{Real Party} A Movie Themed Bridal Shower

Last year I was fortunate enough to be a part of a good friend’s wedding celebrations. With the help of her bridesmaids I hosted a movie themed bridal shower for a bride-to-be that LOVES movies.
We had a small budget and made it work as hard as possible for us. We decked out my apartment with a red carpet, a REAL popcorn machine, movie themed games, movie posters, and a movie trailer I created from iMovie.

{Real Party} It’s the End of the World!

This year’s birthday “theme” was “It’s the End of the World!” Do I think the world is ending today? Nope. Did I have a blast planning an End of the World themed party… YOU BET!

This was absolutely my favorite birthday party to date. I didn’t have to clean or cook! Myself and about 28 of my friends went to The Original— a Dineraunt here in Portland, OR. The food was SO good (hello, donut burger sliders—YUM), the drinks were great, and the service was really wonderful.

I’ve put together some of the images taken from that evening, along with some DIY tips that you can incorporate in many different themed parties.

Invitations: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times… the invitation sets the tone for the entire party. I wanted everyone to know that we’d be having cocktails and yummy food. But, I also wanted to relay the message that this was going to be a FUN party. My favorite part of the invite was the little dino reminder. It had a glittery eyeball and a message reminding guests that the party was on 12/12/12 on the back. People could hang them on a tree, the front door, or their fridge!


Decor: The Original has such a hip, fun decor already that I knew I didn’t need much to make this party stand out. And, I’d never suggest to anyone to bring in a ton of decorations to a restaurant. (See my post on hosting events at a restaurant here.)
So, for decor at this party I made little flags, glittery dinosaurs (they were at the last end of the world!), some “fortune tellers,” and a few activities. I sprinkled the tables with the items. I then used the favor bags as part of the table’s centerpieces. Balloons and party hats finished off the party space. I loved how bright and celebratory everything looked!

Activities: I tried to keep the activities simple for the party… I didn’t want to annoy other guests or anything. But, I still wanted some activities that guests could do because not everyone knew each other and activities are a great way to break the ice.

I made little “Draw Your Future Action Figure” sheets for people to “tell future inhabitants of earth what your action figure should look like… don’t want to end up with short little arms like T-Rex!” I the fortune tellers (or cootie catchers) and small talking cards with bucket list items.

Mostly everyone chatted and enjoyed the food… but, it was fun picking up the action figure sheets at the end of the night!

Photo by Bee of The Spicy Bee, Instagram @thespicybee
Favor: I filled bags found at Oriental Trading with all sorts of goodies just in case the end of days is upon us. The favor had the following items:
  • Beer: “The end is near… time for a beer!”
  • Chapstick: “If I’m going out… I’m going out MAKING OUT!”
  • Chocolate: “The first end of the world would have been much more enjoyable with chocolate.”
  • Mints: “Just because the end is MINT to be… your breath doesn’t need to be so stinky!”
  • Bubbles… well, because Bubbles are fun. 

I didn’t take many photos… but, I loved seeing the Instagram photos that everyone took! I was really fortunate to have so many people with cameras and/or camera phones in attendance or I’d barely have a photo to post today!

Check out these awesome instagram accounts! 

DISCLAIMER: I was in no way compensated for my opinion on The Original. Just my opinion from this experience.


{Real Party} Pink and Glamorous 25th Birthday Party Decor

I’m going to let the photos talk today on this Pink and Glamorous 25th Birthday Party I helped throw for my friend, Suzannah of Adventures in Dressmaking. I’ll be going over some great recipe ideas for a vegan bash, DIY decor elements, DIY favors, and party activities throughout the week. 
BTW, the party took place in her beautiful new house that she is blogging all about over at her blog! 

25 Reasons We Love Suzannah Guest “Books”
The Bar

Goofy photo from the “photo booth” area

Lots of pink, glitter, and sequins for this fabulous 25th birthday girl! 
Oh, and yeah… she made that dress! 
Check back tomorrow for some easy, and pretty, DIY decor! 

{Real Party} Zombie Apocalypse

Photo used with permission from Angela of Party Scribbles

I’m super happy to be featuring an AMAZING (and creepy) real party that was done by the amazing Party Scribbles.  And, Angela has offered to do a giveaway to her Etsy store as well. More on that tomorrow!

I typically am not a bloody Halloween type fan. But, this party is SO full of amazing details! Angela created an awesome Zombie-themed 40th birthday party. The party (and party package) would be a fabulous party for many different aged birthdays or an awesome Halloween shin-dig.

