A Well Crafted Kid - Posts about parenthood, toddler style and more!
About A Well Crafted Party and the family behind the blog!
A Well Crafted Lady— Posts about the lady behind the blog, fashion, beauty, fitness and more!
#MeCelebratingYou is a project that I hope inspires people to celebrate the everyday and the people in their lives. Click to learn more!

Welcome to the new and improved A Well Crafted Party

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I’ve been blogging at A Well Crafted Party for nearly five years now and it has gone through its fair share of change as my life changed along with it.

Content over the past few years

This little blog started as a way to share my DIY party ideas and has morphed into a community where I share everything from recipes to updates on how life is with my toddler. It went from a very niche blog to a wide array of topics. Sometimes, the wide array of topics ended up hurting the overall feeling of the site and didn’t allow for readers to get to know me and my blog the way I’d prefer. Sometimes it allowed for content I never thought I’d possibly have the opportunity to share and the blog has benefited from that.

I brought in guest bloggers often… sometimes to the delight of readers and sometimes, not-so-much. My husband even started his own series called “A Well Crafted Man” but soon slowed on his postings.

The blog has had its highs and its lows. There have been times where I’ve had so much content and TIME to share that I was posting nearly a dozen posts a week. There have been weeks of silence on the blog.

Design over the past few years

Very first blog banner for A Well Crafted Party

This was my first attempt at a blog banner in 2010 when my blog began. EEK.

Evolution of Blog Design A Well Crafted Party

Professionally designed blogger blog layout circa 2011

Evolution of Blog Design A Well Crafted Party

After a brief stint in purple on my WordPress site I moved over to my current color scheme. This layout lasted about a year.

A Well Crafted Party Blog Magazine Layout 2014

A Well Crafted Party Blog Design 2013-2015

The design started as a very basic blogger setup with a terrible pixelated header, to professionally designed, to WordPress continuous blog format to a WordPress magazine layout. The logo started out as a crude purple scripted logo all the way to the current clean fonts with elements of blues, greens and yellows.

Mission over the past few years

My mission started as sharing unique party ideas for celebrating life on a budget. It gradually morphed into sharing unique ideas and stories about celebrating life and ways to celebrate moments on a budget. I still feel strongly about both of those missions, I just want to make sure I’m living up to it in my posts.

Life over the past few years

All of these changes almost directly correlate with the changes in my life. When I started I was a part of a married couple with a non-creative job craving a creative outlet as a hobby. I increased my content schedule and updated the blog look as people began to take notice of that little hobby. Then all of the sudden I was pregnant and about to have a son. I stopped throwing as many parties and wanted to start sharing more about life. That is when I made the switch to a lifestyle blog rather than a parties and event blog. When I became a work-at-home mom picking up freelancing jobs I shifted A Well Crafted Party into a career blog, making “career blogger” moves such as moving to WordPress and increasing my content schedule. When I was sharing so much content in a variety of topics I made the move to a magazine style layout. Then I got a full-time, out of the home job that took me away from this little space I had created.

What has changed?

Everything. Well, almost everything.

I tried ( I really, really tried) to keep up with a more consistent and fruitful schedule of posts in the many topics that I like to post about. I tried taking the time to comment on other people’s blogs, keep up with all the social media, reply to every comment on this site. At some point I realized that I just can’t do it all, no matter how much I want to! One area of responsibility would be going really well, and I’d be failing at so many other areas. So… that leads me to my new view of A Well Crafted Party.

A Well Crafted Party’s Mission

I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog’s mission. I mean, why in the world am I spending my time and energy brining my ideas to this little side of the internet? Some bloggers make bank on  their work and I support them in that endeavor. However, with my focus on my full-time job, this blog is more of a hobby than a career. It needs to be something that I am passionate about if it is going to continue.

In all of my reflection on what I am truly passionate about and WHY I started the blog to begin with I came up with a simple mission statement that I feel I can get behind in everything I do and which supports my personal goals.

A Well Crafted Party is a blog where I celebrate life. My tagline is ‘Life is a Party—Celebrate!’ because I believe that there is something in every day that is worth celebrating and something within every person that deserves to be celebrated. My mission is to explain, inspire and educate others in celebrating the everyday.

