Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

The beautiful Bee (The Spicy Bee), Me! and the gorgeous Kayla (Fit Life Forward) celebrating!

 

Well, it happened again… I turned another year older. All those that know me know that while aging isn’t my favorite thing, BIRTHDAYS are. This year I let the West Elm party animal appetizer plates inspire a black, white and gold cocktail party that was decadent and slightly silly. I decided to share some photos from the party now because I feel like these might just inspire a fun New Year’s Eve event! Next week I’ll also share the recipes I made for the festive fare.

Read on for a list of DIYd items, resources, menu notes and activities! I’ve linked several items to posts with recipes. There are also a few affiliate links below. A portion of purchases made through affiliate links help support this blog at no cost to readers.

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Beverages:

We served the Bourbon Apple Ginger Punch as a signature beverage that was easily accessible to guests. In addition I had the fixings for classic martinis, red and white Hob Nob wine and lots of sparkling wine, including one of my favorite sparklings the Sokol Blosser Evolution Sparkling wine.  We also had a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. One of my favorite ways to make a champagne glass feel even MORE special is to add in a lollipop. Either by using homemade lollies or pretty rock candies!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Hors d’oeurves:

The party was slated as a cocktails and cake party… which, of course we had both of those things. But, I wanted more a more savory fare to fill everyone’s bellies. I’m sharing the recipes for many of these items soon.. but, here is the cocktail party menu:

  • Oysters with Champagne Granita
  • Oysters with Lemon and Tabasco
  • Sea Salt Kettle Potato Chips with Crème Fraîche, Caviar and Chive Dip
  • Italian Cured Meats wrapped around arugula
  • Apples with Goat Cheese Spread
  • Artichoke Hearts wrapped in bacon
  • Chicago Mix Popcorn
  • Sweet & Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Activities & Favors:

I didn’t schedule many activities for the party as the food and drinks were the main attraction. I did however set up a photobooth area and made a fun game out of the favors. I did “grab bag” style favors and wrapped up several different gifts from which my gusts to choose. I purchased half of the gifts with the idea of “Whatever will be, will be” in mind. Those presents ended up being games of chance, alcohol, and even a Magic 8 Ball! For the other side of the favor area I chose gifts with the idea of a type-A personality in mind and chose good self-help books, journals, office supplies and the like. Before guests left I asked them to choose a gift and got to watch them open the gifts up. It ended up being my favorite part of the night!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Sweet Treats:

I love savory foods… but, at my birthday there is just nothing like a great sweet treat. At this party I served champagne jello squares, chocolate truffles and a layered chocolate cake I purchased at the bakery at Whole Foods Market called the “Chocolate Explosion” cake. It was super tasty!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Decor:

I kept the decor pretty simple. I used the Gilded Dapper Animal Plates from West Elm to inspire the look. Beyond that I put up DIY’d hand-painted signs and LOTS of gold fringe

What is your favorite thing to serve at birthday parties?

Hey Girl Party Favors – Ryan Gosling Tea Towels

DIY Ryan Gosling Tea Towels // A Well Crafted Party

When I got to thinking of the whole “Hey Girl” Meme for the Ryan Gosling themed party the ideas sort of over-took my brain. I wanted to do SO much. But, as I advise every bride/diy event planner … I started out with lots of ideas and then began to narrow them down. The favor idea was one of my FAVORITE ideas, so I spent some time figuring out the best way to go about it. I loved the idea of giving guests tea towels (who doesn’t need more of those!?) that were a simple black and white that had a “Hey Girl” message of “Hey girl, let me dry those dishes for you.”

My first attempt at making these tea towels did NOT go well. I was determined to screen press the tea towels. I borrowed my friend Suzannah’s Ryonet home screen printing press and tried following her tutorial and the Ryonet YouTube tutorial. The whole process is very, very involved. The kit included everything I needed and the instructions were great! But, I didn’t give myself near enough time or room for error. It was one of those DIY fails that just really sucks. After I dried my tears of frustration, I scrapped the screen printing idea and went with the iron on transfer method.

DIY Ryan Gosling Tea Towels // A Well Crafted Party

 

I typically don’t enjoy the way the iron on transfer looks on fabrics. There is usually a line around the image that is slightly more glossy than I want. When the paper gets too hot it can yellow. Also, I never know how long it will last. I was pretty thrilled with the way these tea towels turned out though and would recommend the iron-on transfer as an easy way to make these. Follow the instructions on the iron on transfer paper.

