Valentines Day Ideas for Single Gals & Guys

As you may have noticed we didn’t post on Tuesday and Thursday like we normally do. We’ve decided to shake things up a little and just post once a week. So look for new posts full of great tutorials, recipes, and party planning essentials on Fridays!

Last week we posted recipes and gift ideas for Valentine’s Day. But not everyone thinks Valentines Day is that great… especially if they are not seeing somebody. But remember it’s a day to show the people you love how much you love them. So forget having a boyfriend or girlfriend and celebrate with friends or family instead. Here are some great ideas from around the web for celebrating and gifting on Valentines Day, even if you don’t have a boo!

Single Ladies Valentine’s Day Brunch – this tutorial from Design Love Fest is amazing. Heart-shaped waffles with prosciutto? Yum! She even gives tips on how to set the table and a “single ladies” playlist to play while you and your friends nosh away on a delicious brunch. This recipe and idea would honestly be great for a girls birthday party! Check out the tutorial and the blog.

Image & tutorial from Design Love Fest.

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas for the Single & Unattached – This collection of ideas from Lovely Undergrad is great! We love the ideas of manis/pedis on Valentine’s Day! Check out her list if you are in a new relationship too!

Image from paulie-nka.

More Ideas for Single Ladies – Jenesequa has even more ideas for girls that want to celebrate without a guy. Some require you to be 21, but the ideas could easily be adapted for younger girls too. Maybe your daughter and her friends could get together and host a sparkling drink tasting party instead of a wine party, or have a little co-ed get together? Either way, younger or older, these ideas are perfect for Valentine’s Day or any special girls night out (like birthdays! 🙂 ).

 

Image from Jenesequa.

Are you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day?

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Have A Paper Holiday: 3 DIY Paper Crafts For A Homemade Christmas!

At MABW we love crafting, reusing, re-purposing, and putting a personal touch on special occasions. Today we’ve got 3 tutorials to share with you that will have you crafting most everything you need this Holiday season with paper!

DIY Recycled Paper Tree

We love this idea! Imagine using brown packaging paper, newspaper, or magazines to make mini versions of this tree? Can you say great centerpiece for practically nothing?!!!

DIY Tutorial for Recycled Paper Christmas Tree by Casa Sugar

DIY Tutorial for Recycled Paper Christmas Tree by Casa Sugar

DIY Star Wars Snowflakes or Garland

These snowflakes would make any nerd proud. Such a fun idea, you could try it with different colored paper too!

Free Printable Template from Matters of Grey

Free Printable Template from Matters of Grey

Free Holiday Gift Tags

These printables from Sass & Peril make adorable homemade packaging a cinch this holiday season!

Gift Tag Printables by Sass & Peril

Gift Tag Printables by Sass & Peril

Which is your favorite holiday paper craft? We are partial to the Star Wars Snowflakes 🙂

Our Favorite Cookie In A Jar Recipes

Cookies are amazing any time of the year, but fresh baked cookies at Christmas time takes amazing to an all new level. If you are looking for great cookie recipes to bake up for a party or searching for a great gift idea we think you’ll love these recipes we have collected from around the web. Some of the recipes even accommodate special dietary needs (vegan & gluten free).

Cranberry Hootycreeks from All Recipes

Cranberry Hootycreeks – Recipe from All Recipes.

These cookies look great in the jar and taste delightful. You could even change out the cranberries, chocolate chips, and nuts to suit your personal tastes. Dried currants, walnuts, & white chocolate chips could be a lovely combination! This recipe would make a great gift for a neighbor, coworker, or as a hostess/host gift if you are visiting family or friends over the holidays.

Julia’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe from All Recipes.

Chocolate chip cookies rank at the top of most people’s favorite cookie lists. Simple, chocolatey goodness. This recipe is very delicious and again provides opportunity for experimentation (different kinds of chocolate chips, or swapping chocolate chips for M&M’s etc..). If you aren’t sure what cookies your friend would want, chocolate chip is a safe bet.

Gluten Free & Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe from Oh She Glows

This recipe promises thin, crisp, and chewy chocolate chip cookies that even those on the most restricted diets can enjoy. But don’t get us wrong, these cookies aren’t really a compromise. They are kind of amazing. Angela’s recipe uses a mix of almond & oat flour to create this crowd pleasing cookie. Scroll to the bottom of her post to see the recipe!

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies From Oh She Glows

Gingerbread Men Cookie Mix In A Jar – Recipe from Food For My Family

These gingerbread men are tasty and adorable. We love the idea of attaching cookie cutters to the jar to really complete the gift! We love this recipe for a holiday staple! Shaina even included free printables—holiday gifting can’t get much easier!

Gingerbread Men In A Jar Recipe from Food For My Family

Have you ever given cookies in a jar before? What are your favorite recipes?

