So busy… sneak peek of posts to come!

I’ve been a very busy bee lately!
I usually spend a little time working on posts over the weekend and my day off (Tuesday)… but, this week I’ve not been able to do any of that! 
Over the weekend my hubby and I spent our time NESTING. 
We cleaned out our closets and took a trip to goodwill with many bags and boxes full of stuff. I didn’t even know we had that much STUFF. Makes me feel a little guilty. 
Well, our closets look LOADS better and my label maker was put to good use. Next weekend we’ll be putting the finishing touches on baby’s room and (HOPEFULLY)
do some deep cleaning in the house so I don’t have to worry about it before baby gets here.
The past two days I didn’t have a lot of time working on posts because a dear friend of mine is here from Oklahoma. We spent our time hanging out and reminiscing.
But, I do have a TON of posts that I want to be working on and bringing to you soon.
So, I thought I’d share a quick sneak peek of things to come! 
 {DIY CHERRY BLOSSOM PROJECTS}
Photo Credit: Capturing Grace Photography
Although, if you just can’t wait you can shimmy over to Hostess with the Mostess for her feature on the DIY projects that we created for this shoot.
{Mommy Monday Posts}
Photo by my very own Mommy who prepped a {Mommy Monday} post for us!
I have a LOT of fun {Mommy Monday} posts coming! 
If you like DIY projects that aren’t exactly party related then you will like some of these upcoming posts. There will be posts with projects for decorating the nursery, re-purposing (or upstyling) clothes to help save money and some fun summer projects to do with the kiddos. 
A robot painting I did for the nursery!
P.S. If you are a Mommy Blogger or a Blogger who is about to be a Mommy then I’d love to feature a guest post by you for the future {Mommy Monday} spots! 
{RECIPES}
 
Maybe it is the nesting, but I’ve been cooking and baking up a storm lately! 
So, I have a ton of fun recipes for you, including the Peanut Butter and Jelly cupcakes pictured above! Check back in over the next couple of weeks for recipes for cupcakes, dinners and an a ton of recipes that involve STRAWBERRIES! 
{REAL PARTIES}
I still need to post all about our Baby Shower and Beer before Baby parties! I was a silly blogger and didn’t take very many photos, but my friends were gracious enough to send me some of their photos…. so, I have some fun details to share with you! 
{GIVEAWAY}
What!?! Another giveaway so soon!?
I’m really excited to say that one of my favorite party supply stores has offered a
fun giveaway item to you! 
So, don’t forget to check back to see what it is and how you can win it!
  Well, thanks for checking in on the blog today…
I haven’t quite fell of the face of the universe. I am however prepping the blog for the moment when baby arrives and I do fall off the face of the universe for a moment. So, what type of posts would you like to see on the blog? 
And, if you are a blogger as well….
would you like to do a guest post!?! 

{CONCEPT SHOOT} Love in Blossom Pt. 2

Can you tell I’m excited about this party concept? 
And, THE PHOTOS! 
I was thrilled when Aubrie LeGault from Capturing Grace Photography sent these photos to me
and I’ve been dying to show them to you ever since!
So, part one of the photos showed you my concept for a DIY, budget-friendly, Japanese-Inspired head table and bridal bouquet… now, for the DESSERT!
I love this picture of the cake table. The cherry blossom cake is surrounded by more white flowers, cherry blossom confetti and a Japanese tea set used for candle holders.
Just so  you know… that cake tasted as good as it looks!
What bride wouldn’t be happy with their own personal cupcake to enjoy!?!
Alicia, from The Sweet Smith blog, created a white cake with lemon filling and a delish butter cream frosting for the cake. She then topped the cake with molded chocolate cherry blossoms. You can find the recipe and DIY instructions on how to create the flowers over at Hostess with the Mostess!

