Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Party Centerpieces


Now normally I post about my parties after the party (and by after, its usually months to years after the party). But right now I am planning my youngest daughter's 1st birthday party and I am making everything for it myself, so I thought it would be easier (and more fun) to post as I go. And this way I can give you detailed directions so that you can duplicate this stuff yourself for your own parties (and so I can remember how I did stuff in case I want to do something similar again in the future too.)

My theme for this party is going to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a classic children's book by Eric Carle. I am so excited about it and so far everything has been super easy ( I am a crafting novice) and has turned out really cute. I can't wait to see how everything comes together for the actual party!

Right now I am finishing up my table centerpieces. Here are some examples so far:

In the book the caterpillar pops out of his egg and is very hungry, Each day of the week he eats a different fruit and a different quantity. Monday he eats through one apple, Tuesday he eats two pears, Wednesday he eats three plums, etc.... And on Saturday he eats tons of things; a pickle, Swiss cheese, ice cream cone, chocolate cake, and more. My favorite thing about my centerpieces is that they each have a picture of my daughter eating the particular food item. It was so fun to take all these pictures and I learned about some new favorite foods she has now, like plums.
In addition to the picture of her eating the food, I made Cricut (Preserves and Sweet Treats cartridges) cut-outs of each item too. I made four strawberries for Thursday (because the caterpillar eats through 4 strawberries) and only two pears for Tuesday, and so on. And I have a calendar background with the day of the week circled. The dot border I used is straight from the book, it is an Eric Carle bulletin board border that I cut down. You can buy the border on or at any teacher/classroom store. And of course I needed a caterpillar on each centerpiece, so I added a caterpillar sticker to each side of my centerpieces (they are double-sided). I got the stickers from my local dollar store, but they are also available on too.
They were really easy to make, here is my breakdown:
I glued a printable calendar to a manila file folder. I got these from the dollar store, $1.00 for a pack of 10. I circled the appropriate day of the week.

I added the Eric Carle border along the outside.

If a little manila is still showing, its okay. I covered up anything weird with the picture of my daughter or the food cut-outs.

I added a caterpillar sticker. Sometimes it was placed randomly or sometimes I used the stickers to cover up mistakes.
I cut down some of the manila file folder and put it on the bottom so that the centerpiece could stand up. They are all doubled-sided, so that the guests on all sides of the table see cuteness.
My plan is to display the centerpiece in the center (well, obviously) of the table. I will have green tablecloths with a dotted runner or napkin square under this centerpiece. In front I will have caterpillar candy lei's (like the one above). Here is my post for a how-to for making the caterpillar candy lei's . I did eight round tables and all the centerpieces were different; Monday-1 apple, Tuesday-2 pears, Wednesday-3 plums, Thursday-4 strawberries, Friday-5 oranges, and then I picked a few of the food items from Saturday (based on Cricut cartridges I had readily available and/or food I felt like giving my kid for her centerpiece photo-shoots) -watermelon, lollipop, and cupcake.

And I did have some mess-ups and/or made some extra fruit and food cut-outs that couldn't be used on my centerpieces, so I strung them together into this super cute decorative food banner

You can see how I made all my banners here:



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue Bridal Shower Brunch

Last month my cousin Shawn married his longtime girlfriend, and high school sweetheart, Megan. They have been together for so long and Megan is just so wonderful, that's I feel like she's always been a part of our family. I threw her a small bridal shower with just the women from my family to help her celebrate that special time. I am so very excited that she is officially part of the family now!

I did a spring/floral theme (the shower was in April and the wedding n May). I planned it at noon and that helped dictate a fun brunch menu. And of course a brunch menu needs mimosas!
I set up this cute mimosa bar. It had a couple different kinds of champagne and lots of different juices! Orange, orange-pineapple, cranberry (which I believe is actually called a hibiscus, not a mimosa), and pomegranate juice. I also included some fun sliced fruit for garnishes on the glasses. We had some non-drinkers there too and they thought it was fun to have a variety of juices and garnishes to choose from too.

Trying to have some more 'brunchy' food, I started with a parfait bar. I had vanilla yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, granola, chocolate chips, pecans, almonds, grapes, and bananas. I do have some vegan family so I also had soy yogurt, dark chocolate chips, and I made sure my granola was vegan (Bare Naked Granola). I love 'bars' because it looks nice and is fun for guests to make their own food, and its less work as the hostess since you don't have to put together 30 individual parfaits, or whatever item you set up as a bar.
Also, here's a fun Waffle Bar that I did awhile back for another party ( I feel like it kinda fits in here....)

Butter, Strawberry jam, Nutella, Peanut Butter, Whipped Cream, Apples, Strawberries, Blueberries, Chocolate and Carmel Sauce, Bananas, Macadamia Nuts, Powdered Sugar, Coconut Syrup, Maple Syrup, and fresh fruit

(Sorry for the Waffle Bar sidetrack, back to the bridal shower brunch.) I also had croissants and meat and cheeses (vegan English muffins with avocado and tomato for the vegans). And I made cute little mini-omelets in a muffin tin. I call them Ham Cup Omelets.
The possibilities for these little omelets are endless and they are just so cute and individual!
I did a little bit of an Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue theme for the shower too.
I hung up a bunch of OLD pictures of the couple, which is always fun to see.

NEW was obviously all the nice, new wedding gifts.

BORROWED was a journal/notebook. We passed it around and everyone wrote their marriage advice for the happy couple ( borrowed advice....Get it?)

And did my dessert table all in BLUE. Luckily this party was around Easter time so it was very easy to find candy with  blue wrappers or even blue donuts.
We also did a "Panty Raffle" for the bride. Very similar to the "Diaper Raffle" for baby showers, but with panties for the honeymoon. For every pair of panties brought for the new bride-to-be, you'd get a raffle ticket. The winner of the raffle won this fun prize (bottle of wine here, but I will use Martinelli's or one of those plastic tumblers with lid/straw for parties for non-drinkers, and measuring spoons, candle, hair ties, chocolate, sometimes a gift card)! And did specify ahead of time that the panties do need to be new and clean :)
This party was fun and I will definitely use an Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue theme in the future for more Bridal Showers. I really liked it and it was fun to have old pictures and share our marriage advice. I will also be doing a lot more parties at brunch in the future. Brunch food is fun and I was very impressed with myself for coming up with some vegan and vegetarian options. AND Congrats to Shawn and Megan! I love you guys and wish you the happiest life together!!