Archive | party decor

Harry Potter Birthday Feast

A few years ago we decided to throw Paige a small Harry Potter Feast for a family birthday dinner we were hosting for her. She was in a truly obsessed Harry Potter mode at the time and wanted a gift that year instead of a party with friends – so we told her we would keep the family dinner party small. My mom and sister helped me run around- making this delightful spread. We shopped the house and yard for items that could work for decor. She had asked for Beef Stew for her dinner- so that went well with the feast idea and all the fruit and veggies and sides and potatoes that we threw on platters to give the look of a delicious feast. I served sparkling cider instead of butter beer because I just didn’t have time to figure out how to put that together. When she walked in the house (as the theme song from the movie played) she was surprised and happy and immediately figured out what we were trying to do with whole Harry Potter thing (that was a relief).

Here is what we did:

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We wanted to surprise her and make the dinner table like the feast Harry had when arriving at Hogwarts for the first time. Here was our version of that (including floating candles, fancy dinnerware & silver platters gushing with food and delights. We also added a cage for Hedwig and some other HP treasures.

I set out photo props from HP so she could take some photos.

We made a cake look like the one that Hagrid made for Harry.

We put up a Platform 9 ¾ sign.

We added Moaning Myrtle to the bathroom mirror & MINISTRY OF MAGIC sign to the toilet.

If you are a fellow HP fan you will easily get some of the nods towards that theme. I am not a super fan and had to rely on my sister and limited knowledge of the books/movies (so don’t judge me too harshly if we got a few things wrong- ha ha). All in all it was a magical evening and she was both surprised and delighted!

more decor ideas {holiday hospitality 101}

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A few years ago I had the pleasure of helping a team of ladies decorate for a Christmas Brunch that our church hosted. The theme was: Jesus…Light of the World so we decided to decorate with candles, natural elements {that we could gather for free} and metallic accents. We used a ton of found objects and inexpensive ornaments {and lots of creativity}. Twigs, pine cones, moss and cranberries to name a few. And we all gathered whatever mercury glass we could find around our own homes to make the candle light reflect beautifully.

My friend Laura figured out how to create the beautiful sparkly letters, burlap cones and sheet music cones.

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The sparkly letters were cut out, glittered and added to metallic frames that had Christmas sheet music framed inside. It turned out simple and lovely.

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The burlap cones were huge and so simple. She took garden tomato vine cages {that her parents had around} and turned them upside down, loosely wrapped small strands of lights around them and then loosely covered each structure in burlap {I hope that makes sense}. We gathered them together on stage in groups of three or more. Here they are pictured on a table after the event was over. The lights twinkled and the whole thing just looked amazing!

She also discovered that its easy to buy a huge roll of garden burlap at a smaller cost if you need a lot of it {found in huge rolls at the garden section of the hardware store}. We knew it would make great table runners and while it was messy when cut {and the weave is not as tight as normal burlap fabric} it did the trick! We used it everywhere.

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As a team we also decided that we wanted cones made of sheet music with Christmas carols {that I had stashed away}. At first we couldn’t find an affordable solution for making them because Styrofoam and cardboard cones were too pricey for our budget. Laura bough just one Styrofoam cone mold, covered it in plastic wrap & figured out how to paper-mache several more cones out of newspaper from that one mold. She then covered each one with the sheet music {using mod-podge}. The result turned out so pretty and the detail of Christmas carol sheet music made it simple & special. This was my favorite project of all!

DSC_0724  DSC_0829   DSC_0852   DSC_0725 DSC_0714 DSC_0842DSC_0851And here are some other ideas that I have taken pictures of the last few years {like the first two below from Jessica} at the Christmas Tea Parties that I have been to at church and MOPS. Again, sorry for the blurry pictures but I think you get an idea of how things looked and can use them as a jumping off point for your own table decor!

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I think my friend’s Genis and Stephanie did this one…so gorgeous!

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Genis and my mom did the next table. There was a gorgeous twig sculpture in the middle that they hung ornaments from. Lots of sheet music and natural elements. Genis is fabulous with mixing colors, textures and layers along with adding levels and small details to everything she decorates!

