Posts in the ‘Party Favors’ Category

How to Host a Royal Wedding Viewing Party -- As Seen on TV!

Today is my big TV debut! I'm going to be on KTLA, a local TV station in LA, to discuss ideas for throwing a royal wedding viewing party. I'm on their morning show and my segment should air around 8:45am.

In case you don't live in LA or miss the broadcast, I thought I'd share with you the ideas I'm presenting today! (Catherine from Design Editor helped with these ideas, so thank you, Catherine.)

 

PARTY FOOD

  • The queen is hosting a breakfast for the royal couple, so how about you do the same? And since many of you might be hosting your parties at 2:00am or DVRing the wedding and hosting them a little later in the morning, what's better than breakfast?
  • I recommend serving everything buffet-style. This keeps your party focused around the TV and your guests can grab food when they like.
  • For food, I like scones with British jellies and jams, a fritatta that you can make the night before and serve cold, English sausage ("bangers"),  strawberries and clotted cream, an assortment of British cheeses (my favorite being Stilton), and some petite fours for those looking for something sweet.
  • For tea, how about setting up a "tea bar" with different teas for tasting. If you're hosting your party in the early morning, what better way is there to keep your guests awake?
  • Also, how about a signature champage cocktail? A simple one can be made with a touch of pomegranate juice and champagne. This will give you a pretty rose-colored drink and you can call it something fun like, “Kissed by a Prince.”
DECOR
  • Party printables, party printable, party printables!! Catherine from Design Editor designed a great collection of royal wedding printables that we've been giving away free on our blog.
  • The collection includes an invitation.  So how about writing something on it like: "Wear your favorite PJs or your most regal robe,” or "Don't forget your fancy hat,” and sending it to your friends.
  • Drink flag labels can be used to decorate tea cups and champagne stems, or wrapped around napkins as napkin rings.
  • Labels can be used on favor bags, as toppers glued to lollipop sticks stuck into scones or other desserts, or tied with ribbon to your tea pot or tea cups.
  • The pennant flags can be strung together with ribbon to create a bunting banner to decorate your table.
  • And finally, the collection includes a cut-out queen's crown.  You can make a bunch of these and hand them out to your guests when they arrive, along with noise makers, confetti, and party poppers to really get them in the spirit.
  • Also, British flags bring some regal-ness to your party. If you have one, use it.
FAVORS
  • I’m  a big believer in sending your guests home with a favor, and my favorite type of favor is an edible one.
  • I recommend buying some cute favor bags, attaching one of our printable labels to them, then stuffing them with British candy bars, British shortbread cookies, and British Hobnob biscuits.  You can find all these items at Cost Plus. They won't cost an arm and a leg and your guests will depart with a sweet British taste in their mouths.
Happy planning! If you host a Royal Wedding Viewing Party please add your photos to our site. I'd love to show it off!

And again, thank you, Catherine, for your fabulous printables and amazing party ideas.

TRENDS: Little Red Wagon Birthdays on Catch My Party

I'm loving the trend of little red wagon 1st birthdays we've seen on our main site. They have such a sweet retro feel. If you're looking for a theme for your 1 year old boy, this could be it...

Katie W's Corbin's Little Red Wagon 1st Birthday

 

Melody F's Red Wagon First Birthday

Brittanie G's Little Red Wagon 1st Birthday

Gina F's Cooper's 1st Birthday

 

 

Cute, right?

If you like these, take a look at all our other toy themed parties on our main site. There are some great ideas here.

My Daughter's 4th Mermaid Birthday

Finally, finally. Now that my daughter and I have both recovered from being sick and I've returned from Bloggy Boot Camp, I'm finally able to post photos of my daughter's 4th mermaid birthday.

Here is my daughter with her fairy princess hat. She debated wearing a mermaid costume, but ultimately fell in love with this dress. The face paint was of her own design. Every Friday, the children at my daughter's preschool are able to paint their own faces, hence the face painting you'll see on the other little guests.

