Thursday, February 26, 2015

Are You Ready?!!

One Year.

That's how long it's been since I shared with you all that I was changing courses here.


I had no idea what was in store for me, but let me tell ya, rebranding is WORK!!!

You guys, it has been busy behind the scenes here.  B.U.S.Y. 
My days and nights are all blended together, my mind is spinning out of control, and I seriously have no idea which end is up.

But there are a few things I DO know.

1. You guys are awesome. Truly. You have been SO patient during this entire brand transition...even though I've been pretty much absent with the exception of social media. 
I had no stinking clue how much work goes into this entire process. Seriously, SO MUCH! 
Hats off to you that do web design for a living!!! I don't EVER want to do this again!!!  ;)

2. There are some REALLY awesome things in the works. New products, new partnerships, new collaborations, and giveaways.  
LOTS OF GIVEAWAYS!!!  I think you're going to be happy! smile emoticon

And 3.
            ....the biggie...


MONDAY, MARCH 2nd the all-new Jen T by Design goes live!!!

I can't wait to share with you this brand that I have poured every ounce of my heart and soul into.

Follow along on social media for updates, and mark your calendars to visit on Monday!!!

Jen T by Design

Great big, giant hugs,

Monday, February 24, 2014

Winds of Change - The End and A New Beginning


It's something I've never been good at.

It's something I really can't stand.

And yet, it's inevitable.

And it's happening here.  Now.

Lots of things have changed in the six and a half years since I started this journey.

I went from a girl just trying to find a way to be home with my little ones, to a woman who found a way to make a living out of something that she loves with all her heart.

And those little ones?  They've grown up.  We're down to one kiddo left at home and she's graduating this year!  (Ahhhh, someone please pass the tissues)!

I went from daydreaming about paper design to owning my own stationery shop.

I went from a small town, simple girl to a girl with  opportunities that I never could have imagined:

  • A trip to Martha Stewart's HQ in NYC, 
  • A spot on TLC's Craft Wars, 
  • And even discussions with Nickelodeon about having my own TV show.
I've met people and made friendships along the way that I cherish dearly. 

This all still blows. my. mind.  

And I am SO grateful, because all of this was GOOD change.

Now I'm nervous because I'm about to make a BIG change...and I'm not sure how it's going to turn out.

After six and a half years, is going away.  

Ugh, just typing those words fills me with emotion!

Y'all, I have poured my heart and soul into this business.

It is my baby.

And it did well for a long time. Like, amazingly well.

My website was in the top 1.7% of websites on the entire web.  

Do you have any idea how many websites are out there?  Y'all this was a pretty big accomplishment.

But then things changed.  

Google did a little dance.  Well, it actually did several dances over the course of the past year and a half.

The result? 

Passion-for-Parties took a major blow to the chin. (It felt more like a blow to the heart, if you ask me, but I'm trying to keep from crying here...)

My website traffic plummeted. Actually, more like nosedived.

My income?  Well, it's not good.

And despite my best efforts to salvage what remains, I'm afraid the damage is just too great.

So, I'm left with two choices.

One, shut down completely.

Or two, start fresh.

Well, if there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I am a VERY determined girl.

Quitting is not something I'm capable least not without putting up one heck of a fight.

So y'all, even though on some level I feel like I've failed, I'm choosing to fight.

I still have so much to share.  So much to offer.  And I'm not ready to give up.  

So, a new chapter is about to begin.  


A new name.  A fresh face.  A new approach.  And some surprises.

All with the same quality and uniqueness that you've come to know me for.  

The new brand is underway, and my goal is to launch by late Spring.

Stay tuned for updates, and as always, thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting me like you have these past six and half years.

It means the world to me and I will forever be grateful.

Now, it's time to start a new adventure.

I hope you'll join me!  


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

DIY Valentine's Day Mantel

Do you like to dress your home up for the holidays?
Then this super easy, crazy cute DIY Valentine's Day Mantel is for you!

Take your mantel from drab to fab with just $20, 
and the time it would take to watch your favorite show on TV.

So easy!

Here's what you'll need:

~  Seven sheets of our pink polka dot paper (download for free here)
~  Two sheets of our grey polka dot paper (download for free here)
~  One sheet of our dark/light pink striped paper (download for free here)
~  Double sided tape
~  Paper trimmer or scissors
~  Picture frames (I'm sure you have a few laying around your house somewhere) ;)
~  Baker's Twine, ribbon, yarn, string, or something similar to string your banner with.