DSC_0739 DSC_0740And why not dress up the buffet table as well. It never hurts to switch things up and do a few round tables for your potluck/buffet table if you have the space.

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kid table ideas & turkey hand ART {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101Decorating for the kids is FUN. My little Paigey loves to help me decorate these days. Here are a few ideas of how to make your Thanksgiving “kid table” or place settings special. As you will see some of these ideas are unconventional. You don’t always have to use paper plates or traditional colors. We love to get out fancy plates and glasses to make it more special. I have lots of little treasures from my Grandma Lil {who loved to entertain} and I figure that even if they get broken at least we used them {and these special trinkets won’t just be good for gathering dust}. Also, you can have crafts/activities available to do while the kids wait for dinner or for dessert {why are kids so reluctant to eat sometimes and often get done eating so quickly}. Just keep in mind that age and skill levels of the kids. Have fun with it. The more comfortable you are…the more comfortable your guest will feel. So assure them that if the kids break something or spill something…that’s okay!

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turkey hand art

If you want to make the turkey hand ART like the ones we did above you can set out some simple craft items for the kids and have them go to town while dinner is being made. Or make them before and add names to each to use as silly place cards. Either way…enjoy!

::what you will need::

foam or card-stock sheets

pencil {for tracing} & scissors

glue or mod-podge

feathers or leaves

googly eyes, sequins, beaks & whatever else you want to decorate the turkey face/body

::instructions::

1. Simply trace your kids hands {or anyone who wants to join in on the fun} with a pencil and then cut out hand shapes.

2. Glue feathers {or leaves for feathers} to back of the hands and allow to dry.

3. Glue on googly eyes, beak, sequins and anything else you would like to make your turkey’s special. Add a magnet, or tack up on a board or use as place cards! Enjoy!

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the HEART of hospitality {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101For me the HEART of hospitality is to simply welcome people into our life in a casual & cozy way. We love to have friends over and we love to make people feel at home. If someone helps themselves to a cup of water and gets right in there in the kitchen with me I am thrilled. Even if the floor is not as clean as I would like it to be or the sink is full of dishes { and it usually is} who really cares. Perfection is not my thing. The point of being hospitable is to make people feel welcome, to have fun, laugh, share old memories & make new memories…that is our goal. Our hope is that when people walk through our door for a party or family dinner they know that if something spills or we forgot the bread and it burns or we run out of food…all will be forgiven. I am a girl and I want my home to look great, my decor to be special and my food to comfort people while tasting delicious…but at the end of the night I know that the most important thing is for my friends to leave with their hearts encouraged & full {not just their bellies}. That is the HEART of hospitality for us. With that in mind here are some tips on how we decorate & plan our parties. Hope they inspire you to welcome friends into your home this holiday season {even if things around your home are not perfect}.

hospitality

 ::a few decorating tips::

USE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE:

There are often things already around your house or in your backyard that can work. Use ornaments, your favorite nativity scene, candles, kids crafts & even food {like fruit, cranberries or popcorn kernels} for centerpieces & table settings. Branches, evergreens, acorns, fall leaves, pine cones and flowers from your backyard work great too. Scatter on the table or arrange in a vase. Sometimes the Christmas tree lots will give their scrap branches away for free. Think outside the box. Wrapping paper is one of my all-time favorite table runners. Find something that matches your decor and can be easily discarded at the end of the party. My favorite things is a large roll of craft paper {it can be found at the Dollar Tree most of the year}. This works great on a buffet as well {use sharpies to write on the paper & point to what each dish has}. It’s cute and practical.

