DIY Vintage Paper Hack – ‘Aged’ paper in a snap!

Need vintage looking paper right now and don’t have 75-100 years to wait for it to look that way? Make your own! Vintage-looking paper can be used for invitations, tags, signs, cards of any size and it’s super easy to do yourself! This hack takes just minutes to do and costs next to nothing in supplies because you most likely have everything you need except maybe the paper you want to ‘age’. The super secret ingredient to age paper is…

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(drum roll, please!)…TEA and COFFEE! They really do the job perfectly and the technique can be quickly mastered. If you’re going for a soft, vintage-y, aged look, use tea. If you want a darker, rougher, grungy look, go with coffee. Experimenting with both is fun, too. Give it a try!

Supplies needed:
Whatever paper, manila tags or other paper you wish to ‘age’ (cutting paper ahead to desired size will work best so you can darken the edges of each piece)
Cooled cup of strong tea made with 2-3 black tea teabags (steep for 10 minutes, strain and keep the teabags)
(if using coffee, you can wrap coffee grounds in a paper towel or coffee filter)
2-3 used teabags (strained)
Paper towels

1) Protect your work surface with newspaper or other scrap paper.

2) Take your paper you want to ‘age’ and one of the used teabags. Wipe the wet teabag completely over the paper piece and then go back over the paper dabbing with the teabag to darken random areas. Use a rag or paper towel to dab in your cup of tea to add additional tea stains. Work on 5 separate pieces of paper at a time as a set. This gives paper #1 time to dry slightly before you come back to it to additionally age the edges of the paper.

3) Work through your set of papers again a second or third time, as needed. Darken the edges by layering teastains around the edges. Allow all to dry and then retouch as desired. It may take a bit of practice as to how much or little you need to stain your particular paper (different types of paper will absorb the tea differently), to get the effect you desire.

4) When dry, brush off any bits of tea or paper fibers, and smooth out paper. If paper is too crinkled or buckled, flatten under several heavy books overnight.

*These simple directions all apply to working with the coffee grounds as well. Additionally try using the used coffee grounds directly on the paper. Gently rub them on the paper for a grungier effect.

**The ‘Mad Hatter’ invitation’s coffee ring and splatters were handmade individually using very strong coffee and left in place to dry for several minutes. The excess coffee was carefully absorbed away with paper toweling.

***The ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Halloween invitations also had the edges of the various invite components very carefully hand-singed with a lighter after the paper was stained and printed. PLEASE USE CAUTION TRYING THIS YOURSELF. This singing effect should be done in a well-ventilated area near a water source such as a sink as there will be some smoke and the paper can easily catch fire. Adults only, please.

3 outstanding reasons to throw a BIG pre-summer party this year!

1. “…I like large parties. Large parties are so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Miss Party loves this quote. The first time she read it, it took a few moments to realize the truth hiding amongst the paradoxical words. Miss Party, herself, has always preferred hosting larger cocktail-style parties rather than smaller dinner parties. Why is that anyway?

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Well, something about a 2-4 couple dinner party has always made Miss Party a bit more angsty than throwing a bash for 100. Sounds a little counterintuitive, yes, but she feels more pressure to personally perform miracles in the kitchen while everyone watches on than cooking a few days ahead at her leisure for the larger version (and catering the last-minute yummies). Catching up at length with any one individual at a dinner party seems a bit rude and who wants private matters discussed in front of others any more than they want to be left out of a conversation?

Large parties, on the other hand, they have a much different flow. Small groups, individual conversations are completely natural and customary. There is an unexpected privacy in a large gathering. Intimate conversation occurs between close friends and interesting conversation can develop amongst acquaintances (rather than group speak at the dinner table). Guests rotate and move around, catching up with lots of different individuals and are quite happy taking care of themselves if everything is planned well on their behalf. Miss Party finds the atmosphere congenial and relaxed and, with a few good hired hands in the kitchen doing the dirty work, she can also be congenial and relaxed. Here’s the other thing, you pretty much do the same amount of work for 10 as you do for 50, so why not go big? Miss Party says, “GO BIG!”

2. “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver, the other gold.” Girl Scouts song

Staying in touch with friends and acquaintances, both old and new, is a tough business the older and busier we get. We have friends of all sorts –some we are involved with regularly, others we see periodically or infrequently but still want to stay in touch with. No matter how good yours and their intentions may be, life gets crazy. It’s a never-ending whirlwind and suddenly months fly by. Spring is upon us and, in the blink of an eye, summer will have everyone heading off to vacation homes, traveling, visiting relatives or carting children every which way to day camps and summer jobs.

Summer PartyA pre-summer party is the perfect excuse to bring all those you care about together to catch up for an evening BEFORE everyone parts for the summer season. Throw all those people in your life on a guest list (many that likely know each other in other ways besides through you or your family) and see what happens. An outdoor summer evening cocktail-style party works well for adults who have daytime family obligations or an afternoon family party so children can be a part of the fun may be a better option for your family. Got a pool? Invite kids/adults to bring their swimsuits and towels.

