DIY: Polka-Dot Party Favor Bags

By Sara Albers & Melissa Fenlon of  alice & lois

P0lka dots are always a great party theme—they’re colorful and playful, and most of all, just plain fun! Today, we’re sharing a simple polka-dot treat bag DIY that involves decorating muslin bags with a simple stamping technique. It’s a fun way to get your kiddo involved and helping with the party prep, and the bags are perfect for stuffing with small treats. Best of all, the little polka-dot pouches are a goody bag guests can use at home, too.

Click through for the step by step instructions…


DIY Wedding: 8 Wedding Balloon Ideas We Love

Balloons aren’t just for kids’ birthday parties anymore. Now that there are a ton of chic, wedding-appropriate options available—not to mention all the creative DIYs floating around the web—balloons are a whimsical (and affordable!) way to add a little whimsy to your wedding day. Here are my favorite ideas for incorporating them into your celebration.

Balloon Decor

1. Create an arch for your ceremony, reception entrance, or over the dance floor. And dont forget to add fresh flowers! Image by Jessica Peterson via The House That Lars Built.

2. Use them for your save the date or for a photo-op on your big day. Image via Simplesmente Branco.

3. Have your flower girl carry them down the aisle instead of petals. Image by Rouxby via Rustic Wedding Chic.

4. Create a photo display with your engagement photos attached to the bottom of each balloon. Image by Marissa Holmes Photography via Wedding Chicks.

 Click through for more fun ways to incorporate balloons into your wedding day

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Design to Dish: Triple-Chocolate Cookies

triple chocolate pudding cookies striped paper strawsChocolate-Brown Striped Party Straws from Minted; Triple-Chocolate Cookies (recipe below)

Truth be told, these little gems are quadruple-chocolate cookies, but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it! I first had these amazing cookies a few years ago after hearing my friend describe them while we were working out at the gym—talk about irony! Four kinds of chocolate packed into such a tasty little package. They’re really irresistible and are the perfect partner to a tall, cold glass of milk. We managed to polish off the latest batch in just two days flat!

In addition to being slightly addicted to delicious chocolate cookies, I’m also crazy about striped paper straws—my collection is getting a little out of hand! They add that perfect finishing touch to everything from after-school snacks to parties, and these chocolate-brown ones are the perfect mix of sophistication and whimsy.

Click through for the recipe for the easy, scrumptious chocolate cookies… 


Minted Real Wedding: Megan & Leo in Los Angeles

The historic Carondelet House in Los Angeles is the setting for today’s Minted Real Wedding, where Megan Pinto and Leo Reilly—who met on the train riding back to New York City (so Before Sunrise!)—invited their 110 guests to a warm and intimate celebration amid the venue’s exposed brick walls, fireplaces, and lantern-lit courtyards.

Are you a Minted bride? If you’d like to submit your wedding for consideration, please email a brief description of your celebration and a link to your wedding photos to

Minted Real Wedding / Carondelet House, Los Angeles

Bride and groom: Megan Pinto and Leo Reilly
Based in: Los Angeles
Wedding date: April 25, 2014
Location: Carondelet House, Los Angeles
Number of guests: 110
Minted wedding invitation: “Just Lovely” by Sara Hicks Malone
Florist: Peony & Plum
Photographer: Mi Belle Photography

Minted Real Wedding / Carondelet House, Los Angeles

How did you and Leo meet?
We met on a train six years ago when we were living in New York City. We were both coming from our parents’ houses (who coincidentally live less than an hour apart from each) and we were taking the same train back into the city. Leo sat next to me on the train, asked for my phone number, and the rest is history!

Tell us about the proposal! 
Leo and I had plans to go to dinner one night and he suggested we leave a little early to take a walk by the beach in Santa Monica. When we got there, he said he had brought me there to ask me something, and got down on one knee and proposed! Afterwards, we went to dinner just the two of us, but Leo had asked our close friends to meet us afterwards to celebrate. It was such a good day!

How did you find your wedding venue?
I had seen Carondelet House in an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings and we set up an appointment to see it. As soon as we walked in, we both loved it. It felt so warm and intimate—like we were in someone’s beautiful home (it was originally a house built in the 1920s). We especially loved the exposed brick walls, fireplaces, and courtyards.

Click through to see more details from Megan and Leo’s beautiful wedding

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DIY: Four Easy Cake-Decorating Ideas

I’m not going to be starring in a cake-decorating reality show anytime soon, but I can take a plain, frosted cake and make it ready for a party in just a few minutes—no fancy frosting tips required! Here are four easy ideas to try the next time you have an occasion that calls for something sweet.

kid's birthday cakes Idea #1: Lollipops
Dum Dum suckers can easily be poked into the cake and then easily removed before serving. I love the variety of colors they come in and the finished look.

Keep reading for more easy cake-decorating ideas


DIY: Birthday Candle Lip Balm Printables

They say you’re not supposed to let children play with fire, but no one ever said you couldn’t let them play with paper in the shape of fire, now did they? When it comes to party favors, I’m all about ease and simplicity. So today I’m going to show you how to turn your favorite lip balm into birthday candle party favors. Slip one in each goody bag and watch your guests faces light up!

Click through for the step-by-step instructions


DIY Wedding: Wine Cork Escort-Card Display

If you’re also a fellow wine lover, then there’s a conundrum we all encounter: What to do with all of the corks? If you hang on to them, like I do, then you’ll know how tough it is to find a unique way to display corks. However, re-purposing them into an escort-card display is clever way to share your love of wine with your friends and family members.

Wine Cork Decor

Click through for the step-by-step instructions


DIY: Hand-Painted Paper Lanterns

I’ve had these plain paper lanterns in my party supply for ages but have never used them because they were a little boring. I decided to change all that and pulled out my trusty acrylic paints to do the job. Ten minutes later, I had three completely custom lanterns. It couldn’t be simpler.

easy party decorations

Click through for the simple step-by-step instructions


DIY: Knotted Fabric-Wrapped Favor Boxes

Written by Olivia Kanaley

Take some cues from the soft textures and subtle hues of springtime and package up favors for your next event using this wrapping technique. Mismatched florals and tidy knots create a look that is feminine, tailored, and oh-so-sweet.

• 3″ or 4″ square favor box
• Fabric (these prints and more here)
• Scissors
• Ruler
• Double-stick tape (optional)


1. Measure and cut a 15″ square from fabric (cut a 20″ square if you are using 4″ boxes).

2. Place fabric face down on work surface with the favor box on top. Pull opposite corners of the fabric around the box and cut away corners, leaving just enough material to meet at the top of the box. If desired, you can use a piece of double stick tape to secure the fabric here as you keep working.

3. Fold fabric over the sides of the box, just as you would wrap a gift with paper. Pinch with index finger and thumb where shown, pulling fabric taut around the sides of the box.

4. Working with one side at a time, continue to pinch fabric taut, while bringing the fabric “tail” up over the top of the box.

5. Cross the tails around each other as shown, creating 90 degree angles.

6. Tuck each tail under the knot once more as shown, and pull taut. For a tidy look, gently conceal the unfinished ends under the gathered fabric.