Shaken, Not Stirred – The Art of a Great Party

Saturday night was a beautiful evening for the Tinkler’s barn party in Woodstock, Illinois—and what a party it was!

Appearing seamless to the casual observer, there’s lots of pre-planning, elbow grease, and behind-the-scenes work that goes into this annual event. I don’t know their full recipe for success, but some of the ingredients include: 

Start with a fun loving host family

Mix in their century-old barn

Whisk in a hearty portion of guests—adults and children alike

Liberally add tables laden with delicious food

Sprinkle with tents for people who’ve travelled far

Add a generous dollop of cheerful flowers

Gently fold in good friends

Baste with plenty of arm-waving, booty-shaking, get-down music

Shake, don’t stir.

If you follow this recipe, you’re sure to have one heckofa good time!

What was the last party you went to? 

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
                — Laurie Buchanan and our Facebook page

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

25 thoughts on “Shaken, Not Stirred – The Art of a Great Party

  1. Looks like a lot of fun was had by all! Yes much behind the scenes planning goes on at any party or event! How it all comes off is up to the host relaxation as well as the guest!

    I have not been to a party is ages… I do attend artist receptions/Openings and you can tell when one is created from the Heart or if it is done out of function!

  2. Great fun Laurie!

    I am going to say my last party was last weekend in MN. A bridal shower.
    I even won 7 prizes in the doubles dice game. Gave some away to others….

    My niece Emily was helping everyone and oh so cute, at seven years old.
    Her mom and dad are finally getting married.

    Stay cool…..

  3. OH what fun and what a great event – not to mention what a great barn!
    I am going to just such an event tonight. One of my book groups does a theme instead of a book every other month…this month our theme is Letting Go and we are off to a members cabin at Summit Lake – If the sun breaks through and it warms up folks will bring their suits and swim too….and “stone soup” kind of salad for eats… I can hardly wait.

    Then a wedding at a family farm in Lake Chelan Washington on Saturday – such goodies all coming up.
    Delightful post

  4. Sounds like fun, I wanna have one of those. . .can’t even remember the last party I went to, well, that’s not completely true. I believe the last REAL shindig I attended was my 40th high school reunion Laurie and that was . . . .oh my goodness, almost 4 years ago, I gotta get crackin!!

    • Alison – If it’s been 4 years since the last time you attended a party, you’ve definitely gotta get crackin’! Maybe you should take the party-bull by the horns and throw one yourself?

  5. Oh and the last party I went to was my art opening for the Study of Blue solo exhibition on June 30th. We didn’t boogie but we sure laughed, hugged, visited and enjoyed a glass or two of bubbly.

  6. Looks like a great party.
    Haven’t been to a party like that in a long time.

    We are planning one for Ailsa’s 50th in October – which will most likely be in a large shearing shed high in the foothills (half an hour’s drive up a no exit road). It is planned to be a musicians party – with performance by most present, good food, good company.

    • Ted – The party you’re planning for Ailsa’s 50th birthday sounds like it’s going to be WONDERFUL! Speaking of Ailsa, how is her ankle coming along? Is she 1/4 or 1/2 down the estimated healing path for a broken tibia, fibula, and subsequent surgery?

      • Hi Laurie,
        The leg was operated on 3 weeks ago, and the cast comes off in 3 1/2 weeks time. – so she is about half way to that milestone – then the physio starts to rebuild leg strength.

        She is also battling anxiety and depression.
        Interesting times – as they say.

  7. Sounds like you had a fabulous time! I love how you wrote this post as a recipe. It reminds me of square-dance parties we used to attend with my parents as kids. The last party I attended was the Aura Jamboree!

  8. Hi, Laurie — I can’t believe I actually get to respond the same day as your blog is written! You described this party with such a creative flair it brought a smile to my face 🙂

    The last party I went to was for Jonathan’s retirement from the army (30 years!) last weekend. His boss hired someone to come in and cook a fancy five-course dinner, we had champaigne, told bad jokes, and shared a lot of laughter.

    Of course, every time I have January, it is always pajama party. There are some days when we don’t even get out of our jammies!

    • Barbara – Please tell Jonathan “Happy Retirement!” from me. When Len retired from the Navy after 20 years, we had a big celebration, too! I can well imagine that any time spent with January is a cause for celebration 🙂

  9. Party On!! I love this and happy I clicked onto this blog. After folding in the good friends, I love the flowers against the barn I love these kind of parties that simply stop time cause we have so much fun. The dancing on a hundred year old floor… I bet it makes a cool noise. How shoes sound has always drawn me to them since a kid.

    I went to a Midsummer’s Night’s Dream party that was pretty original. They had chandeliers hanging in the trees in the front yard with twinkle lights splattered about the rest of the yard. Everyone wore a costume the imagined up from the book. The atmosphere really brings out the best in us at a party.

    • Kathy S. – I love what you shared about shoes, “How shoes sound has always drawn me to them since I was a kid.” The Midsummer’s Night Dream party sounds COOL! I can imagine that twinkling light against a night sky from chandeliers hung in trees was absolutely lovely.

  10. What a fantastic setting for a summer party! It must have been fun for the family planning it… that’s the part I love. We have hosted a winter solstice party for the past few years and I really get into the menu, the music, the decorating, the games to play, and look forward to planning it a little differently each year…

    I love the Midsummer’s Night’s Dream party Kathy described!

  11. I may well be late to this party, but I sure had fun reliving this photographic memories Laurie! Love the gorgeous setting and the comeraderie, and the great spread. Surely such times are worthy of this kind of joyous documentation!

    My last “party” was a wedding several weeks ago for my cousin’s oldest son at a super-fancy reception hall. It’s always tough staying the course though when they offer up so much during those “cocktail hours.” Ugh! Still, a great times was had by all.

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