paper monday: valentine book wreath

On a search for a paper wreath I came upon this and swooned- a heart wreath made out of books!  I'm a book nerd so naturally I adore it... and yet, I don't know if I could stomach cutting up a piece of literature in order to make one myself.  Assuming you're not a weirdo like me, check out the full tutorial here.

real parties: an amazing art pARTy

This vibrant and colorful art party came to me from Katie Guess, created for her daughter Olivia's 2nd birthday at the Marbles Museum.  Highlights include custom crayons and invitations created as coloring pages, handmade pocket aprons and the infamous rainbow cake. There is so much true originality in these party details!  Read on for more creative ideas from Katie...

{images via katie guess}

Invitations: I traced a picture of my birthday girl in Illustrator, added some cake and balloons and printed out black and white images on paper (coloring page). The crayons had custom wrappers with the time, date, and place of the party printed on them. They looked like real Crayola Crayons! I folded the coloring page and placed the crayons inside, and that was the invitation. I also wrote on the coloring page to "bring your colored invitation to the party to hang up in the gallery". 

Party Favors: My mom and I custom sewed 15 waist aprons with little pockets for individual crayons. We did not follow a pattern, but there are tons of patterns and already made crayon aprons on Etsy. We just picked out fabrics that were colorful and gender specific. The girl's aprons had gathered tops and the boy's aprons were straight. We hung the aprons on a clothes line with colorful clothes pins and I decorated them with a "Thanks for Coming" label.

Table Top: I found these really cool place-mats on Fred and Friends website that looked like an art frame. I figured what better way to entertain two year olds than coloring. I placed crayons in little paint buckets on each table along with stickers. There were also custom labeled mason jars with colored pencils, candy dots, jellybeans, and twizzlers and some multi-colored daisies. The kids loved this!

Food: I got the multi-colored plastic plates and bowl from Ikea. Then each kid could take home a plate and bowl and you don't have paper plate waste. I went with the color theme and placed fruits and veggies in each bowl according to color (blueberries in the blue bowl, grapes in the purple bowl, kiwi in the green bowl, yellow peppers in the yellow bowl, cherry tomatoes in the red bowl and carrots in the orange bowl). I also just got some nuggets from Chic-Fil-A in hopes that the kids could get messy and use the dips as "paint" on their place-mats. The Gatorades came in multi colors, so I simply made labels to match the table decor. The waters were also custom labeled. I lined the Gatorade up according to color in rows to give it a rainbow look. I displayed cubed orange and white cheese on an artist palette. I labeled all of the foods with paint swatches from Home Depot. This is a good and FREE way to label anything, and it went with the theme! Utensils were displayed in empty paint cans. There was also a bowl of multi-colored Goldfish crackers for the kiddos.

Cake: The 6 layered cake was home made using just a regular cake mix and some neon gel food coloring. You bake each color/layer separately and then ice with white icing. The surprise is when you cut into it an see all of the layers that look like a rainbow. I found some crayon candles at our regular grocery store, and placed them on the cake in a "2" shape.

a cake with a heart in the middle

Anyone familiar with this song by Quincy Coleman... well, how about a cake with a heart in the middle?

{image and recipe via i am baker}

paper monday: valentine’s petal pouches

Jordan of the charming Polka Dot Prints shop sent in an exclusive preview of her petal pouch printables for Valentine’s day.  It’s a play off the old petal picking game "she loves me, she loves me not...".  Open up the petals to reveal a cookie or another sweet treat (try red hots, conversation hearts or a love note) with the tag ‘she loves me’.  This little set is available in pink or blue, and comes with matching party dots and other accessories... so cute it sets my heart all aflutter!

 {images via polka dot prints}

valentine’s party: sweethearts & teddy bears

Bird Crafts sent in this adorable photoshoot to showcase her latest printable collection, and it offers so many sweet ideas for a family friendly Valentine’s day or February birthday that I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.  I love the simple red and white color palette with accents of natural brown... and the huggable teddy bears and fabric hearts are just perfect. If you’re interested in purchasing Bird’s printables, the time is now- she’s offering them for half price through the end of the day.  Happy Friday!

{images via bird crafts}

real parties: ride 'em cowboy!

Danielle of Belleza e Luce sent me the sweetest vintage cowboy she created for son’s birthday. She was inspired to create an entire set with the feel of Disney’s Frontierland and Toy Story’s ‘Woody’s Roundup’.  She and her family obviously worked like crazy to put this together- they spent nearly a week designing backdrops of old west buildings and scouring flea markets to look for décor.  Clearly their hard paid off- what an incredibly fun and entertaining event!  Below are some more party details in her own words...

