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Do not Enter Areas

Do Not Enter Areas

Do Not Enter Areas

There are always areas in your home that you don’t want people when the come over for a party. I’ve seen everything from draped greenery to dog gates to one time at a home tour, someone had put a chair in the way. Maybe you didn’t have time to clean. Maybe there are collectibles or valuables in a certain room. Or maybe you just don’t want little ones getting into the pantry…..

Whatever your motivation, you can be creative in the way you keep prying eyes away. For this Halloween Party, I knew that people would be passing pantry closets on the way to the rest room. To lead the way to the rest room and to keep folks out of the pantry, I used criss-cross table that said, “Do Not Enter.” I felt it was fitting to the Halloween them.

Say your theme is a Luau, you could use strings of flowers across the door. Or if you are hosting a karate themed party, you could strap karate belts or fighting sticks across the doors. There are lots of creative ways to close off areas or even to lead your guests to a destination.

Halloween Witch Silhouette

Halloween Witch Decoration

Halloween Witch Decoration

Witches and spiders and bats, Oh My! I love to have decorations for a holiday for for a birthday party that are home made. It’s important to me that they don’t necessarily look home made but are unique and something that our guests won’t just see everywhere. These silhouettes fit that bill exactly.

Bats Silhouette

Bats Silhouette

For this Halloween party, I went all out……mainly because I knew that we were going to have this big, stark white tent and wanted to soften up that look of the white tent walls….just a bit.

I am NOT an artist. I copy other’s line drawings really well, though. Sure, I can draw some simple things but there are much more talented artists out there. Heck even the computer drawing programs are better than what I can do.

Spider Silhouette

Spider Silhouette

Really the silhouettes I used here were very simple line drawings except for the witch. The witch was on the cover of a Martha Magazine many years ago. I can’t remember which year but it was an October Issue. And I knew that the company made an iron stand up witch that you can purchase. But I didn’t have the money for that nor the storage space….and when I did these, that wasn’t even available. The cats were also part of that cover. Then the spiders, bats and owls I just found online doing a search for XXX Line Drawings. You will find a treasure trove of images that you can use for free this way.

Owls on a Branch Silhouette

Owls on a Branch Silhouette

How did I do this? It helps to have a friend with a projector. I took the image, traced it on clear overhead projector sheets and flashed it up on the wall to trace. Now, with the smart boards that the teachers are using you could probably talk your kids teacher into using hers after school one day and then you can skip the step of printing the image off and tracing it on clear overhead projector sheets.

On the wall, I had lengths of black craft paper. The kind that comes in long rolls. Be sure and trace it with light chalk. It will rub off later and you’ll be able to see it on the black! Because I wanted to keep mine and use for Halloween decorations for years to come, I laminated mine by rolling the silhouette out on top of clear shelf paper. I just take them down each year after Halloween and roll them up and they are ready to go for next year.

Owl on Tree Template

Owl on Tree Template

One last tip I’ll give. If you move the projector forward and backward you can get multiple sizes made of the same image. I did this with the bats as I wanted it to look like they were flying towards the tent from far away.

This project did take some time but was super fun to do if you like to create lasting decorations that are super cool. All the neighborhood kids love it when we put up our Silhouettes for Halloween.

Supplies Needed:
Black Craft Paper in Long sheets
Clear Self Adhesive Shelf Paper
Scissors
Projector
Clear Projector Paper

Making Halloween Witch Hat Chandelier Shades

Witch Hat Chandelier Shades

Witch Hat Chandelier Shades

To give the kitchen area just that touch of Halloween theme, you might consider fabricating your own chandelier or even lampshades into witches hats. I will not lie to you, it’s hard to get these perfect and there is no way to provide a template but I’ll do my best below to outline what I did to make them.

A couple of tips I’ll pass along will keep your home safe. I would not use tissue paper. Light bulbs can get hot and I would be worried about a fire. Never take your lamp shade off! It will also protect the hat from getting too hot. Take them off after the party. I’m just a safety girl. I made ours out of black paper and yes, most witches hats are black, but I think you could use all kinds of scrapbooking paper or orange craft or scrapbook paper to make these.