Tips for best results when using the iron-on transfer method:

  • Prep your fabric. Wash, dry and iron your fabric before you apply the transfer. Will the transfer take if you skip this step? Yep. But, I think it benefits the entire project to take those other steps. I feel like the transfer goes on better and that it lasts longer.
  • Transfer the RIGHT image. Most transfer papers require you to print a mirror image of your image. Transfer paper, while not super expensive, isn’t cheap either. Losing an entire sheet due to a printing mistake would be a bummer.
  • Stick to single colors. I have found that when I use multiple colors I don’t like the look as much as I do when there is only one color in the image. This is totally a preference though!
  • Don’t use an ironing board. The instructions for my package of transfer paper said not to use an ironing board. This was the first time I’ve ever done it this way and I was thrilled with the results. Instead of an ironing board you want to find a sturdy surface that is about waist-high with an ironed pillowcase placed on top. It really makes the difference to have the leverage to apply even force while ironing.

DIY Ryan Gosling Tea Towels // A Well Crafted Party

 

Want to make your own Ryan Gosling tea towels?

Download my Hey Girl Tea Towel print and get started! Image of Ryan Gosling was licensed under CC 2.0 — sourced via Raffi Asdourian . I then modified the image. Tutorial coming!

Ryan Gosling Free Printable // A Well Crafted Party

Supplies (Affiliate Links):

And, just because I thought this would also make for a cute framed print above a drying rack in the kitchen I also made an 8×10 printable. Click here to download you own free Ryan Gosling themed printable!

Love the idea but just don’t wanna make your own tea towels? These sketched tea towels by Dear Colleen are AMAZING and would make for a fantastic gift! They’d be a better quality and have THREE images of Ryan Gosling… so, there is that too!

(PS. I will give screen printing a shot again sometime soon.)

(PPS. Ryan, if you’re reading this… first, EEEEE! Second, we share because we love your work and enjoy the meme. Will take down with a note from you! )

 

Real Party: ‘Hey Girl’ Birthday Party

Ryan Gosling Party - DIY Invitation // A Well Crafted Party

I’m really, really excited to be sharing some pictures from my most recent party today… a “Hey Girl” party for my friend Macey! A “Hey Girl” party you ask? Well, you know the Ryan Gosling meme, right? If not… you may not understand the awesomeness of this party.

Macey turned a year older this year and as she protested celebrations I asked her, “If you could have any party theme for your birthday, what would it be?” She answered, “Ryan Gosling, of course!”

Magic happened in that moment. My brain started firing on all cylinders and (thankfully) my friend Bee offered to host in her beautiful home. The rest is history… well, it is at least a week old now. If you were following along on my Instagram you might have seen a few photos from the party.

Ryan Gosling Party // A Well Crafted Party
Ryan Gosling Party // A Well Crafted Party
"Hey Girl" Ryan Gosling Party // A Well Crafted Party
"Hey Girl" - Ryan Gosling Party // A Well Crafted Party
"Hey Girl" - Ryan Gosling Party // A Well Crafted Party

I can’t wait to share all the fun details! A Ryan Gosling party is great for a birthday party, bachelorette party, or heck… a baby shower for a baby girl! This was probably one of my favorite parties to date and nearly everything was DIY. Check back over this week and next for the following posts:

I’ll update this page with links to posts as they go live. Printables, tutorials, and a whole lotta fun to come!

In the meantime… answer me this:

If you could have any party theme… what would it be?

Halloween Parties of the Past

Looking back at Halloween Parties of the Past // A Well Crafted Party

My favorite time of year is quickly approaching. Besides obsessively checking Brooklyn Limestone to see what Stephanie’s Halloween theme will be this year, I’m busy planning my own annual Halloween party. I’ve even got some Halloween posts up my sleeve for BEFORE the big day this year! I might have already thrown a small Halloween get-together over Labor Day weekend just so I could have some fun goodies for you.

Before I get to the new Halloween goodness (which will begin in October) I wanted to share a few of my favorites from the past few years. I’ve thrown a Halloween party each year since 2008. It has been the highlight of my year nearly every year. (The birth of my son pushed Halloween 2011 to second place, but it sure was close since I had a cute little baby to dress up as well as a fun party!)

2008— Haunted Halloween Dinner Party

Halloween Parties of the Past // A Well Crafted Party

2009— Bewitching Ball

Halloween Parties of the Past // A Well Crafted Party

2010— Mad Tea Party

Halloween Parties of the Past // A Well Crafted Party

2011— Costumes & Cocktails

Halloween Parties of the Past // A Well Crafted Party

2012— Traditional Black & Orange

Halloween Parties of the Past // A Well Crafted Party

2013— Fairytale Dinner Party

Halloween Parties of the Past // A Well Crafted Party

This year we are going a little bit more pop-culture with our theme. I’m actually having a bit of a hard time trying to figure out all in the little details for the party. But, I’ll be sure to give some hints closer to the big day. Look forward to lots of fresh Halloween posts this upcoming October. I’ve got a Fang-tastic party with great DIY details and free printables that I can’t wait to share! And, as October approaches, I’m going to be going back through some of my old parties to share some DIY details that never made it into the posts above!

