Category Archives: Parties

Unique and fun ideas for all your parties!

Chalkboard Photo Display for Graduation Parties!

Chalkboard Photo Frames
Chalkboard Photo Frames

Before my son’s graduation party, my daughter and I were sitting in our kitchen brainstorming ideas for displaying photos for his celebration.  Since most parties tend to have the same types of displays, we wanted to do something unique!  This is what we came up with!

The chalkboard photo frames were made using black paper. The paper was  a heavy weight, duo-finish, 4 feet by 200 feet roll from Pacon Corporation in Appleton, Wisconsin. Using the rough side of the paper, I was able to easily write with a piece of chalk and erase using a microfiber towel.  For the times that I really screwed up, I was able to lightly wet the towel to help remove all the chalk! Once the paper dried, I was ready to try again!

Chalkboard Photo Frame
Chalkboard Photo Frame

After measuring the pantry cupboards, my daughter cut strips of black paper to fit in the inner door panel.  For the rest of the photos, we cut out various “frames”! The frames were very simple to make.  We simply laid the picture on the paper, outlined the photo in chalk and with the help of a ruler and some creativity, we made some frames!

Chalkboard Photo Frame
Chalkboard Photo Frame
Chalkboard Photo Frames
Chalkboard Photo Frames

As you can see in the pictures, the chalk smudges exactly like it would on a real chalkboard!

I like that realistic look!

Chalkboard Photo Frame
Chalkboard Photo Frame

Using full sheets of paper, I made a sheet of “Family” photos and another one of “Good Friends”.  I thinks it’s fun for your guests to see pictures of themselves with the graduate so I provided them with lots of pictures!

These full sheets of photos were also great for covering the junky side of the garage!!

Paper Chalkboards
Paper Chalkboards Make Great Party Signs!

I found the easiest way to attach the photos was to use painter’s tape. The tape will not harm your cabinets and is easily removed from your photos!

This is a fun and easy way to display photos for any get-together!

Balloon Table Runners are Adorable!

Start your party off the right way with fun tabletop decorations!

In this post, I show a few unique ways to make balloon centerpieces and table runners that will work for any get together:  birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, holidays…

Balloon Table Runners
Balloon Table Runners

Find additional Table Decorating ideas available on my post: Festive and Fun Table Decorations!

Let’s start with the Table Runner!

What do you need?
Balloons (I used 7″ & 9″ balloons)
Fishing Line
Weights to hold the balloons in place
Tablecloth Clamps for securing the runner

Balloon Table Runner Supplies
Balloon Table Runner Supplies

Time to start inflating those balloons!

Balloon Table Runner!
Balloon Table Runner!

For the above runner, I inflated 7″ balloons until they were 3-6″ in diameter.  I liked the look the varied sizes provided!  After inflating the balloons, I tied them around a length of fishing line.  Fishing line is great because it is difficult to see and the balloons will easily slide along the line!

Balloon Table Runner
Balloon Table Runner

Here I used a 9″ balloon and tried to maintain the same size of 5″ or so.  Under inflating the balloons resulted in a teardrop shape that I loved!

So many options to choose from! Colors, sizes, shapes…

One thing I would remember is to keep the balloons small enough so they won’t take up the entire table and so that your guests can see each other across the table!

Balloon table runners need clips to hold them in place!
Balloon table runners need clips to hold them in place!

How to keep your adorable table runner in place on a windy day?

Secure the ends of the table runner by tying the fishing line around a Tablecloth Clamp. These can be found in the camping aisle!

Balloon Table Runners need Weights!
Balloon Table Runners need Weights!

To secure the middle of your beautiful runner in place, weight it with heavy clips.  I found these at the office supply store.  They are metal magnet clips that are wonderfully heavy. These were perfect for holding the runner in place.  They are small enough to be easily hidden and heavy enough to do the job.

Another balloon suggestion is the Balloon Centerpiece!

Balloon Centerpiece
Balloon Centerpiece

To make this centerpiece, I attached balloons to a wreath frame with rubber bands!

Loop the rubber band around the metal frame and tie a small loop at the opposite end of the rubber band.  Slip the knot of your inflated balloon into the loop and continue this process until you are satisfied that you have enough balloons!  To create extra height in the center, use longer rubber bands or double loop two together.

