Snapshots: Howloween at the Oregon Zoo

Snapshots: Howloween at the Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo at Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Oregon Zoo at Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

 

Halloween at the Oregon Zoo is “Howloween”

You thought I spelled it wrong in the title, didn’t you? “How”loween was the Oregon Zoo’s costumed, Halloween themed educational scavenger hunt. We visited different areas of the zoo to learn about many of the animals and get stickers and treats! Kiddo dressed as a crab and had a lot of fun roaming the zoo as one of the animals!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to bring my little guy, my visiting mom, and husband to participate in Howloween at the Zoo. The educational scavenger hunt was fun for the kid and kept us moving along throughout the zoo. It is no secret that I’m a fan of the Oregon Zoo. So, I won’t wax poetic.

I will say that it gets my vote as a fabulous way to spend the day with the family. I’d highly suggest renting one of their strollers if you have a little one. It saved us from having to schlep our stroller in and out, the kid thought it was fun, and it made the whole experience much better than the times we’ve gone and tried to walk around with a toddler.

Did you miss out on Howloween? Well, here is some more zoo fun:

Trick or Meat: See an Amur tiger get fed pumpkins at 10:31 AM on 10/31!

Zooliner: The Zooliner is BACK! Well, almost… the Zoo just announced that the Zooliner Locomotive is “on track” to be ready to be back in November. I’m excited that it will be back just in time for Zoo Lights!

Oregon Zoo at Halloween // A Well Crafted Party Oregon Zoo at Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Oregon Zoo at Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Free Printable Vampire Portraits

Free Printable Vampire Portraits

Free Vampire Portraits from A Well Crafted Party

It is almost Halloween… can you believe it? I’ve been prepping for our annual Halloween party and have been so swamped with preparations that I haven’t really had the opportunity to sit down in front of my computer for any extended period of time. If you are feeling just as swamped as I am then you might need a few last minute Halloween decoration ideas! Hey, you may even appreciate getting some for free.

Using vintage images, I created a few Vampire Portraits that you can print off and put in frames around your home. How do I know what a vampire looks like in a portrait? Well that is easy! Vampires don’t show up in mirrors or film of course. These vampires sit in front of the camera to produce eery images of people without descernable bodies.

Free Vampire Portraits from A Well Crafted Party Free Vampire Portraits from A Well Crafted Party

Vampire Portrait Free Printables

Directions:

  1. Download the image of your choice (see below)
  2. Print – You can print these off on your home computer and cut out or you can print at any photo processing source.
  3. Frame!

Downloads:

  1. Male Vampire 1
  2. Male Vampire 2
  3. Woman Vampire 1
  4. Woman Vampire 2

Vintage Portrait of a Lady via Tony Alter’s Flickr the rest are Public Domain images via Wikipedia

Portland Center Stage presents Dreamgirls

Portland Center Stage presents Dreamgirls
Art by Julia McNamara

Art by Julia McNamara

Disclaimer: I was provided with complementary tickets by Portland Center Stage so that I may experience Dreamgirls before sharing my experience with you here on the blog. All opinions are my own. Keep reading for a discount so that you can see the show as well! 

Dreamgirls at Portland Center Stage in town until November 2!

A little tidbit about me that you might not of known… I’ve ALWAYS been interested in theater. I love watching the lights go down, hearing the hush of a crowd, and being delighted with the talents of people that have prepped and worked all towards that performance. There is just nothing like watching live theater. I’ve never really been someone to act in a play. I auditioned once in college… let me tell you, an Irish accent is NOT easy. Though I was never really quite right for the onstage talent, I loved participating in the creation of a show and watching how everyone worked together to change reality for the course of a show. So, when Portland Center Stage asked if I wanted to check out their production of Dreamgirls I jumped at the opportunity. I’m so glad I did!

I had never seen Dreamgirls before, either on stage or in movie form. I knew that it was a musical about a trio of women loosely based on The Supremes. But, that is about it! Now I want to see the movie and any and all productions of this show going forward. It was such a treat, and not for the reasons I originally assumed it would be! If you are in the Portland area, and like musicals, then I’d highly recommend this production! But, don’t let your location stop you from reading on… you can always watch Dreamgirls the movie!

