Engagement Party :: Wild Safari Theme

We’re just wild about Kasey & Tom… so we threw them an engagement party. My best friend Kasey got herself a sweet little rock on her finger so my friends April, Susannah, and I (with the always over-the-top help of Crafty Jan) threw these two sexy beasts a party to celebrate.My parents graciously opened up their home for us to host the party there, and though it rained the day before and the day after, we lucked out famously since the sky was dry and the day was stunning, if not a little chilly. After walking through the from door, guests were greeted with a huge poster on an easel that we had printed at Walmart. (I know! The devil! But their prices are too good!) We gave this to Kasey & Tom afterward as something they could hang in their garage. I designed it using a vintage Disneyland Jungle Cruise poster as inspiration. Before heading in to the party, we had guests drop off their gifts in the dining room. We indicated on the invitation to “bring your favorite bottle of wine to stock up their Jungle Hut.” With that in mind, we turned the entire dining area as… well… a Jungle Hut!We had labels ready for each guest to write a note on and affix to the back of the bottle they brought. By the end of the night this room was overflowing with vino.After ditching their gift, everyone walked into the living room. I didn’t want to make my mom take down all of her beautiful fall decorations (um… we already invaded their house!) so we just left the mantle as is and added a big WILD banner. Pumpkins & Wild Themes totally mix!Where the kitchen nook table normally is, we set up a lounge area. All the leopard & zebra print fabric you’ll see throughout is from fabric.com which I find to be a great resource. My mom is crazier than I am and made pillows to match with the remnant tablecloth fabric. In the middle of the room we set up the cake table.We got that tent thing at Cost Plus and used it above the desserts. (I’ll get to those in a minute! Don’t you worry.) Hula skirts were used throughout the party to add to the safari-like vibe. We yanked my zebra rug from my house and replaced theirs with it. I wish I took a better photo of that but it looked cool.We repeated the safari vibe outside and had a total of 4 belly bars for people to gather around. Draped with painter’s cloth (you can get these at Lowe’s or Home Depot) then covered with leopard or zebra fabric, we added jungle animal figurines & large vases with monstera leaves to keep it funky yet chic.Here’s a few more views.The bar was set up outside as well. We added hula skirts to the top of the umbrella to make it seem more like a palapa. We served up beer, wine, water & specialty Jungle Juice. I don’t drink mixed drinks so I didn’t try it before serving it. Big mistake! I guess it was pretty potent. Next time I will leave the mixing to the experts… like my husband.Ready for a movie?To make things a little funky & unexpected, we set up the outdoor movie screen that my parents have. I rented a National Geographic African video from Netflix and had that on repeat throughout the party. (See the elephant up there?) It was pretty cool… even if things got a little weird during the mating portion of the movie. Using a leopard fitted sheet cut in half, my mom covered the lounge chairs so that people could watch the movie in style. (Not the best photo… but you get the idea!  Please ignore the hose!) Okay… let’s take a bathroom break…We couldn’t leave the restroom untouched. I always love to have a compliment on or near the mirror at the party. This time a “Well hello there you sexy beast you” sign was strung across the mirror to up your confidence level!So I guess you may be hungry about now! We did half the food ourselves and half the food using an amazing caterer friend of ours — Cassie from Anything But Ordinary Catering. She’s great.All of the really fancy looking stuff came from her. We did the veggies in individual cups, caprese skewers, meatballs, and Chinese Chicken Salads ready to go and served atop an elephant.Love that they make boxes that fit our theme so nicely!For dessert, we had The Crimson Cake make us the most adorable cakes ever. I am really becoming quite a fan of Alicia’s talent here. If you’re in Southern California, she is totally worth looking up!Check out these darling cakes!I sent her a photo of the bride & groom to be and this is what she came back with! Uncanny! Tom actually ate his own head at the end of the party. Cannibal.In addition to her lovely work (it pained me to cut these cakes!) we made brownie pops. They tasted great though they were obviously made with love and not expertise! Ha ha! I was trying to mimic the leopard & zebra patterns. Told you I wasn’t great in the kitchen! But by the time everyone took a bite, they were too hopped up on jungle juice to care what they looked like!Onto the props!On to the photo booth area! We hung a queen sized leopard sheet and had animal faces & cute messages in bubbles at the ready!How frickin’ adorable are Kasey & Tom!? She came decked out in a beautiful white dress which was perfect for the leopard ears & veil we made her! What a cute kitty!We hostesses all donned animal print – and I was super excited when so many of the guests did as well! Party people unite!The wild theme was actually pretty great because it reunited all of us UofA Wildcats. The best thing is that Kasey & Tom both went to UofA but didn’t meet until last year. Two wildcats that are wild about each other. Perfection!We moved a wire basket to the door filled with individually bagged chocolate-covered “elephant ears.” It was super smart to put them right by the door because they were all gone by the end of the party. I feel like sometimes people forget to take their favor so that was an accidental epiphany.
I think that’s about it! We’re sooooo wild about this couple and what a fun way to celebrate! Get ready for many more posts about Kasey & the parties we’ll be throwing for her until she gets hitched next summer! I have some really fun ideas up my sleeve for this beautiful friend of mine!

