Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Easy Brunch Recipe

My cousin and his family came to visit this past weekend. It was a lot of fun because it was the first time our girls, who are right around the same age, actually met. And let me tell you--having four girls, age 4 and under, under one roof was pretty chaotic--but fun!

Usually when we have visitors, we're running around for most of the day, so having a big breakfast is pretty important, especially because we don't know when we'll get the chance to grab lunch. This Banana-Raisin Bread Pudding recipe from Martha Stewart has become my "go-to" recipe! Whether it's a casual breakfast or holiday brunch, you don't want to be stuck at the oven flipping omelets or pancakes. So, this is ideal because you prepare it in about 15 minutes and stick it in the oven for about 50 minutes. It is delicious! It tastes like french toast without the heavy egg coating with bananas (I actually leave the raisins out). Plus, I add about a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar over the top before putting it in the oven (nutmeg would be a good one to add, too)--yum! So, keep this in your recipe box, especially for any upcoming holiday brunches. Click here for the recipe.

Monday, August 30, 2010

MAD MEN Party

In honor of Mad Men winning "Best Drama Series" last night at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, I thought it was worth spotlighting this party I had seen a few months ago on Hostess with the Mostess. Put together by event planners, Bellafare, this Mad Men-themed party was actually done as a joint 50th birthday party. The party featured a photo booth using a scene from a Mad Men episode as the backdrop and vintage props as part of the decor. Guests enjoyed cocktails such as Tom Collins and Vodka Gimlets and music from Hank Lane (who sang on vintage mics wearing white tuxes.) They even managed to get the guests to dress in 60's "Mad Men" attire! To view photos from this unique party, visit hostessblog.com here or go to Bellafare's Facebook page.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

DIY Wreath for Baby














I've seen plenty of diaper cakes, but thought this diaper wreath was different and adorable! It makes a great gift to hang on the new mommy's front door to greet her when she comes home from the hospital. You could use scrapbook letters or cut the letters out yourself to add "Welcome Home" with the baby's name. And how cute would it be to have a pair of booties hanging in the middle?! You also could customize the wreath to match the baby's nursery or shower theme. And once the shower is over, it's a gift that will actually be used.

They're very easy to make. You can use an inexpensive floral styrofoam wreath or a vine wreath sold in dollar stores. Here is a good tutorial on hubpages.com, click here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Final BBQ Bash

For most, Labor Day weekend marks the last summer weekend to throw a backyard barbecue with friends and family. So, why not put in a little extra effort to make it special. With just a few small ideas, you can have a fun, colorful barbecue party that will commemorate the end of summer. Here is an idea board to get you started thinking about a few decorative ideas to spruce up the backyard and some tips to keep it all running smoothly. There are FREE printables, easy tutorials and recipe included--so read carefully for the full scoop!
Starting at top right:
  • Decorate drinks with these easy printable drink stirrers. Download them free here from The Celebration Shoppe, found via LivingLocurto.com.
  • If it's a particularly hot day, keep pretty fans available for any guests that might need them. These pretty ones were featured in Country Living.
  • Serve drinks in mason or jam jars–great complement to any picnic theme. This photo from Parents magazine.
  • Hang paper flowers from trees. This one is easy to make. The complete tutorial can be found at AllYou.com here.
  • I love this idea of pre-packaging personal-sized smores for guests, so they can grab a set when they're ready for dessert. Or packaged pretty, you can use them as favors for guests to take. Photo from Overcocktails.com here.
  • Use different bold colors to decorate. You don't need to get too fancy. A couple of lanterns and colorful paperware, like these featured in Country Living, with inexpensive flowers will make a summery tablescape.
  • Bundle napkins and utensils with pretty scrapbook paper to make it easy for guests to grab dinnerware. Keeping them in a pretty basket will also help to enhance a buffet table. See what Martha Stewart.com used for these napkin rings here.
  • Make your food as colorful as your decor. Use tomatoes, pineapple, mango, cilantro to bring color to your BBQ entrees. This Caribbean shrimp kebob recipe can be found here.
  • Finally, if you don't have enough seating for your guests, set up "picnic areas" in your backyard so they don't have to plop themselves randomly on the grass. Adding trays and side tables help prevent drinks from falling over and keeping plates steady. Photo source here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sunshine Party

