Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Planning a Party in Hours --a Tutorial

About 2 weeks ago, my daughter, Lillian, turned 2.  I had big plans for her party.  I like to throw parties. But then, things happened and the party almost didn't.
At the very last minute, I pulled it together.  
I thought it turned out nice, despite the few hours I had to do it in.
Here is what I learned about last minute party throwing.

It's all in the details.

That might just be my new slogan for life.  It can be applied to so many different things.

I thought I'd walk you through my process, just in case you are ever throwing a party at the last minute.  It is good to have ideas in your head already.
That, in fact, is where I started.

I remembered these from this post.  I loved them.  Simple, but big impact.  They look like giant flowers.  Perfect.
Next, choose the colors.  I love red.  I love turquoise.  Done.

It is a good idea to choose colors you love for a last minute party because, chances are, you already have things in those colors to use for the party.
Like these goody bags.

Inspired by the color scheme and the big flowers, I stamped a flower and each child's initial on a plain white label and put it on a brown paper lunch bag.  (I am a big fan of simple, graphic stamps.  It is good to have a variety on hand.  You never know when you might need one.)
Initially, I envisioned round labels, but the 2 stores I ran into did not have them, and I wasn't going to any more stores.  This was last minute, remember.  I made do.

Using a hole punch and some cute red ribbon I had in a drawer, I tied the bags shut and voila! Cute, matching goody bags are done.

I also used the stamps for making flags for the cupcakes.  Since I was missing those round labels, I couldn't do the flower stamp like I wanted to.  Instead, I stamped a 2 onto the white labels, stuck them around a toothpick and cut into a flag shape.
Perfect, easy and quick.  Cupcake decorations, done.

I did not have lots of time to properly decorate the cupcakes.  In fact, I think I frosted them after guests arrived.  No matter.  The kids loved the turquoise sprinkles.

The grownups got coconut.  They were, after all, coconut cupcakes.
And I used these adorable red polka dot liners from here.  I had them on hand already.  
It is so good to have things on hand.  It makes me feel like I am kind of Marthaish.  I am decidedly not Marthaish; these were just really lucky breaks.  

The last detail you must pay attention to is the food.
Choose high impact items.  Or choose things that you make best.  Or that are fast and easy.
Just choose a couple really good things to make yourself.

I did not make the food we snacked on.  Most of the time I do.  All of it.
This time, I bought a few choice munchies from Trader Joe's (I would starve without that store) and picked 2 things to make from scratch.

The cupcakes.  Always the cupcakes.  (recipe here.  So, so good)   And yes, that includes the frosting.  ALWAYS, ALWAYS make the frosting.

The popsicles.  It was a water party.  It was a hot afternoon.  Homemade popsicles seemed like the perfect idea.
It took me minutes to whip up some raspberry pops in the blender.

I poured them in dixie cups, put them in the freezer, waited a bit, put in the sticks and pulled them out for the party.
They were a hit.  You can get the easy recipe at the end of this post.  (and another one here)

I am not lying when I said this took me hours to put together.  And I mean a few hours--not 20.  
On Friday I visited 2 stores.  I went to bed that night having gotten nothing done, because I was just too tired.  I woke up at 6 and got to work.  
If you have some items always on hand:  stamps, colored ink pads, tissue paper, floral wire, cute cupcake cups, popsicle sticks, ribbon, labels and a few fabulous recipes, you'll be ready for a party in a moment's notice.  
Just remember,, it's all in the details.

I'd love to hear some of your favorite party planning tips.
Love from,


Four Flights said...

great pictures as always Greta! Meant to tell you a few posts back about those cupcakes! there was a girl in our office that always made those for birthdays and they are just heaven in a piece of paper!

Katie @ minivan diva said...

All I can say is that I am soooo impressed!

Heather @ Life Made Lovely said...

your bags turned out super cute! and those cupcake toppers, too. i love using old school supplies when it comes to crafting.

i'm a fan of baking cupcakes so i think i'm going to need to try that recipe.

feather said...

this is very very cool. i love that you used basic items. there is so much beauty in simplicity and basic.

i came over today after you commented on [dandee]'s post on my blog. i don't get to say hi to everyone, but i clicked your profile and ended up here. i'm following YOU now. your blog is so colorful and full of ideas. i'm loving this space of yours...

Inde said...

Hi, I'm a new mom and my baby is turning one next month. Can you pls give me some advice on throwing a small party? Thx!

NeedANap2 said...

Party at the park. Let the kids play, the adults talk. Food from the cooler or just dessert! :)

Helps to be last minute b/c weather varies!