Entertaining with Mason Jars from Aladdin

*I was sent product by Aladdin, via Mom Trends, to show how entertaining with mason jars can be easy and fun.  They weren’t wrong.  Plus, I had a blast.  All opinions are mine. Throw a pajama picnic for your best gals with gossip mags, drinks and yummy food. I think I am about to commit blogger blasphemy.  Are you ready for this?  I am not a fan of Mason jars.  What?!  I know.  I can hardly believe it myself.  There is nothing wrong with mason jars.  They just aren’t my cup of tea.  I was apprehensive, to say the least, when I opened up a big box from Aladdin filled with their newest Mason jar entertaining collection.  But as I started to peruse all their products, I found myself excited.  For the most part, these jars are plastic (which is huge considering we are currently building an outdoor space for my family to hang out this summer) and the colors are bright and fantastic.  Aladdin wants people to know that they can entertain with ease with this new collection, found at Wal-Mart.  So I decided to gather some girlfriends for a relaxing girl’s night in.  A pajama picnic is what we would have.  What the heck is that?  We all wear pajamas, we order in dinner, and the host provides yummy drinks and a dessert.  Easy.

A super simple girl's night in: pajama party picnic.I can certainly get carried away when it comes to entertaining.  But I made sure to keep it simple this time.  I set up the one table I would need early on in the day so that I wouldn’t be rushing during homework and bath time for my kids before my friends arrived.  I didn’t leave that fruit water out all day but wanted to take a photo in better light for the purposes of showing the set up to you.  From this shot you can see three of the different products Aladdin has out right now.  The beverage dispenser is SO fantastic!  The jar on this one is glass, which I really prefer in a dispenser.  And that teal color is going to be perfect for all my summer entertaining.  You can see the mason jar drinking glasses and reusable acrylic straws and then the extra-large, hot pink mason jar that I decided to use for flowers.  There were a ton of other great products but in an effort to keep it simple, I decided to not use them all.  My favorite product, however is a double walled mason jar cup with a handle and lid.  It is now my cup of choice for my ever-present ice water.  It doesn’t leave water rings!  Its genius.

Entertaining doesn't have to be hard.  But it should be colorful. As you can tell, I like to mix colors.  So I loved that there wasn’t a set of matched jars in the box.  Mixing colors keeps it feeling relaxed and casual.

#spon I love a good beverage dispenser.  Don't you?  For me it HAS to be a glass jar like this one from @aladdinpmiAs I said, I didn’t want to get carried away but I did add some strawberries to the water.  Crazy, I know!  It really took so little effort but I felt like it was a nice touch and would make my guests feel like I really put some thought in to the preparation.

Put our a super simple beverage bar so your guests can serve themselves. For the drinks, I wanted to make sure we had all our bases covered.  This was a weeknight so I knew some of us wouldn’t want a drink.  But you never know what kind of day people have had.  I’m a people pleaser so it is just as easy to set out some fun options and let the guests have exactly what they want.  I’d been dying to try the Nekter cocktail mixers so I thought this was the perfect time.  They are perfect to mix with alcohol, but you can also just drink straight or mix with club soda.  It was delicious!  It was so fresh tasting and vibrant.  I will be getting that again!

Use scrap leather to cut out drink markers.I used some leather scraps that I had to cut out some quick drink tags.  We could have gone by the color of the cup but who wants to have to remember that? :) I just tied them on with some scrap fabric and I was done.  Super quick and totally in keeping with the theme of easy entertaining.

Add fresh flowers for a pop of color.Since Trader Joe’s has the BEST prices on flowers I picked these up to add another color and some height to the table.  I used one of the super sized Aladdin mason jars as a super easy vase.  I think the bright pink of that jar goes perfectly with the bright yellow of the flowers.

Colorful plastic mason jars make for fun entertainingWith that little bit of prep work done ahead of time, all that was left was to relax with my friends.  We poured our drinks, Erika picked up some dinner on her way over and we were set.  They either arrived in pajamas or put them on once they got here and we enjoyed each other’s company and some reality TV.  I can’t think of an easier way to entertain your girlfriends.

Go check out the rest of the Aladdin Mason jar entertaining products at Wal-Mart.  They will be perfect for all your summer and everyday entertaining.

*Thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to keep Cupcakes and Cutlery going.  These gals would have been drinking out of plain old glasses if not for Aladdin.  Boring.

Large DIY Tassels Out of Mop Heads

DIY extra large tassels. I’m in love with these extra large DIY tassels.  Do you know why?  Because they look awesome and are made with mop heads!  It can’t get any easier than that.  These are the tassels I shared in my Easter inspiration last week.  So now you can make them too.  If you want.  I’m not going to force you.  I swear.

