Over The Top Events & Parties
Teresa Dawson knows plenty about being a hostess and a guest, as owner of Sacramento’s Over The Top Events Dawson has planned and attended many gatherings. The creative small business owner, community volunteer and mother of three energetic young children admits to being obsessed with organization and attention to detail. The “little things” mean a lot, and creating a special thank you for a host is a perfect example. Dawson notes that being a thoughtful guest does not require spending a fortune; most of these ideas cost less than $20 to make.
For hostesses with a green thumb, Dawson suggests painting a flowerpot with black chalk paint from a craft store. Using regular chalk, write a message on the pot or let the kids decorate it. You can make the design last with spray fixative, also found in craft stores. Fill the pot with packets of flower, herb or vegetable seeds, garden gloves and a small gardening tool like a hand trowel or cultivator. Since working with soil can be tough on hands, Dawson likes to add gardening gloves, a cuticle brush and some thick, cocoa-butter hand lotion. A pretty bow for the pot and a thank-you note will finish it off perfectly.
Dawson recommends going to thrift or dollar stores to get a variety of small frames, then putting in photos that feature the family, friends, pets, places and things that your host loves. Acrylic paint from a craft shop can be used to make the frames colorful, and sheets of interesting scrapbook paper are perfect to mat the photos. The finished frames can go in a basket or gift bag, or wrapped in burlap and tied with a ribbon.
Find a pretty basket and head to your kitchen or to out to one of Sacramento’s amazing farmers markets. Wrap homemade bread or cookies in wax paper and nestle them into a linen towel inside the basket. Items from the farmers market can be added; in addition to fresh produce, markets offer local honey, jams, olive oil, nuts and cheeses. Add a bottle of wine if desired, or try the latest craze by including a mason jar of vodka you have flavored with herbs or fruit from the farmers market.
“I love spices,” says Dawson, “especially when thinking of fall and the holidays.” Check stores such as Michaels and World Market for small, inexpensive jars with tight lids, like mason-style jars that can hold 2 to 4 ounces. Fill each jar with seasonings like cumin, chili powder and cayenne for a hostess who loves chili. Another set could have pumpkin pie spices, and larger jars could hold chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows for a little s’mores kit. Stack up the jars, tie them all together with raffia or ribbon and wrap with burlap. The ever-thrifty Dawson suggests buying spices in larger bulk containers; any spices not put in the jars can be used at home or given to other people in gifts.
Large, plain ceramic mugs are inexpensive and easy to find in white or other colors. Depending on the personal preferences of your hostess, fill the mug with packets of flavored coffee, powdered espresso, hot cocoa or a selection of tea bags, many of which are available at dollar stores and other price-friendly retailers. Craft stores carry colored pens that write on ceramic, so grab a few and write a personal message for your host right on the mug. Wrap the mug with colored or clear cellophane and secure with a bow.
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