Tag Archives: DIY

Housewarming Party

17 May

Moving is chaotic and horrible; however, there is a happier side when you can sit down (preferably not on a card board box), throw your feet up, and have some guests over.  If you can do that, you are ready for a housewarming party!

The Party

The housewarming party does not have to be fancy or even carry much of a theme.  What it does need to be is an open and inviting environment for you to host old friends, new friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc.  There is no reason you can go solo in hosting (after all, you are the one celebrating!) or even have a friend host.

Figure out your guest list as soon as possible in order to get food and beverages  figured out– and remember the capacity of your home!  If you live in an urban apartment (think New York sized), but invite 100 people, even with the rule of 1/3 not showing, you still have 60+ people in your living room!  One option out of this is to have an “open-house” housewarming.  This is what we did.  People can come and go as they choose with no pressure to hang around to the end.  You could choose a sit down meal, but, again, think of the capacity of your home and amount of chairs available.

Another important factor is the time.  If you are having a barbecue or other event that requires daylight, the party will fall more in the middle of the afternoon.  Your party could also be open ended for the end time.  It is up to you.  We decided on 3 hours because we figured that was the longest people would want to sit around our house and it was also enough time to allow people to drop in and out as they pleased.  Three hours also allowed us to determine food and drink quantities easier.

The Invites How-To

For our housewarming party, we did the obvious theme of moving.  We used common (read: CHEAP!) items we already had like bubble wrap, packing tape, card board.  The items to create the invites are:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Olfa Knife and a rule (scissors or whatever you are comfortable with cutting multiple items out with)
  • Full sheet white stickers
  • A printer/computer
  • Brown Envelopes
  • Jute Twine (for added moving theme)

Housewarming Invitation Envelope DIY

The first step in creating the invites, I  selected my bubble wrap.  Who knew there were different colors and different sized air bubbles to choose from?  Guess I never had a “fancy” move that required all that pizzazz.  A roll of around 20 feet is around $10-15.  A little pricey, but I chose to use an A6 envelope size (4.75″ x 6.5″) to maximize how much yield I would get from my roll.  My roll had a perforation guide at every foot, so I made my enclosures 4″ x 6″.  It is like it was meant to be cut into invitations.  This cutting out task was a little tedious, but mostly because of boredom and trying to keep all your fingers from getting sliced off.  However, I completed the task of cutting 80 rectangles during my lunch break.  I had a template for the envelope size just to double-check my sizing.

Housewarming Invitation How-to 1

Next, I used my computer to create the invite.  I found some little rhyme from internet and stuck it on the top.  Again, to tie into my theme, I used a font that looked like someone scrawling on a packing box and kept to a color palette of brown, red, white, and black.  One thing to remember when creating the invitations, they must include: who, what, where, when, and VERY clear directions and, preferably, a map.

Housewarming Invitation How-to 2

To be easy (or lazy) I printed the invitations on white full-page sticker paper so I would just have to attach them to the bubble wrap.  I had these left over from the retirement party I threw, so this was a no cost.  If you do buy these, buy online because they are significantly cheaper.  I cut them out on my living room floor while watching TV.  Another mind numbing process, but it does go quickly.

Housewarming Invitation How-to 3

I also printed and cut out my direction card and map.  On one side was a map with a picture of our home shown.  This will help people when they are aimlessly driving around your neighborhood looking for your house number while you neighbors think someone is stalking them.  So to avoid the cops being called on your friends, opt for a picture.  I had the map and picture on one side, and the written directions on the reverse.  Most people have GPS and cell phones, but old Aunt Edith will need some help getting there too, so just include it.

Housewarming Invitation Wrap Around Evelope Sticker

Next is to assemble everything! I had two types of envelopes stickers– one for hand delivery and one for mailing.  The main difference being one had our return address on it.  The picture above was for the mailing ones, and I cut off the mailing address for the hand delivered.  And viola! Invitations complete.

Housewarming Invitation DIY

The Favors How-to

For the favors, I wanted, actually needed, something easy.  What you will need:

Housewarming Favor

I wanted to keep in my theme of moving, so I tried to make them look like little moving boxes.  However, after finding no cheap brown favor boxes nor wanting to assemble them, I settled on mini grocery bags.  I got them for SUPER cheap at a warehouse club (around 500 bags for $4) and I also plan to use these for Halloween this year too.  I used the twine I had used for the invitations to do a faux package wrap.  I attached a thank you tag to complete the look.  I filled them with candy to carry out the home “sweet” home theme.

