Category Archives: Parties

apothecary jars full of brown, orange and egg-shaped candy

{Real Party} Dinosaur Party

 

dinosaur party food table by Renees Soirees

If you have a dinosaur lover in your life, then they will ROAR over this collection!

This was my son’s 7th birthday party, and his *second* dino party. Normally I don’t repeat themes, but he loves dinosaurs That. Much.

Of the 3 styles available, my son chose the plaid background because he liked the faint dinosaur images in the background (there’s no such thing as too many dinos for him)! We started with the invite, available here… (The invitation is available in a photo version as well).

dinosaur party invitation

I used earth tones to create this collection… mostly brown, green, and orange. Because my son’s favorite color is orange and has been for many years, I highlighted that in the decor and printables (though I have versions of the printables where the brown or the green are more prominent as well).

By the way, ‘Tangerine Tango’ is a version of orange that Pantone declared the 2012 Color of the Year. So stay tuned for future trend previews from Colin! LOL!

Here are the other two backgrounds available, in case you don’t fancy plaid:

Dinosaur invitation with earth-toned stripes
Dinosaur invitation with green chevron and stripes

It might be hard to tell from here, but the lower text looks like it’s spelled out in bones. Because I’m a goofball about details like that! 🙂

Because this party took place just after Easter, it was easy to find a ton of egg-shaped treats for the party table. But Raisinets, jelly beans, and lots of other items available year-round could also be used as ‘dino eggs.’

dino party table food

I also had ‘Dino Scat’ in the apothecary jars. Except I didn’t think first graders would know what scat was, so I went with ‘droppings’ instead. LOL. These are Whoppers… (You may wince at the tag, but let me assure you that 7-year-old boys will laugh hysterically at stuff like this!):

dino party table food

These ‘Dino Bones’ snacks were such a hit!  They weren’t too difficult to make, and all the kids got such a kick out of them.

Pretzel sticks, marshmallows & white chocolate made to look like bones

And in fact my 2-year-old helped make them. We just stuck mini marshmallows on the end of pretzel sticks, then dipped the whole thing in melted white chocolate (we used white Candy Melts, available at craft stores). If you like salty + sweet snacks, you will love these!

Here’s a closer look at the Bones Snack:

snack that looks like bones

I also made the Fossil Cookies. Well, that’s what I call them, anyway. Basically I made a fantastic recipe called Nut-Edged Lemon Cookies; because they’re my sister’s all-time favorite cookie (recipe link in footer).  Then I stamped one of my son’s dinosaur feet into them before baking (of course I scrubbed the T-Rex very well first, because a dino toy is certainly not a food-grade item). You could use a regular shortbread recipe instead, or any cookie that doesn’t change shape TOO much during cooking.

Cookies with an imprint of a dinosaur foot in them

I also ‘made’ some cookies that matched my color scheme. Actually they are just Oreo Cakesters, dipped in colored sugar. These cookies are great for party tables because you can get them in vanilla or chocolate, and roll them in whatever color of sugar or sprinkles you want, to make them match your theme. Super easy!

Oreo Cakesters with orange sprinkles

By the way, the FOOD LABELS that come with the collection are blank, so you aren’t stuck with my kooky concoctions. 🙂

It wasn’t all sweets, though. I made some PB&J sandwiches on bread that I cut out with a dinosaur-shaped cutter  (I got mine at my regular grocery store).

PB&J sandwiches cut in the shape of a dinosaur

And some sub sandwiches, plus crudites with veggie dip…

Basket full of crudites labeled Herbivores

And for drinks, I did a jug of water with some mint leaves. (Note to self: Don’t use this many mint leaves next time, unless you prefer your water to taste like mouthwash!)

Water jug full of mint leaves and labeled Watering Hole

And I set out some Take & Toss cups, hoping to proactively avoid spills. I added some dino flair to them so the big kids wouldn’t feel like they were using ‘sippy cups’.

Sip & Toss cups with a dinosaur tag on the straw

I didn’t want to pay big bucks for another cake stand, so I made my own for around $3:

 Cake stand with orange top, brown ribbon and brown stand.”

