Christmas Sock Parties!

Now that we are starting to mingle with friends again (thanks to the amazing people that develop vaccines!) here is an innovative party idea. Similar to an ugly Christmas sweater party, may I present (drumroll please) the Christmas sock party!

Merry Christmas and ‘Fleece’ Navidad! Yes indeed, sweaters are out, and socks are in. I LOVE Christmas socks! Fluffy ones, patterned ones, ones with pom-poms on them, ones with jingle bells, ones with funny faces. So let’s get Sockin’ around the Christmas Tree!

There are three concepts you can go with, when planning your Christmas Sock Party.

1) Similar to a Cookie Exchange Party – Everyone brings a couple pair of socks and each person is able to go home with some new socks picked from the table filled with Socks, Socks, Socks, Socks!

2) Similar to an Ugly Sweater Party – Guests come in wearing the most outrageous socks they can find and there is a contest and a prize for the best socks. You can designate sock categories for additional prizes (IE Most Comfy, Most Tacky, Most Festive, etc.)

3) Similar to a Gift Exchange Party (Secret Santa) – Your friends bring a pair of socks filled with a small gift. The socks are picked by each person per their number drawn from a hat. As they select a pair, they reveal the gift. The next person can choose a new pair or steal from a previous recipient.

Whichever plan you pick, incorporate some games for the night. Here are some ideas…

1) DESIGN A SOCK – Have crayons, markers and paper available for the guests. Set a timer and see who can design the best sock!

2) MATCH THE PAIR – Gather a basket of unfolded socks (they don’t have to be Christmas socks, in fact similar color and patterned socks make this more challenging – also make sure you throw in some unmatched socks) Have guests get into partners. Set a timer and see how many pairs of socks they can match.

3) SOCK STUFF – You will need old socks, a spoon and sand (cheap cat litter will do). Allow each person 60 seconds to fill a sock up with as much sand as they can. The heaviest will win a prize.

4) SOCK THROW – This game needs to be played outside. Fill a thick sock with coins and tie off. Give each guest a try at throwing the sock. The person who throws it the farthest wins!

You must have food that matches your theme, right? A Christmas cookie cutout can come to your rescue. You can make sugar cookies or pizza dough (for individual pizzas) into a sock shape. How about Fruit by the Foot (get it, ha-ha) or arrange a vege tray to look like a Christmas sock. You can find plastic cowboy or santa boot cups (looks close enough to a sock for me!) and fill them with popcorn, peanuts, Christmas colored M & M’s, Caramel Corn or any smaller sized treats.

When it comes to decorations, you will need to get creative. I have seen little commercially made, other than Christmas Stockings. Grab some twine or ribbon and make a garland with paper sock cutouts along and Christmas tree cutouts. You can also make garlands by incorporating Christmas sock components, like puffs balls, jingle bells, ribbon bows, Christmas plush animals, reindeer ears and Santa hats. You can attach the items to a colorful string of lights for even more fun. Make a large sock from poster board or brown paper wrap to hang on the front door, welcoming guests to your Christmas Sock Hop!

And speaking of Sock Hop, it brings to mind theme music. Maybe a 50’s theme playlist will be prefect for your party. If that is just too much for your ears to handle, pick Christmas music that suits you. Whatever you do, have fun and have a Wonderful Holiday! I thank you for a year of following my blog. It has been a tough one for all of us!

Why Not Balloons for the Wedding???

When we were kids, balloons were a sign of a party. Balloons were a big part of a multitude of occasions:  birthday celebrations, pep rallies, school dances, fund raisers and more! Now that we’re all grown up, why aren’t they a thing for weddings (aka, the single greatest party of our life?) Well, they are to all those “Cool” now-adult kids! It’s time for more people to embrace wedding balloons.