The Tablescape How-To

Housewarming Table Decor

I found some inspiration on Pinterest for this one.  I used the idea of moving to include painting.  The tablescape is really easy, and I had more than a few people astounded at how I did it.  First buy empty paint cans.  I could only find the ones I liked at Home Depot for about $4.98 a bucket.  Next buy cheap plastic table cloths ($0.99 at Wal-Mart).  I used a paper towel holder and a toilet paper holder to prop the paint cans above the table.  Wrap the table cloths around the base of the holders and then stuff the paint cans on the top.  They can teeter as much as you would like.  I used the lids to indicate where the plates and utensils were located.  I also laid out some clean paint brushes on the table to complete the look.  Excuse the food containers– our caterer was running late and we did not have time to change them out.

The Party Flow

The biggest problem with a bunch of hungry thirsty guests is that they tend to hover by the food and drink.  I did not want everyone hanging around in my dining room, so I separated my stations.  I had four distinct stations:

  1. Appetizer Station
    • This had all the main foods, plates, napkins, and was the first thing people saw as the entered the home (just because it was the layout of our home).  This also allowed us to greet people, and then promptly tell them to please help themself and to enjoy.
  2. Dessert and Coffee Station
    • This had cookies, little cakes, chocolates, etc. and also coffee.  The coffee is good for those guests who imbibe way too much.  This station was smaller, but had plates, cups, coffee extras, and napkins.
  3. Signature Drink and Wine Station
    • We had two beverage dispensers and placed one on each side of the table.  The table was positioned to allow people to walk around the table to get to whatever drink they were aiming for.  Nothing worse than waiting behind an indecisive guest.  The wine was also at each end.
    • Tip: We used 9 oz glasses instead of 16 oz or red solo cups.  This REALLY helped with clean up as many people did not abandon their half drank glasses around the house.  We also felt with some people driving, the smaller glasses would inhibit large consumption.
  4. Beer Station (this was outside on the porch because we had big tubs of ice and tons of beer.  Oranges and limes were provided)
    • This got a lot of people out in the patio area to enjoy the weather and to let them see our backyard.  We had light and dark beers as well as some local drafts for those finicky beer people.

The concept of different stations really did work and kept people bouncing around and mingling.  Be sure to keep napkins at every station to keep your house tidy!

The Food

For the food, we catered.  I was going to try to cook, but between the cleaning and being five months pregnant, I had to give in somewhere.  We did make one item– Paula Dean’s Frito Corn Salad.  Surprisingly, this was one of the most talked about appetizers!  I will tell you– it is amazing.  I would be awesome with a cookout meal.  However, we did follow the some guidelines–

  • Indicate on the invitation appetizers only.
    • Our party fell between 5-8pm, which is iffy on the etiquette to serve dinner sized portions.  Indicating that the party was cocktails and appetizers on the invite as well as calling it an Open House party allowed us to skirt around that rule. We chose food that could be easily held with one hand to allow people to walk around the house.
  • Provide a variety of food for vegetarians and gluten-free guests.
    • We provided about four appetizers that were vegetarian and three that were gluten-free.  We only went a little extreme because close friends we knew had these dietary restrictions.  Normally, only one to two plates would suffice.
  • Label the food
    • This just helps the guest feel more at home and more likely to try the food.  I made coordinating place cards that accompanied each dish.
  • Research on how much food you will need for your guest count.
  • The worst thing to happen is running out of food.  We had enough (we ate the leftovers for the next two days), but we did have some back ups in case people brought their kids or extra drop-in guests.  Our emergency food were chips and salsa, chips and dips (store-bought), and cookies.  Not lavish, but enough to keep the party rolling.

The Drinks

Our drink table had two signature drinks, an assortment of beers, and wine.

I am going to blame pregnancy brain on this one; I thought I had taken pictures of the drink table, but I scoured all our phones, cameras, and tablets, and there does not seem to be a single picture, but the signature drinks look almost exactly like the images from the websites.

Signature Drinks

We decided to do signature drinks because we did not want to purchase bottles of liquor to sit out and have to have tons of mixers.  We also did not want the liability of people taking shots and then trying to drive anywhere.  Signature drinks, which would incorporate liquor, is an easy way to keep the cost down and to personalize the event. We named both drinks to the part, one was the street we lived on, the other the city.