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Halloween :: Tablescape & Decor

I’ve said it a million times, but this blog is really a showcase of my mom’s creativity! She blows me out of the water. Case in point, her Halloween decorations. The photos do not do this table justice, but it is the coolest set-up I’ve ever seen.I LOVE the pumpkins on candlestick holders. The black glasses are my favorite… I’ve been coveting them online for a long while so I am thrilled she just bought them. Totally stealing those soon!I love how she always just uses random pieces here and there. A huge key was used for a napkin ring and a white and black bandana was the napkin. Such a funky touch. I don’t think many people would have thought of a bandana for a Halloween tablescape but she just thinks like that. I love it.This particular day she was having a few friends over for dinner and made funky hats for each of them to wear. Yes she made that. And yes, she should sell them on Etsy. She served soup in skull votive glasses (this photo was taken before the soup was in it) and made eyeball caprese. Spooky!“Blood” shots to drink and Mummy dogs to eat rounded out the appetizers. It sounds like they had a great time.One of the things she copied from pinterest were these totally adorable witch feet made from an umbrella that hung over her sink. I totally love this. Her mantle always looks incredible. This hutch greets you as you walk through the front door. I love the blue plates mixed with all the Halloween stuff.Pumpkins on sticks to finish up. She’s insane. Hope you got some fun ideas for your Halloween party!

Halloween Party :: A Bewitching 60th Birthday Party

Tis the season to share parties I threw about 2 years ago! Well before this blog was even a glimmer in my eye, my ‘bewitching’ and fabulous Mother-in-law Sally turned 60. Of course we were going to throw her a well-deserved party! And lucky for me, her birthday has a built in theme. She was born on October 31st. Why fight that when it’s so fun to be bewitching?!When it came to decor, I was (and always am) very lucky to be able to steal from my mom. While we wanted to go with the Halloween theme, we wanted it to be more chic & girly rather than spooky. Breaking out black and white toile tablecloths and black crystal chandeliers helped keep it more “Sally-esque!” My mom made the centerpieces and I still adore this idea! Putting a real white pumpkin on a stick was so fresh and the bright flowers around it made the table feel more feminine.Each guest was given a bewitching hat to wear which was tied to the back of each chair. The cute thing was that everyone wore them nearly the entire time! I hope I am that cool at 60! Sally got a really pretty witch hat and a feather boa which she rocked like only she could.I think there were nearly 20 guests so we mixed and matched plates & pumpkin bowls my mom happens to own which made for a funky effect. Dessert was served……candy was collected…And Crafty Jan made these frickin’ phenomenal candy cones as favors. I wish I had taken better photos, but trust me it’s pretty cute. It was such a great theme for the best Mother-in-Law in the world. Look how cute she is there right in the middle with her boa. See? Rocking it! (And PS: If it appears that I had eaten 25 burritos in one sitting in this photo, please note that I was veeeeeeeeeery pregnant at the time.) Yay for Halloween birthdays and bewitching ladies!

