April 8th, 2011 |

Mimosa Bar: Colorful Spring Cocktails

Anyone hosting a party this weekend?!  I shared one of my favorite entertaining ideas in the first issue of The Party Dress Magazine….a stunning mimosa bar!  You can step up the style at your next cocktail party or brunch with a colorful mimosa bar
full of flavor and garnish options.  They are simple to set up and offer the hostess a stunning, yet hands-off method for serving a crowd.  Simple touches, like a striking centerpiece or interesting linens, can make your table unique.

Create a balance of containers around one grand centerpiece to create this symmetrical look.  Square, cube vases in varying sizes were used to hold the champagne bottles on ice and fruit garnishes.  Oil cruets are used to house the various fruit nectars, and color-coded tags helped to identify and brand the table further.  Add a few rows of flutes and voila!

Do you like the drink tags?!  Well, it’s your lucky day!  Click HERE for a free download to use at your next party.

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 16th, 2011 |

DIY: Finial Placecards

L-O-V-I-N-G this colorful idea from Better Homes and Gardens.  Using wood finials from the hardware store, they updated them with a coat of paint and a cute placecard.  A quick, simple project, you can use these painted finials as placecards, sign holders or even buffet cards.  Brilliant!

See the full tutorial here on bhg.com.

March 15th, 2011 |

Birthday Brunch for Kate Landers

I love being a part of any type of celebration….but especially birthday celebrations.   So when my dear internet-friend, Kate Landers, contacted me about doing some items for her own birthday brunch, I was thrilled to be able to design for her!  She fell in love with the custom-designed bamboo print I used for Chase’s Chinese New Year 1st Birthday Party, so I swapped out the colors to a preppy pink and white and voila!  A sweet, pink and white collection that would be perfect for a birthday party or even a baby or bridal shower!

Here are a few details from Kate, herself, about her birthday brunch:

Brunch is my favorite meal. I absolutely love having a yummy brunch with family and friends, so when it came time to celebrate my 32nd birthday, it was easy to plan.  Kelly (WH Hostess) designed the printed sign, food signs, waffle cake topper and all custom printed details.  LOVED the print quality.  She got the ink color just PERFECT and was so quick to turn the order around. The paper was excellent quality as well.  Having much experience in the high end stationery industry, I am very selective and was very happy with what she sent! (why thank you, Kate!)

The table was set with white tableware from Crate & Barrel, a table runner that I had in my personal collection (that mimicked the pink and white bamboo pattern on the WH Hostess printed party goods.  I wanted a clean, fun preppy look–especially for a February birthday in Boston!  Whenever I can I like to dress up the vertical space above the table, so I hung large paper lanterns for a celebratory feel.

Fresh flowers are always a part of my celebrations, and I had lovely pink and cream roses as a centerpiece.   After the waffle cake was gone, I moved the 32 cake topper to the floral arrangement!  The framed sign “32″ was darling, served as a fabulous decoration and way to reinforce the theme of the party. LOVED it, as did everyone at the party!  I made hand made party blowers with pink and white damask print paper from Michaels Craft Store….just a little something festive.  I also make my own ruffle trimmed fabric party hats. I had one on hand from when I had my online shoppe, in the same fabric as the table runner, which was just perfect!  Pink polka dot straws added a whimsical touch.
The brunch menu consisted of  belgian waffles with choices of fresh berries, butter, syrup and whipped cream.  Along with that was fresh fruit salad–strawberries, oranges and bananas.  Then, of course there was coffee, orange juice, milk, water and tea. BUT we also had my favorite smoothie that my husband, Ryan, makes: a strawberry smoothie that is just the right sweetness and thickness….yum!
Instead of a standard birthday cake, I made it really simple, and stacked the belgian waffles (kept warm in the oven until ready to serve), topped with an adorable cake topper from WH Hostess. Everyone loved it, thought it was creative and fun–and after filling waffles and smoothies, no one would have had room for cake!
Kristina of Modern Frills custom created for me the darling ultra-soft and comfy long-sleeve birthday t-shirt. I LOVE IT. On the front is a pink and green flower, and the back is “32″ to go with the theme. I love this shirt because I can wear it all year, as the “32″ on back is almost like a sports team number. I am hoping to do a new one every year–thinking what fun this will be, as well as what a great gift idea for others.
March 14th, 2011 |

Colorful Candy Wreath

I have a fascination with candy wreaths.  Okay….let’s be honest, I have a fascination with all things candy and sweets!  But, there is nothing like a well-done candy wreath to really get me excited!  So you can understand my excitement when I found this darling idea from Country Living.  Made of pastel colored jordan almonds, this wreath is the perfect way to welcome Spring, and would make a sweet addition to any Easter celebration.

See the full tutorial here on Country Living.

P.S. Think past Easter, and consider using this concept to create color-coordinated decorations for any type of party.  You can purchase jordan almonds in bulk by color at our favorite online candy resource, Candy Warehouse.  Can’t you just picture a series of monochromatic wreaths hanging in a row as  a back drop to a dessert table!?

March 7th, 2011 |

Luck of the Irish Dinner Party

St. Patrick’s Day is a HUGE holiday in our family.  Always has been….always will be!  It’s a great opportunity to gather friends and family during this bland month for a little festive cheer and some delicious food!  Whether your celebration is big or small, these recipes from Williams-Sonoma are sure to please!

Image via A Perfect Event

February 25th, 2011 |

Fresh Spring Tablesetting

You all know I’m a sucker for grass plant centerpieces, so it’s no surprise that I was taken with this stunning table setting from Hatch Creative Studios.  I love how crisp it is, and of course the use of green grass and moss as accents.  Stunning!

Chic Wedding Stationery from Minted.com

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 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!

February 2nd, 2011 |

Cupcake Liner Pomander Tutorial

When I saw this sweet pomander centerpiece (made completely out of cupcake liners!) over on Kara’s Party Ideas, I knew I had to show it to you!  It’s the perfect centerpiece for a Valentine’s Day party, or for a kid’s birthday party!  In fact, I am TOTALLY going to give this a try for one of my upcoming parties!

Kara was nice enough to provide step-by-step instructions on how to make these:

  1. Gather your materials: Cupcake liners {any color or style}, a styrofoam ball, a glue gun, and pins
  2. Take 2 cupcake liners and stick a pin through the center of them…
  3. Fold/scrunch the 2 liners around the pin like so…
  4. Put a dab of hot glue on the tip of the liners…
  5. Insert the pin into the styrofoam ball…Push the pin all the way into the styrofoam so the cupcake liners are securely glued to the ball…Carefully open the liners making sure the pin is all the way inserted into the styrofoam. If it isn’t, push it all the way in….
  6. Repeat until the whole ball is covered with lovely cupcake liners! Attach fishing line or a ribbon to hang! {For this particular pom pom I left a space uncovered so I could set the ball on a large glass candlestick}…

Head on over to Kara’s Party Ideas to see the Vintage Valentine’s Day table she used these pomanders on….it’s very cute!

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