The beautiful printables are from Lindi of Love the Day. The birthday banner was a great decoration for the fence. I printed out Lindi's cupcake topper designs, strung them together, and used them as a border along the pizza table. Plus I decorated a coral centerpiece with hanging tags.

The awesome photo booth props are courtesy of Kelli from The Paper Dolls Shoppe and my homemade "photo booth" sign I printed out and put in a frame.

Here's the bucket of photo booth props. I decided to step out of our mermaid theme a bit and put together a collection  of fun hats, masks, tiaras, leis, sunglasses, boas, and colored hair. The kids had a blast with them and wore them throughout the party.

These are the insanely lovely fondant cupcake toppers from Charynn at Two Sugar Babies and were a nice surprise for the guests. And here's a pictures of the special mermaid cupcake topper (with a bite taken out of it) that Charynn made especially for my daughter's cupcake.

Here is what the table looked like before the pizzas arrived.

The bucket of favors: they were mermaid and pirate Shrinky Dinks with cute printable "thank you" favor tags from Lindi. I got a lot of good feedback from the parents on the favors. Nice take-home activity.

Here are the unbelievable balloon bouquets from Balloon Celebrations. Since the party was at a park and there was a lot of open space, we needed something "big" to make an impact and the balloons did just that!

The entertainment -- Goofy Gil and his friend Momo -- kept everyone laughing.

Some of the photo booth pics...

And finally... my delicious girl and me!!

So here are my lessons learned:

  • Serving just pizza and cupcakes worked better than expected. No one seemed to miss the healthy fruit or the decadent dessert table.
  • My photographer, Samantha Zachrich, was well worth it, and I loved working with her. Next time I will put together a shot list because of course after it was over, I realized I missed certain shots, like a group photo of all the guests, the pizza table, the cupcakes in their trays, etc.
  • Having someone there to help man the photo booth with the photographer was essential because 4-year-olds definitely need some wrangling. Also, I wish I'd gotten a bigger piece of fabric to hang up as the backdrop.
  • Keeping the party short to one and half hours was ideal. For most of the kids and parents it was just enough time, and for others we left them wanting more. Love that!
  • I still need to work on "flowing with it." This is definitely my hardest lesson. When the pizzas were almost late I got stressed. When the kids raided the photo booth props to wear during the party, I had to remind myself to breathe. And when my daughter became obsessed with the presents during the party (having never gotten so many from her friends before) I had to remember to laugh about it.
After it was all over, my daughter hugged me and said this was "the best party ever!" That is what made the whole day (and months of planning) worth it!!

TREND: Mermaid Parties on Catch My Party

As many of you know I'm in the middle of planning a mermaid party for my daughter, Adelaine, so I'm a little mermaid crazy right now. Here are some fabulous mermaid parties from our main site I'm using for inspiration...

Sherry W's Katie's Under the Sea 4th Birthday Party

Leora T's Mermaid Cupcake Party

Nicole W's Under the Sea Tea Party

Roni Sugar Creations' Mermaids Party

Frog Prince Paperie's Mermaids and Scuba Divers Birthday

Heather C's Princess Under the Sea -- Sophia Turns 3

Agnes O's Maja's Mermaid Birthday Party

Peggy P's Avalee's 2nd Birthday

Oh Goodie Designs' Turning 3 By the Sea

Shawna B's Mermaid Birthday Celebration

For more inspiration take a look at all of our mermaid parties and under the sea parties on our site.

DIY Tutorial From A Catch My Party Member - How to Make Goldfish in a Bag Soap

For Laura B’s Vintage Circus Birthday Party, she didn't want to be that parent that sent each child home with a live goldfish, so she made goldfish soap instead. Brilliant!


Yes, this is really soap!

Of course I had to ask Laura if she'd put together a tutorial for us on how she made them, and she so kindly said yes!  So here it is...

Goldfish in a bag are pretty easy to make, but there are lots of little things that you can do to ease the frustration and get perfect fishies.

