Wednesday, June 12, 2013

MOMS Club Mother's Tea and Fundraiser 2013

I was so sad when I realized I couldn't attend our local MOMS Club Annual Mother's Day Tea and Fundraiser this year. There isn't much tea drinking these days.. just great food and drinks with my mommy friends that I don't see on a regular basis but still really value our friendships... Alas, I had family plans that day but Park Talk Printables donated the decor. (As long as I'm a member, I wouldn't let my girls down!)

All any great party needs is a splash of color here and there and a basic "theme" to tie it all together. You may remember last year's Tea link (because I JUST posted it a few weeks ago) and 2011 link.

When I think of Mother's Day, flowers come to mind (hint, hint, wink wink hubby).
Pink and Orange is such a vibrant combination, I knew it would help lighten up the dark wood decor at the local Italian restaurant that it was being held at.

My other personal theme "was keep it simple".. that's a tough one for me but I had another big party the same week and didn't want to take away from those projects.. hey a paying gig has priority. :)

Focusing on a few key items, here's what I came up with.. BTW sometimes the best kind of jobs are unstructured..Nobody requested multiple proofs/changes and I got to do WHATEVER I wanted. :)

Centerpieces: A simple mason jar. I try to keep these on hand for either canning food (imagine that) or for a quick vase. I heart mason jars of all sizes... I wrapped a printed band around the jar and added paper flowers (left overs from a fiesta party earlier in the week). The band could have been larger so you you couldn't see inside the jar but that was one of my last things printed and I just went with it.

Name Tags/Corsages: Being our Mother's DayTea we often have new/newer members attend this popular event so we usually wear name tags. Last year you may remember I created paper flowers.. this year I was all about fabric and hair clippies. Combining the two, I created a hair clippie that the ladies could attach to their lapel with a hanging name tag that could be removed. After the party, pop it onto a beach bag, summer purse, or even your child's hair.. if you're feeling saucy, put it in your own hair! O'le!

For display I clipped them to my daughter's framed clippie holder that I made for her room.. come to think of it, I have another one hanging in my office for the clippies that I sell.

Close up of fabric flower clippie.. used a knit fabric to give it some texture.
231 circles later.. me and my trusty hot glue gun got to work!
Look around your house.. lots of items you use every day can be used for party decor.. I love using vintage bowls and things I've made for other projects.
Welcome Sign:  Because raffle tickets were involved, I created a sign reminding moms of the prices and welcomed them to the party. It's hard to get away sometimes and leave the kids at home with dad and we appreciated everyone that was able to make it. Except me of course!!

Raffle Boxes and Silent Auction Sheets: Being a fundraiser, raffle boxes and Bid sheets are pretty important.. nothing says they can't be pretty looking too. :)
Recognized the butterfly boxes from last year?.. this year I created in Pink and Orange to match. I created a circle tag for one of the board members to hand write the donations and values. Ladies put the raffle tickets inside.
Silent Auction sheets were "fill in the blank" for the board members. Of course they had to match too!
Banner: I created a coordinating design and print banner. Anyone could print and cut, then tape to a matching ribbon.

Here's the banner hanging on my living room curtains.
close up of banner
If you're a new mom, the MOMS Club is a wonderful organization comprised of mostly stay at home moms. I've created so many lasting friendships through this group of ladies and consider myself lucky to have found them. If you contact your local MOMS Club organization and you don't hear back.. try again. They are made up of volunteer mommies that sometimes are overwhelmed with LIFE... you'll be glad you joined.

Just wait for the Fiesta Party who's flowers inspired the ones used here... coming soon!

Invitations: Curious George

I love kids birthday party invitations. There are so many options. Some parents like licensed characters, others none, and some choose to mix. Either way you go adding a few personalized elements to your character or color themed parties is the way to go.. Cupcake Toppers, Water Bottle Labels, and Banners create a big bang for not a lot of buck.