The option of balloons for weddings makes a huge statement without breaking the bank. If you chose a floral piece the same size, you would look at a much higher price tag. Balloons are more unique than flowers and few weddings use them for décor. You can get elaborate with balloons or keep it simple. Either way, there is no limit to creative ways to use these latex lovelies. Here are a few examples.

1) WEDDING PORTRAITS

Take your portraits to the next level by posing with a celebratory cluster of balloons. The bride can carry a train of air-filled balloons or the couple can pose with helium-filled balloons. Extra-large balloons can make a tremendous impact. You can customize the colors to your wedding theme or use standard white balloons. Foil balloons in shapes will add another dimension to the display. Hearts, doves, or the word LOVE will give you some memorable photo opportunities.

2) WEDDING PARTY

Get the flower girls into the action. Instead of carrying baskets of petals, send your flower girls down the aisle holding a couple of big, tasseled balloons in your wedding colors. You can also forgo the traditional ring bearer pillow with an enormous balloon too. This whimsical gesture will definitely tug at your guests’ heartstrings and make for exceptional photos.

Include balloons for the wedding party too. If they are as big a kid as you are, they will welcome the chance to clown around with balloons!

3) WEDDING DÉCOR

Using balloons in the chapel or outdoor area where the nuptials will take place can be a pleasant surprise for your guests. Consider using oversized balloons down the aisles or create archways for the wedding couple to walk under. You can use basic white or add some of your wedding colors into the pallet. If the reception is at a different location, have your wedding party or the balloon company you hired repurpose the balloons in the hall.

4) RECEPTION DÉCOR

There are many ways you can decorate at the reception. Use balloon garlands for the table runners or centerpieces. Creating them with an assortment of balloon sizes and adding greenery makes for a conversation-starting accent that won’t go unnoticed. If it is a summer wedding and a pool is part of the landscape, levitate balloons in the pool. You can add floating candles or lights in the balloons for an interesting effect.

,Consider varied types of balloon arches over important wedding tables. Use them for dessert tables, wedding couple photo tables, gift tables, cocktail tables and/or a DJ table. Make them in your wedding colors and add foliage for an ethereal touch. You can also incorporate lighted balloons at sign-in or other important tables so they can be seen easily.

Adorn the reception table or sweetheart table with oversized white balloons. You can hide the ribbons by using fishing line (monofilament line) wrapped in floral or leaf garland.

5) GRAND EXIT AND BEYOND

They have banned so many exit treatments in most locations. Balloons can be a welcome alternative. We are not talking about a release here, for that is not so good for the environment either. It is easy to instruct your guests to take the balloons home with them. The kids will be thrilled, and the look of a large group of people holding and waving balloons around is exciting. Now, what about the honeymoon suite? Decorate the room with a sea of helium balloons to finish your balloon dream journey. If you have the balloons treated with hi-float, they will last for days. You will even be able to gift the hotel staff with a bundle on your way home.

Balloons are a festive and affordable way to decorate a wedding. Whether it’s with a grand archway or fabulous table centerpieces, we can use balloons in a multitude of ways to create sophisticated, stunning décor for your big day. Call me for free quotes and ideas. Thanks for reading!

Milestone Birthdays

Milestone Birthdays

It has been a while since I have posted. July was a little depressing with everything going on. I trust you are all staying safe and pray the world heals itself soon. Although we have experienced more virtual events during this difficult time, smaller parties are starting to emerge. Today I want to discuss the ever- popular Milestone Birthdays. Even with pared down get-togethers these ideas can help make that something-0 landmark special! Although younger milestones (1, 16, 18 & 21) are important we usually begin focusing on age markers starting at 30.

