oscar party inspiration: all that glitters

My schedule hasn't allowed me to work on many inspiration boards lately, but I've had this concept floating around in my head for some time and decided to finish it up for you in time for Oscar weekend.  True, I probably should have posted it weeks ago to give you inspiration for your planning, but I’m nothing if not a last minute gal these days.  I just adore the soft glamor of glittery gold paired with a pale pink... and I think it works equally well as a concept for a sophisticated birthday event or engagement party.  Hope you love it as much as I do...

{click to enlarge}

Photo Credits
Row 1:  hanging stars via ms weddings; tissue garland via a beautiful mess; dress via erin ever after
Row 2:  succulant centerpieces via erin ever after; champagne & bubbles via everythings fab
Row 3: table setting via coco & kelley; cupcake ladies via grey likes weddings; gold cake via style me pretty
Row 4: heart cake via sweetapolita; macarons via ms weddings; gold streamers via erin hearts court

real parties: unique unicorns

Victoria of A Subtle Revelry submitted this magical unicorn party designed with photographer Carly Taylor for her daughter’s first birthday.  Simple, whimsical, lovely. They designed glittering unicorn horns in leiu of party hats {is it wrong that I want one?} and the children pranced around the room in imaginary fun.  The dessert table featured a rainbow cake, taffy and rock candy.  And favors?  Ice cream cones dipped in white chocolate and made to look like horns - wrapped up with gold ribbon they are the perfect take-home treat.  

{images via a subtle revelry }

color me happy: paulette's macarons

At the close of another dreary winter's day, I thought I'd color your world with pictures from one of the stops on this weekend's excursion into San Francisco with Michele of Cakewalk Baking and her friend Jessica.  We had a lovely girls day {that's code for leaving the kids at home} of shopping and inspiration gathering for an upcoming event.  A few of our stops included Miette {which sadly was closed due to an unfortunate plumbing incident}, Crown & Crumpet for afternoon tea, Kara's Cupcakes and Paulette's Macarons {pictured here}.  I'm not going to review the shops for you since it's already way past my bedtime, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves throughout, and I'd be happy to provide more info via e-mail for anyone planning a visit to these SF locations.

{all images copyright birthday girl 2011}

real parties: school is cool

This charming take on the schoolhouse birthday theme was created by Grace Happens for her son’s 3rd birthday.  She drew her inspiration from the fact that he had just started preschool, and added vintage details like map pinwheels on the party hats, simple flash cards to share party messages, number cookies and brown paper bags for candy, labeled with classic schoolhouse print. The kids also got to bring home inflatable globes as favors- a clever little touch!

 {images via grace happens}

sweet treat: cake batter birthday bark

Happened upon this recipe from How Sweet it Is and it’s my new most favorite idea ever.  Ever!  Just a spoonful of cake batter and a rainbow of sprinkles turns this holiday staple into a fantastic birthday treat.  Perfect to give away as a party favor or packaged in a tin as a cheerful gift...

{image and recipe via how sweet it is}

Cake Batter Chocolate Bark

6 ounces high quality dark chocolate
12 ounces high quality white chocolate
3 teaspoons yellow cake mix
sprinkles of your choice (at least 3 tablespoons worth or more)

Melt dark chocolate either in the microwave or a double boiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour chocolate on. You can smooth it with a spatula to the thickness you desire. Stick in the freeze for 20 minutes.
Melt while chocolate. Whisk in cake mix slowly, stirring well until no lumps remain. Let it set for 3 full minutes (or at least until it slightly thickens). Remove baking sheet with chocolate from the freezer and immediately pour white chocolate on top. Sprinkle on sprinkles. Freeze for 20 minutes.
Once set, break into chunks. Keep refrigerated.

HGTV feature: simple ribbon details

In case you missed the exciting news, HGTV recently featured a few images from a photoshoot I did, showcasing ways to use ribbon to create a simple birthday party theme.  I put together this shoot on very short notice, so I used items I already had available and chose a color palette of vibrant blues to contrast the rustic look of my backyard in the winter.  I did all the crafts, styling and photography myself, and Michele of Cakewalk Baking was kind enough to provide the delicious sweet treats and some of the props.  Hope you enjoy the rest of the photos, and be sure to read on below for a few notes on how to create the elements included...

images © cake. | events + design

Chair Ties: Give your guest of honor the prettiest seat in the house. Choose a variety of satin ribbons, varying in color and width.  Loop one ribbon at a time around the top of a garden chair into a pattern.  Knot each ribbon in the center around the frame, so several feet of ribbon fall loose from each end of the knot.  Trim ends to same length, or leave mis-matched for a layered look. 

