish off the planter decorations I adhered some purple bling (Martha Stewart stickers from Michael's). And then I discreetly hot glued some wooden skewers (found at the grocery store for shish kabobs) behind the purple G circles.

Mom punched out about 600 one-inch circles from sparkly purple cardstock to decorate each table. It looked like oversized confetti.

The next project was to create bunting. We used the packages of purple cardstock from Michael's, but also bought the more expensive single sheets found in the scrapbooking section. We picked anything with a purple-ish design. My sis & traced & cut out about 300 triangles. Mom,dad & I punched them in the top two corners with a small hole punch, & strung them with some cotton yarn. (I bought a skein of purple cotton yarn & used it in many projects for the party.)

We pre-measured how much yarn we'd need for each of the 6 strands. I HIGHLY recommend taping the ends of the yarn to make stringing the cardstock triangles a much easier process.

We were able to hang the bunting the night before the party, which was really helpful considering all the other things that needed checking off the party to-do list!

Here's the set-up before the party started. The room was VERY large &, though our budget wasn't exuberant, something so simple as this bunting really brought everything together & made things festive.  I was certain the giant space would swallow up our decorations. But then I remembered at past Crafty Nights, I have hung THIS & THIS from the cieling. And, though it's not much, it really made the large room seem smaller & cozy. (A hand little tip to remember when you're decorating on a budget!)

My favorite detail at the party was a giant letter "G" I cut from cardboard. In the photo below you'll notice TWO of them. Once I started this project, I immediately realized how time consuming it was, & then quickly decided ONE would have to do.

I gave them a coat of purple spray paint & then cut out approximately 1000 (I'm guesstimating) 4"x4" squares from purple tissue paper to cover the "G". My crew gathered the tissue paper in the midsection, while I madly spread glue in patches all over the "G", grabbing & gluing down the pieces they pre-crumpled.

We found a package of purple Chinese lanterns at Hobby Lobby (which my mom calls Holly Hobby) & hung these above the birthday girl at the head table.

At Costco, we purchased two cakes. One was decorated by their staff. The other we asked to be kept plain white. I printed up a large letter "G" on an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of cardstock & cut it out. This would be the template I laid on top of the cake. I used purple sprinkles to fill it in. (It took 2 of us to lift the template off, & I STILL made a mess with the sprinkles!)
Inspired by mini cake buntings (what are they called?) I keep seeing all over Pinterest, I created one with shish kabob skewer thingies, scraps from the purple cardstock & little purple pom-poms.
I also blinged out the candle.

This is one of the most horrible pictures I've ever taken. It shows the "before" of the candles. (It was late at night. Taken in a dark kitchen.) I didn't get a good close-up of the "after". I used purple glitter glue to outline the red on both sides. And then I used the leftover "bling" stickers to fancify the front, because that's all I had left.

Atop the tables were laminated placemats which were created using pictures of  the birthday girl. Many of the pictures even included family members that were present at the party. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed looking at these & got to take them home!
We also created little baggies of candies that sat at each table for the party guests to have. They were made using those packages of circular tulle. We purchased 3 different styles of licorice candies (grandmother's favorite candy!) & tied them off with purple cotton yarn.
It was a really fun party. My uncle MC'd the evening. We started off with a dinner of spaghetti, with choice of 4 different sauces: meatless marinara, Italian sausage, meatballs & marinara, or white clam sauce, along with salad & rolls.
After the meal, it was time for special presentations! My mom & her sisters quoted a poem, my sister-in-law sang a solo, the great-grandkids all sang "You Are My Sunshine", & the grandkids (me included!) performed a funny cheerleading routine. (Thanks to all my cousins for going along with my silly idea!) It really was a riot & I had a blast risking looking like an idiot. (For a good cause!)
Then the mic was open. Family & friends could share whatever special words they wanted with my grandmother. And lots of us did!

It was a very special day & one I was so glad I could be part of. Especially because my grandmother has always admired the parties I plan for my girls & it was SUPER fun to be able to do the same thing for her.


  1. What an amazing blog post, i enjoyed every word and every detail.

    The party looks amazing, and my favourite have to be the little potted 'G' table features.

    Really what a wonderful acheivement. Bet she loved every detail

  2. How special did your Gtandmother feel? So cool that you and your family did so much to make the party awesome.

  3. Wow- you did a fantastic job! Your family is wonderful- what love must abound there for everyone to come together for something so special. A big Happy Birthday for your sweet Grandma. I"m sure it was the best gift to give ever!

  4. Amazing job! I love an easy theme and the purple is perfect. Well done. (I love mini-bunting)

  5. Nice blog. You might like this poem about mothers.

  6. I love this! It is especially helpful because I am planning a bridal shower for a bride whose {future} last name will start with a G and whose wedding colors are purple & green. I do have one question though, where did you did the variety of purple paper for bunting? I have only been able to solid purple that has color on both sides. In other words, all of the patterned purples I've found have a solid white back which won't look great when hung. Any advice?


    1. Hi Leah!
      I found all my papers in the scrapbook section of crafty stores. I found that the more thick cardstock-ish types have patterns on both sides. If you have to, just use a good glue stick or some double stick tape & adhere two papers together. Hope that helps!

  7. This is amazing..How did you write out the huge letter G for the cardboard.

    1. Hi Julia!
      I drew it by hand, referencing a font I chose that I liked best. If you want to get super exact, you could always use a projector to display the image on the wall & then trace your image from there. :)


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