Back to School Party Inspiration – 8 Free Printables

Summer is winding down – where did the time go? As September is fast approaching, I’ve decided to do a post for parents with children heading back to school in the coming weeks. I’ve noticed that many parents are choosing to throw a party to help the kiddos get excited about the upcoming school year. It’s also a great way to celebrate the end of summer. To provide you guys with some awesome inspiration, I have done a round-up of free back to school party printables available. Check out how they can be used to create some neat party tables.
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Wedding Wednesday – 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing A Wedding Planner

Woop woop it’s my first Wedding Wednesday post!

If you follow me on twitter or have read the About Me section of my blog, you’ll know that I am deep into wedding planning. It is so intense! I am going to try and dedicate two Wednesdays per month to blog about my experience leading up to the big day and share the ups, downs, excitements and 20/20 hindsight lessons.  We are having our wedding and a traditional Nigerian engagement in Orlando, Florida over Valentines weekend.  Thankfully, all the major items are done – venue, photographer, catering, videographer, DJ, officiant. I even said Yes to the Dress back in May. We have a theme for the main wedding. If you’d like to see my vision check out my pinterest board, here.

Follow Jacqueline James’s board Wedding – Juke Joint on Pinterest.

Now onto Wedding Planners.

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Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu)

Char Siu

Someone pinch me – How in the heck did we get to August so quickly? Luckily there’s still time for summer entertaining and I have the perfect recipe for your next barbecue – Chinese BBQ Pork, also known as Char Siu. It’s incredibly tasty, unexpected and super easy. I’m all for easy entertaining! Everyone will be expecting typical burgers and chicken – mix it up with this dish.

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Blog Hop: Chain “Linky” CLIMB



God’s Growing Garden




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Dessert Table How-To: Backdrops and Hanging Decor

I’m back! I learned the hard way that managing a blog while having a job that can require 12+ hour days, planning a wedding and taking care of a toddler is a bit….difficult. Hah! Work has slowed down for now, so I’m hoping to provide you guys with more frequent updates and inspiration.

In previous posts, I’ve explained the basics of creating a fun themed dessert table. If you’ve followed my advice on how to design a layout, use apothecary jars and add appealing decor, I’m sure your arrangement will be gorgeous. However, I have one final tip that will totally impress your guests. Create a dessert table backdrop!

Why add a backdrop? For the creatives, backdrops are yet another awesome way to showcase your talent and party theme. It will spruce up your party decor and provide additional visual depth to your dessert table. Below I describe the most popular ways to build a backdrop. It’s easier than you think…

Free Standing Backdrop

These are typically created using a pipe and drape method. Here are some great tutorials on how to build one for cheap at home:

Once the pipe is set up, you can hang cloth or wall paper in your pattern of choice and simply place the stand behind your table.

black,white, dessert, table Source: Designed by Love Every Detail

Backboards

Backboards can be created from a variety of materials and then propped up against a wall or attached to your wall (using tacks, nails, etc.).

Foam boards are useful and versatile. You can cover it in a fabric or wrapping paper – whatever you can find to match your color scheme and theme. It’s then easy to attach additional hanging decor onto the board. I purchased some foam boards of my own a few weeks ago from Hobbycraft, so I may try this out very soon!

wedding, dessert, table
Source: Hotpolkadots

Canvas is another great reusable option because it can be painted over and over again. And similar to foam board, its super easy to attach additional decor.

Another option for creating a backboard – Beadboards!

Beadboard is a type of paneling that is covered in a series of distinctive grooves. Classically, it is installed so that the grooves run vertically, creating a striped or paneled effect, although people can also put in beadboard along a horizontal axis. This paneling style first started appearing in the 1800s, and it has become very popular.

This option can completely transform your wall without needing to hire a decorator or painter. Bead boards can be temporarily attached using tacks.

Hanging Decor

If you’re looking for a simple easy way to add appeal to the wall behind your dessert table, then consider purchasing hanging decor from a party supply store. Streamers and banners are inexpensive and effective way to add appeal. Paper pom poms and pinwheels can be attached to the wall or hung from the ceiling.

dessert, table, pinwheels
Source: Cake Appreciate Society via Sugarplum Sweets, located in Perth, Western Australia.