A Well Crafted Party’s Content

Honestly, this is the hardest part for me… I want this blog to be a true reflection of myself, even if it is just the little bits of me and my family that I wish to share. My content will support my blog’s mission. I aim to post three times a week— currently aiming for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday if you are someone who prefers to just check in on posting days rather than following along via a blog reader or social media. I will be posting my usual array of parties, recipes and cocktails. I will also continue to occasionally write about blogging, curvy fashion, non-fussy beauty and family. Though, every post will keep my mission in mind.

Evolution of Blog Design with A Well Crafted Party

Refreshed Blog Design circa 2015

A Well Crafted Party’s New Design

I wanted to bring elements of what I have to celebrate every day to the blog in my refreshed blog design. Macey from Moments by Macey took me and the family out to take the images that I’ve shared in the design. I plan on changing up the photos throughout the seasons, but for now it is exactly what I wanted to share with my new mission. I also went with a cleaner and easier to read logo design. Because I am no longer posting several times throughout the week the magazine layout no longer worked for my blog. I’ve reverted to a more traditional blog layout. As I find time I am making my landing pages even more clean and easy to navigate so it is easy to peruse the many posts that the blog contains. The A Well Crafted Pantry page is already up and working and I couldn’t be happier!

The Future of A Well Crafted Party

Goodness, who knows!? I’m sure it is going to continue to change along with me and my life. I love that I get the opportunity to look back and track my changes through a series of posts and photos. Just like life there are moments of embarrassment and pride. I do hope that I continue to live up to my mission in the future of this blog. I also plan to really strive to be a more consistent blogger. Finally, I have a project up my sleeve that speaks to my mission more than anything I’ve ever done before. I’m so excited to bring share it in March and get the ball rolling on a year long effort!

Thank you for reading A Well Crafted Party. It means a lot to me that you not only stop by these pages, but that you take the time to take it all in. I’d love to know…

What do you think of the new design and mission? What would you like to see more of (or less of) in future posts?

Update and Upcoming Wedding and Food Events in Portland

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I promise that I didn’t just redesign my site to only let it sit here stagnant. I’ve been working on a bunch of posts and projects to help bring consistent content to these virtual pages over the next few months. I’ve talked before about it being difficult for me to find balance with work/home/blog/life. In my goals for 2015 I really promised myself that I’d focus on prioritizing parts of my life. While my blog is a priority… it just isn’t quite as high as shaping my relationships with family and friends. Thankfully, often my blog life and my friendships and personal goals are often entwined! Like with these upcoming Wedding and Food events in Portland!

FoodWorx - The Future of Food Event // A Well Crafted Party Blog

Tomorrow I’ll be out all day long with 300+ delegates and 24 speakers all discussing the future of food at the Portland FoodWorx event. I’m going to be geeking out about it all day long on my Instagram and Twitter so be sure to check in! And, if you are in the Portland area I’d highly recommend you checking it out. There are different tickets available for the event. I’d love for you to say hi if you are going!

I’m really looking forward to the “Know your Oils” discussion with Julie Briley from National College of Natural Medicine, “Rewriting your Food Story” with Ian Rubin from Whole Self Wellness, and Food & Aging from Miles Hassell M.D. from Providence.  For a full schedule of events check out the FoodWorx Conference website!

Portland Wedding Shows - Toast Curated Wedding Showcase // A Well Crafted Party Blog

 

I’m thrilled to have been asked to participate in the Elli.Com Toast: A Curated Wedding Showcase event.

Myself and a team of amazing local vendors are going to design a inspirational wedding space along with other teams from the area. I cannot WAIT to show you what we’ve got up our sleeves and see what the other vendors have come up with! My team is comprised of these amazing vendors:

The Toast event is scheduled for Saturday, March 7 from 5 PM to 9PM. This evening will be filled with all thing wedding and all things Portland! Tickets are currently on sale!

From the Elli.com site:

“The Toast handpicks vendors to collaborate on a range of style vignettes such as rustic chic, classic and vintage and create an experiential atmosphere where couples can meet vendors while enjoying a fun filled, festive evening.