Balloon Centerpieces
Balloon Centerpieces

The rubber bands are great because you can easily stretch and twist the balloons around each other to get the look you want!

Final Balloon Decorating Idea!

Hang Columns of Balloons from the trees.

Make a column of balloons using the same directions as you did for the table runner.  In this picture I tied the balloons around a narrow ribbon instead of the fishing line. Ribbon is simple to tie to a tree branch and the balloons will not slide as easily.   Choose what works best for you!

So much fun for so little money!

Columns of Balloons!
Columns of Balloons!

Now go out and have some fun decorating tables for your next celebration!

Balloon Table Runners
Balloon Table Runners

 

 

Festive & Fun Table Decorating Ideas!

It is the time for parties   –  Graduations, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Weddings…  If you need an inexpensive and simple decoration for your tables, I have you covered!

Now go get your decorative paper because I have not one, not two, but three ideas for you!

First up – Paper Stars

The sky is the limit with this one!

Just toss the stars in the center of your table for a festive center piece or run them all along the table for a table runner.  So easy and so fun!

Paper Stars
Paper Stars

What do you need?
Craft Paper & Scissors

The stars shown here were crafted from card stock because I wanted a star that was a little heftier and hopefully wouldn’t blow away.  Card stock is more difficult to fold than paper, but it suited my needs perfectly!

For a tutorial on how to cut a star using a single cut, refer to this youtube video:  Simple 3D Paper Stars

As you will see in the video, cutting stars is very easy to do.  I did have to watch the video a couple of times, but after that  – I had it!

To create the look I wanted, I used various colors and sizes.

This would be a great decoration for Memorial Day or the 4th of July with stars made from red, white & blue paper!

Paper Stars
Paper Stars

Next up – Extra-large Confetti

This is one of my favorite table decorations!  Last year,  I suggested using this for a cross-country banquet with great success.  I gathered a group of volunteers at my home, served them wine and snacks and we punched and punched and punched….

All that punching resulted in easily decorated tables that looked adorable and lots of fun for me chatting, punching and drinking wine with the ladies!

What do you need?
Cardstock
Circle punches
(I used 1″, 2″ & 3″ punches!)

Extra-large Confetti
Extra-large Confetti

After gathering your confetti, arrange them on your table.

You can choose to separate the circles like below.

Extra-large Confetti
Extra-large Confetti

Or toss the confetti on the tables and let them fall where they may!
Either way creates an adorable table decoration!

Extra Large Confetti
Extra Large Confetti

 

Last paper table decoration for today!

Paper Table Runners!

Wrapping Paper Table Runner
Wrapping Paper Table Runner

To make these fabulous table runners, I used wrapping paper!

Traditionally, table runners are 12-16 inches in width and most wrapping paper comes in widths of  24″- 30″.  If you want a wide table runner, go ahead and use it as is.  If not, be sure to buy the paper with a grid pattern on the back so you can easily and neatly cut it the correct width.

Wrapping Paper
Wrapping Paper

Another option that makes life easy is to purchase short rolls of wrapping paper. Michael’s sells 7 yds of 17″ wide wrapping paper for $1.50.  The selection of the wrapping paper is limited, but give it a try.  For very little money you can create great looking tables!

Wrapping Paper Table Runner
Wrapping Paper Table Runner

Another product at Michael’s that I am really excited about is their line of craft paper.  It comes in rolls of 20′ that are 14″ wide – Perfect!

The paper is a wonderful weight and comes in so many fabulous colors!

Here are just a few!

Wrapping paper
Wrapping Paper at Michaels!

Now there is no reason why you shouldn’t have beautifully decorated tables for your next celebration.  Whether it is for a graduation, birthday, anniversary or just a simple family gathering, every party will be festive and fun with a simple paper table decoration!

Wrapping paper table runner
Wrapping paper table runner
I linked up to iheartnaptime!
I linked up to iheartnaptime!

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Halloween Spider

Halloween Decorations for 2014

Enter if you dare!
Enter if you dare!

There is nothing scary about the Etched Pumpkins, but they are beautiful!

Costume Basket
Costume Basket

For those guests who forgot their costumes, a basket full of treasures for them to discover who they will become for the night!

Entry Way Spider
Entry Way Spider

Don’t look up!

The mantel is all decked out for Halloween!
The mantel is all decked out for Halloween!

