Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Celebration

We hosted family and friends for lunch on Easter, giving me the perfect excuse to set a pretty table (or three.) I had found the damask tablecloth ages ago at Home Goods, and the same store came through with napkins in turquoise and yellow at the eleventh hour, too. The birdhouse was a birthday gift from ma cousine Kinsey. I placed it on a cake pedestal atop some moss, along with some Robin's Egg candies.

Fellow serveware geeks will appreciate the beauty of the individual butter crocks I found on clearance at Sur La Table for $2.29.

The bunny statues were originally from Home Goods, too, but were even more of a steal from Goodwill!
I filled galvanized pails from the dollar aisle at Target with begonias from the local farm stand, replacing the original turquoise ribbon with yellow dotted ribbon from Michaels. Place cards were flowers cut from cardstock scraps (See? It's not hoarding; it's planning ahead!) with a Sizzix die. Turquoise ribbon from Michaels made the perfect narrow runner to tie the white tablecloths to the damask one.

The eggs were gorgeous but inedible, so rather than risk an unpleasant surprise for a dinner guest, I placed them (in the compote I found at the thrift shop for $4) at the front door. Favors for each child bought time until the Egg Hunt began, allowing the adults to finish eating. We had such a sunny Easter celebration, and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Engine Company 3

The Dinoia Family let me host a simple party to celebrate their youngest's third birthday. To no one's surprise, he never wavered on his chosen theme-firetrucks.
A simple spread for a simple party. Fire hose made from the plastic tubing sold to corral computer cables, and a nozzle of aluminum foil. Revolving red lights from Oriental Trading. Diamond plate wrapping paper from Target would also be perfect for a construction-themed party/gift. Chili and barbeque made a simple, kid-friendly dinner.

The Craigslist firetruck rides again
Birthday boy fascinated by a tour of the local Volunteer Fire Department. They were very accommodating, and we were happy to make a donation to support them.
Bucket brigade party game. Buckets from Target and some mini marshmallows for "water." The idea was that they would douse the "fire" (red and gold mylar tissue from the dollar store, in a wood crate.) This was better in theory than in practice, as the first fireman aimed short of his mark, and the entire brigade followed suit. Thank goodness I only invited kids whose parents don't freak out if they eat marshmallows off my floor.
Cake adorned with emergency vehicles (complete with lights and sirens!)  from the Target dollar aisle.  Sweet Nick had only two requests for his party: 1) he wanted Baby Nate to be in attendance, and 2) a cake with a police car, a firetruck, and an ambulance. So these vehicles were like manna from heaven to an unskilled cake decorator.

Nicholas had his eyes closed for the entire birthday song. He was either taught to close his eyes when making a wish, or he hates the sound of our singing.

Favors were mini galvanized pails with yogurt raisins, stickers for the littles and atomic fireballs for the bigs, and dollar store flashlights, a hit with all ages. 
Many happy returns, fireman Nicholas!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vintage First Birthday

It will surprise no one that I'd been planning Nate's first birhday party since he was only a month old. I decided on a red wagon and vintage toy theme, because it seemed so "little boy," and mamas only get a few years before the birthday boys start calling the shots re: theme. The invitations were made in Adobe Illustrator, and I'm pleased to report I'm getting the knack of that. Mark only had to help a little this time. The envelope liner was gift wrap from Target, and I carried the dots over onto the invite.
I made the banner from stiffened felt, cut with my circle cutter, and adhesive felt letters. I attached them to kitchen twine with mini clothespins. The craft paper letters were covered in gift wrap, with grosgrain ribbon hot glued on to cover the edges. Command poster adhesive from 3M held these on the wall, and removed (mostly) nicely afterward.
The firetruck was the Craigslist score of a lifetime.
The sideboard held sweet treats, including handmade (thanks, Mom!) candy apples, animal crackers, and vintage candies. I decorated it with vintage toys. Miniature cheeseburgers, PB&J, and grilled cheese sandwiches completed the menu. (We usually do eat healthier than that, but it's a party, right?)
I had bought the Gymboree sweater secondhand months ago. While I correctly predicted his size, I didn't plan on the overly warm house. My hot-natured boy would have been miserable with another layer on. So I hung it on the entryway bench (another Craigslist find) and placed the party favors atop the bench. Q: How much does my sister-in-law Andrea rock, for wrapping all of those before the party and making a million tiny sandwiches? A: A lot. The favors were Matchbox cars, PlayDoh, and miniature Slinky and Etch-a-Sketch, depending on the age of the child. They were all a big hit, but I've since revamped my opinion on the appropriate age for a metal Slinky. Too many bit the dust in the first 15 minutes.

