Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Fortune Telling Party

From Red Bicycle Parties blog:

New Year's Fortune Telling Party

Looking for a theme for your New Year's Eve Party this year? What better way to celebrate the upcoming year than with a glimpse into it with a Fortune Telling Party! Here's three fun variations on the fortune telling theme:

Traditional Gypsy Style:

(text extracted from PartyPop)

My husband and I usually stay home on New Year's Eve. We like to curl up by the fire and watch rented movies. But last year we ventured out to a friends house for a New Year's Eve Fortune Telling Party. It was so much fun that we're thinking of hosting one at our house this year. Let me tell you about it…

We received a party invitation in the mail about a month before New Year's. It was a flyer with images of psychics, tarot cards, astrological symbols, stars, and celestial bodies. It's headline read, We Predict Good Fortune For You in the New Year! The invitation forecasted fortune-telling and special surprises, and included a lottery ticket.

Guests were asked to dress like Gypsies. My husband and I went to a few thrift stores and found some great out-of-fashion clothes. I wore a long paisley skirt, loose blouse, big hoop earrings and a scarf around my neck. My husband wore a loose white button downed shirt only partially tucked into his jeans, beat up brown leather boots and a bandanna around his head.

When we arrived at the holiday party we were immediately impressed by the decorations. On the front door was a sign that read “Psychic Readings Inside.” The porch light bulb had been replaced with a red light. Inside, lots of large and small pillows were scattered around the house. Oriental rugs covered flooring and every corner of the house was illuminated by candlelight. The furniture and tables were covered with bright purple, orange, red and green top sheets. On the tables were fake coins and chain necklaces. Tarot cards were spread around the coffee tables. The walls were decorated with zodiac posters and playing cards. And 60's-style beaded door hangings were hung in every doorway. In the family room the television was on a channel with people advertising their psychic services.

The house was divided into sections for activities. This assured the hosts that not everyone would congregate in one area. In the corner of the living room was a skirted round table with a “crystal ball.” An elderly gypsy woman sat beside the table offering her fortune telling services. She would look into the crystal ball and forecast your future.
She took our palms into hers, traced the lines of our hands with her finger and then made a few predictions. When she was through, she handed us each a fortune cookie. Of course, only good fortune was disclosed so it was fun.

In another area of the house were lots of pillows surrounding a low table. On the table was a Ouija board, Magic Eight ball, playing cards and books on palm reading, numerology and tarot card reading for guests to refer to and try on one another. My husband and I really enjoyed laying back and listening to others tap into their forecasting abilities. There were lots of laughs and this was a good area to meet new people and have something to talk about.

A hired fortune-teller sat at a skirted round table in the kitchen and gave horoscopes based on numerology. She sat with a deck of cards, face down, and asked guests to pick three cards at random. After they made their selection, she added up their values and foretold their meaning. She had a chart with a list of numbers from 3 to 30. Next to each number was a fortune. For example, if your cards totaled 10, your fortune read: A happy week is ahead of you.

In the family room was a poker table and dealer for guests to indulge in a little friendly wagering and card playing. Guests had to buy in for ten dollars to receive chips and could sit and play for as long as they liked (or until they lost all their money.) A friend of ours was the big winner of the night, winning thirty-two dollars.

Music played all evening, filling the home with just the right nuance. Songs about gypsies, instrumental folksy music, and music by the Gypsy Kings continuously played. I think I even heard something by Sonny and Cher (“I Got You Babe” sticks in my mind.)

There was a wonderful buffet set up in the dining room. Silver stars dangled down from the chandelier over the dining table and lots of confetti stars adorned the table. We ate on black paper plates, used bright purple paper napkins and red plastic silverware. There were meatballs, pesto pasta, salads, chicken dumplings and vegetables and dip. Also, placed around the house were baskets of flavorful nibbles, such as bread sticks, cheese and crackers, grapes, and nuts. Dessert included chocolate dipped fortune cookies and chocolate cupcakes decorated like Magic Eight balls.

