Create Fireworks with an Uptown Manor Theme


While we’re all awaiting the next season of events from Downton, why not host a Masterpiece of a manor party yourself? With the right background materials and props you can set the stage for an entertaining wedding, formal dance or charity event this summer.

To start, let’s agree that for castle-like buildings our Flagstone pattern is where it’s at. In flagstone you have a choice of materials: poly vinyl, corrugated paper, flat paper, and gossamer. Let’s look at the relative merits of each:

  • Poly vinyl is economical, flame retardant, and tough stuff you can use outdoors. You’ll get terrific coverage on walls and you can hang light items on it.
  • Flat paper covers well, you can stick light items on it and you can paint on this paper if you are so inclined. Use it to wrap a homemade cardboard fireplace (in this case, use a marble pattern and/or plain buff or gray).
  • Corrugated paper looks terrific on walls and will not sag. What’s more, this is a paper you can build 3D decorations with, such as pedestals.
  • Gossamer is an economical choice and easy to hang because it is light. Although it is translucent, it will look fine over walls that are fairly neutral and in fact will give you a quite realistic look.

Don’t hesitate to use more than one “flagstone” material if it works for you. A poly or paper could go on the walls – all the better for holding a cutout suit of armor every so often – and you could switch to gossamer for hanging in front of the windows.

In front of the window coverings, place the castle view panels shown at the top of this post. The panels are a magnificent 7-plus-feet tall, and free standing so you won’t have to worry about how to hang them.
Best of all, the panels are a takeoff on our highly-rated castle photo backdrop. Personalize the backdrop as a greeting banner, and select the same design in edible party favors such as mint tins and candy bars for a luxuriously customized experience.

Meanwhile, against all that gray stone you’ll need a strong secondary color to contrast with the gray. A true red is the natural choice for warming up the space, and gives you as many options in props and accents as you could hope for. Drape red, translucent gossamer from the ceiling in a tented pattern to maximize the impact of an exquisite chandelier at the center. Tack down red aisle runners as a rolled-out red carpet for guests.

Inexpensive medieval cutouts – crests, flags, pennant banners – bring a trio of bright colors to the walls, including red for continuity.

Take particular care with your tables, especially if this is a dinner party. Cover them in white satin and pull out the silver or gold plate chargers. Finish with large, sparkling glass vases of red flowers and candle arrangements using our new twisted-stem glass pillar holders, which are available in three heights for many decorating possibilities.

Have a Dino-Blast Birthday!


Some birthday party themes practically beg for over-the-top decorations, activities and favors.

That’s how Dino Blast came to be. Dino Blast is the latest addition to animal birthday party themes and it is extreme, kind of like petting a velociraptor only without the risk of being devoured (except by children in the pretend sort of way).

This party collection is also designed to get you tagged “bestest mom ever” just by mixing up a Mesozoic stew as follows:

1. Grow a jungle. You’ll want to turn the place green generally, and then add strategically-placed 3D foliage.

First, choose a focal point. Most often that will be a wall or corner, in which case you’ll want to begin by placing a background of some sort on or against the walls. You have a delightful array of choices; here’s a sample:

  • A banner or photo illustration such as our forest backdrop. These come in three materials (photo paper, cardboard and vinyl) and a half-dozen sizes – and you can personalize them.
  • Tropical Foliage patterned flat paper and Sticky Tac.
  • Gossamer in a palm leaf or green mottled design. Sew a pocket along one long side and trade out your usual window treatment (a patio door would be perfect) or use a couple free-standing Showstopper curtain frames.

Continue building out from the wall. You can plant palm trees and scatter grass, and criss-cross the ceiling with streamers or cover it with light and dark green balloons. A few dinosaur footprint decals would be a nice touch here, too.

2. Populate the habitat. Though it depends on the age group, in general we love inflatable wildlife for this theme because they can be handled, and your choice in inflatable dinos has never been better.

We like big for dinosaurs! Brachiosaurus is 45 inches long and more than 2 feet high, and one party planner commented on the pteranodon: “The wingspan in amazing.” (It’s 65 inches.)