 

 

A DIY’d Fall Wedding

I am so honored to share my “wedding” on A Well Crafted Party! I have wedding in quotes because the long and short of it is–we were already married! My husband Kevin and I (who I refer to most often on my blog as Ktams) were married right out of college (we are Illini–I-L-L!) as we both agreed it made the most sense to start out in the real world as a team, and the easiest way to do this was to tie the knot! We were technically married in June of 2010, but at that point we had no money to have the wedding we imagined. So once the official stuff was out of the way, we began planning. Just over a year from the date we planned to throw a big party to celebrate our marriage with friends and families. We felt this was a great excuse for our friends to come back together and for family to share in the fun (as when we were married originally we only allowed our parents to be present–that’s right–no siblings, grandparents, or anyone else! We just felt like it was a slippery slope!). Looking back now, I realize how many diy wedding ideas I used to make the day a success–and I am excited to share!

The Setting

We picked a venue that would be a one stop shop–it was our one of our favorite spots–a Spanish tapas restaurant located near downtown Naperville, IL. Meson Sabika was a rehabbed old mansion on an expansive piece of land. We held the entire event out in their bricked patio, and left the doors open to get more drinks at the bar.

DIY Wedding Ideas: Flowers

For our wedding, flowers were not a make or break discussion. I knew I wanted accents of orange and a predominantly mixed bouquet. I had also given leftover fabric I had from table cloths to the florist to wrap the bouquet. I felt like this held everything together nicely and it keep the flowers in perfect order for the whole event! The only thing I would do differently with my flowers is I would not use any pokey items–cannot tell you how many times I forgot not to smell my flowers and poked myself. Since we were throwing more of a party than a traditional wedding, I opted to get my closest girlfriends wrist corsages instead of nosegays–I had hoped this made them feel special and stand out, but it wasn’t like they had to tote obnoxious nosegays around all afternoon. My favorite items in the bouquet ended up being the big white roses and the hypericum berries–they all held up nicely throughout the day and they dried nicely.

DIY Wedding Ideas: Centerpieces

We had our celebration well before the leaves had changed that year–I remember how warm the summer was and the second week of September just wasn’t soon enough to enjoy some natural color. Instead, I did my best to create some color! My favorite DIY of the wedding was making large pinwheel centerpieces, and it saved us a ton of money because we didn’t have to purchase fresh cut flowers! I purchased patterned scrapbook sheets, stamped them, and followed a tutorial similar to this one to make both table marker pinwheels and smaller, more graphic pinwheels, which I used as seat finders for guests. I had some extras at the end of the craft so I added them to the pitchers to encourage people to add theirs to the centerpiece for the event. To this day I’m surprised at how well the smaller pinwheels held up–I still have a few of them in my potted plants at home.

To keep everything grounded in the vase (which I purchased at IKEA and gifted to friends and family afterward), I added river stones. I knew the pitchers were going to sit on white tablecloths so my mom and I came up with the idea of using leaf-shaped placemats to easily add a burst of color. We sewed on more of the same material we were using for the cake and gift tables to cover the placemats and pull everything together (it was opaque so it added nice texture and some neat stitching for the most part).

Another DIY I was really happy with the result of was a cake stand tutorial I found from none other than Jenni–before I even knew her or A Well Crafted Party! Creepy right? I found the tut on Pinterest for the stands she did for her sister’s wedding. My mom and I put a twist on it to make more of a rustic fall look. We used hot glue, which was actually easy to remove later so that we could use the items again and again.

 DIY Wedding Ideas: Little Touches

I have to throw a lot of credit to my mom for the little touches our celebration had. She collected a lot of rich looking silk flowers and purchased custom bows to tie everything together. She also gathered colorful mums to plant in the pots I had purchased (also from IKEA). As a gift to us, my mom had some very fun custom glassware made for us to use on the big day. They are my favorite keepsakes to date. It’s great to have someone you can trust to go to work and get some great fillers in to personalize the event.

Additionally, I DIY’d our invites. Just to start, we saved money by putting out invites only–no save-the-dates–and I did my best to find the best quality and pricing for both the envelopes and cardstock. We also did all RSVPing online, so we saved additional money in printing and postage by creating a free blogger site and a google number for those who were technology challenged. I will forewarn that envelopes can change your shipping costs DRASTICALLY. I highly suggest taking your sample envelopes to the post office and have them measured and weighed with your cardstock before you go buying/printing in bulk. We ended up over-ordering on accident (remember to count couples not attendees!), and I made use of the excess invites by cutting them up and turning them into ornaments (check out this tutorial for the base of my idea). I purchased glass balls from a craft store, charms from Etsy, and curled the strips of paper around a small pencil, then placed them in the ball.