{images via belleza e luce}

Hay bales with flannel blankets were used as seating for the guests and burlap covered the tables with delicate yellow flowers in cans, lanterns, and jugs creating the tablescape.

Every child found a cowboy hat, bandanna, and sheriff’s badge at their seat upon arrival.  They also received a stick horse which they used in the “Camptown Race” and also to chase the bandit (my children’s uncle) and send him to jail.

Grub included a typical cowboy’s feast of hot dogs, chili, fried chicken, baked beans, barbecue ribs, trail mix, and pulled pork served on tin plates (aluminum pie plates).   Guests were able to wet their whistle with choices of sangria, iced tea, and sarsaparilla.

For the dessert table, I wanted to create the feel of a general store.  We offered old-fashioned candies and sweets including gold nugget gum, taffy, licorice (aptly named cowboy lassos), root beer barrels, butterscotch sticks, and cow tails.  Additional goodies included individual apple cobblers served in mason jars, cookies and of course cake created by the extremely talented Elyse of By Little Hands.

Before the guests saddled up on their horses to head home, they received favors of barbecue sauce and the children, muslin sacks filled with old-fashioned toys.

real parties: transformers {more than meets the eye}

Since I already featured one original character party this week, I figured what's one more?  Good parties for boys don't get enough representation and this Transformer party by Christine of Pure Joy Events is eye popping and totally creative.  The paper Transformers from Paper Robots 1999 were her inspiration behind the event and hand-crafted decorations. Other DiY projects included a transformable lollipop stand made out of boxes and cardboard, a 3-D paper backdrop of New York City Harbor, and the Transformers food and beverage tents. The fondant detailing on the cakes is just fabulous too!

{images via pure joy events}

real parties: buzz lightyear goes modern

As you know, I don’t normally feature character parties, but I couldn’t resist this modern take on a Buzz Lightyear party from Jenny of Simply Party.  I’ll leave it to her to fill you in on all the details below, but I think this is great inspiration for a space or rocket themed birthday of any kind... proof that you can incorporate your children’s wishes without compromising the desire for good design.

{images via simply party}

I would love to share with you and your readers my son's recent 4th birthday party.  He is obsessed with Toy Story, mainly Buzz Lightyear, and talked about have a Buzz party for months.  I wasn't too keen on all the commercial products out there, so I decided to go with a modern rocket theme with touches of Buzz throughout to please the birthday boy.  Since I made most of the décor myself, I ended up with a very custom look.

The inspiration for the color palette was Buzz's costume- the main colors were lime green and aqua with accents of purple, red and silver.  The favor table and gift table were both labeled with die cut banners in the party colors.  The favor bags, I ordered from etsy, were white lunch sacks decorated to look like Buzz's costume and filled with Toy Story goodies (paddle ball, pop rocks candy and character shaped bracelets).  We also had "alien" party hats for all the kids.

The dessert table carried through the colors and graphics with a lime green back drop, coordinating die cut banner and poms in all the party colors.  The desserts also reflected the party colors with aqua marshmallow pops, lime green chocolate drizzled rice krispie treat pops, cupcakes, fondant cookie toppers and assorted candies.  This was definitely the kids' favorite!  We rented kid size tables and chairs to put out in the yard, which were decorated in brightly colored cloths and silver wrapping paper "runners," which was also used on the dessert table.  The centerpieces were made with floral foam, cardboard flower vases and cake toppers.

The kids' activities also used the rocket theme with a craft.  The line drawing of the graphic was adhered to a tongue depressor and I used red curling ribbon to make the "fire" so the kids could decorate their rocket and fly it around the yard.  We also had stomp rockets and a bean bag toss game, in addition to the bounce house and playscape.

In the end, everyone had a great time.  Both birthday boy and mommy were pleased with our spin on Buzz Lightyear!

real parties: pink & black pajama glam

I'm thrilled to share this exclusive feature, submitted by one of my all-time favorite party planners: Brittany of One Charming Party.  Brittany & Sara have a great eye for style, and this modern and glamorous pajama birthday party is no exception.  There are touches of glitter, feathers and jewels everywhere to make this girls night sparkle. The party started off with breakfast for dinner, a jewel hunt and a pedicure and ended with the little guests singing and dancing the night away in their fashionable pj best.  

If you love this theme as much as I do and want re-create it for your own little glamour girl, you're in luck... One Charming Party sells PDFs in their shop with a step by step guide with printables, details, crafts and resources including many more gorgeous images from Nicole Hill Gerulat (if you recall, I just mentioned the other day how much I love her style- and here is further proof).