Next, our signature drinks were decided upon by how easy it was to make as a batch.  Plain and simple.  Reason being is that if we did run out of mid party, so could throw the ingredients together quickly.  Good thing we did, our guests went through 5+ gallons of the cocktails about mid-party and we had to make more.

If having more than one mixed drink provided, try using two different types of main alcohol.  Some people hate vodka or gin or whatever, so this was there is always another liquor option.  We used white rum and vodka (and we only had to buy one bottle of each).

Another factor for deciding the signature drinks was sex.  No, not that type of kinkiness (get your head out of the gutter!), but male and female sex.  One drink was pink because of the ingredients and, therefore,”girly”, the other was a more robust drink that was “manly”.  My husband and I personally do not care what color drink we are holding, but some people might and since we had some new neighbors coming over, we wanted to make everyone comfortable.

First signature drink was a good ol’ mojito.  Click the link to read through some of the reviews as other people have quick tips and tricks.    This was our “manly” drink.

Mojito By the Pitcher

Mojito

  • 10 limes, fresh pulp and juice
  • 30 leaves fresh mint
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white rum
  • club soda, chilled
  1. Place lime juice, mint and sugar into a pitcher
  2. Using a muddle stick mash to release mint oils, and dissolve sugar into juice.
  3. Add rum and lots of ice topped with club soda. Adding more club soda to glasses if a lighter drink is desired.
  4. Garnish with fresh mint and lime slices

The other drink, which apparently was the most amazing drink ever (about 10 different people stopped me to ask for the recipe and many others said it was the best mixed drink they’ve had), was the “girly drink”.  Lots of men did have this drink, but, as I said, I only called it girly because it ends up being pink in color.

AMAZING Raspberry Beer Cocktail

raspberry-beer-cocktail-sl-x

  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 3 1/2 (12-oz.) bottles beer, chilled
  • 1 (12-oz.) container frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • Garnish: lemon and lime slices
  1. 1. Stir together first 4 ingredients. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.
  2. Note: To make ahead, stir together lemonade concentrate and vodka in a large container. Chill up to 3 days. Stir in raspberries and beer just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Tip: Use frozen raspberries to keep the drink cold while it sits out.  Also, cut limes ahead of time, then freeze them to put into the drink.  This way ice will not water down the mix as it sits out.  The lime trick works for the Mojito as well.

We served both signature drinks in large beverage dispensers we bought at a warehouse store for around $20, but you could also use a large bowl and ladle, but beware of the mess that might occur as guests get more tipsy.

One last thing is label your drinks by name and include the ingredients underneath.  In this day and age, it seems like everyone has an allergy to something, so better to be safe than sorry.

Wine Cubes

As I mentioned above, no pictures.  However, I have pictures of some of the wine cubes I used.

Wine cubes, you ask?  Yeah, some people might frown on this, but when I started pricing out individual bottles, I could not muster buying all that wine– again, I was 5 months pregnant, so it would just taunt me on my wine rack.   Also, this fit into our theme of moving perfectly!

We purchased the cubes at a warehouse store.  Each cube was equivalent to 4 bottles of wine.  So the red was $15 a piece and the white was $10. We bought three of each, which, in the end, was too much.  I would say two whites and one red box would have sufficed since we had beer and two signature cocktail drinks.

I read somewhere that here in America, people tend to prefer white over red and also the most party pleasing wines were Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you have super wine lovers attending, you might have to up the ante.

photo 3 (3)

To incorporate our thrifty wine cubes into the theme, I decided to turn them into moving boxes.  I then stacked the extra cubes behind the open ones to look like there were boxes laying about.  This allowed me to use the cubes as the decorations for the drink table.

How-To

All you need for this (cheap) decor:

  • Roll of Craft Paper (do NOT buy it at an office supply store– like I did. Go to Walmart.  It is significantly cheaper)
  • Computer and Printer
  • Full Sheet labels (or just plain paper and glue it on)  Tags are below.
  • Packing Tape
  • Scissors
  • Twine to wrap the boxes (not necessary, but I tied it to look like the invites)

Housewarming Envelope Stickers WINE TAGS

Wrap the cubes like a present and cut out the area where the spigot falls.  I used the packing tape liberally around this area of the spigot so the paper would be more water resistant.  Then slap on the moving tags and the twine, and, viola! Easy drinks and decor!

So picture two open, then 5 boxes stacked behind them with the signature drinks flanking either side.  That sums up the drinks.

