Real Party: A Black & White Wine Tasting Birthday Party

To continue the wine tasting theme I wanted to post my birthday party from last year: A Wine Pairing Party in Black and White.

We didn’t want to go crazy so we used only things that we already owned for decorations and spent our birthday budget money on good food and wine. We had a seven course tasting menu that lasted throughout the entire evening.

The menu including a fruit plate, caprese skewers, tortellini with pesto, eggplant parmesan, steak wraps, cheese plate and a black forest cake. Each course was complimented with a different delicious wine. With this many courses each wine was served in approximately 3 oz pours so that everyone could safely enjoy each wine.

I had a roll of white paper and had seen  a beautiful hand drawn wallpaper somewhere on the internet so I got the idea to hand draw all the decorations for my party. This was a much LARGER job that I had first anticipated, but I was thrilled with the results.

Hand drawn picture frames, bookshelves and furniture lined nearly every surface of the party space. I left most of the frames empty except for 5 frames that were drawn on one main wall. In those frames I drew goofy cartoons explaining how to taste wine with food using the five senses.

To continue the theme of picture frames throughout the party we filled picture frames with a “thank you” photo that would later be replaced with photos the guests took in the photo booth at the party. The only regret I have about this favor is it tended to look more like a shrine to all things “Jenni” rather than a great display of party favors.

The photo booth was a big hit at the party. With everything else being black and white we hung red curtains up for the photo booth’s background. It made the whole room pop. I cut out a black frame from foam board and it made a fantastic prop.

The last bit of entertainment was actually held in the decorations themselves. While guests waited between courses they used the colored pencils and crayons to fill all the empty frames that filled the walls.

By the end of the party all of the frames were filled and I had my choice of art made by all my friends.

My Party was FEATURED!

My Bewitching Ball is being featured as Catch My Party’s  
“Party of the Day!” 

Catch My Party is a party sharing website with gobs of inspiration from party throwers out there just like me and you. You can submit parties for all to see (or just select people). I’m excited now that not only one but two of my parties have been featured as the party of the day.

If you head over to Catch My Party today then you will see my party (along with two other fantastic parties) scrolling along on the front page. Otherwise you can visit the party directly by clicking the link below. 

If you like the party then show me some love on by giving me a “cupcake”! Read more…

Friday Finds: Throw a Wine Tasting at Home

Love the idea of a wine tasting but can’t get out to the wineries? Throw a tasting at home! Grab a few bottles and some great snacks to pair it with and you have yourself a PARTY! But, just in case you need a little help or inspiration for the wine tasting I’ve thrown together a few items for today’s Friday Finds.

A good book can certainly point the way to a fun event. 
My home library is full of great cookbooks, event books and everyday novels that inspire me constantly. Below are a few of many great books about wine and paring. I personally own a couple of them and have longingly looked through the others at the bookstore.

Clockwise from top left: What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea – Even Water – Based on Expert Advice from America’s Best Sommeliers; Wine Tasting Notebook by Steve De Long; De Long’s Wine Grape Varietal Table; Janis Robinson’s How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine

Side Note: “What to Drink with What You Eat” is a long-winded read. But, it really is the thing to inspire great wine and food pairings. It is also great for inspiration for foods that will go great with drinks like milk and water. It’s amazing!

Now, the supplies are really the thing for putting an everyday wine tasting over the top. You don’t have to have fancy glassware but I highly suggest stemmed, glass wine glasses. Below are some of the fun items I either have and use frequently for tastings or WANT so very badly.*

