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Thursday, August 21, 2014

{entertaining with style} Three Kitchen Themed Wedding Shower Games

On Tuesday I shared lots of photos of the kitchen themed wedding shower that I hosted for my soon to be sister in law {really, really soon to be - the wedding is tomorrow}! I had so much fun planning this shower, and finding ways to tie the kitchen theme through every element of the party! 

From the invitations {with enclosed recipe cards for family members to fill out}, to the decorations {flowers in small kitchen appliances}, to the favors {mini wire whisks}, to the games..

All three of the games that we played at the shower were kitchen themed, easy to prepare, and fun for guests of all ages!


The first game we played, and definitely the crowd favorite, was the "Name that Spice" challenge! 

I recently organized all of my spices and moved them all to matching jars in my pantry {details on that project will be on the blog soon}, and that left my old counter top, test tube spice rack empty. I had the old spice rack in the donate pile, then decided to hang on to it because I was sure I could come up with a way to use it...and sure enough I did! It was perfect for the Name that Spice game that we played at Allie's shower.

I cut a strips of scrapbook paper {the same cute paper that I used to create the recipe box dividers for the same shower}, and wrapped them around the plastic test tubes, affixing them with double-sided Scotch tape. I then used a Sharpie to label the test tube wrappers 1 through 12.

I then filled the bottom quarter of each test tube with spices from my pantry. For this game you can choose any spices you want, but I did stick to a couple of guidelines in deciding which spices to use. Some spices are visually recognizable by their distinct colors, so to make the game challenging, I made sure to use at least two spices of each color. For example, paprika is a vivid red color and I didn't want the color alone to be a give away to its identity, so I filled another test tube with ground cayenne pepper, which is a very similar color.

But while I wanted the game to be challenging, I didn't want it to be too hard, so I made sure not to use any really obscure spices, and I didn't use any combinations of spices.

Once the test tubes were filled, I printed up a cute little game card for the guests to fill out. As noted at the top of the game card, the rules were simple. The could look and smell the spices, but they were not allowed to taste them.

Everyone had so much fun with this game, and people got pretty competitive about it! After all of the spice test tubes had been passed around the room, people were calling out numbers and request second and third chances to smell. 

The bride-to-be!

It was really fun hearing people talk about the spices as they tried to identify them. There were lots of comments like, "That smells just like the soup that mom always makes!" Conversations like that made this game a perfect compliment to the
recipe box full of family recipes that we all gifted to Allie during the shower.

Of course, I realize that not everyone has a space test tub spice rack lying around! If you want to replicate this game exactly as I've showed it, you can purchase lots of plastic test tubes online pretty inexpensively {just Google "plastic test tubes" and look at the Shopping tab}. However, you can certainly set this game up in any number of ways. You could just as easily present the spices in any kind of bottles or jars, or even in cute little bowls with little pieces of paper with numbers propped up in the bowls.


The second game we played as a quick and easy one - your classic scrambled word game! I called it "Mixed Up Words" to tie in the with the cute mixer image that I used at the top of the game cards, but it would also be cute if you called it "Blended Words" and used a blender image, or "Scrambled Words" with a bowl and whisk! And of course, to stick to the kitchen theme of the wedding, each of the scrambled up words on the game card was an item you would find in the kitchen.

I created my own game cards by simply typing in the names of 15 different kitchen items, and then rearranging the letter of each word.

It only took me about 15 minutes to create this game card, but if you'd prefer not to make your own, there are numerous Etsy sellers from who you can purchase printable word scramble game cards {just search "kitchen word scramble"}.


The final game we played at the kitchen themed shower actually began from the moment guest walked through the door. I filled a cute serving tray with 15 items that I pulled directly out of my kitchen drawers. I arranged them on the tray and sat it on the entry table.

As each guest arrived, I told them to take a few moments to look at the tray and to remember as many of the items as they could.

