Monday, February 27, 2012

Last night was The 84th Academy Awards! Each year we have an Oscar Party to celebrate with our family and friends just how much we love movies. We have all always been huge movie fans but a few of us in our family and several of our friends have actually worked in the industry, including both me and Tory, so we watch a LOT of movies each year. 14 years ago we started having Oscar parties and we choose a different theme to go with each year. This year was "Night at the Movies". 
 Tory started off with these great invites! While "just" printed out on cardstock and then backed with two colors of cardstock, these invites are anything but "just" printed out! They completely set the mood for the party! You really want your invitations to set everyone's expectations of what is to come at your party. These were so much fun for our guests to get in the mail! One "ticket" per each invitee. Simply Perfect!
 As mentioned in my Cat's Cakes blog ...the "dessert" here were my Popcorn Cupcakes! They had everyone fooled too. That was fun! Find out how to make these as well as get a closer look over at the cake blog :
 We continued the theme with little bottles of water personalized for the event. These not only fit in with the look of the food table but also stated and continued our party theme while fitting in with the color palette! Water bottle labels are one of those little detail touches that people don't even realize help make the party that much more special. It's all the little details that really pull a theme together and help take that food table from just being a food table to a real Party Table!
 Next were the favors! Movie themed favors are always easy to find on places like Oriental Trading Company's website so you will have lots and lots to choose between when you throw your own Oscar Party. Tory found these little statuettes that were just perfect for all of our "Movie Buffs" who attended last night. Each guest was delighted to see they, too, got to take a "Little Gold Man" home with them!
 And don't forget your Ballots! The only "game" the hosts get to play is this one so make it special for yourself as well! has the ballots for printing out each year so this is an easy freebie for you to add to your party! Print them out in full color, get some clipboards so your guests will have a nice firm base to write upon and get some nice looking pens so that they feel it's a bit elegant and dignified to be part of the "voting community". LOL. Have everyone show up about a half hour before the Broadcast to fill up their plates and fill out their Ballots. Make sure they put their names on the Ballot and then, right as the Broadcast begins, mix up the Ballots and hand them back out. This way you end up marking someone else's Ballot and not your own. We always have a Big Prize (usually movie passes or gift cards) for the person who gets the most categories right! This year it was a 3 way tie so we are all going out to dinner together to celebrate!
 You can't have Movie Night without Candy right? Tory made sure to pick out as many different types of boxed candy as she could so, hopefully, we'd hit everyone's favorites! The fun part is that when the guests arrived the first thing they did was pick out their candy! LOL!
 Oh, yes, PRIZES. No one ever goes home without a prize from one of our parties. We do a bit of research and find all sorts of Trivia Questions. Then, during the commercials, we play a Trivia Game with our guests. Each person gets at least one prize and we shop to make each prize fit that particular guest. They are not big prizes..a special bottle of beer, a fun little toy, candles, kitchen gadgets for the cooks on our list...that sort of thing. But it's always fun to play the games and to take home the prizes!

I think we dressed up the prizes the first year but then we had more than one guest say that they really wanted to just dive right into the bag and the fancy embellishments made it harder to do so.  We changed the presentation to the Plain Brown Paper Bags after that first year and now everyone knows exactly what those bags are sitting on the table and that they will be taking home at least one of them!
The Drink and Ballot table was the very first "station" when our guests walked in. We wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to fill out their ballot and get a drink before the Broadcast began. When providing drinks make sure to include regular and diet, caffiene and caffiene free varieties of soda as well as a non carbonated drink like water or lemonade. What a perfect spot for some of your personalized water bottles! We also got our guests ready to win prizes by putting them right on this first table. 

 Remember to add in some type of special centerpiece related to your theme! Years ago a special movie friend of mine gave me my own "Little Gold Man" and "he" has become our unofficial mascot for our Oscar Party now. He shows up at each and every party but this year he was actually the Centerpiece! 
 We set up Popcorn and Hot Dog stations which included condiments in these fun themed squirt bottles and mini popcorn cups as well as these plastic hot dog holders! You can find all of this stuff online but don't forget to keep an eye out at your local Target store! We saw the popcorn holders there for a dollar each on Saturday!
Final presentation of the food table. Hot Dogs were set out in the holders, Popcorn in the cups with the Season Salt available, Popcorn Cupcakes, candy and more of the water bottles. Remember to always have a smaller drink station at the end of your food table. Some of your guests may not have picked up a drink at the beginning of the line and will appreciate that you added more drinks at the end!

I hope we were able to give you some ideas for your next Movie themed party. Whether it's planning for next years Oscars or if you want to have a Movie Night themed birthday or maybe just have a Movie Night party at your house next weekend! 

See you next week with some very cute Baby Shower ideas!


