Entries in easy party ideas (5)



Hi Friends...

If you have noticed, I've been very absent from my blog in recent weeks-months as I worked on a new, better website... where you will be able to find party plans, recipes, wedding advice, and tips for bringing your friends and family together for holidays, celebrations, or just a casual weekend get-together.

For now, as I move and add the recipes and content to the new site, I will leave this blog intact but eventually merge them. The new site is much easier to navigate. You can find party ideas for casual get-togethers and holiday celebrations under the celebrations tab. Ane the new site has a place for all of the "how-to" videos I will begin creating soon.

I'm so excited to take Martie Knows Parties on to the next level... Please tell me what you think!


This Weekend: Hit the Farmer's Market and Get Pickling with Our Pickling Party!

Are you growing your own veggies this summer or making the weekly trip to the farmer's market on Saturday morning? Well, don't let the party stop there. Once you've collected all of those fresh fruits and veggies, get your gang over for a pickling party! Pickling is the new knitting.... who knew? And this is one the guys can get in on, too. Get all of the party details in our Pickling Party video and slideshow on! Click the picture to get to the video file... 

Photo: Arden Photography




Easy Party Ideas: Build a Bloody Mary Bar

Perfect for New Year's Eve, watching all of those bowl games, or for New Year's Day brunch, this DIY Bloody Mary Bar is a hit every time!

Part salad bar, part drink bar, the Bloody Mary bar is becoming a popular interactive addition to parties and restaurant bars everywhere. Since everyone has their own idea of the perfect Bloody Mary, each drink can be individually crafted to get the seasoning just right.  It's not only fun but efficient to let guests mix up their own custom blend. Each region of the country has local add-ins and flavorings but one thing is consistent; everyone thinks their version is the best. As a Southerner, I would lose my membership card if I didn’t know how to make a good Bloody Mary. Southerners like a Bloody Mary to be spicy, heavy on the horseradish and loaded with fresh vegetables —a garden in a glass. To set up your own Bloody Mary bar, a cleared kitchen counter works well. You’ll need to keep your veggies chilled so put them in glasses, place in a low container or bowl and fill around the glasses with ice.

Use large glasses for serving since it will be packed with veggies and mix-ins until the flavor is just right. Long teaspoons are best to mix up the goodies—a plastic stirrer just won’t cut it. Have lots of wipes or towels on hand for spills and don’t use a white tablecloth for this one.


VODKA:  Use your favorite vodka. Sometimes I use Absolut Peppar and rim glasses with a pepper and sea salt mixture before adding liquids and mix-ins.

MIX: Get one or two types of bottled mix or good organic tomato juice for the base

Major Peter’s (recommended)


Tomato Juice


Lea & Perrin Worcestershire

Celery salt

Old Bay Seasoning (look at the fish counter if you can’t find it with the seasonings)

Cocktail Sauce

Rim glasses with a mixture of Old Bay, Kosher salt, and a dash of pepperHEAT

Tabasco Original

Louisiana Hot Sauce

Tabasco Green

Fresh ground pepper

Red pepper flakes

Fresh ground horseradish


Celery stalks

Lemon wedges

Lime slices


Pickled okra

String beans

Cocktail onions

Cherry tomatoes

Pickled asparagus



Raw oysters

Clam juice


Cheap is the New Chic: DIY Buffet Bars for Your Next Party

So many of you are planning weddings, birthday parties (I have my Dad's 80th next week) anniversary parties, bridal showers and graduation parties right now, I am getting daily emails asking for help and ideas.  

One easy and affordable idea for parties of any kind are DIY food stations. Caterers have used build-it-yourself food and beverage bars for a long time. These DIY bars are affordable, fun and interactive, too! Coffee and dessert bars have been popular forever but now we're seeing everything from mashed potato bars to cupcake bars. Guests love to customize their dish. That's why ice cream shops with all of those mix-ins are so popular; people can get exactly what they want. Here are some ideas for your own DIY Buffet Bar:DIY is easy wtih all of these toppings and mix-ins at a kid's party. Photo: Arden Photography

  • Pizza Bar   
  • Pasta Bar
  • Risotto Bar
  • Soup Bar
  • Ice Cream Bar
  • Bloody Mary Bar
  • Gumbo Bar
  • Baked Potato Bar
  • Candy Bar
  • Martini Bar
  • Hot Chocolate Bar
  • Hot Fudge Sundae Bar

Start with your base. Add containers of your favorite toppings or mix-ins. Guests can add what they like to create their dish their way! Tell us your own ideas for a DIY buffet bar!


It's Mardi Gras! Or as I prefer to call it---- Martie Gras

 The final days and parades of Mardi Gras are happening in Mobile and New Orleans right now so what are you doing this weekend? Road trip!!! Just kidding. If you're like me and didn't see even one of the nominated movies this year, why not skip the annual Oscar party and invite a few friends over for a Mardi Gras party instead? It's one of the fastest parties to pull together. All you need is gumbo, lots of gold, green and purple decorations and tons of beads. Almost every dollar store or party supply store has Mardi Gras decorations or drag the green and gold tinsel or garland down from the attic, add a little purple, a few beads, some Louis Armstrong on the iPod and you're half way there.

To host your own Mardi Gras party, check out the pics and how-to from our MSN article. 

Want up to the moment coverage and pictures? has photos, videos, schedules, articles plus all the FAQ's you'll need to become an expert on the subject.