cheers to firefighting bloggers


Last week my job description involved fire fighting! It was crazy.

Earlier this week I shared these bright and festive paper party lanterns and hinted that they had a bigger story behind them. A story that involved almost burning down our house (thankfully it is still standing).

When I am working on DIY projects to share with this site, mishaps are inevitable. On average 2-3 projects a month just totally fail and are not posted, or have a fatal flaw that brings me back to the drawing board. Sometimes it’s a little fix. Sometimes it takes a hose. Here’s the story…

paper party lanterns

Paper party lanterns flame

These party lanterns look harmless enough, made from paper to hang out on the deck for a party. As per usual, I created a template, tried it out (inside) and was thrilled at the pretty results. We made a nice stash of the lanterns for this post’s photo shoot and excitedly hung them out in a tree to showcase the awesomeness of outdoor paper party lanterns.

I dropped the tea lights in and lit them up. Harmless, No?!?

And then the wind started…

paper party lanterns

Flame caught paper, paper swung quickly past the tree, and in a moment there I was. Hose in hand. Jet streaming. Just call me fire fighter Victoria. I quickly put the party lanterns out (thankfully before they were able to catch the slightly dead tree they were hanging on) Paper, flame and wind do not mix.

In the end we realized the trick was to enclose the flame in a mason jar. Easy fix. Disaster averted.

paper party lanterns

So what do you do after an experience of (almost!) going down in flames? Well on the A Subtle Revelry team – we laugh, we learn and we have a margarita to celebrate the house is still standing. Honestly, it’s not the only story I have like this. There are many more. It’s a part of the gig, I suppose.

We remade the lanterns, hung them up for an early Cindo de mayo party, and had a blast telling everyone we could about this week’s hilarious incident. I figure if the story makes a good party anecdote it must not be a total failure after all.


Sauza is running a fun #margaritamoments photo share, where they are encouraging readers to share our own moments of silly failure and mishaps. Those things that lead you to grabbing a celebratory glass at night and laughing with your friends about the almosts, and what ifs in life.

Sharing your own silly mistakes is a great way to engage your party guests and will get everyone chatting quickly. If you don’t have a Cinco De mayo party planned, hearing your friends fun stories is a great reason to plan one. What is your latest margarita moment? I’d love to know.  

Posted May 02, 2014 1 Comment
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paper leaf party garland

Bright leaf party garland

Making party garland out of a simple piece of paper is such a great way to brighten up a room. Paper is super affordable and cutting is a skill we’ve all learned how to master. Plus, this bright leaf garland strand can be made in the span of one Parks and Rec episode – great for a last minute Mother’s Day brunch, or that kid’s party we’ve been procrastinating on.

The garland looks really pretty set up behind a white cake, and I am loving how festive mine looks strung across the bookcase at home. It is such a bright and pretty update for spring.

Bright leaf party garland!

Click through to Craftsy to see the full tutorial and learn my tips for cutting out all those leaves at top notch speed.

PS. An entire gallery of bright garlands for the making!

Posted May 01, 2014 1 Comment
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fancy churros and 13 cinco de mayo treats


Cinco De Mayo is coming up quick! I always love a reason to brighten up my treats and drinks, and the holiday is perfect for doing that. A few years ago we hosted a churro party – it would be so fun to host another to celebrate this year. Everyone loved making their own churros and the sweet change up made for a really fun night.

Fancy churros - buy at Costco, bake at home

fancy churros


During that party prep, I learned that you can buy HUGE unbaked churros from the food stand at Costco. They are a dollar each and great for baking in large quantities at home.

Although the store will give you sugar, I thought it would be fun to gussy up our churros with sprinkles, chocolates and sweets for the 5th day of May. An easily bright way to treat your guests.

Not having a party next week? Wrap a dozen of these up and take them into the office for a break room filled with smiles!

Fancy churros

To make ours I used vanilla frosting, melted baking chocolate and lots of sprinkles. Bake according to the food stand guys directions and sweeten them up right out of the oven.  

Posted May 01, 2014 1 Comment
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paper porch party lanterns

Paper party lanterns

We’ve been working on getting our patio party ready before the summer season sets in. It is in desperate need of a bright burst of fun. Paper and ribbon to the rescue – of course!

These paper party lanterns will be great for Cinco De Mayo festivities, and they’ll bring a bright vibe for all our summer deck parties. I love the combo of light inside and bright ribbon on the outside that gives the lanterns an amazing glow – no matter the time of day.

Paper party lanterns

Paper party lantern

To make the paper porch lanterns you will need a 12×12 piece of scrapbook paper, a couple lengths of bright ribbon, scissors, glue, a hole punch and fishing wire for hanging.

Start by forming the lantern out of the paper. To make the lantern; cut 4-5 two inch triangular slits along the bottom end of the paper. Next circle the two sides of the paper together and glue into place, this will give you a cylinder with one pointy slit end. Begin folding the triangles over each other and gluing into place to form the flat bottom of the lantern.

Once the basic lantern is formed, add detail to the top with a hole punch. The holes look pretty during the day, and help to bring the light out once the sun goes down. Pick a couple of your favorite color ribbons and glue to the bottom of the lantern.

