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Dec 142013

Whimsical Winter Village Blog

Christmas is almost here, so we decided to share some ideas to help you make your own whimsical winter village table decorations. It doesn’t take much to set up this fun scene and your kids will love it.

We started with a bright red tablecloth, but you can use any color that you prefer. Then we added a beveled mirror to the center of the table to add a look of winter without the mess of flake snow. You can also use a snow blanket cut to the shape that you need for your table.

Close up Village Scene

Next we added some village pieces on top of our mirror. Making it reflect the scene of a winter day with kids out playing in the snow. You can use any village pieces you have on hand or pick up some at your local Lowes, or Walgreens. Pretty much any store that sells Christmas supplies will carry some village pieces. Just a few cute pieces are all you need, unless you have a huge table. A house or two, some trees, animals & people will set the scene nicely.

We used Santa’s house, trees, a bridge, a north pole sign, a little lake with animals and people dressed up for a winter day to complete our village.

Whisical Place Setting

To add to our winter scene we used plates with a fun patchwork edge. Look for dishes that have lots of color and cute graphics. Santa, snowmen, reindeer and snowflakes will all work to add a festive look.

Red napkins we’re added that we tied with a simple silver ribbon. We then placed a single silver reindeer on top. We didn’t tie the reindeer to the napkin to make it easier for guests to remove when ready to eat. You can find glitter reindeer almost anywhere. I even noticed them in Walmart the other day for $3.99 for a pack of 12. They were not as 3 dimensional as the one’s in the photo, but would still work nicely. They also had glitter snowflakes which could be used instead.

Eggnog with candy cane

I just love the wine goblets with the wintry tree scene on them. We filled them with eggnog, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a peppermint candy cane. They looked so yummy it was hard keeping everyone from drinking the eggnog before the photo’s we’re finished.(One of the hazards of doing food blogs!)

A white frosty drink or hot chocolate drink looks great for a winter scene. Don’t forget to add a special touch like a candy cane, chocolate covered marshmallows or a rock candy stir stick.

Snowflake view of winter village

Our favorite part of this scene was the simple snowflakes we hung from the ceiling with clear line. They’re a little bit of a challenge when you can’t see the line, but well worth the effort.

We found the snowflakes at the dollar store in a pack of two. They we’re the perfect finishing touch to our whimsical winter village.

I hope this gives you some inspiration for your holiday gatherings this year.

May the blessings of the season be yours

Ken & Faith

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Dec 022013

holiday elegance on a budget

Holiday elegance on a budget is easy with a little imagination and some simple holiday supplies. Before you run out the door to buy anything, go through last years decorations to see if something appeals to you. The key is to come up with a theme with what you already have on hand and add to it for a beautiful holiday table setting and decorations.

My pick was an old set of red glass bird ornaments that I found while going through the tree decorations. I knew I wanted to use a red color scheme for my table setting, partly because I already had a beautiful red tablecloth. Don’t be afraid to use old fabric you have sitting in your sewing room for a tablecloth. This can work out really well if you don’t mind trimming it to fit the table.

Holiday Bird Table Setting

Next a I grabbed a beveled mirror off one of our walls and set it in the middle of the table. If you don’t have an extra mirror you can pick up a cheap one at the dollar store that will work for your table centerpiece. I added a glass bowl I had purchased from the dollar store in the middle filled with cranberries and votive candles and two smaller bowls on each side filled with the same. I picked them up at the dollar store as well. To this I added a few pieces of gold curling ribbon, some leftover holly berry branch from last year and some old red ornaments around the bowls. The most expensive thing was the cranberries, but you could also substitute old ornaments, pine branches, or even colored candy around your candles.

Close up of holiday cranberry decor

For the plates I used an old set of white ones we’ve had for years. I wanted the focus to be on the overall look and not on the dishes so I kept the color simple. I bought red cloth napkins 2/$1.00 at the dollar store. I used the gold ribbon to tie them together with and added a sprig of holly berry underneath the ribbon. Then I just clipped my red birds on top.

Elegant Holiday Table Decor

The hardest part of the whole thing was holding the rolled up napkin and tying the ribbon around it. Oh yeah and keeping my husband from eating the turkey during the photo shoot (but that’s another story). Don’t forget to dress up your turkey or ham. This can easily be done by just surrounding the turkey with cranberries. I bought a big bag of cranberries at Sam’s Club so we would have plenty.

