Real Party: Dog Adoption Party + Free Printable from Chickabug

About two weeks ago, my parents had to put down their sweet basset hound, Leta. She suddenly went blind and they discovered she had cancer of the spleen that had spread. (I promise I’m getting to the party!) They were so sad to lose her so suddenly, and realized that the right choice for them was to quickly find a new companion. So this Saturday, they adopted a rescue dog — a 3-month-old beagle, Mia. (Here she is!)

Mia is remarkably calm for a puppy. Except that she loves to lick your ears. Which tickles. The girls and I went to meet Mia on Sunday and we decided to surprise mom and dad (and Mia!) with a mini party. Lucky for us, Heather of Chickabug is a rescue dog lover and has designed party printables just for a doggie adoption bash! She kindly agreed to let me feature them here. (You’ll have to excuse my photos. It was a gloomy day and they all look gray. 😦 I wish they did Heather’s designs justice.)

The best thing about this little party may be that I spent just $24.54 on cupcakes, dog biscuits and the two dog toys. In and out of Target in 15 minutes, baby! Everything else came from my stash at home.

Any excuse for polka dots!

My mom was thrilled with the surprise party! She especially loved the Certificate of Adoption.

I’m sure there are any number of ways to use these party circles, but I have a Pavlovian response to them. I see party circles and immediately want to eat cupcakes.

The treat tags on the pink bags were designed for the adopted dog to share treats with his/her new friends, but the girls and I used them to each give Mia a little gift of dog treats.

These puppy toys are from Target — and how perfect is it that hot pink toys are available?

It’s official!

So as you can see, Mia liked her gifts!

Here are the printables collections from Chickabug in pink and blue. You can download them from her blog. How cute are they?

Vendor Credits:

Printables: Chickabug


Our Valentine’s Sweetheart Party + Free Printable

I had so much fun planning this Valentine’s Day photo shoot for you! I had this idea that the terrific and sweet Kathy from Tickled Peach Studio made come to life. I just wanted Valentine’s cards for school that read, “A SweeTart for My Sweetheart” to which we could attach a little packet of SweeTarts. (Now, if I had realized how hard it would be to find little SweeTart packages in early January, I might have given up on this concept! Whew.)

Kathy turned my little card idea into a full blown Valentine’s collection. We’ve got the card for you for FREE! Click here to download a four-page PDF with two card designs on each page.

Visit Kathy’s Etsy shop to purchase the rest of the Be My Sweetheart collection. You’ll receive all of this for only $12!

  • Mini Candy Circle Labels (12 designs)
  • Mini Candy Bar Wraps (4 designs)
  • Large Candy Bar Wrap (1 design)
  • Party Sign 5″x7″ (1 design)
  • 2″ Party Circles (4 designs)
  • 2″ Favor Tags (1 design)
  • Favor Bag Toppers (1 design)
  • Banner “Be My Sweetheart” AND “Happy Valentine’s Day”
  • Flat Party Labels 4″x3.5″ (blank)
  • Folded Party Labels 3.5″x2″ (blank)
  • Straw Flags (10 designs)
  • Cupcake Wraps (1 design)
  • Bottle Wraps (1 design)
  • Scrapbook Papers (4 designs)

We’ll get back to the cards later in the party, but let’s start at the beginning. My concept was a pre-Valentine’s party to get ready for the card exchange at school. You could invite as many of your child’s friends as you like and have them bring their cards for their classmates. Make your cards, eat some goodies, and prep some candy to giveaway to your friends. And just for fun, how about frosting some cookies?

Our sweets table featured vanilla Jones soda, wrapped in Kathy’s bottle labels, to which I added a red straw with one of her party flags. And on the caps, I added a Hershey Kiss label. On the giant Hershey Kisses, I used the party circles on the bottoms.

On the tiered tray, we had chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, some finished with Kathy’s toppers and others with giant SweeTarts – yum! We also had brownie bites and homemade blondies. (I posted the blondies recipe here.) There also would have been heart-shaped red velvet whoopie pies but there was a little kitchen disaster. These things happen.

