Friday, September 22, 2017

A League of Their Own Party

My last monthly dinner was a League of Their Own theme, and it was a ton of fun! It is such a fun movie and a super easy theme to pull off.  Play the movie in the background during a girls night dinner or just use some of these ideas for a future baseball theme party.  I had fun creating the details for this party especially the place cards, wine decor, and favors.

Invite:  Just like the movie, I centered my party around the Rockford Peaches team. I created the invite on PhotoShop in pink and red like the uniforms of the players adding their logo and some other baseball graphics.

Decor:  Baseball decor is always easy to throw together, but I wanted to add some specific League of Their Own items as well.  I used a pink tablecloth and set out red card stock to create diamonds as a table runner. 

My centerpiece was a vase filled with baseballs and peanuts.  I added a Rockford Peaches pennant that I made out of card stock and a skewer.  Alongside the vase, I created a sign to highlight one of the most well-known quotes from the film, Jimmy Dougan's "There's No Crying in Baseball!"

I purchased a plain red baseball cap for $5 on Amazon, and printed the Rockford Peach "R" logo to place on it. I didn't want to ruin the hat, so I didn't glue it, but just dented the hat a little and set it on there.  Worked perfectly.

I used my Cricut cutting machine to cut out baseball stitching to fit my plates.  To help them stay affixed to the plate until serving time, I used small pieces of scotch tape.

For place cards, I made a baseball card for each guest. I found images of the real Rockford Peaches online, and then used Photoshop to swap out the Peach's face with the face of my guest.  These were hilarious, and some really looked like they matched up perfectly! I created the design surrounding the photo to look like the originals with the GPBL logo, each guest's name, and a baseball position.

My husband and I recently finished making a baseball shelf for my son's bedroom (a shelf with baseballs below it to hang hats on), and since we hadn't put it up in his room yet, I decided to use it in my decor.  I turned it over and set some more Rockford Peach pennants I made on it.  I also printed a copy of the original Rockford Peaches to place in the middle.

One of my favorite touches for the party I came up with was the wine charms and Line Up card.  I cut Rockford Peach uniforms out of card stock to create wine charms. I used PhotoShop to design a baseball line up to assign my guest's a uniform number.  This number became their wine glass for the evening.

I always have fun designing wine labels to go with my themes, and this party was no exception.  I matched the baseball card design I created for the place cards, and created wine labels with baseball cards.  I swapped out Geena Davis' baseball bat for a white wine bottle in one, and Madonna's wave became a raising of a red wine bottle in the other! Makes you chuckle, right?

Menu:  It would be easy to serve hot dogs for any baseball theme, but since this wasn't a kid party, so I didn't want them to be my main dish.  We started with an appetizer of mini pigs in a blanket that I called "Dougan Dogs" after the Rockford Peaches' coach Jimmy Dougan.  I created menu cards in the same design as the invitation.

For the main dish, I served "Betty Spaghetti" with a Vodka ("Hooch") Sauce after Marla Hooch and Betty "Spaghetti" Horn from the film.

Along with the spaghetti, I served "Mae"-ple Glazed Carrots after Madonna's character "All the Way Mae."

Store-bought breadsticks became baseball bats to go with the spaghetti.

To represent the Rockford Peaches as a team, I served a Peach Cream Cheese cake.  You could easily do a cobbler or peach jello, but this dessert wasn't too hard to make.

Favor:  As a take-home gift, I gave each guest Peach Ring candies.  I made clear baseball pouches to put them in.  To make the pouches, I cut circles out of a clear plastic table cloth (you could probably use thick sheet protectors although I haven't tried it with those). Then I hand sewed the red baseball laces on using embroidery thread.  This did take some time to sew all them.  Once I was done with the red, the black around the edge was stitched with a sewing machine leaving a small hole big enough to stick the peach rings through. My mom helped me get the black sewn and then hand-stitched closed once the peach rings were inside. (Thanks Mom!)

This photo shows how I displayed them.  It was a bit hard to see the stitching with the reddish/peach candy, but peach went with my theme, so I did it anyway.  I think these would be really cute with white mints in there.  Then the lacing would really pop.

Only half of our normally monthly dinner "team" could make it, but we had a fun evening. Oh...and check out my Rockford Peaches shirt!  I ordered it off Amazon because it went with the theme, but I also just think it's a cool shirt I'll wear often.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Almost 40 & Fabulous -Sex and the City Style!

