Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Weekly Round-Up + Happy Halloween!

halloween party ideas

Halloween Decorations: creative pumpkin decorating ideas from Good Housekeeping
Halloween Cocktail
: Ghoul-Aid with delightfully disturbing Eyeball Garnish
Halloween Craft
: super-cute Mummy Candy Holder
Win It
: Shopping Spree at Paper Shouts! (holiday cards, invitations & more!)
New Facebook Photo Galleries
: check out pics from our Modern Parisian Soirée in NY
Table Chic
: new collections from French Bull
CRAZY STORY
: Woman Finds Shrunken Moose Head in Frozen Green Beans (Good conversation starter for your Halloween party tonight, right?!)
Style Spy: Dining by Design – Part 1 (Part 2 coming soon!)
Kids Halloween: great halloween ideas for little ones at Peppers and Pollywogs
Fabulous Recipe: In the kitchen with design*sponge: Chocolate Swirl Gingerbread

Have a great weekend & a very HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Get Inspired: Style Me Pretty DIY Contest

DIY bride projects

Style Me Pretty is having a fabulous DIY Project Contest this week – so needless to say, the site has been chock full of great project ideas for both weddings & parties lately! Here’s a direct link to the SMP DIY Archives so you can check browse the ideas quickly and click on your favorites for full details.

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Super-Cute Halloween Treats for Kids

halloween kids recipes

Happy Halloween! If you’ve got little ones, here are a few fun ideas to try with them today… starting with the fun Slime Punch pictured above (love the presentation ideas on this one!).

Pictured below:
Batty Cake – This is both a dessert & a cool halloween decoration all in one!
Bat Cookies – How cute are the eyes on these little guys?! Get the cookie recipe + a fun presentation idea…
Hocus Pocus Hats – with a surprise inside!
Gummy Mummy Mini Cupcakes – gummy candy strips + m&m’s make for super-cute tiny treats!

halloween kids recipes

Pictured below:
Frosted Pumpkin Cupcakes – I love the super-easy decoration idea on this one. Parents includes a link to a cupcake recipe for these too, but to keep things easy just bake up a batch of boxed cupcake mix and then have fun with the decoration!) (more…)

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Simply Stated: Modern Fall Celebration

modern Thanksgiving decoration ideas

Today over at Simply Stated: check out some ideas for a bright & colorful Thanksgiving (or fall party) celebration!

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Halloween Martini – “Vampire Style”

halloween cocktail glass garnish

I featured this “blood rimmed” martini glass on a local news channel here in San Diego a couple weeks ago and have had quite a few people inquire about how to recreate the glass garnish, so here are the directions for those of you who’d like to sip your martini “vampire style” this weekend!

The “blood rim” is made from the same kind of mixture as you’d use to make hard candy. It’s actually pretty easy, but you will need a candy thermometer (which you can find at most grocery stores). (more…)

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REAL PARTIES: Gothic Glam Halloween Dinner Party

gothic glam halloween party decorations

HWTM Reader Angela Hudson recently sent over some images of the Gothic Glam table that she created for her Halloween dinner party tomorrow night, and check out how cool it turned out!

gothic glam halloween party decorations

I asked Angela to share some details with us regarding how everything came together, so here are some shopping resources & “how-to” tips in her own words…

Glitter skulls: (from Marshall’s) The skulls are sitting on silver pillar candleholders to which I hot-glued about 6” of a feather boa. I liked that the candleholders gave the skulls a little height.

