Monday, October 28, 2013

Luau Baby Shower

 Happy Monday! This weekend brought an adorable little baby shower for a great couple! The event was held at a local yacht club because both the hostess and the Mom-to-be are both leaders for Sea Scouts, sort of a girl scout program on the ocean so they both have a connection to boats and this club. It was the perfect setting for a Luau style shower!
 First comes the invitation, of course! The hostess found these and they definitely set the theme and mood of the shower!
 Centerpieces don't have to be flowers. They can be anything grouped together that fits the theme. We used colorful paper lanterns as the major piece in our centerpieces for the tables. 
 Scattered "aloha" packaged buttermints, adorable rubber duckies, flower leis, floral confetti and paper umbrellas completed the set! Bright, colorful and fun.
 This was a family event, men and children invited as well as the women in the family, so a kids table was set up with coloring sheets (Hawaiian themed of course!), bubbles, playdough, crayons and even pinwheels for the kids to take home!
 Kids sand pails were used to hold the crayons and added to the theme. One of the pails had toddler friendly crayons that also doubled as building blocks!
 The other pail held standard crayons and markers for the older kids. They all had fun making their own masterpieces. For those kids who were done with their art there were Duplo blocks as well as a mini plastic construction work table and toys to play with together.
 For the much older kids and adults there was this fun Headband Bar! The hostess filled up this trunk with all sorts of embellishments, provided different types of headbands and even idea sheets so people could make the Mom-to-be adorable creations for their new little girl.
 Glue guns, headbands and a bucket of silk flower parts were provided to make this craft a quick and easy one.
 The headbands were really beautiful. Even the pre-teen boys got into the act and created their own flamboyant versions! 
 There were solid headbands there as well and a basket of fabric that you could cut and glue to make a covered band!
 On the other side of the room were muslin fabric squares, sharpie pens, and templates so that the guests could create a quilt square for the baby. This unusual guest book was a big hit with the older kids. I admit, we both made squares too! Totally fun to do!
 Near the cake table was the Diaper Raffle. Guests are invited to bring a box of diapers for the family and then enter their name into the raffle drawing. 
 Of course there were balloons. Some for indoors but most of them were used outdoors to help guests make their way to the event site.
 The stork balloon had a bit of a problem. The head section stayed nice and inflated but the bottom section deflated before it even made it to the event. With no time to return it for another balloon we knew there were only two options. One, toss the balloon...two, figure out a way to use it! We figured out a way to attach it behind the gift bar and immediately it didn't matter that the body had deflated!  It was an added detail that perfectly greeted each guest as they entered the event!
And speaking of the gift bar! Clothesline was draped around it, using folded over duct tape to secure it and then using leis to hide the tape! Aloha wear was clipped to the line with clothespins along with a few more leis and created a beautiful setting for the gifts!
You can find lots of "sets" for print outs online. Many of them are completely free! This cute banner not only fits the theme but added decoration to the wall above the quilt square decorating station. You want to think ceiling to floor when it comes to your event to created an extra level of color and texture to your party.
