Tag: DIY

Simple Steps for Throwing a British Themed Party

The great thing about a British theme is you can apply it to most types of parties. Whether you are throwing a baby shower, birthday, bon voyage, or simple dinner party, the theme is flexible and can be expressed in a number of creative ways.  My husband is 1/2 English, so we decided to throw a England/London/British themed Valentine’s Day party and called it “Love in London.”


British food has a reputation for being a little dull and boring, but your spread doesn’t have to be. There are so many amazing recipes online, it can be hard to decide just what to make. We opted for sausage rolls, beef wellington (labor intensive & expensive, wouldn’t do it again), fish & chips (just buy ’em & fry ’em), cucumber & tomato salad, cucumber sandwiches and more. You can add some easy flare to your finger foods with these union jack toothpick flags.

Simple sausage rolls with union jack flags
Marinated cucumbers, onions & tomatoes add a flavorful vegetable dish

Last but not least, don’t forget proper condiments for your amazing food.  Buy a bottle of malt vinegar for your fish & chips, and a bottle of HP sauce, and you’ve got your bases covered.

Don’t forget the condiments!


Ok, depending on your crowd, this might be the most important aspect of the party.  There are lots of great drink options, but a British party wouldn’t be complete without Pims cup.  There’s no exact recipe you have to stick to – I like taking whatever fruit looks fresh at the store and adding it to Sprite and/or ginger beer.  For ease, you can also mix up a whole pitcher to have ready to go, similar to a sangria.

A spin on the traditional Pims cup

Fortunately we can thank England and Scotland for having a number of great beers.  Head to your local beer/wine outlet and find the “England” section.  We went to Total Wine.  You only need a 6-pack or so of each if you are buying a big selection.  Guests enjoy trying new beers as well as old favorites.

Assorted British beers we found at TotalWine

If you want to try something really special, and have some time to plan ahead, take a chance on a home brew and create your own.  We made a delicious London Porter in just 4 weeks using this easy home brewing kit.  We also customized the bottle to fit our theme using these handy waterproof labels for your home printer. We sealed the caps with union jack flag stickers for a finishing touch.

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London Porter Home Brew


There are many creative options for desserts to fit your theme.  I’m not much for baking, so I cheated and outsourced a bit of this.  The classic English dessert is a trifle, which is simply a layered dessert, typically with pudding, sponge cake and fresh fruit.

Strawberry trifle with fresh berries

The hallmark of English tea time, after the tea of course, is small cookies.  Any small simple butter cookies will do.  You can make these, but I opted to buy pre-made.  For a mixed display, buy a box of chocolates to add to your 3-tier cake stand, and you’re ready for tea time.

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Traditional 3-tier cake stands with tea time floral designs
Store-bought coconut macaroons on the bottom tier
Add a frilly tablecloth to complete the authentic tea time look

For another dessert option (which is a great go-to for any party or theme), consider some custom decorated cookies.  These sugar cookie masterpieces are from Cookies by Design in Virginia Beach.  They are also a hit if you have little kids attending your party.

Hand-painted London themed cookies by Cookies by Design


The easiest way to convey “British” visually is with the union jack flag.  You don’t have to be an artist to create cool and creative decorations.  Add a $5 union jack flag over a white tablecloth to create a bold canvas for your delicious food.

$5 union jack flag adds an easy visual punch

Simple things like adding a sticker to your cups or nametags can help carry your theme forward in an easy way.

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Cute and easy cups thanks to $3.25 union jack stickers

Another option that requires no artistry, is to apply this $4 union jack duct tape to simple objects.  For this project, buy 3D cardboard letters to spell whatever you choose.  Then wrap them in the duct tape and viola!

“LOVE” decoration made with 3D letters and duct tape for just $8

If you do consider yourself artistic or crafty, and don’t mind putting in some time cutting objects out, consider making your own garland.  Find any image you like online, print it on photo paper, cut it out, hole punch it and string them together.  Add a lace paper doily for an extra English touch.

“Love in London” hearts strung together with lace doilies and twine
Itty bitty hearts strung together with silver thread to make a precious garland
Template for tea time heart garland
Search your house for any knick knacks that fit your theme and display them together
Colorful tissue poofs are cheap and high impact


Pandora has an array of great themed channels.  The best fit for an all-ages England themed party is British Invasion Radio.

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Games & Fun

Party games and activities are tricky.  Everyone’s been to a party where games feel forced and grueling, but you don’t want a party with everyone just standing around.  Two simple activities I love are photobooths and trivia.  They are great because guests can participate on their own time throughout the party, and they don’t take any bandwidth away from the host or hostess.


Grab some simple props (hats, glasses, boas) and if you want to go big, a life-size celebrity cut-out.  Kate Middleton and Queenie were the life of the party.


If you entertain a lot, consider investing in the modern polaroid, the FujiFilm Instax mini camera.  It instantly prints a polaroid-style photo that makes a great takeaway memory for your guests.