Kathy’s collection includes two banners, which worked perfectly for my setting, although I shortened the smaller size banner so it would fit on our table. I love the little felt heart stickers that I used to cover the hooks I hung the banner from.

I usually try not to buy items for a party if I don’t know how to use them. But I couldn’t resist these heart Peeps. It was a while later before I had the inspiration to paint some lollipop sticks and add grosgrain ribbon leaves. Instant “roses.”

I was able to use my chair cover pockets for this party. I love the hot pink combined with red. The pockets are great for holding special party favors. And for the first time, I added a coordinating table runner, finished in a ball fringe to match the chair pockets. You can find the chair pockets and table runner in my Etsy shop.

After enjoying our sweets, the girls set to work on their Valentine’s Day cards. Just attach your SweeTarts in the space provided with a Glue Dot.

After making cards, we wrapped large candy bars, mini candy bars and applied labels to the bottom of the Hershey Kisses. Then we packaged the treats in Zip Lock sandwich bags and finished them with Kathy’s bag topper.

With our Valentine’s preparations complete, it was time to decorate cookies. We decorated cookies in Meg’s classroom before Christmas, and the boys and girls enjoyed making their creations equally. The fun part for me was watching those six-year-olds totally not know when to stop. There were some pretty over-the-top cookies. (In fact, Grace enjoyed decorating so much that Meg says she wants to make Grace a bowl of icing for her birthday!)

Finally, we passed out little favors: candy hearts in little red tins, topped with Kathy’s party circles, a polka dot ribbon, and the felt hearts.

Vendor Credits:

Photography: Viridian Images Photography

Printables: Tickled Peach Studio

Red Tiered Stand and Cake Stand:

Chair Cover Pockets and Table Runner: Double the Fun Parties on Etsy

Once Upon A Time Princess First Birthday From The Petite Soiree

Lucky us! Today, Stefanie Nieves of The Petite Soiree is letting me share her Once Upon a Time Princess First Birthday party with you. Stefanie created this event for the daughter of a local NJ news anchor … in just 4 weeks … beginning while Stefanie was on bed rest recovering from surgery. Oh my goodness – that is dedication!

This charming party was designed in tones of pink, white and gold for lucky birthday girl Briella. What a sweet welcome sign!

The party was held at a local venue and Stefanie and team brought in several party rentals to fill and decorate the space. The welcome table featured a lattice backboard, feather pen, and castle — all made by The Petite Soiree. I also love the name blocks — they would be cute for any birthday or baby shower.

Each place setting featured a doily placemat and clear plate. Guests received custom bookmarks and cake pops. The cake pops (40!) were donated by Cake Pop Fusion in the party colors. How smart to tie in the storybook theme with a bookmark!

The table centerpieces included table signs and florals. I love how The Petite Soiree added the round floral pick to the pink flowers and tiaras.

The children’s area included a tot-sized table with alternating pink and white chairs. The princess tent was a rental — and a great way to keep guests entertained.

Here is a close-up of the yarn pom garland draped across the fireplace.

Each place at the children’s table had a coloring book that Stefanie hand made. (Exactly when did she recover from that surgery?). The coloring books had custom covers, designed by Paper Candee, and told “The Fairy Tale Story of Princess Briella and her Royal Court.” (And note the crayons: Stefanie just pulled the white inner boxes out of packs of 48 crayons.

Princess Briella and the Royal Family ate at the Royal Dining Table – pretty pretty the glass goblets and candlesticks! The candlesticks hold handmade pillows topped with a flower crown, a tiara and a wand.

Behind the Royal Dining Table, you can catch a peek of the banner by Paper Candee that reads “Happy 1st Birthday Princess Briella.”

Briella’s high chair was covered in velvet, wrapped in tulle and decorated with roses. Wow.

The super-sized dessert buffet included a jacquard fabric backboard and gold cake stand from Stefanie and then filled in with a diaper cake from Michelle of Embellished Babycakes. The desserts and tabletop styling were provided by CW Distinctive Designs.

