Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fall Placecards

I said I wasn't going to entertain or decorate for Thanksgiving this year.  And I'm still not.  But I thought I would at least share what I did for Thanksgiving last year.

We hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my husband's family.  There were 10 of us total.  It was only a month after we moved across the country and into our new house.  I don't know how we pulled it off!  We were SO busy unpacking and settling-in.  Because of that, I didn't put a lot of effort into Thanksgiving decor.  But I did do a few little things to make it festive.  These placecards being my favorite . . .

I found the giant pears at a local market and they worked perfectly for this project.  Unfortunately, they didn't have 10 really good ones so I had to substitute a couple for red apples instead.

I had the leaf hole punch leftover from our wedding in 2009.  Our wedding was the weekend before Thanksgiving so we had some fall accents.  I used the leaves as escort cards at the reception.  It was by far my favorite DIY project from our wedding.

Images Source:  Mike Danen Photography

I can probably get rid of this hole punch now that I have a Cricut Mini (which I've had for a year and still haven't used yet).  This hole punch was actually kind of hard to use.  I had cramps in my hands after punching so many, and centering the names was difficult.  A Cricut would've been much easier.

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving . . . I did just a couple other little things to decorate in addition to the placecards.  But not much.  My husband did most of the cooking (we cheated and bought the pies though).  My roll in Thanksgiving prep was cleaning, shopping, and putting together the appetizers (I'm obsessed with cheese plates!).  Below are a few pics.  It wasn't anything fancy, but I tried to make it at least a little bit festive.

I think the banner might have been from Michaels, but I'm not sure.

I love cheese!  It's my go-to appetizer.
I don't remember where I got these, but you can find similar ones here and here.
I found these free printable water bottles labels at Catch My Party.  

That was the extent of my Thanksgiving decor.  I'm taking this year off from Thanksgiving, but maybe I should start stockpiling ideas and inspiration for next year.  Or maybe skip right to Christmas.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Witches Dinner

So, I mentioned in my last post that I decided to throw a little witches dinner party.  It didn't end up being much of a party though.  There were only three of us.

My husband and I were in the middle of a mini kitchen remodel, and I was worried about having a house full of people if our kitchen was in shambles.  So, I just invited four of my closest girlfriends from college, but only two could attend.  Even though it wasn't a rip roaring party, it was nice to catch up with old with friends.  Plus I had LOTS of fun decorating and getting creative.

I made the signage and food labels myself (except for the wine labels).  I also did some of the baking.  But my husband had to cook dinner.  Cooking is not my thing.  I can do it if I have to, but not while also trying to entertain guests.  I can't multitask while cooking.  I can only cook if I have zero distractions.  Otherwise I get super flustered and stressed.  Anyway, here are some of the party pics . . .

Casting spells!

I invited my friends using this e-invitation I found at Punchbowl.  It was super cute but I changed the wording to say something like "Get On Your Broom and Fly on Over".  Next year I plan to invite more people.  I also have a lot more creative decorating ideas!

I don't plan on doing any Thanksgiving decorating or entertaining this year, so I'll have to come up with some other blog topics for November.  Hmmmm . . . what to do next.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Creepy Conversations" Halloween Game

In addition to the Halloween  "Guess What's Gross" game I made for a party back in 2010, I made another game too.  I completely forgot about it until I was looking through old photos.  This game was easier to make and probably more fun.  We had some amusing and interesting conversations as a result.

To make it, I just got a big jar and created the "Creepy Conversations" label for the front.  Inside were typed questions on little sheets of paper.  The questions ranged from silly, to morbid, to serious.  To play the game, I picked questions from the jar and read them aloud.  Then we went around the room taking turns answering.  I can't remember all of the questions, but some of them were:

"When were you most scared?  What happened?"
"If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?"
"Do you believe in ghosts or the afterlife?" 
"Have you, or someone who know, ever seen a ghost?  If so, tell us the story."
"What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?"
"Would you rather have spiders crawling all over you, or mice?"
"What is your biggest fear in life?"
"Would you rather spend the night alone in a morgue or a cemetery?"
"Do you like scary movies?  If so, what's your favorite?"
" A la horror movie death scenes . . . what would be your least favorite way to die?"
"Would you rather be attacked with an ax or a chainsaw?"
"Would you rather have no fingers or no teeth?"
"What's your favorite Halloween candy?"

As I said, some questions were kind of silly but others were really morbid or serious.  Anyway, it was a fun party game.  And a good one if you're worried about lulls in conversation.

I didn't do any other games, but did have a costume contest with prizes.  I made this little sign and typed-up ballots . . .

