DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars party

DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars

To get ready for the holiday season we created a set of DIY marble dipped mason jars to serve decadent dessert drinks.

DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars

We were curious to try the marble dipping technique and with the holidays coming up we decided making a subtle yet sparkly set of dessert drink glasses would be the perfect project to give it a go. We wanted a sophisticated look but didn’t want to spend too much on this project so we decided our glasses of choice would be mason jars.

We ordered a set of mason jars and found gold mirror spray paint and white spray paint we already had in the garage so we did this DIY project on the super cheap. We went outside and managed to knock out creating our own custom set of dessert glasses in half and hour. It was a fun experiment!

Just to be sure our DIY Dipped Mason Jars you know, “work” and drinks look and taste good in these dessert drink glasses, we decided to give them a test run and fill them with the most decadent and rich frozen coffee drink ever made. And it was delicious and we drank every last bit.

How We Made DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars

MATERIALS

*This post contains a few affiliate links. You can read our disclosure policy here.

DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars

STEPS

DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars

1. First we wanted to create a gold rim around the top of the jar so we used painter’s tape to tape off the entire jar except for the small area we wanted to be gold.

DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars
DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars

2. We used gold mirror effect spray paint and painted the exposed glass.

DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars

3. Then, we removed all of the tape and had a nice gold stripe around the top of the mason jar.

DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars

4. We filled an old plastic tub with water and then sprayed the gold spray paint on one end and the white spray paint on the other end of the tub. We used a straw to swirl the two colors together.

DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars

8. Finally, we took our mason jar and quickly dunked it straight into the paint in the water and pulled it straight back up. We tried not to double dip the jar. It took a few jars to start getting the look we wanted.

DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars

How yummy do these drinks look? The gold and white marbled effect turned these plain mason jars into glasses worthy of a holiday party.

I’m starting to wonder if we made these DIY marble dipped mason jars for the sole reason to drink that many calories. Oh well, worth it.

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How To Make DIY Marble Dipped Mason Jars for holiday parties

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party party

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

This fall we had a lumberjack themed 1st birthday party for our son. The party decor was packed full of fun DIY party projects. *This post contains a few affiliate links. We only link to products we have personally used and like. You can read our disclosure policy here

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

First birthday parties are probably more for the parents than the child (except for the cake part, kids love that first taste of cake). Since I really enjoy planning parties, I was excited to throw a big family party to celebrate our son turning one and let’s face it, Brent and I surviving the first year of parenting!

A lumberjack themed 1st birthday party is not an original idea but we already had pieces that fit the theme and lumberjack party decor and inspiration is easy to find so I was all for working with what I had available to us.

We did quite a few DIY projects for the party that were really fun to work on together. Between Hurricane Harvey unexpectedly hitting Houston in August and our trip to New York in September, I wasn’t sure the party was going to come together. But while we were down to finishing up minutes before guests arrived, it turned out exactly like I had envisioned so many months ago. But the best part of all, Connor had a blast!

The Highlights of our Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

THE INVITATIONS

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party
Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

I designed the invitations, envelopes, and time capsule notes and printed all the pieces on our home printer. For the envelopes I purchased buffalo check scrapbook paper and glued it on the inside of kraft envelopes to tie them into the theme of the party.

We had a lumberjack photoshoot ahead of time and took some cute photos of Connor to display around the party. We included one of the photos on the back of the invitation.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

We knew we were going to have a time capsule at the party where guests could write Connor a message for him to open on his 18th birthday. I included a lined note card for guests to write their message with the invitation so that they could write it ahead of time and not feel rushed or guests who could not attend the party in person could still participate.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

I even designed a logo for the event and incorporated it into several of the elements including stickers and the chalkboard design above the food bar.

