real parties: fun on the farm

I had been waiting in anticipation to see this party from Polka Dots & Pirates, but things being what they are, I’m just getting around to sharing it with you.  Jess went all out for her son’s 2nd birthday with a barnyard theme appropriately held at her parent's farm.  Lunch and games were the order of the day, topped off with an afternoon hayride!  In what I think is a stroke of genius, the kids had their own lunches packed in gable boxes and saved them to take home tractor favors and party hats at the end of the day.  The colorful decorations are a perfect fit... and of course, no barnyard party would be complete without cow & pig lollipops! 

{more details & images at polkadots & pirates}

it’s peanut butter jelly time

Who needs a sandwich when you can have a pb&j cupcake?  Serve them with a pitcher of cold milk and you’ve got a kid-friendly hit on your hands. 

{image and recipe via martha stewart}

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes
Makes 18

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting*
Strawberry jam, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda) in a large bowl.  In another bowl, cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add Peanut Butter. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among baking cups, filling each 2/3 full.
Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.  Once cupcakes are cool, frost tops with peanut butter frosting. Place a dollop of jam in center of frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting*
Makes about 3 cups

6 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

Beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar with a mixer on medium speed. Add salt, then peanut butter, then vanilla. Whisk cream until soft peaks form, and then fold into peanut butter mixture. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)

FREE DiY day: printable train ticket invitations

This clever little train cake inspired me to design an invitation for a train themed birthday party. In California there are a number of railroad museums, historic trains and even a place called Train Town in Sonoma, all of which would make a perfect setting for a train party. Take a tour, eat some cake... and give everyone a conductor’s hat to take home as a favor.
{image via coco & me}

This PDF includes (2) tea length invites with a blue and yellow background option, designed to fit in a standard business envelope. Just print on 8.5x11 card stock, trim around the grey border of the tickets and fill in the blanks with the party details. Enjoy!
Download here.

real parties: seaside birthday bash

This week I had the pleasure of discovering Paige of Bash Eco Events and her mad planning skills.  Last weekend she threw a seaside birthday bash for 350 kids & adults as a combined 100th birthday (50+40+6+4) for a family.  The details are outrageous... a true marriage of fun and sophistication.  The table centerpieces held live goldfish, the dessert table was a trove of seaside inspired treats, the beach was home to giant sand castles and inflatable bouncy houses, the pina coladas were flowing freely... what a magical event.  Check out her blog for this and much MUCH more delicious party inspiration. 

{images via bash eco events}

show & tell

I'm playing catch up this evening. It's literally been weeks since I've had a chance to sit down and read my favorite blogs, so let's just say I'm in my happy place right now. There's more than enough exciting inspiration out there, so I thought I'd mix it up a little and offer you a show and tell...

a rainbow of
soda shoppe freebies (pictured above).

a bee-utiful birthday party.

sweet vintage delights.

argyle sock vases.

style me pretty (in pink).

surprise balls.

mocking bird book. yeah? yeah.

southern charm.

tres leches cake. yum.

a deconstructed bouquet.

real parties: stylish in spain

Shh, don’t tell.  Today’s real party isn’t actually a birthday party... it’s a baptism!  These pictures came to me all the way from Madrid, Spain.  Birthday or not, I couldn’t resist posting Cristina’s party because it features some of my favorite details... flower poms, bunting and a sweet little candy buffet.  Everything was handmade for the occasion, right down to to the floral centerpieces with plaid monograms.  How could I deprive you of such obvious eye candy? 

{images via superkitina}

cupcakes delivered from the heavens

Saint Cupcake should be... well, sainted for having the best gift idea ever.  Homemade cupcakes.  Your choice of 3 flavors - 3 icings - 3 sprinkles.  Packaged in an adorable pink DiY gift box.  Delivered anywhere in the country.  Your friends may love you forever. 

{first spotted at simple song}  

party inspiration board: nautical by nature

Ah Labor Day. The end of summer. It always leaves me wistful… I’m not quite ready to trade in my white skirts and shorts for bulky sweaters. Today I determinedly ran errands in my favorite jcrew polo with the sailboat logo and decided to pay homage to the final days of summer with a nautical themed birthday board. The beauty of this theme is that it can be as formal or casual as you like. Crisp navy blue with red, white and yellow accents are classic nautical colors and work equally well at a clambake by the beach or on the top deck of a yacht club. As usual, the presentation is all in the details... ahoy.

Row 1: lobster boil via pottery barn; favor bags via rebecca thus; starfish via the knot; gift table via instyle weddings
Row 2: rowbot via cookie; sailboat favor via beau coup; tablescape via rebecca thuss; flag cake seen at oh hello; invite via boatman geller
Row 3: lighthouse, saliboat & oysters via flights of fancy; lobsters via the knot