About To Pop!

Popcorn collageIf I haven't said it enough, I'm always on the lookout for original party ideas. Plus, I couldn't just lump this in with yesterday's Fiesta Friday, it needed its own post.

Anyone who has been nine months pregnant knows the feeling; you keep thinking it's not physically possible to get any bigger, but you will! So here's a great baby shower theme - About to Pop! Plus, you can find lots of these supplies on sale this time of year, after Valentine's Day and Oscar season.

Get The Party Started
Adapt this Valentine idea into an invitation by replacing the wording with party info.

Setting The Scene
Decorate the party area in red and white. Create a fun centerpiece using helium filled balloons in red and white, strung with red and white striped ribbon, held into place with a weight which sits inside a popcorn box. Fill up the popcorn box with popcorn that spills out onto the table.

The Munchies
Duh! Popcorn! Set up a popcorn buffet and serve plenty of savory flavoured and sweet flavoured popcorn in great big white and red ceramic bowls. Try Dale and Thomas's gourmet popcorn who carry exotic flavors like Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Drizzlecorn, Veneto (smoked Provolla cheese accented with lightly toasted onions sprinkled with parsley and sea salt) and Frosted Gingerbread.

Personalize each glass container with a ribbon and tag with the featured popcorn written either by hand or using a computer font.

Channel your inner Martha with popcorn cupcakes.

Send Them Home With a Smile
Of course, you must pass out these popcorn favors from My Wedding Favors. A more cost effective method; purchase your own popcorn bags and fill with white and yellow Jelly Bellys or other candies.

Fiesta Friday - Fiesta Inspiration #2

I'm always on the lookout for party inspiration; here are some amazing boards and pictures from around the Web with unique themes to jump-start your party planning ideas.....

The first I've ever seen; a chicken party from A Cupcake Life goes to show you there is no theme that can't be created!

A milk-and-cookies 1st birthday party from Colorblind Productions.

Milk and cookies partyAnother milk and cookie-themed party, this time a baby shower.milk and cookies baby showerParty Wishes' Chinese tea party where mom purchased the pink Mandarin dresses prior to the party for each guest to wear.Chinese tea partyTake a peek at her Breakfast at Tiffany's-themed 50th birthday party...I love how all the guests dressed in black dresses and pearls to set the party's tone.Breakfast at Tiffany's-themed 50th birthdayA Monsters, Inc. Party...this is just the favor, so imagine how awesome the rest of the party was.
Monsters, Inc. party favorMix Mingle Glow's Dog Party with a purpose; guests partied with dogs from a local shelter and bring items to be donated in lieu of birthday gifts.Dog party tabletop A Nancy Drew-inspired affair from Piece of Cake and you can download party items through their Etsy site!Nancy Drew party

Check out my previous post for more unique themes!

All Of The Sweet, None Of The Guilt

It would be a perfect world if I could eat all the sweets I wanted, and not have to pay for it in my step-aerobics class with a teacher who is pure evil genius. But over at Milk and Cookeez, you can at least be indulgent with your skin. With fun category names like "the bath bakery", "the whipped creamery" and "the kissing booth", you know you are in for a treat. Ba-dum-dum.

More Blog Shout-Outs

Once again, I am honored with not one but two Blog Awards this week. The first one is from Love Sick Events, thank you, thank you! Now, I'm passing on the honor.

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award!

Munchkins and Mayhem
Australia Entertains
Shim and Sons
Elements of Entertaining
Thoughtfully Simple
Brown Bag
Mix Mingle GlowThe second comes courtesy of Personally You Parties; I'm waiting patiently for the culmination of her Monster Party, because it looks awesome! So here are 4 sites deserving of this award, because I spend WAY too much time on them....

Stem Parties
The Little Things
Party Bluprints - the blog
Party Wishes

Tuesday Tutorial - Ballerina/Prince Clay Pot

clay pot ballerina/princeThanks to a few email requests, including Natalie at Little Shindigs (who featured them on her blog, thanks for the shout-out!), I'm posting the info to making the ballerina/prince clay pots I posted about on Saturday.

What's great about them is you can tweak the skin and hair color, robe color, and even make her a purple ballerina if you wanted, you just have to match up all your materials.

