July 15th, 2014 |
When the weather heats up and summertime approaches, I’ve got one type of entertaining on my mind….and it always has a nautical theme. I don’t think it’s a secret that I love a crisp red, white and blue color palette. Throw an anchor, crab or lobster in there and I just about die and go to heaven. So when it came time to pick the classic themes that I wanted to include in my book, Stylish Kids’ Parties, a Nautical themed birthday party was a no-brainer.
Stylish Kids’ Parties makes it a snap to plan, design and execute festive kids’ parties that wow adults and thrill little ones! Filled with 12 creative and colorful party ideas, my book 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. You can purchase the book thru Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or a signed copy thru WH Hostess.
I’m excited to share a few of the ideas today from the Nautical Party chapter in the book. Classic, preppy and perfect for a boy or girl – this party has some simple DIY party ideas that you can recreate in a flash.
The book includes a bunch of fabulous templates that you can use to create these projects. A nautical party invitation, a maritime banner, anchor accents, stickers and gift tags, sails and the recipe for my sailboat rice krispy treats. It’s a great resource!
I love serving milk & cookies to kids during a birthday party! Don’t you just love the striped cookies that Sandy from Firefly Confections made for us? The stripe is the perfect nod to the Nautical theme, and instead of doing a traditional anchor or sailboat shape, we opt’d for the #4 to celebrate the birthday boy’s age.
It also includes some great ideas for activities to keep kids entertained during the party, such as a sailboat race! And also some simple ideas for infusing the nautical spirit into your party details, such as tying a lifesaver candy to your napkin rolls to look like a lifesaver float! These ideas could be used for a birthday party, pool party or even on a nautical-inspired tablesetting for a summer dinner party. The book is laid out in a beautiful and easy-to-use way, full of DIY tips and instructions for recreating the ideas shown. Here is an example of my DIY water buoy paper lanterns:
I hope these classic ideas have helped to inspire your nautical party! Pick up a copy of the book for even more party inspiration for kids’ birthday parties and baby showers.
And if you love the nautical look, check out our Mod Nautical party collection, anchor lucite tray, anchor ceramic mug, and darling chunky notepads!
June 11th, 2014 |
I have a drop-dead-gorgeous party to share with you today! I recently designed the paper goods for one of my favorite California clients’ daughter’s birthday party: an under-the-sea mermaid party full of sea-worthy props, gorgeous florals, and decorations. This party is fit for a mermaid princess!
Francesca’s 4th birthday took place on a sunny spring day at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach, California, on a grassy terrace overlooking the harbor. The perfect setting for an under-the-sea Mermaid party! WH Hostess custom-designed a suite of stationery, fabric and cake plate clings that set the color palette and jumping off point for the party decorations.
The invitation from WH Hostess featured an elaborate border of sea shells, star fish and a gorgeous mermaid princess, accessorized with a shell crown and statement necklace. The invitations were delivered in an aqua blue box, wrapped with ribbon and a starfish. Within each box was also a strand of pearls (girls) or a pirate’s patch (boys) to wear to the party.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted with an oversized-welcome sign featuring the mermaid princess, and walked thru a space full of bubbles as they were transported to an “underwater mermaid grotto”.
The little guests were transformed into a mermaid or pirate for the day. Little girls had their choice of pink or aqua tutus, mermaid starfish wands, white t-shirts, sea horse headbands and, of course, pearl necklaces. The dress up area was staged with prop furniture and found items from the sea. Large, pink balloons soared above the dress-up area, and the boys had their own sunken trunk of treasures filled with pirate hats, swords, pirate’s booty, mustaches, and pirate’s patches to wear.
The kids’ tables were set with crisp, white linens and custom-made table runners made from WH Hostess’ under the sea patterned fabric. Centerpieces included vases of shells, gorgeous florals, star fish and pieces of driftwood.
Guests spent the afternoon in an mermaid-themed bounce house, a sing-along with Ariel, searching for pirate booty with Captain Hook, and decorating their own seashell picture frames. They all loved blowing bubbles out of the special bubble tins from WH Hostess.
The adults could choose from stations for lunch: a slider station with freshly-made french fries served in individual cones, a street taco station, shrimp and mango salad, and fresh spring green salad. We used food tent cards to identify the food items, and they added a pop of the bubbles pattern to the decor.
The children had their own buffet with fish and chips, fish-shaped sandwiches, crudités and hummus served in individual fish bowls, fruit salad and lemonade.
A bar was set up on a table covered with a white tablecloth and an extra-wide table runner made with WH Hostess’s shell de lis patterned fabric. Labeled drink dispensers full of lemonade and filtered water with berries sat atop the bar, along with wine and beer. A large drink menu was framed on the table for easy viewing for guests.
