I celebrated my birthday last month and successfully aged 1 year. Last year was a "Big Birthday" but due to last year's Halloween storm I was unable to gather troops together, so it went by with a quiet grace and gentle thankfulness for things like heat and electricity. This year, I vowed to make up for lost time (so to speak) and throw myself a party. And if I was going to have a party, it was going to be *my* kind of party! (If you know anything about me, you'd start getting nervous right about now.)
There are two things I am generally known for amongst my family and friends (and often hapless acquaintances minding their own business where I work, work-out, or where my kids attend school who are likely to get swept up in my madness...poor, innocent souls), those two things being: creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. "My kind of party" was due to involve costumes, baked goods, and more than one thematic bit of silliness. And, I am proud to say, we did not disappoint!
I threw myself a Steampunk Dinner Party.
Menu included appetizers, dinner, dessert and after-dinner tea to be enjoyed by all the creatively coiffed.
First came the most important things: costuming and food. My costume choices were put aside for the time being (knowing that I have plenty of fun things to choose from) and I concentrated on the fun of dressing up my kids (the best part of being a parent is getting to force my creative whims upon cute, small people!) as well as creating an extra stash of accessories in case someone should balk at the idea of dressing up or didn't know what "steampunk" meant. Pssh! As if.
The Pigtailed Overlord, unsurprisingly, wanted to be a mad scientist so we concentrated on her flared lab coat jacket buttoned with a cameo pin, long velvet skirt draped in delicate charm-bracelet chains, and made a tiny top hat complete with mini hydrangea and blue bird with pearl eggs to match her blue-rimmed glasses. Maestro went as a science professor; the bow tie and white lab coat made him look like a mini Bill Nye the Science Guy and when we added goggles, he became Dr. Horrible. I removed the goggles for my own sanity.
Fun-to-make hat! Personalized lab coat & bow tie!
(I don't post pictures of my kids in case they have any desire to have a normal life someday.)
For myself, I flip-flopped between two looks: punky-militant and traditional silver-and-black. (I went traditional, with a promise to myself I'd wear the purple wig outfit again soon. Maybe picking the kids up from school...)
Then, I started cooking.
I bowed to saner inclinations and ordered dinner from one of my favorite Middle-Eastern caterers so I could have goodies like falafel, roasted eggplant salad, hummus and baklava without the hassle. Me, I concentrated on baking! Like my first Steampunk Tea Party, I wanted to make the cookies again, but maybe this time do a little better with the coloring. Fortunately, I had my Mom with me (the original baking genius) who was just as excited to make "Machination Cookies" as I was! Alas, *still* no good source for gear-shaped cookies, I was ready with my cups, my glue stick cap & binder clips!
Some were gears, some were gauges, some were iced and others coated with metallic sugar, but ALL were delicious and a big hit!
Yes, I know I'm insane. Yes, I know that it's considerably less effort to make circle cookies and draw on them or, saner yet, buy them from the grocery store bakery, but honestly, *this* is what I enjoy doing: making some over-the-top project to share with family & friends. The results were well-worth the effort! (And speaking of over-the-top, I loved making these "Top Hat" Cupcakes, inspired by some incredible steampunk cupcakes I saw online!) I used my staple rum cake recipe with Mom's Ghirardelli chocolate frosting and a Tootsie-roll goggled top hat set at a rakish angle:
I *loved* making these! (Almost as much as eating them. Almost.)
Okay, I didn't get the copper fondue pots ready in time and changed my mind about the elephant shrines piled high with exotic fruits and fitting Persian rugs under the tables, and instead opted for peacock feathers and gold paper doilies. There were plenty of friends and family to share in the lunacy, obligingly costumed and we even dressed up one of the favorite puppets as mascot.
We laughed and ate and hung around the kitchen listening to Pandora's Abney Park station, admiring each other's costumes and talking about the things we geek out most about: books, movies and crafts. In a word: perfect! And now I'm old enough to say that THIS is definitely the way to celebrate being a grown-up!