When it came time to yell Happy New Year, everyone shouted with joy and felt this party was the beginning of a great new year. The vibe was positive, our futures sure to be full of fun, and predictions for the next year bright.

Grand Masked Ball:

For teens and singles what better way to usher in the New Year than with an intimate Victorian style Masked Ball with a peek into the romantic future.

Invitations from Better Homes and Gardens

Fold a simple mask into a piece of textured paper. Close with a strip of paper or ribbon. In a nice calligraphy print instruct your guests to come in formal attire with a mask. Enlist a silence rule, remind guests that we are to remain anonymous until the stroke of midnight when all masks are removed. Therefore, no details to other guests about what you will be wearing or what your mask looks like. Guests are encouraged to wear the masks enclosed or get one of their own. Keep several in a bowl near the door in case guests forget theirs.

Decorate tables with elegant ostrich feathers in tall vases. Turn off all the lights in the rooms being used and light it all with candles. (real or battery operated) Candle light is very flattering and will induce intimacy. You don't have to rent a venue. Your home will be just as elegant with candle light. Set tables with cloth tablecloths and real plates and silverware. No disposables!

If you can arrange for cocktail servers, do! Otherwise, a simple buffet will do. In vintage fashion, set your buffet with whole foods and pastries. Think giant platters of strawberries, blueberries, sugared grapes, starfuit slices and blackberries, bowls of clementines and small apples, Unshelled nuts to crack, Small sugared doughnuts and doughnut holes, macaroons (coconut or pastry style), a basket of assorted sliced artisan breads with several spreads, mini tarts and pies et. Set your buffet as a bountiful overflowing harvest. Set with rustic baskets and wooden bowls, platters and cutting boards. Set some baskets and bowls at an angle and let contents spill out onto the table. Use upturned wooden wine crates for levels, Or set the table in the same layout but with brass platters and bowls. Candelabras will add needed light and elegance.

One of your main activities should be dancing, so leave plenty of room to dance. Hire a DJ or get someone to man the Cd player. At midnight, a balloon drop or confetti pop looks fabulous while guests remove their masks!

In the meantime, keep guests entertained with palm readings and charm pulls. Since the guests are anonymous, group readings will be more entertaining. If you have a large venue, set up a small tent with a round table and chairs inside. It should be in a quiet area away from the dance floor and should be closed off for intimacy. A 4 foot pop up tent hung with velveteen curtain sides and decorated with fringe and sparkly fabric is a wink to roaming circus style fortune telling. Palms can be read around the table, followed by a group charm pull or tea leaf readings. Or, instead of a charm pull, small fortunes on rolled slips of
paper can be poked out of a box with a pencil and read aloud. This type of group fortune telling encourages interactions with the other people at the table and is entertaining for even those not having their fortune told at the moment.

Play Victorian Parlor Games meant usually to predict the future and lead to romance and interactions between the male and female guests. ThisHalloween party link has several fortune games that predict romance. Thisdonuts on a string game from Martha Stewart is also brings guests lips dangerously close.

Favors are a must at classy events such as these. Have a small table set up at the exit with a sign saying " Thank You for Coming, Please Take Home Good Fortune. Fill small paper bags with favors such as mini bottles of booze and individual aspirins (for adults), those fun red plastic fortune telling fish, chocolate kisses, fortune cookies, custom printed paper fortune tellers (cootie catchers), Vintage fortune telling cards with secret message that revel when you hold them to a mirror (below) by artist Dwig, small compact mirrors, good luck charms, silver charm necklaces or keychains... close bags and wrap vertically with red ribbon securing at the to with a feather and a staple.

Elegant Dinner Party:

If you choose to spend NewYear's among couples or a small group of friends, an elegant dinner party is a great idea.

I love these invitations by Bit-O-Me. Make your own with pretty origami paper and hand-write the information inside or get savvy with the computer. Remind your guests to dress casual and to think of questions they've been mulling over.

Pick an elegant color scheme like purple and black with silver or gold and mauve. Place several garden globes down the center of the table with candelabras for an elegant table. Mark each place setting with a silver fortune cookie place card holder, available on Amazon.

