Saturday, March 3, 2012

Leopard Themed Appreciation Reception

Before we hired our new worship pastor last fall, we wanted to honor
a woman who served as the choir director at our church for 22+ years.
Brenda is such an incredible woman and really taught me (and many others)
so much about singing, and this was the least we could do to show her
just a glimpse of how much we love and appreciate her.
I wanted this Appreciation Reception to reflect Brenda's personality, and
knowing Brenda like I do, I knew I couldn't go wrong using leopard prints!
Here's a view of the room as a whole (sorry that they are kinda dark).

I bought this leopard fabric and used pinking shears to cut them into strips
wide enough for a table runner (well, my sister cut them!). For the centerpieces,
I wanted pops of color, so I bought yellow, red, and orange austemaria flowers
and had them arranged in vases.  I also wanted a musical aspect to be
a part of the reception, so I had my mom print hymn music onto gold velum
and put it in a vase with a tealight candle illuminating the music. I typed up cards
for people to write their most favorite moment concerning Brenda and the choir.
These, along with pens, were put in vases with small pieces of a black feather boa,
and the instructions were on the outside of the vase, lined with leopard tissue paper.

I knew I wanted to make leopard wreaths with some kind of feathers for the
reception. So I was at the store and had about 15 spools of ribbon
in my arms (wasn't smart enough to grab a shopping cart or basket!)
and was headed to the checkout when I noticed these bins of colored
duct tape. And wouldn't you know, they had leopard print! I wasn't
sold on the idea yet, but I bought some and tried it out - and it looked
great! You couldn't even hardly tell that it was duct tape! It was also much
quicker (and cheaper) to wrap a wreath this way as opposed to ribbon or yarn.
For the finishing touch, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a few different
feathery items - most of which were originally designed to be little girl's
hairbows, but I also got a black feather boa. I just hot glued those suckers
on, and had adorable leopard wreaths, just like that!

I knew I wanted some kind of sign that said "thanks" but I just could
not figure out exactly what I wanted. The day before the shower I
went to Hobby Lobby and saw some letters on sale for 40% off!
I painted the edges black, put a layer of gold paint on the front,
and then did two coats of gold glitter paint over that. Then I hot glued
the letters together and it was done!! Ready for a helpful hint??
When gluing these letters together, you have to overlap them, otherwise,
they will not hold. I starting trying to glue the sides together at first,
but it kept breaking apart.  At the reception, we hung the sign using fishing  
line.  Then set it off by flanking it with gold sparkly fabric ( leftover from my
wedding). It ended up being a great focal point in the room.

Since Brenda was involved with the choir for such a long time, I wanted
to show one of the programs during the reception as part of the entertainment.
I got a DVD player and projector/screen, and had a choir program playing softly
the entire time. It was neat to have that as "background music." The hardest
part was narrowing down which program to show!

There was SO much delicious food at this reception - most everyone
that came brought something to eat.  I made chocolate covered strawberries
and grape salad (which might sound gross, and may look a little weird,
but TRUST me, it's amazing! I may have to put the recipe on here sometime!)
My mom made cupcakes - since she knew the theme, she got leopard
print cupcake holders and made music note toppers. Adorable!!!

It was such a nice time to honor Brenda. We had a great
turnout and people were so good to Brenda, bringing her
small tokens of appreciation. My dad (who is the
senior pastor at the church) presented her with a plaque
recognizing her service, and also presented her with a gift certificate
for a spa weekend! I think she had a great time =)
And I have to add the picture below, because the four
of us girls (Butch jumped in the picture - gotta love him!)
grew pretty close over the last few years... Evie, Bethany and I
learned so much from Brenda and she truly was a mentor to each
of us. We all love her dearly and are blessed to have had her
to influence us and invest in our lives.