The pulse of the party is its' theme.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Great Graduation!

My daughter found me some pictures of her high school graduation party. Going through chemo at the time, it was a bit of a struggle for me to pull off, but I did and it was a great party. Thank god for the cleaning service! I wish I had taken more pictures as I really liked the way I decorated the yard and the deck. We had big paper lanterns hanging from the trees. I wanted it to look like the "Brothers & Sisters" yard on TV. Not having a ton of energy, I just kept to the Graduation theme for the party. I got the "Way to Go" photo board above from Target. I bought 2009 party supplies from Party City. See, kept it simple.

I got the invites at Swoozies and then printed them out myself on the computer. Oh, how I will miss my Swoozies!

The cake was from Creative Cakes. I just picked this one out of their photo book. Also on the table was a jar and notepad so that people could give Words of Wisdom to the graduate.
Favors for this party were star shaped cookies with the graduates name on them.

Here is a picture of me with the graduate. Notice the Name Tags? Since I had invited so many people to this party, I put out name tags. I tried to make it more interesting by having people write how they were related to the graduate along with their name.

A family party usually means having kids around. Even though mine are grown, I remember how restless they can get at a party. It is a good idea to get some bubbles, chalk, etc. to keep on hand and keep the kids busy.

My very first homemade banner. I really liked the way this one came out. I have yet to find something to fill the space over my fireplace, so it looked pretty bare for a party. This banner filled the space. I used card stock to cut out letters and stars. I cut frames out of brown paper and glued some pictures of the graduate on each side. I never use those big photos that come with the photo packages, so it was nice to find something to do with them.

Just because I was sticking with a simple theme for this party, did not mean it was going to be boring. I really am a big fan of giving people something to do at a party. I hired a great caricaturist. He set up in the living room and was able to draw pictures of everyone at the party who wanted one.

I was so happy that so many family members were able to make it to the party. People get older and it is harder to get together and keep in touch. You have to take advantage of that kind of photo op. This is one side of our family out on the deck.

I was pretty tired at the end of this one, but I think it was worth it. Everyone had a great time and I got celebrate my baby girl growing up and getting ready to go out into the world.

I may be old, but I'm no turkey!

So this past November was my 40th birthday. I had always planned on having this huge party. I even had the theme picked out years ago. Well, chemo had it's own plans for me. After having my daughters graduation party while I was going through treatment, I knew that I would not have the energy for the big party I had dreamed of. Of course, that did not mean I would let the day go by without adding a few little touches to make it feel special! My birthday just happened to fall on Thanksgiving, so that took the leg work out of it right there. My theme was built right into the make it a little more birthday, I made my portion of the day a fall flowers kind of thing.

This really meant a lot to me. My husband knew how disappointed I was not to have a party. He ordered up 40 candles for the front lawn.

Not the best picture, but you can see that I have fall flowers through out the house. The cake is on the counter there. I wish I had the picture of the was covered with fall colors and leaves.

Here is a picture of the table. We just had family over and being sick, I kept it simple. The place mats are actually crepe paper. You can buy them in packs of 12 at Swoozies. (the one near me is closing down and has 50% off) I purchased a bunch of napkin rings with different designs but similar colors at Pier One. They always have cool napkin rings. The little ceramic gourds and the centerpiece were purchased at Pier One as well.

I bought myself balloons......again, I still wanted it to feel like a birthday.

It was Thanksgiving after is the kids table. I printed out some thanksgiving activity sheets on the computer....easy and free! The plates are from Swoozies.....the Orland location has them crazy discounted right now. We also went out and bought a board game for the family to play. Board games are an awesome way to add some fun to a family gathering.

This turkey was my crafty creation. I made him out of construction paper and hung him on the wall above the kids table. He had a lot to say!

My sister and the kids also put on a little thanksgiving play. It was really sweet. I wish I had more pics.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Audio Monkey Head Graduation Idea

My sweet little monkey head is graduating college. He will graduate from the Tribeca Flashpoint Academy next month. Seeing as I used to call him my little monkey head when he was a baby, and he is going to be an audio engineer, I have decided to have my theme for his graduation be Audio Monkey.

How cute is this little monkey? ......and how well does it go with the theme for my party? They are sold at ZGallerie and are currently on back order.......silly monkey......everybody loves you!

Thomas the Tank Engine, Birthday Party

Going back through my parties and I came across a couple of pictures from my nieces 6th birthday. She is more into American Girl dolls these days, but once upon a time, she LOVED Thomas. Don't have a ton of pics and I technically did not throw the party, but you can see where I brought my love for a theme with me as a guest.

You may be able to see that my sister had already ordered a cake. She has some fun parties, but does not get as carried away with the theme the way I do. I decided I would try and make a smaller personal train cake just for the birthday girl.