Housewarming Stickers WINE TAGS

Near the drinks, we kept cocktail napkins, glasses, extra mint and other garnishes.

198

Overall, the most important thing is to have fun and mingle!  This is a picture of party at 8.  Most guests actually stayed for the full 3 hours of the party  (as well as some stragglers who stayed until midnight).   But it was all in all good fun and everyone had a great time.  You can see the dessert station in the bottom left.

Happy Housewarming Planning!!

Advertisements

Layered Wedding Program

29 Apr

As everyone knows, planning a wedding becomes a labor of love, then a labor of anger, then back to love.  There are stresses of items to be booked, flowers to decide on, and not to mention every bridesmaid trying to vicariously plan their wedding through yours.  One of the items that needs to be planned is the program.  This is always good to help explain any ceremony traditions the guests might not be familiar with or to extend a warm thanks to those who cannot be there. [Photo credits to Cameron H Photography, 2008]

The How-To

A layered program is a nice item for guests to flip through.  You will need:

  • Card stock (for the back)
  • A printer
  • High quality printer paper (linen was used above)
  • Hole puncher
  • Coordinating Ribbon

The hardest part to starting this is deciding what to include.  Too much information will seem showy.  Too little leaves people bored and stuck with something to hold all during the ceremony.  Some ideas of information to include:

  • Wedding Party (and a write-up of how they are related/know the bride and groom)
  • Ceremony details (timeline or some explanations of rituals)
  • A story of how the couple met (helps those plus ones connect more to the bride and groom)
  • Acknowledgments (which would include thanking out-of-town guests for making it, extended family, etc.)
  • Prayers for those who are no longer with us but are in spirit (grandparents, parents, etc.)
  • Sentimental or religious quotes important to the couple or family

To start is the cover.  The image above included the couple’s wedding monogram which was repeated on their invitations, place cards, and thank you notes.  The cover needs to state the typical who, what, where, and when. The cover can be traditional or modern.  This paper is based on US letter paper (8.5″ x 11″).  To get the most out of each sheet, the paper was landscaped and allowed for two program pages per prints (trust me– any time-saving tricks help when you are making 150 of them!).

Next is to decide how many pages you will have.  With the program being layered, every added pages makes the top pages shorter.  This program chose to have four pages.  Depending on your font size and printer margins, create guides to go up equal spacing from the bottom.  The example below had printer margins of 0.25 and used a half-inch for each page’s writing.  The printer margin also allows for colored card stock to show up at the bottom. Don’t forget to leave a half-inch or more for the fold down of the card stock!!  Then as you go through each page, the text can become longer.  Here is a the last page where you can see the same guides as the first page, but how it has moved down.

Finally, the cutting out is condensed because you can layer three or four pages and use a paper-cutter.  I decided to cut off some of the sides as well to make the card stock present on the sides.  Once all the pages are cut out, assemble them in the correct order.  Cut the card stock in half and fold down the half-inch we left at the top.  I used the edge of a ruler to get that perfect edge, but a scorer would work too.

Once the card stock and the pages are lined up, places two holes for the ribbon to slip through (I neglected to get any pictures of this, but it is easy).  Then simply tie them together!  You now have a beautifully personalized program!

Corked!

28 Jan


And you thought the fun only started when you popped that cork!  Now you can upcycle all your months of hard partying (…er…work) by reusing all your old corks as wine glass charms for your guests!  A Charmed Life has a wonderful tutorial (with pictures!!) on their website that will guide you through how to create these little jewels.  Their final product is pictured above.  So, remember, when you open your next bottle for a party, you are technically saving the environment.  You rock.

Teacher Retirement Centerpieces

6 Jun

After the pots and branches were set (instructions on how-to visit original Manzanita Madness post) it was time to decorate!  I needed something that would add color to my centerpieces, fit into my theme, and be the right scale for the branches and pot.  I happened across some school themed scrapbook paper I found on sale ($9.99 for 100 sheets!).  The sheets had multiple different patterns, sparkles, and colors– just perfect for the party, but I still had to figure out what I would use it for.  Then it hit me!  What screams school and teachers more than paper airplanes!  And, to top it off, the cost would be less than a penny for each plane!