*****
For DIY projects visit Hostess with the Mostess or check back in next week!

{CONCEPT SHOOT} Love in Blossom Pt. 1

Yesterday I posted the inspiration board for this concept shoot.
Today…
THE PHOTOS!
Again, I’m so excited to be able to share these photos with you because I got to work with fabulous people and we worked really hard on this shoot! I have so many pictures that I thought I’d divide them into two posts. This post features what I’d imagine the head table could look like for this wedding.
The beautiful photography was done by my friend, and Portland photographer,
Aubrie LeGault of Capturing Grace Photography.
So, with no further ado… the pics!
The lovely bride (model Joan Stevens) is showered in cherry blossom confetti as she looks out at tables adorned with cherry blossom branches, tea lights and small arrangements of white carnations.
Low arrangements make it easier for people to see across the table and allow for more intimate conversations.
For the table settings we played with a mixture of traditional Japanese plates and a more modern look with the wine glasses and tall water glasses.
Cherry Blossom confetti (made from tissue paper) is sprinkled across the table and guests can find their spots by looking at their chopstick holders that double as place cards.
The happy bride shows off her white carnation and cherry blossom bouquet.
Check back later today for images of the dessert table and the amazing cake made by
Alicia Smith of The Sweet Smith blog!
This Love in Blossom concept shoot was featured on Hostess with the Mostess!
*****
To see the DIY project instructions you can visit Hostess with the Mostess for instructions and photos!
I’ll be posting the DIY projects on this site next week!

{INSPIRATION BOARD} Love in Blossom A Japanese Inspired Wedding

I’ve been holding back this project for a while
(oh so difficult!!!!)
but, was pleasantly surprised yesterday to see it featured on
Which means… I can now share it with you!
~*~
Love in Blossom: A Japanese-Inspired Wedding 
I was inspired to create this Mock-Wedding reception from a request for a DIY wedding with the theme of “Around the World.” I have a special place in my heart for Japan because my husband was born and grew up in the Tokyo area. My in-laws were so amazing when I told them about my idea and they brought me some beautiful tableware from Tokyo the last time they came to visit! I wanted to mix Japanese details with some more traditional American wedding details.
I hope I got the right mix!
First off, my inspiration board for this project:
Sources from Top Left Clockwise:
(I’ve lost a few of these sources because I created this board over a year ago… if you know of the source for one of these photos PLEASE let me know so I can give credit!!)
1. Invitations: Martha Stewart Weddings: Sheila and Steve’s Real Wedding 
2. Girl with Umbrella: ???
3. DIY origami branches: The Flirty Guide  
4. Girls with Wands: Martha Stewart from Matthew Robbins Design 
5. Cranes: ???
6. Paper Lantern: Luna Bazaar 
7. Cherry Blossom Mochi: ???
I really wanted to focus on creating several 
DIY projects for this photoshoot.
 
In the end I decided on creating cherry blossom branches
(although, I did not go with the above Origami style because I was HORRIBLE at it and I liked a little bit more organic look),
printable chopstick holders that could double as name cards, 
cherry blossom confetti and a ribbon wall backdrop. 
I then asked my friend Alicia from The Sweet Smith if she’d like to be involved by creating a cherry blossom “wedding cake”— man did she deliver! She came up with a tasty lemon cake with a buttercream frosting and beautiful cherry blossoms made out of chocolate! Check out her DIY over at the Hostess with the Mostess
I’ll be back later to post photos from the shoot!

{GIVEAWAY WINNER} Blair Candy Giveaway

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner! 
Excited to say that we have a winner for the 

{GIVEAWAY}
First off… {THANK YOU} to everyone who viewed the giveaway page and entered the contest! I’m hoping we have even more giveaways in the future and your entries certainly will help with getting more opportunities for you to win items! 
Using Random.Org we came up with comment number:
That means LEXIQUIN you are a WINNER!
LEXIQUIN— you have 48 hours to e-mail me to claim your prize! 
Congrats on winning $15 of your choice of candy from Blair Candy!