AT 30 you bid the 20’s goodbye. You are in hopes that all those stupid mistakes you made in your youth can be forgiven and you are independent and, on your way, now. Some may have started a family; others are working at their ambitious careers and yet others are exploring the world. AT 40 you are on the brink of middle age, perhaps starting a new chapter or just dealing with the challenges of your life. AT 50 you’ve made it half a century on the planet! Your circles are flourishing, with friends, colleagues and family, some of whom have flown the proverbial nest. It is time to focus on you. AT 60 and beyond your life is full, a rich tapestry of love, experiences and memories. You have much to celebrate and so many people to celebrate with. AT 70, 80 & 90 you’ve witnessed so much change; technology and science have made huge leaps, the world has become smaller, our ambitions bigger. Families have spread further afield, yet we’re more connected than ever. AT 100 you need to give yourself a cheer, this doesn’t happen often. Only .02% of the population find themselves at this momentous milestone! You have been gifted with time and love.

Starting off with an invitation to your party, this idea can be done on Photoshop if you or someone in your family have expertise with the program. Otherwise paper and a pair of scissors will due. Find photos of yourself throughout the years. They can be with your significant other. Then cut them out into silhouettes and arrange them in order on an 11″ x 14″ piece of paper. The plan is to fold the paper as a four-panel accordion style invitation. The front of the invitation would be copied on the backside and folded over to be the front of the invitation. The text is printed on your computer and arranged so that it fits in-between the folds of the paper. Use a spray adhesive to glue the text and the photos in place.  Then take the original copy to a business that can make the 11″ x 14″ color copies. Hand fold and mail them in brightly colored envelopes. A smaller version of the same idea can be done on a standard 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. The invitation would then be a tri-fold brochure type. The printer can fold them for you too, for a minimal charge.

When choosing a theme for your event be selfish! Do something you want. If you choose a humorous approach there is plenty of “Over the Hill” décor available commercially. You can always crack out your Halloween stash to mock a funeral party. You can also decide to go with your hobby or interest such as fishing, hunting, gardening or sports. Choose a favorite place you have traveled to. Perhaps a tropical paradise or foreign destination. There are many international theme decorations available too. Celebrate “The Best of Times” by creating a pictorial timeline of the special moments in your life. You may choose a particularly happy decade of your life and plan the party around that, like the 50’s (Rock & Roll), 60’s (Hippie, Flower Child), 70’s (Disco) or 80’s (Dance, Digital). Have everyone dress in a decade costume. Last but not least is a focus on a certain color scheme that puts a smile on your face. This can make your party decorations very personal.

Balloons are a must for a milestone age. There are the large and small foil numbers that can be incorporated into the balloon décor. Match whatever colors work with the theme you have chosen. Air-filled Columns and centerpieces make great additions to the festive environment. And if you are doing the party virtually, they make great backdrops.

The food should be something you want too! It is all about you, anyway right? If you are having a specific theme try to choose the appropriate ethnic blend of food and drinks. But remember, it has to be stuff you like! If it is a generic motif pick your favorite foods to serve. Have your favorite restaurant(s) deliver the meals, individually is best with social distancing. (see my post on Covid-19 Party Guide https://pjspartyrentalandessentials.wordpress.com/2020/06/15/covid-19-event-party-alternatives/ )

Some terrific party favor ideas for your guests is candy bars with your photo and information on them. You can find an assortment of styles here https://www.whcandy.com/ You can also have labels made for wine bottles. Pick your favorite flavor of wine at a discount outlet and paste the personalized label on them. They are a perfect keepsake. Find the labels here https://www.personalcreations.com/ You can also find personalized M & M’s on their website. Plus consider personalized napkins or bookmarks from Carlson Craft here https://viewonly.carlsoncraft.com/ Another cool idea is to make cd’s or maybe a flash drive (cd’s are becoming outdated) of the American Top 40’ #1 song for each year of your life, as well as a few faves thrown in. It will be quite lengthy and interesting for the 100-year-old! Ask your family and friends to mail you a great memory they have of your relationship with them. You can put these memories in a scrap book. Remember to ask for pictures if they have them!