Making Witch Hat Chandelier Shades

Making Witch Hat Chandelier Shades

First you’ll want to make a template. Take any kind of paper for this. On the outside wrap and tape the template paper around your chandelier shade making it a bit loose. Draw a line around the bottom and the top of the shade and cut out. You’ll want to cut extra off down the center making sure to leave about 1/2″ to 1″ of paper to lap over. Next you’ll make the rim. Set your chandelier shade on the template paper and draw a circle around it on the outside of the shade. Pick the shade up. You’ll now draw two additional circles. One should be 3/4″ on the inside of the original circle and one 2″ on the outside of the original circle. Cut it out using your second two circles as your lines to cut. The next step is to cut slits from the inner circle towards the center circle allowing you to push up the paper at a 90 degree angle. Or another way to say it is to make cuts on the inside of the template perpendicular to the circle.

It’s time to try one……ONE. Get it down and then make more. Cut out your paper. Glue the sides of top part of the hat. Fold up the flaps on the hat rim and glue to the main part of the hat on the inside. Slip it over your chandelier shade and test it! If all is good….go to town and have fun with this idea from CreativePartyBlog.com.

Halloween Party Place Settings

Halloween Party Place Settings

Halloween Party Place Settings

Creating a table atmosphere that is inviting is something I try to do no matter if I’m hosting a kids birthday party or holiday family dinner or a dinner with friends. Like setting the mood with the proper type of invitation, the table setting can also set the mood to a lively one or an elegant one.

Here we used burlap that I had used for another function and created a spider overlay that you can see in another post. They were made out of a fuzzy yarn from the hobby shop. Actually now that the party is over, I use the spider webs by hanging them on windows and around when decorating for Halloween. My kids love them and I love them because they are home made and are unique.

After you’ve covered up the plastic kids tables, you can go ahead and set up plates and cups and such. You don’t have to get it all the same color. Mixing the colors and throwing in a themed napkin give it just the right amount of whimsy. I personally don’t like many of the kid themed plates but if you find one of those you like, that could be your bit of whimsy and then go solid with everything else. This setting would not look half as good if everything had a spider/spider web on them…..the plate, the cup and the napkin. Don’t go all mono on me…..mix it up. Then, when appropriate, add the party hat to the table setting. It gives the kids something to play with while they are waiting on their food!

Magic Show Birthday Party Table Setting

Magic Show Birthday Party Table Scape

Magic Show Birthday Party Table Scape


Add a personal touch to your magic show’s party table. The party table is always the centerpiece of a birthday party. It doesn’t matter where you host the party or the age of the kids or what activities there are, you always sit down and at least have cake! Right? So, make the table a memorable one.

Often we have parties at these large facilities or at a park or at home and it’s extremely hard to decorate the whole place to fit your theme. That is unless you totally want to blow the budget!!! So, pick a place and do it up! The eating table is a great place to start. You could also chose the serving table. It doesn’t really matter where, but concentrate some personal touches in one area and that will make more of an impact than trying to decorate and entire gym….for example.

Here the hostess, purchased some fabric yardage at a local store to use as the table cloth. So often the table cloths you buy are either not original or are just not what you want. But, especially now that quilting is so big, there are tons of fabrics to chose from. And the designs range from Disney to very sophisticated. And really you don’t even have to hem it. No one will ever notice. For the magic show theme, blue fabric with stars was perfect.

Simply cut the fabric the size you need for the table and lay it down! Nothing could be easier or more impactful. It really won’t take long to find what you want and add some solid plates and cups and you are done! No matter if you are doing a magic show theme or really anything else, there is something out there for you.

Magic Show Birthday Party Table Centerpiece

Magic Show Birthday Party Centerpiece

Magic Show Birthday Party Centerpiece


There is nothing more simple yet impactful than a centerpiece of balloons!

