Friday, February 22, 2013

Downton Abbey Finale Party

Downton Abbey Finale Party

Downton Abbey is pretty fantastic. Minus a few elements and the deaths in season three, I have loved every minute of it. My husband is equally into it as I am which hasn't happened with other period pieces (he doesn't really care for any Austen, Bronte, Anne of Green Gables, etc). So we decided to throw a finale viewing party for a few friends who are just as into it as we are. Only problem was, we couldn't do a weekend due to Mike's work schedule (and anyway, "what is a weekend?") so we made it a Wednesday night which eliminated the other 8 people that we invited, but we were undeterred and celebrated with two other couples. 

Deviled eggs
Grilled cheese sandwiches with pesto and hummus (thank you Trader Joe's)
Pound cake with mixed berries and whipped cream
Walkers tea biscuits
English toffee squares
An assortment of tea

We enhanced our table with tablecloth, placecards, my grandmother's suitcase, a few victorian-looking boxes, a hatbox, and The World of Downton Abbey book. 

The tea sets were loaned to me by my mother. The blue and white China was used daily by my grandmother and holds a special place in my heart. I almost didn't take them for fear of one of us un-trained, clumsy Americans breaking a piece, but everything remained in-tact throughout the evening! 

I created the Downton pennant banner. The outside triangles say "What is a weekend?"

We had our guests wear pins should they deign to show up without costume. Just kidding. We bought these here on etsy.

For my costume, I saw this dress on etsy which reminded me of this one worn by Lady Mary and thought I'd give re-creating it a try.

I went to Goodwill and scored big with a $7 formal dress and a $4 lacy black lingerie piece that I chopped into bits as soon as I got home. The purple dress came with a matching shawl that I used to lengthen the dress from ankle to floor length. I used the black trim the came with the lacy dress to create the girth, then sewed 6" wide straps of lace to the dress and secured them under the flowers at the back 

(here's a fairly good photo of the lace attached to the back)

 I found the beading for the dress on etsy for $12 and hand-sewed it to the front. I purchased black opera gloves at Chicago Costume for $10 and dolled-up my own pearl necklace with some ribbon. My sweet husband wore a tux, and even our schnauzer got a bow tie!

Hair: I watched several "downton abbey hair tutorials" on youtube but came up with my own solution. I separated my hair into three sections and teased each. I then twisted the sides and secured to my head. Then I used the tube-part of a black sock to wrap the middle section up into a low bun (the sock added some volume). Add some bobby pins, some hair spray, and a brooch from my grandma in-law and my hair was complete. I loved how it turned out.

Here's the whole ensemble:

The home-made photo booth background was our shower curtain and the props I made from foam sheets hot-glue-gunned to skewer sticks. I also found a tray from Goodwill that I painted with chalkboard paint for our sign. I edited the photos with

We also played trivia. Here are the questions that we came up with along with the correct answers (and some of the best answers that we got from our guests!)

 20 Downton Abbey Trivia Questions from Seasons 1-3

1) What is the name of Lord Grantham’s dog? A) Isis
Best other answers: Pedro and Baxter
2) What war did Bates and Lord Grantham fight in together? A) Boer war 
3) Before becoming engaged to Matthew Crawley, Lady Mary considered a visit to what country? A) America
4) What does Daisy’s father in law do for a living? A) Farmer

5) Downton Abbey was created and written by whom? A) Julian Fellowes
Best other answers: Mark Walberg, J.K. Rowling and Laura Linney
6) DA Season 1, Episode 1 opens which the news of what historic event? A) Sinking of the titanic
7) What country was Mr. Pamuk from? A) Turkey
8) In Season 1 what medical condition did Mrs. Patmore have? A) Cataracts
9) In season 3, episode 3, what type of spoon did Alfred fail to identify correctly? A) Boullioun Spoon
Best other answers: French onion soup spoon, spork
10) What was Lavinia Swire’s father’s name? A) Reggie Swire
Best other answer: Pamook
11) Sir Richard Carlisle was a self-made man who acquired his fortune in what business? A) Newspapers
12) A badly disfigured soldier arrived at DA and claimed to be the rightful heir. Who was the only family member to believe his story? A) Lady Edith
13) Several family members were taken ill in the last episode of season two. What disease caused havoc in the house? A) The spanish flu
14) Who was Robert talking about when he said “She thinks that if you put a toy down, it will still be sitting there when you want to play with it again”. A) Lady Mary
15) Which hand did Thomas injure in the war? A) Left
16) What is the first name of the Dowager Countess of Grantham? A) Violet
17) What is the name of the castle where DA is filmed? Highclere
Best other answers: Tower of London, Kensington
18) Who left Edith at the alter? A) Sir Anthony StrallinBest other answers: “One-armed man”, Bob, “old man who is awkward”, and “creepy guy’
19) In season two when Matthew and Mary dance together to a record, what musical is the song from? A) Zip Goes a Million
Best other answers: Les Mis, Marriage of Figaro, Lion King, 
20) Name as many ingredients in Branson’s slop mixture for theArmy General as you can. A) Sour milk, cow pie, ink, oil
How many people in downton house caught the spanish flu? A) Five

First place trivia winner won this fabulous framed Downton quote that my friend Debbie made for me (it says "You'll find there's never a dull moment in this house"). Second place got a tea cup (thank you, Goodwill) filled with English toffee squares.

Even Emma got into the spirit for the evening:

(just kidding, she didn't spell that, I did).

We had a wonderful evening and will do it on a weekend next year so that more people can attend. I'll leave you with some final pictures of the night.

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