Party Planning

How to plan a party
Planning a party is not an easy task. A lot of work and effort goes into planning an event. It can sometimes take months to plan a party. Some things that need to be considered are location, venue, and decorations. I have planned three different parties in the past two years. I have planned a bridal shower and two baby showers. When I plan a party I like it to be a unique occasion. To make the task of planning a party a little easier it is best to create a to do list. My lists look a little like this:
1.      Who will attend the party
2.      Find out the addresses
3.      Choose a date
4.      Choose a location
5.      Order invitations
6.      Mail out invitations
7.      What will be the theme and or decorations
8.      Will there be any party favors
When planning a party I usually ask the recipient to come up with a list of people that they would like invite to the party. This allows them to choose the people that they would be most comfortable with and have a good time with. I also ask them to get me as many addresses as possible. This is the only work that I ask the recipient to do. I try to keep all the details a secret so that they can be a little surprised. Once I get the list of people I create an excel spreadsheet to stay organized. I then start thinking of a theme and try to choose the perfect invitations.
Before you order the invitations you have to choose a date and a location. Weekends are usually best for most people to attend parties. If you do have a party during the week it should be sometime after 5:00pm so that the majority of the guests do not have to change their work schedule. The location you choose may be a location that goes with the theme of your party, it may be held in a hall, or at a restaurant or in the comfort of your home.
If the party is not held in a restaurant, thought has to be put into the what the meal will include. You can assign everyone to bring a dish or you can figure out a dish that you can make in bulk. Some parties simply have cocktails and or devours. Everyone looks forward to the dessert! The easiest and most common dessert would be either a cake or cupcakes. This can be ordered from a local bakery or you can make it yourself.
The last thing that you may want to think about before you order the invitations is if you want to put a note on it. One major thing to include is an RSVP date and contact number. Other notes that you can include on the invitation are  “SSshhhhh it’s a surprise” or if there is going to be a pool you could write “Bring a Bathing Suit.” Oftentimes people wonder what the dress code would be so it is nice to include either casual, or cocktail dresses. Finally you can order your invitations.
Once you receive the invitations you can begin addressing them. You may want to include a return address in case the invite is undeliverable. Before sealing the invitations  make sure you put all registry cards into the envelope so the guests have information on where they can buy gifts. If it is a personal bridal shower it is good to include the future bride to be’s sizes. Last step to the invitations is to seal and mail them out. If you go to the post office for your stamps you can even choose cute stamps for the same price to put on the envelope. Make sure you keep your mailbox on your phone free so that you can receive voicemails from people that are rsvping. Also remember that you will be receiving phone calls from a lot of numbers that you don’t recognize.
The rest is awaiting game… and the fun part. You can start planning your ideas for decorating. Colors? Streamers? Table cloths? Utensils? Plates? These are all things that you need to think about. Other things to think about are if you are going to make the cake and what the party favors will be. In an upcoming post I will tell give you a few ideas for party favors.

Chocolate Martini Favors

Are you trying to think of a unique and inexpensive party favor? For one of the bridal showers that I did I decorated martini glasses for all the guests. You can either go to your local Christmas Tree Shop, Dollar Store or Ocean State Job Lot to find inexpensive martini glasses. I picked mine up at the Christmas Tree Shop for .50 each.

After thinking of a theme color I went to Michaels and bought paint for the Martini Glasses. There is a special kind of paint that you need to use on the glass. The one that I chose to use was Delta PermEnamel. There are 3 steps to this paint just like painting your nails; a base; the color; a top coat. The first coat is a surface conditioner. It ensures proper adhesion between the paint and the glass. The second coat or second step is the air dry glass paint. There is a variety of colors to choose from. The third coat is called the clear gloss or satin glaze. It acts like a sealer to prevent the paint from chipping off the glass. Make sure that you read the directions on the paint bottles before using them.

 Other supplies that you will need for this project include paint brushes, wire (20 gauge), beads or charms, round nose pliers, scissors, hershey's kisses, small candy bags, paper, ribbon, and a sharpie. 

The only part of the glass that I painted was the bottom.I wrapped the wire around and up the base of the martini glass. After I attached charms that I had made with the wire and beads. You can also buy charms at Michael’s or AC More that have sayings on them.
For this Martini Glass I used shells and sea glass.

Once the martini glasses were finished I made little bags with hershey's kisses chocolates in them, tied a ribbon on it and attached the recipe for Chocolate Martini’s!

To attach the recipe card to the candies I put a hole punch in the recipe and tied the recipe on.To curl the ribbon all you need is a pair of scissors and your thumb. Put the ribbon between your thumb and scissors and pull. Please don't cut yourself!

At the end of the whole process this is what your project should look like!

Baby Shower Ideas

I helped my Mom throw a baby shower for my Aunt. We wanted it to be the best shower ever for my future cousin. We wanted to avoid the typical tacky baby shower theme and have it be more elegant and special for my aunt. We had the party at a local hall and decorated everything ourselves. In the image above you can see how we decorated the table. The table cloth is just a white plastic table cloth. You can buy them at party plus, or iparty but they are less expensive if you get them at the dollar store. The plates and cups you can also get at your local party store or order them online. I am very picky when it comes to the untensils. I really like the silver plastic utensils that look real. As you can see from the picture in each napkin we put a spoon, a fork and a knife. To secure the napkin we tied it with ribbon and then curled the ribbon. For the party favors we were able to find blue hersheys kisses! Everyone loves a little bit of chocolate!

