MKKM Designs

party planning

Reflecting on Seven Years of Being in Business!

Military Life, Freebie FridaysMelissa KayComment
Cheers to Seven Years // Reflecting on 7 years of being a small business owner. Grab the signs freebie on the blog // mkkmdesigns

It’s our birthday and we’ll blog if we want to. If you follow us on social media, then you know we just celebrated our SEVENTH year in business this week. In those past 7 years, I’ve moved to 3 continents, birthed 2 babies, and tried to keep my sanity intact, while navigating this crazy military lifestyle (spoiler alert, I didn’t).

What I have learned over the years, is that being a small business owner is tough, but amazing. The people I’ve connected with, the reviews from happy party planners, the friends who get excited finding out what I do, make all of the bad parts worth it.

This week I threw myself a party to celebrate, because in the words of one of my favorite milspouse biz owners, Kelly from Third Space Yoga, sometimes you just have to be your own hype person. Read on for my 4 biggest lessons learned from running a small biz, and grab the printables from the #bizbirthday party.

Cheers - Free printable sign from MKKM Designs. Grab the freebie for your birthday party or anniversary. Edit the number to match your year!
Melissa from MKKM Designs, reflects on 7 years of being a small business owner while also being a military spouse
Building my empire one cuss word at a time // Quote from MKKM Designs
Building My Empire, One Cuss Word At A Time
— Melissa from MKKM Designs

If you know me in real life, you probably realized I have a bad sailor’s mouth. I keep it low key around my kids, and then as soon as I’m around adults it just rolls out. This sign and quote sums me up to a T!

You can grab the free printable for it here!

#justhereforthecake // MKKM Designs on 7 years of business on the blog.
Cheers to Seven Years // Reflecting on 7 years of being a small business owner. Grab the signs freebie on the blog // mkkmdesigns
DIY washi tape straw flags, an easy way to dress up a drink. // mkkmdesigns #partytips

Get the Party Prints!


4 Small Business Lessons from Seven Years in Business

4 Small Business Lessons for Mompreneurs // Head over to the blog to read all about them! // mkkmdesigns

Lesson 1: Say No to Stress

The whole just say no is ridiculously cliche, but true. I feel it takes most biz owners awhile to finally take it to heart. In the beginning of our business, I said yes to EVERYTHING. Things I didn’t like, didn’t have an interest in, custom orders I thought were downright ugly. After a few years and especially this last year, I learned that you don’t have to take on everything. If you say no, they’ll find someone else. You’ll be happy and a client won’t have someone working on a project they don’t have their heart in

Lesson 2: Stand Up For Yourself

A.K.A Don't let those copycats get away with that shiz. This has been one of the roughest parts of being a designer. Walking that very thin line between honored that your designs are good enough for copycats, and shaking in rage that someone would have the balls to do that. I still get mad, but now I don’t hesitate for a second when I send that knock it off letter. Seriously, don’t let people walk all over you. You don’t have to be hateful, but you do need to protect your business. Why let other people profit off our your hard work, right?!?

Lesson 3: Know Your Worth, Then Add Tax

What usually happens in the beginning of every small business, is you figure you would rather be inexpensive and raise prices later, than not sell anything at all. DON’T DO IT. Read this blog from The Merriweather Council. Or just read all of her posts. I bought her Etsy course a long time ago and it was a life changer. You’re worth more than less than minimum wage.

Lesson 4: Understand That There Is A Season For Everything

This one has been the hardest one to accept. This past year when we moved from Japan to Germany, I thought a month off from my business wouldn’t be a big deal. It was. Once I finally got my computer back, I was so unmotivated to do anything and so excited to explore our new home. Then we couldn’t get my 4 year old into a preschool. He’s been going to school since he was 10 months old, so this was a massive shock to him, and me! For a while, I had to let my business suffer, because I couldn’t just sit him in front of a tv all day. (Full disclosure, I totally did some days, still do actually. Netflix is the greatest thing ever invented). The first 6 months of the year was my mothering season. Now with fall pre-school quickly approaching, I get the next 6 months for my business.

What are your best small business lessons? Leave a comment here or message us on Instagram! I’d love to share them!

