My back is killing me from being on my feet, from 8:00 a.m. until the party started at 4:30 to 7:30. Oh, I did sit down, when I was in the car driving like a nut to buy dry ice, which we never did use.
During a quiet moment (eating breakfast before running the boy off to the bus) while perusing my latest Family Circle magazine, I spied this mod wall clock from Crate & Barrel. And since I've already done a post on word decor, one on numbers was a "duh" moment. So here is today's tip, a classic that never goes out of style, decorating by the numbers.
1. Land of Nod's We've Got Your Number rug
2. Binth number poster
3. Number ice tray
4. Vinyl art from Décor Elements of Stampin' Up
5. and 6. West Elm's round canvas nesting boxes and numbers rug
7. D. Frank Designs odd and even porcelain dinner plates
8. Urban Outfitters' secret code applique pillow.
Check out these celebrity stencils at BHG.com where you can carve a political statement of Senators Obama and McCain, or your favorite comedy host like David Letterman or John Stewart.
Check out Martha's Halloween Workshop on carving pumpkins for lots of inspiration. Her owls and blackened pumpkins require power tools...you've been warned. Also involving power tools, DIY network has an awesome slide show of extreme carvings, my favorites are the dragon and the sun man.
But sometimes, there is that rare creature who doesn't feel the joy of carving, after nearly cutting off a finger trying to carve a plastic pumpkin. Hey, my family didn't do Halloween, so I grew up without the pleasure of sticking my hand into a pumpkin to get all the slimy seeds out. Plus, I know the fun is in the carving, but in a few days, not-so-attractive flies will be swarming. For a less destructive way to decorate a pumpkin....
I love going to parties where my friends flex their creative muscles, because not only are they fun to go to, but you can "borrow" a few ideas. We were at Z's second birthday party on Saturday, and because she's a little monkey, mom decided it would make a perfect theme, and I agree. Great party highlights included the older kids peeling their bananas with their bare feet and a jungle scene photo area.
How cute are the monkey cupcakes? Their faces are mini wafers with licorice mouths. Kids will eat just about anything on a stick, and this centerpiece was no exception. Her goody bags were perfect, personalized bags of homemade playdough scented with banana essential oil, tied to a monkey cookie cutter and a monkey lollipop. And I just couldn't bear to drink out of the monkey cups. They even had little paper tails.
Thank you C for letting me share!
Check out these candles from Adore. I'm loving these napkin rings from the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, they make the perfect place cards. Lug your stuff with these storage trugs from Smith & Hawken. Check out these quote bubbles from Wallies.
Easy to use, Wallies Peel and Stick chalkboard collection -- simply remove the paper backing and stick them up!
Or be crafty and do it yourself with Rust-oleum's chalkboard spray or paint, found at any hardware store. You can apply it to just about anything. Keep the kids out of your hair and paint a wall or the top of a play table with it. Turn a cabinet door into a message center. Martha (of course) has a way to make custom color chalkboard paint.
There was about 6 boys involved, and my son is a pacifist. He may pretend to cut his brother's arms off with his light saber, but much like his mother, he's a lover, not a fighter. When his friend O and O's nemesis J managed to once again cross paths at recess, they got into it (from what I understand, this is not the first time.) O was getting the crap beaten out of him and asked my son to help him. My kid puts his arms around J (and he demonstrated this on me, much to my delight as I tried not to die from laughter, since I had a feeling I knew how this would turn out), innocently holding J down. O promptly begins wailing on J, causing my son to think to himself "hmm...that isn't right" and lets go. Lucky for him, teacher had seen the beginning and was already moving when everything started going down.
A visit to the principal's office brought tears (my kid) and a lecture about making better choices (from principal). He wanted to keep J from hurting his friend. Legitimate. I understand. He had no idea O was going to start hitting, that's why he let go. Validated by teacher. Others who I have retold this story to admire the, pardon the pun, balls of my kid, being as this is COMPLETELY out of character, so makes the mental image even funnier. "Hey Guido, go down to Chinatown and take care of some business for me." I'm tickled again just thinking about it. Not because he was in his first fight, but that he actually held his own.