This birthday party revolved around a Magic Theme. In the center of the table was a magician’s hat with a group of helium balloons nesting in it. The hostess, aka mom, pulled the whole party together with a few simple colors which I thought were perfect. Blue, White and Silver with punches of red made the party really come together.

Remember that great ideas don’t always have to take you a lot of time to put together. Some of the best ideas are simple and easy to pull together!

Indoor or Outdoor Birthday Banner

Birthday Banner

Birthday Banner

Birthday banners are fun to hang up no matter the party theme or no matter if the party is outside, in your home or on location.

The paper ones out there are so completely hum drum. I’ve even tried to make paper one and they can be very personal and cute. The party where I photographed this had a paper banner as well.

But I really liked this idea. This is a purchased banner. It was cut in triangles with seams 1/2″ in from the edge so keep it from raveling. And then the top is sewn on to some seam binding or fabric folded over that resembled seam binding. You could totally make this yourself. Use left over fabrics or a specific theme of fabrics for the banner. With quilting at an all time high in popularity there are an unlimited number of themed fabrics out there. No matter if you are planning a vintage, outdoor, bug or halloween birthday party, this idea can be transformed to work.

Now, if I were making this myself, I might sew the seam binding on as it would be the fastest way of doing it……. But, if you don’t sew, you could make this birthday party banner by simply using hot glue or fabric glue to glue over one of the edges of the banner. I don’t have a template for the triangle but I plan to make one of these for one of my kids parties and when I do, I’ll certainly offer the pattern.

Just another way to let your creative juices go. Have fun with your birthday party banner and add some color to your child’s birthday party.

Outdoor Vintage Birthday Party Seating

Vintage Children's Chairs

Vintage Children's Chairs



When creating a festive birthday atmosphere, it’s important to add personal touches. Do you have fabrics at home that you love? Do you have dishware that you love to use? Or do you have just the cutest chairs and/or tables in your home?

These vintage chairs were brought out for the kids to sit on while at an outdoor kids birthday party. When you have enough to provide adequate seating for the kids, please use these items. They really set the tone and make the party stand out. And if vintage is what you are going for….anything beaten up will look vintage even if it’s not truly vintage.

Don’t have these items yourself? Know someone who does have them? Don’t be afraid to ask to borrow items. I just loaned 3 table cloths to a friend who needed them for a party today. I loved it as I want the items to be used and enjoyed and in my closet, no one will enjoy them. So, crack out those special – vintage items or borrow them and you will not regret it!

Outdoor Birthday Pinata

Outdoor Birthday Pinata

Birthday Pinatas don’t have to be traditional! It is much easier to find a pinata that matches the theme of the party you are having. But if you can find a unique decoration like this one, go for it.

The mom of the birthday girl found this decoration that a local store was about to discard. She took it, filled the center hole with candy and put some plastic in front to secure the candy. This party was for 4 year olds so she knew that her pinata wouldn’t be torn up that much. Even if it was, it didn’t really matter.

So, when thinking of having a birthday party pinata, think outside of the box and don’t feel like you can only use a pre-made pinata. Or even have your kids make one…….who knows.

Outdoor Birthday Gathering Spot

Outdoor Birthday Gathering Spot

Outdoor Birthday Gathering Spot


Many outdoor birthday parties will be at your home but probably more of the outdoor parties that we go to are on location somewhere. At a park, at a swimming pool or did I say at a park? If you are blessed to live in a city that is filled with parks, they are the perfect location to host a birthday party. And don’t forget how important it will be to mark a spot where the party will take place.

When you choose to have a party outside, decorations can be important to anchor where the “party” central is going to be. Another great way to designate the gathering spot is by throwing out a blanket or two. Blankets can add color as well as provide a space for the kids and moms for that fact to sit and enjoy.

I don’t know what it is but putting out a blanket provides a natural gathering spot. If you don’t own a “picnic” blanket, don’t worry. Use a colorful quilt or even a colorful sheet. I will say that a light sheet may be a bit pokey to use a term my daughter likes to use. Enjoy your party and be aware of the items you use to make your outdoor party cohesive.

