Friday, April 15, 2011

Bookclub Tea Party Part 1-Free Printables Included!

Yes, just part one! There were so many great aspects to this styled photo shoot that I couldn't possibly do it all in one post--and I know you'd fade away after 30 seconds no matter how compelling my writing is. We're just geared that way. At least I am.

The inspiration for this party was essentially my mother's tea set from Susie Davis called Black Fruit circa 1960, London. Again, props to my mama for having such good taste in tea sets. I have loved and lusted after this china for as long as I could remember, and I hope my mom is reading this so she can write that in her last will and testament. I did an initial color scheme photo in this post and the event inspiration details in this post.

Then I waited and procrastinated for several months (I think it was about 7) and then got myself in gear to finish the job. I invited Tammy Duvall (mom with fashion degree and insane need to do too much), Alexis Anderson (fabulous cake decorator and foodie), Karyn Hlad-Miller (photographer extraordinaire and fellow creative sucker) to join in the fun. So, the Jewel tone Book Club Tea Party became a reality. This wasn't an actual party because my book club wouldn't have the capacity to stop talking to pose for photos, nor could they NOT eat the food--you know how that goes, and I refer mainly to myself--but I think it makes for a great idea if you are either starting a book club for the first time, or getting the readers together for the start of another year. Do it in style, girl!

I can speak coherently about that because I did it and since I have an insatiable need to understand artists and how they arrive at their final designs, I'll share my creative process with you.

First, I analyzed what was so beautiful about the tea set. It had a delicate and detailed black line drawing on a broad white background paired with a full flood of color striking jewel tone color. The overall style was classic but the color made it modern and edgy to me. When I translated those design elements into the coordinating peripheral paper materials it came out this way: A small black linear ornament with a splash of bold color (using the colors in the cups to keep visual consistency). The trick to a successful design is always in the balance of elements. In this case, the color equation was roughly a 2/3 white space, 1/6 black lines, 1/6 solid color. That makes one whole, right? Math was never my thing...

The invitation was a library pocket that I die cut with my Silhouette SD machine. It came standard with my software, so that was a nice bonus! The template for the pocket had a seam across the front so I used my most delightful Washi tape to cover it up. I chose the intricate black lace pattern to contrast with the simple lines of the main card design. I typeset the party specifics on a card that fit inside the pocket, making the enticing parts to stick out so you read those first. Then behind the invitation was a bookmark I created for each bookclub member to keep. It had all the books we'd be reading, the date of the discussion and who would be the host for that night. A handy memento that is both practical and pretty. I love it!

I always cherish a good party favor, so the bookplates were lots of fun to design. I carried over the design elements and printed them out on adhesive paper. Since I sometimes want my books back, but othertimes don't care, I included both options. A perfect gift for my book loving friends! I packaged a set of 6 in a flat white paper bag (from a restaurant supply store, probably used to hold large cookies, but we use them for the kid's lunches to cut down on plastic) folded over and closed with an ornately shaped color tag that I hand-wrote "Read On!" They were placed on the front table with a sign to let guests know that they shouldn't be shy and to take one with them when they left that day.

And for the fontophiles (not a real word), the main body text is Chisel Normal, and the script is Revised Dancer. The black ornaments are selections from Borderfont Classicals. Read more about using ornaments in this post.

The rest of the party signage is of course based on the main design concept. Smaller table tents for the food labels, and slightly larger tents for the various "stations" at the party, each with a punch of color in the border. One of my favorite ideas was to have a book exchange as a low key party "game". Guests bring their previously read and enjoyed paperbacks to exchange for another's beloved cast-offs. This was all mentioned in the invitation, of course, so everyone can be prepared.

Super cute, huh? Are you feeling like OMG I am so gonna take my bookclub up a notch this year! and have a fun party too? You're in luck because I'm giving away the bookmark and party signage printables FOR FREE! Just right click on the images below to download the jpg file. The bookmarks are blank because, uh, you need to come up with your own list. Even if you are not having a bookclub party, I think the bookplates would make a thoughtful gift for a teacher or friend who is always exclaiming, "You have to read this book!" I'm thinking these are going to be stocking stuffers this year.

SO ARE YOU STILL WITH ME OR DID I LOSE YOU? You are? Good, you have much more patience than I do. Next week, I will highlight the general decor and styling of the party, and the week after we can talk food and drinks (recipes and tragic story included, so you don't want to miss that one).


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