March 18th, 2014 |

PARTIES by WH HOSTESS | COWGIRL

cowgirl collection imagePlanning custom parties with clients is one of my favorite parts of my job.  It’s designing with a purpose, and I love getting my fingers into the detail planning, too.  I had a ball working with Estella & Graceann’s mom to plan their joint cowgirl birthday party.  I have been working with this darling family for years now, and it’s always a pleasure!

The party had a pink, turquoise and chocolate brown color palette.  The family wanted to use traditional “cowboy” elements, but sass it up a bit for their little cowgirls.  I incorporated gingham check, a custom horse lattice (originally designed in blue for our dapper derby party collection), a turquoise swiss dot, and a horseshoe and stars pattern into the paper goods.

Read on for shots from the party from the talented photographer, Darrin Phegley.

_DSP9255Guests were greeted with pink cowgirl hats lined up and ready for them to “gear up” for the party.  I love how they used clothespins to attach them to the fence – it looked so festive!  Notice that our custom gingham signage is used throughout the party, branding it and identifying different activities.

_2DP4397_DSP9341Tables were set up in the lawn and were topped with squares of our horseshoes & stars patterned fabric.  Blue mason jars were filled with country flowers, and our cowgirl centerpiece sticks stood tall.  The pink and turquoise color palette was broken up by pops of burlap to give it that country feel – I love how the combination turned out!

_DSP9225The food buffet held some creative serving ideas that you could incorporate into your cowgirl or cowboy party: serving chips out of wood barrels, using miniature hay stacks as risers, presenting individual servings of classics like mac ‘n cheese in polka dot candy cups, and serving grilled cheese sandwiches in gingham check paper bags with stickers on top that stated “cowgirl grilled cheese”.  Bamboo silverware was wrapped up in napkins and our cowgirl napkin ties, making it simple for guests to grab as they made their way thru the buffet.

_DSP9062

_DSP9388_DSP9073Guests were encouraged to fill up their own drinks at the drink dispenser station.  Mason jars were topped with festive paper straws and chalkboard horse cutouts – great for writing names on them to keep track of everyone’s drink!

_DSP9236The dessert table stood as a great focal point for the party.  Covered in burlap fabric, prize ribbon banners were strung across the front stating “happy birthday”, while pink and turquoise stained picket fences served as the backdrop.  I just love the handmade rope names spelled out on the wall!

Candy jar tags, food tent cards, cupcake toppers, and cake plate clings helped to pull the look together, and one of my favorite details are the prize ribbon candy jar tags on the containers for the trail mix bar!

_DSP9264_DSP9057There was one large cake for the guests, and two smaller ones for the girls, turning 3 and 2 respectively.  The bandana print on each of them tied into the cowgirl theme beautifully!

_2DP4758_2DP4468The children were entertaining by participating in horse races, and posing with the WANTED sign at the photo booth.

_DSP9763Guests were sent home with Cowgirl “Cookies in a Jar” – ingredients for cookies presented in a mason jar, topped with a bandana, twine and one of our darling gift tags.

_DSP9242Party Invitations, Paper Goods, Fabric and Cake Plate Clings (whhostess.com)  |  Photography (darrinphegley.com)

 

March 17th, 2014 |

PINK & GREEN 40th BIRTHDAY

pink and green dinner party tablesettingWe had a fun weekend celebrating one of my best friends’ 40th birthday at a lovely dinner party hosted by her husband.  Knowing that she appreciates the special touches we design for our clients, he asked me to make the table look special with some centerpieces and paper goods.

pink peony centerpieceSince it’s still very much winter here in Chicago, I thought we could all use a touch of Spring (even if just for the evening!).  I opt’d to create full, pink arrangements in mercury glass footed bowls.  I included pink peonies, roses, and a few white tulips and green leaves for contrast.

I placed three of the arrangements in the center of the table, alternating them with modern glass candelabras that held green candles.  Tea lights were scattered about to add variation to the levels of “twinkle lights”.

pink and green placesettingThe placesettings were set with basic white napkins, so I dressed them up with placecard bands and menu cards.  Playing off the preppy pink and green color palette, I used stripes to make it look a bit playful.

pink and green party paper goods by wh hostessThe cake was from our local bakery, Deerfield’s Bakery and was DELICIOUS, as always.  It was covered in flowers to look like a garden, and I had a custom acrylic cake topper made that exclaimed “Sarah is Forty!”

cakeIt was a lovely evening for one special lady.  And so fun to come in and set a pretty table! ;)