How To

Perfect Paper Airplanes

I first used plain computer paper to figure out the size I wanted on the trees.  I went with about 4 inches by 7 inches.  I got four planes per 12 inch by 12 inch scrapbook paper (I eyeballed the measurement to make them all fit– three in one direction, one on the leftover top part).  Then I took a metal ruler and began folding the planes.  First I folded in half, then folded the sides in once, then again (to get a good point and a slimmer plane), then brought the two sides together and folded down from the middle.  Or click here for a pictorial tutorial.  I had purchased some yarn ($1.29 for a ton of yarn at Wal-mart) and cut lengths of about 5 inches and tied them into loops.  I placed the knotted side into the middle of the planes and then stapled them together.  I then tried to place one of each pattern on each centerpiece to get a lot of color for not a lot of cash!

Gingham Placemat

I thought gingham would be a good compliment to a teacher retirement party.  I purchased 4 yards and cut the squares roughly about 2′-0″ x 2′-0″.  I used a roller cutter on a cutting board.  I noticed I had some frayed edges and decided I needed to finish it off.  I had some wired red ribbon about 2 inches thick.  I used regular Elmer’s white glue to glue on the ribbon to the edges of the fabric along two sides.  If needed, I went through and “hemmed” with the white glue on the other edges.  The ribbon added some weight to the mats and made them see more expensive.  I sprinkled colored buttons around like confetti on the placemat due to our guest of honor being a home economics teacher.  I used the placemats also on the memorabilia table.

Mini Blackboard Table Cards

The table cards were made from black foam core that was cut in order to be able to use wooden tongue depressors.  I cut them about 4″ x 6″ (approximately).  I used hot glue to adhere the wooden sticks to the foam core.  I used scissors to cut blunt edges on the depressors.  Next, I used my Cricut to cut the letters for the mini blackboards.  Then I used a coordinating ribbon from my gingham placement (same ribbon just in a 1/2 inch size).  I used green floral sticks with metal wires attached to wrap around the ribbon and shove into my foam (worked really well and held them even during transport!).  I covered the area with an apple– it didn’t need it since the moss covered everything, but I liked the shiny apple at each table.  My table names went along with my theme and were based on stereotypical school cliques.  The tables were the:

  • Drama Queens
  • Bullies
  • Nerds
  • In-Crowd
  • Cheerleaders
  • Jocks
  • Outcasts
  • Preps
  • Misfits
  • Honor Students
  • Teacher’s Pets

 The guest of honor had a seat saved with a blackboard saying, “Saved for teacher” and had a matching red ribbon bow in the back of the chair that matched the gingham placemats.

Moss & Pencils

As I mentioned in my post Guest Book with a Twist, I instructed the guests to actually engage with the centerpiece by using little yellow golf pencils that were placed in the green moss.  They were to look like they were part of the theme only, but were actually functional for filling out the guest book and also for the surprise pop quiz (as mentioned in  Teacher Retirement Party Activities post) that was given.  We bought the pencils for cheap at an office supply store and sharpened them up a bit before placing them out.

Teacher Retirement Party Activities

1 Jun

Guests can sometimes be stuck to their chairs all night and not socialize.  To keep your guests from suffering for “Tree Stump Syndrome” I crafted some activities to get people talking, laughing, and, most importantly, learning more about the guest of honor.  I needed something to match my ‘Last Class’ theme that would get the guests to interact with one another doing something benign and silly.  These little activities usually help people loosen up and helps make the party more memorable.

Dunce Cap Doodle

I decided to create a song as a tribute to the guest of honor.  The springboard for the idea came from a message board site.  I liked the Yankee Doodle themed song since could download it from you tube without words to have the guests sing to at the party.  To keep with my theme, I decided that I would make Dunce caps and those with the caps would automatically be chosen to sing the song at some point during the party.

At first, the Dunce caps were around and people merely thought they were just decorations for the party.  However, the guest of honor began to choose people as she met and chatted with them.  She picked people like her old boss, some old friends, etc.  As soon as they received the hat, I discretely went to them and handed the song so they could read it over.  The guest of honor only knew she had to hand them out, but did not know why.  Then before the speeches, we asked all those ‘Dunces’ to come up to the front to receive their ‘punishment.’  Since I had about 10, people who were shy could still get up there without feeling bashful.  I was surprised at the amount of people who got out cameras to get everyone singing!  Everyone got a kick out of the whole production!

