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DIY Place Card Settings

Place settings don't have to be complex to be awesome. Why not try this unique, yet simple place setting idea? Print or write up name cards and cover each one with an upside-down glass. Then, place a cupcake on the upside-down base of each glass. It couldn't be easier!

Want to be even more creative? Add flower petals or confetti along with the name card underneath the glass.

Make sure to post pictures on the Smarty Facebook page because we always love to see what you come up with!

Valentine's Day - Quick and Easy!

I’ve compiled a few last-minute, unique and easy Valentine’s Day decorating ideas to share with you:
  • Colin Cowie,  a famous event planner that celebrities turn to whenever they have a special occasion, made a cute centerpiece using a clear bucket, filled it with Sweethearts about a third of the way up, then added a pillar candle in the center.  What a nice idea for a family table with small children in the house!
  • To make a romantic champagne bucket, Cowie used a large plastic bucket, filled it half-way with ice then added some light cubes before adding a bottle of champagne. He used traditional red, but depending on your floral arrangement color, you may want to use pink, purple or a combination of all three colors instead.
  • Cheesecake pops are all the rage right now. They basically are small cheesecakes on a stick (like a lollipop) in a variety of flavors with different toppings. Put them in a holding tray like Smarty’s Red Heart Platter Pleasers Plastic Trays for a nice presentation. This is a much better idea for Valentine's party than serving one or two types of cake.
  • Floral displays of various heights using mounds of flowers in shades of purple, pinks, and rosy reds. The rest of the table was white except for the napkins, whose color matched the flowers folded neatly on the plates using a pretty napkin ring.
  • If you’re having a romantic evening, why not try some Latin music to stir the imagination.  My favorite Latin music consists of Spanish guitarists, which is a lot less dramatic sounding than other Latin music and yet has a timeless quality to it.  (My favorite Spanish guitarist is Alex Fox from south Florida if you need a recommendation!)
  • If having a meal with a loved one, why not try seafood paella with homemade sangria?  The spiciness in the dish just may add a little spice to the night!
Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Cooking For A Large Group

Cooking For A Large Group
It's happened to all of us - you're fastidiously putting together a guest list for your upcoming dinner party, when all of a sudden you realize you've invited way too many people.

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DIY Mulled Cider Party Favors

fall-apple-mulled-cider-party-favor-header

Apples and pumpkins and crunchy leaves, these are a few of my favorite things. I fell in love with fall when I was a kid (pun intended) and that includes apple cider.  That's why I'm so excited to tell you about these DIY mulled cider party favors! They're pretty easy to make and in addition to tasting good, they smell WONDERFUL (because let's face it, fall IS the most wonderful time of the year! Sorry Christmas). Wrap them and leave them on top of each individual place setting, in bags at the door for guests to take on their way out, or feature them in a cute mini dish like we did below.

DIY-party-favor-fall-mulled-apple-cider-recipe MINI Black Plastic Ball Chair Bowls with Stem

 What you need:

  • 3 medium oranges
  • 3 cups brown sugar (adjust according to orange size)
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 tablespoons nutmeg (or 6 whole nutmegs)
  • 12 whole allspice
  • 36 whole cloves

Classicware Clear Plastic Coffee Mugs

Instructions:

Slice all of the oranges into even halves and remove the pulp (try to leave the rind intact as best you can).  Stuff the empty orange halves with tinfoil to help them keep their shape as they bake.  Place the oranges cut side up (like a bowl) on a wire rack or baking sheet. Bake them at 250 degrees for two hours or until they're dry and hard. Once the oranges have cooled, pack them with brown sugar until they're full.  Now you can press in cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice in any pattern you like. Wrap your finished product with cellophane and tie with ribbon. If you have any cinnamon sticks left over, you can tie them in with the bow for a cute presentation. Platinum White Plastic Dinner Plates You'll want to include some directions with your favors that explain to your guests how to use their party favors. You can print them onto a decorative card to include with each favor, or attach them to a favor bag with the oranges inside.

Cooking Directions:

Unwrap cider favors and drop into 1 1/2 quarts apple juice or cider and let simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the whole spices (cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice, etc.) from the cider and serve in a mug of your choice. Consider adding 1/2 cup of brandy if you're looking to enjoy a spiked version!  Leftover cider can be stored in the refrigerator.fall-apple-mulled-cider-party-favor Plastic Disposable Coffee Mugs