Archive of ‘Entertain’ category

DIY Boat Bar | Lake Geneva, WI

It’s always flattering when people compliment me for being creative, but you guys, I am clearly surrounded by equally as awesome people who have equally crazy ideas that they execute into one-of-a-kind projects that will just BLOW your mind.  Case-in-point, my sister Naomi and her husband Ryan who live in picturesque Lake Geneva, WI.  They literally put a BOAT in their basement and turned it into a fully functioning bar…I mean seriously, how cool is that?!  That ultimate DIY boat bar project is coming your way, with a lovely interview from the couple themselves on how this dream ever came to be, and the journey along the way.

Enjoy!  Boat-Bar-Blog-16Boat-Bar-Blog-6

Where did you come up with the idea to build a boat bar in your house?  
Good question.  I guess it’s a lifestyle I would love to have: to be on a boat, with a bar, little care in regard to the ‘real world’, sun in our faces with my wife by my side. (Either that or simply a dreamer with a drinking problem).  Kenny Chesney or Jimmy Buffett may have a song or two about just this.


Where did you find the boat that you purchased and how long were you looking before you found the one you wanted? (What were your requirements for the boat?).  
I looked for months on Craigslist (aka the greatest website ever founded).  I wanted a 16-18 foot wood boat from the 1960’s (dimensions based on basement limitations).  I found one in Oshkosh, WI – a 1962 Carve, which bonus, was originally built in Wisconsin.  We didn’t own a vehicle with a hitch except our Class-A RV, so we took a ride in October (with all 3 kids) to Oshkosh and after maneuvering the RV through a storage area, we met our boat.  The owner had started the restoration and it was fully original.  He had wanted to put it on a lake in Wisconsin but didn’t have the time or money to keep up the storage.  So, with a passion & a vision, we bought the boat and trailered it home behind our 36’ RV.


Talk about some of the personal touches you added to the boat bar and their meaning.
The top of the boat was covered with a blue canvas.  So I completely gutted the boat, stripped all the canvas and got down to the bare wood (all being done in my unheated pole building in the dead of winter in Wisconsin). I sanded, stained, varnished, installed stripping, and cut the opening for the walk behind bar.  Cutting the boat was scary.  I thought the back of the boat would fold out and fracture with the side removed (luckily it did not).  Once the boat was successfully cut, we moved the boat into our basement on the trailer (we had to remove a 9’ doorway for access).  We installed the boat on a frame I had built to lift the boat to “bar height”.

After the boat was in the basement, I added a the name “Nowhere to Go” (because every boat needs a name), numerous family photos and nautical elements given to me from family members, each detail and piece has a story and lots of love behind it.  I will also share that my wife bought me a “kegerator” to modify (aka: tear apart) and install that on the boat as well, so we always have fresh tap beer flowing.  I’d say that’s true love right there to just agree with some crazy guys’ dreams of a boat bar in their basement.


Talk about some of the materials used. 
We tried to use things that reminded us of Lake Geneva.  We took old pier posts from our family’s pier and used that as a tie up for the rear transom (aka the door to behind the bar).  We added other items such as the fishing pole from the movie “Grumpy Old Men” from Minnesota (where my wife is from), an old lobster buoy from Maine (where my wife and I lived after we were married), a photo of my grandfather behind a bar, and several other old pictures and decor of Geneva Lake.  We made a liquor cabinet and topped the cabinet with a “zip sled” design from our childhood.


What was the most challenging part of the boat bar project?
Cutting the boat after I restored it.  I’ll never forget sharing with my wife that the boat was restored and we should sell it to someone to enjoy and NOT cut it.  She told me she refused to listen to me scour Craigslist for another boat.  So, after lunch I went to the pole barn and cut the boat. Scary, but luckily, it all worked out.


What is your favorite part of the boat bar?   
Having our family and friends over to enjoy the boat bar is by far my favorite part.  We love that it is unique, fun, and functional- and always a good conversation piece.  Thanks for sharing our story!  We love how it turned out, it was truly a labor of love.


Christmas Gift Exchange Idea – My Favorite Things

Are you tired of the same boring Christmas gift exchange? Or does Christmas roll around and everyone says to themselves, “I don’t really want or need anything!”. Well, that was pretty much the place my family was at.  Christmas gift exchanging had lost its appeal, and in a large family, we didn’t want to have everyone buy everyone a gift (holy gift overload that would be).

