September 24th, 2014 |

TIPS for PHOTOGRAPHING A NEWBORN

tips for photographing a newborn

WE ASKED CHICAGO-PHOTOGRAPHER, KATIE GIERKE, OF KATHRYN HASTINGS PHOTOGRAPHY TO GIVE US HER BEST TIPS FOR STYLING AND CAPTURING YOUR LITTLE ONE. READ ON FROM THIS EXCERPT OF OUR BABY by WH HOSTESS DIGITAL MAGAZINE, TO LEARN HOW TO CAPTURE YOUR FAMILY’S PERFECT LITTLE MOMENTS.  THIS LIST WILL HELP YOU TAKE THE PERFECT PHOTO FOR YOUR BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT.

TIP 1

photographing newborns

Light, light, light! It is so important to have really great natural light. Babies are so naturally beautiful you want to make sure that the lighting in your pictures is as natural as possible. I love shooting early in the morning in a room with lots of windows and if possible on a bright overcast day. The soft natural lighting will eliminate your little one.

Tip 2

tips for photographing newborns

Simplicity. I love simple, beautiful and natural pictures. The baby should be the main subject in your picture. While backdrops are cute, real life backdrops are more natural and classic. Your pictures will never be dated and will never go out of style. Get rid of all the extra stuff (stuffed animals, signs and props). You want your back ground to be clean. I think a great location for a newborn shoot is a bed. Clear the extra clutter off your nightstands, dressers ect. You can’t go wrong with simple!

Tip 3

ideas for newborn photography

Dressing your baby. Wraps are timeless. Babies seem to sleep deeper if they are swaddled and you will be able to play with them more for pictures while they are in a deep sleep. I love the beautiful Aden & Anais wraps and they are easy to find on Amazon, target or a baby store. Make sure you get the blankets that are plain colors. Once your swaddle them tightly you can add a cute hat, bow or just leave them as they are.

Tip 4

photographing a baby

Preparing your Baby for the Shoot. When you shoot a newborn you want to make sure the heat in the house is turned up. Make sure it is warmer then normal. This will help them sleep and stay asleep. Make sure the baby is fully fed and their diaper is clean. It takes patients and time to photograph a newborn.

Tip 5

tips for photographing babies

P.S. That is Kelly’s son Daniel!

Your Camera. This amazing instrument can feel like a very daunting task to figure out. I would recommend you read the manual. I know that sounds like a silly tip to give, but honestly so many people have these great cameras and never pick up the manual. Auto is a great tool that all these cameras have, but there is so so so much more to them then just the auto click and capture. If you are getting adventurous Throw your camera in M (manual) and keep the lens in AF(auto focus) play with your ISO settings. If you want to keep it simple for now then keep it in auto and play with your angels. Don’t be scared to off center your picture or to take your picture from farther away. An inch one direction or another can change a picture.

“Photography is so much fun and can be so rewarding. It take a lot of patients and practice. Keep playing with that camera and you will be so happy with the images you create all on your own. If you have any questions or would like me to photograph your newborn, please reach out to me, katie@kathrynhastings.com. Now grab that camera and get to work!”

~ Katie Gierke of Kathryn Hastings Photography

For more tips, follow Katie on Facebook.  If you are interested in a shoot in the Chicagoland area, please contact her thru her website, kathrynhastings.com.

 

September 23rd, 2014 |

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS by WH HOSTESS | KELLY’S TIPS

After waiting nine long months for your little bundle of joy to arrive, you are naturally eager to share the news with your friends and family. Birth announcements are a wonderful way to introduce your precious baby to the world, yet proper birth announcement etiquette can leave new parents with questions. We’re hoping to answer those today and also introduce you to the new birth announcement collection from WH Hostess (featured in the new digital magazine BABY by WH HOSTESS).

birth announcements intro

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT SELECTION

While it’s wise to have a short list of announcements selected prior to your baby’s birth, we encourage you to select a design that compliments the photo of your newborn.  (see tips from Kathryn Hastings Photography tomorrow on the blog!)