Here is what Angela said of the party:They say life ends at 40, so for my 40th birthday I held a zombie end of the world party. (It’s a warm fuzzy feeling to know I have friends who will dress up as zombies in the middle of the summer for me.) Our theme was a safe house that had been over run with zombies. It was for adults and kids, so we tried to keep it from being too gory.”




Decor Details: We used rolls of plastic sheeting (available at home improvement stores) to decorate the walls. I unrolled them outside and had the kids splatter paint and paint “bloody” handprints all over them with red paint. I also used unpainted plastic sheeting to cover furniture, as if the safehouse was over run by zombies and any survivors left in a hurry. It was the best party not to worry if things would be spilled on my couches! We also pushed furniture up against the windows and my husband built wood frames to put over them as if the windows had been boarded up, but really they just sat in the windowsill.”


The Food: Brain Matter (Guacamole), Grave Mud (Bean Dip), Bone Marrow (Turkey & Ham Wraps), Severed Toes (Prosciutto & Mozzarella), Flayed Skin (Salami Wontons), Teriyucky Eyeballs (Teriyaki Meatballs), Finger Bones (Pretzel sticks with dip), Brain Dip (Pesto Cheeseball), Veggies From Hershel’s Farm (Veggie Tray) and cupcakes

The Drinks: Spinal Fluid (Sprite) and Safe House Water

The Favors:

I made labels for hand sanitizers, toxic sludge, mini candy bars and from Oriental Trading we found great squishy brains and growing brains.”


Thank you SO much to Angela for sharing this creative party with us! Check back tomorrow to see the giveaway that Angela and Party Scribbles are hosting for A Well Crafted Party fans!

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I contacted Angela after seeing her party on-line. 

{Friday Finds} Toddler Food Trays

I saw a lovely photo from Jennifer Bishop on On To Baby (and, all over Pinterest) and I was immediately inspired to create a Toddler Food area at my son’s first birthday party, in which 5 toddlers would be in attendance.

Continue Reading…

First Birthday Activity Ideas

Ahhh… the First Birthday. Such a weird age to throw a party for! You get the food done and the decor done and then it is like…
What is everyone going to DO?
Often a first birthday will have an array of different ages of people. Our first birthday had about 20 adults, a teenager, a 9 year old, and 5 babies! I was completely stumped for a long while trying to figure out some fun activities for everyone. Mostly everyone chatted, played with the babies, and took a lot of photos. (Common… 5 babies together, not crying, is probably one of the cutest things EVER.)

Here is what we came up with for our particular spread of people….

For the adults—

  • We had lots of food and beverages. Some of those beverages were adult-only type beverages. It made the whole party go smoother in my opinion.
  • Instagram/ Twitter Hastag Fun— I planned this one, but then forgot to put out the sign with the hashtag or use it myself. But, Adi’s Where the Wild Things Are party did a GREAT job with this idea!
  • “I Remember When” and “Advice for your Birthday” slips for people to write memories or advice for the birthday boy. (Look for a free printable next week!)

 

For the Babies— 

We wanted happy and comfortable babies for the event. So, we wanted to provide shade, food, and toys. I don’t recall any of the five kiddos having a melt-down!
  • TOYS! Put out some baby friendly toys for the kiddos. We put out several of X’s stuffed animals, cars, and wooden toys. The main event though were the yellow beach balls!
  • Do a baby time with a story and some songs. If you have ever brought your kiddo to “Mommy & Me” groups, Gymboree classes, or Book Baby programs at the library then you know what I’m talking about. Pick out a few fun books to read (in excited voices with lots of movement). Break up the story time with songs that have movements. Of course, we had to sing “You Are My Sunshine!”
Books that would be great to read at a You Are My Sunshine First Birthday:
Songs to Sing:
 
You are my Sunshine, My only Sunshine
You make me Happy, When Skies are Grey
You’ll Never Know Dear
How Much I Love You,
I Love You More, and More
Everyday!

* Photos by Motormouth Studio
** Some of the above links are affiliate links. Affiliate links help support the bloggers that post them. I do not link items I have not used and/or do not like. For more information on my Advertising Policies click HERE.

 

{Recipe} Italian Pressed Sandwiches

When planning the menu for my son’s first birthday I wanted to have plenty of easy adult friendly and kid friendly food. Sandwiches were the best bet in my book.

