Set your next event apart with A Party Apart!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Each year that the Erin’s House "Wine of the Spirit" fall fundraiser has been held in the warehouse at A Party Apart, co-owner Jim Brockmann has created something unique to add to the overall d├ęcor. The first year, 283 wine bottles hanging from the ceiling on the first floor entry way welcomed and "cued" guests that this wasn't your average wine-tasting/fundraiser. More wine bottles hung above the bar areas on the second floor. The second year, Brockmann purchased a semi-trailer of used wine barrels from a California winery to use as props to create the effect of a winery in downtown Fort Wayne.

On subsequent years, Jim continued to brainstorm and come up with unique ideas — for example, using a sandblaster to make holes in the sides of wine bottles and then connecting a ring from bottle to bottle to create lighted chandeliers above the guest tables.

Another time he convinced his wife and co-owner Cheryl Brockmann to allow him to purchase a drill press, and then for a number of evenings each night at home leading up to the event, small holes were created so they could be stacked straight up on a rod to make vertical props out of the many wine bottles.

For 2011, Jim decided on the idea of metal wine bottle trees for this year for Erin's House. He also enlisted the help of Jenny Brockmann, his daughter, an art teacher and artist in her own right, who flew in from Portland, OR for a few days to help her father out. Not only did Jenny need to hone her metal-crafting skills to help broaden her artistic abilities for a variety in the classes she teaches, but it also proved to be a great father/daughter bonding opportuntity!

After three days of intense cutting, bending, designing and welding - the yield? Stunning wine bottle trees for the 2011 "Wine of the Spirit" to benefit Erin’s House. The only extra supplies? "One tube of Ben Gay for the office muscles that became sore while working out in the shop for a change!" said Jim. The design process went well - as Jim explained, he has learned "not to argue with the artist, especially when it is a female artist!" and that it was amazing "how many different angles those little branches can be placed; 'no - move it in further; no - tilt it back some.' " But the results speak for themselves - and will officially debut on Friday, October 7, 2011 at A Party Apart - click here to visit the Erin's House website, or contact Michelle at 423-2466 for more information. See you there!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Party Apart Carries Off People's Choice Award at "Dining Inspirations" and is Carried Away by Cari Cucksey

Estate sale expert Cari Cucksey of HGTV's "Cash & Cari" show was the keynote speaker at "Dining Inspirations" - a fundraiser to benefit the Carriage House. Proceeds from the preview party and luncheon will support the facility and programs assisting people recovering from mental illness. "Dining Inspirations" is a project of Pi Chapter, Psi Iota Xi Inc.

A Party Apart was the winner of the People’s Choice Award – chosen by ballot by all guests at this 2-day event.

Heather Zehr, a former employee who loves still to help A Party Apart with her creativity while being a full-time mom, created our fabulous space to reflect the theme of how and where we dine.

Says Heather, "When Cheryl asked me to work on the design inspirations space, I was so thrilled, thankful and super excited! I love designing and I am obsessed with window displays. Window designer, Bergdorf Goodman, inspired me to fill this space to the max. Cheryl gave me the design theme - "rustic elegance with a modern twist." Working for Jim and Cheryl is an honor and they have so many amazing props, china, linens and lighting. It truly is a designer's playground. The hard part was where to stop!"

"I knew I wanted it to feel and look like a family room...stylish, cozy and appear to be hosting a party. I wanted a dramatic setting with lots of items so people could see what A Party Apart has available - fireplaces, vintage windows and different styles of chandeliers, giving lots of details. I slowly put it together layer by layer."

"Cheryl Brockmann and Teresa Police have taught me so much, and are both so inspiring to me, so I was thankful for their opinions on the space. All of the A Party Apart staff helped with my vision - with linens, china, artwork, gift wrapping, and more...and the dock guys helped pull and load all of the wonderful pieces."

"Catharine Kile, from Halls Takes the Cakes, donated the beautiful cakes and she customized the cupcakes to match the linens. Kari Geary, the owner of Lillian Rose Flowers, designed onsite to put the final touches on the display. And the Carriage House staff was so helpful and such a hard working group. They helped us get a good head start with unloading our full truck and then helped with the teardown."

"It was a pleasure to meet Cari (Cucksey). She is a charming and talented lady. I am a fan of her show and hope to visit her store. She was down-to-earth, easy to talk to, and shared a little of her story with us. Tym (De Santo), local designer and Designers Choice Award judge, was super funny and has a magnetic personality. It was very evident that he has a passion for design. It was exciting to talk to him about his upcoming move to Los Angeles and his design pursuits there. It meant so much that with their busy schedules both Cari and Tym came to support this event. I was blessed to have met these designers and was inspired by them."

Owner Cheryl Brockmann said that A Party Apart has been involved with Carriage House and their "Le Art of Table" since the beginning - and A Party Apart was excited about this year's "Dining Inspirations" and the idea of creating space. "We're proud to support such a great organization."

To see more photos from the event, click here to view the album on A Party Apart's Facebook page.