Tuesday, July 20, 2010

SOFT DRINK CAKE?!?!? YES!!!!

Soooo Sorry about the lack of posts lately. Have been busy spending all my "spare" time on the new website for the shop.

It is looking good, and all the kinks seem to have been ironed out - EVENTUALLY!

This is a quick post for a discovery I made the other day, and I put it into practice the other night, and IT WORKED!!!!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3640/3324141799_7a7cf4e472.jpg

I like to have packet cakes on hand for a quick treat - and have been cooking cupcakes with them recently with my niece.
But I don't eat a lot of eggs, and don't drink tea or coffee, and don't always have milk in the fridge.

You can replace the Eggs and Milk required with a can of softdrink! YES! It works!!
http://cook33.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/cupcake-battersm.jpg

If you have a vanilla cake mix, you can use a can of coke and add some cocoa powder to make a yummy chocolate cake.

And I made some VERY scrummy "passionfruit" cupcakes from a Vanilla Cake Mix, using a can of Passiona or Pasito. I even switched the butter for some Philladelphia Cheese, and the result was some very moist and delicious cupcakes!
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_MhRJFIhcIsw/SWetB9JncEI/AAAAAAAAAB8/GzHcTn9no1Q/s400/100_1825.jpg
and a little hint -

Use the Philli Cheese for the icing too - it's delicious!
...and hold back a couple of tablespoons of the Passiona and add it to the icing.

Who knows what your favourite beverage would taste like? Maybe a Red Creaming Soda will make some pretty and delicious pink cupcakes?

Share your thoughts and ideas on this one.....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

QUICK TIPS that will have your guests saying "What a GREAT IDEA!"

Ran out for time for a full blog today, but here are a few quickies for you....



Give you Cocktails or pre dinner drinks, some extra "pop" with lollipops in complementary colors in place of stirrers.
You can even match flavours to your cocktails!





A paint chip strip makes a simple and creative place card:
Cut off a length of two colors, then fold.

A great idea for a tone on tone on tone party -
Why not ask your local paint supplier if they have a stack of last seasons cards?
This is a great concept to base a whole party around.
You can find a few of your favourite colours from the pallette and
buy some sample pots to add accents around the party!




And one more quickie for you.....

A great tip for a Cocktail Party,
or to put at your bar for your next party,

stash ice in a funky colander and set on top of a bucket or a bowl.
You finally have a use for that vintage colander you love,
and you can show it off to your guests,
who will be saying "what a great idea!"

The water will drain out as the ice melts,
and guests will be able to get their ice blocks,
without digging them out of a bowl of freezing water ;)
And if you don't have any ice tongs?
How about grab the slotted spoon from your kitchen drawer ~
but with the colander tip you could even use a ladle.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

TWISTER PARTY

Firstly - apologies for not blogging lately - have been super busy in the shop and getting the website ready, but have been collecting some great ideas in my notebook!
My first to share is an easy party theme

TWISTER!!
Yes, that game YOU played as a kid, is still popular! It has had many reincarnations over the years but the principle is still the same - primary colours and circles - what an easy party theme!!!

Use a game mat for your table cloth -
it's plastic and any stickiness or spills will simply wipe off!


All you need to purchase are those Avery Dots in Red, Blue, Green and Yellow, and you can spruce up budget white party supplies! Put the dots around the rim of a paper plate, and in a gird pattern like the mat on the cup.

You also have a Built in Party Game - which you can do with smaller lots of kids, or maybe buy a couple of games and entertain the entire neighbourhood!
You can often find this game in second hand shops
and quite cheaply second hand online on sites like ebay.
Plus there are all kinds of products like shower curtains and bed spreads with the game mat on them that would make great gifts and/or decorations!


You could even DIY a game mat with an old white bed sheet or plastic tablecloth and some paint, or if you are into sewing - you could make a fabric mat, that would be treasured by the birthday kid
(especially if guests used fabric markers to leave a message on each circle).

