Tagged: art

New family theme party ideas

I see chocolate, butterscotch, and strawberry syrup.

Most of you know that my family has a 12-year long tradition of having two or three theme parties a year. At the end of each one, we draw the next theme out of a box. We usually have about 30 theme ideas in the box.

We recently added four new themes. We had trouble naming them (even though we’re usually so punny), so if you can think of better names, please let me know in a comment.

Here are our new theme ideas:

  • Chef Showcase: Each person bakes a dish from their favorite chef. Bonus points for costumes or impressions.
  • The Art of Food: Everyone brings food that looks like a famous piece of art. I wish I could do something awesome like reproduce Michelangelo’s David in cheese, but I’ll probably end up taking the easy way out and doing a Jackson Pollock piece with chocolate syrup.
  • Game On: Bring a board game and a dish that goes with it, like Apples to Apples and an apple pie. (Remember when my friend Maddie had some great ideas along those lines?)
  • Vaudeville: This was my mom’s suggestion and at first most of us were a little resistant, but now I think we’re all pretty psyched about learning to be ventriloquists. I might play the spoons!

You can tell we’re going for high-concept themes, rather than cultural or geography-based themes. This is because our favorite parties have been those that lent themselves to an interesting activity, like our Murder Mystery or our tableaux vivants from our Moulin Rouge party.

The possibilities are endless!


I’ve been thinking a lot about art recently. I’ve never been much of an artist, unless you count stick figures, but I have a lot of ideas for art and design projects that I wish I could do. Isn’t it so frustrating to have plenty of ideas but not the necessary skills to execute them? After thinking long and hard about this problem, I’ve come up with this two-step plan for overcoming my lack of natural artistic talent:

  1. Ask for help.
  2. Do it anyway.

What do you think?

In the meantime, I’ve been seeing some cool art projects around the web recently, and I thought I’d share some of my favorites:

  • The Monster Engine is artist Dave DeVries’ collection of paintings based on children’s drawings. I think they’re fun and sort of scary at the same time. Plus they remind me of a 7-year-old boy I used to tutor who wrote and illustrated a book called “Criminal Sugarpie” that I absolutely love.
  • The Obliteration Room is what happens when you let people put brightly colored sticker dots all over a white room. It feels like a friendly explosion. The artist is Yayoi Kusama.
  • My mom pointed me to the Advanced Style blog which features fun photographs of stylish older people by photographer Ari Seth Cohen. It’s like The Sartorialist for septuagenarians.
  • Photographer Frieke Janssens has put together a bizarre collection of portraits of children smoking (she used chalk and cheese rather than real cigarettes for the portraits). I find it disturbing, not just because of the smoking, but because the children have such adult-like facial expressions and mannerisms.
  •  I freaking love National Geographic‘s list of the best space photographs of 2011. They’re just mind-blowing.

What art has inspired you recently? And how do you close the gap between your own artistic vision and your skillset?

p.s. If you’re looking for some creative inspiration, check out Brain Pickings awesome roundup of activity books for grown-ups. I want everything on the list!