Halloween Birthday Party Idea

Happy Birthday Lanterns Idea - Candle

Happy Birthday Lanterns Idea - Candle

For my daughter’s Halloween Birthday Party, I had an idea to use our mantel during the party. Her party was in December and the mantel had holiday decorations all over it. I simply removed those and transformed it into a ghostly “Happy Birthday Anne” sign made out of individual lanterns.

Key ideas of note: I used felt pads under the candles to insure that they wouldn’t stain the mantel but in hindsight, I would use the candles that float in glass jars and place a glass jar with water inside each ghost lantern. To make it interesting, I used 3 different ghost templates and you can see a link to those below.

Materials:
Cut 12″X12″ Heavy Scrapbooking Paper in two – Each lantern used a 6″X12″ piece. You’ll need one each of these per letter. Mine had 17 or 9 sheets of 12″X12″ Paper.
Cut heavy velum paper in 2 3/4″X5 1/2″ pieces. Again, 1 for each letter or lantern you will have.
Ghost Templates
Tape (painters tape works best if the color works), Scissors, Glue, Black pen for letters.

Happy Birthday Lanterns

Happy Birthday Lanterns

To Make:
Cut lantern body in 6″X12″ pieces.
Fold lantern body into 4 parts. Start half-wise and crease in fold and then fold half-wise again.
Determine which pane of the lantern will have the ghost cut out and make that the same for each lantern.
Trace the ghosts from our template and cut the one/ones you want onto the same pane for each lantern.
Glue with a paper glue or glue stick the cut velum behind your cut out ghost.
Trace or free hand the letters you want to show through.
Gently tape from the inside of the lantern to create a rectangle shape.

Resources:
Ghost Templates
Craft Stores or Scrapbooking stores will have the 12X12 Scrapbooking paper.
Some craft or scrapbooking stores as well as stationery shops will have sheets of velum.
Use a permanent black market for lettering.
Painters Tape found at home depot or local hardware stores and often in many colors.

Light your lanterns right before the party and you will love them. Be sure they aren’t in an area that can be bumped. Even using a candle inside a glass jar, it can get hot and the velum and paper is extremely flammable. Loved this Halloween Birthday Party idea!


Photos taken by Amy Hall of Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.

Colorful Birthday Banners

Colorful Happy Birthday Banner

Colorful Happy Birthday Banner

I have to be honest……I personally have not been very good about having the colorful “Happy Birthday” banner at my kids birthday parties. I’ve had a few things that have had Happy Birthday on them but to tell you the truth, my kids are still young and can’t read. So, if I personally had a banner it would be for the parents and not the kids. But then how many things do we do in our parties that are for the parents and not kids…..more than we want to admit.

Soooooo, I present the colorful Happy Birthday Banner. I love this one. It’s not something you see everywhere and it is truly vibrant with colors. I’m sure my friend who had this one purchased it and after doing a quick search myself there are all kinds of banners out there that you can purchase that are quite colorful and unique.

Don’t find what you are looking for? Make it. All this one would require is some felt, a string, scissors and glue. Cut out small shapes for the background. Even cut one a bit bigger to make the colors 3 dimensional. Then cut out your letters from a stencil and glue it all together and onto a string of your choice.

Or, don’t want to cut and glue. Paint one on some butcher paper. There are tons of paper places around now where you can buy butcher paper in all kinds of colors. Paint a Birthday message on it or let one of your children lose with the project. Just make sure it’s not the birthday girl/boy. Depends on how controlling you want to be in the way that it looks!

I do agree that once the kids start reading (kindergarten) would be a great time to start having a banner welcoming the birthday kid or even adult for that matter!

Colorful Balloons

Colorful Balloons

Colorful Balloons

I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again. Balloons are the best way to add a punch of color to a birthday party.

To this party, the hostess actually had sort of a balloon theme. You’ll see when we write about the cake they had, you will see balloons on the cake and may have even been on the invitation.

But just look at these colors. Don’t they make you smile??? Another big key to having balloons is that they give height to your decorations. Most of the time we have birthday parties at places where the ceiling height is so high, the kids feel wee little. When you add balloons to the decor, they bring the scale back down to the kids level and can really set a “room.”