If your party includes real live guests you can have a “Roast” for the birthday person. Play Jeopardy! Set up a Jeopardy game board for guests to participate in. Instead of general trivia questions, they can be questions about the birthday guest of honor. Choose a handful of topics about the birthday man or woman, and then create 5-7 questions within each topic. You can either choose specific topics about the person or make each topic a decade of their life (if they’re old enough to have at least five topics). The harder the question, the more points they’re worth. Instead of having individuals play, you can divide your guests up into groups. That way, there’s some teamwork involved.

Whatever you do keep it safe! I am turning 70 soon and am excited about looking up all the #1 hits for the last 70 years! That will be quite a mix! God Bless!

Patriotic 4th Picnic Party

The Independence Day holiday is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather. Planning a Fourth of July Picnic is a perfect excuse to get everybody together. A cute invitation idea is to mail paper lunch bags with the party details written on them. Ask each guest to decorate the bag with a “patriotic” theme and fill it with some favorite munchies to share at the party.

Decorating in customary Red, White and Blue you can make an inexpensive garland out of plastic table covers; simply cut into strips, and tie them to a string of lights, ribbon or rope. Another great fence decoration is Organic Balloon Garlands, you can hire someone to create these or try it on your own (search You-tube for some DIY videos). Create a classy canopy and mood lighting by tying Red, White and Blue streamers onto big-bulb outdoor lights; hang this above a picnic area or a grassy dance space. Make sure you buy plenty of assorted sized American flags to decorate with and to pass out to guests.

Use Red, White and Blue Bandanas for Place Mats or Napkins. You can wrap the cutlery in Bandanas, ready for guests. Use two colors and sizes of paper plates (Red and Blue). Nest the smaller inside the larger like a charger. The 4th screams BBQ! Make up a Hot Dog and/or Hamburger Bar with a wide array of toppings so guests can customize their own “Bodacious Burgers” or “Humungous Hot Dogs”. Sprinkle Red and Blue Tootsie Pops on the buffet table for a Patriotic Treat! And this is the most patriotic drink I have ever seen! A mix of Cranberry Juice, Blue Gatorade and 7-up over ice cubes – see the recipe here https://www.bigbearswife.com/independence-punch

Play a John Philip Sousa marching CD for background music. Have your guests share what they like about living in America. Have each person talk about some unusual or out-of-the-way place in America he or she has visited. Place Picture books around for guests to browse through, one’s that show scenic areas of the country. Book’s like “The Most Scenic Drives in America”, “Off the Beaten Path” or “Roadside Americana”; If you don’t own any, check them out from your local library. You might consider buying a couple books to use for Door Prizes.Whatever your plans this Holiday, remember to say a quiet thankful prayer for our “Freedom”!

Spring/Easter Get Together

Easter-SpringParty

Now that the weather has finally settled into warmer Spring temperatures it is a great time to invite friends and family over for a “It’s a Spring Thing Party”! Or basically an excuse to play outside, put together gorgeous flower arrangements, and eat yummy spring treats. The beauty of the generic spring party theme is that you can have one at the beginning of the season to welcome spring, have one in the middle of May when all of the blossoms are in full bloom, or even in June as a goodbye, we’ll miss you spring party!

Decorate with bunches of bright latex balloons around the party area to chase away the drab colors of winter. If you have an entertainment area in your yard consider air-filled balloon garland with linking balloons and 5” balloon collars to wrap around poles. This can be purchased from a local balloon decorating company. Make a bright, seasonal vase using only paper straws, a container and hot glue. Glue the straws on a metal can or other container until completely covered. Fill with spring flowers to create a budget-friendly Spring centerpiece. You can make your own Spring theme Pennant Banner with scrap fabric, which you can find plenty of at the sewing store. Hang the banner around the party area. You can find directions at https://thehappyhousie.porch.com/how-to-sew-a-simple-double-sided-diy-pennant-banner/.

For a great take-away for guests make seasonal pots filled with gardening goodies. Apply chalkboard paint to a terra cotta pot. Once dry, rub with chalk, lightly coating entire pot to cure the paint. Wipe off excess and write or draw Spring messages with chalk or a chalkboard pen.

