*Since I will be away from my computer for the next few days, I decided to pick the winners early, because, I just KNEW you would all be on the edge of your seat until I announced the winners and I didn’t want anyone to have a miserable weekend. I’m nice like that. I’ve contacted the winners (#127 Kristi H., #159 Jennifer R., and #719 Jenny). Congratulations!

I’m not going to lie: I can make a mean cupcake. And I can even pipe a swirl that is pretty darn cute. But in honor of staying honest, I have to confess that beyond that, I’m a terrible party planner. I envy those gifted folks who can put together a party table that is filled with decorations, food, and a real, live tablecloth – and all of it coordinated in the cutest of ways. I’m lucky to get the cupcakes or cake slapped onto a cardboard round and transported from here to there before one of my kids’ gouges a taste with their pudgy, smudgy fingers.

A week or so ago, I saw Amy Atlas’ new Sweet Designs book highlighted on several blogs and decided I had to get my hands on a copy. I ordered. It arrived. And my life and party planning skills are officially changed for the better.

Seriously, this book assures me I can be a party planning rock star. And trust you me, I will become just that if it kills me. All because every single step, decoration, idea, and recipe is laid out in the book. The level of detail is astounding. Granted, some of the ideas/tablescapes are completely over-the-top but my new party planning motto is go big or go home and this book proves that is the way to live your party planning life. I cannot wait to put the brilliant ideas in this book to use. I just have to find the perfect occasion now (oh, and the time…you know…cause having a new baby and four other rugrats running around isn’t enough on my plate right now – ha!).

In honor of my bursting love for this book, I’m giving away THREE copies to THREE lucky winners. Simply leave a comment on THIS post and tell me what kind of party planner you are. Do you go all out, including hot gluing miniature flags onto drinking straws? Or do you stay simple, simple, simple? Spill the beans. And enter to win a copy of this book that will make all your friends jealous of your mad party planning skills.

Winners will be announced tomorrow. Or maybe Friday. Depending on my mood. Love ya!

Pssst: Giveaway sponsored by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (a.k.a. me). Amy Atlas and her book have no idea who I am and they don’t realize that not only am I envious of the party planning ideas, but I desperately want Amy Atlas’ hair. Peace out.

843 Responses to Super Spontaneous Giveaway: Sweet Designs – CONTEST CLOSED!

  1. Katie says:

    I love to do themed parties (at home) for my kids. I do what I can to be crafty but it’s on a very low budget. The good news? My hubby is the cake decorator in the family so I can focus on getting the house clean and decorated.

  2. Melissa Cottam says:

    I love to do lots of food would love to the get to the cute ideas but usually by the time I’m done with the food I don’t have time for the cute decorations it be great to get some new ideas and try to expand my party planning!!

  3. Rita says:

    I usually keep things pretty simple, especially with decorations.

  4. michelle says:

    I am a wannabe go over the topper! Sometimes I manage it, other times I go super simple. But I am sure I’d love this book! Thanks, Mel!

  5. Sylvia Lewis says:

    I go ALL OUT! I love matching EVERYTHING. My latest planning was for my daughter’s 1st birthday. It was a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme and I created all the files on my computer…from custom cupcake wrappers, food cards, party hats, even a timeline of baby’s first year. It was a blast. After the party, my friends insisted I put my files on Etsy for custom orders (and I listened!) My first big party plan turned into a mini business for this stay-at-home mom!

  6. Aubrey says:

    I go as simple as possible in the party planning department. I am just not creative enough to think up all the cute decorating deas.

  7. Jules says:

    When it comes to making food, I love to have my table filled with everything under the sun!! No one goes away hungry!!!Decorating is always on the simple side!!!

  8. Cecilia says:

    I’m not much of a party planner either. I normally do simple things. Pinterest is helping me plan a bridal shower though :)

  9. Dana M says:

    I love that I have my own place now and get to hold parties for every occasion (even find myself making up a few) This book would help me on the days I lack the inspiration for a fabulous party/event.

  10. Shaela winsor says:

    Mel I’m so bad at decorating that I avoid party planning all together! I’m sooooo lame!

  11. Megan says:

    I usually keep it pretty simple :/

  12. Faith says:

    I love decorating, especially cupcakes. I like to make a lot of yummy dishes that look well together, then spruce up with something organic, like flowers. Fun stuff!

  13. Cari says:

    I think its all in the details! Food TASTES so much better when its PRETTY! Right? I know I appreciate it! If only we all had unlimited access to a party planning “fund” :) I would love some new ideas!!!

  14. Jill says:

    I like to keep things super simple, but I also try to make the food really yummy. Your website sure helps. Thanks for all your work and your great ideas.

  15. Susan A says:

    I like to do the food and general party planning, but when it comes to decorating, I’m challenged and out of time. Love looking at lots of ideas though!