My sister heard this amazing idea from a friend (credit where credit is due- thanks Jenn!) and we have since implemented it into our past 5 (or so?) Christmas gatherings and it has become a crowd fav.  It is called “My Favorite Things”.

Christmas Gift Exchange Idea - My Favorite Things | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Yes, that is me as Julie Andrews with the von Trapp family children, you know, we are just singing about our favorite things, obviously.  Upon further discussion of the Sound of Music with my husband I discovered he has NEVER seen the movie Sound of Music.  For. Shame. I then realized that I knew all of the songs (after lip-syncing them in our office obnoxiously to my husband who seemed less-than-impressed), so it only seemed appropriate to put myself in the setting.

Ok, back to reality.  Here is how it works:

1 | Split your group into guys & girls
Because I’m sorry, girls favorite things are just different than guys favorite things, it’s the truth. Dads, brothers, uncles, boyfriends, you’re grouped. Moms, sisters, aunts, girlfriends, you’re grouped.

2 | Come up with your favorite thing!
Think about what is your favorite thing that tells something about you, but also, is something that you would totally recommend to someone else. We do a range of $10-$15 gift. Once you have found your favorite thing, purchase one of each “favorite thing” for each person in your gender group. (So if you have 5 girls participating, buy 4 of your favorite things as gifts for all the girls, and 5 if you want to buy one for yourself- I mean, it IS your favorite thing afterall 🙂

This is so fun because you end up getting a lot of smaller gifts that people love shopping for and love to give and recommend because they love it so much!  It’s also fun to see people play into their personalities. Finally, I think this does a good job of getting the guys involved and excited about finding their own favorite things.

Here are some great ideas that I’ve seen throughout the years of our family doing this tradition on both the girls and guys’ side (sorry, I do remember the girl gifts better 🙂

Girl Gift Ideas:

  • Fuzzy socks
  • Coffee shop gift cards
  • Coffee mugs
  • Picture Frames
  • Non-Slip Hangers
  • Jewelry
  • Jewelry holder
  • Scarves
  • Mittens
  • Tights
  • Belts
  • Cookbooks
  • Subscription To Magazine
  • Chocolate
  • Gift Card to Movie Theater w/ a bag of popcorn
  • Boot Socks

Here are my Top 5 Ideas for 2014 Favorite Christmas Gifts for the Gals:

Christmas Gift Exchange Idea - My Favorite Things | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress1.  Anthropologie Limited Edition Golden Monogram Mug | $10

2.  Don’t Quit Your Day Dream Mug | $15

3.  Target Throw Blanket | $24.99

4.  American Eagle Bow Headband | $9.50

5.  Old Navy Women’s Sweater-Knit Pom-Pom Hat | $12.94


Guy Gift Ideas:

  • Beef Jerky
  • Liquor
  • Beer
  • Hot Sauce
  • Tools
  • Movies
  • Slingshots
  • Nerf Guns
  • Flashlights
  • Shot Glasses
  • Beer Mugs


Now I know with getting together this week for Turkey day the conversation is bound to come up to organize the Christmas gift exchange.  Give this idea a try and I just know your group will love it! We sure do.

Now get on out there and find your favorite thing, yo.  I still need to find mine but hopefully will do so at 5am at Mall of America Black Friday shopping with my sisters (true story, that’s going down in T-minus 2 days).

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Target Holiday 2014 Loves

Let me start with a confession about my previous Friday night.  I got off work with no plans for the night, so I headed to Caribou for a little recharge. From there I headed over to Target where I proceeded to get a cart (I mean, sometimes pushing around your purse while drinking a coffee is just way too nice). Besides, I knew I’d fill up a cart. Well, after perusing around the store for awhile, I left Target with one small makeup item 🙂  Confession or not, it was a pretty nice Friday night enjoying my Caribou coffee and perusing the Holiday section at Target to start to get into the “holiday spirit”.

So (for all my Minne-snow-tans) out there, in honor of our first real day of snow, check out some of my Target Holiday 2014 loves.  I think this may be a good way to justify these types of Target trips 🙂 I like the idea of sorting these by color schemes, so there will for sure be more to come.

Gotta love Target!