I painted a wooden frame (with craft paint, that sells for less than $1 at craft stores) and added a photo of the birthday boy to the table… plus a toy out of his room. 🙂

Brown frame with photo of boy and Lego dinosaur on party table

And of course, the requisite cupcakes in party colors, with custom toppers!

Orange and brown cupcakes with dinosaur toppers

And finally, the FAVORS! I used bags from Dollar Tree (3 for $1), and bought the bottles of bubbles there, too (same price). The bubble bottle labels are included in my Dinosaur Collection, by the way. Inside the egg was a small dinosaur figurine, a bit of candy, and a dino tattoo. Plus some handmade items from some AMAZING Etsy sellers… a reusable dino napkin, some dinosaur-shaped crayons, and a chocolate dino lollipop! The museum also gave us some dino-themed word find puzzles and coloring pages, so we put photocopies of those into the favor bags.

Photos of the items included in the favor bags

A party at the natural history museum also includes access to their exhibits and tours after the party, so it was double the fun for both the kids and their parents. Especially because my 2 1/2 year old kept arguing with the docent about her dinosaur facts. “Actuwee, it’s like this…” LOL!  Told you I have two little dinosaur fanatics!

child, man and docent under a dinosaur display at a museum

I hope you enjoyed our prehistoric party as much as we did!

dinosaur-themed party table with banner, food and balloons

Happy Birthday, sweet Colin! I had SO much fun creating a dinosaur party for you, and I know you’ll remember it for a looong while (because you talk about it all the time)!

child standing next to a dinosaur made of Legos

——————————– {Party Partners} ——————————–
Edible Bones idea from Epicurious
Dino Crayons from Posh Paper Creations
Chocolate dinosaur lollipops from The Sugared Shop
Reusable napkins from Gnome Clothes
Photographer: Chelsey Vehon, Vehon Photography

Dinosaur Collection by Renee’s Soirees
Nut-Edged Lemon Cookies recipe
Party Venue: Museum of Natural History, Mesa, Arizona

Lego 4 inch medallion as decor

LEGO PARTY: Real Parties by Real Customers

Check out the gorgeous LEGO party styled by the very talented Christie at Flaired Affairs (Jacksonville, North Carolina). She used my Building Brick collection and took it to a whole new level!

Lego party photo collage

Lego table by Flaired Affairs

There are more photos on her Flaired Affairs blog.

Follow her on Facebook so you can see more of her amazing events!

Thanks, Christie for the gorgeous party inspiration!

And here is the collection she used to create this colorful event:

Lego full collection by Renee's Soirees

A Beehive shaped jar with a ribbon a tag and lotion tubes inside

{Freebie} Teacher Appreciation

I made this bee-themed gift for my son’s First Grade teacher.

Partly I was inspired to use bees because his teacher has a running BUMBLE BEE theme in her classroom (for example, each child has a bee with their name on it on the wall, and if they misbehave they ‘lose a stinger’ or are ‘out of the hive’).

And partly I wanted to go with bees because I found this cute beehived-shaped tealight holder at Target. It was in the Dollar Spot area, so they may not have it regularly.  If you can’t find one, a yellow or black gift bag with a bee tag on it would do just fine (and hold more, as well).

supplies to make a bee themed gift

In keeping with the bee theme, I filled it with Burt’s Bees products. I purchased the ‘Head to Toe’ kit at Target for $13. I tied a ribbon around the tealight holder and put as many of the items as I could into the jar. You could add a gift card or any other small item to the jar if you prefer.

Bumble Bee themed gift for teacher appreciation

I gave it to her with the bee letter that you can DOWNLOAD FOR FREE HERE.

bee anagram letter

I had my son write his teacher’s name at the top, and sign his name at the bottom. I also added the date in small print.

Click HERE to download the Teacher Tags.
(Then right-click and save the file).

Child and teacher with teacher appreciation gift

I think his teacher liked it, and I hope you do, too!