When we sat down to begin playing the Name that Spice game, I covered the tray with a dish towel so that there would be no peeking. After playing the other two games {which allowed about half an hour to pass}, I then handed out slips of paper with 15 lines, and challenged each guest to write down as many of the items from the tray as they could remember. 

Everyone was determined to win, and I was impressed that two of the guests got were able to remember every single item! 

This game took almost no time to prepare because the tray and the items on the tray were already in my kitchen. And you don't even have to have a specific game card...all you need is a piece of paper for each guest to write the items on {or even the back of the paper from another game}.


Of course, where you have shower games, you also have to have prizes for the winners! I find the purchasing of prizes to be one of the most challenging parts of planning a wedding or baby shower. It can be hard to find something that only costs a couple of dollars, but that someone will actually want. That is, it used to be hard before Target introduced the One Spot! OMG, I love the Target One Spot!

I originally thought about giving kitchen related prizes, but since I had already purchased mini-whisks as the shower favors for all of the guests, I decided to stray for the kitchen theme for the game prizes.

A while back I found some adorable note cards in the Target One Spot with matching pens, note pads, and gift boxes. In fact, I was so excited when I found all these cute items, that I even blogged about them here

I was able to put each gift set together for just $4! Even as recently as a few weeks ago, the Target near me was still selling some of these items. {And no, Target didn't pay me to say that! I only wish Target knew of my little blog! :)}

Of course, these whisks would also make great shower game prizes! {Details about where to purchase the whisks are in the full kitchen wedding shower post.}

If you are looking for other inexpensive kitchen items to give as shower prizes, hit up the kitchen section of your local dollar store.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

{entertaining with style} Kitchen Themed Wedding Shower

A couple of months ago I had the honor of hosting a family wedding shower for my soon to be sister-in-law, Allie! Allie and her fiance {my brother-in-law, Jay} both love to cook, and most of the gifts they registered for are kitchen and cooking related, so a kitchen themed shower seemed like a perfect choice!

Years ago, my mom gifted me a recipe box filled with recipes from all of our friends and family! It is a prized possession of mine, and I wanted to do the same for Allie! I found a very cute kitchen shower invitation on Shutterfly, and {after much searching} found some adorable recipe cards on Amazon. I included three recipe cards in the envelope with each invitation, and added a photo and note to the back of the invitation asking family members to fill out the cards and bring them to the shower to add to Allie's recipe box.

Invitees who couldn't attend the shower mailed the cards to me in advance, while the other guests brought their recipe cards with them to the wedding shower. I purchased a stylish, clear acrylic recipe box and used colorful scrapbook paper to make quick and easy recipe dividers. {Click for the tutorial on these five minute recipe box dividers.}

I wanted to carry the kitchen theme throughout the rest of the shower as well, so I came up with some fun kitchen-y games and decorations! Today I'm sharing lots of photos from the shower, and tomorrow I'll post the details of the three kitchen shower games that I came up with.

Ok, so let's take a look around the party, starting with my favorite detail - the flowers. Flower arrangements in my blender and my food processor, to be exact!

I look my blender and food processor to my favorite Denver flower shop {The Ruffly Rose} expecting them to look at me like I was crazy, but they totally went with it! The plan was to have the flowers arranged directly in the glass cup of the blender, but it turns out that my blender doesn't seal properly {not sure how I never knew that before?!}. Since the blender wouldn't hold water, the florist ended up putting the flowers in a teal mason jar and sat the jar inside the blender's cup. Obviously the look would be even better if the flowers could have been directly in the blender {as they are with the food processor} - but you do what you have to do!

I sat the food processor flowers on the entry table, together with the recipe box.

I know I'm not the only one who had a major crush on the Oh Joy! for Target line of party decorations this spring {and summer, and fall...}. When I saw some of the spring line go on clearance, I snatched up the tableware, along with a handful of paper lanterns, which I hung from the ceiling of the living room.