Girl’s Birthday Party :: Pajama-O-Rama Theme

Um… before I even start this post, can we talk about how ridiculously adorable those girls are? O.M.G! Just too much! Maybe it’s because I don’t get to see enough pink with these two boys, but I about died when my friend Lindsey sent me these photos of her daughter Kate’s 3rd Pajama-O-Rama Birthday Party!When Lindsey contacted me to make some printables for Kate’s birthday party, she knew she wanted to incorporate some fabulous yellow & white chevron fabric she had picked up. After tossing around some ideas, she landed on the idea of a morning pajama party. Love it!This is the invite we came up with (now available in my Etsy shop!) It seemed fresh like a Saturday Breakfast! Perfect for the party!The “Donut Chomp” was quite possibly the cutest idea I’ve ever heard of! Look at these mini-chompers! What a GREAT activity especially for three year olds! I might just try this tomorrow to kill some time.She set up quite the spread…
…and all before 9am! I don’t think I could have had my act together by then… Way to go Mama!I absolutely LOVE how she packaged the favors! Just like the donut store! So darling!It was so much fun working with this cute family and I am so thankful that you guys sent me photos of the fun morning! Happy birthday cutie pie Kate! Hope your pajama-jam was the best!

Boy’s Birthday Party :: Kung-Fu Dance Party Ninja Theme

Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting Dancing at this party for our fabulous 6-year-old buddy Trent!Trent decided that he wanted to dress like a Ninja and have a Kung-Fu Dance Party. How great is that? I totally love the creativity there! Watching 6-year-old dancing ninjas shake it to the beat was quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen.Trent’s parents Heidi & Brandon put on quite the party. They thought of everything and the kids were just blown away by all the fun stuff they got to do! “Do you Kung-Fu?” greeted you as you stepped through the door. And what Heidi initally bought as swords for the kids, turned into some really cool decor once she realized that the edges of the mylar blow-up swords actually scratch skin pretty badly. I thought they were perfect decorations. Heidi set up a table where the kiddos could make their own headbands out of a ripped sheet. They turned out so cute!I love how she printed out the martial arts logo & the yin yan sign so that they kiddos could copy them. It looked great!Before getting into the activities, let’s take a look at how cute everything was. The rice krispie sushi? Get out! Heidi found inspiration all over the web for this idea and there are so many different ways to do it. I love this way best personally! Swedish fish and fruit rolls?! Totally genius, cute, and funny!Lanterns, black and red plates and Hi-Water, and Hi-C (hee hee) were set up.How fun are these cupcakes?As favors, Heidi filled Chinese take out boxes with Chinese finger traps, a Chinese yo-yo, a fortune cookie, and Trent’s Kung-Fu Dance Mix CD. (I have been listening to it all week! What a great favor!)For the dance room, Heidi got three disco ball/strobe lights, tied red balloons to big black streamers and had the music on non-stop.
The kiddos loved it.Once everyone arrived and made their headbands, Warrior Training began.Kung-Fu Master Brandon (a.k.a. Trent’s dad) gave his “little ninjas” a mission – to find “the mysterious cole.” He didn’t explain anything else about what they were looking for but he told them that they would have to go through Ninja training in order to find it.He walked all of them to a nearby park, and two by two he had them learn how to punch and kick……then chop through a piece of styrofoam which was a TOTAL hit! Are you kidding me? Wouldn’t you have loved to do this as a kid?And finally he put on a sword ceremony for them and gave them all kid-friendly foam tubes so that they would be able to attack the hidden ninjas and find “the cole.”He had two of his friends dress up like ninjas and hide on the beach. As he lead them down to the beach, they attacked the evil ninjas and discovered “the cole” which was a new surfboard for Trent… his birthday present from his mom and dad! (Cole is the shaper’s name.)It was hilarious and adorable watching the kids learn from the master and Brandon did such a cute job with them. The ninjas came back hungry so they recharged with kung-food before dancing, hitting a piñata, and playing more. It honestly was such a fun theme! I’ve never seen so many boys focus that hard before! I think their parents must have been thrilled because they likely all went home exhausted!Here are the cutest ninjas in the land – Trent and his big sis Mia Rose. What a fabulous party!It was so fun to help with the paper stuff and I am hoping to get some ninja stuff in my etsy shop soon! Stay tuned and hi-ya!