For ballerina
2" clay pot
1 3/4" wooden doll head (flat bottomed or round is fine)
Folk Art acrylic paint in ballet pink and ivory (or any color of pink that matches your boa)
1" black pom-pom
black acrylic paint
pink craft boa (I found mine at Michael's, and you'll need about 9" of boa per ballerina)
coordinating sequins (mine came out of a big bulk bag from Joann's, and they are about a 1/2" in diameter)
black and red Sharpie permanent marker
hot glue-gun and glue sticks

1. Paint clay pot with pink acrylic paint and doll head with ivory paint, let dry.
2. Hot glue the doll head to the bottom of the clay pot.
3. With the black and red marker, draw on her face; then take the black marker and draw on her hairline around the entire head.
4. Paint in her hair with the black paint and let dry.
5. Hot-glue on the black pom-pom for her bun, and add her hair and dress sequins.
6. DON'T pre-cut the craft boa for her tu-tu. Just start hot-gluing from the original roll. Hot-glue the boa on in sections, it will cool too fast if you put the hot glue on the pot first.Carefully wrap, hot-glue, wrap, then trim at the end. Put a tiny drop of hot-glue on the end of the boa where you cut it, then glue that on (so the boa doesn't unravel).

For prince
2" clay pot
1 3/4" wooden doll head (flat bottomed or round is fine)
Folk Art acrylic paint in ivory
black acrylic paint
orange sequin (mine came out of a big bulk bag from Joann's, and they are about a 1/2" in diameter)
black Sharpie permanent marker
hot glue-gun and glue sticks
red felt cut into a 3" by 7" strip
gold glitter glue

1. Paint clay pot with black acrylic paint and doll head with ivory paint, let dry.
2. Hot glue the doll head to the bottom of the clay pot.
3. With the black marker, draw on his face; then take the black marker and draw on his hairline around the entire head.
4. Paint in his hair with the black paint and let dry.
5. Wrap him in the red felt, play around with how you want to place it, then hot-glue the top corner of the robe to his body, then overlap and hot glue the second corner. Be careful, the hot-glue seeps through the felt a little, so hot-glue on his button to cover that.
6. Outline his robe in the glitter glue. DON'T try to outline it when you first cut the robe. I tried that, and when I went to wrap the robe, the glue didn't flex and it cracked. It may be the type of glue, it was dollar store stuff, so I don't know. :)

Drink of the Week - Irish Flag

Irish FlagThe next few D.O.W. will be devoted to the luck o' the Irish. And how perfect is this shooter from Fine

1 oz. green Creme de Menthe
1 oz. Carolans Irish Cream
1 oz. Grand Marnier

In a tumbler, slowly pour ingredients in order.

Real Party Sneak Peek - Tutus and Twirls and Down On The Farm

I've been working on a cute ballerina party for my client's 5 year old's birthday next month. (Each time I think about the fact that I have a client I giggle a little). Since boys are invited, I had been racking my brain for a "cute but not cute" favor for them, since mom wanted something as a keepsake, not a bag of junk. I started out with little topiaries of feather balls for the girls, and their initials for the boys; however, to my dismay, one child has a Z name, and I couldn't find a wooden Z! I had already painted the clay pots when inspiration struck....Clay pot ballerina/princeLittle ballerinas and princes...I totally channelled The Nutcracker Ballet...the King of Mice becomes a prince. I just painted wooden doll heads and clay pots; the robes are red felt trimmed in glitter glue with a sequin "button". The ballerinas' hair buns are black pom-poms, and their tutus are craft boas. I'm so tickled by them that I just had to share.

I'm also working on a Down on the Farm 1st birthday party, and I've been dying to make these hats after I saw them in the BHG Kids' Parties magazine. The sheep was a beee-atch (pardon my French) to do. He may become a yellow chick with little feather wings. Or maybe a rooster with a cute red comb. I tell you, I've become a hot-glue gun fiend lately. How did we ever live without it?Foam farm animal party hats

Fiesta Friday - Vegas, Baby!

So my bitterness friend's sister is having a bachelorette party in Las Vegas next weekend, and I can't go. Very bitter, very bitter. So to ease the pain, I've thrown it into inspiration to creating your own Sin City.

