Monday, April 27, 2015

How To | Setup a Candy Buffet

A few weeks ago, I showed you Henry's 4th birthday party reveal: a blue and orange, Planes-themed bash filled with lots of fun DIYs and projects. I covered a ton of details in my party reveal post (you can read it here), but I wanted to go a little more in-depth into one of my favorite aspects of the whole party: the candy buffet! If you've ever wanted to do something like this at one of your parties but don't quite know where to start...I've got you covered with everything you need to know!

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In addition to offering a slew of kid-friendly snacks and an easy lunch spread at the birthday party, we set up an entire dessert table. Packed to the gills with cupcakes, cookies, and sweets, this table was definitely the crowd pleaser of the party for both the kids and adults alike. So much tasty goodness on one table!

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The highlight of the whole table, though, was absolutely the candy buffet! I have ALWAYS wanted to do a candy buffet at a party because...well...they are just so cute! I love seeing adorable and colorful candy-filled displays in store windows, magazine spreads, and on Pinterest but never attempted to do one myself. When Party Pail offered me some selections from their super fun candy buffet supplies for the party, I knew this was my chance to give this party trick a try! 

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Let's go step-by-step through all the elements you need to make your candy buffet a simple and sweet success!
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1 - CONTAINERS. The key to a candy buffet is to offer all sorts of candies. And if you're going to offer a wide variety of candies, then you need to have a wide variety of containers to hold them in! To keep it visually interesting, try to vary the heights, sizes and shapes of all the vessels. Plastic or glass both work fine, but I really prefer clear containers so that the candy colors and shapes become the stars of the show! Over the years, I've accumulated a nice collection of glass jars and vases, so I didn't have to buy a thing for this display. If you're starting fresh, shop for unique jars and vases at great prices in places like HomeGoods, Marshalls/TJMaxx, Hobby Lobby and Michaels. In addition to vessels, if you are going to offer candies than need to stand up straight (like rock candy or lolly pops), be sure to have rice or glass pebbles on hand to fill the jars to keep items up right!

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2 - SERVERS. Some candies can stay in their wrappers, but many candies included on a candy buffet are loose. To keep fingers (and germs!) from getting all over the candy, be sure to put out a variety of serving utensils to help your guests load up. Small-scale scoops and ladles are perfect for little candies that are scooped in multiples (like m&ms, gum balls, etc). Tongs work great for larger/longer candies (like cotton candy, large gummies, and string-type candy). I found these great mini tongs in sets of two at Walmart!

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3 - TREAT CUPS or BAGS. The thrill of going to a candy store (or through a candy buffet!) is filling up a single bag/container with all sorts of candies to snack on. So that guests don't have to eat from their hands, provide some sort of treat containers for your guests to fill up. Small paper bags or cups are easy to find, inexpensive and work great. Craft and party stores also carry all sorts of cute and clever paper containers that you can decorate or buy in colors to match your party theme. (One benefit to offering bags is that they can easily be folded or stapled shut, making them simple take-home favors!)

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4 - FUN LABELS. In addition to offering tasty treats, having a candy buffet is another way to play up your party theme. Puns, plays on words, or movie/character references are all great ways to tie basic/generic candies into the party and amp up the fun factor of the whole display. If your brain locked, search the internet or brainstorm ideas with someone else. To come up with these names, Henry and I re-watched the Planes movie and I wrote down good word or phrases used during the movie. We then matched up the words with the candies in ways that sounded fun or worked really well. I made these labels out of white, orange and blue vinyl with my Cricut Explore and put them right onto the glass jars. Even if you don't have a die-cut machine, you can still make fun and "punny" signs using pre-made decorative labels or wooden signs from the craft store. 