Five-arm candelabra: (from Grandin Road) I embellished the candelabra with crystal drops from an old silver-plated candelabra.

gothic glam halloween party decorations

Gothic figurines for place cards: (from Michael’s) I loved the way these once-gray figurines looked once they were spray painted with metallic silver and glitter spray paints! (more…)

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Style Spy: Dining By Design – Part 1

{by HWTM event correspondent: Jen Berson}

I was lucky enough to attend Dining By Design’s Table Hop & Taste, in Los Angeles recently. DBD features amazing, over-the-top, and cutting edge table design installations created by talented & eclectic designers. Since there are so many inspiring entertaining ideas from this event, we decided to bring it to you in a three-part series. Here goes with part 1…

LOOK 1: Chic Aqua & Chocolate

modern dinner party ideas

I love the rich look of this first design, and the ultra chic chocolate and aqua color palette. The all-white floral centerpieces in various heights with wispy curly willow are simple & stunning…

modern dinner party ideas

Style-Steal Tips:

• A few drops of dye in the water of a clear vase adds a pretty aqua detail to a simple arrangement.

• Colorful square vases are elevated to new heights when stacked on top of candlesticks in varying lengths.  Secure vases with a bit of hot glue (which can later be removed), and add tea lights for a glamorous glow.

• Peacock feathers would be a nice compliment to this tabletop design.  Use them as floral accents, and tucked into folded napkins.

***** (more…)

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Halloween Dinner Menu: TRICKS and Treats!

halloween recipes

Whether you’re hosting an official Halloween dinner party or just enjoying a casual meal with family on October 31st, why not add some magic to the evening by bringing a few tricks to the table!

The October ’08 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray has an article called “Tricks and Treats” that is just pure genius! All of the dishes are a little…disguised. Not sure it’s such a good idea to serve “cupcakes” as part of the main course? Take a closer look… you just might change your mind!

halloween recipes

TRICK OR TREAT Dinner Party Menu:

1. Ham-and-Tomato Pie… anything but sweet!
2. Fudge Cookie Sliders
… burgers for dessert!
3. Savory Ricotta Waffles with Red-Hot Jam
… too hot for breakfast!
4. Sausage Meatloaf Cupcakes with Creamy Potato Frosting
… looks can be deceiving!
5. Strawberry Jam Tart
… dressed up like pizza! (more…)

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Paper Shouts

Update: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone that entered!

And the lucky random winners are: Commenter # 108 – Cathryn, who said “I love the cranberry polka dot holiday cards!”, and Commenter # 156 – Cherie B – who said, “I would love to win this giveaway! I want to use our ski trip to Breckenridge for our holiday card photos. I think the Believe or the Snowy, Starry Holiday would be perfect. Hope I win!!”

papershouts giveaway

For all you stationery lovers out there – we have another fabulous paper giveaway for you today! Paper Shouts – a super stylish custom stationery shop offering everything from personalized Holiday Cards & Holiday Party Invitations to Baby Shower Invites, Kids Birthday Party Invites, Wedding & Bridal Invitations, and more – is offering up $50 Shopping Sprees towards any of their products to TWO lucky readers!

Pictured at top are a few examples of the many available Holiday Shouts, and pictured below are a few of personal favorites from the Bridal Shouts category…

papershouts giveaway

(See more designs & details for HOW TO ENTER after the jump…) (more…)

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Ghoul-Aid Cocktail…with Super Creepy Speared Eyeball Garnish

halloween cocktail - ghoul-aid with eyeball garnish

Ewww!!! Who’d have thought that 3 such innocent ingredients as lychee fruit, raspberry jam, and blueberries could come together for such a disturbing result!  But hey… when it comes to Halloween cocktails – the creepier the better, right? Right!

halloween cocktail - ghoul-aid with eyeball garnish

Get the complete the Ghoul-Aid recipe and eyeball “how-to” after the jump… (more…)

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Simply Stated: New from French Bull

french bull melamine plates by Jackie Shapiro

Are you a fan of Jackie Shapiro’s French Bull tableware? Today over at Simply Stated, check out three new collections from this popular contemporary designer… including the fabulous black & white Felix pattern (pictured above), and two colorful new patterns – Iris and Regal.

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Mummy Candy Holder

halloween kids craft - mummy candy holder

Not only is this Mummy Candy Holder idea from Parents a fun little Halloween craft project for kids, it can definitely be put to good use at your Halloween party too! A super-cute way to serve colorful candies or Spooky Snack Mix…. click here for complete instructions.

