It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Your door bells will soon be ringing and little girls in blue and brown and green will be sweetly asking you to buy some Girl Scout cookies from them. Please say yes! (Especially to my two!)

If you have Girl Scouts of your own, here a few ways to get you ready for cookie selling.

I pulled out my scrapbooking stash and embellished clipboards for the girls to use while selling. They get a little shy about asking for orders, so I thought “COOKIES” might help get them over the hump. I styled this for Daisies, but you could easily make yours for Brownies or Girl Scouts. (The Daisy embellishments are from the K and Company line that I found at Hobby Lobby.)

Missy of Crafty Carnival created this Cookies Sales Goal Sheet for her daughter’s troop. I love that it helps them keep their goals in mind and reminds them of their manners.

Cookie Sales Goal Sheet

She also created these thank you notes. They are meant to be colored in by your girls and then presented with the cookie deliveries. Mine really had fun making these last year. They made pink girls, green girls, purple girls!

Girl Scout Thank You Tags

Enjoy! Jennifer

Pinterest: What I’m Loving for Valentine’s Day

Etsy and Pinterest just make me happy. I love seeing the brilliant ideas others have come up with — especially when they come with a price tag or a tutorial. Here’s what I’m loving for Valentine’s Day. (Hint: you’ll see some of these in our Valentine’s Day styled shoot.)

Fabulous Fondant Cake

Felt Heart Garland

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Little Felt Hearts

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Heart Straws

Heart Garland Cake

Source: kikki-k.com via Jen @ Double the Fun Parties on Pinterest

Enjoy! Jennifer

Looking Back at 2011 and Saying “Thank You”

Do of Piggy Bank Parties offered a great post the other day, thanking the other party folk who inspired her in 2011. (Read it here.) Do’s blog, Oink is “a place where we could help people plan and execute easy, fun and memorable parties on a Piggy Bank budget. Check out Oink!, the Piggy Bank Parties’ blog, for insider tips, recipes, favor ideas, themes, invitation ideas, games and so much more!”

(And can I just say that the budget party is always more inspiring to me? Shopping is just not that hard, people. It’s fun, but it’s not hard. Much more challenging is to look at what you have with new eyes and apply your own crafty touch to your party. Love that.)

So, I’m going to take a page from Do’s book and offer my own gratitude to the ladies who helped Double the Fun Parties launch in 2011. Here they are, in roughly chronological order.

Kori of Paper & Pigtails

Kori published my first party, our Budget July 4th Celebration. She gave me the boost of confidence I needed to take seriously the friends who kept telling me I could be a professional party planner. (And a side thank you to my college room mate Laura, who is in a play group with Kori and gave me the idea of submitting my party to Kori’s site.)

Susan of Think LTV Marketing

Susan is another college friend, the godmother of one of my daughters, but also a marketing guru. Susan has sat with me at Starbucks and PURE, talking about my business name and concept, asking me good questions, telling me how she’d tweak my logo and business card. I’m grateful and owe her many, many Frappuccinos.

Kim of The TomKat Studio

So it goes without saying that Kim has great taste. And that’s why when she recommended WordPress for blogging, LaunchHER for business start-up advice, and Pretty Darn Cute for graphic design, I ran with it. And when Kim posted on FB about my Polka Dot Christmas Break Fun Jar that featured her Vintage Rudolph collection, I had my biggest day ever on the blog. Thank you, Kim!

Kara and Tracy of LaunchHER

Fellow Minnesotans Kara and Tracy specialize in advising women-owned start ups on the legal and marketing aspects of their business. I was amazed at how much they packed into each conference call we had, how much thought they put into my business, and how they were able to meet me where I was — tailoring their advice to “now” and “later.” They also referred me to Ahoy Graphics (more on that later).

Lindsey of Pretty Darn Cute Design

Lindsey is so sweet. Hard stop. She designed my logo, website banner, Etsy banner and Facebook profile image. She is a dream to work with, and all about coming up with the right solution and making the customer happy (not always the same thing!). Work with her if you have the chance!