To tie the colors of the Oh Joy! lanterns throughout the remainder of the party, I made 60+ tissue paper tassels in a shades of pink, orange, yellow, and teal, and mixed in a few metallic gold tassels for some added bling.

The tissue paper tassels were easy to make, but making LOTS of them was more time consuming than I anticipated! I'll be sharing the tutorial on these tassels later in the week, but just heed my warning that these shouldn't be a last minute project. :)

I strung some of the tassels up and hung them from the painting above the entry table, and hung the rest behind the food table in the kitchen.

The shower started in the middle of the afternoon, so I didn't serve lunch, but I did want to provide plenty of healthy snacks, including veggies, berries, pita chips and pretzel crisps, and a variety of dips.

I labeled the food using the same pack of scrapbook paper that I turned into recipe box dividers.

I also used the same scrapbook paper to label the beverages.

Those adorable two-toned cups are part of the Oh Joy! for Target spring collection,and the water pitchers and beverage dispensers are also from Target {purchased last year}.

I continued the kitchen theme by writing out a recipe for a happy marriage on our kitchen chalkboard wall.

I read a lot of marriage "recipes" online, and then modified them to come up with one that I thought was well suited to Jay and Allie's relationship.

For dessert, I stocked up on some crazy delicious cookies from Azucar, the Peruvian bakery in our neighborhood.

I filled the coffee table with a variety of macaroons, dulce de leche cookies, and meringues - and at the end of the party, not a single cookie went uneaten!

I wanted to send each of the shower guests home with a small favor to thank them for helping to celebrate Allie's upcoming marriage. I purchased two dozen 5 inch long mini wire whisks and placed them in a bowl with a little note.

Tomorrow I'll be posting about the three kitchen themed games that we played at the shower. These games were simple to put together, great for guests of all ages, and would be fun for any wedding shower, regardless of theme - so be sure to stop back by for the details!

Friday, August 15, 2014

{five minute friday} Back to School Backpack Name Tags

THE most exciting thing about blogging is when someone reaches out to you and says that they were able to use an idea that you shared to create their own project! I received just such a Facebook message a few days ago from my cousin, Ali, and I loved what she did so much that I'm excited to share it with you today!

Ali has elementary age twin boys, and she recently made some adorable name tags for her boys backpacks using the cover of my fabric and paint swatch kit as inspiration. For my swatch kit, I used a medium weight chipboard to make the cover durable {since it's always getting knock around in my purse} and attached a cute design that I printed on cardstock. I then used Mod Podge to give the cover a protective coating.  

Using this same method, Ali made super durable name tags for her boys' backpacks. I cut my chipboard and cover by hand, but Ali used her Silhouette Cameo to cut the chipboard and black cardstock for her tags. She used her Xyron Creative Station {uh oh, another crafting tool I now need!} to apply a permanent adhesive to the cardstock and affixed it to the chipboard {of course, you could simply use glue or spray adhesive}. 

Ali then used her Silhouette Cameo to cut the letters of her boys names and adhered them to the tags in the same manner. If you don't have a Silhouette, there are lots of quick and easy alternatives. You could print your kiddos' names on a colored background using your home printer, or you could purchase cute letter stickers from your local craft store.

Once Ali had attached the letters to the name tags, she covered the tags in Mod Podge and let them dry. She says the Mod Podge finish makes the completed name tags almost feel like they are made out of vinyl, so they will surely stand up to a little rough treatment from her two active boys!

In order to attach the name tags to her boys' backpacks, so punched a hole in each and added an eyelet using the same tool that I used to inset eyelets in my swatch book cover - the Crop-A-Dile.

If you don't own a Crop-A-Dile, you can also set eyelets using a inexpensive eyelet setter tool available at any craft store. For more details on eyelet setting tools, and instructions on how to use them, see my swatch kit post.