{FEATURED} Hostess with the Mostess

I can barely contain my
EXCITEMENT!
One of my all time favorite blogs… 
the one that has helped to inspire a thousand different party ideas,
has chosen to feature one of MY party photo shoots! 
That is right! Hostess with the Mostess is currently featuring a collaboration between myself, Alicia Smith of The Sweet Smith and Aubrie LeGault of Capturing Grace Photography called
“Love in Blossom: Japanese-Inspired Wedding.”
Check out “Love in Blossom” for inspirational pictures, budget ideas,
DIY projects and even some fun recipes!
Thank you so much to Hostess with the Mostess for featuring our party!
~*~
Don’t forget about entering our current {GIVEAWAY}!
Today is the LAST DAY to win candy from
GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!

{Recipe} Bailey’s Milkshake Shots

Last week I posted one of my husband’s past birthday parties–
A Sesame Street Themed party for the young at HEART only. For readers looking for a cocktail option that would fit this theme read on for a Bailey’s Milkshake Shot recipe!

{Mommy Monday} 32 Weeks and feeling very LARGE

I’m going to get a little personal today.
(I promise to bring you lots of light-hearted, fun party posts very soon.. maybe I’ll even do one today.)
I feel GIGANTIC.
I can’t sleep. I have constant heartburn. I’m way too emotional and stressed for my own good. I can’t do anything as quickly or as effectively as I used to be able to. I’m struggling with trying to eat healthy and exercising. I’m struggling with feeling READY for this. 
Sometimes when he moves a lot I just feel like throwing up.
And, on top of it all… 
every complaint I have about being pregnant makes me feel SO guilty
A slightly blurry photo that shows exactly how I feel a LOT lately.
 
My husband and I planned on this pregnancy… 
but, it took much longer to get here than we thought it would. 
Month after month (after MONTHS) of disappointment and hearing about our friends getting pregnant left and right was so hard on us (more specifically, me).
I wanted so badly wanted to be pregnant and I am SO excited about meeting my son. 
But, I suck at BEING pregnant. 
And, on days like today (those days when I am feeling HUGE and irritable)
I feel so guilty for not being more “into” pregnancy. 
I feel so thankful to have him growing strong inside of me… 
but, I am so ready to meet him and have him here!
(And I still have 8 more weeks til due date!)
**Thanks for reading and hopefully someone out there understands this crazy feeling.**
This last couple of weeks I had a couple of scares with contractions and pains. 
(Which is part of the reason I haven’t been blogging much.) 
It put me a little behind on getting ready for the Beer before Baby party. I was plenty stressed out… but, it really came together in the end. Also, my lovely friends threw a beautiful baby shower for me the same day, so we had a wonderful day of celebration for my little man.
I committed the #1 sin for a party blogger and didn’t take photos at EITHER of the parties other than a couple on my iPhone… hopefully my friends will send me some photos soon so I can post all about the parties this upcoming week. I will share a few of my iPhone photos though!
And, no worries… these were all taken on my good days!
The guest book, invite and favors at my shower. The favors were adorable robot lollipops!
“Welcome Small Human”— perfect banner for a robot themed baby shower. I think this one is going up in the hospital room!
An amazing painting from a friend for my nursery!
Photo sent to me of my friend Joan getting things ready for the party.
A quick shot of the food table from the “Beer before Baby” party.
Our Belly photograph at the Beer Before Baby party.
So, a LOT of really good times while being pregnant as well. 
I am so very thankful for this amazing opportunity to have a baby with the man in the photo above. 
Thanks for letting me vent the not so good times as well. 
Any good pregnancy stories to get me 
through the next few weeks!?!

{Giveaway} Sweet Treats from Blair Candy

Yep, it is finally time for a {GIVEAWAY}!!
I don’t know about you, but I love giveaways on blogs. I’ve even won something one time! 
But, enough about me… this is about you and what you can win! 
Oh, and about one of my favorite things (and possibly one of yours):

CANDY!!!
BlairCandy.Com has offered A Well Crafted Party reader the opportunity to win 
$15 worth of candy from their site! 
Candy and Dessert Tables have become SUPER popular at parties these days. 
Check out this AMAZING candy themed bridal shower featured in the 
newest Martha Stewart Weddings. 
(Check it out for amazing ideas for how to create a great candy buffet.)
Image Source: MarthaStewart.com (Candy not done by BlairCandy)
Or this party from Hostess with the Mostess
(This site is another amazing resource for how to throw together a good candy buffet.)