Colorful balloons. Go crazy. Pay to have someone else blow them up for you or rent a tank for a fraction of the cost from a local party supply store and blow them up yourself!

Have a Colorful Birthday Party!

Colorful Birthday Party

Colorful Birthday Party

Don’t want to have a theme like Barney or something of the link? Well, don’t. Successful birthday parties can be planned with something as simple as having a color infused birthday party.

When looking to do a “color” or simple birthday party, simply use a palate of colors throughout all the details of the party. Take a primary palate or maybe a soft color palate. Maybe all pink and red……or Pink and Green. There are endless combinations that could be used.

Another great thing about colors is that it makes for very nice party pics.

What contains the color? Start with your invitations, continue with the party decorations and if you can’t include the colors in the favors at least wrap them in paper that’s made of the colors of the party. Pretty simple? Not always. When you don’t pick out a specific theme and go for a “color” theme it actually gives you more options and thus more decisions to make. So, if you have a hard time making decisions on the details maybe you would be better suited to pick a specific theme.

Color effects your most important sense….your sight. The sky is the limit for planning your colorful birthday party!

Creating a Festive Atmosphere at Home

Festive Atmosphere

Festive Atmosphere


When you are hosting a birthday party in your home for your kids, it’s always important to provide a festive atmosphere. That doesn’t mean that you have to have the entire house decorated to the hilt. It simply means that there should be a spot carved out that you turn into “party central.”

At this almost sleepover, the hostess made the kitchen the focus of the party. They ate there as well as worked on their craft. As you can see here the area is very inviting to the kids and it really didn’t take a whole lot to create it.

Simply put down a festive table cloth. Add some balloons or big impactful centerpiece and a sign saying “Happy Birthday” and you are set.

Atmosphere……….atmosphere……atmosphere……..even kids are very visual!

Halloween Party Table Decorations

Web Table Overlay

Web Table Overlay

Decorating Tables for any kind of party can be very impactful to the image of the party. And it’s a great way to release the creative juices. I like there to be at least 1 pop item and here I used a home made Web table overlay for the decorations.

We had 3 tables for the kids to eat and then a serving/staging table and it also had an overlay. Underneath I had some burlap that I had bought for a ladies luncheon that I recycled and used with the webs which made a perfect combination. You can purchase yardage of burlap for very little money and simply cut it and leave the edges loose or hem them. I……just left them loose.

Table Overlay Box Form

Table Overlay Box Form

To make the webs, I had my husband to make a box out of scrap 2X4 wood we had in the garage. Nails were placed in the corners and center of each run. Slightly bend the nails out so that the yard or string doesn’t slip off while you are trying to work on it. Then your box is ready to go!

I used a knotty soft yarn for the web I made here, but you could use any kind of string or yarn. If you don’t plan to do a burlap underlay, you could even make the spiderweb out of twine and put it over a black paper table cloth. That would be super cute.

Knotting Table Overlay

Knotting Table Overlay

Start by cutting lengths to fit across each side and diagonally and tie a simple knot around each nail. To make the circular web part, start in the middle and make a knot encompassing as many of the stretched strands as possible. I left the yarn in a ball and just starting making my way around the web tying a knot at each intersection. It all depends on the size of your web but mine took about 3/4 of a ball to make each web. Just cut the end wherever you want and pull off the wooden form. Carefully fold it up and I just store mine in a plastic bag.

Resources: Black Yarn can be found at any hobby or knitting shop.  For a fuzzy look, I used Patons Allure 100% nylon.  It was a fuzzy yarn that I found at Michaels.  If you don’t have scrap 2X4′s at home, you can get them at a lumber yard, some hardware stores and even Home Depot. You might even be able to talk them into cutting and nailing it together for you. I use to do that when I was single!

Have fun making your Halloween party table overlay. This could even be done in red or pink and used on a Valentines Table for kids or adults. Something you can dress up or dress down!

Table Scene Photo taken by Amy Hall of Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.

