DIY: How to Make Crayon Hearts for Valentine's Day

by Jillian Leslie on

Melissa from The Joys of Home Educating made these fantastic crayon hearts to give to her kids' friends for Valentine's Day. I think this is a terrific idea and my silicone heart molds are on their way right now from Amazon so I can make some for my daughter and her friends.

The best part is they are simple to do. Put your broken crayon pieces in silcone cupcake trays and place in the oven at 250 degrees for about 15 minutes. That's it!

And if you want specific crayon colors, you can buy crayons in single color boxes here at Amazon.

Look how cute Melissa's heart crayons turned out. If you want to dress yours up like Melissa did, we've got cute Valentine's Day printable bag toppers here free on our site.

To see Melissa's full tutorial head over to her blog The Joys of Home Educating. Thank you, Melissa, for the great idea!

FREE Valentine's Day Party Printables from Anna and Blue Paperie

by Jillian Leslie on

Wait until you see the Valentine's Day party printables Stefanie from Anna and Blue Paperie designed exclusively for us! I love how playful, yet modern this "So Sweet" collection looks.

The collection includes: invitations, party circles/tags, bag toppers, a "Happy Valentine's Day" banner, water bottle wrappers, candy circles, Valentine's Day cards, labels/gift tags, tented cards, thank you tags, straw ribbons, and an 8x10 "Happy Valentine's Day" welcome sign. There's everything you'd need to throw yourself a fantastic party!

Download the free Valentine's Day printables here!

Thank you, Stefanie, for your fancy and fun designs. To learn more about Stefanie, please visit her Anna and Blue Paperie blog and Etsy shop.

Also, for more Valentine’s Day inspiration, check out these great parties from our site and see all of our free party printables.

PARTY ON A BUDGET: A Vintage Ballerina Birthday for $150

by Jillian Leslie on

I saw this Vintage Ballerina Birthday on our site that Jenifer H created for her daughter, and I thought it was beyond beautiful.

Then I read that she pulled the whole thing off for $150 and I almost died. How did she do it? I, of course, had to find out Jenifer's secrets, and she so generously agreed to share them here. We won't tell, Jenifer, we promise!

My daughter, Ellah, has a love for ballerinas and dancing. When I was shopping at the Round Top/Warrenton Antiques Show in Round Top, Texas, I found a stash of vintage little ballerina prints. I purchased them for her room, and when she saw them, the gasp she took helped me to decide the theme of her 3rd birthday - a vintage ballerina.


Vintage ballerina print in spray-painted frame

When planning my two children's birthdays, under one month apart, I know we cannot break the bank two months in a row on birthday parties.  Although I'd really love to do it, I guess God really didn't have birthday parties in mind when He planned our children.  I also work with plenty of moms through my store with similar circumstances or moms who just want to save money.  Perfectly understood.

1st Tip - K.I.S.S

My first money saving tip is always the theory KISS: Keep it Simple Sweetie.  I am with the idea 'less is more.'  My daughter's party was very, very simple.  I kept the party small which helped cut the cost.  We invited family plus a few of my daughter's closest preschool friends, about 25 guests including the children. 

I served less expensive foods by having a simple brunch.  Breakfast foods can be inexpensive to make!  My husband and I cooked french toast, pigs-n-the-blanket, oven baked ham and swiss sliders (via Pinterest - so easy with very few inexpensive ingredients), chicken salad croissant sandwiches, homemade raspberry muffins and we had a simple green salad and fresh fruit in season. My mom brought the chicken salad, so my most expensive menu item was lovingly donated. 


Chicken salad croissant sandwiches


Pigs in the blanket

I kept the ballerinas' activities so simple.  Since coloring is a 2-5 year old favorite, I printed off a ballerina coloring page free from the internet for the girls to color and decorate.  I also purchased foam princess crowns and foam stickers on clearance for $5.00 total. 


Crowns to decorate

The girls had a blast creating their own princess ballerina crowns to wear during the party.  The last activity was, simply, dancing.  All party guests either wore their own tutu or we let them wear a tutu from our play clothes.  The little ballerinas cut a rug with what you might call very modern, interpretive dance moves - so entertaining and it was free!

2nd Tip - Use & Reuse

This is a fun and important tip: Use and reuse what you have!  I love "shopping" the house (and my mother's house) to find what will work with my party's theme.  I think it's perfectly acceptable to ask family and friends to borrow items that could work for your party.  Get creative with the stuff you already have.  The vintage ballerina prints that I purchased for my daughter's bedroom were some of the main party decorations I planned to use, but they didn't have frames.  Lo and behold, in my search, I found three identical, unused frames in my garage that happened to fit the pictures!  That was a score.  The frames were black, so I purchased spray paint to coordinate with the party color scheme and simply spray painted them and hung the art.  Easy and inexpensive. 

