FIVE TIPS TO MAKE YOUR 4TH OF JULY SPARKLE

We have a client who hosts an annual 4th of July party at their beautiful home on Lake Austin. It always involves their own private fireworks show that rivals the city's show.  Over the years, we have come across some tricks; some by accident and some we planned out.  We wanted to share them with you here in case you're looking for something to make your 4th of July sparkle a little more.

1.  THE OLD SCHOOL SLIP N' SLIDE

You can use a DIY approach with heavy gauge plastic sheets with heavy logs to hold down the sides if you're feeling ambitious.  We also like the Wow Watersports 18-2200 Mega Slide. Our favorite secret weapon though is adding Dawn dish soap to the slide.  Just add water to a partially full bottle so the soap can come out easily, and it will turn the slide onto turbo speed. Other tips: 1. buy or make a slide 25' or longer 2. have side bumpers so kids don't slide off too early 3. if you want to be a hero, put it on a slight incline.

2.  ICE COLD WATERMELON

This was one of the ideas we came up with by accident.  In Austin, Texas, 4th of July is known to be a hot one...easily 100 degrees outside.  We put the watermelons outside earlier in the afternoon and they were warm by party time.  We had a giant galvanized trough filled with ice and water for drinks, so we threw the watermelons in the trough.  They ended up looking fun and bright, so we loved the look. Plus the watermelon was ice cold when we cut them open.  That's what we call a happy accident.

3.  INTERACTIVE DRINK STATION FOR KIDS

Kids drinks are hard to get creative with because there's not the endless recipe opportunities that adult cocktails have.  This SODABAR by FUNBOX gives you everything you need for an interactive drink station for kids.  The kids make their own blend of sprinkles and flavors to put on the rim of their DIY soda that they create using Italian flavored syrups and soda (we like Rambler Sparkling Water). You can add whipped cream and cherries to make it even more delicious.  

4.  ADULT PICNIC BASKETS

We filled these Pottery Barn picnic baskets with rolled silverware with 4th of July inspired ribbon, Faust wine with glasses and some snacks. We put them out on Yakima Camp Blankets from  Pendleton blankets on the lawn. The PB baskets are no longer available but we found these cute ones with a red & white Gingham lid that would look awesome. With the "rosé all day" trend, you could add a bottle of rosé to the basket with a Vacu Vin Active Wine Cooler and keep it cold for hours. 

5.  LAWN GAMES

Again, the old school approach never fails in this category.  Croquet is always a home run.  We saw a game over the weekend called KUBB (a Swedish game aka as Viking chess) that takes a little more attention to rules but the concept is basic enough that anyone could learn it and compete while making friends. We love this simple wood Bean Bag Toss (aka Corn Hole) game because we can add decals and change them out to fit any event.  We also love this Viva Sol Ladder Golf.  The simple rules and set up of these games make them easy for anyone at almost any age to play. Plus you can socialize and still stay in the game.  

Happy 4th from the Craven + Co. Team!! 

xTC

 

DIY Slip n' Slide Photo by Luke Porter  |  Pendleton Blanket Photo by Liz Kreutz |  SODABAR Photos by Chris Caselli | Croquet Photo by Erol Ahmed | Kubb DIY by Baltik | Kubb Game Photo by Tosso

DAVID KURIO ▪️ MASTER FLORIST

I first became familiar with David Kurio's work almost 20 years ago when I was an eager 30-something event producer just getting my start. David was the only florist that one of my longest standing and favorite clients, Lance Armstrong, would ever use, and Lance has good taste. The word "florist" doesn't really capture what David does..."master florist" begins to. 

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I love working with David because he'll sit down and brainstorm on every detail about the event, even if it doesn't center around floral elements.  He gets excited about the whole process.  I always walk away from meetings with him more inspired about my own project.  He just has that energy.  

David's designs are works of art.  From full walls of pavé white blooms to a sultry dark plum arrangement with pops of lime green, I always know what to expect after working with him for so long but he still impresses me every time.  