If your Spring party is to celebrate the Easter holiday let the kids wear Bunny Hats. You can find instructions on how to make them here http://thehousethatlarsbuilt.com/2015/03/diy-bunny-party-hats.html/

Plan your get-together early in the afternoon and take advantage of a brunch menu; I love a Waffle Bar. There are so many options you can put out to adorn your waffles and kids love them too! Serve the adults Mimosas and the children Sparkling Fruit Punch.

There’s a Helium Shortage?

Helium supply has always been a little up in the air (pun intended). With only three sources producing 75% of the world’s helium, any disruption causes a significant impact. Currently, helium supply is very low while demand is growing. Because of this global helium shortage, fulfillment of helium balloon orders will be affected. We’re working to replenish the helium as more supply becomes available. Despite this helium hiccup, we can show you how to use air filled alternative decorations that can still make your party one to remember!

Balloon Columns have always been an air-filled creation. Whether it be on a disposable frame structure or one that needs to be returned there are many variations of columns that can be made. Balloon Arches can be placed on a frame structure too and be air-filled. We have several air-filled centerpieces that can be any theme you choose. They are usually built on a disposable system and weight. The foils can be filled with air and put on a stick. If you are doing this at home you can fill them with a straw inserted in the valve at the bottom of the balloon. We can air-fill linking balloons for you, or you can do that yourself, and you can hang strings of them from the ceiling. Most of the new Organic Balloon décor is all air-filled. Some pieces are on structures other are on disposable framework. If you are adventurous you can find many YouTube videos on how the make garlands and swags. It is very time consuming but worth it in the end. Make sure you purchase a hand or electric pump if venturing on your own, otherwise you may not have much breath left after blowing up a boat load of balloons!

Whatever happens imagination will win in the Balloon Industry, the ideas are limitless!

BOHO Dream Big Baby Shower

DreamShowerCollage

“Dream Big Little One” baby shower theme is becoming more popular. It is developed from a Bohemian design influence. This is associated with people who are unconventional, usually artistic. Many call it a Hippie – Free Spirited style. It is common for Weddings too. Dream Catchers are the focus of this theme and color schemes are very flexible. Focus on Pink or Blue or a non-gender color pallet. There are lots of invitations available online for this idea. I found some cute ones on “Zazzle”. Hang Dream Catchers from the ceiling and offer them as prizes for the winner of shower games. Decorate the cake table with a Dream Big sign and Dream Catchers. Incorporate the feathers in the cake design. Make a tee pee for the gift table out of fabric and dowels, use flowers to match. Tie lots of extra ribbon on balloon arrangements to mimic the hanging feathers of a dream catcher. If you have some extra feathers tie them to the ribbons too! Spell out the baby name (if known) with large 3ft foil balloons and use it to decorate a mantle or a gift/cake table. A fun game to play is “Who’s the Baby”? Ask guests to bring baby photos of themselves. Collect the photos and stash them until everyone arrives. Give each guests a copy of the guests list with a blank next to each name. Number the photos and display them in an album or on poster board. Have guests fill out their forms, guessing who’s who. The person guessing the most photos wins a prize. Enjoy this casual style event and “Dream Big”!

Get Your Green ON!