WHAT YOU’LL ENJOY

  • Complimentary Appy Couple wedding website and app.
  • Entry into drawing for chance to win a free engagement photo shoot.
  • Gorgeous and festive photo booth pics courtesy of Happymatic.
  • Bridal style showcase with looks for events leading up to your big day.
  • First 125 attendees receive a gift bag full of surprises.
  • Complimentary food and drinks.

This premiere event is hosted by Elli whose mission is to help brides bring to life a truly one-of-a-kind celebration.”

I hope to see you there!

 

 

Saturday Spirits: Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy

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Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy // A Well Crafted Party

The colder it gets outside the more I love to cuddle up with a good blanket and a hot drink. Teas, coffees, ciders… I have no favorites. Hot Toddy’s tend to be on a regular rotation at my house when the temps get cooler. I particularly love a good traditional hot toddy (check out this post or this post for a good, simple hot toddy recipe) but, today I felt like mixing it up a bit and making myself a hot toddy with an salted caramel apple twist. I honestly don’t know if it is better to call it a hot cider or hot toddy… but, either way, it is tasty and hot.

Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy // A Well Crafted Party

Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy // A Well Crafted Party

 

Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 oz UV Vodka‘s  Salty Caramel Apple Vodka
  • 1 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey
  • 4 oz Hot Apple Juice
  • Optional: Sprinkle of sea salt, sprinkle of nutmeg & apple slice for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat apple juice on stove top and pour into a mug or brandy glass
  2. Pour in bourbon and flavored vodka
  3. Top with garnish of your choice… I chose all three!

Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy // A Well Crafted Party

FTC Disclosure: UV Vodka sent a bottle of vodka for me to try out. All opinions are my own.

Favorite Cocktails of 2014

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Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 // A Well Crafted Party

In the spirit of the new year I’m looking back on some favorites… since I try to post cocktails on Saturdays for my Saturday Spirits posts I thought I’d share my top five favorite cocktail posts of 2014! These five are the cocktails that I loved the most out of the ones I shared this past year.

Favorite Cocktails of 2014 - Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail

This cocktail has to be my favorite of the year… not because it is complex or anything. But, I loved the flavor of the home-made lollipop paired with the sparkling wine. I featured this drink at my Hey Girl— Ryan Gosling themed birthday party.

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014- Spiked Ice Cream  // A Well Crafted Party

Spiked Ice Cream (without an ice cream maker)

Not quite sure this one counts as a cocktail really… but, it definitely counts as a favorite. These easy spiked ice cream recipes don’t even need an ice cream maker.

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 - Lemon Ginger Drop // A Well Crafted Party

Lemon Ginger Drop

A good lemon drop should be sweet and tart both. This Lemon Ginger Drop gives you the sweet, the tart & an added kick of spice!

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 - Twist on the Classic Martini // A Well Crafted Party

Twists on the Classic Martini

Never underestimate the greatness of a good ole’ fashion martini. Twists on the classic martini can make an old favorite a new favorite with ease.

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 - Jalapeno margarita // A Well Crafted Party

Jalapeno Margarita

I guess I really like a kick in my cocktails. This Jalapeno Margarita recipe was inspired by the best margarita I’ve ever had.

Top Posts of 2014

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The “Top Posts” blog posts that are going around seem to get a 50/50 response to whether people enjoy them or not. Regular readers are probably bored by them because they have read all of the posts within the list… but, new readers get a quick hit list of posts to check out. I thought about this when deciding whether or not to include a couple of my own “top” posts lists. If anything else, it is a good form of blog maintenance for me so that I can keep track of what readers like to read and what I like to write. So, with no further ado… here are the top 5 posts visited on my blog in 2014 according to Google Analytics:

 

Top Posts of 2014: Three Free Blog Planner Printables for 2014 // A Well Crafted Party

Most visited post of 2014:

My top post of 2014 was the free printable blog planners. Check out the 2014 blog planner edition of the printables. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter… the 2015 edition is coming very soon and blog subscribers get first downloads!