About The Petite Soiree

The Petite Soiree specializes in creating upscale, whimsically modern events. Their celebrations are designed to truly express the honoree’s personality, and originality. Says Stefanie, “At The Petite Soiree, we design and plan all types of events, no matter what size, style or theme. Our greatest inspiration for every event we do is the unique people they are for. Our hope is to provide an event that you will cherish forever.” They offer event design, planning, onsite management, custom handmade decor, fondant cakes and rentals in the NJ/NYC area.

To connect with Stefanie…




Vendor Credits

Graphics: Paper Candee

Welcome table blocks: MonthMarkers

Yarn Pom Garland: Cupcake Wishes + Birthday Dreams

Diaper cake: Embellished Babycakes

Desserts and tabletop styling: CW Distinctive Designs

Cake pops: Cake Pop Fusion (they are having a giveaway through Dec. 4, 2011 so stop by!)

Christmas Card Party Writing Party

For years now, I’ve wanted to host this party. I can’t be the only one who secretly finds writing Christmas cards just a wee bit tedious, can I? I’m not a Grinch; I just find the number of cards and personal messages a little daunting during the crunch time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, I thought it would be more fun to write my cards surrounded by friends, and, of course, sugary treats. And that’s just what we did.

Lucky for me, Sarah Brown of Brown Paper Goods offered the perfect party invitation — modern, with polka dots (naturally), and traditional Christmas colors with a pop of blue. Sarah kindly designed a complete party set for me to coordinate with her invitation: banner, bottle wrappers, food labels, cupcake toppers/favor tags, and most importantly, Official Letter to Santa stationery.

Our Etsy shop features this entire party kit — including all of Sarah’s cute printables AND one dozen cupcake toppers from Edible Details — for just $148. Or, check out our DIY party plan: 20 pages of even more photographs and tutorials for just $19!

Our dining room played host to this party. I decorated the center of our table with an embellished mailbox and two Santa mugs that held pens and pencils. Instead of fresh flowers, I added two rosemary trees, tied with a red organza bow, and two flowering red plants (I have no idea what they are) that I replanted in green art pottery from my collection. (Use what you have!)

For place settings, I used my china, a red linen napkin, and a red placemat created from scrapbooking paper with edges that I punched. Each plate held our party favor, a decorated sugar cookie from Sugar & Flour in two designs: envelope and stamp.

We started the party around the sweets table, which featured the Merry Christmas banner from the printables set, as well as glitter ornaments on a red backdrop.

Desserts included cupcakes capped with custom toppers from Edible Details that mimicked our stamp and red envelope (with a little green seal). To make a two-tier stand, I turned a green pottery planter upside down and added a white lunch plate.

The desserts also included giant peppermint sticks, peppermint bark, mint M&Ms, gum drops, and macaroons. The peppermint sticks are in a paper mache container that I covered with red wrapping paper and two bottle wrappers. (By the way, the peppermint sticks came in cellophane, but it wasn’t cute, so I re-wrapped them using a 12″ treat bag. Just cut a small slit in the center bottom of the bag, slip the stick through the slit, and tie the top of the bag with a thin ribbon.) The macaroons (from Etsy seller Bokolette) included Red Velvet (red), Spiced Caramel & Apple (red & gold dust), Pistachio (green), & Vanilla Olive Oil (light green) — so tasty!

For drinks, I had pomegranate Izze for the moms and milk for the children. I used the 3″ bottle wrap on the Izze and the 2″ wrap on the milk bottles. Tomorrow, I’ll have a tutorial on the blog about how to turn Starbucks Frappuccino bottles into Christmas party bottles.

With treats in hand, we moved to the table write our cards and letters to Santa.

While moms wrote our Christmas cards, our boys and girls wrote their letters to Santa. They took this very seriously!

When the children finished their letters, they addressed their envelopes to “Santa, North Pole” and placed them in our special mailbox so they would go directly to Santa.