I wanted mine to look very "I just won this at a carnival," so I took the extra time to use wire to position the fish, and also to make sure the soap hangs while it cools so there are no sharp edges to take away from the illusion of "wow, it's a bag full of water...with a fish!" Tie it with a cute little matching ribbon and you have the most adorable favor!

Ingredients and Equipment:

Melt and pour soap, extra clear (I found mine at Michaels)

Vinyl/plastic goldfish (You can order from Oriental Trading Company)

Plastic bags, 8 inches x 2.5 inches

10 inch lengths of wire, fairly thick but still bendable. (Floral wire will work)

Very small cup or bowl

2 cup Pyrex with pouring spout

Rubbing alcohol in spray bottle

Twisty ties or ribbon

Chip clips or clothespins

A place to hang your soaps while cooling (I hung mine on a wire basket in my kitchen)

Instructions:

1. Prepare your goldfish by sticking the wire all the way through your fish tail. Push the wire through the hole with about an inch sticking out underneath the bottom of the fish. Curve it slightly up towards the fish body.

2. Fold down the top 4 inches or so of the bag onto the outside. This is to prevent making a mess of soap on the inside of the upper lengths of the bag when you pour it. Prop it up inside a small cup or bowl to keep it from moving while you pour the soap.

3. Cut your soap into small cubes and place about 3.5 ounces by weight into the Pyrex dish. I just used a small food scale that we had lying around. Microwave (15-20 sec stirring after each session. Do not fully melt the soap, and definitely do not boil it! When it is mostly melted with just few small chunks left, remove from microwave and stir until fully melted. Do not get it too hot because the bags will melt! This happened to me! It gets hot really quick!

4. Pour your melted soap into the bag and then spray the surface with rubbing alcohol to get rid of the bubbles. Put your wired fish into the bag and spray for bubbles again if you need to.

5. Pull the sides of the bag up carefully and twist the top a couple of times, then close with a twisty tie. The wire will still be sticking out the top. Move the wire around so that the fish is positioned how you like it and make sure the wire end is not pressed up againstside of bag. It can pop a hole in it and soap will leak out ever so slowly. Try not to mess with it too much. As soon as you have a position you like leave it alone. It's possible to pull the wire out accidentally and it just makes the kids sad when their fish is bellyup (then again, that might be a really funny selling point). I just try to get it where the fish is floating somewhere in the middle of the bag and try to make him as straight as possible.

6. Take your clothes pin or chip clip and attach the bag to some kind of handle or something that will let the fish dangle. This is to keep the “bag shaped” edges of the soap. If you set it on the counter it will have one flat edge and not look like it is really a bag full of water.

7. After the soap is set up, gently pull the wire out of the soap and the fish. I let mine set for about 30 minutes. This is best to do before it is completely cool. If you pull it out when the fish is set well but the soap is still a bit soft, the wire won't leave a track. If you wait too long (like I did with one of these) there will be a bit of a mark where the wire was in the soap.

8. And you’re done! Tie a cute ribbon and favor tag around the bag and get ready to watch all the kids scream with excitement!

Thank you Laura for the great tutorial! To read more about Laura's amazing circus party, check out this spotlight feature blog post.

To learn more about Laura and find great party tips and ideas, visit her blog, Cupcakes and Lemonade. Also visit her Etsy shop for cute printables, cards, and invitations.

TRENDS: Very Hungry Caterpillar Parties on Catch My Party

Who doesn't love the book, A Very Hungry Caterpillar? Well it shows in these incredible Very Hungry Caterpillar parties we've seen on our main site. Here are some of my favorite details from each party...

Corey V's Brooklyn's Very Hungry Caterpillar Party


Great cupcake cake


The invitation with holes in it wrapped in twine with the apple and little caterpillar


The coloring activity with cool colored pencils


The favor bags with the little pom pom caterpillars


The birthday boy in his birthday crown

Katie P's Lucas Turns 1 Party


The insane homemade cake!


Food labels with passages from the book. So clever.


Caterpillar cookie favors. Love the tags with art from the book.