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What I Learned From My DIY Wedding

I think the biggest thing I learned in planning my own wedding was to let it go–no I will not break into a verse of Frozen, but I will say that you need to learn to let many of the little things go by the wayside or you’ll spend your whole day not enjoying the party! Was I upset that certain things didn’t come together how I’d hoped? Yes–but by the time I was putting my dress on for the day, I had decided that people were not there for the decor or even the (AMAZING) food! They were were to celebrate with Kevin and me. This is what refocused my energy to enjoy the day and make it a memorable affair.

What have you DIY’d for your big day that you’re really proud of? If you had the choice, would you DIY all over again?

 

*****

All professional images from this post and our celebration are by Daniel Kelleghan Photography.

A big thank you to Bee for sharing her beautiful wedding photos and Happy Anniversary! Please take a moment to hop on over to check out her awesome-sauce blog! She writes some pretty amazing recipes. Being someone who has actually tasted her cooking and have made her recipes I can give them my seal of approval!

From the Archives: Bike Themed Cocktail Party

I’ve had a few requests to see more photos from a Bike Themed Cocktail Party that I threw a few years back. I didn’t have the best photos unfortunately… the woes of a beginning blogger! But, I thought I’d post some of the few that I had in larger format than they are on the original post. I’ve also added a few tips for how to throw a themed party on an extreme budget! Enjoy!


From the Archives: Bike Party // A Well Crafted Party

From the Archives: Bike Party // A Well Crafted Party

From the Archives: Bike Party // A Well Crafted Party

From the Archives: Bike Party // A Well Crafted Party

From the Archives: Bike Party // A Well Crafted Party

From the Archives: Bike Party // A Well Crafted Party

Three Tips for Throwing a Themed Party on an Extreme Budget:

1. Use printables and/or photographs to drive a theme around your party on the cheap. Photographs can be printed out in a multiple of sizes for little money. For the bike themed party I went around town to photograph bike road signs. I printed some in 8X10 sizes and some in 4X6 sizes and used them throughout the room. Don’t have money for frames? Try backing your photos with a nice card stock weight paper like I did above. To get some free printables that work for bike themed party hop on over to my original Real Party post.

2. Don’t worry about changing an entire space to fit your theme. Instead focus on a few areas to decorate. I like to focus on food and drink areas. Tables where people may put down their beverages are also a good place to focus your decorating attention.

3. Use what you have on hand. This party we utilized the guest of honor’s LARGE bicycle part collection to decorate the space. We also spray painted beer and wine bottles to create vases for the wildflowers we picked locally. We made drink areas utilizing existing furniture and artwork.

What are you budget party tips? Comment below!

 

 

 

 

Real Party: Picnic Birthday Party

Real Party: Picnic Themed Birthday Party // A Well Crafted Party

This year my home parties have been pretty laid back due to busy schedules and tightening of budgets. But, being me, I still wanted to celebrate our milestones in some fashion. The picnic-themed party that I hosted for my husband’s birthday this year fit the bill for an easy, but fun event.

Picnic Birthday Party Menu:

Sandwiches: 

  • Pressed Italian Sandwiches
  • veggie sandwiches that I created that had carrots, olives, hummus, and cucumber layered on a flat bread
  • Chicken Salad Sandwiches
  • Rosemary Ham and Brie Sandwiches (SO GOOD– I’ll be sharing the recipe for this one soon!)

Chips: Sweet Potato and Kettle Chips — I just bought these chips at Trader Joes and then put them into paper bags that I had printed labels on.

Salads:

Dessert: We finished off the meal with a dessert of spiked ice creams.

Drinks: Signature cocktails, beers, and lemonades made for easy beverages

Real Party: Picnic Themed Birthday Party // A Well Crafted Party

Real Party: Picnic Themed Birthday Party // A Well Crafted Party

Real Party: Picnic Themed Birthday Party // A Well Crafted Party

Real Party: Picnic Themed Birthday Party // A Well Crafted Party

Real Party: Picnic Themed Birthday Party // A Well Crafted Party

Real Party: Picnic Themed Birthday Party // A Well Crafted Party

Finally, a selection of lawn games such as a ring toss, bocce ball, and badminton kept everyone entertained.

*Edited to add this bit of awesome info:

Picnic Party Favors

Guests left the part with their very own Emergency Picnic Kit! I shared the kit, directions for making your own, and free printables over on Today’s Creative Blog! Check out the blog to learn how to make your own Emergency Picnic Kit party favor!

Hopefully this post and the posts that come out of this party serve to be an inspiration to you!

What would you want to include in a picnic birthday party?

Real Party: Opal Apple of My Eye Baby Shower

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Apple Themed Baby Shower for After Baby is Born

My little sister had a baby in January! Since she lives in Oklahoma and I wanted to meet the baby, I decided to wait to throw her a baby shower until after the baby was born. I’m a big fan of Sip & See parties after little ones are born and ready for company. (Check out the awesome Pumpkin-themed Sip & See my sister threw for me.)