I saw this great pin via Pinterest and wanted to give making Italian Pressed Sandwiches a shot for the more adult friendly food (although, the kids ate it up too!) These sandwiches are great for mixing and matching things that you love.  **READ MORE FOR RECIPE**

Italian Pressed Sandwiches
Makes approximately 24 1 inch by  2 inch sandwiches
Ingredients:
  • Ciabatta bread: I used one very large loaf, but you can get small rolls instead if you desire, probably 6 small rolls would work
  • Italian Dressing: Any kind of Italian salad dressing will work. I use my favorite, Newman’s Own Family Recipe Italian Salad Dressing.
  • Pesto: You can buy some or make your own! I made my own by processing  pine nuts, olive oil and basil in my food processor. I made approximately 1 cup.
  • Fresh Basil leaves about 24-30 leaves
  • Roasted Red Peppers: 1 jar works
  • Three types of Italian cured meats. I used pepperoni and two styles of salami. I bought one package of each and used enough to cover a layer.
  • Provolone Cheese: 1 package of sliced cheese
  • Pepperocini: Again, you can use whatever your local market has… I used Mezzetta Deli-Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini Peppers
  • Toothpicks
  • Heavy Books, bricks covered in foil, or a cast iron pan
Directions:
  • Slice the ciabatta bread in half
  • Spread Italian Dressing on one of the two halves of bread
  • Spread Pesto on the other half
  • Put a layer of provolone cheese on the half of bread that has the pesto. Build your sandwich from there.
  • Layer on top of it a layer of pepperoni
  • Layer on top of it a layer of salami
  • Layer another layer of salami
  • Layer on Basil Leaves
  • Layer on red peppers
  • Top with the Italian Dressing side
  • Press sandwiches by putting a heavy object on top of the sandwich! I like to put a layer of wax paper on top of the sandwiches just to keep the food safe. Keep sandwiches pressed for about 30 minutes.
  • Cut Sandwiches into 1 inch by 2 inch rectangles
  • Top each sandwich with a pepperocini by spearing the pepper and sandwich with a toothpick

 

Mmmmm… I want another one right now! You will probably have left over ingredients. That is okay, you can use them throughout the week. I’d love to know how things turn out if you make these!

*Photos by Motormouth Studio

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I do not promote items that I do not use or believe in myself. Purchasing something through an affiliate link helps support the blogger that posts them. For more information about my advertising policies or find out how to contribute to my coffee habit, please click over to my policies page

 

{Real Party} You Are My Sunshine First Birthday

The song “You Are My Sunshine” has been one that I often sing my son. Living in Portland, Oregon the sun only really shines during the summer and early Fall. So, my son keeps me smiling year round. 
I hired Macey from Motormouth Studios to hang out at the party all day and take photos. She did a fabulous job!
There were a ton of DIY details that I want to share with you, including printables, recipes, and activities. But, they all can’t go in this one post. So, today will be a picture overload. Stay tuned this week for all of the DIY items!

Halloween: Favorites of Years Past

I love Halloween. It is seriously my all time favorite holiday. I love the fantasy of it all. The make believe. I’m not too big of a fan of the horror or gore side… although, it can be fun for decor options. But, the dressing up, and the creativity that just permeates the holiday makes me incredibly excited as September rolls around and the leaves start changing.

Every year we throw a huge Halloween party. We spend months and months scheming and planning. This year, with our move and other stresses, we have decided to not go crazy. I’m sad about it. Really (probably unreasonably so) sad about it. But, hopefully I’ll get to take this year to spend planning out an even bigger and more awesome event for next Halloween.

I wanted to reminisce a bit on the past Halloweens before swamping the blog with a bunch of awesome inspiration for this year’s holiday. I have thousands of great Halloween memories. But, I wanted to share just a few with you.

My top 5 past Halloween memories:
 
1. My First Halloween with my Son!


I got his adorable Lion costume via Costumes 4 Less

 
2. Our Costumes

We had fun “couple” costumes for the past few years.
These two are my all time favorites:

Alice in Wonderland and The Mad Hare
Circus Family: Clown, Ring Leader, and a Lion

3. Mad Tea Party Backdrop

I spent a LONG time working on this backdrop. And, overall it was my favorite part of the Mad Tea Party. It even got a fan who did one for her own party!

4. Spider Wall
 
Spiders creep me out more than anything else. So, when I have a chance to decorate with spooky items I always go for the spider decor. Last year we created a huge spider nest along one wall.
Man, was it creepy.

5. Haunted Halloween Dinner Party Menu

I really, really love creating a good menu. And, Halloween is no exception. I had a blast creating a menu for the Haunted Halloween Dinner Party.

 

*This is a for profit blog. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I do not promote products or businesses that I don’t use myself. Items purchased from affiliate links help support the blogger that posted them. For more information on my advertising policy for find out ways to contribute to my coffee habit please head on over to my policies page!