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DIY Party Favors: Make Your Own Seed Bombs!

We came across a fantastic tutorial for making adorable seed bombs on a neat blog called Mademoiselle Chaos. We think these heart shaped seed bombs would make great party favors or gifts for guests at your next party!

What You Need:

  • Seeds – any kind of flower you like, preferably native!
  • Old newspaper
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Immersion blender
  • Sieve
  • Scrap cloth
  • IKEA’s heart-shaped ice-cube trays or any other soft silicon mold

Directions:

  1. Shred the newspaper into tiny pieces or strips.
  2. Add warm water to the newspaper in a bowl.
  3. Using the immersion blender, blend your concoction.
  4. Add the seeds to your mixture.
  5. Line the sieve with the scrap cloth.
  6. Pour your mixture into the cloth-lined sieve and squeeze out as much water as you can.
  7. Take part of the semi-dry mixture and press it into the shaped ice-cube tray or silicon mold.
  8. After you have filled all the molds and the seed bombs have begun to dry, remove them from the mold.
  9. Place the seed bombs in a warm dry place to completely dry out. But don’t heat them up, or you will kill the seeds!
  10. Once dry, carry your seed bombs in your pocket and plant flowers wherever you go :).

We love these flower, fall pumpkins and leaves, butterfly, and dinosaur molds available on Amazon! The original tutorial with pictures and tips can be found here. What do you think of these adorable seed bombs? Will you make some for your next party?

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Green Party Decoration Swap Out: Try Pom-Poms Instead of Balloons!

Balloons are treated loads of nasty chemicals: ammonia, tetramethyl thiuram disulfide, zinc oxide and added plasticizers! Not to mention the harm they can cause to marine life if they find their way to the ocean instead of the landfill. So try making and hanging pom-poms from your ceiling. These look super cute and are a very affordable alternative.  Martha Stewart has a great tutorial here for how to make paper pom-poms in only 4 easy steps!

All you need to get started is:

  • Tissue paper in desired colors (8 sheets per pom-pom), by Martha Stewart Crafts, available at Michaels
  • 24-gauge white cloth-covered floral wire
  • Scissors
  • Monofilament
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DIY Party Decorations: Pennant Banner

Feeling crafty? Tired of wasting money on party decorations that you just toss out after the guests leave? Then considering making some of your own decorations. This week we want to share some tutorials we have found for making your own pennant banners to hang at your next celebration!

Making a pennant banner is pretty simple and these tutorials make the process even easier. When you are done you will have a great decoration that we are sure you will want to leave up all the time, or at the very least re-use!

  • Pink Stitches has a tutorial for sewing a fabric pennant banner. Fabric banners take a little more time and skill, but they last forever and look amazing. Click here to get the steps and templates!
  • Hand Jobs for the Home is another blog offering a myriad of at home project guidance. Click here to see their tutorial for a paper pennant banner.
  • Simply Salvage is a cute blog offering a tutorial for paper pennant banners (and lot’s of other DIY decorating advice). Click here to see the tutorial.

Give these tutorials a try, and then share your thoughts with us! Do you have any pictures of your creations, share those too!

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eVites

Handmade Wedding Invitation

Handmade Wedding Invitation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier this week we shared some tips for making your birthday party a little greener. One easy tip that saves time, money, and trees is using online invitations, or eVites! Paper invitations are nice, but these days, making the switch to web-based invites just makes more sense. It allows your guests to sync the event to their phones and calendars immediately – so they don’t forget! It also allows you to avoid the hassle of calling around for RSVP’s (which you know usually ends up happening). Instead people can respond right from their computer with the click of a button.

Going paperless doesn’t mean you have to lose your personal flair. There are lots of options to customize your eVites with themes, images, colors, music, etc. Did I mention that most online invitation sites are free to use – ka-ching! Some sites that we recommend looking into to send your next eVite include:

  • Evites – This site is great! It’s easy to use, free, and you can sign-up via Facebook! Features include a variety of pre-made designs, the option to build or upload your own design/image, RSVP tracking, importing contacts, and so many more!
  • Pingg – They have some awesome free designs to choose from, and some that you can upgrade and pay for. We love this design and this one too!

Need some tips on wording your eVites? This blog post has great advice on how to get the right message across for your event!

What are your favorite online invitation resources? Have you sent an eVite or eCard before? What did you think?