Opal Apples had contacted me a few months earlier about the possibility of throwing an Opal Apple party. After trying out their apples and LOVING them I agreed to throw an apple-themed shindig. Luckily for me, my sister and brother-in-law are both teachers so an apple-themed baby shower was perfect for them! The party decor was all supplied by Opal Apples– they sent fun paper lanterns, fans, and poufs that really gave the whole event a celebratory feel.

We decided an “Apple of My Eye” themed open-house-style sip and see where guests could stop in for a light lunch and tasty desserts while they meet the new babe.

awcp-opal-apple-baby-shower02 awcp-opal-apple-baby-shower03

Apple Themed Party Sip & See Menu

We wanted to have a light lunch with healthful options for guests since it was the middle of the day and we were pairing the food with lots of apple-desserts. Our menu included 4 salads, freshly baked croissants, and desserts:

  • Steak Salad with Arugula & Spinach, Thinly Sliced Red Onions, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Opal Apple Slices, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Grilled Chicken Salad with Romaine Lettuce, Opal Apples, Dried Cranberries, Parmesan Cheese, & Apple Cider Vinaigrette (check back tomorrow for a recipe!)
  • Chilled Cucumber and Tomato Salad
  • Pasta Salad with Ham & Tomatoes
  • 3 Cheese Croissants
  • Mini Apple Pies
  • Caramel Apple Pie
  • Apple muffins
  • Italian Creme Cake topped with thinly sliced Opal Apples

awcp-opal-apple-baby-shower05 awcp-opal-apple-baby-shower06

Shower Activity

We made the event an open house style party so people could come and go so we didn’t plan a lot of activities for the party. I am not a huge shower-game fan anyways. (Check out the post about the robot baby shower my friend threw for me that had GREAT baby shower activities!) We did want a couple of things people could do if they didn’t feel like chatting.

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We had a great time celebrating my brand-new nephew and getting to see friends and family throughout the day. A big thank you to Opal Apples for the great party decor and for introducing me to the tasty, yellow apple.


This post was sponsored by Opal Apples. The thoughts and words in this post are my own. More information about Opal apples: Opal is a bright yellow apple that is like none other with its beautiful appearance, distinctively crunchy texture, floral aroma and a sweet, tangy flavor. But one of the most incredible, and natural features of this non-GMO apple is that it does not brown after cutting so it stays crisp and fresh in your salads and your kids’ lunchboxes.

Real Party: Aged Birthday Party

aged birthday party washington wine

This year I turned the big 3-0. I thought it would be much more significant or earth shattering than it ended up being. I mean… my mom was 29 until she turned 39. So, I expected to really feel sad about the end of my 20s.

I didn’t really care so much this year… as a matter of fact, I was actually sort of happy about turning 3o. I feel like I’m in a good spot in my life and I’m pretty happy with where I am in life. So, this year’s party I really wanted to celebrate the fact that I am happy in my age and that I think maybe I’ve even improved with age. What a better way to celebrate the great things about aging than celebrate with other things that get better with age… like wine, cured meats, pickled items, aged cheeses, and wonderful friends.

washington wine meat cheese party

photo 4 photo 3 washington wine meat cheese party photo 2 (1) wine tasting party

I celebrated with a ladies night “Aged” birthday party. Maryhill wines, a Pacific Northwest winery, provided me with bottles of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon to taste and serve with a selection of aged meats and cheeses. And, of course, chocolate! It was fun catching up with everyone and enjoying how different wines paired so nicely with different meats and cheeses. I especially loved the pairing of the Maryhill Zinfandel with chocolate laced cheddar. (Yes, that is really a thing and yes it is delicious.)

I’m pretty easy to please. But, this was probably one of my favorite party menus so far. The food was easy to put together with quality, store-bought items and a few pretty platters and bowls. The wine selection was limited (three different red wines and one white wine option) but, tasty and paired wonderfully with the food items. I actually set the entire thing up with the help of a couple of friends after I left work.

The decor for the evening was simple. I like the look of chalkboards for this time of event… something about the classic look of a piece of black slate with white chalked writing. I labeled the food items with a white gel pen on black cardstock and then wrote a quote on a big chalkboard in my kitchen. This party can definitely be brought up another level with a more coordinated and styled look. But, it was also perfect as a laid back event.

These photos were all from my iPhone the evening of the party. Next week I’ll be sharing some more photos, some menu & decor ideas for a slightly fancier “Aged” party, and some “Aged” party printables. I have birthday printables as well as printables I’ve created for a fun “Aged” New Year’s Eve event. But, for now, let me leave you with this question:

How do you feel you’ve improved with age?

Comment below! Leave your twitter handle and I’ll tweet out your comment as well!

Holiday Mingle Pt. 2: Tips for Bloggers from PR Pros

Bloggers working with companies

One of the craziest things about this whole blogging thing is getting to a point that your email inbox is filled to the gills with companies wanting to work with you for one thing or another. Blogs are great formats for sharing products and opinions about products/ businesses– and, boy are companies realizing it!