Favor bags with personalized tags

Heather T's Very Hungry Caterpillar Party


Homemade caterpillar cake


Again food labels with passages from the book


A caterpillar hunt with hidden homemade egg carton caterpillars in the bushes


Using the book as a guest book

Brittany S's Grant's Very Hungry Caterpillar Party


Fun cupcakes in the shape of a caterpillar


Personalized favors bags with a cute saying

The Party Wall's Very Special 1st Birthday


Wall decals from the book


I love these caterpillar pizzas

If you are inspired by this post, check out all the other book themed parties on our main site. There are some great ones!

TRENDS: Super Mario Bros. Parties on Catch My Party

If your son is in love with Super Mario Bros check out these inspiring parties from our main site.  There are so many great ideas. Here are the details I'm loving...

Rachael L's Mario Kart Wii Birthday


Dessert table


The invitation was in a box shaped like a Wii remote


Hats and star cookies

Brittany S's Super Mario Party


Dessert table


Insane cake


Cookie pops


Party favors - Mario and Luigi hats

Tiffany B's Matthews Super Mario Party


Invitation


All the party details including the great cake


Super Mario bingo

Kelly R's Tyler's Super 6 Mario Bros Party


Party favors


Dessert/candy table

Angelina P's Frank and Sissy's Birthday Bash


Chocolate mustaches


Favor boxes

If you find these parties inspiring, check out all the video game parties on our main site.

TREND: Whirly Pops!

Here's something we've been seeing on our main site for a while: whirly pops!

I'm not saying the moms at your parties will be happy with you serving their kids these gigantic sticky, sugary treats, but they do look great on a dessert table, work well as party favors, and are just so darn pretty. (Click on the photos to see what parties they came from.)

Looking for a little more inspiration, check out these candy/sweets/dessert parties from our main site.

TRENDS: Girl Dinosaur Parties on Catch My Party

We've gotten a lot of amazing dinosaur parties on our main site. In Part 1, I'm showing off the girls!

If you've got a girl who's into dinosaurs, there are so many ways to make your party ferocious and feminine. Take a look at the ideas here...

Genevieve L's I am Girly... hear me ROAR - A Pink Dino Party


Dinosaur birthday banner


Goodie bag


Pink dinosaur cupcake toppers

Nala C's Polka Dots and Triceratops - 3rd Birthday Party


Triceratops decorations and a polka dot food sign


Dinosaur masks for guests


The polka dot cake. Love the girl and the triceratops!

Robin G's Dinosaur Party


Digging for dinosaurs activity


Dinosaur andwiches with cucumber spikes


Scary dinosaur cake balanced by pink flowers

See all the girl dinosaur parties on our main site, and stay tuned for part 2...  boy dinosaur parties!

SPOTLIGHT: A Magical Cornish Fairy Affair

Nicole W told me about her Magical Cornish Fairy Affair months ago, when she was still in the planning stage. I knew this was going to be an out-of-this-world party, so I asked her if I could write a SPOTLIGHT feature on it once she had had it.

How right I was about her party. It's incredible! Take a look at these photos, and the most amazing part is that Nicole did it all herself (including the cake)!

I asked Nicole to share how she put it all together, and here's what she said...

Who was the party for and how did you come up with your theme?

The party was for my daughter's 7th birthday.  She originally requested a fairy party, and while I was happy to oblige, I wanted to put my own spin on it.

There are a lot of gorgeous fairy parties out there.  So I brainstormed with my daughter about it, actually.  It was a collaboration.  Our family came from Cornwall (before emigrating to the UP of Michigan in the late 1800s), we'd taken a summer trip there, and my husband and daughter have been learning Cornish (an essentially dead Celtic language so that they have a "secret" language together--yes, we're geeks).

So it wasn't long before using the mythology and fairy folklore of Cornwall as a specific inspiration came around.  Stone circles.  Piskies, spriggans, and browneys.  Cornish pasties.  There was so much from which to draw!