Alrighty then, switching gears, time for another etiquette lesson y'all. It's called "Don't bite the hand that feeds you, you ungrateful b**ch", to quote a friend who is very bitter right now. She's throwing a birthday party for her friend who not only is being completely useless and helpless, and is taking a thousand years to do the simple tasks she has been assigned. Like getting the guest list together. Or inviting 30 more people after finally getting the original (incomplete) guest list together without regard to the time, energy and money it takes to finance such an event.
Remember people, if someone is throwing you a party, be a gracious honoree. Be prompt when you are asked to get addresses and phone numbers, or register if you are having a shower. Don't poo-poo on the ideas, and if you are asked your opinion, give it, DON'T say, "I don't know, whatever you want" then get pissed when it's not what you want/expect. Unless Donald Trump is footing the bill, remember that someone else who is not you is paying for everything, and there is a dollar amount for every change in idea. And for heaven's sake, DO NOT TAKE CREDIT FOR THE PARTY. Say "So and so hosted this for me, aren't they amazing?" Just because it's for you/your baby, doesn't mean it's about you. It's about the blood, sweat and tears of the hostess/es, all you had to do was show up. On time. For the love of all that is holy, do not be any kind of late to any event in your honor. Seriously. I know people who would be late to their own funeral.
And speaking of etiquette, loving this post on children and table manners by Lisa Gache, the founder of Beverly Hills Manners. Ah, remember the days when kids used to go to finishing school, and called adults "sir" and "ma'am" and not by their first name? It's like nails on the chalkboard when kids call me by my first name. My kids call adults "Mr. Joe" or "Ms. Kim". It's a sign of respect, that much like table manners, sending thank you notes, prompt RSVPing, and saying "please" and "thank you" is becoming a sad rarity.
Create unique adult drinks like the Masquerade or a Creepy Crawler, complete with a chocolate web and orange slice garnish.
Vodka and pumpkin puree make up the Jack O’Tini.
I love how colorful the Midori Halloween Punch is, those red orange slices look like giant eyeballs.
The bloody brain shooter takes a little time to make, but is more than worth it.
If these drink ideas are a little complicated, no fear. There are lots of ways to add a fun garnish to an otherwise ordinary beverage.
-How awesome are DIY's creepy drink skewers made from dried fruit. fresh ginger, and gummy candies?- Use rock candy, licorice sticks, black and white peppermint sticks or glow sticks as swizzle sticks.
- Slip spider or skull rings on glass stems, embellished with glitter glue as wine charms.
- Garnish drink rims with corn syrup tinted red for a bloodied look. Or dip moistened rims into festive-colored sugars.
- Have a few gummy worms creeping precariously over the edge of or a candied eyeball floating in a martini glass
- Try three candy corns speared through a toothpick, instead of onions or olives.
One off my favorite places for party inspiration is Jean M. Their (free!!!!) catalog is chock full of ideas for invitations, place settings, gifts and favors. One of their invites, Piper. Put a twist on traditional invites with Wonderful Graffiti Weddings' giant lollipop invites. And how fabulous is Paperstyle's Georgette invitations? Hand write an invite on Smudge Ink's Sunburst note card.
Setting the Scene
Invite guests to dress in black and/or white, then be a stunning hostess in an eye catching color like red or hot pink. Keep it real with Plum Party's cocktail rings.
The Table's the Thing
Start your table with Pottery Barn's black and white dinnerware.Pinwheels from scrapbook paper, candy in clear compotes and lidded jars and paper-cut fences set an enchanting scene. Picture courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens Halloween Tricks and Treats 2007. Lovin' Pottery Barn's 2007 Fall catalog table. Once again, black and white with punches of color, my favorite. All black with white accents make this setting sleek and elegant.
Create a black martini with black Blavod vodka or serve White Russians. OMG! Look at these fabulous cakes from Confetti Cakes via Blush Events. Pink CakeBox never lets me down. Check out this engagement cake. Fabulous cupcake wrapper from Fancy Flours.
Send Them Home With a Smile
Pass out small cellophane bags and let guests indulge at a candy buffet. Custom bags of chocolate for guests at a wedding.
Anyhoos, my boys received Target's Play Wonder kitchen for Christmas a few years ago, and alas, they are no longer making this kitchen. They and all their friends play in it every day. Trust me, they are wailing on each other with light sabers afterwards. So in the spirit, today's post is all about the world of educational play.