Girl’s Night :: Crafts & Cocktails

Some of the best parties happen when something goes seriously awry and last week’s Girl’s Night of Crafting & Cocktailing was no exception. I had expected about 40 gals to be here gabbing, crafting, and sipping the night away.The Southern Californian Edison Power Gods had other plans and threw a Tijuana-to-Orange County blackout our way.
If you’re from SoCal, you know that we can’t even drive in the rain, so imagine the panic that set in when we were told we wouldn’t have power for up to two days. (It only ended up being about 12 hours, but still!) It was like the sky was falling. No power meant no cell phone use (which I still don’t really get), no computers, and most sadly, no party. Juuuuuuuuuust kidding! A power outage wasn’t going to kill this shindig.
Most of the people who were supposed to come, now couldn’t. They either assumed I cancelled the party, their husbands were stuck in traffic for hours (really! the sky was falling!), or they just wanted to stay close to their kids (this was days before 9/11 and I think some people were a little freaked out.) I ran to the dollar store (cash only!), bought Mexican candles and flashlights that I hung from the chandelier, and tried to toast bruschetta bread in my car (to no avail… I actually ended frying my adapter and not being able to straighten my Chewbacca hair – oh the horrors!), but the show must go on! And on it went… with 15 brave (child-avading, husband-ditching, cocktail-guzzling, blackout-loving) ladies.
I had two crafts planned – Glittering G.I. Joe type figurines… (Elephant glittered by me.. Rat glittered by my 3 year old) … and making a necklace out of washers. Yes, I’m talking about washers from Home Depot. And actually making a necklace that looked like it was from J. Crew. Impossible? I think not!

No one glittered because it was so dang dark, but everyone made one (or more) necklaces!)As far as decor went, I wanted to keep it funky, crafty, and urban (is that a possible combo?) but super simple. I wrapped branches with colorful yarn (idea stolen from Ohdeedoh) and used them as decor. I also hung them from the chandelier & the outside overhang to hang the signs. (Had to use fishing line somewhere! Love that stuff!) The result was floating colorful branches. Loved it.I set up the “Make A Washer Necklace” table inside using galvanized buckets for “BIG,” “MID,” and “WEE” sized washers as well as for the instructions. And I have to give a HUGE thank you to Pinterest for addicting me introducing me to so many fun projects. I found the instructions for the washer necklace through Pinterest on Tiny Sparkly Things Blog and I have to say what FABULOUS and detailed instructions she drew up for me to follow. Because I knew that my friends would need to read the instructions themselves, I redrew her instructions in Illustrator and made instruction sheets. So thank you Tiny Sparkly Things! What a fun resource you are!

I wrapped the tables with kraft butcher paper, gathered various ribbons in glass jars, drew out how long each ribbon should be using a sharpie directly onto the butcher paper, and used this crazy awesome roll of Greenwrap that I found at The Container Store as a runner on the tables as well as on the mantles. I just love that extra texture. Because I was expecting many more peeps, I had pie tins ready so that you could bring your washers & ribbon anywhere you could find a spot. They were a great way to contain the chaos!Look how seriously cute the necklaces turned out! (PS – please note, that this was at the end of the night. Purple teeth, wine-soaked eyes, and frizzy Chewbacca hair should please be ignored. Please focus your attention on the necklaces. Thank you.)Oh and before moving onto the glitter station, I have to mention two things about the mantle. One: that I also found that seriously cute fringe stuff in the gift department of The Container Store. Who knew? And Two: Did anyone (besides my super fab & with-it sister) pick up on the “She’s Crafty?” reference or am I just a freak? For the record it’s a Beastie Boy’s song and I could not stop singing it while I was getting ready for this party, so it made it’s way onto the mantle. If you got it, you’ve earned yourself a License to Ill.Okay… onto the glitter station. Crafty Jan owns all of this stuff, so I just borrowed it. Such pretty glitter, though it can get super messy. The blackout made it nearly impossible to see outside, so these little figurines never got their glittery new life, but that’s just a reason to throw another party in my book.There’s the set-up with the added candles as night started to fall. For food, I luckily kept it simple. Well, I always keep it pretty simple since I am a horrendous cook, but I mean there was no heating involved which turned out great since the use of an oven was a no-go after 4pm. Here’s the un-toasted guacamole ‘bruschetta’ (recipe here), which was still pretty good even though it was just bread. I also had cut veggies in plastic wine cups lined with cupcake liners with ranch dressing at the bottom. This was not my idea. I found it somewhere in the blogosphere but I cannot figure out where. If anyone knows, let me know and I will give credit. I’ll totally do this again. It was a nice individual way of serving veggies. Added bonus: no clean up! Just toss. Finally, just brownie bites from the grocery store to satisfy any sweet tooth. And we were very thankful for those candles, even if they didn’t fit the theme! (Though there’s nothing wrong with a little Jesus at a party, right?) We sipped away and this…
turned to this…I love hosting girl’s nights during the week. I think most of the gals I know (especially the ones with young ones) are DYING for a night off and a mid-week night off is even sweeter. Another thing I always do is provide some alcohol but ask everyone to bring a couple beers or a bottle of wine to share if they can (no problem if they can’t.) That way, it doesn’t put you out financially to host which means you’ll be more inclined to have more parties, and no one ever seems to mind pitching in for a fun night. It’s a win all around!Here’s the night in progress… mind you we could barely see so these pics are pretty bad! I love the flashlights hanging from the chandelier. I think I might do that again if my boys ever want a scavenger hunt or camping themed birthday. It kind of looks cute.I think that the blackout actually made this night even more fun. I mean, what else would we all have been doing? Talking to our husbands? Playing with our kids? Oh man! (I am TOTALLY kidding!)