Cranberries with Turkey

I love the red cranberries and candles together and the cranberries hold the candles securely in place. It adds a beautiful easy elegance to your table without a lot of effort or expense. The most important thing is to follow serendipity wherever she takes you. Just relax and have fun with it to let the holiday spirit shine through.

Lit candles and cranberry bowl

One of my favorites about this elegant holiday centerpiece is that it sits lower on your table so you can actually see the guests you are talking to with out having to try to look around something.

Lit candles table setting

I hope this inspires you to dig out your decorations and come up with your own theme for an easy and elegant holiday table setting. Don’t miss our next blog coming up with our winter wonderland theme.

May the blessings of the season be yours,


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Shimmering Soiree Snowflake Red Holiday Invite
Shimmering Snowflake Holiday Invitation

Joyous Tags
Joyous Love Holiday Labels

Jeweled Holiday Cupcake Wrapper Red
Jeweled Red Cupcake Wrappers

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Nov 192013

Budget Friendly Thanksgiving Decorations

With Thanksgiving almost here, I thought it was time to share some of my budget friendly Thanksgiving decoration ideas. So Ken and I thrashed the kitchen the other day, cooked a turkey and this is what we came up with. First let me say that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a beautiful Thanksgiving tablescape. All you need is a little imagination (and a local Dollar Tree store doesn’t hurt).

Lets start with the first thing you’ll put on your table. The table cloth can be store bought, of course, but have you ever thought about using materials you may already have around the house? We layered two pieces of fabric for this look. I purchased the bottom piece of fabric on clearance, some time ago, for $1.00 per yard. I had intended to make something out of it, but haven’t had time to use it yet. Over that is a piece of a sari from a costume I had made a couple years ago. You can even shop thrift stores to look for material that could be used to great effect. Total cost of our tablecloth= Free (found items from around the house)

Thanksgiving setting with Turkey

The Thanksgiving napkin rings were hand made by yours truly. I found the ribbon at the dollar store and purchased 2 rolls @ $1.00 each. I also purchased the gold eucalyptus with straw bits at the dollar store for $1.00. The nuts, small ribbon to tie around the napkin and glue gun & sticks I already had. Total cost of napkin rings= $3.00

The napkin ring is a cinch to make just make your bow and tie with ribbon around your napkin. Then glue your decorations in the middle with a glue gun. Easy as pie 🙂

Thanksgiving napkin ring how to

I didn’t have to buy dishes, but if you need dishes on a tight budget, the dollar store may once again be your best friend. While I was there, I spotted some beautiful golden stoneware with a raised pattern, just perfect for Thanksgiving, and they always seem to have plenty of glassware. I generally like to shop there first, before going to the other craft stores, because it can save me a ton of money. You may need to weed through a good deal of cheesy and tacky stuff, but if you look around you can find some real treasures for only $1.00 each.

Just as an example, for Halloween we needed battery operated tea lights. I almost bought a big package of them at Sams Club for $20. I had to run to the dollar store for something else and asked if they had any there. Yep, 2 tea lights per package for $1.00. Big time budget savings for decorations.

Close up Turkey with Berries

The candle holders on our Thanksgiving table are once again from the dollar store, as well as the votives inside them. We bought the candles and the fall leaves that you see under the turkey platter, last year, for another party.

Don’t forget to dress up your turkey as well. Here we added spinach leaves, whole cranberries, nuts and sprinkled a little Italian seasoning on the turkey platter.

Thanksgiving Place Setting

Remember for Thanksgiving to bring in natural elements wherever you can, such as fall leaves, nuts, eucalyptus and pumpkins. Adding candles to your Thanksgiving table decorations, adds a warm, festive touch to the decor. It doesn’t take much to have beautiful, budget friendly Thanksgiving decorations. Most of all keep in mind not to stress out if you don’t have the newest, or latest and greatest things to show off. Your family & friends are there to spend time with you and enjoy your company.

May you & your’s enjoy the blessings of the season


Here are some links to our great recipes for Thanksgiving.

Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce
Fall Harvest Chocolate Bars
GF Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
GF Pie Crust
GF Pine Nut Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing

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Golden Fall Leaves Thanksgiving Invitation
Golden Fall Leaves Thanksgiving Invitation

Christmas Blessings Photo Card
Christmas Blessings Holiday Photo Card

snowflake jubilee green
Green Snowflake Jubilee Invitations

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May 042013

Summer Party Tips

It’s getting sunny and warm and time again for any excuse to throw a summer party. So I decided to get the girls together for a summer brunch complete with a yogurt bar, chocolate covered strawberry toadstools, cranberry orange gluten free muffins and organic berry champagne. I will post links to recipes as I get them done.

The chocolate covered strawberry toadstools we’re a big hit and pretty easy to make. Just dip strawberries in melted chocolate and paint with white chocolate or powder sugar mixed with a little milk. Store in the fridge until time for your party.

Chocolate Strawberry Toadstools

Our pretty champagne drinks were made with organic berry juice and champagne. I added skewers with frozen berries attached for an easy but elegant display.

I’m gluten intolerant so everything I served was gluten free including the gluten free cranberry orange muffins. No one seemed to mind, in fact I ended up giving the recipe to almost all the ladies at the party.

Champagne Drinks

Wanting to keep things light I added a yogurt bar with a selection of fresh fruit toppings and granola. This party would also be a perfect set up for a bridal shower or baby shower and the best part is that it looks impressive without being over complicated.

Yogurt Bar

Keeping things simple with your decorating will save you both time and money. The use of bright colors and flowers made the display summery without adding to much work. I think the most time I spent was wrapping the silverware with purple napkins, tying with ribbon and adding a single silk flower to each one.

I hope this gives you some some ideas and inspiration to get together with your friends and enjoy the lazy days of summer.

Faith Gauthier

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May 012013

Today I thought I would talk about masquerade parties and share some masquerade party tips to help you plan a magical masquerade ball. Let me first say that I love a good masquerade party. There is no better excuse to dress up and have fun. And now you can get away with having them anytime of the year. I am also going to share with you what we did last October for our masquerade party.

Most people find it helpful to start with a party theme. If you prefer a formal masquerade ball try themes like Medieval, SteamPunk, Fairy tale, Venetian, Roaring 20’s or Gothic. For our party it was so close to Halloween (Oct 20th) that we decided to let everyone choose their own costumes. If you do this just remember that the costumes will be up to your guests. At our party we had very elegantly dressed couples and also some of your everyday Halloween type outfits.

You can also pick a color to build a theme around like silver or gold for a holiday party, black and white for a prom masquerade or purple for sweet sixteen parties. The possibilities are endless.

Masquerade Party Tips Banner

Masquerade Party Decorations & Lighting

Decorations and lighting are a huge part of what will set the theme and feel of your party. Low lighting is perfect for a masquerade as are Christmas white lights. If you’re in a location where you can use candles, they will add a feeling of mystery and beauty. Be careful to place candles where they won’t be a problem for guests with costumes and masks.

Sheer, velvet and silky fabrics can be used around the room to add a special touch. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on fabric. Check your local thrift stores and look for curtains that can be used for mere pennies. You can also watch for sales at craft and fabric stores and get steals on fabric with a 50% off coupon.

Mirrors placed on tables under centerpieces add a reflective touch. Adding streamers, ribbons or balloons from the ceiling will transform any room without breaking the bank. Look online for bulk masquerade masks to place around your room, use as centerpieces or give away as party favors for your guests.

For our masquerade party decorations we used candles, ravens, potion bottles, masks, black sheer material, pumpkins and fall leaves to set the stage. I saved old bottles, made custom labels and then filled them with alcohol for a spooky Halloween table that guests would see as they walked in the front door.

Halloween bottle labels

Our Masquerade Party Table
If you like the Halloween Bottle Labels you can customize and buy them by clicking on any of the labels below
Hey a girl has to make a living somehow 🙂

Vintage Vampire Blood Halloween Bottle Stickers
Vintage Goblin Juice Halloween Bottle Stickers
Vintage Ghostly Spirits Halloween Bottle Stickers5
Vintage Devil's Brew Halloween Bottle Stickers
Vintage Werewolf Tonic Halloween Bottle Stickers
Vintage Spider Cider Halloween Bottle Stickers
Purple Bat Tonic Halloween Bottle Stickers
Vintage Dragons Breathe Halloween Bottle Stickers
Vintage Toe of Frog Halloween Bottle Stickers

Halloween Bottle Labels are available in a variety of colors & styles. To see more Click Here

Halloween bottle label decorations

I’ve also found these great links for Party Decorations. Just click on a picture if you would like to purchase.

