We’re puttin’ a lil’ twist on today’s post and mixing together…

As many of you know, Tots to Teens Magazine recently featured a graduation party we designed called, “Picture Your Future.” The {inspiration} party was also recently featured on Southern Belle’s Charm’s new blog. Instead of reposting the exact same article for you to read again, I thought I would share a few of my favorite tips from the party and highlight a few of the items in the collection that I’m extremely excited about!

The backdrop features a “Create-Your-Own” Banner inspired by vintage Polaroids which you can personalize with any phrase you’d like! We’ll be adding a “universal” version of this collection to The Market soon which can be used for any occasion—birthday, retirement, engagment, anniversary, bridal shower, baby shower and more! Contact us if you’re interested before it hits the shop shelves!

One of my favorite new tricks is to use lil’ binder clips from an office supply store to attach a banner to a ribbon, rope or twine. For this design, using the clips reminded me of photos hanging to dry in a dark room.

Since this graduation theme was a bit out-of-the-box, I wanted to pay homage to a classic graduation icon—the tassel! I followed this tutorial featured on The Sweetest Occasion. Instead of pulling out a glue gun to secure the tassels, I used an adhesive dot since I’ve had way too many burn blisters over the years!

Following the tassel theme, J pulled out his mortar board from college and I exchanged his orange tassel for one I made out of satin cord leftover from another project. I turned a bowl upside down on top of the beverage dispensor to support the mortar board. It’s one of those simple lil’ touches that make an ordinary beverage dispensor…extraordinary!

If you’re serving food in a warming tray or slow cooker and have guests lined up to eat, take the lids off of the dishes. This will save time and move your guests quickly through the line. It also allows the host easier access to refill the items when they need to be replenished. Once the line has died down, recover the items to keep warm.

Keep your buffet table clean by being proactive. Accidents and spills happen but often you can reduce the mess by adding lil’ trays under messy items like condiments. On our table, the liquid toppings—ketchup, mustard and BBQ sauce—were displayed on small square plates. When we were fixin’ up our sliders after the shoot, the mustard bottle got clogged and mustard oozed out of the side of the cap. The lil’ plate caught the spill and protected the white tablecloth. All we had to do was wash off the plate and no more mess!

If I’m serving a large crowd, I love to serve bite-sized servings. A lil’ bit of portion control saves money and prevents food waste. I use small plates, serve dips and foods in mini servingware and pre-cut brownies and bar cookies. Guests can go back if they want more but it reduces the amount of half-eaten food that ends up in the garbage can. I rarely see food thrown away at our parties which makes J happy ‘cuz he gets the leftovers!

Another one of my favorite items in the collection is the “Create-Your-Own” Photo Banner. We designed the banner panels to feature 4″ x 6″ standard photos. I used the “Create-Your-Own” Party Sign to make the “SWEET Memories” panel then personalized the Photo Banner panels before attaching my own photographs to them with double-stick tape. It’s a fun way to feature photos of the graduate!

For the feature, we scanned in J’s childhood photos and attached them to the panels as examples of how to create a memory banner. {Psst! The years were changed!} Wasn’t he a cutie pie? His lil’ sis, Kris, was pretty cute, too!

For a non-traditional twist on a guest book, we created pages to mimic a school yearbook. I printed the sheets on yellow cardstock to match the party’s color scheme. There is room to add two photos—4″ x 6″ and a wallet-size. After the guests sign the pages, they can be framed or added to a scrapbook. {Do you see what the pink pen says? We couldn’t resist a lil’ advertising!}

I love designing favor boxes to match our themes so we created a yearbook! It was the perfect way to merge photographs and school memories together. In addition to the blue yearbook shown in the magazine feature, we also created yearbooks with red, orange, green and purple covers. For the universal collection, we will be changing the yearbook to a photo album favor box.

Can you guess what The Market’s “Special of the Week” is?

The Picture Your Future Collection is on SaLe in The Market until Sunday, April 22, 2012 for $15.00 {a $5.00 savings}!

I hope you’re inspired to try a few tips at your next celebration!

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