Kristen of Ahoy Graphics

Kristen is developing my new website. I’ve been getting sneak peeks for a while now and can’t wait to unveil it to you — I hope by the end of the month. Kristen really grasped the two divergent things I wanted my site and blog and shop to be and she’s managing to put them all together in a way that works. I hope you’ll love it!

The Ladies of Party People on Martha Stewart’s Dreamers into Doers

What a blessing it was to was become a member of this group! These ladies take time out of their busy days to support other bloggers and shop owners. We post each other’s parties, brag about each other’s great ideas, and give each other those much need pats on the back. I’m so happy to have met them all, but especially The Party Wagon, Easy Made Invitations, The Petite Soiree, We Love Crafty Tracy, Tickled Peach Studio, and Ashlee Rae! (I hope I haven’t left any of the key players out!)

The Free Printables Designers

I’ve said it before: I am not a designer. So it’s been really exciting to bring you free printables designed just for my readers from these generous designers: Green Beansie Cards (Christmas countdown bell), HR Creative (Christmas countdown bell #2), Bugaboo Announcements (New Year’s Eve banner). We’ll bring you more printables designed just for you in 2012.

Lissette of Viridian Images Photography

I worked with Lissette in past life. Now she has launched her own business and I launched mine, and we get to work together again. Starting in September 2011, she has photographed all my parties, and as Robert Frost said, that has made all the difference.

Bird of Bird’s Party

Bird, my sweet friend in France whom I’ve never met. I could do a whole post just about Bird. Despite having an enormously successful business herself, Bird has taken an interest in my little business. She sponsored my first giveaway, but most importantly, she took a personal interest and has offered me invaluable advice. I SO look forward to working with her in 2012! I love her sweet spirit.


Jillian of Catch My Party

Jillian asked me to post a party on her page. And now two of my parties have been featured in her Party of the Day rotation. How good did that make me feel? Her “cupcakes” matter, let me tell you!

Catch My Party

Sally of Polka Dot Market

Sally has very sweetly posted on Facebook about some of my polka dot-inspired designs, like some of my wreaths. And because of her fans, I’ve learned more about what you like to see. (Plus, I love shopping her site!)

Sarah of Brown Paper Goods

I found Sarah on Etsy and she kindly turned her terrific Christmas card into a complete party printables set for my Christmas Card Writing Party. The party was eventually published by Gig Masters, The Party Wagon and Kara’s Party Ideas, so thank you Sarah for helping me have a huge hit! I hope we’ll be selling  Christmas Card Writing Party Kits together in 2012!

Kara of Kara’s Party Ideas

When I saw that Kara had posted my Christmas Card Writing Party, I jumped up and did a little dance. In fact, I think I danced most of the day. Then, I explained who Kara was to my husband and kept dancing.

Chris of Celebrations at Home

I’ve loved Chris’s blog and party spotlights from a distance well before I ever dreamed of Double the Fun Parties. I’m so excited that she just featured my New Year’s Eve Party with printables from Bugaboo Announcements. There is nothing else like someone saying (essentially) “good job.” Thank you, Chris!

Brittany of Edible Details

First of, Brittany is an amazing fondant artist. “Amazing” is an over-used word, but it’s the right one here. Her cupcake toppers for my Christmas Card Writing Party were my favorite part of that party. I can’t wait to see what see does for our Wizard of Oz party! And, when she said, “How about including my cupcake toppers in your party kits?” I knew it was the start of a beautiful friendship!

You have each made such a difference for me and I thank you for your generosity and look forward to continuing to work with each of you in 2012!

Jennifer

Home Made Easy Bake Oven Cake Mix & Mason Jar Packaging

There will be an Easy Bake Oven under our Christmas tree this year. It is one of those toys I always coveted as a child and I’m excited to be able to give it to Grace, who loves to cook and bake. And while I got a good deal on the new oven, I had to draw the line at the $6 mixes for itty bitty cakes. Thank goodness for Google because there are PLENTY of DIY Easy Bake Oven recipes out there.