Renee signature

Valentine’s Day Treat Toppers

These treat bag toppers are a unique way to hand out valentines or Valentine’s Day treats, and they are suitable for classmates, coworkers, neighbors, teachers or friends.

various valentines treat toppers filled with candy

 

In my shop you can choose 2 of the topper styles from the following:

Collection of valentines day treat toppers
♥ Nerds saying (2 styles included)
♥ S’more toppers (2 different sayings – see below for an idea of what to put in the bag)
♥ Heart toppers (2 styles – can be used with conversation hearts, or do what I did and make homemade playdough and cut it out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter)
♥ Peeps toppers (4 styles included – you can buy Peeps in red or pink at drug stores, in 2-packs or multiple packs)
♥ Reeces Pieces topper
♥ Mint topper (I used York heart-shaped peppermint patties)
♥ Dum Dum sucker / lollipop topper
♥ A gift card holder for a teacher or anyone else who loves coffee or tea (2 styles to choose from)

S'more themed valentine treat topper

Each page has 2 toppers, so print up as many as you need (eg, 24 students divided by 2 = 12 copies) then cut them and staple them to the top of a zip-top bag. If you don’t have a color printer, put them on a thumb drive or camera card (like an SD card) and take them to a local copy store. It runs around 29c for a color copy, or 39c per color cardstock page at most print shops (UPS for example, but you could also price them at Staples, Office Max, Kinkos, or any local copy shop).

Paper with 2 treat toppers ready to be cut out

Here are downloadable instructions, but they really are very fast and easy to do. Even my first grader had no trouble helping me assemble them, and he filled out the “to/from” info on the back of each topper.

 

instructions on how to assemble a treat topper

 

UPDATE: Sonoran Living viewers, feel free to use the coupon code “ABC15” when you check out in Etsy, to get 15% off your treat toppers! (Good through Feb 14th, 2012, on this listing only).

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 

Valentine’s Gift Card Holder

2 gift card holders with images of a coffee cup and hearts

I made one version of this gift card holder for teachers, because that’s how I intend to use it, but I also made one without a named recipient, so it can be used for coworkers, bosses, employees, coaches, friends and more!  Because of the hearts, it works great for Valentine’s Day, but it doesn’t specifically mention Valentine’s Day, so it could be used year-round.

Available here!

5x7 print with coffee cups and hearts with room for a gift card

5x7 print with hearts and coffee cups and room for a starbucks card

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Valentine Pocket tutorial

{Tutorial} Valentine’s Day Heart Pockets

My mother, a retired teacher, used to make these with her students every year. She hung them on the bulletin board for February decor, plus during the Valentine’s party, classmates could add valentine cards to the pockets.

Here are some examples of the finished product. My mother, the most creative person I know, made all but one of these (you will note that I am missing part of that creativity gene). She challenged her students to incorporate hearts into everyday items (notice the butterfly and ship below).

2 decorated paper heart valentines day pockets

It’s going to be painfully obvious here, which one was made by me…

2 paper hearts used as pockets for valentines day at school

You can see better on the red heart above, how these open and act as a pocket.

Mom made hers more than 40 years ago, and after about 20 years she decided to extend their durability by  laminating them (then you need to use a craft  knife to cut the pocket open again).  Mom hangs these on the mantel every February even now, and they have held up just fine.

I have also done them with younger kids, too (first grade).  I just help them with the stapling, so they won’t staple in such a way that it prevents it from being used as a pocket.  And for any age group, you can use a salad plate or manila folder template to help them draw the half-circle that becomes the top of the hearts.  Use a toddler plate or something that is approximately the same distance across as the folded paper, otherwise your heart will look cut off.

Use reusable adhesive aka mounting putty to attach it to your walls, mantel, desks or chairs (Scotch and Elmer’s make the putty in the US, and it’s called Blu-Tack in Australia).  You could use tape in a pinch, but in a classroom setting, these pockets can get a little heavy for that.

Here is the tutorial. Click the photo to save or print a PDF version to use as a reference (but trust me, these are NOT hard to make).

