Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

A Football Inspired Sip and See with NFL Homegating

NFL football themed baby shower ideas

This football themed Sip and See might be my favorite idea for a new baby celebration to date!

NFL Homegating is like tailgating in the comfort of your own home – which is fun on its own – but even more so with a brand new baby to show off! ;)

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Sip and See …and Cheer

In case you’re not familiar with the term, a “Sip and See” is an open-house style gathering where several people come over to meet a new baby within a specified window of time. They can stay for a while or just pop in for a few minutes. It’s a fun excuse to get together, AND it saves new parents from having to accommodate the various schedules of a zillion different people that are all anxious to meet their little one.

One big thing to consider though: not everyone can hold the baby at once, which means it’s a good idea to have something else to keep your guests entertained too. So… HELLO, WORLD + HELLO, FOOTBALL!

DIY football baby bottles - baby shower decorations

Timing a Sip and See to align with an NFL game provides the perfect extra entertainment for your guests: it’s fun, it’s social, and, most importantly, it’s low-maintenance. They’ve got something to focus on while you’re busy chatting with others, and you’ve got a great theme to work with… your favorite NFL team! Or the favorite team of the guests of honor, if you’re hosting this party for a friend.

So with this in mind, I’m excited to team up with NFL Homegating to bring you some inspiration for hosting your own NFL Inspired Sip and See! NFL Homegating is all about celebrating your team at home. I stuck with my own favorite team here (of course!), but you can easily swap out the Raiders glasses and serveware with versions that feature your own favorite team.

football-baby-shower_3

I also designed the football printables featured here in black and white so that they can work with any team color palette! *Download them for free at the bottom of the post.*

P.S. Even though this NFL season is coming to an end soon, all of these ideas would work great at a regular football-inspired baby shower too, which can happen year-round. Plus, the next NFL season will be here before we know it!

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footballl baby shower printables

The Drinks

Since this is a SIP and See, drinks are key of course! Set up a station that makes it easy for guests to help themselves. Make sure to have a variety of options available for people of different ages and tastes. I always like to offer one party punch with a fun name that matches the theme + the standard basics (water, iced tea, wine, beer, soda).

This “Touchdown” Punch is simple yet tasty. It’s just store-bought green fruit punch (kiwi strawberry flavor) + lemon-lime soda. For an extra point though, throw in some lime sherbet and/or champagne!

Football Party Touchdown Punch

Speaking of fun names, I couldn’t resist calling the iced tea “Safe-TEA” as a play on the football position/play.

football party drinks

Space for cold drinks can often be an issue, and it’s fine to use your refrigerator as a solution for this! Just make sure to set out a note that lets guests know that more beverages are available for them in the fridge. You’ll probably also need to clean out your fridge... ;)

I’m a big fan of wine myself… and this is a CELEBRATION, after all! These team-branded stemless wine glasses feel a little more sporty and “Homegating friendly” to me:

sip and see baby shower wine glasses

Since this drink station is also the focal point of the party (similar to how styled dessert tables are often treated), I have a few decorative tips from it to share with you too… :)

1. “Football Family” Centerpiece

First up is this decorative drinkware display, which is a nod to both parts of the theme (sipping and NFL), as well as to the family that’s being celebrated. There’s a wine glass for mom, a beer mug for dad – (both from NFL Homegating) – and a DIY painted bottle for baby (a.k.a. the MVP!). 

football baby shower centerpiece idea

If you’re hosting for someone else, the glassware can also double as a thoughtful gift for mom and dad after the party. The mini Quarterback, MVP, and Coach flags can be downloaded below.

2. Football Onesie Banner

Since there’s not a whole lot of obviously “baby” stuff happening on top of the table, I thought a onesie banner was in order to help highlight the occasion more obviously. ;) These are available to download below as well. Note: the dates on the free printables have been changed to be more versatile. There are separate banner files for babies born in 2017 and 2018.

printable football baby shower banner

3. Felt Football Field Table Cover

For this table cover, I used green felt, white duct tape (large lines), and white masking tape (small lines). Having an attractive table cover or linen makes ALL the difference in the world as far as the look of a party station!

DIY football field table cover

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Football Whoopie Pies

The Food

Snacks at a Sip and See can be simple and fuss-free! In similar fashion to the drinks, I like to have one “star”of the food table surrounded by a few crowd-pleasing basics like cheese/cracker and veggie trays.

I chose a 5-Ingredient Chili as the main dish, since it’s quick to make and easy to keep warm all party long in a (Raiders!) Crockpot:

football party chili station

Popular garnishes for the chili (cheddar cheese, avocado slices, onions, and sour cream) were served in cute galvanized pails. 

football party chili and wine

Cheese and crackers were carefully arranged on this ceramic plate so that they didn’t cover up the best part…

football party snacks

Veggies add such a fantastic pop of color to any food station! I pretty much always include them at parties…. even though I’ll admit that I usually reach for a cheese stick first myself. ;) 

DIY football baby bottle decoration

Hope you found some useful tips here for your next football soirée! Remember to visit NFL Homegating for official NFL team party supplies, drinkware, serving trays and more. 

P.S. The football baby bottles pictured above were made by pouring craft paint into the bottles and letting it slowly drip down the sides, similar to what I did in this tutorial post. I cut pieces of duct tape for the “laces”.

Football Baby Shower Printables

Click the links below to download the high resolution PDFs.

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by NFL Homegating. As always, all thoughts and designs are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative content coming your way!

 

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Paint-Dipped Cactus Party Favors (Tutorial)

DIY Cactus Party Favors - Paint Dipped

Have you seen the new colorful chocolate KISSES from Hershey? I had so much fun dreaming up a few ways to *party* with them. This Paint Dipped Cactus Favor might be my absolute favorite, though…

I mean, it has color blocking and sparkly craft poms… and CHOCOLATE! ;)

There are 2 different styles of cacti here – a taller, skinnier version and a shorter, rounder version. Both are easy to make – check out the instructions below.

P.S. Download the matching 8×10 “Fiesta Forever” Favor Sign too!

Free Printable Fiesta Party Sign

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CACTUS PARTY FAVORS TUTORIAL

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MATERIALS:

  • Hershey’s KISSES in Green Foil
  • 3×5” Clear Treat Bags (for tall cactus)
  • 4×9” Clear Treat Bags (for round cactus)
  • Mini Craft Pom Poms
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Tape
  • Brown tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Printable YAY! Flags
  • Bamboo Skewers

For “Paint Dipped” Pots:

  • 1/8” Painter’s Tape
  • 1/2” Painter’s Tape (or Washi Tape)
  • 2.5” Terra Cotta Pots
  • Craft Paint
  • Paint Brushes

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Prep the terra cotta pots. For a paint-dipped look like I did here, use painter’s tape to block off the bottom portion of the pot that you want to paint. Apply 2-3 coats of craft paint to each pot and let dry completely, then peel off the tape.

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2. To form the tall cactus plants, fill 3×5” clear bags with 20 green Hershey’s KISSES. For the round cactus plants, fill 4×9.25” clear bags with 20 green Hershey’s KISSES.

NOTE: Turn both sizes of bags INSIDE OUT before filling them to help conceal the corners and create a more rounded look.

3. Once the bags are filled and shaped to your liking, twist the excess cellophane to secure the shape and tape them closed. You can also trim the excess cellophane off of the round plants.

4. Flip the candy-filled bags over so that the taped side is down, and place them in the terra cotta pots. The round cactus bags should sit nicely towards the top of the pots. For the taller & skinnier plant, insert a ½ sheet of brown tissue paper into the bottom of the terra cotta pot first, packing it down firmly to create a hidden riser for the cactus.

5. Hot glue mini pom poms onto the cactus plants to make colorful flowers and prickles!

6. For the finishing touch, accent the plants with Printable YAY! Flags hot glued onto bamboo skewers.

Printable Fiesta Party Flags

Make Your Own Cactus Favors

Fiesta Party Favor - Cactus

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Grown Up Party Favors: Good Morning, Sunshine! Prep Kits

Hangover Prevention Party Favors for Grown Ups

We spend lots of time dreaming up party favor ideas for little ones, so how about something just for the GROWN UPS?! ;) And let’s make it something useful while we’re at it…

Since the vast majority of adults have LOTS of responsibilities to manage every day – work, kids, home maintenance, etc – I can’t think of a more THOUGHTFUL “party send off” gift than something that can help your guests feel good in the morning. You know… so that they can actually “adult” like they need to, even after a fun night out of cocktails and celebration.

(Make it a ) Good Morning, Sunshine!

So on that note, I recently teamed up with a new company called ClearVia that I’m really excited about, which is of course always a requirement for the brands I work with). They make a probiotic supplement that helps you metabolize alcohol. Learn more about it here. 

I noticed a difference in how I felt the next day when I tried it myself, which was after a night of moderate drinking.

Anyways, the individual packets of ClearVia are tiny, so I thought it would be cute to pair them with a bottle of water and a sleep mask and call them “Good Morning, Sunshine Prep Kits”! Wouldn’t these be cute lined up by the door for guests to grab on their way out?

If you need to make a bunch of these favors, you can find inexpensive sleep masks at discount stores and online – or you could go the opposite route and gift beautiful, fancy sleep masks to a few close friends for something like a wedding rehearsal dinner or bachelorette party.

Good Morning Sunshine Favor Tags - Free Printable

Printable Favor Tags

Click here to download the favor tags. Print them on nice cardstock (I like the matte photo supreme paper from Staples). You’ll need a 2″ circle craft punch to make them round, or you can always leave them as squares too.

Hope you have some fun with these. ENJOY! :)

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Disclosure: This content is a sponsored post. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and designs are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative content coming your way!

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(Simple & Sweet) Unicorn Birthday Party Ideas

DIY Unicorn Birthday Party Ideas

I’m excited to share this Unicorn Birthday Party Theme that I recently designed for Fisher-Price! You can find the instructions for each idea + download all the free printables right here on their website.

And even though some of the printables are geared towards a first birthday in particular, there are lots of ideas that would translate well to unicorn parties for ALL AGES… like magical unicorn punch, DIY unicorn headbands (made from sugar cones), and a homemade cake decorated with Lucky Charms.

That’s right… sometimes the perfect cake decoration is just a CEREAL BOX away! ;)

Scroll down for a close-up look at everything, then visit the full article for more info.

Homemade Unicorn Birthday Cake

Rainbow Unicorn Cake

Even though I love them, I rarely buy custom cakes for the parties we host… partly because I’m always last minute, and partly because I hate missing out on a chance to sneak some cake batter. ;) I really love how this homemade cake turned out though – and the best part is that there’s even more magic inside! (Instructions here.)

Rainbow Pasta

My own kids went particularly crazy for the rainbow pasta and it’s easy to see why… have you ever seen a prettier batch of buttered noodles?! Lots of uses for this fun idea… (Recipe here.)

Rainbow Pasta with Star Shaped Puffs

Unicorn Horn Treats

These sprinkle-covered goodies were a big hit too! (Recipe here.)