THE FOOD BAR

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

Our coffee bar we built was the perfect place to display all of our lumberjack lodge goodies. We cleared it off for the party and even gave the large framed chalkboard a fresh look. We created a special design specifically for the lumberjack themed 1st birthday party.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

At one end of the coffee bar was a trail mix station where guests could make their own yummy trail mix. I took regular brown paper lunch sacks and cut the tops off to make them a little shorter. I printed a design on the front of them by taping each one to a piece of paper to run through our home printer. That was really time consuming!

Next to the paper sacks were twig colored pencils for guests to use to write their names on their bags and mini clothespins to keep the bags closed in case they wanted to take their trail mix home with them.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

On the other end of the bar were mini flapjack stacks displayed in a cast iron skillet with syrup and fresh fruit.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

Keeping with the breakfast food theme, we also had warm chocolate and blueberry muffins. I love the buffalo plaid cupcake liners we ordered from Amazon.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

Brent baked two small cakes and they both turned out so cute and delicious! The guests were treated to this yummy chocolate cake.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party
Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

For Connor’s cake Brent baked a vanilla cake. We went easy on the icing. I picked up this cute little bear from Hobby Lobby and the trees were paper die-cuts that we taped to toothpicks.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party
Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

It was Brent’s idea to make bear footprints in the icing (“snow”) which I thought was a clever and creative idea!

DECOR

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

We saw a hula-hoop photo display idea on Pinterest that we really liked so we decided to make our own to fit our lumberjack themed 1st birthday party by spray painting a hula-hoop black, adding some strips of red and black wide plaid ribbon, hot glueing some mini wood slices in assorted sizes (both ordered from Amazon) and greenery on it and taping photos to the ribbon. I think it turned out so cute. It was super cheap and easy to make! We will create a separate post coming up with a quick step by step tutorial of how we made it.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

We loved displaying the photos to show how much Connor has changed throughout his first year. This was a big hit with the family and all the grandparents wanted to take the display home with them. We ordered the square prints from Parabo Press. The cool thing is you can get a free set of 4″ Square Prints, which is what we did, you just have to pay for shipping. Shipping is a little on the high side but they were delivered really fast.

Free Square Photo Prints

This was the first time we had ordered from Parabo Press but we were impressed by the quality and heavy duty packing (they came sealed in a zipped bag so no worries about them getting wet). The photos were printed on thick paper. In the long run I think it was easier and cheaper to just order them than if we had tried to print them and cut them ourselves. I plan on reusing the prints in his baby book after the party.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

We also ordered a 12×17 fine art print from Parabo Press of Connor in his Lumberjack outfit. We made a magnetic wood rail poster hanger to display the photo at the party. Another reason I chose to order with Parabo Press is I found a great discount code. Anyone else feel like they score big time when they find a good discount code to use?

*This post contains a few affiliate links. You can read our disclosure policy here.

TIME CAPSULE TABLE

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

We knew we wanted to incorporate a time capsule box at the party and I am so glad we did! It will be the gift that gives 18 years from now. Brent and I are close with our grandparents (Connor’s great-grandparents) so the idea that when he turns 18 he will get message written to him personally from his great-grandparents is so special.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

We set up a table at the party under a balloon arch for guests to decorate red envelopes with stickers and stamps and place their letters that they brought into the time capsule box. So in 2034 there will be letters from his parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents for him to enjoy reading.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party
Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

Photo Booth

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

The photo booth was the last piece of the puzzle we finished up right before guests arrived and I realized we never got a great photo of our set-up. Bummer. But hopefully this poor quality one at least gives you an idea.

Brent made the backdrop out of cheap cedar fence pickets. Then we laid out an artificial grass rug. We set up my iPad on a tripod so that the screen was facing the backdrop. We also added one of our lights to make sure the pictures were nice and bright.

