April 25th, 2011 |

BATMAN! A Superhero Birthday Party

My good friend, Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, just hosted THE most darling vintage Batman birthday party for her son, Keaton….and I literally JUMPED at the chance to feature it!  We all know Charynn is quite the fondant queen, her cupcake toppers have graced the tables of hundreds of birthday parties (and are a regular staple at all of mine!)….but did you know she was THIS creative?!

Keaton’s favorite thing right now is Batman….so what’s a mom to do when her son desperately wants a character birthday party?!  Do it REALLY, REALLY well!  She used more of the vintage images as her inspiration, with  blue, gray, yellow, and black as the main colors.  Anders Ruff worked with her to transform their super hero package into a custom Batman package, so that it  fit with her ideas perfectly.  The party had three main tables….a  favor table with framed pictures of Keaton in his Batman costume, a batman banner, buckets with name tags for each kid to fill with treats, including custom made Batman crayons, superhero masks, Batman fruit snacks, custom sugar cookies, coloring pages, and other Batman costume supplies.

A small kid’s table was set up for the kids attending. Charynn created a set of 3d letters that spelled “Keaton” with vintage Batman comic books (which I am OBSESSED with – what a creative centerpiece!), vintage Batman prints as placemats, individual sugar cookies, and bottles filled with “joker juice.”

For the dessert table,  a 2 tiered Batman and Joker themed cake (inspired by Keaton’s favorite toy sets) sat centerstage, brownie pops decorated as Batman, Joker, and Robin, AMAZING sugar cookies by Sugarbelle’s, red velvet cupcakes with Batman emblem, “Pow!”, and “Bam!” toppers (placed in adorable cupcake wrappers designed by Anders Ruff Custom Designs), a mini candy bar held in Kandy Kones, and chocolate-covered oreos. Charynn custom designed and made cupcake stands and boxes to hold the cake pops and mini candy buffet.

The amount of details she put into this cake is just amazing….Keaton is one lucky boy!  Here are a few more detail pictures of all of the superhero desserts!

April 18th, 2011 |

Lovely, Little Ladybug Party

Happy Monday, Everyone!  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  I thought we would start our week of party inspiration off on a happy note!  You all know how much I L-O-V-E lady bugs…..our red and pink ladybug collections are some of my all-time favorites, and has been very popular this Spring.  These pictures come from a recent party thrown by one of my clients for her daughter, Audrey’s first birthday.

I love how she used all of our cute details and threw in her own patterned backdrop, coordinating party hat and bib for the birthday girl….not to mention the girls’ outfits!  Such a darling party….I couldn’t wait to share the pics with you!

To view our pink ladybug collection, click here.

April 4th, 2011 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Mod Safari Birthday Party

Today’s featured party comes from party blogger and event stylist, Christi Bennett of P is for Party.  Featured in our premiere issue of The Party Dress Magazine, this party is chock full of sophisticated details that were loved by kids and parents alike.  When Christi asked me to create a “modern safari or zoo” collection for her son’s birthday party, I took my color direction from the party room at the Houston Zoo.  The rusty-red and brown carpet helped set the color palette for the party (and even inspired the graphic patterns we used throughout the event).

Christi had less than an hour to create this festive environment – and had to transport all of the decorations, sweets and party favors into the zoo.  Not an easy task!  She created a natural look with burlap tablecloths, grass plant centerpieces (cube vases wrapped with our patterned paper and embellished with centerpiece sticks), and safari details such as animal print napkins, basket weave paper plates, and mini water bottles wrapped in our coordinating labels.  Each child had a safari hat and yellow binoculars tied with a gift tag at their place …..perfect for exploring the zoo!

The kids were given snacks in brown paper bags sealed with a “party animal” sticker to carry around the zoo while they explored.  But the big highlight was the dessert table!  A neutral, burlap backdrop and tablecloth set the stage for all of the fabulous goodies to POP!  A coordinating banner and paper chains decorated the table.

The sweets on the table were arranged around the F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S cake by Cakes by Gina, on a white pedestal cake stand.  Isn’t it wonderful?!  She did an amazing job of incorporating the banner detail from the invitation, as well as the 3-d fondant lion and giraffe.