KEEP IT SIMPLE:

If you are fancy and like using china dishes and sleek stemware than do it. If you are not into fancy and would prefer paper plates~ do it. Make it fit for your season of life and your style. And consider your guests {if you are having a kid party you can get out your finest china and grandma’s tea-pot if you don’t mind them getting broken…or just use plastic and call it good}. There is no right or wrong way to do it. If you are at ease about the decorations and setting you will make your guests feel more at ease. Buffets, Brunches and Appetizer Parties tend to be more simple. It’s difficult to do fancy food and fancy decorations so pick one and do it well. If you want fancy decorations consider a menu that can be mostly made ahead or cater it. Potlucks can make things more simple as well. To make the day-of easier, set out and set up as many serving dishes & decorations the day or night before as is possible. If you are having a more elaborate party you need to ask for help {there are only so many things you can do on your own}. Also, don’t spend a ton of money. Borrow from friends {between all the ladies in my life there are a lot of nice entertaining dishes, coffee makers, mason jars, drink containers, tables, chairs, coolers and decorations…the list goes on}.

DETAILS GO A LONG WAY:

Small details can make all the difference {even while keeping things simple}. A nice scented candle, music that fits the setting, place cards, cloth napkins, framed photos or printed quotes celebrating the occasion are a few examples. Pandora has great “radio” stations for any occasion {Christmas Carols, Disney Music for a kids party, Classical Music for an intimate dinner}. Pinterest and many blogs have free printables of cool quotes that are both beautiful and fitting for every occasion. Place-cards are a breeze to make for place settings & to mark food.

A few examples of how I have decorated following these rules click on the partyTIME drop down above or check out some ideas HERE, HERE & HERE.

Oh and one more HERE.

::a few entertaining tips from my mom::

::plan ahead::

-Make a lot of LISTS

-Prep menu & shopping lists a few days before

-Make sure you have the right serving dishes, napkins, drinks, silverware, coffee and pantry staples a few days before your event {shop for or borrow what you need}

-Shop for food & decor

-Decorate, arrange flowers, clean house and set out platters and serving items the day/night before event

-Set table or set up the buffet the day/night before

-Check your lists again

-Purchase ice & any other last-minute items the day of the event

 ::a simple party idea::

One simple way to throw a New Years Eve Party {my mom has done this a few times} is to have each guest bring a dessert or appetizer. You can just give them an idea of what to bring {or ask them to sign up via an Evite or email} so the responsibilities are spread out and you don’t get too many of the same items {for example you can specify savory appetizers or dessert or a salad/veggie tray}. This makes planning and clean-up so simple. All you have to prepare is your home, some drinks and snacks. Providing games/activities is an added bonus. If it’s a New Years party be sure to remember some party hats & noisemakers and remember that decorating is simple because your Christmas decor is already up.These ideas can obviously be used for any holiday party or throughout the year {think evening baby showers or adult birthday parties}.

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What is the HEART of hospitality for you and your family? How do you like to entertain? What are some of your best tips? Share your ideas on Instagram with me. Just add the hash-tag #holidayhospitality and see what others are up to as well.

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woodland decor {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101I am in love with the woodland trend going on these days. Foxes, owls, mushrooms, ferns & feathers, sparkling pumpkins, snow-capped elements and winter woodland trees everywhere you turn. I love it for fall or winter. I added mercury glass and burlap to my look {along with a few logs and birch elements}. I took this theme and created a beautiful woodland table for a fall holiday or winter party. I have also decorated the top of my piano {my make-shift mantle} with these elements this year. Simply switch the pumpkins & gourds with green Christmas trees {painted with sparkling “snow”} as the season’s change. I think the white trees work for both seasons. Also, any ferns, acorns & forest branches make great floral arrangements. And don’t forget moss {this can be purchased at any craft store}. I even used sage from my herb garden. A few peacock or quail feather’s finish of the look beautifully.

Here I showed the ladies at our MOPS meeting how to do several different place settings for fall or winter with this woodland theme. My intention was not to attempt an entire table with different place settings, but to show several ideas. It can be fun to mix and match but I think most of these would look great repeated at each place.

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DSC_0025 DSC_0021 DSC_0056 DSC_0053::some simple place setting ideas::

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Are you into the woodland theme too? How do you like to do your place settings? Do you have a creative way to make place cards? Share your ideas on Instagram with me. Just add the hash-tag #holidayhospitality and see what others are up to as well.

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To make your own sparkly snow-capped elements {like my pumpkins, mushrooms & trees} stay tuned for a post in a few days. {P.S. Sorry for the poor quality pictures…I hope you get the idea if nothing else}



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