Sharpen Your Plans

Whatever Happened to the Time

As my progress with projects around the house slowed to a crawl, so did my activity on blogs and needing inspiration. Not that there wasn’t plenty of sources everywhere I looked, but it seemed that they all began to repeat the same thing over and over.  I’m sure I spent hours upon hours, scrolling through each and every blog that peaked my interest and then Poof! I felt like I had seen it all. Combined with a new career, life changes, and becoming ‘grown-up’, my blogging life just sort of fizzled. But now I feel motivated to finish all those home improvements, and I’m thinking I could try living in a house that isn’t forever in the middle of a construction phase. One must first (of course) start with a list of projects and then prioritize them. For me, I like to start with some smaller projects that I know I can complete (in a reasonable amount of time) so I can actually cross them off the list.  So let’s just get this ball rolling and see how far it …rolls.

Front Entry – Powder Bath – Wood Flooring upstairs – Dining Room Hutch/Built-In – Garage Storage – Guest Room Redo – Entire house crown and baseboard – Master Bath – Backyard Summer Kitchen – New fence – Front yard steps – Master Bedroom built-in – Kitchen – Patio Pergola – Plants, plants and more plants

 

Champagne & Couture

I feel as though bridal bliss is all around me, and it gives you kind of a giddy feeling.  So many parties to attend, so many outfits to coordinate and oh, so many details to think of! As it happens, not only is LS getting married soon (yay!), but a couple of her friends are as well. I am ALWAYS in the mood to help brainstorm ideas for party themes, and couldn’t wait to ‘help’. Bombard her with ideas So this ‘classy bride’ didn’t want a typical wild-night-out kind of party, so we came up with the idea of Couture & Champagne Party.

There are a lot of great ideas out there for champagne cocktails and mixers, so we based the whole party scheme off the color…and added black for contrast. Plus, there are some really great vintage champagne posters out there, and wouldn’t they make a great addition to your dining area after the party!

Having trouble picturing it all…let’s go to a creative mood board with some quick details.

Couture and Champagne with Dessert

Simple solutions for decorations can make a great impact.  Think of blowing up bunches of gold and white balloons, then hang them straight down from the corners of the room and they will look like champagne bubbles floating to the ceiling.  Food can look bubbly delicious if skewer and placed in a tall vase.

Finger Foods and Fruit

A Champagne bar is a great easy way to add fun, letting guests create their own cocktails with a little help from 2 part recipes, and it’s a mix and mingle.

 

Champagne a little Fruity

Champagne a little Sweet

Champagne a little Naughty

 

 

 

 

Frame them up in basic black, and you’re on your way to a classy cocktail party.

 

 

 

 

I can’t wait to see how the party turned out, and hope that LS sends me fabulous pictures of their grand celebration.

 

Chin Chin!

Baby Festival Success

I posted some inspiration I used in planning my first Baby Shower, and with a huge turnout it was a fabulous time.  Little Baby C arrived a couple of weeks before the party (yay!) so the best party was getting to meet the teeny, tiny guest of honor.  I told you I was a wee bit concerned about having to transport most of the decoration in my suitcase, and there were only 2 casualties for the entire bag. My lovely co-host brought all the games and there were some quite hilarious ones.  My favorite involved predicting what features Baby C would gather from each parent, and each team started with two portraits of mom and pop, sliced up in pieces.  A flip of a coin determined who the feature (forehead, eyes, nose, mouth and chin) would be inherited from.  The end results were a bit horrific, but ultimately pretty hilarious. The entry table featured a memory photo mat for all the guests to sign, and also baby’s first book to inscribe as well.

Guest Table

If you’ll notice the Eiffel Tower in the corner, I think that was one of my favorite finds! I found quite a few wrought iron towers, but was afraid it would take up so much room, be really heavy and possibly get bent in the flight.  Back in the kids craft section at Michael’s was a collection of 3-D wood puzzles, and they had the Tower! It came in 3 sheets of wood, and all you had to do was pop the pieces out, assemble and paint!  It traveled so easily because it was flat, a little bit of glue here and there and some black, matte spray paint and it looked just like the wrought irons ones.  Best part was that they were only $2.40 each with my coupon!

Side Buffet

Tower #2 helped accent the buffet holding all the plates, napkins and dishware for the brunch.  Most of the animal figures I picked out at Ross for between $5-$8 each.  The large pictures frames were from Michael’s, and showcased the great printable cards from Hostess with the Mostess.

