Monday, November 12, 2018

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Although I hadn't seen the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas in years, I always knew it would make a fun monthly dinner theme.  I was definitely right as I had so much fun putting together the decorations, menu, party favors, and everything! Can't wait for you to read and see how it turned out...

Invite:  I designed an invite on PhotoShop with black, white, purple and a hint of yellow.  I kept these colors throughout the remainder of the decor as well.  The font is a Nightmare Before Christmas font I downloaded.

Entry Decor:  A few weeks before Halloween a friend of mine posted a photo of her front door on social media and the photo had this giant Jack Skellington.  A week or so later when I decided this would be my theme, I called her up and asked to borrow Jack.  So here he is (thanks Ember)! He is awesome!  He moves and talks when he senses movement.  

My friend also had the Zero that we tied from Jack's arm.  

I made this super easy clothespin wreath for the door.  I bought a pizza pan and clothespins from the dollar store.  I spray-painted the pan and half the clothespins white, and the other half of the clothespins black.  I would use a mat finish for this.  I had a can a glossy black so that is what I used, but the white was mat and it was much less sticky.  I cut out the yellow circle and the black mountain with my Cricut, and just glued them on.  You could paint them, but I thought I could easily switch out the center and black clothespins for other colors/center to use this for Christmas or Valentines.  The centerpiece was easy and cost me only a few dollars since I already had the spray-paint.

Table Decor:  Absolutely loved my table for this dinner.  The purple tablecloth gave a pop of color, and some small touches added fun to this theme.  The smallest touches were not difficult or expensive to do.

One of my friends is a huge Nightmare Before Christmas fan, so I asked her if she had any items I could borrow.  She sure did (Thanks Colleen)!  I borrowed her plush characters and these amazing Jack and Sally goblets to use in my centerpiece.  The Zero urn is also from her.  I placed these on top of black and white patterned cardstock.

I used simple yellow paper plates, but added the iconic mountain from Nightmare Before Christmas with cardstock. 

For placecards, I bought mini pumpkins from the grocery store and painted them to be either Jack's face or Sally's dress.  For those pumpkins that had a really short stem, I broke a toothpick to insert into the stem and then propped the card with my guest's name on it.

With the Sally pumpkins, I painted all the colors first.  Then I used a Sharpie to do the outlines and details.

Don't you love these Zero napkins?  They weren't too difficult to create either. I bought large white napkins, opened them up, and pinched the middle a few inches down to create the head. I secured it with a red ribbon as a collar.  Using another napkin, I cut out the two ears and glued them onto the head.  I couldn't find orange pompoms, so I used red.  A hole-punched black cardstock was the eye.

A fun and inexpensive place setting.

I used more of my friend's characters and her giant poster for my side table.

I created simple wine labels with Sally's potions.

For wine charms, I used my friend's Nightmare Before Christmas mini buttons.  She had 6 of them, so I just found other characters/images online and made them into circles the same size as the buttons.  All are tied on with black ribbon.

Menu: Coming up with a dinner menu centered around a theme rather than just snacks is sometimes difficult to do, but I had a lot of fun creating this menu.  I tried to theme each piece of the meal around one of the characters from the movie.  For a starter, I made a french onion dip to pair with black chips.  I used a piece of cabbage to make the Nightmare Before Christmas mountain.  I called this Graveyard Dip, but I served it in a Zero dog bowl.

For the main dish, I initially was planning to make Oogie Boogie turnovers.  I had an Oogie Boogie cookie cutter made custom from a local cake shop.  I just sent them a jpeg silhouette of what I wanted, and they made it as large as they could.  When I got the cookie cutter back, it was just too small for turnovers, not much would have fit inside.  I made Chicken Pot Pies without the crust on the top instead.  I made Oogie Boogie out of pie crust to place on the top. 

Along with the pot pies, I made Jack Skellington mashed potatoes.  These were so easy to make.  I cut olives in half for the eyes and then just used cardstock for the mouth.  The original plan was to do the mouth out of olives as well, but it was just too time consuming and cardstock worked just as well.  We dipped a half cup measuring cup in the potatoes to get the faces the same size and amount.

Instead of mixing a fruit salad together, I served it in jagged sections on a plate.  I then cut jagged stitch lines out of black cardstock to set between the sections of fruit.  This gave the plate the look of Sally's dress.  You could do this with black licorice or even melted chocolate if you wanted it to look professional and actually be edible.  