Another way to stop them in their tracks is to make a home for one of our new land-going giants, the 10-foot-long triceratops or the towering T-Rex you see here. Just imagine the looks on their faces, and what imaginative play it might inspire.

The little partygoers themselves will happily transform as well, so be sure to check out our T-Rex, triceratops and pteranodon wearables as favors.

3. Feed the animals. After the kids are a tad tired out from relay races and chasing games, it’s time for some dino chow.

You’ll want to have a “wowza” table so they’ll be eager to leave the other activities behind. In the photo above you see we’ve done this not only with an attractive display overall but also with the prospect of exploring a tabletop sandbox an archeological dig.

Young dinosaurs like to play with their food, so we recommend a dino snack mix. This one by The Room Mom is a good example, and would also look tempting in our personalized do-it-yourself favor bags.

Ready for Dino Blast? You are just seconds away from dino-riffic birthday party planning!

Gamble on These Creative Uses for Poker Chips


Poker chips are loads of fun, there’s no doubt about that. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a poker player — just ask anyone who has a spare set of poker chips and a toddler or two! The small, smooth with a few embellishments, multicolored discs are just… fun.

“Play with me! Spill me onto the floor! Toss me in the air!” It’s practically begging you.

There are lots of blogs out there with tons of great ideas on poker-themed parties and uses for poker chips. There are definitely of few of them right on this site, like this one on adult-themed parties, a fun corporate event in this one,  or this one about a casino party!

Poker chips don’t have to be all fun and games, though (well yes, yes they do end up always being fun!); consider a few other creative ways to use them. For birthdays and special events, poker chips can be used as gift tags. Use a permanent marker to inscribe the recipient’s name on the smooth white clay surface. Adhere with double-sided tape and/or some fancy “ribboning” and you have unique and durable gift tags. Unlike the typical cardboard ones, these aren’t going to get bent, creased, ripped in half, or otherwise marred beyond recognition.

“Put the key to the minibar on me!”

If you have loads of keys to keep track of (office, safe, shed, storage space, minivan, gym locker, etcetera), key tag poker chips in different colors are a fun and different way to organize. Also: use the poker chip key tags as prom or other school dance “tickets” to give the party-goers the keys to the dance!

Whether you are in education in a school system, if you home school (or know someone who does!), or have a toddler of your own to keep busy, sorting, matching, and color recognition games are important part of development to incorporate in learning and playing.  If you already have some poker chips and your little one found out about it, you know how much they enjoy them. Why not get gobs of poker chips in blue, green, gold, purple, green, red, yellow, and black that you can use with your child, children, or preschool or daycare that are specifically for them? An added bonus to this is that you’ll never have to fuss with sorting out the jumbled and sticky chips before poker night again.  Here are some fun learning activities to get your play-magination going.

Finally, here are some DIY ideas for the crafty readers out there. Glue clothes pins to poker chips personalized with your event (graduation, bat mitzvah, military homecoming…) and use them to do any or all of the following:

  • hold tablecloths onto tables
  • hold and weight name cards for seating
  • display photographs (clip the clothes pins onto ribbon and then clip in the photos)
  • whatever your imagination dictates you need to clip!

At the end of the event, you can even let guests take the personalized poker chip clips as favors!

Another DIY craft idea is to create a unique gift for that special person who loves poker. Make wind chimes! Using an assortment of mini bells, sleighbells, poker chips, and florist wire, you can wind together your own unique design and create something that looks and sounds beautiful. You could even host a craft party and have this be the project. Don’t worry, if you need to use a spot of hot glue to help the florist wire along, we won’t tell.

Remember, don’t be afraid to step outside the box and use something that is already fun in a totally unique way — take a gamble!

For being brave, you get a cookie!

Trendy for 2013 Graduations – Giant Greeting Cards


Here are graduation greeting cards that recipients are sure to show off: giant cards you can customize, personalize, and use to surprise!

Giant greeting cards come in 18”, 24” and 36” and envelopes are available, too. Select from 15 designs — but that’s just where customization begins. You will also be choosing colors, uploading one or more photos (depending on design) and composing text for the front as well as the content of the message inside.