March 5th, 2014 |

2013 | A BABY & A BOOK

I’m a little behind these days.  Clearly, since it’s March and I’m just getting around to writing my end of the year post.  Please accept my apologies for my sparse posting over the last 6 months.  2013 threw me a curve ball, and my focus was pulled in a couple unexpected directions:  I had a baby and I published a book.  Yup, that pretty much sums up my year.  But keep reading for a few more details…..

thebaby

Lyden Newborn 2013-82

For those of you that have followed me for the last 5 years, you know that this blog has been an extension of me – I shared my ideas, my work, and what was happening in my life.  The one thing I didn’t share was my journey to become a mother.  I won’t bore you with the details; all I will say is that after 5 years, we welcomed a baby boy in October.  Daniel Joseph, III was born 8 weeks early and we spent the next 6 weeks in the NICU with him at Chicago’s amazing Prentice Hospital.  He finally came home with us early in December and we have been living happily ever after ever since.

daniel collage

I know the majority of my readers are mothers, so I know you all can relate to the emotions, excitement, stress, and lack of sleep that comes with having a newborn.  He is such a good baby – I’m a lucky, lucky mama for so many reasons!  He is now 4 months old and absolutely thriving, so sweet, so happy and if I do say so, THE cutest baby I have ever laid eyes on (but I’m partial….).  I thank God every single day that I was chosen to be his mama, and literally can’t keep my hands off him, or stop kissing his chubby little cheeks.  I swear his first words are going to be “stop it, mom!” It certainly has been an adjustment, but I’m slowly getting the hang of being a working-mother-from-home.  Some days.  And some days, I feel like I’m not doing ANYTHING well.  But that’s life and all I can do is keep trying to find that perfect balance as we settle into life now as a family of three.

After I announced Daniel’s birth on facebook and instagram, I received TONS of comments, e-mails and messages from friends, fans and readers – no one even knew I was pregnant.  Friends, that was not a mistake.  And what I told each of them was this…. “Thank you for your enthusiasm over the birth of my son! Please don’t feel bad you didn’t know I was expecting.  I did my best to keep this part of my life quiet online.  After 5 years of trying to become a mother, I wasn’t ready to share my excitement, hopes, and fear with everyone until he was born.”  It was so hard for me to keep this exciting part of my life a secret for so long, which is why I let blogging fall to the side.  I’m typically an open book on here, but last year – well, I just wasn’t ready to be.  I hope you all understand!

I hope you follow along with me on Instagram and enjoy seeing my little guy grow “big and strong”!

thebook

book store listing

At the end of 2012, I announced that I had signed a book deal and would be publishing a kids’ party book in 2013.  Boy, was this a HUGE under-taking.  It took months of planning, writing and photographing to come up with the complete manuscript.  Luckily, the physical part (photoshoots) were completed before I was put on partial bed-rest with my pregnancy.  My book, Stylish Kids’ Parties, launched the end of December and I’m so thrilled with the response I have received.  We did a big Pinterest Party with my favorite party-blogger friends in January – if you didn’t join in on the fun then, you can still check out the pinterest board HERE – there are so many great ideas for kids’ parties on them.  We have had so many blogging friends share sneak peeks of the 12 different chapters over the last month, and I’m so grateful to them for helping spread the word.  Please check them out here:

I have a few more fun events up my sleeve with the book this year, so stay tuned for more details!  For now, if you would like to pick up a copy, you can do so here:

Find the Book Online at whhostess.comamazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com and also in stores across the country (including Michael’s!)

whatsnext

Back to blogging!  I have so many new parties, new stationery collections and entertaining ideas to share with you.  It might not be every day…but posting will start to resume more frequently around here!

Along with the birth of my little man came a few exciting events: my baby shower and his baptism!  And I can’t wait to share the photos with you! Because he shocked us with his early arrival, my baby shower was actually a week AFTER he arrived!  It was thrown by my mother, sister and three best friends and was absolutely gorgeous.  And I also have Daniel’s baptism to share with you – a fun blue, green and white dessert table, included!

WH Hostess is still operating fully (and probably more efficient at this point!) and we’re adding in new products every week.  New kids’ party collections (like this DARLING new puppy party), new stationery designs, new Cake Plate Cling patterns, and a whole new BABY by WH HOSTESS collection of baby shower invitations and paper goods, stationery, birth announcements (coming soon!) and baptism & christening invitations.  Clearly you can see where my head has been recently! ;)

Thank you to everyone for following along on my journey and I hope you will stick around to see what this next chapter holds!

kelly

 

February 7th, 2014 |

PINTEREST PARTY SUCCESS!

pinterest boardWell, last night was certainly fun!  Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Stylish Kids’ Parties Pinterest Party to launch the book.  It was great fun to get together with this little community of party bloggers that have become friends over the last 5 years and celebrate this project.  After working on it for a year, I love being able to share it with all of you now!  The board has over 400 pins, all related to creative {and stylish!} ideas for kids’ parties.  If you weren’t able to join in the fun last night, I definitely suggest checking out the board today!

