My Material Life

Driveway Drinks Party

We had a little drinks party yesterday to welcome some school friends who just moved into the neighborhood.  Since our house is oriented perpendicular to the street we have an awfully long driveway; it’s fun to put that real estate to use for something other than cars now and then.  A driveway party is also nice because it means you don’t have to clean your house (well maybe the bathroom) or worry about what to do with people’s kids (let them play on the street, but preferably not in the street).  Here are three ideas for you from this event:  an adjustable party bunting, another custom printed napkin idea, and an elderflower champagne cocktail.

Adjustable Party Bunting

Some of these flags come from an Easter bunting I made several years ago when I sandwiched three hanging loops cut from grosgrain ribbon between each flag’s two layers to make flags that could be strung on just about anything – in this case a piece of cotton cord.  I was inspired to make a 4th of July version when I saw this photo from ACME Party Box Company. You see, I’ve never particularly cared for the combination of red, white, and blue.  In fact I remember putting together a 4th of July window display when I worked at Martino’s that included a large painted white canvas backdrop, a Baker brass etagere, and some very expensive red and blue Murano glass vases.  Whenever I looked at that window I became quite nauseous and wanted to gag.  I do believe I was in the early stages of pregnancy at the time, but I can still remember that feeling when I think of that window.  Well, the ACME bunting gave me the idea that I needn’t take the red, white and blue so literally.  I could suggest it with a variety of prints, plaids, and stripes that are mostly red, white and blue, but I could even throw in some pink, a small floral, some hearts.  This was very freeing and I must say I quite like the result.  I did skimp and only use two hanging loops this time around though.  That means the flags tend to fold along their vertical center when the wind blows, but I don’t mind too much.  Still, the next time around I might look for a wider tape that would create one long tunnel instead of multiple loops.  Perhaps I could find something suitable in the drapery section?

More Custom Printed Napkins

I recently set a Caspari rattan cocktail napkin holder from Gene’s Market on the family room coffee table with the remaining monogram napkins that I printed for our anniversary party back in October.  Those napkins looked so good sitting there in that basket and they are so handy to have on that table, that I thought I’d use the letter M from the same alphabet stamp set to make some napkins for the newcomer family that we could both use at the party and send home in a new Caspari basket as a housewarming gift. I found a nice set of 50 white paper cocktail napkins from IKEA, but unfortunately my M stamp just wasn’t suitable and the rattan holder was no longer available from Gene’s.  So I decided to let the basket idea go for now, but not the napkins.  I remembered this Martha Stewart stamp set I picked up with a 40% off coupon from Michael’s a few months ago.  I stamped the M that you see in the photo, but with a circular border stamp that was included in the set.  Next time, however, I really think it would be fun to use the design idea I had above that would incorporate the recipient’s street address, presented in the rattan holder, ideally.  Luckily, you can still purchase it from Caspari’s website.  I would have preferred a block M in the center of the napkin, but Martha’s set only came with script letters in the larger size.  I’m not knocking the set though; it was a very worthwhile purchase.

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail

Earlier this month, I picked up a special Swedish midsummer brochure at IKEA and that’s where I learned that they sell an elderflower syrup called Saft Fläder.  I’m sure it is one of the very few items you can buy at IKEA that are actually made in Sweden.  Anyway, I decided to incorporate an elderflower cocktail into my drinks party offerings.  It seemed right for the time of year and I liked that I could use syrup and not the more expensive St-Germaine liqueur from France (though I do recommend you buy a mini bottle of that from BevMo or some such place because the mini bottle is exquisite and makes a lovely bud vase). IKEA had a recipe for a vodka cocktail in the brochure, but I’m not a vodka drinker, so I searched up elderflower cocktails and settled on ice in a tumbler with a good bit of sparkling wine, a lesser amount of elderflower syrup, and a top-off of club soda followed by a good stir and a slice of lime.  Very refreshing, very delicious, the only adult beverage the adults wanted, cost-effective, works for non-alcohol drinkers if you omit the sparkling wine – all in all, a real winner.


  1. Anne Palmer Peterson

    Dear Colleen, You are a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy belated bday to Sir Dwight!

    • Well, it would have been even better if you could have been there. But you didn’t miss any strawberry wine slushies. It didn’t seem hot enough to justify making them. Another time? Thanks for the birthday wishes for Dwight!

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