Rustic Winter Engagement Party

Rachel and Hugh's Engagement Party Collage

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life -Confucius (smart guy)

I feel this is never more true for me than when I’m working on decorations for a loved one. One of my best friends since we were 13 recently got engaged to her beau and her mom wanted to throw her an engagement party right after Christmas while friends and family were in town for the holidays. This made a very busy month for me between Christmas shopping and working on decorations, but I loved every minute of it.

I wanted a winter theme that would tie in the Christmas decorations that would still be around the house for the party. I went with a winter woodland theme with birch trees and pops of red and turquoise.

These beautiful invitations were ordered from Oh Happiness Cards on Etsy. Everyone loved the back detail!

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I purchased these awesome birch tree straws for the mimosas at the party, simply displayed in mason jars with ribbon.

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Speaking of mason jars, I also used them as accents around the house filled with cranberries and floating candles.

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Along with mimosas, we also served coffee and tea, so I made custom hot cup sleeve covers with a birch tree stamp and the couple’s initials.

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I love the way covering cups and bottles with printed paper makes them that much more special. I created little custom labels for the champagne bottles that made them really stand out.

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I decorated the drink table with a painted burlap banner.

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And I added a little festivity to the doorway with simple paper cones strung between the dining room and living room

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Something I don’t usually tackle for parties (except those I host) is desserts. For this party I actually made two desserts- a cake and sugar cookies.

First the cake: chocolate with vanilla icing, decorated with cranberries and rosemary

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With a custom burlap cake topper!

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The cookies are of Vermont, with a little sprinkle heart on Burlington where Rachel and Hugh met and fell in love.

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(These gave me a very hard time. I wished I could teleport Clara to help me!)

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Thankfully, the cake went easy on me.

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Love the birch round I found at Michaels to use as a cake stand!

Lastly, I painted a sign for the couple that sums up the feeling going into the new year and celebrating their lives together.

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Love you guys!

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Friendsgiving 2013

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Every year my friends and I make a point to get together around the holidays to celebrate our friendship in the midst of family gatherings and the general busyness that occurs this time of year.

I offered to host Friendsgiving this year, choosing blue, orange and gold for the decorations. I made a few simple things that created a festive atmosphere for the grown-ups to sip white sangria and the littles to run around/lay about bringing joy to our growing friend-family.

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I used paint to add color to the setup, including the vase filler, gold accents on the orange votives, and giving a few little pumpkins a colorful makeover.

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I made the banners with brown card stock and paint, and found some pretty orange flowers to brighten up the table.

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Finally, I sent my friends home with simmer jar favors filled with oranges, cinnamon and cloves so they can continue the festivity in their own homes.

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I’m so thankful for the good people in my life. Enjoy celebrating with yours.

 

Harry Potter-Inspired Halloween Bash

What do you do when your roommates suggest that you all host a Halloween party a week in advance? You say “heck yes” and immediately start drawing decorating inspiration from your favorite series of all time, Harry Potter!

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Given that I only had a week to get decorations together, I utilized free Harry Potter printables that I found on Pinterest. If this had been a client’s party I would have designed my own, but I am fine with taking a shortcut for myself. I printed out a “Happy Haunting” banner and several drink labels that I used with bottles I had around the house.

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I was also able to squeeze in a trip to the dollar store to get a couple other Harry Potterish decorations, like a little owl and a skull that I painted black and dripped a candle on top.

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For food, my roommates helped make some fun snacks, including witches broomsticks, witches hats, and these adorable owl cupcakes.

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And I finally got to make my own Butterbeer! I found the recipe here. It was a big hit!

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I know I’m not the only person who loves taking pictures, so I made a simple photo backdrop for people to pose in front of.

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And since this was an adult party, I made a giant Harry Potter Drinking Game. Don’t make fun of my little drawings (or do, it’s fine).

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And, finally, a minimalist Harry Potter pumpkin.

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Yes, that is a wand. And, no, I did not buy it for the party…

In case you were wondering, I did not do a Harry Potter themed costume. I couldn’t get a cape in time. Maybe next year!

 

DIY Fourth of July

I grew up in a town that made a big deal over the Fourth of July. We held claim to the largest parade in the state, followed by a pretty great fireworks display that everyone in town would gather to watch on the common by the lake.

Boston, of course, has it’s own Fourth of July celebrations, but this year I wasn’t up for jostling with the crowds to get a good spot on the esplanade to watch the fireworks show. I decided that instead I would throw a casual get-together at my house, and get a little crafty in the process. Of course, I decided this two days ahead of time, so a large part of the planning was scouring my house for things I could use to make a little setup on my porch.

I thought I was going to melt putting up the decorations, but I was happy with how it turned out.

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Believe it or not, the only thing I had to purchase was tissue paper to make the blue circles (and the food!). Granted, I tend to have a lot of supplies around, but for this setup the main decoration was actually patterned paper that I printed out. I used it for the toothpick flags and to wrap the vases for the flowers.

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For food, I kept it simple with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes on french bread, strawberries and blueberries, chips and salsa, raspberry creme cookies, and, of course, Twizzlers. We made hamburgers later in the day.

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I also made a simple drink with cranberry juice and seltzer, modeled by my very pregnant friend in her pretty matching dress.

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Two other paper decorations I threw together were simple flags that I stenciled stars onto with a silver Sharpie:

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And a cute “America the beautiful” sign that I created in Word and framed.

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I might do a tutorial on the tissue paper circles, but they are very simple. If you have ever made a paper pom, you’re already way ahead of the game because these are even easier.

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The silver star was a decoration from Christmas, and all the plates, candles and vases were things I had lying around. All in all, it was a fun little project that made for a festive and laid-back Fourth.

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