Absolutely everything that I used to serve the food and candy I either owned myself or I borrowed from my mom's vintage dish collection. 


Borrowed vintage dishes

The pops of turquoise you see in the platter and round place mat I already had.  Another party item I reused was the large mirror seen in the outdoor table photos. The mirror was kept from our bathroom remodel and worked as a great ballet mirror.


Ballet mirror from bathroom remodel

3rd Tip - Use your connections

Here I saved most of my money on the most expensive parts of the party - the photography, the cake, the bunting, the invitations and party accessories - all because of people I know.  Do you have a friend or family member you know who takes better photos than you?  I do!  A good friend of mine is the photographer of Jennifer Schattle Photography.  Jennifer and I partner together on projects every year including my children's birthday parties, so I am blessed to know and work with such a talented friend.  Of course, you don't have to know a photographer.  Ask people you know who can help! 

I also know someone who bakes - conveniently, my husband.  He is not a professional, but he grew up baking with his grandmother and does a wonderful, tasty job.  We insist on baking our children's cakes/cupcakes every birthday, so we save money in that department yearly. 


Caked baked by Jenifer's husband -- incredible!

In addition, I have an aunt who owns a custom sewing business, Kustom Kids of Kingwood.  When I had decided on the ballerina theme, I knew I wanted a bunting.  I shopped around and found that they were a little pricey for me.  I contacted my aunt and she quickly put together my requests (and my favorite piece of the party) for a fraction of what I would have paid anywhere else. 


Bunting sewn by Jenifer's aunt

Finally, I own my Etsy store Hello Love Designs where I sell printable party invitations and party accessories.  I also work with one of the top US press printing companies allowing me to have my invitations professionally printed for cost.  I printed out the cupcake toppers, tent labels, and favor tags on my own home printer, cut, and we were ready to party!  I have the Little Vintage Ballerina birthday invitation and full printable party collection for sale in the store.


Custom invitation designed by Jenifer


Cupcake toppers and tent labels designed by Jenifer

4th Tip - Use printables

I LOVE printables!!  Printable party accessories add such detail to a party and save money at the same time.  You can purchase anything from full party packages to just the pieces you need for a low cost.  Then all you have to do is print, cut them out, and you're ready to add beautiful detail to your party.  If you're really on a tight budget, there are many blogs, designers, and sites who offer free party printables.  You will spend a little time assembling, but the money you save is so worth it!

5th Tip - Use Etsy

For me, Etsy is an indispensable source.  Great deals are to be found everywhere!  Etsy offers such a variety of products, styles, and prices that everyone is happy.  I found (another favorite piece) a vintage floral sheet that I used as the table cloth outside at a great Etsy store called Eager Hands.  It was so reasonably priced, and the seller was kind enough to throw in sweet little "extras."  In fact, the eyelet trim I used to trim the party hats came as an "extra" from her shop. 


Eyelet trim on party hats

I also purchased the cupcake liners from The Cupcake Social used to serve candy, Ellah's tutu from Cheeky Chic Baby, and Ellah's headband from Prim Couture Shop - all on Etsy.  Note:  Ellah's birthday outfit was not a part of our party budget.


Ellah's birthday outfit

My one "splurge" item was the floral arrangement and, truthfully, it wasn't all that expensive.  I took the florist my pitcher, an inspiration photo, and a budget and they worked up something gorgeous that I could afford.  I always plan and shop ahead comparing prices.  I try to avoid last minute purchasing which can end up costing me more money.

Thank you, Jenifer, for sharing all your tips and your beautiful party with us. You did an incredible job!

To see more of Jenifer's designs, check out her other pretty parties on our site and her Etsy shop, Hello Love Designs .

 

FREE Valentine's Day Party Printables from Bird's Party

by Jillian Leslie on

How lucky are we... The famous Bird of Bird’s Party created another adorable collection of Valentine's Day party printables for us. I'm calling this our "Sweet Cupid" collection as I'm sure you can see why.

The collection includes: editable invitations (where you can type in your own info), editable tented cards, party circles, "Be Mine" mini cake bunting, sweet Valentines, and a "Happy Valentine's Day" banner.

DOWNLOAD THE HIGH RESOLUTION FILES FOR PRINTING: IMPORTANT!! You will need the following password (case sensitive) to open the PDFs after download: party.

Thank you, Bird, for such cuteness! To learn more about Bird and see all her designs, please check out her shop, Bird’s Party.

Also, for more Valentine’s Day inspiration, check out these great parties from our site.