So last night I made up several batches: Jeweled Tea Cake, Cookies & Cream Cake, Pretty in Pink Cake, French Vanilla Cake and Lemon Cake (not pictured). (Can you tell that Grace is not a fan of chocolate? I have no idea what’s up with that.)

I packaged the mixes in the smallest canning jars I could find (half-pint size). Then I topped each jar with a 6.5 inch circle of fabric cut with pinking sheers. (There is no magic to the 6.5 inch size; it’s just the diameter of my smallest mixing bowl that I used to trace the circle.) A little ribbon and a tag made in Word using the font “Sweetheart Script” and I was done.

Some of the recipes say to combine some of the dry ingredients, add a liquid, and then add the rest of the dry ingredients. I just ignored all that, combined all my dry ingredients, and am guessing that will be just fine for Easy Bake Oven purposes.

I believe I paid $7 for the jars and $2 for the ribbon; everything else I had. So, total cost =$9 for five mixes instead of $30. Go me!

The sites I used for my recipes are Squiddo.com and Budget101.com. Here are the recipes I used.

French Vanilla Cake

6 tablespoons flour

4 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Dash salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 teaspoons milk

2 teaspoons shortening

3 tablespoons French vanilla pudding; mix only

Frosting of choice

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Add vanilla extract, milk and shortening. Stir until batter is smooth. Add pudding mix. Pour batter into two greased and floured Easy-Bake Oven cake pans. Bake each layer in Easy-Bake Oven for 12 – 15 minute or until sides separate from pan. Remove cake and cool. Makes 2 layers.

Source: http://www.squidoo.com/Easy-Bake-Oven-1

Pretty in Pink Cake

5 tablespoons cake flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

5 teaspoons red sugar crystals

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

8 teaspoons milk

Stir together cake flour, baking powder, salt, red sugar, vanilla, oil and milk until the batter is smooth and pink. Pour 3 tablespoons of batter into a greased and floured Easy-Bake Oven cake pan. Bake in Easy-Bake Oven about 15 minutes. Repeat for second layer. Makes 2 layers.

Source: http://www.squidoo.com/Easy-Bake-Oven-1

Children’s Lemon Cake Mix #2

1 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon Kool-Aid

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

Combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Spoon 1/4 mixture into about 12 sandwich bags. Zip it up and store it on the shelf in the pantry. It will keep for about 6 months. To make a cake: Mix 1 package of mix with 1 tablespoon of water. Stir well until smooth. Bake in greased pan in Easy Bake Oven until slightly brown.

Source: http://www.budget101.com/frugal/easy-bake-oven-mixes-187/

Oreo Cookies & Cream Cake

6 tablespoons flour

4 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Dash salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 teaspoons milk

2 teaspoons shortening

3 tablespoons Oreo Cookies ‘N Creme Pudding; (mix only)

1 teaspoon coconut; shredded

Frosting of choice

Grease and flour Easy-Bake Oven pan. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Add vanilla extract, milk and shortening. Stir until smooth. Add pudding mix. Pour into Easy-Bake Oven cake pan. Bake each layer 12 to 15 minutes or until sides separate from side of pan.

Source: http://www.squidoo.com/Easy-Bake-Oven-1

Jeweled Tea Cakes Mix

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons margarine

4 teaspoons milk

1 teaspoon multi-colored cookie decorations

Mash together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and margarine until dough looks like medium-sized crumbs. Slowly mix in the milk. Form dough into a loose ball and divide it into 4 pieces with a spoon. Place a few dough pieces on greased sheet or pan. Sprinkle with cookie decorations over the top of the dough and push them in with your fingers. Bake 20 minutes. Makes 4 tea cakes.

Source: http://www.budget101.com/frugal/easy-bake-oven-mixes-187/

Perfect Paperwhites in Silver From Linden

My favorite parts of my own Vintage Pink & Yellow Tea Party were the floral arrangements in the teapots, created by Laurie of Linden in Woodstock, GA. Linden offers such a charming collection of antiques, gift items, paintings and florals. Laurie shops in England and France, so her finds are always one-of-a-kind and her store is always my first stop for gifts.

