Crafting for Politics

DH has to plan his Grand Parlor. This is the annual conference of his statewide organization, The Native Sons of the Golden West. As part of that, I am in charge of organizing some events for the Ladies. I have to create or decide on the following:

  • Ladies Luncheon table decorations
  • Ladies Luncheon party favors
  • Ladies Tea decorations
  • Cocktail party invitations
  • Cocktail party decorations
  • Ball table decorations
  • Who knows what else?

I am not sure this is everything and I don’t have to have everything finished until May 2017. This, endeavor, however has been on my mind since I found out what I have to do. It is reiterated periodically when I am handed a file of random papers or a large envelope appears in my mailbox.

I was thinking of asking you all to make fabric flowers. YOU, of course, would do a fantastic job, but, as you know, the quality of the items received can vary quite a bit and the judgment factor on all of these things will be high. I also wasn’t that excited about fabric flowers looking good enough after transport. I need to do a stellar job. I just couldn’t think of anything else.

Kelly and I went to lunch and I was telling her about my half baked idea. She suggested we go to Michael’s. What a brilliant idea! Why didn’t I think of that? So off we went and we got about a million ideas.

Ladies Luncheon

This is probably the largest and most visible of the events. The Ladies Luncheon is usually a sit down lunch with assigned seating. There are table decorations, which are won at the end of the lunch, raffle baskets and party favors. The raffle baskets are well in hand as one lady already agreed to help. She has done it before and knows what the ladies like. I will have to see about that closer to the date. I should also start soliciting some nice things tht are more to my taste and style for the baskets just to mix it up a bit. Unlike with us, a basket of fabric or quilting supplies or sewing notions wouldn’t go over well. 🙁 Wine, food, kitchen supplies and chocolate are big winners. I am a big fan of nice soap, so I am thinking soap and bath things might be good as well. Cleaning supplies, which were big winners at the YM’s grammar school silent auction, might not project the right tone. I’ll have to get some more ideas.

Fruit crate
Fruit crate

DH wants his logo to be a fruit crate label (BTW, we need a Photoshop Pro to help us with this. Are you able?). I want to continue the theme, if possible, so first we headed to the Micheal’s wood area and looked at crates and things. This Paris crate was too big, but the painting looked like an idea that had possibilities. We could stencil all different California names onto the crates. UGH paint. Kelly, however, is not afraid of spray paint, so I put her in charge of the painting team.

Also, the Paris crate is too big. I would have to fill it with stuff and that is a lot of space to fill.

Michael's: smaller crates
Michael’s: smaller crates

We talked about using flower arranging foam to stick things into, but that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t have good ideas about what I would put in these crates. Smaller crates were available and there are other stores, so the crate idea is not completely dead.

The other thing is that stock will change. I need to either be flexible about the actual items and make the style the most important. For example, I could think ‘crates’ and just worry about getting all crates of about the same size.

Houston Dress Forms
Houston Dress Forms

I saw the most awesome dress forms in Houston. They were full size and covered in vintage looking paper. I loved the shape, the decoupage and the artistic expression of the female form.

I really wanted to carry one off with me. I don’t have the space in my house, so I left them. I couldn’t find any information about them, which was a shame, but I enjoyed them all the same. I think Friend Julie and my mom got sick of me wanting to walk by them all the time.


Michael's mini dress form
Michael’s mini dress form

When I saw this mini dress form, I remembered the Houston dress forms and thought that dress forms as table decorations would be perfect.

The black one I saw at Micheal’s was a good size, but covered in that weird, fake, short, toy fur, thus not perfect for decorating. Kelly, again, assured me that spray painting can cover a multitude of sins, but I don’t think the fur could be painted. Also, they only had one and I need 10-12. Of course, everything is available on the Internet, so I did a search and came up with a lot of hits. None of the sites presented themselves as those from which I could buy 12 paper mache’ dress forms between 12″-18″ suitable for decorating. I have some time and all hope is not lost. I am thrilled to have an idea that seems promising.

Possible Ladies Luncheon table decorations
Possible Ladies Luncheon table decorations

It is probably unlikely that I will turn the cages into anything, but I did like them. The fleur de lis on the top adds to the charm. I would have to figure out what to put inside and how much space they would take up on the table. People still have to be able to pass the dressing and talk over the table decorations.

Favor cans
Favor cans

Party favors are another aspect. Everyone gets a little something so they don’t feel bad when they don’t win the table decorations or the raffle baskets.

We walked down the wedding aisle and saw these cans, which could be filled with something. At a wedding they would be filled with Jordan Almonds. Xanax might be good, but hard to get and an ethical challenge. Bath salts are a possibility. I am almost certain I will get these for the favors.

Ladies Tea

The Ladies tea concept is much more fluid, more like an open house. People come in, have cakes and cookies, drink tea, walk around. They might sit on a couch or chair, but there are no tables or assigned seating.

Wooden trays
Wooden trays

I want it to be a fun atmosphere. These wooden trays could be painted and, perhaps, decorated with a California theme and then used for the cookies and treats. I think they are very elegant. I think if painted the right way, they could be fun and the elegance would add to everything not detract.

I saw pennant kits, pinwheel kits and paper lanterns. I think these will be colorful and great. I don’t need to buy a kit to make pennants. There is plenty of fabric in this house and lots of tutorials online. I can start with them and just keep making one long strand until 2017!

Using Flower Arranging Foam
Using Flower Arranging Foam

The flower arranging foam could definitely be used to hold the pinwheels up. the example (right) also used the fruit crate.

I could also use chipboard dress forms to bring the theme from the Ladies Lunch forward to the Tea… somehow.

Cocktail Party

I don’t think anything pink or cheerful can be used at the cocktail party. Fortunately, the decorations are not that elaborate. I do want some kind of special table decorations. Perhaps more of the scattered around the room type and fewer? Perhaps the cages would work here?

As crazy as it sounds, I am currently enamoured with The Night Circus, a novel by Erin Morgenstern. I am thinking of a black & white theme for the decorations. Black and white stripes?

The trays from above could be used again for the canapes, but these would not be black and white, so perhaps sticking with a California theme would be best. Hollywood opening night type of feeling, if not theme?

I have to deal with the invitations, which need to be engraved (or similar). I don’t think they need to be personalized, but I need to know the time and location so I can get them printed in advance.

As you can tell, I am less sure about this. I have thought the most about the Ladies Luncheon.

Ball Table Decorations

Yes, there is a Ball. It is mostly black tie and my outfit is prescribed. I have to wear an all white dress. UGH! I don’t mind getting dressed up, but white? UGH!I had a brainwave the other day, though. I have a seamstress who has been altering clothes for me as I have lost weight. She could make a pattern and make a dress from it! This makes me feel much better, more hopeful that I won’t look like a big white puffball.

Perhaps the cages will work for the ball? There are many more tables, though, which means 30-40 (or more???) table decorations and those cages are large. I don’t know how we would transport the cages. We might need a U-Haul for all of the decorations.


One big thing is who is going to pay for all of this. There are notes in the papers I have been given and I just have to get the idea into my head and confirm who is paying for what. Having until 2017 means I can use the 40%-type coupons over time to buy various supplies. Of course, I have to pay attention to the stores still having the same item — or, again, be flexible.

If you ever wondered what in the world you would with a smartphone, now you know: take photos of ideas and possibilities so you remember.

I am constantly concerned that my style will raise some eyebrows. I am going with it, though. I am at least 20 years younger than most of the women who attend. I have to do what feels right as well. Regardless, I feel so much better that the decorations won’t be a complete failure and about this whole endeavor in general; I can’t even tell you.