Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Creative DIY Holiday Gifts + #ShareaCoke Giveaway

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!

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. HWTM readers can enjoy 40% off at ShareaCoke.com until December 16th with the discount code Holiday40!

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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

**
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)

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 9th 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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DIY Bumble Bee Balloons (Tutorial & Video)

DIY Bumble Bee Balloons

Buzz, buzz, buzzzzzzzzzzzz! These DIY Bumble Bee Balloons are such a fun project for any bee-themed birthday party or baby shower… or just as a fun surprise to brighten someone’s day!

Here’s how you make them:

Helpful tip: I love using helium with this project to make the bees look like they’re actually “flying”, but this does mean you’ll need to make them the day of your party/surprise so that the helium stays strong… SO, if you’re pressed for time or need to make a lot of them for the occasion, here’s a trick you can use: Fill the balloons with regular air first so that you can paint the stripes and let them dry ahead of time. Then, when it’s time to actually use them, undo the balloon knot carefully to let the regular air out, and re-inflate them with helium! (more…)

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Creative “Welcome Neighbor” Gift Ideas + #ThatsGold Coca-Cola Giveaway

Welcome Neighbor Gift Basket with Free Printables

As someone immersed in the world of party design, I’ve shared a lot of big, splashy merrymaking over the years here at HWTM, but you and I both know that some of the best moments in life aren’t necessarily “big” celebrations…

They can come in the form of uncontrollable belly laughs that happen when you’re hanging out with good friends, or in the feeling of excitement that happens when your project turns out extra-fantastic, or in unexpected gestures of kindness –  like when someone surprises you with just the right thing to brighten your day (more on this below).

#ThatsGold

With the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in full swing and lots of talk about gold medals, I’ve teamed up with Coca-Cola on their #ThatsGold campaign to celebrate a different kind of gold… the everyday gold moments like the examples mentioned above.

Coca-Cola’s #ThatsGold campaign is shining a light on the everyday happy and humorous moments turned gold, and encouraging people to share them in order to inspire and spread happiness during the Olympic Games.

gold crystal Coca-Cola bottle

So here’s the deal:

1. I’m going to share a recent #ThatsGold moment of my own with you – something that happened amidst our long distance move this summer – and I’d love to also hear one from you!

2. Those of you that choose to share a #ThatsGold moment of your own can be entered to win a super sparkly and downright FABULOUS Coca-Cola bottle like the one that I’m holding above! It’s absolutely covered-to-the-bottle-cap in gorgeous crystals, and I’m SO EXCITED to have the opportunity to gift one of these to an HWTM reader. :)

Scroll down for details on how to enter at the bottom of this post. Entering is easy + you’ll be spreading happiness & positivity around with each entry, which is a win-win for all! (more…)

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Splashy & Colorful Surfer Girl Birthday Party

surfing themed birthday party dessert table

Surf’s up! Time to catch a (very HAPPY) birthday wave today as we wade through the bright and summery details of this colorful Surfer Girl Birthday Party! Planned and styled by Krista of Hoopla Events & Jen of Banner Events for Krista’s daughter’s 6th birthday, the beachy decorations, tubular treats and surfing themed party favors will have you riding high. ;)

I’m especially loving the tiki hut with all of those mini, treat-filled “sand” buckets — perfect for little hands! Hang ten and check out all of the adorable fun these girls had, as beautifully captured by Karina of A Fresh Take Photography.

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Awesome ombre sand & wave tier cake with fondant surf boards, flowers & a surfer girl
– “Hang Ten” ham sandwiches, goldfish cracker “Shark Bait”, & custom Surf Club bottle wraps
– Colorful surf boards & bamboo backdrop + fishing nets, custom garlands & brown sugar sand
– Sugared beach ball & shark cake pops + Hawaiian flower & surfboard cookies
– Matching swimsuits & sunglasses + sand bucket party favors filled with beach toys

beach and ocean themed cake pops and cookies

surfs up birthday party inviations

beach birthday party tablescape ideas

surfer girl beach birthday cake

(more…)

