Category: Party Ideas

It’s a wrap!

Ever since I can remember, my family has used cloth instead of paper, to wrap gifts. My mom was ahead of her time, I tell you, because now it’s all the rage. And for good reason, really. Or should I say good reasons? Cloth is beautiful. And it’s reusable. The fabric gift wrap from Chewing the Cud (okay, not a big fan of the name) take the whole reusable gift wrap up a notch with organic cotton and gorgeous soy-based ink prints. And each one is printed with a simple message for the recipient. I’m quite taken with the...

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Cupcakes just for grownups

I have come to love looking forward to my Foodzie tasting box at the beginning of each month, and all the little nibbles and gourmet noshes contained therein. A few weeks back, I opened my box to such an amazing treat: Mini cupcakes in very adult flavors. I had heard of Kyotofu cupcakes, because they get a lot of buzz around NYC, but I had never bitten into one of these moist little gourmet cakes until just now. Subtle, delicate flavors like Matcha Green Tea and Miso Chocolate are a welcome change from that traditional cupcake flavor: Lots and...

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Good wishes to you

Every shower needs a centerpiece, and this one beats the strained peas out of a diaper cake, or one of those Cake-Wreck-y pregnant belly confections that are a little too reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver in Alien. It’s the lovely Wishing Tree by Hello Hanna, and it truly is a gift that keeps on giving. Fashioned of heavyweight recycled paper, the Wishing Tree comes with 20 moveable sticky flowers and 40 wishing ribbons in an adorable stand-up display. Place the flowers where you want them and let guests write their wishes on the pretty little ribbons, then hang them from...

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Wrap your gift in artwork.

These days, I’m lucky if I remember to get gifts in time at all these days, let alone have the wrapping paper on hand to wrap them up. But with an unbelievable number of birthday parties and special events crammed in my calendar, I’m determined to be prepared. And I’ve probably got the best excuse ever to do it: the gorgeous, artist-designed gift wrap found, of all places, on MoreBirthdays.com. [edited to add: This campaign is now over, but you can support the American Cancer Society’s excellent work through their website, cancer.org.] Imagine, you can celebrate all the special...

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Celebrity style loot bags, without the celebrity-only prices

I love throwing birthday parties for my kids. Love it. But I’m a bit of an over-achiever when it comes to loot bags, generally insisting that there should be something handmade -or at least really, really cool- inside. And that means I spend precious hours (that I don’t really have available) making something or hunting for it. Not this year. Thank goodness my kids decided to hold off on winter birthday parties in favor of spring because I just discovered the best loot bag item around. CMP fave, Mabel’s Labels has a great new Loot Bag Combo that’s going...

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A kids’ party that gives books back. (Plus: cookies!)

Despite light-up toys, dolls that talk, and, um, iPads, at the end of the day, nothing holds a candle — or backlit touchpad screen — to a good kids’ book. It’s a lesson my 3.5 year-old daughter has already learned, and I’m sure your kids are totally on board with that message, too. So imagine the joy of this: a big party featuring storytime, glasses of milk and plates of cookies, and — coolest of all — helping get good books into the hands of kids who don’t have any. Milk + Bookies is a neat charitable organization that facilitates...

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Temporary tattoos get artsy

Great art is beautiful, interesting, well-crafted, and has staying power. Surprise! That also describes these cool new temporary tattoos by one of CMP’s favorite designers. Our old pals at Wee Gallery have found a fantastic new way to pepper the world with their adorable, stylish art. It’s on your kid, thanks to these sweet new temporary tattoos. What used to be just a fun little extra included with purchases from the shop is now available in four-packs of three designs, each drawn in the whimsical style that makes Wee Gallery so unique. We gave the sweet faux ink a...

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The best cupcakes are wrapped in cooties

I can’t stop giggling over these printable cupcake wrappers available from the Spaceships and Laser Beams Etsy shop. The description says it’s so hard to find anything for Valentine’s Day that appeals to little boys… and sure, I can see the elementary set loving the germy depiction of love, absolutely. But honestly? Forget the kids. If you have coworkers or a beloved who works in science/medicine, I think the adults will get a huge kick out of these hearts-turned-bacteria cupcake wrappers. A few bucks gets you a downloadable PDF so you can print your own. Or just use them...