Thanks to my party girls for pinning their little hearts out!

instagram co-hostsLynlee’s Petite Cakes  |  The Celebration Shoppe  |  Shop Sweet Lulu  |  Project Nursery  |  Pizzazzerie  |  CupcakeMAG  |  Le Papier Studio  |  Giggles Galore  |  The Party Wagon  |  Pen ‘n Paperflowers  |  Anders Ruff  |  A to Zebra Celebrations  |  Kate Landers Events  |  Swanky Chic Fete  |  Celebrations at Home  |  Petite Party Studio

February 3rd, 2014 |

YOU’RE INVITED! STYLISH KIDS’ PARTIES PINTEREST PARTY

stylish kids parties pinterest launch partyFriends!  To celebrate the launch of my book, Stylish Kids’ Parties, I am hosting a Pinterest Party THIS Thursday with some of my favorite party bloggers!  We’ll be pinning ideas for creative kids’ parties: decor, food ideas, theme ideas, and DIY projects galore.  It’s sure to leave you inspired and pinning eye candy galore!

Here’s how to get involved:

Follow the party board here, and follow along Thursday night from 8-9pm CST.  You can repin our ideas, comment on them (tell us how you would use the idea, change it up, or if you have another idea for it!), and even create your own board titled “Stylish Kids’ Parties” and pin ideas for us to see.  Make sure to use the hashtag #stylishkidsparties so we can follow along on your board too!

A big thanks to my wonderful co-hosts – we can’t wait to “party” with you on Thursday!

January 15th, 2014 |

FAMILY ROOM UPDATE with CALICO

family room redecorating with calicoI recently worked with Calico to create an update for my family room – adding in elements to our existing furniture to make it more….well, “me”. This space is heavily used by my family, but also where we do our casual entertaining.  I am thrilled with how it turned out and am excited to share a peek of my house with you today!

BACK STORY:

When we bought the house 5 years ago, one of the biggest selling points for us was that it had this big family room.  I just knew it would be where we would spend our time, and could have a more relaxed look than our formal living room.  However, since it was not the first room you saw when you entered the home, it got pushed to the bottom of the barrel in terms of decorating.  About a year and a half ago, we had a kitchen flood while out of town.  Long story short, we came back to a HUGE disaster and ended up spending the next 6 months renovating two floors of our split level.  Part of that renovation included knocking down a wall, painting and re-carpeting this room.

before family room shotHere is the before shot.  It’s a crazy-boring combination of brown furniture.  My husband likes brown.  And refuses to get rid of that HUGE coffee table!  Boring, yes.  But also kind of like a clean slate to work with.  In walks my favorite custom fabric resource: Calico.

I have been shopping with Calico since I was a young girl, helping my mother and my grandmother decorate their homes.  I knew that they were known for their wide array of fabrics, they are a fabulous resource for custom upholstery and furniture.  What I didn’t realize, until I purchased my home and started decorating, was that Calico had updated their selection of fabrics over the years, and they offer that perfect assortment of traditional + modern patterns.  Which translates directly into my happy zone.

chocolate brown and green family roomI worked with the ladies at my local store to select fabrics that I thought would breathe life into the space.  They were so well versed in what would work, and what wouldn’t, offered great selections in terms of trims, and helped me pull together a look that I am so happy with. We decided to lighten up the space with a lighter shade of khaki/taupe paint on the walls, and I stenciled on a clover trellis pattern on one wall for some tonal pattern. And then we started layering in pillows, accent furniture and accessories in ivory, and moss green.

x-bench detail from calicoAlthough the sectional couch can hold a small village, it always seemed like we never had enough seating while entertaining.  So we added in two upholstery x-benches that we did in a moss green velvet fabric.  Gorgeous.  Luxurious.  And adds a bold pop of color to the room. I literally squealed with joy when they were delivered.

pillows from calicoWe layered pillows onto the sectional in varying sizes, textures and patterns.  I wanted to include my favorite cableknit pillows from Pottery Barn, both for the added texture, but also because those are the pillows we cozy up with.  We layered on gorgeous ivory linen pillows that I had Calico update with a fretwork border made out of green grosgrain ribbon, smaller pillows made out of a green ikat pattern, and then one bolster pillow in a brown ikat polka dot fabric.  To tie it all together, we edged that pillow with the same ivory linen.