This Christmas, we really wanted to simplify what we were doing outside of our immediately family of four. Laurie had the perfect solution for me, and I wanted to share it with all of your who aren’t lucky enough to live near Linden, because you can make this yourself.

Laurie collected old silver pieces, planted paperwhites, topped them with moss and air fern, and added a ribbon. Done. Seriously? How cute are these and who wouldn’t love them? Water slightly about once a week. (For more information on caring for paperwhites, visit: GardenGuides.com.)

Pinterest Inspiration: Color Palettes

I recently started a color palettes board on Pinterest because after selecting a party theme, color is my next choice. (Have you ever designed a party starting with color? I’d love to know!) So, because I could do pink and green parties until the end of time and be perfectly happy, I also want to challenge myself to branch out.

Here are just a few of color palettes I’m finding inspiring. Which are your favorites? (To see much more, follow me on Pinterest.)

 
Aqua & Red

 
 
Black, White & Cream

 
 
Turquoise & Burlap

 
 
Red, Gray & White

 
 
Navy, Lime Greem & Cream (or White)

 
 
Bright Yellow & Cream

 
 
Deep Purple & Light Green

 
 
Pink, Brown & Gray

 
 
Enjoy! Jennifer

Thanksgiving: Pinterest Inspiration

A little Thanksgiving inspiration for you today, courtesy of my Thanksgiving board on Pinterest.

Turkey Gobble Invitation from Honey Bops via Etsy

Fall felt garland from Applesauce Crafts via Etsy

Pilgrim hat favor box from Peaden Scott Designs via Etsy

Ruffle monogram dress from The Laughing Giraffe via Etsy  (I’ll take two please!)

Thanksgiving wreath — made from a vintage hynmal — from Simple Joys Paperie via Etsy

Turkey fondant cupcake toppers from Daddy’s Girl 91 via Etsy

If something is already sold, don’t hesitate to convo the seller and ask if they can make another for you.

To see more Thanksgiving inspiration, and all my pin boards, visit me on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/JenNeedham/.

Happy planning!

FlyLady: Getting Your House Party-Ready

If you’ve looked at my blog roll, you may have noticed one non-party site: FlyLady. I wanted to give you all a link to www.flylady.com because that’s the only way I’ve managed to keep house with twins.

The founder of FlyLady, Marla Cilley, has created super-easy systems for decluttering and cleaning your house and keeping it clean so you won’t be a victim of CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). And since CHAOS prevents at-home parties, I’m against it.

Does my house sometimes still get chaotic? You betcha. It is right now, because I started a party planning business in my dining room. But I also know that my FlyLady routines will be able to get my house back in shape for our tea party photo shoot on Sunday. Here’s how FlyLady works.

FlyLady gives online homekeeping advice. You can visit their site or find them on Facebook. You also can sign up for daily emails (you will get a lot). It’s NOT about perfection and instead about doing a little bit at a time — baby steps. FlyLady will give you weekly and daily routines that mean your home is clean all the time — not just once a week.

She makes it fun. Doesn’t a 27-Fling Boogie or a Hot Spot Fire Drill or a 5-Minute Room Rescue sound more fun than decluttering? She even has techniques for getting the kids to pick up after themselves. (Cue the Heavenly Chorus.)

Give her a visit and think about how nice it will be to have people drop in and not having to apologize for your house. How great it would be if the biggest part of party planning weren’t picking up. And how much more calm you’ll feel in a clean space.

Inspiration: Ribbon-tied Burlap Tablecloth

Saw this over the weekend at Linden, one of my favorite shops for antiques, home decor items and floral arrangements. (Must remember to have them design centerpieces for our next girly party!) What a great idea for ribbon remnants! They cut small slits in burlap, and strung through the ribbon. Easy and cute, and I’m guessing cheap. Love it!

14 Party Ideas from Home Made Simple

Hot off the presses, 14 party ideas from Home Made Simple. I like the idea of the pink elephant crafting party … each guest brings whatever they are working on, plus scraps to share! Which idea do you want to try?