Saturday, October 24, 2015

Black Cat, Nine Lives

October was the month I started having monthly dinners for my group of friends, so each year I try to come up with a theme that represents the anniversary year.  This October marks 9 years I've been hosting monthly dinners for these amazing ladies.  That's 108 dinner themes over the years!  For this year, I decided on Black Cat, Nine Lives for my theme.  I thought it was appropriate with Halloween coming soon as well.  One funny note is that I absolutely HATE cats, and I am allergic to them! They did make for a fun theme though.

Invite: I found this background image online and just added text using Photoshop.  I liked the image because the cat was prominent, but it also had the Halloween look and party colors I decided to go with.

Entry Decor:  As a high school teacher, I have access to an overhead projector, so I projected cat images up on my walls to trace on black card stock and use for my entry.  I put two cat silhouettes in my windows and one on my door poster.  Love the MD (Monthly Dinner) collar I added at the last minute.

Inside Decor: I used a black tablecloth and placed 12x12 orange scrapbook paper down the center for a table runner.  My centerpiece was small pumpkins I made to look like cats placed inside a larger pumpkin.  I saw this idea on Pinterest, and decided to try it out.  Here's a larger photo...

To make this fun centerpiece:
  1. Cut the top off an artificial large pumpkin. (You can use a real pumpkin if you want, but I really wanted mine to serve as a decoration for the entire month.)  Fill the large pumpkin with enough newspaper and tissue paper to hold your small pumpkins.
  2. Glue ribbon along the rib parts of the pumpkin.  I used craft glue and then a thumb tack on the inside at the top to secure it.
  3. For the pumpkin cats, I used real pumpkins because I couldn't find fake ones easily.  I cut cardstock to make ears, whiskers, and a nose. I adhered them to the pumpkin with hot glue.  I used black scrapbook brads I found at Michaels for the eyes and just stuck them in the pumpkin.
  4. I then used a thin Sharpie to make the mouth.

I also made black cats out of cardstock to add to the table decor.

I had an extra mini pumpkin, so I used it as a separate side decoration adding large yarn balls for added fun.

For place cards, I made cats out of toilet paper rolls, cut a slit in the top, and inserted a place card.  These were actually very easy to make.
  1. Cut a toilet paper roll the height that you want your cat.  I cut my about 1 1/2 inches.  Then paint it the color you want your cat.
  2.  Once dry, paint the stripes on the side with a thin brush.  Lighten your body color a little with white paint and paint on the cheeks. Use the end of your paintbrush for a pink nose.
  3. Cut a thin section of the remaining toilet paper roll for the tail.  Paint it your body color and then add stripes.  Make sure you paint both sides as they both will show.
  4. For the ears, cut a chenille stem 4".  Then cut it in half again.  Fold those two halves into a point and glue them to the inside as the ears.
  5. Cut the remaining chenille stem in half.  Wrap each piece around your paintbrush (or a pencil) to coil it.  Then attach each to the underside of the toilet roll body for the feet.
  6. Glue the tail to the back and use a sharpie to add whiskers, eyes, and eyebrows to the face.

For the napkin rings, I made small yarn balls using remnants of yarn I already had.  Super easy and cute.

I made wine charms to look like cat collars.  I bought large metal brads from Michaels and wrote popular cat names on the front in Sharpie.  I used black card stock to cover the back and to add a slight border.  I folded half of the brad in half on the back to secure the ribbon like a hoop before tying them onto the wine glasses.

The wine labels I designed were simple. I just found images on Google that I liked and designed the labels with them.

Oh...and don't forget the silly sign on the bathroom door!

Menu:  I bought cat bowls from the dollar store to fill with small appetizers before the party.  In one, I put goldfish, and the other I cut cubes of cheese.

For the side salad, I made a simple green salad, but instead of regular croutons, I bought Parmesan cheese fish crackers.  (These are super yummy by the way!).  On the salad, I put tomatoes, shredded cheese, and corn.

For the main dish, I served Blackened Catfish which was amazing! I followed this recipe found on Never Enough Thyme. One of my guests doesn't like fish, but I used the same rub as the catfish recipe and put it on a chicken breast for her.  Still delicious.  Along with the catfish, I made mashed potatoes and called them PURR-fect Potatoes and a medley of mixed veggies I called Veggie Meow Mix.

For dessert, I made a black cat cake.  I used a boxed cake mix (Devil's food cake) to make two 9" cakes.  One was the body, and the other I cut to make the head, tail, and ears.  For the sake of time, I used pre-made frosting which is not as amazing as my mom's recipe, but still good.  The eyes I made with red lifesavers and yellow skittles.  The nose is a pink Starburst cut into a triangle.  The whiskers are chocolate licorice that I sliced smaller.

Favor:  The first idea I had for this party theme was to incorporate Kit Kat bars into my favor.  Wasn't sure how I was going to do it, but after making the centerpiece pumpkins, I decided they were so cute, I wanted to incorporate them into my favor.  I made the pumpkins the same way I made the centerpiece, but spray painted them black so that they were a little different. I bought green googly eyes from Michaels and the whiskers were white cardstock.  I hot glued them to the top of mason jars filled with mini Kit Kats.

Can't believe it has been 9 years of hosting these monthly dinners, but I am so grateful to have such amazing women in my life.  Can't wait for another PURR-fect year!