Instructions on how to make a heart pocket

I think it’s the coolest thing ever, that I hang (on my bannister, with a heart garland) the very same pocket that my mom used to put my Valentine’s Day card in when I was a kid. And I intend to pass along the ones I made for my kids as well.

Hope you liked this Valentine’s Day craft, and I’d love to see your finished products! (Obviously I need serious help on the decorating portion.)

 

This project featured on:


Tip Junkie handmade projects


Tortilla roll-ups in the shape of a Christmas tree

Let the Holiday Party season begin!

I hope you enjoy these Christmas goodies (thanks for the ideas, Pinterest!) and new HOLIDAY PRINTABLES that I created for a recent Christmas party.

I was hired to style a corporate Christmas party, and my partner (and chef extraordinaire) provided the catering.  I made the Enchanted Snowflakes printables collection that is now available in my Etsy shop.

Christmas party dessert table and tree

I used my 5×7″ Holiday Printable and made it a framed menu. You can also post it at your event and write a holiday greeting on it.

Menu with red background and snowflakes

The tortilla pinwheels in the shape of a Christmas tree was a fun project, and I kept altering the recipe as I went. So I posted the final result to my Recipes page, in case you want to make it as well.

Tortilla roll-ups in the shape of a Christmas tree

My business partner (and resident Foodie) told me that no one would eat a cheese ball, but several people told me that they loved it!

Cream Cheese in the shape of a Christmas gift

And notice the apothecary jar full of “Rudolph’s Spares” (actually cherry sours). I also had jars of red licorice (Darrell Lea of course) and cinnamon M&M’s as well as mint M&M’s.

apothecary jars full of red candy and labeled rudolphs spares

I got a LOT of requests for instructions on making these Santa Hat Pretzels. I know a lot of people love the salty + sweet snacks, but I don’t so I never tried them. But I did love the cute factor!

White-chocolate dipped pretzels that look like santa hats

Red Velvet Whoopie Cakes from Starbucks

 

holiday table red with white snowflakes

I also made Spiced Apple Cider Cookies during the party, because they must be eaten warm!

The hostess made Holiday Sangria, Christmas Chex Mix, and Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese, which were big hits as well.

Included in the Holiday Collection are Wine Tags, a Banner, gift/favor tags, and many other items not pictured in this party:

Printable Christmas Holiday items


Inspiration:

Pretzel Santa Hats idea from FreeFunChristmas
Cream Cheese ‘Gift’ dip recipe from FamilyFun
Pinwheel Christmas Tree idea heavily adapted from Real Mom Kitchen
Cranberry Bars recipe from Lovin In The Oven
Red Velvet Whoopie Cakes from Starbucks
Holiday Printables in Red or Blue from Renee’s Soirees

Candy turkey placecard holder with Fall placecard attached

Thanksgiving Printables

If ever there was an occasion for a beautiful and coordinated TABLESCAPE, it’s Thanksgiving!

Never fear! I have several different place cards available in my Etsy shop, and they come with coordinating buffet labels.

Here is a food tent / label, with the ‘Mixed Leaves’ print. There is also a damask background and a striped one.  Some of the labels are pre-filled with common Turkey Day foods, and some are blank for you to write on or type on in your paint or graphics-type program.

Food tent labeled Mashed Potatoes on a Fall table

Below is a name placecard with the Damask background. There are two wording options: “So blessed that John is here,” and, “So thankful that John is here.”

Table setting with edible turkey placecard holder

3 sets of Thanksgiving placecards

 

We also made a few other fun Thanksgiving foods…

Honeydew melon with skewered fruit that looks like a turkey  kids thanksgiving table

I made Turkey favors for our guests out of Moon Pies, and my 5-year-old wanted to make one, too. Although he had a very different interpretation of ‘turkey’. Based on his dinosaur face (maybe you don’t recognize it, but a Mother knows these things), I’m guessing he was making a dino with two big teeth. LOL!

2 different moon pie turkeys

Food label on a Fall table

Now the only issue is, which of the beautiful centerpieces on Pinterest to use on the big day?!