I hope my series of dessert table posts have been insightful and “demystified” the process of putting together an eye-catching party display. If you have any more tips, leave them in the comments section. Sharing is caring!

Dessert Table How-To: Printables and Decorations!

This is the third post in my series on how to create a dessert table – a beginner’s guide. In my previous posts, I discussed apothecary jars and layouts. Today, I will explain how incorporating simple decorations can give your table some extra pizzazz.

Sugar Plum Source: Leelaaloo

You’ve selected your desserts and candies, sourced amazing jars and serving trays, designed an awesome layout – now time to bring it all together with decorations. Here are some simple embellishments that will do wonders for your theme and color palette.

Party Printables

Printables are a great DIY decoration for dessert tables and candy buffets. Plus, for practical purposes, they will identify the foods you decided to serve to your guests. Printables are downloadable digital files, usually in PDF form, that allow you to print stationary at home. There are TONS of graphic designers offering printables on the internet for low cost (some even free – see below). You can also find some really neat designs on etsy.com for almost any theme you can think of for a party. Printables are used as cupcake wrappers, cupcake/cake toppers, food labels, flags, table signs, napkin rings, bottle labels, banners and more. Check out this collection of printables which really bring the theme of these dessert tables alive.

Queen’s Jubilee Theme
Jubilee, party, ideas,

Minnie Mouse Theme
minnie mouse, disney, girls, party, dessert, table
Rainbow Theme
rainbow,party,ideas,printables Source: Sweet Scarlet Designs available at Etsy

Printing out the designs should be simple but you’ll need some basic crafting supplies: heavyweight card or glossy paper, color printer, circle/scalloped hole punch, scissors, string, tape, glue/glue dots and lollipop sticks. Below are links to wonderful blogs offering a number of free printable themes,

Wrapping Paper

Using wrapping paper is another fun way to enhance your theme and add pops of color to your table. You can use it to line dessert trays and plates. If you’re looking for ways to add height, wrap card boxes in gift wrap and place your dessert tray, cakestand or jar on top. Instant drama for little cost!

yellow, candy, buffet
Source: Kelly Chua

yellow,purple,dessert,table sweet-dessert-table-ideas-for-your-party-amy-atlas
Source: Amy Atlas

Ribbons, Bows and Other Accessories

Bows, ribbons, bling, tulle, lace, glitter – all these litle touches really do ensure your table will be unique and picture perfect.

A simple blue bow was wrapped around this apothecary jar for a baby boy bridal show.
8236_463946040345239_548641254_n_600x903

The theme for this event was gold and pink ballerina. Tiny pink bows, gold glittered ribbon and tulle were used to provide amazing finishing touches for this girly girl party.
pink-dessert-table

The use of lace in this dessert table brings the French vintage theme to life beautifully.
vintage, dessert, table Source: HWTM

If you’d like to feature a dessert table you’ve created on my blog, leave me a comment or contact me here.

Top Tips for the Perfect Summer BBQ

Corncobs and meat on grill

I’ve just returned to London after spending another sunny (for the most part!) bank holiday weekend on the Kent coast. This time we were in Ramsgate. We had a great time visiting friends and made it to the beach for a bit. On Sunday, my fiance’s friend from med school even managed to bbq for us in his back garden. Nothing beats a great bbq! They are the perfect summer party for almost any occasion. If you’re getting ready to dust off the grill and want to host an amazing bbq for family or friends, here are a few great bbq planning ideas to help you throw an event your guests will be raving about for months.

