Monday, February 8, 2016

Favorite Things Party

In the late winter, I was getting antsy for spring and needed to occupy my time. I decided to throw a Favorite Things Party.

I found the idea online and knew instantly this was right up my alley. I picked a date and started prepping. I sent a Facebook invite explaining everything.  I wanted to appeal to people of any budget and make the event very flexible and informal. Instructions were as follows:

  1. Bring 4 of your favorite things; they can all be the same or 4 different items…up to you! The more creative, the more unique, the better!
  2. Please do not wrap items. You can jazz gifts up with bows, ribbons, or clear bags if desired.
Everyone will go home with some amazing new finds!

Here is a sample list to get the brainwaves going. These are only ideas and meant to provide inspiration:
  • A great makeup item
  • Your favorite nail polish color
  • A yummy tea or cocoa
  • A cool kitchen gadget or cleaning product
  • Fragrant candle or air freshener
  • Your favorite sweet treat or snack

*Any purchased item should be $5 OR LESS as total spent should not exceed $20.

Of course, items don’t have to be purchased. Here are some low or no cost ideas:
  • Put a bow on a good book you read (a great way to be green too!)
  • Grow your favorite herb to cook with and include a good recipe
  • Package a delicious, homemade treat
  • Make body scrub, lotion or bath bombs
  • Knit a scarf 
  • Can a jelly, jam or salsa
  • Handcrafted jewelry or hair accessories

OPTIONAL – Bring your favorite appetizer, treat, or a beverage to share.

Once of my favorite things is champagne so I decided to have a mimosa and lemonade bar. The signage turned out super cute.

I decorated take-home bags for people to put their items in with some of my favorite things: butterflies and glitter! I took a butterfly stamper and dipped it in some watered down glue to get the glitter to stay put.

Once everyone arrived, I had them put their name in a bowl 4 times. One-by-one, all my guests we asked to stand up and explain why what they brought was their favorite thing and any related details such as where to buy it, what it costs, etc… It was really fun to hear the explanations. After their presentation, names were picked (one at a time) and they got to choose from the 4 items just discussed.

We had a wide array of items. Here is a sample of what was exchanged:
  • Seventh Generation Lavender Floral and Mint Dish Soap
  • Aura Witch Hazel Hair Spray (Smells like Aveda)
  • Method  Sweet Water Hand Soap
  • Downy Unstoppables Fabric Softener
  • Cereal Set (Frosted Flakes & Cinnamon Toast Crunch)
  • NYC Sky Rise Lengthening Mascara
  • Moscato Wine
  • Vase of Gladiolas
  • Great Smelling Candles
  • 50 Shades of Grey Complete Book Set
  • Nail Polish & Nail Art Decals
  • M&Ms
  • Homemade Bath Scrub
  • Nightlight
  • Non-Breakable Wine Glasses
  • Homemade Framed Wipe Board
  • Make-Up Bags

I loved hosting this party and can’t wait to do it again. It wasn’t about exchanging “stuff”. More importantly, I enjoyed catching up with my good friends. Even my 3 nieces (ages 6,7,12) got involved and presented their favorite things that they brought – in front of a group of grown women they didn’t know – I was quite impressed with their courage.

Annnnnnnd…. This is what happens when you ask the kids to take a group picture – they take a normal one and then instruct you to take a silly one. Love it!  <3

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A 'Tini' Martini Party

Any excuse to party is okay with me! Since my birthday was coming up that was a perfect excuse to host a small get-together.

It all started with the adorable invitation made by Paisley Prints Etc.

After much thought and consideration, I elected to reserve Splash Martini Bar's semi-private lounge area, which is really cool in the evening. 

It's a cute little area that will provide its own set of waitstaff -
(and the private bathroom is an added perk as well)

The owner was more than happy to accommodate with whatever was needed. I brought in my own hors d'oeuvres, created a list of drink specials, and was even provided complimentary non-alcoholic beverages for my guests. Score!

I made a cute drink special sign and had martini themed decor, including the cake! 

**Ooooh, Pick N Save bakery dept - you tried!! :) **

Have you met Mr. Martini? Love that Jacket!