 More paper lanterns were hung above the huge glass doors that led out onto the patio. The kids loved looking out and seeing the water and beautiful boats...the adults loved the view too!
 Setting the table meant lots of bright colors to fit the theme. These cups of flatware and napkins sit on bright pink plastic tablecloths and they all came from the Dollar Store! Budget friendly and perfect for the theme!
 Paper umbrellas fit this theme to perfection. We used some on each table to add a bit of color as well as another layer of the theme.
 When it came to the food table, which provided tray after tray of wonderful finger food, it was easy to use the umbrellas but the best touch was the grass skirt! We all loved the way it really fit the theme and added that extra detail to the room.
 Lots of different types of fruit were made available including apples with caramel sauce! Yummy!
 Take advantage of the prepackaged version of veggie trays! They come with their own dipping sauce and tray!
 While this looks like a cold cut tray it really isn't. That is sliced turkey from a turkey breast.  And it is a detail like that which makes your guests feel a bit more spoiled than if you just heaped cold cuts onto a tray.
 Sliced roast beef was provided too and, as a person who loves roast beef but also wants it to be fully cooked, we were very happy to see that the roast beef here was done but not over cooked. Oh, yeah, we were spoiled.
 But then they just kept on spoiling us! Our wonderful chefs even provided teriyaki chicken that was so good I think most people went back for seconds because of this chicken alone!
 Of course Tory made up water bottles! These adorable water bottles also made for cute favors for people to take home with them at the end of the party.
 But they also provided Iced Tea and Lemonade for the guests in brightly colored paper cups which added another bit of color to the room.  
 We made up little "message in a bottle" favors that had candy "sand". The bottles were found at Michael's and we used brightly colored rubber bands to add a bit of color to the rolled up messages and the top of the glass.
 Inside were little Thank You note. Mahalo means "thank you" in Hawaiian. They were a cute way to say thank you and the kids really loved these little bottles. 
 One of the gifts was this wonderful "Diaper Cake" that was trimmed in all sorts of baby stuff and topped with an adorable surfer girl teddy bear. Just so cute!
 With so many little kids running around it is a bit hard to play games so we stuck to just two. The first one was a baby word search. We gave them a few minutes to work on it and then when the timer went off the person with the most done won the prize. The fun part was watching people continue to work on them after the game was over! The second game was done during the gift opening. A timer was set at random increments and when it went off the person who had brought the gift currently being opened won a prize!
Finally there was cake! This Luau Baby shower cake is from Cat's Cakes. Lemon chiffon filled with pink tinted lemoncurd buttercream covered in pink buttercream and trimmed in fondant fit the theme perfectly.
 It featured a little Luau Baby Girl made of fondant, a clothesline hung from palm trees to match the invitation and sugar sand.
 It was topped with a cute little sea turtle and surrounded with flower leis and the "message in a bottle" favors.
Even the plates and napkins were perfect for the theme! There are lots of pre-packaged party kits that all coordinate together but sometimes picking out different napkins, plates and decorations that all fit together but not totally matched makes for a much more fun and beautiful party. The brightly colored napkins fit in with the food table perfectly but these Hawaiian themed napkins worked perfectly on the cake table. Just the right detail becomes just the right touch for the event. 