Monday, February 20, 2012

 Hi there! Happy Monday? Ok, for some this has not been a good day. So, hopefully, we can add a little sunshine with the blog ideas today! Valentine's Day this past week was a prime reason for us to have a Dinner Party! One of the fun things about having our own parties is that I get to try out some of the crafts or ideas that I may want to use for future client parties! Sometimes it doesn't work out well and I learn, either how to work around the problems, or to just ditch the whole idea. I'm happy to say that everything new I tried out this time worked perfectly! Now I get to share with you our Pink, Red and White color palette!
 First thing to remember when decorating for a Dinner Party is that it's not just your dining room that will get noticed but the areas around it as well. For us that means the fireplace and mantle. So I had to figure out what to do with that space. Above is the final result.
 While perusing the many postings on Pinterest (yup, total Pinteraddict here) I found a few crafts that I wanted to try out. Banners are not original but seeing a birthday banner on the site brought to mind that a banner from some of the heart shaped doilies I had would really make for a great finishing touch. As you can see from the big picture, I used the same idea in vertical lines as well, bending the top heart towards the middle to make a 3D effect.
 The craft I was the most nervous about were the coffee filter flowers. I was so scared that they would look cheap but in reality they look really great! And they were truly easy to do. You can find out, step by step, here at . I was able to easily recycle a painted bottle vase from a previous party and make it work with the Valentine's decor just by adding the red curly ribbon to it. These bottles are really easy to make. Just find a clear bottle that you like, I found mine at the dollar store, and then squirt some acrylic paint into it, turning so that all sides are covered, and then let the excess drip out into a container that you can use to pour the excess paint back into its container. Let dry overnight and it's ready to use!
 I made one more of the flowers, used a smaller clear vase that I filled with clear marbles and red curly ribbon for another detail to the mantle. By the way, the flowers are still on my mantle. I removed the red ribbon and added green ribbon so now they are all dressed up for St. Patrick's Day!
Now onto the dining room. We started off with a huge bunch of balloons. Once again, a dollar store find, we used about 6 of the pink and 8 of the red balloons along with curly ribbon and tied them all into one bunch to drape down over the table from the ceiling! It was such an easy, inexpensive and cute effect we WILL be using this one in the future. Just regular balloons, no helium needed. 
 The favors were cute and easy to do as well. The "flowers" are simply made like the coffee filter flowers but you don't need two sizes of cupcake liners. Just the one size works great! The candy jars I found at my local grocery store. I just filled them with pink Hershey Hugs and covered the lids with Valentines Day paper. Tied it off with more curly ribbon and I was done! These sat in the middle of each plate.
 Here is the table once I had added the dessert plate and the drinks. Notice that I used an old crystal decanter as our pitcher for the pink lemonade! SO pretty and elegant! We used tea lights to actually light the table. We used the tapers purely for decoration, as were the candles in the center of the table. One of the last details was using mini jars for the salt and pepper.
 The dessert plates were actually plaques I bought, also at the dollar store, and then I used Valentines Day lunch bags and white glue to cover the original design. While the lunch bag and white glue are both food safe I still made sure that there was a barrier between each dessert and the plate. Going from left to right I made a S'mores Tart, a White Chocolate Covered Strawberry topped with Gold Sugar crystals and, finally, a Strawberry Cupcake topped with vanilla buttercream and a red fondant heart "arrow". You can see each and how they were made on this weeks Cat's Cakes Blog at  .
 We started out dinner out with chilled shrimp cocktail that I put into a gold stemmed martini glass. Because of their shape they were easy to make into hearts for presentation and, of course, the pink color of the shrimp and red of the sauce made them fit right into the color scheme!
 Dinner was pieces of London Broil topped off with grilled heart shaped shrimp skewers, twice baked potatoes, rolls and salad.
 As mentioned before, our drink was pink lemonade. Not only did we dress up our pitcher by using a decanter, we also dressed up our drinks with champagne flutes that had dark pink sugared rims. All you have to do is dip the rim into lemon juice (or lime juice) and then dip that into the colored sugar before pouring your drink. The kids who attended were really thrilled by this touch. Not only did they feel grown up by using the champagne flute but it was rimmed in SUGAR! LOL!
 As you can see, by this full photo of the place setting, the pink lemonade really added to the look of an elegant Valentine's Day dinner. Our guests were delighted so, of course, were we!

I was not the only one having a dinner party that night. My partner was also having a family dinner party! Above is the big picture of her place settings. From the sparkly punch in the wine glasses to the ornate menu cards to the gorgeous flower centerpiece to the black table cloth with red place mats, every detail ties her Red, Black and White color palette together making for a very elegant table. Check out the little carrot cups decorated for Valentine's Day! SO cute...gonna have to use a version of that one for Easter!

She finished up her dinner with these adorable Hugs, Kisses and Hearts sugar cookies. Such an easy dessert but such a cute way to end her dinner! And perfect for the little kids attending to hold and eat.

Yes, another Valentine's Day has passed but there are many birthdays and Anniversaries and perhaps a shower or two that you can use several of our ideas to punch up your party!

See you next week with even more party ideas! And if you want to see our Easter Planning daily ideas just check us out on Facebook at !