At events, I always get the question from guests, pointing at an arrangement: "Is that David Kurio?"  Kind of like on the red carpet at the Oscars when they ask the celebrity if their dress is Oscar de la Renta.  He's in a league of his own, and deserves the amazing reputation he's earned in the upper echelons of floral design. His firm, David Kurio Designs, is based in beautiful Austin, Texas.

wedding photos by Robert Evans \\ robertevans.com

SPICE BAR

Renowned designer Katie Kime asked us to produce her husband’s 40th birthday.  We knew that she wanted it to be creative to reflect her style. Katie and Greg have a beautiful home, as you can imagine, so we held the party there.  We used the outdoor area around the pool for the food and drinks.

To make it fun and interactive, we created this Spice Bar for cocktails.  We designed labels with Greg’s initials for spice tins that guests grabbed and filled with their own custom mix of spices to go on the rim of their cocktail.

We were pleasantly surprised that both male and female guests loved the concept.  Men are a little harder to get involved in an activity, but on this night we had them coming back to try to do a remix to make it perfect.

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We've recreated the Spice Bar as a FUNBOX that you can order for your own event.  It includes everything you need to create a similar activity for yourself.  You just unbox it, set it up and HAVE FUN! Check out SPICEBAR, along with our other FUNBOX products, here.

Follow us on Instagram for more event inspiration + carefully curated private event spaces: @cravenandco.

xx TC

FLOWERS + HORN BOWLS

We aren't florists by any means, but sometimes the situation arises when we need to create basic arrangements for an event. For instance, the annual dinner for Camp Wapiyapi is a fundraiser for an amazing summer camp for kids with cancer and their siblings. Needless to say, we do this pro bono and try to get creative in keeping the budget down so that as much of the proceeds as possible can go directly to the Wapiyapi families. 

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For the dinner in 2013, we used our beautiful horn bowls and filled them with deep red rose petals. We also used our square wooden chargers to keep the look neutral: grays with pops of ruby red, and dark natural tones. We used lots of black votive holders to give us the glow of candlelight all the way down the long tables. We were really happy with the overall look and would recreate it whether budget was an issue or not.

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We've also used our horn bowls with billowing white hydrangeas, like we did at a Bar Mitzvah lunch at Chef Tyson Cole's award winning restaurant, Uchiko. The restaurant has a gorgeous interior designed with a Japanese Farmhouse aesthetic, so we didn't need to add much to the tables to finish it out. 

Our horn bowls, along with the rest of our collection of modern, beautiful + unique rentals are available here

Follow us on Instagram for more event inspiration + carefully curated private event spaces: @cravenandco.

xx TC

CUSTOM INVITATIONS: SCREEN PRINTING + DIE CUTS

Lance Armstrong’s 40th celebration was in Aspen, Colorado.  The printed pieces we created for this are some of my favorites.  They needed to be as cool and fun as the weekend we had planned.

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For the save-the-date, we found retro album covers (from vinyl records) and used a ticket-shaped die cut to create these cool cards.  The text details were screen printed over the album cover artwork in white. Since several tickets were cut from each album cover, no two save-the-dates were alike.

The formal invitation was a screen printed poster inspired by Austin band posters rolled up into mailing tubes with matching address labels.  The shades of grays, black and red that our incredible designer and screen printer, Dan Grissom, used were striking and set the mood for the unforgettable weekend ahead. 

Follow us on Instagram for more event inspiration + carefully curated private event spaces: @cravenandco.

BEER TASTING

We partnered with Blackberry Farm on this fundraising dinner for Camp Wapiyapi.  The table design we created for this dinner has remained one of my favorites over the years.

I had the pleasure of brainstorming with the late Sam Beall on this event.  Anyone who knew Sam or has visited Blackberry Farm, knows that he was a master of perfection in everything he touched.  He came up with the idea of donating beer for the dinner and sending his master brewer, Roy Milner, to Aspen to walk us through a sampling of their best beers.

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We designed a beer tasting place mat so that guests could follow along as Roy spoke about each beer.  Our place cards were a dark gray with Copperplate calligraphy in metallic gold ink.  We used our acrylic place card holders, acrylic panoramic menu frames, brass votive holders and black opaque glass vases filled with multi-colored dahlias from a farm in Oregon.
 

Follow us on Instagram for more event inspiration + carefully curated private event spaces: @cravenandco.

xx TC