To take the photos we used an app called Photo Timer+ that worked really well. I liked it because it was really simple and allows you to set the countdown time and the number of pictures it takes. Then, all guest have to do is press a button and they can see a countdown. After the photos are taken they are stored in your camera roll. It worked perfectly.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

What’s a photo booth without props? We had planned on making our own but ran out of time so the easiest thing was to order this Photo Props by PartyGraphix DIY Lumberjack Photo Booth Props set off Amazon. Yep, Amazon is a party planner’s friend these days. It came with 34 pieces that were nice and sturdy and easy to assemble. They were better than we could probably have made anyway. Sometimes you DIY and sometimes it is just easier to buy.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

We opened presents in the reading nook. This worked perfectly because family member sat on the couch and had a great view of the birthday boy. I can’t believe he sat still up there and helped open every single one of his presents. He was so engaged the whole time, it was the cutest!

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

I decorated his high chair with red tissue tassel garland we bought at Michaels, a buffalo plaid bandanna (we bought several at Hobby Lobby to use around the party) and a silver foil balloon.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party
Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

The babe was all about that cake. He is a fan and really enjoyed digging into the cake his dad made just for him. He didn’t even want to wait to let us sing happy birthday first.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

We hung our DIY photo display above the mantle and decorated it with a cute wood banner that I think I will leave up for the rest of the fall season.

Lumberjack Themed 1st Birthday Party

All the guests came dressed in their best plaid attire to our lumberjack themed 1st birthday party! It was a fun day celebrating our sweet little boy!

Birthdays have always been a big deal in my family growing up. My parents were really good at making me feel extra special on my birthdays whether I had a big party with friends or we just took a day trip just our family to an amusement park. I can already tell I like doing the same for Connor.

He won’t remember this day but we could tell he was enjoying being surrounded by family, playing with his new toys and trying cake for the first time. It’s hard to believe a year ago we were meeting our son for the first time.

While that moment was extremely special, I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed eating cake and playing with my one year old at our lumberjack themed 1st birthday party a little better than laboring and delivering a 9lb. 6oz. baby without an epidural. Just saying.

Throwing a Fall Party party

A Fall Party on the Boat Dock

Throwing a Fall Party on a Boat Dock

Last weekend Brent and I had a blast throwing a fall party on my family’s boat dock. I love planning and hosting parties. In another life maybe I will be a party planner but for now I will just have to settle on hosting festive get-togethers when the occasion rises.

Throwing a Fall Party on a Boat Dock

I’m an introvert so I am not a huge fan of big blow out bashes but rather intimate gatherings with friends and families with lots of time to chat one on one and nice thought out details to enjoy. I contribute this love to my parents always throwing me fantastic birthday parties growing up.

Throwing a Fall Party on a Boat Dock
Throwing a Fall Party on a Boat Dock

It was a cool (by Houston standards) October night as we gathered on the boat dock under the cozy string lights and carved pumpkins, drank apple cider from jars and sat around the fire talking and laughing while we made and ate our very messy s’mores.

Throwing a Fall Party on a Boat Dock

When it comes to parties, we really enjoy creating an atmosphere where guests can feel totally immersed in the setting from the music to the food, to the lighting and location. I wanted guests to feel transported to a cozy fall cabin in the woods even though we were really in the suburbs in Houston!

Fall Party - S'mores Bar

It is easy for Brent and I to get lost in all of our home projects and day jobs so it was a great opportunity to slow down for a bit and enjoy an evening with close friends and family where the hardest decision was one s’more or two.

Fall Party - Making S'mores

This party was a fun change of pace. We had a goal to keep it fairly simple and stick to a budget of next to nothing and it turned out better than we could have imagined. Below are the details of our fall party on the boat dock.

Fall Party Details

location: boat dock

Throwing a Fall Party on a Boat Dock

A boat dock may seem like a strange location for a fall party but I like a challenge. Thinking outside the box when it comes to the location for a party just adds that extra element needed to transport guests to a different place. Working with the smaller space forced me to get creative thinking about the different areas guest could enjoy but the unique setting on the water made it feel really peaceful, cozy and intimate.

