guest post: s.w.a.k. {sealed with a kiss}

Well, hello, Birthday Girl readers! I was thrilled when my dear friend Becca asked me to create a guest post for her truly extraordinary blog. I am primarily an interior design blogger, focusing my efforts on editing The Gimlet Eye, but that doesn't mean that I don't love a good part-ay. (I get my daily fix by reading Becca's genius posts!)

I know that y'all MUST love stationery and invites as much as I do. SO, I figured that it would be fun to lend you some of my tips for making your ENTIRE invite, announcement, or handwritten note shine. When it comes to your special mail, what's outside actually matters just as much as what is inside!
Return Address Stamps and Labels are a fab way to ensure that your mail doesn't get lost. Aside from giving your envelope a perfectly finished look, you also don't waste valuable party-planning or note-writing time by having to pen your address over and over and over and over.....

Some of my all-time faves are done by letter girl on etsy.

Another unique and fun etsy find...
Some options from my first return address stamp love, The Paper Wink.

If you choose not to go with the stamp route, there are some incredibly cute and affordable sticky labels from Tiny Prints.

Love your pooch? Had to include these guys...

Don't ignore your stamps! (It is kind of a bummer to see a plain ole American flag stamp slapped on a beautiful wedding invite or special birth announcement...)

One of my fave "Love" stamps...directly from the US Postal Service website.
I adore these Abstract Expressionist options....what a treat to receive one of these little treasures on a note!
You can, of course, get ultra snazzy and personalize your very own stamps, whether they be for a certain special event....
...or just to always include a signature touch on all of your mail.
I highly recommend that you check out Zazzle to design ANY type of stamp you could ever imagine!
Some other sweet and unexpected touches to elevate your mail?

Try a modern wax seal:
Or a clever address label:

Jazz up a plain notecard with a kooky envelope:

Oh, and BTW, fabulous touches are not only limited to snail mail these days...

Snaz up your electronic mail with custom e-stationery from iomoi. What a delightful treat for an inbox!

I hope these ideas were helpful to you...or at least provided a bit of entertainment and eye candy to you as you sip your morning coffee! Thanks so much, Becca, for giving me the opportunity to blog for your faithful readers...I hope I didn't let you down. Much much love to your new and precious family!


- by Jessie Schott Haynes of
The Gimlet Eye

guest post: strawberry fields forever

I'm so happy to be your guest blogger today, and I have some fun party ideas for you! Here in the South, the time is just right for strawberry picking. I decided it would be fun to put together some inspiration for a Strawberry-inspired Party perfect for adults and kids alike. This would be great for a backyard get-together with friends, a family reunion, and of course, a child's birthday party!

Begin with red and white fabric for the table, and create festive, edible, centerpieces. Create the edible topiaries using basic items from the craft or home improvement store. Use toothpicks to attach whole strawberries to a foam craft ball, and utilize wheat grass to fill the pot. Longer trays of wheat grass create interest between the topiaries and provide another place to insert skewered chocolate-dipped strawberries.

I think it would be so fun to begin the anticipation for your party by hand delivering a small basket of fresh strawberries & scones, biscuits, or muffins, with the party information tied on.
Decorate the party space with red and white polka dot bunting, and "flower arrangements/strawberry plants" set inside a Blume Box.

What says "strawberries" more than jam? Send your guests home with a small jar of Strawberry jam that's tied with pretty ribbon or fabric.

What to Serve:
This strawberry and chicken salad looks amazing served in a bread basket. The adults will love it! For the kids, something more traditional like peanut butter and 'strawberry' jelly sandwiches.
Serve strawberry smoothies with a pretty skewered garnish, and of course, strawberry shortcake! Once again have some cupcakes topped with these cute printables, available for the kids. Next up...sit back and enjoy the party!

- by Chris Nease of Celebrations at Home

Photo Credits:

guest post: hosting a teen murder mystery party

Who doesn’t love a mystery? If you are looking for a creative teen party theme, a murder mystery party is perfect for teens. You can make your murder mystery party as intricate or as simple as you like. Create your scandalous murder mystery party invitations around your mystery party theme. If you want to do a clue based murder mystery parties each guest is the suspect and everyone works together to solve the mystery.

{image via worldwide fred}

You’ll want to send out your murder mystery party invitations a few weeks in advance so guests can prepare for their role. You’ll want to assign each guest a character before they arrive so they can show up in costume. As the party guests arrive, make a brief introduction as to how the game works but you’ll want to advise that thereafter, everyone stay in character. This will make the game more fun!

You can purchase murder mystery game kits that make it very easy to throw murder mystery parties. You can also create your own. Unleash your inner mystery writer and create your own scenario of villains and victims. Most murder mystery games have rounds and during each round, each player is given 2 clues, one to reveal an one to conceal. If you allow an hour per round, it’s good to have about 3 or 4 rounds. They players can reveal there clue to whom they like. The concealed clue is one that they will try to spin or avoid talking about but if asked, they can’t lie. After all the rounds are complete, you’ll gather your guests and let each player announce who they think did it and why. Have a prize for the player who guesses correctly!