Sweet & Saucy Shop baked the desserts and laid out the dessert table. The table was covered in an aqua sequin tablecloth that made the desserts look like they were floating in the ocean! The fabric backdrop from WH Hostess featured the elaborate shell and starfish border, along with the mermaid princess and Francesca’s name. White cake stands floated atop the table, and each held a bubble cake plate cling to add a touch of pattern. A coordinating pennant banner that said “Under the Sea” was strung across the front of the table.
Desserts included a gorgeous vanilla chiffon cake with lemon cream and raspberries, sea foam vanilla shooters, sea turtle macarons, sea pearl cake pops, and strawberry sea shell cupcakes. Wonderland Bakery made beautiful mermaid sugar cookies to match the invitations.
At the end of the party, the children grabbed party favors that were displayed in a vintage boat. The favors consisted of beach pails filled with pirate’s booty snack, dried seaweed, mermaid or pirate water bottles, fish-shaped sidewalk chalk, stuffed fish, beach balls, and shark beach toys. The pail had a “thank you for partying under the sea” sticker on them, and they were tied up with cellophane with a round gift tag and a bow.
What a gorgeous party, right?! I love the natural glamor the found objects and props added to the already beautiful setting. Francesca’s mother styled a gorgeous party, showcasing the perfect example of how to create a stylized theme party. It was such a joy to work with her to design the paper goods! This new collection has quickly become one of my new favorites! You can view the paper goods, fabric and cake plate clings HERE. And see below for a list of the vendors used to create this party.
Invitation, Paper Goods, Bubble Tins, Fabric & Cake Plate Clings – WH Hostess | Dessert Table – Sweet & Saucy Shop | Sugar Cookies – Wonderland Bakery | Props & Florals – Archive Rentals | Location – Balboa Bay Club | Photographer – Melanie Osorio Photography | Tutus – Monkey Moodle Bowtique | Starfish wands – Kate Kate NYC | Starfish headbands – Knots | Party Favor Items – Oriental Trading
June 3rd, 2014 |
When throwing a baby shower for a couple that remains in the dark about the gender of their baby, it’s important to choose a gender-neutral color palette, and a theme that appeals to the parent’s design aesthetic. Today, I’m sharing the details of my “What Will it Bee?” Baby Shower – a chapter from my book, Stylish Kids’ Parties. The full party, DIY projects, recipes and printable templates are available in the book, and you can purchase a signed copy here.
A bumble bee theme is classic choice for a baby shower or a child’s birthday party, and is typically executed in a crisp yellow, black and white color story. To bring a fresh approach to this classic theme, I swapped out the black for a French blue and added in some preppy provincial touches, such as textile-mixing with a clover pattern and a tight stripe.
This party was inspired by the Bumble Bee Topiary collection from WH Hostess, which combines these playful patterns, along with a lemon topiary tree, and a classic bumble bee icon. These charming elements can be repeated throughout the party décor and details to create a cohesive look for your Mama-to-Bee.
Carrying the details throughout your party décor will help you create a cohesive party. For this theme, we used lemons as a detail to both reference the lemon topiary tree on the invitation, but also to infuse the bright color yellow throughout the entire party. Tip: produce can be a great, affordable centerpiece for any party. Take a peek around your grocery store for inspiration that could work with just about any color palette.
The crisp, white location for our “What will it bee?” baby shower really made our French blue and yellow color palette pop. White Chivari chairs saddled up next to tables dressed in tablecloths made from a textured white fabric from Dwell Studio. The modern chain link pattern is one that we use frequently to infuse texture into tables or backdrops. We layered navy blue charger plates, white china and basic silverware onto the table, and accessorized it with blue goblets.
Napkins were dressed up with personalized honeycomb place cards (a DIY template in the book) that were wrapped around with a yellow grosgrain ribbon.
A hanging menu card is a colorful way to dress up the white Chivari chairs and also inform guests of the details of the meal they are about to enjoy.
Often times, guests remain seated at their tables while the guest of honor opens her gifts. It can be fun to engage the guests in a simple game during this time, such as baby bingo. You can find our coordinating baby bingo cards now in the shop!
Whether it’s a cocktail, a mocktail (non-alcoholic for the mama-to-bee) or just a party staple like lemonade or iced tea, I like to continue my party theme into a signature drink, complete with coordinating accessories. For this party, lemonade was served up with a dash of honey, a sprig of mint leaves and a wooden honey stick…. delicious and stylish!
Desserts are always a treasured treat at any party! They are not only delicious, but a well-styled table can also serve as décor and a main decoration for your party space. It’s a great place to pull together all of the elements of your party to create one gorgeous surprise!
