Fall parties have to be one of the most fun to plan. There are decorations & craft supplies right at your fingertips. What? You didn’t know this? I like to decorate for the season/holiday and I like to be a hostess but I also like to save a little dough where I can.
As I have been hauling out little fall/Halloween decorations I realized I didn’t have as much as I thought. How was I supposed to transform our family room into a cozy & festive place to lounge with just a few seasonal pieces (including these little ghosts)? Then it hit me – use the cute pumpkins & squash from our CSA share! Brilliant – and “free” (and edible). And wait – I have a piece of black fabric that I could use as a runner (in my case on a shelf instead of a table). Oh and that cauldron that my son got from papa & mimi filled with Halloween goodies – that has been added to the décor too and will most likely be used to hold candy for the little ghouls & goblins that come to visit in a couple of weeks.
I challenge you – before you head to the store to buy some likely overpriced decorations to take a walk through your house, look in your closets and even your kitchen and see what you can repurpose or reuse for that holiday or special occasion. Take a trip to the local farmer’s market or pumpkin patch or in our area drive a few miles into the country to the farm selling gourds & pumkins of all shapes & sizes for a price that will make your jaw hit the floor. You may be astounded by the choices (and prices) and you will have some decorations that will last the whole season as well as taste good on your dinner plate.
Like many others my mind is in full orange & black mode this month – I can’t stop thinking about Halloween! More specifically I am thinking about how I can decorate our house for those little ghosts & goblins that will be visiting at the end of the month. When I stumbled upon this ghostly project I knew that it would be perfect for our house adding a little touch of the holiday here and there.
- Cheese cloth
- Liquid starch (found in the detergent aisle) or starch paste (corn starch + water)
- Styrofoam balls or balloons
- Something to balance the balls on – I used glasses of various sizes
- Plastic sheeting (to protect your work surface)
supplies – corn starch paste vs. liquid starch
I tried 2 different methods* of this project – one using liquid starch and one using a paste I made. If you choose to make your own paste you will need to mix approximately 2 ¼ cups (give or take) of water with 1 cup of corn starch, mix, & microwave for about 2 minutes stirring frequently until it is like a thick pudding. If using liquid starch just pour it into a bowl.
Plan out the height of your ghosts by placing your Styrofoam balls on tops of glasses – I found it helpful to stack some glasses for my larger ghosts. Cut the cheese cloth to the desired length – drape over the forms to find out house much to use.
my ghost forms (go Twins!)
Submerge the cheese cloth into the starch working the starch into the cloth. Take out of the starch and open the cheese cloth (the cloth is delicate at this point and may tear – be gentle). Drape over your forms and adjust the cloth to your liking. I did 2 layers of cloth per ghost for a little more dimension. Let sit over night or until firm (if you made your own starch this may take closer to 24 hours for everything the dry).
Take off your form and you are done! Yay!
You can feel free to add eyes made out of felt or construction paper if you wish. These are so fun to place around the house. I will be putting my 2 large ones outside on Halloween but right now we are enjoying them indoors. You may even consider making some mini ones and stringing them into a garland or how about hanging them from the ceiling with fishing line to give the impression that they are floating in the air?! Or how about putting a glow stick or little flameless candle under them?! These would be a great addition to any Halloween party as decorations or as a party favor. Let me know if you try these out – I would love to see how you spook up your party!
*I found the liquid starch to be much easier to work with! Though the homemade starch seemed to set a lot firmer than the liquid.
As far back as I can remember cream cheese mints have always been a part of weddings, graduations, baby showers, any sort of celebration. It wasn’t until recently that I was shocked (and slightly horrified) to find out that a few of my co-workers didn’t know what such things were! Who doesn’t know what these delectable creamy pieces of perfection are?! Man, they are missing out. Are they just a regional item – the verdict is still out on this but many say these are a Midwest thing.
With only a few ingredients (cream cheese, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, mint or other flavoring, food coloring)* cream cheese mints are easy to prep that’s for sure but they can be a tad time consuming if you choose to use a rubber mold for a special shape. I liken them to making cut-out cookies – they seem like a great idea at the beginning, in the middle of making them you wonder what they heck you were thinking, and at the end you are rewarded for your hard work with a yummy & beautiful treat.
photo via Skip To My Lou
This may be why I have only made them twice in my life. The first time was for my high school graduation – I begged my mom to make them to which she kindly (or not so kindly) said “yeah right – if you want them ask grandma.” My grandma agreed as long as I made them with her. We were successful and if I remember correctly had a couple of ice cream buckets full of the classic rose shaped mints – yum! This past spring I helped host a baby shower and again thought CREAM CHEESE MINTS! This time I was on my own. An owl themed shower had to have owl shaped mints right? I did a simple search, ordered my mold which was here in no time and I was set. I won’t go into details but I don’t have grandma’s touch and the mints weren’t going as planned – I ditched the idea of owl mints and opted to roll the mints into balls and flatten them with a fork similar to peanut butter cookies. I think they actually looked more classy. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the finished product – but be assured they were cute & yummy.
