The perfect holiday hostess gift

I know it’s “only” October, but the holidays will be here faster than you think. And with the holidays come hustle, bustle, running, partying, shopping. One of the best things you can do to survive the holiday rush is to plan ahead.

Personalized holiday napkins from Jean M make great hostess gifts.One easy, fun way to plan ahead is to purchase personalized holiday napkins to give as hostess gifts. Order dinner and cocktail napkins in solid colors with colorful personalization and a fun design, or choose designer napkins for a custom splash. I feature my String of Lights Ooh La Color Napkins – isn’t that a wonderful, whimsical design?

If you need generic personalized (in case of last-minute parties), order the napkins printed with “Be Merry!” or “Cheers!” or “Holiday Happiness!” Your hostesses will love the surprise gift, and they will love using the napkins for entertaining all season long.

Enjoy the hostess gift idea!

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Real wedding: romantic birch bark theme!

Having a natural wedding theme doesn’t mean you have to get married in the middle of the woods. Get inspired by this real wedding couple’s birch bark wedding, which transformed a country club into a setting of natural beauty!

Jean M helps you get inspired to create a birch bark wedding theme.Val and Drew wanted a woodsy feel for their wedding, but they wanted it to be romantic and elegant, too. So they decided on birch bark as the main design element for their wedding for nature and purple and green satin accents for elegant!

Birch bark designs accented so many parts of the wedding – wedding invitations, programs, place cards and more. Even their wedding cake had a frosted birch bark design!

In keeping with the birch bark theme, Drew’s father got artistic with his saw and created the birch bark candleholders (three on each table!) and birch bark place card holders. He also built a birch bark wedding arbor for the couple to say “I do” beneath at their outdoor ceremony and free-standing birch branch arrangements dressed with fresh flowers. The handcrafted touches made the wedding even more intimate and lovely.

Valerie chose purple satin dresses and green flowers for her bridesmaids for bright contrast. She had green flowers with purple and white calla lilies in her bridal bouquet to pull the entire wedding party look together.

This beautiful wedding proves that you can have it all – nature and elegance and a day filled with love.

Enjoy the birch bark inspiration!

~ Amy

Images compliments of… Rick Apitz, Shayds of Color Photography: http://www.shayds.com

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Opal Inspiration – October’s Gemstone of the Month

October is filled with fiery colors and sudden changes in weather. That’s why the opal is the perfect gem for this month! Opals put on a beautiful display of iridescent colors. Blue, pink and green flash as you hold the gem to the light or wear it in rings, necklaces, earrings and other jewelry.

Loyalty, confidence and luck are some of the qualities that have been associated with opals over the centuries. Which also makes the opal a unique wedding theme!

Jean M gives you ideas for a wedding inspired by opals, October's gem.An opal wedding theme should be filled with iridescence, shimmering accents and flashes of color. Start off with a wedding invitation you can customize to the color you want, like my Pretty Dots Wedding Invitation. Add softly colored candies to my White Shimmer Lidded Favor Boxes for a glowing accent.

Then focus on your flowers and décor. Bouquets and floral arrangements with white as a basis and shades of unique color will mimic an opal’s beauty. Fill your ceremony and reception with iridescent decorations like streamers, glass beads, glass ornaments and more. Include unique lighting at your reception. Swirling white and colorful lights will make you and your guests feel like you’re inside an opal itself!

Enjoy the opal wedding inspiration!

Images – Ring: www.kay.com, Bouquet: www.aspirationalbride.com, Iridescent décor: www.marthastewartweddings.com

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Adding personality to your wedding bouquet

Your wedding bouquet is one of the most-noticed elements of your wedding day. So be sure you select your flowers, styles and accents carefully to show your personality and match your wedding theme.

Jean M recommends a wedding bouquet of red roses for romance.What flowers did your fiancé first give you? Does he always send you red roses, or does he mix it up? Incorporate those flowers into your wedding bouquet for sweet memories.

Choose bridal bouquet flowers in shades of your favorite colors.Explore flowers in all shades of your favorite color for your bridal bouquet! Make yours pale pink while your bridesmaids’ are bold fuchsia like my daughter, Holli, did for her wedding (above).

Add elements from your wedding location and season to your bouquet.Tropical wedding? Add seashells of all shapes into your bouquet! For a garden wedding, add in succulents, interesting greenery and seed pods. For winter, pine cones in a bouquet are a natural pick!

Then accent our bouquet with colorful ribbon, crystals, pearls and charms. Add a tiny framed photo of a loved for as a special memory.

Enjoy creating your wedding bouquet!

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This week, you get to choose your savings!

It's a great sale from Jean M - choose your offer and save big!It’s a great time to get a head start on your holiday cards OR stock up on everything you need for your wedding (invitations, accessories, favors, napkins and more)!

Which savings will you choose? Enjoy!