Dreamgirls at Portland Center Stage // A Well Crafted Party

L-R: Lexi Rhoades (Lorrell Robinson), Mary Patton (Deena Jones) and Antoinette Comer (Michelle Morris) in “Dreamgirls” at Portland Center Stage. Photo by Patrick Weishampel.
“Dreamgirls” Music by Henry Krieger, Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen, Directed by Chris Coleman

It is more than just three women singing…

I expected to go into the show and be wow’d by some spectacular female voices. And, while I was wow’d by some pretty talented women (get to that later) I was unexpectedly blown away by some beautiful and FUN male-led songs! The beginning of the show the ladies didn’t quite have their voices yet. (Little did I know, because remember I had never seen this before, that was part of the plan!) I enjoyed the first number with the women being introduced to the stage. But, when Calvin Scott Roberts playing C.C. (Claridge Conrad) White and Rodney Hicks playing Curtis Taylor, Jr. began to sing Cadillac Car with David Jennings playing Jimmy (James Thunder) Early– WOW. I loved each and every song that these three men sang together. Each had great stage presence and really sold their characters all while hitting their songs out of the theater.

Dreamgirls from Portland Center Stage // A Well Crafted Party

The cast of “Dreamgirls” at Portland Center Stage. Photo by Patrick Weishampel.
“Dreamgirls” Music by Henry Krieger Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen Directed by Chris Coleman

Then you really hear the women sing…

In the beginning I wasn’t entirely impressed with the songs that the women were singing. Little did I know… that was part of the play! As the show goes on the women really start singing. While they clearly had talent in the beginning, they just hadn’t hit their groove as a group! They had me hoodwink perfectly. At the end of the first act when Nattalyee Randall playing Effie Melody White belts out “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” I had tears in my eyes. All the women brought it on stage and I wasn’t disappointed by a single performance. The most exciting performance, for me, was by Mary Patton playing Deena Jones. (I don’t want to give much of the story away just in case you, like me, had never seen anything about the show. I want you to be as surprised as I was!)  When Deena, one of the background singers of the trio is given the opportunity to step up as a lead there is a lot to discover. Patton plays demure, quiet and sweet Deena Jones so well in the beginning and hides her powerhouse of a voice during her first song as lead so well that I honestly didn’t see how this fictional group would ever be convincing as a popular musical trio. As she starts to take hold of her inner diva (just a bit) her voice suddenly takes over the entire room. It is gorgeous and powerful.

See a sneak peek of the show  below:

Dreamgirls: the trailer from Portland Center Stage on Vimeo.

More about Dreamgirls:

  • Fun facts about the PCS production learn how the production included- “49 IKEA mixing bowls, 125 costume looks, 406 pairs of fake eye lashes, 550 lighting units …
    and 1,000 condoms!?!?!”
  • Dreamgirls Review from Jane of In The Pink & Green- “I ended up being really blown away by the talented cast for this show! Seriously, every single person had such an incredible voice and I was extremely impressed by the casting!”

Get a Discount to the Show!

Portland Center Stage is offering my Portland area readers a chance to see Dreamgirls with a discount! Use the code “PDXBLOGS” to get $5 off any showing. Or, select a Tuesday show or the Halloween showing to receive your ticket for just $20! Click here to buy your ticket today!

More from Portland Center Stage:

The Typographers Dream is showing in the Ellen Bye Studio from Oct. 4 to November 16.

The Typographer’s Dream follows the story of a stenographer, a geographer and a typographer. During a career-oriented presentation, it becomes hilariously clear that their personal issues just so happen to correspond with their jobs. As with his hit play The Receptionist, playwright Bock tackles the everyday environment of the workplace from a completely unique, and very witty, perspective.  ”

Tell me, have you ever seen Dreamgirls? What did you think? Comment below.

Saturday Spirits: Pear & Apple Cider Sangria

Saturday Spirits: Pear & Apple Cider Sangria

Pear and Apple Cider Sangria // A Well Crafted Party

I had a really difficult time figuring out the name for this drink. It is similar to a punch, but I made it in singles. Sort of a sangria, but I don’t know many sangrias with bourbon in them. So, name it whatever you want… but, it is a tasty fall beverage!

Every year it begins to really feel like Fall to me when I get to attend the local Pear and Apple festival at the Portland Nursery. I load up on apples and pears and incorporate them in EVERYTHING until I run out. One year I bought 60 lbs of apples and pears and ended up making a ton of apple sauce, apple butter, apple pies, and many apple desserts. This year I knew that my kitchen time would be limited so I didn’t indulge quite as much as I’d have liked to… but, we did enjoy the Hard Apple Cider tasting and came home with a 20 lbs of apples and pears as well as a few delicious ciders and wines.