Image Source: Winter Wonderland Party from Hostessblog.com and Michael Haug

Have you ever gone to look at a retail store for particular candies and been disappointed with the selection or price?
Or, possibly really wanted to find a certain nostalgic candy for your party just to 
find that it will cost more than your favors? 
Blair Candy wants to be your resource for all your future candy needs.

A little about Blair Candy:
Blair Candy is a family-owned and operated, whole-sale and retail candy (and other goods) supplier located out of Pennsylvania. The site sells several different types of candy, including: nostalgic, bulk, sugar-free, gluten-free, parade, wrapped, unwrapped… you get the idea! 

Some of MY Favorite products include:
Giant Rainbow Lollipops
Candy Buttons
Ring Pops
 ~*~
Wanna win $15 worth of Blair Candy?
Here is how to enter:
You have SEVERAL opportunities to win this prize from Blair Candy. Comment once for each of the following tasks you complete (or have already completed) for an entry. 
*You must be in the USA to win for shipping considerations.*
*You must FOLLOW A Well Crafted Party to WIN—Left Side Bar of Site*

A) Visit BlairCandy.Com and let me know what you’d like to win from the site!
B) “Liking” A Well Crafted Party on Facebook
C) “Liking” BlairCandy on Facebook—Let them know you came from A Well Crafted Party!
D) Following A Well Crafted Party on Twitter
E) Following BlairCandy on Twitter
 ~*~
That is 5 chances to WIN!!
*Winner will be chosen using Random.Com at the end of the evening on Wednesday, June 22. 
If you e-mail address is available I will e-mail you and let you know that you are the winner. 
Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize. 
The winner will then be put in contact with Blair Candy.*

This giveaway is sponsored by Blair Candy. I have received no compensation for my thoughts other than the chance for the readers to win a fun prize!

  EDIT: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED! AND CONGRATS TO OUR WINNER!

{Real Party} Seasame Street for the young at HEART

Last year I asked my husband what he wanted to do for his 28th birthday and
he replied (jokingly I might add), “Sesame Street!”
After giving him a strange look I thought about it and decided to just go with it. 
So, there came the idea for his 28th birthday party,
 
“Brought to you by the Letter B”
His favorite Sesame Street character is Grover so I made sure Grover made it onto the invitations.
I made the invitations using a collage technique and then topped it with some fun googly eyes.
The party was RIGHT before leaving to head to Oklahoma for my sister’s wedding (which I was planning) so we kept decor and food pretty simple.
I found coloring pages on-line that I printed off, colored and framed for part of the decor.
 
I also created a “28 Brian Street” sign using Adobe Illustrator.
 
For food we went with items that started with the Letter B… 
Burgers and Brats for mains and then Beers for drinks!
Then, for sweets, I made a Cookie Bar that would make the Cookie Monster a very happy monster.
The sign above the table read, “B is for Brian, but C is for COOOOKIEEE!!”
The Count counting the chocolate chip cookies!
I made 7 different types of cookies, made Bailey’s Milkshake Shots and Cookie Monster Cupcakes for the cookie bar. It was the highlight of the evening for sure!
Bailey’s Milkshake Shots topped with yummy cookies.
Isn’t Cookie Monster just too adorable!
(I just googled “Cookie Monster Cupcakes” and found several different tutorials for making these guys. I then mixed and matched until I found something that used what I had on hand.)
Thanks for checking out today’s {REAL PARTY} feature! It was quick and dirty because I didn’t have a lot of photos or tutorials… but, just goes to show you that you can make any party even 
more special with a few details!

