December 17, 2015
It’s almost the holidays, and it’s time to think about your table decor! We wanted to come up with something simple and easy to share with you. Several of those who write for clutch came together to do a winter styled shoot filled with simple, natural holiday decor ideas.
Our location was the beautiful Sorella, located in Evington, Virginia, just outside of Lynchburg. I adore their barn, and the net hay loft hanging from the ceiling is so unique and offers a fun element to incorporate into decor. I also gathered vintage items – glasses, china, serving pieces and accessories – from Estates & Consignments to create the feel of a curated collection.
You will see several DIY projects, too. Natural items, such as pinecones and black walnuts (still encased in their large pods) were collected and sprayed gold and silver to both add texture and continuity. Place cards were designed using metallic tulle and ribbon to tie up a painted pine cone, which was topped off with the first initial of its recipient. So lovely and simple!
Also be on the lookout for our yarn orbs, paper tube ornaments and cork snowflakes, which are all DIY projects with full instructions on the blog. So fun! I hope you enjoy this fun collaboration of holiday decor ideas.
October 21, 2015
Friends often enjoy casual, spur-of-the-moment get togethers, yet there is also something spectacular about picking a theme and planning a party. Fall is a season of gatherings, so as the weather turns cool and we settle in, why not invite a few of your favorite ladies over to reconnect for a fun spin on a ladies night in? You’ll love our ideas for themed gatherings!
Favorite Things Party
Instruct each guest to choose her favorite thing that costs less than $5.00 and bring five of that item to the party. For example, one of your friends may bring five tubes of her favorite lip balm and another may opt for five of her favorite pen or favorite scented candle. As each guest arrives, she writes her name on five slips of paper. Collect the slips in a bowl, and when everyone has had a chance to visit, the fun begins! Pick one friend to start. She’ll explain what her favorite thing is and why she loves it so much. Then she picks five names from the bowl, and hands out her treasured items. Continue until everyone has shared, and by the end of the night, everyone will have five fun new products to take home.
This spin on the traditional tea party is fun and can be as formal or as casual as you like. Have each lady bring a box of her favorite individually wrapped tea bags, so she can give one tea bag to each guest. Have plenty of hot water and cups on hand so ladies can try teas while they gather and visit. Be sure to have each guest share which tea bag she brought as she hands them out. For added fun you could also include a teacup exchange.
How many of us have pinned way more things than we could ever try? Guilty? This party is the perfect excuse to finally test out some of those pins. Either pick a craft to all try together, or have each lady bring supplies for one project she has pinned. Best case scenario: you have great holiday gifts made up. Worst case: you walk away with a great “Pinterest fail” story. For snacks, have each guest make and bring a recipe they have pinned.
Card Addressing Party
Get a jump start on the holidays, and make a tedious task more enjoyable. Put on some festive music, set up a hot chocolate bar, and have some friends over to address their own envelopes. It may feel like you are rushing things, but when the holiday chaos sets in, you will be glad you have all your holiday cards addressed ahead of time.
Caramel Apple Bar
Have a memorable time by setting up a DIY caramel apple bar. Assign apples, sticks, caramel (and chocolate) for melting and dipping, as well as various toppings to each guest. Make sure you have lots of wax paper and string so guests can wrap up their creations to take home and enjoy later.
Making a mess is always more fun with friends around. Have everyone bring a pumpkin, and decorate them together. Go old school and carve them, or try something new and paint, tape, or glitter your gourds. Vote on best, scariest, worst (ha!) and funniest, and then gather the leftover seeds and toast them while everyone is there.
Nothing says fall like a great big bowl of soup. Invite friends over, and have each family bring a pot of their favorite soup and plenty of copies of the recipe. Keep things simple (and less likely to spill) by serving the soup in styrofoam cups. Have plenty of napkins on hand and add a little friendly competition by giving a prize to the favorite soup of the night.
Back to School
Have you and your friends all been talking about learning a certain skill? Maybe it’s knitting, bread baking, or making your own cleaning supplies. Ask around and find someone you know who is willing to come over and demonstrate. Make sure you get a supply list from your instructor and distribute it beforehand so your guests can come prepared.
*photo by Liz Cook Photography*
October 19, 2015
One of fall’s pleasures is cozy time spent with a warm drink – either on the porch, by the fire, or on the sofa. No matter what your beverage choice, these wooden coasters will protect your furniture and add a bit of fall flair to your decor.