Unicorn Party Food - Sugar Cone Horns

Unicorn Headbands

Here are my own kids modeling the Unicorn Headbands… they’re always happy to be “paid” in treats! ;) (Instructions here.)

DIY Unicorn Party Headbands

Magical Unicorn Punch

This party punch was inspired by blue skies and rainbows + dusted with edible stars! (Recipe here.)

Unicorn Party Punch

Rainbow Unicorn Party Food and Garland

I ordered a custom-color tissue tassel garland kit from Flair Exchange and embellished the tops with glittered ribbon. 

You can also make these from scratch very inexpensively, but I’ve found that having the tissue arrive pre-cut and ready to go is worth the extra money in all the time that it saves!

Photo Booth 

I also have one extra freebie for you that isn’t available on the Fisher-Price site – a matching Unicorn Photo Booth Sign! Click here to download the PDF.

Unicorn Party Photo Booth Sign - Free Printable

Unicorn Piñata

If you’re wondering about the super darling Unicorn Pinata pictured in the first image – I ordered that from Balloon and Paper on Etsy. (It’s the “Pastel Baby Unicorn” listing.) I love that piñatas can pull triple duty as party decor, photo props, AND party activities.

This is another one of those elements that you could DIY if you’ve got tons of time – and patience – on your hands! As for me – I ran out of patience just reading through the instructions for one of the DIY versions. LOL ;)

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Hope you’re able to have some fun with these ideas! If you need more inspiration, check out our Unicorn Party archives here on HWTM.

 

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A Rustic Flannels & Flapjacks Holiday Party

Girls Night In Holiday Party - Flannels and Flapjacks

I’m so in love with this clever HOLIDAY twist on the ever-popular Pancakes and Pajamas party theme! 

Chandice Probst  of Gluten-Free Frenzy gathered close friends, buffalo-check linens, scrumptious gingerbread pancakes, and lots more for this rustic “Flannels and Flapjacks” Holiday Party, and it just looks like good times all around!

Scroll down for a sneak peek of some of my favorite details, then head over to the FULL recap on her blog to check everything out. She’s also sharing a recipe for these adorable Maple Pancake Cupcakes (and it’s gluten-free, of course!). ;)

Pancake Cupcakes

Flannels and Flapjacks Party Ideas

Rustic Holiday Party with Buffalo Check Tablecloth

Flannels and Flapjacks Party Shirt

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A Colorful New Year’s Dream Board Crafting Party

colorful painted brush strokes cake

It’s that time of year again… when we start to think about all the possibilities that come with a brand new year and a fresh start!

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Inspired by this exact sentiment, Maureen Walker of Party a la Mo gathered up some good friends and hosted this wonderfully vibrant New Year’s Dream Board Crafting Party.

What a fun and UPLIFTING excuse for a girls day, right?!

I love how each of the guests chose one specific word as the focal point of their dream board. This post feels especially timely to me, too, because I had dinner with a friend from high school last night – first time we’d seen each other in 9 years! – and we had this exact conversation about choosing a “word for the year”. 

There’s something about simplifying a goal to the core that really helps to bring everything into focus.

Party Highlights to look out for:

  • Colorful Balloon Garland made from a kit. Simple to put together and such a big visual impact!
  • Gorgeous food, including a beautifully plated Golden Beet Carpaccio
  • Acrylic blocks with designs featuring the 2017 words of the year
  • Bright floral displays featuring pomegranates and mandarin oranges.
  • Custom cookies + personalized drink stirrers

New Years Dream Board Party - Girls Day In

Colorful Balloon Garland

Girls Night Crafting Party

Bright and Colorful New Years Party

Custom Drink Stirrers

golden beet carpaccio

Dream Board Crafting Party

Crafting Party Cookies

Gorgeous yellow orange pink floral centerpiece

colorful felt balls garland

Dream Board Examples

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Party Details, as told by Maureen…

I’m a very visual person, so for several years now I’ve been piecing together an annual vision board to sum up my dreams for the year and keep them in a prominent place. To keep my board focused, I also like to work around my one word for the year. For 2017, I wanted to share the experience of creating my vision board with a few of the creative ladies that I’m lucky to have in my life.

I planned this New Years Dream Board Party for 6 of us to get together and plan for the year ahead. We chose our words, crafted our dream boards, and had so much fun in the process. As it turns out, we all agreed that it was a very relaxing experience. It was an opportunity to take a break from all of the holiday stress, focus on ourselves, and have a little time with the girls.

My one word for 2017 is CREATE.

I want to create art, opportunities, healthy habits, and strong relationships. I want to create a life I love, and the only person responsible for doing that is me! I feel like this word will empower me to make some important changes in my life. Other words that the guests chose were shine, happy, love, family, and dream.

Each guest got a notebook to write down their thoughts about their word and the focus of their dream board. I had 16×20″ framed cork boards available for everyone to use too. I asked them to bring any items or photos from home that they knew they wanted to include on their boards. We went through piles of magazines looking for inspiring images and words to use.

My board also included my family’s holiday photo card right in the middle. We are sending out New Years cards this year, so that worked out perfectly. Everything I do is for that family, so it’s important to me to put them right in the center of the dreams that I have for my future.

The event took place at The Mint Studio, a beautiful local spot for gathering and crafting. I don’t like to do things in a small way, so we had lots of pretty details to make the morning memorable.

I wish you and yours a beautiful 2017! Thanks for following along with my creative journey.

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Midnight Toast New Year’s Eve Table + Ombre Glittered Champagne Bottles

New Year's Eve Party Table - Black Gold Blue

I’m super excited to share my latest project for Balloon Time with you, because it has BALLOONS and GLITTER… and CHAMPAGNE! I don’t know about you, but these 3 are all definitely on my list of favorite things. ;)

New Year’s Eve is all about celebration and PARTY TIME – so my goal was to create a festive table and centerpiece that felt glitzy and glam, but that was also easy and affordable. I designed some printable paper stars for the  place settings, tossed some tissue confetti on the table, and stretched pieces of cut balloons around champagne flutes for a pop of color. After shooting this table I also played around with turning the stretched balloons into “drink markers”. More on that in an upcoming post!

Ombre Glittered Champagne Bottles + NYE Balloons

The main “star” of the table is the centerpiece, though… it’s a bouquet of balloons embellished with metallic letter stickers (the kind from an office supply store) tied to an ombre glittered champagne bottle. These bottles are SO FUN TO MAKE! You can find the full DIY tutorial + download the printable stars over on the Balloon Time website.

Scroll down for a closer look at the details:

New Year's Party Ideas - Balloons and Free Printables

Ombre Glittered Champagne Bottle - Silver Gold Blue

I just love how these bottles turned out! And yes, they’ll still chill up nicely when you want to drink them later. ;) These would make for a show-stopper hostess gift too!

DIY Ombre Glittered Champagne Bottle Tutorial

I stuck glittery foam star stickers (purchased at a craft store) back-to-back on  fishing wire strings for a “floating stars” effect under the balloons:

DIY New Year's Party Ideas

Gold and Blue New Year's Party Table

Click here to head over to the Balloon Time website for DIY details and to download both versions Star Silhouettes. HAPPY NEW YEAR! :)

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10 Creative Holiday Cookie Gift Ideas

holiday cookie reindeer pails

‘Tis the season for lots of COOKIES! And if you’re looking for creative ways to package up those cookies and turn them into festive gifts for friends and loved ones, then you are in the right place. :)

I teamed up with Krusteaz to bring you these 10 Creative Holiday Cookie Gift Ideas, from sweet & sleepy “Reindeer Pails” with playful antlers to pretty “Birch Log” canisters adorned with sparky berries. There’s even a nod to the infamous ugly Christmas sweater, plus a clever container idea that’s both naughty AND nice!

I also used the delicious Gingerbread Cookie , Shortbread Cookie, and Butter Vanilla Sugar Cookie mixes by Krusteaz, which made all this cookie baking simple and stress-free! Fun garnishes like sprinkles, peppermint chocolates, and white chocolate pretzels added the perfect holiday twist to the mixes.

Scroll down for a close-up view of each idea, then head over to the Krusteaz website to see detailed instructions + download the free printable gift tags and other paper details associated with each project. (Everything can be found on the same page.) Enjoy!

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DIY reindeer pails for holiday cookies

1. Reindeer Pails

I always love an excuse to use cute party straws in craft projects, and the patterned “antlers” that they’re used for here are what make these reindeers so festive! This is a versatile packaging idea that would work well with any holiday color palette – you could even use metallic or glittered straws for some extra sparkle. Get the instructions & printables.

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ugly sweater inspired holiday cookie gifts

2. Tacky Christmas Cookie Sleeves

They’re inspired by the infamous “ugly sweater” Christmas parties, but these playful gifts are actually “wearing” Christmas SOCKS! There are so many fun styles to be found at this time of year, so the design possibilities are endless. Get the instructions & printables.

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DIY cookie packaging - cookie sleighs

3. Cookie Sleighs

These cookie “sleighs” are quick & easy to put together, not to mention SUPER CUTE! They make great gifts on their own – or you can pre-make a bunch of the sleighs and use them as the “take home” containers for a cookie exchange or cookie tasting party. Get the instructions & printables.

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easy holiday cookie gifts

4. Cookie Bar Presents

Taking a cue from the holiday package itself, these cookie bar “presents” (featuring candy cane sugar cookies) are great if you need to create a bunch of smaller cookie gifts, or if you’re looking for a sweet favor idea for holiday parties. Use a variety of ribbons and crafty embellishments – like pom poms and mini bows – to make the “packages” look extra merry & bright. Get the instructions & printables.

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little drummer boy holiday gifts

5. Little Drummer Boy Gift Tins

I just love how these “Little Drummer Boy” inspired cookie tins turned out! This holiday song is one of mom’s favorites, and I remember her singing it often when I was little. A phrase from the song lyrics adorns the lid, while a pair of wooden dowel pieces serve as crafty “drum sticks”. Get the instructions & printables.

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mod santa cookie packaging

6. Mod Santa Takeout Boxes

Sometimes simple says it all! For example, a white mustache against a red backdrop + Ho, ho, ho! tag = “Santa”. This cookie gift idea makes a statement that’s playful and fun, just like the cookies inside – which are feature a merry mix of nonpareils and Candy Cane Kisses. Get the instructions & printables.

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naughty and nice holiday cookie pails

7. Naughty AND Nice Cookie Pails

Instead of choosing between “naughty” and “nice”, why not have both?! These cheeky cookie pails are a clever way to do just that, with snowball cookies on one side and “coal” drop cookies on the other. Something tells me your recipient will actually find this entire gift quite nice though. ;) Get the instructions & printables.

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holiday snowball cookie gifts

8. Snowy Baskets

Did you know that you can make any paper container “snowy” with the help of a pencil eraser + a little white craft paint?! These “snowy baskets” are an especially fun project for little ones to help with + another great way to gift the popular snowball cookies. I also designed 2 mini paper banners with holiday phrases to display on top. Get the instructions & printables.