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5 - CANDY! This one is an obvious "must" for a candy buffet, but finding good candies  can sometimes be a bit tricky (especially if you are trying to stick to a particular color scheme). My tips? Go to several different stores (grocery stores as well a places like Target, Walmart, etc) and just look for anything and everything in your color scheme. Don't overlook wrappers or candies you don't typically eat - someone might like them, and they can help round out the buffet. Also, keep your eyes out in un-suspecting places! Blue candies are not easy to find...I found the blue Sour Strings in the Hobby Lobby checkout line and the blue cotton candy at Target! Lastly, shop online to eliminate the hunting game and find just what you're looking for at good prices. One of my favorite aspects of Party Pail's site is that you can shop for candy by color. Not only are their prices super reasonable, but it makes putting together a stunning display truly a snap!

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In addition to offering these sweets as party fare, the candy can also serve as your take-home favor! While we did have other fun party favors for the kids, I loved that I could package up goodie bags of all the extra candy and send it home with the guests! I certainly didn't need all the leftover candy in this house! 

Putting together this candy buffet really was a highlight of the party prep for me. From finding the candies and coming up with the cute labels to decorating the goodie bags and setting it all up, it was just too much fun and such a unique and festive thing to offer. I'm pretty addicted to this idea, so I think the candy buffet might become a staple at my parties from here on out!

I hope you all have a great start to your week! I've got a jam-packed few weeks planned for both here on the blog and in real life, so be sure to come back every few days for moving updates and new projects! See you back here Wednesday!

Megan

I did not receive compensation for this blog post; however Party Pail did provide many of the party supplies for me to use and review. Please remember that I only work with brands and products I fully support and that make sense for my home, my family, and this blog. All opinions are 100% my own!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Kitchen Reveal | Making the Most of a Builder-Basic Rental

Happy Friday! Phew - we  made it to the end of another week! Is it me or is time running on fast forward lately? There must be something about an impending move that truly makes it feel like time is flying by. With the arrival of the packers just weeks away, I'm am scrambling to finish a few final projects as well as photograph the last few spaces of this home...all when I should really be getting ready for said packers!

There are some parts of our home that I am eager to photograph and post here on the blog because I am so proud of them and can't wait for you to see them. There are other areas, however, that aren't the most glamorous or well-designed and I could just as easily not post them. But I like to show real life, and that not all spaces are gorgeous or fixable. I also like to fully capture all aspects of our homes, in all of their imperfect glory, not only so I can look back and remember them, but so other military families who might get stationed on this base can also see what housing looks like. I've got two spaces left to show you...today, we're knocking one more out...let's tour our kitchen! (Like with my other room reveal posts, all sources and tutorials are linked at the bottom of the post!)

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In the thousands of pictures I've taken of this home, I don't have a great "before" shot of our kitchen. #badblogger This one (below) is from right before I "installed" the backsplash just weeks after moving in and is the best I have. I haven't shied away from complaining about this kitchen here on the blog. I call it a "dungeon" for good reason. It's blocked in on three sides with all oak cabinets, has no natural light, no pantry, mis-matched flooring, and is really set off from the rest of the house.

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Despite it's appearance, I really shouldn't complain about it too much. Sure, I'd love white cabinets, a pretty tile backsplash, and a window, but this kitchen has functioned great with (more than) ample cabinet space and all the appliances and counter space we need as a three-person family. In the three years we've lived here, I've done my best to make this a cheerful and happy place to cook despite its design flaws. With a handful of DIY projects, it has a bit more personality than when we moved in. Take a look!

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In a builder-basic kitchen comprising only of cabinets, countertops and appliances, there aren't many opportunities to add in color and personality. The one spot that could be given a dose of color was the backsplash, and boy did I go for it! A paint+vinyl "tile" treatment gave some major pattern to this tiny space. Admittedly, I have a love-hate relationship with this vinyl tile treatment. While I love the clever use of vinyl here and am glad the kitchen has some color, it just feels busy and "cutesy" to me all these months later. I've come thiiiis close to peeling off the vinyl a dozen or so times over the years. However, I'm pretty sure I'd miss it if it were gone, so it has remained here until the end. Guests and friends really 'ooo' and 'ahh' over it every single time they come in the house, so at least it makes a statement!  