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A face so cute you could eat off it

I don’t usually go the disposable paper plate route, except when it comes to kids parties. But here are some paper plates so adorable they might be worth making an exception. Why? Well, they’re personalized. With a photo of my smiling sweeties and a festive holiday scene, I am in love with these Holiday Personalized Plates from Hallmark–so much so, I might like them too much to even use them! Choose from nineteen winter and holiday designs, pick your layout and, if you want, you can add text. Plates ship quickly; in only two business days after ordering and...

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Gorgeous printables: some free, some just free for Cool Mom Picks readers

I made a huge withdrawal from the Crafty Mom Bank on Halloween, when I decided to make a Big Bird costume for my daughter by hand. Turns out even a mini bird requires a lot of faux feathers. So I’ve been ever-so-slightly grinchlike when mustering up creative thoughts for the oncoming holiday season. But there will be no mama-made invitations or banners to any family fete for the foreseeable future, because I found Anders Ruff. These gorgeous custom graphic printables are just waiting for you to customize them and print them from home. Now that’s a DIY project I...

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Wrap it up to go

I love the hustle of the holiday season: cooking, shopping and giving are three of my favorite things. What I really don’t like is finding the right wrapping paper for my latest treasures – and it can get ugly when I have multiple smaller gifts, for teachers and neighbors. We’re talking last-minute wrapping in the form of torn tissue paper held together with stickers, which doesn’t look so hot, especially if those gifts are–shall we say–somewhat modest. Sometimes a gal really needs something to help with the upsell.  Check out the personalized items from momma Bridgett Edwards at Perideau...

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The gift(wrap) that keeps on giving

I’m not sure which is cooler, the actual lyziwraps reusable gift bags that I just discovered, or the story behind them. They were originally designed by an 8th Grader, for an innovation competition, who was trying to find a way to decrease the amount of waste Americans produce between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. The result? Fantastic. [don’t miss a special offer after the jump] These brightly colored nylon reusable gift bags open at both ends so you can place your gift inside, cinch the ribbons at both ends and create beautiful wrapping that can be used again and again. If...

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Martha Stewart: Now encouraging spider webs.

Yes, she’s usually the one holding the antique French albino ostrich duster while explaining that it’s a good thing to keep spiders out of your house with handmade pomanders. But now Martha Stewart is actually encouraging you to have windows full of spiderwebs. And witches. And vampires. And bats. Even rats. All right in time for Halloween. [don’t miss a truly fun Martha Stewart giveaway after the jump!] The new Halloween decor by Martha Stewart Crafts are a fun and temporary way to decorate for the spookiest season. The vinyl clings for walls and windows can be stuck, restuck,...

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Little blog of big party dreams

My daughter’s fourth birthday is coming up, and I spend a good bit of time daydreaming of mastering fondant, hand calligraphing creamy envelopes, and crafting a birthday banner in lovely watercolor washes over newspaper. Ha freakin’ ha. Instead, we’re booked for the local germ-encrusted bounce house, where pizza is the only option and invitations come pre-printed with stock photos. Her idea. And so my inner Martha Stewart dies a little more. But if I could make my own party vision into a website, I’ve found exactly what it would look like. The site scissors.paper.cake is a collaboration by paper...

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This birthday, give your prince or princess the royal treatment

Edited to add: Unfortunately, Kate Landers Events no longer exists. Why settle for paper plates with generic movie princesses on them when you can actually have a party fit for a princess, complete with a hand-made felt crown and personalized party pouches? These are just some of the gorgeous goodies I discovered at Kate Landers Events. Kate’s passion is creating charming, good old-fashion, sophisticated parties and accessories. Nearly all her items are specially made, and look it. From a personalized hand-painted plate to hand-stitched invitations, no one will mistake your party stuff as having come from a mega-store. Obviously...