My accomplice friend SuperJen snagged these retro Cracker Jacks for me at Cracker Barrel. I tied them with bakers twine and set them in front of a bowl of the modern-day version. The gumball machine was free to a good home, and red and silver gumballs from Michaels added to the fun.
SuperJen also made the piece de resistance, the cake. The wagon detached to serve as Nate's cake. Jen filled it with frosting and "dirt" (crumbled cookies) for the birthday boy to devour. The bottom layer served the other guests. And like all SuperJen cakes, it was as delicious as it was beautiful.

My plan was to use the zillion pinwheels I had bought for $5 at Oriental Trading to decorate the picket fence around the front yard. But pinwheels in the rain just seemed sad, so I made a last-second centerpiece with those and some big lollipops, using a container and styrofoam I found in the garage.

Repurposed Frappucino bottles (lids spray painted by my patient hubby) made perfect vintage milk jars, and gave me the perfect excuse to use these paper straws. Beware when buying these that "red" is actually "fuschia." Oh, well- it's a safe bet that someone's daughter will want a pink party one of these days.

Birthday boy with family and friends. Bottom left is SuperJen giving giving hits of frosting to my goddaughter Caitlin.
This alone would have made Nate's day. Who doesn't love a big red balloon?

What a fun day! Thanks to all the family and friends who helped out, and to Jana Bannan for wonderful photographs.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dr. Seuss ABC

Mark and I hosted a party this weekend to welcome baby George, the son of a vet school classmate and her husband. George's nursery is decorated with Dr. Seuss ABC bedding, which inspired the party theme. 

The buffet followed the alphabet, with appetizers from A-Q, and desserts from R-Z.

Some details:

Thankfully, the (several) veterinarians in attendance overlooked the numerous anatomical inaccuracies on the x-ray cookies. 

We are so thrilled for this wonderful family!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Moo, moo...Wesley's Two!

My nephew Wesley turned two this past weekend. For his party, his mom Andrea combined two of his loves, cows and ice cream, into a fun party.

Andrea created this ice cream toppings bar, including white and black M&Ms and an Oreo brand topping with Oreo crumbs and cow sprinkles. Lesson learned: kids care only about chocolate and rainbow sprinkles and chocolate syrup. Also, this is why God made plastic tablecloths.

Andrea set her amazing cow cupcakes on a bed of artificial grass.

I stamped these wooden spoons for ice cream with alphabet stamps using StazOn ink.

Andrea cut brownies for the sundaes with alphabet cookie cutters. Mmmm, would have liked to help with cleanup after that task.

I made party hats from scrapbook paper and beading elastic.

Andrea gave party favors (the classic cow-in-a-can and a shooting foam ice-cream cone) in plain white bags. The kids   used googly eyes and construction paper to create cow puppets from the bags. Nate let me do his, since he's only 8 months old. Or perhaps because he knows I'm a craft dork. He didn't specify.

What a fun day to celebrate a fun little boy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sela's Ladybug Birthday

My friend Sophia let me help with her daughter Sela's second birthday party. She chose a ladybug and daisy theme. The invites:


The paper cones are filled with red and black M&Ms, of course!

Sophia found ladybug toys and temporary tattoos for the goody bags, and I helped dress them up.

Sophia had the idea to put spots (felt stickers) on the cups for the juice-too cute! I thought it needed a (glittery) sign. Doing this at 2 am (during an intermission in Nate's teething fuss) I had another of those "should someone stage an intervention for me?" moments. Of course, if they did, I'd want a nice theme and handmade invites.

The gorgeous cake Sophia made, with homemade strawberry and chocolate buttercream.

And several dozen cupcakes, lovingly decorated by various Aunties with fondant daisies.

The beautiful birthday girl in her sweet party dress...

which gave me an excuse to make a paper poppy to dress up her gift:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Baptism Party

Sunday, we hosted family and friends after Nate's baptism. We couldn't bear the thought of asking the kids to come to our house in summer, and not enjoy the pool. A luncheon and pool party with a fish theme was just right. A trio of koinoburi greeted guests.

I dyed a silk scarf to create "water" for the fish, squirters that went home with the kids after the party. To hold flatware and napkins, I wrapped glass vases with paper to match the lanterns. The rest of the paper wrapped small water bottles for the swimmers.

I couldn't resist the matching pendant to remind of me of Nate's special day.