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Get inspired for fall weddings!

Autumn is in the air and I have so many ideas for fall weddings to share with you! Whether your wedding is this year or you’re planning a fall wedding for 2014, you can incorporate any or all of these ideas into your beautiful, cozy event!

Jean M's Love Nest Wedding Invitation is perfect for a fall wedding.I took some cues from one of my favorite new fall wedding invitations, Love Nest Wedding Invitation, when I was coming up with autumn wedding inspiration ideas for you. I love the wood-patterned background and the birds snuggled in a nest together. The rustic look of the invitation seemed perfect for when you’re having your wedding in a converted barn or in a tent outdoors. The bright colors of the invitation prompted me to choose bold flowers in rich, deep colors like roses and calla lilies with berries as accents.

Add in other natural touches like a twig nest ring holder for your ceremony and branches strung with white lights at your ceremony, and you’ll have a romantic, rustic and elegant fall wedding look!

Enjoy the fall wedding inspiration!

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Fun Halloween party favors!

Send a little something fun home with your Halloween party guests with unique favors that capture the style of the season.

Treat your guests to "ghoul fuel" mix favor bags.First, think of your party theme. Come up with a fun name for your favor treats, like “ghoul fuel” (M&Ms, Golden Grahams cereal, peanuts, marshmallows and raisins) tied up with black ribbon.

Give fun Halloween party favors like vampire teeth!If it’s all orange and black and spooky costumes, give guests kitschy items like plastic vampire fangs in black organza bags.

If your party is a little more on the fall harvest elegance side, your favors should reflect that theme.

Jean M says to serve caramel apples on decorated plates for Halloween.Customize your serving plates by writing fun phrases like “Boo!” or “Spooky!” around the edges with a ceramic paint pen. Tie up the goodies you’re serving with black ribbon.

Show off colorful Halloween treats in clear favor boxes.I love the look of my lidded favor boxes when the lids and bottoms are mixed and matched! Go with Halloween orange and black, or choose mocha and ivory for a more elegant look. Fill the boxes with fall treats and tie with ribbon personalized to say “Boo!”

Make paper cones to serve caramel popcorn for Halloween favors.Need an easy and cute way to serve up sticky treats like caramel corn? Make favor cones out of Halloween themed paper, secure with staples of tape, fill with popcorn and serve them in a tray of nuts or colorful beans.

Enjoy the creative Halloween party favor ideas!

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A new look for a wedding tradition!

Love the idea of following the wedding traditions…but making them your own at the same time? You just need to do a little creative thinking!

For example, think about those wedding must-haves: wedding programs. Of course you’ll want to provide each guest with a program that lists the order of service, bridal party members and other important information.

Keep guests cool at your outdoor wedding with Jean M's program fans.Then take the wedding program one step further — and make it into a fan! My program fans share all the important info about your ceremony in a unique, fashionable way. Program fans are perfect for summer weddings or outdoor weddings to help keep guests informed AND cool.

You can even choose a style that showcases fun photos of you, like my Custom Accents Photo Program Fan. Add ribbon to the handle and you’ve got a unique wedding program and a keepsake guests will love!

Enjoy the new wedding program idea!

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Get in shape for the season!

When you want your season’s greetings to stand out — and I mean REALLY stand out — from all the rest, you’ve got to get them in great shape.

And my shaped holiday cards are definitely in great shapes! They’re unique and eye-catching and certain to get that front-and-center spot on everyone’s mantle.

Jean M’s unique shaped photo holiday cards.Choose my Bright Tree Photo Holiday Card for wishes that couldn’t be more festive. My crest-shaped holiday cards like the Holly Chalkboard Photo Holiday Card for a vintage look or the Happy Chevron Photo Holiday Card for bold design and a full photo.

Check out my entire selection of shaped photo holiday cards and find the one that suits the way you want to send wishes for the season.

Enjoy the new shape of holiday cards!

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The party after the party: Host a fun post-wedding bonfire!

After the last toast, the last dance and the last piece of wedding cake has been eaten, you’ll be ready to kick off your shoes and do some relaxing.

Why not relax in the company of your wedding guests and keep the party going in a low-key way by hosting a post-reception bonfire? You and your guests can change into some cozy clothes, get comfortable and unwind from the excitement together.

Include a note in your wedding invitations to let guests know you’ll be carrying on the party so they know to bring appropriate clothes. Ask a friend to be in charge of starting the fire just as your reception ends so it’s a roaring bonfire when you arrive. Arrange for hot dogs and fixings, warm drinks and marshmallows to be ready for enjoying. Provide blankets for cozying up with a sweetie!

Give guests s'mores wedding favors for the post-reception bonfire.And for a fun touch, provide s’mores “kits” as late-night wedding favors. Guests will have so much fun creating their own toasty treats.

Enjoy the post-reception party!

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