Top Posts of 2014: Free Potluck Printables // A Well Crafted Party

Second highest visited post of 2014:

My second most visited post of 2014 are the potluck printables I created. Click on over to download the free potluck printables! If you liked those potluck printables then you might like the holiday potluck printables and facebook invite cover images I created. Pin them for next year.

Top Posts of 2014: First Birthday Party Activity Ideas // A Well Crafted Party

Third highest visited post of 2014:

My third post that vistors frequented the most is actually a favorite from 2012— First Birthday Activity Ideas. I loved this party so much… but, we had even more fun at the kiddo’s second birthday a Town Themed birthday party filled with tons of town-themed party ideas!

Top Posts of 2014: Free Printable Cupcake Toppers  // A Well Crafted Party

Fourth highest visited post of 2014:

My fourth post that readers seemed to visit the most is another free printable post— Free Printable Mini Cupcake Toppers. The Luck in Love party (another highly visited post) featured these adorable toppers. I think they’d make for a cute Valentine’s party element.

Top Posts of 2014: DIY Cherry Blossom Branches  // A Well Crafted Party

Fifth highest post visited in 2014:

My fifth highest post that readers popped in to view is a DIY project that will be perfect for you upcoming Spring parties… it’s just around the corner after all! These DIY Cherry Blossom Branches are beautiful decorating the home or as a centerpiece at a party.


 

Photo credits: Potluck photos via The Spicy Bee // First Birthday photos via Motormouth Studio // Cherry Blossom Photos via Capturing Grace

More Oyster Toppings + Champagne Granita Recipe

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Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Continuing with all the oyster goodness (sorry for my followers that are not a fan… I will give oysters a break soon!) I have one more quick way to make a tasty topping for your oyster platters. At my recent Black, White & Gold birthday celebration I served to different platter of oysters. I served a briny oyster with champagne granita and a sweeter oyster with tabasco and lemon. I always love a good oyster with tabasco and lemon. However, these champagne granita topped oysters were AMAZING. I could have eaten a dozen of them myself! 

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Me and The Spicy Bee enjoying oysters

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Oyster tips from Whole Foods Market:

  • The smaller they are, the sweeter they are
  • Shucking is about finesse, not power
  • The Sweet Spot – There’s an open area in the back of the shell when the knife stops turning, twist the knife and pop the shell open
  • Protection – Wear a thick glove to protect your hand and use a rag to hold the oyster for leverage
  • History – Find out where the oyster is coming from. They should always have a tag. If they don’t have a tag, you don’t want that oyster!
  •  If you’re hosting an event or just craving oysters, Whole Foods Market can shuck them in-house for you!
  • Oysters are best 2-3 hours after being shucked.
  • Prime time for oysters is now through February; the colder the weather, the better the oyster!
  • Check out my post on shucking oysters here!
  • Check out my tabasco shaved ice topping for oysters here!
  • Check out even more oyster topping ideas on the Whole Foods Market Blog.
Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Briny-flavored oysters topped with champagne granita

How To Make Champagne Granita Topped Oysters

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Shucked Oysters – Use a briny oyster to pair nicely with the sweetness of the granita. Shuck the oysters yourself or you can do what I do and ask the nice people at your local Whole Foods Market to shuck them for you.

Directions:

  1. Pour 2 cups of champagne into a bowl with 1/2 cup sugar. 
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Pour solution into a pan or tupperware item, cover and put in freezer. 
  4. After 1 hour take a fork and break up the partially frozen mixture. You want to sort of drag the fork in lines along the mixture.
  5. Put mixture back in freezer. Repeat step 4 a few times until the mixture is a sort of snow cone consistency. 
  6. Top oysters with a spoonful (about a teaspoon) of champagne granita and serve immediately. 

Serving a less briny oyster? Pair it with little slices of lemon and tabasco for guests to use to taste or a top with a spicy tabasco shaved ice!

 Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

This post was not sponsored by Whole Foods Market even though it sort of reads like it is… I learned a lot about oysters when I visited the store for an oyster tasting and then have visited several times since to purchase oysters and feed my oyster addiction. 