 I had a great time. Thanks for all who came to wish me a happy birthday! 


Monday, April 9, 2012

iPhone Save the Date Magnet

I received this quirky save-the-date in the mail. How creative is this?!? 
An iPhone save-the-date magnet!! Fun!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Martini Party Invitations

I have reached a realization - as of late I have become somewhat of an invitation snob. With all the services out there on the Internet there is no reason to hand-write invitations anymore. 

Etsy is full of people with unique and fun invitations for great prices. It has been my experience that you can have a customized invitation with your own wording created and printed for less then purchasing cute paper invitations that you have to manually fill out by hand. Who has time to do that? People are so much more creative than myself and I love seeing what fun ideas others come up with. 
Themed invitations get the invitees excited and provide a feel for the ambiance of the upcoming event. 
Here is the latest invite I had created by Paisley Prints Etc. It turned out so charming for a martini themed birthday party!!

Another way to really jazz up an invite is to give it a related/fun font for a little added "something". Here is the fun bubble font I used for address labels. Reminded me of my favorite champagne.  Fun!! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DIY Headless Bride(zilla) in 10 Easy Steps

 I got so many compliments on my homemade costume that I simply had to share.
Last year I was unable to find a Halloween costume that really excited me so decided to be adventurous and make my own. I ran across which is a site where people share things that they make and I found a headless bride costume with very thorough instructions and knew I had to give it a try.

Step # 1 - Buy/Gather Materials
Rolls of Duct Tape (2 should be plenty)
Old Tight-Fitting Shirt
Wedding Dress (I got mine off of eBay)
Materials for paper mache (I used flour, water, and newspaper strips)
Paint - white, peach, and red
Small Backpack
2-3 Yardsticks or Wooden Dowels
Accessories - veil, gloves, etc...
Optional, but handy - hot glue gun

Step #2 - Tape the Torso
**Tip - Make sure that the torso you are taping fits the dress that it will be wearing.**

 In my situation, I duct taped my sister's body because it better fit the wedding dress than my own. If you will be using your body as the torso you will need to grab a friend to help. You will need assistance either way.
I had my sister put on an old mock turtle neck. I wanted something that had longer sleeves and went higher up on the neck. This seemed to work well. 
I cut strips of duct tape and taped her from the neck to navel and down to the elbows of the arms as smoothly as I could. If I could do this again, I would further down her forearms, which would help the gloves stay put better. 
After the torso is well covered in duct tape you will need to cut if off by CAREFULLY cutting a vertical incision up the back through both the tape AND the shirt. Be very careful not to cut the skin, undergarments, hair, etc...
Once the body has been removed from the mold, carefully tape back up where the cut was made.  Grab a round plastic container, such as a margarine container, that best fits the "neck hole" and make sure it is tight and secure as you tape it up.  Crumple up some newspaper and stuff it to hold the form. I was able to rest the stuffed body on my small (empty and clean) bathroom garbage to stand upright which was beneficial.

Step #3 - Paper Mache the Body

Cut stripes of newspaper and stir up the paper mache mix 'cause you got a body to sculpt! My paste was approximately 1 part flour to 2 parts water. Layer it on as smooth as you can. The more layers you do, the more sturdy it will be. Allow ample drying time. More layers means a longer drying time. If you want to expedite the process, prop in front of a fan to speed up the drying process a little.

Step #4 - Paint the Body

I painted a basic white layer first, but you could still clearly see the newspaper print underneath. I used a flesh colored spray paint as a second and third coat and that was very fast and easy.  I would definitely recommend spray paint.  It did, however, eat through the base layer of paint in some spots. It looked like flesh rotting away. Ewww! 
Let the paint completely dry. 

Step #5 -  Put the Body in the Dress

Self explanatory....