Ribbon Wands: The perfect favor for guests to whirl and twirl. Cut round wooden dowels down to about 18 inches long.  Select 3 pieces of ribbon for each dowel, varying in fabric and color.  Tie on each ribbon one at a time, leaving about an inch flag on the end.  Trim ends in a v-pattern.

Cake & Cupcake Flags:  Add a little homemade flair to your baked goods.  Select a variety of ribbons, varying in fabric and color.  Mix and match flags by wrapping or knotting around toothpicks (for cupcakes) or wooden skewers (for cake).  Trim ends on a diagonal, square or v-pattern.

Paper Straw Flags: Choose a 5/8" grosgrain ribbon and trim 3 inch pieces.  Using a dot of hot glue or double stick tape in the center, wrap ribbon around straw and seal.  Square ends.

Garland:  With the excess ribbon from chair ties and wands, tie short pieces along a length of twine to make a rustic garland. Knot once and trim ends to about 2 inches on each end.

Hair Bow: I couldn't resist taking a few photos of my daughter Caitlin in her party best, including a satin ribbon bow tied to a headband.  A darling party accessory for the birthday girl!

brunch for my valentines

I wanted to do something sweet for the fam this Valentine's day, but with it falling on a Monday I decided that a leisurely weekend brunch would be a better way to celebrate.  Better still, by using things I had around the house and the addition of a few savvy purchases, the whole morning only cost about $20 {including the food and cards}.  See below for how it all came together...

photos © cake. 2011

Last week I posted on Facebook that I found some pretty fabric at Ikea and hobnail bowls at Michaels for a steal.  They became my inspiration for the brunch, and using the fabric as a tablecloth and the bowls as serving pieces, I put together a simple continental style menu.  This included greek yogurt with whole strawberries, honey, pecan granola and cranberry scones with fresh squeezed orange juice & lattes to drink.

Above the table I hung two garlands that I crafted from items around the house.  The top garland is made from doilies and cupcake liners, folded to look like flower blossoms {fun tip: when folded just right they look like hearts} and strung along a length of baking twine.  The lower garland is created from felt sticker hearts in a variety of colors and sizes. I sandwiched the stickers together with along a length of twine- which was more time consuming than you would think, but much easier than trying to cut and glue all the hearts from scratch.

Of course I had to give some cards to my family, so I created a few custom Valentines through my membership at Tiny Prints {If you haven't heard about this service yet- try it out for a while. It seriously rocks}.  I also came upon some free printables from Hello Lucky and they were so cute I decided to print them on sticker paper and use them to label the envelopes. 

Everything turned out great and I hope it offers you some last minute inspiration for your celebration. Happy Valentine's day!

real parties: a pink & green girlie carnival

This stunning soiree is an exclusive feature from the party planners of Eclat Events.  I flipped for it instantly and I know you will too.  The birthday party was created for twin 5 year old girls, so to give the theme a girly twist, they picked a palette of soft pink and lime green- colors inspired by the fashionable look of Lilli Pulitzer.  No detail went unattended... the party included a carnival style tent and games area, baskets filled with prizes, custom vintage party hats  and a fabulous ice cream buffet for dessert.  It’s literally a carnival for the senses!  Read on for further details from Eclat Events...


{images copyright Nancy Aidee}

Everything was custom and personalized; from the invitations, which were silkscreen printed on balloons to be blown up by each guest, the envelop that each kid received at the entrance with custom tickets for each carnival game, to the birthday hats made out of fabric and matching garland.
Vintage carnival music was played in the background, while kids had fun with ball tossing, water squirting games, where each kid got to receive custom wrapped carnival prizes. A dunk tank and a stilt walker were also part of the fun, while a tray of prettily wrapped popcorn and cotton candy was passed around.
A snow cone machine, hot dogs and pink lemonade were part of the menu, and the finishing touch was the beautiful ice cream toppings bar with matching colors and a mini cake for each of the twins.