  16. Victoria says:

    Not so good. I could definitely use the help.

  17. Erika says:

    I am oh-so-simple but only because I am lacking in creativity and shopping. I would love a copy to get me a boost up out of simple land!

  18. Heather A says:

    I love planning parties! I don’t go over the top, but I don’t keep it super simple either. I would love this book. Thanks!

  19. Jenny says:

    I tend to focus so much on the food that the rest of the details get, um…squashed. My motto is kind of, well, if they loved the food then it couldn’t have been bad, right? Which is why I’m pretty sure I could strongly benefit from some over-the-top ideas right about now.
    :)

  20. Andrea says:

    My party planning goes as follows: 1. Make huge plans 2. Get overwhelmed and procrastinate 3. Stay up till midnight the night before and do everything I possibly can, and do without all the extras.

  21. Tonya R. says:

    I could use all the help I can get!

  22. Lara Leigh says:

    At one point in my life I was a “go all out” party planner, but in recent years have become a weak party-er. My first 3 kids benefited from creative celebrations, but my poor youngest 3 are left with the worn out mom with not enough energy or hours in the day. I dream of becoming energized again… :) PS…love your blog and cook from it regularly!

  23. Nicole H. says:

    I’m not a great party planner, it usually makes me nervous to be honest. But I am improving :)

  24. Kristin T. says:

    I play both sides of the fence. I do all-out, to the hilt birthday parties for my kids. But, often do simple parties for other occasions. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.

  25. Kathy says:

    I stay simple, simple, simple and need help from those more talented than me!

  26. Missy Hawkins says:

    My motto is SIMPLIFY. Pick a few things that will carry your theme, work hard on those and let the rest go. It usually turns out that my kids would rather jump on the trampoline with the balloons than do all the other games I have planned.

  27. Janet Jack says:

    I like to go all out with food, decorations, and yes even
    gluing flags on striped straws. It is a marathon event,
    but I have to stay on a tight budtget usually so that
    means I have to be more creative in the end!! The
    book looks so fun! Thanks for sharing!
    Janet Jack

  28. Julie says:

    I love to throw parties and usually spend forever looking ideas up on the Internet. I over plan and never have time to get everything done. I usually only get the food done and the decorating gets neglected. It would be awesome to have great ideas all in one book and actually get it done.

  29. Amy Gledhill says:

    I think about what I’d like to do and come up with good ideas, but can’t get myself to execute anything so everything ends up pretty boring ..I’d love to actually pull off a cool party for my kids.

  30. Stephanie says:

    I’m a simple girl with secret desires to go big. Mostly a financial issue at this point. :)

  31. Ali K says:

    For the kids I go all out with the cute little details, for adults I put more into the food, bigger, better, tastier, more, more, more.

  32. Dana says:

    With time so limited, I keep it simple with lots of yummy food. But I have to agree fancy parties are a lot of fun.

  33. Mel says:

    When it comes to decorating, I certainly can use all the help I can get. I would love to win!

  34. Kelly says:

    I NEED this book!! I entertain all the time and I love it but my focus on the fabulous food leaves the rest a little lacking. I was super proud of myself that I got some flowers on the table for Easter dinner. It was a far cry from what I’d really like to see, though. Sounds like a great book!

  35. Jenni says:

    I love planning and hosting parties! Every year I throw a How to Host a Murder Mystery Dinner for my friends and do I go all out. It takes me weeks to a month to get everything ready, from the table setting to planning the menu, I love every minute of it. Don’t even get me started on what I do to host a Holiday meal. And I constantly look to Amy Atlas for inspiration. She is amazing.

  36. Tiffany says:

    I have great intentions to go BIG, but with 5 kids ages 7 and younger I haven’t quite gotten to it!

  37. Sharon says:

    I would love to entertain more, but it scares me!

  38. Dana says:

    All out! I don’t like to spend a ton so I have to get creative.

  39. Laura says:

    I’ve just started to do more with my parties & have really enjoyed it. I need more ideas though & I think this book would be a big help!

  40. Linda S. says:

    I like to plan ahead for special occasions with friends to make it special – even setting the table a day or so ahead of time and getting everything for recipes chopped ahead of time. That way I really can relax and enjoy spending time with everyone instead of standing in the kitchen the whole time. Of course, my kids are grown now – that’s why I can do this. :) This book would be lots of fun to read!

  41. Tara says:

    I just try to have really yummy food. But I would love to be able to throw a cute party!

  42. samW says:

    well I LIKE to go all out, and I used to….than I had 5 kids & it has become more a desire than a reality!

  43. Krista says:

    I am so NOT a party planner. It stresses me out to even think about it. I had my first boy last year and I wanted to go all out for his one year old party but I had no idea where to even start. This book would help me plan his future birthday parties so please pick me!