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Modern Parisian Soirée – Event Photos

hostess with the mostess - modern parisian party

Here are a few pictures from our Hip Hostess Series NYC event last month – the Modern Parisian Soirée! You’ll find lots more photos in 2 albums on the HWTM Facebook Page: Hip Hostess Series NYC: Part 1 & Part 2. Complete details will be up in the HWTM Party Themes section on Thursday, but in the meantime here’s a general overview…

Pictured at top is the centerpiece for the huge square dining table that was part of the venue. Instead of one large centerpiece, several small bunches of white & yellow flowers were grouped together to take up more of the table’s surface space. The vases were decorated with black, white, and magenta screen-printed clear overlay papers from Hambly, which featured a vintage-looking scroll print.

hostess with the mostess - modern parisian party

The same screen-printed overlay paper was used on top of a yellow & white damask-print paper (“Fancy” by American Crafts™) to create “place mats”, which really helped to tie the place settings & centerpiece together. Black napkins folded into a squares & wrapped with a 1.5″ strip of the “Fancy” paper sat atop patterned salad plates and black dinner plates…

hostess with the mostess - modern parisian party

A piece of yellow acrylic crystal garland was placed on top of the napkins to add a little sparkle to the settings, and Clear Placecard Holders and Black Placecards from Social Couture sat near a square tealight holder at the top of each place setting.

Black, yellow, and raspberry Ostrich Feather “trees” were also a key piece of the party decor for this theme. Step-by-step instructions on how to create these pieces are coming later this week (and are surprisingly easy!)!

hostess with the mostess - modern parisian party

3 signature cocktails featuring Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur were served at the party: the French Martini (a necessary for a “Modern Parisian theme!), Chambord & Champagne, and a special concoction called the “Little Black Dress” (recipe to come…).

hostess with the mostess - modern parisian party

Pictured below: mixologist Tim Laird during the cocktail demo… In this picture he’s working on the recipe that was definitely the hit of all 3 sessions that night: the Chocolate Raspberry Martini dessert cocktail! (more…)

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Weekly Round-Up + Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

pumpkin whoopie pies

This week was a bit of a whirlwind – in a good way – but we just got back to San Diego and are little exhausted, so T.G.I.F.! I’d like to give a big shout-out to everyone that attended our Hip Hostess Halloween event in Dallas last night – you guys were so much FUN! Everyone from the party guests to the staff at The Apartment was so welcoming and gracious… so thanks for making our very first trip to the Lone Star State such a great experience! I’ll be posting some of Tim’s Halloween cocktail recipes here soon…and you can actually already find the Vampire Kiss Martini recipe over at Real Simple!

There was a lot going on this week between traveling & the event prep, so I didn’t get quite as much posted to the blog as originally planned… which means that next week is going to be extra jam-packed with lots of fun things to share! In the meantime, here are some highlights this week from HWTM & beyond…

Win It: custom stationery from 1st Comes Love (hurry…ends tonight!)
Currently Craving: Rachael Ray’s Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Halloween Dinner Party: Set a Ghoulish Glam Table
Sweet Tooth: find inspiration for a fabulous Halloween Candy Buffet
Halloween Party “Guests”: snag ultra-cool life-size skeletons for for only $39 (half-off!)
Sweet & Spooky: check out Martha’s creative ideas for creepy treats
Extra-Fabulous NEW Glossy: Food Network Magazine
Speaking of Food Network: Be their next STAR! (apply by Oct 31st!)

Have a great weekend… see you soon!

