Thursday, April 10, 2014

Beauty and the Geek

I love hosting silly parties, so this month I played on some old stereotypes and hosted a Beauty and the Geek party.

Invite: I designed my invite on Photoshop using the idea of a mirror with faces to represent a beauty and a geek.  Since the monthly dinners are always at my house, I made up an address to go with the theme.  When guests confirmed their attendance, I asked them if they were dressing as a beauty or a geek so I could set their place accordingly.

Entry Decor:  I made a giant calculator out of a piece of foam board and card stock to hang from my door.  I wrote the numbers 07734 and hung it upside down to spell "hello".  My friend also helped me make this giant lipstick out of 2 pieces of poster board.  We used Lancome as inspiration.

Decor:  On each chair, I made beauty queen banners for the Beauties and nerdy signs for the Geeks.  The banners are just a strip of butcher paper that I hot glued the ribbon onto. I cut the letters on my Cricut machine.  I tried to match the banner with each guest, so I had a Party Princess, Duncan (her last name) Diva, Dancing Queen, and Aqua Princess.

The centerpiece was a mixture of Beauty and Geek. I covered a vase with an image of a chalkboard with complicated math on it. I filled the vase with Smarties candies. Instead of flowers, I used Nerd candy boxes and also made beauty queen white chocolate crowns.  On one side of the vase I placed my iPad (with a periodic table on it), and on the other side an eyeshadow pallet.

As a place-mat/utensil holder, I made Geek shirts and dresses out of card stock.  I used little girl's hair bows clipped to the ribbon and slid the utensils under the ribbon.  For the Geek shirts, I glued a piece of card stock as a pocket for the utensils to slide in.

For place cards, I found mini compacts that looked like purses and calculators both at the Dollar Tree.  My original plan was to write the guest's name in lipstick on the mirror, but the mirrors were too small, so I designed a Victoria Secret gift card with the guest's name instead.  For the Geeks, I wrote the guest's name as the numbers on the calculator and designed a library card to also display their name.

I pulled the theme into my drink ware by borrowing some chemistry beakers from a colleague. The tags were Google images of various items associated with beauty.

I also served the cheaper version of Smart Water....i.e. filtered water from my refrigerator with a tag!

Menu:  Coming up with a menu for this was a bit of a creative challenge for me, but I think it worked out in the end.  I started with chips and dip, but added a princess crown to my dip bowl.

For the main meal, I made individual Chicken Pot Pi.  You cannot really tell from this photo, but I added the Pi symbol to the top of each one.  The recipe I used was for one large pot pie with a store-bought pie crust.  I adapted the recipe for individual pies and made my own crust.  They were delicious!

To pull in the beauty part of the theme, I made Red Pepper Lipstick. I cut the bell paper at an angle at the top and then wrapped a half a slice of bacon around the bottom.  Because my oven was full of pot pies, I cooked these on the stove top. I had never tried this before, but it worked, and guests devoured them.

I made Fruit Bytes to finish off the main meal which was just a normal fruit salad.

For dessert I served Stiletto cupcakes. These were SUPER cute, but they do take some time to make since I wanted each pair of heels to be different. The heel part I made out of graham crackers and Pirouette cookies. I melted chocolate to hold them in place. 

My daughter wanted her own pink heels, so I made a pair for her (to share with her brother) as well.

Favor: Ring pops to represent Beauty and Smartie Pants to represent Geeks.  I used my Cricut to cut the pants and a dab of hot glue to attach the Smarties.  The tag I made on Photoshop.

The girls really got into this theme, and everyone looked great dressed up as a Beauty or Geek. This is another theme I totally recommend!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Painting Party

My girlfriends and I have gotten together recently to paint canvases together, so when I was stuck on a monthly dinner theme for this month, one of my friends suggested a Painting Party.  With only a day and half to prep for this dinner, I immediately got working.  I wanted to make sure I didn't repeat ideas from my daughter's art themed birthday party (see post here), so I tried to come up with all new ideas.

Invite:  I had a bit of a challenge with the wording of my invite because we weren't actually going to paint at this painting party!  I decided on the phrase, "Come wet your palette" since this was specifically a dinner party.

Decor:  I set up an easel outside with a canvas I painted with the title of our party (sorry, no photo). Inside I used a white tablecloth, colorful plates, mason jars, and various other paint inspired items.  I cut paint splatters out of colorful card stock and set them in between the centerpieces.

My main centerpiece was a vase I made using paintbrushes and a bouquet of colorful flowers.  I bought the vase at the Dollar Tree and the brushes at Michaels.  I painted the wooden handles to add a pop of color and hot glued them to the vase. 

I also bought mini paint cans at Lowes and filled them with paintbrushes and sponges. I cut card stock to look like paint on the can.  From the ceiling and on my side table, I strung rainbow circle garlands made of felt and stitched together.

On a side table I set these wooden drawing figures.  I borrowed these from the art teacher at school.

To hold the silverware, I cut slits in paint swatches from Home Depot (the ones at Lowes were not big enough).  Simple and FREE!

As place cards, I bought mini canvases and easels from a local art store.  On each canvas I painted wooden alphabet letters that matched the first initial of each guest. I thought about having the girls paint these canvases as they waited for the food to be ready, but decided against it in favor of just letting the guests relax and chat.

I created painting themed wine labels on Photo Shop calling the wine "Creative Juices."  I put a red paintbrush on the red wine label and a gold one on the chardonnay.

Menu: I like my menu to match the theme as well, but this was a challenge with this theme.  At first, I thought about finding famous paintings with food in them and crafting my menu that way.  I decided instead to focus on colors and the artist's palette.

I started with a green salad with colorful tomatoes, orange peppers, yellow corn, green cucumbers, and purple cabbage.

