March 30th, 2012 |

Little Blue Car

It’s been such a fun, colorful week here on TPD!  Thank you all for following along with Character Parties week – I hope you have enjoyed viewing all of the featured parties.  Today’s party is a bit of a different “character” party.  Where the other featured parties have had a commercialized character center stage (cookie monster, eloise and elmo) today’s party has a more generic character or icon…..the little blue car.

This first birthday party is one of my favorite parties to date.  It was actually a year ago (yes, I am seriously behind in posting it) and I partnered with my friend, event planner Christi Bennett of P is for Party to create the paper goods for her client.  Featured on Hostess with the Mostess and in the Summer 2011 issue of The Party Dress Magazine, this collection has become one of our top selling.  It’s the perfect mix of preppy and classic, modern and festive….and features the beloved chevron pattern. Read on for details from Christi:

The birthday boy’s favorite toy is his Step 2 blue car, so my friend and client, Andrea, knew she wanted to base the party around Luke’s favorite pastime. Once we decided on the theme, I quickly contacted Kelly fromThe Party Dress and WH Hostess to get started.  We knew we would use blue since that was the color of the car, but we needed another fun color to complete the scheme.  We settled on a bright orange that paired perfectly with the blue!

Andrea works full time, so she wanted me to coordinate the party from beginning to end and let her be fully surprised with most of the details.  So, Kelly and I took the LITTLE BLUE CAR theme and ran with it.  Even though this was a first birthday celebration, most of the people in attendance were adults.  Kelly did such a wonderful job creating paper goods that were kid friendly as well as pleasing to the adult eye.  I had the task of creating a setting where adults would have a nice time as well as the little ones.

I ordered a yard of coordinating custom fabric that my Mom sewed two pillows from.  The pillows were placed on the outdoor fireplace along with a “Happy Birthday Luke” banner.

The tables were set with simple white tablecloths, but custom cardstock placemats gave them the perfect pop of color!  Whole Foods created the floral arrangements in white ceramic containers from IKEA, which I provided.  I placed one of Kelly’s centerpiece sticks in each arrangement to give it more of a childish and playful feel.

The drink table was a popular area since it was unusually hot and humid for this time of year and the party guests couldn’t resist the Bellini station, which gave a nod to our orange color scheme.

I placed custom wrapped water bottles and other sodas and beer in white galvanized tins from Crate and Barrel.  Kelly’s custom wraps also adorned glass bottles ordered from Specialty Bottle and filled with orange soda.

James Coney Island, a favorite local hot dog joint, catered the party.  Instead of serving the traditional French fries, I created a small chip bar with 4 varieties of chips. Food tent cards were displayed in front of each clear bowl.

A dessert table was a must since all ages were able to enjoy the treats.  I filled the table with blue, orange and white sweets.  The candy was placed in glass containers from The Container Store and the desserts were set on white platters from Target.

My favorite part of the table was the custom tile backdrop handcrafted by Kelly!  She printed out multiple sheets of the coordinating patterns and glued them to ribbon, which I tacked to white foam board.

The two tiered cake was made by Cakes by Gina and they did an amazing job reproducing the patterns from the paper goods. The cookie, cake pops and cupcakes were made locally by Michael’s Cookie Jar, Nathalie Cook and Rice Epicurean.

I purchased blue striped cupcake wrappers from Shop Lulu to dress up the store bought cupcakes.  I also found the candy bags and cups from Shop Lulu.  Kelly also provided custom box wraps to dress up the white boxes, which served as pedestals for the candy jars.

Charynn of Two Sugar Babies designed custom fondant toppers for the brownies and they were perfect!

Guests took home fresh lemonade bottled in jars from IKEA as party favors.  The bottles were adorned with favor tags that said, “Beep! Beep!  Thanks for Coming!”.

March 29th, 2012 |

Character Parties LINK PARTY!

I hope we have inspired you with our featured Character Parties this week!  Now, it’s time for you to inspire us and our readers!  Have you created a fabulous character party?!  Link your party below and share the inspiration!

 

March 29th, 2012 |

Girly Elmo Birthday Party

Character Parties week continues here on the blog with one of my favorite parties to date: a girly Elmo party with modern patterns, including a bold rainbow chevron.  We worked with one of our favorite clients in Houston to design this party, and she executed it better than we ever could have imagined!