  44. Karen says:

    I am simple, simple, simple, probably for lack of knowing any better.
    We have a big birthday party this summer, sure could use some ideas…………

  45. Aimee says:

    I don’t know about “simple, simple, simple…” More like stressed, stressed, stressed whenever I entertain!

  46. Jenn Van Wagenen says:

    My skills are nothing to write home about…I lean towards simple. I agree! Can I have her hair too!

  47. Tammy says:

    I like to keep it simple yet fun. I would love some new ideas though…been stuck in a rut lately and I’m sure this would help!!!

  48. betty says:

    Ooooh! That book looks fun! I love to plan parties, but am an awful executor of those plans. Would love direction and inspiration.
    Oh, and I LOVE your website. Pretty much you are my main source for meals around here.

  49. rachael geow says:

    Simple simple simple. :)

  50. Michaela says:

    I love to throw parties! And I love to go all out with food and decorations, but I’m not super talented at it, and it takes me forever to figure it all out each time. This book sounds perfect! I’m always in need of some good tips and inspiration!

  51. Jan says:

    I LOVE to plan parties and activities but I don’t go all-out with decorations. I love planning the food and activities and just having them to enjoy with friends but I am not the cutest stylist so I would just LOVE this!! Thanks!

  52. Becca says:

    I would love this book because I am a terrible party planner. I stress about it way too much, and I am usually underprepared. Hope I can win it! I love reading your blog!

  53. Shante says:

    I can make the food, but I do NOT craft or decorate. I’m terrible at it. Unfortunately, I did not receive my Mother’s creative genius skills.

  54. Mary A. says:

    I have to keep it simple due to necessity of a busy life and busy kids. Sometimes I get inspired and find a way to do more, but not often.

  55. Emily says:

    I’ll admit. I’m not much of a party planner, though I do like simple parties. I’m more of the you plan the party, I’ll bring the food kind of person. I’d like to do more though…

  56. Audrey says:

    I would say that I am an optimistic party planner. I have grandious ideas and plans, but the results is usually just average haha. I need some party planning inspiration!

  57. Jen Wallis says:

    Some of my friends laugh at me because I am well known for using a black magic marker for cards and letters, and we often do Little Ceasars 5 buck pizza at our house parties! Not that I wouldn’t love to go all out, I would! I’m just not sure how to do it all! This book would probably change my life! :) thanks and LOVE your website! :)

  58. Mary says:

    I keep it pretty simple. Except for fun cocktail napkins!

  59. Cathy says:

    I get really nervous about the whole thing, freak out that it’s coming up & clean the house like crazy, convince myself I’m coming down with something & that I have to cancel the big shindig, & finally just grit my teeth, face reality & try to have a good time.

  60. Tiffany says:

    ha – I would love her hair, too, and/or the stylists that made it look that way. But for parties, I am an avoider first, and when it’s inevitable I am a hyper-planner (i.e. we’ll need 40 forks so I’ll get 60 in case half the people drop them…).

  61. Ariane says:

    I love making cute food for parties, but I go pretty simple on decorations. I keep wanting to be the huge planner, but it usually doesn’t work out that way.

  62. Stacy says:

    I go all out! Make plans for weeks!

  63. rachele says:

    Id like to think that I am a creative person but when it comes to party planning the buck stops there. Some extra help in party planning would be appreciated and needed. :)

  64. Molly says:

    I spend too much time thinking about things and then wear myself out trying to get it all done last minute.

  65. kattie says:

    I always plan to stay simple, but then it still ends up being alot of work:)

  66. Suzie E says:

    Oh Mel, I could use this book too…..But I will say I assisted in a baby shower this past weekend and ALL the food on the table was from your blog! :) So you will now have new faithful followers…everything was a hit!!

  67. Lindsay says:

    I love to plan parties. For my girls I do the works but for my boys I keep it simple. Why waste energy on those that will not appreciate it!?

  68. K says:

    I like things to look nice, but try not to overwork myself in the process!

  69. Amanda says:

    I try to go all out, but alas am not so great at planning and end up frazzled, half-done, and exhausted by party time. I NEED this book!

  70. Lynzi Neville says:

    Hey, I first off just want to say how much I LOVE your blog. This is my go-to for any recipe. I have loved all the recipes I have tried. As far as the parties go… I am super simple, simple, simple! Maybe because decorating is not one of my strengths! I would love some fun ideas from this book! Thanks

  71. Amber says:

    I love to go all out! The house has to be sparkling clean and food all ready and yummy. However, I’m only a crafty want-‘ta- be though. So my tables and lay outs are delicious looking, but not the cutest! I’d love to have a book to help me out with that! :) Thanks for doing a fun drawing!

  72. Elizabeth says:

    Oh Melanie I am so envious of people with this type of talent. I am simple simple simple when it comes to decorating, but I wish I was more creative!