Happy Birthday to my Favorite Person

Today is my favorite person’s birthday. 
Isn’t he the MOST adorable person… EVER! Granted, I’m biased.
My hubby, Brian, is 29 today!
Now, every year we have our anniversary celebration the week before his birthday celebration and things can get a bit hairy in the planning department. Well, this year add on top of it the Beer Before Baby party and his very first Father’s Day… well, his birthday celebration took a step down from our usual fan fare and instead we had a fun time at the Timber’s Game this weekend, drinks with friends and then a delivery of yummy cupcakes today at work. It was still a fabulous time and I hope he is really enjoying his day… even if he at work today! 

Well, in honor of his big day I’ve decided to skip {Mommy Monday} today and instead post a couple {Real Party} 
posts about his past birthday parties.
(Including the pics to THIS party that I’ve never posted!)
Check out the blog later today for two real party birthday posts for the man in my life.
Happy Birthday babe!!

My Summertime Goals

Do you read A Beautiful Mess
{I do… I love it.}
It is one of those blogs that I’m glad she updates often because I get SO excited every time there is a new post. Elsie (the blog creator) is so prolific, creative and FUN. I’d love to meet her IRL. 
Anywho… now that I’ve shown you who I blog stalk let me get to the point of this post…
Last week Elsie posted her Summertime Goals which inspired me to post mine.
(I’m a to-do list JUNKIE and was happy to see that Elsie also journals in a blank journal that gives her room to doodle… so, I immediately went to doodling my own summertime goals.)
excuse my iPhone photo of my journal… if you can’t read just look below!
My Summertime Goals:
{Or, really, my summertime to do list.}
1. Finish House Preparation for Baby I know I have been talking about baby a lot lately but, really, that is the BIGGEST thing going on in my life right now. I have SO much to do in preparation for the baby including re-organizing my craft and entertaining areas, finding a good storage and work area for my husband’s beer brewing equipment, clearing out our guest closet, baby proofing house and finishing the nursery. Have I mentioned he is due in 2 months!?! 2. Save more $$$$ Well, this is a no-brainer. Babies are expensive and I will not be working for three months and then be going back to work very part time… we need a little bit more of a cushion than we have now. Simple as that. 3. Buy tickets & Make plans for Oklahoma trip My family live in Oklahoma… last year my grandmother (one of the most amazing women on this planet) suffered a stroke and can no longer travel. If there is one MUST DO it is to bring my little man to meet her and my grandfather as well as the rest of the fam. Traveling with an infant seems incredibly daunting to me (not to mention the cost of traveling after having said baby). So, I need to get on this task/goal pretty quickly. 4. Prep blog for time off— This goal is essential… I am having SO much fun blogging and it has turned into an amazing space for me to share creatively. But, I am NOT so good at being pregnant and keeping up with blogging, so I fear having an infant and blogging. I’m lining up people for guest posts and working on some scheduled posts that will run when I am not able to blog. Currently I blog very in the moment so this is a toughy. I do have some fun GIVEAWAY opportunities that I am getting excited about so hopefully that will help keep the blog a runnin’. BTW- IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER AND WOULD LIKE TO SHARE A GUEST POST PLEASE GET IN CONTACT WITH ME!!!  5. Have Baby. SURVIVE. Love on Him!— This is my favorite of my goals for several reasons… one of which is that I really don’t have to work too hard to make this one happen now. He is a comin’! I’m scared of birth and of hospitals, so that part will be some work. Loving on him is the one thing I’ve been dreaming about the most these past few months. I think the hard part about this will be to do anything other than love on him.
Well, thanks for reading my summertime goals. 
What are your summertime goals?
You can leave your goals in comments {OR} if you have a blog and 
post them then put a link in the comments and I will read them there!