When it comes to creating ‘character‘ parties, I prefer to focus on great patterns and colors, and accent with the character!

While putting together the original party plan, I decided to incorporate a child-friendly color palette of ‘Elmo’ red, pink, yellow, green and turquoise, but use three modern patterns to appeal to the adult’s design aesthetic.  A bold chevron pattern and two-tone clover pattern mingled beautifully with colorful polka dots and served as the basis for all of the paper goods designs.  I created my own “furry friend” that resembled Elmo to use on the paper goods – note how he has her age on his party hat!

A personalized street sign was included in the return address label and we used Sesame Street sayings on the invitation and throughout the party goods (‘brought to you by the letter ‘A’ and number ’2′, ‘Alexandra’s World’, etc.).  You will see coordinating party goods throughout the party, including custom fabric used for pillows and the dessert table backdrop.

Guests were greeted in true Sesame Street style at the front door with green street sign for ‘Alexandra’s Street’.  When they entered into the house, there was a large ‘A’ made out of yellow roses along with colorful decorations leading guests through the house into the official party space.  The adult tables were inside and out, and were dressed with bold, solid-color tablecloths and gorgeous flower arrangements.  There was a combination of high and low arrangements, and some also included jars of candy, and ribbon pomander balls.

The kids table was set with a bold pink, satin tablecloth and the mini white chairs were wrapped in turquoise satin bows.  Each placesetting had a polka dot plate, a party hat with an Elmo sticker on it, and a cello bag full of crayons with a chevron topper.  (there were also coloring pages to keep the kids busy)  There were three monochromatic centerpieces lining the table – each filled with a different color of gerber daisies. Jars of candy with custom centerpiece sticks sat between the flowers.

The self-serve bar was set up with rainbow striped glassware, paper cups for the kids dressed up with stickers, and water bottles with coordinating labels (big ones for the adults….mini ones for the kids!).  The food was served as a buffet in the dining room, and the table was set with three tall monochromatic flower arrangements to create a whimsical touch of drama.  Coordinating food tent cards labeled yummy eats such as mini sliders, sweet potato fries in paper cones, rainbow fruit kabobs and goldfish for the kiddos.  Pink silverware was tied in our coordinating napkin rings.

The kids were entertained with face painting, a huge Sesame Street bounce house, and a visit from Elmo, himself!  A Sesame Street bounce house was flanked by colorful balloons and the outdoor living room was dressed with throw pillows made out of our custom fabric in the chevron and polka dot patterns.

As usual, the dessert table STOLE THE SHOW!  Bright and colorful, it literally makes my heart happy to see how this came together!  A fabric-covered backdrop (made with our custom chevron fabric) defined the space and an amazing cake from Cakes by Gina held center court. (Don’t you love how she incorporated all of our colorful patterns into each tier?!)  Jars of candy were embellished with coordinating candy jar tags, and we used cupcake toppers to brand the candy in the tilt bowls.

Brownies held fondant toppers by Two Sugar Babies in our coordinating patterns, and The Cookie Jar created cookies in the letter ‘A’ and number ’2′.  Elmo cake pops received rave reviews from the little ones and cupcakes were a hit as always.

There were small polka dot and striped boxes for people to fill up with candy (dressed up with a coordinating sticker, of course) and there was signage all around the party helping brand it.

Guests went home not only with their box of candy, but also with a cello bag with two containers of play dough (each wearing an ‘A’ and a ’2′ sticker on top) and a large Elmo cookie, tied with a polka dot gift tag saying ‘Thanks for partying at Alexandra’s World’.”