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A little slice of baby shower heaven

Let’s face it: no one’s ever going to say, “Whoopee, a cello bag of Jordan almonds!” It’s just not in our DNA. And yet we feel the primal call to give cutesy favors out at at baby showers. ( I once painted twelve identical paintings in one night because I wanted my dear friend to feel super-showered, and I couldn’t think of anything fabulous enough.) The good news is that when you disguise your favors as delicious slices of chocolate cake or wedges of cheese, no one’s going to care what’s inside of them. These paper pastries by imeondesign...

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Boy’s First Birthday Party Ideas – Reader Q&A

I need some great first birthday party ideas and some adorable first birthday party attire for a little boy. Any suggestions? I am a recent follower, but a huge fan! Thanks! -Emilie Congratulations on the upcoming first birthday for your little guy! I’m sure you realize most one year-olds need nothing more than a lick of cupcake frosting and an empty box to play with, but I adore kid parties and think they can be a lot of fun for everyone gathered to share in the occasion. I hope some of these ideas help you plan a fun and memorable party for you all....

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We see cool crayons in your future

We’re always on the lookout for cool party favors that do not include small plastic toys that last all of four minutes, or sugar-infested treats that seem to last four hours. So if you’ve got a party coming up, stuff those goody bags with these cool fortune cookie crayons. Handmade from upcycled crayons, these adorable crayons come complete with their own fortune and are packaged in a Chinese take-out box. Pair them with a funky coloring book as a birthday gift or split them up and use them as party favors. Either way, I foresee them being a big...

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An unbirthday worthy of your own Alice (or Jillian or Chloe)

The story of Alice in Wonderland involves a tea party, funny little cakes, a menagerie of characters and lots of adventure. In other words, all the ingredients for a kid-friendly birthday party, as my daughter has recently discovered for herself. When she inevitably decides she MUST have an Alice in Wonderland party, I’m going straight to Paper & Cake. Paper & Cake has already rescued me once from store-bought monotony with their adorable pirate party printables, and now the team of Abigail and Kira have created all the cute decorations I need to throw a cool “unbirthday” for my very...

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Oh, the joy you can get from one handmade mobile

We flipped over the graphic cut-paper mobiles from Frazier + Wing when we first discovered them at the Bubble show earlier this year and we’re so excited to see some of the new offerings, now at more affordable prices. The basic mobile is like a big joyous pompom, bursting with surprising colors (or neutrals, should you prefer) and delighting you with different die-cut shapes. They’re all hand-sewn by Portland artist Heather Frazier, then weighted in a way that they hang perfectly while still blowing gently if they catch a breeze. Or for something really different, check out the collection...

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Lovely gift boxes that take the ugh out of gift wrapping.

I am beyond grateful for all the pretty boxes and gift bags out there because I am 1. Totally spazzy with wrapping paper (seriously, it’s sad) and 2. Totally impatient with long gift wrap lines at department stores. Let’s also add 3. Totally annoyed with the $5 gift wrap charges that some shops want to bilk you with over the holidays. So here are a few cool holiday gift boxes and gift bags I’ve come across recently that make things easy for those of you like me: Martha Stewart Crafts does a smashing job with the holiday cookie and...

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Plates to mark the end of another year and hopefully, unfinished dinners.

When I was a new mom, I swore that I would never make tableware “an issue.” I would stick with neutral plates and bowls, basic silverware, and my kids would just deal with it. Right. As it turns out, serving dinner on “your special plate” can make all the difference between that dinner being finished by your children or by the dog. And one of the sweetest plates I’ve seen is the child’s birthday plate, courtesy of past CMP pick, Aedriel Originals. It’s a cool little birthday gift for the kid who doesn’t need more toys, and guaranteed it...