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Ghoulish Glam Halloween – Part 3 {Mood Lighting}

ghoulish glam halloween decorations

Candlelight is a great way to create both a spooky and festive ambiance to any Halloween party. For a “Ghoulish Glam” Halloween theme, try dressing up standard glass cylinders with lacy, gothic-inspired textiles like spiderweb stockings, black fishnets, and black tulle. It only takes a minute (literally!) and these make fantastic Halloween-themed holders for pillar candles…

ghoulish glam halloween decorations

You can usually get at least 4 “slip covers” from one pair of nylons if you’re using 12″ cylinders, and even more for shorter vases, so a little goes a long way! Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are images of the elements we used for each of the 3 designs pictured above: (more…)

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Ghoulish Glam Halloween – Part 2 {Tablescape}

ghoulish glam halloween party

Well, it’s Thursday morning… and I can’t believe I’m saying this already but the Hip Hostess Halloween event is TONIGHT! We started setting up yesterday, and I have to say that venue (The Apartment) is just as amazing in person as it looks online…there’s even a walk-in “cooler bar” where we’ll be serving up a special drink!

Before we head out to finish setting up, I wanted to share some Ghoulish Glam tablescape tips for those of you planning to host Halloween dinner parties next week. Everything here is super easy to create – it’s all about layering and a few spooky-yet-sparkly details. Here goes…

Ghoulish Glam Halloween – Topic #2: The Tablescape

ghoulish glam halloween party

In keeping with the flapper era-inspired foundation of this Halloween party theme, the focus of the tablescape design is vintage-inspired elements with shimmery spider & skull details, and the color palette is primarily black & silver with splashes of white and vibrant orange.

The table centerpiece features spray-painted Sierra Manzanita ($6.99 at save-on-crafts.com), flapper costume beads, and glittery spiders. (Scroll down to the bottom of this post for step-by-step “how-to” details.) Fill the table space around the centerpiece with vintage or gothic-themed Christmas ornaments and votive holders embellished with black & orange ribbon.

ghoulish glam halloween party

Dress up wine glasses with “skull stem charms” made from plastic skull rings and adhesive rhinestones, and Halloween-themed stickers like Martha Stewart’s “Beware” labels pictured here.

For place settings, you’ll need silver charger plates ($12.60 for 6 at save-on-crafts.com), black dinner plates, 8″ silver foil cake liners, ribbon, and foam skulls. (more…)

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L.A. Food & Wine Event

los angeles food and wine event

If you’re in the L.A. area and looking for something fun to do this weekend, there’s a great event on Sunday centered around food & wine and happening at a pretty outdoor setting (and the weather forecast looks great)!

We’ll review it on the blog soon, but if you want to come check it out for yourself, click here for more info or to buy tickets. Enter FOODEVENT08 in the discount code to save $10!

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Trick or Treat…

halloween candy buffet

…emphasis on the “treat“! Here’s some inspirational Halloween eye-candy for you from the fabulous Amy Atlas Events… How genius is the huge “tree” they created using branches, tons of *Orange Paper Daisies ($1.99 – $2.15 each at *luna bazaar), and Haribo Black Licorice Wheels as “ornaments”?!

halloween candy buffet

These cute little ghost pops remind me of something that Bakerella might whip up…

halloween candy buffet

I’m also loving these candy-filled paper pumpkins (below), which look pretty easy to replicate using small orange paper bags and black tape – or you could purchase Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Favor Bags kit for a similar look that’s ready to go!

halloween candy buffet

*Tips & Ideas:
Luna Bazaar (which carries the Orange Paper Daisies used for the “tree”) is currently offering HWTM  readers a 20% discount on all purchases with the code “HB1031“.
Candywarehouse.com has a huge selection of bulk Halloween Candy available.
• Check the produce section of your local grocery store for DIY caramel apple kits, which are available seasonally. Drizzle or pipe melted chocolate onto the apples to give them the same look as the apples pictured above.

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Fun & Easy Halloween Party Ideas

halloween party ideas

Jennifer here from Create My Event, bringing you some ideas for a fun & fuss-free Halloween get-together!

Hard to believe, but in less than 2 weeks it’ll be Halloween – and what better and excuse to have a little soiree? (Especially since it’s on a Friday this year!) I’m not talking about a full on costume extravaganza, but rather a festive & chic Halloween-themed dinner party for all your favorite friends who still want to enjoy a little merriment on the spookiest night of the year- without feeling juvenile.