3. “Many hands make light work.” Proverb author unknown

This is an old saying, but never more true than for a large gathering. Apply this saying in many ways when it comes to hosting a party. Here are a few of Miss Party’s favorites:

There is NOTHING like the motivation of a party date deadline to get ‘many hands’ working on projects in and around your home. You’ll have your place hopping when you think of all your friends who are going to see it in it’s current state of affairs (hire what you can and recruit the rest). It’ll be shiny as a new penny by party time, trust Miss Party. Give that party date to any contractor or other hired work as their deadline and watch them move mountains and walls to make your home spit spot by the time all those other potential customers come streaming in wanting to know who did that amazing work (or not). The same goes for the outside landscaping, whether it’s something you take care of or you hire out. Every home deserves a good turn every once in awhile and just think of all that might be completed and enjoyed long after the party is over.

In terms of how “many hands make light work” in prepping for a large party, if you invite 75 people for cocktails, you’ll probably get at least 35-40% of the “yes'” who will ask what they can bring. Your work in the kitchen certainly will be much lighter when you take them up on their offer. If you invite that same number over for drinks and apps (AND ask them to bring an hors d’oeuvre to share), you’ll never run out of food. You can refocus all your hosting energy on the other moving parts of a large party. As a side note, Miss Party definitely believes that the “many hands” saying applies in the kitchen during the party. Spending a little money on dedicated kitchen/waitstaff help is some of the best money you’ll spend on your party. As the hostess, you and your guests will be much happier if you’re hanging out with them having fun and not stuck in the kitchen.

Another way to think about how ‘many hands make light work,” is to co-host a large summer party with another friend or family. Throw the idea out there well in advance of dates you might have in mind to give your friend(s) time to consider the idea and get back to you. You can divide up the party responsibilities to make it manageable for all. This party co-hosting idea can work well if two guests of honor from two different families share something in common such as a graduation or birthdays.

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Print a copy of Miss Party’s Perfect Party Planner (pull down menu in header) to keep you on schedule. Don’t procrastinate, just go for it!!

DIY Guest of Honor Memory Board – A quick and easy way to display pictures!

Bright and beautiful graduation party

Lots of parties honor a particular guest –grad parties, birthday parties, engagement and baby showers or retirement parties. A ‘through-the-years’ homage to the guest of honor is always a nice and thoughtful touch. If you have access to lots of good pictures showcasing the guest of honor, make a low-tech, montage memory board and/or table […]

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DIY to Living a Beautiful Life – Could it really be that simple?

Cafe in Paris

A DIY to living a beautiful life? Sounds cute, but can there really be something as simple as a DIY tutorial to teach someone how to live a beautiful life? Well, in a nutshell, that’s pretty much what I’m proposing. Years and years ago, I made it a priority to live a beautiful life in […]

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Miss Party’s misadventures in entertaining overnight guests – Part 5, Decorating

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Thought those of you who’ve followed this thread of posts on updating Miss Party’s guest room, might like a peek into the room to see how it’s starting to shape up. Miss Party’s younger daughter is home from college for spring break week so this corner is about the only spot in the room fit […]

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Miss Party’s misadventures in entertaining overnight guests! – Part 4, Still Updating/Decorating

Summer Party

Woohoo! Miss Party survived the wood floor refinishing week! It was darn stinky but she hunkered down in a few rooms at the other end of the house and survived it. Thank goodness it’s finally over and done with. That crazy, last-minute decision stopped everything in it’s tracks for close to 3 weeks (the waiting […]

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Delicious Cake – A cake that lives up to it’s name!

Old-fashioned Peonies in Springtime

This cake is so delicious, it’s called Delicious Cake!! Miss Party’s Grandma, Great Grandma, and Great, Great Grandma were amazing country cooks. They often used this rustic cake recipe for family gatherings over the last 100 years. The cake recipe was requested for family birthdays, dressed up as Coconut Cake at Easter, and later in […]

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Miss Party’s misadventures in entertaining overnight visitors! Part 3 – Updating/Redecorating

Path to Mill Brook, Medfield, MA

Here’s this week’s latest ‘going’s on’ with the updating and redecorating of Miss Party’s guest suite. As you’ll see there’s been quite a bit of buying going on this week. Some things work out, lots of others don’t. Such is the way of these sorts of projects. The floors are scheduled to be refinished at […]

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Easter or Springtime Brunch – A planning timetable that will get you hoppin’!

Springtime in New England

Whether family and friends come to your house every year or this is your first year to host Easter brunch, you can pull this together in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, as long as you get yourself organized and stay on track. Miss Party will walk you through it, top to bottom. Brunch is […]

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Miss Party’s Overnight Guest’s Arrival Checklist – Make your life easier and their visit more enjoyable!

Summer Party

Few things can induce a panic attack in a seasoned party hostess like weekend guests arriving. To the 3 hour, party perfect hostess it’s like having a never-ending party. The best way Miss Party knows of to keep a grip on herself is by prepping as much as possible ahead of time. The more prepared […]

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Retro Game Night Party – Throwback fun with friends!

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Looking for something fun to do with a few friends or a small gathering? Plan an unplugged evening of retro food, fun and games (board games, group card games like poker, ‘party’ games, billiards, even ping pong). It can be as easy as a pot of chili or veggie soup, beers and Trivial Pursuit to […]

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