What an unexpectedly fun night without light. And what’s that you say? You want to host a party just like this? Okay! Here are some free printable PDF files for you just because I’m feeling glad to be back and thankful that you all are hanging in there!
Here are the FREE printable PDF files for:
How to Make A Washer Necklace Instructions (3 to a page)
She’s Crafty banner
Hello You Crafty Minx door sign
Make a Washer Necklace sign
Little signs for ribbons, big, mid, wee, sip, & yum
DOWNLOAD HERE (clicking the picture above won’t get you the files): CRAFTforBLOG

Have the best week!

Wedding Reception :: Yellow & Gray & Lemonade!

I have literally been so excited to share this yellow & gray shindig with you guys! I honestly don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write about it but get ready for a tissue fan explosion!Do you remember when I whipped up these invites? Well those two cuties smiling at you are the Spencer & Nicole I made them for. They had a very intimate wedding in early July but Spencer’s parents (and two of my favorite people on the planet) Maryann & Charlie wanted to throw them a big reception in August. Maryann got me & Crafty Jan on board to help and I have to say, it was one of the most fun parties I’ve ever gotten to be a part of planning.We were more than lucky to have the backdrop of C&M’s beautiful home. Let’s do a sweeping tour… From the right (up top!) to the left (down below.) (P.S. Maryann made those poms hanging from the kitchen bar area herself! They were perfect touches!) Their home held the 150 guests beautifully. Using tissue fans we bought from here, we covered almost their entire pad. Good thing their dog Rocky didn’t get in the way, otherwise he might have gotten covered as well. I’m not sure if you’re grasping the magnitude of this installation, but each of the larger tissue fans are 25″ inches in diameter… and we used nearly 300 of them! The hole on the right side of the TV was left open intentionally for gifts. (These photos were taken before the party started.)

