Who Needs Inspiration?

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Last week, I had the chance to host a very Whovian gender-reveal party for some dear friends who are expecting their first little one this summer.

Check out a few of the details!

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I tried to include as many relevant quotes as possible. . .

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Classic Whovian foods made their appearance, with toasted-coconut encrusted marshmallows taking the place of fish fingers in this classic:

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I found some incredible fanart online that combined Doctor Who with classic children’s literature like Doctor Suess. These printouts made the perfect accents for a baby-centric party!DSC_0596

DSC_0587With all the sweets that were forthcoming in our snacky-menu, I was thankful for the 5th Doctor’s appreciation of celery to cut the sweetness a bit.DSC_0595

With the adorable doctor who printouts I found on the lovely blog A Typical English Home, and some really adorable heart-shaped sugar sweets, I managed to whip up some very cute Regeneration cupcakes. . .

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. . . in red velvet AND blue velvet!DSC_0593

These little marshmallow-adipose were perfection, and just as fluffy and delightful as the Weeping Angel Food Cake you can see behind them!DSC_0592

I made my own mini-TARDIS out of a box to hold the mystery balloons that would announce the gender of the impending arrival.DSC_0591

The two hearts that kept it closed were a nod to the Doctor’s makeup, with a little River Song reminder on top.DSC_0590

The Doctor Who mobile that I made for the baby made an excellent makeshift chandelier. DSC_0589

Red and blue flowers were a nice accent to the overall red and blue decor – and the chocolate stars made a lovely favor!DSC_0582

In planning this party, I discovered that I particularly enjoy Jelly Babies myself. How apropos that they should sit next to the Adipose. DSC_0577

The white-cheddar cheese puff Lost Moons of Poosh were a hit, and made great table fodder for people who were writing their well-wishes and best parenting advice for the new family in the TARDIS book. I also thought the Mr. Potato Head Dalek was pretty great. DSC_0581

We did not forget the classic party essential: Bananas. Not to mention the Jammie Dodgers that we had in abundance next to the name-suggestion station!DSC_0598

Before the happily expectant couple “gazed into the void”, we made sure that all the invitees were properly supplied with 3D glasses, à la David Tenant. DSC_0599

Matt Smith (my first Doctor) was not overlooked, and his affinity for bow-ties proved highly useful when it came to other savory snacks!DSC_0605

We had a few Calzone “Planets”, too, just to top things off. DSC_0606

There was more. In particular, the photo booth was pretty fun, but I’ve filled this post with enough pictures for one day. To finish this all off, I would be completely remiss if I didn’t share the best part of the entire party:

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That’s right: the utter joy and excitement shared between dear friends!

“Remember the best. My friends have always been the best of me.”

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Supernaturally Good

WINCHESTER LOVE AND SPNIf you, like me, tuned in to watch the 200th episode of Supernatural last night, well. You know. You know that there are no words to describe what ridiculous rip-roaring supernaturally high school musicalish CHUCK-ness that we witnessed. If you didn’t watch it (or you did and understood nothing) . . . well I’m sorry. BUT GOSH. For those of you that cohabitate the fandom with me, sit back, tune into some Dean-Inspired Music Mixes (x) while you wait for last nights songs to hit iTunes, and check out my mini Supernatural Theme Party pictures!

First I made a centerpiece befitting the boys. centerpiece

Then I decorated like the Unabashed Fan that I am.

Remember this?  [x]

My Tribute:
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How about this? [x]

My little hommage:

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Then there’s this little nugget: [x]

Which I figured deserved some inclusion…

bigger cups

Then of course, I could never forget Kevin. (RIP)

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And since that made me sad, I had to include something involving Crazy!Cas… Remember his obsession with Bees and Honey? [x]

Well . . .

castiel's honeyAnd you know, there’s also that whole question of Fading Grace…

fading graceBasically, I had a little too much fun, and there were a bajillion other little things I wanted to do before I wound up running out of time!

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Then I decided it was high time I whip up some fandom-themed foods!

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Some of these were a little subtle, but others were pretty obvious, right?

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In the end it wound up being a delicious spread of snacks . . . even if I was too emotionally wrapped up in the show to eat much!

the full spread

So, if you don’t watch Supernatural, you can appreciate approximately 2% of all of this, and you should probably go watch the past 200 episodes ASAP.

MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR TIME??!?!

And that’s all I have to say about that. [x]

Zombie Themed Treats!

This past weekend, I had a chance to attend my very first Zombie Prom. While the event itself was quite fun (who doesn’t like dancing and people watching with a bunch of undead characters in downtown Salem, MA?), I think the festivities preceding the dance itself were equally as delightful, so I thought I’d share with you some of the creative treats that were included!

My Contribution?

zombie cupcakes

20141025_154458With a little pinspiration [x] I decided that I would attempt my very own sugar glass shard cupcakes, with a zombified green twist, and what you see is my not-quite-pleasant (but exactly what I was going for) result! I followed a simple online how-to  for making my sugar glass, but added just a little green food coloring in near the end. The whole process was very fire burn and cauldron bubble-y, if you know what I mean.cauldron bubble - sugar glassBut I wound up quite pleased with the results! As an added touch, before I frosted them, I put some raspberry jam in about half of my cupcakes for the added oozy effect . . .

zombie cupcakes

. . .  and they were DELICIOUS!

Some of my friend Romina’s contributions (that likely deserve their own posts, but as I didn’t make them myself, I’ll leave that up to her) included:

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braaaaaaains

These jell0-shots were actually delicious, and were made in STRAWS to achieve the exceedingly nasty look!

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pumpkin puke

Somehow this was simultaneously adorable and gross at the same time – definitely a rare accomplishment, if you ask me.

So, there you have it! Some deliciously icky-l0oking zombie party treats!

Happy Almost-Halloween everyone!

 

 

A Frozen Party

Frozen Party Fun - Title

My niece, like most four-year-old girls lately, is deeply obsessed with the film “Frozen”. I know there’s an awful lot of hype surrounding this movie, and most of you feel a little (if not a LOT) fed up with the song “Let it Go”. . . but what four-year-old gets the concept of too-much-media-coverage? Not my niece, that’s for sure. So, when she had her Frozen Birthday Party, it was my job, as a lovingly obsessed aunt, to make sure the details were as wonderful as I could help make them.

Question 1: What to Wear?

The first question regarding any theme party is one of fashion, am I right? SO, with trepidation and a healthy hatred for mass-produced , overpriced, and poor-quality products, I set about sewing/making a dress fit for a (four-year-old) queen.

Frozen Dress - Details

The fabric is all courtesy of Joann Fabrics, and I used a soft t-shirt as the basis for the bodice , so that no itchy seams would bother my sensory-sensitive niece (nothing was sadder than the day she got a beautiful new Cinderella dress and had to take it off because “it hurts real bad”). I made sure the cape was detachable, and (since I was sewing it without my little model present) we used a fancy snowflake pin (thrift store find!) to bustle up the back.

Dress - Details - modeled by Bizz

It was by no means a work of art in couture, but it did the trick. Izzy was delighted. When I walked in and hung it in the front hall, she saw it and immediately exclaimed “MY DRESS!!!” with such joy, that it was worth any&all work involved. Izzy sees the dress

With a little assistance from her Mommy, her hair was tucked into an Elsa-appropriate braid, and the party could start, since the most beautiful princess of all time felt prepped and ready!Bizz's Dress - frozen party

Seriously, though? One more picture, because never has there been a mini-Elsa this adorable. Queen of her party - Bizz

Question 2: What to Eat?

A birthday is not a birthday without a cake. And D’Amici’s bakery knows how to make a phenomenal cake!

frozen cake

With the cake as a central element, I whipped up some colorfully-appropriate cake pops for those children who prefer all of their food on a stick (ahem: my nephew being one of them!).cake pops - frozen party

It was also deemed important to include some more-substantial/less-sweet snacks to balance out all that sugar. food - the spread

Question 3: What to do?