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diy holiday cookie sleeves

9. Fancy Holiday Cookie Sleeves

Sometimes you might want to give out 1 or 2 big, fancier cookies instead of a bunch of smaller ones, right? Well, these glassine sleeves are the perfect packaging idea for that sort of cookie gift, or another smart option for cookie party favors! Get the instructions & printables.

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diy holiday cookie gift log

10. Birch Log Cookie Canister

This “birch log” cookie gift is another personal favorite! It’s made from a repurposed full-size Pringles canister wrapped with birch-print paper. I’m loving the black, white and gold color palette right now, but this gift idea would also look great with red holly berries and greenery as the embellishments. Don’t forget to dress up top of the lid, too…. first impressions, you know. ;) Get the instructions & printables.

holiday cookie birch sleeve

Hope you found something here to help inspired your holiday cookie gifts this year! Which one is YOUR favorite? 

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krusteaz-badge-3

This project is brought to you in collaboration with Krusteaz®. As always, all thoughts, designs, and opinions are my own. THANK YOU so much for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative inspiration & ideas coming your way!

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Printable Holiday Gift Tags – Eat, Drink & Be Cozy

Holiday Blanket Gift Basket Idea

Here’s a creative holiday gift basket idea that won’t break the bank! Look for plush/luxe blankets at home discount stores… I found this INSANELY SOFT blue and white striped blanket at Tuesday Morning for $16.99. Then bundle each blanket with a bottled beverage and edible treat that you know the recipient will love to create an “Eat, Drink, and Be COZY” themed gift for them!

Of course, you’ll need a printable tag with that sentiment to pull everything together. Luckily you can download mine for free right here. ;)

Printable Holiday Gift Tags - Eat, Drink & Be Cozy

Free Printable Holiday Gift TAgs

Holiday Gift Basket Idea with Plush Blanket

P.S. I found the vintage drawer box used to hold everything at Tuesday Morning too. Isn’t it pretty?! And this way the container becomes a useful part of the gift too.

Happy Holidays! :)

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Dreamy “Sweet on Swans” Birthday Party

Pink and White Swan Themed Birthday Party

Dreamy, charming, magical… these are just a few of the words I could use to describe this darling “Sweet on Swans” inspired birthday party! Styled by Royale Ziegler of But First, Party! for her daughter’s 2nd birthday, she mixed artsy and whimsical details with just the right amount of sparkle for a celebration that I’m pretty sure girls of ALL ages would love! In fact, my 5 year old is swooning over it along with me right now. ;)

Party Highlights to look out for:

  • pink swan balloons + giant 36″ balloon with a felt leaf garland tail
  • glam masquerade-style swan mask with glittery gold feathers
  • darling heart-shaped swan cookies + chic tier cake with white chocolate “feathers”
  • gorgeous floral arrangements displayed in milk glass vessels and a porcelain swan planter
  • artsy gift wrap used as a paper table cover + a swan feathers accent on the birthday girl’s chair!

swan themed birthday party with swan mask and princess crown

glam swan themed birthday party table

swan cookies and kids party table

swan party centerpiece and birthday hats

giant pink balloon with felt leaf garland

pink and white swan birthday cake

swan feather chair and kids party table

pink and orange flower centerpiece

pink white and gold flowers and cupcakes

swan masquerade mask

hair tie party favors

pink and white swan balloons and birthday party

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Party details, as told by Royale…

Flowers, feathers and pretty pinks were the inspiration behind Nola’s second birthday! Twig & Twine created dreamy florals that filled vintage milk glass vases and a porcelain swan planter.

The cake was covered in Italian meringue icing with white chocolate feathers, and glittery crown-wrapped cupcakes were topped with buttercream frosting, coconut shreds, and edible gold hearts.

Swan balloons, party hats and cookies paired perfectly with the floral wreath, plates and confetti.

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Creative DIY Holiday Gifts | #ShareaCoke

DIY Coca-Cola Holiday Gift Bottles with Free Printables

There are lots of “angels” and “elves” and “Santas” to be found at this time of year…and I’m not even talking about the make-believe kind!

I see so many people that are busy making things merry for everyone around them right now – like the teachers at my kids’ schools, the extra-cheery employees at certain stores, the friends hosting festive parties, the moms and dads lighting up the yard and trimming the tree and cooking special meals (not to mention working extra hard to pay for it all!), etc.

It’s always great to recognize these people with a special thank you for all they do, and that thank you doesn’t need to be super expensive or fancy…just thoughtful and from the heart. I’ve partnered with Coca-Cola and their #ShareaCoke program this month to encourage more people do just that – to shine a spotlight on those special people and “unsung heroes” that go the extra mile to make the holidays a special time for other people!

Holiday Angel Coca-Cola Bottle

DIY Holiday Gift Bottles and Notecards

One of the best ways to make a person feel appreciated is simply to tell them! But of course there’s nothing a little creativity can’t make even better, especially when it comes to the holidays. ;)

So on that note, I’m excited to share a few ways to turn personalized #ShareaCoke glass bottles into thoughtful holiday gifts with you today -– by using simple crafty details and festive presentation. I also designed a matching notecard for each bottle style so that you can pair them with a heartfelt message. All of the printables are available to download for free below, along with the instructions.

Before I jump into that though – there’s also a GIVEAWAY!

***Winner Update, 12/15: This giveaway is now closed. Thank you so much to everyone who entered, and congrats to our (randomly selected) winner – Mersadee M!***  For your chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card and a six-pack of personalized “Share a Coke” glass bottles ($130 total retail value), just post a comment here telling me who the unsung hero (or heroes) in YOUR life are that deserve some special recognition this holiday season. And this part isn’t required for entry, but I’d also love to hear which style of bottle decoration you’d give them (elf, angel, Santa… or something else maybe?!). Enter by Monday, December 12th at midnight PST.

P.S. Enjoy 20% off 6+ personalized bottles at ShareaCoke.com until December 25th with the discount code NEWYEAR20!

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Holiday Gift Idea - Personalized Coke Bottles - Elf Theme

Gift Idea #1 – ELF (The Merrymaker)

We all know a few people that seem to have an extra big dose of holiday spirit…the ones that take the decorating and gifting and parties to the next level! This “Merrymaker” gift idea was designed with those people in mind. It would also make a great hostess gift for a holiday party!

For this design, you’ll need Printable Elf Hats, mini craft poms, and felt.

Hot glue the mini craft poms to the elf hats for added detail, and use adhesive glue dots to attach the hats to the bottle caps. Cut small strips of felt to tie around the necks of the bottles as “scarves”. For the packaging, I found a cute $3 metal pail in the dollar bins at one of my favor stores and used felt and mini craft poms to add a decorative border to the rim. 

Free Printable Elf Notecards

I customized this particular gift for a friend that’s also a fellow mom at my daughter’s new preschool (we moved across the state earlier this year). She’s definitely gone above and beyond as far as planning fun playdates and helping out with creative projects at the school and coordinating parties and events… the true definition of a “merrymaker” (all year round, really!). Download the matching Elf Notecards here.

And if you want to add an edible treat to this gift, white chocolate confetti popcorn with coordinating sprinkle colors is a great choice!

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Holiday Gift Idea - Personalized Coke Bottles - Santa Theme

Gift Idea #2 – SANTA (YOUR Favorite One)

When it come to Santa, there’s usually someone that’s REALLY playing that role in your life. For me, it’s my dad. He works super hard and gives a lot of what he makes away to help both immediate and extended family… not just during the holidays, but all year round. He may not literally wear a red suit or fluffy white beard, but we all know he’s got them in spirit. ;) There might be someone else playing the role of “fav Santa” for you – and of course the bottles can be customized however you like!

For this design, you’ll need the printable Santa Elements and craft pipe cleaners (1 black, 1 white).

Hot glue the beard and belt pieces to the center of pipe cleaners for easy on and off, then twist in the back to secure. Using pipe cleaners also keeps the printables securely on the bottle even when the bottle is ice-cold! (Adhesives can lose their stickiness when condensation happens.)

DIY Santa Gift for Dad

This cute red drink holder is also from the dollar bins section at my favorite store. I hot glued mini bells to the handle for a little “jingle bells” flair. ;) For the finishing touches: confetti popcorn with red, black, and white sprinkles + a printable Santa Notecard.

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Holiday Gift Idea - Personalized Coke Bottles - Angel Theme

Gift Idea #3 – ANGEL (The Giver)

Last, but not least, is the Angel design! I really love how this one turned out… it kinda makes me want to have an angel themed party just for an excuse to cover a drink station with these fun bottles. ;) 

I customized this design with “A Giver” because it feels especially appropriate at this time of year… and the term “giver” doesn’t just have to mean monetary – it can be someone that’s generous with their time, their advice, their efforts, etc. My mom is definitely a giver all year round and has given a lot of time to helping out with my kids lately, for which I am eternally grateful!

For this design, you’ll need the printable Angel Wings, 2 silver pipe cleaners, and hot glue.

Wrap one pipe cleaner around the neck of the bottle twice and twist to secure. Trim off the excess pipe cleaner and set this leftover piece aside to use later. Take the 2nd pipe cleaner and form a small halo on one end, twisting to secure the loop. Fold the “tail” of the halo upwards, in half, and twist together to form a sturdy “base”. Hot glue the halo to the pipe cleaner that’s wrapped around the neck of the bottle, then glue the leftover piece across that. This is where you’ll attach the wings, as shown here:

DIY Angel Gift for Mom

I also think this angel bottle duo would work great with words like “an inspiration” or literally “an angel”, depending on how the recipient has affected your life. (“Inspiration” would work really well for a teacher or mentor too!) Download the matching Angel Notecards here.

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#ShareaCoke Holiday Gift Bottles

I hope these bottles inspire you to spread a little holiday magic to the special people in your life! 

Don’t forget to to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY below by posting a comment about who deserves to be recognized in your own life! Enter by Monday, December 12, 2016 at midnight PST. Good luck!

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Disclosures: This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola, and the Coca-Cola Company will provide the Giveaway prize. The Coca-Cola Company is not a sponsor, administrator or responsible in any way for the Giveaway. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and designs are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative content coming your way!

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Charming Vintage Camper Christmas Party

Black and White Vintage Holiday Party

If there was ever a time I wanted to jump right into a set of photos and feel the cool woodsy air, it’s now! This charming Vintage Camper Christmas Party is seriously the sweetest thing and encompasses all those wonderful feelings of nostalgia and holiday magic that make this season “the most wonderful time of the year“.

