I love trolling the blogosphere for inspiration. 
But, what I really love!?! Free printables. 

Free printables get me excited for the next event that I can use them in. I’ve even created entire parties just so I can use the free printables that I’ve discovered. So, today is dedicated to free printable goodies. I’ve added a page on my blog solely devoted to these free goodies (check the button on the right or tab at the top of the page). More on that page later… for now I’d like to share some exciting printables from some of my FAVORITE blogs!

The TomKat Studio always has great inspiration… 
which, is probably why they just hit 10,000 FANS on Facebook.
In celebration of getting to 10,000 fans the TomKat Studio has added three free printables for cake bunting. The blog also has a fun tutorial from Sharnel Dollar Designs for how to put together the great bunting. So, congrats to TomKat Studio and thanks for the great new printable!

The Hostess with the Mostess was the first blog to REALLY grab my attention. It has such beautiful parties to inspire almost any event. Check out their many posts with free printables.
One of my FAVORITE free printables is their “Flowers and Candy” Centerpiece. It is adorable, whimsical and the perfect addition to a baby shower. 
How About Orange is a blog from a graphic and textile designer…
so, you can expect some pretty amazing free downloads.

This adorable free printable card featured on How About Orange is from Meg of Olliegraphic. Don’t you already have someone in mind that needs a good “Congrats!” card or a sweet message in the mail!
 For some seriously great inspiration check out Pizzazzerie.Com. The site has great real parties and tons of fun DIY projects. And, while there are currently some fun printables what I am REALLY looking forward to is the article “Halloween tables & Printables” that is listed under the “Coming Soon” area of the website.

Want to go ahead and get started with free printable awesomeness? Currently Pizzazzerie has a link to Gwynn Wasson Designs free printable collection giveaway. Two awesome Halloween printable sets are ready to be e-mailed to you!
Speaking of Gwynn Wasson Designs
 Check out the site for great tips and hints on how to print your free printables!
Currently I am working on several printable packages for an upcoming Etsy shop. But, I’d also like to make some available for FREE on this site. But, I need your help:
What free printables are you wanting to see on the blog?

Tutorial: Tissue Paper Flowers

Tissue paper flowers are EVERYWHERE right now. Martha made them easy to make and now everyone is doing it. And, why not!? They are a fantastic and inexpensive way to help decorate a party. Make them small and put them in vases or make them large and hang them from the ceiling—any way you use them they always look fantastic.
I’m currently in the middle of creating a TON of tissue paper flowers in several different ways to use for this year’s Halloween event. So, I thought while in the process I’d share with you some tutorials on how to create easy tissue paper flowers for whatever event you are working on.

This tutorial is for a basic flower and is based on the Martha Stewart instructions (be sure to check out the tutorial on the Martha Stewart website… now that is a pro!).

Tissue paper, floral wire and scissors are all you need to make these flowers. For the three inch buds that I am creating I have cut my tissue paper into 4X6 rectangles. I’ve found that 8 sheets of tissue paper make a nice, full flower for this size without the tissue paper being too thick to cut through. For larger flowers I’ve found that I need to use more paper to create a full flower.
Step One— Fold the tissue paper (like you would a paper fan) by alternating the folds. Crease the folds as well as you can so that the paper will crimp like an accordion.

Step Two— Wrap a piece of floral wire around the center of the folded tissue paper. I’ve only used a small piece of wire for this project because I’m wiring all of my flowers together. But, I’d suggest at least 5 inches of wire for most projects.
Step Three— Round or point the edges of the tissue paper with scissors to create the petals of the flower. (I have rounded the edges for these flowers.)
Step Three—Fan out the two sides of the flower around the wire. 
Step Four—Start pulling up each layer of tissue paper towards the center of the flower. This can be tedious and you might tear the tissue paper a little at times… don’t worry, you probably won’t even notice when the flower is finished. After finishing one side of the flower continue to the opposite side until all layers of tissue paper have been pulled free of their folds.
The finished flower! Once the flower is finished you can add ribbon to it and use it as a napkin holder or add a stem and stick into a vase. 
Have fun making tissue paper flowers! Beware… making these once starts an addictive trend! All props to Martha for the easy instructions that I’ve been using for the past few years and several parties.  
Keep checking in on the blog (or, hey, just hit follow just up to the left there) for tutorials on different variations on tissue flowers that I’ll be posting over this week.

Real Party: A Bewitching Ball

Okay, so I promised some real parties this month and here is one of my favorites! Halloween is one of my very favorite days of the year. I start planning the party a year in advance and very much enjoy the preparation and execution of the party. This past Halloween we had a “Bewitching Ball” with all the formal fabulous we could fit into our tiny apartment. So, I’ll keep from chattering about and show you the photos.

The decor was as DIY as I could possibly make it. Hundreds of bats hung from the ceiling. Tissue paper flowers decorated the mantle and wrapped around any available space. (Tutorials will be up in the next few days!) A hand designed chandelier, made by a friend, was the shining centerpiece.

The food— Well, I can never pass up the opportunity to make fun Halloween food. I found a lot of great recipes on-line (check out last Friday’s post for some great food links) and all of them were a hit.

The Candy Bar— I love the idea of letting guests pick out their favorite candies for their Halloween Candy Stash. Might as well bring back the joy of trick-or-treating while you can, right?

The Signature Drinks—I made two signature drinks and had s few classic bar selections for guest to choose from at the bar. The two signature drinks were “My Kind of Magic” and “Satan’s Soda” both created by me! (look for the recipes in future posts)

The Masks—The guests made their own masks and costumes. They were all so creative and you could tell they spend a ton of time working on them.