This would be also be a great 21st/18th Birthday Theme,
and you can incorporate the game into a drinking game of sorts.
And the outfit below would make a great hostess or Guest of Honour outfit!
What makes this work as a theme is the simplicity of the concept, and how if you're not sure how to do or include something, you have an easy point of reference - the colours and the circles.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Twisted Tails

The art of Balloon Animals.
A handy skill to have.
Jeff Koons "Balloon Dog" Andy Warhol-style by thoth92.
At my cousins' recent 15th birthday party, I watched as my cousins tried to create balloon animals beyond the obvious 'snake'! After about 15 minutes of watching them struggle, I took a balloon, and to the amazement of the group -created a basic dog.

It is one of those skills, that you take for granted. But also, seeing the delight and pride on everyones faces when they were able to create their own. It reminded me of the pride I took in my first balloon animal. It was not proportioned well, one of the twists even came undone, but I made it!

There are so many great blogs, websites, and youtube videos out there that can help you develop your skills, and here is a link that shows you a basic dog. From the dog, by varying the proportions of the nex, ears, body and legs, you can create Giraffes, sausage dogs, poodles, and so many others, and also get used to twisting the balloons with confidence.
http://growabrain.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/09/25/balloon_dog.jpg
Here are a few tips;
  • I use and recommend Qualatex 160Q and 260Q Modelling balloons. They are excellent quality and come is a wide range of colours. 160Q are 1inch diameter and 60 inches long. 260Q are 2 inch diameter and 60 inches long. There are also 646Q etc....
  • A balloon pump is a MUST! Don't even bother trying to do it with your breath, until you learn some of the tricks in doing so!
  • PRACTICE!!! Have fun twisting and creating! If you wish to do this at a kids party, try and develop a bit of an act, (involve the children - ask them to hold a balloon while you blow up the next one, as you pass it untied, let it go and blow up the next one, and go to get the balloon back from the child - it always gets a laugh, and you can do it over and over again!)
  • PAY IT FORWARD! Teach someone else the skill, and you can experience their joy as they create their first balloon animal!
  • This can be a great activity to teach the kids at the party - it will keep them entertained!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Face Painting for Fun!


Face Painting is a great skill to have, as a parent and a party planner.
It is a great entertainment for kids parties, but adults often enjoy it too!

It can be hard to find a good face painter, as they are always in demand!

If you are just getting started, it might cost a bit to get your kit going, but you will find it will last for quite a while - but why not split the cost with someone else. It is also great to share your skills with another parent in your kids friends' group so that you can share the job, and if you are any good, you will no doubt get asked to do it at everyone's party, and it's good to be able to call on someone else to do it or share the job!
There are plenty of free deigns and how to guides out there, one that I have found that helped me establish a basic set of designs;
http://www.facepaintingdesigns.co.uk/Gallery/gallery.html
Combine that with hours of watching youtube videos, I feel pretty confident that I could adapt my knowledge to create just about any theme face a child could throw at me!
The best thing - is just practice!!! Play with your own kids- the neighbour's kids- or you can purchase an old hairdressing mannequin. Try out new designs, and simply wash it off and start again!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Are YOU a Shady Party Host?

Firstly I want to let you know that I haven't been ignoring the blog, but been working very hard on our new website, with hundreds of products, it's been hard work getting it all together.
So for this installment, let explore some options for protection from the sun.


With such warm weather here is Oz - we have to think about shelter from the sun for all of our wonderful, outdoor parties and weddings.

It can get warm, muggy, humid, and hot here in the summertime. Here are a few ways of dealing with the heat and keeping your guests as cool as little cucumbers. My sisters' recent wedding ceremony was at 3pm in the heat of the afternoon sun, so we had to consider the comfort of her guests. In the end we were lucky, there was a nice breeze blowing off the lake, but we did a few things just in case...


Parasols are becoming extremely popular for the bridal party, but what about your guests?
They can be expensive to buy, and what do you do with them afterwards - so why not consider hiring them?
Provide parasols for use during the ceremony, they give your guests instant shade and add a splash of color to your photos.