Murder Mystery Party Themes for Teens
• 8o’s
• The Hills – change character names but fill the same roles

• Football Team and Cheerleaders

• High School Drama Club

• Spring Break

• Prom

• Vampires – make characters a mix of vampires and humans

Have fun with it! Murder Mystery Parties are a great way to entertain friends and family.

- By Leslie Blumenstein of Purple Trail

Caitlin's Cozy Nursery

Hello my dear readers! I'm temporarily surfacing from diaper changes and feedings to bring you the much awaited pictures of my daughter Caitlin's nursery...

My main objective was to create a space that would bring a sense of happiness to both Caitlin and myself. I hope to spend many hours together in her room- nursing, reading and playing with her as she grows from infancy through early childhood. I knew right away I had lots of different elements I wanted to include, so instead of choosing a single theme, I used color as my inspiration. I choose a calming sea blue for the walls and fabrics in soft pinks and cheerful yellow to brighten up the simple white furniture.

The majority of the toys and books in the bookcase are vintage items from my own childhood, as is the white wood toy chest in the corner and the small white wood rocking chair. It's wonderful to be able to re-use these items and share them with another generation, and as an added bonus it saved on the cost of decorating! Owls and elephants are my favorite animals and they are featured throughout the room as symbols of wisdom & strength.

I was concerned about hanging a glass framed picture above the crib (unfortunately, we have earthquakes to consider) so I decided on a simple white monogram decal that sticks directly to the wall. I also created a stencil in the same font and used it to paint the lettering on the lid of the toy chest. Even with the monogram, the crib wall felt a little bare, so I used extra scraps of fabric from the window valances and other sewing projects to create a string of bunting. It turned out to be the perfect solution, adding a bit of color and a celebratory feel to the room.

Of course, I also had to include a picture of Miss Caitlin herself. This was on her first day home from the hospital and in 3 short weeks she has already grown and changed quite a bit. Amazing! Motherhood is both an adventure and a challenge, but it's getting easier with each passing day.
I'm going to take the rest of July to settle into our new routine, but I should be back to a semi-regular posting schedule in August. Until then... I hope you're enjoying the guest posts and having a happy summer!

{images copyright bg2010}

Paint color: Wind Surfing by Dutch Boy
Crib, Rocker, Bedding, Elephant Lamp: Pottery Barn Kids
Dresser, Bookshelf, Mosaic Mirror: Ikea
Shag Rug: World Market
Changing Table Topper & Book Bin: Land of Nod
Window Valances & Closet Curtain: handmade with fabric from Ikea
Bunting: handmade
This is Happiness print: Love Sugar
Girl & Bird print: Nan Lawson
Girl & Bunny print: Trafalgars Square
Wall Monogram: Decal Farm
Toy Chest & Child's Rocking Chair: vintage & hand painted

guest post: make your own s'mores bar

Hello All! I am Michelle from So Wonderful, So Marvelous. I am so happy that Becca asked me to stop over and entertain here at Birthday Girl while she is relaxing & enjoying every moment of her maternity leave.

I decided to share with you my favorite summer dessert, s'mores! Make your own desserts are a fun way to finish up dinner with guests. Setting up a s'mores bar is easy & everything can be prepped ahead of time. These ingredients are a step above your classic s'mores, though you can certainly do one if you'd like, but why not try an Elvis with a peanut butter cup & banana slice? Or maybe an Oreo made with oreo white chocolate sprinkled with sea salt on a chocolate graham is more your speed?

For this one, we used a variety of spices including nutmeg & sea salt, assorted grahams, assorted chocolates including an amazing hazelnut bar, toppings like toasted coconut, and fruits. The possibilities are endless. One of our favorites? The St Lucia {named by my stepfather who claims it takes him back to a sailing trip to St Lucia} made with milk chocolate, marshmallow, a banana slice, sprinkled with cinnamon, and topped with toasted coconut.

I hope you enjoyed yourself, thank you again to Becca for having me! Feel free to stop by So Wonderful, So Marvelous and print your free list of s'mores recipes & some cute ingredient labels to use for your own s'mores bar!

Download Here:

- by Michelle of So Wonderful, So Marvelous

guest post: sweet party details

Hi everyone! I am so thrilled to be helping out while Becca is spending time with the new addition to her family. I'm a big Birthday Girl fan and a huge fan of parties of all shapes and sizes, so it's so much fun to be here today. The heart and soul of my blog, The Sweetest Occasion, is about finding reasons to celebrate everyday. I am in love with sweet little details that make a celebration shine with personality, large budget nor extensive crafting skills required. With that in mind, I thought I'd share some of the fabulous details I'm loving lately. Hopefully they inspire you as you plan your next birthday celebration for guest of honor young or old. Enjoy!

