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Pinterest

I haven’t been on the Pinterest site much over the past few months. I signed up for an account awhile ago and started to pin things and then sort of forgot about it. Until recently. I got an email saying that someone repinned or liked one of my pins. So I went on, because I was curious to see what was like or repinned.

My mom also decided to join Pinterest. The other day, I was teaching her how to repin some things from the site. She works in an office where the is always a party (tough gig right??) and she was looking for some new ideas. That got me thinking about how underutilized this site really is.

When you are going to make something for a party, where do you go for recipes? Most of the time, people just google what they are looking for and get a recipe from there. But, with Pinterest, you can get the same thing – but most of the time, you get better results. You can find boards filled with yummy ideas for food, favors, decorations, etc. Some people have party specific boards (Mexican food, wedding stuff, Do it Yourself Boards) where you can find a wealth of ideas.

If I am looking for inspiration for my projects, I often would look on YouTube. While this is a good resource for finding tutorials on HOW to make things, most of the time I am looking for IDEAS – and then I need to know how to make it! Typing in words to YouTube only makes sense if you know what you need help with. On Pinterest, I can type in scrapbooks or Christmas cards and a ton of new ideas come up.

The same is true for when you are planning an event. Just type in wedding ideas and see how many responses you get. When I was looking for a hairstyle for my sister’s wedding, I typed in wedding hair on Pinterest and got a ton of ideas! I could have easily typed that into Google, but then I would have had to sift through lots of different sites. With Pinterest, it’s all right in front of you!

I am just now beginning to see how much Pinterest can really do. At first I thought it was a waste of time and I did spend a lot of time looking at boards. I like to see what my friends are pinning. I like to be able to go to one place and get some new ideas for my projects. If you’re not on Pinterest, I suggest taking a peek at the site. You never know what you will find – a new recipe, crafty idea or a party theme you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of!

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Creative Gift Cards

If you’re like me, it’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas presents! Especially if you have people who are difficult to buy for, like I do. Every time I walk through the mall or get a catalogue or circular in the mail, I look through it to try to get ideas. I don’t know if it’s the creative person in me or what, but every year I feel pressure to get or make the perfect gift to give to everyone on my list. That’s why I start thinking about it before summer even starts. (I have a sickness, I know!)

Most people would never think a gift card would be a perfect gift for someone. Usually it is something you give to a person you don’t know as well or as a last resort when you can’t find anything else to give them. Or sometimes it’s what the person requests. After my sister’s shower, my brother claims that he and his fiancée are going to register for just gift cards so its easier to take all the presents home. (He’s not going to get his way, but it’s nice to let him think he is!)

So what happens when you decide you want to get the person a gift card? Most of them come in a paper holder with the store’s name across the front. If you don’t wrap it or put it a card or gift bag, the person knows what you got them. How do you make a gift card look thoughtful and unique as opposed to something you just picked up at the last moment?

It all started this past Christmas. Normally my sister, brother and I (or some combination of the three) go in on a gift for my parents. And when I say we, it’s usually my idea and then me getting the present, picking out a card, wrapping it and bringing it over Christmas morning while the other two write checks. (Can you tell I’m the oldest and Type A??) This year, I left it up to the other two to come up with an idea for a gift. So when two weeks before Christmas rolled around and there was still no idea, I decided to step up. What if we got my parents gift cards to 11 of their favorite restaurants and one butcher/deli/grocery store that they go to down the shore? My parents like to dine out and I thought that this would be a nice gift. But why 12?

Since I know they go to dinner at least once a week, I figured they would enjoy a free meal each month. I divided the gift cards up so that the shore restaurants and butcher/deli/grocery store ones fell into the summer months and the ones around home were for months during the winter when they spend more time around home. Once that was done, I went through my Cricut cartridges and found icons or phrases for each of the months. Here is what I did:

January – champagne bottle for the new year

February – double hearts for Valentines day

March – pot of gold for St. Patrick’s Day

April – Easter bunny for Easter

May – phrase Happy Mother’s Day

June – phrase Happy Father’s day

July – chef complete w the grill for 4th of July

August – phrase Happy Birthday for my dad’s birthday

September – wedding cake for their wedding anniversary (I think it said the happy couple)

October – Pumpkin for Halloween

November – turkey for Thanksgiving

December – phrase Happy Birthday for my mom’s birthday

I cut them all out at an appropriate size for each gift card and then attached them to the front. While they were decorated, I felt like it needed a little something. So I went to Michael’s and bought a lined wicker basket and some of that Easter grass to take up some of the space at the bottom. I also bought some ribbon for the big bow at the top and to attach all of the gift cards and some cellophane to wrap the basket. The last thing I purchased was an angel to be the topper.