My sister's wedding was about 500m from where the guests arrived to the ceremony site, so we offered guests to use them for the stroll down to the ceremony, and not only were guests greatful and surprised, it was a beautiful sight and added interest to photos.

Fans are coming very popular too.
Hand held fans give an instant breeze when they're isn't a natural one to be found.
We set them on each ceremony chair and had them displayed in a basket for guests to take as they wanted.
There are tons of options in all kinds of colours and in all budget levels.
And if you want a super cool idea for fans - you can even have your Order of Service printed on them.

And last but not least - what about Portable Shade Shelters (we call them Cabanas).

These are a great investment if you entertain a lot, especially great if you have a Garden that you can't get a marquee in. you can pick up a 3x3m shelter for under $50, and can give you peace of mind in all kinds of weather conditions. They provide shelter from the bright, hot sunshine, or shelter your buffet from a possible light rain shower.

I have had a larger one of these for years and has been used for market stalls, picnics, days at the beach, and it's seen more than it's fair share of parties.
We also used these to provide shelter for the Garden games at my sisters' wedding and they looked great with the bunting hung between them.

Would love to hear feedback about the blog & anything you'd like to see in it.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fairy Bread - the stuff Dreams are made of!



Fairy Bread is the ultimate "gotta smile" food.
I Dare you to eat some Fairy Bread and not to smile. :P


The taste is really nothing spectacular, but the memories and joy it brings back, is something not found in many foods.


No matter what you may have heard, Fairy Bread is not only for kids' parties.
Big Kids love Fairy Bread too!
At my recent Mad Hatter Tea Party themed 30th - the Fairy Bread was fast to go!

There are sooo many ways to make Fairy Bread, and so many things that can make it even betterer and more specialer! ;)


My first tip is to go to your local bakery and ask them to slice your bread long ways, so you get big long pieces. This will mean less waste if you use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the bread.

**This is also a great tip if your are making sandwich platters. Save time by making one big sandwich of each flavour and cut it up, rather than lots of smaller ones.**

Oh, and that was my second tip. Use cookie Cutters to cut shapes out of the bread! TO go that little step further - you can use a shape to suit the theme of your party.


Thirdly, butter the bread well ensuring good coverage, then place butter-side down into a plate/bowl full of hundreds and thousands, lightly press, and gently shake off excess sprinkles. In my years of experience of Fairy bread - it gives the better coverage of sprinkles to bread than sprinkling over the buttered bread~ and the hundreds and thousand stick better too!


Fancy Fairy Bread..... again so many options.
  • If you are having a big party, perhaps you could ask your baker to make you a few special loves of "coloured bread" pink is popular, but maybe green of blue can "boyify" your Fairy Bread!
  • The addition of musk sticks in the picture above make the butterflies special.
  • The use of colored Icing can make it special. Use this idea on a plain milk arrowroot biscuit and sprinkle with hundreds and thousands for a "fairy bread" that won't dry out too quick outside.
Use tiered cake stands to display or separate the different types you make, even stick a layer of sandwiches in between!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Magic of Bunting

There are almost as many ways to make bunting as there are ways to use it.
The collage above includes some favourites. Also check out the bunting in the picture at my sister's wedding in my blog about signs a few days ago.

First choice you have to make is what kind of materials you are going to use, which depend on where you wish to use it. Newspaper bunting will not hold up to a shower of rain, and small triangles could get lost in the brightness of the sun.

1. Shows a Newspaper Bunting, and has letters painted/stuck on to convey the message.
2. An alternative to bright coloured bunting, is to use paper doilies.
3. Newspaper Bunting again, without colour. You could even use some sheet music to personalise it.
4. making the Newspaper Bunting as seen on mayamade blog.
5. Make one with Small squares in your chosen colour scheme. These look great draped around the skirt of a table, across a window or to dress a mantle.
6. A cute gift card with bunting across it - would also make a great invitation.
7. Using Christmas themed papers or material would make a great themed decoration. This can be adapted to all kinds of occassions and events.
8. Similar to the mini bunting in pic 5, this involves folding the squares on the diagonal to create a triangular pattern.