How To

I bought gray poster board and referenced First Palette for a little help on making a conical hat.  I measured my head with the string and then halved it.  I then attached the string to a pencil, held the sting at the center of my circle, and traced my semi-circle.  I cut out the shape carefully.  Then I secured the hat with a staple at the bottom and then fixed the rest of the seam with dabs of hot glue.  To make it more festive, I bout some spray glitter and glittered those bad boys up!  I also used my Cricut to cut out the letters “Dunce.”  I glued those on prior to the glitterization.

Party Pop Quiz!

Another idea was to help the guests be better informed about the retiree.   To do that we had a memorabilia table with old pictures, old year books, awards, etc. spread along the table along with mementos and decorations.  In addition, we had a sideshow running that had fun facts about when she started teaching compared to now (e.g., the average teacher salary from the 60’s to average teacher’s salary now).  Hopefully all the guests were paying attention because we had a POP QUIZ right after the speeches were done!

How to

I printed these out on my card stock I used for all the rest of my projects.  I chose questions that were tailored to those who attended (like the neighbors invited would get the car color correct, while work people would know about how many years she taught).  The questions were meant to entertain and to get people laughing and, at the same time, learning a little more about the retiree.  We also had some tie breakers in case we needed them.  We gave the top two guests gifts for getting the most questions correct.

Last Hurrah for Summer

29 Aug

As a cute gift for anyone at any age, this little personal s’more kit is incredibly creative (just as long as there is supervision with anything fire!). Thanks to Instructables and jwilson27, this creative idea can be at your next child’s sleepover or as a fun end to a casual dinner party.  How great is this?!

*This would look great with the addition of these cute s’mores gift packs from TinyPrints Blog:

Personal S’mores Kit

The How-To:

  • Cedar Plank
  • Bolts – 1/4 inch and 2 and 1/2 inches tall
  • Nuts – 1/4 inch
  • Optional washers for the bolts
  • 2.5oz Stainless Steel Condiment Cup (Four for 1$ at Wal-Mart)
  • Box of cheap toothpicks

–NOT PICTURED–

  • Box of matches
  • Bag of large marshmallows
  • Chocolate Bar
  • Box of graham crackers
  • Bamboo skewers, normally used for shish kabobs

Tools:

  • Drill
  • 2 and 1/2 inch drill bit
  • 1/4 inch drill bit
  • Saw

  1. Drill the large hole (2 and 1/2 inch bit) in the center of the cedar and about 1/2 inch away from the outside edge.
  2. HANDY TIP: Put a scrap board underneath when cutting to prevent the wood from splintering.
  3. Once that hole is drilled, measure about 1/2 inch away from the other side of the whole and cut.
  4. When that piece is done, drill four holes in the corners with a 1/4 inch drill bit.

  1. Insert a bolt into each hole and tighten it there with a nut.
  2. When that is done, drop the cup in the hole.

  1. Use a small group of cheap toothpicks (about 20). Brake them in half so they would rest in the bottom of the cup. You do not need the flame too high
  2. Get your marshmallow prepared by placing it on the end of a bamboo skewer. Place a piece of cholocate on top of a graham cracker. Have the other graham cracker piece ready to be placed on top.
  3. Light the toothpicks with a match. About 20 toothpicks in the cup can toast 2 marshmallows… maybe three.
  4. NOTE: Don’t blow on your marshmallow when it’s by the mini grill. My son did and it blew the lit toothpicks out of the cup! YIKES!

Once the marshmallow is toasted, place it on top of the chocolate and then put the other half of the graham cracker on top of that. Wait for the chocolate to get nice and melty and then enjoy your S’mores!

When you are done with the mini grill, pick it up by the edge of the cedar and run water into the cup to put out the fire.

Please use caution when dealing with fire and hot surfaces!!!

SD532451.JPG

Bachelorette Bash

16 May

For some oddball reason when we chose our wedding date, it was only two weeks after my graduation from graduate school.  Not to mention that I was planning it in my hometown which was a 2 and a half hour drive away.  That meant, between 16 credit hours and thesis writing, we had to go down practically every weekend to plan food, the venue, the flowers…well, you get the idea.

So, some little things fell through the cracks like my bachelorette party.  My bridesmaids were scattered throughout the state and the country, and two of them, to top it off, were getting married the month after my wedding.  We were all stressed out and pressed for time.  My then fiance stepped up and planned my bachelorette party.  There was just a mass party invite on Facebook, which included boys and girls, and mostly involved people in the area since I sent it out a week before hand.  I had a great time– don’t get me wrong– but after attending other people’s more planned parties, I took on the challenge to see what I could have come up with and ideas that would have been fun to do.  I am still working on a budget since it has just become a habit to me now.