 

 

GIVEAWAY: Win a $50 Gift Certificate to Mirabelle Creations

by Jillian Leslie on

Deanna from Mirabelle Creations, who created these adorable "Owl Always Love You" Valentine's Day printables we're giving away, is also generously offering to one of our readers, a $50 gift certificate to her Etsy shop. Thank you, Deanna!

If you're looking for party printables, this is the giveaway for you because Deanna creates sophisticated, beautiful designs that will add that extra touch to any party. Take a look at some of her work below, plus she can customize any order.

To enter the giveaway, just “like” Mirabelle Creations on Facebook, then leave a comment at the end of this post saying you did it.  Also, to learn more about Deanna and read up on her party styling tips that come with a hint of southern charm (she's from Kentucky after all), check out her blog.

We’ll pick a winner at random on Thursday, January 19th at 10:00PM (PST).  Any entries after that won’t be considered, sorry. We will use random.org to generate our winner and will notify you by email.

FREE Valentine's Day Party Printables from Paper & Pigtails

by Jillian Leslie on

free-valentines-day-printable-decorations

I've been a fan of Kori Clark's from Paper & Pigtails for a long long time, so I was excited to finally get to work with her. Kori is not only a delight, but she also designed these "Sweethearts" Valentine's Day party printables for us that are so happy and bright, they put a smile on my face. Take a look...

The collection includes: editable invitations, party circles, favor tags, editable tented cards, an editable banner, straw flags, and little cute Valentines to give to your friends. (Please note: the editable files must be used with Adobe Reader, a free download.)

Download the free Valentine's Day printables here!

free-valentines-day-printable-decorations

Thank you, Kori, for such fun a collection! To learn more about Kori, and see all her fantastic designs, visit Paper & Pigtails!

Also, for more Valentine's Day inspiration, check out these great parties from our site.

DIY: Paper Rose Wreath Tutorial

by Jillian Leslie on

How great would this paper rose wreath look greeting your guests at your next birthday, shower, or Valentine's Day party?

This tutorial from Sandi at I'm a Yarner is so easy but definitely takes some time. So if you've got some Glee to catch up on, it might be worth doing.

And yes, it's just made of rolled paper flowers sprinkled with glitter.

See the whole tutorial here at I'm a Yarner. Thank you Sandi, for making something so beautiful!

RECIPE: The Perfect Chewy Chocolate Cookies

by Jillian Leslie on

I'm a self confessed chocoholic. So when my husband mentioned a few weeks ago he and my daughter were talking about baking chocolate cookies, I was not going to let them forget it.

Baking is one of our favorite family activities, so when we don't have a busy weekend, we like to create in the kitchen.

Here are our yummy chewy chocolate cookies that are the exact right amount of sweet, perfect for adult and child palates alike. Plus, they're crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. If you're thinking of chocolate cookies, I promise you will love this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons sanding sugar
 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl: flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Whisk just until the ingredients look evenly distributed. Don't worry about clumps of cocoa powder, they'll break apart when you mix into the wet stuff.

In a larger mixing bowl, add the butter, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar (lightly packed), and vanilla. Mix until creamy. We used salted butter - if you use unsalted you might want to add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Add the dry ingredients in 3-4 batches until fully mixed. The dough will be very thick.

Scoop out ping pong ball sized scoops of dough. Roll the dough in the sanding sugar so they are about half coated. Lightly press on a cookie sheet. We used a Silpat, so we didn't butter the sheet. These cookies will flatten out (double in diameter) so leave plenty of room between cookies.

Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. The cookies should start to show cracks on the top about a minute before they are done.

After you take them out, let them rest for about 5 minutes. They should be a little crisp on the outside, and chewy in the middle - yum! We made just under three dozen cookies in total.

We also tried a batch with some maldon sea salt sprinkled on top. They were interesting, but we didn't like them as much as the batch with sanding sugar.

If you make them, please send photos to jillian@catchmyparty.com. How perfect would these be for Valentine's Day. Yum!

FREE Valentine's Day Party Printables from Mirabelle Creations

by Jillian Leslie on

How precious are these "Owl Always Love You" Valentine's Day party printables from Deanna at Mirabelle Creations. If you are making a special party for your kids, these printables are perfect. Plus, I love the little Valentines in the collection your kids can personalize and give to their friends.

The collection includes: invitations, party circles, drink flags, tented cards, Valentine's Day cards, a 4x6 sign, candy bar wrapper labels, and an "Owl Always Love You" banner.

Download the free Valentine's Day printables here!

 

Thank you, Deanna, for this incredibly sweet collection.

To learn more about Deanna and see her designs, visit Mirabelle Creations.