PARTY ON A BUDGET: A Sock Monkey Baby Shower for $100

by Jillian Leslie on

Since we're all trying to save money throwing parties these days, I'm always looking for new ideas. 

Mariah L threw this incredible Sock Money Baby Shower and I can't believe she did it for $100!  I had to know more (and make sure she wasn't lying :)). So here's what she had to say about her party...

I was born a natural social butterfly and have always loved to plan and host parties. From holidays to birthday parties, I can find any excuse to throw a fabulous party! Having a fabulous party doesn’t mean you have to spend BIG. I believe the little details are what set ordinary events apart from extraordinary events, even in everyday life!

My sister was hosting a baby shower for a good friend and asked me to help her with the shower. We had a small budget; again I throw lots of parties, so I have to keep things reasonable. ;) She told me the mom-to-be was decorating the nursery in Sock Monkeys and I knew immediately this would be a great theme for the shower.

Here are 5 of my tips for throwing a fabulous party on a budget and how I did it:


“Shop” your house or borrow items. When planning the party look around your house and find inspiration and decorations from items you already have.

  • I decorated my twin’s nursery with Sock Monkeys so I knew I had lots of items at my disposal to decorate. The look and feel I decided on for the party was inspired by my twin’s room. I used vintage toys and sock monkey’s from their room to decorate with.

Vintage toys

  • I also borrowed a tricycle and red wagon from a friend to complete the look.
  • I had fabric scraps leftover from my twin’s bedding so I used those to create the banner and some of the table runners.

Toys borrowed and already owned


Keep it simple. You don’t have to buy extravagant decorations or have a huge spread of food to throw a great party. For this party the decorations were simple, but the impact of a few key items created the perfect atmosphere for the party.

  • •I did splurge on 2 items and those were the sock monkey cookies and cake pops, however I only ordered enough to add that extra little detail. I filled in the rest of the sweets with cake pops I made and store bought cupcakes.

Sock monkey cookies - a splurge

Sock monkey cake pops - another splurge

  •  I kept the food very simple by making mini portions, putting the fruit on the skewers and dressing up pasta from a box mix. I was able to stretch my budget farther a little farther by keeping the food simple.

Pasta from a box and fruit on skewers

TIP 3 

Dress up store bought items. You can make simple and cheap store bought items look like a million bucks if you take the time to dress them up.

  •   I bought red & white polka dot cupcake liners that I found at Hobby Lobby for only $1, I added those and custom cupcake toppers to store bought cupcakes to create a cute and custom focal point on the table.

Store bought cupcakes dressed up with cupcake liners

TIP 4 

Reuse & Repurpose. Stop before you throw it away can you use it again? Like I mentioned before I have lots of parties so I have an arsenal of supplies on hand that I can reuse over and over again.

  • I made tissue paper pom poms (which are inexpensive to start with) for my daughter’s Strawberry Shortcake birthday and saved them to reuse at future parties. Those pom poms can be a pain to make and I knew I could at least reuse them for Christmas so I stored them in the attic. They add pops of color throughout the house and provided a backdrop for the sign-in table.

Reused tissue paper pom poms

  • The cute banner was made using my Cricut, scraps of fabric, polka dot wrapping paper ($1 at Target Dollar Spot) and some of my nephew’s onesies.

Made with a Cricut and onesies

  • One of my favorite details was the individual crudités. I used candle votives I had to make individual crudités and served them on a tray I keep in my bathroom for display.

Crudite served in candle votives


Make an investment. Invest in items you can use over and over again.

  •   I was super lucky to find the white square plates and serving tray on clearance at Walmart a while back (only $1 each!) and it’s been one of my best investments! I simply add a piece of scrapbook paper that coordinates with the party.
  • •While I’m a DIY girl who loves to create things, I can’t ever make the invitations look as good as the ones you can buy! I usually invest in custom printables and have been lucky to work with some amazing vendors. I try to spend $20 or less, but they really help make things look extra special.
Party Expense Break Down

Here is how I spent my budget on the Sock Monkey Baby Shower. I had lots of things already on hand and my sister was able to do all of the printing for free.

Food - $30 Cupcakes - $12 Custom Cookies & Cake Pops - $38 Paper goods - $6 (bought at Dollar Store) Fabric - $2 (I only bought 1 yard of the Polka Dot fabric and used a coupon, the other fabric I already had) Printables - $20 Total - $108

*My sister spent an additional $40 on the party favors, but this was not part of my budget. She also had several left over she plans to give as teacher gifts when school starts.

Okay, so you weren't lying. :) Thank you, Mariah, for these great tips, and for sharing your party with us.

Check out Mariah's other fabulous parties on our site. You will be impressed with what she can do!

FREE Under the Sea Birthday Printables from NecessiTees

by Jillian Leslie on

Today we're giving away this sweet set of FREE under the sea birthday printables from Neta at NecessiTees. Now if you're thinking under the sea, think of these happy little printables!