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9 Green Birthday Party Tips

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

Candles spell out the traditional English birthday greeting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here at Make A Birthday Wish we are always looking for unique and fun birthday party tips, and we get even more excited when they can save us some green while lessening our impact on the planet. Some basic birthday tips and tricks we have compiled from different articles include:

  1. Involve Your Kids In The Planning – Let the party planning be an opportunity to teach your kids about environmental issues and giving back. Involving them will build their excitement, enthusiasm, and pride in making more sustainable choices.
  2. Invitations – The best option is to send evites. Later this week we will share some great free sites to do this with and give you some pointers on fun phrasing and wording! If you still want the physical invitations opt for those printed on recycled paper with eco-friendly inks.
  3. Party Decor – Use decorations that are reusable, sourced from recycled or repurposed materials, or consider combining the decorations with the goodie bags/party favor (think potted plants in colorful pots the kids can paint and personalize)!
  4. Rethink Gifts – Ask for presents to be wrapped in an eco-friendly way (see our tips here), or forego traditional gifts altogether. Ask for gifts like books, seeds, crafting supplies, or for contributions to a college savings plan. You could even suggest or ask guests to make a donation to a charitable cause in place of a gift. Let your child help pick a charity or project that means something to them.
  5. Food & Drink – Don’t serve chips, candy and soda. Not only does this result in screaming hyper kids, it is bad for their health and the planet. Instead opt for healthier options like local organic fruits, veggies, and homemade treats. Be sure to check back to our blog for recipes and ideas.
  6. The Cake – The centerpiece of the party… Save money and make your own cake at home using healthy and organic ingredients! Recipes to come!
  7. Dishware – Opt for reusable plates, cups, and utensils to serve up the food and cake. Either use what you already have at home or add some color to special occasions with recycled and reusable dishware (like those by Re-play here, or those by Preserve here).
  8. Games – When planning games and activities consider using recycled materials, involving the kids in gardening, or exploring the outdoors.  Another great idea is an at home fashion/dress-up party with old clothes, hats, and shoes. The kids can dress up, walk down a runway, and take home pictures as keepsakes. Some of the websites we compiled below offer even more ideas!
  9. Goodie Bags – Handout reusable cloth bags filled with healthy treats like homemade granola, fruit bars, a sketchbook, or seeds. Give gifts that are living, or last longer than most cheap plastic trinkets stuffed in goodie bags.

There are a lot of great ideas and resources for planning a greener birthday party. Check out some of these below:

Do you have any eco-friendly birthday planning tips to share?

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[Birthday-Bark]

Tired of the same ol’ birthday treats at your childs party? Try this super simple recipe for birthday bark!

Ingredients

6 ounces (180 grams) high quality dark or extra dark chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut Chocolate – Pure – Bittersweet – 1 kg)

12 ounces (360 grams) high quality white chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut Chocolate – Pure – White – 1 kg)

3 teaspoons white cake mix

sprinkles of choice (I used classic jimmies, non-pareils, and my favourite Wilton gold edible star sprinkles)

Method

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. Chop chocolate.

3. Melt dark chocolate either in the microwave or a double boiler. If using microwave, place chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe container (I use a Pyrex glass measuring cup), and heat for 20 second intervals, stirring each time with a silicone spatula. Be careful not to burn the chocolate–when there are just a few small bits left unmelted, you can simply continue to stir until it is completely smooth.

4. Pour melted dark chocolate onto your parchment/mat and spread (with a small offset spatula for ease) until desired thickness is achieved. Freeze for 20 minutes to set.

5. Melt your white chocolate. Whisk in cake mix slowly, stirring well until smooth. Let it sit for approximately 3 minutes (or at least until it slightly thickens).

6. Remove pan with set chocolate from the freezer and pour white chocolate on top, repeating the same spreading technique as you did with the dark chocolate. Toss sprinkles on right away. Freeze for 20 more minutes.

7. Once set, break or cut into pieces. Store in the refrigerator.

8. Try not to beat yourself up when you repeatedly sneak and snack on pieces every time you open the refrigerator for something else.

9. Enjoy!

We got this recipe from http://sweetapolita.com/2011/09/cake-batter-sprinkle-bark/

 

All That Work and They Rip It Up!

Find the perfect paper, bows to match, ribbons, glitter, sparkle, personalized tags, and you spend thirty minutes or more putting all of it together in a perfect pretty little package…and then your child does what every child does…..rips it up.

We all know though, that wrapping the present is half the fun, and we found some tips that might make it easier for you!

1. Put every gift in a box. You know you’ll be glad you did when you aren’t trying to come up with creative ways to use ribbon to hide the fact that there are creases all over your present.

2. Try wrapping presents on flat, even, and smooth surfaces.

3.  Always place the gift in upside down.

4.  Add the card into the gift wrap, use custom tag’s from scrapbook supplies to add individuality to your gift.

We found a few sites that might help you too.

http://www.gift-wrap-app.com/index.html

http://www.paper-source.com/cgi-bin/paper/giftwrap/index.html

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. – William Arthur Ward