Brunch Table and Buffet

The blue and white stripe table runner was from Hancock fabric, in their clearance upholstery fabric.  I didn’t even hem it, just ironed a crisp edge that was folded under to hide the cuts. Notice the collection of butterflies along the wall? I happened upon them at IKEA, and they stick to the walls without leaving marks! There were 3 sheets in the package for only $4.99, so I stared on one side of the window, and went up and over the doorway to the kitchen.

Buffet Table

They were too adorable!

Butterfly Wall

The drink station hosted soda, water, juice and champagne.  I think I really lucked out to find a sparkling drink that feature a baby foot print on its label.  I’ll take 6 please! Again, I used signs from HWTM and found coordinating frames ($3.99 for 2) and paintable easels ($0.99 each) from IKEA.

Drink Station

Other Accessories

In the kitchen were two tables, each with an animal figure, bebe-frames print and yellow-vase ($7.99 each) filled with bright, purple feathers. Hanging above those were yellow and purple, tissue butterflies from Hobby Lobby, in 3 different sizes.  The biggest was 18″ across with wings, and one pack of 3 was $4.20 with you guesses it a coupon! As for the feathers, you can find many sites on-line that sell Ostrich feathers, but I happen to have a Hobby Lobby that always stocks the 13″-15″ in many colors.  I waited until they were running a 50% off floral week to get them at $1.50 each.  The counter island in the kitchen had 3 small red vases ($2.99 each), holding 3 brilliant, blue feathers, like the one you see on the favor table and the drink station.

Favor Table

The favor boxes were actually from the wedding section at Michael’s, and again using my coupons, I got 2 packages of 20 for $2.60 each. The boxes were about 2.5″ square, and I printed a small picture of Baby C to add to each as a surprise in the back.  The treat included Jelly Beans and Tropical Tootsie-Rolls. I stuck the picture facing out, in the back, filled it with treats, and tied each one with bright ribbons and a favor tag.

I tried to include as many of the links to the products and ideas as possible, but feel free to ask about anything else I might have missed.   Hope you had fun checking out the party, because I sure had fun pulling it together…more please!

Let’s Change the Vibe

When I started this blog my intention was to make it solely about interiors and design.  I know there are so many great lifestyle blogs out there talking about family, food and design…but I don’t want to go that route.  So you may be wondering why would I post party and decoration ideas?  First reason would probably be I love to host parties. And attend them And the second, more related reason, is that it’s all about changing a space.  According to Merriam-Webster, “Interior Design” is defined as:

the art or practice of planning and supervising the design and execution of architectural interiors and their furnishings

So by changing the design of an interior, say for a baby shower, I believe you would be doing exactly that.  Scoff if you will, at some one who compares Candice Olson to David Tutera…but they both create magical spaces that leave me in awe.

Interiors

David Tutera & Candice Olson

So now you know the method to my madness when you find some of my posts jump from furniture re-hab to birthday parties.  My new favorite gal is the Hostess with the Mostess and her amazing party inspirations. Fabulous photos and details, even free downloads for specific events!  I found the perfect decor inspiration for the baby shower of my bestest pal… Festival du Bebe. The shower will be co-ed, so the bright colors and fun accessories will be perfect for a Las Vegas baby.

I started making my shopping list right away, and came up with a plan so that whenever I am out and about, if something catches my eye I can quickly snatch it up.

  • Vases for Centerpieces
  • Ostrich Feathers
  • Small Planters for Flowers
  • Animal Figures (elephant, monkey, zebra, giraffe)
  • Table Cloth or Runner
  • Butterfly Accessories
  • Paper Lanterns (or make DIY tissue pouf)
  • Jewels for table confetti
  • Signs and tags (courtesy of my new favorite hostess!)

My biggest obstacle is that I will be traveling to the shower, so everything must fit in one suitcase…now that’s a fun challenge!

Past Party Pics

Long time coming, but I am finally posting a few quick photos from our Pumpkin Party.  And yes, I realize Halloween is way past over…but life happens.

 

Feast of Food

Pumpkin Dipping Bowl

 

I couldn’t find any triangle-shaped plates, so my candy-corn colored veggies didn’t have as great an impact.

 

Petrified Cheese Log

 

Blue cheese, cream cheese, blue food coloring and black sesame seeds made a ‘moldy’ mess of goodness.

 

Eye Popping Appetizers

Mini mozzarella balls and cocktail olives.

 

 

Cake Eyeballs

 

I could eat these yummy strawberry eyeballs for breakfast, lunch and dinner…thanks to Melanie, I think I did!