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it... I think invites are important! (not everyone agrees and that's ok) BUT they really set the tone for your party. I'm not saying you need personalized invites but getting this invite in the mail really got their guests excited about the Curious George Party. Heck, maybe your next invite will even get guests to RSVP... now that's just crazy talk!

Curious "Anderson" George 1st Birthday.. you never forget your first birthday right?.. Oh yeah.. well your mom won't forget! :)
Curious Anderson was the star of his First Birthday Party!
Back of the invite was printed on card stock and gave all the details. These were mailed in a really fun bright yellow envelope.
Cupcakes at the park make life a little easier for mom.. these matched perfectly. Don't forget double sided because there's no wall to back the stand against.
For first birthdays, high chair banners are super cute for photo ops..  Smash Cake Anyone?
They're smaller than our traditional banners and are also great for locations where you can't hang decor on the walls.
Happy 1st Birthday Curious Anderson!!

Poker Anyone? I'm All In!

 When I first met my husband I swear we were always playing some form of Poker... I have such great memories of those nights. Then we started a family and late nights were no longer filled with cards and friends, but family movie nights, and an early kiddo bedtime. Our house is too small too host so a few months ago I convinced a friend to invite us over.

As a surprise, I brought along a little "Abrams' Poker Night" decor. Ok, most poker nights there is no she-she foo-foo involved... just cocktails, paper plates, pizza, and chips (poker and potato).

This was a poker party a girl would throw or in my case, just a good excuse to get us together to play some cards and show off my party skills!
Ok, not every poker night deserves tulle but Red and Black can be Oh So Fabulous. Notice the trim is a black feather boa?, perfect for Bunko Night or Couples Poker. The tulle is just pinned to a black tablecloth from the underside. Easily removed and now a future TuTu. :)

A close up of the banner.. just used Foam Core Board covered in wrapping paper. An old deck of cards was hot glued to red ribbon and I printed out a fan of cards with the "Abrams' Poker Night" logo 
Had to used my favorite Cake Pop/Cupcake Stand. I used a beaded sash instead of ribbon for an accent. The little frame is one of my favorite dollar finds from Michael's. I've used them tons of times!
Strawberries.. trying to be healthy AND it matched my color theme.. added just a strip of paper underneath so as the berries disappeared, the serving plate was still cute.

Close up of the cupcakes.. "I'm All In" was the theme of the night I tried to attend Fondant Cards..the food markers I had didn't work so great so glad I only tried a few.
When partaking in cocktails, it's a MUST to also offer water (and some mini cupcakes for in between hands)
Poker Queen (it was around my birthday and I wanted a little extra pizzaz at the table.. Wine glass from the 99 cent store, a little Modge Podge, glitter, and glass etching cream.. Voila!

All other guests got "Abrams' Poker" glasses. Some weren't drinking so we served water or juice in these. Those that were enjoyed a cold beer and cocktail in style
"I'm All In" for poker again!!

Train Party

Last summer I was asked to help a friend with her little guy's 4th birthday. Like LOTS of little boys I know, he was infatuated with trains. I have to admit, after attending his party at Travel Town in Los Angeles... so was I! 

What a great place to take the kids. The party was held on a private train car. All guests got to go on a train ride around the property and of course the decor was super cute, cuz that's just what happens when Park Talk Printables gets involved. (hee hee) By coincidence, the car she was assigned to was red and blue inside, how did they know??

Kids and parents had a great time watching the model trains and climbing aboard a few non-working old trains. If you have a little (or old) one who loves trains, this is a great location for a party.

If you need help with your train party.. let me know!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mother's Tea 2012

Every year our MOMS Club plans a Mother's Day Tea and Fundraiser. All our members and their mothers are invited to attend and raise money for local charities.

It's a great way to honor ourselves and our friends that encourage and inspire us.

2012 was my 2nd year planning the decor for the party.

The theme for 2012 was Moms Who Play Together, Grow Together.

It all started with the design of a sign. I then created about a million watering cans to use as raffle boxes for each item.