My girls, Renee and Siena, started preschool yesterday. But even so, we're still holding on to summer. It's still in the 90s here in Colorado, so we continue to enjoy the hot summer days. (Thankfully our neighborhood pool will be opened until mid-September!) This "Sunshine Party" by Love the Day Parties is the perfect way to hold on to those summer feelings. This party is so adorable and cheery–it can only bring a smile to your face! My favorite ideas are the yard stakes and the use of lace around the hanging mason jars. I also wanted to post this because you can combine a lot of these ideas with ones from the "Fat Tire inspired party" posted last week. The color schemes are similar and either could translate to a party suited for adults and children. To see the rest of this charming party, go here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

TODAY'S TAKEAWAY: Framed Placecards

Don't you love when you're looking through a series of party photos and you're able to grab an idea to put in your back pocket that you might actually be able to use? Well, that's the idea behind "Today's Takeaway." I'll share with you quick, small ideas I find as I scour the Internet for party inspiration.

Here is the first one. I found this idea on the wedding website, OnceWed.com. It is from a wedding styled by Rock, Paper, Scissors. Using an empty frame that you can probably pick up at TJ Maxx and some ribbon, together make a great showcase for placecards. And I love the choice of vintage-styled frame here. Banked by flowers and photos, it really helps set the stage for your party. After all, the placecards are really the first thing guests see as they enter your party.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake Party Featured Today on Catch My Party!

My very first blog entry, my daughters' Strawberry Shortcake birthday party, is one of today's "Featured Parties" on Catch My Party! I was so happy to see it on there! If you like it, give it a "cupcake" on their website! You'll see it shown in the top row under "featured parties." Go to their site here. Thanks!

Party Inspired by the Fat Tire Bicycle

For those of you who are just getting to know me, I live in beautiful Fort Collins, CO, where we get over 300 days of sunshine each year. Fort Collins is also home to New Belgium Brewery, makers of Fat Tire beer... something that's become a staple in our refrigerator! Right on the front of their bottle, is what has become their signature, the retro-styled fat tire bike. I think I've even heard that employees get a fat tire bike after being there for a certain number of years. Pretty nice! So, after staring at many Fat Tires (the bottles and the bikes!) I was encouraged to put together a party idea board inspired by the fat tire bike. I hope you can use one or more of these ideas in your last summer soirees!
Using mainly a yellow color scheme makes this a fun, whimsical party theme for the summer. The use of the metal drink dispenser and metal cans to hold flowers plays off the bike's retro vibe. I love the idea of using the flowing ribbons to decorate the chairs and pinwheels to convey movement throughout the decor. (Find a tutorial for making the pinwheels below!) And the idea of hanging bottles (they'd have to be Fat Tire beer bottles!) is definitely a nice touch, especially if you add a daisy to each one.

Resources and links:

Top row:
Vintage metal drink dispenser found on etsy here
Bike invitation found on etsy here
Metal can flower holder and hanging bottles originally used in a party created by pen & paper flowers, click here.

Bottom row, from left to right:
Ribbons on chair, originally posted by hostess with the mostess, found via partydress.net here
Pinwheels photo and tutorial can be found here at bhg.com
Cupcake using yellow gingham cupcake wrappers from sur la tabla found here

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cake Cuties


Found these adorable petite cakes in Parents magazine. They seem so easy to make. Perfect for a shower, Mother's Day or birthday party. Use coloring to match the occasion. I can also see doing these in yellow for Easter with gummy bunnies on top.

I wasn't able to find this on the Parents website, so I am typing the recipe below:

Slice 6 oz. angel-food cake into twenty 1 1/2" cubes. Stir a few drops of red coloring into 2 cups of canned frosting. Microwave frosting on high for 20 seconds, stir, and heat 10 to 15 seconds. Pour over cake. Microwave fruit chews for 10 seconds, until softened. Roll and make shapes with a mini cookie cutter. (Or use pre-formed gummies.) Place on cakes. Refrigerate.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Party Fit for The Godfather

I don't remember how I came across this party (I think I was doing a search on milestone birthdays) but I was so glad I did because it really shows how you can turn any idea into a full party! Using the movie, The Godfather, as a theme, look at the details of this 50th birthday bash! The horse head cake is amazing. It was red velvet cake, done by the Sweet & Saucy Shop. The signage is a riot. I can imagine a photo cut-out of a gangster and mob-wife, where you put your head through and have your picture taken. I love the cannoli spotlight on the dessert table and the use of the cover art from Mario Puzo's original book.