Start the evening with fortune telling over drinks and appetizers. This will give you plenty of interesting conversation starters during dinner.

Hire a fortune teller that uses the kind of fortune telling medium that you like the best or ask for several options for variety. Red Bicycle Parties offers playing card and tarot card fortunes, palm reading, stone casting, pendulum, dice casting and charm pulls among our options. set up a small table with two chairs in a more discreet area of the room for one-on-one fortunes. Go for elegance with a velveteen table drape (purple is a very mystical color). Low lighting is nice and you can add a few votives on the fortune teller's table.

Serve assorted appetizers including chocolate covered fortune cookies for starters. Look for appetizers with star, moon or orb shapes like fruit bites including sliced star fruit served with fruit dip, cheese filled mini croissants, and round crackers served with a cheese ball. For the main dish consider a soup broth filled with carrot and zucchinis cut into stars, moons and triangles. You can buy mini vegetable cutters on Amazon. Or buy Campbell's chicken and stars soup and add veggie shapes to it.

Finish the evening with a cake charm pull. Buy or bake a simple bundt cake. Glaze. buy a set of cake charms with meanings or make your own. Attach them to colored ribbons (purple and black are very elegant.) Set the charms in the center of the cake and spread out the ribbons. cover the hole of the cake with a few cut flowers. When it's dessert and coffee time, remove the flowers and have each person choose a ribbon. Reveal the meanings, cut the cake and enjoy.

Serve tea with your cake in Cups of Destiny, available on Amazon. use loose tea leaves to brew, let settle. drink the tea and then pass your cup to your neighbor to read your fortune. The book that comes along with the cup will explain it all. Keep the set for yourself or let your guests take theirs home as a favor.

What-ever your party style,
Red Bicycle Parties
can help you host the most unforgettable New Year's Party Ever!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Easy Cookie Exchange Party

Heard about those cookie exchange parties where everyone bakes a dozen cookies for each guest? Well, that;s just too much baking for me so here's my version of a cookie exchange:

Here's How it Works:

1. E-mail me a copy of your favorite cookie or bar recipe to _______________

2. Before the party bake 2 dozen of these cookies to bring to the party

3. At the party, we will all get a recipe card (that I will print) for each cookie or bar at the party as well as one of each cookie to eat and one to take home.

I will provide milk and healthy & savory appetizers to compliment all the treats!

We'll then all go home with inspiration of teats to bring to our holiday events and samples for our family and friends to taste.

The more guests who RSVP, the more recipes we all get!

Then just be sure not to invite more than 12 guests.

I laid out the table with raised cake plates and platters (one for each guest) And made little cards with each kind of cookie on them so that they could label theirs.

The appetizers we're laid out on another table and consisted of:

-an antipasta platter

-crudites verrines

-brat bites with onions

-port wine cheese ball with crackers

-red and geen tortilla chips and dip

-and of course milk

My groceries came from Aldi and the rest came from the Dollar Tree. The milk glasses are decorated with reusable striped straws and holiday bracelets.

The favors are little cookie spatulas, gingerbread house cookie ornaments inscribed on the back by my hubby "Cookie Exchange 2011", and a copy of each of the recipe cards.

Before attacking the buffet, each person described the
ir cookie and each guest put one on their take home plate (light blue styrofoam plates) Then we slipped the full plates into a gallon size ziplock bag.

Then we munched the leftovers and all the rest and chatted etc.

Each guest took home their plate of cookies, the recipes for each kind and their favors. Very easy and fun break from the holiday hustle and bustle. And a great way to get ideas for cookies to bring to all your upcoming holiday events!


Antipasta Platter-

Combine one jar of artichoke salad (or a jar of artichokes, a jar of green olives and strips of jarred red pepper) and on can of plump black olives. Arrange on platter and drizzle with a mixture of 2 parts olive oil, 1 part basalmic vinegar and a sprinkling of Herbs de Provence. salt and pepper if desired.