Get The Party Started
Either of these invitations from Annoucingit will get your guests in the mood. Or print the invite on a sticker and place on an oversized die or deck of playing cards (Psst...check out your local dollar store for these gems).

Setting The Scene
Have different zones for different events: one for Texas Hold'em, one for 5-Card Stud and other poker games, other rooms for dice games and roulette.

Going all out? Check out party rentals for game tables, roulette wheels, even slot machines. Not so much? Create a poker table by placing green felt over a large round table. Cover tables with black felt and use a white paint marker to draw blackjack, craps, and baccarat lines, or buy premade game layouts.

Purchase a large novelty playing card for everyone to sign as a guest book as a keepsake for the bride-to-be.

Boxes of any size can be spray painted white with black dots to be stacked for dice decorations.

Line pathways and stairways with either votive candles or luminaries, and light the lounge area with tons of candles in different shapes and sizes. Just make sure the game room(s) are brightly lit so players can see their cards.

The Munchies
Set up your food buffet-style with a sign that read "$1.99 All You Can Eat Buffet!" Serve on these cute card-playing plates and their matching napkins. Have out a tray of these gorgeous cookies.

Host a martini bar for your guests, in true Rat Pack fashion. Check out these recipes, create drink menus and let them help themselves.

The Tunes
Start the party with old Vegas artists like Frank Sinatra and music from the other Rat Packers, Michael Buble and jazz. When the evening starts into the swing of things the music transition into either dance music or themed Vegas artists; think Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, Elton John, etc. And, of course, don’t forget Elvis!

Send Them Home With a Smile
Send your guests away with a special gift bag: a crystal dice paperweight for your bridesmaids, themed chocolate bars for everyone else, chocolate poker chips, and lottery tickets.

Celebrate Your Birthday And The Planet

Echoage PartyWant to show your youngster how to value social responsibility and environmental awareness while still having a blast? Turn their next birthday party into a celebration of the planet by holding an EchoAge party.

Here's how it works: online invitations are sent out to guests, and instead of bringing a wrapped gift, they will give an online gift of money. All the cash donations are then pooled, after EchoAge's 15 percent administration fee, and split in half.

One half is sent to you, the parent of the birthday child, to purchase a single useful and memorable gift for your child, such as a musical instrument or a piece of sporting equipment. The other half goes directly to a charity of your choice. Plus, you get a tax-deductible receipt in the mail.

Tuesday Trend - Chari-tees

Cute shirts that actually do good, not just declare your child's love of Captain Underpants.t-shirt collage$20 from the purchase of every Giving Tee from Tiny Revolutionary is donated to help fund a child's school lunch program in Ghana for an entire year.

Clothing of the American Mind is sweatshop-free and 100% organic. Plus, 25% of the company's net proceeds benefit progressive organizations like the Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the ACLU of Southern California.

Sales of Five Humans t-shirts support their themes. 10% of the purchase price of this t-shirt is donated to the American Lung Association.

Swell Foop's shirts represent animals from fragile ecosystems. The green sea turtle is made from 100% natural, unbleached organic ring-spun cotton.

The Global Fund For Children receives $10 from every sale of the Little Citizens Bodysuit.

Drink of the Week - Pink Lemonade Spritzer

Ah Sandra Lee...with the release of her brillant 70-30 motto into the print world, I could not wait to get my hands on a copy. Sometimes you feel like a nut (Martha) sometimes you don't (Sandra Lee). Although it's for a girls' night Valentine's Day event, it is perfect year round.

Pink Lemonade Spritzer
1/2 cup Citron vodka
4 tbsp. pink lemonade mix (like Country Time)
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
1 (12-ounce) can lemon-lime soda
garnish: pink sanding sugar
8 cups crushed ice

1. In a large pitcher, combine vodka and lemonade mix, stirring well. Add pineapple juice, stirring well. Add lemon and lime beverage, stirring well.
2. In a shallow dish, add a small amount of water or lemonade spritzer.
3. In another small shallow dish, add desired amount of sanding sugar. Dip rims of glasses into liquid mixture and then into sanding sugar to garnish, if desired.
4. Divide ice between 6 glasses. Pour lemonade over top. Serve immediately.