Each child’s place setting had a mini lunch box that I altered with scrapbooking paper, and then wrapped in twine to attach a glitter pencil. Inside the lunch boxes were all the supplies the children need to complete their foam crafts. They had gingerbread men with google eyes, Christmas trees with pom-poms, and stockings with candy canes to decorate. They also each had a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer coloring book and a pack of crayons that I wrapped in more scrapbooking paper.

Each guest took home a yummy cookie from Sugar & Flour made to look like our stamp and envelope and tied with a favor tag.

I’d love to hear what you think of this “mommy and me” type party. Please visit our Etsy shop if you are thinking of hosting a Christmas Card Writing Party of your own.


Photography: Viridian Images Photography

Printables: Brown Paper Goods

Cupcake toppers: Edible Details

Macaroons: Bokolette

Sugar cookies: Sugar & Flour

JOY embellished wooden letters: Dwelling Online 

Vintage Tea Party – Part 2

Welcome to part two of our Vintage Tea Party! Today, we’re focused on the activities. (If you missed Part 1, you can see it here.)

Our first activity was to make our party hats. The girls could chose boas, butterflies, and flowers to attach to their hats and I helped them with the hot glue. Once at the table, the girls opened their crackers for necklaces, put on their gloves and they were ready for tea, which of course, was our main activity.

After tea, we went outside for a few games. First up was a teaspoon relay. We broke into teams. Each girl had a spoon with a sugar cube. They had to carry the spoon straight out and drop the sugar cube into a teapot. Whichever team got the most cubes in the teapot won the relay.

Tea parties are a great opportunity to make manners and ladylike behavior fun, so we practiced walking with books balanced on our heads. They really got engaged with this activity!

Finally, we had a piñata. Each girl had an empty goodie bag for collecting her piñata treasures. I thought they didn’t need any more sweets, so our piñata minimized the candy and included teapot stickers and dress-up rings.

We’ll have the Vintage Tea Party Plan and Kit in the shop soon! 

Vintage Tea Party – Part 1

I’m so excited to share our Vintage Tea Party with you! Call me a stick-in-the-mud, but I like a truly traditional tea party – and not a tea party mixed with any other activities you might find at a spa party or fairy party or princess party. Just a good, old-fashioned tea party. So that’s what we had.

Today, we’ll focus on the decorations and food, and tomorrow I’ll bring you the party activities.

I drew inspiration from this delicate pink and yellow teacup. I am in love with this pattern and I pulled the party colors from it.

These fans from Shop Sweet Lulu continued the pink and yellow theme.

The other accents were doilies – lots and lots of doilies. On our door …

In the girls’ “We Are Six” banner (that I made) …

As our placemats …

As our place cards …

And decorating our piñata goodie bags …

I used my china cabinet to display our food and desserts. Since the cabinet has a mirrored back, I covered the mirror in a pink and yellow rose-patterned chintz. (See my tutorial here.)

For serving pieces, I used white, glass, silver and added pops of pink. The mini stands holding the lemon curd and Devonshire cream I made using this tutorial from The Party Dress magazine. I also got lucky and found a pink hobnail vase for $4 the day before the party.

When it came to the sweets, I tried to incorporate the party colors. Treats included strawberries, blueberry white chocolate scones, cranberry orange scones, berry cupcakes, cotton candy cookies, meringue cookies, candy sticks, madeleines, and dark chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons. (I may have helped myself to a few of the macaroons.) The birthday cake was a white chocolate and raspberry 3-D teapot cake — so pretty!

Our tea sandwiches included tomato basil, egg salad, cucumber cream cheese, chocolate-dipped PB&J, and chicken salad.

Instead of tea, which most of the girls felt unsure of, I served pink lemonade.

On the table, I used china from my collection of antique store finds. At each place were gloves and a “cracker” that held necklaces.

Each girl also had a favor in a tea tin. The favors were hand-made felt cookies – so cute!