To start, the invites. Sendomatic has spooky Halloween Party Invitations – most including scary howls, boos and screams. And, ask everyone to wear a favorite, fun wig instead of full on costume! (more…)

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Ghoulish Glam Halloween – Part 1 {Theme Inspiration}

ghoulish glam halloween party ideas

I’m getting so excited for the Hip Hostess Halloween event in Dallas this Thursday! The last of the boxes just shipped out to the venue today, and Sonny and I head out tomorrow, so the countdown is officially on…

For those of you that can’t join us for the party, I’m still going to cover several of the tips & ideas from the event’s “Ghoulish Glam Halloween” theme on the blog & website all week long, starting… right now!

Ghoulish Glam Halloween – Topic #1: Go for an ultra-glamorous, flapper-inspired look with a creepy twist.

ghoulish glam halloween party ideas

Look for accessories that combine an element of glam + an element of ghoul – like this rhinestone studded Black Widow Necklace ($5.99) from buy-costumes.com. Display the pieces on ornament stands or jewelry trees, or use them to decorate skeletons, Halloween sculptural figures, centerpieces, etc.

Dress up vases or glass cylinders with inexpensive costume jewelry – like the Vintage Choker Necklace ($5.99) pictured below, which is simply wrapped around the vase and fastened in back.  (more…)

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: 1st Comes Love…

Winner Update: 10/29:
This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone that entered! The lucky random winners are: Comment #42 – Tori, who said: “I love the Stella Stationary but would want to convert it to a birth announcement…I just found out I’m having a girl on March 7!! Wahoo!”, and Comment #135 – Shauna, who said “Are you kidding? How to choose? I loooove the bumble bees =)”. Congrats to you both!

***

giveaway - personalized stationery

During the late nights that Roopal Shah spent creating unique invitations and announcements for her sister’s shower, her brother’s wedding, her son’s birth, and so on… she also discovered her genuine passion for the process of getting creative with paper and ink! Cut to 4 years later, and Roopal is still busy cranking out creative custom designs – through her very own design studio: 1st Comes Love.

At 1st Comes Love – as Roopal explains – “We focus on creating designs for wedding invitations, birth announcements, and just about any piece of stationery you could need!”

giveaway - personalized stationery

Speaking of “things we need” – I could really use some spending money for holiday gifts like cute personalized notecard sets… how ’bout you?!

Well, we’re in luck, because 1st Comes Love is generously offering up $50 Shopping Sprees for TWO lucky HWTM readers! Winners can spend the $ however they like – personalized holiday cards, personalized stationery, towards a custom wedding invitation design, etc.

(Details for how to enter after the jump…) (more…)

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betcha can’t guess what this is…

french toast ice cream sandwiches

but it’s worth finding out…promise! Solve the mystery the answer after the jump!

(more…)

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Weekly Round-Up + CosmoGirl Feature!

cosmo girl press feature

I feel like I great advice from people all the time – but I wish I was better at implementing it!

A while back, blogging guru Grace Bonney from design*sponge (just a wee little blog… perhaps you’ve heard of it? *wink*) suggested that I start doing a “weekly wrap-up” post on Fridays so that readers can better see that the blog covers a wider variety of topics than what happens to be on the index page at the time (i.e. “Halloween”).

Well, cut to several months later, and I’ve discovered that it can be just as hard to adopt new habits as it is to break old ones…sigh. But, as they say, there’s no time like the present, right?!

So, without further adieu, here is the first of what I hope is many “Weekly Round-Up” posts here at HWTM…which will be recaps of posts & ideas both here and ’round the web… please feel free to hold me accountable to this new habit if you find me slipping!