Happy Valentine's Day

A gift from me to you; how to get what you always want next Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, birthday,

Fiesta Friday/Color Wedding - Fields of Lavender

Lavender party collageI'm already looking forward to spring; the new buds on the trees, the sun peeking out the clouds, the birds eating the dog's food and driving him crazy.

Shades of purple make the decor perfect for your next spring event. Keep within 3 shades though, you don't want guests to think of Barney and start singing that cursed song.

How can you not be in love with this Mardi-Gras themed cake from Pink Cakebox? A fab holiday setting from Epicurious. Paper lanterns float above a wedding. A purple fondant flower tops this cupcake. Beautiful and delicate die cut butterflies grace a pastel lavender background on this invitation. Wrap amaretto cookies in contrasting squares of tissue paper, twist ends, place a strip of cotton lace trim on top, and then tie the ends off with colored twine. Centerpieces in rectangular wooden containers covered in burlap and a ribbon sash and filled with manzanita branches, golden centre tail feathers, hydrangeas, and sweet pea. Crottin cakes in the shape of French goat cheeses are stacked on a wooden stand to mimic a tiered cake. A sumptuous tablesetting when darker colors reign and lighter ones are accents.

Dont'cha Wish Your Playplace Was Hot Like Me?

I am a cool-place fiend. I love innovative designs and fab decor that leave me in awe. Check out these designer kid spaces...

Taka-Tuka-Land kindergarten in Berlin is inspired by Pippi Longstocking.

The "walhalla" playground in the Netherlands is a winding, climbable wonder.

The Kids' Republic bookstore in Beijing is an explosion of color.

The Wannado City near Fort Lauderdale is America's first indoor role-playing theme park for kids.

Tuesday Tutorial - No-Sew Valentine Chair Backer

no sew Valentine chair backers

Check out No-Fuss Fabulous' fabulous version of PBK Valentine chair backer. My favorite part, no sewing. Because I don't sew. Only buttons. That's it. I'm going to have to make these...Michael's here I come!

Drink of the Week - Frozen Strawberry Margaritas

Frozen Strawberry MargaritasYummy, and perfect for Valentine's Day if you are so over champagne. Be warned, it needs to be made the day before. Recipe courtesy of

½ can (12-oz size) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
3 cups water
1 box (10 oz) frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed, undrained
3 cups water
¾ cup orange juice or tequila

1. Place limeade concentrate and strawberries in blender. Cover; blend until smooth.
2. Pour into 2-quart plastic container. Stir in water and tequila.
3. Cover; freeze 24 hours or until slushy.
4. If orange juice was used, let stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving.
5. To serve, dip rims of margarita glasses in water and then in coarse sugar. Place 2/3 cup slush in each glass and fill with ½ cup carbonated beverage; stir.

Fiesta Friday - Little Bird Blue

Blue bird baby showerThe creative diva that is Tanya at Munchkins and Mayhem did a super, super-cute shower for a friend expecting twins by a surrogate. I'm so over pastel pinks and blues and fluffy bears for baby showers. They seem so generic, but you can tell how personal this shower was, down to the twins' initials incorporated on the birdhouse place settings.

A fun shower theme if you want to focus on mommy, especially for a spring shower. Check out these other sources of inspiration:

Bluebird invitations from tiny prints and PaperStyle.

JannyPie's fab birdhouses and cupcakes make a beautiful tabletop, Flickr user bebe's beautiful blue setting, and creativity running rampant at Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone, I'm crazy over all the feathers! Lalalaurie's too hip color combo of blue and orange.
bluebird cupcakebluebird house centerpiecebluebird bebe tablebluebird nest tableblue bird feather tablebluebird orange table

And The Oscar Goes To.....

Plum Party Oscar PartyThe Oscars are on Sunday the 22nd. Looking for ways to spice up your annual viewing party? Wanting to turn your pad into a celeb-worthy crib? I am all about Plum Party this week, and thanks to Celebrations at Home, get yourself a 25% discount, to help you spend even more! Look at what they have in store...