** We are aware that this location wouldn’t have worked if we had more than 15 people at our fall party, there were small children in attendance or if a large amount of alcohol was consumed because it was dark and three out of the four sides were surrounded by water so there is a good possibility that if any of those factors had been present, someone would have taken a step in the wrong direction and ended up in the water.

That is why we make sure to pick our location first and plan the details accordingly. I am happy to report we all stayed perfectly dry.

lighting: string lights + paper lanterns

Fall Party - String Lights and Paper Lanterns

If you know anything about me by now, you know I am a sucker for string lights so it was a no brainer that I wanted them at the party. String lights just scream cozy to me. We used our favorite string lights from Hometown Evolution.

They are the same kind we used to create a canopy of string lights in our backyard and we love them because they hold up great (ours are still going strong in our backyard), are easy to install, look amazing and create the perfect ambiance.

We also tried out Hometown Evolution’s paper lanterns and they worked great for our party. We hung one large lantern and two small lanterns in fall colors over our conversational area. We used some LED lights from IKEA that were left over from our coffee bar inside of them and it worked perfectly. They really completed the whole magical lighting look we wanted.

activity: pumpkin carving

Fall Party Pumpkin Carving Station

My family is big on pumpkin carving. We have a yearly tradition of getting together to carve pumpkins and then making it into a contest by posting them online for our friends and family to vote to see who wins bragging rights. It’s all for the sake of friendly competition.

This year we decided to incorporate this family custom into our fall party. We created a pumpkin carving area. We asked guests to BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) but also made sure to have a few extras on hand in case anyone forgot. We supplied carving supplies and extra patterns for those who didn’t bring their own. If party goers were up to the challenge, they could enter their pumpkin in our annual contest.

Stay tuned because we will be posting this year’s entries next week for you to vote for your favorite and help us pick a winner!

drinks: apple cider station

Fall Party Apple Cider Station

What is fall without apple cider? We created an apple cider station where guests could help themselves to cold apple cider (we are in Houston so it is not quite cold enough for hot apple cider) and apple and cinnamon muffins. My favorite part is the sign we made using two $3 cedar pickets, a stencil and spray paint.

Fall Party Apple Cider Station
Fall Party Apple Cider Station
Cold Drinks Tub
If guests were not into apple cider we also had cold water and root beer on hand as well.

snacks: s’mores bar + grilled cheese

Fall Party S'mores Bar

Our party started later in the evening so we had snacks and dessert available for guests. I recycled our fall crate display by cleaning the crates out and adding a new banner to make our s’mores bar. We used extra cedar pickets to create a wood plank table top and added a plaid table runner.

Fall Party Grilled Cheese
Fall Party S'mores Bar

details: pumpkins + lanterns + blankets

Fall Party Details - Lanterns & pumpkins

Mini pumpkins, lanterns and plaid blankets rounded out the details for our fall party to give it a rustic cabin vibe. I love the idea I saw of providing blankets to guests for when it gets chilly. It was fun to snuggle up so the conversation could continue even as the temperature dropped.

Fall Party Let's Get Cozy Blankets

And there you have it, our fall party on a boat dock. It was the perfect way to spend a fall evening and it was so much fun to plan and decorate. I think I have just as much fun setting up and photographing all the details as anything else. Do your friends and family have any fall traditions? Share them with us below!

Throwing a Fall Party

*Thanks to Hometown Evolution for providing the string lights and paper lanterns for our fall party.

Fireworks Photo Booth party

Fireworks Photo Booth

Fireworks Photo Booth

Happy 4th of July weekend! Who is ready to see some fireworks? Speaking of fireworks, have you ever found it difficult to time the perfect photo op in front of fireworks?

Brent and I had an entertaining and silly time tonight creating an excellent and easy solution, a fireworks video photo booth! This would be a great addition to any 4th of July party. It creates a patriotic atmosphere, you never have to worry about missing that perfect pose in front of the fireworks and you don’t even have to leave your backyard!