Create a set of questions related to your theme and post them, along with pens and ballots, for guests to fill out.  Winner gets a prize!


So that’s it, ideas for food, drinks, music, decorations and activities for your next London/British/English themed party.  For additional ideas not mentioned here, check out the Love in London Pinterest board.



DIY Yard Yahtzee!

After another successful Crab Bake with Giant Jenga, I was thinking about other classic games that would translate well into a “giant” version.  Then of course I was at Target this week and came across 6 wooden blocks designed for home arts & crafts projects.  An idea was born!


What you need:

  • 5 square wooden blocks (4″ cubes or larger if possible)
  • Acrylic paint in multiple colors
  • Paint brush(es)
  • A quarter or something else circular to use as a stencil for the dots
  • Mod podge or other sealant
  • Chalk board paint or pre-fab chalk board
  • White chalk
6 Wood Blocks - Target $14.99
6 Wood Blocks – Target $14.99
Mod Podge sealant - $4.99
Mod Podge sealant – $4.99
Chalkboard Paint - $9.97
Chalkboard Paint – $9.97

Step 1: Paint the base of your blocks

Solids are great, but you can also make each block a mini work of art.  Just remember you’ll have to apply dots as well, which might cover up some of your artwork.

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Step 2: Stencil your dots

Use a quarter, glass or other round object to trace the dots onto your blocks.


Step 3: Fill in your dots

I used paint pens for ease, but you can certainly paint in your circles with a paintbrush, or make it simple and apply stickers or paper with Mod Podge.

Step 4: Seal your surface

I like Mod Podge with a gloss finish.  It’s great if you used paper or just paint to create your design.  Paint on multiple layers for a good seal as you’ll be rolling these dice in the grass and will want to be able to clean the surface.

Step 5: Create your scorecard

You can find easy, printable score sheets online, or you can keep everything large scale and create a “giant” scorecard on a chalkboard.  And, don’t forget to print the rules for Yahtzee! if your family likes to argue about technicalities.

Printable PDF score sheet
Printable PDF score sheet
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“Giant” Chalkboard Score Sheet

Step 6: Enjoy!



DIY Wedding Invites: Start with a blank canvas & fancy it up

Pricey invitations got you down?  Like most people, the hardest part of planning our wedding was making the most out of the budget we had.  I had received some great advice to make a list of the Top 3 elements you care most about, and the 3 you care least about.  That way you can shift money away from low priority items and towards what you really want.

Dead last on our list was wedding cake, but just ahead of that were the invitations.  We wanted something cheap that didn’t look cheap.  Solution: Take a simple but elegant invite and fancy it up with specialty paper, silver leaf or other accents.

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Simple ivory invitation set from Target

1. Pick a classic canvas

Simple is great and can give you a quality canvas for the base of your invite.  Target, Michael’s and other online retailers sell great print-your-own invitation sets that you can format to your home printer specs.  I really like the Gartner Studios collection at Target.  The plain invites also have the benefit of being cheaper, and there’s typically more quantity in stock.

2.  Find accents to match your colors

You can buy fine papers in any pattern you can think of online or at art & craft stores.  Think about the tone you want to set for your big event – you invites will set the stage.  Don’t be afraid to go bold.  The other benefit of a simple, classy canvas is room to really show your creative side.

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PaperSource.com has some great options, or check out Rossi1931.com for a breathtaking collection of fine Italian papers guaranteed to impress.

3.  Accessorize you invites

Adding a 3D element to your invites can really raise them to a new level.  Whether it’s a satin bow, wax seal, or a chrome paper clip, it’s the details that really make it your unique creation.


Just Google “invitation accessories” and get ready to explore endless possibilities.  If you have good self control, consider breaking out your Bedazzler!  Also, don’t be afraid to decorate your envelopes.  Just make sure you check with the USPS regarding any increased costs or anticipated damage to your masterpiece.  Depending on the postage option you choose, invites may be hand or machine sorted, so it pays to ask.

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Silver wax seal and a satin ribbon

4.  Find that one thing to tie it all together

Your wedding correspondence is a great way to set the stage for your event.  Nothing says it has to be matchy-matchy, but before you get to work on production, try to identify at least one element to tie together your Save-the-Dates, Rehearsal Dinner Invites and Wedding Invites.  It could be as simple as using the same font, or repeating a central color throughout.  In our case we repeated our colors, and changed the design big time from event to event.

Save the Date
Invitation for our Egyptian/Mediterranean Rehearsal Dinner
Bridal Shower Invitation

5.  Time to produce your masterpiece

I highly recommend recruiting friends & family to help with this step.  Create an assembly-line structure to ensure uniformity in each step and to keep things swift and fun.  Having multiple bottles of Prosecco on hand does’t hurt either.

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DIY Customized Wedding Invites – $1.06 each

Please feel free to comment with any questions or ideas that you’ve tried!  Special thanks to my mother, Kaye Krebs, and mother-in-law, Julia Louka, for creating all 240 of our invitations by hand.