Target's great line Play Wonder includes a coffeemaker and a cleaning trolley(!). Heaven help me, I don't even have a real cleaning trolley. How cute are their sandwiches? We also have the apron set pictured with the kitchen and some other pieces that are no longer in production...boo. Since I like the series, they must be phasing it out. Just because I like them.
My other favorite people are Melissa & Doug. We have the birthday cake, and I couldn't live without our calendar. I love the sushi and if I had the space, we would so have the puppet theatre.
Couldn't forget Land of Nod, we love that place. They have great stuff, including this Shop 'Til You Drop market. They also have felt food, which with all the toys that go into kids' mouths, never really could get into felt.
Speaking of felt food, loving the Lilly Bean line at Mahar Dry Goods. Feast your eyes on a few of their gems....
Our local gem is in the heart of the Cascade Mountains. A quaint Bavarian-themed town that draws more than 2 million visitors a year, doubles as a base for many outdoor adventurers.
This town, nestled on the banks of Lake Michigan, is known for its world-famous Tulip Time festival in May, which draws more than 500,000 people.
Home of America's oldest Amish settlement, horse and buggies clip-clop along back roads in Lancaster County.
Although you need a passport to visit the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, it is a lot easier and cheaper to get to than France.
If you are in the area, check out these ethnic neighborhoods....
Chinatown, San Francisco - the largest Chinatown in North America
Little Havana, Miami - The best way to get a taste of Cuban life
Little Village, Chicago - Check out the largest Mexican community in the Midwest
Tarpon Springs, Florida - Greek immigrants came to this coastal community to dive for sponges and set up enticing restaurants, pastry shops, and markets giving the area a Mediterranean mystique
Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, Oklahoma - Learn about Cherokee history and traditional crafts in this cultural and commercial capital
One of my jobs includes the favors and I just had to show what I've done so far, because they are too cute! I found the 20 favor box pack at Michael's, clearanced for $9.99 from $19.99 and I could use a 40% off coupon. I couldn't find the candy watches anywhere, so I had to order them from Groovy Candies. The grosgrain ribbon, another score I had from some crazy $1 sale at Michael's. The clock faces are 1 1/2" round sticker labels with a cute handwritten font from 1001fonts.com, matted onto 2" black circles. I wrote the numbers on each clock face. I so wanted to put little hands on there with tiny brads, but I had to reel in the madness.
Go to www.galtogalwalk.org and join the Walk! And our way of saying thanks -BUY ONE PERSONALIZED STATIONERY PRODUCT and GET ONE FREE! What better time to start your holiday shopping! (expires midnight Monday, October 13th - One free product per order) USE PROMO CODE: WALKER
We understand that things are very tight right now, and with the holidays around the corner it doesn't make it any easier so why wait? It's a great time to save! Join Larry King, the cast of Guiding Light, Stephen Covey, Marg Helgenberger (CSI), Lisa Rinna, Denise Richards and many others! This is a virtual walk – it doesn’t require any training or leaving your laptop! The whole “walk” is on line and every day you can log on and watch your “virtual walker” in a new city for 31 days!
-Wow them with Martha's fabulous creepcakes
-These witch cupcakes will cast a spell on your younger guests.
-Black cat's paw cookies are the cat's meow....sorry I had to do that.
-Have Halloween in 3-D with cookies that interlock to make freestanding treats, courtesy of Fancy Flours.
-Set out cookies, colored frosting and candies and let kids create their own Creepy Crawlers.
-Good and bad for you, these monster mouths will get eaten in no time! We are so doing these at our Mad Scientist Party.
These festive S'mores are less hassle than the campfire variety and just as delicious.
-Made from a graham cracker, this Frankenstein mask is easy to duplicate
-Impress your guests with Williams-Sonoma's assortment of miniature skulls that arrive in a coffin-shaped box, or a delightfully tasty place setting with their personalized bat cookies.
-How yummy! Big chunks of ooey gooey handmade chocolate chip fudge with marshmallows get the "stick treatment" before being dipped in Belgian chocolate and decorated by hand.