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On the left side of the kitchen is the sink with an awkward little cutout that I filled with a floating shelf and kitchen artwork from a local artist.

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I found perfect-fitting baskets for the small shelves up above the cutout, which turned out to be one of my best uses of space in the entire house! These baskets hold sippy cups, tupperware containers and lids, and spices. 

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Our stove is against the back wall and serves as the focal point of the kitchen. All the tools and ingredients we use most often (corralled in baskets, of course) are situated on either side for easy access!

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The mason jar utensil caddies are one of my all-time favorite DIY projects. They look as great as they did the day I made them and add a happy splash of color to this kitchen! To the right of the stove, a turquoise metal basket holds olive oil, cooking spray, and dishes filled with salt and pepper.

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On the right-hand side of the U-shape are more cabinets, our refrigerator and our microwave....

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My meal planning materials and recipe books are tucked into a magazine file right next to the microwave for easy access! The copper colander holds our bananas and avocados, and the green caddy on the microwave holds pens and sticky notes.

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Most of our cabinets hold the basic stacks of dishes and nesting bowls...nothing fancy or picture worthy. However, our bakeware cabinet got a recent organizational makeover and I still looooove it!

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The refrigerator didn't escape my basket-loving organizational system with simple caddies and tupperware holding everything from snacks to leftovers...

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Over the years of living here, I tried to come up with ideas that would bring even more style to this space. I played with a variety of rugs and artwork, but they often felt fussy and in the way in such a tight and hardworking space. Little by little, I stripped away things that felt cluttered and unnecessary. At the end of the day, this space is a messy and busy kitchen; and everything left here simply is cheerful and useful...just as it should be!   

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I've done my best to remember where everything in these photos came from. If I left anything out, let me know!
  • Paint color: Martha Stewart Lagoon
  • Turquoise vinyl - Amazon
  • Turquoise dish towels - Martha Stewart
  • Turquoise metal basket - Target
  • Turquoise paper towel holder - Target
  • Mason jar utensil caddies - DIY
  • Black basket holding mason jar utensil caddies - bought overseas while living in Okinawa
  • Yellow pepper Le Creuset pot - from my Mom
  • Copper colander - from my Mom
  • Mini monogramed cutting board - DIY on an IKEA cutting board
  • Kitchen art - local artist
  • White frames - Michaels
  • Floating shelf - DIY using Anna White plans
  • Teal and green baskets in cabinets - Target
  • Turquoise refrigerator caddies - Target (Dollar Spot)
  • Recipe books - bought overseas while living in Okinawa
  • Turquoise magazine file - Target
  • Green caddy - Marshalls
  • Black mat - Bed, Bath & Beyond
Tutorials for all my kitchen DIYs and projects can be found below!


Vinyl Tile Backsplash

Cutting Board Artwork

Display Shelf

Monogram Cutting Board

Storage Solutions for Little Cabinets

Mason Jar Utensil Caddies

Christmas Ornament Magnets

Organize This: Bakeware



Getting decent light in the kitchen for photos has always been tricky, so I've been putting off and putting off photographing this space. We've had a bright sunny week with great afternoon sun, so I finally got it done. I hope you enjoyed the full and final tour of this space.


Now it's time for me to go peel some vinyl off the walls ;)

Happy weekend, friends!
Megan

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Printable | Garage Sale Price Tags

Spring has sprung, and that means one thing: it is yard sale season! We did our first yard sale a few weeks ago; and since we are in pre-move mode, we are also going to participate in our upcoming community yard sale this weekend. My philosophy: there is always something in the house that can be sold! 

If you've been coming around here for the last year or so, then you know I have become quite the yard sale expert (self-proclaimed, of course). Between helping my father downsize by running/working 3 major estate-style sales, as well as having three sales here in our own home, I feel like I have the prep, the setup and the pricing down to a science! I've shared a bunch of my tried-and-true yard sale tips here already, but after chatting with a few friends who are getting ready to hold sales of their own, it occurred to me that I should share our best ever yard sale tool: our price tags!

