party ideas

Last Minute New Year's Decor

It is almost time to ring in the new year! Woo-hoo! You waited until the last minute to decide on what you are doing and now your closest friends and family are showing up to your door step. IT'S DECORATING CRUNCH TIME! Here are a few last-minute decorating ideas that you can put together in a hurry!

CHOOSE YOUR COLOR SCHEME

I love glam holiday decor especially for New Year's Eve. If you are not sparkling on NYE, you are doing it wrong. There is no better time to incorporate silver, white, gold, and black tones for a sophisticated evening.

MAKE A FESTIVE SETTING

After you have picked your color scheme, its time to decorate! Head over to your local dollar store or party store to pick up some small appetizer plates, a table cloth, party hats, noise makers, or even some glitter or faux crystals to sprinkle along the table. Arrange silver and gold Hershey kisses in a candy bowl on the table for a sweet treat for your guests. You can also add a serving tray to keep your silver ware and cups arranged nicely.

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(Photo cred: simplyjessicamarie.com)

I love hurricane jars and lanterns. Twinkling candles always create a beautiful lit setting for any party or occasion. Arrange different candles heights on your table such as pillar candles and tea lights for visual interest. You can fill your hurricane jars or lanterns with gold stars or ornaments for a festive twist.

If your really in the New Year's spirit, plug in a strand of white lights to hang around your door and greet your guests as they walk into your home.

Don't forget adding some finger food to your table. If you have time to stop at your grocery store, run to the frozen section to find some appetizers to pop in the oven before your guests arrive.

POP SOME BUBBLY

What is New Year's without popping some Champagne (or sparkling cidar for the kiddies)? To make your drinks look more festive, I love to add fruit to my drink. Cranberries or raspberries make the perfect addition to any champagne glass. You can even add sugar cane sticks...but be careful, it will make your drink sweeter than it is (ideal for dry/non-sweet champagne).

QUICK CRAFT: Make your own drink toppers that make you look like you are the Queen of Hosting! Take barbeque skewers and glue tinsel around the end of the skewer. Wrap it around a few times, and glue to make sure it is secure! Pop it in the drink and ta-daaaa, you are one super hostess! ;) Rock on sista!

drink topper

Happy New Year my friends! Wishing you lots of love, laughs, health, and success in 2015!

Warmest wishes,

Amanda M. Amato

AMA DESIGNS

Dollar Store DIY: Gold Dipped Glass Holders

Hello beautiful friends! I am a little delayed on the my usual blog schedule because my first attempt failed.  I sprayed my glass holders and then added a clear acrylic coating to protect the paint from chipping. I guess my paint wasn't completely dry and the clear coat actually removed all of the metallic paint. So I had to recreate my project and fell short from my posting deadline. Sorry, folks!

If you haven't noticed, I love to DIY and I love gold. I actually love metallic paint so much that I purchased all the metallic paint from the hardware store. They know me by name. They also love all my crazy ideas - like my spray painted heels but that's another DIY project ;)

Ok, so on to my dollar store find! I purchased these babies at my local dollar store. You can apply this technique to wine glasses, candle holders, even tin cans. Let's get crafting!

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MATERIALS:

Metallic Gold Spray Paint

Glass Holders (in whatever shape or size you wish)

Blue Painter's tape

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1 - Clean the glass containors and remove any price tags from the bottom. To get the tags off, soak in very hot soapy water. It usually comes off easily but for those stickers that won't budge, use Gooby-Gone to take off the excess.

Step 2 - Tape the top half of your glass holder and fold over the top edges. Make sure tape is sealed tight so the paint does not seap underneath.

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Step 3 - Spray paint ! Don't forget to spread out newspaper.

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Step 4 - Let your holders dry

Step 5 - Remove the tape

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Ta- daaaaaa!!! You are finished. Great job! ;) Be sure to tag @byamadesigns on twitter or instagram so I could see your recreations. I would love to see your work. All my favorites will be reposted! :)

Yours truly,

Amanda M. Amato

AMA DESIGNS

A Thankful Thanksgiving

Hello from Pleasanton, California! (and it sure is pleasant)

I have everything to be thankful for this year. I am especially grateful that I get to spend my Thanksgiving with my family in California. I have never been on a family vacation before with my parents that I can remember. Twenty-three years later, we are taking one of our first family vacations. Although, later is better than never! I am so grateful to finally have the chance to spend a week with my family and also my cousins, my Aunt, and my Uncle.

Aside from family time, I am so blessed to have such an amazing support system behind me. My boyfriend and my friends are my backbone. I am so grateful to have an awesome circle of friends to laugh with and lean on when I need it. My boyfriend is my bestfriend and my rock. I am not sure where I would be without his continuous support and encouragement! Thank you <3

This year I have definitely noticed growth within myself and my business. AMA Designs was always something I did "on the side" but finally I have launched my business full-time and pursuing my passion. Starting is always difficult. I have realized as long as I keep taking that step forward each day, I can accomplish my dreams. After all, success is a series of small wins and small wins are better than none at all. I am so thankful for all my experiences so far and I cannot wait to see what the future holds!

I am also thankful for all of you!!!! YES, YOU READING THIS! <3 Without you, AMA Designs would nonexistent. Thank you for reading and I appreciate all your feedback. I love hearing from you. It truly brightens my day! I hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving.

Sending all my love!!! - Amanda

From my Notepad ... To Reality

20140806-004211-2531306.jpg To you, this may be just an empty room. Well, it is.