Simply print off your goodies, get yourself a drink, and get cozy at the coffee table.

Use the instructions included with your banner and art prints to get them
cut out and prepped.

Add your prints to the frames and string your banner.

Look at that, you're already almost done!

Now you just need to make your paper rosettes, which is almost exactly like making paper fans
when you were in elementary school.  Remember that?

Following this tutorial on how to make paper rosettes, use the 7 pink polka dot sheets to create the large fan,
the 2 grey sheets to make the medium fan, and the one striped sheet to make the tiniest fan.

I used white pom poms to finish off the centers, but you can use anything, really...
...a white paper circle, a paper heart, a cotton ball...whatever suits your taste and you have
readily available.

And there you have it, a pretty Valentine's Day mantel!

I used and old window pane and a "poof" made out of cupcake liners to finish off my mantel,
but I'm aware that not everyone has these laying around their house.

You can get a similar look by using a large, empty picture frame, or a mirror would look nice.

I strung Baker's Twine in a zig zag pattern onto the pane, then used mini clothespins
to hang strips of fabric that I cut out.
You could cut up an old white t-shirt if you don't have fabric available.

I also hung a paper heart here and there to add some visual interest.

So sweet, right?

And there you have it!

A cute and easy Valentine's Day project that you can complete in an evening.

Have fun with it, and be sure to share pictures...I'd love to see what  you come up with!

Share on our Facebook page, or on Twitter and Instagram using #Passion-for-Parties.

Happy Valentine's Day!

DIY: How to Make Paper Rosettes

Hey there!

I'm here today with a quick and easy DIY project for to make paper rosettes!

Ok, maybe that's fancy talk.  What the heck is a paper rosette?

In simple terms, paper rosettes are those pretty paper fans that you see at a lot of celebrations.

They add such a nice touch to parties, and they're awesome because they can be customized to match any decor.

I recently used them on my DIY Valentine's Day Mantel, which you can see here.

The best part about these little cuties?

You don't need to buy can make them yourself, for FREE!  

Here's how:

You'll Need:

~ Paper (any size, standard weight or lightweight card stock; the prints that I used can be downloaded for free here).
*The amount of paper you need will depend on the size of your rosette.  For the large rosette, I used 7 pieces, for the medium rosette I used 2, and for the small one, I used 1).
~  Paper trimmer
~ Double-sided tape
~  Stapler (optional)
~  Hot glue
~  Center covering (pom pom, paper cutout, etc.)


Begin by determining what size you'd like your rosettes to be.

The diameter of your rosette will be determined by the width of the paper that you use, multiplied by two.
So, if you use a standard 8.5" x 11" piece of paper, the diameter of your rosette will be 17 inches (8.5 multiplied by 2).

The pink polka-dot rosette at the top of the page was made using standard 8.5" x 11" paper.

 To get a smaller diameter, simply cut the paper width to the desired size.

To make the grey polka-dot rosette pictured above, I simply cut the paper in half lengthwise to 4.25," resulting in an 8.5" diameter rosette.

Follow me?  Hope so!

Now, this is where we go back to our elementary school days.

Remember when we used to make those paper fans, way back in the old days?

Well, this is really just like that.

Simply fold the paper back and forth, lengthwise, all the way to the end.

When you're done, your pieces should look like this:

Use double-sided tape to secure one end of each piece to another end of another piece.

If you'd like some extra security, you can also staple the connecting pieces in the back.

You'll end up with a "fan."

Once you have folded enough paper so that the ends meet, secure those with tape or staples, as well.

Add a squirt of hot glue to the center "hole," and squeeze the pieces together until the glue gets a good hold.

And there you have your rosettes!

Finish the center off with whatever floats your boat.

I had some pom-poms on hand so I used those, but you can use paper cut into circles or hearts, round paper cupcake toppers, cotton balls...the sky is the limit!

Get creative and have fun!

Here's another peek at what they look like in action:

So cute, right?  And it really couldn't be easier!

And as always, I love to see pics of your creations!

Share away on Twitter and Instagram using #Passion-for-Parties,
or share on my Facebook page.

See you soon!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Valentine's Day Invitations and a FREE Gift!

How would you like some of these cute little toppers to dress up your Valentine's Day cupcakes?

Well, they can be yours, for FREE, now through February 14th!

I'm giving away these cuties for free with every purchase made in my Etsy shop, now through Valentine's Day.  

I mounted the tiles on straws and used them as cupcake toppers, but they could easily be strung for use as a cake banner, as well.

Giving a gift to your special someone?