But I think my favorite part of the tablescape is the centerpiece. On one of my silver trays, I stacked several colorful old books and topped those with two teapots with arrangements of pink, yellow and cream silk flowers.

Hope you like it! Please let me know – and please come back tomorrow to see the party activities.

Vendor Credits:

Photography: Viridian Images Photography

Invitation: Vintage Paper Parade

Cake: Confection Perfection 

Tea pot florals: Linden 

Felt cookies: Scrumdiddlyumptious Bakery

Pink and yellow paper fans, pink tissue garland, polka dot cupcake liners: Sweet Shop Lulu

Doily wreath: Pretty & Ugly

Tutorial: Tea Party Polka Dot Doily Pom

Lucky you… I wound up not using my doily poms during our tea party on Sunday and so I won’t put them in the party plan… which means: free tutorial for you!

My poms were based on doily poms in the Halloween special issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. (Great issue: run out and buy it.) Theirs used unbleached coffee filters for a great aged look. But I wanted mine to be cute instead of spooky, so I added a pink polka dot cupcake liner and used bleached coffee filters. I also  found part of the BHG instructions hard to replicate, so I found my own work around. These are really pretty easy.

You’ll Need:

3 sizes of round doilies

2 sizes of coffee filters

Polka dot cupcake wrappers

Safety pins


1. Flatten your coffee filters.

2. Alternate your coffee filters, doilies and cupcake wrapper in order from biggest to smallest.

3. Fold your layers in half.

4.  Fold your layers in half again (into a quarter of the original size).

5. Softly fold the bottom point and twist the point as much as you can. It will be thick enough that it will be hard to fold.

6. BHG says to wrap the twisted point with florist wire. I couldn’t get florist wire to stay in place, so I whipped out my handy dandy safety pins and they got the job done.

7. Carefully fluff out your pom from the center. Don’t pull the edges of your doily or it will rip. (Not that I learned this the hard way or anything.)

8. Your pom will not be ball-shaped; it will be a flat on the back side. So, to create a fuller pom, tie three together by inserting ribbon in the safety pins. You pom will have a very full front and still a flat back, which is great for hanging against a flat backdrop. If you want a ball shaped pom, just keep adding more poms.

9. And here’s your finished, three-pom product.

This would be a great project to work on with your kids (as long as you handle the safety pin and fluffing). Enjoy!

Tutorial: Tea Party Fabric Backing

Sunday is our Vintage Tea Party, so I hope to share photos with you in about a week. You’ll be able to purchase the full party plan and party kit in our Etsy shop. But until then, here’s a free tutorial for you!

I’ve cleaned out my china cabinet and will be using it to serve tea and goodies. The cabinet has a mirrored back, which would be a pain to work around in photos, so I decided to cover the mirrors with fabric. I chose a pink and yellow (our party colors) rose pattern. Two yards was plenty. Just be sure to choose a light-weight fabric.

You will need:

  • Fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Power Glue Stick
  • Scotch Double-Stick Tape (choose the wider option)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Iron

Here are the steps:

1. Measure the back of your cabinet. Mine was divided into six sections. For each section, add one inch to the width and one inch to the length.

2. Cut out your first section of fabric.

3. Run your glue stick along one edge of the fabric. (You could use hem tape, but you don’t really need such a permanent solution. Plus the glue stick is faster.)

4.  Fold a half-inch of fabric over the glue stick line and press down. Repeat around the other three sides.

5. Apply the double stick tape to the top and bottom of the mirror. I used a series of approximately six inch strips with an inch or so in between sections.

6. Position the fabric along the top line of tape and press to adhere. Smooth the fabric down the bottom line of tape and press.

7. Repeat until all your mirrors are covered.

And here’s the finished look! This is so easy and inexpensive (the fabric was only $12) that you could dress up your china cabinet for holidays or other celebrations. If you try this, I’d love to see your photos!