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT TIMELINE

With social media so available these days, chances are the arrival of your baby was news minutes after it happened. A classic birth announcement should be sent out within the first 6 months of life. We like to encourage clients to aim for sometime within the first 3 months!

CREATING A RECIPIENT LIST

Clients often ask us how many cards they should order, and that is a very personal question. The simple answer is: send them to whoever you think would want to celebrate your big news. This may include you family, best friends, neighbors, coworkers, workout buddies, old college friends. Bottom line, who wouldn’t want to celebrate the arrival of your brand new baby?

WHAT YOU SHOULD & SHOULDN’T INCLUDE

You should absolutely include your baby’s full name, birth date, and height and weight. Make sure to include “welcomed with love” followed by the parents’ names or “Daniel has a little sister” to include the whole family in the joy. Don’t include any registry information on your birth announcement. If recipients wish to send your little one a gift, they will seek out the information. If you do receive gifts for your baby, don’t forget to send a thank you note as soon as possible, though it is acceptable to take up to three months.

UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Can you send a birth announcement for an adoption? Absolutely! What if your baby was a premie in the NICU for 2 months? We suggest sending announcements once the baby comes home. Bottom line, there are no rules and you can make up your own guidelines for your specific situation.

Printed on a luxe, smooth cardstock with classic, yet updated designs that ooze that fresh baby look, here are a few of our favorite new birth announcements from WH Hostess:

birth announcements by wh hostess

And if you can’t find the perfect card to suit your image, or are looking for a more unique design, please contact Kelly to inquire about a custom design.

custom birth announcements by wh hostess

September 18th, 2014 |

BABY SHOWER | YELLOW MONOGRAM PRAM

classic yellow monogram pram baby showerThe launch of our special issue BABY by WH HOSTESS brings a ton of new ideas to share with you!  One of them is this new party collection, our Monogram Pram collection is perfect for the classic Mama-to-be and comes in four different color ways: pink, blue, yellow and blue & pink!

With this collection, we share ideas for a sophisticated yellow dessert table full of candy from Candywarehouse.com, a darling craft activity for guests and one of our favorite baby shower traditions: a gorgeous wishes for baby card!

dessert tableDSC_0274DSC_0285DSC_0273candywishes for baby cardblocks

September 17th, 2014 |

TPD MAGAZINE | BABY by WH HOSTESS

digital magazine about baby showersThe birth of a new baby (or a brand new stationery collection!) is an exciting time that deserves to be celebrated in style.  The Party Dress Magazine is pleased to launch a special issue full of gorgeous inspiration for all things baby.  From planning baby showers, sip & see’s, and baptisms, to gift ideas, recipes, advice for photographing your newborn, etiquette for selecting birth announcements and writing thank you notes, to ideas from your favorite bloggers on how to create traditions and modern heirlooms with your family, this issue is gorgeous and full of very happy occasions.

It also showcases the products from the new BABY by WH HOSTESS collection of birth announcements, stationery and baby shower party goods.

Join us in celebrating our new “baby!”

collection magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This issue features contributions from some special ladies.  Katie Gierke of Kathryn Hastings Photography shares her tips for photographing your newborn, Melisa Fluhr and Pam Ginnochio of Project Nursery share ideas for the perfect baby shower gift, Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio shares a unique idea for creating a modern heirloom, and some of your favorite bloggers share their family traditions in hopes to inspire new ones for your family! (thank you to The TomKat Studio, Project Nursery, Pizzazzerie, Kate Landers Events and Swanky Chic Fete)

This issue and collection of paper goods was inspired by the birth of my first child in late 2013. This little love has brought so many happy occasions into my life this last year, many of them documented in the issue.  Each event, milestone or happy occasion brought about a need for stylish paper goods….thus the BABY by WH HOSTESS collection was born.  It will continue to grow, but for now – I hope you enjoy this new collection that oozes that fresh baby look and feel. Classic gingham checks, soft stripes, sweet baby monograms – all done in my signature style offered on birth announcements, stationery, baptism invitations and the most gorgeous collection of baby shower invitations and party decor around.