Themes

Some themes that aren’t too tacky or expensive:

  • Black & White Party. This is where all invited guests must wear black or white and the bride (and maybe the bridesmaids too) wear a vibrant color.  The theme would work well since every girl has the iconic black dress somewhere on hand.  Works well if you are going out on the town.
    • IDEA: I would then have either bright feathers and ribbons to attach on the guests to signify they are with the party. Like a pin or something easy to make and it could be a favor as well.  Activities help people who know the bride well, but maybe not the other guests– it can act as an icebreaker.
  • Destiny Revealed Party: This might involved a little bit of money if you were to hire a fortune teller to tell all the guests futures.  The decorcould involve lava lamps, beaded doorways, and a crystal ball.
    • IDEA: A set bag of questions that a magic eight ball would reveal and help the girls meet one another.  This would be if you were not leaving the site and were there the entire night.
  • Brides-Night-In: This idea seems really fun, again, if you can swing hiring someone.  The night would be contained in a residence or somewhere large enough to host a slew of girly things:
    • Hiring a pole dancer to teach your guests pole dancing would be fun or know somewhere to go that offers pole dancing lessons;
    • Hosting a passion party (its something to giggle at, but at the end of the night, the representative will most likely expect people to buy products which could put off some people)
    • Hire a belly dancer to give lessons to everyone.
  • Sparkling Party: My maid of honor did this for her party.  Everyone who attended was asked to wear head to toe sparkly- sequins, fake jewelry, anything that would be fun and bright.  At her house before hand, we made more glittery stuff from little gems and feathers to wear out.  This is a nice cheap way to get everyone involved and it made for some great pictures!
  • Girls Night Out on the Town: Do the typical games and presents at someone’s home or hotel room, then go out on the town with the girls.  This one could escalate in price if you go wild on food, decorations, and game props.

Invitations

Facebook invites are good and all, but I really enjoy the paper kind of invitation.  There is a wide variety of invitations that range from tea party to explicit.  I would like to cultivate the European idea of sexy as opposed to the American idea (i.e., slutty).

I like Brandy Seitz’s (how to instructions on link) lace up invitation via make-your-own-invitations blog.

Invitation Total: 95¢

Investment Purchases Total: $28.68

Creating this invitation will be a bit higher if you do not already have some of the tools needed.  You could always skip the eyelets and just punch holes, but I think you would looks the tied look a bit.  For the price, I would assume that the eyelet kit and hole puncher are investment products simply because you can use them for other projects.

  • Eyelet Puncher with Eyelets: $24.49
  • Hole Puncher: $4.19
  • Ribbon: $1.72/roll (I would say 3-4 cards per roll, so 43¢/card)
  • Card Stock: $12.99/25 pack of 12″x12″ or 52¢/sheet (I like this neat sparkly card stock, but the linen will be good too)

IDEA: The insert could have a fish net stocking stretched across it as a belly band or maybe surrounding the entire invitation.

IDEA: Since the invitation invokes a lingerie aura, then the invitation should suggest that guests bring something for the bride to wear, or use, on her honeymoon.

Looks

Outfit Total: $110.06

  • The dress from Forever21 is something I normally wouldn’t wear, but a girls night out deserves something a bit more fun for $27.80.
  • Next, the earrings would be something slightly sparkly like these from Express for $19.50.
  • The bangle is something I am starting to like.  This one is from Forever21 as well for $5.80.
  • The clutch is something that should add to the dress, but not be missed when your out dancing.  This one is from Target and goes for $16.99.
  • I love a cute pair of black heels and these look like they could be dressed up or down from Tilly’s for $39.97.

Another look that would go well with the sparkly theme:

Outfit Total: $122.99

  • The dress is flashy but understated from Express for $69.50.
  • The shoes are still sparkly, but doesn’t take away from the dress from Target at $22.99.
  • The earrings and bracelet are stylish and can be worn again from Forever21 both for $5.80.
  • The clutch ties everything together for $18.90.

Decor & Favors

I think even if you are only staying a few hours at someone’s house or a meeting spot that can be decorated, do it.  It provides a fun backdrop to pictures, and most decorations can be reused for another person’s party.

