Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A little goes a loooooooong way!

So, maybe you DON'T want to visit www.youtube.com to learn how to fold a ga-zillion origami paper cranes...stay with us....we're trying to make a point here...still unique, you HAVE to admit! So we often get calls like:
"ok, so I have an event 2 weeks away....and although you can't be here in person, can you offer any tips on how to add a little umph to my party?"
or statements like:
"I don't want to spend a ton of money, only to be left with a heap of stuff that I can't use again...do I have any options?"
or even,
"I know I should've called you months ago, but....I am in dire need of saving my son's birthday sleepover that is NEXT, yes, NEXT weekend!?"
Of course, we get it. Life happens and inevitably, you're caught off guard by shinanigans and find yourself overwhelmed with wanting things to go off without a hitch...but several hitches have snagged your plan all along the way....well, that's for those of you who HAD a plan. :)
To assist you, we thought we'd offer some of our favorite DIY, or at-the-drop-of-a-hat ideas that may help you, theme or not, birthday or friendly social ta-da so that you can host like the best of 'em! Feel free to offer your trusty tidbits! We can all learn from one another.
First our checklist of PARTE' ESSENTIALS that are always a saving grace:
  • For evening events: coordinating candles...Wal-Mart has votives for a steal! You can hardly ever have too many.
  • For day parties: a pop of color either in utensils, pillows, or ceiling adornments.
  • For our little angels: some type of play center equipped with handy treats
  • (be it WII remotes or assorted Crayolas and FREE printable coloring book pages from the web...placed in colorful cups and bowls, remember a lot of a little thing, goes a loooooong way!
  • For all of the above, be creative! Random dishes and containers can be used to make nice presentations, water goblets filled with greens from your oh-so-fresh fridge pocket and a single rose OR

  • bunches of pillar candles that are embellished with in-season items like candy corn, cranberries, or sparkling jewels:

    OR unique place settings either in placemats, labeled mugs (perfect for eggnog or spiced cider)...

    you can't ever go wrong with in-season fruit aka Mother Nature, and a little bit of dye...

On the day of your elaborate fete, the following tidbits might be handy to keep in mind:
1. Mindful Menu:
There's nothing wrong with mixing and matching homemade with store bought. Shh! The right presentation will mean that no one will know! For example koolaid lemonade mix and just a few sliced lemons, say it with me, will go a loooooooong way! Your guests will think you slaved on beverages alone. That's ok, that's a ok, we like for them to think that!
A theme-inspired simply printed menu for your spread can only be a plus as well:
2. Coordinating color scheme:
It really doesn't take a lot to deliver your vision. Just be consistent...and you'll find that your life is much easier if you work with a color scheme that already exists in your venue! Why reinvent the wheel?
50th birthday bash? gold accents and tons of old pics...a $2.87 can of gold spray paint CAN be your best friend!
70's groove? :old records borrowed or purchased from Goodwill either piled on a table or hung from a chandelier could work
Western BBQ? burlap fabric, bandanas and bails of hay will create just the right setting...and of course, finger-lickin' good BBQ :)

3. Magnificent Melodies:
Think of something that will create the ideal ambiance.
Technology has advanced our searches, so we no longer have to ride around town looking for "the right" mix CD....and we don't have to listen to the radio until the oldie-but-goodie is played so that we can record on our tape cassette....only to have our recording interrupted by call-in shout-outs. Aah, memories....

You don't always have to have a DJ! Between iPods and sites like www.pandora.com and www.slackerradio.com you can hit the jackpot by creating your own playlists. Pandora and Slacker Radio will even find songs based on songs you've already selected. If you don't want to hear live ads during your event, at least those sites will help you expand your knowledge of songs that are similar to ones you've already selected, and for the cost of a small fry at Mickey D's, you can download in seconds from Amazon to your heart's content!

4. Lastly, an eye-catching backdrop:
We love a few Amy Atlas designs...for two reasons:
  • 1. She's a licensed atty who quit her day job
  • 2. She discovered her creative side later in life

Here are a few examples of her work...just enough to make you meander over to her own site.
She takes little things, magnifies them, and wows you. Easily duplicatable with a little practice and patience. Go ahead, you can do it. :)

Aww-inspiring Crane Backdrop: www.hostessblog.com
Leafy Bouquets: www.bhg.com
Mass Pillar Centerpiece: www.realsimple.com
Chalkboard Placemats: www.realsimple.com
Simple Fruit Centerpieces: www.realsimple.com
Dye Gerber Daisy Centerpieces: www.colincowie.com
Twilight Dinner Menu: Yet again, www.hostessblog.com

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