Clockwise from top left:
Ikea’s SVALKA Red Wine Glasses $4.99/6 —Okay, seriously, I use glassware in almost all of my parties. I am not a fan of the platic cup. Ikea came to my rescue with their SVALKA wine glasses– at around five dollars for half a dozen I can buy as many as I need for my many parties and not feel a bit worried when one is broken.
The Wine Tasting Party Kit by Chronicle Books— I’ve been wanting to do a blind tasting for a very long time… but, I’m waiting for Santa to drop this dream kit off in front of my Christmas tree before I try to tackle it.*
Glass of Pinot Stationary from Le Belle Vie Designs on Etsy — A hand written note on this stationary would be the perfect invitation to a wine tasting.
Wine Tasting Drink Charms by Clinks— When you have a lot of glassware going around a party you need drink charms. These simple, yet adorable charms would be a delightful way to get guests mingling as well as keep drinks with their owners. “Have you seen the drink that say’s ‘Meeny’?”
Wine Country Appetizer Plates from Uncommon Goods— Serve the nibbles on something scrumptious. These great wine themed appetizer plates are the perfect size and fit the theme beautifully.


Event Idea: Wine Tasting Outing

Recently we took an outing to local wineries and it made me want to do it all up right…

We started with a hearty brunch of quiche, salad, and lots of coffee. Right before driving out we handed each of the guests gift bags. The bags for each of the guests contained wine tasting essentials including: notepad, pen, cheeses, crackers, salami and chocolate.Then we let the wineries do the rest!

We are wine members for a couple of the wineries in Forest Grove, Oregon. We are always so impressed with the wine selection that we keep coming back for more. The whole trip inspired me to create some new printables that will be on the site soon. In the meantime enjoy some of the photos we took on this trip and visit some of the websites for the wineries we visited!

David Hill Winery

David Hill boasts some great wines. Some of our favorites are actually their house wines– Farmhouse Red and Farmhouse White. At $10 a bottle they are a great deal–they have quickly become our everyday house wines. And, if you like a good Pinot Noir check out their 2007 Estate Black Jack Pinot Noir. YUM!

Purple Cow Vineyards

Purple Cow Vineyards produced an amazing selection of red wines for us to taste. The winemakers of the vineyards both have full time jobs other than the vineyard, but man do they make a good glass of wine. The bottle Gabriela is a tasty treat with grilled lamb or pork– we drank it with a grilled lamb covered in a cherry glaze… delish! While we were at the winery Jose Galindez, one of the wine makers, gave us a great introduction to the wines, the vineyard and the wine making process. If the wines weren’t as good as they were then he alone would be worth the trip!

Montinore Estate

Montinore Estate is a great stop on the wine tour. It has a gorgeous tasting room that overlooks the vineyard. If you get a chance to stop by try their Ruby Port and Chocolate Pinot Noir Sauce. YUM.

We visited to other venues while we were out on our trip and I got so carried away with the tastings that I forgot to take pictures. But, if you are in Forest Grove or see labels for Apolloni Vineyards or Sake One Sake Brewery then please give them a try as well! I can’t tell you enough about the deliciousness of Apolloni’s Viogner or Sake One’s nigori selection.

My Party was FEATURED!

Okay, I’m a little bit more than excited that my party was chosen as Catch My Party’s  
“Party of the Day!” 

Catch My Party is a party sharing website with gobs of inspiration from party throwers out there just like me and you. You can submit parties for all to see (or just select people). I honestly didn’t know that they might select a party to be featured on the front page.

If you head over to Catch My Party today then you will see my party (along with two other fantastic parties) scrolling along on the front page. Otherwise you can visit the party directly by clicking the link below. 

Catch My Party

If you like the party then show me some love on by giving me a “cupcake”!

Real Party: A Bike Themed Cocktail Party

Recently I help a friend of mine throw a birthday cocktail party for her bike lovin’ beau. We decided to go the route of bike parts, old wine and beer bottles and a neat recycled-chic look. The color scheme was any and all metal and chrome colors.

The decor consisted of bike wheels, chain and gears. I made coasters and drink labels with the slogan, “Gear up and Drink.” We spray painted beer and wine bottles with black and silver paint and filled them with wildflowers. Framed pictures of bikes and bike signs decorated the walls and tables around the party.