A simple white tablecloth was enhanced with a clover patterned square topper in our French blue and yellow color palette. We covered a large board to serve as the table’s backdrop with the same white textured fabric from Dwell Studio that was used for tablecloths on our lunch tables. This allowed the yellow candy and desserts to really stand out, and created a sense of continuity with the other tables in the room.
All white and glass serving pieces were used to highlight the array of yellow candy from Candywarehouse.com. We dressed up the cake stands with Cake Plate Clings (reusable, washable, non-adhesive liners) in coordinating patterns to add a pop of pattern. The monochromatic candy was displayed in either glass apothecary jars or stacked up on cake stands. To tie in with our lemon element to the party, all of the candies were lemon-flavored.
Some of the dessert highlights included a lemon mousse cake, mini cupcakes with flags that asked “what will it bee?”, honeycomb-shaped cookies with tiny sugar bee decorations on them, and darling bumble bee cake pops from Sweet Lauren Cakes that flew above the candy on the table.
I baked a bee hive-shaped Bundt cake that I drizzled white royal icing on and then embellished with some sugar bee decoration.
My favorite dessert of the afternoon was my honeycomb-shaped lemon tart. One of my go-to recipes for parties; I re-vamped the tart crust to be a hexagon shape. When laid out together on a serving tray, they look just like a honeycomb! The recipe and directions for making the lemon tarts is available in the book.
A little pot of honey is the perfect take-home treat for guests to remember this special event. Dress up your jar with a fabric or paper embellishment on the lid, and a customized label.
May 29th, 2014 |
I’m so excited to share the latest WH Hostess custom party with you today…..One of my favorite parts of working with my long-time client, Shannon, is that she loves to create an experience for the children attending the party. When she came to me with the Puppy Party theme for her son, Cameron’s 2nd birthday, I knew we could have a lot of fun with it. Staying true to the WH Hostess updated classic style, I created a brown, red and turquoise party collectionwith custom patterns that added my signature preppy pizzazz. A basketweave pattern made out of dog bones, a bold chevron, and silhouettes of party pups (my favorite!) joined forces with accents of red and white striped ribbon, and THE cutest spotted dog in town.
Guests were greeted at the front door with two large balloons, a “Cameron’s Dog House” hanging sign, and a jumbo stuffed dog (all dressed up in a party hat).
They set up one long kids table in the family room, which was dressed with a red tablecloth and custom table runner in our bone basketweave fabric and embellished with blue pom pom trim. Stuffed puppies (wearing party hats, of course), sat at each end of the table. Two different centerpieces were alternated down the center of the table: a grass plant holding centerpiece sticks, and a silver bucket of red & white striped balls. Oversized balloons soared above the table, defining the vertical space. Puppy chair plaques were tied to the backs of the mini white Chivari chairs, and party hats dressed up with stickers sat at each placesetting. We wrapped patterned labels around the dog bone sippy cups for each child, and bottled water was served to adults and kids alike.
The food buffet was set up in the dining room, and we accessorized the room by placing an oversized cling of our spotted puppy holding a banner that said “bone appetit” on the mirror hanging behind the table. Two white urns flanked the table, with red carnation pomanders to resemble red balls. The napkin rolls were housed in large silver dog bowls, and each item on the buffet table was identified by a coordinating food tent card.
The bar was set up on the kitchen island, framed by a pennant banner and a doghouse sign that exclaimed “Cameron’s Water Bowl.” Drink dispensers full of sweet tea and lemonade were labeled with dog bone tags, and paper cups were dressed up with puppy stickers.
Outdoors, the seating area was dressed with throw pillows made in our custom fabric, and the fireplace mantel was strung with a red ball garland.
A tray of “fetch” sticks (licorice) sat on the coffee table for guests to nibble on, and a basket of red balls and frisbees dressed up with custom labels sat nearby with a sign that said “play fetch.”
A bounce house and face painter kept the kids quite busy, and while they waited for their turn, they could “pose with the pups.” This was, by far, my favorite design element to the party: we designed life-size dog silhouettes in coordinating party colors that were printed on foam-core. We added ribbons to them to act as leashes and the kids could pose with them, as if they were walking the dogs. It was the most fun photo booth I have seen yet!
The children and adults were invited to “shop” at Cameron’s Barkery – the dessert table! The table was dressed in a brown tablecloth and had a custom fabric backdrop to frame the table. It was laid out as if it were a bakery counter, and each treat had a tag on it with the “price”.
All white cake stands were used to highlight the sweets, and were embellished with coordinating Cake Plate Clings and brown & white striped ribbon.