A few of those purchases are featured in this drink. I’m hoping that you are able to find these brands because they are fantastic, but if not then I’d suggest looking at the flavor profile and finding something similar near you. This drink is totally worth it.

Pear and Apple Cider Sangria // A Well Crafted Party

Ingredients:

(Makes 1 Beverage– Though, you can multiple by 4 easily to make a pitcher!)

  • 1 1/4 oz Bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace)
  • 2 oz Pear Wine (I used Bull Run Pear Wine )
  • 3 oz Hard Apple Cider ( I used Shilling Oak Aged Cider )
  • Squeeze of 1 large lemon slice
  • Sliced, ripe pears (I used Anjou pears and had about 4-5 slices per glass)
  • Glass with ice

Directions:

  1. Fill a glass with ice, putting in slices of pear along the way
  2. Fill glass with Bourbon, Pear Wine, and Hard Apple Cider
  3. Give it a stir and enjoy!

Don’t forget to eat those tasty pears once your drink is gone!

Pear and Apple Cider Sangria // A Well Crafted Party

About Shilling Oak Aged Cider: The hard cider is finished in 100% NW Oak. It has a smokey cinnamon flavor profile with clove and vanilla. It would be considered a semi-dry cider. There is a bit of the apple taste still there, but not nearly as sweet as some ciders.

About Bull Run Pear Wine: The Bull Run Pear wine is from Oregon! It is a sweet ice wine.  I’d say this is a nice sweet, smooth dessert wine without the punch of a brandy. Loved it.

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Hey Girl Party Activities: Color Me Yours

Hey Girl Party Activities: Color Me Yours

Ryan Gosling Themed Party Activity "Color Me Yours" // A Well Crafted Party

(Affiliate Links are used in this post. Purchases made from affiliate links help support this blog at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting A Well Crafted Party!)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I’m not a fan of most party games. Making everyone play something silly has never really been in my bag of tricks. I HAVE thrown parties with games before. And, this Ryan Gosling themed birthday party is no exception. (I’ll share our party game very soon!) But, I like to always have an activity or two that doesn’t revolve around a group activity or food.

Ryan Gosling Themed Party Activity "Color Me Yours" // A Well Crafted Party

Ryan Gosling Themed Party Activity "Color Me Yours" // A Well Crafted Party

One of the areas of the party was set up so that guests could easily sit and chat with a place to set their plates and drinks. I then added in an awesome coloring book, “Colour Me Good Ryan Gosling.” I cut out a few of the pages and placed them on the table to encourage guests to color them. Snacks, crayons, and fun DIY party confetti also decked out the area.

What are your favorite activities for your parties? Have you ever been at an event with a really amazing activity? Comment Below!

Hey Girl Party Activities: Hey Girl Guest Book

Hey Girl Party Activities: Hey Girl Guest Book

Ryan Gosling Themed Party Agenda // A Well Crafted Party

I’m not one to plan out every detail to a party. I prefer my parties to be fairly laid back and casual. To me the perfect party has a few activities, lots of good food and great drink, and a planned out party space that encourages mingling. However, when I am doing more structured events, events venues that I’ve reserved for a certain amount of time, or events on weeknights, I tend to plan things out just a bit more clearly. My recent Hey Girl – Ryan Gosling themed birthday party was on a weeknight at a friend’s house. I knew that having it over at a certain time would be good for everyone involved. I also wanted to draw attention to the different activities that I had planned, so I created this agenda to work partially as an extra decor item as well as pointing out the evening plan.

The first item on the evening’s agenda included leaving the guest of honor a note in her guest book! I love guest books and variations on guest books because they give the guest of honor a way to remember the people at their event.

Hey Girl Journal subs at Guest Book at Ryan Gosling themed party // A Well Crafted Party

(Affiliate Links are used in this post. Purchases made from affiliate links help support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting A Well Crafted Party!)

I found this amazing “Hey Girl” Flexi Journal by Chronicle Books   on Amazon and bought it up right away. The journal is filled with little drawn images of Ryan Gosling with quote bubbles. I encouraged guests to write messages in each of the quote bubbles so that in the future, as Macey filled out her journal, she’d be greeted with happy messages from friends!

Hey Girl Journal makes for fantastic Guest Book // A Well Crafted Party

What is your favorite thing to use as a guest book? Have you seen some creative guest books at parties in the past? Comment Below!