Real Party: Pink Lemonade

I’m in love. I’ve seen Anna Claire’s 1st birthday out in the blogosphere and I just had to ask to post about the party. The “Pink Lemonade” birthday party was inspired by the fact that AC’s mom, Pam, craved Pink Lemonade during her pregnancy. The details are just way too cute and so well done. I think if any party is a “well-crafted party” then this party would be it.  Check out her blog, The Burrus Family, for more from this amazing party! Oh, and please forgive my over-usage of exclamation points and the word “love”… but, I think you might just understand after seeing these photos.
In preparation for the party Pam did a photoshoot for the invitations. Below are a few of the photos from the photoshoot (find more of the “outtakes” on the Burrus Family blog). 

Is she not the cutest little girl!?!  The finished invitations:

Great, right!?!
Oh, and then there are the details. The homemade bunting is a superb addition to the party. And, please note how great the lemons add a simple, inexpensive pizazz the the mantle.  I love how she used the color scheme throughout the entire party. She also used some of the “outtake” photos as decorations on the food table.

To really top the whole thing off, the “smash” cake was made by Pam herself after taking a cake decorating class the month of the party. 

Last, but certainly not least… A “just her size” lemonade stand that welcomes the guests to the party.

Thank you to Pam and The Burrus Family Blog for the opportunity to share this adorable, well-crafted party.

Sneak Peek: Pink Lemonade First Birthday

Here is a sneak peek photo from an adorable 1st Birthday with a theme of Pink Lemonade. Check back tomorrow for all the fun details.

Friday Finds: 13 Things I Must Buy and Plan A Party Around

It is Friday the 13th (in case you didn’t know) and in  honor of this Friday I am doing a “Friday (the 13th) Find” list. That is a lot of Friday for one sentence…

 13 Things I MUST Buy and
Plan a Party Around:

1. I’ve shared my love of Paper Source before on this blog… well, I think I love it more just for having these placemats.  
2. I read all of the Nancy Drew novels as a kid. And, now, with the Nancy Drew Guide to Life and  Nancy Drew Handbook I am beginning to think a mystery party would be just the ticket.
3. A Lego party would be outrageously fun for a lucky 10-year old (or the lucky 10-year old at heart). I think the party would be put over the top with a Lego Digital Camera in the home photobooth. 
4. Anthropology really should open a party-ware store. I’m obsessed with these From the Deep Dinner Plates
5. Etsy Treasury is now one of my favorite tools on the web. I’ve wanted to throw a party with a Peacock color-scheme for ages now. I just might get started on it with the finds in the Glamorous Peacock Treasury.
6. Alice in Wonderland is going to be seeing a lot of attention from me in the upcoming months. This picture book is a must buy in the planning and execution of an Alice in Wonderland party. Oh, but I can’t forget the new Penguin edition of the beloved classic with its beautiful cover.
7.I’ve been wanting to throw a carnival themed party for an age now. This print from Lori 411’s Etsy shop would have to be incorporated.
8. Can I please have a party just so I can wear this dress? 
 9. The Etsy treasury titled “The ever expanding universe” may not only have items that I want for a future party but maybe even the name of the theme itself!
10. Fall is almost here and a fall themed party is a MUST. These tree-stump place card holders would not only work for a fall theme but also a save the earth theme or Stumptown themed party.
11. A retro fondue party would not be complete without a 1960s fondue pot.
12. An afternoon in Paris wedding or baby shower would be complete with the addition of this lovely wall paper from Anthropologie. Decorate a prop wall with it or paper boxes to decorate the table.
13. And, While it is a slightly creepy way to end this post I have to give a shout out to a Friday the 13th themed product. The Happy Friday the 13th Etsy Treasury features this stuffed print doll that would be a spooky edition to any Friday the 13th party or even Halloween.

Pirate Printables!

Loving the idea of throwing your very own Pirate Party?  Well, below are some free printables to help get your shin-dig going.