For dessert, I made peppermint chocolate pudding.  I made chocolate pudding and then added a bit of peppermint extract.  I filled my decorative wine glasses with a little pudding and a dollop of whipped cream.  I made the cornflake cookie Monster Wreath to place on top of the glass.  I shaped the mixture into wreaths, added eyes I cut from dried mangos, teeth I cut from dried coconut, and a few red hots for holly.  The eyeballs are just dots from an edible black marker.  I did the marker last minute as it does bleed a little bit on the mango.

Favor:  I absolutely love these favors I painted with the help of one of my English students.  I bought the black tree at Joann's Fabrics after Halloween, so it was super cheap.  I bought glass ornaments and then painted two/three of each character - Sally, Jack, Oogie Boogie, and Zero.

Should have made an extra of each one for me to keep as these are so fun.  They were a big hit with the guests as well.

I hope you loved this party as much as my friends and I did.  Definitely saved me a ton of money knowing friend's with Nightmare Before Christmas decor, but chances are you know someone too.  Add this theme to your next party as it is "frighteningly fun"!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Dozen Years of Fun - Donut Party!

It is hard to believe, but I have been hosting these themed dinners once of month for 12 years!  That's 144 dinner parties with friends!  To commemorate hosting these for a dozen years, I themed this month's dinner around a dozen donuts.  It was so fun to put together and I think it makes a super fun birthday or other party theme as well.

Invite:  I designed my invite with pastel colors because when I think of donuts, I always think of the pink donut boxes and the pink donuts with sprinkles (thanks Homer Simpson).  I found some fun sprinkle-like fonts to use to add to the fun.

Entry:  A friend of mine happened to have these giant donut inflatable pool floats that she let me borrow for the party.  I placed two of the biggest ones at the front door with a small sign to welcome guests.

Table Decor:  I set the table with a bright pink tablecloth and white plates.  For a centerpiece I made donuts out of Styrofoam to place on skewers.  I bought a medium piece of rectangle Styrofoam, and then used an empty can with a circumference the size I wanted it as a "cookie" cutter.  You could buy already circular Styrofoam, but it was too expensive for me, so I just did it this way.  I put Mod Podge on the Styrofoam after cutting, then painted them.  After a day, I added the felt frosting and sprinkles.  I already had the coffee pot from my Friends monthly Dinner, so I just repainted it black and filled it with tissue paper and then coffee beans on top.

Also along the table, I placed a few photos of our dinners over the years.  I chose one dinner from each of the 12 years. 

The front of each had one photo with the year and the back a different photo. I placed the photos on toothpicks and then stuck them in donuts along the center of the table.

For a place card, I made pretend "frequent visitor" cards with each guest's name.  I used my whole punch to punch out the months which that particular guest had been able to attend our monthly dinners this past year.

For a napkin holder, I cut a mini chocolate donut in half and placed it over a rolled napkin.  I had to carve out a bit of the inside circle to make it work, but I think it did.

The beverage and favor table had fun donut displays too.  Over the mantle I placed two more of the inflatable donuts. 

I made a simple donut banner with various donut images I found online.  I sized the donuts to be the same as my circle cutter so cutting them was easy.  I taped them to a piece of ribbon so that they could be close together and overlapping a bit.

I made these fun wine labels on PhotoShop.  I made them to match all my party printables and decor.  I especially love the Sips and Sprinkles of Happiness...just sounds fun.

I did not get a great photo of my wine charms, but they were super easy and cute.  I used the same donut images I used for the banner just resized them to fit around wine stems.

Menu: Although I love donuts, I don't think serving all donuts at a DINNER party would quite work.  I decided to serve mostly donut-shaped foods, but just one donut in the mix.  That donut was the bun for the main dish...hamburgers.  I served these with the fixings on the side as not all my girls love the same items on their burgers. 

Along side the burgers, I served donut-shaped potatoes.  I cut them out with cookie cutters, then sprinkled them with Parmesan cheese, paprika, seasoned salt, and pepper before baking them in the oven. 

I also cut watermelon into donuts as another side.

For dessert, I made a cake in a bundt cake pan and then topped it with a strawberry glaze and sprinkles.  The glaze was a bit runnier than I would have liked, but it tasted delicious.

Favor:  My friend helped me make these amazing mini donuts!  They were so yummy and fun to make.  We made a dozen for each guest, and they were a great hit with the guests.  We did vanilla donuts with pink candy melts and rainbow sprinkles, vanilla donuts with white candy melts and black sprinkles, and chocolate donuts with chocolate candy melts and chopped peanuts.