Here are some of the pictures (the rest can be seen at my other blog – scrapsecrets.wordpress.com):

January

MarchJulyDecemberInsideFinished

We could have just given my parents the gift cards undecorated and I know they would have been just as appreciative. But, I think the little extra effort decorating them shows that a lot of thought was put into the gift. It’s just one way to make it look like you didn’t pick up just any old gift card to any old place. You can do the same thing for a birthday party or a shower.

Another unique way to give a gift card is to buy or use a bunch of boxes that are lying around your house. Place the gift card (wrapped or unwrapped) in the smallest box. Then place that box in the next size box and wrap. Continue for however many boxes you have. I bet that when the recipient looks at the box at first, they won’t guess that it’s a gift card!!

Occasionally I will wrap a gift card in wrapping paper, like I would any other present. For a fun effect for a gift card to one of your child’s friends, have them help you make the wrapping paper. Take a couple of layers of tissue paper (you can get large packs of white tissue paper at the dollar store and keep them on hand) and some stamps and go to town! If the kid’s birthday party is themed, try to find appropriate stamps and mix in the Happy Birthday or Party stamps. If the child likes a certain animal or cartoon character, go with that theme. This will make your present stand out from all the others!

These are just some ideas for ways to decorate an otherwise boring package for a gift card. I’d love to see or hear what you come up with! Feel free to leave a comment or a link back to your blog about what you did. Thanks for stopping by!

To give or not to give?

A favor that is.  Some people love them, others think, oh great – more clutter. How do you pick something that will make your guests think of it as the former rather than the latter?

Favors are generally given to show your appreciation for attending your event. The challenge is to come up with something people won’t think is junk but they will also use. I always try to tie the favor into the event’s theme or color scheme AND make it pull double duty!

For a shower I helped plan recently, we found something that was cost efficient, cute and had  more than one use. The theme was shoes and purses. When my mom and I looked online, we found purse shaped manicure kits that also matched our color scheme! (pink and black). I made tags on the Cricut so that another bridesmaid could print the guests’ names on them. These were not only used as the favors, but as seating charts for the guests. The wedding is a destination wedding, so the guests can also bring the manicure kit along since it is tiny. Triple duty!

Another great favor for your guests is candy. For a baby shower, I made diaper pins, baby animals and baby booties out of candy. You can find candy molds for almost any occasion at AC Moore or Michael’s. I placed them in the plastic bags that you can get at those same stores and then tied the end off with a ribbon. I also secured a tag with the mother to be’s name and the date of the shower. It took me maybe three hours to make the favors.  Get a bunch of people together who are helping throw the shower and it will take you no time!

These are just two ideas of favors that your guests will appreciate and actually use! I hope that it inspires you to be creative when you need to come up with a favor for your next shower or party. Happy planning!

How to pull off a display shower

I guess the first thing I should do is explain what a display shower (sometimes called a green shower) is all about! The guests are asked not to wrap their presents so that the bride or the mommy to be doesn’t have to sit there and open every single last one. It’s a great time saver because then the guest of honor can spend some time with the people who came to support them (and maybe even eat something at their own shower – gasp!) How many showers have you been to where you actually enjoying sitting there, watching all the gifts being opened? Be honest – and your own shower doesn’t count!! : )

Sounds like a perfect shower, huh? There are some drawbacks. Guests may not like that other people won’t know what they gave the bride or mommy to be. Let’s face it – people can be competitive. If you bought the PERFECT gift and no one knows it was you, you might be a little upset. Especially if you are like me and rarely feel like what you got the guest of honor is the absolute best idea ever!

Another drawback is that this means later on, the guest of honor (GOH) has to open all those cards. And what do you do about gift cards? They may not be as popular at bridal showers as they are at baby showers, but where do they get displayed? Fear not, I have solutions to all of these (and maybe more!)