The centerpieces we created ourselves. We picked up the fabric flowers at AC Moore. We tried to stay with the blue theme because it was a boy baby shower so we chose blue roses and hydrangeas. The vases I had saved from my wedding. We filled the inside of the vases with blue and white marbles. You can find these at Christmas Tree Shop. To dress up the table a little more we placed a piece of blue sparkly tissue paper under the center pieces.

One of the gifts that we decided to give to my aunt was a diaper cake. A new Mom can never have enough diapers and it makes for a good decoration!

For the dessert Brigid and I made a fondant cake!
In the backround of this picture you can also see that we had a basket for cards. The polar with his bows was used to decorate the basket. It worked perfect because it was during the wintertime and went with the theme. We also had "Mom to be Napkins."

Its a good idea to make sure that you have a special table set aside for the gifts.

For this particular shower my Mom and I wanted it to be as unique as it could be. We decided to make it an evening couples shower! Some men might think that this would be boring but I think the men at our shower had a great time. And so did the women. Its all about the food, music and games.We played games that the men would find entertaining. The funniest game that we played was the dirty diaper game. You take diapers and put different foods such as melted chocolate, mustard, or peanut butter in them and everyone has to guess what it is. Here is a link to see a video taken from this shower.

Another game that we played was a game that requires blind folds and a doll. You have two contestants come up and you blind fold them. You set a timer and see who can change the dolls diaper the fastest while blindfolded. At the end of each game we awarded the winner a prize!

Hopefull this gives you some ideas if you need to throw a bridal shower!

More Party Favor Ideas - Cocoa Cones

The supplies that you will need for the cocoa cone include:

Powder Cocoa Mix
Mini Marshmallows
Disposable frosting bags

I usually take a tall glass and put the disposable frosting bag in it to stand it up.

I then add the powder cocoa mix. Usually about 2 servings. You can find the serving sizes on the side of your cocoa container.

Once I pour the cocoa in I then take a paper towel or clean unused paint brush and brush the excess cocoa of the sides of the plastic disposable frosting bag. The cocoa tends to stick because of the static. If you just leave it there it will be obvious against the white marshmallows. Once I am done cleaning the sides of the bag I add the mini marshmallows.

The easiest thing to do next is to seal the bag with a twist tie. Unfortunately I didn't have any today so I just tied it with ribbon. Some alternative ideas to do here is to use colored marshmallows or add chocolate chips or some other candy to jazz it up a bit. Since these are just for a bake sale I tried to keep it as priceless as possible with hopes to make a profit off of it for the bake sale which benefits the resident counsel at our nursing home. After you seal the bag with a twist tie, add some ribbon (and curl it) or add a beautiful bow that will make it look really elegent. You can also add a hot cocoa recipe to it or attach a tag that says thank you if you are making it as a party favor.

This is what your final product should look like - or even better if you added extra candy toppings or a pretty bow.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods

I wanted to make something else for the bake sale at work so I decided that I would make chocolate dipped pretzel rods. This is a fun easy project that can be used for desserts, party favors or an item at a bake sale.

Pretzel Rods
Chocolate Wafers (You can get these in all sorts of colors at AC Moor and they are fairly inexpensive)
Treat Bags
Twist Ties
Wax Paper
Tall Coffee Mug
Cookie Tray

When I started this project I had all of the supplies except the wax paper. You can use foil instead if you don't have wax paper on hand. I also didn't have any twist ties so at the end when I was tying up the treat bags I made sure to tie it very tight so that the pretzels wouldn't go stale.

Begin by filling a tall coffee mug with chocolate wafers and microwave for about 30 seconds. After 30 seconds stir the chocolate to loosen it up. Then put it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds repeating this process until the chocolate is completely melted. Make sure you follow the directions on the chocolate wafer bag. If you microwave the chocolate too long it becomes very chalky rather than liquidy. Be careful because the coffee mug will get very hot. Make sure you use an oven mit. Later you will be thanking me for suggesting that you use a tall coffee mug because it is the perfect depth for making chocolate dipped pretzel rods.

Next, dip the pretzel rod into the melted chocolate but not covering the entire rod. After dipping the pretzel in chocolate you can lay it on a wax covered (or foil covered in my case) cookie sheet.

Add the sprinkles to the pretzels as soon as possible otherwise they will not stick to the choocolate if it is dry. As an alternative for decorating the pretzels you can drizzle a contrasting colored chocolate onto the pretzel.

Depending on the weather outside you can leave the chocolate dipped pretzels out and once the chocolate cools it will harden within a half an hour. When I made these chocolates it was very humid and muggy so to speed up the process I put the pretzels on a shelf in the fridge for 5 minutes.

 At the very end I put two pretzels in each treat bag, tied them with a twist tie and ribbon and then curled the ribbon.

Then I put them on display in a basket for whatever event I am using them for.  (If I don't plan on using them that day I put them in the fridge so the chocolate doesn't melt.) This makes a very delicious and creative snack.