Monday, February 22, 2010

Luck O' the Irish...

St. Patrick's Day allows me to indulge in a few of my favorite things: an excuse to throw a party, anything green, and a theme. It helps, too, that my dining room is already painted apple green so what sets a better stage for a St. Patty's day party? I guess a kelly green dining room?

This year it falls on a Wednesday so maybe a small dinner party would go over better than a big bash. Here's an idea for the invitation— simple, clean and green...
 Let's start off with a fun appetizer of these Shamrock green peppers. They'd be great served with a simple dip and you can also add celery stalks and spinach & artichoke dip (Whole Foods has the best one and it's very green in color!) I'm not sure what appetizer is shown in this pic I found at Party Perfect but it inspires me to go ahead and put the spinach dip on little baguette rounds or great crackers.

Serve the apps with green Jones Soda, or some good old Irish beer like Guiness or Harp, and these shamrock patterned napkins.

I love these Kate Spade dishes for the dinner table, and they'd be so cute year round, too! And the shamrock napkin rings couldn't be more perfect!

Looking for something to serve your corned beef & cabbage on? How about this tray? I love it for summer picnics to or even to infuse a bright green on your Christmas buffet.

An arrangement like this vase of green hydrangeas, euphorbias, and bells of Ireland (available almost year-round through florists) seen on Martha Stewart or this bouquet of Green Lady's Slipper Orchids paired with white-and-green parrot tulips, protea, and cestrum from Real Simple will tie the lime and kelly greens together and let you cover the gamut with tons of shades of green, and not limit you to all kelly green.
"So that's dinner, but now what about dessert?" you ask... Try Paulette macaroons in Sicilian pistachio or a simple cupcake in a green wrapper.

And if you need to add a little green to your outfit? How cute are these?

I so want to have this party now...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hellooo, kitty!

I was just browsing through my bookmarked blogs and came across this adorable Hello Kitty party posted on Party Perfect. It's perfect timing given that I just delivered some super cute Hello Kitty birthday invitations earlier this week. So, here is my instant post!

Here are the invitation options I showed, and with the winning pick and a matching thank you note shown last:

And now onto the cute party pics originally seen on Amelie's House.  While these images are more red & white & valentine-y, they can easily transition into the hot spring colors that I've used on the invitations. 

I found these fun plates at Party America that are in keeping with the colors that I went with. And what little girl can resist a new pair of glam shades? There is so much Hello Kitty swag out there, you are bound to have a goody bag overflowing with great stuff!

If you're looking for more cake options that look a little less intimidating to make, check out this one and several others from

And one more idea to add to the theme— how about a game of "Pin the bow on the Kitty"?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Baby on the brain...

For those of you who don't know me (or know our latest news), my husband and I are expecting our second child in June. And it's a girl! So I apologize for 2 baby shower posts in a row, but I guess I have baby on the brain these days. So— onto the post!

I was flipping through my Stationery Trends magazine last week and saw these adorable cupcake wrappers from Paper Orchid.

This reminded me a baby shower invitation I did a couple of years ago with my friend Totty from Boots & Totty. As you can tell by reading her blog, Totty is ridiculously creative, hip and has tons of cute, out-of-the-box ideas. She had seen a "modern nest" baby shower theme over at Hostess with the Mostess and passed the idea onto me to design the invitation. It's such a fun theme and definitely on the unexpected side for a baby shower, but anyone that has had a baby or is about to knows that nesting is all part of the process!

Here are some inspirational pictures to give you an idea of how great this party could look:

Check out the full post here, with all of the great details. And back to the cupcake wrapper, wouldn't it be the perfect nest for this adorable cupcake from Martha Stewart?

So tying this all together, here is the invitation we came up with along with the stickers to go in the books for the baby's library...

 And a few other birdie invites to look at, too...

And if you're not planning a baby shower anytime soon, I think the cupcakes and wrappers would be so cute for Easter, too!

Friday, February 12, 2010

March Madness

My friend Lindsay recently told me that her friend Kelly is pregnant with their 2nd girl and is due at the end of March. So to "man it up a bit" Kelly's husband put together a name-guessing March Madness bracket. They got a blank NCAA bracket and added a bunch of girls names to it (one of them is the name they've actually picked). All their friends put in 5 bucks, and each week the names will go head-to-head and whoever guesses the final name wins.

I think this is such a cute idea! That, coupled with the fact that my 2 year-old son refers to my pregnant belly as "Mommy's basketball" led me to thinking of ideas for a March Madness couples baby shower. As I was telling my husband about my ideas for the theme he wanted me to hold off on the post so we could actually host the party ourselves. Umm, hosting a party yourself in honor of your unborn baby girl? What would Emily Post say about that? I thought so, so I opted for the post.

If you are planning a Jack & Jill baby shower in March, I think this would be so cute. And of course you could have the games on in the background.

Here's what I'm thinking for the invite:
Of course you could do the baby name brackets. And if it's a "sex unknown" shower, even better, with boy names on one side, girl names on the other. You could either send these out with the invitations and have it lead up to announcing the winner at the shower, or if the couple is keeping the final name hush hush, have people fill them in when they arrive and the winner can be announced when the baby is born.

On to decorations. I love these colorful pennants from Martha Stewart.
I think they would be a great start in laying the groundwork for decorating a sports-themed party. I'm thinking to have them around the room in vases filled with colorful candies, sort or like this seen on Hostess with the Mostess

You can read her full post here. You could easily do this with a smaller bud vase though, so the pennants aren't swimming in the candy.

