Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

St. Patrick’s Day Party

March 22, 2010

St. Pat's Day party

The St. Patrick’s Day Party was on saturday and everything went off great! As usual, we have heaps of left over food but everyone really enjoyed themselves. The crowd was suprisingly shy about the games but once people got goin it was a lot of fun. For St. Patrick’s Day party ideas check out these posts…

St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail Ideas

Shamrock Candy Pots

How-To Party Puffs

St. Patrick’s Day Menu Ideas

St. Patrick’s Day Beer Mug Flowers

DIY Party Lights

How-To Paper Garland

How-To Rainbow Cupcakes

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Lucky Libations

March 14, 2010

Over the past week I have been sharing with you the preparations for our St. Patrick’s Day bash coming this weekend. I’ve had a strict budget to keep to and I’ve been able to put together some great DIY ideas for decorations, food and last but not least, St. Patrick’s Day drinks!

Clearly one  choice item for Paddy’s day drinking is Guinness! Guinness can be expensive for a large party though. Instead, try mixing up a Black and Tan! A Black and tan is made by pouring a lighter beer over the back of a spoon and into a glass of Guinness. The spoon will keep your head of foam from deflating or the glass from bubbling over. If you buy a less expensive light beer you can cut the expense down on serving Guinness.

St Patricks Day Drinks

Irish coffee is usually the combination of whiskey and black coffee, but another version is coffee with baileys. Although both of these will be offered for our party, plain ‘ol non-alcoholic coffee will be on hand. Here is a fun way to spice up an old stand by. I’ve rubbed down sugar cubes with mint leaves to infuse them with a touch of flavor and give them a fun green color. Try using cinnamon sticks, rose petals, and lemon rinds. All of these will add lovely color and flavor to your coffee! Save the shredded remains of the mint leaves for a simple syrup.

St Patricks Day Drinks

Our fancier drink is going to be a Champaign cocktail mixed with green Cream de Minthe liquor. I bought plastic Champaign glasses at the party store and printed out little flags with Irish slang on them. Mostly insults…it will be fun to get everyone in the feisty Irish spirit! Download my St. Patricks Day Champaign glass flags here! StPatsFlags

I have decided to rim the glasses with green sugar and a mint simple syrup. Dying sugar is easy. Get a rubber glove or wrap a finger in plastic wrap to keep your fingers dye free. Fill a small bowl with sugar and add one or two drops of food coloring. Rub the sugar around until the lumps of dye disappear and your color is even. For the simple sugar, put in the left over shreds of mint from the sugar cubes in a pot with equal parts sugar and water. Dissolve the sugar and heat on low to make the sugar. Let the mint steep in the syrup to absorb the flavor. Strain it in a bowl and you can use it after it cools to rim the gasses!
St Patricks Day Drinks

For the designated drivers and non-drinkers of the party, we are putting together a green punch. Sprite or 7-Up with lime sorbet and pineapple juice is an easy, inexpensive mix!

Please read more about all of the St. Patrick’s Day ideas and enjoy the holiday!

Previous post include

How To (Shamrock Candy Pot)

March 12, 2010

One of many in a string of St. Patrick’s Day Party posts! This post will show you how to put to use the paper flowers I taught you how to make in my video tutorial. For St. Patrick’s day I changed the shape to a shamrock…but it’s the same idea.

St. Patricks Day Planning

You can do this the easy way and just cover a box with pretty wrapping paper, but I wanted mine to hold candy. Cut four 6×6 squares of foam core and wrap them in pretty wrapping paper. I got this roll from Party City for 99 cents.

Glue all of the edges of these pieces together to make a cube. On the inside, to make it a bit stronger, use the hot glue like caulk on all of the joints.

St. Patricks Day Planning

Set the cube down on top of some foam core and trace the cube on the inside to cut a shape that will fit inside the cube. Cut it out and wrap it with the wrapping paper.

Push this last piece down inside the cube about an inch from the top. From the bottom inside again use the hot glue like a caulking gun to secure it in place.

While holding that inside platform from the bottom, poke a hole in the top to insert the stem of your flower. Secure it with hot glue around the stem.

Fill it with candy!

St. Patricks Day Planning

Decorate the box with ribbons or cut outs. I filled mine with skittles to match my rainbow cupcakes. I had looked into green M&M’s but they’re so expensive! Try dying jordan almonds in a bag with food coloring, or selecting Jelly Belly Jelly beans in the bulk candy section is even a little more cost effective.

How To (Party Poofs)

March 11, 2010

Here is a super easy party decoration that can also be used in beautiful baby room decor.

All you’ll need is:

  • 8 sheets of tissue paper
  • scissors
  • pipe cleaner or wire

To start, accordian fold your stack of 8 sheets of tissue paper together. Around the center of the stack of folded paper twist the pipe cleaner or wire.
St. Patricks Day Planning

Cut the ends of the stack to either a rounded end or a point.