Dreamed up by Tara Berger of One Stylish Party and inspired by a 1969 vintage scotty camper (which is rented out by a local vendor for events – how fun!), this charming design is full of fantastic inspiration for both rustic Christmas parties and beautifully styled holiday card photo shoots. There’s even a snowball fight and an unexpected “special guest” that stopped by to check out all the fun! See the last photo for his cameo. ;)

Party Highlights to look out for:

  • “…what a wonderful world” hand lettered calligraphy sign
  • darling white reindeer sugar cookies and gourmet mini donuts
  • buffalo plaid tablecloth + natural wood slices used as charger plates
  • fun activities for the kids, including a play campfire setting and a REAL snowball fight!
  • lush greenery garlands on the treat stations + mini versions wrapped around the utensils

White Reindeer Cookies and Rustic Holiday Treats

Most Wonderful Time of the Year Pillows

Kids Snowy Photo Shoot

Most Wonderful Time of the Year Painted Sign

Vintage Camper Christmas and Woodsy Holiday Table

Black and White Holiday Party Table

Oreo Cookie Donuts

S'mores Christmas Favors

Land of Nod Campfire Toy Set

Vintage Camper Christmas Party for Kids

Fancy Vintage Christmas Party Outfits - Kids

Woodsy Christmas Photo Shoot

kids Christmas snowball fight

beautiful deer in the woods

 

Party Details, as told by Tara…

The idea for the vintage camper Christmas was born after stumbling upon a Cleveland vendor who rents out an upcycled 1969 vintage scotty camper for local weddings and events. While the caravan usually serves up cocktails and local brews, I knew it would be perfect to give out cookies, donuts and holiday cheer at a children’s playdate party.

I wanted the party details to keep with the rustic feel of the camper, so I sourced antique props, such as winter skis, a church pew and lanterns. I accented the camper with a lush greenery garland and displayed a wooden round table and a hand lettered sign in front of it. I was inspired by the buffalo plaid trend that seems to be huge this season and incorporated this pattern into the kids dining table, custom pillows and other little details.

I set the dining table with natural wood slices, marble paper plates and hand lettered mugs. The centerpiece consisted of a white floral arrangement set inside a galvanized metal tin, accented with silver antlers. The dessert spread in the caravan window was styled with a mixture of metal and wooden cake stands, bottlebrush Christmas trees and reindeer accents.

We kicked off the playdate by gathering around a play campfire, followed by throwing (real!) snowballs and snapping a few pictures in front of the camper. By then, the kids had worked up and appetite and got to choose from an array of sweet treats including reindeer cookies, gourmet donuts, s’mores favors and milk!

“And I think to myself what a wonderful world”. The quote by Louis Armstrong summed up my feelings once the party was said and done. I couldn’t help but step back to reflect on what a fun morning it was to experience the joy of the Christmas season through the eyes of 6 small children.

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A “Mama Bear” Holiday Brunch Playdate for Moms | #doingood

Mama Bear Holiday Brunch + Free Printables

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If you’ve visited the blog recently, then you might already know that I’ve partnered with Minute Maid and their #doingood campaign this holiday season to encourage the spreading of JOY to parents in particular. You know – that group of people that looks EXTRA-exhausted this time of year… or is that just my husband and me? ;)

As the mom of two little girls, this project has hit close to home, and I’ve enjoyed dreaming up creative ways to make other parents happy (like this and this) by thinking about the common threads that we all experience in parenting. Speaking of which, please watch the video at the end of this post for a heart-warming explanation of the idea behind #doingood!

So, for my third and final post for this project, I wanted to do something extra FUN… and decided it was high time for a MOMS “playdate” too! My kids are young, so the term “playdate” is still a thing in my house, but this one really applies to moms with kids of ALL ages…

free printable Mama Bear placemats

The idea is simple… let’s create an excuse to get together with other moms, chat about life, realize we’re not alone when it comes to this whole parenting thing, share advice and ideas, crack up at each others’ very familiar sounding stories, etc. This kind of thing is SO GOOD for the soul! 

Mama Bear Brunch Theme + Free Printables

You don’t have to get super fancy with things for this playdate, of course, but if you feel like getting creative and giving your get-together a holiday vibe, here’s my “Mama Bear” Holiday Brunch for inspiration! I see moms running around in “Mama Bear” shirts a lot lately, and thought it would be fun to give this concept a polar bear twist for the holidays.

I kept the details pretty simple and inexpensive with paper plates and napkins, simple breakfast foods, and high-contrast black and white printables. (Scroll down for links to download all of the printables for FREE!)

polar bear holiday table with red, black, and white

I wanted the focal element on the table to be a set of printable placemats* with encouraging words. There are 2 different styles, and they’re designed in a talk bubble shape for obvious reasons. :) Let’s CHAT!

I also designed mama bear Party Flags for the straws and centerpiece tree topper. If you want to host your “playdate” later in the day, these little flags work great as cupcake toppers too!

An 8×10 Treat Sign was an easy way to “theme up” the food and drink area, which consisted of spinach-egg-feta wraps, donuts, fruit salad, and cranberry-orange muffins. Everything except for the muffins was store-bought to keep things easy! I set out Minute Maid Orange Juice (which has a #doingood message on the side of the carton) and Minute Maid Light Lemonade for the drinks.

holiday mom brunch with cranberry orange muffins

I couldn’t resist hanging this “Live a Little Wild” ornament on the donut tray to add a little cheeky humor…permission to indulge without guilt is granted! ;)

holiday donut tray and polar bear figurine

Printable decorative hearts were used to embellish the chair backs and serving dishes. 

I cut the egg wraps in half to make them go further… and this way the guests have more room for a donut too. LOL

Starbucks Spinach Feta Wraps

easy holiday brunch food

This centerpiece was quick to put together and consists of a polar bear figure, a small cranberry tree, and a flannel-check ornament. A painted mason jar is placed under the tree for extra height. I also used sparkly craft poms and bakers twine for added detail.

Polar Bear Inspired Mama Bear Holiday Brunch

*Printing tip: You can also download the placemats as an 18×24″ PDF with 2-up on sheet, then print them at a local print shop as engineering prints, which are very inexpensive. Since I don’t have an oversize printer at home myself, I did this and only spent .89 cents per placemat!

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Mama Bear Holiday Gift Idea

If you love the “Mama Bear” concept for the holidays but can’t host a get-together, here’s another idea for a themed #doingood gift: pair a polar bear ornament with an edible treat (like holiday muffins or “bear claw” pastries!), and write a little note on the back of these free printable Mama Bear Gift Tags

Homemade Holiday Gift Idea for Moms + Free Printables

For an extra thoughtful touch, include a bottle of your favorite Minute Maid beverage with this gift! You can even look for the ones that already have the #doingood message on the container, then fill in the blanks to personalize the message for the recipient.

Minute Maid #doingood Orange Juice

Speaking of messages, another quick and easy way to tell someone they are #doingood is with Minute Maid’s Letter Maker. Sometimes heartfelt words are the greatest gift you can give a parent (or someone special!).

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#doingood Holiday Contest + Video

I hope you’re able to use these ideas and printables to spread holiday joy to some of your fellow “Mama Bears”! And speaking of holiday joy, don’t forget to enter the $500 holiday contest that I’m currently hosting, which ends on Thursday, December 8, 2016.

Last but not least, here’s that heart-warming #doingood video that I mentioned earlier!

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Minute Maid. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative content coming your way!

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Encourage a Parent this Holiday Season (+ Free Printables) #doingood

Free Printable Holiday Cards for Parents

I was in the holiday section at my favorite store the other day – shopping for this project in fact! – when I overheard a very timely conversation.
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First, a mom was talking to her teenage daughter. I only walked in at the tail end of their conversation, but instantly recognized the tension in its tone, then heard the daughter’s footsteps as she stormed off to another aisle.

A few seconds later is the part that made me smile.

Another mom peeked her head around the corner and said to the first mom, “I just HAVE to tell you that I have a teenage daughter too, and that conversation sounded exactly like us! I’m so glad it’s not just me.

That last party really struck a chord.

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Isn’t that just SO TRUE, you guys? Parenting is tough, and we often wonder if we’re even doing it right, especially when sassy attitudes, stretched-to-the-max nerves, and sheer exhaustion come into play.

That’s why it’s so appreciated – and a big RELIEF – to hear that we’re not alone in these feelings, and that maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves about every bump in the road!

On that note, I’m excited to be teaming up with Minute Maid on their #doingood campaign (and a holiday contest!) right now – to encourage the spreading of some extra holiday joy, specifically to PARENTS! Wanna know a super easy way to accomplish this? Simply TELLING THEM something you love, admire, or respect about them. There’s really so much power in a few unexpected and heartfelt words. 

Minute Maid #doingood holiday campaign

Free Printable #doingood Holiday Cards

To make spreading the joy easier – and a bit more festive! – I designed a set of holiday-inspired #doingood cards that you can download for free and customize with a handwritten message…

free printable encouragement cards for parents

There are four different card designs, and each one is available in two formats: Flat Notecards & Folded Cards. (Click on the links to download them.)

modern printable holiday cards

I know that parenting isn’t a “seasonal” job, but the holidays can be an especially hectic time of year for moms and dads, who often (eagerly) take on extra time and money stressors in an effort to create holiday magic for their kids. 

Personally, work is always extra demanding for me at this time of year, so my “working mom guilt” also kicks into high gear. I try to counter-act these feelings by getting creative with the time I do have and involving my (4 and 6 year old) daughters in some of my simpler work project tasks – like sorting craft supplies, baking, “taste-testing” recipes, etc. They were more than happy to “taste test” the fruit punch for this one! LOL ;)

BTW, if you want to turn your #doingood message into a thoughtful gift, these notecards work great as oversize “gift tags”, too:

free printable #doingood cards

Hope you’re able to put some of these cards to use and help spread the #doingood joy! As someone that struggles with getting my kids to stay in bed, the “Silent Night” design is my personal fav. Do you know anyone that can relate?! ;)

free printable funny card for parents

P.S. Last but not least – don’t forget to enter our #doingood Holiday Contest for your chance to WIN a $500 prize! Visit this post for full details AND for more free goodies.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Minute Maid. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative content coming your way!

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Tips for Setting a Non-Traditional Holiday Table That Shines {Glitz & Glam}

non-traditional holiday table designsPhoto: Amy Anaiz Photography |  Floral & Event Design: Makini Regal Designs

As someone that tends to shy away from traditional holiday color palettes in my own home, I’m excited to welcome Erin Ollendike of BBJ Linen to the blog today to talk about setting beautiful tables that feature non-traditional holiday decor! Here we go…

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With the holiday season not too far away, holiday planning is already taking some shape or form! While most people are used to traditional colors and holiday décor, there are plenty of options for creating a holiday feel without going the traditional route.

Here are five tips for adding glitz and glam to your holiday party in an unexpected way.

1. Mix Metals for a Wow Effect

Metallics are a great way to create a show stopping look that’s perfect for the holiday season. Mix gold, silver, and copper together for a luxe holiday fête. Add interesting textures, faux fur and exotic flowers for a hint of glam and extra intrigue.

Winter Wonderland Holiday Wedding with Mixed MetalsPhoto: Kristin Banta Events

You can also mix metals with a generous dose of bright white for an ultra-sophisticated look that’s sure to impress your guests!

Silver and White Tablescape - Wedding or HolidayPhoto: Kristin Banta Events

2. Elevate Details with Holiday Style

Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language,” once said Dale Carnegie. Personalized place settings let your guests know how much thought you put into the place setting – and their presence. They will feel special from the moment they sit down.

glitzy pear place card

To add some holiday glitz, opt for golden or glittered fruit forms with a handwritten place card for a special touch.

gold white place setting with pear place cardPhotos: Amy Anaiz Photography |  Event Design: Makini Regal Designs

3. Charm with Napkins

You can make a big design impact on your table with the napkins alone, and pattern is always a great way to add visual interest. Go bold with patterns and colors to create eye-catching table settings.

menu fold napkinsPhoto Credit: Arthur Ingle

Another way to delight your guests is clever napkin folds. The ever-popular pocket menu fold is a snap. They’ll surely be impressed and wondering how you did it!