Having a movie-themed party kind of sets the mood for entertainment during the party right? I mean, it’s a given that you will watch the movie at some point. SO, what better idea than to provide cutely-themed popcorn? movie time - frozen entertainment After movie-watching either ends or loses it’s luster with 3-5 yr. old attention spans, its also nice to have some other potential entertainments. I drew/cut out a large Olaf-shaped snowman for a game of Pin-the-Nose-on-the-Snowman. no nose olaf Olaf also made for a nice decorative touch, chilling on the wall (yes, pun intended). It also turns out that my adorable niece loved the decor far more than the game, because she took one look at the wall, gasped, turned to me, and asked very seriously: “I . . . I marry him?” warm hugs - can I marry him While she is a bit young to get married, in my humble opinion, Olaf definitely fulfilled his quota on “warm hugs” for the day.  One other small activity we chose to include was a mini salon (staffed by yours truly) where all of my frozen-colored nail-polish could be displayed for the kiddos selection and subsequent nail-painting. This was fun, and the many small individuals in attendance loved it!nails by elsa

Question #4: What little treats will  enhance the day?

Well, there are certainly many of these ideas floating around to choose from.

It’s a great chance to check out printables available online (many for free!) that can add to the cute-factor. The Melted Snowman labels for water bottles was a nice touch, and as you can see, there are small olaf-stickers on the chocolate kisses! It’s also a great chance to tap into any stores of crystal or milk glass flatware and princess-costumery you have lying around.

Food Decor - setup and cuteness

Another fun detail that my sister pulled off beautifully was the sparkly gift-bags for kiddos who attended the party. These were full of everything from sweet treats to coloring books to tiaras to the little blue wands that you can see peeking out from the tops of the perfectly-chosen glittery gift bags!favors - frozen party

 

And that, friends, is all-questions-answered how we celebrated my niece’s 4th birthday . . .

Frozen Style!

Dance Details: Candyland Prom

Beauty is in the Details

If planning events (albeit somewhat informally) has taught me anything, it is that the devil is in the details, but so is the delight! If you get too caught up in details of an event, you can overlook the fun – but the right details can enhance an event magnificently! This year, our prom theme was “Candyland“, inspired by the classic  board-game, and I had more fun orchestrating the details than I should probably even admit.

Venue/Decor

Decorating the venue is sometimes overlooked when planning events, but adding little details to the overarching venue decor can really pull a theme together. Thankfully there are an incredible number of fun sources of inspiration for these details. We chose to go with the 1978 edition of the Candy Land board for color inspiration and then proceeded to look for fun ways to incorporate those 7 (!) colors without becoming overwhelming!

Candyland Color Palette

The first small detail we chose to incorporate was the lollipop balloons. While I’m fairly certain PVC pipe might have created a better lollipop-balloon stick, we used dowels, because they were very easy to procure. Once we had the balloons (in every color but the pink, which was our accent color), all that remained was to attach the balloons to the dowel tops (duct tape) and wrap the whole thing with cello-wrap before displaying these outside! While we originally wanted to do more (possibly line the walkway into the prom), we decided that it might lessen the elegance of the occasion, so kept it to a minimally sweet splash of color.
lollipop balloons - outside

Our second venue decor involved adding colors (and an extra dose of candy-theme) to the chair backs. Inspired by a blogpost, we purchased dollar-store paper plates (in our six main colors!), a massive spool of ribbon and one serious roll of cello-wrap. Chaos ensued briefly while we wrapped and tied and juggled all 80 or so of these fake, over-sized sweets. However, once in place, the candy decor really lent a nice touch to the venue without detracting from the simply elegant setup. If doing this again, I would be more careful to purchase paper plates that were colorful on both sides to avoid the touch of white peeking up over the uninhabited chair-backs.

Candy Chair-backs

Since it is rare to find a truly nice venue that permits wall or ceiling hangings, tabletops are always a huge element of the decor at our events, and this year was no exception. We started by seeking out the perfect central element to feature, and settled on colorful tulle puffs for the centerpieces. Since our goal was to incorporate the six general colors (red, orange, green, blue, yellow, and purple) with accents of pink and tie in many of the elements of decor, we chose to have pink and black table-runner-squares to offset the riot of color above and around. To this, we added mad-libs made to lo0k like over-sized Candy Land game cards, brightly patterned paper bags for students to use at the candy bar, a low jar of colorful gumdrops, and a few oversized-polka-dot shaped pieces of confetti. Fun fact: we used paint-samples from Home Depot to make the confetti, and were thus able to individually select exactly what colors we needed! Prom Tabletops