The main course was homemade pizza.  I shaped the dough and placed the toppings in ramekins to look like an artist's palette. I did two big pizzas, but you could do individual pizzas if you have room in your oven to cook them all.  I made my dough from scratch, but you could use a store-bought dough.

For dessert, I made cake pops and placed them on plastic palettes I purchased at an art supply store. I made 4 cake pops for each guest. I had these set out on my wine/favor table, so it also added themed decor to the party.

Favor:  I created a fun tag using the phrase "Thank HUE from the bottom of my heART".  I designed it in PhotoShop and adhered it to swatches from Lowes. I didn't have time to order a paint brush cookie cutter online and the local cake shops didn't have one, so I ended up free handing the cookie using a image from Google as a template. I used a toothpick to create the lines on the grey frosting of the brush to make it look more like a paintbrush.

The Painting Party was another great time with friends.  It makes me anticipate the next time we get together to actually paint.

 If you like any of these ideas, please comment below!  Would love to hear from my readers.  If you would like any of the templates, let me know.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Kiddos Valentine's 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day snuck up on me this year.  I was not prepared when my daycare called to let me know the kids would be exchanging Valentines on Thursday.  If you know me, it is not in my nature to run to the store and purchase store-bought Valentines, so I quickly jumped on the computer and designed my kids' Valentines. I think they turned out fine considering they were done the day before...

I always try to make a card that displays what my kids are into at the time.  This year, John asked Santa for a red motorcycle, and of course Santa delivered (he is definitely a good boy).  John rides it all around the house, so I snapped a photo complete with a Harley Davidson jacket someone gave us as a hand-me-down.Then, a little bit of Photoshop, and his card was done.

This is the finished product with the Rolos attached as wheels.

My daugher loves Izzy from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, so I decided the create her card with that theme.  I used one of the photos of my daughter at her pirate themed birthday party to use for her Valentine.  I found the Izzy/boat image and added the parrot, the pirate X, and the text.

For "treasure" I added gold chocolate coins to the Valentine.

Pretty happy with how they turned out considering I made them in one day!  Hope you all have a very happy Valentine's Day today!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow and SKIdazzle

Invite:  I wanted the invite for this dinner to be a snowboard with some info on the front of it and the details on the back.  However, this concept changed when I ran out of room to add my cheesy ski and snowboarding "lingo".  If you know me, you know I love cheeseball sayings!  So I changed the invite a bit to be able to add the snow background and wording.

I made the invite so the front of the snowboard folds over to reveal the party details on the back.  To do this, I used an exacto knife to cut around all edges of the snowboard except the middle left.  Then, I cut out the snowboard with the party details and adhered it to the back with glue. This was easier for me than trying to line up the boards to print back to back.  Finally, I backed the invite on card stock so there was not a hole when the snowboard was folded back. 

I also asked each guest to dress in winter attire.  Some of the girls even did ski and snowboard attire. Oh yes...we love clowning around...

Entry Decor:  I placed my husband's skis at the entry along with a sign I cut out of form board and made to look like a snowboard. I originally planned to have the skis cross and guests walk under them to enter, but I couldn't find a way to really make sure it secure and safe.

Decor: I made a chairlift across the dining table and room using fishing line and chairlifts cut with my Cricut.  The chairlift cutout was on the Cricut Everyday Paper Dolls cartridge. I also hung "snow" from the ceiling for added fun.  These I made with cotton balls and fishing line.  I used a needle and thread to string these and looped each one once to make it stay.

Table Decor:  I used a white tablecloth, white Christmas lights, and cotton balls to decorate along the center of the table.  As a centerpiece, I placed a snowboard and boots with chocolate candy suckers placed inside.  The suckers represented the various levels of runs when you go skiing: green circle for easy, blue square for intermediate, and black diamond for advanced. I made the suckers with skewers instead of popsicle sticks because I needed them to be longer.

You could also place the suckers in mason jars and wrap a scarf around the jar.  This is what I did on my side table.

For the napkin rings, I found images of skis on Google and made them the size of popsicle sticks.  I cut them out and used Mod Podge to adhere them to the sticks which gave it a "waxy" look like actual skis.

For place cards, I made ski lift tickets personalized for each guest. I added a small zip tie at the top just like they do at ski resorts.

For wine charms, I again used my Cricut to make skis and snowboards in various colors/patterns.

I placed two pieces of charcoal and a carrot on the table in front of the water pitcher.  This Melted Snowman was a fun way to serve water.

Menu:  I again used the ski and snowboard run levels in deciding my menu.  I crafted the menu card to represent the map of runs on ski slopes telling skiers which way to go to each run.

As the appetizer, I served Cheese Dip with Carrot Skis.  To make this look like a bunny slope, I placed a small bowl under the dip and shaped the slope around it.  I added a Bunny Slope tag and placed my carrot skis on one side and crackers shaped like snowboards on the other.  This dip was SUPER easy with only two main ingredients:  cream cheese and an Italian Dressing Packet.  A bit of milk was also added.  It was very tasty.

For the main meal, I served tri-tip steak, green peas, and mashed potatoes.  The steak I cut in the shape of a diamond to represent a black diamond ski run.  The peas represented the easy green circle runs.  I softened a stick of butter, died it blue, reshaped it, and then let it harden in the refrigerator. I cut a square of the block to place on top of each mound of mashed potatoes.  This represented the blue square for intermediate ski runs. 

For dessert, I made snow cupcakes with ski and snowboards on top.  The skis and snowboards are just melted chocolate that I shaped using a paint brush.

Favor:  For the favor, I had guests take home the chocolate candy suckers in the centerpiece.  I also made a tag which they added once they had placed their suckers in the bags.

Another super fun night with the girls!  Just love hanging out with them, and especially love that they cater to my crazy themes!