  • Turkey Moon Pie adapted from La*T*Da
  • Turkey melon idea from Family Fun Magazine
  • Directions for the Popcorn-stuffed paper bag turkey (on kids table) here
  • Can’t remember where I got the Candy Turkey idea from, but they are pretty self-explanatory.  I turned them into placecard holders by taping a toothpick to the back of the name tag, and sticking that inside the Oreo filling.  Low-tech but the kids were thrilled when they walked in and saw their table.  🙂

 

{Real Party} Sunflowers & Burlap

This Sunflower collection was inspired by my amazing mother, because she grew up in Kansas and has an August birthday, so whenever I see sunflowers, I think of her.

We held this party in the Fall, which was perfect timing because sunflowers were everywhere in the stores. But you could also stock up on end of season clearance items and hold the party whenever you’re in a floral mood.  🙂  I had been planning on using burlap for a while, because the natural feel of it just seemed suited for a party evoking nature themes.

This collection can be used for bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries or weddings.   In this case, it was used for my assistant’s sweet daughter Gianna, who was celebrating her 7th birthday.


I used one of the 4″ medallions from my Sunflower collection on the wreath that we hung on the front door.

wreath with sunflowers and HAPPY BIRTHDAY medallion

Several of the Sunflower items in action:

– Party Circles used as cupcake toppers,
– Drink Labels on the water bottles
– 4″ Medallion on the drink dispenser
– Food Labels on the apothecary jars and in front of the cupcakes
– 8×10″ Frameable in the picture frame, with a photo of the birthday girl added

Sunflower printables on cupcakes, water bottles and framed prints

We embellished the banner with some sunflower stickers from Martha Stewart. They matched perfectly!

Sunflower banner on a burlap tablecloth on party table

This is another 4″ Medallion, attached to the silverware dispenser.

4 inch sunflower printable on a silverware dispenser

These Sunflower brownie pops were so fun!

close-up of brownie pop fashioned to look like a sunflower

 

This Caramel Apple Dessert Dip was amazing! And so easy to make!

 

apples and dip in the shape of a sunflower with a food label
This fun cheese and grape plate continued the sunflower theme:
Sunflower cheese and grape plate

A few other fun table shots:
4 inch medallion on a drink dispenser

sunflower Bottle wraps on water bottles

Food labels on apothecary jars

 

The favors were sunflower seeds (some to eat and some to plant) and a sunflower chocolate lollipop.
Martha Stewart sunflower seed packet in tulle

 

I used the cupcake toppers as a favor tag (attached to the tulle) and favor embellishment (stuck to the sunflower chocolate lollipop). They are so versatile!

Doesn’t the birthday girl look adorable? Her mom and I laughed about the fact that we met at Gianna’s 6th birthday party at Peter Piper Pizza last year. Who knew back then that she’d be having her next birthday at my house?!

girl wearing applique sunflower shirt and sunflower tutu

I think the birthday girl was happy with the party, and so was I!

See more Sunflower party ideas on my Pinterest board!

{PARTY PARTNERS}

Handmade cake plates from Bee In Our Bonnet
Sunflower tutu by Tutu Girlz
Sunflower applique shirt by Three Lindys
Burlap wreath by Ginger Bloom Gifts
Sunflower wreath from Today’s Patio (AZ only) but similar items are available on Etsy
Sunflower plate by Sur le Table
Caramel Apple Dip recipe from Fake It Frugal
Sunflower Brownie Pops recipe from Munchkin Munchies
Sunflower chocolate lollipop from Safeway, but are much more affordable here
Sunflower garden seeds by Martha Stewart
Photography by Amanda Saccuci at Rule of Faith Photography
Sunflower party printables by Renees Soirees

 

This party has been featured on:

Tip Junkie

DIY Party Ideas

Hostess With The Mostess

 

 Catch My Party
Catch My Party

Free Counter

{New Collection} BALLOON PARTY !

This balloon collection was inspired by my toddler, who LOVES balloons and thinks they are called BOW-loons. So I knew that his 2nd birthday just had to be full of BOW-loons and bright, primary colors. I hope you enjoy some photos of Deac0n’s recent Balloon Party!