The Mantel was my favorite!  Find out how to make the Cheese Cloth Spider Webs and Creepy Captured Critters on the links provided!  The bats on the wall are cut from card stock and create a nice effect!

 

Bloody Candles for Halloween
Bloody Candles for Halloween

The Bloody Halloween Candles were very fun, but we almost had a mishap!  A guest ran into the candles with her fabulously large floppy hat.  Luckily, the hat snuffed out the candle and a crisis was averted!  I immediately relocated the candles to an area absent of floppy hats!

Halloween Party Chandelier
Halloween Party Chandelier

I loved the chandelier!  It was so easy and is simply draped with Spider Web Cheese Cloth!  The Tulle Wrapped Pumpkins worked wonderfully under all those webs!  Definitely not a place for burning candles!

Floating Witch Hats
Floating Witch Hats
Floating Witch Hats
Floating Witch Hats

Everyone loved the floating witch hats!  Using fishing line, I simply suspended the hats between my two pendant lights.  Fishing line is easily threaded into a needle so sewing the fishing line into the tip of the hat was easy!  I threw on a few embellishments  and voila – fun floating witch hats!

Halloween Cupcakes
Halloween Cupcakes

I wanted a delicious, but creepy dessert.  I topped red velvet cupcakes with black dyed cream cheese frosting and dripped them with blood (red frosting gel) before serving!

Guests of Honor
Guests of Honor

Even my parents attended my party this year and they had a wonderful time – those devils!

I hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Creepy Critters Halloween Decoration

Creepy Critters Halloween Decoration

 

This is so easy and so fun!  I saw something similar on Pottery Barn where they sell the most wonderful creepy bug vase filler!  They placed the bugs in jars, lit them from behind and what you see  will make your skin crawl – I love it!!

What do you need?
Large Plastic Bugs
Clear Glass Jars
Tulle
Rubberbands
Ribbon

A string of lights

Creepy Critter Halloween Decoration
Creepy Critter Halloween Decoration

How did I do it:   I stuffed a large plastic bug into a jar so the beast is standing up, for the most part!  I then “sealed” my jar with netting or tulle, secured it with a rubber band and tied on a ribbon. I could have simply placed the lid on the jar, but we all know bugs need air, thus the netting!  Plus, it creates a creepy feeling that they might just escape!

Creepy Critter Halloween Decoration
Creepy Critter Halloween Decoration

Now for the light part!  I have fairy lights so I used them.  Fairy lights are LEDs and look like tiny little droplets of light on a thin wire.  These worked perfectly tucked behind the bug filled jars!  Fairy lights are very cool!

If you don’t have fairy lights, regular white christmas lights will work too.  I like to use led lights because they don’t get hot and they use a lot less electricity!  To camouflage the lights, I used a bit of cheese cloth spiderweb! Yes – I have a post on Cheese Cloth Spiderwebs too!  Check it out!

Enjoy your captured critters!

Creepy Critter Halloween Decorations
Creepy Critter Halloween Decorations

Happy Halloween!

 

 

Halloween Cheese Cloth Spider Webs

Cheese Cloth Spider Webs
Cheese Cloth Spider Webs

What I love the most about cheese cloth spider webs is how easy they are to put up, take down and store!

I like to go a little crazy decorating for Halloween, but I don’t want to spend days putting it all together and days taking it all down.

Cheese Cloth for Spider Webs
Cheese Cloth for Spider Webs

What do you need:
Cheese Cloth
Tea

How to make them:
Purchase cheese cloth from any fabric store.  It is very inexpensive!  I like to make my cheese cloth look dirty so I pull out all the old tea bags that have been sitting in the cupboard for way too long and make a big pot of tea.  After the tea is a nice dark color, I place the unfolded cheese cloth in the tea and let it soak.  I allow the cheese cloth to soak 10-20 minutes.

Cheese Cloth for Spider Webs
Cheese Cloth for Spider Webs

After dyeing, I remove the cheese cloth from the tea, gently rinse and let dry.  You can see in the above picture the difference in color after soaking in tea!

Halloween Cheese Cloth Spider Webs
Halloween Cheese Cloth Spider Webs

Now for the fun part!  Drape the cheese cloth wherever you want that eerie effect!  As you do this, rip holes in the cloth, and cut it where you want it to hang down.  Where ever you cut the cloth, pull on it and the sharpness of the cut will disappear!  Experiment with the cloth to create the effect you want!