I bought the pink donut boxes from a local donut shop and made a label for the top.

It's been a great 12 years, and I love these ladies. Can't wait for another "dozen" years of fun!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride is one of my family's favorite summer movies.  We must have seen it at least 4 times this summer alone, and you can often hear my husband and I quoting lines from this movie.  Since I love this movie, I thought it would make a super fun monthly dinner theme...and I was right!  This was so much fun to put together.

Invite:  I designed the invite playing with some of the lines from the movie to include in the text.

Entry:  For the entry I made a R.O.U.S. (Rodent of Unusual Size) out of a trash-bag. I stuffed it with a pillow and a blanket and tied a zip-tie  to make the head.  The eyes and ears are cut out of cardstock and taped onto the bag.  For the tail, I detached the hose from my husband's ShopVac. Easy and cute.

I also made a simple sign with cardstock and foam board to welcome guests.

Table Decor:  I had so much fun decorating my table with iconic items or lines from the movie.

The Battle of Wits makes an easy centerpiece.  I bought decorative glasses from the dollar store and spray-painted them black and grey. I painted a wine bottle black, found a large rock, and placed a white napkin on it to represent the tablecloth from the Battle of Wits scene in the movie. I filled a small bottle with powdered sugar and made an Iocane Powder label.  Added a simple Battle of Wits sign, and that was it.  It was a super inexpensive and easy centerpiece.

Some close-ups of the centerpiece.

I think the place setting had a couple of my favorite details of the theme.  My mom helped me make these Dread Pirate Roberts' head-wraps with black fabric.  They are pinned and tacked/tied with thread - no sewing involved!  The mask I cut out of cardstock with my Cricut.

The second favorite detail I came up with was the napkins I shaped into swords.  I bought grey dinner napkins, unfolded them, refolded them along the long edge, and them cut off the end to look pointed.  The hilt I cut out with my Cricut.

I set the napkin swords along the tops of each plate.

For placecards, I used the famous line of Inigo Montoya, "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die." Instead of his name, I put the guest's name and a fill in the blank.

I made wine charms to represent different characters/sayings/events in the movie.  I had the shrieking eels, the Brute Squad, twoo wuv, iocane powder, stormin' the castle, the Dread Pirate Roberts, and the 6 fingered man.

These are the wine labels I created for the evening.  A little Inconceivable Cab for guest's to take "Sips of Insanity" and an "As You Wish" white.

Above the side table, I quickly made this simple "As You Wish" banner for added decor.

For a little snack as guests were waiting for the meal to be ready, I had two appetizers.  The first was just a bowl of peanuts.  Fezzik is one of my favorite characters in the movie, and I love his rhyming throughout. "No more rhymes now. I mean it!  Anybody want a peanut?" has me giggling every time.

The second appetizers was MLT sandwiches. MLT's = Mutton, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwiches (the mutton in this case is turkey).  Billy Crystal as Miracle Max cracks me up in the movie, and I didn't think we could have a Princess Bride dinner party without serving MLTs. Since I didn't want it to be my main dish, I made bite-size sandwiches as an appetizer. I used sword toothpicks for added fun just because it went with the overall theme of the evening.

For the main meal, I made the three dangers of the Fire Swap.  First was the R.O.U.S.  To make these Rodents of Unusual Size, I grilled some thick round steaks and then added cardstock ears on toothpicks and set them on a tail also made of cardstock.  They don't look super fancy or professional, but they got the point across and gave us all a laugh.

Here's a look at one of the R.O.U.S. steaks close up.  I guess they look more cute than scary, but...

The second danger of the fire swap is the Flame Spurts that erupt from the ground.  For this, I served red, yellow, and orange peppers sliced to look like flames.  These are seasoned and then baked in the oven so that we could keep the shape.

The third danger of the Fire Swamp is Lightning Sand.  This was just a simple brown rice.

I centered the dessert around the Princess Buttercup character.  I mean, who doesn't love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, right?  This peanut butter cup cheesecake was very good, but very rich.  It has an Oreo cookie base, a peanut butter cheesecake with some pieces of Reese's in the center, and then of course more Reese's on top. If you like peanut butter, then this is the dessert for you.

Favor:  For a parting gift for guests, I bought chocolate covered almonds and put them in little jars.  I designed a tag for Miracle Max's  Mostly Dead Revival Pills to stick on the front.  Pretty simple, and easy to put together.

All in all, we had a lot of fun Stormin' the Castle and laughing at parts of the movie playing in the background.  Another great party with a fun theme!