Ok....creative it may be, but it is no Creative Cakes! I actually just used a pound cake and some cookies for this. I cut a 1/4 of the pound cake off and placed on top. I used some food coloring and store bought icing to decorate in Thomas colors. The wheels and tracks are cookies and the roof is covered with chocolate graham crackers. Colored some coconut to make the grass. I don't remember what that was I used to draw the face on. Looking at it now, I could have used a vanilla cookie or something. It was really a last minute idea. I used to put a lot more effort into making cakes, but that just seemed to make me fatter, so I stopped.

For some reason it is hard to buy that sweet little girl just one gift on her birthday. Rather than wrap each thing individually with store bought Thomas paper, I came up with the idea of putting her presents in Thomas. I took a file box from my office and wrapped it with blue paper. I then used card stock and some black markers to finish it off. I remember being quite pleased I was able to draw out the Thomas face all by myself! The birthday card was just construction paper made to look like a ticket for the train. Too Cute!

Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sweet 16 Party

This party was jammin' yo!

ok.....that was my attempt at being cool. My daughter was not to happy about me sticking that on the sign, but at the time, I thought it was funny. Soooo, when my now college age daughter turned 16, we had a Breakfast at Tiffany's Sweet 16 party for her. At that time MTV was running all of those Sweet 16 shows. I knew I could not go all crazy like those rich kids parents, but I figured I could get crafty and still have one heck of a party. The idea for the Breakfast at Tiffany's theme came from the fact that every time she would get dressed up to go to a dance, everyone would say"you look so Audrey Hepburn". My daughter has always had a simple elegance to her style and I wanted to make that the theme of her party.

The party was held at the clubhouse of the Oak Lawn golf club. I really liked the location as it was close to our old house and they offered an indoor and outdoor space for the party. This was a party for teenagers after all. Guest could stay inside and eat or talk, while outside was a tented space with a DJ and a dance floor. The facility also had a driving range and other games outdoors the kids could play if dancing wasn't their thing. Notice the banner when you walk in? Simple way to personalize the space.

We had posters from the movie scattered around the party. We had a sign in table that also had our favors and trivia questions about the birthday girl. I rented candelabras to add a fancy flare. The signature frame had a black and white picture of the birthday girl dressed like Audrey Hepburn. I used simple scrapbook letters to add Sweet 16.

I loved the favors for this party! I ordered the tiffany blue colored boxes on line and then filled them with personalized Sweet 16 M&M's. Printed up some labels and it was the perfectly themed gift for guests to take home.

Centerpieces for the inside, were simply boxes wrapped with tiffany blue paper and a ribbon. I then stuffed with matching tissue paper to create the look of a Tiffany's gift box. There was a white paper flower in each one. The facility provided the standard mirror and votives. Super simple and super cheap!

For the set up on the outside, I tried to create the look of the tiffany box by wrapping white tulle around each table. The tent colors already matched our theme. I just added paper lanterns and balloons to add some pop to the space.

The gift table. Again, I used the tiffany blue wrapping paper and ribbon to make a card box. I added a picture of Audrey Hepburn saying "thank you daaahhlings!" Some people took to the theme and actually brought gifts from Tiffany's!

When the birthday girl arrived, I had everyone outside and as she walked in, the DJ played that song......I said what about Breakfast at Tiffany's. The birthday girl looks gorgeous in her little pink cupcake dress don't you think?

The cake.....once again, Creative Cakes in Tinley Park. It looked great.

The milestone birthday photo board I made. You can see we took a bunch of pictures of the birthday girl as Audrey Hepburn.

Guests were asked to come dressed in black and white. This of course let our birthday girl stand out in all of the pictures.

Hard to see, but this is the birthday girl thanking everyone for coming. You cannot be a good party planner without teaching your children the importance of being a good host.

Just a cute picture of the birthday girl and her brother. He did a great job of taking all of these pictures for his mom. I knew back then I wanted to start this only took me 3 years!

Where's My Daughter?, A Waldo Halloween

Not really a post for a party idea, but I wanted to share my daughters costume from this past Halloween. Being in college, the girls tend to still want to look like girls in their costumes, but not too goofy. As most college age kids do, she waited till it came down to the wire. We tossed out the "Where's Waldo?" idea, as it seemed simple. Only thing is.....most of the costumes you can buy are for men and we didn't want her looking like a guy. We came up with our own version. I just ordered the hat and glasses on-line. We found a stripped shirt and socks as well, and she was ready to go. I think she looks pretty darn cute!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Baby Shower, Bird theme for Baby Girl!

