Sunday, October 31, 2010

Project: DIY Halloween Dessert Buffet

I'm a huge fan of Amy Atlas (who incidentally was a lawyer before building her dessert buffet empire)! And who doesn't love her candy/dessert buffets. Since Halloween is all about tricks and "treats", it's the perfect holiday for a dessert buffet. Of course, Amy's marvelous creations are not in everyone's budget--this includes my brother, who asked me to help him design a last minute "budget" friendly dessert buffet for his Halloween party. The challenge was to create a buffet with the visual impact of a couture dessert buffet, but for under $50. Here's what I came up with.

I used black polka dot gift wrap for the backdrop, with white muslin draped over it to create the effect of cobwebs.  I made a "treats" banner out of scrapbook paper, card stock and ribbon, and stuck a few fake spiders on the banner.

 The centerpiece is made from a dead plant, which has been sitting at a secretarial station in our office for, well, about 2 years! I stuck candy corn all over it! I also made a creepy candy forest using Twizzlers, graham crackers, and candy corn--I saw this idea in a parenting magazine!

Marshmallow pops are so easy to make. Just put the marshmallows on lollipop sticks, dip in white chocolate and twirl in a bowl of sprinkles!

Rather than buy cupcakes from a bakery, I made some coconut cream cupcakes at home and dressed them up with coconut flakes and orange and black sprinkles. I made the cupcake wrappers and toppers out of candy corn themed scrapbook paper. 

Using another idea from the parenting magazine, I made witch boots out of cardstock. The pretzels were dipped in candy-making chocolate and drizzled using Wilton purple candy melts.

I used some square vases, trimmed with polka dot ribbon, to hold candy corn and orange jelly candy.

These Oreo pops were my favorite thing on the whole table! To make them, you simply pull the Oreos apart, insert cookie sticks, put the Oreos back together, let them harden in the fridge for a couple of hours, dip in melted chocolate, let them harden again and then drizzle with Wilton orange and purple candy melts. I wrapped the pops in small plastic bag, glued polka dot ribbon bows on the pops and displayed them on a stand, which I made from a box lid covered in black gift wrap.

I filled small cocktail glasses with Reeses Pieces.

I hung these orange and black bird cages over the table. I found them at the craft store for $1 each! What a steal! I cut crow silhouettes out of black cardstock and stood them up in the cages.

The party was yesterday and my brother called me today to let me know how the party went. I was thrilled to hear that his guests were blown away by the dessert buffet! :-)

This party is linked to:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Farm Party featured by Catch My Party!!

I think I've died and gone to party heaven! My son's 2nd birthday (a/k/a Old MacSohan's Farm Party) has been featured as the "Party of the Day" on Catch my Party.

Check it out!!

Cardboard Craze

I saw this absolutely adorable "Alice in Wonderland" themed party a month or so ago at My favorite element, of course, is the cardboard rocking chairs! I've been on a mission to find them ever since.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find them in the USA. :-(
They are made by a company owned by two Dutch artists called Villa Carton:
If anyone knows of a way for me to get these in the USA, without paying exorbitant international shipping rates, please let me know! Now, if only I had a little girl to throw a party for...!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Real Simple "repurposing" ideas

I love to "repurpose" things. When I see a cardboard box, I don't see a cardboard box, I see the potential to turn it into a tractor or a spaceship! One of my favorite magazine, Real Simple, always has amazing ideas for repurposing things. The magazine is collecting all of its "a-ha" ideas together to publish a book, which I can't wait to get my hands on! In the meantime, here are some of my favorite repurposing ideas for parties from the Real Simple website.

Rocks used as guest book

Create an unique guestbook for a party by having each guest sign the surface of a flat stone with a colored marker. The stones can then be displayed in a tall vase at the party and can serve as a nice keepsake for the guest of honor after the party.

Bundt pan as an ice mold

Freeze water//juice/punch in a bundt pan, remove the ice from the pan, and then
float the ice sculpture in your bowl of punch.

Candles perched on champagne flutes

Use upturned champagne flutes or wine glasses as elegant candle holders.

Table runner and candles

Here's one I've done before.
A roll of wrapping paper can make an inexpensive and colorful table runner.
Pick paper to match any theme and use a simple, neutral colored table cloth underneath.

Cupcake liners added to tree lights

Attach foil cupcake liners to add sparkle to your Christmas lights.

Name tags used to identify cheese

I absolutely LOVE this idea!
Glue name tags on toothpicks and use them to identify the cheeses at your next wine and cheese party.
Have each cheese tell your guests a little bit about himself/herself too! How cute!

Toothpick used to protect cake

Here's another idea that I often use when transporting cakes to the party location.
Toothpicks inserted into a cake can be used to "tent" cling film over the cake, so the film doesn't stick to the icing.

Lollipop in cocktail

Lollipops can double as drink stirrers that add a twist of flavor to your cocktail. 
Choose colors that match your theme. 
(Just don't let your kids get hold of them!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sneak Peek: Lilac Baby Shower

I'm so excited to be co-hosting a baby shower in early November for one of my close friends! Preparations are well under way and I wanted to give you a sneak peek.

The theme is a traditional floral theme, in lilac, pink and green (which was selected based on the color scheme for the baby's nursery), with a modern twist...

Halloween at Target hits the spot!

You really never know what you might find in the dollar bins at Target. This year, Target had an awesome range of Halloween goodies! I stumbled upon these quite by accident, when I was at the store for something else. The whole display cost me less than $20 and only took about 30 minutes to put together! Just goes to show that you don't have to spend a lot of time or money to have a nice holiday display.

The letters and graphics on the jars are actually window gel clings. I added some googly eyes to some ornamental gourds and they were instantly transformed into ghoulish monsters! Spider webs and a few plastic spiders add the finishing touch.

Diwali Inspirations

Although I've been busy preparing for Halloween parties and a baby shower, the Indian festival of "Diwali" is also coming up soon and I've also been scouring the web for ideas for our family's celebration this year.

Diwali is the festival of lights. The most common traditional decorations for Diwali consist of "Diyas" (candles/lamps), "Rangolis" (intricate floral designs drawn on the ground with colored powder, rice and grains), "Torans" (banners), decorated puja thalis (the plate used in prayer ceremonies) and lots of fresh flowers.

More to come on what I'm planning for Diwali this year, but in the meantime I wanted to showcase some of the great ideas I've found on the web. Of course, I'm also planning on drawing a lot of inspiration from the Indian themes in my recent "Bollywood Karoake Party"! I'm also going to "repurpose" many of the items from that party! ;-)

Check out these amazing diyas from Diyas are small clay pots, decorated with vivid colors and designs. They are filled with oil and a home-made wick, which is lit, to create a candle-like effect. Reshmi, you are very talented!

I love this simple, yet elegant, entryway feature from

Here is a very traditional rangoli design from

This rangoli from is made of fresh flower petals. I absolutely love the effect (and fragrance!) this creates. It's also far less messy than colored powder, which is a huge bonus if you've got small children "helping" you!

This design from combines rangoli and diya elements.

Here is another rangoli created with flowers from

This rangoli reminds me so much of the "60" sign I made for the Bollywood Karaoke party (see below), which was made with paper flower petals...(I hear the creative wheels turning...)

This idea, also from, utilizes diyas to create a giant "Om" symbol.  

The website featured this puja thali, and also contains several "how-tos" on how to decorate your own.

A simple and charming thali design from, also with a "how-to".

The blog has several more examples of thalis such as this.
Diwali Puja Gifts
Well, that definitely got my creative juices flowing! I can't wait to show you what I come up with. Stay tuned...
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