The day had some hiccups, all events do to some extent, but it was a wonderful family party that we all enjoyed. Going with the flow isn't always easy but with an event like this one it's always wonderful when the flow reminds you how wonderful it is to spend an afternoon celebrating with family and friends.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Party!

Well, it's the week before Halloween! That means a LOT of parties will be going on this weekend. If you are one of those who is throwing a party and are just getting into the set up (or have been putting off the set up) this week then maybe we'll be able to help you out with a few cool ideas for your party! If you are a Party Girl and are already set up for this year then maybe we'll give you some new ideas for next year's bash!
 As always a good party starts out with a great invitation. I love these from and they cost about $2 each. Is that a budget buster? Then just print them out on your own computer! Find some scrapbook paper, cut it down to size, print the invites out on your computer and then tuck into an envelope to hand out. Michael's has everything you would need to be able to do this for about 50 cents each. 
 Then, of course, there is the outside of the house to decorate! So here is the brilliance for this set up. The Bats are just construction paper, the brooms are just sticks with shredded paper bags taped on the end and painted black and then the rest is just a whole bunch of different types of pumpkins!
 Even easier, and cheaper, are these great construction paper owls with spray painted branches! If you don't have any in your yard just go to your nearest park and pick a few up for free!
 If you want to go a bit less scary then consider and afternoon of carving all shapes and sizes of pumpkins. Don't want to carve that many? Then carve enough for every other or every third step and either leave the others whole or paint them! You just want enough light to illuminate everything.
 And don't forget your windows! We had a friend who did the silhouette thing in her windows and placed a black light behind each one for an awesome effect!
If you don't really have any great windows that you can do that with (or the patience to cut out the scary shapes) then look for the huge plastic "posters" that are around and stick one of those in the window! The kids in our complex LOVE our "Frankie" each year.
 And don't forget all those wonderfully shaped (and affordable) gourds that you find at the Pumpkin Patch and store! String them on twine and hang them up on your fence or bannister!
More and more we are finding fun shapes of gourds and pumpkins out there. Not your typical Jack-o-lantern so they will get a lot more notice!
And here is one of my favorite "finds" this year! SOOOOO simple and yet just perfect for a Halloween Party! (Or a Monsters, Inc Party!). Just buy a pack of "Googly Eyes" and stick them onto plastic orange, black and/or white drink cups. LOVE it!
 Don't forget that pumpkins make great bowls too! Because of all of the sugar that will be consumed make sure to always have some healthy snacks on your table too. Pull it into your theme by using a small sugar pumpkin as a dipping bowl!
 Even dessert can be more healthy. Pineapple and mandarin oranges layered into small glasses and topped with non-fat whipped cream make for cute little "Candy Corn" treats!
 Ok, so not everyone wants to eat healthy! These marshmallow pops are SO easy! Just get candy melts in both yellow and orange and then just use a lolipop stick in the marshmallow for dipping and eating. Dip the orange half way up the marshmallow and let dry on parchment paper. When dry dip into the yellow about halfway up the orange. Perfect "Candy Corn" marshmallow pops!
 Do you want even easier? All you need is chocolate backed shortbread cookies, Hershey kisses and some orange frosting. Turn the cookie chocolate side up, add a dab of orange frosting and a kiss and you have perfect Witches Hats! 
 Easier?? Get some glazed donuts, mini chocolate chips and plastic vampire teeth. Carefully stick the teeth into the hole and use the point of the chip to poke in the two eyes. The kids will LOVE this one!
 Even your drinks can be "themed" for your guests. Set out a few ice filled/drink filled pumpkins for your guests and just refill as needed.
Of course we always do themed water bottle labels for our parties. Just printed out on a computer, trimmed to size and taped onto the bottles of water, these always get a big reception from our guests! This party was Pirate Themed!
 I love the idea of taking a garage sale find, spray painting the insert with chalkboard paint and the frame with something glittery! You can hang it up "as is" and let people puzzle about it or write a spooky message, draw a spooky character or just use it for the party menu. 
 Another really easy decoration are candles. Just take a red candle and drip the wax over white candles for the look of dripping blood! Cheap and easy!
 Ok, just as easy but not as cheap is the glittered pumpkin. The fine glitter does cost a few bucks but all you have to do is spread out some newspaper, paint the pumpkin with white glue and sprinkle with glitter. DONE! And, they are SOOO pretty! If you are using different colors of glitter just pour the left overs off the newspaper and make one last combo colored pumpkin for your table!
 This would be super funny for your food table. Just cut out a hole in the bottom of your pumpkin to clean it out and then carve a few holes out of the side for the plastic mice to crawl in and out of! SO funny!
 With kids there are always games or crafts to be done. Painting their own pumpkins to take home is a great activity for any age.
 This is a version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Blow up balloons and put in slips of paper that say "Money", "Candy" or "Toy". Hang up the balloons on your fence with push pins. Blindfold the kids and let them take turns popping the balloons and then hand out quarters, candy or dimestore toys as prizes

 Of course there has to be cake! These mini cupcakes from Cat's Cakes are just frosted with buttercream and topped with little cookie cutter cut out spooky fondant shapes. 
Finally your party favors. Poke holes into a pumpkin and stick in a whole package (or two) of lolipops like Dum Dum's or Tootsie Roll Pops and let everyone take one or two with them when they leave the party!

We will begin our decorating on next Monday and there will be flying bats, carved and painted pumpkins, glittered pumpkins and spooky creatures popping out! Hope you, too, have a great Halloween!