Target Holiday 2014 Loves


1. Texture Deer Figurine

2. Tabletop Deer Head

3.  Ornament Wreath

4.  Brushed Bronze “JOY” sign

5.  Beverage Dispenser

6.  Fair Isle Pillow

7.  Snowflake Sparkle Pillow

8.  Red Chevron Pouf

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower

My niece Lindsey is having a little girl in August and will be naming her Alice after her grandmother (adorable, right?!)  Well, as the host/planner of her baby shower, what theme would you choose other than ALICE In Wonderland?!  I had a lot of fun planning this baby shower with the help of my sisters.  This was the most people I have had at our new house and without knowing how the flow would go, I was a bit nervous!  I really wanted to utilize the outside deck space for the party so everyone could spread out and mingle without feeling crammed into the house.  (Not to mention making sure the house and yard were CLEAN!)

Sidenote: If the load-bearing wall between our kitchen and living room were down, I would have been more comfortable with being inside, but that is our upcoming FALL project.  Patience (like I have any).

Anyway, I had a team of helpers that I couldn’t have pulled it off without.  I literally came home from work one day and my yard look like a mini-episode of Yard Crashers.  OK, maybe not that big of projects, but lots of rallying of weeding, reinforcing our deck, and planting/moving hostas (our yard is frikin hosta-crazy!).  Long story short, our yard and deck never looked better!

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

In terms of decor, I wanted to keep it light and airy with a very girly/vintage feel.  We used crates to make shelves on the buffet where the dessert table was to give us some height and display area for framed photos of the “Mom-to-Be” and stacking of the vintage teacups in true “tea party” form.  The cupcakes had “eat me” signs, and the mason jar mugs had “drink me” signs.  Our favors were packs of tea in mini burlap bags with a teacup stamped on them.  A lot of the centerpiece and styling decor are available for rent from my rental website Mint To Be Vintage Rentals.

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Games are a very important part of a baby shower.  You want to keep your guests entertained and busy enough so they don’t become bored (and they often don’t know each other as well since everyone is there in honor of the mom-to-be).  For our shower, we played  games that were super fun and I would highly suggest.

Sitting Out Games:
I also like to promote guests to mingle at baby showers and to participate in a few stations that are sitting out.  We had two “sitting out” games/activities:

How Many M&Ms are in the Bottle?
We had this bottle sitting out and filled it with M&Ms.  Guests had to guess how many M&Ms were in the bottle for a chance to win a prize.  I also made up a cute rhyme to go with our theme that we displayed in a sign to tell guests how to play.

Mommy Motivation Diaper Message
This is a new one I had never seen until I started searching for baby shower ideas.  We purchased a pack of diapers and left sharpees out for guests to write funny or motivational messages for the parents-to-be during late-night diaper changes when moral may be low.  Although I have not been in this position, I would think these could be a real “pick-me-up”!

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Sitting down Games:
When the group is sitting down together (often before or after gifts), playing a few games is a great opportunity to laugh and get to know one-another in the group.  We played 3 sitting down games:

Play-Doh Sculpting
We passed out a container of play-doh to each person at the shower, along with a paper plate for them to write their name on.  The challenge was to sculpt a baby out of your play-doh.  The Mom-to-Be would then judge and choose the best baby to win a prize.  We were laughing so hard at some of the “attempts” and woo-ing over the successes.  It was a very fun and interactive game for all ages (plus the 4-year old attendee then really enjoyed playing with the play-doh during gifts!)

Baby Shower Gestation Game
This is a fun and quick game where you match the animal with the number of days you think that animal is pregnant for.  This was actually harder than you would think and of course it is mostly luck whoever wins, but it is a fun (and informative) game that may make the mommy-to-be feel a little better about only being pregnant for 9 months compared to some other pregnancies!

Celebrity Baby Matching Game
This is a classic that I have played before at baby showers, but it is always fun.  You have to think about your audience, if your guests seem like they may know some celebrity babies & mommas, then this game is a win!  (Me, I am terrible.  All I know is there are some crazy baby names like Apple and Blue Ivy).

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Alice in Wonderland Baby Shower | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

#31: 31 DIY Halloween Decor Projects

31 DIY Halloween Decor Projects

Well it has been a long road to these 31 Halloween posts.  Was I timely?  Nope.  Did I keep a consistent schedule of posts?  Nope.  BUT, did I succeed at 31 Halloween posts?!  YESSS!!!  I hope you enjoyed the journey of my Halloween party and all the fun Halloween projects along the way.

If you came to the Halloween party – thank you!  If not, I hope you felt as ‘virtually’ invited as you certainly were!  🙂

Here is a trip down memory lane as we look back at all of the Halloween projects!