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To price or not to price, that is the question! I am pretty sure everyone has their own experiences, frustrations, and opinions about pricing yard sale items. However, after running 5 successful sales in the last year, I can honestly tell you that we found pricing to be 100% worth the effort, and here is why:
  • Price tags encourage people to buy. If people can see the price you're asking, they can instantly decide if they want it rather than having to hunt you down or get your attention. Just like the red stickers at Target - sometimes a good price is just the push you need to put it in your basket.
  • If you're not a quick thinker or you waiver on your feet, price tags help you get the prices you really want for items.
  • If you're not good at adding on your feet or can't remember what price you quoted them 5 minutes ago, price tags will help you quickly and accurately tally people up and get them on their way. 
  • If you hate haggling, price things to sell (i.e., as cheap as you can go) and then repeat after me: "We priced things to sell so we are not negotiating." Some people will push back, most won't, and most will still buy what their holding.
  • Price tags give people a starting point on negotiations. If you are trying to sell big ticket items and will entertain offers, put a price AND add OBO. Just putting a "make me an offer" sign will scare people away because they don't know what kind of money you're expecting. Give a starting price and be prepared to mark down as the day goes on.
  • If you have a lot of stuff to sell (especially little things that are hard to keep track of) and/or a lot of people helping or "working" the sale with you, price tags will ensure you get the good/right money for the good stuff and let the right stuff go for cheap.
Do I have you convinced yet? Okay - the last thing you are probably thinking: "But it takes so much time!!" It might seem so, but we have that part down to a (quick) science too! Back when we started the estate sales at my father's house, my sister created these unassuming label files and printed a bunch of them on Avery 8167 Return Mailing Address labels

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She included every single monetary increment we could possibly need, 2 per single label; they were printed on labels that actually stuck to all of our items (no more colored dots falling off of everything!); and best of all? They are super easy to peel and stick. 

We had SO MUCH STUFF to price you guys; but because of these labels, we were able to quickly and accurately price everything we had to sell. When prices needed to be slashed, we just went around and put new stickers over the old ones. It worked so incredibly well that we all now use these files over and over for every sale we do. 

Now are you convinced?!? Are ready to make your own?!?

First, I have the files all ready for you, courtesy of my sister of course! Click below to download:
Print the files onto the Avery 8167 Return Mailing Address labels. There will be two prices on every single label...

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Use a paper trimmer (or a scissors if you don't have one), and slice down the center of each column, cutting all the labels in half...

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Keep cutting all your labels apart until you have strips of each monetary increment (or several strips of each increment). You'll notice that the files have extra columns for the more common garage sale values ($0.25, $0.50, $, and $2!!)

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These files are great because 1) they are done for you ;) and 2) you get SO many price stickers from one sheet (180 prices from just one print out!)... That's a lot better than those boxes of sticky dots that have too many $0.25 stickers and not nearly enough $1!!!

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To get ready for your sale, gather up your labels, and quickly go through your items one by one. Without over-thinking, pick a price, stick it on, and keep moving! At our last garage sale, I had everything priced in about 20 minutes!

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If you've never priced items at your yard sale, give this a try! I promise it's easier than you think and your sale will likely go more smoothly for you...maybe even putting a little more cash in your pocket!

With a fresh set of price tags ready, I'm off to price everything I'm selling on Saturday! Hope you all are having a great week! See you back here Friday!

Megan

Monday, April 20, 2015

DIY | Bubble Wand Airplanes

Last Friday, I showed you Henry's planes-themed party reveal! (If you missed it, you can read all about it here!) Although I made a bunch of crafts for the party, one of my favorites was turning bubble wands into airplanes with the addition of some paper and staples! These were one of our take-home favors and were a huge hit with Henry and all the kids. While using my Cricut Explore made these super simple, they did take a bit of figuring out. In case you ever find yourself wanting/needing to transform bubble wands into airplanes, I've got you covered ;)

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I got the idea to include bubble wands as favors when we were at another party that also gave them out. The kids LOVED them. Not only do these sticks blow bubbles, but they also work as great swords, making them pretty much the coolest things ever. I think they are also available at the Dollar Store...I found these at Target for $1 each. I grabbed a bunch in orange and blue, our party colors.

