Saturday, October 3, 2009


Many moons ago, The Frugals Hostess and Husband were introduced by their friend, The Photographeuse.  It was a dark and stormy night, and the -- OK, it was St. Patrick's Day, and they were all drinking beer at this restaurant where TFH's sister used to work called The Mill that's closed now, and there was this one guy who acted like a complete jackass....  But TFH digresses.  They feel lucky to still have The Photographeuse as a friend, so when she graduated from art school a few weeks ago, The Frugal Hostess insisted that a party be had.

The Photographeuse has a secret boyfriend, hereafter referred to as The Secret Boyfriend, who actually took charge of the party planning and made it all happen.  He deftly arranged for the event to be held at The Frugal Homestead and even offered to supply the booze.  The Secret Boyfriend wanted it to be a special night for The Photographeuse, which is probably why she wants him to be secret -- all the ladies would come a-running if they knew how thoughtful he was.

So, with the beverage situation in the capable hands of The Secret Boyfriend, TFH turned her attention where it rightfully belonged - on the decorations.  A trip to an out-of-town Salvation Army yielded two mortar boards (that's what the graduation hat is called) and a paper/cardboard congratulations banner.  Red and blue featured prominently in both items, so The Frugal Hostess based the rest of the decorations around those colors.  She had seen, over the preceding months, several iterations of fabric banners that were delightful.  [Incidentally, is it just TFH, or is the word "iteration" gaining in popularity lately?  It's almost like some words have better lobbyists or publicists than others and get picked up by the buzzword-loving corporate set.]  Check some of them out here and here

Using fabric she already had (because she is a junior hoarder), The Frugal Hostess made a fabric banner for her front porch that made her very happy.  Here you go:

Fabric swatches in the colors you dig
Pinking shears (easier said than done)
Polyvinyl Acetate Adhesive (PVA is used for bookbinding and is a very flexible adhesive.  Fabric glue and probably a hot glue gun would work just as well.)
Small paintbrush
Cup of water
Scrap paper to use for a mat
Piece of ribbon long enough to hang banner

1.  Measure the spot you'd like to hang the banner, then add a few inches on either side just in case.
2.  Cut the ribbon to size.  Thinner ribbon (like, maybe slightly wider than a piece of string) works best for this.
3.  Find some pinking shears.  It took The Frugal Hostess five stores, plus some garage sales, to find pinking shears, so don't count on finding them at obvious places like Target.  Go straight to a sewing or craft store, and ask for help, because they are easy to miss.

4.  Cut the fabric you like into shape.  Ha!  Great instructions, huh?  OK, you're looking for a pennant-shaped triangle, but it needs to be folded over so that it's double-sided.  So, take a piece of fabric, fold it in half, and then cut out the shape.  (The Frugal Hostess realizes this is a little unclear, so email her if you need more detail - it's strangely hard to explain, but hopefully the pictures help.)
5.  Once you have enough double-triangle-pennants to fill your space, it's time to start gluing.  Open the fabric shape, place the ribbon inside on the fold, and spread PVA glue on one side with the paintbrush.  You want the glue to be spread thinly and evenly, without saturating the fabric too much.  That's where the cup of water comes in handy.  You also don't want to glue the thing to your table, so use the piece of paper as a mat.

6.  Stick the two sides of fabric together, and move on to the next piece.  Alternate colors, but maybe try not to be too regular about it, so that you achieve the cool handmade-by-pioneer-girls-back-in-the-day vibe.

7.  After you've filled the whole piece of ribbon with glued up fabric pennants, let it dry for a while and then hang!  The best part about this decoration is that it is not disposable and can be used it again for other occasions, so be sure you save it.

For the party, The Frugal Hostess dangled the two graduation hats on ribbons from hooks on either side of the front porch.  The banner went across the middle and looked so cool that she forgot to take a picture.  Bad job, TFH!  She also made a graduation hat for the monkey bust in the bathroom (What?  You don't have that?), which was universally the best part of the whole party.  And, the leftover fabric was cut into more pennants to be used as cocktail napkins.  Which no one used, but that is neither here nor there.

Menu-wise, TFH just did her typical easy cocktail party menu plus deviled eggs, and The Photographeuse brought salsa, bruschetta, boiled peanuts, and other yummy snacks.  It was lots of fun and a very frugal way to celebrate a friend!

Congrats, The Photographeuse!

The Frugal Hostess has a monkey bust in her bathroom.  Clearly something is wrong.  Please comment. You can also join the Frugalistas on Facebook for exclusive content, subscribe so that you always know when a new post appears or follow on Twitter.

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