A nice little addition to any celebration really, colors & shapes are endless and you can choose a different flavor than mint if you like – totally customizable! Just be sure to give yourself some time – these mints are totally okay going into the freezer or refrigerator for a bit if you choose to make them a couple of weeks ahead of time (I actually like them when they are cold & firm). Enjoy and eat one for me!
*the recipe is very simple, I looked at a couple of recipes and used them as guidelines but didn’t follow any exactly.
Two years ago my son came into this world and changed my life forever. I love him more than I ever thought possible. One of my (many) goals as a mother is to make sure that he has an enjoyable birthday (whether he remembers it or not). I spent quite a bit of time planning his first birthday but this September was much busier and I didn’t have quite as much free time to prepare AND we decided not to do a big birthday party but instead would celebrate as a small family and would help B celebrate at daycare as well.
We decided that the perfect treat for those at his small daycare would be ice cream cone cupcakes. I vaguely remember having these as a child either at my own party or someone else’s. They are super easy to make, would be something we could make a couple of days beforehand and they were also easy enough for a 2 year old to help with. B enjoyed dumping in the ingredients as well as licking the spoon and what little kid doesn’t like dumping sprinkles onto a cake?!
Thinking about the steps in making these cupcakes there are a couple of challenges to work around. We opted for the standard size of ice cream cones and thought B would enjoy a funfetti cake mix. We filled the cones 2/3 full of cake batter and then placed the cones on a mini muffin tin – they fit perfectly. CAREFULLY I put the pan into the oven and let them bake for about 20 minutes. Taking them out of the oven was almost more of a challenge than putting them in – but the made it out safely. After cooling I frosted them and let little B put sprinkles on each one.
And you are done! OH WAIT! How am I going to transport these?!?! Not an easy thing if you think about it. A simple Google search will result in a plethora of ideas told by those that have braved these ice cream cone cupcakes in the past. We chose to transport these via a tin foil lasagna pan which was the perfect size for 12 cupcakes. Originally I had planned on cutting circles out of the bottom of the pan the size of the bottoms of the cones but that proved to be more difficult that I wanted it to be. So instead I cut a simple “X” for each cone and folded back the tabs – super easy. The cones fit in there great without wiggling around. The kids at daycare gave them rave reviews and somehow none of the extras made it home.
These were definitely fun & quick to make for a busy mom like myself. They didn’t take too much time and too much planning and you could definitely decorate them as simple or extravagant as you like – oh and did I mention how fun they are to eat?! Enjoy!
- Ice cream cones
- Cake mix
- Mini muffin tin
- Tin foil lasagna pan
- Mix up your cake batter.
- Spoon batter into the cones until they are 2/3 full.
- Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes.
- Cool completely before decorating.
I love hearing about how people met and their journey to a lifetime of togetherness. Recently a co-worker of mine got married in a reverse elopement of sorts. Instead of running off to get married they each invited their parents & siblings to their house to participate in the intimate wedding ceremony in their back yard. I loved hearing of the small details that would make this day so special and memorable for them. Every little detail was carefully thought out and had a special meaning to the Happy Couple from the attire to the rings to the ceremony itself.
One part of the ceremony that was a bit unique to me (maybe not others depending on your heritage) – was the handfasting. You can read more about it here. I love how this ceremony incorporated those that the couple holds very dear. Such a neat idea and a great alternative if you are looking for incorporating something other than a unity candle or sand ceremony.
Wedding rings are also something that are becoming a little more unique – people are getting more comfortable with the idea of customizing them more. Check out the Happy Couple’s steampunk inspired rings!
Go here to read more about this intimate ceremony. These details are just a reminder how you can taylor your wedding to fit your style – it’s your special day, let your style shine!
As I am constantly on the lookout for new products to use as décor in my home or for the perfect accessory for an event that will make people think “wow, that’s neat” I am reminded at how creative and clever people have gotten. A short search will reveal that people do what they can to personalize their home or party and even workplace – whether it be with a monogram, a photo, or a favorite color.
In a previous post I featured the fabulous custom printed napkins that our very own Balloons Tomorrow can create. Well, did you know that they can also put photos on napkins?! It’s true – how neat does that sound – photo napkins, the ultimate in personalization!