{Party Resources}

Party Design, Invitation, Paper Goods and Fabric: WH Hostess | Photography: Ellenzilla Photography | Green Street Sign: I Do Invitations by Michelle | Catering: A Fare Extraordinaire | Fondant Toppers: Two Sugar Babies | Cake Pops: Angie’s Cake | Cookies: The Cookie Jar | Cake: Cakes by Gina | Favor Boxes: Shop Sweet Lulu | Flowers: Wedding Flowers by Lisa | Ribbon Pomander Balls & Plates: Polka Dot Market

March 28th, 2012 |

Eloise at The Plaza Party

My daughter Madelyn has loved Eloise since she was 2 years old. She collects the dolls, books, and has ALWAYS asked for a party at The Plaza. Since it is such a special “number” birthday, for her 5th birthday, I decided to style a pink, black, and white Eloise themed soiree. I enlisted the help of Kelly from WHHostess to create an amazing invitation and coordinating party goods using Madelyn (and Eloise)’s favorite color, pink, and my love for black and white patterns. For the invitation, we had Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio create a custom silhouette of Madelyn in an Eloise “pose” that we carried throughout in several of the other party goods.

Madelyn’s request was to have a tea table set up for her and her friends to use at the party. As a surprise, I ordered an actual Eloise tea set from The Plaza to decorate the table, along with some pink and black cupcakes topped with pink and white swirled lollipops, strawberry cream cheese tea sandwiches, Eloise- themed stuffed animals, and pink and white polka dot suitcases. I made curtains using more of the Ikea fabric, and to tie the theme together, styled the floor with a black and white chevron rug. The tea table was so simple to pull together, and it was Madelyn’s favorite part of the party!

When Madelyn suggested the idea of an Eloise party, I immediately thought of an all-pink bakery that Eloise might visit on one of her trips outside of The Plaza. We built large risers to mimic the interior of a bakery store window, and created an awning using black and white striped fabric from Ikea. I used white cake stands and dessert ware from my collection, and I also greatly expanded my collection with a fabulous (and super inexpensive) project: DIY milk glass using glass- ware from Goodwill and white spray paint.

The dessert table was styled with all pink desserts that were created by myself, with touches of black and white throughout.

One of Madelyn’s special requests for the pink “bakery”: two different cakes: a pink rosette cake, and a fondant covered creation with pink stripes and a replication of her silhouette in fondant. I also had absolutely adorable marshmallow pops made especially for Madelyn by The Marshmallow Studio.

Some of Madelyn’s favorite desserts were on the display, including: pink chocolate coated Oreo truffles, hot pink macarons filled with dark chocolate ganache, chocolate cupcakes with pink strawberry buttercream, NYC black and white cookies, mini donuts sprinkled with pink coconut, chocolate dipped pretzels, meringue “ice cream cones” that rested on WHHostess patterned paper to match that theme (and on a DIY ice cream cone stand!), pink gum balls and hard candy from Candywarehouse.com.

I branded the dessert table with coordinating paper goods from WH Hostess: pink striped food tent cards featured Eloise’s signature hairbow and identified all of the delicious treats to the guests, as well as charming black and white, swiss dot candy jar tags on all of the containers. A festive pennant banner hung across the table, featuring custom patterns.

The most talked about (and loved by the adults) part of the party was the inventive drink station we created. I have always found it amusing that, in the books, Eloise knew to order Nanny a drink from room service. Just like Nanny, the adults at our parties like a little “libation” or two.

I created a simple background for the table using a large silhouette from the stationery in an ornate frame from Ikea. Kelly created custom labels for the liquor bottles that were displayed on a cake stand for some height, and mixers were displayed in simple glass carafes. Another creative signlet all of the guests know that these were “Nanny’s Libations” and were not for kids.

A small game was also created using hot pink sixlets, as the guests had fun guessing how many “champagne bubbles” were in the jar.

For the favor table, I really wanted to make it fun, whimsical, but also fitting for the preppy and modern theme. I made the “FIVE” letters using wooden letters and small rectangular wooden plaques painted white and filled a bookshelf with the favors and lots of pink balloons.

 

For favors, the kids at the party received a marshmallow pop from The Marshmallow Studio, ridiculously cute pink Eloise headbands made especially for the party by EmzBowz, and a custom memory card game featuring WHHostess graphics. The display was topped off with a banner from WHHostess and striped fabric.

One of MY favorite parts of the party were the little signs that Kelly and I came up with, using phrases and key words from the books, including “Gifts from ME, Madelyn” for the favor table and “oooooohhh, I absolutely love BIRTHDAYS!” for the tea table. All of the hard work paid off when my daughter announced after the party that “Mommy brought The Plaza to my house!”