On to the sweets!  Christi used small details to tie together the table and give it a cohesive look.  Candy jar tags, food tent cards, flags on pop sticks, and patterned tray liners (a simple way to dress up your basic, white serving pieces).  The sweets included round brownie bites with fondant toppers by Two Sugar Babies, rice crispy pops, chocolate-dipped marshmallow pops, candy, cupcakes with fondant toppers by Sweet Petal Bakery and couture cookies by Allyson Jane.

The kids enjoyed face painting and bubbles while enjoying their sweets.  Their little animal faces make me smile every time I look at these pictures!  Can’t you just imagine how proud and excited their were as they walked around the zoo with their painted faces?!

The party favors were displayed on a table using natural elements such as wood slabs and moss to accessorize the table.  Small plastic animals, mini bubbles and muslin bags by Perideau Designs held little sweets.  What I love about this party is that Christi took a classic zoo birthday party theme, and gave it an updated look with the modern patterns and fresh color palette.

Photography by Ellenzilla Photography

March 28th, 2011 |

Easter Bunny Brunch

Happy Monday, Everyone!  We are still over-the-moon-happy with the response we received to the premiere issue of The Party Dress Magazine!  We are so thankful for everyone the contributed, advertised, read and shared this first issue…and we can’t wait for the next one!  Due to popular demand, you can now purchase a lovely, glossy, printed version of the magazine here.

One of my favorite spreads in the magazine was the Easter Bunny Brunch I designed to showcase our Easter collection of paper goods.  I’m sharing all of of my little tips for creating a colorful Easter brunch over on Project Nursery today, and you can also see even more darling images in the gallery.

March 9th, 2011 |

Real Parties: Time for Tea

I’m very excited to share today’s real party with you……it’s sweet and girly and oh, so classic.  With a beautiful attention to detail, this tea party is sure to inspire you!  Shared with us by Andrea Edgar, you may remember the fabulous camp out party she threw for her son, Sawyer a while back.  I always get excited when one of Andrea’s parties show up in my inbox.  She has an incredible sense of style and you can see the love she puts into each party.  Here are a few details, as told by Andrea:

A tea party is a tradition in our family when our girls turn 5.  While this party theme is quite popular, I had a lot of fun with it as I staged it in our daughter’s bedroom!  It was the perfect pastel backdrop and made everything extra ‘girly’.  The invitations were definitely an inspiration for me – vintage but not too sophisticated.  This was a birthday for a five year old, after all!   I embellished them with glitter.  They are from http://www.etsy.com/shop/LoraleeLewis; the cake labels for the envelopes are from http://www.etsy.com/shop/lovecreationgal.

I found the vintage tins at Homesense (Canada’s Home Goods)  - they remind me of hat boxes!  Inside was a vintage cut glass tea cup filled with candy rockets, a felt tea bag, and an embellished hair clip (sewn by me!  see this tutorial), and some candy rockets.  The guests also took home a pearl necklace.

I used 5 fabrics, a pink solid, cream with blue polka dot, a blue polka dot organza, and two florals from tablecloths I found at Homesense that reminded me of Cath Kidston prints.  I promptly cut them up to make 3 table runners with ruffled edges, a bunting with pom-pom trim, a photobooth backdrop and handmade flowers. I sewed flowers of three different styles and of multiple sizes to adorn the chandelier, as well as to form a ‘bouquet’ in the teapot for the centerpiece.  I used some of my grandmother’s brooches to serve as the center of select flowers.  I also sewed crepe paper streamers to resemble ruffled fabric and strung it from the ceiling.  I made pom poms using pink and white tulle instead of the usual tissue paper and hung 5 of them at varying heights around the chandelier.  If felt like a bower thanks to the sloped ceilings in the room.  The table was set with my mismatched china, doily ‘placemats’, and pearl necklace ‘napkin rings’.  I ordered rose moulded sugars from LeChic Bakery Boutique.   The guests wore my oldest daughter’s collection of vintage hats.

