IT’S GOOD!!! That’s the feeling I had after pulling off the ultimate extreme DYI, 40th surprise birthday party for my husband. It was a miracle, because with an 8 month and 3 yr old, one needs extreme skills in quick running, hiding, climbing, pushing, pulling and stealth. I probably could have slapped on a mustache and won major points at the scouting combine. (I lost 4lbs).
Since I’m now a domestic engineer (raising kiddos) I realize after working 10 years in corporate as a web/ graphic designer I needed to funnel some creative energy –so why not apply it to decorating a party. It took me a month to complete this project in secret. So I slapped a flyer together, mailed it off and started crafting and designing!
I made a TON of custom decor by hand for this HUGE Detroit Lions/Football fan. I had a major adrenaline rush- especially hiding stuff when he peaked in the basement, where I secretly created and hid it at night -LMAO. Here are the items:
Hand Screen Printed Rally Towels
These orginally weren’t part of the party plan, but since I knew how to screen print via learned at Ocelot Print Shop, these worked out great ^_^. I finally opened the DYI printing kit I received as a birthday gift two years ago and designed a quick image (30 mins) and burned the screen in my basement. It took about a day for the coating, burning and screen printing the 12 towels. Then an extra day to heat set them with an iron for 1-2 mins each. (These are simple car/terry cleaning towels from Meijers $9, 12″ x12″.)
I’m guessing you noticed the “DFL sticker on the rally towels. I made these in less than 15 mins. It’s a play on the NFL official logo using the first letter of my husbands name heehehehe! (sorry I’m a certified dork). Anyway, in my last blog post I mentioned I would talk about Affinity Photo ($49) vs Photoshop. I’m a long time Photoshop user (1999) and quite frankly it was time to switch it up. I was done with the plans and dumb upgrades etc, plus I used older versions and got the same results as CC –I’ll blog on that later. So basically I fired up Affinity and used the mesh warp tool. I used this badge on the towels, a dollar store football glass and the goal post.
Moving along – you’ll notice that swanky goal post. I thought way in advance to make one but ran out of time on HOW to connect it. It was the almost Christmas (2016) and I just snagged a few at the dollar store, then got to painting the poles. First with white acrylic and then then yellow tempera paint; stood it up using my shirt display and boom – a standing goal post.I could have bought some pvc pipes and connectors but I went total DYI on this -hence the crunchy taped corners; but who cares right?
Behind that lovely goal post you’ll notice a chevron fabric laying across my table. That will is the photo shoot background. I know a lot of people are against “Wal-Smart” but I got 7 yards of this for like $10. (that’s right my JoAnn fabric heads). I was going to pull out my sewing machine, but my rusty butt got lazy and I used fabric glue to connect it together, then I just nailed the ends to the ceiling (They make nail hole filler for people like me). But it was fabulous. We took TONS of photos and all that really matters is a cropped nice picture and wa-la, a printable memory that last forever. Oh and a photo shoot is not complete without props, read on…
By now your thinking this chick is doing way too much…your right. I just couldn’t stop the CREATIVITY! I just let it overflow and take over plus life’s too short to stop short. So I went long (haha) with these fun photo prop sticks. I already had bamboo shish kebob sticks, so I cut the tips and hot glued them to the props (sparkle glue sticks from the dollar store). I printed these on HEAVY card stock – I’m talking 110lbs-200lbs people! (in paper weight terms of course) I bought them from The Paper Mill store years ago. Then I printed them on the BEST PRINTER I’VE EVER WORKED WITH the Cannon Pixma, because it bleeds off the edges. Next, I painstakingly cut them out with an xacto knife. I’m not gonna lie, these took some time. But it was well worth it – especially the WTF sign; I’m thinking I can use it when someone cuts me off while driving. Just wave it outside the car window- ahhhhh lovely.
Speaking of road rage and signs, let’s all have a drink and settle down. I made some painted shot glasses and custom labels for the vodka mini bottles. The glasses were emptied spice and baby food jars that I was hoarding for weeks. To keep this football theme strong, I painted X’s, O’s and squares that obviously symbolized players in a football playbook. Then I couldn’t help myself buying the already blue (Lions Color), vodka mini bottles. I put those in water for 10 mins and the labels falls off, then I added my own sticker. Guest could then mix it with juices available.