Ali then looped a rubber band through each eyelet and hung the tags from her boys' backpacks. She may replace the rubber bands with key chain rings in the future, but for now, the rubber bands are doing the trick!

Thanks, Ali, for letting me share these fabulous name tags with my readers! Happy Friday everyone!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

{featured} Back to School Kitchen Organization

The kitchen is the heart of our home, and it's also school command central! Both of my boys go to a year round preschool a couple of days a week, so we haven't yet experienced a true back to school season, but we have implemented a number of systems in our kitchen that keep us organized for school day in and day out!

Today I am guest blogging over at Pretty Well Organized and sharing the details of each of these kitchen systems. From organizing school paperwork to packing school lunches, I have tips to keep you organized for back to school and throughout the year!

Monday, August 11, 2014

{organizing with style} Roundup of Spray Paint Storage Solutions

Let's talk spray paint storage, shall we?

Last fall I finally got all of our latex paint organized and created storage space for this paint, and our paint supplies, in our small basement utility room. I transferred our paint our of the rusting paint cans into screw-top plastic canisters, labeled the paint, and created a paint reference chart as well as a craft stick paint-deck.

This organizational system has been working great for the past year, but because of the proximity of our shelves to our water heater, we could only store water-based paint here. Anything flammable, my spray paint collection, must be stored elsewhere. Since our garage is detached and not heated, it is also not an ideal place to store paint. As a result, all of my spray paint currently lives on the floor of our coat closet, which is certainly not an ideal location {especially with two toddlers in the house who are starting to explore everything}!

I've been researching ways to organize and store spray paint, and I've come across some really ingenious ideas! Ultimately, I have a pretty good sense of which of these storage solutions will work best for us, but since everyones' storage needs differ, I thought it might be helpful to all of you if I did a quick roundup of some of the best spray paint storage options that I've come across in my searching.


Deep shelves don't work well for storing spray paint because you have to move cans to see the cans further back on the shelf, and things inevitably get tipped over while reaching for the cans in the back. That's why I think this rain gutter storage solution from Anyone Can Decorate is so genius - it's the perfect depth for storing cans of paint without taking up much space in your garage, and the gutters are deep enough to prevent the cans from tipping over!

via Anyone Can Decorate


Hanging shoe organizers can be used to store SO many more things than just shoes... but using it to organize and store spray paint?! S.M.A.R.T.! Cassie of Hi Sugarplum is full of of the many great ideas, and this is one that makes me slap my head and say "why didn't I think of that?" And it's color still my heart!

via Hi Sugarplum


Rather than standing spray paint cans upright on a shelf, why not use the entire vertical height of the shelf by placing the cans inside of stacked sections of a French drain? Since the lids of spray paint cans represent the paint color - this solution from Sew Many Ways maximizes storage space, while still making it quick and easy to find the paint you need.

via Sew Many Ways

Sew Many Ways is full of great ideas for organizing spray paint and utilizing vertical space! Turns out that aluminum coffee cans are just the right size to hold cans of spray paint. Painted and attached to a reclaimed board, these cans make for functional and stylish spray paint storage!

via Sew Many Ways


Peg boards are great for storing so many things, but I would have never thought to use a pegboard! A user by the screen name of Dronious shares the full step by step instructions for this rack on Instructables. My favorite part about this solution is that the pegboard can also be used to hang other paint supplies, such as paint brushes, from hooks along side the paint cans.

via Instructables


This last spray paint storage solution is nothing more than a narrow shelf - but I HAD to include it in my roundup because it is part of one of the most gorgeous organized garages that I have ever seen. Best of all, the entire thing storage wall created by The Creativity Exchange takes up only 5.5 inches of depth! Even the smallest garage can likely spare 5.5 inches!

via The Creativity Exchange

Aren't these ideas amazing?! Truly a solution to fit any space! And considering that I bought five more cans of spray paint this weekend, I'd better get serious about organizing my spray paint soon before it overruns my coat closet!

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