Oysters with Tabasco Shaved Ice

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Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

There is just something so decadent and fancy about oysters. They are not an everyday treat and at a restaurant they can get quite expensive. Oysters are actually quite affordable as an at home appetizer and not at all difficult to make… especially if you let the wonderful people at the seafood counter take care of the shucking for you! The fun part (for me) of serving oysters is making toppings that complement the oysters. For this recipe I used a Miyagi oyster with a full meat flavor and mild brininess (to me they were almost sweet!). I like the spicier topping for oysters that are less salty and sweeter toppings for the oysters that have a strong brininess. You’ll have to scroll through some amazing photos taken by the amazing Mary Boyden before you get to the recipe. Hopefully you don’t get TOO hungry.

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters

Ingredients/Supplies:

  • Oysters – Not too briny. I used Miyagi, but the seafood department may be able to help you find an oyster that they carry that will pair nicely with tabasco. I got my oysters from my local Whole Foods Market.
  • Tabasco
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Ice
  • Food Processor

Directions:

Tops approximately 12 oysters

  1. Shuck Oysters (or have them shucked for you) and put on a bed of ice
  2. Take 1 cup of ice and put in food processor
  3. Shake in about 1 1/2 teaspoons of tabasco into the ice
  4. Squeeze 1/2 lemon juice into ice
  5. Put food processor on until ice is to a shaved consistency.
  6. Taste ice– if the ice isn’t spicy enough add more tabasco and mix by turning on the food processor
  7. Spoon about a teaspoon of the tabasco shaved ice onto each oyster and serve immediately.

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Want more?

Resources:
Photography by Mary Boyden— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Vintage Rentals by Something Borrowed— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Cocktail Napkins from Hen House Linens— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Aqua Leather Wrap Bracelet via Flourish Leather— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Styled Shoot by Bloggers of Create-Enjoy, Ladies in Navy & A Well Crafted Party:
Connect with Suzannah of Create-Enjoy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with Kelsey of Ladies in Navy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with ME! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest OR Click Share on the bottom of this post!

Classic NYE Game Night + Free Printables

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New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Classic Game Night New Year’s Eve Party

Going out is great on New Year’s Eve… well, great if you like long lines, high costs, and crowds. For people who enjoy bringing the fun home this idea is perfect.

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

I was excited to get to work with Kelsey from Ladies in Navy, Suzannah from Create-Enjoy and local photographer Mary Boyden on a New Year’s Eve party styled shoot. We wanted to show an elegant and classic mix of elements for a fun at-home game night to ring in the new year. Enjoy these gorgeous photos and let them serve as inspiration for your NYE night!

In addition to the gorgeous inspiration you’ll be able to find recipes from the event throughout the week through this blog and the blogs of my co-bloggers. Portland-local vintage rental company Something Borrowed shared some gorgeous vintage pieces for the photoshoot. Currently Something Borrowed is offering holiday dinner packages so that your holiday parties are decked out with gorgeous vintage tableware!

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Free Printables:

Kelsey and I also collaborated on a beautiful collection of free printables. Kelsey wrote several phrases in her beautiful calligraphers script. I then digitized them and created an invite, signs and party circles. Click on the links below to download your free printables. Save the files to your computer and print on cardstock! I created all of the printable items seen in the photos using these printables, Scotch Brand Expressions Washi tape, and a sequined covered scrapbook paper.

New Year’s Eve Free Printables:

 

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Want more?

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty


 

Resources:
Photography by Mary Boyden— Connect: WebsiteFacebookInstagram
Vintage Rentals by Something Borrowed— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Cocktail Napkins from Hen House Linens— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Aqua Leather Wrap Bracelet via Flourish Leather— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Styled Shoot by Bloggers of Create-Enjoy, Ladies in Navy & A Well Crafted Party:
Connect with Suzannah of Create-Enjoy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with Kelsey of Ladies in Navy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with ME! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest OR Click Share on the bottom of this post!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party

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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?

Saturday Spirits: Classic Manhattan

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Classic Manhattan // A Well Crafted Party Photo via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

The new year is a time to look forward to all the things to come. But, the thing about the new year that I like most is the time to reflect a little bit on the year that has just past and the years leading up. A classic cocktail is a great way to give a nod to the past as you celebrate the future. This year at your New Year’s Eve party serve a classic martini or this classic manhattan cocktail to give your party a touch of old-style class.