Exciting News: CosmoGirl feature! (November issue) See it here.
Creative Celebration: Portrait Party by Kati Driscoll
Upcoming Events: Hip Hostess Halloween Party – Next Thursday, Oct 23rd!
Party Girl Guide: Halloween Cocktails
Have a Good Laugh: Anne Taintor Products
Fall-tastic Giveaway: Indie Fixx Autumn Cornocopia Giveaway
Baby Shower Idea (Multiples): Sweet Peas
Pick Your Flavor: McCain or Obama
Food for Thought: Modern Apple Harvest Party by Kim Vallee, Apple-flavored Cocktails, Delicious Apple Desserts

And Coming Up Next Week…
New HWTM Giveaway, fun guest blogs, Halloween craft projects & DIY party decorations, NEW Real-Life Parties, Dine by Design recap, and more! See you soon!

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Eeerie Eyeballs for Halloween

halloween eyeballs

The Better Homes & Gardens website is overflowing with fantastic Halloween ideas this year! Here are a few clever eyeball-themed ideas… {clockwise from top left} Eerie Eyeball Silverware, Eerie Eyeballs Glass, Evil-Eyed Monster Mouth Treat Holder,  and Lollipop Eyeball Disguise.

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Simply Stated: Creative Creature Treats

halloween cupcakes

Today on Simply Stated: find more info on how to recreate these eerily cute, kid-friendly Halloween treats! (How adorable is that “Wacky Werewolf” cupcake?!)

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Festive Apple-Flavored Cocktails

apple

Like Kim’s idea of throwing a modern apple harvest party this fall?  Here are a few creative apple-themed cocktails that compliment this party theme perfectly!

1. Big Apple Martini (full recipe after the jump)
2. Apple Mojito
3. Spiced Apple Martini
4. Apple Cinnamon Toast

(more…)

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4 Fabulous Ways to that “Apple a Day”

easy apple tart recipe

Yes, I DO realize that this isn’t exactly what the doctor had in mind for “an apple a day”, but it’s a good excuse nonetheless – right?! Another good excuse: the upcoming autumn & winter holidays, of course! It’s the perfect time of year for enjoying hot apple-themed treats like the 4 dreamy desserts pictured above & below:

1. Simplest Apple Tart {via Smitten Kitchen}
2. Apple Slump {via Rachael Ray}
3. Joanna’s Apple Dumplings {via Rachael Ray}
4. American Apple Pie {via Smitten Kitchen}

(more…)

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Still Politics… but Sweeter!

election day sweets

The nation might be at odds when it comes to the candidates, but here’s something we can usually all come together on…dessert! Lighten up the mood at your next water cooler debate or election-day party with hand-iced sugar cookies & cupcakes from Eleni’s… available in the following campaign-friendly designs:

Pictured above: Election Cupcakes and Obama ’08 & McCain ’08 sugar cookie sets.
Pictured below: The Republican Vote and The Democrat Vote sugar cookie sets. (more…)

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Baby Shower Theme: Sweet Peas

multiples baby shower

I feel like I hear about more and more cases of twins & triplets these days… maybe I’m just noticing it more now, or maybe it really has increased – but either way, it seems that there’s definitely a need for some good baby shower ideas for multiples!

Sweet Peas” is one of the baby shower themes I created for Parents.com that works for twins, triplets…or more! “2 Peas in a Pod” is already a common theme for twins, but there didn’t seem to be a ton of cool readymade party supplies available for this theme, so it seemed prime for a modern makeover! Click here for full details.

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Creative Theme Idea: Self-Portrait Party

portrait party

Hi, I’m Kati Driscoll, author of The Finer Things, an entertaining and design focused stationery blog for FineStationery.com. I was inspired by a post from sfgirlbybay whose Self-Portrait Painting Party sounded like just the type of gathering I would host. I love the idea of a group of friends getting together and creating self-portraits.

portrait party

The best part about this party theme is that it is adaptable for guests of all ages and skill levels. For the young or young-at-heart, consider supplying crayons, markers, water-based paints and colored pencils. Provide each guest with a notepad personalized with their name as a table setting and favor. For the more advanced artist, provide acrylic paints, watercolors, pastels, charcoal and pencils in addition to bulk canvases and a variety of fine art papers. (more…)

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