I love this simple arrangement of vintage-inspired Izze soda bottles and the cute polka dot flags on the straws. So simple yet so sweet.

Personalized logo cocktail napkins are one of my favorite ways of adding a personal touch to a party. How cute are these?

Nothing dresses up a cocktail like a custom drink stirrer. Use your favorite colors, the initials of a loved one or a sweet monogram to make them really unique.

Simple treats like cupcakes take on special charm when frosted in coordinating colors and decorated with a recurring theme like polka dots.

Nothing says 'party' like a great party hat! These patterned party hats with ruffled trim are so vibrant and fun - I love them!

Bright fuchsia peonies paired with navy is so chic. I love the simple cluster of blooms in white vessels stacked on white cake stands. Such a statement!

Simple favors (in this case mini chocolate chip cookies in a kraft paper bakery box) look extra special with the added touch of a simple tag and a big of ribbon.

Never underestimate the power of a fabulous invitation to set the tone for your party. These ones are letterpress printed and feature an envelope lined in a great polka dot pattern that I adore.

Of course, you can't forget a great birthday cake. Skip the candles and go with an unexpected touch like a cherry on top!

- by Cyd Converse of The Sweetest Occasion

Photo Credits

(1) Party Perfect (LINK: (2) betsywhite stationery (LINK: (3) little white book (LINK: (4) Megan W Photography (LINK: from Elizabeth Anne Designs (LINK: (5) The City Cradle (LINK: (6) Project Wedding (LINK: (7) The Sweetest Occasion (LINK: (8) Simplesong Design (LINK: (9) imprintables (LINK:

guest post: cupcake stand standoff

Hi Everyone- My name is Adrianne Bugg and I own Lambchop Designs, LLC. Lambchop Designs is a business devoted to making kid's rooms more fun. We provide a vast collection of "Fun Art for Cool Kids!" (among other things like super great t-shirts!) Anyway, Becca asked me to guest blog today and I couldn't be more excited! I love talking parties so let's get to it.

A friend of mine approached me last summer to help her make a stand for the cupcakes at her son's 1st birthday party. She handed me a bunch of terracotta pots and wondered if we could paint them in a fun way. I thought this was an amazing idea! So, for my "nefew," Mac, I painted these:

This picture isn't as bright as I'd like but look closely, I painted light blue dots all over the white pots.

How did we do it? Easy peasy. I turned the pots and trays upside-down and spray-painted them white. Then, I painted the light blue dots, Mac's monogram, and date of birth by hand. For fun, we added a red Gerber daisy through the top (upside-down bottom) of the smallest, top-most pot. Voila!

Here are some other pictures of Mac's cupcake stand:

The precious family!

The Top Tier

The Top Pot with Monogram

I loved this idea so much, I made one for my son, Davis, for his "Big 2" birthday party! We live in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay, so, of course, we had to have a sailing/crab theme for his party. I painted a sailboat with a monogrammed sail on the biggest pot. I used the pot trays to paint "water and waves." And, rather than cupcakes, I decided to do a cake and cookies. (Side note: We have a fantastic gourmet bakery in the tiny town next to my tiny town called Carried Away Cuisine. DEE-lish and so professional and CUTE! Check it out!)

Here is the desert table. I separated the main "cake" stand for interest and to accommodate the different desserts. I used the pot trays (upside-down) to display the cake and cookies.

The Main Stand: complete with a collection of sassy Gerbers and Zinnias sprouting from the top! (I couldn't just leave it alone, right?!)

Davis' custom cake from Carried Away Cuisine.

(I mean, this may have been the BEST cake I've ever had. I was dense and moist vanilla almond cake with raspberry filling...DIVINE!) You can see how I used one of the "water" painted pot trays to display the cake. It fit PERFECTLY.

I used a bigger pot tray to display the crab and "#2" cookies we had made. They were also amazing!

When I shopped for the terracotta pots that would ultimately become my stands, I found small pots I thought I could use for something. They ended up being great "moorings" for the main stand. (See pic above.) It was also a great way to display the extra cookies and bring in more of the light blue from the table cloth. Also note the Zinnias on the top...again, I just couldn't leave it alone!

It was really fun to have a custom stand for the party. It really helped pull our theme together and add a bit of detail that I always look for and love. Let me know if you have questions or want to have one made for your special party!

If you aren't as keen on the custom route or don't have time to have one made, I have found some other really cute cake stand options:

I love the bright colors in these different height cake stands from Pottery Barn Kids!|4|1||4|cake%20stand||0&cm_src=SCH

Hmmm....I can't decide what I like better, this funky stand from Williams Sonoma or the beautiful cupcakes on it!

What a cutie!! I love this red dot stand from Amazon. Yes, AMAZON!

Well, I hope this gets your creative juices flowing for your next party. There are so many fun things you can do! Also, stop by when you get a chance. Have fun!

Thanks, again, Birthday Girl, for the opportunity to write to your readers today!

- by Adrianne Bugg of Lambchop Designs