 

March 27th, 2012 |

Stylized Cookie Monster Party

We are talking {and sharing ideas and inspiration} about stylized character birthday parties this week on the blog, and to kick it off, I am here with photos from P is for Party’s Modern Cookie Monster Party that she hosted recently for her son’s birthday.  It’s always a pleasure to work with Christi (see some of the other parties we have done together here, here and here just to name a few….and another one is coming up on the blog on Friday!) and we are always thrilled to see how flawlessly she executes parties! Read on for the details of Conrad’s Cookie Monster Party as told by Christi:

“Conrad LOVES cookies, so it was almost a no-brainer when I was trying to come up with a theme for his third birthday party!  The funny thing is that he does not even watch Sesame Street, but every time he sees Cookie Monster, he can’t help but laugh.  I love a challenge and even though I was going with a commercialized theme, I wanted to make the party as unique and chic as I could.  I immediately went to Kelly of WH Hostess to design a non traditional Cookie Monster invitation for me.  We went with the colors of blue, chocolate brown and pops of green.  I was thrilled with the design and all of the coordinating paper goods.

I was so pleased with the custom fabric that I ordered from WH Hostess to serve as runners on the kids tables, as well as the dessert table backdrop.  I also ordered small galvanized tins from Lime Tree Gifts and had a different wording on each.  For example, some tins said, “C is for Cookie” and another said, “I Want Cookie”.  I placed a centerpiece stick in each tin and filled them with Famous Amos cookies.  This was a simple and fairly inexpensive centerpiece that was perfect for the little ones!

 

Other small decor details that made an impact were the darling Cookie Monster piñata, festive banner, and adorable Sesame Street signs custom made by I DO Invitations by Michelle.  Michelle hand paints the base and can create the street sign to say whatever you wish.  I chose the signs to say “Cookie Way” which was placed by the cookie table and the second sign said, “Conrad’s Street” and was placed by the outdoor fireplace.  I also brought in a handful of 3 foot balloons along with smaller polka dotted balloons ordered from Sandra Downie’s new party shop, Pretty Little Party Shop. This age group loved seeing the balloons surrounding the party area!

Since the party was centered around Cookie Monster, we of course had to serve LOTS of cookie.  I created a cookie bar with a large variety of cookies for guests to choose from.  We had everything from chocolate chip to snicker doodles to cookie-wiches with blue filling and sprinkles.  I placed each cookie in a glass cookie jar on top of blue tissue paper.  Kelly made coordinating jar wraps and labels for the buffet.  To give the jars heights, I placed them on white lacquered trays from West Elm and even had Kelly make tray liners for the tops of the trays.  I also ordered custom fabric from Kelly’s line and hung a sign from ribbon that said, “Conrad’s Cookie Bar”.

The cake was another focal point and was made by one of my favorite Houston bakeries, Who Made the Cake.  Divine! I also had brownies with fondant toppers from Two Sugar Babies that matched the petal pattern from the paper goods.

To wash down all of those cookies, the kids had their choice of mini milkshake shooters or bottled water with coordinating labels on them.

For the favors, I had Kelly package a bundle of crayons tied with ribbon and small Cookie Monster coloring pages in cellophane bags.  Each bag came with a tag that said “C is for Crayons.” Since I had served so many sweets at the party, I wanted to send guests home with a non-edible favor and this was perfect!

We had so much fun celebrating our little cookie monster turning 3!”

Images via Ellenzilla Photography


 

March 26th, 2012 |

{How to Throw} Stylized Character Parties

One of the most popular features in the Spring issue of The Party Dress Magazine was “how to throw stylized character parties.”  This comes as no surprise to me, as it never fails, Charynn and I both get about 10-20 e-mails a week inquiring about {the dreaded} character parties. Clients looking for ideas, inspiration, invitations and paper goods, fondant creations. The e-mails all start out the same….”My child is obsessed with {fill in the blank} and is DYING for a themed party. How do I throw a party that will make my child happy but not go against every design principle I believe in?! Help!”

It’s a tricky tightrope to walk: appeal to the birthday child, as well as create a party that speaks volumes to the parent’s design aesthetic. Like I said, it’s tricky…but it is also totally do-able! We start with colors, patterns and icons to formulate our party plans. We created a chart of ideas for our most-requested characters, which you will see below (to see the chart larger, click over to page 30 in the issue).

