Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Party Supply Round-up!

When I plan my parties, the ideas usually start forming several months before.  People always wonder how I am able to throw these parties and what cost is involved.  Starting the planning process early really helps because it allows me to start to purchase items for the party ahead of time and little by little throughout the months leading up to the party.  It can get spendy, but I RARELY buy things that aren't on sale and dollar stores and thrift stores become my best friend.  If you use your imagination (and Pinterest), you can really make dollar store and thrift store finds come alive!

I wanted to put together a little list of some fun Halloween party supplies that are a STEAL!

The first few items are from the Dollar Tree.

Paper Straws- I have become obsessed with paper straws. They are so versatile and can be used in all sorts of things, from cake pops and marshmallow pops to their purpose of drinking through them.  I can safely say I have them in almost every color imaginable, until I saw the Halloween straws at the Dollar Tree.  They come in several different designs and are, you guessed it, $1 for 15.

Creepy Cloth- This is one of my Halloween go-to's for making my decor just a bit more spooky.  Last year, I used about 2 dozen different colored creepy cloths throughout my garage and it gave it such a neat feel.  The good thing about these only being a dollar, you can cut them up, rip them, stretch them, anything you really want to make them looked well worn and either save them for next year or toss them without worrying about a ton of money down the drain (I save mine).  This year, I used several recycled cloths on my mantel, then placed my decor on top of them.

Spider Webs- These can get quite tricky, but for a creepy party atmosphere, they are a must.  Along with my creepy cloth, spider webs were everywhere at my Halloween party.  They covered any spot that could be covered and gave it the abandoned feel I was going for!

The next item is from H&M

This fun cake stand is so inexpensive and can not only be used for a Halloween party, but for many other things.  At $9.95, it is a steal, BUT, sign up for H&M's emails and receive an additional 20% off of one item!

This item is from Party City

This is a large, plastic cauldron for $9.99.  They only have the medium available online, but I purchased mine in store.  This cauldron was used to keep drinks at our Halloween party.  Fill it with ice and it will keep your drinks nice and cold in a fun, decorative way.  This year, I placed in it front of my fireplace as an added extra to my Halloween decor.

Lastly, never forget to check out your local thrift stores.

Whenever I want to find unique items that cannot be found at any other party, I scour the thrift stores. I have found some amazing things by taking several trips to different stores in my area.  Here are some things that I have found in my journey for creepy Halloween items.  My most recent addition was the old, vintage window.  I am using it amongst my Halloween decor, but am also going to be using it for an upcoming Christmas party I am planning.  Stay tuned for that :).

I hope this post gives you some fun inspiration to plan your upcoming Halloween party!  Until next time!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Frozen in California, a FROZEN Birthday Party!

This year, my little girl turned 5.  Along with every other little girl, she was obsessed with Frozen!  It seemed only normal that her theme this year would be according to her obsession!

I had so much fun planning this party, because lets be honest, I liked the movie too.  I chose to go with the blue color from Elsa's Ice Queen dress as my main color scheme for the party.  The table cloths, backdrop, food, etc, all were based around this color.  I also incorporated snow, because you can't have a "Frozen" party without snow.

For the dessert table, I covered the table with a blue table cloth with an organza blue overlay to mimic Elsa's cape on her dress.  I then covered the entire top of the table with fake snow, mini snowballs made out of Dollar Store styrofoam balls, covered in white glitter and little battery operated lights to give it a gleam.  The main focus was a silver Manzanita tree that I draped with fishing line strung crystal beads to look like the scene from the movie where the characters meet Olaf for the first time, under the frozen willow tree.  I placed the tree on top of large square vase, turned upside down, on top of more snow, snowballs and lights, to look like a big ice cube.  I wanted to give the tree more lift, so there was no doubt that it was the focal point of the dessert table.  I then had a small pine tree and a small, white feather tree on both sides of the large Manzanita tree.  I found these awesome letters at Hobby Lobby that just so happened to be the same color as my scheme and knew I had to have them to spell out my daughters name in the background of the table.  For the backdrop, I found this great tutorial for paper snowflakes, made several in different blues and whites, and sizes and glued them to a simple, trifold poster board.  I love trifold poster boards for backdrops!  They make it so that with the folds, they easily stand up on their own with little anchoring, if any, needed.