These images were taken by the fabulous Portland-area wedding photographer Mary Boyden as a part of a styled shoot collaboration with Suzannah (Create-Enjoy) and Kelsey (Ladies in Navy). The vintage rental items were sourced through Something Borrowed in Portland, Oregon. I can’t wait to show the whole shoot beginning on Monday with free printables and New Years Eve party worthy recipes.

Classic Manhattan // A Well Crafted Party Photo via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Classic Manhattan Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party photos by Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

How to make a Classic Manhattan Cocktail

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Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Bitters (I used Angostura)
  • Maraschino Cherries
  • Ice
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Optional: Orange peel

Note about Whiskey: Some bartenders will swear by Rye whiskey for a manhattan. Personally, I like Bourbon Whiskey the most so I use bourbon whiskey in my manhattan. I used Burnside Bourbon from Eastside Distilling for this cocktail.

Note about Maraschino Cherries: I don’t like the bright red maraschino cherries you can find with the sundae toppings in most grocery stores. Typically those cherries are bleached and then filled with a syrup that has artificial dyes to make that bright red color. I tend to skip the cherry all together if that is the cherry offered. However, you can easily make your own Maraschino cherries or buy versions that are made without artificial dyes. I used Tillen Farms Organic Maraschino Cherries (which are a beautiful bright pink in color) and they were delicious!

Directions:

  1. Pour all ingredients over ice in shaker
  2. Shake well
  3. If using the optional orange peel, rub around the rim of your cocktail glass. The orange oils will deposit on the rim and give your drink an extra delicious kick.
  4. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a cherry and enjoy!

Classic Manhattan Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party Photo By May Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty


Resources:
Photography by Mary Boyden— Connect: WebsiteFacebookInstagram
Vintage Rentals by Something Borrowed— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Cocktail Napkins from Hen House Linens— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Aqua Leather Wrap Bracelet via Flourish Leather— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Styled Shoot by Bloggers of Create-Enjoy, Ladies in Navy & A Well Crafted Party:
Connect with Suzannah of Create-Enjoy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with Kelsey of Ladies in Navy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with ME! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest OR Click Share on the bottom of this post!

Zoo Lights PDX- Open til Jan. 4

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Zoo Lights in Portland, Oregon // A Well Crafted Party

Our little family has three different views of holiday light shows. Me, I’m in love… going to see lights was one of my favorite things growing up. I remember being a teenager and driving up to the highest hill in my tiny little town to look out on the city full of lights. It is awe-inspiring to me. My husband on the other hand doesn’t understand it. Now, mushrooms growing out of a tree stump is the most exciting part of his day, but holiday lights that twinkle and glow? He just thinks about how cold it is or how hard it must have been to put out all of the lights. My son is just now at the age where he seems to enjoy them.

Oregon ZooLights in PDX // A Well Crafted Party

Oregon ZooLights in PDX // A Well Crafted Party

When it came to deciding whether or not to go to the Oregon Zoo for ZooLights this year, me and the kid won out! And, I am pretty sure the hubby had just as much fun as we did. The whole family decided to head out to ZooLights for the Media Night and had a brilliant time!

We went on a week night at it was not too busy. The train line was pretty long, but it was my son’s favorite part of the whole thing. Personally, I loved the tunnel of lights! So pretty.

The coolest part about the Oregon ZooLights? It isn’t all “Christmas” themed! There are lots of animal lights, fiction story lights, and more. It was nice to enjoy the lights for the holiday without being inundated with Christmas. It also works out for the after-holiday crowd to still be able to enjoy the lights even though Christmas is over!

ZooLights runs until January 4, 2015. The lights open up at 5PM. However, you can get your tickets as early as 4PM. Check out the Oregon Zoo ZooLights info page for more information.

Oregon ZooLights in PDX // A Well Crafted Party

The Oregon Zoo provided my family with tickets to attend ZooLights media night this year. All thoughts are my own.