Fireworks Photo Booth

Instead of having a static photo backdrop we created a video backdrop. We used a laptop with a fireworks video playing, a projector and a white piece of fabric. Our backyard has these huge trees so we took advantage of them and strung the white fabric between two trees and then placed the projector playing the video behind the sheet so it rear projected the laptop screen onto the fabric. We had all these items on hand so this was a very inexpensive project but we think it is unique and will bring lots of enjoyment to a party.

The fun thing about the video backdrop is you can take static photos or quick little Instagram videos with the fireworks going off behind you and nobody would ever know the difference. At the end of the night if you are too tired to leave your house to go to a fireworks show, just pull your lawn chair up and oooh and ahhh over this prerecorded fireworks display. It all pretty much looks the same anyway.

Fireworks Photo Booth
^^^ Having patriotic props on hand is a must.

Fireworks Photo Booth
Here was our set up. In order to see the projection it must be dark out which can cause the subjects posing in front of the backdrop to be only silhouettes so our solution was to add two lights in front of the fabric. We covered the lights with colored plastic so they wouldn’t be too bright and wash out everything and would also add a nice color effect. We placed cardboard on the side of the light facing towards the projection so it would block the light from shining on the fabric.

Fireworks Photo Booth

*In the effort for full disclosure, this was our first attempt at creating a photo booth with a video backdrop (at night none the less) and we needed to practice getting the set-up right. So here we are, just the two of us, on the 2nd of July in our backyard at 10:00 at night posing in front of our fake fireworks and having way too much fun with it. I’m 99.9% positive our neighbors think we are crazy.

But we are super excited to use our fireworks photo booth for real at our 4th of July party this weekend!

Valentine's Day Date 2015 party

Date Night at Home

Gray House Studio Date Night at Home

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today’s we are straying a bit from our traditional home renovation projects and in honor of the day of love we are sharing how we created an inexpensive date night at home.

We took a break last night and had an early Valentine’s Day date with music and dessert. We wanted it to be low key, inexpensive and on our back patio so we could take advantage of those gorgeous string lights that we installed in our backyard a few weekends ago. In my opinion nothing is more romantic than a date under string lights. Luckily, we are in Texas and even though it was a little chilly, we were able to hang outside at night in February. Everything I used for the table for two I repurposed from somewhere else around the house (or borrowed from my mom). The night was so much fun and proved to us that we don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money to have a nice date and enjoy each other’s company.

Gray House Studio Date Night at Home
^^^ We got some new plants (Kangaroo Paws) for our front porch planters. We brought the planters around to the back to frame the table. I like the height they brought to the space and the color of the flowers made the space feel romantic. Putting down a rug is also a great way to add a little sophistication to a make shift space for little expense. We got this rug for $28 at Lowes!

Gray House Studio Date Night at Home

Gray House Studio Date Night at Home
^^^ I did a little napkin origami transforming red paper napkins we had around the house into two cute napkin hearts. The small white square plates are from Target and make the perfect dessert plates. We made the chocolate covered strawberries at home and let’s just be real, they did not turn out like I had hoped. We got distracted and let the chocolate get a little too thick before we managed to get it on the strawberry. From now on we’ll just stick to working in the garage/shop. But they still tasted delicious!

Gray House Studio Date Night at Home
^^^ For the centerpiece I used this stemmed hurricane candle holder from Pier 1 and flipped it upside down. I filled the bottom with LED string lights and put a large three wick candle on the top. It gave the table some height and a place for me to incorporate more string lights!

Gray House Studio Date Night at Home
^^^ I took these little heart photo holders (from Pier 1) that we used at our wedding and stuck little love notes in them that were created using chalk tape.

Gray House Studio Date Night at Home
^^^ We talked, we ate and Brent even busted out the guitar and played for me all in our very own backyard.