  • The favors mirror the lingerie party theme, and offer to be decorations on the tables for $20.28/12 or $1.69 ea. (comes in an assortment of colors).
  • A another cute idea to call out the bride is a personalized sash that could be bought by bridesmaids as a gift since it is $24.50 ea.
  • The Candlesare an easy inexpensive project.
    • Purchase varying sizes of pillar candles (these can double as favors/prizes for games) at $5.24 for 8″ candles.
    • Cut out the desired paper size to wrap around and attach with either spray adhesive or two sided tape.
    • Use your newly purchased eyelet puncher and kit to duplicate the look of the invitations.
    • Lace ribbon through.
    • You can embellish the edges with pearl ribbon or jewels– just remember to keep it is a candle and things can catch fire!
    • IDEA: Place inexpensive mirror tiles (at Walmart) underneath the candles and the boas and sprinkle with sparkly confetti to complete the tablescape.
  • Feather Boas are easy as displays on tables and also can be worn once you leave to party (image via blog australiaentertains).  I would use sparingly since one 6′ feather boa runs about $9.99.

On the Menu

For the bar, there can be several different serving options to choose from:

  • Make-your-own
    • Provide a selection of alcohol and mixers, maybe a blender, for people to dabble.
    • Provide various fruits to mix in like limes, lemons, strawberries, etc…
    • Place suggested drink recipes on cards near the ingredients.
  • Made-to-order
    • Either have pitchers of sangria, mimosas, or other easy to mix drinks on the table.
    • If you have a friend willing to man the bar, have them make mixed drinks in the blender from a selection of drinks for the guests.
    • Place cards of what you are offering that evening that coordinate with your decor.
  • Remember to include staples like wines, beer, and sodas.

  1. Champagne Pomegranate Cocktail
  2. Sangria Blanco
  3. Plastic Glasses at $11.99/25 or 48¢ ea.
  4. Red Headed Slut shot (could change it to whatever color the bachelorette is) Ingredients: 1.5 oz Jägermeister,1.5 oz Peach schnapps,Fill with Cranberry juice
  5. Vodka Ginger Lemonade
  6. Cosmo Slushie
  7. Jello Shots (The link has some good recipes for jello shots). Don’t forget the Shot Glasses! The glasses could be customized with stencils.

For the nibblers on the table, Myrecipes.com suggests:

“Most bachelorette parties end up with the guests out on the town for a second round. Serve some simple but sophisticated food that will get the evening started without much prep time. The girls won’t be too full to party, but will have enough to keep going. To make the most of the time catching up with friends, choose food that’s easily eaten without utensils. Finger foods move with the girls as they mingle through the party.”

  • The cake is something that is a little unexpected: you will need a cleaned Ken doll and different sizes of cake rounds.  You can easily make little outfit and miniature paper money to stick in his hands.  This is especially good when you do not have a stripper, or want one.

Movers & Shakers

21 Apr

In the last 5 years, Hubs and I have moved 5 times.  Yes, 5 times.  I can currently pack and unpack an entire house in 2 days.  Our mail is probably still being delivered to unsuspecting residents in three different zip codes.  So, to keep family and friends abreast of where we moved to, I started sending out moving announcements.  I wanted something that was more than just a postcard where people would not look twice at it, so I turned to my trusty friend Google Image search.  Me and Google get along well, especially when I am looking for some inspiration. I haven’t made all of them, but here are some I did make and some I will make in the future.

I claim no ownership of these designs or images– please google image search them yourself to find full information, this is merely for educational/informational purposes:

Moving Announcements

The keys are from Love me Always.   The Welcome mat moving announcement is cute, and would be relatively easy to make.  This is from Finestationery.com, however, I think it has been discontinued.  It was from Putnam House and was available as a postcard.

Next are some map inspired moving announcements that are dependent on the envelope liners that you would need to make and insert yourself.

I like this one with its simple graphic, but awesomely tied together to the envelope. The other one could do without the envelope liner since the real map is so busy.  I like it because it is simple and can be customized with the color paper you use.  There is a DIY tutorial at Paper Source.

Here are some more literal and graphic moving announcements.  The lime box is again from Finestationery.com and is made by Sarah LeClere.

Hopefully we will not be moving this year, but I secretly hope we are so I can make some of these ideas!  One tip is to always remember to make sure that you do not have to pay any extra postage.  I ran into that problem for Christmas cards (read: $1.50/envelope x60 envelopes– Hubs didn’t like that one much).  Also make sure that there are no big bumps from bow knots or whatever that might rip the envelope.