Treats included puppy cupcakes, chocolate macarons, tennis ball cake pops, sugar cookies in the shape of our spotted dog and a bone, polka dot chocolate covered oreos, and whoopie pies.
Various candy jars added a pop of color to the table, and an official “menu” sign alerted guests to their options. Kraft paper bags held a “thank you for visiting Cameron’s Barkery” sticker, and guests could fill them with treats to bring home.
The life-size puppy cake from Cakes by Gina was downright AMAZING! It sat on it’s very own table, flanked by oversized balloons.
At the end of the event, the little guests were invited to visit “Cameron’s Puppy Shoppe” and adopt a stuffed puppy. The table was lined with artificial grass, and a custom fabric backdrop featuring our puppy silhouette pattern. Wood crates held stuffed puppies, and each child had their very own “adoption certificate” and “doggie bag” to grab.
This party was such a joy to plan and design! I think there are so many fun details that could be pulled out of it for any puppy party. Our Puppy Party collection is now available in the shop, for those readers that wish to incorporate our designs into their own party”.
Event Plan, Party Invitations, Decorations, Fabric and Cake Plate Clings – WH Hostess | Flowers – Wedding Flowers by Lisa | Food and linens – A Fare Extraordinaire | Cake, cupcakes, and cookies – Cakes by Gina | Chocolate covered oreos – Sweeties by Kim | Fondant dog bones – Cupcake Social | Candy – Candy Warehouse | Macarons and whoopie pies – Petite Sweets | Dog tag key chains, dog bone cups, paw stamps – Oriental Trading | Balloons – Balloon Masters | Balloon Tassels – Studio Mucci | Party favor bags – Shop Sweet Lulu | Pom pom garlands – Best Day Ever Design | Striped balls and buckets – Harry Barker | Photographer – Only Once Images
May 28th, 2014 |
When a new product hits the shop, I get excited! This product – well, it was one of those hit-yourself-on-the-forehead-and-say “Duh! Why didn’t we do these before!?” products. Centerpiece Clings. Yup, a smaller version of our popular Cake Plate Clings that can be used on your basic, everyday vases, glasses and hurricanes to create a custom-looking centerpiece that is party-ready.
Centerpiece Clings have been added to each of our popular party collections. Everything from our sweet little monkey, to our classic puppy party doghouse, to our princess silhouette, and crisp monograms (in SO MANY different color combinations) – each one offers a unique accent for our boy and girl theme parties, baby showers and more.
Just like our Cake Plate Clings, a patent-pending product from WH Hostess, Centerpiece Clings are a novel series of decorative linings/accessories designed for cake stands, pedestals and serving dishes, and now we can add vases to the list! Centerpiece Clings are washable, reusable, non-adhesive, slide-free, residue-free and printed with environmentally friendly ink and material.
Centerpiece Clings add a fashionable element to party decorations by clinging to your centerpiece vessels without adhesive. Clings can be customized for individual needs, by including initials, monograms or sayings. Care is simple: peel the cling off your serving piece after use, hand-wash with warm water and store flat for future use.
May 22nd, 2014 |
This post is LONG overdue! About a year and a half ago, my mother and I hosted a baby shower for my sister to welcome my sweet nephew, Benjamin. I had to keep the photos secret for awhile, as they were to be featured in my book, Stylish Kids’ Parties. I’m thrilled to share it with you today, and have so many fun DIY details that I hope will inspire you to incorporate into some of your future events.
Guests were invited with the Chic Baby Stork party invitation from our new Baby by WH Hostess collection. it offered up a trendy, gender-neutral color palette of aqua blue, coral, and white that we carried out throughout the party. I wanted to create an event that was chic, yet didn’t really have a theme – like rubber duckies or teddy bears. Instead, I incorporated classic baby elements throughout the event, including baby shoes, baby blocks, a chic stork, a rattle, etc. and tried to keep the event feeling like it was to celebrate the Mama-to-be and her design aesthetic.
Guests were greeted with my fresh daisy “rattle” hanging on the front door. I was inspired by a photo I saw on pinterest of a faux flower one, and knew it would be the perfect addition to the shower. I literally made this in under 10 minutes, right before the party started. Trust me, you too, can make this statement piece!
DIY Project: Flower Rattle
Supplies: 8-10″ half-moon floral foam | 3″ floral foam ball | empty paper towel roll | 2 colors of ribbon | 3-4 dozen daisies
Instructions: Wrap the empty paper towel roll with your desired color of ribbon (I used 7/8″ grosgrain), attaching the ends with either a glue gun or double-stick tape. Insert one end into each the side of the half-moon and the floral foam ball to create your rattle shape. Cut your daisy stems to be about 2-3″ long and starting in the center working out, insert them into the floral foam. Continue until both balls are covered. Tie a ribbon around the base of the top ball, and leave a loop at the back to hang it on your door.