A friend of mine is throwing her sister a display shower and she was asking me for ideas. One of them was about a tag for each present. I thought – what a fantastic idea! This way, each preset will have the same tag (a basic heart shape) where each guest can write their name and a little message to the bride. By doing this, it alleviates the “Who got her that gift?” element to the shower and guests can walk around and see everything the GOH got that day! It also eliminates the person who creates a HUGE tag so everyone knows it’s from them, plus it looks nicer because it is uniform. (The eye like symmetry and repetition!!) And since the MOH (my friend) bought the paper, it goes with the color scheme and will blend in nicely with the rest of the shower decor. For someone like me, this would make a great item to keep and then put into a scrapbook. I could write the name of the gift on each or attach it to the page with a photo of the gift and maybe one of me and the person who gave it to me. Tags are much easier to scrapbook than cards are!

Now, for those pesky gift cards, I would recommend having a table set up with some nice linens (maybe make it a secondary color from your color scheme so that the table stands out) that can hold not only the gift cards, but also the regular cards. Now since the tags are to identify the gifts, there may not be many cards. Some people, like my mother, would probably still give a card because then she could put the gift receipts in it. I, on the other hand, would probably just use the tag because chances are I didn’t get a gift receipt or it got lost before the shower. The GOH can open the cards during the shower or wait until later.

I really like this idea for a shower, especially if you have a lot of guests. Plus it cuts down on the trash and cleanup and is more eco-friendly (hence, why it’s sometimes called a green shower!) I hope these ideas help when you are planning your shower, even if you aren’t planning a display shower. As always, feel free to leave any questions or comments. Thanks for stopping by!

Around the Clock Shower

If you are looking for a shower idea for a couple who has either just bought a house or is moving in together for the first time, this might be a great theme! It will help the couple get those special things they need for the house while still giving the guests creative reign.

How it works is that you divide the day up into specific hours. You can do a 24 hour round the clock shower, but for those guests who get after midnight to the early morning may have quite a challenge (minus lingerie!) My recommendation is to start the hours at 6 am and make it go to midnight, separating groups of people into 3 hour spans. 6 am to 9 am, 9 am to noon, noon to 3 pm, 3 pm to 6 pm, 6 pm to 9 pm, 9 pm to midnight. Then take the guest list and start assigning people time frames. If there are people who you think will go in on gifts together, say a mother and daughter, make sure to give them the same time span so that they can do so.

I would also include some ideas as to how the registry can be divided up into the different time frames. A great way to do this is to include a poem and list examples. Here is a good website with a few poem ideas http://www.amazingbridalshowers.com/featured/around-the-clock-shower/. My suggestion for after you write the hours that the guests are responsible for are to include some gifts from their registry. With a three-hour span, guests shouldn’t have any problem coming up with ideas for the bride!

Once guests start coming into the shower, make sure to divide the gifts by time frame. This way the bride starts with early morning and works through to the late evening. You can either include a little tag with the time frame for each present (that way whomever is in charge of diving the gifts up will know what pile to put them in) or just make sure that the presents are put in the correct pile. If you go with the tags, make sure to bring extra tags – there’s always going to be someone who forgets to include the tag!

If there are a lot of people at the shower, dividing up the gifts like this also gives a good stopping point. Chances are the bride (and the bridal party!) are going to be exhausted and the guests may get a little bored. Once you have finished one time frame, play a game (like the BRIDE game – see previous post) to get the guests involved. No one likes to sit for hours on end watching the bride open her gifts! And I am sure the bride will enjoy a break to get a drink or maybe eat a little snack – after all, opening presents is hard work!

That takes care of the presents part of the shower. What about invitations and decorations? As for the invitations, a clock would be the perfect idea. It goes wonderfully with the theme, but it can also be functional. You can include several clocks to denote the time frame the guest has. Sites like Vistaprint have lots of ideas and offer some free items. But they are massed produced so they don’t have that homemade feel. Sites like Etsy offer homemade designs and can often be customized. You can find lots of great ideas there!

If you are doing assigned seating, you can decorate the tables according to the time frame the guests have. For example, seat all the guests with the 6-9 am time slot together and do something creative with coffee mugs. If that won’t work, you can make or buy inexpensive clocks and instead of having the tables numbered, each table can have a different time. So instead of table 1, it would say 1:00! This way clocks are incorporated in the invitations as well as the centerpieces. No matter what you do with the invitations and decorations, try to tie them together. It helps to keep the party more cohesive and guests have a definite idea of your theme!

Moving on to the food! One suggestion would be to have a couple of different tables to go along with the different time frame. (again, you can decorate them with the clocks to denote the time!!) For example, there can be a table with coffee and mugs and have the clock say 6:00. The next table can house breakfast pastries with the clock reading 9 am and the next has fixings to make sandwiches and reads 12:00 and so on. This gives the guests lots of food options and stays with your Around the Clock theme!