What better celebration than St. Patrick’s Day! Fun food and lots of Rainbows and Gold! Buy or make your invitations and include a Lottery ticket in each invite! Get your “Lucky” on and come visit us for St. Patrick’s Day! Decorate with Green Shamrocks and use plastic table covers in rainbow colors to cover the walls. Pick up brochures and maps from a travel agency of Ireland. Use them for wall decorations. Make up a great buffet table centerpiece using potatoes, shamrocks on picks and surround it with Gold Chocolate Coins. Add a large smooth stone covered with kisses made by you and some real red lipstick. Mark this stone the “Blarney Stone”. Use two colors of plastic table covers to create an Irish flag on this table. Create or hire someone to build a table Balloon Rainbow Arch. Serve all the food in pots. Crock Pots, Copper Pots and Kitchen Pots. The theme for the table? The “Pots of Gold” at the end of the rainbow. Create another “sweets table” with all sorts of green and rainbow-colored candy. Make a green colored punch. You can find a recipe on FoodNetwork.com (called “Green Punch” by Trisha Yearwood). Use green food color to tint beer or any clear beverage like 7up. Serve all the beverages (no matter what it is) in beer mugs. A great “Photo Area” is the balloon clover backdrop, made with cardboard covered with green paper, latex balloons blown to different sizes: you can find instructions at thehousethatlarsbuilt.com. Here are a couple games that you can play. The first is a timed challenge: Give everyone a spoon and see who can use them to pick out the most marshmallow pieces from Lucky Charms cereal and put them in a bowl. For older kids or adults, make it harder and assign a different amount of points to the different marshmallow shapes. Another game is an easy coin-toss game, with colorful cups made out of construction paper or plastic cups in different colors. Each color earns different points! It’s as exciting as finding a pot of gold. Make sure you wear your green and enjoy!

Mardi Gras Theme Party

Mardi Gras is a favorite theme for more than just Fat Tuesday. It is used for Fundraising Events, School Dances, Business Get-togethers and more! Of course, the color scheme is the traditional Purple, Green and Gold. In 1892, the Rex parade theme “Symbolism of Colors” gave meaning to these colors. Purple represents Justice, Green represents Faith and Gold represents Power. The first thing to come to mind when anyone thinks about Mardi Gras are beads, beads, beads. Make sure your use beads to decorate tables and give to your guests. You can find bulk beads at beadsbythedozen.com. Balloons are a natural for this type of affair, festive and fun they can fill large or small spaces easily. Let them float to the ceiling and lie on the floor. Use them for centerpieces, floor arrangements, Columns, and Arches. Crawfish are a staple for Louisiana buffets so this cute balloon crawfish (shown) can hang from the ceiling or bar/kitchen overhangs. Foil balloons in theme patterns or just solid colors last a long time and will be perfect for events that are more than one day. Of course, latex balloons can be treated with a product called “Hi Float” (at an additional charge) for the same multiple day effect. Decorate a buffet area with plastic table covers in Mardi Gras colors. They are inexpensive and can cover walls, tables, floors – anywhere you want the pop of color! Add some feather boas, paper masks, crepe steamers and balloons to complete the design. Bring on the Cajun food with Crawfish, Shrimp Gumbo and King Cakes. Use available Mardi Gras CD’s for upbeat music in the background. You can find these at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. As an activity purchase mask making supplies for your partygoers to get creative. You can cut mask shapes from cardboard or heavy paper and eliminate having to buy ready make shapes. Have plenty of glitter, buttons, sequins, feathers, paints and jewels available to decorate. Let them embellish their owns crowns too! You can find inexpensive paper crowns at orientaltrading.com. Enjoy!

Valentines<3

I love Valentines Day. These ideas can be just for your honey or can be used for some kid’s activities too. Start by sending or hiding in lunchboxes etc. handmade cards. Include Valentines candy and notes telling them how much you value your relationship. One year I sent my husband 30 cards – one each day before Valentine’s Day! Then plan out all the meals with a Valentines theme. Breakfast: Heart Shaped French Toast, Lunch: Tomato soup and Heart Shaped Grilled Cheese, Dinner: Heart Shaped Pizza and Cookies. Oh! what fun! A great activity for anyone is a hint search. Create hints for the recipient guiding them to a wonderful Valentines gift. Now when they come to the place with the surprise, decorate with a ceiling full of Helium Balloons or a bed filled with foil balloons with love notes attached to them. Whatever you plan remember it is all about love and share your heart!