The left side of the TV made for a great backdrop for photos. It’s also giving you an idea of how ENORMOUS these things were.We didn’t stop there! We designed a dessert buffet using the beautiful bones their house with even more tissue fans. I’ve been asked how we got the fans to stick…… turns out it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. About 3 days before the party, we hung them up and 12 hours later they were all on the floor. Good thing we didn’t do this the morning of the party! Neither Glue Dots nor Zots worked on their beautifully waxed wood, so we resorted to clear packing tape. I was a little worried that the tape might ruin the wood but it turned out just fine. We’ll get back to the dessert in a second but let’s jump over to the “lemonade stand” in the courtyard. This is what greeted you as you walked in from the street.Using fabric from Home Fabrics, graphics from One Charming Party (altered a little by me), stacked crates, pennant flags, and my mom’s vintage bottle stand, we set up an area for both lemonade and hard lemonade. Wink wink! (Which one do you think went first?)
Yeah, it’s not super normal that lemons are growing off ivy topiaries, but it had to be done! My mom just tied fake lemons to the trees and I think we fooled the whole party into thinking we found rare ivy lemon trees.We kept the centerpieces pretty simple. My mom used to be a florist and always comes up with the funkiest ideas. I love the lemon on the stick! Cocktail tables alternated between having those atop them and styrofoam cone, moss-covered lemon ‘trees.’ I made banners for the lemon sticks with different sayings.Now for some “LOVE!”The “LOVE” sign that looks so small in that photo is actually a 60″x48″ canvas that my mom painted in the same font that we used throughout the other details. So though this looks small, it’s actually HUGE and it’s what greeted you as you stepped out of the courtyard and into the house. I think it set the tone perfectly.Using spare tissue fans and dowels, we made ‘flowers’ and had them grow out of wheat grass which magically sprouted from opened drawers. This gives you a better idea of scale below:Maryann had a beautiful photo of the newlyweds from the wedding blown up and we added a big frame and a yellow and white striped “mat” behind it. It was the perfect piece for the mantle.We left a box of treats in the bathroom next to a sign that said “You look smashing my dear!” (always nice to get an unexpected compliment, don’t you think?) Maryann had really cute coasters for guests to fill our their wishes for Spencer & Nicole which was a really cute activity.
And she had napkins made up just for the party.Speaking of napkins, we needed to use quite a few of them to wipe our greedy mouths of the delicious (I mean TO DIE FOR) food they served. Catered by Thank Goodness It’s Sofia out of Long Beach, they had everything from a mashed potato (in martini glasses) bar (below), macaroni & cheese grilled cheese sandwiches (yes together!), a wok box station, a prime rib slider station, in addition to amazing passed appetizers. I wish I would have taken more photos, but I was honestly too busy stuffing my face! It was DIVINE!Tummy grumbling yet? There’s more! For dessert, Alicia of The Crimson Cake in Encinitas (you may remember that she did these cakes as well) created a bevy of beautiful sweets!Let’s start with the showstoppers… the cakes!I love when there are humorous personal touches in parties and the fact that Maryann had cakes made of Spencer & Nicole’s favorite ‘toons was just too perfect! How insanely darling is this Hello Kitty and Homer? I cannot believe the talent of Alicia! Geez! I’m blown away!In addition to the darling & delicious cakes, she made 3 different brownie pops, a variety of mini cupcakes, lemon bars, profiteroles, and the cutest ‘bride & groom’ chocolate covered strawberries you ever did see.I am happy to report that I tried them all and cannot believe that things that look this cute are in fact more delicious than they are adorable! SOOOO good! Maryann said that both the caterer & the confectioner were a delight to work with so I’m putting my stamp of approval on them! Use them! You will not be disappointed! The party was a hit!And their view is unbeatable…But what kept the party hopping from start to finish were these two talented guys…The Kalama Brothers, Ryan & Kai. We know Ryan personally and it was so fun to see him in his element. They really knew how to work a party and played everything from fun Hawaiian hits, to Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah, to the best rendition of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison I’ve ever heard, to Lady Gaga and everything in between. They are honestly so talented I cannot say it enough! They picked up on the vibe of the crowd by playing mellow songs when we were mellow and turning it up ten notches when we wanted to go wild! They guided us along with beautiful beats like only great musicians can. By the middle of the party, the place was hopping! There was barely room on the dance floor. Sorry to gush. They really are insanely good! (Like them on facebook to stay in the know for their upcoming shows! They play all over Southern California and they are phenomenal!)I have to end this post with a group of ladies who have all been a part of my life since I was born. How lucky I am to have such wonderful women as role models and pseudo-aunties. I love all of these gals so much!
Maryann & Charlie, you throw one heck of a party and we’re hoping to be involved in any party you plan from this moment on! What a blast that week of decorating and planning (and mostly chatting) was! We loved every minute of it!
So cheers my dears! My first post back! Phew! Thank you all for the reassuring comments from yesterday’s post. I am blessed to have you all as readers and am excited to be back on this party horse!

xoxo
A