I am late in writing this post, but I hit the big 4-0 at the end of this month--the first of 5 close girlfriends from high school who will become 40 this year.  I decided to theme our August monthly dinner "Almost Forty & Fabulous" to have fun with this milestone.  When I think fabulous 40s, I think Carrie Bradshaw and her group of friends from Sex and the City, so this became the inspiration for the decor and food.

Invite:  I designed the invitation on Photoshop.  The fonts I used were Trojan Pro and Olivier.  For added fun at the dinner, I asked the ladies to bring a fashionable accessory that they don't use/want anymore. My friends brought jewelry, purses, or hats that we exchanged at the end of the night.

Decor:  Black, pink, and glittery gold was the palette of colors I went with -- sophisticated, yet flashy -- just like the Sex and the City ladies.  I adorned the center of my table with a table runner I made out of card stock.  I used my Cricut cutting machine to create a Manhattan skyline and glued it to pink paper with an added glitter border.

For the centerpiece, I placed a laptop computer with a simple quote about friendship from Sex and the City to represent Carrie Bradshaw and her job as a column writer.  I also set out a Cosmopolitan magazine, a pearl necklace, and mini purses as these are items the Sex and the City ladies love.

I cut out glittery high heels to place on pink napkins.  Shoes are one of the girls (especially Carrie's) addictions on the show, so I wanted to make them as snazzy as possible.

The Sex and the City girls are all about martinis, so I had to add those to my decor.  I found mini plastic martini glasses at Party City, and sawed a slit in the top to be able to hold a business card size piece of card stock.  I trimmed the bottom of the glass with part of pink boa and created a card to match my invitations with each guest's name on it.  For those of the guests that will be turning 40 this year, I also added a silver glitter tiara to the top of their card.

On the beverage table, I created a simple backdrop with foam board and bright pink poster paper to look again like the New York skyline.

Cosmopolitan martinis are essential to serve at a Sex and the City party, so of course I served these at our dinner.  For martini glass charms I borrowed Barbie doll high heels from my daughter and tied one around the stem of each glass with ribbon.  Simple and easy, but perfect for the theme.

I always serve wine at my monthly dinners, so I made Sex and the City themed wine bottle labels to serve for those that preferred wine instead of a martini.  I found quotes and a photo from episodes where wine is mentioned in the series and patterned a label around those.

Menu: I designed my menu around each of the four main characters on the show.  The characters typically meet for brunch or lunch, and Carrie often orders salads.  With this in mind, we started the evening with a simple salad - romaine lettuce, slivered almonds, mandarin oranges, and a dressing from Trader Joe's called Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette.  I bought a high heel shoe cookie cutter and used it to cut wontons in the shape of high heels. I baked them and then added them to the top of the salad for fun.

Next, I served sushi that I ordered from a local restaurant.  You may or may not remember the Sex and the City episode where Samantha decides to she going to make her own sushi and then surprise her boyfriend by laying naked on the table and placing the sushi on her body. To represent this episode, I cut out a female body from construction paper to place on my platter and lined the "body" with sushi to represent this episode.  When I brought the platter out, it was an instant conversation piece and those girls that were familiar with Sex and the City definitely got it.

Our main dish was in honor of Miranda who always orders Chinese take-out on the show.  The restaurant even knows her order when she calls.  I made the dish on the left which was called Garlic Beef and Veggie Ramen.  The dish on the right was a frozen meal from Trader Joe's.  Both were amazing!  The Trader Joe's dish is called Shiitake Mushroom Chicken.  I also served fried rice from Trader Joe's.  I served the two dishes in Chinese to-go boxes I purchased at Michaels to match Miranda's take-out concept.

For dessert, I served chocolate and vanilla pudding.  In the Sex and the City movie when the girls go to Mexico on Carrie's "honeymoon, Charlotte is terrified of eating the food/drinking the water, so she brings pudding cups to eat at every meal!  She wants to avoid diarrhea, or as she calls it, "poopkipsying" in her pants.  I served our dessert in a martini glass, and tried to make it sophisticated by placing the pudding in a diagonal and adding a raspberry on top.  Simple, but yummy.

Favor:  As a party favor for guests, I made origami pink and black Chanel purses.  I used card stock which is not super easy to fold nicely, but I was trying to avoid spending more money to purchase origami paper.  Ribbon was used for the handle and I placed velcro on the inside to hold the purse closed.

Inside the purse was a York Peppermint Patty.  I thought of these to pull in the New York theme, but I think the purse would also have been cute with the chocolate gold coins.

It was a fun night as we celebrated becoming Forty and Fabulous Sex and the City style!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Nerf Gun Party

My son, like many young boys, LOVES his Nerf guns, so when his birthday was approaching and I asked him what kind of party he wanted, his immediate response was a Nerf gun battle.  He was so excited about it and eager to invite his friends to battle in the front yard.  This party was fun to plan, and even the adults got in on the birthday party fun!