St. Patricks Day Planning

Start to pull out individual sheets of the tissue paper towards the center fluffing them out.

St. Patricks Day Planning

Fluff and round the ball as you go. I hung mine with thread from the metal twist in the center of the ball.

St. Patricks Day Planning

Ta Da! Check out all of the St. Patrick’s Day party ideas in my “How-To” section. Menu ideas, decorations and drinks!

St. Pat’s Menu Ideas

March 11, 2010

Lets talk food!

This week I’ve been sharing my party preparations for our upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Party. While it’s a little too early for me to be cooking up treats to photograph for you, I can at least share recipes, links and ideas so you have time to get cooking before the holiday arrives.

First I’d like to mention my Baked Potato Bar! I’m so excited about it because it’s not just a treat its a very social way of eating. Everyone gets to make a custom snack, and it couldn’t be easier on the chef! It’ll be as easy as popping foil wrapped potatoes in the oven before guests arrive and setting out bowls of everyone’s favorite baked potato toppings. You can even get creative with some fancy toppings. Here are a few I plan to leave out when the day arrives…

  • cheddar and broccoli
  • chili
  • melted cheddar
  • sour cream-chives
  • greek yogurt and olives
  • sauted garlic mushrooms
  • baccon
  • some fresh chopped herbs
  • flavored EVOO and Balsamic

If you’ve got more ideas for the potato bar please share!

Second big menu item will be our Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza. You’ve gotta have the dish on this holiday but it’s not exactly party food. This pizza is a fun twist on the dish that is much more party friendly. Get the recipe here!

In addition to my rainbow cupcakes that I’ve already posted on, I found these celtic knot cookies from Sprinkle Bakes. They look yummy and she says they’re quite easy! Its also something I’ll be able to make ahead of time.

I’ll be putting out some green goodies. Watercress Soup is apparently quite Irish…or so I have been told! I’ll be serving this watercress soup recipe served in shot glasses. Some other ideas might be green deviled eggs either with pesto or food coloring. Irish cheddar is delicious so some Irish Cheddar Fondu could be a big party hit. Cut up breads with a clover cookie cutter to add some charm. Party favorites like Spinach and Artichoke dip could be a green party food, or even guacamole (although not particularly irish).

One favorite of mine every St. Patrick’s Day is my mom’s Irish Soda Bread. She makes it with raisns and craisns and it’s so delicous warm with a cup of tea. She’ll be making some for the party…and I hope some extra for the week or so after!

Keep your eyes peeled for more party decoration ideas coming up, as well as drink ideas!

How To (Beer Mug Flowers)

March 10, 2010

St. Patricks Day Planning

What I am showing you now is an unfinished sample, but I hate to buy my flowers so far before the St. Patrick’s Day Party!

Here is a cute and simple flower arrangement for your party this year. Ours will even be used as a prize for the guests that win our Limerick Contest! (party guests get a card with lines like; “There once was a man named Sheamus”  or “There once was a man from Cork”, and they get to complete the rest of the rhyme)

For this you will need the gel bead used in flower arranging. You can find them at JoAnn’s near the flower arranging supplies, just make sure you get the clear ones! You can also search for Water Smart Crystals which you can in larger quantities for a better price. I went with these because I will be making four arrangements. On the can it shows them being used in soil but they can also be used without. A little goes a very long way! Just keep adding water and they’ll keep getting bigger!

The glass beer mugs I managed to find at the dollar store. Look around for a good bargain!

Add water to the crystals and one or two drops of yellow food coloring. It wont take much but you do have to stir it in well.

The beer mug will be topped off with tightly packed white carnations…a budget friendly flower that in this case closely resembles beer foam! If you’re making and displaying them straight away you can just clip the flowers and tuck them in with the stems short enough to let them fit right on top of the rim.

If you’re going to put them together ahead of time, dip the ends of the stems in hot wax to seal them off. Otherwise your carnations will suck up the yellow food coloring!

Check out all of my other St. Patricks day tutorials under the How To link. Theres plenty more to come!

How To (Party Lights)

March 10, 2010

Here is a quick and easy tutorial on how to turn your pendant lighting into party lighting!

St. Pats Day Decorations

We have a big St. Pat’s Day party coming up and I’ve taken charge of the decorating. These fun cellophane ruffles fit over your pendant lighting and can be reused again next year!

For this you will need some ribbon, a piece of plain paper, and a roll of cellophane wrapping paper. You can buy this clear paper in fun colors at the dollar store (thats where I got mine in gold and green). It is, I think, the same kind of stuff you would use to wrap a gift basket. It comes on a roll the same size as wrapping paper.

Cut a piece that fits your pendant light leaving some extra space to hang past the bottom rim of the light, and  add a few inches to the top so that it can be folded over and create a clean edge at the top. I would say an extra 3 or 4 inches.

Also cut a piece of plain white paper that is the circumfrance as the top of the pendant light plus an inch or so to overlap. I doubled this paper up for strength.