Wood slices – cut your own or purchase from a craft shop
Computer, printer, and paper
Clear acrylic wood sealer
- Purchase wood slices from a craft store or cut your own from a tree branch and sand if needed.
- Select desired fall images and save to a Word document. The images shown are from www.thegraphicsfairy.com.
- Cut a sheet of wax paper slightly larger than a sheet of printer paper. Put the waxed paper on top of the printer paper, fold the excess wax paper over the edges of the printer paper, and tape in place on the back. This step is necessary to prevent the wax paper from jamming the printer. Print images onto the wax paper, being careful not to touch them as the ink will easily smear.
- Cut images out, being careful not to touch the ink. Place the image ink side down on the wood slice and rub with a credit card to transfer the image to the wood.
- Seal wood slices with acrylic spray sealer to protect the images.
- Place coasters on your table to enjoy this fall.
- Drill a hole in the top of a wood slice, and use it as a gift bag decoration.
- Display a coaster as part of a fall vignette on a table or a mantel.
- Entertain children by having them count the rings to see how old the tree was when it was cut down.
October 12, 2015
If you’ve been to a production at Endstation Theatre Company, the Academy of Fine Arts, Wolfbane Productions, or Heritage High School, chances are you’ve seen a show that has Kathy Clay’s fingerprints on it.
From performing as Big Edie in Wolfbane Productions’ Grey Gardens, to choreographing Chicago at the Academy of Fine Arts, to directing See How They Run at Heritage High School, or playing Louise Seger in Endstation Theatre Company’s sold-out run of Always … Patsy Cline, Clay has starred in, choreographed, and directed some 15 live theatre productions all over Lynchburg.
But unlike many in the theatre arts community who have called Lynchburg home for decades, Clay and her husband Dr. Lucius Clay, only relocated to Lynchburg in 2006. Clay grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey, just over the river from the Big Apple. She was raised on Broadway shows, ballet performances, and visits to museums in Manhattan. To her, world class culture was just a a part of life: “As a little kid I was spoiled in thinking that you should always expect excellence in performing arts.”
Clay remembers a specific performance she attended in middle school put on by high school students in which she realized she wanted to take part in the collaborative arts. “I remember sitting in my seat and thinking I could get up there right now and be better. That’s when I knew that this was something I always wanted to do. Not so much that I wanted to be a star on stage– I wanted, with my involvement, to make the thing better.” Clay began working in professional summer stock theatre at the age of 15.
After a rewarding high school experience in an all girls boarding school, Clay opted to study at Hollins University in Roanoke, not far from VMI, where her father had studied. With easy access in New York to high-caliber acting training, Clay wanted to get a more well-rounded liberal arts education during her college years. Why study in southwest Virginia? “It’s a beautiful part of the world. And I had a real crush on southern writers,” Clay explained.
During the summer Clay returned to New Jersey and commuted into New York daily to work as the librarian archivist for the famed Actors Studio. The Actors Studio was founded by Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford, and Robert Lewis in 1947. The roots of the Actors Studio go back to the Group Theatre (1931-1941) whose work was inspired by the techniques of the great Russian actor and director Konstantin Stanislavski. Clay had numerous opportunities to do scene study with legends like Eli Wallach, Ellen Burnstyn, Martin Landau, and Lee Strasburg.
For years Clay focused on raising her two children while continuing to train in acting, dancing and singing, and performing professionally every summer. Now that both kids are successfully “launched” adults, Clay enjoys focusing on performing, directing, traveling, and spending time with her father who recently relocated to nearby Westminster Canterbury.
Her favorite stage experience in Lynchburg is hard to determine. “Wolfbane’s Grey Gardens will always be a standout for me. I also loved directing Guys & Dolls and directing/choreographingLegally Blonde: The Musical at the Academy of Fine Arts. Working with Endstation Theatre Company four summers in a row was amazing. This summer I choreographed a production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in upstate New York, and I’m slated to direct/choreograph the musical I’ll Never Be Hungry Again! in early 2016 at Renaissance Theatre. It’s a spoof on Gone With the Wind, and I cannot wait to roll up my sleeves on that one! I also adore teaching college and high school students in town. It’s all good. It’s obviously the field I was meant to be immersed in, and I’m so grateful I’ve always got something ‘booked.’ I love being in the audience, too!”
*photos by LaShonda Delivuk as part of her Motivation Monday series*