I had no intention of having a Halloween party this year.  That is, until I started writing these last two posts.  That inspired me.  Now I'm all gung ho about it.  I don't have time to put together a big shindig, so I just invited a couple girlfriends over for a "Witches Dinner".  More on that later.  I'm still working on it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Guess What's Gross - Halloween Game

I'm quite the poet.

Back in 2010 I threw a Halloween party.  As much as I love Halloween, it was the only Halloween party I've ever thrown.  And I really got into it.  We invited four other couples.  It was fun, but my parties are probably geared more towards children.  Hence the game I made.  I called it "Guess What's Gross".

Under each number was a hole big enough for a person's hand to fit through, and a bowl with an object inside.  People had to guess what the object was just by touching it.  The objects I used were a wet sponge, soggy cereal, dog bones, peeled grapes, hairnets, and cooked noodles.

I even typed up a little answer sheet.  I would post a picture of that too but I no longer have it on file.  As I've said before, I did a lot of these projects before I started a blog.  I didn't think to keep everything I made.  Darn!  I remember it being cute though.  For each number I had a silly name and then a line next to it for people to guess what the object actually was.  Sort of like this:

1.  Gory Guts:        ______________         (answer was noodles)
2.  Bloody Brain:   ____________        (answer was wet sponge)
3.  Eerie Eyeballs:  ____________        (answer was grapes)
4.  Wicked Web:      ______________       (answer was hairnets)

I had a total of six guesses.  I even had a tie breaker question, but I can't remember what it was.  Shoot!  I really wish I'd kept that answer sheet.  It's hard to remember all the details three years later.

To make this game, I bought a big cardboard box from the UPS store.  I taped down the flaps on the top and cut-off the flaps on the bottom.  Then I spray painted the whole thing black.  With a box cutter, I cut round holes big enough for a fist (I cut four along the front and one on each side).  Then, I covered the holes with numbered 5x7 sheets of orange paper that I printed at home.  I attached the numbered sheets over the holes using scrapbooking flowers and brads.

For the containers, I just used whatever bowls I had at home.   I worried about the bowls moving around and sliding out of place when people stuck their hands inside, so I made little dividers out of cardboard to keep everything in line.

If I made this game again, I would do several things differently.  I would make it bigger, have more guesses, and put the holes along the top of the box instead of on the sides.  I would also somehow glue the bowls in place or have built-in dividers.  And I would laminate the paper sheets (some of my objects were a little wet and gooey so the paper got messy).  Regardless, I liked how it turned out.  And it was really fun.

Oh, if you're curious about the fonts I used for the "Guess What's Gross" sign they're called Along Came A Spider (so cute!) and Burton's Nightmare.

Even though my parties seem to be geared more towards children, we do serve adult beverages.  So that keeps them from being totally lame (I hope).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Halloween Head Start!

I love decorating for Halloween.  It's my favorite holiday.  The only decorating I've done so far, though, is the fireplace mantel.  Below is what it looks like without candlelight and Instagram  . . .

I've had that witch for years.  I bought it at a small boutique in Chicago for about $150 -$200.  I can't remember the exact price, but I know it was more than I should've spent back when I had very little extra money.  That shows how much I love Halloween.  I spent $200 that I barely had on a silly witch.  At the time, I justified it by saying it was folk art which seemed more acceptable than spending $200 on a Halloween decoration.

Anyway, I made the "Happy Halloween" banner on my computer.  The only thing I bought new were the orange candles.

Not quite sure what other decorating I'll do this year.  I have a ton of Halloween stuff, but think I should scale back.  I tend to put everything out at once and it looks like a total mess.  This year, I think I'll be more refined.  Maybe go for a sophisticated and elegant look.  If that's even possible.  Halloween isn't exactly synonymous with sophistication and elegance.  Unless your Martha Stewart, I guess.  Which I'm definitely not.

While I figure out what to do next, I thought I'd share some pics of my Halloween decorating from the past.  I used to think my decorating was so cute and creative until I discovered Pinterest and saw what cute and creative really is.  Regardless, I'll still share these photos with you.  Even if they're not Pinterest worthy.

Sidenote:  Sorry for the poor photo quality on some of these.  Most of the photos I post on here were taken way before I decided to start a blog.  Plus, I didn't use our good camera.  Just my iPhone.

I don't have the patience for painting, so I used stickers.

A vacuum is a modern witch's broom.

I made these using white lunch sacks and a black Sharpie.

I filled them with kitty litter and a LED tealight.

I bought this at the same boutique where I bought the witch.  Although it isn't really a Halloween decoration because I keep it up all year.

Well, it isn't even October yet so I'm bound to have more Halloween posts in the next few weeks.  It's my favorite holiday, after all.