Wow, the trouble I had finding ideas for a bird themed baby shower that were pink! Seems like robins egg blue is the more popular theme.....and one more fitted for a boy. When I found out my brother and his fiance were having a baby, the first thing I thought of, besides the obvious happiness for them, was the Baby Shower! I stated my offer to host right away. I took the bird theme from the bedding they registered for at Pottery Barn Kids. The shower was at The Grotto in Oak Brook, IL

The invitations were beautiful. I ordered them from TinyPrints. They have so many cute invites. Most importantly they had one with a pink bird theme!

Our sign in was a baby onesie. I put it over a piece of cardboard that was covered with pink card stock. I wrote the babies name across the front and placed on a table up front with fabric pens so that all of the guests could sign it. The onesie can then be placed in a shadow box or frame for a special memory.

The place cards were miniature nests filled with pink jordan almonds to look like eggs. I found some pink trimmed place cards in the clearance pile at Michael's and ran them through the printer. Also on the table when you walked in was a photo of the couple with a copy of the invitation.

To fill up the cake table I made a family tree with photos the couple the took while she was pregnant as well as pictures of each of them as babies. This was an easy project. I copied all of the pictures to wallet size and glued ribbon on the back of each one to hang on branches. I also cut out some birds out of different patterned card stock to do the same. The branches were placed in a cylinder vase that I covered with a paper lunch bag, card stock and ribbon. I placed one of the miniature nests on top with a little bird. Also, across the cake table is a banner I made out of card stock and ribbon. Just cut out and layer two different size circles. Place a letter in the center of each one to spell out your message. I used a hole punch to make two holes at the top of each one and then threaded the ribbon through the circles. Very Martha Stewart!

The Cake!! I loved, loved, loved this cake. Again, it is by Creative Cakes in Tinley Park. I gave them a copy of the invitation and they were able to come up with a gorgeous cake to match. I have ordered quite a few cakes from them, but this was my favorite.....I just might like this one more than the one they did for my wedding! Also, on the cake table are the favors. The favors were individually wrapped bird cookies(CreativeCakes). I placed them all in a wreath I had at home to give the look of a birds nest. I ordered labels that matched the invitations and put a little thanks for coming on the back of each one.

This was my original attempt at a centerpiece for the tables. I bought bird houses at Michael's and cut out the roof. I spray painted pink and put a little bird on the front......added some flowers and ta da....centerpieces. I really loved the idea, but not having the appropriate tools for cutting, it became clear that making enough of these things was going to be quite a task. I ended up going to a florist who did an amazing job incorporating the birds into her design.

At each place setting I had a pink envelope. Each envelope had part of a game. We made little diapers out of paper that when opened revealed a winner. There were also raffle tickets and a scratch off card bought at a party store. The envelopes also had a pink and green pencil(Michael's) with a "what will mom think' trivia sheet. I had the new mom fill out and guests tried to match her answers.

The new mom was worried we would be wrapping her in toilet paper and smelling chocolates in diapers. She was not too keen on having games, but you know me. I could not host a Baby Shower without them. I promised her I would keep them simple. Instead of the toilet paper wrap and in keeping with the bird theme, we cut up different lengths of twine.....we wrapped each one with a small piece of brown paper stamped with a bird. Everyone took a string, but when they were unwrapped it was obvious only a few would fit. Those people were then asked to step up and wrap the string around her belly. Before the shower I measured one out to her exact size so we would have a winner. We did the baby food game. I matched the labels on the jar and the guessing sheets with the theme from the invitation. The Chinese take out box(Michael's) I covered with matching ribbon and placed cute mom index cards out. Guests filled out the cards with Words of Wisdom for the new parents.

Feather your nest with one of the fabulous prizes! I wrapped the prizes in tissue and twine and placed in a basket for that birds nest feel.

ok.....this diaper cake was a labor of love. I had seen them, but this was my very first time making one. I was determined to keep it simple. I did not want something covered with baby stuff, the diapers were plenty. I used newborn size diapers. You roll them up and wrap with a rubber band(you can see in picture).....those then get placed around a center anchor, I stacked a couple of sippy cups. You then use a bigger rubber band to hold them in place. You then use ribbon(I used two different ones in our color scheme)to cover the rubber band area. Keeping my cake simple and following my theme, I placed card stock birds and feathers on the cake. The topper was a little birdhouse purchased at Target.

I used the pink and green colors throughout the shower. Here I made a clothesline out of pink ribbon. Since the facility would not let us hang things on the wall, I used clothespins and attached across the front of the gift table.

Following the trend of a couples table at a wedding. The new parents had a couples table set up in front of the gift table just for them. Seating would have been too complicated with divorces on both sides of the family. It worked out well, they got to sit back and just enjoy the event.

This shower has to be one of my favorite events. Everything went smoothly....from the cake to the service at the location. I loved the way my little projects added to the theme. Baby Eleanor was born earlier this month. Plenty of time to start planning her 1st birthday party!!