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party inspirations

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Spooky Forest Halloween Party Food

spooky forest halloween party theme for kids

spooky forest halloween party theme for kids

I started to think about how we will celebrate Halloween. Yesterday, I ordered online my son’s costume. You will notice the influence of my geek husband when I tell you that my son will dress up as an astronaut. He played Darth Vader last year.

Now that his costume is taken care of, I can concentrate on an Halloween party for young kids. I look for a fun twist on the eerie theme. Something that would be unusual but that will not scare the children. I also care about the ingredients. Too much sweet is not good for toddlers. And if I can put a touch of healthy that it is even better. I feel that I compiled a winner mix with this assortment of party food and drink.

For the signature drink, style your favorite kid-friendly sparkling lemonade with a gummy fish, eggs made of coloured tapioca pearls topped with a gummy worm. Get the entire Swamp juice recipe (No. 1) at Family Fun.

For the healthy part, make these cut cheese fingers (No. 3) with mozzarella string cheese. Make the fingertip by glueing a piece of green pepper, a piece of cucumber (skin up), half of a black olive or half a red grape with cream cheese .

The Apple bites (No. 5) are not more complicated to make. To create the mouth, quarter and core an apple. Then, cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter. Slivered almonds make realistic teeth. Do not forget to sprinkle some lime juice or orange juice on the apples to keep them from browning.

For treats, you can make the awesome spooky forest sticks and orange candy apples (No. 2) from Stephen Brown of Glitterville. You will find the recipe in his book: Glitterville’s Handmade Halloween: A Glittered Guide for Whimsical Crafting!

These spider cupcakes (No. 4) are super cute! Decorating them is so easy that you can ask your kids to help out.

Add a few candy boxes, decorate the room, plan three or four fun activities and you are all set for a spooky forest Halloween party that the kids will remember.

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

Ideas to Steal: Carpaccio Served on a Clothesline

Food plating on a table clothesline

Food plating on a table clothesline

I always keep an eye open for easy show stopper food plating that I could use at a party. The carpaccio served on a clothesline today at restaurant Europea in Montreal tops my list this summer.

If you build your own table clothesline ahead of time, you could reuse the concept many times. They did it with big nails and a piece of 2×4 lumber. For an outdoor party, you could assemble a taller and longer clothesline by planting two poles on the ground. A strong fishing line could be used instead of the standard clothesline. With the bigger clothesline version, you could not only hang carpaccio but also small plastic containers or chinese take out boxes.

SOURCING:
+ photo by Pierre Bellerose via Twitter – thanks Pierre for this find.

FAMILY KIDS party

My Son’s First Birthday Jungle Party (Part 2): The Food, the Cakes and the Party Favors

1st birthday snack food :: jungle theme

Click here to read part 1 of my son’s jungle theme birthday party.

1st birthday jungle themed snack table

I do not think that kids party are about food. For one thing, kids birthday parties are often scheduled in the middle of the afternoon and set to end before supper time. This is why I chose to serve healthy snacks for my son’s first birthday party. I went for food that the kids and their parents would equally enjoy.

1st birthday snack food :: jungle party

I also want to devise a menu that shared my party color palette. After contemplating several options, I opted for a fast and easy to make crowd-pleasing menu. I served crudités with a succulent dip, caprese salad on skewers, old cheddar grilled cheese, and as a testimony to my son’s play habit at the time, a tower of marbled cheese cubes.

Two DIY Decorating Projects for my Savoury & Sweet Table

The first project can hardly be called a project since it took two minutes from start to finish. But the raised platters is an important design element of my table. I made the raised platters by simply taping PAPAJA plant pots from IKEA to my collection of Thomas Paul Sea Life melamine plates. Double-sided tape works perfectly for this type of job. Make sure to check that the base of the pots is straight and that the plates sits well on them. I paired the dishes with some IKEA melamine bowls that I bought 2 summers ago — sadly for you, the bowls are no longer available. I was not lying when I told you that I used many items that I already owned for this party.

paint dripped utensils

My main DIY project are the paint-dipped utensils. I did it before dinner the night before. Although it works out, I should have started earlier. I will share what I learned by paint-dipping wood utensils in a future post. For now, let’s talk about two Montreal-based bakers that did an incredible job.