DIY tassel wall hanging out of mop heads. Are you thinking of all the cool ways you could use these?  You could totally make a cool 70′s inspired wall hanging to go with your macrame plant holder.  Or these would be super cool, in mass, for a party backdrop.  Or strung across a room sort or grouped together  like a chandelier.  I hung these very simply in the photo above but my heart really wanted to make more and go nuts on that wall, installation style.

This inexpensive mop head from Walmart is perfect for making in to extra large tassels. These mop heads have been in my garage for months.  I saw them at Wal-Mart and grabbed 3 knowing that I was going to figure out something to do with them.  They were about $3 a piece, so they are totally economical.  And while I could tell through the bag that they had a hard plastic piece at the top and a metal band around it, I decided to take a chance with them and see if I could manipulate them in some way.  And they were made in the USA.  Boom.  American mop heads are the finest in all the land, so I’ve heard.  Ok, I’ve never heard that but wouldn’t that be the best thing ever if we could travel abroad and when people ask us where we live we would say, “USA, you know, where the best mop heads come from?”

DIY extra large tassel with mop head and embroidery thread and yarn. For your extra large tassel you need one mop head and some embroidery thread or yarn.  Oh and scissors.  I always forget to put the scissors in the picture but I know you all would know to grab some scissors.  If I ever hear of someone trying to cut through yarn with their teeth because they weren’t instructed to use scissors is the day I quit blogging.  And start a commune of non-yarn biters.

Remove the metal band from the mop head to turn it in to a DIY tassel. This is the hardest part of the DIY and it isn’t really hard at all.  I sat down with one of these mop heads and figured out that if you started on one side and pulled the yarn strings out the top of the metal clamp that you could remove the metal clamp.  In fact, when you get about half way through, the metal clamp will slide right off the end of the mop head.  And as you move more of the long pieces through, you realize that there are short pieces in the middle of what was the underneath side of the mop!  What a fun discovery!  And those short pieces totally hide the plastic piece at the top of the head.

Use a little embroidery thread to turn a mop head in to a large tassel decoration. See!  How cute is that little puff at the top!  And you didn’t even have to do anything to get it!  The next part is purely decorative so go where your arty heart takes you.  Mine wanted them wrapped.  So I grabbed some embroidery thread and yarn and just wrapped a few inches near the top.

String up the mop head to hang it as a tassel. I was starting to think that the person who made this mop head was also a crafter when I noticed the plastic piece had a hole in it making it PERFECT for hanging!  So easy.

Large wrapped tassel DIY for home decor or party decorating.How would you use these tassels?

DIY wrapped tassels out of mop heads. I love to use yarn in my crafts so I may have nerded out over this peach yarn with little puffs on it.  I do just want to address the smell of these mop heads.  It makes me think of horses.  I’m not around horses, well, ever.  I don’t really know what they smell like but these reminded me of them.  Maybe a little bit of hay mixed with poo?  It really isn’t that bad.  I would certainly use them for a party or as home decor.  I may not hang them at nose level next to my bed, however.

Extra large tassels for home decor. Pretty excited about these tassels.  I’m trying to figure out how I can incorporate them in to my soon-to-be 8 year old’s birthday party.  But they really don’t scream ‘Minecraft’ do they?

Eat the Ball Basketball Rolls

Sports themed bread!  How cool is this! How freaking insane are these basketball shaped rolls?!  I can’t get over them!  My husband brought these home because he thought the boys would get a kick out of them.  And they did.  But so did I.  I mean, how perfect are these for March Madness?!  They are by a company called Eat the Ball and they actually come in several other ball shapes as well.  So fun!

So perfect for any sport themed party! I have never heard of them before and am so excited to share them with you!  As a mom to two little boys, it just makes sense that they eat sandwiches on ball-shaped bread.

The coolest bread ever! How perfect would these be for a team party at the end of a season?  I’m pretty sure the kid’s heads would explode.  But be warned.  You totally want to throw these around.  This little guy and I couldn’t help but play a quick game of catch with the ball.

Look at these ingredients.  I know what all of them are.  That is awesome.  And the bread is cute too. These rolls can be found in the freezer section.  And just look at those ingredients?!  I know what all of those are!  Once you defrost the bread, you need to consume it within 24 hours.  I kind of love that.  This is some fresh stuff!  The ball rolls feel heavy and while they are a bit dense, they are not too bready.  They also have this really nice sweetness to them.  So not only are they adorable but the flavor is great too.

You guys!  It is basketball shaped bread! How fun for March Madness?! He shoots, he scores!!

You can't watch pro basketball without a sandwich made on baskeball shaped bread. Cutest sandwich ever, am I right?  Take a look at their website to find out if they are found in your area.  They seem to be at most Bristol Farms and some other smaller farmer’s market type places.  I’m telling you, if you have little boys, you HAVE to get these!  They will think you are the coolest ever.