Melissa from MKKM Designs, reflects on 7 years of being a small business owner while also being a military spouse

5 Last Minute Ways To Decorate A Party: A Procrastinator's party guide.✦ Thursday Tips & Tricks Series

Thursday Tips and TricksMelissa KayComment

Hello and welcome to our new Thursday Tips & Tricks series. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite party tips to help keep the stress out of party planning. Parties are meant to be memory making events, and you don’t want the only memory to be how stressed out you were while putting it together. Read along with this tongue and cheek series and let us know if there are any specific party problems you have! We would love to help make it easier for you.

5 Last Minute Ways To Decorate A Party: A Procrastinator's party guide. ✦ Thursday Tips & Tricks Series on MKKM Designs

My son’s 6th birthday was this past weekend, and it got to be the week of his party when I realized, I had spent so much time working on other people’s parties, that I hadn’t even started on his. That got me thinking that there are probably a TON of other moms or hostesses out there that are busy with work, or kids, or just life in general, that are in the same boat. I started decorating parties for my son’s 1st birthday and have a ton of experience under my belt on what’s quick and easy, and which decor item is the BIGGEST time waster.

I’m sharing 5 easy ways to decorate an event, when it’s the day before and you have nothing done. These easy decor tips can make any party look custom created, and guests will think you spent way more than a couple hours preparing.


Cupcake Toppers

Cupcake toppers are a fun, versatile way to decorate a party. A simple Pinterest search will bring up all kinds of printables in your theme. All you have to do is print, cut and tape onto a stick. If you’re like me, you don’t even have to bake the cupcakes. I usually just pick up a dozen cupcakes from the grocery store the day before the party.

Materials Needed

✦ Cupcakes ✦Cupcake Printable ✦ Lollipop Sticks/Party Straws ✦ Scissors/ craft punch ✦ Tape

If you plan on hosting more than one party in your life, I highly recommend getting a cupcake topper punch. I have had the shown punch for over 6 years and LOVE it. It’s been used a ridiculous amount of times. I use both the 2” circle punch and the 2.5” circle punch for a bit of variety.

Total time: Around 15-20 minutes for assembly. Possibly hours to decide which printable you like best, out of the thousands you can find online.


Bottle Wrappers

1 case of water, 24 bottle wrappers, B O O M decor. This is probably one of the easiest decor ideas out there. You honestly don’t even need to do the whole case. Throw a few wrappers on and everyone will think they are the best thing ever. I know this from personal experience. I once put some “melted snowman” wrappers on a couple of bottles of water, for a get-together, and everyone thought I put so much time and effort. I did it 10 minutes before everyone arrived.

Materials Needed

✦ Water bottles ✦wrap Printable ✦ scissors ✦ tape

Every party needs water, why not make it cute?!? This decor idea is only slightly more labor intensive than the cupcake toppers, only because you have to take the current wrappers off the water bottle. I mean, if you are really short on time, just skip that step too and tape them on top. This is a great way for kids to help decorate, they will LOVE ripping the original bottle wrappers off of the bottles.

Total time: Around 30 minutes for assembly.

Table Signs

Decorating with table signs is one of the easiest ways to make your theme come to life. Party signs are my absolute favorite part of putting together an event. I love designing them, and I love seeing other people use them. They are one of the quickest, and most inexpensive ways to dress up your event. Print them and frame them to make your party pop without doing a lot of work, or just tape them up on a wall somewhere. Guests won’t care, trust me.

Materials Needed

✦ Printables ✦ scissors ✦ frames or tape

If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll see that I use the same white frames in almost every single one of my parties. I LOVE them. They are so easy to decorate around and I’ve used the same 3 sets for tons of events. They are so cheap that you can even spray paint them and recycle them after the party, without feeling bad if you never use them again. This is another time, where if you plan on having more than one party in your life, you need these.

Total time: Around 5 minutes to cut and 10-15 minutes for assembly, depending on how you display them.

Food Cards

Pinterest is full of good food name ideas, for every theme you can think of. Either buy cute cards, or just make your own from some card stock. Putting punny or clever food cards out is the easiest way to turn something like boring old potato chips into the star of the show. “PAWtato chips, what that’s awesome”. We personally have a ton of free cards on the blog.

Materials Needed

✦ Printables ✦ scissors ✦ Party food

If you’re really short on time, try to find cards that are already done for you, or are editable so that you can make them fit what you already bought for the party. If you haven’t bought anything yet, then it would make your life so much easier to plan your food around the cards. Make a list of the food you “need” to have at your party and I’m sure you can find a food card that matches.

Total time: Around 10-15 minutes for assembly.