 Flower pin name tags were created by cutting out four scalloped circles, scrunching up the paper and separating the cardstock in half. It gave the "petals" a really soft texture. The ladies wrote their names on the tags but could then throw that part away after the party and keep the pin to decorate a purse, etc.
This Tea Party banner was actually created for the Alice in Wonderland Tea in 2011 Link but since I used the same paper pack it fit in perfectly.

 These are the watering cans set up for the event. Each was labeled with the item. 
Because they were a bit labor intensive, I also created a simpler butterfly box. 
We also had bid sheets for the silent auction to match.
 Our President created this photo display and used it at a National MOMS Club function earlier in the year.
Paper products can really dress up an event. 


One of our members came up with this idea so one afternoon we got together and created pull tab cans filled with peanut M&Ms. The moms thought they were great. Basically using a can opener that doesn't cut the ridge, we emptied out 35 or so fruit cocktail cans. Washed and dried the cans. Filled them, placed a piece of tissue paper, then hot glued the bottom of the can back on. Added labels that I created to match our decor and then tied two coordinating ribbons on top.

Park Talk Printables made donation to raffle (as if cutting 25 watering cans and butterfly boxes wasn't enough work, hee hee).. 

I went into my gift closet and found a few family games and jazzed up some snacks. Who doesn't love Popcorn, chocolate chip cookies and Candyland?

Party Favors

Party Favors are always better when they have a personal meaning to the host/hostess. (Isn't everything better when it touches your heart?)..

Deciding on what to send your guests home with can sometimes be a tough decision. It wasn't a tough choice for this special couple's engagement party.

Mahsa's mother made her favorite strawberry and carrot jam for all her guests to enjoy at home. What a great way to honor something you love and share it with others.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cookies, Treats, and Bag Toppers

Recently I had a friend ask about making cookies for a party.. I thought I'd share some tips I discovered while making cookies for various events and a way to make ANY treats look special.

I really adore thick cookies.. even if they aren't big, they seem more luxurious than a thin brown cookie you had to scrape off the pan, that are about to crumble at any moment.

After lots of research I found an awesome recipe on the Wilton discussion forums. Forums are dangerous places my friend! I don't even care what the topic is, you can get lost for hours looking at questions and answers for things you weren't even looking for... hence my reason for not fighting off the urge to join Pinterest. (I have since joined the masses but I was strong for a long time!)

Anyhow, my tried and true go to recipe for cookies. It's especially important to know they can be made ahead so you aren't making cookies at 2am the night before the party... ahem, we've all been there with one project or another!


2 sticks of Land of Lakes sweet cream salted butter
1 large egg
1 cup of sugar
vanilla-I don't measure-Just splash it in
Mix until creamy
2 3/4 to 3 cups of plain flour

Bake at 400 for 7 to 8 minutes

Additional notes about these yummy cookies:

The dough should not be crumbly -- No need to chill this dough, you can use it from the bowl to rolling out.

I use about 1/3 of the dough at a time to roll -- I don't have luck keeping consistancy with thickness with larger portions -- I try to use all the dough I can, to prevent getting additional flour by using over and over.

Some people find it not sweet enough - That's another benefit for me -- they are more "cakie" -- more like a shortbread type -- I find with the icing, they are so tasty and again "real" butter is a huge factor in taste--I only use Land of Lakes.

I don't like crunchy cookies -- I don't like thin cookies -- I like thick and soft cookies!

Why in the world do you bake at 400? I dont bake much of anything that hot" -- I don't have an explanition, except for That's what I've always bake them at and for that amount of time.

I roll cookies thick -- a good 1/4" + and right on the formica

another note -- use a cookie sheet without sides -- a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides hold the heat -- the cookies next to them will brown faster

I perfer my cookies to be "just barely" done -- they are just set and barely if at all brown --- I don't like browned bottoms for taste or looks -- or hard cookies.

Let them cool competely before decorationg.