Masquerade Party Invitations

A good hostess will send out party invitations at least six to eight weeks before the event giving guests plenty of time to RSVP. Be sure to include the theme of your masquerade party so guests know what to wear to your event. If you are having a huge formal masquerade ball you can send out invitations even sooner so guests have time to put their costumes together.

For the DIY crafty person, homemade masquerade invitations are the bomb. Make them by cutting paper in the shape of an eye mask and decorating with rhinestones, glitter & feathers.

Want to raise money for charity? A masquerade ball can’t be beat. Be sure to add this information on invitations or flyers.

If you don’t want to make invitations I’ve included some great links to custom masquerade party invitations that you can change the text on to fit your needs and these designers will also be happy to help should you need something even more custom for your masquerade event. Click on any invite to purchase

Teal Mask Masquerade Ball Halloween Invitation
Elegant Black & Gold Masquerade Party Invitation
Elegant Gold Masquerade Ball Party Event Flyer
Chic Vintage Lime Masquerade Invitations
Masquerade Pink Jeweled Sweet 16 Invitation
Black Lace Mask Jeweled Masquerade Ball Invitation
Masquerade Party Celebration Fancy Gold Invitation
Halloween Black Mask Damask Gold Ribbon Invitation
Burgundy Gold Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball Invite

Guest List & Location for a Masquerade Party

When your making your guest list always add a count of two for every single friend you invite because most of them will bring someone with them. A large house will usually hold 50 guests comfortably. If your list is larger than 50 you may want to consider renting a location for your masquerade party.

Wedding reception venues in your area are a great way to find a beautiful location. You can also check local clubhouses, churches and lodges. Keep your masquerade theme in mind when renting a location and remember to book your venue early. Some locations can book up to a year in advance so start looking early to get the best venue.

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Music & Entertainment for a Masquerade Party

A masquerade party really needs music. This can be as fancy as a string quartet or piano player for a more formal affair to a dj. You can even play pre recorded music just keep in mind the kind of experience you want your guests to have when choosing the music.

If you want your party to be a smashing success bring in some form of entertainment. This also helps to take some stress off the host or hostess and gives the guests something they will be talking about for months to come. Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive, check with your local artists & musicians or talented family & friends. Our masquerade party had jazz singers, a fire dancer, belly dancers, and sword reenactments all provided by friends. Check out the images of some of our fantastic entertainers we had for our masquerade party.

Fire BellyDancer: Peppy LaRue Musician: Jana Burdick of “Spontaneous Color” BellyDance Troupe: “The Tribe” of Loveland
Bellydancers at the masquerade

Masquerade Masks & How To Video

Click on images to visit mask products

Insanely Simple “How To Make Your Own Jeweled Masquerade Mask” Video

Food & Drinks for a Masquerade Party

If your having a midnight unveiling where everyone removes their masks at once make sure to have straws available for drinks and serve bite size appetizers to make it easier for guests to leave their masks on. For our party we made sure to have a meat and cheese platter, vegetables with dip and asked each guest to bring their favorite dish of finger food. We had an abundance of food and stayed on budget.

Some good food ideas are meat and cheese platters, fruit platters, chips/dip and a selections of desserts.

Masquerade Costumes

Part of the fun of a masquerade is dressing up. If you have a theme for your masquerade ball, guests will dress for your theme. If you’re having a more casual affair think fancy gowns for women and suits for men.

Women’s Masquerade Costumes
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Men’s Masquerade Costumes
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Party Favors for a Masquerade Party

Don’t forget to Thank your guests for coming to your party with a wonderful gift. This can be a mask they design their selves as they come into the party or beads, keychains etc. We gave our guests mini bottles of wine with our masquerade wine labels attached. Use your imagination and give them something to remember your party by. Here are some great party favors.

Masquerade Bottle Labels

Wine bottles with our masquerade labels.

Masquerade Ball Mardi Gras Wedding Envelope Seal Square Stickers

Wishing you a Magical Masquerade!

Ken & Faith Gauthier
Ken & Faith masquerade

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