Anniversary Vacation and Babymoon update

I’ve been really, REALLY busy lately. 
And, I can’t quite nail down exactly one thing that I’ve been working on so 
that I can share projects with you. (YET)
 
I’ve got a ton of party related items coming to you very soon—
including a GIVEAWAY…
 
But, today I wanted to update you on what I’ve been up to so far this busy, busy June.
Anniversary Vacation/ Babymoon
The hubby and I celebrated our 5-year anniversary by having a bit of a 
staycation right here in Portland, OR. 
It was FABULOUS! 
We were able to really enjoy ourselves at a nice hotel on the Waterfront, spending the days acting like tourist in our town and eating at fabulous restaurants in the evenings. 
Pot of chocolate with caramel and sea salt at The Melting Pot
Pioneer Square currently has an amazing flower display… yep, that is the world (at least part of it!)
Portland’s Rose Festival has a City Fair every year and this is the first year we’ve attended. Such fun!
Watermelon Gazpacho at Aquariva. Can’t recommend ENOUGH!
Hubby and Me at dinner.
Enjoying a Virgin Bloody Mary at Brunch at Aquariva. YUMMY!
I didn’t think about the blog or my many to-do lists once this past weekend! 
(kind of amazing for me)
I did however take a picture for Stripe Mania.
 
Me in stripes at Pioneer Square
  
Don’t you just love stripes this year!?!
(Part of me is excited that I can wear them and not really care that they make me look wider!)
It was a rejuvenating weekend and I would suggest a good staycation to anyone who is a couple of months away from having a little one. I loved that I didn’t have to spend hours traveling. We spent the whole weekend taking a trip down memory lane and making new memories. Such a special time!

What have you been up to so far in June?

{Mommy Monday} Outdoor Cleaning Superstar

Today I’ve got some more great tips from Jill
who recently wrote about the amazing cleaning power of Baking Soda.
He is kissing her because she is full of so many AWESOME tips! Photo Credit: Hibben Photography
This week she gives us tips on cleaning up the outdoors space—
Just in time for SUMMER!
Lawn chairs. The must have of any summer, right? Our outdoor furniture takes a beating in the spring storm season, sometimes developing a moldy looking film. I’ve found the best way to get rid of it is a solution of Borax and water. You’ll hear me tout the benefits of Borax on almost any problem, but I’m telling you, it’s great. Borax can be found in the laundry detergent aisle, generally near the powdered detergent. It’s an oldie but a goodie, but I will admit I haven’t used it for laundry yet. A church member suggested it to me at a previous congregation, and it hasn’t failed me yet. You can scrub a little with the wash rag dampened in the Borax solution and then rinse clean with the water hose.
Photo Credit: 20 MuleTeamLaundry

I usually purchase a window cleanser that hooks on to the water hose. To prepare the house for the summer barbecues, I use the window cleanser on all the windows. Then I rinse the bottle several times with fresh water. After that, I mix fresh Borax/water solution in the bottle and pop it back on the water hose. When you make the solution, you’ll want it to be more Borax than water, so maybe a 70/30 solution.

The bottle I got this summer offers a dial that you can select fresh water or cleanser solution, which is perfect! You can use this to clean the kid’s outdoor toys, swing set, vinyl siding, you name it! The swing set has a rubbery plastic tube covering the swing chains, and they are perpetually mildewed. We also get the moldy looking film on the north side of our home. We use the Borax sprayer to wash most of it off. For stubborn spots, you can wipe with a towel or use your household sponge mop for hard to reach areas of the siding.

My last “summer and Borax” tip is for spiders. After the spring storms have passed, spiders come from all over. We shake powder Borax around the foundation of our home, right up next to the house. We repurpose an empty parmesan cheese container just for this project. My daughter made a construction paper label for it, so we are sure not to think it’s a new container of cheese on spaghetti night. This is a great tip that I promise works; tips from older church ladies always work. Almost always.  We had those Daddy long legs things, the little spiders that look like a ball with whisper thin legs, when our daughter was little. The church member suggested this, and they were gone within the month.

(P.S. Check out 20 Mule Team Laundry‘s website for more Borax cleaning tips!)
Thank you Jill for more great tips!  She is certainly helping me prepare for life with the soon-to-be kiddo!
 
Do you have any outdoor cleaning tricks that you use? 
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