For tea, everything was homemade: cranberry scones with devonshire cream and raspberry preserves, egg salad and heart-shaped pb & j sandwiches, carrots and snap peas, oreo truffles, jam thumbprint cookies, lemon bars, white chocolate-dipped strawberries, and vanilla cupcakes with raspberry buttercream.  The girls also drank LOTS of tea (actually, mostly milk with a little tea:)  The tiered tray was topped with the letter ‘M’ for our birthday girl, Meredith.

The guests were asked to bring their favorite doll or teddy bear.  We took photos, colored, made paper fans, played pass the present (unwrapping one layer at a time) and ‘Find Your Dolly’.  The girls had so much fun being little ladies – they really got into their roles!  This theme really reflected the transition of my preschooler maturing into being a little girl, too.

February 23rd, 2011 |

Rugby Stripe Boy Birthday Party Ideas

What’s a mom to do when her son is all BOY and only wants a birthday party centered around sports?  That is exactly what my client said to me when I started working on her party.  I say roll with the punches and give them what they want…..but maybe with more of a stylized point of view.  Have you ever looked for sports-themed party goods?  It’s tough to find something that isn’t super cheesy!  So, we create a new collection that features Ralph Lauren-inspired stripes, a preppy trophy and accents of footballs and soccer balls.  I’m a sucker for anything preppy, striped and inspired by Ralph…..so you can bet I’m pretty much obsessed with this new collection!

Check out the ideas above….can’t wait to show you how the party turns out in a couple of weeks!

Images: rugby stripe invitation (whhostess.com), rubber band striped votive candles (bhg.com), striped straws (etsy.com), paper chains (magchunk.com), sports gift tags (whhostess.com), baseball centerpiece (sdkphoto.com), pop can containers (jldesignsandevents.com), pinwheel dessert table (mylife-myloves.blogspot.com), bandana goodie bags (bhg.com), trophy sticker (whhostess.com), ice cream balls (), sport ball cake pops (savethedate4cupcakes.com)

holiday

February 21st, 2011 |

Preppy Mod Baby Shower Ideas

I’ve been a busy bee working on a bunch of upcoming Spring parties.  I’ll share some tidbits of each party along the next few weeks, but today I am showing you the inspiration board for an upcoming baby shower.  The hosts wanted something super sunny, with a preppy and slightly modern edge – perfect to welcome both Spring and a new baby!

The inspiration board is based around a new collection for us that includes a yellow Greek key pattern, and pops of hot pink and grass green.  Combining modern patterns like the Greek key and ikat, and a sweet summer-like eyelet will help me achieve a layered look that I think will be fabulous!  I’m focusing on a stunning tablesetting for lunch, a small dessert table and party favors for the guests.  More details to come soon!

Images: table setting, dessert table, watermelon cubes (amyatlas.com), pink peony centerpiece (josevillablog.com), double-sided Greek key baby shower invitation (whhostess.com), floating flower centerpiece (brides.com), placesetting (marthastewartweddings.com), champagne (karljuengel.com), lavender water glasses (sundaysuppers.com) lemonade party favor (eatdrinkchic.com), mini crab cakes (theknot.com), ikat bowl (anthropologie.com)

February 8th, 2011 |

playful panini POPS!

Playful Panini Pops

Perfect for your next playdate, valentine’s day party or kid’s birthday party, Panini Happy came up with this adorable idea!  These are basically mini grilled cheese sandwiches on a stick, so you can choose whatever bread and cheese you like. It’s probably best to stick with the semi-firm cheeses, as soft cheeses may melt too much to hold the lollipop sticks in place.

INGREDIENTS

Sliced country-style bread (relatively dense is best, I used sourdough)
Cheese (semi-firm, such as cheddar)
Finely crumbled or minced add-ins (e.g., bacon, herbs, peppers, olives)

Lollipop sticks (I used Wilton’s)
Cookie cutters

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the panini grill to medium-high heat (375°).

Assemble your panini, incorporating a generous amount of cheese to ensure there will be enough to hold the lollipop sticks in place.

Grill the panini for about 4 minutes until golden grill marks appear. Remove from the heat and immediately cut out shapes with cookie cutters (NOTE: If you’re using a metal cutter it will get HOT very quickly, so take care not to burn your fingers) and insert lollipop sticks.