September 9th, 2014 |

WH HOSTESS | CLASSIC PINK BALLOON PARTY

classic pink balloon party from wh hostessSometimes, you just need to go back to basics.  I love a good theme party, don’t get me wrong, but there is just something so perfectly classic about a birthday party full of balloons and a sweet pink and green color palette.  I’m pleased to introduce you to a brand new collection and signature WH Hostess party today.  Our Classic Pink Balloon collection is full of charm, a touch of prep and offers you the perfect items to expertly style a gorgeous birthday party.  Our party today is shown in pink and green for a little girl (Miss Elizabeth), but we do also offer a boy variation of the collection as well.

classic and preppy pink balloon birthday party invitation by wh hostessThe invitation sets the tone for a festive event.  The subtle pink quatrefoil pattern in the back, topped with our birthday girl holding a trendy, oversized balloon strikes the perfect balance – we like to call it “updated classic!” The quatrefoil pattern is repeated throughout the party on paper goods and Cake Plate Clings, and we have a couple complimentary patterns that are just downright fun.

On to the party….

pink and green birthday party tablesetting from wh hostess

The little girls were greeted with a very festive tablesetting for lunch.  The table was covered with a crisp, white tablecloth and topped with a table runner made out of our pink and green party patterned fabric.  Green striped paper plate, silverware bundles wrapped up in bows, placecards, and paper cups dressed up with party hat stickers added to the festive vibe.  The real showstopper, however, was the cluster of paper lanterns soaring above the table.  After hanging them at varying heights, I added ribbon “tassels” to the bottom of each, giving them an updated look.

pink and green party decorationspink and green birthday party ideasDressing up basic paper cups is one of my favorite kids’ party tricks!  A darling sticker and cute striped straw will make any basic look party-ready!

pink and green birthday party dress up paper cup with a stickerThe guests all wore custom-made party hats in our pink quatrefoil pattern.

classic pink and green birthday partyAnd like any party, the dessert table stole the show!  It was anchored with our custom fabric backdrop and two oversized pink balloons.  I used a textured white tablecloth to add some tonal pattern, yet keeping it very crisp to show off the details of the sweets.

preppy pink and green dessert table by wh hostessServed on all white cake stands with coordinating Cake Plate Clings, desserts included cake pop “balloons” from Bella’s Bakery & Bowtique, gorgeous sugar cookies from Flourish Sweet Shop (custom to match our paper goods!), pale pink macarons, cupcakes with personalized cupcake toppers, and marshmallows and an array of pink and green candy from Candywarehouse.com.

pink and green cookies for dessert tablepink balloon cake popspink and green dessert tablepink candy for dessert tableCoordinating accessories, such as candy jar tags and food tent cards, helped to brand the table and add a touch of decoration.

pink and green candy for dessert tableDSC_0095 DSC_0099girlsDSC_0178

pink balloon sticker from wh hostess

preppy pink and green dessert table

Of course, no party would be complete without party favors!  Packaged in sweet pink chevron paper bags, tied up with a green bow, and our sweet gift tag, they held a very fun surprise for summer…..hot pink, heart-shaped, rhinestone-covered swim goggles.  What more could a little girl want?!

pink and green birthday party favor bagspink and green birthday party gift tag for party favors from wh hostessDSC_0154DSC_0166Our new collection is available in the shop, and includes everything you need to style your classically perfect pink and green birthday party.

pink green girl balloon category

pink and green cake plate cling party decorations

 

September 2nd, 2014 |

WH HOSTESS | FALL PARTY COLLECTIONS

fall birthday party collections from wh hostessfall birthday parties from wh hostessNow that the kids are back in school, it’s time to start planning fall birthday parties!  Let WH Hostess help you create a party to remember.  From darling invitations, to coordinating party decorations, WH Hostess has a variety of themed party collections that are perfect for Fall.  Today, we’re showing you a few of our favorite party themes for September, October and November.

fall birthday party collections

 

Click the images above to view the party collections!