For the desserts, I made vanilla "snowball" cake pops, "snowflake" sugar cookies (recipe below), "snowball" coconut macaroons, vanilla cupcakes with fondant snowflakes, and a cake to give homage to my favorite character, Sven from the movie.  As for the serving pieces, I made two "cake stands" from a clear plate and clear candle holder from the Dollar Tree, glued them together using the sturdy E3000 glue, then using my glue gun, I made a thick trim around the edge of the plate and sprinkled the undried glue with glitter, giving it a "snow drift" around the edge.  I also found some silver chargers at Michaels that I used to place the other desserts on.

For the food, we stuck with easy "subzero" sandwiches from a local sub shop (at the request of the birthday girl).  Along with the subs, we had "ice" chips, "Olaf noses" in ranch dressing, "Kristoff's Ice Blocks" jello and  "melted snow" water.

I put together cute gift bags for party favors with some things that fit within the color scheme and theme of the party.  On the front of the bags, I cut out clip art of the characters (Anna and Elsa for the girls and Sven and Olaf for the boys) and to make the ones for the girls even "girlier" I cut a small piece of matching tulle, and placed it over the character, like a 3D skirt.  For the girls, Michaels had some silver crowns that matched the theme perfectly, and I used some blue embellishments to dress them up a little more.  For the boys, I used this template and cut out antlers and glued them on to a band that was attached together by a small piece of elastic, to give it a bit of a stretch for different sizes of heads.  The kids all loved the "party hats".  The birthday girl also gave "Do you Want to Build a Snowman" kits with marshmallows, pretzel sicks, mini chocolate chips and candy corn, as well as a chocolate bar with a customized label to match the theme.

We had the party down at our neighborhood clubhouse/pool so the kids spent most of the time swimming.  I planned an indoor snowball fight, and made a bunch of yarn snowballs, some out of white yarn and some out of silver yarn, using this easy tutorial.  I kept the clubhouse doors closed and the AC on high so that the room gave the feel of colder weather.  I scattered more fake snow all over the ground and armed each child with a few yarn snowballs.  They had a blast, major highlight of the party.

Mostly, it was a time to gather with friends and celebrate Emma.  Everyone had a great time, and most importantly, the birthday girl loved it!  I hope you enjoyed this party as much as I did planning it!  Until next time!

Sweet Sugar Belle's Sugar Cookie Recipe


1 cup (2 sticks) of real, unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 egg
2-3 tsp flavoring (any kind, I prefer almond)
2 1/2-2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1.  Cream together softened butter and confectioner's sugar.  Crack the egg into a separate bowl and add the flavoring.  I use emulsions, but extract also works well.  Add that to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until the egg is thoroughly incorporated.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add, little by little to the wet mixture.  I can tell the dough is ready with most of it sticks to the paddle.  When I touch it, it has a little give, but does not stick to my fingers.

2.  Roll out on parchment to about 1/4 an inch thick, use flour for dusting as necessary.  Then, cut and bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes.  This version makes 2-2 1/2 dozen.

Sweet Sugar Belle's Royal Icing Recipe


2 pounds (one bag) confectioner's sugar
5 Tbsp meringue powder
2-3 tsp oil-free extract or emulsion
1/2-3/4 cups warm water

1.  Begin by string the flavoring into half the water

2. Using a paddle attachment, gently mix the sugar and meringue power.  It's not necessary to sift the sugar beforehand, but you can if you like.

3. With the mixer on its lowest setting, slowly add the water/flavoring mix to the dry ingredients.  As the water is added, the icing will become thick and lumpy.

4.  Continue to add the remaining water (this may or may not be the entire amount) until the mixture reaches a thick, honey like consistency.  At this point, turn the mixer to medium speed and whip 2-4 minutes until the icing is thick and fluffy.  Mixing time can vary greatly, so watch carefully and stop mixing when the icing is thick enough to form soft peaks.