Think about the possibilities: birthdays, weddings, graduations, baby showers, engagements, sweet 16 – any milestone really. Or what about putting a picture of your new house on them and using them at a house warming party? Or a picture of your work place for a customer appreciation event or an anniversary celebration?
The napkins come in a huge variety of colors – I am very confident that you will find a color that will go great with your event and they come in 2 different sizes. Printing is done in either black or white and can either be printed square or slanted. You must check them out for your next gathering!
The month of birthday celebrations have begun here at our house. Since we all have our birthdays within a month of each other it is a bit fun for me to decorate our house with birthday items that aren’t too obnoxious to leave out for that whole month. Just a couple of hints of “birthday” here and there – they were super easy to do and anyone (creative or not – young or old) will have no problem adding these birthday touches to their home.
Subway art is an easy way to adorn your living room for an upcoming holiday. There are many websites that offer these for you to print yourself, some are free and some you have to pay for. My favorite for these free printable is Eighteen25 – you will find many here for whatever season or holiday you may need and they usually have a few color combinations to pick from as well. I downloaded the image and had it printed at our local Target but you could easily print them out on your home computer as well.
Birthday subway art
Many of you may be aware of the trend of the DIY wreath – make a wreath for any occasion out of things you may have around your house. When I was looking for a birthday wreath I discovered many styles but I decided on a balloon wreath which was super easy to make – so easy you could get your kids to help you! We hang this wreath on our door every year so that passers by know that there is a celebration going on inside. It’s fun and special for the one celebrating.
Enjoy these simple ways to celebrate and remember to high-five those celebrating and wish them the very best for the following year.
Within the next 4 weeks we will be celebrating my birthday, my husband’s birthday, and my son’s birthday (as well as a wedding and an anniversary) so needless to say I have “party brain” lately. My husband & I don’t typically go all out for our birthday’s but we do like to make sure our son’s birthday is special even though I doubt he will remember any of it at this age.
A birthday isn’t complete without balloons in my opinion. Of course little B’s favorite balloons come in the shape of Elmo or Mickey Mouse these days but balloons can be so much more than a character balloon or a balloon bouquet. Think about how fun balloon pillars might look on your patio at a party or floating against your ceiling with all their ribbons dangling down.
p.s. Don’t forget our very own Balloons Tomorrow in your one stop shop for your customized balloons – which would look pretty sweet with these ideas.
balloon garland – via agirlandaboy
hanging balloons – via igoyougo
birthday balloons filled with a little surprise – via she’s crafty
In a little over a month my son will turn 2 and I am starting to think more seriously how we will celebrate his birthday. Last year we had a nice birthday with family and was able to incorporate some handmade touches such as a felt birthday crown and fun little bunting that I sewed up the week before.
birthday crown & bunting
I thought the birthday crown was a fun touch that would get many uses well after B’s birthday and I was right. Whether you are crafty or not there are many tutorials out there for you to choose from or you can just wing it. As you will see there are many ways you can personalize your crown with the colors you choose to embellishments. If your kids are old enough you can even have them help you cut the felt or have them decorate the crown.
Here are a few ideas to get your wheels a turnin’:
felt crown – SouleMama
dress up crown – The Long Thread
felt crown – Skip to my Lou
After quite some time planning I was able to finally see how everything would come together for the dual bridal shower this past weekend. This shower honored my future sister-in-law and my cousin’s fiancée – both who will be joining our family this fall.
I chose to go with a navy blue and light lemon yellow color scheme. The colors were fitting for a fun summer gathering and added a little bit of elegance as well. Whatever color scheme you choose it can act as a perfect spring board for the other aspects of your shower.
pineapple & blueberries
A simple way to utilize your colors is by incorporating them into the food that your serve but be sure to not go overboard. Since this shower was held mid morning we chose to serve food that was light and that leaned toward brunch fare. Fruit is an easy item to serve and it gives you quite a bit of color choices. One of my favorite combinations for the party was a bowl of fresh pineapple & blueberries – yum! We also served mini blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls, and krimp bread with an egg salad spread. As for beverages bottles of water are an excellent choice. They are easy for guests to grab as they are mingling and you typically don’t have to worry as much about spillage either. And if you are feeling creative you can even make personalized labels to adhere to the bottles. We did have some bottles of water as well as coffee but most guests opted for a fabulous pineapple lemonade punch my grandmother made. I found the recipe on Pinterest and want to share the recipe with you.
pineapple lemonade punch
Pineapple Lemonade Punch
1 cup Countrytime Lemonade mix (or similar)
2 cups of cold water
1 can of chilled pineapple juice (46oz.)
2 cans chilled Sprite (or similar)
Mix together and add lemon slices!
Stay tuned for part 2 of this series coming next week!