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{Go Bananas!} Awesome Disco Monkey Birthday Party

disco ball monkey themed birthday party

As usual, Juliet Boydston, owner of the COOP in LA, absolutely smashed this one out of the park! I always love her parties because she pulls inspiration from so many different places and still manages to keep everything cohesive. For his 12th birthday, the birthday boy did not want a party theme, much to his momma’s chagrin! ;) SO… she followed his lead (and Instagram name) and created this Disco Monkey Birthday Party filled with vibrant pop-art polka dots, glittering disco balls, TONS of bananas & plenty of monkeying around. Feast your eyes on all of the amazing details below…

P.S. Juliet writes some of the best party details, so be sure to check those out (directly below the images) for an inside peek into her creative genius!

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Glittered and mirrored vases, drink bottles, and letters + “LETS GO BANANAS” silver balloons
– DIY sparkly-headphone-wearing monkey backdrop with an awesome painted banana smile
– Giant inflatable bananas for extra fun on the dance floor and in the ball pit!
– Party table piled high with bananas & disco balls + a sparkly “12”-topped drip cake in the middle
– Disco ball cupcake toppers, sprinkled banana skewers, and monkey party glasses for all!

birthday party confetti poppers

monkey party glasses

disco ball topped birthday cake (more…)

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Rainbow Balloon Tassel Tutorial + Festive Party Chair

Rainbow Balloon Tassels and Party Chair

Sometimes the simplest projects can have the biggest impact, and that’s exactly how I feel about this one!

Watch the video below (or scroll down for the pictorial) to learn how paper circles + balloons can create awesome party decor AND transform any ol’ chair into a festive spot for photo-taking and gift-opening!

These Rainbow Balloon Tassels are super versatile and can be used for so many different occasions – from rainbow birthday parties for “kids” of all ages to baby showers, bridal showers, and even colorful graduation pics. Happy party crafting! ;)

Rainbow Balloons Photo Backdrop (more…)

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How to Throw the Ultimate POP STAR Party! {Ideas, Activities & Free Printables}

Modern Pop Star Birthday Cake Topper

Whether you’re listening, dancing, or channeling your inner pop star and singing along, there’s nothing that livens up a party quite like a great mix of tunes!

And on that *note*, this year marks the milestone 15th birthday of KIDZ BOP, which is the #1 music brand for kids, not to mention a staple in my own household, thanks to our 2 pint-sized music lovers. ;)

As part of their all-year-long birthday celebration, I was asked to dream up and share some creative ideas for throwing the Ultimate KIDZ BOP Pop Star Party at home! I wanted to keep things very upbeat and playful, and was inspired by the fun, summery color palette in their new brand new album.

Here’s a preview of the party ideas you’ll find below:
Note: these sections start after the first 6 images, which give a good overview of the entire party. Clicking on a link will jump you directly to that section.

– Music: Kid-Friendly Playlists
– Activity 1: VIP Badges & Pop Star Band Names
– Activity 2: POP-arazzi Station
– Activity 3: Design Your Own Album Cover
– Activity 4: Pin the Tour Bus on the Map
– Drinks: The POP Station
– Dessert Table: POP Hits Dessert Mix
Party Favors: Candy Microphones

I’m also including a TON of Free Pop Star Printables to make things extra easy to recreate!

Life of the Party
KIDZ BOP is also celebrating the debut of  KIDZ BOP 32 right now, which comes out July 15th. This album includes an original KB song called “Life of the Party“, was just released TODAY! And if you’re looking for a fun outing, the KIDZ BOP Kids will be on their “Life Of The Party” tour for the rest of 2016. Find tour dates & more info here. And now… onto the party inspiration!