Shots contained the birthday cake shots from the Tipsy Bartender and the spice jars had Blue Hawaiian cocktail, which coordinated perfectly with the Detroit Lions blue color. (Those referee tubs were inspired by this Pinterest blog!)
Remember that Cannon Pixma printer I told you about? Right – this bad boy is amazing and printed all the pieces for my scoreboard. It’s 28 x 30″+something and I painted a cardboard black, outlined it with white duck tape and applied the pieces on top with a glue stick (extreme). It’s worth noting black ink in printers aren’t “true black” so you’ll see gray but when you cut out the pieces, it works beautifully. Since it was a 40th party it was only right to put his name and 40 as the score. Hurrah! The wall background was black polypropylene material from Wal-Smart, ($4 for three yards). I then pasted strips of white streamers on it. I was shocked on how good it looked.
The best part of any party is the food of course. We are vegan so it was a no brainer to use Beyond Meat Spicy Buffalo bites from Wholefoods plus coconut cupcakes, a vegan cake and other delicious food. The layout was pretty cool too since I painted orange foam pieces that look like football pylons – as risers; the smaller risers and the turf turned-table cloth I got from Amazon.com. The $9 crate is from “Wal-Smart”serving as the cake stand.
Now the coconut cupcakes tasted and looke amazing . I got that recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz plus I looked at countless videos on making grass icing and even considered buying a $9 grass icing tip but I was like fuk it and used a bunch of tooth picks clasped with a rubber band. It looked just like the turf. The green icing is natural using COLORS Kitchen and McCormick natural, and India food coloring) I popped on those football rings and it just works.
The cake was O.K…… While I’m grateful for it begin vegan – it fell really short on color. What’s really sad is that I even asked for preview photos, and sent color samples – but was told NO. I gave Cakes by Rubina 3 stars (it looked more like a baby’s cake).
Thankfully getting balloons was a service I paid for. Helium Kits a pain and the amount of detail and Lions theme I wanted could only be handled by professionals. I used Party Paradise here in Michigan. I don’t recommend the table top center pieces-they just fall over. But otherwise the Lions balloon tower looked good!
Here is where my graphic design skills killed it! Just kidding. But I didn’t do just any ordinary banner. I HAD to make it extra, by using a lion graphic (vectoreezy) adding silver acrylic paint, cutting out the teeth – making it look like the lion crunched the paper (I added some literal folds and cuts). I think this captures the essence of a true Detroit Lions fan LMAO!! I pieced the long it together since it was really long 30″ x 20″. Top that off with pom poms on the sides and there you go. In addition I put signs on doors since we had a handful of guest who haven’t been in our home. The “loo” was the funniest sign hand down, thanks Calvin Johnson.
80% of this project were tweaked stuff I found at that dollar store it included: the super bowl trophy (inspired by Pintrest Post) nerd football + vase, the penalty flag, stones, brown construction paper, football bowls, streamers, colored duck tape, acrylic long servers, beer glasses, glass jars, silver plastic wear, plates, yellow cones and more!
Does anyone remember making a “about you” tables in elementary? This was just that – it showed a variety of Detroit Lions items collected over the years. I remember stalking a lady for that black laptop jersey bag, because it was handmade and not sold anywhere ^_^. I also had a guest “playbook” for good wishes, loaded the app Pacemaker on my phone, (who was the “DJ”) with football/fav songs. I even played Fox’s NFL theme song when he came through the door, lol . We’ll be looking back on this party with smiles forever.
FIN AND THANKS!
To conclude, I fulfilled my creative desires lol. I did miss a few things like more streamers and signs in some areas, but at the end of the day seeing his shocked, smiling face was the best feeling in the world. I suppose in the back of my mind I’ll always wonder what would have happened if I tweeted #CalvinJohnson and he actually showed up! Ah well, until then, the next extreme DYI party — my son’s 1st and daughters 4th birthday COMBINED!
Thanks for coming along, reading this crazy, detailed journey of a 40th surprise party for the ultimate Detroit Lions Fan.
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Credits: ©Detroit Lions and Branding/Logo owned by Martha Firestone Ford.