Depending on the cheese you’re using you may need to wait a minute or two for the cheese to set the stick in place before serving. Enjoy!

February 4th, 2011 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Year of the Rabbit

chinese new year - year of the rabbit party invitations and paper goods

Starting this week, we welcome the “Year Of The Rabbit” and a two week long Chinese New Year celebration.  My friend, Melisa from Project Nursery came up with unique party concept to celebrate her son’s first birthday.  Darling Chase is 1/4 Chinese, so when it came time to choose a theme, Melisa’s husband cleverly suggested that they enjoy all that Chinese New Year has to offer: delicious Chinese Dim Sum, tasty Chinese sweets and a themed cocktail party for their close family and friends.

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, party planning didn’t kick into high gear until two weeks before the party!  Melisa asked WH Hostess to design and execute her vision for a modern, bamboo themed first birthday party that would involve red rabbits!  I created a custom bamboo pattern that was used throughout the party….read on for more details!

Melisa is a dream client – with her design background, she often has a clear vision of what she is looking for and knows how to articulate it.  She also knows when to say “take it from here, Kelly!”  which is always fun for me!  In order to be smart about her party purchases, she sourced a lot of their decorations in LA’s Chinatown. She picked up everything from inexpensive paper lanterns to little toy drums, fans and kid-friendly chopsticks for the favor bags – and had a great time negotiating along the way!

Since this first birthday party was a Saturday night cocktail party, catered Dim Sum was a delicious way to keep her adult guests intrigued. The kids were kept happy munching on potstickers and eggrolls.   It was a low maintenance meal that Melisa could simply steam and serve, and clean up was a breeze since guest enjoyed eating their finger foods with chopsticks out of Chinese take out boxes.

With dessert tables still on-trend, planning one with an ethnic theme was a great way to update the concept.  They served authentic Chinese goodies and candies such as Moon Cakes, Sesame Balls, Wintermelon Cakes, Lychee Candy, Haw Flakes, Candied Water Chestnuts and more.  She also included the popular Magnolia cupcakes and their famous banana pudding. The birthday cake was red velvet and adorned with red and yellow fondant shaped fortune cookies. Vanilla sugar cookies with lemon frosting by Angela from Queen of Tarts Cakes tied in the entire presentation thanks to her edible wafers designed to match my invitations. We stepped in with some simple decorations that helped brand the table, including cupcake toppers, candy jar tags, and sweet little rabbit stickers to dress up plastic cups.

One of my favorite parts of this party was the backdrop for the dessert table.  Melisa wanted the backdrop to create a large impact, yet wanted to keep the look sophisticated.  We decided that two large canvases featuring our custom bamboo print (exploded for a modern look) would fit the bill.   Melisa  honed in on her nursery design skills and decided she could save a couple hundred bucks by stretching her own canvases. I sent her my bamboo print in a file, and she had turned into canvas at Uprinting.com. A quick visit to the art supply store, she stretched the canvases on canvas bars and now has permanent wall art and hip graphic prints she can enjoy year round!  (they just so happen to coordinate perfectly with her stunning yellow chandelier!)

Because the party from held from 5pm-7pm, the children arrived in their PJ’s or “Mandarin Suits”. The big kids watched “Mulan” and “Kung-fu Panda” while making Chinese paper lantern crafts. Adults sipped on fun beverages thanks to a fully stocked bar. And what one year old party is complete without a signature drink or two? Burning Mandarin Martinis and Lychee infused champagne cocktails were served.

In the Chinese New Year tradition, guest went home with additional favors such as Mandarin oranges for luck, take out containers filled with candies and a lucky red envelope from the decorative centerpiece to ward off evil spirits!

Birthday Boy Chase looked just darling in his Mandarin Suit and looked like he had the time of his life!

January 31st, 2011 |

Project Nursery: Sweet Party Themes

Two Sugar Babies just launched an exclusive collection of designs that coordinate back to some of the WH Hostess best selling invitations and party collections!  I’m showing off these cute, coordinating fondant toppers today over at Project Nursery.  Head on over there to check them out!

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