4. Add Some Punch

Don’t be afraid to go bold with color! You can add a whimsical feel with a bright pink, or let the bright oranges and reds of autumn shine on contrasting Aubergine linen.

pink and green holiday tablePhotography by Becky Brown Photography, Design by Christine Janda Design and Events

You can also use deep gemstone colors for a luxurious look that will bring out tableware and other accessories.

5. Go Grand with Black and Gold

Nothing says New Year’s Eve like sequins and black and gold! The luxurious texture of sequins paired with the elegance of black and gold create a perfect look that is fit for any end of year celebration. Set your guests up for a night they won’t forget with this timeless color pairing.

black and gold new year's eve table

black and gold place settings and floral centerpieceAs seen in ChicagoStyle Weddings |  Photos: Rush Productions Photography & Video

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something new this holiday season, there are plenty of options – so go for it! From metallics to bold colors, you can create sparkling, holiday-inspired décor that goes beyond the traditional and will impress & delight your guests.

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erin_ollendikeAbout the Author:

Erin Ollendike, Executive National Sales Director at BBJ Linen, has been helping clients around the country create inspiring and memorable events for over 9 years.  As an active member of the Dallas Fort Worth NACE chapter and WIPA member at large she strives to learn everything she can about the special event industry.  Her true passion is helping her customers bring their visions to life through their linen selections.   

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A Retro-Modern Inspired Holiday Table + Free Printables

Retro Modern Holiday Table + Vintage Charm Bowls

It’s beginning to feel a lot like the holidays around here…so let’s kick things off with a *charming* GIVEAWAY and some festive table decorating ideas, shall we?!

The inspiration for this playful holiday tablescape was the Rise N’ Shine collection from Vintage Charm Inspired by Pyrex®. If you’re not yet familiar with Vintage Charm, it’s an adorable line of glass mixing bowls that feature a modern twist on popular Pyrex® designs from the 50’s and 60’s.

The Vintage Charm bowls are great for place settings, baking and gifting. Whether you’re giving to a hostess or baker, they will love these darling bowls! They’re available online and in-store at Target, Macy’s, Walmart, Amazon, and ShopWorldKitchen.com. Use the coupon code: VINTAGE20 to receive 20% off your Vintage Charm set on ShopWorldKitchen.com.

And for a chance to WIN a set of nostalgic Vintage Charm prep and serve bowls, just post a comment here mentioning which Vintage Charm design inspires YOU the most. Full details on the giveaway are at the bottom of this post. 

Retro-Modern Holiday Table + Free Printables

Speaking of picking favorites, I was able to select any Vintage Charm pattern to work with for this holiday project, and was super excited to choose Rise N’ Shine! My family recently moved to Northern California (just a few months ago), where my dad has worked in the agriculture and farming business for his entire life. My husband is working with him now too, so farming is a huge part of all of our lives, and there are so many things I’ve come to appreciate about the industry. So, between the farm-inspired graphics and the retro-modern style of Rise N’ Shine, I was instantly smitten with this pattern!

Vintage Charm Rise N' Shine Serving Bowl

Now, I know that when you hear “farm inspired”, a contemporary look probably isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind, but unexpected themes are my favorite! I had a great time dreaming up fun ways to merge farm + modern + holiday, and these dishes were the perfect starting point.

The little “shine” graphics on the bowls that kind of look like twinkles became my key focal point for the paper designs, which can be downloaded for free right here: Place Setting Accents | Party Circles | Place Cards.

Retro Modern Red and Aqua Holiday Table

I also took a cue from the corn illustrations on the bowls and made Christmas trees out of maize! You can find maize in most grocery stores this time of year, and you can also order it online year-round. These little guys were really easy to make and are probably my favorite DIY detail from the table…

Corn Cob Maize Christmas Trees

To make the little trees, I removed some of the kernels at the bottom of the corn cob to create the “trunk”, then spray painted the tops and used silver craft paint, applied with a brush, on the bottom. A bamboo skewer is inserted into the bottom of the corn to make it stand up. The jars and tins holding the trees are filled with dry floral foam, and the extra part of the bamboo skewer is inserted into the foam. 

I also cut some “shine” shapes from card stock to create a little “holiday magic” above the table! The cut outs are hot glued to fishing wire for more of a floating effect. Here is the tracing template I used.

Retro Mod Christmas Table

Pattern played a key role on the table too. I went to the fabric store and found two prints with a nice retro-mod vibe in my color palette, then cut a table runner and napkins from the fabric. This is one of my favorite, inexpensive ways to customize any table design! 

Retro Modern Holiday Printables

These place cards are included in the free printables too – but heads up that the templates are blank (aside from the HAPPY HOLIDAYS text) and most easily used with handwriting. If you’d like to customize them yourself digitally – the font I used for the names here is called Heritage.

The table centerpiece is a mix of painted pomegranates and pears + mini ball ornaments. I also tucked party circles into a couple spots for added detail, but kept the overall look more minimalist as a nice balance to the embellished trees on either side.

Modern Christmas Centerpiece with Painted Fruit

Red and Aqua Holiday Table

Chair backs are often overlooked when it comes to decorating a table, but they seriously make such a big impact on the design! I just did a simple baker’s twine wrap on the chairs here, paired with a couple more of the paper “shine” cut outs. 

Retro Mod Holiday Decorations

DIY Maize Christmas Trees

Red and Aqua Painted Fruit Centerpiece

Hope you’re feeling inspired to create a little retro-modern holiday magic of your own! ;) If you have any questions about this table that I didn’t cover, please feel free to ask away in the comments.

And now… who’s ready to win some adorable dishes?!

VINTAGE CHARM™ GIVEAWAY

**Winner Update! 11/28** This giveaway is now closed, and the (randomly selected) winner IS….Patricia Hoffmeister! Congrats, Patricia – Enjoy your adorable new dishes! :)

To enter, just leave a comment mentioning which of the Vintage Charm Inspired by Pyrex® designs you like the most or feel the most inspired by. One commenter (chosen via random selection) will win a Vintage Charm Mixing Bowl Set in the design of their choice.

Enter by Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at midnight PT. The winner will be notified via email & announced here.

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Vintage Charm™. As always, all opinions & ideas are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative content coming your way!

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A Southwestern Inspired Kids Thanksgiving Breakfast

Kids Thanksgiving Breakfast Table

I’m excited to bring you a fun idea today that will make you feel like a food artist in no time! ;)

This post should also come in handy for the upcoming holiday, because if you’ve got school-aged kids like me, then you know that “Thanksgiving” represents much more than a big turkey feast… it also (typically) means that your kids are home for a week! These Southwestern Inspired Pancakes are a great way to add a creative spark to one of those vacation day mornings, and they’re surprisingly easy to make. In a nutshell, you just use tinted pancake batter, squeeze bottles, and a cookie cutter to cook fun designs right into your pancakes!

And if you’re feeling extra-inspired, you can set a matching Southwestern style table too. Get all the details on my simple & modern Kids Thanksgiving Table below, including the cute “Pumpkin Deer” centerpiece tutorial + free printables!

Southwestern Inspired Breakfast Pancakes

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SOUTHWESTERN INSPIRED PANCAKES

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YOU’LL NEED:

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INSTRUCTIONS:
Mix up the pancake batter and divide it into 3 separate bowls. Tint 2 of the bowls with food coloring and leave the 3rd bowl natural. Pour each of the pancake batters into its own squeeze bottle (a funnel will make this easier). Bring your pan or griddle to 375º (medium heat), and coat both the pan and the inside of the cookie cutter with cooking spray.

Use the squeeze bottles to “paint” a simple pancake batter design on the pan, as shown below. Let the design set for about half a minute, then place the cookie cutter on the pan, directly on top of the design, and flood it with the natural colored batter. Use just enough batter to fill out the circle. Let the pancake cook for 1 to 1.5 minutes (or until the top is nice and bubbly), then remove the cookie cutter and flip the pancake over.

Tribal Pancakes Tutorial

Let the pancake cook for about a minute on the 2nd side, then remove and start a new pancake design. There’s no need to be perfect here… just play around with the designs and do what makes you happy! I really liked using chevron stripes and dots in my designs. :)

Tribal Pancake Designs

You can also do some freehand pancake shapes without the cookie cutter step – I found that hearts worked well in particular…

Heart Shaped and Tribal Pancakes

That’s it for the pancakes! And now for some details on the matching kids Thanksgiving table… let’s start with how to make the centerpiece:

DIY Kids Thanksgiving Centerpiece - Pumpkin Deer

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Pumpkin Deer Centerpiece Tutorial

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MATERIALS:

  • Medium sized white pumpkin (real or faux)*
  • Pumpkin Deer Printables
  • Cardstock for printing
  • Felt (orange and blue)
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue
  • Wooden bamboo skewers – 2

*I used a faux craft pumpkin here that was about 9” in diameter.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Print and cut out the deer elements.

2. Use hot glue to add the eyes, “face paint”, and nose/mouth to the front of the pumpkin.

3. Antlers: Make little folds about a half inch up the bottom of each antler to create “flaps” at the bottom that will sit flat on the deer’s head. Hot glue bamboo skewers (pointy side down) to the back of the antlers to keep them sturdy. Make sure to leave a couple inches of wood skewer hanging off the bottom, as you’ll need this to insert the antlers into the pumpkin. The wood only needs to extend about half way up the antlers. Cut off the excess wood skewer at the top.

4. Ears: Freehand-cut 2 leaf shapes from the blue felt + 2 much smaller leaf shapes from the orange felt. Put a dab of hot glue towards the bottom of each felt “leaf” and pinch together to create dimension, then glue the pinched orange pieces on top of the pinched blue pieces.

5. Hot glue the ears in front of the deer antlers. Done!

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Place Settings

I kept things super simple here with DIY felt placemats and printable napkin rings! These are seriously the easiest DIY placemats ever… just stagger 2 sheets of felt on top of each other and hot glue them together, then hot glue small squares of a third color of felt in the corner to fill in the gaps. That’s it! I love the fun color blocked look they have:

Free Thanksgiving Printables - Tribal Inspired

You don’t have to keep all of your placemats the same color, either! For this table I did one orange/aqua/beige combo and one blue/cream/beige combo.  I also cut some of the extra felt into triangles to use as “confetti” around the centerpiece.

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Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Tribal Inspired Pancakes

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This project is brought to you in collaboration with Krusteaz®. As always, all thoughts, designs, and opinions are my own. THANK YOU so much for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative inspiration & ideas coming your way!

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DIY Juice Carton Sailboats + #doingood Holiday Contest ($500 Prize Value)

DIY Juice Carton Sailboat**

“Parenting is totally smooth sailing!”…………… said no parent EVER.