-Who'd ever guess that this otherworldly creation is actually moist yellow cake layered with mocha mousse, and wrapped in black-and purple-tinted white chocolate? Both the dipped marshmallows and cake are from Dean & Deluca.
And while we are talking about Halloween ideas, I'll be sharing a few sneak peeks into our Mad Scientist's Lab party for your own inspiration. I made the larger Frankenbag from a brown paper bag and paper, as an example for my Fall Events class. The smaller green bags are just googly eyes and paper. We'll be using these at the party, the larger bag is way too labor intensive. I only have 27 more to make! Next week, adult treats galore!
Everywhere you are shopping, I'm sure you have seen all the breast cancer support products, with pink labels and logos, and a quick search will pull up thousands of sites with awareness products. A word of caution, as with any good cause, there are scam artists, so only shop at online sites that you know and trust. I also discovered a term I had never heard before - pinkwashers - a company that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon campaign, but manufactures products that are linked to the disease. Crazy, eh?
Breast Cancer Action, an advocacy group that focuses on “Challenging Assumptions” and “Inspiring Change”, urges you to ask some critical questions before opening your wallet for pink-ribbon campaigns:
How much money from your purchase actually goes to the cause?
What is the maximum amount that will be donated?
How much money was spent marketing the product?
How are the funds being raised?
To what breast cancer organization does the money go, and what types of programs does it support?
What is the company doing to assure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?
They also list a few pinkwashing examples: the biggest one, Yoplait’s fall campaign, Save Lids to Save Lives, continues to urge consumers to buy pink-lidded cups of Yoplait yogurt. For each pink lid mailed back to the company by December 31, Yoplait donates ten cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, up to $1.5 million. The yogurt is made from cows treated with rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) [Used to boost dairy production in cows]. According to their site, there are numerous health concerns, including breast cancer, surrounding the use of rBGH. (The FDA approved rBGH in 1993, under great and continuing controversy).
Yes, Social Couture was all over this a long time ago. I'm in love with how they placed the fans and chopsticks at each setting. Purchase the whole package or a few pieces to add to your own collection. And see, the colors aren't traditional red and gold, making this collection feel really fresh.
Get some inspiration from these parties....a fabulous party from Hula Seventy for her 8 year old daughter. How cute are the parasols in the cupcakes? If you can't find decorated take-out boxes, just cover the front of plain boxes with decorative paper. Chinese yo-yos, paper fans and blowers make perfect party favors.
Cookie Magazine covered another 8-year old's birthday that fell within a month of Chinese New Year. Guests decorated pre-dressed finger-puppet bases by drawing on faces and gluing on yarn hair. Although a professional puppeteer brought this stage, you can make your own by draping fabric over a couch, then use their puppets in a show. The birthday boy lead his guests on a New Year Parade. How about these cherry fortune cookies from Fancy Fortune Cookies? Use them as favors, or as too-cute cupcake toppers.
Over at PartySpot, a traditional Asian-themed birthday party for three was brought to life with Chinese dragons, a kung fu demonstration, and more. Chinese lanterns and parasols hung from the trees.The tables were decorated with natural linens, black-and-white Chinese lanterns, red Chinese character confetti, and fortune cookies.
Each child had a customized cake in the shape of a pagoda complete with white chocolate Chinese lions standing guard. Individual champagne bottles adorned with a miniature bright red kimono.
-Two for one - 100% cotton canvas, hand-silk-screened reversible placemat, in Loreto Uniform
-Side by Side - Target's slick cube occasional tables
-Budget bouquet - Cabana hour glass vase, in yellow with contrasting red rim
-A little pillow talk - Juniper cotton square throw pillow from Unison
-Good night -Ikea's Hulda Vilse quilt cover and pillowcases
-Step on it - Andrea wool rug in orange and off-white
Feeling bolder? Paint is the least expensive (although most labor-intensive) way to change a room. Choose a subdued tone so that your furniture and accessories really pop, or break up intense colors with hints of a third color. Try these color dynamic duos and accents; soft blue walls with tangerine and grey, lime walls with lilac and lemon, a trendy orange with lime and red and my favorite (which happens to be my living room) red accent wall with chocolate brown and green accents.