August 26th, 2014 |

PARTIES by WH HOSTESS | FROZEN ICE PRINCESS

frozen inspired ice princess party by wh hostessWorking with my custom party-planning clients is one of my favorite parts of my job.  I love assisting them to create an experience for their guests that is both entertaining and stylish.  And typically, it results in a fabulous new party collection for us to offer in the shop.  With the Frozen movie taking the little girl group by storm this year, we have done a few different custom invitations and party goods.  For this party, we expanded on those and created a party fit for an Ice Princess!  Focusing on a turquoise, light blue and fuschia color palette, I used snowflakes, snowmen, and lots of white accents to design a party that fit the bill for the frozen-obsessed birthday girl, and was sophisticated in feel for the parents.  Our new collection is now available in the shop!

These beautiful photos from Stacey Woods tell the story of the day.  Here are a few highlights to look for:

frozen-inspired ice princess party welcome signPrincess Elsa Dress Shoppeprincess elsa dress shoppe jewelryprincess elsa snowflake wands and tutusice princess tutuscrowns for princess elsa frozen partyfrozen party princess elsa dress shoppefrozen ice princess party tablesetting with snowflake table runnersice princess frozen party chair sign by wh hostessdrink bar for frozen partyfoil-stamped napkins for frozen ice princess partydrink dispenser tag for frozen ice princess partyfrozen ice princess birthday cakefrozen inspired tiered cakefrozen inspired ice princess white dessert tablefrozen ice princess cupcake topperswhite desserts with frozen cake plate clings on cake standssnowman chocolate-covered oreosfrozen ice princess dessert table sign and candy jar tags by wh hostesssnowflake sugar cookies by flourish bake shoppefrozen ice princess partyOur new collection is available in the shop, including invitations, party decorations, custom fabric and Cake Plate Clings.  We are so excited to introduce a couple new products to this party collection as well: foil-stamped beverage napkins, and foil-stamped cello bags!

frozen inspired ice princess party invitations and paper goods by wh hostess

frozen snowflake cake plate clingsParty Plan, Paper Goods, Fabric + Cake Plate Clings by WH Hostess  |  Photography by Stacey Woods  |  Sugar Cookies by Flourish Sweet Shop

August 7th, 2014 |

CUSTOM PARTY: TILLY’S PINWHEELS

pinwheel webI have another custom party to share with you today! This colorful pinwheel party was designed for a sweet one year old named Tilly last summer.  It was featured on a couple of other party sites, including Hostess with the Mostess, and we get so many requests for it!  It will definitely be a new collection soon.  For now, if you are interested in it, please e-mail me!

83275461Here are some details from Tilly’s mom:

“For my daughter, Natalie’s first birthday, I wanted to style something adorable. I admit that I started the planning process when Natalie was just 6-months-old. I came up with the Polka Dots & Pinwheels theme and immediately started thinking of so many cute ideas! The party decor incorporated bright colors and fun details including a personalized backdrop, paper pinwheels and a two-tiered cake that included the birthday girl’s nickname, “Tilly.” The tissue pom poms added a girly feel to the display and coordinated with Natalie’s petty-skirt ensemble. I tried to be really creative with I came up with the names for the signature cocktails, “Tilly-tini” for the adults and a kids version, called “Tilly-Temple” which guests sipped from individual glass bottles paired with trendy paper straws. Party-goers filled favor boxes with a variety of sweet treats including cupcakes, brownie pops, hot pink gumballs, and rock candy.”

Resources:

Photography: Lollipops & Slingshots Photography  |  Event Concept & Design: Joanna Warbiany  |  Pinwheels: Polka Dot Pinwheels  |  Invitation, Banner, Backdrop and Labels: WH Hostess  |  Cake: It’s All About the Cake  |  Brownie Pops & Macarons: Sweet and Saucy Shop  |  Cupcake Wrappers: Bella Cupcake Couture  |  Chalkboard Sign: Moulage Collection

 

August 5th, 2014 |

CUSTOM PARTY: MAX turns ONE!

custom design webDid you know that some of our most popular birthday party collections started out as customer requests for custom designs?  Yup.  And that’s why we love our customers so much!  I thought this week that I would show you a few custom parties that we designed recently.  And if you are interested in them – e-mail me!