Theme

It’s always fun to incorporate a theme into your party. Choose a cool theme that will set your party apart from all the other summer events. Carry the theme through the food, decor, party games and attire. Your guests will appreciate the creativity and efforts. Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

  • Hawaiian Luau
  • Mexican Fiesta
  • British Seaside 
  • Texas Rodeo
  • Caribbean/Island Jam

Invitation

As discussed in my post on dinner party invitations, sending an invite for your bbq is always a good idea.  Most importantly, sending out invites is an effective way to encourage RSVPs and help you finalise the guest count.

bbq,invitations

via Etsy

 

Entertainment

Set up fun games to keep your guests entertained while you’re busy at the grill. You can go for traditional outdoor games like horseshoes or a bean bag toss. Personally, I love the idea of giant jenga – bound to be a hit with adults and kids.

ga001-03

Food

Provide a variety of grilled items, not just meat. Include seafood options and make some tasty vegetable kebabs. BBQ is not just for burgers anymore people! Offer pork, sausage, chicken, and veggie burgers. Also, take the time to research grilling methods to ensure you don’t burn foods. There are tons of books, online videos and how-to guides on how to grill food perfectly. Do a google search to get started. If you have time, make a homemade bbq sauce recipe. Let your meats marinate overnight in the sauce to enhance flavour and for safety reasons, always use an instant read thermometer to measure when meat is done. It will also prevent overcooking.

Here’s a top tip for those on a budget – buy less expensive cuts such as chicken leg/thigh instead of drumstick, or less prime cuts of beef. After marinating and grilling to perfection, your guests will be too busy licking their plates to notice the difference.

As for side dishes, its perfectly fine to stick with the classics such as potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, grilled corn, etc. For dessert, ice cream, fruit (watermelon!) and cheesecake work well. Serve side dishes in containers with lids, instead of fiddling with all that plastic wrap. Keeps the flies out and keeps the food fresher for a longer period. If you’re concerned about food safety and outdoor heat, serve sides that stay fresh at room temperature and do not need to be chilled. Here are some examples,

bbq side dish serveware

Joyful Scribblings

 

bbq, side dish, outdoor, entertaining

via CountryLiving

 

Beverage

Keep the drinks flowing! Plan ahead and talk to your guests to know what they like. Think of a creative way to serve drinks. The oh so popular mason jar goes incredibly well with most bbq themes.

mason jar drinks mojitos

via SWS Mag

Table Setting

If you will have a sit down meal, create a bright colorful outdoor table setting. Here is some inspiration.

bbq, grill, party, table

via Hostess with the Mostess

 

summer,parties

via Babble

 

bbq,tablescape

 via Celebrations at Home

 

Inspire Others! If you’ve hosted a BBQ party and would like to share pictures of the party on my blog, please contact me.

TREND ALERT: Homemade Gifts in a Jar

gifts, jar

Homemade gifts in a jar are becoming so popular these days. They are an easy, inexpensive DIY gift or party favour and can be given on just about any occasion. Here is my list of the 12 best ideas for gifts in jar – Click on the links for recipes and instructions. Also, don’t forget to check out my pinterest board, Jar Mixes and Jar Gifts, for even more inspiration!

1. Brownie Mix in a Jar

Brownie,jar,gift

via Maisy and Grace

2. Sugar Scrub in a Jar

sugar,scrub,jar,gift

via Maybe Matilda

3. Quickbread in a Bottle

bread,bottle,jar,gift via Sunset.com

4. Spa Gifts in a Jar

spa,jar,gift

via The Gunny Sack

5. Sewing Kit in a Jar

sewing,kit,jar,gift,idea

via Fun.kyti.me

6. Soup in a Jar

soup,gift,mix

via Delish.com

7. Pecan Pie in a Jar

pie,jar,gift

via Best Friends for Frosting

8. Nutella in a Jar

nutella,homemade,jar,gift

via 79 Ideas

9. BBQ Sauce in a Jar

bbq,sauce,jar,gift

via Evermine and  Foodie with Family

10. Apron in a Jar

apron,jar,gift,idea

via Pleasant Home

11. Cinnamon Honey Butter in Jars

cinnamon,honey,butter,jar

via Tidy Mom

12. Bath Fizzies in Jars

bath,fizzies,jar

via Martha Stewart

Hope you enjoyed my round-up. Leave a comment and let me know you stopped by!

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