Ice-Breakers

A second, oft-overlooked detail is the need for some ice-breaker or fall-back activities. Just like when planning any social gathering, you want to try to foster a balance between creating a convivial atmosphere in which everyone can feel comfortable and fall-back options for people who may wind up feeling slightly uncomfortable. Let’s face it, nobody wants awkward silence to fall at a table, and when you take a big group of teenagers and add in assorted unknown individuals brought as dates, yards of extremely fancy (and often uncomfortable) clothing, and top it all off with unstructured time before dinner/dancing . . . well, the odds are that somebody will feel a little uncomfortable at some point. To try to get rid of this, we always include Mad Libs as an ice-breaker activity.

mad-libs-game-cards

You may have already seen my post about Candyland themed mad-libs, but these were a colorful addition to the evening, and with their glorious tendency to wind up inappropriate or hysterical, all we have to do is casually include them in the decor and many (dare I say: most) people wind up bonding through the ensuing laughter.

Food

In all honesty, after choosing the venue, we mostly wound up going with their catering options/suggestions. Thus, we can’t really take credit for planning any of it, aside from heartily agreeing to the delicious-sounding suggestions put forth by our fantastic liaison, Marie. The resulting feast was everything we wished for and more.food service - tupper manor

The Menu for our Dinner Buffet

~Caesar Salad with Grilled Focaccia Croutons and Parmesan Cheese~

~Classic Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Ranch Dressing~

~Roasted Sliced Beef Sirloin and Roast Breast of Turkey with Pan Gravy~

~Penne Marinara~

~Garlic Mashed Red Bliss Potatoes~

~Glazed Baby Carrots~

Entertainment

Now, you may think Mad Libs, friends, and dancing are enough activities for any school dance. For some, you might be right. Buuuuuuuut, there are those moments when you are so hot and sweaty that you just need a dance break. Or those moments when the DJ plays a slow song and you want to avoid the awkward couples-dance with your platonic date while a nearby swaying duo is kissing like they’ve just discovered lips. OR maybe you just don’t like dancing all that much. I mean, school events shouldn’t be potentially fun just for the dancers among us, right? What a conundrum, you might be saying. Well, allow me to introduce you to the perfect solution. The Photo Booth.

photo booth - for entertainment

If you aren’t sure how to set up your own photo booth, I have a couple of sure-fire tips, but this is a great activity to include for those less-inclined to dance or who might need a break from crazy-dancing throughout the night!

Dessert

sweets abound - prom theme

In addition to the fresh baked cookies and brownies, we almost always choose to include an ice cream sundae station. With all sorts of delicious treats (including Crushed Oreos, Reese’s Pieces, Rainbow Sprinkles, Shredded Coconut, Chocolate Sauce, Strawberry Sauce and Whipped Cream), students are free to momentarily cool their heels and build their ideal Sundae!

Favors

So, as you can see, the details have carried us throughout the evening, and as the night winds down to a final dance, we want to make sure to include something students can take home to remember the occasion. Unfortunately, this usually means that you wind up with chintzy picture frames or a single engraved piece of stemware that will prove fodder for many yard-sales to come (if they last the ride home). With this in mind, we have recently taken to selecting favors that are consumable or thematically fun rather than the stereotypical trinkets. So it is with great anticipation that we included a simple Candy Bar in our evening plans.

candy bar - prom

To let students know about the Candy Bar, particularly since it was slightly out-of-the-way, we made an informative tag, which we attached to brightly colored paper bags (found on Etsy) for students to use for candy transportation.

Candy Bags!

We also purchased old-fashioned candy sticks, flavored like cotton candy, butterscotch, tropical punch and JOY. After adding a little homemade flag and placing the sweets on each place setting, the favors were ready. Based on their enthusiastic reception, I think it’s safe to say that they were appreciated.

candyland favors

With the details in place and the evening past, I think it’s safe to call it a successful soiree. I can’t wait for the next!

Props to the Photobooth!

I submit that there are few (if any) events that would not be improved by the presence of a photo booth.

I’m sure many could (and would) argue on the particulars of that statement. Funerals, for example, might be an inappropriate place for gloriously-silly, prop-laden photo antics . . . but really, I think it could just be that nobody has ever tried having a photo booth at a funeral. It could at least lighten the mood a titch, right? Maybe I’ll add it to my funeral plan request list. Talk about putting the fun into funeral.