I printed up the invitations as a regular color copy, in 4×6″ size. Any bigger than that and you will have a hard time finding a balloon long enough to hold it. I rolled the invite tightly, taped it, and had someone hold the mouth of the balloon open a bit while I slid it in. Then I added some confetti and blew up the balloon. I attached a tag that said, “POP ME!” so the kids could get excited about the party.

Balloon with rolled up invitation inside

Guests were greeted by a path lined with balloons increasing in height, so as to build anticipation!

Front door with balloons leading up to it

Then came the colorful balloon wreath, created by my assistant, who was handed several bags of balloons and an 18″ wreath, and given only this instruction: “Make it purdy…” I love the outcome, and I think it really made the 4″ medallion from my collection POP! (No pun intended!)

Balloon-covered wreath on a front door

We decided to give the decorations ‘height’, just because it was a Balloon party. So we utilized the balcony (which my kids call the ‘Rapunzel Room’).

Balcony decorated with a balloon wall and streamers below

This is the ‘dessert table’, which actually had veggies on it too, in my [feeble] attempt to balance cupcakes with crudites. 🙂

Balloon dessert table with banner, streamers, cake pops etc

The cupcake toppers, which also made an appearance in several other places…

Cupcakes with 2 inch cupcake toppers inserted

Who says Cupcake Toppers are just for cupcakes?!

Crudites with cupcake toppers

These adorable balloon-shaped cake pops made the kids positively wide-eyed!

cake pops in primary colors in the shape of balloons

The balloon-shaped Fruit Pizzas were my idea. What do you think? Hit or miss?

3 plates with balloon-shaped cookie dough fruit pizza

And this may have been my favorite part of the whole party… I handed my assistant a bag of Babybel cheeses and asked her to make them look like balloons. ADORABLE! And a great way to get some healthier foods into the mix.

Babybel red cheese rounds made to look like a bouque of balloons

My Aussie mates know that no kids party is complete without FAIRY BREAD! But I decided to pinwheel them to give them a balloon look. For non-Aussie readers, Fairy Bread is very easy to make, and very popular with the Tin Lids (aka KIDS).

a tray with rolled-up Fairy Bread on toothpicks, pinwheel style

And here are the favors… the kids got a box with a water balloon kit, a helium balloon tied to it, and a Rice Krispie balloon pop. I attached the Favor Tags included in this collection to the box with a balloon sticker from Creative Memories.

3 party boxes with a balloon attached and a label that says THANKS FOR POPPING BY

A tag with a balloon photo that says THANKS FOR POPPING BY

 

And these were the cookie favors I gave out:

Sugar cookies made to look like balloons, on a stick. By Renee's Soirees

They were super easy and inexpensive. I got pre-made sugar cookie dough, and rolled it into balls and flattened them a bit. Then after they came out of the over, I stuck a popsicle stick inside (and later lollipop sticks, although they didn’t work as well on a heavy cookie). Then I frosted them in bright colors (I bought cans of white buttercream frosting and tinted them with food coloring).  Then I wrapped them and added the favor tags. Easy!

 

water bottles with Balloon-themed labels on them

I think the birthday boy had a great time! He squealed over every balloon he saw, even the one on his shirt. 🙂Birthday child in applique shirt with a balloon

Here is the invitation, it can be personalized with or without a photo.

Printable Birthday Invitation with balloons

And here are the coordinating items:

I could see this collection being adapted for many different functions: a Welcome Home party, graduation, or pretty much any occasion where balloons would be welcome (and for me, that means ALL occasions. LOL).

See my Balloon Pinterest board for more ideas!

Party Partners!

Balloon Invitation and Printable Accessories by Renees Soirees
Photos by Rule of Faith Photography, Phoenix, Arizona
Birthday Boy applique shirt by Absolutely Handmade
Balloon Cake Pops by Mind Over Batter, Tempe, Arizona
Red basket (for veggies) from Sur la Table – now on clearance for 75% less than I paid!
Red round serving tray from Sur la Table
Balloon favor boxes – Walmart party section

 

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