This particular collection was designed for a Max’s 1st birthday.  His mom asked me to come up with something fresh, preppy and all about #1!  A classic navy blue, light blue and green color palette, a few cute patterns and a little monogram love was used. I created a custom #1 basketweave pattern to use for the invitation and then we carried it onto party goods throughout the event on a custom poster, paper goods and Cake Plate Clings.cake table

cake and water bottles

 

sandwich bagsI think Max’s mom did a great job infusing our paper goods into her design – looks like a great party to me!

 

July 22nd, 2014 |

PASTEL PRINCESS PARTY

entry alexandrafront of houseOnce upon a time, in a land far, far away (or maybe just down south in Houston), a sweet little princess and her mom asked me to help them plan a princess party full of shimmering details, and oh so much fun.  And OH, SO MUCH FUN we had with this party! We decided on a pastel palette of pale pink, icy blue, yellow and lilac, and used a princess silhouette and our custom patterns throughout the whole party.

The photography by April Pizana is gorgeous and captures the beautiful the details of the party.

entryWhen guests arrived, they were greeted with two princess towers made out of balloons flanking the front door, with a pennant-style welcome sign.  The foyer held a lush, ombre rose centerpiece and guests were immediately invited into the “Fairy Godmother’s Dress Shoppe” where they “shopped” for dress-up clothes, magic wands, jewels, crowns & tiaras, etc.  The table was set up like a stylized dessert table, with a custom-designed fabric backdrop. There were Princesses milling about, and face painting each of the guests.

dress shoppe

tiaras dresses tutuscrowns

The kids table was set with a custom blue striped table runner that we custom designed with the princess silhouette on each end, white Chivari chairs that were accessorized with colorful stars, and a centerpiece that was to-die-for: dense rose vases (wrapped in gold glitter paper), held ribbon-wrapped poles and a pennant banner that soared above the table.  Milk bottles were dressed up with glitter washi tape, and each placesetting held a “make-your-own-necklace” kit on our cello bags with custom toppers.

tablesetting

kids table round tableGuests were treated to a delicious lunch buffet, set up in the dining room.  Decor included a large princess silhouette cling on the mirror, large rose centerpieces in white urns, and coordinating food tent cards and napkin ties.

family room

lemonade

waiter

dining roomnapkin rolls

The dessert table stole the show!  The table was draped in pink satin, and flanked by two oversized pink balloons with hanging tassels.  The custom fabric backdrop featured our pastel star pattern and Alexandra’s name with a glittered crown. A princess cake stood center stage, flanked by cookie “magic wands”, cupcakes with fondant gold crowns atop them, candy necklaces and bracelets, colorful macarons, crown sugar cookies, and various candies.  The table was accessorized with our coordinating Cake Plate Clings, food tent cards and candy jar tags, as well as pink striped bags with our princess sticker for guests to fill to the brim with candy to bring home.

dessert tablesweetscandycandy necklacescupcakescookies
cake

cake table

A horse-drawn carriage was the ultimate surprise and gave the children rides around the neighborhood. The party not only turned out just beautifully, but it also created such a magical experience for the children!

princessesThis pastel princess collection is one of my new favorites!  The full collection is available in the shop here. You can find the full list of vendors and resources to recreate this party listed below.

feet

Party Design, Invitations and Decorations, Cake Plate Clings and Fabric Backdrops - WH Hostess
Cake, Cupcakes, star wand cookies, and crown cookies - Cakes by Gina
Macarons and cotton candy marshmallows - Petite Sweets
Tutus - Halo Heaven
Tiaras, crowns, swords, star wands, rings and necklaces - Oriental Trading
Balloons – Balloon Masters

 

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