Halloween Cheese Cloth Spider Webs
Halloween Cheese Cloth Spider Webs

I also like to use a length of the stained cheese cloth as a table runner for my Halloween table!

Spider Web Halloween Table Runner
Spider Web Halloween Table Runner

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Pumpkins Wrapped in Tulle

Tulle Wrapped Pumpkins for Halloween
Tulle Wrapped Pumpkins for Halloween

Wrapping pumpkins has become quite popular lately and is something I have been doing for years!  Rather than purchase a wrap, make your own with tulle.

Tulle is a netting like material that is very inexpensive and comes in a variety of colors!  Go to the fabric store and purchase tulle and ribbon, that is all you will need.  I like to get black tulle and orange ribbon, but whatever colors you choose will be great!

 

What do you need?
Pumpkins
Tulle
Ribbon
Rubberbands

Tulle Wrapped Pumpkins for Halloween
Tulle Wrapped Pumpkins for Halloween

For large pumpkins, measure the height of your pumpkin and cut a square of tulle that is double the height plus 12-18 inches!  Place your pumpkin in the center of your square, gather the ends at the top and secure at the stem with a rubber band.  Now tie on your ribbon and trim the edges of the tulle – done and beautiful!

Tulle Wrapped Pumpkins for Halloween
Tulle Wrapped Pumpkins for Halloween

I also like to cover small pumpkins and place them on candles holders!  This makes for a wonderful centerpiece!

The small pumpkins require a 12 inch square of tulle.  Tie it up with a ribbon and you have created a delightful Halloween decoration that will last right into Thanksgiving!

Tulle Wrapped Pumpkins for Halloween
Tulle Wrapped Pumpkins for Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Bloody Halloween Candles

Bloody Candles
Bloody Candles

Here is a super easy Halloween decoration anyone can make in just a few minutes with  candles and empty wine bottles.  If you don’t have any empty bottles, then my advice is to take your time – empty the bottles slowly!  No need to chug!

Supplies:
White Candles
One Red Candle
Empty Wine Bottles
Dirt!

Candle Supplies
Candle Supplies

Let’s begin!

I wanted my wine bottles labels to look old so my plan was to pull out my paint and glaze and attempt to give the labels an antiqued look when I thought of a much easier idea!  Just rub dirt on the label!  Dirt is safe enough!  Just last week,  I watched my nephew eat dirt and he seems fine!

After rubbing the dirt into my wine bottle labels, I gently washed them and let them dry!

Now for the blood!

Light the red candle and as the wax melts simply drip it over the candles and the wine bottles.  The wax will form nice drips and clumps that look like coagulated blood – disgusting!

Bloody Candles
Bloody Candles

That’s it – see how easy that was!

Make sure the candle is firmly inserted into the wine bottle and that you burn them in a safe location!

Bloody Candles
Bloody Candles

Happy Halloween!

 

 

Pumpkins Decorated with Etchings

I love Halloween and I love to carve pumpkins!  Mid-September I start picking up pumpkins for fall  decorations around my home.  Because carved pumpkins will only last a short time, I  wait to carve them until a few days before  Halloween.

This year I am trying something new!  I am etching my pumpkins with a design and leaving them whole – at least for the time being!  I have etched pumpkins before, but then my process was to “gut” the pumpkin, thin the wall, and light a candle inside to see the etching glow!  It is very cool.

This year I am doing my etchings early, leaving the pumpkins whole and later I can “gut” them if I wish.

 

Pumpkin Carving Tools
Pumpkin Carving Tools

The tools I used for this project were purchased from Williams Sonoma.  They are excellent quality and should last for years!  Currently, they have a similar product – the  Pumpkin Carving Tools 3-piece Set.  Included in this set is an etching tool, which is what I used here.  The etching tool is also called a linoleum cutter and if you happen to have wood carving tools, they may work as well.  For whatever tool you use, the goal is to remove the top layer of skin from the pumpkin!

Pumpkin with Vine Drawing
Pumpkin with Vine Drawing

Before I began the etching process, I  drew an image on my pumpkin.  Here I show a roughly drawn simple vine.  It was not necessary for it to be perfect since it is just a guideline.