It was a fabulously fun party and I am very happy to get to show off the photos. If you have a fabulously fun Halloween party you’d like to share please send submissions for consideration to Please visit our submission guideline page for submission directions.

This Party is Entered in the:

Entertain Exchange

An Exciting Week So far!

Well, it has been an exciting week so far here at A Well Crafted Party! I want to thank both Catch My Party and Eat Drink Pretty for their wonderful features. It has been very exciting to see my work out at other blogs and seeing new faces following this blog. I honestly can’t even believe that it is only Wednesday and am excited to see what the rest of the week has in store!

As for the this blog I have some exciting things in store for the month! In no particular order here are a few things to look forward to:

  • Several DIY posts over a variety of different projects— invitations (with printables); crepe paper and tissue paper flowers; Halloween crafts; and much more
  • Two Halloween real parties (although, I would like to feature more if you have a party you’d like to share!)
  • Fantastic Halloween and Fall finds in the areas of entertaining, food and DIY
  • And, HOPEFULLY, by the end of the month an ETSY store with holiday party supplies!!! 

Thanks for stopping by! And, because a post without pictures makes me sad here is a sneak peek of one of the Halloween Real Parties that will be posted soon!

What would you like to see on the blog this next month?

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

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

 13 Things I MUST Buy and
Plan a Party Around:

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

Hardy Har Har… a Pirate Party Inspiration Board

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

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

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

Check back later this week for free printables!

Friday Finds: Inspiration from the blogosphere

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Mother’s Day!

I am lucky to have three wonderful women in my life that I can call mom. All three inspire me by the lives they’ve led, the people they love and the parties they’ve thrown. So, this party inspiration post is dedicated to these lovely women and the people in their lives that support them (that means you dad, grandpa, T, father-in-law E and the rest of my lovely family!)

Let me introduce you to these wonderful women.

In the upper left corner is my mom. (She doesn’t look like me at all does she?) Just below her picture is my grandmother. And, pictured in the lower, right-hand corner is my mother-in-law.

Each one of them has helped developed my love of parties and my ability to execute fun-filled events. One event from each of these women that really inspired me includes:

My Mom
My mom loved to throw parties while I was growing up. She enjoyed the details, the crafts and the fun. She often had champagne tastes on a kool-aid budget and always made it work.
The party: One party I remember distinctly is a Halloween party she threw for me, my sister and brothers, as well as several families from the neighborhood. Everyone was in costume. Everyone played games. And everyone got a sack full of goodies to remember the party by when they left.
How this shaped my party philosophy: 1. Encourage costumes or certain attire for some of your more special parties. Wearing a costume or a certain type of attire helps people get into the party and anticipate it well before the party begins. It will also help people feel more at ease in the “theme” of the party. 2. Send people home with something to remember the evening– make the event live on and on. Even if the favor is a 4X6 photo sent in the mail a week later… the guests will always remember the event when they look at that photo, trinket, etc.

My Grandma
My Grandmother often tells me how she thinks the things I do with parties are so amazing and impossible to do. What she doesn’t know is I probably would never have wanted to throw a party if it wasn’t for her.
The party: Every year growing up Christmas Eve was my grandmother’s night. She decorated the house for weeks and hung stockings for everyone in the family by the chimney with care. The tree was always filled with gifts that everyone brought over that night. People would randomly break out in carols or the kids would act out a Christmas play. We looked forward to this night every year.
How this shaped my party philosophy: Parties are so much more than a group of people getting together to celebrate. They can be an EVENT. They can be TRADITION. They can be a bright spot in a dreary week. My grandmother taught me the importance of meaning in a party. Personalize it to your guests and put yourself into the party.

My Mother-in-Law
My mother-in-law is a practical, organized and hard-working woman. She is always the one to come through with thoughtful actions–driving 12 people the 2 hours to the coast because she is the safest driver, staying up and cleaning the kitchen after a night of cooking, sending notes of well-wishes every holiday and birthday.
The party: I didn’t know what to expect for my rehearsal dinner the night before I got married. But, walking into the venue I saw the effort and details that my mother-in-law had put in place to make our rehearsal dinner just as memorable as our wedding. My husband’s family live in Japan and my mother-in-law put so much of that culture into this beautiful party. She cooked traditional Japanese food and brought us traditional kimonos to wear throughout the evening.
How this shaped my party philosophy: Parties are fabulous gifts. Putting the effort into making a memorable and personal party can be one of the best gifts you can ever give someone. Instead of giving a sweater–give a memory, it will last a life-time.

Thank you to the wonderful women that help shape my life. Happy Mother’s Day!

Let’s Party

I’m a big fan of parties. A BIG fan. I think about parties for probably most of the day, every day. I have my Halloween party planned by summer. My birthday (which, as it happens is Dec. 12) is planned well in advance. Don’t make plans for Dec. 12, 2012– that party will be an end of the world party with three years of planning behind it.

My hope for this blog is for it to be an inspiration to people who don’t think they can throw a party, as well as those who love planning events as much as I do. I want people to feel like they can put together a great event to share with friends and family, without fuss and without a lot of money. I research entertaining blogs, magazines and books daily for inspiration and will certainly pass on what I find. However, I hope that this blog will differ from other blogs in that it will provide a realistic approach to creating a fabulous everyday event.

So, keep tabs on the blog for regular updates of inspiration boards, fantastic finds, real-party inspiration and a whole lot more.

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