Each blogger must come to a decision about his or her blog and whether they want to work with PR companies and what guidelines they plan to utilize. It is a wild-wild-west out here. There are really no set-in-stone rules yet. Many people who blog are not people with years of experience working with publications. Though, the content they are churning out is worth something and the time that they spend on creating that content should be worth something too. But, deciding the worth is the hard part.

It is also quite difficult balancing the line of being simply a promotional fountain that spews out whatever a company will pay for to being an open, honest review with absolutely no obligation to a company. We aren’t quite journalists, yet we aren’t a particular company’s marketing team either. Unless companies, advertisers, or readers pay a blogger then a blogger is making NO money for work that takes hours and hours to complete. A blogger MUST find a comfortable position for where they stand on these issues for their blog.

These are not only issues that I’ve come across in my blog, but they are issues that every blogger I know has had to deal with at one point or another. Which is why I was thrilled to get the PR perspective at a recent Portland Bloggers meet-up sponsored by Little Green Pickle, the 2013 Holiday Mingle.

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Tips for Bloggers for Working with Companies and PR Representatives:

These tips come from the awesome Public Relations professionals that donated their time and expertise, and got in a room with their competition, to talk about blogging. If you are a blogger (not just those in Portland) and want to get involved working with some really great PR pros then check out their websites and contact them via email. They love that, by the way! The PR Panel consisted of  Carrie Welch of Little Green Pickle, Meaghan Burns of Broussard Communications , Lisa Hill of Lisa Hill PR, Heather Jones of Heather Jones Consulting, and Vicky Hastings of Maxwell PR . (Click on over to their websites and connect with them via email or Twitter TODAY!)

Tip One: Be Ready to Work with Companies

  • Have your blog up to snuff! Doesn’t everyone have that list of to-do items they want to get done for their blog? I know I do… the PR pros said not to wait any longer. Get your site where you’d like it right away.
  • Have an updated media kit ready to go! A simple one page explanation of your site, your site’s demographics, your numbers, and your guidelines will suffice.

Tip Two: Get Your Numbers Up

Many bloggers hate to talk about this side of the blogging world. Numbers matter. That doesn’t mean that small blogs have no shot. But, it does give incentive to work on getting your numbers up.

  • Most PR pros look for at least 10,000 Page Views Monthly– ideally, Unique Page Views
  • Most PR pros aim for at least 1,000 followers/fans for each social media platform

The panel said that it definitely isn’t ALWAYS about the numbers. Having a dedicated following in a niche field is also a great way to get in with working with good companies.

Tip Three: Act Professional

Think of your blog as your store front. You want to keep it looking nice, have the shelves stocked full (content!), and you want to provide great customer service. Interact with companies in a professional manner by answering those emails, sending updates on posts, and presenting your expectations and guidelines from the beginning.

Now, I’m the first to say that this isn’t easy… bloggers are often working more than on just their blog, life can get busy, and email inboxes can get a little bit insane. The thing to take from this though, is that being upfront, honest, and professional will help you in working with companies.

Want More?

For more tips from the PR Panel at the Holiday Mingle check out the post over on the Portland Bloggers blog. To read more about the Holiday Mingle and the awesome companies that were in attendance click on over to my first Holiday Mingle Re-Cap. To check out the websites of the people that helped make the Holiday Mingle happen…. click one of the logos below!

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doubledragon1maxwellpr olympicprovisions

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tailsandtrotters thebentbrick theoriginal

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A Fairytale Halloween

Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Happy Halloween!

For the past six years my husband and I have hosted a Halloween party at our home. We (or, should I say… I) love this holiday. I love the theatrical nature of it. I love the multitude of themes. I just love it.

We’ve done several different themes over the years. So, this year, when we were looking over our budget and schedules we were sad to have to tell everyone that we were not going to have a party. But, just like that, I found a full-time job after two years of searching and working from home part-time. Then, suddenly, the party was back on the table!

Without a ton of planning, we pulled off a fun Fairytale themed Halloween party over this past weekend. Our friends helped out a ton by bringing over food or beverages. We decorated the tables with items we had on had, found inexpensively at the grocery store, or made.

I was a terrible blogger (as I have been over this past month) and didn’t take any photos of the party before the party actually happened! Thankfully, I have two wonderful friends in Bee (The Spicy Bee) and Suzannah (Adventures in Dressmaking) who brought along their cameras and snapped some shots.

Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Cinderella’s Pumpkin Cupcakes made by Bee. Recipe is up on her blog today!

This post is going to take a bit to load because it is going to basically be a photo dump of the event. I’m sure I’ll come back to this party next year sharing all the little details. But, for today, I wanted to leave you with some fun Halloween pictures to help put you in the holiday spirit!

Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Jason and Suzannah— Iron Man and Black Widow (Iron Man is totally a Modern Day Fairytale, right?)

FairytaleHalloween07

Our little family as The Little Mermaid– 15 years later.

FairytaleHalloween10

Bee and her hubby as Little Red and her Lumberjack

I hope you all have a lovely and safe Halloween. Tonight the little guy is going trick or treating for the very first time!

Free Potluck Printables

Pork Siracha Tapas

photo via The Spicy Bee

Printable forks used as confetti — photo by Instagrammer KellyJones (Check out her etsy store Meme & Saysay)

Printable forks used as confetti — photo by Instagrammer KellyJones28 (Check out her etsy store Meme & Saysay)

At the recent Tapas Competition that I helped to host I created a set of printables to coordinate with the Tiny Prints Potluck invitation set that was provided for the event. I wanted to share these printables along with a few others I created. The below sets include: recipe cards that can be used for sharing recipes at a potluck or just in the home; potluck cards to display in front of donated dishes at a potluck; and printable forks. We cut out the forks and used them as a fun confetti throughout the party. They’d also be great for use in floral arrangements or as decorative items. I created a fall set and a holiday set so that you can be prepared for any upcoming potluck parties! If you use the sets I’d LOVE to see photos of the events!

Free Potluck Printables from A Well Crafted Party

Free Potluck Printables:

Potlucks are such fun ways of sharing hosting responsibilities and getting to taste dishes from many of your friends and family. One way to make potlucks look more like a coordinated party is to use sets of printables to connect everything together. In this day and age when people are being careful about what they are putting into their bodies or are aware of their allergies, it is also important to label items at potlucks.

Instructions: Print items on cardstock in full color and cut out.

All of my free printables are for personal use only. Please email me if you’d like to use them for your business. Need a particular color scheme? I’ll change the color scheme and send you all three printables for $5! Email me at jenni[at]awellcraftedparty[dot]com.

Loving all these free printables and want to fuel more free printable designs?

Cups of coffee are appreciated!

 

Sizes




giveaway week on A Well Crafted Party

This post is part of A Well Crafted Party’s Giveaway Week… we are cleaning out the editorial calendar and sharing the love with free printables, party good giveaways, and more! Don’t miss out on any of the giveaway posts by following along via BlogLovin, Twitter, or Facebook!

Welcome to Twosville Town Themed Birthday Party Free Printables

Entering Twosville

Twosville Tattoo Parlor

I’m excited to share some of the printables I made for my son’s “Welcome to Twosville” town themed birthday party. You can check out the many images and ideas from the party by checking out all of my Twosville posts.

twosvillepartyprintables

Printables included in this collection:

  • 1 large “Welcome to Twosville” road sign— Intructions: Print on regular paper, trim margins, assemble on a large poster board with glue or tape.
  • Twosville Bakery Sign— Instructions: Print on regular copy paper or card-stock in color and adhere onto cardboard building
  • Twosville Ice Cream Sign— Instructions: Print on regular copy paper or card-stock in color and adhere onto cardboard building
  • Twosville Tattoo Parlor Sign— Instructions: Print on regular copy paper or card-stock in color and adhere onto cardboard building
  • Twosville DMV Sign—Instructions: Print on regular copy paper (11X17) or card-stock in color and adhere onto cardboard building or prop on table
  • Identification Coloring Sheets— Print on copy weight paper, cut out, and let kid’s color
  • Twosville Cafe Sign—Instructions: Print on regular copy paper or card-stock in color and adhere onto cardboard building
  • Twosville Fastfood Sign—Instructions: Print on regular copy paper or card-stock in color and adhere onto cardboard building
  • Twosville Hatshop Sign— Instructions: Print on regular copy paper or card-stock in color and adhere onto cardboard building
  • Twosville Bakery Party Circles— Instructions: Print on regular copy paper or card-stock in color, cut out, adhere to tooth pick using tape, stickers, or glue
  • Twosville Icecream Party Circles— Instructions: Print on regular copy paper or card-stock in color, cut out, adhere to cups or bowls with double sided tape
  • Twosville Thank  You Tags— Instructions: Print on card stock in color, cut out, use hole punch and ribbon to attach or use double sided tape

Want something for a town themed party you don’t see above? Email me at jenni[at]awellcraftedparty[dot]com! I will create a custom package for you for $25.

While these printables are completely free of charge for use they are intended for personal use only. Please do not sell these products or send files as they are your own. Please link to this post if you want to share on your blogs.

Loving all these free printables and want to fuel more free printable designs?

Cups of coffee are appreciated!


Sizes




giveaway week on A Well Crafted Party

This post is part of A Well Crafted Party’s Giveaway Week… we are cleaning out the editorial calendar and sharing the love with free printables, party good giveaways, and more! Don’t miss out on any of the giveaway posts by following along via BlogLovin, Twitter, or Facebook!