Anyway, funerals aside, I think we can all agree that photo booths are highly fun ways to enhance your wedding/prom/dinner party. I am the proud owner of an ever-increasing series of items that make up my very own photo-booth trunk (largely thanks to years of yard-sales, thrift stores, and assorted ridiculous costume undertakings). At each Prom I’ve planned, we have incorporated a photo booth, and the resulting pictures have been well worth the minimal effort required!
photo booth fun

As a now-veteran photo booth planner, there are a few items which I feel qualified to highly recommend.

Item #1: a picture frame

purple frame

I picked the above frame up at a local thrift store for $2, spray painted it purple with a remnant can-of-spraypaint from my craft desk . . . and voila! This is an easy way to add a splash of color to photos, create some fun lines, and also personalize the colors incorporated into your photos.

Item #2: a parasol (or umbrella)

parasol

This is not rocket surgery folks. Parasols are visually very interesting and quite pretty. They add dimension to photos and they’re noticeably unusual to see (although not all that hard to find!) so they make for good photos. This one was a thrift-store find, but I know that you can usually get them at craft supply stores like A.C. Moore, and even the dollar store occasionally.

Item #3: a large theme-based prop

lollipop prop

Whether your theme is Candyland (as it was for the above photo-booth!) or growing up a nineties kid (ahem, see the next photo) having one large and ridiculous theme prop is crucial. The big fake lollipop made it into a lot of photos, as did the Pimpin’ Plush Scooby-Doo ( Yeah, that growing-up-in-the-nineties photo booth was a real doozy). Either way, one token hard-core theme prop is always a good idea!

Item #4: a backdrop

nineties-themed photo boothIf you can manage to swing it, themed backdrops are quite the magnificent touch. HOWEVER, even if you don’t have a print design, a large black sheet works to give the final photos a cleaner look.

Item #5: something particularly random

the gooseYup. That is, in fact, a goose.

This particular photo booth had all sorts of fun props, but of all the options, I think the goose made it into the most photos. If you don’t have access to a life-sized papier-mâché goose replica, and lets face it, not many people do, don’t despair. There are other options. Find the strangest most random thing you can, and include it with all the other items! Sometimes you just need a touch of the bizarre to liven things up. 

One Final Prop Thought:

Photo Booth Props

Whether you go with these specific suggested items or not, you should definitely remember that the key to any good photo booth is VARIETY. Find a broad array of things that can be picked-up, put-on, or held. Add a photographer with a decent camera and a tripod (even an amateur!) and you’ve got the recipe for instant fun and memorable photos of even more memorable moments.

 

 

Free Printable: Candyland Madlibs!

candyland mad libs

Every year, as part of the annual school dance preparations, we include the making of Mad-libs. . . after including these as part of the table decor a few years ago, they were met with such positive feedback that we’ve included them ever since! Functioning as a fun ice-breaker and a laughter-filled prelude to dancing, were can you go wrong? (Well, I mean, they are mad libs . . . they tend to go gloriously wrong.) Finding theme-specific mad libs, however, can be something of a challenge. Thus, I have undertaken the writing of original mad libs from time to time, and our recent Candyland Prom was no exception. If you would like to download and use a PDF of my two Candy Land Themed Mad-Libs for use at your own sweet event, feel free to click the pink link and do so with my blessing! Also, if you want to make changes to anything or use the candy-stripe font I used on anything else (for uniformity’s sake), you can find the font available as a free download here.

If you would like to follow our example and transform these mad-libs into part of your decor by making them look like large-scale Candyland game-cards, check out the picture and explanation below for some inspiration!

madlibs - on the tables

We printed the mad-libs on cream-colored stock paper (they are formatted tw0-to-a-page) and then used a paper cutter to make uniform 3.5-inch squares of tissue paper in the requisite colors to adhere to the backs of the mad-libs (using either double-sided tape or glue sticks, depending on availability!).mad libs - game cardsTo keep with the colorful theme, I bought the brightest mechanical pencils I could find at Target (which, incidentally, is also where I purchased the polka-dotted paper cups to hold the pencils). I also bought small fake lollipops from Etsy vendor Twisted Lolly Boutique and hot-glued them to some of the pencils for an added candyland-accent!