- Skokie, IL
- Party Albums:
Aa Retirement Made in Michigan (29 photos)
Recently my sister, Dorothy, decided to retire from teaching after 34 years. Dorothy taught Michigan Studies for 22 years which inspired our Michigan-Inspired Sweets Table and her school colors inspired the color scheme. Our first challenge was to combine teaching, retirement, Michigan, sweets and Dorothy's personality into one invitation. My husband J, our illustrator, created Michigan-shaped Sugar Cookies with white "icing" text. Dorothy requested that the icing be green to represent land--can you tell she was a teacher? We then designed a logo for the front of our Sugar Cookie bag which included an apple, the "Aa" alphabet letters, penmanship paper, yellow gingham and a "Made in Michigan" stamp which included the year Dorothy started teaching.
The backyard celebration was held in our little hometown in Michigan on a warm June day. The sweets table was set up in the garage which posed the biggest challenge--making a garage not look like a garage. We used a white screen as a backdrop which allowed us to create a prep area behind the sweets table. We attached a chalkboard-style banner with our tag line, "A Sweet Ending to a Long Career" to the screen. Yellow and blue gingham were used throughout the celebration including the tablecloths, sweets wrappers and the printables. A hour before the party, Dorothy asked me to include a giant pencil that our parents had given her in the décor. I grabbed extra ribbon and hung it above the sweets table.
Finding vendors to rent linens and order sweets from is difficult in a small town. This meant the event was a family affair. Our mom made the yellow gingham tablecloth inspired by the invitation and all of the food items were made by our immediate family. We faced a few obstacles including my mom's mixer motor burning up in the midst of making icing for the sugar cookies during a tornado watch. By the time we could leave the house to get a mixer from my sister's house, the icing couldn't be saved and it was too late to buy more supplies. We ended up frosting the cookies with buttercream the morning of the party. They were supposed to match the invitation but the guests didn't know the difference and they tasted amazing!
Our sweets table included sweets inspired by Michigan products--Michigan Apple Cobbler, Traverse City Cherry Pie, Upper and Lower Peninsula Cookies, Retirement Cupcakes, Mackinac Island Fudge, Michigan Strawberry Shortcake and Battle Creek Rice Krispies Treats. Beverages included Michigan Blueberry Lemonade and Great Lakes Water. The biggest hit was the mini fridge which kept the whipped cream cold. As the guests left, they were handed a paper lunch sack with "Aa Gift from the Teacher" label.
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