The collection includes invitations, party circles, favor tags, water bottle labels, napkin rings, and a banner.

Download the High Resolution Files for Printing:


Party circles

Favor tags and water bottle labels

Favor tags and water bottle labels

Banner and napkin rings

Banner and napkin rings

Thank you, Neta, for letting us give these adorable printables away! To learn more about Neta and see more of her designs, visit her Etsy shop, NecessiTees.

If you use these printables at your next party, please add your party to our site, I'd love to show it off. And if you have free party printables you'd like us to consider giving away, please email me at jillian(at)


FREE Back to School Book Labels and Lunch Labels from Fresh Chick Design Studio

by Jillian Leslie on

My friends Rebecca and Shannon from Fresh Chick Design Studio sent me these FREE back to school labels they designed and I had to post them! How cute would it be to send your kids off to school with their books and lunches labelled like this?

Download the high resolution files for printing:

Book labels

Lunch labels

Thank you, Fresh Chicks for thinking of us! To learn more about the Fresh Chicks and see their fabulous party designs, please check out their site and Etsy shop.  Also, take a look at the amazing parties Rebecca has added to our site. If you have some free party printables you'd like us to consider giving away, please email me at jillian(at)


by Jillian Leslie on

Minnie Mouse parties are a super popular theme right now. So for this week's Party Photo of the Week, I had to show off these two sisters doing their Minnie Mouse "thang." This photo is from Cynthia S's Carla & Gisella's Minnie Mouse Party. Adorable!!

Check out the rest of this party, including the girls' other more traditional Minnie Mouse costume change.

GIVEAWAY: Win a $50 Gift Certificate to Jilly Bean Kids

by Jillian Leslie on

What can you buy at Jilly Bean Kids? The better question is what can't you buy?!

They sell everything you could ever want for your party -- gable boxes, paper straws, favor bags, baker's twine, tags, nuts cups, carnival tickets, washi tape, craft supplies, giant balloons... Are you tired yet because I could keep going. :)

Jen from Jilly Bean Kids is offering one of our lucky readers a $50 gift certificate to her store. How fun! Take a look at these photos...

To enter, just "like" Jilly Bean Kids on Facebook, then leave a comment at the end of this post saying you did it.

This is a seriously fun giveaway, so thanks Jen for making it happen.

We’ll pick the winner at random on Thursday, August 18th at 10:00PM (PST).  Any entries after that won’t be considered, sorry.  We will use to generate our winner and will notify you by email.




FREE Back to School Printables from Clickable Party

by Jillian Leslie on

Woo hoo!! We are giving away another collection of free back to school printables. This fun set was designed by Krysten at Clickable Party.

What's great about this collection is that there is every kind of printable you'd need to throw a fabulous back to school party (party circles, cupcake wrappers, banner, food tags, etc)... But there are also book labels, tissue box labels, and hand sanitizer labels for you to add to little gifts for your teachers. Love this idea!

Plus, the printables are easily customizable using Adobe Acrobat.


Thank you, Krysten, for this cute and clever collection! To learn more about Krysten, please visit her blog, Clickable Party and also check out her shop where you can buy more of her adorable printables.

Here's What's in Your Party Toolkits

by Jillian Leslie on

Now that I've shared what's in my party toolkit, I thought I'd compile a list of all the items you have in your party toolkits (thanks for all the comments) so everyone can see and maybe add to theirs.

3M Mounting Strips - Love these, have some. Must get more!

Hot glue gun - I have to admit, I've been a little afraid of them but it's been mentioned a bunch of times,  so I think I must get over my fear.

Glitter glue




Glue stick

Rotary fabric cutter/Pinking shears - Smart idea.

X-acto Knife

Silhouette Craft Cutting Tool - One day...

Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter - One day for this one, too...

Fishing line - I love how this makes things look like they're floating in space.

Clothes Pins - I absolutely need some, especially the mini ones.


Thumb tacks

Suction cup hooks

Tape measure

Tissue paper

Colorful card stock

Poster board/Cardboard

Acrylic paints

Paint brushes


Silk flowers

Wooden dowels

Circle cutter - For different sized circles.

This is quite an exhaustive list. I feel like I could tackle any party with these supplies. Thanks for all your ideas, let me know if I left anything off.















DIY Tutorial: How to Make a Wreath from Gift Bows

by Jillian Leslie on

Maria D made this adorable DIY birthday wreath for her daughter's Puppy Party.

Using gift bows she spotted at the Dollar Store, a grapevine wreath she had painted for another project, and a letter "A" she had saved from another decoration, she came up with this idea for a pretty birthday wreath to welcome her guests.

To learn how simple this was to make, head to Maria's blog, Love & Sugar Kisses.

Also take a look at her beautiful puppy party with all its homemade details.


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