The Cake and Cupcakes

zack 1st birthday cake :: jungle theme

It was important to me to have the right cake for the occasion. I am glad that I bought the cakes at Les Glaceurs. I did not consider Les Glaceurs a contender until I saw the jungle animal cupcakes they did for a kids birthday party. Their style fits with mine. But I also want a cake, not just cupcakes. I inquired and they showed me their portfolio of nicely decorated 6 inches round, 3-layer cakes. I was sold!

The design of my son’s first birthday cake was a collaborative effort. I sent a photo of my party hats to their cake decorator in order for them to match the colors. I told her that I want an elephant on the top and circles on the side. I let them do their magic for the rest. I like the green grass at the bottom of the cake. The character of his first cake turned out to be cheerfully modern and playful, which was exactly what I was looking for. I also want to point out that working with Les Glaceurs was a breeze.

jungle theme cake and cupcakes

I imagined that it would be easier for my son to eat a cupcake. So I ordered one with a giraffe. Plus, I ordered vanilla cupcakes for the kids. It turned out that many moms ask for a cupcake instead of a piece of a cake. I bought cupcake toppers but I did not used them. At the end, I felt that it would have deter the attention from the cakes. I found another good reason to have a supply of cupcakes when a family had to leave before we blow the candle. They went home with two cupcakes for the kids.

The Party Favors

1st birthday crocodile cookie favors

A week before my son’s birthday party I received an email from Isabelle Quinn, the founder and head chef at Sweet Isabelle. I had planned to make goodies bag for the kids. Instead, I took this opportunity and asked her if she would supply me with her cute animal lollipop cookies. Isabelle said yes! I received (for free) an assortment of crocodile, monkey and elephant cookies that the kids were pleased to take home. They all love it!

Isabelle delivered it to me with a batch of mini cupcakes the night before. I got an extra cookie in order to taste it. Sweet Isabelle’s cupcakes are simply delicious. They were the first cake that my son ever ate — I wanted him to have a test run before the big day. Sweet Isabelle’s vanilla shortbread lollipop cookies are as delicious as they look.  The animal collection is always growing. I counted 37 animals at the moment.

If you live in Montreal, take note that she organize cookie decorating party at her shop. Isabelle told me that I should wait until my son is at least 3 years old to plan one.

SUPPLIERS:
+ Cake and cupcakes: Les Glaceurs
+ Animal cookies on a stick: Sweet Isabelle

 

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

The Costco Challenge: The Making of a Stylish Cocktail Party on a Budget

stylish canapes costco challenge

stylish canapes costco challenge

This article from Town & Country is the proof that you do not need to spend a fortune to entertain in style 20 guests. Event planner David Monn bought at Costco the food he needed to make stylish canapés.

menu costco shopping list

David Monn spent $10.40 per guest. His cocktail party menu was comprehensive with 8 savoury hors d’oeuvres and 2 sweet treats. You get a nice mix of meat and seafood for that price. I’m impressed!

menu costco

I plan to make his Norwegian Smoked Salmon filled with scallion cream cheese and tied with a string of chive. Who will not love a Brie and apple on bruschetta topped with caramelized walnuts?

Get the details on the April 2012 issue of Town & Country magazine. Go to Zinio for a digital version delivered to the device of your choice.

SOURCING:
+  photos by Juliana Sohn – Courtesy of Town & Country magazine

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Easter Egg Decorating and Crafting Ideas

easter egg hunt prizes

easter egg hunt prizes

At only a few weeks ago from Easter, it is more than time to plan your Easter Egg activities. Hiding special eggs adds cheer and joy to your Easter Egg hunt. I like to include eggs that the kids can keep after the party. The wood hen sized eggs would be a nice addition to any market pretend shop. They have been painted in all natural non-toxic soy paint. You could use the plastic egg string lights to delimit the start and end line of the race.

