Hi! Five: Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

Hola! Listo para una fiesta? Say “hello” to these Cinco de Mayo party basics I found on Pinterest.

Cinco de Mayo party ideas found on Pinterest | Emote Design

1. Lovely tin can floral arrangements from wedding style guide.
2. Refreshing strawberry agua fresca from The Taylor House.
3. Classic salsa fresca recipe from Martha Stewart.
4. Fiesta favor bags filled with goodies from Camille Styles.
5. Festive pull piñata garland from Love + Cupcakes.

Bonus: How adorable are these individual seven layer dips? (Leave a comment if you know the source.)

Individual seven layer dip found on Pinterest | Emote Design

May Day Paper Cones

May Day – May 1st – is traditionally a day to acknowledge the coming of summer. To celebrate, some communities host Maypole dances, public garden clean-up events, or picnics in the park. One May Day tradition I always wanted to try is the secret hanging of May Day baskets filled with flowers on the doorknobs of neighboring homes.

Instead of baskets, I made simple paper cones to fill with flowers. (Here are the directions.)   Below are some of the May Day paper cones I made to hang over doorknobs and chair backs, both inside and out.

Red Gingham Paper May Day Cone | Emote Design

Black Toile Paper May Day cone | Emote Design

Paper May Day Cones | Emote Design

Green Polka Dot Paper May Day Cone | Emote Design

Yellow Polka Dot Paper May Day Cone | Emote Design

Weekend DIY: Paper May Day Cone

May Day (May 1st) is recognized by many as the unofficial beginning of Spring. A common way to celebrate May Day is by hanging baskets of fresh flowers on the doorknobs of neighbors’ houses.

Red Gingham Paper May Day Cone | Emote Design

You can easily make your own paper May Day cones and fill them with Spring flowers to surprise your neighbors. Wrap a few light-weight flowers in a piece of damp paper towel then wrap again in a piece of foil to keep the paper cone dry.

To make one cone you’ll need:

  • 6 x 6 inch piece of patterned card stock
  • Bone folder
  • Glue or adhesive tape
  • 2 eyelets
  • Eyelet setting tool (like the Crop-A-Dile)
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Scissors


Paper May Day Cone Directions | Emote Design

Fold a piece of 6 x 6 inch card stock in half diagonally (below, left) with the pattern on the outside of the fold. Reopen the square and fold two opposite points to center fold (below, center). Refold the paper at the center fold (bottom, right).

Paper May Day Cone Directions | Emote Design

Cut off the pointed tip to create a straight top to your cone (below, right).

Paper May Day Cone Directions | Emote Design

Use glue or adhesive tape to adhere the outside flap of the cone to the inside flap (bottom, left). Use eyelet tool to punch two holes at the top of your cone (below, right). Reenforce holes with two eyelets (optional – below, right). When you punch the two holes, be sure the glued side of the cone will lay flat against the door when hung on the knob.

Paper May Day Cone Directions | Emote Design

Finally, thread twine or ribbon through the two eyelets to create a handle for your cone. Add flowers and surprise a neighbor!

Yellow Polka Dot Paper May Day Cone | Emote Design




Origami Easter Boxes

Origami Easter Box | Emote Design

Tiny pastel-colored boxes filled with favorite candies – what could be more perfect for Easter?

Origami Easter Box | Emote Design

For the top of your box, follow these instructions using a 6 x 6 inch square of your favorite patterned paper then decorate with ribbon, stickers, or other embellishments. For the bottom, use a 5.5 x 5.5 inch piece of paper.

Origami Easter Box | Emote Design

Fill each box with sweet treats or tiny toys.

Origami Easter Box | Emote Design

I hope you give this DIY a try. You could also try adding a handle to make a mini Easter basket.

Origami Easter Box | Emote Design

Happy Easter!


Paper Easter Baskets

Paper Easter Basket | Emote Design

When I was a kid, every Easter it was the same story: my dad would “forget” to put on a tie for church. My mom and brother and I would wait in the car while my dad ran back into the house to finish dressing. After the service, we returned home to pastel-colored baskets overflowing with sweet treats left behind by the Easter Bunny (aka dad).

As an adult, I know I don’t need a giant basket filled with candy. But, a small paper Easter basket filled with a few favorite candies couldn’t hurt. These little baskets are easy to make and are perfect for brunch favors.

Paper Easter Basket | Emote Design

Supplies Needed
Directions for folding an origami box
6 x 6 patterned paper (I used Country Drive by Echo Park Paper)
Bone folder
Eyelet tool (this is the one I use)
Needle nose pliers
Shredded green paper
Assorted candies

The directions for folding an origami box seem complicated at first but once you get into a groove, you can really crank them out. I used some double-sided tape to glue down the final flaps of paper.

I wanted to add a handle to the box so I punched two holes on opposite sides of the box and added eyelets. Using needle nosed pliers I bent some silver wire into different shapes to form the basket handles.

Paper Easter Basket | Emote Design

Once your box is complete, add some shredded green paper, a few pieces of candy, maybe even a gift tag. These little baskets would be a perfect decoration for your Easter brunch table.

Paper Easter Baskets | Emote Design


Welcome Spring!

Spring Paper Wreath | Emote Design

Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~ Thomas Blackburn

After a week of struggling to adjust to daylight savings time, I’m back on track and no longer loathing my alarm clock. What a treat to come home from work and have two hours of sunshine to enjoy.

All the sunny California days have me day-dreaming about planting a few flowers. Until I can get to the garden center, I created this paper floral wreath to tide me over. I used a green patterned paper so the branches on the wreath look like they have some depth. I had a few flower embellishments in my supply stash but you could use a punch to make the flowers.