Birthday Buccaneer Cupcake Sails Directions: Print page (you may need to select the “fit to print” option) and cut out sails. Hole punch where indicated on the top and bottom of the sails. Stick a lollipop stick (can be found at your local craft store or in the candy and cake aisle of some of your larger supermarkets) through the holes and top with a Pirate flag. Stick into cupcake.
Pirate Flags Directions: Print out page (you may need to use the “fit to print” option) and cut out the flags. Wrap the left side of the flags around a lollipop stick or straw and glue (Elmers or a hot glue gun should work fine).

These printables are provided free for your personal use and are not permitted for sale. The fonts used are featured on for personal use. Some of the font on have an option for donations to the font designer… I highly suggest donating to these awesome artists! The fonts used are: Major Guilty, ShipsNBoats and Armada Pirata.

Hardy Har Har… a Pirate Party Inspiration Board

Have a little one that loves the idea of a treasure hunt just for him/her? Or, are you working on an idea for a fun and safe Halloween party for your little ones? A Pirate Party might be just the thing with treasure, activity and a lot of fun decor options. Get inspired by popping in a DVD of Pirates of the Caribbean, surfing the blogs or just scroll down a bit to my inspiration board for a good old fashioned Pirate Party.

Set the tone for this party by sending a treasure map invitation with your house marked with an X. Encourage guests to come dressed in theme or provide eye patches and swords at the door.  Decorate with old nets, crates, drapes of red fabric and so much more. And, don’t forget the treasure hunt that ends with the little buccaneers receiving goody bags filled with pirate treasure.

Sources from top left clockwise around board:
1. Gold coins from Oriental Trading to use as “Pirate Treasure” or as favors
2. Freakin’ cute cupcake liners (the red and white striped or the black and white striped would be so adorable) from Cupcake Social’s Etsy store but I’m sure you can find them other places as well. (Oh, and if you did these with the red and white striped paper straws with little black pirate flags on them then I’m sure your guests will enjoy!)
3. These pirate cookies from Kara’s Party Ideas would be cute and seriously easy. I also love the box that they put them on that is covered with a pirate cloth–something you could do easily to hide props holding food at your party.
4. This is actually a card from Cupcake Social’s Etsy shop that could be used for invites, thank you cards, art for around the room…. the list goes on and on.
5. Couture Parties did a great Pirate themed party that had both the cute straws and these paper cones. Hostess Blog has a tutorial that makes the  paper cones easy enough to make with some scrapbook or wrapping paper.
6. Cute favor bags like the one pictured can be found on Etsy or easily made!
7. These cupcake sails with flags were featured on That Cute Little Cake.

Check back later this week for free printables!

Friday Finds: Inspiration from the blogosphere

I’m feeling very inspired as of late. It might be due to the fact that I have a little break from actual parties and have some time to dream about future parties… but, I know it also has a lot to do with the beautiful images I’m seeing out in the blogosphere. So, for some party inspiration or just a big party-inspired smile… some links:

  • I’ve been into purple lately (no, really?) and was immediately drawn to this beautiful wedding featured on Amorology. If Jill and Glenn’s great choice of purples isn’t enough to draw you in check out the great graphics and the sweet frames from Junky Heirloom
  • This lovely Vintage Carnival tablescape is just about gorgeous enough to make me drool. I could go on and on about the color-scheme, the graphics and the little details… but, instead I’ll let you go over and look at Celebrations at Home blog. 
  • Our yearly Halloween Party is already in the works (we’re doing Alice in Wonderland this year) and I’ve been very much inspired by these two parties from The City Cradle and Celebrations at Home‘s feature about Sweets Indeed.
  • I need to have a party just so I can use this adorable idea featured on Giggleberry Creations.
  • Couture Parties featured these awesome cardboard picnic boxes from Boxsal. LOVE.

And, lastly… I will leave you with inspiration from a local store (that can be found on-line). I am in love with all things Anthropologie. Recently I visited a local store and saw this beauty:

The canopy is on my project to do list…. the pillows on my must buy list. I hope that you found some of these links inspiring and that you have a fantastic weekend.

Having any parties this weekend? Send me an e-mail with your party photos!

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