To see the rest of the fun photos from this party, visit The Sweet & Saucy Shop's website here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ahoy Matey! Nautical-themed Party

Our family invested in a boat this summer. It's been the perfect remedy for what was missing from our summers. Ever since we moved here to Colorado from the East coast five years ago, we miss being near the ocean, especially during the summer weekends. Having the boat gives us a quick escape–I immediately feel like I'm on vacation when I'm on it, and it brings back great memories for my husband and I of when we used to take his boat out in Long Island, NY. Now, we're happy to have the experience with our own little family. It's a family outing we look forward to every weekend. So, it's no wonder I've been migrating to anything nautical lately! A nautical theme works for a baby shower ("Ahoy! It's a Boy!"), a great "Little Sailor" birthday party, and a classic, yet elegant, wedding theme. All examples below.

Baby Shower From "Over Cocktails"
I love the sophistication of this shower. The soft blue palette for the tablescape is perfect. They also put a lot of thought into the details: sand in a bottle as placecards, boat twine as napkin ring holders and salt water taffy for the favors! To see all the details, hop over to their site here.

Little Sailor Birthday Party from "The Celebration Shoppe"
The Celebration Shoppe offers custom invitations and creative table decor. Their "Little Sailor" collection uses bold colors and makes it easy to personalize your party. Use wrapping paper for the backdrop. You can also add a plastic life preserver (found on party supply websites) to decorate the backdrop. Use inexpensive toy boats (think old bath toys!) and shells to finish your table. For party activities: musical chairs to Caribbean-style music, fishing game, remote control boat racing, sand sculpting or remember filling those colored sand bottles? To see the rest of the collection and get more ideas, visit The Celebration Shoppe here.

Sea Inspired Wedding
You always need to be careful when incorporating a theme into a wedding. It could easily become kitschy. You really don't want the groom wearing a captain's hat! Here's one inspiration board from "The Perfect Palette" that borrows traditional nautical colors and uses subtle details to keep it elegant. Visit their website here to find additional inspiration for a nautical theme wedding.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

DIY Tiered Paper Stand

So, summer is sadly coming to an end, you're planning one more BBQ for the season, and you really don't want to spend any more money on serving dishes, etc. Here's a great craft from Martha Stewart that lets you use the paper plates you probably already have into a tiered paper stand. Use it to serve light appetizers or dessert. Click here to get the complete how-to.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Olivia the Pig Birthday Party!

My girls, Renee and Siena, love Olivia the Pig! They share her playful imagination; the way she goes in and out between reality and fantasy, just the way they do. As a parent, I appreciate Olivia's "can-do" attitude. I love this party because it is certainly unique and although it is a children's party, there are a lot of elements that can be enjoyed by adults, too. The creator, Jaclyne of Heavenly Blooms, shows just how a little of your own imagination can create one remarkable party. (Check out those nice mailbox favors below!)

A lot of the decor can be used for a Valentine's Day party or "girls night" party, too. If you make the hanging boa wreath in black, it would be great for an elegant Halloween party. Jaclyne provides tutorials for the feather boa wreath, the glitter red play dough she used as an activity, the hanging pom poms and Oreo cookie pops she made here. To view the rest of the party pictures, click here.

FREE Back-to-School Cupcake Printables

LivingLocurto.com is providing a cute back-to-school cupcake wrapper and topper. Designed by PaperGlitter, just go to their website here and download PDFs of the wrapper and topper for free! I'm going to be using these the night before my girls go back. If your school allows homemade goodies (our's doesn't), use these to decorate a nice treat for the kids on their first day at school.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shower Centerpiece as Easy as A-B-C

The other day a friend actually asked me about the centerpiece I made for my sister's baby shower and I thought I'd share it with all of you, too. We had an ABC Block themed baby shower for my sister last fall. Below is the centerpiece I made for the gift table that can easily be adapted to any theme. And yes--the shower was in NY, which meant I carried all the pieces in my suitcase! Security was probably wondering why I was carrying 20 plastic rattles and a parasol umbrella!

The centerpiece was modeled after the invitations, that I also created. The "blocks" of the centerpiece are floral green styrofoam blocks. I used brown scrapbook paper to cover the fronts and using rubber cement, simply glued on the paper and the styrofoam letters. I used brown acrylic paint to add the polka dots to the top block and stripes to the bottom block. Make sure to secure the top block to the bottom one. Remove the parasol's handle and stick the parasol into the top block. Once you've added ribbons to the plastic rattles (pacifiers would be cute, too!) tie them to every other spoke of the parasol. Now, you've got a cute centerpiece for the shower and decoration for the baby's room! In fact, I do believe this one is sitting in my little nephew's nursery!

