Friday, October 10, 2008

The Gift of Thrift: Hep Kats!

Anytime I’m invited to one of Heather Kerr’s parties I am primed for a themed event that’s handcrafted with wit and whimsy. So when a mysterious black envelope arrived in the post with a Brooklyn return address, I knew it must be an alert to one of Heather’s infamous evenings.

Last year, I put Heather and her crafty partner in hot glue adventures, thrift extravaganzas and cut-and-sew marathons, Michael Quinn, up to the challenge of creating a vintage tailgate party in Michael’s tiny Carroll Gardens studio to be featured in my book, The Find, which will be out next May. And to say the least, they blew my mind.

Now I’ve been to some humdingers of parties, but Heather and Michael are the bees’ knees of dazzling guests with individualized attention to detail, from spiffy, handmade invites to the swell décor that fills a room. Heather’s effort tonight proves to be no less. And when I’m invited to a party that I know will be memorable, I love making a hostess gift that is personalized, fun, and of course, on the cheap!

As you can see, the invitation puts you in an immediate Jazzy mood with its requests that guests dress the part in skinny pants and sexy, plunging necklines. I was inspired to find a gift that was a touch naughty and a bit criminal, but a whole-lot pretty.

No farther did I have to travel but a few blocks away to Housing Works in the West Village ( to locate my special find. This purse, maybe from the 1960s or early 1970s, immediately caught my eye with its gold brocade threads and its square shape. When I opened it up, I discovered a small mirror in its lid, perfect for applying a deep shade of red lipstick in a dark and sultry speakeasy. But then I looked at the price tag -- $40. Hmmm a bit rich for my blood these days. But luck was on my side yesterday when I saw a sign announcing that all apparel and bags were marked down 50 percent! SOLD!

What to put in this ritzy little treasure? Candy? Cupcakes? Cookies? “No way,” said my LA pal Jonona soon-to-be-Amor from Jonamor Décor. (Oh yes, she and Senor are gettin’ hitched next September!) “Fill it with booze!” Great idea! I went to a shady liquor store and bought airplane-sized bottles of gin, tequila and vodka. After placing them in my hotsy-totsy tote, I stuffed it full of wads of fake cash (probably worth more than the real thing these days!), dropped in some shiny, gold plastic coins and topped it off with a sprinkling of colored glitter shaped like music notes.

So we’re off to swanky Brooklyn tonight with this portable hooch bar packed into a spiffy little bag. Oh, and Heather, if you’re reading this, humor me and act surprised!

In May 2009, Clarkson Potter will publish my book, The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details


Anonymous said...

I'll be stuffing the booze and fake cash down my plunging decolletage!
See you there!

Life As g said...

So......we're going to hear a report on this, correct?!