Sweet (Not Spooky) Halloween Party Activities

Welcome to Part 2 of our Halloween Party. Today we’re focusing on the table decorations and children’s activities. I always prefer fabric tablecloths: they are easier to make wrinkle free and they are resusable. They cost more, but I always feel like I get my money’s worth out of them. On the activities table, I added an orange table runner and coordinating chair ties.

Even though we weren’t actually going to carve pumpkins, I took inspiration from pumpkin carving and used newspaper as my placemats. And at just 79 center per pound, pumpkin decorating was a very affordable craft.

Down the center of the table, I placed ceramic jack-o-lantern luminaries that I made years and years ago. Since the girls would be reaching near the luminaries for the foam pumpkin decorations, I skipped the candles. No need to mix kids and flame.

We used foam decorations to beautify our pumpkins. Just peel off the backing and stick to the pumpkin.

After the pumpkin decorating, we made candy necklaces. This is such an easy project and you could do it for any holiday celebration. My sister-in-law Kathy taught me about these necklaces. You’ll need:

  • Wrapped candy (we used gumballs)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Curling ribbon
  • Scissors
Here’s what to do:
  1. Lay a 35″ section of plastic wrap in front of each child.
  2. Let them place candies in a straight line along the center of the plastic wrap.
  3. Fold the plastic wrap over the candies, then roll it up.
  4. Cut 5″ lengths of the curling ribbon.
  5. Have your guests tie a double knot in between each candy and at both ends.
  6. Have an adult use the scissors to curl each ribbon.
  7. Place the necklace around the child’s neck and tie the two ends together.

Happy Halloween!

Vendor Credits

Girls’ hair bows: Little Boo Creations

Girls’ pillowcase dresses: Sew In Fashion

Tablecloth, runner and chair ties: Tablecloths Factory

Sweet (Not Spooky) Halloween Party

In our family, Thanksgiving belongs to one sister-in-law, Easter belongs to my other sister-in-law, and Christmas is a free for all. Halloween is all mine. We gather at our house in the afternoon to carve pumpkins and try to the get the girls to eat a little (they are usually too excited to get much down). They we get their costumes on and take turns walking them from house to house.

Well this year, we’ll have an even bigger crowd and I thought it was time to get our party on. My main inspiration was the candy thievery that occurs each Halloween after the kids go to bed and we (OK, mainly I) start raiding their Halloween buckets for Reese’s Cups. I thought we should all have a pumpkin to decorate and some candy to snag.

Tomorrow, I’ll blog about our party activities, but today the focus is on the sweets. I used Squared Party Printables’ free Halloween set from Catch My Party because they were more sweet than spooky.

I went with traditional orange and black with pops of green and purple and polka dots. To cover the mirror above my sideboard, I draped two sheets of orange wrapping paper. Then I cut in half some left over black polka dot wrapping paper and used that to cover the gaps between my orange papers. I also used the polka dot paper on the sideboard.

The sweets table started in my local CVS. While I would have loved to order custom cookies, timing meant buying Frankenstein and pumpkin cookies at the drug store. (They were actually tasty.) To add to the cookies, I focused on candy in Halloween colors. In the apothecary jars, I offered orange gumballs, candy corn, Reese’s Pieces, and Hershey Kisses in Halloween wraps. I turned ghost Peeps into lollipops — super easy. Orange and purple Pixie Stixs were popped into vases and topped with ribbon.

Being short on time, I bought cupcakes and just added Halloween sprinkles and cupcake toppers. The girls and Don love the Halloween Oreos, so I dipped those in orange candy coating. The cupcakes and Oreos were both displayed on candle stands (hint: way cheaper than cake stands) that were covered in orange, green and purple Sixlets.

Finally, I added orange and black take-out boxes, decorated with more printables and satin ribbon. Our guests can fill the empty boxes with candy to take home.

Back tomorrow with part two of the party!

Vendor Credits

Printables: Squared Party Printables

Striped boxes: Dollar Tree

Take-out boxes: Michael’s

Candle stands: Hobby Lobby and WalMart

Trays: WalMart

Wrapping paper: Tuesday Morning and WalMart