Speaking of candy, what's a sporting event without a concession stand? I love the thought of turning a candy buffet into a "concession stand buffet" with all sorts of colorful candy, candy bars, popcorn, pretzels, colorful soda bottles, and all of that would go great with hot dogs for dinner, right?

I found this pic on— How yummy does this look? I LOVE the colors, too.

I'm not really big on games at baby showers, but it is fun to have something to remember it by as the guest of honor. So why not have everyone autograph a basketball with a fun message for the parents to be? This pink ball would be perfect for a baby girl. And you could stick with the pink and orange color scheme!


If the concession buffet didn't cure your sweet tooth, how about a basketball cake? You can find the mold from Wilton here.

And before you send them on there way, how about a "Hope You Had a Ball" tag tied onto this yummy basketball cookie from our friends over at Icing on the Cookie?

Sounds to me like this shower would be a slam dunk! (Sorry, I couldn't resist...)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The ants go marching one by one...

Let me start by saying I hate ants. As in, I despise them. I am really not fond of any insect, but ants are on top of my hatred list. So guess what I've been battling with since we moved to Georgia? That's right, year-round ants. In our house. And in random places! The coat closet, my office wall (they taunt me with one or two running up the wall right in front of my desk), the coffee table... the list goes on. Most recently they are congregating near our 2-year old's toy bins in the family room. I've washed all of the toys, and the bins, and called our quarterly exterminator (twice recently) to have them exterminate these tortuous creatures and guess what? They just moved to the other side of the room. Ugh. I could go on for paragraphs about this and how it's bringing my neurosis to an all-time high, but I will instead try to make lemons out of lemonade and let these little guys be my inspiration. That leads me to ideas for picnic invitations...

Here is one featuring the little ants:
Since I have the cliche ants on a picnic invite, I opted to go a different route with the colors, which could lead to some really cute decor.

And if ants creep you out as they do me, here are some invites I've done in the past that are also great options for picnics and summery outdoor affairs, and most with the more traditional red and white color scheme.


To warm up your thinking and move from snowy days into warm summer nights, here is a little inspiration...

Bandanas as napkins are so cute. And they don't have to be red. You can get bandanas in pink & green, too, if you want to go with a preppy watermelon theme. Or pink and orange for just a fun summer feel.

I love this vinyl pillow idea from Martha Stewart. 

Directions on how to make these sand candle centerpieces can be found here.

The parasols add a nice touch. You can find directions on how to make them here. But if you are more the buying-type, than the crafting-type, you can easily get printed drink parasols here.

And lastly, what is a picnic without an ice cream sundae? I adore these holders for sundae toppings, and you can make them with any patterned scrapbook paper so it's easy to have them match the rest of your color scheme, whatever that may be!

And if you just can't wait until summer, why not cure the mid-winter blues with a red hot indoor barbeque or picnic? You can do all of the same decor ideas, maybe hang some chinese lanterns over the buffet table and keep it light and festive. And you can add *flip flops required* to the invitation!

Whatever season you choose, I highly recommend making Paula Dean's Texas Style Potato Salad as a side. Not only does it have bacon in it, the potatoes are boiled with bacon grease in the water. I know, not really for those dieting, or even thinking of dieting, but it sure is tasty!

Monday, February 8, 2010

I *heart* birthday parties...

If you know me at all, you know that I love a theme and things that come full circle. And if you think I love a theme, you should meet my sister! So with that in mind, she and I recently did an adorable party for my 8 year old niece, Caroline. Liney's birthday is a few days before Christmas, so she usually opts to do a party some other time of year which means you can do any theme you want!

This year, we did a Valentine's theme for a party last Saturday, February 6th. So with Valentines day being our inspiration, we ended up moving in the direction of 8 Things I Love... It turned out so cute and the invitation set the tone for the whole party. Check out the pictures below:

Here is the invite, showing the cover and inside. I also lined the turquoise blue envelopes with a red & pink heart pattern.

For 8-year old girls, crafts is a big part of a birthday party. The main project was making this candy necklace:

This was such a cute necklace made from hard candies, saran wrap and ribbon. You can find the directions here. I think they may be right on the "1 hour" time needed, as she said it took some of the girls a little bit to get the hang of it, but having everything prepared at each craft spot helped to speed up the process.

We also had a "Things I *Heart*..." journal for every girl. Each book was personalized with the girl's monogram initial. The pages all had a little prompt written in such as, My favorite food is... My favorite singer is... etc. We found the books in the $1 bin at Target, and the blinged-up letters are stickers from Michaels.
The craft table with all of the supplies set out. You can find directions for the crepe paper flowers in the center of the table and the fun pom-poms in the next picture here. The flowers are just mini versions with pipe cleaners for stems.
The lunch table was adorable, and she also used the Wilton cupcake tree that I gave her last year. It's one of my favorite birthday party accessories...

After Shirley Temples and pizza for lunch, it was time to go home. Each girl left with this gift bag, bringing everything back full circle, with the colors, peace signs, and using an "8" in the message!

I think this same idea could easily be translated into an adult Valentine's celebration, too. Of course you'd have to take a more sophisticated approach, but it could still be fun and full of whimsy. If I were doing a Girls Night Out for Valentine's Day, I think my list would have to include: Anything pink and red with hearts, Pink Shadys (without the vodka), a mani/pedi, George Clooney, entertaining... You can just see how this girls night out would shape up, can't you?

P.S. Doesn't it look like my sister painted her house just for this party? I promise she didn't, but it sure did make everything look uber-coordinated!