Favor Tags

Favors only have to be as complicated as you make it. I’ve done everything from custom made “goodie bags” to literally throwing a tag on a cookie and calling it a day. Favors for kids parties tend to be easy, give them a snack and they’ll be good all day. For baby showers, I love doing “Wipes, not just for babies” tags, and giving each guest a beauty mask wipe.

If you have at least one night before your event, one of my favorite “quick” favors for baby or bridal showers are homemade bath salts. They only take an hour to put together and guests really appreciate them. Check out our Penguin baby shower post to get the recipe we use!

Materials Needed and time vary


THE Number *one* party decor time waster

Drumroll please ….. The number one biggest time waster of all is a …. BANNER. Ugh, I have to be honest, I despise banners. I use them, most people use them, but really guys, if you are in a hurry at all, just skip it. They take forever to create, they take forever to print and cut, and they take even longer to hang up. If a banner is a must for you, try to find a solid color banner that matches from a party store or from Amazon. It will save you so much time and money.

Hopefully these tips help you out! Planning a party can be extremely stressful and we want to help you find ways to make it easier! Leave us a comment with your biggest party stressors and we may feature it in our next Tips & Tricks post.

5 Last Minute Ways To Decorate A Party: A Procrastinator's party guide. ✦ Thursday Tips & Tricks Series on MKKM Designs

This content includes affiliate referral links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.

Harry Potter Mini Party with Free Printables

Freebie Fridays, PartiesMKKM DesignsComment

Just in time for fall, I'm sharing a Harry Potter themed party! Shout-out to my Hufflepuffs. We used these printables for a Potter themed Christmas, but they would be great for birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, or just because you're a gigantic Harry Potter fan. Grab the free printable food cards and table signs at the end of the post.

Harry Potter party printables. Mini Party ideas and free printable signs from MKKM Designs.
Welcome to the Great Hall, Harry Potter free printable party sign from shopmkkm.com

Our party was on Christmas Eve morning, so we made it a Harry Potter Pajama party. The shirt from below was one of my favorite Christmas presents! The “Three Broomsticks” mug was made on Island.

My husband and I are total Harry Potter nerds (resident Hufflepuff and wannabe Slytherin) so all of the Funko Pop figurines you see scattered throughout, are from our own mini collection of them. It was nice being able to use them for something productive LOL.

Harry Potter Inspired Party Food

Pumpkin Pasties (Recipe), Herbology Bites - (Recipe), Werewolf Chow, Deviled Dragon Eggs, Golden Snitches, and of course we had Butterbeer (Recipe).

Grab the printable food cards JPEG Zip | PDF

Deviled Dragon Eggs. Free printable Harry Potter food cards from shopmkkm.com
Werewolf chow at a Harry Potter party. Free printable food card designs from shopmkkm.com
4 Free Harry Potter food cards for a Potter themed event. Pumpkin Pasties, Herbology Bites, and more. // Designs by MKKM Designs
Harry Potter party printables. Grab the free party signs and food cards from shopmkkm.com
Three Broomsticks Pub and Inn sign from a Harry Potter party. Free printable party signs from MKKM Designs.

Free Printables

We love creating custom orders! If you need a larger size sign or want your own signs to match your event, send us a message on Etsy! Custom party signs can be ordered here.

Printable food cards JPEG Zip | PDF

Printable 4x6” table signs JPEG Zip | PDF

Products we used to make this party pop!

Don't forget to tag your parties with #mkkmdesigns on Instagram! We put together a new party centric Insta account and can't wait to share your pictures!

Harry Potter Mini Party: Free Printable signs and food cards from MKKM Designs.

Browse more of our party Blog Posts

This content includes affiliate referral links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.

MineCraft Party Planning and Free Printables

Freebie Fridays, PartiesMKKM Designs5 Comments
Minecraft Party Ideas and Free Printable Party Decor by MKKM Designs

I'll be 100% honest. I know ZERO about Minecraft, but when your best friend's son requests a theme, you google it and get down to business. Scroll down for fun food ideas, party planning tips, and LOTS of  free printables, to help plan your own Minecraft party.

Minecraft Party Decor by MKKM Designs
Birthdays Are Sweet Minecraft Sign by MKKM Designs. Creep Over for the Free Printable

Minecraft party food is beyond easy to put together. The birthday boys mama, got pretty creative serving homemade Beef Brisket, for the "Beef" cards. Other than that, the rest was relatively simple. Perfect for mom's like me, that can't stand slaving away over party food all day. Grab some party food ideas below and the free printable cards here.

