For Memorial Day (I'm a bit late with my post, aren't I?), we had a few friends over for a casual BBQ. We just threw a few dogs and burgers on the grill and hung out on the deck. I took some pictures to show how a few special touches will turn even a casual gathering into a party.
Some cute cups and straws always jazz things up. Chalkboard labels let everyone keep track of their cup. Put some lemonade in a pretty dispenser and add a few pompoms to a simple cake. (This one is a delicious gluten-free, almond-zucchini cake from Martha Stewart.) Then enjoy your guests! (And save the dishes for later.)
Kara's Party Ideas featured my back to school breakfast! This awesome website has great party ideas and inspiration. Check it out!
More tips to make your party awesome!
Ribbon – A little ribbon goes a long way. Tie some twine around your glassware, add a bow to a pedestal cake stand or customize some candy cups with a pretty ribbon.
Height – Think like a caterer and add some height to your table. Place some serving platters on upside down bowls, baskets or even flower pots to bring some dimension to your table.
Think outside the platter – Use unusual things for serving dishes that suit your theme, like lunchboxes, chalkboards or even picture frames. This flower pot and wooden crate worked great for a gardening party.
Water bottle labels – Customize your water bottles with a personalized label. Find a graphic you like, or even use scrapbook paper or duct tape, cut out strips and glue around your water bottles. Voila! The gold nectar labels were for a Greek god party, and the doilies perfectly complemented a gardening party.
Hooray – another holiday is around the corner! To (hopefully) inspire you, here are some of my Easter decorating ideas from the past.
Miniature nests. For Easter dinner last year, I set each place with a miniature nest, filled with Cadbury eggs. I found the nests on Amazon (two-day shipping, baby!).
Egg Cups. My mother has a collection of egg cups (such a fun thing to look for as a gift!) and has passed some on to me. I grouped a variety of egg cups, filled with small wildflowers from our yard, in the middle of the table. I didn’t take a picture, so you’ll just have to imagine what a sweet centerpiece they made.
Bunny garland. A few years ago, I made bunny garlands for our mantle and doorways using pastel paper, this bunny template from Martha Stewart, yarn and a craft knife. I reuse them every year.
More nests! I turned a bowl into a nest by wrapping it with blue yarn, then filling it with blue-foil chocolate eggs. Once again, Martha Stewart provided the inspiration. It was ridiculously hard to wrap the bowl with the yarn. I ended up covering the bowl in double-sided tape, which was a pain in the badoonky to get off. I’m sure you can figure out a better way! Glue dots? Sacrifice the bowl and hot glue it?
Surprise eggs. Every year, our kids get an extra basket of surprise eggs at the end of the day. (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love any reason to give a gift!) To make the eggs, wrap a small toy or trinket in pastel colored streamers. Keep wrapping (and wrapping and wrapping), turning it into the shape of an egg as you go (balls work, too – the kids aren’t picky about the shape). Secure the end with a glue dot or a sticker. I think this is my kids’ favorite part of Easter!
Natural egg dyes. I’ve really been trying to be as natural and toxin-free as possible, so last year we made our own natural egg dyes. The colors are lovely, and the kids had a blast making the dyes out of onion skins, turmeric, beets and cabbage. And I felt much better about the kids eating the eggs. It’s easy to find recipes online.
Edible grass is a great addition to your Easter dessert (although definitely not in line with the natural diet mentioned above). Sprinkle with jellybeans for a nest look. (This dessert was lemon mousse.)
What are some of your ideas for Easter decorating?
There are so many ways to elevate your party. Here are a few ideas to help make your next party a spectacular success.
1. Upgrade your tablecloth. A fabric tablecloth doesn’t cost much more than a plastic one, and it looks so much nicer. Just remember to iron it! Even if you use a plastic tablecloth, hang it out the night before so some of the wrinkles fall out.
2. Add a prop to the table. Find something related to your theme to decorate with: a wire birdcage, a globe, LEGOs, a baseball glove, a toy baby carriage, you name it. Thrift shops are your best friend here.
3. Plates – Don’t succumb to the character printed plates for a kid’s party. Instead buy pretty plates that coordinate with your color palette, with contrasting stripes and polka dots for the napkins and cups. Paper straws are another great addition that kids love.
Photo credit: Binkies + Noseprints
As you can probably guess, I love holidays! Today, the kids woke up to hanging heart garlands, this cute printable garland from Sandy Toes & Popsicles, a heart-shaped breakfast (the pancakes are very Dali-esque, no?) and valentine baskets. (I embrace any reason for gift giving.) I also made these yummy chocolate & peanut butter hearts, thanks to The Decorated Cookie!
My rock-star husband gave me my favorite Teuscher chocolate truffles and -- perhaps the best Valentine's present I've ever received -- blow dried my hair straight for me. In exchange, I actually shaved my legs. Love is in the air!