PLAYDOUGH! OLD FASHIONED FUN


Not only great for School Holiday Boredom Busters, but a fun theme for a Kid's Party or even a great cheap Party Favor!

You will need:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • food colouring

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix well.

Divide the mixture into the number of colouring you have.

Add food colouring to each piece of the uncoloured dough.

Turn out onto the bench and knead well.

Store in airtight containers to prolong it'd life.

Send it home with the kids as a party favour - just make sure you label it so that they don’t try to eat it!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

READ THE SIGNS ...



Signage can be and important part of your event. Even if it is a parking sign out the front of your house.

People don't like to be told what to do, but a simple sign can be a subtle way to make sure your guests do what YOU want.

The photos above were a couple of signs from my sister's wedding. The top picture is one of my favourite photos from their wedding.

Garry (her now husband) made the left sign from old wooden pallets, and some spare paint from the shed. It was a great way to lead guests to the wedding ceremony site down the hill. Mandy even made windmills to line the way!


The sign on the right, I made, inspired by the opening sequence of a wedding video I found online. I fell in LOVE with this video, and HIGHLY recommend checking out Jessica Claire & Jeff Norwood's Wine Country Wedding!!

The sign is shown above it is sitting in an old cookbook holder. We painted a crackle finish on it, and used cut vinyl for the text. A coat of sealing varnish and it would look great at the entry of their marital home.

Although this is a great DIY project, the look was so successful and had so many comments, that I am now making these custom signs in my shop.
We can customise the colours and even the fonts to match your wedding decor.
Contact me here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

ALTERNATIVE TO A SIGNATURE BOOK

This was one of the ideas from my sister's wedding. Instead of a signature book, that would be put away and possibly forgotten about, they did a Fingerprint Tree that will be framed and hang in their new home.

This would work equally as well for an engagement party, a 21st, just about any occassion really.


We purchased the base image from Parties and Gifts of the tree trunk and the Bride and Groom's names and had it printed on 160gsm card stock (make sure not to use a gloss finish as the fingerprints won't work properly)


We purchased an stamping pad with a range of green tones that guests used to leave their mark.
Most people found the pointer finger worked best. And then they wrote their name near the "leaf".


Some handy ideas; Baby wipes for people to wipe off the ink from their fingers and have on hand some Scrap bits of paper for people to practice on.

We put ours out during the cocktail hour, and positioned it near the entry, so everyone had to walk past it to go inside, that way we made sure everyone left their mark.

Monday, March 29, 2010

DIY TABLE LAMPSHADES

These are BRILLIANT!!! I love the soft glow you get from candles, and recently fell in love with the Battery operated Tea lights - they are safe and even flicker!!

These shades are made with Vellum, and can therefore easily be printed on through your printer.

These would also be really special with a customised print on the LampShade to match your occassion. For a wedding, could print the couples' names and the date.

Click here for the Tutorial on casasugar
.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What's it all about?

Well I recently helped my Sister with the planning of her wedding, and found so many great ideas on all the blogs out there, that could be used for Weddings, Parties, Dinners, Christmas, ANYTHING REALLY!
So Then I wanted a way to keep all the finds together, and since i found all the other blogs so useful I though a few people might even enjoy what I find....

I'm a strong believe in setting an atmosphere for a function, and I love little details - cos let's face it - it's the cute personalised touches that we remember about a party/wedding/function.

I am always on the lookout for fun and easy decorating ideas, unique inspirations, free stuff, funny stuff. I guess this could almost be a "highlights package" of the history of my internet browsing.

About me?
Well I am 30 (AAAAAAARGH!) and I own a Party and Gift Shop in the Southwest of Western Australia, and this is me putting my metaphorical "toe in the water" into the world of Blogging. I am constantly coming across new ideas and easier ways to do things, as well as great gift ideas and exciting new products - some of which will no doubt feature on here!
I also love movies, television and Pop Culture in general. I have pretty eclectic tastes as you will no doubt discover.

Well that is a good start for my Blog! Stay posted and I Look forward to helping making your next event a Special Occasion!