 

Mantle by Candlelight

 

 

Glamour and Ghouls

I must apologize for my lack of postings in the way of my personal projects.  I have been camera-less since a trip in August, and just haven’t managed to remedy the situation yet.  Soooo…you’ll have to do with one last set of inspirational ideas, before I can get back in the saddle with my own photos.  In light of the new Home Goods store that opened last weekend, I thought I would take a look-see at their website, and found a truly awesome photo montage of a Glam Halloween party. Oxy-moron…right? And now I totally want to do this next year, maybe for a ghouls (girls) only cocktail party. Kim of TomKat Studios did a genius job in mixing glitter, creepy, elegant and spooky all in one.

Great colors, and love the idea that the flowers could possibly be old and creepy, but they still sparkle.

I need to learn how to make the tissue poms that I keep seeing everywhere, because they look darling and would be cheap and easy for any holiday decor.

Always fun to play around with creative fonts, and the contrast of calligraphy and block letters is sweet.  Plus, I need to find me some of those ruffle edge cake platters.

I’ll get some of the few photos up, from our carving party, as thankfully my pal Melanie is never without her camera!  Check our her spooky encounters, and awesome photos from a weekend hike.

Sneak Peak of my mantle…

 

Mantle Preview

 

Monster Menu

With less than two weeks to go, before Halloween, it’s about time to get a delicious theme menu planned. There is an abundance of great recipes out there for holidays, ranging from easy (yes, please!) to over the top. I usually scope out about a dozen or so ideas/recipes and narrow down my choices, once I know my guest list. For example, if you are having a small and spooky dinner part with six guests, you might be more willing to try new, complicated recipe like Martha’s Spinach Ricotta Skulls…

 

Spinach Ricotta Skulls

Or Ladies Fingers for dessert…

Ladies' Fingers Recipe

For a casual get together with about 20 people, the easier the better! Plus, it’s great to be able to make most of the items the night before, so you aren’t slaving away in the kitchen while your guests enjoy the party. Our party is closer to the latter, so here is the menu :

Finger Foods & Appetizers

Guaca-Moldy and Bat Chips

Petrified Cheese and Crackers

Candy Corn Colored Veggies with Ranch Dip

Blue Cheese-Ricotta Dip

Demon Eyes

Cheese Eyes

Main Menu

Twice Dead Potatoes

Spared Ribs

Oven-Roasted Ribs with Barbecue Sauce

Spare a Rib?

Dessert

Sugar Cookies

Guests Choice!

I don’t think any of these require much of a recipe other than the twice baked potatoes Hello Betty Crocker!, but more so entail construction of the food. **NOTE** Be sure to consider food that kids like, if they are included, because some can be picky eaters.  BH&G has a great recipe for a Whoo-hoo Hooty if you need some interactive food fun. Plus, don’t forget to have plenty of non-meat options for the vegetarians.

When our friends gather we usually partake in an adult beverage, like wine or beer.  But after finding some really great cocktail mixes I couldn’t wait to try one.  But with fear of the daunting task of trying to keep up with all the ingredients needed to stock a full bar, I decided to pick a Signature Drink and just get those items.  Turns out you can make 2 festive drinks with just 3 ingredients and some accessories.

 

Spooky Halloween Spirits

We are hosting the Screwed-Up Screwdriver and the Berry Scary Martini…though I’m not sure how available cherry juice would be, so I suppose another scary berry might be making an appearance.

 

You’ll notice that the dessert will be “Guest’s Choice” and that is because I have wonderful friends who hate to show up empty-handed I know the feeling! So when I send out invitations I usually make a suggestion as to what they might bring.  Sometimes it’s an appetizer, sometimes we each bring pickies to share, sometimes it’s a cocktail mix. By guiding them in a direction, they can be as creative as they want and contribute to the feast! Should anyone show up with food other than dessert…FINE BY ME!

Here is my plan (and let’s hope all goes accordingly) :

5 days before party….send reminder to guests to ensure accurate head count

4 days before party…..table decorations and finalize menu

3 days before party….wall decorations and grocery shopping

2 days before party….kitchen decorations, Costco shopping, cut out cheese shapes and bake cookies

1 day before party….make potatoes (refrigerate overnight), roll out cheese log (refrigerate overnight), marinate ribs, chop veggies and more decorating

morning of party (starts at 5pm!)….set up carving tables outside, last-minute clean up, bake potatoes, make guacamole, and get the spread laid out….BBQ ribs after most of the party arrives so they are finger lickin’ good

I also have the added bonus of great friends who like to help and pals who done care if it’s picture perfect. Though I still like to try.