Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tips for Safe Trick-Or-Treating

As you and your children make your way through the neighborhood showing off costumes and pleading for treats, make sure you keep these tips in mind. Have a happy, safe, and fun Halloween from Pinwhirls! 

Tips for Safe Trick-Or-Treating
  • If you can, get all of your trick-or-treating done before dark. This is especially important for the little ones out there.
  • If you go out at night, carry a flashlight.
  • Plan your trick-or-treating route in advance and stick to it.
  • If you have older children and allow them to trick-or-treat as a group without an adult, make sure at least one child has a cell phone.
  • Parents should wear something reflective, particularly if your children's costumes are dark or hard to see.
  • If you can, choose a costume for your child that is reflective or made of bright colors that can easily be seen by any drivers in your neighborhood.
  • Make sure any masks fit comfortably and don't prevent your child from seeing or breathing comfortably.
  • Go only to houses you know.
  • Consider going to a local mall or community event if you are worried about going door-to-door this year.
  • Check your child's candy before you let them eat it.
  • Only allow your child to have homemade treats if they were made by neighbors you know and trust.
  • If it's particularly warm where you live, make sure that children don't become overheated in their costumes, and take plenty of water breaks.
 That's it! Remember to be safe and have lots of fun, and don't eat all of that candy all at once!

What are your children going to be for Halloween this year?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fun Halloween Games for Kids

Preparing for a classroom Halloween party or a fun Halloween party at home? Then you're going to need some fun games to keep the little ghouls and goblins entertained. Pick your favorites or play them all.

Top Halloween Games for Kids

Halloween-themed Scavenger Hunt: Give the children clues that lead them to special Halloween tricks and treats. Children can play alone, in pairs, or in teams, depending on the number of guests at the party.

TP Mummy Wrap: Divide the children into teams, and have them select the member who will be the "mummy." The remaining teammates each take a toilet paper roll and go to work covering their "mummy" from head to toe. The first team to complete cover their teammate in TP wins.

Costume Contest: Let the guests vote for their favorite costumes or have a distinguished panel of judges pick the best costumes from a number of categories like best cartoon character, best superhero, best homemade costume, or whatever you can come up with.

Hot Pumpkin: You play this game just like hot potato, except you use mini decorative pumpkins or gourds instead of a potato.

Candy Counting: Count out and fill a large jar with your favorite Halloween candy like M&Ms or candy corn. When the guests arrive have them write down how many pieces of candy are in the jar. The child that comes closest without going over gets to take the jar full of candy home to share.

Halloween Bingo: You can print Bingo cards for free online or you can draw or print your own Bingo card creations.

What Are Your Favorite Halloween Games?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pinwhirls is Giving Away a $50 Gift Certificate!

If you haven't been to the Catch My Party website lately, you should definitely stop by. We're sponsoring a $50 Pinwhirls Giveaway on the site. You could win some great party favors, pinwheels, invites and more in our Pinwhirls shop.

Getting your entry in is pretty simple. First, just like Pinwhirls on Facebook, then stop by the giveaway post and leave a comment saying you liked us on Facebook. It's that easy!

The great people at Catch My Party will be selecting a random winner using on Thursday, October 20th at 10:00 p.m. PST. So if you want a chance at winning, you need to get your entry in before the deadline.

Here are just a few of the things we have to offer right now in the Pinwhirls shop:

  • Pinwheels We've got Pinwhirls of every size for corsages, boutonnieres, cake toppers, bouquets, cupcake toppers and more.
  • Party Pretties Here you'll find everything from cupcake wrappers and party hats to banners, signs and invites.
  • Do It Yourself Supplies Feeling creative? We can customize a package that you can put together for your next birthday party, wedding, or classroom party.
  • Custom Orders Custom orders are our specialty!
  • Party Supply Papers You can choose from more than 1,000 custom party papers. Happy browsing! :)
So what are you waiting for? Enter the contest now!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nicolette & Alex: A Pinwheel Beach Wedding

This real wedding is near and dear to me as it's my youngest sister, Nicolette's wedding.  When she let me know that she'd like to include pinwheels in her big day of course I jumped for joy and then I sat her down and seriously asked if she was wanting to include them only to be 'nice' to her big sister or if she actually truly wanted them in her wedding. You see, as the owner of a business that specializes in personalized pinwheels, I never know if my friends/family really want to integrate my products or if they are trying to be kind by doing me and the business a favor. :)  But, thankfully in my sister's case, she was getting married on the beach in Amelia Island, Fl and was envisioning a fun rather than a formal wedding.  Pinwheels in a beach setting scream fun so we moved ahead with the planning details. She didn't envision her wedding being totally pinwheel centered rather just hints of pinwheels here and there. I designed custom papers to go with her color scheme of yellow, pink, orange and slight green accents. They can be viewed here. These papers were used to create her custom pinwheels.  Pinwheels were included on her Save the Date, on wedding signage, in bridal bouquets, as boutonnieres, as beach decor, as cake decor,  and also as part of the napkin ring.