Halloween Party Decorations

Halloween Party Decorations

Halloween Party Decorations

Welcome to my living room. Well, my living room make shift Halloween Birthday Party. Yes, those are Christmas Decorations you see in the back. Yes, the furniture is replaced by kid size tables. And yes, we had 26 kids. I know. Everyone has told me how crazy I am, but it was super fun.

Because it was holiday time, I needed to mask the decorations we already had up for that occasion. I’ve used balloons in the past but have never just let them fly around and bounce where they may. It was perfect. The balloons drew your eye up making the first thing the kids saw very festive and colorful. Halloween Party Decorations don’t have to be complicated, although you will find other ideas from this party that are. Often the ideas that make the most impact are simple like this!

We rented a helium tank from a local party store and blew up 100 balloons. With two people, it really doesn’t take that long and if you aren’t tying strings onto the balloons, it is even faster. Be sure not to be too monochromatic with the colors. Here we used black and orange and then pulled in the green for a splash that worked.


Photo taken by Amy Hall of Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.

Birthday Party Decorations

Birthday Party Balloon Wall

Birthday Party Balloon Wall

When decorating for a birthday party there are so many directions you can take that it can be overwhelming. Then when you throw in the fact that it’s the holidays and you are having a themed party or you are going to a gym and it can really be hard to tackle.

This party was just that. We had my daughter’s Creative Art Birthday party at a community gym which is huge and impersonal. You walk in to an area where the ceiling is lower and this was going to be my space for create the atmosphere with our balloon decorations. Then once we finished with the initial craft, they kids were let loose in the gym.

To create that atmosphere, I made a wall of balloons. You could do this with balloons or even streamers or signs or plants…..lots of things. We decided on balloons because I had lots of help to prepare for the party. We blew up about 100 balloons and then tied them on to varying lengths of string with a weight at the bottom of each. Let me tell you, this took some serious time but was so cute.

The other caution I might give you if you decide to take on this decorating project is to “let it go.” You will go to all this work on the balloons and then if you have small or big kids coming, someone will start picking up the balloons and will take off with them and mess the whole wall up.  It just happens.

Just now thinking. The way to go around this would be to just blow the balloons up without helium and suspend them from the ceiling to make the wall. Then the kids would bat at the balloon decorations but wouldn’t be able to pick them up and take them along for the ride!

Enjoy your party decorating!

Decorating the Table for a Princess Party

Princess Party Table Set Up

Princess Party Table Set Up


Decorating the table for a Princess Tea Party can be super fun. And the table can be quite elegant without being breakable!

First off this mom rented tables and chairs that were just the right height for the kids. Everything is more fun for them when the don’t have to struggle to eat or see things. Simple lilies were placed in the center of each table and they smelled sooooo good. Plates and “silverware” were purchased to look like china plates and were pre-placed around the table. Add some lovely napkins and your platters of food and possibly the cake or dessert and your table is all decorated with very little effort!

Resources: The cake was purchased at Bakery Bar in Portland, OR. China looking plates were purchased at Costco. Beautiful napkins can be purchased at many higher end groceries and gift/card shops.


Photo taken by Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.

Flower Party Balloon Decoration

Flower Party Decorations

Flower Party Decorations

There is nothing more uplifting that flowers. So, there could not be a better party theme to use for a birthday party than a Flower Party Theme! When you decorate for a flower party, it doesn’t always have to be real flowers. Craft some of your own colorful flowers to fill your home or party place.

These balloons are so easy to blow and and make into flowers. You can have them all over the place. And I’m just now thinking of this, but you could mount these on the top of a stick and do two green balloons to fasten to the side of the stick to make stand up flowers. Oooh. Even put them in a flower pot with sand in the bottom of even dirt.

To make them, choose 2 different colors: 4 balloons of one color and 1 balloon of a complimentary color. Tie 2 balloons together and then tie the other 3 together. At this point don’t try and tie them all together but twist them together and position the way you want. Sooooo easy.

Enjoy making decorations for your flower party. This one should make you smile.


Photos taken by Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.