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Skip the hassle and party at home in budget-friendly style. Click the links to see a full slideshow with directions.



By Sarah Murrell

photos by michelle craig

It's New Year's Eve. You're at a crowded club and you've been pushing through crowds all night long. Two drinks have been spilled on you already, and it's not even midnight. You wait in line at the bar for 20 minutes while an obviously "over it" bartender avoids your pleading eye contact. You just want one drink, just one, and you can't even begin to think about the nightmare of getting a cab after the party is over, wondering how long you'll be able to stand in the icy January wind with your arm up in the air looking like a total jerk, or how much your Uber fare is going to skyrocket. Also, your feet hurt.

Let us suggest a festive alternative: skip the lines and the expense and the Spanx by having your New Year's Eve party at home, and we'll provide all the DIY tips to get it done. We enlisted the help of three of Indy's best crafters and bloggers to create a gorgeous and budget-friendly New Year's Eve party that will definitely be more beautiful and more fun than going out.

The best part? Most of the crafters picked up supplies for this photo shoot that they already had, like buttons, tissue paper and office supplies. (Erica Walsh's paper feathers are made of tissues paper glued to straightened paper clip.) All three of the crafters picked up some of their supplies from a mixture of second hand stores or their own recycling bin. The one supply they all had in common was Modge Podge, the famous brand of decoupage glue and sealer. Reed used it to stiffen the doilies around her headbands, Walsh to stick on glitter and seal over the top to prevent flaking, and Saligo to stick glitter to the outside of her glasses.

Repurposing was the name of the game, and each crafter rose to the challenge. Walsh used leftover washi tape to add glittery stars and stripes to her liquor bottles. Reed grabbed some art from Goodwill and used vinyl letters and leftover paint to create a pretty piece of art. Saligoe's indoor fire pit used a few leftover paving stones and tree limbs from her backyard. As for her own crafting philosophy, Saligoe all about making it pretty without wasting time.

"I look online for ideas, and then I see which ones I can do my own way, or with a few less steps," she says. Each of the projects made a minimal mess, but we still advise a little vacuuming when it's all said and done. Luckily, The Sanctuary on Penn had one to spare after we decorated their loft. Everything else is easy to find: simple clear glass and white pillar candles, and a swatch of leftover gold fabric provided the table dressing.

We tracked our crafters down at The Trade School, where all three teach classes (Walsh and Reed are co-organizers for many classes) covering everything from knitting to paper crafts. Outside the school, they all maintain successful Etsy stores online (we'll have all the links for you on the web)—in case you don't want to do it all yourself. n

Danielle Reed - MICHELLE CRAIG
  • Michelle Craig
  • Danielle Reed

Danielle Reed

Etsy:The Unlikely Olive

1. Danielle Reed's headbands were easily put together using (you guessed it) Modge Podge, a lace doily, and a headband form (sprinkle on glitter for a more jazzy version). 2. This cocktail is the perfect combination of sweet, dessert and bubbles, and was inspired by Reed's travels abroad. The little scoops of sorbet melt slightly but hold their shape in the glass, looking like fluffy white snowballs. 3. Reed used some second-hand art for this project, purchased from the thrift store for a couple bucks. She added vinyl letters and painted over the whole thing with white paint, removing the letters when dry and adding a sprinkle of glitter.

Lesley Jean Saligoe - MICHELLE CRAIG
  • Michelle Craig
  • Lesley Jean Saligoe

Lesley Jean Saligoe

Etsy: Yessiree Petunia

1. Saligoe's adorable mini pinatas are created using an easy cut-and-glue pattern. She added fringe by cutting up streamers and glueing them to the disassembled pinatas in layers. Last, she fills each with a sprinkle of snowflake sequins and adds pull strings. You can also fill these with a couple of pieces of candy (just keep it small and light). 2. For a rustic touch without the smoke and flame, Saligoe wrapped tree limbs in pretty lace trim and stacked them into a log arrangement with twinkle lights in the middle. 3. It doesn't get much easier than this glitter glasses project, for which Saligoe brushed on some clear-drying Modge Podge and sprinkled on some fine glitter to add sparkle. Let it dry and you're done.

  • Michelle Craig
  • Erica Walsh

Erica Walsh

Circle City Creations

1. Walsh's place cards are actually made of envelopes. Tuck a little personalized note to each of your guests, whether it's well-wishes for the New Year or a funny shared memory. See how she made the paper feathers here. Walsh also used a heat embosser to add gold detail to the envelopes. 2. Dress up your bar with a little aftermarket paint job. Walsh used leftover washi tape, Modge Podge and a variety of glitters to give her bottles a little sparkle. To keep the glitter from getting on her guests, she dabs on a sealing top layer of Modge Podge. 3. Let your guests frame themselves for a "photo booth" station at your party. Walsh painted this one bright shimmering gold and added a few embellishments to the corners.

Sarah's tips for hosting a party like a pro

1. Arrange seating in small groups. Even in a group of extroverts where everyone knows already knows each other, conversation always flows better in small groups. It's even more essential if you're mixing up groups who don't know each other, and is a more comfortable way for introverts to participate in the conversation.

2. Honor the music-to-light ratio. If the lights are bright and the music is pretty low, the party will stay tame. If the music is very loud and it's as dark inside as it is outside (minus the strobes), you'll have a High School Movie-style rager on your hands before you know it. You want a balance between the two: some electric light and some candlelight, and music just loud enough that you can still have normal conversations.

3. Control the booze. Nothing ruins a party faster than one or two people totally overdoing it before the ball even drops. Keep this from happening by serving pre-mixed drinks in larger containers or putting a jigger on your bar, front and center (a stack of shot glasses only invites trouble). It's also a good idea to leave out some snacks, which helps to keep things from getting out of control.

4. Make it fun for designated drivers. It's boring being the responsible party if the only thing there is to drink is water and coke. Play a party game and throw together a tasty mock-tail (like pomegranate juice, seltzer and mint on ice) so that abstaining from drinking doesn't also mean abstaining from fun.

5. Perfection is the enemy of good. Whether it's with crafts, throwing parties, or even going out to celebrate in the city, it's important not to put much pressure on any one night. No one has ever thrown a perfect party (except Beyonce and probably Oprah), and one spilled tray of drinks or a dearth of ice or dancing does not mean a party is "ruined." Focus on having fun and keeping your guests safe, play some Prince, breathe, and everyone will have a good time.


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