Town Themed Birthday Activities

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town themed party activities

I bet you thought I was DONE sharing party posts from my son’s second birthday party… hahah, I’m NEVER done. Actually, we just had so many different photos that I wanted to split this up into posts about the decor, food, favors, and activities. Of course, I’ll be back again later today with free set of printables from this party AND a giveaway. Too much fun going on right now. (No such thing.)

Town Themed Birthday Activities

The activities for this party were fairly simple. I don’t know about you, but trying to wrangle a bunch of 1-5 year olds does not sound like a fun activity to me. So, I set out items for a couple of activities, focused on making the whole party area a fun place to play, and let the kids and adults play and chat throughout the event. If the group had been a bit older I might have made the whole thing just a little more structured. But, for this age group I think the party turned out well.

Town Themed Party Activities // A Well Crafted Party

Make the whole party area a fun play space.

Creating the cardboard buildings for the town was my first real project in creating a fun space for the kids. What kid doesn’t like a cardboard box? We made some of the buildings with doors and windows the kids could play in. The only one that was totally off-limits for playing was the ice cream truck due to some construction issues, and because it didn’t have a door the kids automatically stayed away from it. I added in toy vehicles and a toy kitchen to help give the “town” feel while giving the kids more hands-on activities. The toys were nearly as big of a hit as the cardboard buildings and they were just items we already had on hand!

town themed party activities coloring Identifications

Coloring Sheets

Coloring is great for older toddlers and young children. We put out coloring sheet “Identifications” and let the kids draw their own IDs. Most of the kids just did squiggly lines, but all of the kids above the age of two wanted to color. No crayons were eaten either. So, that’s a plus.

town themed party activities // temporary tattoo parlor // A Well Crafted Party

Temporary Tattoos

I have no idea why kids find these thing so amazing… but, they do. My son and every other kid at the party wanted a fake tattoo. He went around the rest of the day showing off his football that he chose and patiently sat through getting it applied. So much cleaner and easier than face painting, comes off easily in the bath, and makes the kiddos smile. Why not?

Want even more ideas for town themed party activities? Click on the above tabs for ideas for toddlers, young children, and older children. Have ideas? Leave them in the comments so I can add them to the lists! If I use  your idea I’ll link your site (if you have one!) Want more Twosville posts? Click here to check out all of the twosville postsWant free printables? Check back here at 1 PM PST.

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town themed party activities // A Well Crafted Party

Toddler Town Party Activity Ideas

I seriously had a whole list of activities we could have used to fit the theme. But, I didn’t want to overload the kids with activities or take too much time/money prepping the party. The below activity ideas would be great for toddlers:

  • Library & Story Time— Create a library cardboard building, put out some books, have a story time with the kids.
  • Market— Create a market area with real or fake fruits and vegetables. Allow the kids to “shop” and play.
  • Toy Store— Create a toy store and fill it with small toys that the kids can shop for and play with.
  • Pet Store or Pound— Put out stuffed animals that kiddos can adopt!

Do you have more toddler friendly ideas? Leave them in the comments and I’ll post them along with a link to your site (if you have one!)

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Entering twosville

Town Party Activity Ideas for Younger Children:

Any of the toddler activities or activities used in the original party work work for children above the toddler age, but still not old enough to really be able to handle a lot of structure. The below activity ideas would be great for a town-themed party that has children from ages of 3-5:

  • Drive In— Make cardboard cars and put up a sheet to project a favorite kid’s movie on as soon as it gets dark outside. After playing in town all day the kiddos can relax and watch a movie at the town’s drive in! It would also work well in front of the TV for an indoor party.
  • Clothing Store or Job Center—Kids love playing dress up! Stock a clothing store with fun outfits or create a job center with uniforms for the kids to try on.

Do you have more young children town activity ideas? Leave a message in the comments and I’ll add it to the list along with a link to your site. (if you have one!)

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Town Themed Party Activities // A Well Crafted Party

Town Party Activity Ideas for Older Children:

Many of the other activities listed on these pages would work for older children. But, once they get older you can also have fun incorporating more activities. Check out my ideas for activities for a town-themed party that has children from the ages of 5+:

  • Jobs & a Bank— Create jobs for the kids, have them dress up and play at their job, and then give them paychecks! This may seem silly or contrite to some who find work a not-fun experience or want kids to be kids for as long as possible… but, I think it is fun for kids to play as adults. I remember loving that when I was a child.
  • Photo Studio—Create a photo backdrop and put up props for the kids to take pictures in the photo studio
  • Theater or Stage— Does your kid love to sing or act? Create a stage with props or a microphone and let them practice being the start that they are.

Do you have more ideas for town-themed party activities for older children? Leave them below in the comments and I’ll add them to the list along with a link to your site (if you have one!)

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