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Not quite Crayolas, they’re Crazyoleez

I’m always on the lookout for goodie bag favors that aren’t mini plastic Slinkies from the dollar store. And last week I discovered the adorable Crazyoleez crayons and I thought, now there’s a winner. Two passionate moms essentially melt all sorts of crayon colors into molds shaped like letters, footballs, butterflies, letters of the alphabet – you name it – creating a whole new crazy kind of crayon. Crazyoleez, get it? They’re not actually recycled which helps them guarantee they’re within appropriate lead limits. They’re particularly great when you’re dealing with a big space and kids can see how...

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An eco-friendly Halloween, with an emphasis on “friendly”

It didn’t take me too long to learn that younger kids are pretty much scared out of their wits by a lot of the costumes and decorations that are par for the course on Halloween. Forget bloody eyeballs or Scream masks —  even the giant inflatable Shrek at my neighbor’s front door did not go over well with my three year-old last year. So I love the nice little selection of eco-friendly Halloween decorations at Green Planet Parties which let you get your festive on, all without traumatizing your children in the process. The reusable cloth orange and black...

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Great handmade baby shower decorations – CMP does etsy

Provided you hold the embarrassing games, we love baby showers. Yay for momentous occasions! If you want to make the event as pretty as can be, we’ve collected a few unexpected decor ideas all from the indie artists and crafters on Etsy. On a budget? You can download an entire set of printable decorations including matching invites, place cards, banners and party hats from Paper & Cake for just $8. I love this French Circus Party design. Decorating is half the fun of any party and these festive Zinnia paper pom-poms from PomLove come in so many vibrant colors....

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Cloth gift bags so cute you won’t want to give them away

I love giving gifts; what kills me is the wrapping. All that wrapping paper getting tossed in the trash — or worse, those reusable but ugly gift bags. Solution: LivingEthos reusable cloth gift bags. Made of 100% cotton, these bags are the perfect finishing touch to any gift. The bags come in a nice range of colors and patterns, and every single one is beautiful. A set includes four different sized bags; the largest is perfect for a child’s toy while the tiny one is just the right size for a little jewelery box. Each bag closes with a...

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You’ve got to keep it decorated

If I had my way, birthday decorations would be limited to a couple of mylar balloons. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a good birthday celebration. It’s just that when you pile on the streamers and the birthday signs and the confetti (oh how I loathe the confetti), you’re either stuck with a ton of post-party trash or a box of junk that you’ve got to figure out where to store. But at this year’s party, we’ll have two balloons and a lovely keepsake photo banner from Mary Had a Little Party. Mom of two Kristen Davis takes your...

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Birthday countdown

I owe a whopping thanks to Big Day Chains for getting me to my daughter’s 5th birthday (today!) without completely losing my mind. Because if there’s anything more annoying than the “Are we there yet?” question, it’s “How many days until my birthday?” These smart 30 day countdown paper chains allow your kiddos to keep track of how many days are left without ever having to ask you. The packet contains perforated sheets splashed with bright birthday-themed graphics printed in soy ink on one side and blank pictures on the other side for your kids to color. Simply tear...

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Birthday cakes so awesome you’ll be jealous of the candles

Magnolia Bakery may still be hot on the Sex and the City tour of NYC, but for native New Yorkers, the hottest things happening in caloric confections come from Brooklyn’s Baked. Straight outta Red Hook, Baked makes the cakes and cupcakes that put every other combo of flour, eggs and sugar sitting beneath a birthday candle to shame. In fact, my own daughter who turns four today (Happy birthday Thalia!) will will be chowing down on a pink-frosted one at her own little party. I am happy with their regular old chocolate cake just fine, thank you, but if...

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A kinder, gentler gift wrap

I’ve admitted here before that I’m a terrible gift wrapper, but as long as there are children aging in the world, there will be presents to wrap. Which is why I’m so happy to have found the Eco Deco line of green gift wrapping from Olive Paper. Yes, of course a true eco-crusader would wrap gifts out of used craft paper or a sheet of fabric you can reuse. So let’s just call these light green, as in made of 100% recycled material. The ten patterns are sophisticated but festive, and I’d feel as comfortable wrapping a birthday present...

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