Etching a Vine on a Pumpkin
Etching a Vine on a Pumpkin

Then, using my etching tool, I carved  out the vine.

Etching a Vine on a Pumpkin
Etching a Vine on a Pumpkin

When I finished etching, I used a Magic Eraser to remove any visible ink.  The Magic Erasers are a fabulous product so if you have never tried them – you must test  them out for yourself!

My next pumpkin I etched with maple leaves.  I went to my backyard, picked a couple of different sized leaves and roughly traced them onto my pumpkin.

Preparing Pumpkin for Leaf Etching
Preparing Pumpkin for Leaf Etching

I etched out the edge of the leaves then added the veining detail.  If you are not sure how to add the veining, just examine the leaf in front of you.  Of course, I had to simplify the detail – I am not as good as  mother nature!

Pumpkin with Leaf Etching
Pumpkin with Leaf Etching

If you are unsure how to lay out a vine or leaves to make them look natural, just google drawings of the images you want to replicate and you will get wonderful guidance from the many fabulous artist whose images are on the web!

Pumpkin with Vine Etching
Pumpkin with Vine Etching
Pumpkin with Leaf Etching
Pumpkin with Leaf Etching

Have a Happy Fall!

I linked up at I Heart Nap Time!
I linked up at I Heart Nap Time!

 

Wine Tasting Party

Get out the stemware - it's time for a wine party!
Get out the stemware – it’s time for a wine party!

I love wine and I love parties – put the two together and I am a happy lady!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to have parties.  I love decorating, selecting the wine and preparing the food, but mostly I love when my guests have a wonderful time!  I like to see smiles on faces, booming laughter and my guests getting to know my wonderful family and friends they didn’t know before.  I am a people person – it’s as simple as that!

Because my husband and I both enjoy wine and sharing it with others, we have wine “tasting” parties at least once a year.  We go beyond traditional tasting and create a fun, non-intimidating wine challenge for all to participate in – and guess what – they all do and they all love it!

Hide the labels and number the bottles.
Hide the labels and number the bottles.

Preparing the wine challenge – Select 3-4 bottles of wine.  I would select  wine of one color!  Picking the chardonnay out of a line up with a pinot, cabernet sauvignon & merlot, might be a tad bit too easy for most of us!

Because we have done this challenge quite a few times, a few of our guests like to get in on the game ahead of time and provide their own special wine for the challenge.  Last time, we had a wonderful Argentinian Malbec from my neighbor.  It was a wine that was new to us and we welcomed the addition to the game!

Wine Challenge
Wine Challenge

Selecting your wines ahead of time is helpful to give you time to make the challenge sheets!  I get on the computer and search for information about the wine.  On the challenge sheets, I provide the name of the wine, the type of grape used, and a description of the nuances of the wine.  Is it full bodied, earthy, jammy, does it have a hint of plum, cherry, or vanilla…Did the wine receive a high score from the wine advocate, wine spectator,  Robert Parker…

Whatever I find, I summarize and type it on the card.  If I can find a picture of the label – wonderful – I include that as well!

Wine Challenge
Wine Challenge

Each bottle I cover with a wine paper bag and assign it a number.  My guest’s job is to determine which wine correlates with the wine descriptions I have provided for them on their challenge card!

Above are examples of three of our wine challenges – bottom line – the picture just makes it better!

Gather the Stemware!
Gather the Stemware!

As my guests arrive I offer each of them a glass of wine and when most guests are present the challenge begins!  The problem is how do you taste a wine when everyone already has wine in their glass – wine is not for gulping down!  This is not beer!

Luckily, my husband had a great solution.  We used our aperitif glasses for the wine challenge.  For some reason, we have two dozen of these.  We rarely have aperitifs, but we do have the glasses – that’s what’s important – right?

Now I know – it you are a true wine snob, you know this isn’t ideal.  The wine has limited space to be swirled and the aromas may not hit your nose properly, but sometimes you gotta work with what you have.

The aperitif glasses really did work very well for keeping track of glasses.  Each guest had their wine glass and their tasting glass and each was clearly distinguishable!  It was one of those rare times that – yes – my husband was right!

The only thing left to do is have fun, celebrate your friends and enjoy your wine!

Ok- maybe not so fast – you need to create your guest list, make invitations, put together a menu, think about decorations, go shopping…

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