I hope these ideas inspire you to be creative in planning an Around the Clock shower. There are so many more ideas that you can come up with! Good luck and good planning!

Creating a theme for the party

One of the first things I do when I am planning a party or an event is to think of the theme. Once I have that narrowed down, it makes gathering decorations, choosing the invitations and planning the menu easier. But how do you decide what to do and how do you make it different from the regular parties people go to?

Your best resource is the Internet. But I am probably getting ahead of myself at this point. You can type in party ideas and become more overwhelmed than you were before you started searching. Here are some tips I have for deciding on your theme.

First, who is the party for? Is it a birthday party for your child or a bridal shower for a friend? Depending on what it is, your direction is going to be much different. I’ll start with the bridal shower example and then I will work on the birthday party one.

For my sister’s bridal shower, she didn’t really care what the theme was as long as it wasn’t beach related. She is getting married on an island and with all of the beach themed things she was doing for the wedding, she asked us to stay away from that theme. So the first thing I would say is ask the guest of honor if they have any preferences. Some brides will appreciate the theme being carried through to their shower, while others will have no opinion (or even a chance to give an opinion!) as to what their shower is going to be like. I think it’s always nice to ask the bride if there is anything she doesn’t want, but she shouldn’t have full control over the shower.

For a kid’s birthday party, more likely than not, they will have an opinion on what the theme should be. It will probably be an age appropriate cartoon character or superhero from their favorite shows or movies. Some kids will bounce back and forth between themes and some will be headstrong and know what they want months ahead of time!

Hopefully after talking to the guest of honor you can get an idea of a theme. But what happens when the bride or birthday boy/girl says “I don’t know” or they can’t make up their mind? This is where creativity comes in and most people scramble to figure out what to do. For me, the first thing I do at this point is think about the person. Is the bride someone who likes to travel? Does the birthday kid play a sport or have a favorite movie? If it helps, write down words that come to mind when you think about the guest of honor. This can help during different parts of the planning process.

At this point, you can start to put the pieces together and come up with a theme. Once you have an idea for a theme, this is when you can start googling the theme. Beware, you may become completely overwhelmed. When we were planning my sister’s shower, my mom and I both had out iPads out and spent a good two hours looking at ideas for favors, decorations and games. You can get completely wrapped up in this part. I would suggest looking at the Internet to give you a start, not to get all your ideas. You don’t want to just copy someone else’s work – after all, each person is unique and you want the shower or party to reflect your guest of honor, not someone else!

While looking for ideas, write down things that you like. Once you have a good list, you can start to narrow down what you can and can’t do. Make sure to keep the budget in mind. For my sister’s shower, we originally had ideas like having a purse cake as a centerpiece for each table. However, when we saw how much that would cost, we realized that having me make the shoe and purse centerpieces would be more cost efficient. (See scrapsecrets.wordpress.com for pictures). We also discussed having a make your own cupcake bar, but with all the other things that we had going on, we had to scrap that. But, I am keeping that in mind for a future shower or party.

After you go through your list, start using your creativity. You can certainly base it off of someone else’s ideas, but put your own spin on it. A friend of mine told me that her daughter was invited to a Dora birthday party where the mom made the invitation to look like the character Backpack from the show instead of buying store bought invitations. It was cute and gave the party a very personalized touch. It doesn’t have to be anything difficult!

Try to carry the theme through as much of the party or event as possible. For example, we used shoe/photo boxes that had shoes and purses on them for the base of the centerpiece and then placed the homemade shoes and purses on top. We picked colors for the shower (mostly pink and black) and all but two pairs of the shoes were in the scheme. Everything doesn’t have to be matchy matchy, but it does have to flow.

Themes don’t have to be about objects either. You can base your party around your guest of honor’s favorite colors. Maybe he or she likes a certain color. You can plan the party around that color and do fun things like have food and drinks that are only in that color scheme.

Have fun when trying to come up with a theme. If you get frustrated, step away and come back later. Sometimes working on something else takes the pressure off and when you aren’t thinking about it, the right idea will come to you! More often than not, that’s how I get my ideas. I will be at work doing something that has nothing to do with planning and a great idea will pop into my head. Feel free to leave comments or questions if you need help coming up with a theme!

Happy Planning!