real parties: a crafty poolside party

Ruth submitted this sweet poolside party for her daughter Maggie and I was amazed when she told me it cost less than $150 to put together (including the babysitter!). To keep her party on a budget, everything was a DiY project... from the banners and pom poms to the baked goods, colorful labels and party hats. Ruth wisely covered the tables with kraft paper and as a craft project had the kids create wooden frames in 2 stages. The kids painted the frames, the went swimming while the paint dried, then decorated the painted frames with underwater-themed foam stickers. A simple project, but perfect for the short attention span of 4 & 5 year olds... she even personalized aprons for them to wear while painting and take home as favors!

custom inspiration board: a san francisco baby soiree

Jennifer is planning a small and sophisticated baby shower for her best friend who loves the city of San Francisco. Since I'm from the area myself, I jumped at the chance to help add some local flavor to her event...

Theme: A San Francisco Baby Soiree

Party Ideas

- Colors: red with pink and gold accents
- Setting: an elegant luncheon shower for 10 mothers and daughters
- Decorations: use red and cream for the table settings with gold and pink accents. consider mixed bouquets for centerpieces with lush garden roses in pinks and reds. hang chinese paper lanterns in red with gold accents above the table or the desserts. consider a simple logo of the golden gate bridge for invitations and menu cards at each place setting.
- Food: simple fresh foods. for example: appetizers could include sliced sourdough baguette with artisan cheese, columbus salami, grapes. lunch could be an organic green salad with heirloom tomatoes and crab bisque, perhaps in a bread bowl. as a signature drink, consider a sparkling pomegranate champagne cocktail and call it a 'cable car'. serve chocolate or red velvet cupcakes and strawberry tarts for dessert along with a ghirardelli chocolate fountain and berries for dipping.
- Favors: cake pops wrapped and labeled with the same sf logo. these could be handmade with ghirardelli chocolate ahead of time, or they could be dipped in the fountain at the shower and put in the fridge to cool before taking home.
- Other: have the ladies wear something red in their outfit to add a bit of whimsy and style.

Photo Credits
Row 1: golden gate bridge via snippet & ink; pink and red flowers via ms weddings; table setting and tarts via style me pretty
Row 2: cocktails via my recipes; bridge logo via the aerialist press; cake pops via hwtm; red hat via rocky mtn blog
Row 3: chocolate fountain via killer chocolate; sf neighborhoods poster via park life store; cupcake via miette; chinese lanterns via etsy
Row 4: cheese platter via mouse planet; red and white table setting via party spot

real parties: vintage pink ice cream party

This gorgeous 3rd birthday ice cream party for Annie was sent in by photographer Susan Gentile and features paper goods from Chickabug and a banner from A to Zebra Celebrations. I've been contemplating doing an ice cream shoppe theme for Caitlin's first birthday (true, I'm a little insane to be thinking about it already seeing as she's not even 3 months old), but this is definitely some good inspiration. My favorite subtle detail here... the caramel and strawberry toppings in mason jars. Simply lovely.

{photography by susan gentile}

real parties: red & blue 25th birthday

Michele of Crazy for Design recently hosted a 25th birthday for her sister in law, and in addition to styling the party and creating most of the desserts, she designed all the printables herself. The simple pattern is a perfect match with such a whimsical font, and I think it's a great fit for a milestone birthday like this one. Even better, if you like this design, it's actually available for purchase through her new etsy store: intrigue design group. Now if only that chocolate cake were available too... yum!

{images via crazy for design}

real parties: summer camping

On the theme of cute boy parties this week, I received this impressive campout party from Lisa of Moore Minutes. She actually put this whole party together on the road at a campsite... and she deserves some serious kudos for preparing so many little details and activities while away from home. The campsite was decorated with rustic flair and they cooked classic camping food, including trail mix snacks, hot chocolate and a s'mores bar for dessert. Lisa and her family even planned some perfect camping activities including a nature hunt and creating crafts out of natural objects. Go check out her blog for even more photos and ideas...

{images via moore minutes}

real parties: little men

The aussies are at it again! I know I've been out of the loop on the latest and greatest parties, but Nathalie from Scissors Paper Cake sent me pictures from the 'little men' party they created earlier this summer and I was utterly charmed. It's such a clever theme for a boy's party, and frankly any party that allows for mustache shaped baked goods is a-okay in my book. If you haven't already seen this one, be sure to take a peek...

{images via scissors.paper.cake}

real parties: let the sunshine in

This cheerful party was sent in by Lindi of the Etsy shop Love the Day, and I really am in love with it! She used an array of yellows and cream and I always adore using variations of a single color to create a simple unified look. Lindi held this party for her daughter's birthday in their backyard where the rustic fence was surrounded with yellow bunting (made from vintage sheets). Around the yard, large dowels were painted and draped with fabric and "Ellason is 1" signs, glass jars were hung from the trees filled with yellow daisies and lemon drops, flowers were stapled to the fence to serve as table backdrop and sun garland hung from the fence as well! For favors, she created ribbon wands with a "thanks for shining with us" label. Of course, Lindi designed all the printable party materials herself, and here are the highlights of some of her other vendors:

homemade lollipops: Amy Sweet Dream
cheesecakes, truffles etc: City Sweets
sugar cookies/fondant toppers: Jane Miller
cupcakes: Georgetown Cupcakes

{images via love the day}

real parties: vintagey, ruffley, pink & yellow


Bethany sent over this charming pink and yellow party created for her daughter Ainslie's first birthday. Hive Los Angeles created a custom pattern based on Chanel’s baby animal print to include her favorite toys, pets, and family nicknames. The animal pattern was incorporated throughout the event via cupcake wrappers, water bottle labels, and floor decals for the littlest guests to play on and explore. The hearts and flowers within the design were carried through in fondant toppers for sugar cookies and cupcakes. Other favorite details? The ribbon wands, lollipop tree and hanging photos highlighting her daughter's first year...

{Photos by Carrie Geddie Photography}