However to me, it means so much more than an empty space. I love this profession because my visions become reality. There is nothing more gratifying then seeing your sketches come to life !

This may be just an empty room but the stages to get to this point were bumpy! It's rewarding to see progress and comforting to know that we are only a few steps away from completion !!

I am so excited to share with you all! Plus, I hand painted artwork specially for this space!! :)

For progress pictures, visit the "Portfolio" Tab to view more of this project.

Have an amazing day!

Design Adventures with AMA!

Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I went to NYC to visit the new Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. I don't think he was nearly as excited as I was --- but I sure enjoyed it! I appreciate historical architecture and all forms of design.

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I literally jumped when I saw Van Gogh's "Starry Nights" in person along with some other pieces that I only saw from textbooks. There were also a few other paintings that caught my eye on the contemporary floor.

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This painting for example struck me. I love the texture and how all the bold colors blend together. After the museum, we stopped at Charrito's in Weehawken for lunch. We enjoyed authentic Mexican cuisine and homemade sangria while admiring the NYC skyline.

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My art adventures didn't stop here. Later on during the week, I went to Pinot's Palette in Montclair for a painting class with a few friends. It was a two hour class and I can't nearly explain how much fun it was. I have never laughed so much in one night! Even if you are not an artist - the instructer takes you step by step and will help you if you mess up.

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While browsing for some inspiration, I discovered the gorgeous earthscapes by Andres Amador. Andres creates massive drawings on beaches during low-tide. If you haven't seen his work - check out his website.

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After an exciting week of being surrounded by art and design, it has influenced me to get working on some projects this weekend. Maybe you'll see a new painting from me coming soon? hmmmm.....

 

 

Room Transformation: Baby Bedroom to a Teen's Dream

Once a young girl, this bedroom was well-loved. Now in her teenaged years and embarassed to have her friends over; it was time for a make-over! Clearly out grown her doll wallpaper-border, the pink walls, and the stuffed animals - this room transformation was well over due. With my design advice and a few tweaks - we were on the path to this teen's dream bedroom. A spot where she envisioned her friends coming over to hang out or staying the night for midnight snacks and gossip.

For this make over, I decided to keep the original furniture because it was such great quality. The furniture was constructed well and the paint looked brand new. Instead of new furniture, I updated the dresser and nightstand with new acrylic knobs.

With the money we saved from purchasing a new bedroom set, we spent it towards new wall paper and paint. The accessories and shag rug were from Home Goods. The curtain panels and bedding were from Target. The white tufted futton was from Walmart.

There you have it! This room is complete! What do you think of the transformation?

 

Before

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After

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Restaurant Transformation: From Cold to Inviting!

Jaimito's Restaurant located in Clifton, NJ was in need of an update. The owner wanted to make the restaurant feel more inviting for diners at night. With a few quick switches and my help; the restaurant is cozy and more romantic. For the project, I switched out the flourescent lighting and added drum pendants. I cannot stress enough how important the right choice of lighting is. By simply switching out the flourescents, the mood of the room is instantly more romantic and cozy.

I also painted the walls with a fresh coat of paint to bring out the colors in the existing tile. It's funny how the customers recognized the flooring after the new paint color was up. Everyone was asking "Is this new floor?!" Nope, by choosing the right paint color, the room is now more cohesive. I kept the room light because it is small and gets indirect sunlight. I didn't want to make the room feel smaller than it is.

I also added window treatments to soften up the harsh structural beams. I grouped the panels together in the middle to hide the beam in the center of the window.

I also picked out cherry wood furniture for the new restaurant table and chairs. The existing tile had a rust undertone and I thought the cherry wood would be nice to warm up the space. The cherry wood also compliments the darker gray in the tile and the soft gray walls.

For the round tables in front of the windows, I made center pieces that reflect the owner's personal style and culture. I also picked up candles and candle holders for each table.

I also updated the bathroom, by keeping the existing floor tile and retiling the walls. I added a new vanity and a fresh coat of paint. Not too much done - but made a huge difference!

To see the before images goto my portfolio page and also view other projects I have worked on.

Jaimito's Restaurant Before Images

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A "Lovely" Interior for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is in a few short days! If you haven't thought about decorating yet, get ready! I'm here with few quick decorating tips when your on the fly! Plus, I have an easy dessert planned for you too! Can't forget the sweets :) Decorate in main areas, especially near the entry so you can surprise your honey when they come home :) I like to hang a Valentine's Day wreath on the front door.

Light a few red candles on a decorative tray or charger. Fill clear jars with Valentine's Day sweets such as m&m's, jelly beans, red hots, or even conversation hearts. It is a great way to add color to your table or mantle.

For a more sophisticated look, place faux branches of red berries in a vase for some color. You can add these nearly anywhere: an entry table, mantle, or use a center piece for your dining room table.

Speaking of dining tables, it is time to create a romantic place setting. Add a table runner, candle sticks, and a floral arrangement in the center to balance. Add red ribbon around the head chairs and sprinkle a few rose petals on the table for an extra touch.

For dessert, pick up strawberries and some chocolate chips to make Valentine's Day Sweet Heart Cabobs. Slice the strawberries into hearts by cutting out a triangle at top-middle. Melt your chocolate chips and dunk your strawberries slices in the chocolate. Slide the heart-shaped slices onto the cob, arrange on  a plate, and your done!

Don't have enough time to run to the store? Make some hot cocoa and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter (or knife gently) to poke out a heart in a large marshmellow.

Enjoy your Valentine's Day with your loved ones everyone!

Much love,

Amanda

xo wreath

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