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Using a couple different images from Pinterest as my guide, I decided that the bubble wands simply needed wings, a tail, and a propellor to look like airplanes. Figuring out the measurements and the fit took quite a bit of trial and error, but I ultimately landed on a set of cut files that fit the bubble wands perfectly. All of these images, except for the propeller, were available in the Design Space library (I imported and edited the propellor from an image off of Google). The blue and white wings and tails essentially work together to create sleeves that go around the wands. 

For each plane cut:
  • White wings: measure ~12X3" with score lines 2.5" apart at the center
  • White tail: measures ~6.5x1.25" with score lines 2.5" apart at the center
  • Blue wings: measure ~10.5x3.5" (no score lines)
  • Blue tail: measures ~6x1.5" (with no score lines)
  • Black numbers: measure ~2", cut 2 per plane
  • Propellor: interior hole measures 1" ( to go around bubble wand handle)
A few things to note:
  • The base (blue) wings and tail measure slightly smaller than the top (white) layer. 
  • The white wings and tails are a bit larger than the bases and are scored to bend and "bubble" up, creating a sleeve for the wand to slide through.  

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Once I had all the elements designed and fit to the wand just right, I cut out enough sets for all of our bubble wand favors...

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You can see both in the image above and below that the white cuts have score lines. These helped the paper crease nicely around the wand. To achieve these without a machine, just use a straight edge and a butter knife or knitting needle!

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Start by attaching one end of the white wing to the blue base wing with roller adhesive. Glue the entire side of the wing from the edge to the scored line.

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Line up and secure the other end of the wing with more adhesive, allowing a tunnel to form in the center of the white paper.

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Add the cutout numbers to the edges of the wings with more adhesive. We chose the number 4 for all the airplanes since it was Henry's 4th birthday party.

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Next, slide the wing section over the handle of the bubble wand until it fits snug around the base of the handle. While the tunnel was snug around the wand, the adhesive was't the strongest, causing the tunnel to peel open a bit. To tightly secure the wings to the want, I cinched up the tunnel with a staple on each side.

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Next, repeat the same process for the tail...glueing the white to the blue, leaving a tunnel in the center, sliding it over the end of the bubble wand, and securing with staples!

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The propellors proved the trickiest to fit and secure. After rounds and rounds of playing with different sizes, I finally had a propellor that was wide enough to carefully wiggle on to the wand handle and stay in place. If it was too big, it slid all the way down; if it was too small, the paper would easily rip. A 1" diameter allowed the propellors to squeeze on and stay put, mostly! 

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Once I had the propellor gently wiggled on, stretching the paper every so slightly, the propellors angled down. I then bent each one up, creasing at the base of the propellor wings. These were on pretty snug so I didn't secure them any further. You could always attach them to the bubble wand with more adhesive or tape!

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With the propellors on, they officially looked like airplanes, and Henry was obsessed!

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He loved watching these come together (and playing with the prototypes as I figured out the sizing). He also loves to run my Cricut for me now. He pushes the right buttons and watches, memorized, as it cuts all the images out! #startthemyoung

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Silly kid! But it was a total fluke that he had his airplane shirt on when I snapped the pictures of these, I swear!

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The planes looked adorable and were just so fun to figure out and create! They were the perfect favor for the kids to take home and play with! It might go without saying, but to use the bubble wands to actually blow bubbles, the wings and propellor need to come off!

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I hope your week is off to a great start! I've got a busy one ahead - fingers crossed I can keep all my various balls up in the air! See you back here Wednesday with a downloadable file that will make your next garage sale a breeze!

Megan

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