The coolest!! Eat the Ball makes sport ball shaped bread.  Which make the cutest, sportiest sandwiches ever. I just know all you party planning moms are going to freak out about these like I did.  These just took your sport’s themed parties to the next level.  You’re welcome.

 

Outdoor Entertaining : Easter Brunch

Easter brunch ideas.So I’m trying out a new idea.  I’ve been wanting to do a series of entertaining ideas shot at night.  I love to do things that are more conceptual and non-traditional and have always been afraid to do it because I didn’t know how you all would respond.  Also, I am an amateur photographer at best and I didn’t know if I’d be able to pull it off.  I think it turned out ok, but more importantly it was super fun and challenging to do.  I’d like to keep doing these and hopefully will get a better grip on how to produce these kinds of shoots.  I wanted it to come off more magazine like but I’m not sure that it did.  I did this the other night when my husband was not home so not only was I trying to shoot and style in the dark, I had one ear open trying to listen for the kids in the living room (or telling them to go back to the living room because they kept trying to steal the Peeps).  So here is what I think the perfect Easter brunch looks like.  I’m not suggesting you do it as a picnic I just thought grass was the perfect spring backdrop.  And I’m not suggesting you lay it out this way.  I am simply suggesting a few ideas in one place.

tulips and mini carnationsSo tulips are awesome.  And I was pleasantly surprised by the mini white carnations I found at the grocery.  For years I never used fresh flowers in any of my parties.  I felt like they were expensive and a cop-out.  Do you all see how I over think everything?  But I now realize that fresh flowers really do add something special to a table.  It has been really fun learning about and paying attention to flowers more lately.  Tulips in spring colors are the perfect accompaniment to your Easter brunch table.  And while usually the kids are sent home with Easter baskets, why not break the centerpiece up in to smaller bunches and send them home with all the ladies.

It isn't Easter without peeps. I can’t think of an easier way to make everyone at brunch happy than by serving Peeps.  They are nostalgic, fun and pumped full of sugar.  I can think of nothing better.  This season in particular I have been noticing an abundance of new Easter themed goodies like these swirly, fruit, egg-shaped marshmallows.  How darling would these large marshmallows look in a cup of hot chocolate for the kiddos?  I like to lay out some sweets so there are some fun nibbles while waiting for the full meal to get to the table.  I guarantee you will not just see kid’s hands reaching for those things.

large tassels for Easter Brunch decorI’ve got to say, I am NOT over tassels just yet.  But I wanted them to be a little different so I made these extra-large ones.  I will share the tutorial next week but I think they would be perfect for a really simple wall decor.  Add a little hand-cut Happy Easter sign and your ready for brunch.

pastels for Easter brunch decor.The basis for my overall color scheme was this rad scarf I found at Forever 21.  I am in love with scarves for entertaining.  They are super versatile and usually much less expensive than tablecloths.  I added some coordinating napkins and think it is the perfect color for a spring brunch.

Blood orange gin and tonic floats for Easter brunch.  Or anyime.For the drink I would serve a Blood Orange Gin and Tonic float.  What I love about this is that it provides a few options for drinks so your guests can fix a drink they truly like.  The blood orange sorbet adds a wonderful sweetness that women typically love.  But if you skip it, you’ve got your basic gin and tonic.  I’ll be sharing that recipe next week also.  And because the float tastes better as the sorbet melts, you don’t have to worry about keeping the container out of the freezer to long, it will only help the drinks.  Yeah!

Choose a basic idea for brunch and then look for a twist on the classic.My extended family likes to stick with their tried and true recipes.  I always try to do that but sometimes I want to find a a twist that I know they will still like.  You know your family best so think about the flavors they enjoy and see if you can introduce new dishes with those flavors.  For the frittata I would choose this one.  Doesn’t this french toast sound amazing?!  And of course bacon.  But I would also throw in some of this for a special treat.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new series or tips to shoot it better!  And while it is still a few weeks away, I’ll wish you a Happy Easter now in case I forget. :)

 

Spring Pinterest Party #SpringMakes

#springmakes Pinterest Party! You guys!  I’m hosting a Pinterest party tonight with some fab ladies.  You won’t want to miss it.  We are talking all things spring! There are a few prizes up for grabs and a whole heck of a lot of fun inspiration.  I’ve been addicted to Pinterest lately!  So come play with me!  6 – 7 pm Pacific Time!  Feel free to pin away!  Just make sure to use the #SpringMakes hashtag.  Read all the details over on Melissa Creates!  She also has links to all the co-hosts pages so you can check them out!  I hope to see you on Pinterest tonight!  Big ups to Melissa for putting this all together!  She’s the best.