Gray House Studio Date Night at Home

We are back to work today on our latest project – our library shelves. We have been giving little sneak peaks here and there and this weekend we are putting the finishing touches on them so we can share them on the blog next week! I can’t wait to show you how they turned out.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans? Do you prefer to go out or stay in?

party

DIY Tiki Bar Top

We made a DIY tiki bar top to put on a table for a summer tropical party.

Tiki Bar Top

A couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted to put on my party planner hat and throw my dad a surprise Margaritaville/Key West themed party for his 50th birthday. My parents have a gorgeous backyard that lends itself nicely as a setting for a tropical party so my mom took my dad out shopping while we set up for the day. A Margaritaville party would be nothing without margaritas and a margarita is best served from a tiki bar, so I asked Brent if he could help build the centerpiece for the party.

Ideally I wanted something that was lightweight, easy to set up and portable. Brent came up with a great design using mostly things we had left over in our garage. That’s what I call a win-win. The best part of all it was a huge hit and really made the party.

I thought that living in Houston there would be a pretty good chance that the weather would be mild in the middle of November. However, as luck would NOT have it, the night of the party was the coldest night we have had in Houston all year. So a group of us are outside drinking our frozen margaritas from our tiki bar in 40 degree weather all bundled up with jackets and scarves. I’m sure my parent’s neighbors thought we were a little bit crazy but it was a blast.

Brent built the tiki bar top so it could pretty much be set up on any type of surface. We set it up on a metal rolling cart for the party but the second time my dad used it he set it up on a folding table. The nice thing is it breaks down fairly easy so it can be stored and set up again next year!

SUPPLIES

MATERIALS

  • A piece of MDF board cut to size
  • Laminate wood planks (like this)
  • Low grade pine
  • Angle brackets
  • Screws
  • Landscaping fabric
  • 12-in x 180-ft Non-Adhesive Craft (like this)
  • Metal cart / Folding table
  • Grass table skirt
  • Tropical decorations
TOOLS

  • Table Saw
  • Screwdriver
  • Box Cutter
  • Stapler
  • Straightedge Ruler

How We Built Our DIY Tiki Bar Top

Tiki Bar Top
1. First, we cut the MDF board to the right size (we made it a few inches larger than the table we put it on). We used MDF because it is heavy so the table would be sturdy and it has a consistent surface so the laminate wood flooring adhesive would stick really well.

Tiki Bar Top
2. After that we created a lip using the pine on either side of the base to add support for the canopy and to make a large surface to screw in the legs for the canopy.

Tiki Bar Top
Tiki Bar Top
Tiki Bar Top
3. Next we used a straight edge and a box cutter to score the laminate hardwood flooring to the appropriate size of the MDF board. Then we stuck each piece onto the board.

Tiki Bar Top
4. We made the structure of the canopy by cutting the boards to the size of the table top and attached them together using the using angle brackets. We needed the canopy to be light so we used thin wood but because the wood was thin, it didn’t give a large surface to screw the boards together so we had to use angle brackets.

Tiki Bar Top
5. The next step was to stretch the landscaping fabric over the canopy structure. We then stapled it to the top of the canopy. We cut off the excess fabric.

Tiki Bar Top
Tiki Bar Top
6. We took the roll of craft paper and scored the bottom half of it to get a fringe look. After that we started with the front and stapled the paper to the side of the wood. We placed the next layer of fringe paper so it overlapped the staple from the previous layer of paper. We continue doing this going up the top of the canopy.

Tiki Bar Top
7. The next thing we did was cut the legs for the canopy out of the same pine wood. The front legs were cut shorter than the back legs to create a pitched roof. We assembled the table by screwing the four legs into the table top lip and the canopy.

Tiki Bar Top
We added a grass skirt around the bottom of the metal cart to hide it. And finalized the tiki bar by adding a few tropical decorations such as paper lanterns.

Tiki Bar Top
Over all this project cost us around $40 because we had most of the supplies laying around and it took about two or three hours to put together. Cheers to a successful one day project!

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iki Bar Top