For the color palette, I adore the green/cream/red parties out there.  I've always loved that combo.  Those little toadstools get me every time.  But I wanted something a little bit different.  The birthday is in October, so I decided to tweak the classic palette and go with greens/browns/creams (the natural colors) and pops of soft oranges.   This was largely influenced by the fact that I scored over a thousand yards of ribbon for only $4 on clearance at my local ribbon and lace store.  Eight massive spools of ribbon in a gorgeous color scheme for mere pennies?  I'll take that as a sign!

How long did it take to plan?

I spent six weeks working on the party.  I probably would have been happy to spend longer (and some of those wishful items on the to-do list would have gotten done!) but that was as quickly as I was able to nail my daughter down to one theme.  She's getting better.  For her fourth birthday, she insisted on a Madeline-Dora-the-Explorer-Pirate-Princess-Pink theme.  Now that's a hard cake to make.

What was your overall budget?

Eek.  I have no clue.  I really should have had a budget in mind from the outset, but I didn't.  I am, however, a huge do-it-yourselfer.  I made, as a conservative estimate, approximately four thousand trips to Michaels, Joann Fabrics, and Lowes for this party, and basically bought everything on sale or with a coupon.  I took advantage of clearance sections.  I improvised and recycled.  The biggest splurges were the stone circle (it cost about $90 to make, but had such a huge impact!) and having the pasties catered by our favorite local restaurant, the Cornish Pasty Co.  (http://www.cornishpastyco.com/).  Still, food for 40, half of whom were adults, for $117?  Not bad!

Did anyone help you put it together?

It was essentially all me.  Photographer = Me.  Baker = Me.  Decorator = Me.  Party Coordinator = Me.  But I certainly couldn't have done it without the help of my husband, who indulged me during my many hours of crafting, and took a day off work so he could watch the girls while I was carving Styrofoam in the garage.

My mother flew in for the birthday (not that she needs an excuse to see her granddaughters!) and was heroic the day before the party, making more Italian Meringue Buttercream and re-crumb-coating the cake after I had a fondant tearing emergency (*&^%%$# Wilton.  My homemade performed better and tasted better after all that grief.  hmph.)

And my friend Jill came over an hour before the party and helped out with all those last minute details putting everything together so I could take pictures before the guests arrived.  Even though this was pretty much a solo show, there's no way I could actually have done it all myself.

What was the most fun part of planning it?

An excuse to indulge in fairy fun!  The sheer, excessive, girliness!  A fun excuse to invent all sorts of new crafts!  And getting to pretend that this is all about my daughter, not about how much fun I'm having!  ;-)  Who are we kidding.  Sure, I'm glad she adored the event, but I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't had so much fun putting it all together.  I'm already planning her next party, and I hope she sticks with the theme, because I have such GREAT ideas already!

What was the most difficult part of planning it?

Simply finding the time.  I have a one year old daughter as well, and it's nearly impossible to get anything done while she's awake.  It'll get easier in years to come, but for right now, it was a real challenge to do anything with the Tiny Dictator around.

What DIY elements did you do?