I found two adorable crafting projects that transform your eggs into other animals. First, you could make an owl Easter Egg designed by Donna Bush. Or  do like Martha Stewart and create your own crepe surprise bunny eggs. Imagine those for your Easter tablescape.

Egg Decorating Kit Premiere Moisson

Lastly, why not paint chocolate eggs during your Easter celebrations? Premiere Moisson sells an egg-decorating kit at their store. The kit includes 3 chocolate eggs (two milk chocolate and one white chocolate), 3 jars of food paints and 3 brushes. If you like what your children’s creations, submit them to the “Fais-toi beau mon coco!” Facebook contest.

SOURCING:
+ Plastic Easter Egg String Lights $9.99 USD at Target
+ Owl Easter Egg DIY project designed by Donna Bush and published at Michaels
+ Crepe Paper Surprise Bunny Eggs by Martha Stewart
+ 12 Rainbow Wood Eggs by Applenanos $32 USD on Etsy
+ Chocolate Egg Decorating Kit $19.95 CAD at Première Moisson

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Winter Picnic for All the Family

outdoor skating party

family winter picnic :: as seen on franciskas vakre verden

Since last week, it really feels like winter here. Finally, the soil is well covered with snow. After I saw this nordic family picnic, I can’t wait for a warm winter day so we could go at the park and eat outside with Zack. To be safe, do not forget to bring some firewood to keep you warm.

winter picnic food presentation

I am in awe with this sight. What not to love with a setup made of the fur rugs, wool blanket and a vintage sleigh table?

outdoor skating party

Hosting an awesome outdoor skating party could be the perfect occasion to play outside and do a little exercise with friends and family. I absolutely love the way Kate from Beautiful Days designed her winter skating party in her backyard.

buffet table skating party

Here, she went for easy to eat, crowd-pleasing food. Since a skating party is usually held in the middle of afternoon, snacks are all you need to serve.

An idea to steal are the tubs full of skates. This way, nobody has an excuse for not skating.

winter picnic lunch boxes and supplies to bring

Even of there is no snow where you live, you could still throw a fun winter picnic. Simply load a big red cart with the essentials for a beach party in freezing temps. And do not forget to nicely pack the lunch boxes of your guests.

You can find more inspirations by looking at the winter picnic photo shots featured at Intimate Weddings.

SOURCING:
Winter picnic for the family at FrancisKas Vaskre Verden
+ Winter Skating Party at The Sweetest Occasion
+ Winter picnic and beach bonfire party at Design Sponge

ENTERTAINING TABLETOP

A Table Design Idea for an Art or Calligraphy Party

art theme table details

art theme table details

Look closely at this table and you should find a few ideas to steal if you are hosting an adult or kids party around an art theme. For instance, use the art materials as your props to design your dinner place settings. They used Chinese calligraphy brushes.

Mixing the art supplies with your table design enables you to jump right away into the party theme. It is an important point if you wish to have enough time to do the activities and serve dinner.

SOURCING:
+ Delicious Table details from H.D. Buttercup’s blog

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Shower Them With An Ice Cream Party

ice cream sundae bar vintage outdoor party shower

Not only is today the official start of summer, it’s the official start of shower season, when busy bridal parties fête the blushing bride-to-be, and soon-to-be-moms are celebrated.

If you think ice cream is just for kid’s birthday parties, take a peek at these perfectly planned bridal showers. This theme is a, well, cool alternative to the traditional tea party, adding a double-scoop of vintage charm and fresh elegance.

Ice Cream Sundae Bar
Since it won’t take more than a trip to the frozen food section to plan the menu, you can focus on adding extras to create a make-your-own sundae station.

ice cream party vintage outdoor shower

A muted chocolate-and-vanilla palette allows paper details on the containers and cones to pop. Ice cream cone cups also make clever vessels for sundae toppings.

ice cream sundae bar vintage outdoor party shower

Dress Up Store-Bought Snacks
In this case, simple scrapbook paper, colourful twine and labels with an old-fashioned look go a long way in helping zero-effort store-bought snacks to look like too-good-to-eat treats.

ice cream party sandwiches wrap paper shower

ice cream party sundae bar paper shower

Again, look for creative objects to display ice cream extras. Here, a thrifted tabletop ferris wheel is the perfect carrier for candy toppings.

