Friday, March 8, 2013

Homemade happiness

 For last night's Senabration (I will be copyrighting that phrase) I got crafty. 

People ask me about this stuff a lot lately.  It's kind of funny to me because although I'm no seasoned DIYer, making things and projects are second nature to me.  Homemade Birthdays are the best - I always remember once being in a campsite in France, and a Birthday was celebrated with banner letters cut from newspapers and an improvised special meal.  I can literally picture it like it was yesterday.  It's a big point of pride for me that I grew up with the idea of making things yourself although I think it's only just starting to really come out in me.  Maybe I've spent 22 almost 23 years absorbing and learning through osmosis.  Anyway, lucky me that I had people to learn FROM - not everybody does.

 So with short-notice news that it was Sena's Birthday I had to come up with something that would suit - Sena is sweet, sophisticated, a little mischevious and very stylish so challenge on.

I made this bunting string out of magazine page cut-outs - you can't really tell what's on them but mostly perfume and lipstick ads serve this purpose well as they are colourful and often floral.

Sena has had a jar of Nutella in the fridge forever so with that as inspiration I made these cupcake-brownie Nutella-loaded treats.  It was actually a regular chocolate sponge recipe, baked in my favourite silicone reusable cake cases.  Once I made the cake mix I added Nutella which meant that when they were baked they were a little densier, fudgier and chewier like a brownie...mmmmmmmm.  The cool thing about Nutella is, it's three of the ingedients already in a cake mix - fat, sugar and in this case cocoa so it just added extras of all those things plus hazelnut goodness.  I then put a blob of Nutella on top of each cake, and THEN added a decorative dab of hand-whipped Nutella cream.

To further party-ready the living room I covered the table with a charity shop pink scarf that I used to use as a wall drape and we had a snack table of crisps and dips and drinks.  I did a couple of drape things with some cool sparkly fabrics that Granny and Poppa sent me ages ago that I was very happy to put to good use.

This was my favourite piece of decorative inspiration...I've had these diamondy things hanging around forever, I think they are supposed to be sort of scattered decoratively on fancy dinner tables.  But if you put them in a clean glass jar on some foil and surround them with candles you get nice reflections and glows and atmospheric prettiness.  The gold wrapping paper hearts around it are just for added fun and cute factor.

With all this in place all we needed was some K-Pop (that's Korean Pop, I will probably post about it soon because it's becoming a growing obsession) some guests and the Birthday girl.

When she got home and I let her in, she actually stood outside the door for 5 minutes making this strange howling noise...this is Sena's way of being quite overcome, I think, but I was really confused and Jacob had to kind of guide her through the door.  But then she got over it and disappeared to her room and came back wearing a tiara.  Of course.

We have guests on tap thanks to the neighbours so all we have to do is knock on doors and 2 minutes later they show up - Ruth bearing flowers and some leftover sweet stuff from an event at the Bohemian National Hall where she works (a Czech arts organisation).  And Charles bearing a cupcake for meeee! We had a lovely evening catching up with friends and enjoying Sena and her friend Gena's inspired performance of 'Gee Gee Gee Gee', a K-Pop song by girlgroup Girls Generation.  And we played charades, natch...everyone starts out saying 'no no, I can't play I don't know any movies/books, I suck at this game' and before they know it they are swept up into the excitement and the adrenaline...everyone succumbs eventually.

Party people! I so enjoyed the first party of our apartment and am proud to say Nutella treats went down very well (especially with the Birthday girl who was still eating them this morning) and I received nice compliments for my decorative efforts. 

Project time continues today - I was supposed to be in this dance event flashmob thing today but it is a weird cold wet horrible because said flashmob was outdoors it was called off leaving me with an unexpected totally free day.  Ok I'll take it!

So far I have made one thing - my own version of 'shakshouka', a North African (?) dish that is popular in Israel - I discovered it via my friend Sivan at an Israeli coffee and sandwich chain.  She loves to have it for breakfast.  I did a somewhat westernised, mediterraneanised version with peppers and onions since that's what I had lots of but it came out pretty well and is a really healthy and tasty breakfast.

Home improvements are GO

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