Pop Star Party Photo Booth

DIY Microphone Cupcakes - Pop Star Party

Pop Star Birthday Party Dessert Table and Backdrop (more…)

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Darling Little Lamb Baa Baa Baptism & Birthday Party

lamb themed dessert table

This Little Lamb Baa Baa Baptism & Birthday has me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside! Photographed by the talented Nicole Cantin and beautifully styled by Erica Courtney of Southern Juliette, the celebration included tons of sweet, fleecy decor — from strewn balls of yarn & “fluffy” cream hydrangeas to shabby chic burlap and twine elements for a country vibe. And those miniature white picket fences filled with the adorable sweet treats are such a cute way to display extra special details… like the incredibly detailed chocolate covered Oreos and cake pops!

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Chocolate lamb lollipops, fluffy marshmallow-topped cupcakes, & sprinkled lamb cake pops
– Burlap-striped lamb wall hanging + lace inspired invitations & paper details
– Grassy green crispy rice treats + popcorn cones adorned with twine & mini flowers
– ADORABLE sleeping lamb cake with piped fleece
– The cutest sheep finger-painting activity for the little ones!

lamb themed party invitation

shabby chic baptism

lamb shaped cake and desserts

kids lamb fingerpainting activity (more…)

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{Steampunk} 11 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Birthday

ocean steampunk birthday party dessert table

This may just be one of the most unique party themes I’ve ever seen! Ocean creatures + rusty steampunk details + outdoor games & crafts — talk about catering to your audience!  ;)

Since her son’s love for sharks had not waned since the year before, Abigail of Paper & Cake geared up for this year’s party by putting a spin on a classic under the sea theme — adding rivets, gears and other steampunk details to take this party to a whole new level. The resulting Steampunk 11 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Party is one that I’m sure the birthday boy and his guests will not soon forget!

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Custom designed steampunk shark dessert table backdrop hanging from ‘rust’ painted pipes
– Adorable steampunk sea creature cupcake toppers + anchor & gear topped Oreos
– Bronzed miniature sea animal figurines, custom steampunk printables & a COOL steampunk goggle craft
– Morning aquarium visit with, stingray petting, tide pool exploring and sea lion befriending!

under the sea party welcome sign

steampunk birthday party games

ocean steampunk cupcake toppers

DIY painted rust party sign

(more…)

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Vintage & UP Movie Inspired “Little Lending Library” Party

Adventure Awaits Cake Topper and UP Cake

There are so many things to LOVE about this sweet & creative party sent in by Chandice Probst. What a great excuse to get the neighbors together and celebrate the (very impressive!) “Little Lending Library” that Chandice’s family built for their entire neighborhood to enjoy. And, as if that’s not cool enough just on it’s own, the UP inspired party is also filled filled with gorgeous styling ideas for any vintage-themed bash.

I’m sharing a few of my favorite details from the party today, but there’s lots more to see  over in the full recap on Chandice’s blog. She also includes the measurements they used for building the Little Lending Library. In other words… INSPIRATION awaits! ;)

P.S. Kudos to KW Bale Photography for all of the stunning images.

Little Lending Library Vintage Book Party

Homemade LIttle Lending Library

Vintage Popcorn Party Display (more…)

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{Fun in the Sun} Flamingo Summer Pool Party

blue white and pink pool party dessert table

While there can be a downside to having a summer birthday (friends out of town, no class celebration, etc.), one MAJOR upside is the warm weather and the opportunity for a pool party! Bethany of Auntie Bea’s Bakery didn’t throw just any pool party, she pulled off this stylish & FUN Flamingo Summer Pool Party for her darling little girl.

The bright color scheme, fun pool toys and tropical tablescape create the perfect mix of relaxing and vibrant. I can’t wait for days like these — lounging by the pool with friends and sipping ice cold lemonade… with those adorable flamingo straws of course! ;)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Giant cupcake cake, pink striped cake pops & the most darling pink flamingo chocolate Oreos
– Custom flamingo plates and pink feather boa lined flamingo backdrop + POOL candy dishes
– Matching aqua coverup dresses + glittering heart & flamingo sunnies for each little girl
– “Flamingo poop” jelly beans & “flamingo fluff” cotton candy + the perfect flamingo pool toy

flamingo pool party invitation

little girls birthday pool paryt

flamingo birthday party tablescape

pink flamingo chocolate covered Oreos

(more…)

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