orange tulipsAfter the pillows and benches were added to the room, I accessorized with just a few key items.  Bronze hurricanes from Williams Sonoma Home, my favorite quatrefoil accent lamps from Horchow, and a few green accessories to really pop that color against the brown furniture.

boxwood and candles accessoriesTo make this space party-ready, I had Calico create a custom table cover for an old console I had in the room.  Made out of the same ivory linen we used on the pillows, the kick-pleats feature the brown ikat polka dot fabric – adding a touch of prep, and also tying it back to the pillow on the couch.  This is the perfect accessory – it transforms the space for a party and becomes the perfect bar or appetizer set-up!

console and benchWhat I truly love about this combination is that we lighted up the space with all of the ivory pieces, and popped it with fresh, modern patterns and trim.

fabrics used

console detailsAs I mentioned above, Calico was a dream to work with – offering me way more options than I could possibly utilize in this one space!  I would highly suggest you seek out your local store and stop by for your next project.  And if you do, mention the code CALICO20 to receive 20% off your order!  Offer valid from 1/15/14-6/15/14 – Happy Decorating!

THIS IS A SPONSORED POST. THE PARTY DRESS HAS RECEIVED PAYMENT, TRADE AND/OR PRODUCTS FROM CALICO IN EXCHANGE FOR PROMOTION, HOWEVER ALL OPINIONS STATED ARE MY OWN.

 

 

 

 

January 14th, 2014 |

STYLISH KIDS’ PARTIES | IT’S HERE!

Stylish Kids' Parties party planning book from Kelly LydenIt’s a happy, happy day around here when I can share such good news: My debut book, Stylish Kids’ Parties, is officially on bookshelves and available for purchase!  My goal with this book was to help you plan, design and execute festive kids’ parties that wow adults and thrill little ones! Filled with 12 creative and colorful party ideas, Stylish Kids’ Parties shows you how to confidently tackle party preparation by using color palettes and themes that carry through–from invitations and decorations to party favors and treats. Complete with DIY tips, recipes, projects, themed activities and templates, you’ll love these party ideas for boys and girls, first birthday celebrations, baby showers and holiday gatherings.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Ideas for 12 themed parties that inspire a child’s imagination.
  • Beautiful and cost-effective DIY projects, decorations and recipes.
  • Instructions and ideas for games, activities and memory-making opportunities.
  • Bonus templates for quick invitations, party favors, gift tags and more.
  • Photography and party suggestions to help fuel your creaivity.

Make memories that last a lifetime with the help of Stylish Kids’ Parties!  You can purchase the book in stores around the country, as well as from these online merchants:

purchase stylish kids' parties book on barnesandnoble.com

purchase stylish kids' parties book on amazon.combuy stylish kids parties on whhostess.com

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support this past year and a half!  I can’t wait to fill you in more on the exciting projects and recipes in the book – stay tuned for some exciting launch “parties” to happen soon!

November 20th, 2013 |

2013 Holiday Catalog | WH Hostess

WH Hostess Holiday Gift CatalogIt’s the most wonderful time of the year, and you know what that means?!  Holiday gifting!  This year, WH Hostess is pleased to present our holiday collection both online in the shop, as well as in this easy-to-use catalog!  Click thru to view our preppy party invitations and photo cards, darling gift stickers, and an amazing assortment of personalized gifts at a great price point – perfect for teacher gifts, hostess gifts and goodies for your friends and family.

We’ll be highlighting our favorite gift products in the coming weeks – so stay tuned!  Enjoy the  holiday catalog…we would love to hear what you think!

October 21st, 2013 |

PUMPKINS THAT GLITTER

halloween pumpkin with glittered polka dotsWe have been SO busy behind the scenes lately preparing for the book launch, as well as prepping our holiday collection to officially launch later this week.  So, although we have Christmas and Hanukkah on our minds most days lately, I figured it was time to get some Halloween decorations up around here.

You all know I have an obsession with white pumpkins (see here and here), but this year, I decided to add a touch of glam to my display.  I found this inspiration on our Halloween Pinterest board (take a look there for more festive ideas!) and am going to try to tackle it this week.  Stay tuned for the finish product and some tips and tricks on how I make it work for me!

Image

September 4th, 2013 |

FALL DECOR | GOURDS

decorating with gourds for fallAs much as I adore lush, summer gardens, I am looking forward into moving my decor (both inside and out) into Fall.  I love the rich colors, and the addition of pumpkins, gourds and moss to my home.  While perusing around Pinterest the other day, I came across this image from a reader’s flickr account.  Using trellises (empty after the summer season), they filled them with different gourds in a variety of shapes and colors.  Totally unique to anything I have seen before!  I think this could be a fabulous update for my front porch.  What do you think?

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