I freeze them undecorated for up to 2 months in vacummed sealed containers or tightly sealed -- they freeze very well.

Unfrozen and Packaged in cellophane, they will keep up to 3 weeks -- I've pushed it with 4 -- but definitely 3.

I have this recipe and notes and keep them in my recipe binder. I have used other brands of butter and they're still just as good. I've also added Lemon or Vanilla extra to add a little flavor, both equally delicious.

Here's another trick if you don't have rolling pin spaces.. these are made to keep your dough even. Whenever I try to do it freehand, I always end up with one side of the cookie thinner (and they bake uneven, or there's a dip in the middle- ugly).

Go to your local hardware store's paint department and ask them for their LARGE paint stir sticks (you'll need two)... Place a ball of dough on a piece of parchment (or wax) paper. Then cover with another piece of the same. Using the paper will mean you aren't using additional flour for rolling.

Place the handle part of the stirring sticks on either side of your dough.. place your rolling pin on top of sticks and start to roll.. your cookie dough will be in between and won't touch the sticks because of the parchment paper.. voila! Your cookies are now about a quarter of an inch think and even on all sides!

Here's another trick.. Fondant always looks gorgeous but can be pretty tasteless. On the same Wilton forum I found a recipe for Marshmallow Fondant... that's right, it's made from mini marshmallows and tastes sweet but rolls out very smooth. If you roll it thin enough, you can stack to create designs.

I usually roll small batches of the fondant so I can make several colors. I use the same cookie cutter I used for the cookie for a base. If you start cutting out your fondant while the cookies are baking, you'll be able to pop them onto the cookies just as they're coming out of the oven.. this will make the fondant melt slightly and adhere to the cookie! They don't get hard but can be put into bags or stacked without worry.

Marshmallow Fondant 

1 cup mini marshmallows
1 tbsp water
1 1/2- 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
Crisco for rolling/your hands

Place marshmallows in a standard 1 cup measuring cup and push down and pack them in. Place in a microwave safe bowl and add the water. Put in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Just long enough for them to soften and puff up. Take out and stir with a spoon until it is combined well. At this point it looks kind of soupy. Then add the sugar and mix and fold until all is incorporated and it is no longer sticky. I take it out of the bowl when it gets to the point where most of the sugar is incorporated and I knead it in my hands. This takes roughly about 5-7 minutes. Take a fondant roller or a regular rolling pin and roll out just as you would Wilton's fondant. You can get this fondant almost paper thin and it also repairs well. It's cheap, easy to work with, and tastes great too. ***Microwaves times vary so please adjust to your own microwave.

1- 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows
2 tbsp water
7 cups powdered sugar (2 pound bag MINUS 1 cup)

Do the same procedure as above for the small batch.

If it is way to sticky to work with then cut back on the amount of liquid that you used by about 1/2 tsp. This will help. 
Let it sit out and "air dry" for about 10 minutes. 
Use a small amount of Crisco on your work surface, rolling pin, bowl,and hands. A little goes a very long way so don't go over board with the Crisco.
Dust your MMF ball with a powdered sugar poof. You can also use a cornstarch poof but it will tend to dry out the MMF faster.

++Another important point.. even if your goodies don't look as good as the ones "professionals" make, they make a big impact on the person receiving them.. something more special that a package of cookies from a box at Costco.
These were for a MOMS CLUB cookie exchange and had the recipe on the back.. My daughter decorated them, making them extra "sweet".
Cookies.. not perfectly gorgeous but the guests only remembered how good they tasted and the cute bags they came in!

See... imperfect but completely cute with a ribbon and tag tied on the bag!
Even if you don't want to make your own goodies.. store bought things look special with a personalized bag topper. These can be used as part of your party favor bags or for snacks during a party.
Family Game Night Snacks made special with individual treat bags
Snacks for hungry hikers during a 60th surprise outdoor party.. even trail mix can be cute!
 Please let me know if Park Talk Printables can help create a topper for your party!
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