One way or another, 2013 giant grad cards are sure to become keepsakes and there are several ways to use them.

Note of congratulations. Pass around a card with a “You did it” or “Congrats” type message to as many of the extended family to sign as possible before you give it to the grad.

Graduation announcements. Imagine delivering glad grad tidings to grandparents and other individuals who’ve played formative roles in the life of your new graduate.

Part of the party. Place a giant card on an entrance or gift table at a graduation party as an informal guest book for grad party-goers to sign.

For any of the above ideas, you also could attach additional photos and captions scrapbook-style to the inside pages of the card to further personalize it.

Now, let’s say that you have an interest in coordinating one or more giant grad greeting cards with your graduation party décor. In that case, start by selecting your party colors first. If the scheme will be the graduate’s school colors or favorite colors, shopping for party supplies by color is a good strategy.

If you’re looking to put on a theme party, shop by theme to check out the colors used in the props and decorations you like.

Luau is one of the most popular grad party themes, so we’ll use it as an example. You’ll notice that luau decorations tend to be pink, red, yellow, green and blue in some combination of two or more of these colors. Once you’ve decided upon the one or two dominant colors for your luau, you can use them in the background and text of your card decoration.

Place your luau grad card on an easel at the entrance of the party, or use it as a centerpiece. Drape a coordinating silk lei jauntily over the front corner to finish.

In addition to graduations, we make giant greeting cards for birthdays and holidays, too. Customize a giant card as a surprise element for your next event.

Personalized Party Products for Weddings


There’s a method for making a wedding party memorable, from selecting just the right theme and colors to placing the perfect accents into the setting. Personalized party products with a high degree of customization help you bring a special, unique feel to the event at a reasonable cost and with relative ease.

Personalized Wedding Invitations
Wedding invitations come in a number of designs with customization options. In addition to composing nine or ten lines of text, feel free to experiment with font and font color; and (with many of the designs) you can also customize the background colors and graphics.

Don’t miss the photo cards, which may be new to you. Photo cards bring another level of customization to invitations and the prices will surprise you when you see the professional look of them. Photo cards are perfect for save-the-date announcements and shower invites, too.

Customized Wedding Banners
Custom vinyl wedding banners are probably more affordable than you think. Be the designer for banners that mark the wedding and reception venues and the newlyweds’ “getaway” car. Find a banner that matches invitations and decorations in the popular Mr. & Mrs., India, Enchanted and White Party designs, or one in a chosen wedding destination theme that you’ve taken a liking to.

Other Personalized Decorations
Besides banners, there are other impressive, customizable decorations in the form of wall and floor decals. Find your letter and enjoy color choices such as you’ll see on the big 50” monogram floor decal shown at the above right. This one is fast becoming a customer favorite! Use the floor decal a few feet inside the reception entrance, in the middle of the reception room, or to designate the dance floor area. A monogram wall decal can be placed behind the cake table or other high-visibility/high-traffic part of the room. Discover these decal options and more in reception decorating supplies.

Bring personalized party products to the table, too. Glassware candles and monogrammed napkins are classic and always “ahh”-worthy additions to wedding table decorations, while fully customizable coasters and bottle labels – some with photo options — will elicit delighted astonishment.

Personalized Wedding Favors
It will perhaps delight you that there is hardly a wedding favor to be found at Shindigz.com that can’t be personalized with a design and message. We hope so. From candy bars to mint tins, lollipops to lip gloss (and the above-mentioned coasters, too!) you can put together custom favors for bridal showers and receptions of any flavor. Look for personalized photo albums and other gifts for the bridal party, too.

As you’re looking at wedding favors, check out the sticker options available for embellishing plain favor and gift bags.

The Last Word on Personalized Products?
There’s a feeling that we’ve barely scratched the surface here, and that’s because there are so many themes and products! Here’s additional direction. If you are planning a fairly traditional wedding, explore the options in custom wedding supplies. For destination, fairytale and other popular themes, point your cursor at wedding themes.

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