Saturday Spirits: Lollipop Sparkling Cocktails

Saturday Spirits: Lollipop Sparkling Cocktails

Wow! It has been a couple weeks since I’ve last shared a Saturday Spirits. I didn’t quite mean to go on a hiatus… but, it happened. Anywho, I’m bringing you one awesome cocktail today, so the wait will have been worth it. A few weeks ago I created these Lollipop Sparkling Cocktails for my “Hey Girl-Ryan Gosling Themed Birthday Party.

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party

First I made lollipops using Raft Botanical Cocktail and Soda Syrups for the flavoring. This was my first successful time making candy… and, boy it is fun, easy and TASTY. I discovered that patience really was the key to making candy right. Well, that and a candy thermometer.

Once your lollipops are done the hard part of this cocktail is completed. All that is left is creating a tasty rimming sugar and pouring your favorite sparkling wine! These make for a really festive cocktail. There are quite a few recipes and how to’s below. Don’t let them intimidate you. The whole process is much easier than it sounds when you look at a huge blog post.

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktails // A Well Crafted Party

How to Make Lollipops

To make lollipops you just need a few essential tools. I made my lollipops with molds because I wanted to have a very precise look to them. However, you could use this powdered sugar method as well! For flavoring I really wanted to avoid using artificial or concentrated flavoring. I opted to test out creating the pops out of my Raft cocktail syrups and was thrilled with the way they turned out. (Affiliate Links Below)

Tools: 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
  • 1 3/4 Cup Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Raft Botanical Cocktail Syrup (I used Lemon Ginger for one set & Hibiscus Lavender for another)
  • Extra sugar and syrup to create rimming sugar

Directions: 

  1. Prep your candy molds by spraying with vegetable oil (non flavored!) and placing the lollipop sticks.
  2. In a saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and water over medium to medium-high heat. Stir to keep it from overheating or sticking. Burnt sugar will quickly make happy candy-making time into throwing out a pan and dealing with a stench time.
  3. Heat the sugar, stirring, until the candy thermometer reads just about 305 degrees. You don’t need to keep the candy thermometer in there the entire time, but once it starts to boil a bit it is a good idea to get that in there. You don’t want it to get past the hard-candy stage. Once the thermometer reads 305 go ahead and add in the Raft syrup. Stir into the mixture and watch the thermometer closely.
  4. Once the thermometer reads between 310-320 degrees remove the mixture from the heat. using a spoon pour the mixture into the molds. Be very careful… liquid candy burns are not a pretty thing. You’ll want to do this part while the mixture is hot, I recommend buying several lollipop molds. I ended up making about 24 lollipops per batch.
  5. Once the candy has cooled the lollipops are ready to eat! We stored ours on wax paper in a sealed container for about 2 weeks and they still tasted awesome. Though, try to keep them separated as they will stick together. You can also just buy some candy wraps and wrap them up nicely!

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party

How to Make Rimming Sugar

A good sparkling cocktail needs some sugar to it. The lollipop will give the cocktail sugar and flavor… but, it won’t be immediate. The rimming sugar helps drive the flavor until the lollipop can do its magic. It also looks pretty too!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1- 2 teaspoons Raft Syrup
  • Lemon zest (use a microplane and it takes no time at all!)

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients well… breaking up any clumps that might have formed from the liquid
  2. Lay out flat on a plate or baking sheet until mixture has totally dried. It can then be stored in an airtight container for about a week or so.

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party

Lollipop Sparkling Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Use the lemon wedge to ring around the glass and dip onto a plate with rimming sugar.
  2. Drop a lollipop into the glass
  3. Pour in the sparkling wine!
  4. If you’d like a little more kick then add in 3/4 oz of Limoncello Liqueur

Portland: St. Jude Autumn Harvest this Saturday!

Portland: St. Jude Autumn Harvest this Saturday!

St. Jude Autumn Harvest Event in Portland Oregon // A Well Crafted Party

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 4, is the Autumn Harvest fundraising event for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Some of Portland’s top chef talent will join together to give a progressive Autumnal tasting in hopes of raising funds and awareness for the hospital. The evening will feature live entertainment, flights from local mixologists, and an auction and the chance to experience St. Jude first-hand through local patients. It will also showcase Portland’s finest during a tasting led by 2014 James Beard Award recipient Naomi Pomeroy of Beast. Other featured chefs include:

  • Aaron Barnett, St. Jack
  • Jason French, Ned Ludd
  • Gregory Gourdet, Departure
  • Josh McFadden, Ava Gene’s
  • Sarah Schafer, Irving Street Kitchen