  73. Joyce says:

    I love party planning! Depending on the occasion, the party may range from simplicity at its finest to extravagance galore. Regardless, I always stick to the philosophy, more food is always better than not enough. I tend to have leftovers but, hey! That just makes the next few days a lot easier for me :)

  74. Robin says:

    I must confess, I have 4 sons and never realized all the things I could do until I looked at blogs. I really could use some help in planning parties now for my grandchildren. But I do have to say I make a wonderful chocolate cake which everyone asks for at every party.

  75. Tanis says:

    I’m a party planner wannabee! I’ve got the desire – just need the ideas:) hint hint;)

  76. EM says:

    The food I serve is usually time-intensive to prepare, but I keep things simple as far as decorations or centerpieces. I usually don’t host parties, though, because with three small boys it looks like a tornado came through my house each day!

  77. Lana says:

    Oh lordy, I am so not good at planning things like this, despite my desire to be. The best I can do is host a football party and manage to get nachos and lil’ smokies.

  78. Lynne Anderson says:

    Parties are simple here–mostly family–not a real social bug.

  79. Vickie says:

    I am NOT a good party planner, and I have twins that are turning 1 in just 3 weeks! I have been searching online for good ideas, and I have a few things figured out, but I need to learn how to organize and create a coherent theme. It’s probably too late for this year, but what about all those future birthday parties? Please help me!

  80. Dana Campbell says:

    I am a sad disappointment to my mother who is an amazing party planner…for instance, she threw a party when we all had chicken pox so that other mothers could come get their kids infected…that’s how we rolled in my day. Anyway, polka dot theme everything, decorated to the hilt, and warm oatmeal baths for anyone who needed it. Her “un-birthday parties” were legendary…Alas, my parties are only cool in my head. :) There’s still hope for me yet, though!

  81. Ariane says:

    Party planning stresses me out BUT I will say I much rather cook then decorate. It does not stop me from planning, I am getting better at handling and would appreciate the time managment side of party planning and pacing myself with the whole thing!

  82. Sara says:

    I’m all about the food! Running out of something is unheard of, but decorations? What are those again?

  83. Kathy says:

    Simple but beautiful and, of course, delicious!

  84. Lyndy says:

    I go all out on the cake and then everything else gets forgotten about. This book would really help me out I think.

  85. Keri Harrison says:

    Im an over-abundant party planner. I’m always so worried there won’t be enough food or drink thati overcompensate – every time.

  86. Kiersten Anderson says:

    I love parties but am not the best planner, especially with making everything look so good. This book would be amazing!!

  87. Denise says:

    I plan ahead, do what I can day by day ahead of the party and do try to keep things elegantly simple. I used to go all out but found less was often best as the people gathered round ‘made’ the party. My food and decor set the atmosphere. I am always learning and love books. When I’ve read a good book I mail it to my daughter who lives in Kenya. She values any new ideas.

  88. Cookies4kids says:

    I do think I am a pretty good party planner. I start weeks ahead with the menu, decorations, etc. and have it pretty well in hand the day of. Sometimes, I think I am over organized which can lead to problems itself, LOL.

  89. sweetpea says:

    pretty simple, I’m afraid. I love planning the menu and the centerpiece (floral). Would love to have this book.

  90. Marissa says:

    I’m the kind of party planner that will go out of my way to not be involved in the planning in the first place. As in, I wait till the last possible second to throw close friends baby showers in hopes that anyone else will!

  91. Angie says:

    Simple, Simple, Simple!

  92. Claudine says:

    I’m the “big dreamer party planner”. I would LOVE to plan big parties, but when it comes right down to it, I seem to get exhausted before anything becomes elaborate. Everyone is fed well at my parties and has a good time :)
    P.S. My sister just picked up the cookbook and said I MUST get a copy, too!

  93. Nancy says:

    Definitely a simpleton but I will jazz up the food! LOVE making treats!

  94. Heather says:

    I am simple as simple gets! I could use some ideas to make myself think a little more outside the “box”!! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  95. Alison says:

    I go all out in an attempt to create the appearance of effortless ease. And, I’m typically exhausted by the time that the festivities begin. This books sounds as if it could provide some much needed relief.

  96. Lauren says:

    This book looks fantastic! I could use some party planning ideas!

  97. Hillary says:

    I go ALL out! Except my glue gun just died! So I won’t be having any great parties until I get a new one!

  98. Corinne says:

    I am all for keeping it simple. Although I do try to make a fancy cake for each one of my five kids.

  99. Ellen says:

    I totally get overwhelmed having to clean the house and cook. Decorating is the last thing I think about and it usually doesn’t happen. But I would love to get some great ideas

  100. Amber says:

    I’m exactly like you…. I can make a great cupcake, but getting the party decorated leaves me scratching my head.

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