Mr. H finally did the decent thing and joined me in turning forty. We threw him a little party over the weekend. While I was mostly focused on planning the food and finding the lid to the martini shaker, I wanted the house to look party-ish without resorting to mylar banners declaring 40 the new 20, or Over The Hill. A quick Google search yielded a perfect idea: a photo collage:
I arranged the photos on large sheets of kraft paper, taping them into place on the back. The panels were hung as a backdrop to the food table. I left a jar of coloured chalk nearby and the kids loved writing birthday messages around the pictures.
Balloons felt too young for a fellow entering his middle years, so I made a dozen tissue poofs in red and orange. They look best hung in clusters, so they were hung in groups of three throughout the living and dining rooms. Normally eight sheets of tissue per poof is sufficient, but the dollar store tissue was really thin (as you can see from the anemic poof on the left) so I ended up using 12 sheets each.
I used those non-marking 3M hooks to string some fishing line in the window and clipped more photos. I had so many great pictures left over so I randomly tucked them into mirrors and frames around the house.
A pillar candle, jumbo pine cone and white gourds made a simple centrepiece:
The red and orange scheme was inspired by this vase of branches with red berries. Even with ten kids under ten running around, no one picked the berries!
I'm always too busy fixing a drink, replenishing snacks or finding a Band-Aid to take pictures during the party. And I find parties feel better than they look once they get going, so a blog-worthy shot isn't always possible. Since I was doing all the cooking, I went with food I could make ahead so I could enjoy myself too: pulled pork, home-made mac 'n cheese, corn on the cob with chipotle-chili butter and slaw with apples and raisins. But the real draw was the dessert table: cheesecake, pie, lemon squares, chocolate chip cookies, coffee cake and on the main stage a do-it-yourself ice cream sundae bar. Small bowls filled with mini marshmallows, M&Ms, crushed peanuts, hot fudge and caramel sauce and whipped cream were set out along with the ice cream. It's a ten-kilometre run day today.