**
If you have kids, then you know exactly what I mean… one minute things can be all sunshine and rainbows, and the next minute the storm magically reappears in one of it’s impressively reliable forms. As a working mom of 2 young girls myself, it feels like I’m constantly “manning our ship”, so to speak, and often doing my best to just prevent it from toppling over… never mind any fantastical dreams about smooth sailing! ;)

Sometimes the most impressive parenting work actually happens in the middle of a storm though, or when you’re too busy taking care of things to even realize it. But I bet someone else realizes it… and if they did, wouldn’t it be AWESOME to be reminded that you’re doing a good job?!

HEY! You’re #doingood

That’s exactly the thinking behind Minute Maid’s #doingood campaign, which encourages people to recognize and celebrate great parenting, which is likely happening all around you. And the holidays are an especially wonderful time to offer some extra high-fives to moms and dads, as this time of year can also bring about added stresses and even more things for parents to juggle than usual.

As part of the campaign, you’ll see a section on several Minute Maid products where you can fill in the blanks to personalize a #doingood message to give to someone you know. Filling this out and dropping it off or sharing a picture of it with them is a super easy and unexpected way to spread some joy!

Minute Maid #DoinGood Carton + Printable Sails

JUICE CARTON SAILBOATS

If you want to get a little craftier though, here’s another idea! In keeping with the “not-so-smooth-sailing” concept, I turned some of the empty Minute Maid juice cartons into sailboats and designed printable “encouragement sails” to use on them. Just add your favorite edible treat, and you’ve got yourself a creative – and very thoughtful! – homemade gift.

Each of the 3 sail designs comes in 2 colorways: 1.) black with white type and 2.) white with black type and a pop of cheerful holiday RED.

DIY Juice Carton Sailboat gift

YOU’LL NEED:

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Give the carton 2 coats of white craft paint. Let paint dry completely between coats.

drink carton craft

2. Cut out the Boat Top Template and lay it on top of the carton. Lightly trace around the template with a pencil. Next, trace the rectangle shape inside of the first shape, and cut it out with a craft knife.

3. Time to paint! Add stripes, windows, etc, and just have fun with it. Let the paint dry completely.

4. Hot glue a printable sail front and back design together, then glue a wooden skewer to the back. Use a craft knife to puncture a small “x” in the top of the carton for the skewer to be inserted through.

Done! Just place a treat inside to turn the boat into a gift. I filled these with a buttery toffee popcorn, but you can use your own favorite edible or non-edible treat.

Here’s one of the options for the back side of the sail… (the other version has fill-in-the-blanks inspired by the design on the Minute Maid carton):

juice-carton-sailboat-craft_5

 

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#doingood Holiday Contest ($500 Prize Value)

*** Winner update, 12/12/16. This contest is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone that entered and WOW was that a difficult decision to pick a winner – there was so much thought and creativity that went into the entries and I wish I had several prizes to give out! There can only be one though… and the winner is Anna B. who put together this inspiring board! Congrats, Anna! :) ***

I hope you’re feeling inspired to spread some #doingood joy! And here’s some extra motivation for ya… you may have noticed that the title of this post mentions a contest, so here’s your chance to win a prize pack (valued at $500) with the following items:

–  $300 Visa gift card (this should help with holiday shopping!)
– 2 Minute Maid #doingood journals (one to keep, one to gift)
– a personalized canvas print of your favorite family photo.

You’ll need to create a Pinterest board to enter. Here are the details:

CONTEST RULES:

1. Create a Pinterest board and name it “Minute Maid #doingoodcontest

2. Pin ideas and inspiration about recognizing or celebrating great parenting and family moments during the holidays.

For example, you could pin other projects or things that would make great #doingood gifts, funny quotes that will make parents laugh, inspirational family holiday moments, ideas for celebrating with other moms, etc. Here’s my board as an example. Please note that you are NOT required to promote Minute Maid products as part of the contest, and the board will be judged on the quality, not the quantity, of pins.

3. Post a link to your board in the comments section of this post, along with the hashtag #doingoodcontest.

***

Important Disclosures:

This contest is open to US residents only, age 18 or older.

The contest starts on November 10, 2016 and ends on December 8, 2016 at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be contacted via email on December 12th and announced here.

The contest prize is provided by Minute Maid. Minute Maid is not a sponsor, administrator, or connected in any other way with this promotion.

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diy juice carton sailboats

*****

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Minute Maid. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative content coming your way!

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How to Host a Chic and Cozy Friendsgiving {Bordeaux + Blush}

Wine Inspired Thanksgiving Party

GATHER round, y’all…. because I’ve got some of the most gorgeous Thanksgiving inspiration ever to share with you today! Let’s just call it a feast for your eyes. ;)

Tara Berger of One Stylish Party recently hosted this dreamy, blush-and-bordeaux Friendsgiving Dinner Party, and it looks like such a fun excuse for a girls night! She started with a gorgeous outdoor setting (a.k.a. her neighbor’s backyard) and filled it with rustic-glam decor, cozy pillows, chic Thanksgiving inspired appetizers and desserts, and wine-a-plenty. So, in other words, LOTS to be thankful for if you’re a guest at this party, right?! And even though it was designed with girlfriends in mind, many of these ideas would translate beautifully to a family Thanksgiving celebration or wine-inspired bridal shower too.

Speaking of getting inspired, don’t miss Tara’s 7 Tips for Hosting a Chic and Cozy Friendsgiving below. They’re super helpful and on point, and I’m especially loving numbers 5 & 6 myself!

Party Highlights to look out for:

  • “Gather” wreath featuring balloons, wood, and fresh florals (I. LOVE. THIS.)
  • Lush greenery garlands on the chair backs and table
  • Eclectic mix of risers used on the dessert table (vintage tins, books, wood, etc.)
  • Dip-dyed napkins + sparkly painted fall leaves at each place setting
  • Rose gold velvet table runner + hand-lettered apple place cards with gold names

Glam Wine and Blush Thanksgiving Table

Apple Place Cards with Gold Calligraphy

Honeycrisp Apple Sangria Signature Drink

Pretty Thanksgiving Appetizers

Give Thanks Pillows

Glam DIY Thanksgiving Decoration

Glam Wine and Blush Tablescape

Thanksgiving Party Appetizer Ideas

Wine Inspired Appetizers and Cocktail Napkins

Wine and Blush Friendsgiving Party

Rustic Glam Thanksgiving Chair Decoration

Rustic Glam Fall Dessert Table

Rustic Glam Cake with fresh flowers

Personalized Apples and Glam Thanksgiving Party

Glam Thanksgiving Wine Party with Friends

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How to Host a Chic and Cozy Friendsgiving

by Tara Berger

Friendsgiving is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays. It is an excuse to gather together with some of your favorite people, similar to Thanksgiving, but without all of the stress! Here are a few tips if you are thinking about hosting a Friendsgiving dinner party this year.

1. Pick your location.
Friendsgiving tends to be a little less formal than Thanksgiving, so feel free to get creative with your location. When planning my Friendsgiving, I wanted it to have a feminine, yet cozy vibe to it, so I decided to host the party on my neighbor’s patio. The outdoor space allowed me to setup the tablescape in front of a stone fireplace that provided the perfect amount of warmth on a cool fall evening.

2. Set the Tone.
Don’t feel pressured to stick with traditional fall colors or decor. I used an unexpected color pallet of bordeaux and blush tones, which contrasted beautifully with the natural stone and wood elements on the patio. I set the dining table with vintage china and glass goblets paired with hand dyed napkins, custom menus and gold flatware. A hand lettered apple served as the placecard for each guest and a rose gold velvet table runner added the perfect pop of color and texture to the table.

3. Incorporate Fresh Florals.
Greenery and flowers can quite literally transform a space and elevate a party to a whole new level. When I hosted my Friendsgiving dinner party, I focused most of the decor on floral elements including a lush greenery garland, deep red and café au latte dahlias placed thoughtfully around the space and amaranthus draped from the fireplace and behind the serving tables..

4. Serve a Signature Drink + Classic Wines.
Get creative and whip up a fun seasonal drink, but also make sure you have all of your bases covered. I greeted guests with a honeycrisp apple sangria upon arrival and selected three wines to serve at the party, including a chardonnay, a pinot noir and a sparkling rosé. I also served apple cider for guests who wanted to skip cocktails all together.

5. Create a No-fuss Menu and Delegate the Rest.
Turkey doesn’t have to be the star of the show at Friendsgiving. I wanted the evening to be less formal, so there was no actual sit-down dinner. Instead, I created a heavy fall-inspired appetizer menu and asked each guest to bring a pot-luck dish to share. The appetizers included cranberry brie bites, polenta crostini with butternut squash and prosciutto wrapped apples with blue cheese.

6. Let the Desserts Shine.
If it were up to me, I’d probably skip the dinner and go straight for desserts! Just kidding. But I do think Friendsgiving is a fun event to serve up an array of sweet treats, such as pumpkin spice cake, gourmet donuts (which are super on trend right now), turtle cheesecake and fresh pies.

7. Leave a Lasting Impression.
As a parting gift for each guest, I created a small DIY greenery wreath that doubled as decor on the backs of the chairs during the party. My friends also surprised me with an amazing fall-themed gift basket including a bottle of wine, gourmet chocolates and an adorable fall print that I can’t wait to display in my house. Whether you are hosting an event or attending one, party favors and hostess gifts are a great way to leave a lasting impression.

I hope you enjoyed reading my tips for a throwing a Friendsgiving dinner party. The party I hosted was such a fun evening spent sharing delicious food, sweet treats and laughter with a great group of ladies. I can’t wait to make this all-girls Friendsgiving an annual tradition each year!

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Fabulous “Not So Spooky” Halloween Birthday Bash

glittered pumpkin and halloween dessert table

Halloween is just a few days away… and I’m in the mood to hand out some EYE CANDY! I always love seeing what the ladies of the COOP Los Angeles (Juliet & Lucinda) dream up, because it’s guaranteed to bring clever details, fabulous style, and GLITTER GALORE. These are my kind of ladies. ;)

This adorable party happens to be a 4th birthday celebration and kid-friendly Halloween bash wrapped into one. The goal was to channel the “not so spooky” side of Halloween with the look & feel of the party, and I’d say mission accomplished! There’s actually tons of fun inspiration here for all kinds of Halloween celebrations.

Some of my favorite details from this party:

  • Adorable DIY ghosts made from cheesecloth and GIANT googly eyes
  • Glittered mini pumpkins & forks at every place setting + glittered BOO letters
  • The cutest fondant black cat witch cupcake topper, courtesy of Blue Cupcake
  • Awesome “Eye of Newt” party punch with dry ice, floating eyeballs, & an HWTM drink label!
  • GORGEOUS Halloween floral arrangements displayed in skull vases
  • Creepy plastic black snakes adorning drink carafes and champagne flutes

kids halloween birthday bash ideas

DIY Ghost with googly eyes and glittery bottle

giant BOO Halloween balloons and drink table

Halloween birthday party treats for kids

Halloween Party Punch - Eye of Newt with dry ice

Halloween black cat cupcake topper and glittered BOO letters

glam Halloween flower arrangement

Halloween party face painting

Halloween Party Activity - candy corn ball pit

kids Halloween birthday party family

Halloween Birthday Cupcakes and Banner

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Party Details, as told by Juliet…

We had a lovely client who wanted a “not so spooky” halloween party for her adorable son.  We love a themed party — and we love to keep things modern and sort of “simple”.  Though most of our “simple” parties require quite a bit of hand making/ painting/ crafting… so they are not so simple after all!

