Wednesday, August 27, 2014

{Inspired Party} School is Cool Party Ideas & Printables

In the way things have been going with me lately, I created a fun set of FREE Notebook themed printables.....LAST YEAR! I just didn't get around to sharing them and figured, there's always next year. So, here we are. I was inspired by the whole neon trend last year, and was brainstorming a few ideas for back to school and thought, composition books, highlighters and ruled paper were perfect.  In school, I got pretty decent grades, admittedly I was a huge daydreamer and always doodled.....A LOT!  So, why not keep with tradition right?  I added a couple of little doodles fonts into my overall design! 

I think this set is perfect to use anytime during the school year in different ways, for example at, PTA meetings, Back to School Night, to celebrate a special award, a graduation party, or even for teacher appreciation. You can download the FREE printables here

Included in the printables set are:
Back to School Grade Signs from Pre-K-12th Grade
Welcome Back to School Sign
Welcome Back Banner
Decorative Notebook Pages and Composition Book Banner
Cupcake Toppers/Party Dots
Cupcake Wrappers
Treat Bag Favors
Water Bottle Wraps
Favor Tags
Tented Food Cards
Popcorn Box
Blank Decals/Labels
School is Cool Decals/Labels
Book Plates
Lunch Notes

Here is an  inspiration table I styled in the event you'd like to celebrate shipping your lil' ones off to school (FINALLY! Haha!). You can get some tips and ideas for recreating your own back to school celebration at the end of this post.




Here are my little ones getting ready to go back.  Since they have to wear uniforms at their school, I thought it would be fun to let them wear some regular clothes to take their first day back photos! These signs come with the arrows pointing in two different directions, the ones show below and one with an arrow pointing upward.



Get this look!

  • A chalkboard is a GREAT backdrop and focal point for a Back to School party! Since I was gearing my design towards a more tween/middle school age group, I used a chalkboard with some 'pretty serious equations' written on it.

  • Folders, pencils and erasers in fun bright colors really add to the look and theme.  Place them in boldly patterned pencil cups for an even more festive look.  You can also add composition books, folders and other various school supplies around your table for a little bit of fun and whimsy! 

  • Incorporate snacks into your them. I filled snack bags with cheese crackers and topped them with a printable treat bag topper.  They looked really cute displayed in a desk drawer organizer along with other fun notebook themed cookies by Fresh Bakes and pencil pretzels and cake pops by Autumn Lynn's Chocolate Sins!

  • Give your table some height by using boxes and books.  Books make great risers and allow for more visual impact.  I wrapped (very) old dictionaries in removable adhesive sheets of neon book covers and placed them on opposite ends of my snack table.  The books give height to the design of  table and create a space to show off whimsical pieces like a mini locker and served as a support for a framed neon chalkboard.  The white file boxes act as a base for the cupcakes and also broke up some of the dark color between the chalkboard and table covering.

  • Make your party favors serve a dual purpose.  Water bottles are a great way to make sure kids get hydrated in between classes and they make great party favors too.  You can fill them with candy or pencils, crayons or markers.  I tied a printable tag onto the top of the favor so guests know they can take them home!

Vendors & Where to Buy:

Styling & Design  - Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams
Printables - Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams
Pencil Pretzels, Notebook Cake Pops - Autumn Lynn's Chocolate Sins
Doodle  Art Cookies - Fresh Bakes
Lime Green Mini Locker - Amazon
Kasset White File Boxes - Ikea
Neon Framed Chalkboards - Five and Below




Thursday, August 14, 2014

{Entertaining Ideas} Island Resort Summer Soiree with Oriental Trading

Before summer's end, why not host an island resort inspired summer soiree?  I got some really nice pieces from Oriental Trading this season and decided to create a relaxing retreat right on my patio inspired by the tropic settings of the Caribbean!

My inspiration for this theme was pulled from these Island Breeze plates that I received from Oriental Trading.  Once I saw the palm leaf design on the paper goods, I knew I didn't want to do a standard luau theme.....but instead create a setting that made me feel like I was luxuriating on an island resort.

Elements that inspire:

- Beach in a jar - sand and colorful shells displayed in a glass apothecary jar
- Island Colas chilled in a galvanized bucket
- Natural elements and fruit create an island feel
- A buffet of favorite Caribbean dishes

 More details and a list of supplies follow, at the end of this post.

This island theme was inspired by these plates from the Island Breeze collection that I found here.  I love this whole Island Breeze can work for a Luau theme or any tropical themed party!  I wanted to create an outdoor space that was relaxing and chill...just like one would do while vay-caying on a beach.  So, I just played off of the island feel and went with it.

The decorative elements that I added were a few that I received from Oriental Trading, like these Palm Leaf Wall Prints as a backdrop for my buffet table.  I originally wanted to create a banner from these decorative artificial tropical leaves, but in the end decided they worked better as underlays for my platters and dishes on the food buffet.  The Palm & Turtle Natural table runner is another piece from Oriental Trading that I just loved!  I also added the cutest miniature Orchids and a beautiful new glass scalloped cake plate from my own stash to showcase a delicious coconut cake!  A few baskets and platters displaying tropical fruit were another nice addition to my party space!  It's also a great idea, cause guests can take the fruit home or you can cut it up into a bowl for fruit salad and enjoy the next day!