Monday, February 13, 2012

 Happy Monday! Today we explore the colors of Red and Black. No, not for a wedding, though that would be quite dramatic! This is for a kids birthday party. When I think of those colors my mind goes straight to Lady Bugs!
 First we would start out looking for invitations like these from Lollipop Prints! Remember that your invitation is the first part of your theme that your guests see so make sure it says everything you want it to say when they open the envelope. These adorable invites not only tell who, what, when, where and why and that the theme is Lady Bugs but also that it will be zoomin' and fun!
 Next we move onto the decor. We start out with the place settings first because this is what will not only add to your theme but this is what your guests will be holding in their hands or sitting in front of all day. You don't have to go with a fully coordinating theme like this wonderful set from Birthday in a Box, but could just use the patterned dessert plates or napkins with solid colored red and black pieces to spotlight the Lady Bugs!
 Paper Lanterns are all the rage right now and, I can attest, are very versatile for decorating the space and making it seem extra special. Anytime you can decorate above eye level its a good thing. It completes a visual circle and makes it seem like you really went all out with your theme. These red lanterns from Luna Bazaar were just decorated with some black tissue paper circles. How Cute!
 Next we move onto the food. It doesn't always need to be something that matches the theme but if you take the time to look online you can usually find something that will fit. These adorable little snacks made from crackers, creme cheese, tomatoes and olives were found on Taste Of Home's website! 
 If you can't find food that coordinates you can, usually, find food "picks" that will fit in. These Lady Bug picks come from Birthday Express and are incredibly adorable and would add so much to your food table at a very low cost.
 Obviously there are dozens of ways you can continue your theme with your dessert. We have found, for kids parties, that cupcakes are a really nice way to go. You may want to go with something like these cuties from Hello Naomi! Or you can have a "family cake" a "smash cake" and cupcakes for your guests too. The "family cake" is big enough to feed the adults. The "smash cake" is just for the birthday girl or boy and can be just a special cupcake decorated just for them, and then you have the cupcakes for all the kids attending the party. The fun part of this idea is that you get to really extend your theme in different ways with the decorations on all the different styles of dessert!
 Whether you want something for the kids to do during the party or just want something Lady Bug themed in their Goodie Bags, these bubble bottles would be a fun way to extend your theme and the kids would love them. These were found at Oriental Trading and are only $7 for 24!
Lastly, you want to leave a lasting impression of your theme when they leave the party and go home again. These Lady Bug Goodie Bags are an easy DIY project that will go far in extending your theme. Just some red lunch bags, some black cardstock and googly eyes glued on is all you need for a very cute Goodie Bag that turns into a Hand Puppet when they get home!

How's that for a very cute way to present the colors of Red and Black?! We will explore Valentine's Day next week with a whole bunch of crafts and decorating ideas for you to use for your next party, Anniversary dinner, and even for your next Valentine's Day!


Monday, February 6, 2012

 Happy Monday! This week we continue our Party Planning Color Palette Series with the colors of Yellow, Red and Orange. This can be used for Fall or Spring parties depending on if you add leaves or flowers or both! Today's party was an Anniversary Party but it would work for a wedding or a birthday.
 If you have room to make one table for a Guest Book and Favors then go for it but if you have a limited space you may want to make room for your favors on your Cake Table. They add decoration as well as continuing your color palette. These favors had an added layer of color. Inside were the same colors of  tissue paper with the same colors of M&M's as the treat! The boxes were just plain white favor boxes that I dressed up with the different colors of ribbon after filling them with the tissue paper and treats! After stacking them on the Cake Table I added the flower as a crowing touch or a "topper" for this Favor Tower.
 Due to allergies we went with silk flowers rather than fresh flowers but you could use fresh flowers easily to get the same effect. The "vases" are simply bottles where I took white paint and swirled it around inside to coat the bottle, instantly making them into "milk glass" vases. At the end of the party all of these flowers were gathered, tied into a bouquet and given to the "Bride" as a souvenir of the day.
 At the end of the yellow ribbons, on each side, we placed little cards that had poems about love and flowers. These added to the decor but they also helped to hold down the tablecloth as well as give guests something to read while waiting in the food line all the way around the table.
 Here is a close up of one of the 13 cards. This party was for their 13th Wedding Anniversary so 13 cards continued that theme.
 It's easy to keep in the same color palette when you stick to pastels but a bit harder when it is a bright color palette. Fortunately the couple wanted non-alcoholic choices for the families attending the event so we went with Orange Soda and Lemonaid.
 We then floated lemon and orange slices we had trimmed in to "flowers" (just use your zesting tool to score lines down the side of the fruit before slicing and you will get the same scalloped edges) and put half of a maraschino cherry in the center of each.
 Also on the Drink Table we added the personalized water bottles for all of the guests. These not only provided refreshment at the party but were a popular favor that many of the guests took home with them.
 To add a little more color and continue the floral theme we made tissue paper flowers. Now, I had not made these since High School so it was fun to actually make these again. And they fit into the party space perfectly, dressing up the window and giving a nice background to the Food Table.
And, finally, the cake. The top tier was chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling and the bottom tier was lemon chiffon with lemoncurd buttercream filling. Covered with vanilla buttercream and decorated with fondant flowers and the couples Monogram Initial, it was an instant hit with all those attending. We finished off the table with napkins and flatware in the same color palette as well as using silk flower petals under tulle to dress up the space just a little bit more.

We hope you enjoyed this weeks palette! If you have a color you would like us to feature please do leave a comment!