It’s been my pleasure to work on numerous character parties for clients over the last two years.  Some of them include: modern train, princess, barbie, alice in wonderland, and so many more.  I have also worked on some where we took a child’s love of a character and tweaked it a bit to be a non-specific character, such as a monkey, a dinosaur and a jungle safari. And let’s not forget Charynn’s kai lan party, or batman party!

This week, we are focusing on kids parties with amazing style and will be showing you four uber-chic character parties that will have you signing up for a character party in no time!  So check back often!

March 21st, 2012 |

Stylish Easter Basket

When Charynn and I sat down to start planning the Spring Magazine, the first item listed under the “Easter” category was “create an amazing, stylized Easter basket that every kid would love!”

We started with this gorgeous, open-weave basket from Pottery Barn, created a basket liner out of our signature green clover fabric (and had it monogrammed in that gorgeous hot pink thread), and then started filling it up with goodies.

Card games, finger crayons, a paper flower-making kit, a new book, a darling striped bunny, a set of the new legos for girls, jelly beans and more……what’s not to love?! Here are a few more detailed pics of the basket.

Looking for more Easter ideas and inspiration?  Check out the Spring issue of The Party Dress Magazine!

March 20th, 2012 |

Easter Egg Hunt

When it came time to officially launch our latest Easter party collection, we asked Lynlee Beckett of Lynlee’s Petite Cakes to conjure up a fabulous fete perfect for kiddies to be featured in the Spring issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  Our collection features a sweet little bunny frolicking in the grass, so it was perfect for an Easter Egg Hunt.

Lynlee did a fabulous job designing a fresh and fun party with lots of ideas that you can carry into your own celebrations.  Read on for more information from Lynlee…..

Once Spring has sprung and the grass is green once again, you know Easter is just around the corner! And what can be more fun for kiddos than inviting friends and family to hop on over for an Easter Egg Hunt? I styled this festive party around the adorable “Grass Easter Bunny” collection from WH Hostess, specifically for children. I fell in love with the darling designs and vibrant colors, including the little bunnies in the grass, the infusion of orange (perfect for carrots!) and the pops of pink.

To complement the graphics, I focused on a bunny patch theme, with white picket fences and trellises, bunny garden adornments and more natural items, such as burlap, wood crates and baskets. The vivacious pops of color paired with provincial decor made a perfect pairing of modern lines and rustic elements.

The lunch table was set with this combination in mind, utilizing little baskets embellished with grass and bunnies on top of polka dot plates. You can personalize the settings by adding name tags to each basket and accompany it with some little details, such as carrot ribbons and little white poms for bunny tails. I also used the water bottle labels on glasses and inserted striped paper straws that coordinated with the graphics.

The sweets are always one of my favorite aspects of any party and the dessert table matched back to the entire theme. For the rural feel, you can utilize a simple backdrop, such as the white trellis, and accentuate it with a banner, like the adorable “Happy Easter” banner coordinating with the collection. The cupcakes were displayed on wooden crates with picket fence liners and fondant bunnies and carrots in the patch! On one side of the table, I added cotton candy bunny tails to polka dot straws, as well as jello cups, hopping fondant bunnies and jelly beans in ceramic egg crates.

The other side included egg-shaped rice treats with cupcake toppers, orange candies in carrot containers and pudding push pops with rabbits entering their bunny holes! You can really add an extra punch on the table with additional details, such as food tent cards and cupcake and centerpiece toppers. The infusion of the vivid colors was also accentuated with the hot pink frame and dried flower balls, which really made the table pop.

Tying back to the country, bunny patch atmosphere, you can utilize different containers than the traditional Easter baskets with which the kids can hunt eggs. I found cute wooden boxes with handles and added little tags with ribbon to each one. You can also add the children’s names to each to avoid any disputes regarding to whom they belong! After hunting for eggs, the kids had a blast with the bubbles! For favors, say goodbye to your little guests with cello bags and toppers, which can be filled with so many different options! I added orange candies for the boys and edible fondant bracelets, which I specifically made for the girls. Going home with their baskets full of eggs, candy and bubbles will be the perfect end to the Easter Egg Hunt at the bunny patch!