{Real Party} Portland Blogger’s Family Picnic

The Portland Bloggers group that I’ve been meeting up with just had the June Meet-up. The group meets approximately every two months. This month it was a family picnic so that everyone could meet some of the people that we all blog about.
Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate.
A last minute venue change along with busy summer schedules made for a small turn-out.
But, the small turn out ended up allowing the group to really talk about blogging.
As my hubby told me repeatedly “It is quality, not quantity!”
 So, not much on the picnic front, but a lot of great information and some fun new faces.
(I’ll be sharing some of the blogging topics over on my other blog, Leave the Laundry for Later.)
I wanted to share the pretty party details with you.
And, tomorrow, stop by for a couple quick and easy DIY party tips!
All the ladies from the event: Macey, Courtney, Justine, Kae, Suzannah, myself, and Adi
Suzannah, Justine, Courtney, and Kae
We all posed with the balloon. Silly, but fun!
Welcome table put together by Kae of Paper Morning
I loved this photo of my son so I had to share!
All photos were taken by the lovely Macey from Motormouth Studio. She is a Portland-area family, portrait, and wedding photographer. I really like her style and was thrilled when she donated a gift-certificate for the meet-up, coupons for the bloggers, and agreed to take photos of the event!
Bloggers in attendance at the event: 
Baby Daddy PDX—Matt
Charmed in PDX— Courtney
Motormouth Studio—Macey
The Musical Life of a Portlander—Jason

{DIY} Newspaper Wedding Program

Yesterday was my 6th anniversary with my hubby. 
I posted our wedding images a couple days ago.

Today I want to share with you my favorite part of the wedding details— The Program. 
I was a Journalism major in college and really wanted to incorporate that love with my wedding. I didn’t think I’d be able to afford it, but a friend gifted me the money for the programs as a wedding gift. It was an expensive wedding detail…. but, it was SO worth it.
Two weeks before the wedding my husband (to be) and I gathered photos, discussed story options, created content, and put together an entire 6-page newspaper about us and our wedding. It was so fun seeing guests pulling out the newspapers and reading them during the event. Some of my favorite photos were of guests looking through the newspapers. One guest who arrived late was confused by the whole thing and said, “I can’t believe someone was reading a newspaper during your ceremony!”

Made me smile.

After 6-years in storage these guys look a little faded and wrinkled… but, are still in pretty great shape.
How we did it: 
—We used QuarkXpress to create the page layout for the newspaper. But, you could also use Adobe InDesign to set this up for a newspaper printer. You can create something similar in a word processor and get it printed in large format at local printer rather than a newspaper printer.
—We used a local newspaper printer to print the papers. The thing about newspaper printers is that you have to print in reams… this particular printer could only print in reams of 1,000 papers. Our guest list was 150. We still have hundreds of papers leftover. This isn’t a project for someone who doesn’t love newspapers. 
—Standard dimensions of a newspaper broadsheet is about 15 inches wide by 22¾ inches long, though some have shrunk it to 12 inches instead of 15. Tabloids come in smaller sizes. I found an online printing source for tabloid newspaper prints. But, I have never used them so I’m not recommending…just sharing a source. Let me know if you’ve used them! 
—We gathered stories from our relationship, our plans for the honeymoon, the schedule for the wedding, tidbits of information about our wedding party, a cartoon, and created a game. 

What story would you write about if you made yourself a wedding newspaper?

{Real Party} Woodland Baby Shower

I recently (January) had the pleasure of hosting a Sprinkle for some dear friends to celebrate the birth of their second child. We wanted to celebrate the upcoming birth of a new baby, but also help the couple get some much needed supplies for the new addition. 
Their first child was a boy and their second is a girl! 
We went with a Woodland Animal theme as it was also going to be the theme for the nursery.
I did a lot of easy DIY projects to help decorate for the Sprinkle. 
The baby shower was centered around sweet activities, yummy food, and the happy family.
 I am not a big fan of baby shower games. Instead of shower games I put together a few simple activities for the guests to do as they chatted and treated themselves to foods and drinks.

Pretty fresh flowers, fun fabrics, and woodland characters decorated the sprinkle.
As guests entered the room they were asked to leave a message for the family in a children’s story book.
I sent my husband to buy the book. I told him it needed to have Forest Animals in it..He came back with Bear In Underwear by Todd H. Doodler— not what I had in mind for a baby girl. But, it was a cute little book! Oh, and the underwear on the bear on the cover were made of real cotton underwear-like material.
I bought a selection of different sized onesies and left out some fabric paint and markers for everyone to decorate onesies for the new baby girl. There were some really cute ones in the mix!
One of the big focal points was the Dessert Table with cookies and three kinds of cupcakes.
We had Toadstool Cupcakes, Spice Cupcakes, and Owl Cupcakes at the party…. check back tomorrow for recipes and tips!