We love a bold modern look to a party at the COOP so rather than go the traditional orange and black and purple that seems to be the most obvious choice for a Halloween, we settled on a bold black and white color scheme – with splashes of gold and orange for accents.  We LOVE how the party turned out.  We used lots of little pumpkins for decor — each place setting has one dipped in gold glitter, painted black with bat wings or painted black and piled on top of each other and made into an “unlucky” black cat.  We love to dress up a plate at the COOP!

We made the 2 large cheesecloth ghosts for the main table (and a couple of small ones for plate decor)  and used skull cups from Oriental Trading as vases on the main table and throughout the party.  We like to get creative with our flowers — and always try to have them match the theme –  which is why we chose those rich dark spooky hues!!!!

The amazing Julie from Blue Cupcake created the perfect (and super delicious) cupcakes to round out the gorgeous main table.

The Happy Birthday banner is from Martha Stewart crafts… I think it was sold as a table runner – we strung it together and added the gold glittered happy birthday letters.  We love how bold it looked against the white and gold ribbon curtain.

Dry ice in a drink container is one of our all time favorite treats (we have used it for alien parties, pirate parties, harry potter parties — it NEVER disappoints!)

The Food table’s main attraction was the giant North Star Balloon BOO letters flanked by the black Raven balloons. Again we went sort of simple outside with a white tablecloth draped in black netting/ cheesecloth material.

We just love how it all turned out and are always pleased to see so many smiling faces at our parties!  We try hard to make chic looking parties that are still super fun for kids… and we think this party was no exception!  Everyone had a blast at this not so spooky Halloween bash!

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A Bold & Modern “Something Blue” Bridal Shower

Geometric Bridal Shower Centerpiece - Something Blue

When I first started HWTM waaaaay back in the day, one of the first styled shoots I designed (just for fun) was a Something Blue Bridal Shower table. That was almost 10 years ago now, and boy have things changed across the years! LOL ;)

So… when I was recently asked to design a bridal shower theme for HersheyLands.com that incorporated some of their awesome new colored-foil Hershey’s KISSES in a creative way, it felt like the perfect chance to revisit the Something Blue theme and put a fresh spin on it all these years later. I kinda want to do this with all my old themes now! I hope you guys like how this one turned out… and there are lots of free printables for you to use if you’d like to recreate this look too. Click here to download them.

Some of my favorite details from this theme:

  • spray-painted succulents tucked into the flowers for a bold look
  • giant “engagement rings” made from paper gems + embroidery hoops
  • paint-dipped bud vases + “balloon dipped” glasses
  • “Something Sweet” party favors filled with a mix of colored-foil and silver KISSES
  • guest of honor chair embellished with ribbons and mini honeycomb balls

 

Blue and Yellow Geometric Bridal Shower

Modern Bridal Shower Table and Place Settings

Bridal Shower Lemonade with Balloon Cups

Something Blue Place Setting - Free Printables

Modern Bridal Shower Designs

Paint Dipped Bud Vases

DIY Bridal Shower Decorations

Free Printable Bridal Bingo

Something Blue Bridal Shower Favors

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Something Blue Bridal Shower – Creative Details

Centerpiece

When it comes to tablescapes, I’m a firm believer in statement-making centerpieces with clever details! Surprise guests with unexpected elements like these giant DIY rings made from painted embroidery hoops and printable paper gems. Hot glue the finished rings to wooden craft dowels (painted silver) and display them in a container filled with white and yellow flowers. For a bold accent, spray paint a few succulents blue and silver and tuck them into the flowers. Last but not least, a printable “Something Blue” banner helps to highlight the theme and adds a nice finishing touch. (All of the printables can be downloaded here.)

Place Settings

Give table place settings some (inexpensive!) geometric flair with octagon shaped premium plastic plates and printable plate liners. A special “Bride to Be” design will ensure that the guest of honor’s setting stands out. Use craft paint and patterned tape to give plain plastic utensils a party-ready makeover.

Table linens are a great place to introduce pattern. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box if you can’t find the exact type of linen that you need right off the bat. This striped “tablecloth” is actually a (brand new) queen sized duvet from Ikea, and the triangle print napkins are squares of inexpensive fabric that I purchased and cut down to size! If you shop at affordable places, you’ll often find that it’s even less expensive to purchase these outside-the-box “linens” than it would be to rent traditional ones!

Signature Drink

Signature drinks should compliment the party’s color palette, but remember that all of the colors don’t need to be portrayed through the drink itself. Blue party straws and blue marbled balloons are the secret ingredients for this perfectly-coordinating party lemonade! To “balloon dip” your own glasses, just cut the tail off of a 12” balloon, turn your glass upside down, and stretch the balloon around the bottom of the glass. (See more details in this online tutorial.)

Party Favors

It’s a good idea to thank your “Something Blue” guests with something SWEET on their way out, and what could be sweeter for a bridal shower than chocolate Kisses, right?! To create these party favors, fill 3” clear tins with a pretty mix of Dark Blue, Light Blue, Silver, and Black Hershey’s Kisses + Silver Nuggets. Use double-stick tape to attach a paper gem to the lid and a “Something Sweet” banner to the front of each container. Add tiny rhinestone stickers for extra sparkle! Display the finished favors next to a printable “Something Sweet to Say Thank You” sign.

Bridal Bingo

Make gift opening time a fun activity for the entire party by playing Bridal Bingo! Pass out printable bingo cards, pens, and sets of 5 Hershey’s Kiss “game markers” to each person before any presents are opened. Ask them to fill in the blank squares on the card with different gifts that they think the bride will open today. (No duplicates, please!) Each time the bride opens a gift that matches a square on the guest’s card, they can place a game marker on top of that square. The first guest with 5 squares blocked off in any direction wins a prize!

DIY Bud Vases

Mini bud vases are a great way to stretch your color palette even further down the table. Gather some craft paints and paint brushes, then just have fun with it! I used a pencil eraser to create polka dots on some of these vases and freehand painted the rest. You can hot glue ribbons and trims on as accents too. (These vases were all around $2 each and were purchased at Ikea and Michaels.)

Accent Decor

Garlands & oversize balloons are some my favorite types of party decor because they’re quick to create, affordable, and high-impact for your space. Use printable papers and leftover fabrics from your Something Blue table to cut or punch out simple shapes. Hot glue the shapes to string or twine and make your own circle garlands, triangle banners, and more! Give giant balloons (24” to 36”) a stylish twist with chic tassels made of lightweight ribbons and trims.

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DIY Halloween Balloons with “Floating Heads”

DIY Halloween Balloons - Skeleton, Frankenstein, Vampire

My newest tutorial for Balloon Time is now live on their site – and it’s a FUN one! Don’t be spooked by the “floating heads” description either… these characters are actually really cute and simple to create using printables, a marker, and a little craft paint for the vampire’s “hair”. ;)

Check out the full tutorial and free printables over on BalloonTime.com! Here’s a little sneak peek of the project before you head over:

Halloween Balloons with Free Printables (more…)

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How to Make an Awesome “Dirt Cake” + Introducing PipPipHOORAY

Dirt Cake Recipe and Tutorial

Parties are often a perfect excuse to “play” with your food… and today’s guest post is the perfect example! Brought to us by Pernilla Meyer, mother of 3 boys and founder of PipPipHOORAY (more on this below) – her clever Dirt Cake Recipe is such a fun, creative treat for outdoorsy, camping themed, or nature-inspired birthday parties. And with its chocolate-y earth tones and woodsy feel, I think this recipe would make a wonderful addition to creative fall dessert tables and Thanksgiving celebrations too! Read on for full details…

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FROM PERNILLA:

There’s this thing that keeps happening at my house over and over again. My three boys have a birthday—every…single…year.

And while I LOVE hosting a special birthday bash for each of them—you know, something a bit more inspired than just choosing something from the party isle—I don’t have a lot of time to spend on each party. Sound familiar?

I’ve created PipPipHOORAY party plans so that busy moms can throw a special birthday party without investing too much time. Each plan includes EVERYTHING YOU NEED—instructions, pictures, shopping and to do lists—to cover every detail of the party from start to finish. There are a slew of ideas to choose from. Feel like doing three or four? Great! Inspired to tackle them all? Go for it! Either way, awesome really can be easy.

boy-vs-wild-birthday-party_1

I recently hosted a BOY vs. WILD outdoor survival party for my eight-year-old adventurer. It was a blast!

Imagine…these guys are in the middle of nowhere. Their only resource is their wits. How will they survive?

They were tested—both physically and mentally—in team tug of war, a first aid trek, animal tracking, shelter building, and a foraged foods challenge.

boy-vs-wild-birthday-party_2

So after enduring all of that, I figured that these guys deserved something special…Dirt Cake!

Could there anything better for a fun, outdoor treat? I don’t think so – just the name itself makes me smile. As you dig into the crunchy, chocolate dirt topping and down into those layers of ooey, gooey chocolate, you realize that this cake is almost perfect, especially for some sweaty, hungry boys.

I’m happy to share the recipe for the Dirt Cake with you today. I love that it’s so simple to throw together, but super fun to serve to a crowd! Here’s how to make it:

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DIRT CAKE RECIPE

Ingredients:
– (2) Batches of your favorite large pan brownies
– (1) Large batch of chocolate pudding, chilled
– (1) 8 oz container of whipped topping
– (1) 14.3 oz Package of original Oreo cookies
– 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
– (12) Large pretzel rods
– Several sprigs of fresh herbs (sage, mint, basil, etc)

Cooking Tools:
– Glass pie pan
– Spoon
– Baking Sheet with rack or lined with wax paper
– Rolling pin
– Spatula
– Knife
– Medium metal bucket or bowl

——-

For the Chocolate Filling:

1. Make chocolate pudding according to the recipe or the instructions on box.

2. Using a spatula, fold in the tub of whipped topping into the pudding. Chill until ready to assemble the cake.

——-

For the Dirt Topping:

1. Place all of the Oreos into a sealed plastic bag. Use the rolling pin to crush cookies into small pieces to look like dirt.

——-

For the Chocolate Sticks:

1. Pour chocolate chips into glass pie pan. Microwave on medium power for 25 seconds. Remove pan from microwave and stir chocolate chips with spoon. Continue this process of heating and stirring until chocolate chips are melted and completely smooth.

2. Place one pretzel rod into the melted chocolate and turn until completely coated. Remove from chocolate and place on rack or wax paper to harden.

chocolate dipped pretzel rods

3. Repeat Step 2 until all pretzel rods are covered in chocolate. It’s a good idea to break some of the sticks in half before coating them.