Holiday Drinks Round Up – Christmas & NYE Cocktails

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Whiskey Apple Ginger Punch & Other Holiday Drink Recipes // A Well Crafted Party

This festive cocktail is sweet with a kick. It is easy to throw together and serve at a party. I didn’t own a punch bowl and picked up this great Libby bowl from a craft store for around $7. Pretty sure it is going to become a staple in my future parties!

Bourbon Apple Ginger Punch

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple cored and sliced
  • 2 Bottles of Ginger Brew or approximately 6 cups of Ginger soda (I used Trader Joe’s Ginger Brew – you want to use a very gingery ginger brew. If you can only use gingerale get as gingery as you can otherwise it will sweeten the punch significantly.)
  • 2 Cups Bourbon (I used Eastside Distilling’s Burnside Bourbon)
  • 4 Cups Apple Juice ( Use a nice organic, 100% Apple Juice… you won’t be sorry)
  • 1 22 oz Bottle of Sweet Apple Cider ( I used Portland Cider Company’s Sorta Sweet)
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Vermouth
  • 8 Dashes of Bitters

Directions:

  1. Pour all contents into a large punch bowl. Put into fridge to chill. You may add ice to chill, but it will dilute the drink some so use sparingly.
  2. Dish into glasses and enjoy!

Holiday Party Drinks // A Well Crafted Party

Photo credits from top left clockwise: AWCP // Motormouth Studios for AWCP // I’m Bored, Let’s Go // Cooking with BS // The Spicy Bee // Merlot Mommy// Urban Bliss Life // Cooking with BS // The Goodhearted Woman

Holiday Cocktail Roundup

These drinks would be fun for your Christmas parties or New Year’s Eve events! Thank you to all the bloggers who participated! If marked (NA) the drink is non-alcoholic and does not contain any alcohol.

Punches or by the Pitcher

Cocktails

Hot Drinks

Wines

Holiday Party Food Round Up- Christmas and NYE Appetizers

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Holiday Party Appetizers Round-Up // A Well Crafted Party

Photo Sources from Left Image Clockwise: Chocolate and Marrow // Good Hearted Woman // How to be Awesome on $20 a Day // MacSuzie // This Momma Loves // Newly Wed Survival

Holiday Party Appetizers

Today I’m sharing a round-up of holiday party appetizers that will be perfect for your Christmas Eve cocktail hour or your New Year’s Eve bash! Thank you to all the bloggers that took a part of this round-up.

Non-Meat Finger Foods

Dips

Meaty Appetizers

Now, tell me… what is YOUR favorite thing to serve at a holiday party? Comment below!

Healthy Holiday Neighbor Gift + Free Printable

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12 Days of Christmas DIYs // A Well Crafted Party

This post is the last post in my series of the 12 Days of Christmas DIYs for A Well Crafted Party. There are lots of free printables! (Check out my last post in this series: “Wine Gift Tag Free Printables“) Even though I’m done with my  12 Christmas DIYs… I’m not done bringing fun things to the blog! I’ve got some NYE items up (including free party printables) and more holiday beverages to enjoy!


Happy and Healthy Holiday Neighbor Gifts + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party

 

I work in an office. This time of year the colds start passing from one cubicle to the next. In addition, there is a whole table full of sweet treats in the break room that is HARD to resist. So, when thinking about the ideal affordable, but still welcome co-worker gift I wanted to do something that would encourage a healthful holiday and new year.

Happy and Healthy Holiday Neighbor Gifts + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party

These co-worker or neighbor gifts are super affordable and can be filled with whatever you find handy. I bought three little honey containers from Trader Joes for less than $7, a box of tea and some citrus fruit to make these little gifts. After wrapping in cellophane and wrapping in a bow I topped it with a printable tag. Yes, I like printables. 😉

How to use the Happy and Healthy Printables:

  1. Click the link below to download the printables, save to your computer.
  2. Print on cardstock in full color.
  3. Cut out the tags.
  4. Use a hole punch on the white circle and thread ribbon through the hole and attach to your gift!

Click here to download—> Happy & Healthy Printables <—Click here to download

Happy and Healthy Holiday Neighbor Gifts + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party

 

 

 

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