The lanterns make for gorgeous party decorations, the kind that I plan to leave up and enjoy every day!

Paper party lanterns

The next step is to add the candle, this is the part that made me almost burn my house down last week. I’ll share more about the fun that was on Friday.

For now, just please know… The light needs to be enclosed in a glass vessel (mason jars work great!) Open flame + paper lantern. You can probably do the math:) Slide the jar and candle into each lantern and finish by tying a length of fishing wire to each for hanging.

Paper party lanterns

Paper party lanterns

Here’s to a festive porch and a happy month of parties to us all!

Photography by Jocelyn Noel for A Subtle Revelry.

Posted April 30, 2014 2 Comments
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dried porcini parmesan pasta and herb bouquets

herb bouquet hostess gift

Whether we are eating at home, hosting a dinner party, or popping by a friends house – weekday dinners are always a little rushed for our busy family. To make sure our time around the table is celebrated and not wasted, here are two easy weeknight dinner fixes that will make for a beautiful meal in moments.

herb bouquet hostess gift

For a quick hostess gift nothing is nicer than a sweet bouquet of herbs. We grow our own (in these pretty pots) so clipping off a couple stems is always a simple process. Combining the stems with a length of vintage ribbon and a quick note of thanks will make your dinner host feel grateful you stopped by. The herbs can be used for the dinner your host is preparing tonight, or they can be placed on a damp napkin, in a bag, in the fridge to be kept for at a later time.

dried porcini parmesan pasta

dried porcini parmesan pasta

For the nights that hosting is done at my house – this simple dish has become a go-to for our family dinners. It’s a perfect side dish, the pasta is easy peasy to make and a real show stopper to serve. You can add in chicken or meat to make it more of a main dish staple. Matt and I host friends for dinner multiple times a week, so I love finding great tasting dishes that I can keep most of the ingredients for on hand.

dried porcini parmesan pasta

To make the dried porcini parmesan herb pasta dish you will need; a bag of curly pasta, dried porcini mushrooms, large grated parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs from the garden – we use rosemary, basil and thyme. It is basically a mix and toss dish. Cook the pasta and toss in the rest. Top with pepper, a few pieces of large grated cheese and some of the fresh herbs.  

Posted April 29, 2014 1 Comment
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printable thank you note stickers

Thank you for all you do (free!) printable

Stickered thank you boxes are my newest obsession for saying a simple spring thanks! I love how the bright and simple text turns any small box into a wrapped gift of thankfulness. Stash a spa gift card in one for mom, or a perfect litte something to hand out on teacher appreciation day. The boxes will work for just about anyone you need to thank – bridemaids, guests, the mailman. Who do you need to thank today? Print, fill, stick, done!

Thank you for all you do (free!) printable

Thank you for all you do (free!) printable

I designed these bright text thank you stickers and also a printable thank you note postcard for sending thanks to folks far away. Print out a stash of the postcards, pre-stamp them, and place them with a pen by the front door for quick jotted notes of thanks. The easier I make it on myself, the more often I remember to send a thoughtful thank you.

Thank you for all you do (free!) printable

Thank you for all you do (free!) printable

Thank you for all you do (free!) printable

To print out the bright text Thank You stickers (click here). To print the postcards (click here). Avery was kind enough to send us a huge box of labels and paper for printing this special project. Although you can print these onto any paper, to make it even easier on yourself we used Avery print to edge 2×2 square labels #22806 to create the stickers and Avery matte white postcards #3263 to create the 4 to a page postcards.  

Posted April 28, 2014 4 Comments
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miniature {may day} rose bouquets

Minature rose bouquets

Tis’ the season for gifting flowers. Mother’s Day is coming up, the end of the school year is almost here, and May Day is next week. May! One of my favorite traditions is to sit down with the kids every spring and make a list of who we have to thank. We have so many friends/teachers/family members who deserve to be thanked this year!

Celebrating the traditional doorstop floral drop on May first is a fun way to do this. A miniature rose bouquet is perfect for the kids to make and it is nice on the budget. You can make four bouquets for the cost of a dozen roses and filler. Simple. Sweet. Bouquets of thanks for everyone.

miniature rose bouquets

miniature rose bouquets

Start by gathering the flowers. Although you could make this bouquet with any flower, since it is miniature roses make it the most special. I also love eucalyptus as a filler. It smells amazing, is easy to work with, and you can hang the extras in your shower for a mini-spa after the bouquet making is done.  

Posted April 25, 2014 3 Comments
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painted terracotta pots

Painted Terracotta Planting Pots

Whether you’re celebrating earth week, Mother’s day, or planning out thank you gifts for the end of the year… these painted terracotta pots are a great way to craft a gift that will be treasured. Planted with a small herb garden they’re my favorite new addition to the deck for all of our spring parties. And the painted pots are a crazy simple idea for bridal/wedding shower favors. I love that they can be used as party day decor and moonlight as favor gifts your guests will really love!

Painted Terracotta Planting Pots

Painted Terracotta Planting Pots

Updating the affordable terracotta pots with paint is really easy – with one important tip. Read the full tutorial I designed right here and make a stash for giving (or keeping!) this week.

Posted April 24, 2014 2 Comments
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