Step #6 - Prep the Backpack

This was the hardest step for me. It took a lot of trial and error to get it right. 
Try inserting the poles into your backpack and then cut the yardsticks so your head will be where you want it to rest. Your head should fit under the bust and also be able to rest in the bride's hands. You will need your assistant again for this step.  It will probably take a couple tries before the sticks are at the precise length.  I attached 2 to the back side and 1 to the front-side of both the backpack and body because my paper mached body was a little weak. Once that is all set, duct tape the heck out of it to keep the sticks in place. Make sure the yardsticks are VERY secure in the backpack and the torso. You might have to remove some stuffing for this step.  If the body is really stable you may be able to leave the stuffing out. Mine was a little flimsy so I opted to keep the stuffing in to make "her" more stable. 

Step #7 - Cut the Head Hole

Cut an incision where your head will emerge through the dress. I cut the hole vertically, but think a horizontal cut might be a better way to go because you could see my "real" neck with the vertical cut. Use your own judgement. If there is a center seam you might want to use that as a guide.  

Step #8 - Attach the Hands 

I stuffed the gloves with floral wire and newspaper so they were filled out and bendable. I had to hot-glue the gloves to the paper mache arms to really get them to stay put. I also hot-glued more floral wire to the underside of the gloves to connect them together so the hands looked like they had a good grab on the head.
The costume is looking pretty good at this point. 

Step #9 - The Final Touches

Now, time for the details.
I painted the top of the neck stub with a glossy red paint to look like blood. I then took a small dropper of the same paint and let some drips run down the neck. I even did some drops on the body where the "flesh was rotting away".  Ewww! 
In addition I painted the top to a soda bottle white and hot-glued it to the top of the neck stub to look like the spine sticking out. Super gross!
I would have loved to rig up a squirt gun to shoot blood out of the neck, but I ran out of time. Bummer! 

Step #10 - Ready, Set, Go!!

Ok, the rest is up to you.  Make yourself up with some spooky face make-up, veil, tiara, etc...
It is lightweight enough to wear all night. My dead bride did a lot of dancing. 
Put on the petticoat and a white t-shirt underneath and the costume over and you are ready to scare the crap out of people.
 Kneel for photos and you really creep people out who weren't there!

**Warning - Using the bathroom may prove to be difficult in this costume. Don't say I didn't warn you.** 

Afterthoughts and Tips:
*Use a wedding dress with a high neckline and long sleeves for the easiest construction . Think 80's!*
*Don't take it easy on the paper mache step. Apply at least 3 layers*

Monday, August 29, 2011

Easy (& Super Cute) DIY Photo Memory Banner

My sister-in-law put together the cutest memory display for my niece's 1st birthday party. Check it out:
Sorry for the photo quality. The camera on my phone doesn't take the best photos.

Each picture displayed a picture of Sadie at month 0-11 and was clamped to a ribbon by mini-clothespins. Adhere the numbers representing how many months old she was when the picture was taken and a few decorative circles with her initial on it and voilĂ  ... a wonderful walk down memory lane.

Monday, August 22, 2011

This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Jell-O!

I ran across an super cute idea a while back that I was just waiting to bust it out. My brother and sister-in-law was going to hold a birthday party for my niece/housewarming party and  I was beyond excited to bring this darling dish:
Jell-O Fruit Slices
I first ran across the idea because a friend of mine had done something similar with oranges and had it posted on her Facebook wall. I wanted to learn how to prepare it so I went to the internet to learn how. I ran across a great tutorial at Not Martha and knew it would be easier than it looked.
I decided to try to make the Jell-O look like watermelon slices, super cute for a summertime party! I hollowed out ½ a watermelon, prepared the Jigglers recipe on the box as instructed and poured it in the rind, balanced it all in bowl to avoid tipping, and put it in the fridge to set. VoilĂ , finished! (well…almost)

Now here is where I made my error so please learn from my mistake. Not Martha said  to place the fruit upside-down  when you cut it. However, she was working with smaller fruits. I did this with the watermelon and got through 4 “slices” before the weight of the remaining Jell-O caused it to plop out. Bummer! At least I know for next time. I decided to cut up the Jell-O that came unattached and placed it around the slices to be devoured.
People thought the Jell-O fruit was a neat idea. Maybe next time I’ll add booze to make them into Jell-O shot slices. Yummm!