——-

To Assemble the cake:

1. Clean the metal bucket well and dry it.

2. Cut your brownies into squares, and then completely cover the bottom of the bucket with a single layer of them.

3. Cover the brownies with a layer of the chocolate filling.

4. Repeat the layering of brownies and chocolate filling until you fill the bucket. You should end with a layer of the chocolate filling.

5. Spread the crushed Oreos (dirt) over the final layer of chocolate filling.

Dirt Cake Step 2

6. Decorate by placing chocolate sticks into a pile and arranging the herbs to resemble a forest floor. This does not have to be exact—just have fun and do what you think looks good!

Dirt Cake Step 3

Dirt Cake Step 4

Notes:

  • This cake can be made one day ahead and refrigerated.
  • Add the fresh herbs right before serving so they don’t wilt.
  • To make a large cake like the one pictured, you will need to double the recipe. Or, use smaller buckets to make individual size cakes.

dirt-cake-recipe_6

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PipPipHOORAY party plans are available as digital downloads for $14.99 and include:

Everyone loves a good party—so let’s get this one started!

*****

Thanks again to Pernilla for sharing this fun recipe with us today! :)

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A Casual & Chic Low Country Seafood Boil

Lobster Boil Party Table and Lobster Cookies

I’ve been to a variety of seafood boils and crab feeds before, ranging from dinner parties to fundraisers, and they always have something very awesome in common… they are so. much. FUN!

And also the fact that they’re kinda messy… in a good way. ;) I think there might be something about eating with your hands at a pretty dinner table, and the out-of-the-ordinary vibe of it all, that simply puts people at ease and makes for a great time.

Anyways, my friend and fellow blogger Chandice (of Gluten Free Frenzy) sent over some pics from a Low Country Lobster/Seafood Boil that she hosted recently for some girlfriends, and I’m excited to share them with you today!

Here are a few of my favorite details:

– A creative table set-up where the meal actually serves as a colorful, functional “table runner”!
– Use of a boat-shaped shelf for the sides & seasonings
– The cutest Lobster Sugar Cookies ev-ah by Shanan of Enchanted Cookie Boutique
– Themed details like melamine lobster plates, a lobster tablecloth, and a vintage copper tin for the biscuits
– The FOOD! She served lobster, crawfish, oysters, shrimp, kielbasa, and more… pass me a bib and the melted butter please. ;)

Lobster Boil Party Ideas - Boat Display

Lobster Party Cookies and Plates (more…)

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DIY Halloween Costume Contest Awards + Free Printables

Free Printable Halloween Costume Contest Awards

Last year, a friend asked me to make some sort of awards to give out for the costume contest at her Halloween party. After being totally inspired by the awesome little skeleton trophies that my friend/fellow blogger Scarlett had made for her own party, I decided to do something similar with “posed” mini plastic skeletons, but put my own spin on it with paper details & double-sided frames. Here’s how they turned out… pretty fun, right?! And also further proof that *almost* everything looks cute in miniature form –even skeletons! ;)

I kept the printable designs simple so that the skeletons really stood out, and used hot glue to make them hold specific “poses”. I also spray painted the good ol’ .99 cent Tolsby frames black, and added a relevant detail for each type of award – like “blood splatter” for Scariest, a ball & chain for Couples, and a tiny paper crown for Best.

Scariest Halloween Costume Award

The plastic skeletons that I used last year were from Target, but I’ve also seen them at Michaels this year. They usually come in packs of 4-8 and start out white/distressed, so I spray painted them silver here. Metallic gold would work well too – or you could even stick with flat white paint for a more mod look.

For the Best Couples Costume Award, the “ball” is a small, glittery black styrofoam ball (from the floral/holiday section at Michaels). You could also just use black play-dough though! The “chain” is a trim that I found in the jewelry section, and then I broke an arm off of each skeleton and hot glued them together:

Best Couples Halloween Costume Award

The Best Costume Award got a tiny paper crown (just free-hand cut from red paper and hot glued) + an appropriately *winning* pose. ;) (more…)

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DIY Baseball Balloons + Surprise Ball Game Gift Idea

DIY Baseball Balloons Tutorial + Free Baseball Printables

If you have a loved one that’s also a baseball fan, today’s post is for YOU! These DIY Baseball Balloons are super easy to create – thanks to a simple pack of office supply sticky notes! They also make great crafty decorations for a baseball party – OR a fun addition to a gift of game day tickets. So………… if you’re planning to take someone out to the ball game soon, consider hitting a home run in the creativity department by pairing the tickets up with this surprise baseball-balloon-in-a-box idea. ;)

Here’s how you make them:

P.S. Click here to download the baseball printables featured in this video. (more…)

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How to Make a Daisy Flower Cookie Ring (Recipe + Video)

Flower Cookie Rings Tutorial by Kurabiki

Flower Cookie Rings

Thank you SO MUCH to Silviya Schimenti from Kurabiiki for sharing this gorgeous tutorial with us today.

Silviya dreamed up these beautiful Daisy Flower Cookie Rings for her daughter’s 6th birthday, but I’m pretty sure that ladies of all ages would be THRILLED to receive one of these statement making pieces! Read on for her recipe, step-by-step instructions, and video tutorial below. Enjoy!

*****

When it comes to my little one, jewelry is always a win so when she wanted to have a “sparkly jewelry party” for her 6th, I convinced her that we could put a whole new twist on that idea with a daisy party instead, using Daisy Cookie Rings as edible jewelry! They were such a hit with the kids and the adults that I just had to share this fantastic dessert idea with you all! It is one that can easily be used for birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, favors and more.

The Cookie Dough

To start your adventure in cookie ring making, you need cookie dough of course! This recipe is a delicious starting point that is simple to create.

chocolate sugar cookie recipe ingredients (more…)

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Crafty & Creative Labor Day Ideas for “Kids” of All Ages + Free Printables

Labor Day party ideas for kids

Labor Day is coming up soon, and you know what that means………… long holiday weekend, of course!! And whether you’re having a party to celebrate or just kickin’ it at home with family, it’s always fun to surprise your loved ones with something special… like a big plate of fresh-baked blueberry muffins with cute toppers, or even some friendly party animals holding little Labor Day signs! ;)

On that note, I’m excited to share some fun ideas with you today ideas for adding a big splash of creativity to any Labor Day…

First up is a brand new set of free printables featuring summery icons, patriotic colors, and playful sentiments. Even though Labor Day is a sign that fall is right around the corner, the weather is still very warm and summery in most of the country (it’s still in the 90’s where I live!) – and I wanted these designs reflect that “end of summer” feeling.

patriotic printables from HWTM and Krusteaz

In this printable set, you’ll find:

– Silhouettes of summery elements (String these in to banners, make gift tags out of them, etc),
– Mini Party Flags that can be used as treat toppers or on straws
– a playful “no work today, just play!” Labor Day Sign
– and Talk Bubbles that can be used with my playful dinosaur centerpiece shown here – or just on their own. I also love the idea of just taping the talk bubbles to a bedroom door or bathroom mirror, so that it’s first thing your loved one sees when they wake up!

DIY labor day party decorations

Labor Day Paper Mache Animals
I felt inspired to come up with something fresh and unexpected in terms of Labor Day decorations, and ended up with this Patriotic Party Animal Party trio, because…. why not?! ;) Actually, I’ve got 2 little ones of my own, and like to dream up things that will make them happy… and we’ve been eyeing these inexpensive paper mache animals in the craft aisle at Target for a while now.

Most of the time the ideas I work on for my little ones end of working for “kids” of all ages though – because I don’t know about you, but I would personally be VERY HAPPY to see these party animals making a cameo at my table too! They are sitting pleasantly at my desk for the time being though. ;) (more…)

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A Colorful & Modern Pop Star Party Dessert Table

Modern Pop Star Party Dessert Table

I’m excited to share some more details from our Ultimate Pop Star Party project with KIDZ BOP! Here’s a closer look at the place that always seems to draw party guests in like a magnet…the DESSERT TABLE, of course. ;)

I really tried to make sure that the treat ideas for this party were cute and on theme… yet still totally doable! Nothing on this table requires a massive budget or intricate dessert guru skills to recreate. This meant relying on easy tricks like giving popular store-bought sweets clever “pop star” names, and working in a few playful ingredients that are show-stoppers all on their own… like bright pink and blue ice cream cones, for starters!

DIY Microphone Cupcakes for a Pop Star Party

Microphone Cupcakes
These homemade treats were definitely a hit with the guests! They were also really easy to make; I used a mini muffin pan to bake mini cupcakes for the rounded dome at the top, and also baked the extra batter right inside the cones so that they weren’t top-heavy. (I filled the cones about 1/3 way up with batter.)

To assemble the cones: pipe a bit of chocolate frosting into a baked cone, then place a mini cupcake on top. Next, frost the top of the mini cupcake and dip it into a bowl of chocolate sprinkles. Done!

Pop Star Candy Microphones (more…)

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Olympic Games Home Viewing Party Drinks + #ThatsGold Coca-Cola Giveaway

Olympics inspired Drinks - Coke Floats

Earlier this week I shared one of my recent #ThatsGold moments with you guys, about how a friend brightened my day with a sweet and unexpected gesture.

You can check that post out here, but as a quick recap – #ThatsGold is a fun project I’ve partnered with Coca-Cola on that’s inspired by the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and celebrates the “golden” EVERYDAY moments in life that happen to all of us – not just the super athletic few! You know… the moments that leave you feeling happy, loved, inspired, and capable.

So, when I first sat down to start thinking about my own #ThatsGold moments, I quickly  recognized a common theme. The vast majority of them had something to do with making people happy through creativity… like inviting friends over to watch a chick flick and serving themed drinks inspired by the movie storyline, or surprising my kids with a snack arranged in the shape of their favorite animal, or decorating someone’s door or desk in a style that’s “SO them” on their birthday.

I just love seeing faces light up when people are surprised by something that’s cute or pretty or clever… something that just makes a typical moment or experience a little more happy and exciting. For me, #ThatsGold!

So this got me thinking about the Olympics, and how much more fun it is to watch the Games with other people so that you can be wowed by and root for your favorite athletes together. Someone else needs to witness those crazy twisting flips along with you, right?!

Olympics Viewing Party Drinks - Team USA

And since chances are good that your guests are going to want something to sip on while they watch, why not make things extra fun by doing things like:

A) serving up “Go for the YUM” Coke Floats garnished with a gold straws and toppings that match the Olympic colors!

B) tossing patriotic popsicles into ice cold sodas for a cute/tasty drink garnish AND a spirited nod to Team USA. I call this one “Perfect 10 (soda) POP“. ;)

Scroll down for more details on the drinks + free printable drink tags and signs to match.

P.S. Don’t forget that if you share a #ThatsGold moment of your own following the (very simple) contest guidelines at the bottom of this post, you’ll be entered to win a one-of-a-kind, crystal-covered Coca-Cola bottle!

Olympics inspired Coca-Cola cans and #ThatsGold bottle

You can also find the Olympics themed Coca-Cola cans in major retailers right now. And in case you’re wondering… yes, there is a Diet Coke version too! ;) (more…)

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