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a hospital where no family ever receives a bill for treatment, travel or food. They believe that all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Personally, I can’t even begin to tell you how important this is… this last year we have been dealing with possible health problems with my toddler son. Our doctors thought he had Cystic Fibrosis . We spent a lot of time in doctor’s offices and even more time on the phone trying to get in to see specialists and dealing with insurance. Now we will be paying off those bills. It has been a lot of worry and stress in our lives. We recently got the news that he does not have Cystic Fibrosis, but they aren’t sure what is causing him to get sick so often and so badly. I felt a small (minuscule) part of what many families are feeling and my heart will be forever changed because of it. Any and all support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will go far in helping families who are in a world of hurt and worry.

I’m excited to be able to share my experience with readers. Look for a blog post about it soon! But, in the meantime… check out more information about St. Judes by visiting the St. Jude website or click over to donate to this cause today.

Hey Girl Party Favors – Ryan Gosling Tea Towels

Hey Girl Party Favors – Ryan Gosling Tea Towels

DIY Ryan Gosling Tea Towels // A Well Crafted Party

When I got to thinking of the whole “Hey Girl” Meme for the Ryan Gosling themed party the ideas sort of over-took my brain. I wanted to do SO much. But, as I advise every bride/diy event planner … I started out with lots of ideas and then began to narrow them down. The favor idea was one of my FAVORITE ideas, so I spent some time figuring out the best way to go about it. I loved the idea of giving guests tea towels (who doesn’t need more of those!?) that were a simple black and white that had a “Hey Girl” message of “Hey girl, let me dry those dishes for you.”

My first attempt at making these tea towels did NOT go well. I was determined to screen press the tea towels. I borrowed my friend Suzannah’s Ryonet home screen printing press and tried following her tutorial and the Ryonet YouTube tutorial. The whole process is very, very involved. The kit included everything I needed and the instructions were great! But, I didn’t give myself near enough time or room for error. It was one of those DIY fails that just really sucks. After I dried my tears of frustration, I scrapped the screen printing idea and went with the iron on transfer method.

DIY Ryan Gosling Tea Towels // A Well Crafted Party

 

I typically don’t enjoy the way the iron on transfer looks on fabrics. There is usually a line around the image that is slightly more glossy than I want. When the paper gets too hot it can yellow. Also, I never know how long it will last. I was pretty thrilled with the way these tea towels turned out though and would recommend the iron-on transfer as an easy way to make these. Follow the instructions on the iron on transfer paper.

Tips for best results when using the iron-on transfer method:

  • Prep your fabric. Wash, dry and iron your fabric before you apply the transfer. Will the transfer take if you skip this step? Yep. But, I think it benefits the entire project to take those other steps. I feel like the transfer goes on better and that it lasts longer.
  • Transfer the RIGHT image. Most transfer papers require you to print a mirror image of your image. Transfer paper, while not super expensive, isn’t cheap either. Losing an entire sheet due to a printing mistake would be a bummer.
  • Stick to single colors. I have found that when I use multiple colors I don’t like the look as much as I do when there is only one color in the image. This is totally a preference though!
  • Don’t use an ironing board. The instructions for my package of transfer paper said not to use an ironing board. This was the first time I’ve ever done it this way and I was thrilled with the results. Instead of an ironing board you want to find a sturdy surface that is about waist-high with an ironed pillowcase placed on top. It really makes the difference to have the leverage to apply even force while ironing.

DIY Ryan Gosling Tea Towels // A Well Crafted Party

 

Want to make your own Ryan Gosling tea towels?

Download my Hey Girl Tea Towel print and get started! Image of Ryan Gosling was licensed under CC 2.0 — sourced via Raffi Asdourian . I then modified the image. Tutorial coming!

Ryan Gosling Free Printable // A Well Crafted Party

Supplies (Affiliate Links):

And, just because I thought this would also make for a cute framed print above a drying rack in the kitchen I also made an 8×10 printable. Click here to download you own free Ryan Gosling themed printable!

Love the idea but just don’t wanna make your own tea towels? These sketched tea towels by Dear Colleen are AMAZING and would make for a fantastic gift! They’d be a better quality and have THREE images of Ryan Gosling… so, there is that too!

(PS. I will give screen printing a shot again sometime soon.)

(PPS. Ryan, if you’re reading this… first, EEEEE! Second, we share because we love your work and enjoy the meme. Will take down with a note from you! )