Elements from the book, like the cover image of a pink lady toting a suitcase and the (at the time) must-have UGG boots became part of the decor, and brought the book to life. They even had a photo op area with a Malibu beach scene and a hot surfer dude to pose with guests. Other party ideas they used: signature cocktails that included The Pink Lady and The Divorce, and Lucite tabletops filled with flowers, placed on clear trunks stuffed with UGG purses.
As gift bags, they created a Starter Wife kit filled with all the Hollywood essentials, including BOTOX gift certificates and tanning services, signed copies of the book, plus an UGG shoe display where the female guests chose blue or pink and the gentlemen with chestnut-colored boots. Here are a few picts of the fabulousness. Want more? You'll have to get the book!
Cookies by Design cookies with The Starter Wife book cover on them. The invites mirror the book cover's design. The staff dressed in pink with vintage suitcases served as human arrows to direct guests to the party.
How about these striking aqua on red floral background invites from Mountain Cow or this bird toile aqua/red note from Invitations Galore and More. Page Prints Stationery's saucy invitation or mix and match these invitations from Snow and Graham with red or aqua envelopes.
The Table's The Thing
The inspiration for this table setting is the beautiful sheet of wrapping paper, its edges were wrapped with cotton ribbon for a finished look. Around the napkins, strips of aqua paper with millinery birds perching on top (their feet are secured to the paper band with adhesive dots). And the centerpiece? Vibrant red carnations in a porcelain compote. I love the red branches, low glasses and lanterns for this wedding's decor. Being creative with everyday items is very cost-effective. To die for: red cloth napkins with screen-printed leafy design in light blue. Setting the tone with aqua and red programs.
What to Wear?
I'm just imagining myself wearing a white linen dress with this purse and these fabulous Naughty Monkey pumps.
Serve a Blue Bird cocktail or set up a candy buffet. Robyn Loves Cake's blue fondant cake with gum-paste cherry blossoms and gold luster-painted pastillage butterflies. Check out this stunning cupcake tower from Flickr user Zzilch.
Send Them Home With a Smile
These candy-bag envelopes are inexpensive and easy to customize; all you need is a oval craft punch and a rubber stamp with a frame design that matches the size of the opening. Insert a cellophane bag with jelly beans, and voila , perfect party favors. These lollipops are perfectly festive. Coordinating scrapbook or wrapping paper can turn an ordinary box into a thoughtful gift.
- At the mention of a Woman On The Street feature: "We shouldn't be taking pictures of them, we should be throwing rocks at them!"
- After trying to make a "nice" comment about Betty's blouse, Wili admits that it's "hideous...like driving through Ohio."
-When Betty asks about injecting her face with Botox, Wili admits, hilariously and graphically, that her face is so numb she wouldn't know it if Betty "hit bone."
- "I am going to groom you [Betty]. And Lord knows you need some grooming."
I spied this at Target; the Coffin Mister is perfect for a ghoulish corner tabletop. An easy DIY, check out these spiders that swarm spooky corners lit with votives. Turn the lights down and turn up the spooky Halloween atmosphere with Ballard Design's Halloween lighted bags and spooky candelabra.
You all know I love my candy buffets. Jean M's candy vases and these voluminous Camilla canisters, can be easily found at your favorite housewares stores. I've found my similar canisters at Marshall's for a fraction of the price (aaack...did that just sound like their commercials?) Horchow's Queen of Mean figurine and skull masks are unique conversation pieces that are sure to give your guests the chills.
Run to your local Pier 1 and recreate their fabulous Glamour Ghouls party; SPOOKY sign, spider web wall decor, glitter candleabrum, Halloween cookie totes, flocked flower pillows, chalk note stemless wine glasses and jars, BOO candles. I can't wait to go and check it all out, I have to go sans kids, or I'll spend the whole time saying "Don't touch that" "Be careful" "I can't see you, you can't see me" ten trillion times, and will not be able to enjoy myself.
Wonderful Graffiti is very thin pieces of matte vinyl that look "printed" when applied to most smooth surfaces. And they can personalize and coordinate your wedding by incorporating your own logo throughout your wedding/event space, from party favors to the floor. And what a sight they are, just check out just a fraction of their abilities with these beautiful pix!
The Chocolate Collection....