I wanted to create a couple key focal points throughout the home, one of them being the living room fireplace, which was to serve as a backdrop to gift-opening. The mantel was accessorized with custom poster prints that were placed in IKEA frames, vases of flowers, and garlands made of braided ribbons. I hung newborn onesies in our color palette off the garland with mini wood clips.
The tables were set with crisp white tablecloths, white dishes and basic silverware and glassware. We used a coral napkin as a pop of color, and each placesetting was topped with a copy of my Celebrity Baby Name Game, and a custom pencil that said “Sweet Baby Ware.”
My sister’s chair held a special “Mama-to-Be” sign identifying her place of honor.
Each table held a large, rose-bowl centerpiece made up of white hydrangeas, coral roses, and orange and white parrot tulips. I did a quick little DIY project to dress up basic vases….glitter polka dots. This was a simple project that was inexpensive, quick to do, removable after the party, and could be done in ANY color palette to match ANY party. Gotta love those projects! See below for the instructions.
DIY Project: Glittered Polka Dot Vase
Supplies: basic vase | glue dots | glitter in your choice of colors (I prefer the Martha Stewart Shimmer colors)
Instructions: after peeling the glue dot off the backing, dip into desired color of glitter and attach to the vase.
One of my favorite additions to any baby shower, is a Guess the Baby’s Birthdate Calendar! This chevron one has been such a hit, we now offer a coordinating design for each of our baby shower party collections. It’s a great way to get guests to interact, and makes for a fun take-home for the parents-to-be!
Since we were serving lunch to a group of ladies, we opted for a few different salads, popovers with strawberry butter, and a “quiche bar” consisting of 4 different varieties, each labeled with a coordinating food tent card. Signage is a great way to make a little concept make a big statement.
The dessert table was dressed in a sequin chevron tablecloth, and held white cake stands and platters. Each was dressed with coordinating Cake Plate Clings. Desserts included bite-size lemon tarts, raspberry mousse, lemon bars, cake pop rattles, cupcakes and cookies.
I asked a couple of my favorite sweets vendors to create couture desserts for the occasion. Allyson Jane made these darling sugar cookies, and Lynlee Beckett made the adorable baby shoes fondant cupcake toppers and “baby” banner that hung on the cake.
One of the DIY projects I created for the dessert table, were the baby blocks that I used to prop up platters as cake stands. You could certainly duplicate this look using scrapbook paper that coordinates with your event.
DIY Project: Decoupage Baby Blocks
Supplies: wood or cardboard blocks | scrapbook paper | modge podge
Instructions: cut your scrapbook paper to the exact size of your blocks. Attach with the modge podge, and then glue your letters on top. Once all sides are covered with paper, liberally apply modge podge on top of the paper, sealing at the corners and sides. I suggest a couple of coats (allowing it to fully dry in between) to give it that glossy finish.
One of my favorite desserts were my cake pop rattles, and are a DIY recipe in my book, Stylish Kids’ Parties.
April 29th, 2014 |
When it came time to announce my first son’s birth, I had to do it in a stylish way! I wanted to create a classic birth announcement that had my signature touch of preppy pizzazz – but would still look current when Daniel looks back on it 20 years from now. His birth inspired our latest collection, “BABY by WH HOSTESS“, a series of perfectly preppy birth announcements, baby stationery and baby shower party collections that will make every mama drool. And his birth announcement is just a peek of our new collection, which is getting added to the shop weekly….
I wanted to showcase more than one photo of my sweet boy, although didn’t want it to look too busy. So I created an announcement with a gate fold, and a simple blue and white greek key front, and a collage back featuring 9 photos of Daniel with our family. Inside opened up to a large picture of my little angle, flanked by lattice patterned sides that shared all of his birth stats.
Daniel’s announcements were mailed the week of Christmas, and since I didn’t want to send out a separate Christmas card, I tied each announcement with striped ribbon and a small card featuring a photo of the three of us with the words “we believe”. These two, powerful words meant a lot to us after our 5 year mission to start a family, and then Daniel’s early arrival and 6 week stay in the NICU.
One of my personal favorite things we do for clients is full-color envelope printing. For these, I framed out the addresses with the coordinating greek key border and absolutely LOVED how they turned out!
I hope you enjoyed this peek into Daniel’s birth announcements and would love for you to take a peek at our new baby birth announcement collection. We’ll be featuring some of the new designs tomorrow on the blog….so check back soon!