Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to throw a party with Pinterest

I'm just going to come right out and say it.  I love throwing a party.  I'm using the term "party" in the broadest sense.  Gatherings, get togethers, movie nights, brunches, birthdays, book clubs, shindigs, etc. etc. etc. I love cooking and crafting and entertaining people.

Of course, with the introduction of Pinterest, my party-throwing desire has grown exponentially.  Any time a party is upcoming, I scour my Pinterest boards to find something new and fun to make.  After all, the point of Pinterest is not to just pin interesting things, but to use the pins to your best advantage.  Yes, sometimes you end up with this:

But most of the time you end up with pure awesomeness.  Or at least something kind of great that everyone is impressed you even attempted.

Using one of my most recent parties (my nephew's fifth birthday party with The Lorax theme), here is my guide to using Pinterest to its fullest potential to make all your friends think you are a domestic goddess who can fail at nothing.

1.  Start out simple. 

Work within your wheelhouse before you expand and try new things.  Horse before the cart and all that jazz.  It's tempting to go above and beyond on your first project, but if you can't bake, maybe intricately designed cupcakes are not going to happen for you, no matter how easy the tutorial claims to be.  My sister gets the credit for this one:

Super simple.  There is nothing above and beyond in the process of making this happen (unless, like my sister and me, you are a perfectionist who agonizes over the littlest of details, but that is a post for another time) and the finished product is impressive and whimsical.

2. Think about the money. 

I would also group time in with this.  When you are planning a party, you want to enjoy the party yourself and you don't want to be a crazy person making intricate party favors every night after work or during that oh-so-precious-and-elusive toddler nap time.  When you are scanning pins, look at the directions thoroughly to gauge how much time and money you will realistically spend on the project.  If it's high on your priority list, that will factor in as well, but I'm telling you now, party favors and activities for 5-year-olds should never be high on the priority list.  They will not appreciate handmade things, they will find the shiniest thing in the bag and immediately find a way to make that thing a magic wand or light saber.  Or they will eat it.  Edible or not.

As you can see, I also "simplified" this photo.  I don't have one of all the pencils finished and looking cute. 

See the potential I squandered? Tutorial found here.

I simplified this project based on time and the resources available to me.  I had yellow and black paint (the trunks are yellow in the book anyway) and I didn't really completely cover the pencil with the yellow, just gave it a quick once over to hide the engraving.  I removed the erasers to make the gluing easier, and used the puff balls we already purchased for another project instead of getting the felted wool. All in all I spent about $6 and had 12 favors, with the extras to be used in other party projects, and it took me about 30 minutes total to finish. 

3. Try new things, but always remember steps 1 and 2. 

When you do branch out and try something that looks a little more difficult, always remember the first two steps mentioned.  Your product just needs to look good, not like the picture-perfect version on Pinterest.  Think of every tutorial as a recipe, there will always be room for substitutions, additions and subtractions.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to read through the tutorial so you know exactly what you are getting yourself into before you start.  Of course, even when doing this, you can end up spending more time and energy and money then you intended, but that also comes down to priorities.  For this I give you cupcakes:

Tutorial found here.

I saw these cupcakes and thought, "That won't be hard! You just stick the cotton candy to the straw and you're in business!"  Guys. STICK the COTTON CANDY to the STRAW.  I am an insane person. That is not an easy thing to accomplish.  The cupcakes are from a box and the icing was a quick homemade version we love, I made the characters out of foam and cut out coloring pages (there are no Lorax figurines on this planet).  But man, those Truffula Trees gave me a run for my money.  I ended up buying three times the amount of cotton candy I needed, including an extra trip to Wal-mart 30 minutes before the party guests arrived, and I spent the better part of an hour figuring out how to make the cotton candy stay on the straw.  Water melts it and molding it too tight makes it look dumb.  But, I made enough for each of the kids to get one and in the end, they looked so cool, I was happy to go through the effort.  The birthday boy was especially impressed and grateful.  He later wrote me a song thanking me and professing his love for me.  So really, that's all that matters.

And as a little bonus, this is the craft we did with the kids during the party:

This was a quick, easy project for the kids and a fairly popular pin from Babble.  Puff balls, string, glue and printed cardstock. Inexpensive and a fun activity during the party.

 And, of course, the birthday boy with his straw mustache.


Meg said...

I don't know why, but every time I read, "STICK the COTTON CANDY to the STRAW. I am an insane person," I start giggling uncontrollably.

Megan B. said...

Oh man, I love this! Those water bottles are the best.