Invite: I created the invite on PhotoShop piecing together images I found online. I used these same images/colors throughout the party decor to create a uniform look.

Entry Decor: I always like to have a sign welcoming guests to the party.  This is the one I created out of card stock for my son's party. I used my Cricut machine to cut the letters.

Decor:  I scrapbooked this Nerfday banner and added some of my son's guns to the mantle.  The star I already had for Memorial Day decor, I just added a target and 6 to it. I displayed the cake, cupcakes, and party favors on the table as well.

If you are going to have a battle with Nerf bullets, safety glasses are a must and these can get expensive.  Luckily, Oriental Trading Co came to the rescue with these construction glasses.  I was worried the kids might not wear them, but most of the kids kept them on for the battle as well as the party games. Score!  Oriental Trading Co also has these amazing favor boxes in any color and plenty of themes. I chose royal blue and then added a sticker I created to each box.

Inside each box, I had a package of 10 Nerf bullets. (I bought 400 bullets from Amazon for this entire party!)  I also had orange and blue gumballs per my son's request.  These gumballs from Oriental Trading are delicious, and they also come in a million colors.  I got one package of each color for the party favors, and I had plenty leftover.  They looked awesome AND they were super tasty.

Most of the party itself took place in our backyard.  I made these simple centerpieces for the tables.  The paint buckets are also from Oriental Trading Co.  I had the paint buckets from my daughter's painting party (see the post here), so I recycled them & used them here too. I made the target with card stock and just placed a few bullets on the end of skewers.

Party Games:  The kids arrived eager to shoot their Nerf guns, so I made sure we had plenty of things (not people...yet) for them to shoot. I made this Target Practice game.  I painted a 2x4 and my husband screwed it to the fence.  Then I glued targets on blue paper plates and attached them to the wood with a staple gun.

I made 10 total targets to enable multiple kids to shoot at one time.  The idea of having them take turns was too much work! I didn't keep score of hits or give prizes for any games.  It was just for the kids to have fun and test their skills.

Another game was the Tin Can Challenge.  I saved old soda cans and then spray painted them in the party colors.  We rubbed them in dirt a bit after they were dry so they weren't sticky.

The kids loved the Tin Can Challenge! They liked stacking the cans in different ways for different challenges too. (Notice how almost all of them are wearing their safety goggles too!)

A third game was the Shooting Range.  My husband spray painted some wood to look camouflage (using leaves from our palm tree), and I glued cups and cards I made with points above each cup.

Love this photo where you can see my son's bullet going into the 25 point target!

I set up a refill station next to all these games so the kids didn't have to worry about running out of bullets.  I moved these stations to the front yard when it was time for the giant Nerf battle.

Speaking of Nerf was awesome!  We divided the kids into two teams to start, but really with 6 year olds, it was just a free for all.  If these were older kids, I would have put more effort into the barriers, but honestly, these kiddos did not care one bit.  My husband just set out his sawhorses and some other items we had in the garage and threw blankets over was perfect.  Even I got in on the fun one round for a shot at the birthday boy!

The kids had a good time, no one got hurt, and I even got a group photo at the end!  According to my son, "Mom, that was SO awesome!"  What more could you ask for?

Menu: My son wanted pizza, so I asked the local pizza place if they could place the pepperoni in the shape of a target.  In cooking, I think they moved a bit, but that's okay. I placed some darts in the middle just for effect.

I also had battle chips (Doritos), Nerf darts (cheese puffs), Rapid Fire Fruit (fruit salad), and cartridges (carrots).

For the adults I made these battle greens (a yummy green salad).  This salad is delicious and perfect for summer.

I kept the cupcakes simple - blue cupcake wrappers and orange frosting.  I made cupcake toppers with the same images that I used on the invite and throughout the party.

I made the cake a target to match all the other targets of the party and placed Nerf bullets around the edge. I am definitely not an expert at cake decorating, but I think it turned out pretty well. The inside of the cake was orange and blue.  I just divided a white cake mix into two bowls and added my two food coloring colors. Then placed the mix alternately into the cake pan for baking.

My son liked it and was all smiles!

The above photo is what I created for my son's thank you cards.  This party was super fun for the kids.  The party activities kept them active, and they were cheaper than a bounce house or pinata. For me, that's a win! If your son or daughter is anxious for a Nerf party, definitely check out Oriental Trading Co for safety glass, favor boxes, and so much more.