My sister asked all three of us sister's to be her bridesmaids.  {I'm in the yellow.} We included both large handheld pinwheels and pinwheel picks in our bouquets.  We assembled the bouquets in the very early hours of her wedding day. Did I mention that we aren't florists and don't have experience making bouquets yet here we were at 3 am trying to assemble bouquets? I started out making them as I once took a couple hour class on how to assemble flower arrangements so at least I had some experience - or so I thought. Hehe. To say my first attempt looked horrible is a huge understatement. Looking back, I wish I'd snapped a photo.  It was the ugliest bouquet I've ever seen.  A few months after the fact, it seems rather laughable, but let me tell you in that moment, I almost had a severe panic attack as they were just looking so wrong and we had very little time to correct them.  Thankfully my oldest sister, Erin, took over and perfected the bouquet process just a couple short hours before we had to head over to the reception site to decorate the morning of the wedding.  Moral of the story: Even though things worked out in the end, do not go the diy route at the last minute.  At least create them the day before or even better hire a florist to create the bouquet and have he/she insert the pinwheels for you. :)

Our peony yard pinwheels were placed into tins filled with grass and gerber daisies to line the wedding aisle.  The tins were filled to the brim with sand to keep them weighted down.

A close-up of the bridal bouquet.

And a close-up of my bridesmaid bouquet.

It was a pleasure being such an integral part of one of the biggest days of my sister's life! 

To view more photos of her big day including her fun manzanita branch centerpieces, fingerprint tree guest book, and Jones Soda Escort Card table, just click here.

Photos courtesy of Bliss and Whimsy Photography.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Free Pumpkin Carving Templates

Halloween Party Hats from the Pinwhirls Etsy Shop
Do you have fond memories of carving Halloween pumpkins? Maybe roasting the seeds for a delicious (and healthy) snack? Did you ooh and aah at all the amazing jack-o-lanterns on your trick-or-treating route?

According to the writers at Pumpkin Carving 101, jack-o-lanterns were traditionally carved from gourds or turnips and set on porches or in windows to protect deceased loved ones from evil spirits. Later on, Irish immigrants found America's native pumpkins to be much easier to carve. And, well, the rest is history.

Pumpkin carving is so much fun, and jack-o-lanterns of every shape and size make for some great Halloween party decorations. Whether you're looking for something spooky or fun, there are lots of free templates out there to try. We've round up some links to make those pumpkin carving templates easier to find.

5 Free Pumpkin Carving Template Websites

  1. 12 Free Printable Pumpkin Carving Stencils: Reader's Digest has put together some great patterns. The designs look pretty easy to create, so these are good for the kids and pumpkin carving novices.
  2. The Pumpkin Lady's Free Pumpkin Carving Patterns: The Pumpkin Lady's free templates change, so you might want to check back frequently for updates. She also offers exclusive patterns and freebie updates to her Facebook and Twitter followers.
  3. Free Pumpkin Carving Patterns: Pumpkin Masters has some really nice carving templates too. If you're looking for carving tips, you might want to check out their how-to video.
  4. Free Carving Patterns from Spook Master: In addition to some standard templates, you can also return to the site for their daily freebie pumpkin carving pattern.
  5. This site offers some great UN-Halloween patterns. If you want to do something out of the ordinary, this is the place to go. They have themed templates including Christian patterns, famous people templates, and special occasion patterns.
So what are your favorite ways to decorate for Halloween parties? Do you have a pumpkin carving tradition at your house?

Jack-o-lantern photo by Paul Keleher on Flickr

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Twirling with Delight - I'm Martha Stewart's Doer of the Week!

Sometimes a girl just needs to twirl with delight, but today, and the rest of the week, it seems I’ll be twirling with delight so many times that I’ll also become dizzy with delight.   Today has to be the best day of my professional career - I’m honored to be named Doer of the Week by Martha Stewart’s Dreamers into Doers.

My road to this honor started 4 years ago this month.  Forty eight months ago my business started as a creative outlet and overtime it has turned into a full-time profitable business and career.  Years ago I would have never in my wildest dreams have thought that I’d be receiving such recognition from the Martha Stewart community.  On a day like today, I feel as I’ve been rewarded for all of the hard work and long hours that have gone into building Pinwhirls.
I have many to thank:
-   All of my previous customers, especially those who have nudged me to create new
products.  My business would not have come this far without each and every order.
-     My sister, Erin – my master pinwheel assembler, for over 2.5 years.  Without her,
the business literally could not exist!  (I do not tell her this enough).
-      My family for always being there and putting up with the highs and lows I’ve
experienced over the past 48 months.
-     Everyone who has helped Pinwhirls along over the past 4 years from accountants, to
writers, to proofers, to web designers and programmers, to part-time employees.  Their
work and expertise has helped lessen my workload which is very much appreciated.
-     Finally, a word of thanks to Martha Stewart, her staff, and every Dreamer.  Not only
am I very thankful for the personal recognition, I’m also thankful for the community that
Martha helped create and for all of expertise and ideas that Dreamers continually add to
the environment.  Many times larger businesses just don’t understand how smaller craft
type businesses such as ours operate.  The Dreamers into Doers site has turned into an
invaluable resource for small business owners like me and I’m beyond thankful that
Martha continues to give back with this site as well as events like the Dreamers into
Doers annual event.
To read more about my road from Dreamer into Doer, visit my interview at Martha Stewart’s Dreamers into Doers. And to those reading who haven’t yet become a Dreamer, I encourage you to sign up and begin learning and networking with the thousands of other Dreamers and Doers already on the site.