Resources: fondant bunnies (edibledetails.com), polka dot straws (cakes and kids too via etsy.com), push pop containers (cupkateeventdesign.com), paper goods (whhostess.com)

March 15th, 2012 |

French Stork Baby Shower

When it comes to throwing a fabulous baby shower, I prefer to focus on entertaining the mom-to-be, not the baby.  Let’s face it, it’s a rough nine months….she deserves a party!  So let the gifts be directed towards the baby, but cater the party details to a more mature audience!

I wanted to put an updated spin on the traditional stork themed shower, so we created a collection of paper goods around a sweet “French Stork”, and incorporated a nautical-like color palette of aqua blue, navy and a touch of red.  With all of the sweet decorations, it was almost like we were celebrating on the coast of France.

We carried the “Celebrate le Bebe” theme throughout the entire party, and used ribbons as a common accessory to create a cohesive look.  We created flag garlands that hung down over the lunch table with ribbons, and they looks like sails from a sailboat.  Our drink straws were dressed up with ribbon flags, and napkins were tied with the same ribbons.

The table sat center stage and was quite a showpiece.  In addition to the flag garlands hanging down and defining a unique vertical space, we wrapped a collection of different bud vases with yarn to create a textured look.  Crisp, white tulips and our stork centerpiece sticks filled in the table.  Guests were greeted to an “appetizer” of mini donuts on a cupcake toppers as they were seated.

Like most parties, the dessert table served as a visual focal point for the party. Guests always delight in seeing the different themed desserts, and it also serves as a great ice breaker and conversation topic. For this particular table, I wanted it to look crisp and clean. I created a simple backdrop with a grosgrain ribbon-wrapped wreath and striped pennant banners draped on either side. A navy tablecloth really made the glass and all white serving dishes pop, and we also added in a couple of the yarn-wrapped vases to coordinate with the lunch table.

I used a variety of all white candy from Candywarehouse.com, including gumballs, rock candy, chocolate-covered pretzels, and sour daisies. The glass jars and tilt bowls were embellished with coordinating ribbon and candy jar tags identifing their contents.

 

Cake pops from Sweet Lauren Cakes featured the stork’s sachel, a banner reminiscent of our invitation, and the words “le bebe” on them. To add some visual interest to the table, I stood them up in a white, footed bowl by Rosanna full of gumballs.

Allyson Jane made THE most precious hand-iced sugar cookies for this shower. She replicated our French Stork perfectly, and also made cookies that said “le bebe” on them.

To save time, and also keep the costs down, we mixed our designer desserts (the cake pops and cookies) with a couple grocery store finds. Store- bought cupcakes were dressed up with fondant toppers by Two Sugar Babies. They featured the stock satchel as well as the eiffel tower. I also created a powedered sugar donut “cake” on a mini cake pedestal. A banner topper that coordinated with our invitation stood atop it, and created an oh, so charming addition to the table.

My absolute favorite detail on the dessert table were the macaron rattles.  These were very simple to make: I inserted a white macaron on either side of a 4″ white lollipop stick, and then wrapped the sticks in a skinny polka dot ribbon.  They were DARLING and received many “oohs” and “ahhs!”

Candy jar tags and food tent cards helped brand the table, and we also carried the theme into the labels on our cracker party favors. All in all, this shower turned out to be a sophisticated take on a theme, and hopefully you will draw inspiration for many future parties.

For more fabulous party inspiration, view the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine!

March 7th, 2012 |

How to Plan an Easter Birthday Party

A holiday birthday is always a tough project! This year, my son’s birthday falls on Easter weekend, and even though we are celebrating with a big party after the holiday, we are going to have a small family celebration during our Easter festivities. I’m thinking it would be adorable to use pastel blue, yellow, and green…maybe with some gray? Some of these ideas would translate so well into the small party I’m planning!

Images: Easter party display (via Anders Ruff), Bunny cake (by Cake Journal), Easter Egg Cake Pops (by Bakerella), Easter Egg Crafts (via Good Housekeeping), Easter Bunny DIY Bags (by Mr. Printables),
Easter Party Sodas (by Hello My Sweet via Amy Atlas)
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