“Rabbit Food,” “Caprese Toadstools,” and “Tree Ring Pinwheels” rounded out the foods. Check back for recipes tomorrow!
Small Jars of Strawberry Freezer Jam went home as favors.
Seriously, how cute is this family?
Check back later this week for recipes for 
Woodland Themed Party Snacks
 and Activity Ideas for a Sprinkle, Baby Shower or Sip & See!
The adorable woodland creatures were bought in a package from Peach Pops Clip Art.

{Real Party} Fancy Pants Birthday Party

My birthday falls right before Christmas… Which means that funds are usually low and my mind is always somewhere other than on planning or enjoying a party. But, it is also among my favorite days of the entire year. I typically use it as an excuse to get dressed up and hang out with my friends. So, this year, with a lot of help from my friends, I threw together a Fancy Pants birthday party.

This is the first year I’ve used Christmas decor in my birthday party. I typically like to keep it all separate. But, it turned out to be a inexpensive and festive way to decorate. I created the paper goods for the party, created fun appetizers with the help of trader joes, made some fun signature cocktails, created a few activities, and had a great time! Over the next few days I’ll post about the recipes, decor, and activities. I’ll even add a few freebie printables so you can have your own fancy pants party!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

{Recipe} Sweet Potato Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Mmmm… birthday cake. Is there anything better?
I really enjoy making my friends birthday cakes or cupcakes. I like to play around with flavors and frostings. I like using things I have on hand or going to buy something special. I made this cake  (featured in the Rustic Birthday Party Post from yesterday) using some of the sweet potatoes that came in my weekly veggie box delivery.
And, boy oh boy was it a good use of vegetables!
The cake didn’t look perfect. My frosting job was a little wonky. But, it tasted pretty awesome.
The sweet potatoes made the cake moist. The marshmallow gave the frosting a fun kick.
Then, the crunch of the walnuts made me want another slice.
Sweet Potato Cake Recipe
Recipe loosely based on epicurious.com recipe
changes and additions made by me
INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 8-ounce red-skinned sweet potatoes(yams)
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

  • Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting (see recipe below)
  • Walnuts (or pecans)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Poke yams with fork and bake until tender (about 1 hour at 375 degrees F). You can also do this in the microwave or used leftover mashed sweet potatoes ( approximately 2 cups worth). Peel yams and smash once done.
2. While yams are baking prepare a pan for cooking. You can use a muffin tin with liners for cupcakes. I used a springform pan and sprayed it with a little cooking spray and dusted it with a little bit of flour to prevent sticking. Preheat oven to 325 F.
3. In a medium bowl sift together (or put in bowl and stir around with a whisk or fork) flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a large bowl mix 2 cups of (cooled and mashed) yams with sugar, vegetable oil and syrup. Then mix in eggs 2 at a time. After mixing in eggs add in the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add in vanilla extract and mix one last time. (I use a hand-held mixer, but if you are lucky enough to own a kitchen aid stand mixer then I’m sure that would work as well.)
5. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325 for about one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
After the cake was done and cooled I sliced it in half, brushed the tops with a little bit of whiskey (a simple syrup would work as well) to keep it moist, and then frosted it. I put marshmallow icing and walnuts on the first layer before addign the top layer. I then frosted the entire cake with marshmallow icing and topped with walnuts.
Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
I improvised this frosting recipe using my basic butter frosting as a base
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 sticks butter- room temperature
  • 1 8 oz jar of Marshmallow Cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • milk or cream if needed for consistency
DIRECTIONS:
1. Whip up two sticks of room temperature butter until fluffy. (I use my handheld mixer.)
2. Add in 1 8 oz jar of Marshmallow Cream- whip until incorporated. I spray my handheld mixer with a little bit of cooking spray to help keep the marshmallow cream from sticking to my mixer.
3. While mixing, slowly add in powdered sugar.
4. Add in vanilla and salt and mix.
5. If the frosting is too thick add in tsp of milk or cream. If it is too runny add in a little bit more powdered sugar. I found that I usually don’t need any additional milk or sugar.
Add candles and a song and then you’ve got yourself a birthday cake!
I’d love to know if you decide to make this cake.
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