Birthdays she believed, were no time to exercise restraint. - Ann TaintorOne of my best friends is a real firecracker, so when my girlfriends and I were hosting a birthday party for her, we were inspired by artist Ann Taintor and her retro women with their sassy thoughts! What’s more retro than the clinking of glasses and the sampling of treats at a home-spun cocktail dinner party? We decided to incorporate Ann Taintor’s style into the décor but with a personalized twist: we would make posters featuring our best friend’s picture in place of the 40’s women! Through Adobe Photoshop, one of my fellow hostesses was able to doctor up the photos to make them look more like retro illustrations and we matched them with A.T.’s funny quotes that reminded us of our feisty best friend!
To help my apartment look even more festive, I wanted to craft something with very little effort and a lot of impact. After Googling vintage party images, I re-discovered paper chains! I flipped through my stack of outdated magazines and picked out the most color saturated advertisements and articles. A few hundred recycled strips and staples later, and it looked like a party!
We knew we wanted to serve our guests dinner, but we also wanted to maintain the cocktail party vibe. So we scaled down some classic dinner foods and combined them with retro hors d’ oeuvres! A major source of recipes and ideas was http://www.epicurious.com/ which features great menus and a wide range of recipes for all skill levels and tastes. Another factor for us to consider in our menu selection was that this party would be on a chilly fall evening so we wanted to provide hearty fare as well as seasonal produce. One of my other fellow hostesses combined all of these ideas into one fantastic menu: We served Mac & Cheese Cupcakes, Swedish Meatballs with Cranberry Compote, Velveeta Salsa Dip, Spinach Onion Dip, Deviled Eggs and a delicious Fall Harvest Salad with a variety of apples, pears, grapes, pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts! When serving up our feast we used lots of crock pots and pretty dishes. We also provided fun (pom-poms!) cocktail picks and Ann Taintor cocktail napkins for an added retro cocktail flair!
One of my favorite things to do is create a Signature Cocktail for parties. This one was inspired by both the retro theme and the Fall Harvest menu. I modified Martha Stewart’s recipe and combined 1 part chilled Sparkling Apple Cider, 1 part chilled Pear Nectar and 1 part Spiced Rum. An apothecary jar with some ice provided the perfect dispenser! For how to set up the perfect party ready bar, check out this past post: Raise the Bar For extra fun, I picked up some old time hard candies that reminded me of the ones my Grandmother always had out and filled up a vintage candy jar (garage sale find!) for guests to enjoy!