Food Ideas

  • Raw Fish (Goldfish, Swedish Fish)

  • Sticks (Pretzels)

  • TNT (Twizzlers)

  • Slime Balls (Grapes)

  • Lava (Jello)

  • Iron (Hershey Kisses)

  • Dirt Blocks (Brownies)

  • Creeper Juice

Minecraft Food Cards by MKKM Designs, Click for the free printables!
Happy birthday banner from a Minecraft birthday

Grab our 4x6" party sign's PDF by clicking here or the photo below. Includes "Thanks for Creeping By", "Birthday are Sweet, Blast Through for a Treat", "Creeper Juice", and not pictured, a "Nether Portal, Do Not Enter" sign.

DIY Minecraft Masks

These custom made Minecraft masks MADE the party. With the help of a friend, the Birthday boys mom spent hours making each one. Each kiddo got to go home a mask and bracelet and they looked adorable running around all day as "creepers". There were even bows on some for the girls, (Surprise apparence by me below LOL). 

The spider balloons that hung over the party table are a super simple DIY. A black balloon, black streamers, and red construction paper. Boom, done.

Favor Tags.jpg

Custom Item Requests

  • The custom 8x10" "Level Reached" sign is available in our shop!

  • The invitation is now available in our shop! Grab it <here>.

  • If you'd like any other party signs in a Minecraft theme, or any other customized printables, you can always reach out to us on Etsy to see if we are taking custom requests!

Free Printable Decor

Free Minecraft TNT tags by MKKM Designs

These TNT tags are perfect for any minecraft themed event. Use them as favors tags, cupcake toppers, or even stickers. How awesome are these Perler bead (af. link) favors!?! I didn't even know that something like this existed until this party. People thought I was crazy. There is a super easy tutorial with pattern's, for making your own Minecraft related perler bead favors, over at Minieco.co.uk

Special thanks to Natalie over at Little Miss Party Planner, for sharing some of her party photos using our free printables. Her events are amazing! You can check out more of her work on Facebook, Instagram and Catch My Party.

If you liked this party, check out our Super Mario party for other video game themed printables!

We LOVE seeing how you used our printables! Be sure to tag us on Facebook and Instagram @Mkkmdesigns.

Minecraft birthday party planning ideas. Check out the blog for free minecraft printables and lots of party ideas to make your party a blast!

** This post was originally created in November 2017. New content was added in April 2018.

This content uses referral links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.

Hike on Over! Camping Party Planning and Free Printable

Freebie Fridays, PartiesMKKM DesignsComment
Camping party ideas by MKKM Designs

With the cooler temps heading our way, we're sharing a Camping party theme, perfect for Fall birthdays. From the wood decorations, to the plaid details, this party encompasses all things rustic. Scroll down for some food ideas, party planning tips, and a free printable favor tag to help plan your own Camping party.

Food Ideas

  • Kids In A Blanket (Pigs in a blanket)
  • Campfire Flames (Cheetos)
  • Grizzly Bears
  • Bear Poop (The kids personal favorite)
  • Twigs, Logs, Sticks, Matches, etc.
  • Hot Chocolate Station
  • Dirt n' Worms
  • Bug Juice
  • Lake Water, River Water
  • Campfire Chili
  • Trail Mix Station
  • Flapjacks
  • Trees & Ranch (Veggie Plate)
Campfire Chili food card at a camping birthday.

The kids and adults had a blast at a doughnut eating contest. Supplies to create your own:  glazed donuts, twine, and a small piece of PVC piping (or a curtain rod) to hang donuts off of.

Stuck On You created these adorable personalized camping mugs using mugs found at Daiso ( The Japanese version of a dollar store). Each kid got to go home with their own mug, flashlight and S'mores pack. You can get the favor tag for your own party by clicking here, or the photo above.

Camping Birthday Printables

PARTY DETAILS

Cake by Giovanna of Stuck On You

Printables by Melissa at MKKM Designs

Wood Place Cards Wood Slices Straws | Amazon.com (af.links)

Cake stands, Trees, frames and other party items all purchased here locally on Okinawa.

Get the Printable favor tags here!

If you liked this party, check out our Lumberjack theme for other rustic birthday printables!

Camping party ideas and free printable favor tags over on the shopmkkm.com blog

This content uses referral links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.