At the sewing machine, fold over the top of your green cellophane lengthwise. Put this piece, fold side down, on top of your white paper strip. Start sewing down the lenght of the white paper strip stopping every few stitches with the needle down in the paper and the foot up to fold the green cellophane back on itself. This will create lots of little pleats. My pleats were each about a half inch in width. Space them out so that your green cellophane ends at the end of the white paper.

St. Pats Day Decorations

It will look like this from behind when you remove it from the machine. Next you’ll need to cut a piece of your accent color, in this case gold, that will hang out below the green and fluff up above it. This time at the machine the green cellophane will be face down and you will lay the accent cellophane over the top of it. Sew it the same way stopping every few stitches to fold it back on itself and finishing it off at the end of the white paper.

St. Pats Day Decorations

To apply it to your pendant light, put a roll of tape on one end and over lap that end over the other while it is on your pendant. I added a white ribbon to cover up the stitch and thats it!

They look so pretty all lit up and cast a lovely green glow. The best part is they are sturdy enough for a second use!

Keep looking back for more ideas for your St.Pat’s day party including menu ideas, drink ideas, and a few more decorations!

How To (Paper Garland)

March 9, 2010

This is a really easy party decoration that you can pull off with what you have at home. You can use plain paper you have around the house, print out some beautiful patterns, or buy some sparkly patterned paper from the craft store.

Depending on how you would like the finished product to look, glue two pieces of paper together so you have pattern on both sides. Use a festive hole punch to pop out large shapes or just cut circles, squares, diamonds…whatever you like! I was hoping to find a shamrock but instead I found this 1.5 inch flower. Close enough!

St. Pats Day Decorations

While you’re at it, cut out a few sheets of extra punches to use as confetti!

Pull some extra thread out of your machine so you have enough left over thread to tie up your garland. Stack two flowers together and sew down the center. Back stitch at either end of the flower.

Lift the foot and pull the flower out the back of the machine a bit so you leave a space before you add the next pair of flowers. Continue this until your garland is long enough.

St. Pats Day Decorations

Clip the garland from the machine. Take one of the flower pairs and fold each flower in half away from the other. It will make an “X” shape if you look at it from the end.

St. Pats Day Decorations

Fold all of your flowers in half…and you’re done! I made six strands to hang from the chandelier in the dining room.

St. Pats Day Decorations

Up next I’ll show you some fun cellophane lamp covers in green, green party poofs, and potted paper shamrocks with green M&M’s.

How To (Rainbow Cupcakes)

March 9, 2010

I’ve been seeing this fun recipe around for rainbow cupcakes and I thought they would be perfect for the St.Patrick’s Day party I am planning for my parent’s neighborhood. Tonight was the test run…and I am so glad I gave it a test run! It’s a bit time consuming but the end results are so pretty it makes it well worth the effort.

Rainbow Cupcakes

It really is as easy as mixing up your favorite boxed cake mix. I prefer a chocolate cake but you obviously can’t get pretty colors out of that. The Pillsbury deluxe moist cake was delicious in classic white.

Evenly divide your batter into six cups. Mix up your ROYGBIV’s (or in this case skip the indigo)It takes VERY LITTLE batter from each color. It’s important that you fit all of your colors into the cup and still have 1/3 rd of the free at the top. I didn’t manage to fit it all in with enough space left and they flowed out all over (in beautiful rainbow cupcake waterfalls) and made a mess. This is why I did a test run!

Start with either red or purple in the bottom of the very well greased and floured cup cake papers. I started mine with red because for some reason I wanted purple on top…It doesnt really matter. Incase you don’t know rainbow order…Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Violet.

To spread each color thinly to the edge, wet your finger with water and push the batter around to the edges.

Pop them in the oven and bake for the instructed time on the box. Let them cool well before you remove the papers.

I wouldn’t use the cillicone cups again for these as I think there would be more advantage in being able to tear the paper instead of the cupcake when needed. I also might skip the orange just to cut back on the number of layers I need to fit in. It didn’t show up as beautifully as the rest of the colors anyway.

Rainbow Cupcakes

I topped them off with a “cloud” of piped cream cheese frosting because it is the only kind worth eating, and a gold coin for the gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s not a chocolate coin but that’s all I had. A chocolate coin would obviously make people happier.

Rainbow Cupcakes

I just love how bright those colors are! I’m glad I went for a test run on these because the next run will be heaps better for the party.

Check back again this week to see more festive DIY ideas for your St. Patrick’s Day party! I’ll be working on decorations tomorrow.

Paper Flowers (How-To)

March 3, 2010

For this project you will need:

  • Glue Stick
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • 3 sheets of paper
  • Bone folder

For a recent Baby Shower I used these pretty paper flowers for decorations. I’ll show you how to use these and other paper craft ideas in your party planning with an upcoming post. For now, follow this tutorial and whip a few up!

I recommend using a hot glue gun on the flower for a cleaner look, but a stapler is still best for the stem and leaves.