I like this little cheerful wreath. It was easy to make and I can use the idea in multiple ways (napkin rings, gift topper, gift tag, ornament, garland, etc.).

2” circle punch
1.5” circle punch
Branch punch
Patterned paper
Flower embellishments

Spring Paper Wreath | Emote Deisgn

Oscar Party Report

Last weekend I hosted my first-ever Oscar-viewing party. I had a blast and I hope my guests enjoyed themselves too. I wanted to share a few of the details and some photos.

I apologize up front for the photos. It was a rainy, overcast day so I couldn’t get any good long shots of the room. Also, I was enjoying my guests so much that I forgot to photograph a few things like the yummy steak sliders and cute mini caesar salads.

Setting the Mood
I didn’t go crazy on the decorations but wanted to have a few things that created a festive feeling. I used red, white and gold for everything. Here’s what I made:

Customized invitations.

Oscar Invite | Emote Design

An Oscar VIP wreath.

Oscar wreath | Emote Design

Gold paper star garlands.

Oscar Decorations | Emote Design

I used patterned gold washi tape on glass vases and votive holders to add a little shimmer to candles and flowers.

Washi tape decorated votives | Emote Design

Swag bags for each guest (contents: Sees chocolate, a mini bottle of Baileys, a temporary tattoo, and a lip balm). I’m a huge fan of “parting gifts” for guests. I’ve given home-baked cookies, seasoned nuts, mini poinsettias, and handmade blank cards. After a certain age, goodie bags are not expected so it makes your party fun and memorable.

Oscar Party Swag Bag | Emote Design

Confession: I forgot to give everyone a swag bag! I was so upset because I had so much fun planning and making them. I had to mail out the bags to several of my guests. Oh well. Who doesn’t love mail?

The Menu
The Oscars start at 5:30 p.m. in California so I wanted to serve dinner. I thought small plates would be more fun than ordering pizza or grilling burgers. I also needed some appetizers since I invited people to come early to judge the red carpet fashions. Plus, everyone needed munchies while they contemplated their Oscar ballot and selected a bingo card. Here’s what I served:

Popcorn, kettle corn, junior mints and twizzlers.

Oscar snacks | Emote Design

Parmesan thyme crackers, cherry tomatoes stuffed with herbed goat cheese, and cucumber stacks.

Oscar snacks | Emote Design

The small plates dinner menu was mini caesar salads, roasted shrimp with romesco sauce, and steak and mushroom sliders. (Here’s where I got distracted and forgot to take photos.) For dessert I ordered mini cupcakes (red velvet and chocolate) from Vanilla Moon. Check out the adorable mini oscar on each cupcake!

Oscar Cupcakes from Vanilla Moon | Emote Design

The best part of the party was the guest list, of course. You can pass on the decorations, skip the themed activities, serve carry-out food and still have a blast with the right mix of friends.

Reducing the Stress of Throwing a Party

Oscar Party Wreath | Emote Design

I wish I threw more parties. I have a million reasons why I don’t. The house isn’t clean; I’m too tired; people are busy; the weather isn’t perfect; etc. It’s silly. No time is a good time, yet any time is the perfect time! I really enjoy having my friends over so I vowed to do it more frequently this year. (If I host two get-togethers in 2014 I’ll double what I did last year! I should be able to do that.)

I mentioned last week that I’m hosting my first-ever Oscar-viewing party. While I promise my next gathering will be more “pot-luck” style, for this get-together, I wanted to control the menu and decorations. But, I also wanted to avoid stress. Right now I am feeling pretty good about everything and think I’m ready. My secret to reducing the stress of throwing a party is simple – and may not be so secret to you: I planned ahead, spaced out the preparations (shopping, cooking, crafting), and out-sourced some of the work.

Planning is my favorite part of anything. In fact, I frequently don’t get past the planning phase because I tend to overwhelm myself with ideas. This time, after I made my menu, I deleted a few of the items. I did the same with the decorations (goodbye homemade photo booth). I think paring down the ideas helped keep my stress under control.

Pinterest really helped with my planning. It’s where I found most of the recipes for my menu including these yummy cucumber stacks by Bakin Bit. I chose food that can be served cold or at room temperature and decided to buy dessert: mini cupcakes from Vanilla Moon (a local favorite).

I made my own invitations, gift bags, and some simple decorations (like the Oscars VIP sign pictured above). I worked on everything over the course of several weeks and just kept a “party craft box” on my desk so all the tools I needed were in one place. Originally I was going to design my own Oscar ballots and bingo cards. Instead, I’m using these from How About Orange and I couldn’t be happier. They are perfect.

I scheduled a house cleaning, a well-worth-it luxury, so I’m not exhausted when my guests arrive. After my place is all shiny, I’ll put out the decorations including the plain glass votives and vases I dressed up with gold washi tape I had on hand. I also borrowed some serving items I needed from my mom instead of buying stuff I would rarely use and don’t want to store.

I’ll let you know next week how it turned out and share a few photos so you can see the finished product. If all goes well there will be more entertaining in my future!

Oscar Party Swag Bags

I’ve always wanted to host an Oscar-viewing party and this year I’m making it happen. After poking around Pinterest, I have the menu, decorations, and activities all planned. The best part of an Oscar party? The swag bag, of course! I finished them up this weekend and they are ready for my guests. I stamped gold stars on muslin bags and filled them with a few goodies. I punched stars from gold card stock and stamped them each with a guest’s initial to use as gift tags. (This one’s yours, Jackie!) Contents will remain a secret until after the Oscars!

Do you have anything planned for the big night?

Oscar Party Swag Bag | Emote Design