Table Setting
These grass place mats were too cute to pass up when I saw them.  I used them along with woven stained grass placemats from my home to create each space for a guest to enjoy their meal.  Each setting was a bit different from the other and made for a very interesting tablescape.  I made printables that were inspired by the plates and put a menu at each place setting.  The hibiscus flowers decorated the table are actually hair clips that serve double duty as decoration and a pretty, festive favor that guests can wear.  I also used them as a 'napkin' ring for some of the place settings.  The palm leaves also served as a coaster for the Island Breeze Party Cups.  For my centerpiece....I created a vertical focal point with the Luau Leaf Light Up paper lanterns and drew the eye down to the table and placed tropical fruit, plants, and shells in the center of the table.  At night the lanterns cast a nice soft glow onto the table.
I LOVE Caribbean, when I found a local eatery near my home that just opened up....I was so excited.  I ordered some of my favorite dishes, like Jerk Chicken, rice and peas, cabbage, coco bread, beef patties and fried plantain for the buffet.  I also made my own appetizer, Caribbean Shrimp Cocktail!  I just mixed in a Caribbean seasoning to cooked shrimp and made my own Caribbean cocktail sauce by mixing together a mango, strawberries, spicy scotch bonnet peppers, scallions and honey!  I placed the sauce into small party cups and topped each with a few shrimp!

I filled one of my fave galvanized tubs full of ice and Island colas that I got from the International Food aisle at my grocery store.  When you can't come up with something on your own, head over to Oriental Trading for ideas.  Type in your theme and you can be sure to find a list of ideas at the way bottom of the results screen.  I wanted a signature drink for my drink station and saw this  Summer Pineapple Strawberry Cooler in the Luau page of the site and made my own island cocktail simply by adding rum!

If you have a good rub for jerk chicken, these spice jars from Oriental Trading would be a perfect way to send guests home with a taste of the islands.  I packaged my own brand of jerk rub into these small jars and added a tag to it with some natural twine.  I won't divulge the recipe I use (sorry), it was passed onto me by a sweet old Jamaican lady, but this one comes close to the ingredients I use.

I hope you were inspired by all the easy breezy party ideas I shared.  I really loved all the items I received from Oriental Trading.....they were colorful, the plates were sturdy, the wall pieces and runners are very nice and can be used again, along with the lanterns and grass mats.  I have yet to be disappointed by the quality of their products!  Don't forget, it's not too late to enjoy the close of your summer with a laid back island resort themed soiree!

Vendors & Where to Buy:

Styling & Design  - Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams
Printables - Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams
Paper Plates/napkins, grass mats, lanterns, wooden palm leaf prints, table runner, decorative palm leaves, plastic cups, flower hair clips, spice jars  - Oriental Trading

(“This post is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product(S) listed above. I was provided items free of charge by Oriental Trading and I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.”)

Monday, August 11, 2014

{Etsy Shop} Summertime Cool Out Party

Last week I shared these adorable Sherbet Cupcakes that I made for an stay cool summertime ice pop themed photo shoot for the coordinating printables I have in my Etsy shop.

 Here are the rest of the images I captured from the shoot! I was inspired by the colors of sherbet and used those to design a printable collection over two years ago and never managed to get my photos taken (see the printables in this post).

 If you like the idea of throwing a fun summertime cool out party I've shared a few ideas and tips at the end of this post.

Don't let summer pass without gathering friends and family together for a fun way to beat the heat!  This Summertime Cool Out party was inspired by the raspberry, lemon and orange colors of sherbet and ice pops!  I created a colorful printable collection that I think is the bees knees!  This idea can also work well for just about any occasion from baby showers to birthdays!

Tips and ideas to throwing an ice pop inspired Summertime Cool Out Party:
  • To help keep my treats cool, I placed metal cookie sheets in the freezer.   After I set up my table with stands and dishes, I put all the frozen treats onto the cookie sheets as I placed them onto their serving dishes and containers on the sweets table.
  • Have plenty of ice on hand and fill galvanized buckets with plenty of it to keep your frozen treats and beverages well chilled.
  • Everyone loves a whimsical spin on an ordinary treat.  I made sherbet cupcakes by filling decorative nut cups with scoops of sherbet, topped with whipped cream, sprinkles, wafer rolls and froze them overnight so they would hold up a bit in the heat.  You can also take popsicle molds and fill with delicious candy, tie a pretty ribbon to them with a tag for guests to enjoy.
  • Incorporate candy and desserts that coordinate with your theme and color scheme.  Using chocolate candy molds, I made candy popsicle lollipops and decorated each one a little differently with sprinkles.  I also filled glass jars with candy, wafer rolls and topped store bought sugar cookies with plastic frozen treat cupcake picks.
  • Keeping frozen items outside is a bit tricky (unless you have a cool outdoor plug in freezer) - obviously.  You'll want to keep your frozen treats as cold as possible for as long as possible and it's a little hard to do in the summer heat. Try keeping extra ice pops in your freezer and bring out as needed....hopefully they won't last too long - especially on a hot summer day!

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