The Invite
Get your guests in the mood with the Spitfire Gentleman box invitation, asking them to come in their best (or worst) award-winning attire.

Feeling more casual? Evite has a selection of award night evites.

Setting The Scene
Have guests longing to be in the spotlight? Give them a true red carpet experience with this paparazzi play set, complete with a cardboard velvet rope to keep the throngs at bay.

Deck out your table with the Star Attraction set or glam it up with luxe gold cocktail napkins blinged up with napkin rings, and glitter cocktail plates, on top of a beautiful gold tablecloth.

Serve in style with the Hollywood Glam platter.

Dish up homemade popcorn in durable popcorn containers that can be used for your next movie night, and even sparkling cider looks cool in a top hat ice bucket.

The Munchies
Let the movies inspire your menu. Check out Epicurious' movie-themed menus based on this year's Best Picture nominees. More great ideas from Celebrations include Rocky Revolutionary Road Brownies, Vicky Cristina Barcelona Flan and a Slumdog Hot Dog station. Even if your food consists of chips and dip, at least squeeze in a signature cocktail like the Red Carpet Fizz, served in square martini glasses.

What To Do
Have guests fill out these Oscar pool sheets for their Oscar choices. Award the winner a "admit one" chocolate and a small bottle of sparkling wine.

Send Them Home With A Smile
I am in love with these chocolate film canisters. A few in a cellophane bag tied with gold and black ribbon is all you need.

Need more inspiration? Of course, I would have to shamelessly work in our Hollywood Dance Party. Check out the popcorn goody bags and our star-themed decor.

Tuesday Tip - Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is in exactly 3 weeks, and is the final day of Carnival, which began on the Feast of the Epiphany, Jan. 6. It's the last hurrah for those of the Catholic faith before the season of Lent. So here's to planning a kicking soirée, courtesy of Plum, to match those being thrown around the world!

Get the party started with Jazz musician invites. Serve a signature cocktail in these fab plum martini glasses or try these green plastic Mardi Gras cups. Add some splash to your table with these colorful napkin rings on flowy organza dinner napkins. Felt mini totes you can fill with candy, toys or whatever else you can imagine. A great party favor; this marabou fan can make any woman feel like a Southern Belle.

Tuesday Trend - Come On Baby, Light My Fire

Light collage

Anyone who's been to my home knows I love my candles. I'm currently obsessed with Pottery Barn's pomegranate candlepot. What pretty hostess gifts or party favors candles and designer match holders make.

Check out some of these gems: A favor and gift wrap all in one - candle tins adorned with a personalized sticker. Votivo candles and fabulous print matches from Areo. A beautiful box and ribbon decks out the Kein lily votive candle. A personalized match barrel from For Your Oversized matchboxes with maps of favorite destinations like Paris, Tokyo and New York. Topped with a patented stone Effusion Crown, even after the candle is extinguished, the Crown will continue to release fragrance for hours.

The Birthday Guru Mama

Big blogosphere shout-outs to Jan Griffin-Hazlett of the blog It's Celebration Time, and her site The Birthday Guru Mama.

In addition to writing a book Abracadabra to Zany: A Smorgasbord of Birthday Vendors in Central and Eastern Massachusetts, and raising 3 kids, she host "Birthday Card Craft-Times" to make birthday cards for the children who receive birthday parties from Birthday Wishes. Remember I blogged about them a few months back? May she's planning a Birthday Vendor Expo & Silent Auction fundraiser for them. Whew! You go girl! Check her out, especially if you live in her area.

Drink of the Week - Super Bowl Cocktails

I know, you are online frantically looking for a signature drink for those ladies who don't want to chug beer. How about a Steel Helmet and/or a Cardinal Cocktail? Recipes courtesy of

Steel Helmet
1 oz vodka
1 oz coffee liqueur
milk or cream to fill
Galliano liqueur

1. Build the vodka, coffee liqueur and milk or cream in an old-fashioned glass.
2. Stir well.
3. Float Galliano on top by slowly pouring it over the back of a bar spoon.

Cardinal Cocktail
1 oz creme de cassis
red wine

1. Pour the creme de cassis into a wine glass filled with ice.
2. Fill with red wine
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