Party Time: Fall Harvest

Fall, fall, fall… after what felt like a bit of a slow start, we’re finally full swing into the most wonderful season of the year. We’ve been apple picking, we’ve visited the pumpkin patch, we’ve picked out Halloween costumes, and now it’s time to get outside with our friends to celebrate the bounty that fall has to offer. There’s no need to buy expensive party decorations because mother nature has provided more than enough for you to get the party started. So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors because you know that polar vortex will be here before you know it!

A Feteful Life: Fall Harvest

  1. A grouping of pumpkins always look festive. Simply write a welcome message on one of the larger ones and you will instantly make your guests feel welcome.
  2. This simple yet stunning garland is made out of real leaves! I love it!
  3. Apples and floating candles make a beautiful centerpiece and harken back to the old bobbing for apples game.
  4. Some bundles of hay with some simple fall colored garland makes a fantastic photo backdrop wall.
  5. A punch is one of the easiest ways to serve a big crowd. And, this beautiful apple harvest punch looks amazing!
  6. Looking to unload some of those apples you picked at the orchard? Set up a DIY caramel apple bar and let your guests pick their own toppings.
  7. Doesn’t this stuffed pumpkin look amazing?! Not only does it look impressive, it is filled with everything that is delicious.
  8. Send you guests home with something delicious, like these delicious pumpkin pie parfaits.

 

 

DIY Candied Jewels

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

While I’m getting a bit sad that warmer weather will be on its way out soon (although it has been super hot and humid around DC lately and I won’t be sorry to see that go), I love love to see fall jewel tones make their arrival. Couple that with my general love of all things sparkly and a real sweet tooth (it is some serious kind of cruel that Halloween candy is already in stores), I thought I’d try my hand at making some edible candied jewels. Now, as I’ve said before, I’m really not much of a baker. I just lack the ability to measure exactly and patiently work in that particular arena of the kitchen. And while I love how these candied jewels turned out, they certainly pushed my frustration meter to the limit. It took me lots and lots of tries to get a good batch and, even then, I’d make a random bad one. They’re not difficult, but they require some time to concentrate. I do think they’d be beautiful as a lovely little favor packaged up in a glassine bag, served alongside a cup of cider or hot toddy, or even topping a plain cake. So set aside some time to slow down and try them yourself!

DIY Candied Jewels (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup water
– 2 tablespoons corn syrup
– gel paste food coloring
– 1/8 teaspoon of flavor extract, such as lemon, orange or cinnamon (optional)
– cooking spray

Other Equipment
– hard candy gem molds (such as these)
– candy thermometer
– pyrex measuring cup

Directions
1.  Spray molds lightly with cooking spray and set atop waxed paper or aluminum foil.

2. Bring sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat in a saucepan. Heat until mixture reaches 300 on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat immediately and add 1-2 drops of food coloring and 1/8 teaspoon of flavor extract if using. Transfer mixture to a pyrex measuring cup and let settle for 15-30 seconds.

3. Slowly pour mixture into candy molds sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Fill molds until just below the top. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Tips
– Make sure the mixture is heated to exactly 300 and then remove quickly from the heat source. If it’s under that temperature, the candy will be sticky. If over, the mixture will caramelize.
– Pour less than you think will fill a mold cavity to start out — the mixture expands a bit once its in there.
– If candy hardens inside of your saucepan and/or pyrex measuring cup, fill the saucepan with water, place measuring cup inside, and bring to a boil. Discard water once residue melts.

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

DIY Kids Party Favors

I know some people are anti kids party favors, but I have to say that I am firmly in favor of them. I think it is important for my kids to understand that having friends attend a party, whether or not a present is involved, is something they should be thankful for and show their appreciation. And I feel like they get that and truly want to show their thanks to friends and family for helping us celebrate. That said, I always try to have my kids help me make party favors for their party and generally provide something either consumable, educational, and/or not just more plastic toys. I happened to LOVE the DIY rock candy party favor we had at our science club last month, which got me thinking about what favors I might get together for upcoming kids parties. Here are some of my favorites!

A Feteful Life: DIY KId Party Favors

1 / What kiddo doesn’t love making art? Lovely Design put together these adorable collage packets to send a little art project home with each child. Perfect for post-party-sugar-rush winding down at home.

2 / I’ve wanted to make story stones for my kids for some time now and I think a little muslin bag with a few stones would be the perfect thing to help keep a kiddo occupied on the ride home.

3 / OK, so this one is candy, which I try not to do since I’ve inevitably just filled up kiddos on sweets at the party. BUT sending this bubblegum necklace home in a little kit for each child would be a great consumable activity.

4 / It looks like tasty salt water taffy, but this one is ingeniously disguised sidewalk chalk. What a perfect favor for a summertime party!

5 / Another win for Lovely Design with these personalized pennant flags. I like to try make party decorations last by using them in my childrens’ rooms. I love that Lovely Design took this concept to favors and I can imagine all the littles so excited to find their own initialed flag.

DIY Favor Tags + Stickers

A Feteful Life: FREE DIY Favor Tags + Stickers

I’ve run the gamut on party favors: from homemade slime for a kiddo birthday party to more upscale bath + beauty products at a wedding shower, and everything in between. And I’ve finally settled on my favorite favor presentation for most small’ish items (and I’ve also settled on giving away small items in general): a clear bag, made sturdy with a favor tag inside, and folded over and secured with a coordinating sticker on the back. It’s a no-fuss, minimal packaging that still looks well styled.

I’ve been using these so much lately that I thought I’d share a set of bright, summer-colored tags and stickers with you! {Just read through the directions and click the link at the bottom of the post to download}. In addition to whatever favor you’re giving away (our DIY lip balm is a great favor, btw), you’ll need:

– white, heavyweight cardstock (at least 90 lb weight) to print the favor tag
full sheet sticker/label paper to print the stickers
– a 1.5″ round punch
– a pair of scissors
– clear plastic favor bags (the files are set up for 4.75″ X 6.75″ bags, but if you have smaller ones, just reduce the size when you print)

A Feteful Life: FREE DIY Favor Tags + Stickers

A Feteful Life: FREE DIY Favor Tags + Stickers

1. Print out the tags onto heavyweight card stock and cut out. Print stickers onto sticker sheet and punch out. 

A Feteful Life: FREE DIY Favor Tags + Stickers

2. Place favor tags into plastic bag and add your favor. Leaving enough room for the favor, fold the plastic bag to the back.  

A Feteful Life: FREE DIY Favor Tags + Stickers

3. Secure the flap of the plastic bag on the back with sticker. 

A Feteful Life: FREE DIY Favor Tags + Stickers

A Feteful Life: FREE DIY Favor Tags + Stickers

A Feteful Life: FREE DIY Favor Tags + Stickers

CLICK RIGHT HERE to download your free set of favor tags (first page) and stickers (second page). Fete on!