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!
April 27th, 2014 |
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and we love celebrating the special women in our lives with preppy, personalized gifts from WH Hostess. Order this week to guarantee shipment in time! Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
1. Personalized Lucite Trays (available in two different sizes, and tons of fabulous, preppy patterns – these are a perfect gift for the mom who loves to entertain or decorate her home)
2. Personalized Ceramic Mugs (gorgeous, ceramic mugs with darling patterns and can be personalized with a name, initial or monogram….what’s not to love?!)
3. Cake Plate Clings (our decorative liners for cake stands, pedestals and serving pieces, available in countless patterns!)
4. Personalized Stationery (everyone loves getting snail mail, so make sure you have gorgeous stationery in your repertoire for those special occasions)
5. Personalized Chunky Notepads (at $18 each, our chunky notepads make the perfect gift for just about anyone!)
March 18th, 2014 |
Planning 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.
Guests 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.
Tables 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!
The 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.
Guests 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!
The 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!
There 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!
The children were entertaining by participating in horse races, and posing with the WANTED sign at the photo booth.
Guests 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.
Party Invitations, Paper Goods, Fabric and Cake Plate Clings (whhostess.com) | Photography (darrinphegley.com)
March 5th, 2014 |
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…..
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.
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”!
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.com, amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com and also in stores across the country (including Michael’s!)
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!