When I partnered up with Tiny Prints (of the Shutterfly family) to become a project writer on their behalf, I knew my first article had to be amazing. I’ll be covering things within the realm of party planning and entertaining and will show you how to pull off legendary soirees from start to festive finish! With the Kentucky Derby just around the bend, it became clear that I needed to demonstrate how to host the ultimate Kentucky Derby party to celebrate the annual Run for the Roses. And they’re off!
Being a Charleston, South Carolina native, I knew it had to be something southern but I didn’t want to replicate the traditional mint julep bar or re-imagine a hat crafting party (although that was one of my original ideas…I’m keeping that on the short list of future projects!). So, I settled on “Traditional with a Twist!” and came up with all sorts of ways to host a Southern Style soiree.
I’ll post the recipes soon but here’s a preview (as a little taste teaser) of what made it into the Winner’s Circle (all offerings named after Derby Champions of the past!):
*Bubbling Over‘s Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade (taking the place of a mint julep)
*Mine That Bird Chicken Tenders (Buttermilk-soaked, Panko and Parmesan Crusted Baked Chicken Strips ~ my twist on a bucket of fried chicken)
*I’ll Have Another Buttermilk Biscuits (Amazingly light, flaky and perfectly browned bits of buttery deliciousness from scratch…although no horse wants to ‘scratch’ right before the race!)
*Winning Colors Red Velvet Cupcakes (with a fantastically fluffy whipped cream cheese frosting ~ my take on a traditional butter/cream cheese frosting)
And now that I’ve told you a bit about the twist on the menu items, let me clue you in to the real twist of today.
So here’s the thing: When I was creating the concept of this party, I knew I was going to make my own crafty flowers out of something and the front runner was cone shaped coffee filters. But from all of the reviews I’d read of those who had dyed their filters, they never seem to come out bright and vibrant enough. And I’ve already done tissue paper flowers so I really wanted something unique (to me, at least)…but what to do about the color?!
And then it hit me ~ the answer was sitting in front of me the whole time! Not only were the cocktail napkins I bought for the party the absolute perfect shade of ‘rose’ red but they were about the right size!
But the coffee filters are great because they’re strong enough not to rip under all the manipulation…would these little paper napkins be strong enough to stand up to the challenge?
In the words of Mona Lisa Veto in My Cousin Vinny: “They wuh!” (Translation: They were!)
And without further ado, here’s the process behind these DIY paper roses using good old unsuspecting paper cocktail napkins!
For each rose, you’ll need: 3 cocktail napkins, floral tape (I used Frog tape), a pipe cleaner, and scissors.
Begin by opening up and stacking the 3 cocktail napkins directly on top of each other.
Fold them back into their original napkin shape. Alternatively, you could just stack the 3 of them together without opening them but I preferred flattening and refolding them first because it made the resulting cuts more random and like real petals.
Cut a scallop shape diagonally across the napkin just below the ridges. Set aside the top corner ~ you won’t need it any more for these flowers but you could always shred it and use the bits as filler for a vase or ‘confetti’ for your party tablescape!
Cut another scallop across the bottom tip of the napkins.
Carefully open up the paper and you’ll have 3 scalloped ‘donuts’ and 3 scalloped ‘donut holes.’
Set aside the donuts while you form the center rose bud out of the donut holes. Take each round circle separately and roll it up into a spiral shape. At the end of the first circle, simply continue with the second and then the third and twist the base when all three are rolled together. Don’t roll them too tightly; figuring out the spacing and form will definitely take some practice, but not too much. After about my third rosebud, I was cranking them out into this:
Take a bit of your tape and secure it around the twisted base of the bud.
From here, stretch out a long piece of your tape onto your table. Leaving about an inch or so free, place your taped rosebud on the tape.
Moving back to the donuts, make one cut in each so that the donut becomes one long ‘ribbon.’ Carefully start taping the first paper ribbon to the tape next to the bud and scrunch the paper into pleats as you secure it to the tape at about 1/4″ – 1/2″ intervals.
Again, this takes a bit of practice to keep your fingers from sticking to the tape (so annoying…) and to keep the ribbon from sticking to the tape (just as annoying…) and to get the spacing for the pleats. But I found that if you use your cut scalloped points as guides, you can establish a rhythm and soon you’re moving right along!
Start the next ribbon where the last left off and repeat the process.
Once you have all 3 ribbons pleated into place on the tape, here’s what you will have:
Pretty cool, right? Well, now you’ll really start to see the rose taking shape! Take the pipe cleaner and roll it into the tape with the inch overhang before the bud. This adds extra securing support to the cleaner so you know it’s good and fastened before you start to fashion your rose!
Keep rolling up the rose all the way until the end of the tape. I found this to be easiest by holding the pipe cleaner with my left hand and lifting my arm so that the rose was horizontal and the tape dangled below. This way, I was able to get a better angle to keep the tape straight as I rolled. A couple of tips for this:
*Roll very gently and try to avoid squishing the rose as you roll ~ again, it’s all about practice and you’ll get it.
*Roll against the pleat of the ribbon. I found this provided a much fuller end result as opposed to a rose where you’ve smooshed the pleats flat first. This will make more sense once you actually have the rose in your hand!
Hold the rose at the base and very gently run your fingers through the layers of petals and start to separate them. If you’ve rolled against the pleats this is actually much easier because the pleats began the process of pulling the petals away from each other for you. Just fluff until you’ve got this little American Beauty:
And a natural-looking beauty at that!
But she looks lonely…so I created a ‘blossom buddy’ for her!
And at the end of arts & crafts time today, I had 7 red DIY paper roses and 2 white roses from coffee filters!
Just in time to show you my Tiny Prints card that I customized for the big race!
Don’t forget to subscribe for updates (you’ll be the first to know when I post the recipes!!) and head over to the Tiny Prints blog to check out the full article on my Traditional with a Twist Kentucky Derby “Run for the Roses” Party!