Add these tiles to the gift wrap!

They'd even be cute gracing the bottom of a card envelope.

The possibilities are endless!

Here are a few of the Valentine's Day goodies that are in the shop right now,
and more are on their way, so stay tuned!

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

5 Fave Football Foods

With a big football weekend ahead of us, and the Super Bowl just around the corner, I thought I'd share some yummy snack ideas for you to serve during the big games.

Here are five of my favorite go-to football foods that the crowds always seem to love:

Clockwise from top left:  
What's your favorite go-to snack?
Share your recipe with us in the comments below!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Making Things Happen Intensive - A Very Personal Recap

Two weeks ago, I had no idea that the 3 hour drive that I was about to make to Chapel Hill, North Carolina would change my life so drastically.

Two weeks ago, I was a tired, stretched-far-too thin mom, wife, and business woman, doing my best to take care of everyone and everything around me, while not taking care of myself…at all.

To those around me, I was an outgoing, friendly, successful gal who had it all going for her.
Little did they know how deceiving that perception was. 

That once confident, determined, go-getter girl was broken.  Defeated.  Full of self-doubt.

Somewhere along the road of raising four kiddos, giving my all to my family, and building a business from the ground up, I lost myself.

I was lost.  I was unhealthy.  My state of mind was in an ugly place.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am a VERY fortunate girl, in more ways than I could ever possibly count.

But that fire inside me was gone. 

That drive and fierce determination that I once had wasn’t burning in my gut anymore.

It was time for a change.

I came across some info for the Making Things Happen Intensive earlier this year. 

I read about it.  I researched the women that spearhead it.  I found myself getting drawn to so many of the stories of past attendees. 

I felt a spark, and I knew this was it.  

It was time to make something happen. 

So, off I set on that 3 hour car ride, scared to death that I wouldn’t measure up to these other women (and men), thinking for sure that I had made a mistake, and wondering if I should just turn the car around and head back home.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I kept that car rolling southbound.

What happened in the days that followed have honestly changed my life.

The exercises that we did forced me to take a very long, hard look at myself, how I live my life, and how I run my business.

I’ll tell ya, being brutally honest with yourself is HARD.

And incredibly emotional.  And man, I was rocked to my core.

The entire experience was terribly personal, so I’ll keep those details private for myself and the incredible individuals that I was fortunate enough to share this experience with.

There are some things, however, that I brought away from this experience that I feel I have to share with you.

I’d shout them from the rooftops if I could!

I’m sharing because I feel the need to be honest you, because I feel by writing it down I will hold myself accountable, and because, if you are feeling lost like I was, maybe my words can off you a glimmer of hope.

So here they are, the life-altering realizations that I am embracing after the Making Things Happen Intensive:

  1.  You can’t be everything to everyone.
  2.   Follow your own path, not the path someone else thinks you should be on.
  3. You don’t have to be perfect.
  4. Learn to say no, even when it’s hard.
  5. Stop investing all your time and energy into everyone else, and begin investing in yourself.
  6.  Don’t define yourself by someone else’s standards.  Comparison is devastating!
  7. Believe in your passion.
  8. Negativity manifests itself.
  9. No one has it all together.
  10. You are enough. 

Re-read each of those items, one at a time, and let them sink in.

They are SO powerful!

Since coming home, I have made some major changes in my life and set some big goals for myself.

Some changes you will notice in my business, others are more personal.

The biggest changes that you will see are these:

  1. Less time on social media, and more time focusing on what really matters.
  2. Designated work hours, to allow myself quality time with my family, time for me, and time for a more balanced life.

          My new office hours are as follows:  Monday – Thursday, 9:00am EST –  3:00pm EST
                                                                 Closed weekends and holidays.
      3.  A big shift in my business approach.  Changes are already underway, and you can expect to start                  seeing changes in early 2014!

And while I’m spilling my heart, I have one  more thing to say.

Thank you.

Thank you to each of you who visit my website, visit my blog, browse and purchase from my shop, and connect with me through e-mails and social media.

Thank you for supporting what I do, for allowing me to inspire you, and for making me feel as though I’m making a difference.

You all mean more to me than I could ever express.

Huge thanks to Lara Casey, Emily Ley, Gina Zeidler, Rhiannon Bosse, Nancy Ray, and Amber Housley for being real, and for encouraging me to dig deep.

Countless thanks to the attendees of the Making Things Happen Intensive for sharing your souls, for your honesty, for your support, and for teaching me that I am not alone.

I energized, I am ready, and my heart overflows.

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