You can use scrapbook paper on the blocks to fit any theme. Everything was purchased at Michaels--many trips were made using those 40% off coupons!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Eat Pray Love Party

I feel like I am probably the only person who hasn't read Eat Pray Love–and now the movie is coming out this Friday. But for those of you who love to entertain, a movie premiere like this is the perfect excuse to get your girlfriends together. If you are one of the few that has not read the 2006 memoir, written by Elizabeth Gilbert, here is a quick recap: After a divorce and another failed relationship, Gilbert decided that she needed a drastic change, to get out of her depression. She spends the next year of her life traveling to three very different places. She goes to Italy to EAT. She goes to India to try to find her spirituality, PRAY. And to Bali, Indonesia to find balance and search for (you guessed it) LOVE.

If you plan on going to the movie or your book club has read it, get together and enjoy some good food and company, inspired by a movie that seems to have inspired many.

DECOR:
Accent the room with candles, incense holders, pillows or throws in jewel colors, with embellishments.
The Buddha statue and candle holders at right are from Overstock.com. The lanterns and pillow are from Pier 1 Imports.

MENU:
Start by giving each lady a prosecco drink like this one found at epicurious.com

Italian antipasto platter that includes prosciutto-wrapped pretzels, olives, Italian cheeses, fresh mozzarella balls and salami

Finger foods are always best. Here are a few recipes from allrecipes.com.

Serve the soup in small porcelein bowls, like the sampler set at right from Pier 1 Imports. And set your food out on pewter trays, like the one at right from Overstock.com.

For dessert, try:
Mango
Cream Puffs (a friend told me these are relevant to the story!)

TABLE TOPPERS:
Print out your favorite quotes from the book, attach them to toothpicks and use them to embellish your food buffet. Here are a couple I found:
"Guilt’s just your ego’s way of tricking you into thinking that you’re making moral progress"
"You know how some people look like their dogs? I think maybe you always look like your men"

FAVORS:
If your budget allows, treat each lady to an Eat, Pray, Love bookmark. Dogeared.com has a line of bookmarks (one shown right), luggage tags and jewelry inspired by the book and movie. Click here to see the line of bookmarks.

MUSIC:
Modern sitar music or you could play the movie soundtrack.

Have fun!



Friday, August 6, 2010

Small Servings

Usually when I entertain, I prefer food buffets made up of finger foods and "small bites." A collection of small portions makes a great presentation, and I find the food goes quicker because people don't think they're eating too much! Smaller portions encourage guests to try a little of everything and they are a little easier to handle, when they are also managing their cocktails.

So, I was so happy to see that Pier 1 Imports recently introduced a "Tasting Party" collection. How great does this look?! The collection includes mini-cordials, canoe trays, platters, mini martini glasses and other "sampler" sets. Everything is porcelein or glass so each set works well together and can be used for any casual or formal affair. Click here to view more of the collection. When you get to the page, make sure to scroll down for party and recipe ideas using the new "Tasting Party" collection.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

DIY Utensil Holder

There is so much you can do with paper. It's cheap to use and it allows you to enhance whatever color scheme or theme you're working with. Here is such an easy project that offers cute results and can be done for any BBQ, party or even to put at every table for a shower. All you need is a cardboard holder from an old 6-pack, scissors or exacto knife, cardboard, clear packing tape, glue stick and your choice of scrapbook paper. (I used some leftover paper from my girls' birthday party.)

First, you need to make sure nothing is going to fall through the bottom. Trace the bottom onto the piece of cardboard. Using clear packing tape, attach the cardboard to the bottom to stabilize the 6-pack. Then taking the scrapbook paper, continue to trace each side. Cut out your shapes and glue them on. I actually managed to only use 2 pieces of scrapbook paper. Make sure to remember to cut out the hole in the handle! I suggest cutting the hole after gluing on each side of the handle. (This is where the exacto knife comes in handy.)


And that's it! A functional, cute addition to jazz up your table and a great way to recycle!

This post is participating in "Tip Junkie's Tip Me Tuesday"
 
09 10 11 12
Blogging tips