  • A pomander ball pinata with over 300 tissue paper roses.
  • A standing stone circle based on the Merry Maidens circle in Cornwall, made out of Styrofoam.
  • An absolutely adorable fairy circle (circle of mushrooms where fairies are rumored to appear).  I've seen one other fairy ring in the blogosphere, but it was nothing like mine.  Theirs was made from 2D cutouts set on the ground.  My 3D version looked awesome (I'm too proud to be humble here), and since I used fabrics to match the bunting, it tied everything together so well!
  • Hundreds of yards of ribbon in my orange colors
  • A Dessert Pavilion (so much more grand than a dessert table!).  I adapted a 7x5 tent that was designed to shade grills.  Thanks, Craigslist!  More ribbons, a hand-painted tablecloth, hidden fairies, and clever no-sew bunting.
  • All of the goodies on the dessert table, of course -- decorated sugar cookies, lollipop topiaries, meringue mushrooms, browney-made-brownies, gnome-made scones and strawberry jam, the cake, edible wands, rock candy branches from the crystal forest, considerate caramels from a detail in the invitation story text, and wee trifles.  I'm particularly proud of the lollipop topiaries.  I've never seen anything like them before, and was very happy with how they came out.
  • Floral arrangements and lace-covered votives
  • Burlap and lace table runners and the hand painted tablecloths
  • Suspended centerpieces that floated above the tables under the fairy tree
  • Ooh--I did buy the fairy door on the tree on etsy here http://www.etsy.com/shop/reginagreenway?ref=seller_info .  But I made the mini bunting in front of it in fabric to match the larger bunting.
  • Twinkling lights INSIDE the punch to make it sparkle with fairy magic (see image above).  Again, this is something I invented myself, have never seen before.  It turned out magnificently!
  • Tutus for each girl
  • Wands for each girl
  • Tiaras with Swarovski crystals for each girl (it's good to have a mom who is a tiara designer if you're a girly girl!)
  • I had shields to decorate, elf ears, tunics, and boy-wands for any boys, but none of the invited boys came.  Too bad!
  • Wood-burned signs in Cornish
  • Gosh, probably a lot more than I'm forgetting.  I worked for weeks on this party, and had the entire dining room completely overwhelmed with party supplies for weeks.

What was your favorite DIY element?

It's hard to choose, but I was very proud of my idea for twinkling, glowing punch.  It worked out so well, and was so affordable and easy!

What food and beverages did you serve?

We served the above-mentioned desserts, but also had salad (with homemade dressing), apples, and a selection of Cornish pasties (PB&J, Cheese and Onion, Chicken Greek, and the traditional Oggie) from the Cornish Pasty Co.  That was a vendor I used.  It's one of our very favorite restaurants, in Mesa, AZ.   They'll even allow you to buy the par-baked pasties and bake them at home!  I might not have made the pasties, but I did build the wood-fired oven we baked the pasties in!

I made a pinkish orange punch (just threw together pink lemonade, peach-white grape juice, and sprite) that was a hit with the kids, served "morning dew" (ice water), and had three adult beverages, too (mojitos, sangria, and Penzance Punch, made from a recipe of a punch I was served by a pirate in Penzance during the Golowan cultural festival this past June!).

What, if any, activities did you have?

We had face painting, wing-decorating, the pinata, and a magnificent treasure hunt put together by my husband. (He may be a computer engineer now, but he was an English and Latin major in college, and knows his poetry!  The rest of the time was unstructured play time.  One of the main games the kids decided to play was reenacting the story I'd written for the book/invitation!  (Full text of the story here  http://tradewindtiaras.blogspot.com/p/fairy-party-invitation-story-text.html)  I decided not to structure more games because it's always hard to get the kids to stop playing long enough to get them to play an organized game.  Why fight it?  Just let them go have fun.

What was your favorite moment during the party?

My husband playing the part of the evil Spriggan (a very mischievous type of Cornish fairy whose job it is to protect treasure), leaping out and trying to "protect" the treasure at the end of the treasure hunt.  Such squeals of mock fear and delight I've never heard!  The girls loved fighting him off with their wands.

Any lessons learned from planning the party (things you might do the same or differently next time)?

Start setting up earlier!  I thought I'd learned this lesson with previous parties, but I guess I didn't learn it well enough!  I want time to photograph all the elements I spent so much effort creating, and I always end up rushing.

Any final thoughts about the party?

I'd do it again, a thousand times over.  I show love by putting tremendous efforts into things.  Elaborate cakes.  Insanely complicated parties.  Involved crafts.   As I was putting together the pinata one evening, my daughter said, "You must really love me!"  Yes!  Mission accomplished.  I LOVE this kid, and I want to shout it from the rooftops in my quiet, crafty way.

Nicole, thank you for sharing with us all about your beautiful party!  What a wonderful job you did!

Check out Nicole's other gorgeous parties on our site, and if you want to learn more about her fabulous desserts, please read my feature on her tea set cupcakes.  Also, to  see the beautiful wedding tiaras Nicole creates in her spare time when she's not putting together lavish parties, please check out her blog, Tradewind Tiaras.

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