1.  Bat Wing Fan

2.  Trick or Treat Boxes

3.  Haunted Bird Bath

4.  Bottles of Poison

5.  Frosted Candles

6.  Halloween Chandelier

7.  Head Waiter

8.  Spooky Flower Arrangement

9.  Eerie Crow Birdcage

10.  Mirror Mirror on the Wall

11.  Halloween Party Invite

12.  Glitter Skull Tray

13.  Painted Pumpkins

14.  Haunted Portrait Art

15.  Old School Pumpkin Carving

16.  Gaudy Spooky Frames

17.  Skull Frames

18.  Halloween Rosettes

19.  Deadly Punch

20.  Eerie Levitating Branch

21.  Creepy Touches

22.  Illuminated Skulls

23.  Halloween Lanterns

24.  Bat Room Decor

25.  Trick or Treat Banner

26.  Halloween Bay Window

27.  Halloween Food Labels

28.  PVC Halloween Candles

29.  Candy Table

30.  Halloween Photobooth


31 Halloween Projects


#30: Halloween Photobooth

DIY Halloween Decor - DIY Photobooth

This DIY Halloween Decor – DIY Photobooth was the best new feature of the Halloween Party 2012 in my opinion.  Last year, I was having so much fun I didn’t take enough pictures!  This year, we setup a basic backdrop using some wrapping paper and Halloween rosettes (from this post), and setup a tripod and my camera- set the self time, and the photobooth was born!

Really, the Halloween Party would be nothing without the people at the party.  We had so much fun celebrating with everyone and it was so fun to go back through these photos!  Thank you to everyone who came!!  🙂

DIY Halloween Decor - DIY Photobooth


#29: Candy Table

DIY Halloween Decor - Candy Table

The DIY Halloween Decor – Candy Table was a must repeat from the first annual Halloween party in 2011.  I don’t know about you, but I (without guilt) use Halloween as a huge excuse to give into my sweet tooth!  Hey, just because we don’t ‘technically’ trick or treat anymore, doesn’t mean we can’t eat too much candy!  😀

DIY Halloween Decor - Candy Table

DIY Halloween Decor - Candy Table

Enjoy!  (and go find some candy for yourself!)  🙂

#28: DIY Halloween Decor – PVC Candles

DIY Halloween Decor - PVC Candles

These DIY Halloween Decor – PVC Candles were a bit more work to make, but I am able to use them year after year and I love how they look and the fact that I created them from PVC pipe!  Here are the basic steps:

1)  Buy PVC pipe at your local hardware store (it is surprisingly cheap!)

2)  Cut the PVC pipe into various lengths (not too tall or they won’t stand upright easily).  I’d suggest using a Miter Box table saw if you have one.  This way, your cuts will be level.

3)  Fill the pipes with “Great Stuff” foam insulation (*Note:  It expands like crazy!  You won’t need to fill the whole pipe!)

4)  Cut off the Great Stuff that has ‘oozed’ out the ends so they are flush.  Then, use a drill with a large bit to dig the Great Stuff down on one end (this is to make room to set in a fake LED flickering candle)

5)  Use hot glue around the edge with the dug out spot for the candle to make ‘wax’.  Let the hot glue run down the PVC for a dripping wax effect!

6)  Spray paint PVC with hot glue white.

7)  Add artificial flickering LED tea lights.

DIY Halloween Decor - PVC Candles


#27: Halloween Food Labels

DIY Halloween Party Decor - Food Labels

Gross up your food assortment this Halloween with some unconventional food signs!  This year, we featured:

1)  Pumpkin vomit (mini Pumpkin puking Guacamole- p.s. Wholly Guacamole is the best!)

2)  Joe’s Sloppy Brains (sloppy joes – great party food!  Just get the mini dinner rolls so they are handheld sliders!)

3)  Warm Ear Wax (Queso dip for the tortilla chips, I refer to this as “Happy Dip”- I mean, queso makes everyone happy!  🙂


#26: Halloween Bay Window

DIY Halloween Decor - Decorate a Bay Window

I had a hard time coming up with this decor.  Bay windows are typically so cozy, cute and quaint, its hard to imagine them for a Halloween party as eerie, spooky & creepy!  I used blue lights to set the mood, added some foam tombstones in the windows, and accented with spider webs and spiders, and I totally loved the outcome!

DIY Halloween Decor - Decorate a Bay Window

DIY Halloween Decor - Decorate a Bay Window


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