Ice Cream, Italian-Style

ice cream party gelato ruffled wedding shower

The creme-de-la-creme of ice cream parties doesn’t actually include ice cream at all. The pastel shades of gelato are the inspiration for both the menu and party palette in feminine shades of pink, green and orange.

ice cream party gelato shower paper invitations menu

Simple floral arrangements in paper cones are a creative nod to the ice cream theme, while tissue paper blooms create a pretty backdrop. The party planners kept things personal by including the guest-of-honour’s name on the paper cones and gelato containers.

ice cream party gelato shower tablescape

Mix-and-match dishes have vintage charm that reinforce the girly vibe.

Free Ice Cream Themed Printable
Put this cute collection of ice cream-themed printables from Eat Drink Chic to work as tags on shower favours or string them together as a banner.

ice cream party printable

SOURCING:
+ Ice Cream Sundae Bar from The Sweetest Occasion
Ice Cream Birthday from A Subtle Revelry
+ Heels and Gelato Party from Ruffled
+ Free Ice Cream Printable from Eat Drink Chic

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Frog Mini-Cakes and a Summer Party Theme

frog cakes

frog cakes

I spot these adorable frog cakes when it was pouring rain but I immediately thought of a bright sunny garden party. They are so joyful. She used plain licorice sticks to create the grass around her mini-cake. Use dariole or baba molds to bake your individual mini-cakes. You could bake them for a kids birthday party, a baby shower or to become the center of attention of your annual summer BBQ.

Yellow Summer Theme

yellow summer theme

If you plan to host a BBQ at the lake and a pool party for Memorial Day or Victoria Day, you may wish to include those ideas to your party decor. Greet everyone with pairs of flip flops neatly stored in a bucket.

Keep your floral arrangements simple. You could display loose flowers in milk jars or any clear glass bottles that you have. Opt for seasonal flowers, if you can.

SOURCING:
+ Frog Cakes from Le blogue d’inspiration de Canal-Vie
+ Reception Details from Elizabeth Beth Designs – styled by After Yes
+ Urban Rooftop Wedding from After Yes

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Book Exchange Party by Reid Girls Handmade

book exchange party invite table decor

book exchange party invite table decor

If you’re the kind of person who has a hard time parting with books, you’ll love this idea spotted at Reid Girls Handmade: a book exchange party!

Naturally, all of the party elements are inspired by books – from the invites to the decor and even the favours. Guests received this charming invitation designed to look like library book card. Each guest brought a wrapped book and filled out a bookplate (which was included with the invitation) to write a note to the new owner of their book. Old book pages were used to create a garland and food labels featured quotes from famous novels and authors.

book exchange party table decor

Speaking of food, what does one serve at a book exchange party? Exactly the type of food that makes you want to curl up under a blanket with a good book: homemade soup and grilled cheese sandwiches!

book exchange party decor food soup sandwich

As a party favour, guests received handmade book journals and bookmarks made from pretty paper and scrapbooking materials, stuffed inside an appropriately named “book bag”.

book exchange party favour favor decor

Not only is this a party idea that works at any time of the year, it’s a great option for a “girlfriends” get together, an easy way to clean off your bookshelves and gain a new read all at the same time.

And if you are into books, you may wish to revisit the Book Club Party by Guest Blogger Jennifer Mitchell of Design Hole.

SOURCING:
+ Book Exchange Party Instructions and Printables from Reid Girls Handmade
+ Photos: Reid Girls Handmade

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

“Birds in a Nest” and Easter Bunny Tabletops

bird in a nest plate and tabletop

I got you last-minute tabletop inspirations for Easter. This design is based on bird and nest to pair with the housewarming food presentation ideas that I presented earlier this week.

easter bunny themed tabletop

All you need to create an impact is a few tableware items based on your theme. You could go with an Easter bunny or a “bird in a nest” salad plate next to a “birds on a tree” salt and pepper set. Continue Reading