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Baby Love [Let’s Party]

26 Apr

Readers of the blog will recall my good friend and party accomplice, Selina. She is the party planner extraordinaire who has thrown a party for pretty much everyone and every occasion. Happily, Selina is expecting just added now has (sorry, this has been a draft since December) an adorable addition to her little family! Something that fantastic has to be celebrated in a manner befitting a party pro.

selina

Her twin sister, Anissa, our intrepid party coordinator and I set out planning months in advance. My first mood boards reflected the ethnic looks that Selina loves, but we landed at more of a nouveau country mix of pinks, hearts and doilies. And elephants, because who doesn’t love elephants? Pretty, traditional with a twist.

For me, the twist came in the form of ombre vinyl heart walls. If I had a dollar for every time I tried to explain that concept to blankly confused faces, I’d have a lot of dollars. A lot. Now I have a kinda blurry photo, and that really helps. It was overwhelmingly lovely in person, just take my word for it.

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I started cutting the hearts on the Silhouette, but there was far too much waste of precious vinyl resources (2 Silhouette pinks and a pink Contact paper). It wasn’t long before I was hand tracing and cutting the hearts to double what I could get out of the rolls. It was definitely worth the hand cutting and application straight off my red-eye flight.

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Just to spread the love around, I set my Mom to work creating coffee filter flowers. I dyed a Costco-sized sleeve of them and popped them in the mail to make her task a little easier. She worked for at least a month folding, stapling and fluffing until she had two trash bags full of lovely pink blooms.

They were fashioned into a heart-shaped welcome wreath, giant heart over the dessert table and a lighted garland over the fireplace.

welcome wreathpuff heart

garland

We got busy spray-chalking hearts along the path to the door the day-of, and I also decided we needed a heart welcome mat for the front door. Again, Mom to the rescue. It hardly seemed right to me to pack it in my suitcase, so I sent my Mom to IKEA for a mat that she set to work prettying up. Honestly, the front door became the best spot for photo ops!

heart pathheart mat

The morning of, my sister and I ended up making a swag of ombre pink streamers to cover the entry way. All the staple-gunning was enough to terrify the kids and the dogs, but I think the final awesome effect made it worth all the tears, whether the photos do it justice or not.

streamers

What I thought was a sure sign of success, Selina wanted to take home the mat, wreath and giant heart to welcome her sweet baby home for real. Since the shower, the welcome wreath and mat have greeted visitors to the nursery. And, this past weekend, all of the decor was pulled out and used again for her baby dedication. A neighbor then spotted the coffee filter flowers and has claimed them for a future party of her own!

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Absolutely Dotty Pt. 1 [Let’s Party]

20 Jul

This past weekend we had a chance to celebrate the engagement of my lovely friend Sarah to her awesome beau, Michael. Aren’t they just adorable?! They seem so happy together, and I can only wish them more in the future!

Our ever-generous friend Caitlin decided almost instantly upon hearing the news that it was cause for celebration.  The invites were chosen, the venue picked, the date set and I was given a chance to decorate!

Signature White Engagement Party Invitations Heartfelt Happiness - Front : Black

The venue was Black Bottle here in Seattle. The entire bar has this black and white, quasi-industrial aesthetic with double height ceilings that keep the black and metal accents from being oppressive. The private bar is fairly sparse and calling out for a big, graphic moment.

I set to work gathering inspiration and ideas based on the invite and the venue. Based on the invitation alone, I thought it was best to go with something black and white and graphic with pink heart accents and maybe a little kraft. I knew that Sarah was mindful of not being ultra feminine for a co-ed party, but black and white in an industrial space is pretty masculine and leaves room for a feminine touch of pink or hearts.

 

It wasn’t long before I decided on polka dots and stripes. I’m not going to pretend it hasn’t been done before, but I was determined to make it my own.

I forced Caitlin out of her comfort zone a little bit with some DIY for the party, including these wine cork initials and the glitter heart cupcake picks.

Next post will have the who, how, where and buy of it all!

Neon Dreams [Let’s Party]

30 Mar
I have been waiting to share more stories from my “party all the time” Texas trip until the mastermind of the last party had a chance to blog about it. You can read more and see more at Selina’s blog. She’s far too kind to me in her post. But those of you who know me, know it’s all true and more. I kid. (appropriate emoticon).
 
 
It was great to work on a party with Selina in person. Usually, because of distance, I act as a sounding board for her creative process and chime in ideas over the phone or via email and IM. This time around I had a chance to get creative and put in some late nights making things.
 
Oh, and shop! A lot. Here are some of my favorites for your next neon party or any other affair:
  •  Artist Tape is my new best friend. It helps me understand why people are so fond of washi tape, even if it still seems incredibly overpriced. Pro Tape Artist Tape is a low-tack, repositionable tape was great for everything–favors, banners, food labels, you name it–for not a lot of money. I picked up fluorescent pink, yellow and metallic gold at Blick here in Seattle, but you can find it a million places online.

Metallic Tape

  • Michaels has jumbo clothespins in their $1-$3 aisle that caught my eye immediately. Plus, Selina has a known love for and creativity with clothespins. They had to be included. Selina slapped some tape on them, and they became the base for the dessert table and champagne bar signs. I’ve since made another friend buy one for a baby shower sign. Get one!

[Note: This was a strictly glass-flute affair, so I’m not sure how to explain that plastic cup in the background]

  • While you’re at Michaels or JoAnn, hit up the seasonal aisle for the world’s most perfect cake pop or dessert-on-a-stick displays. Seek out the seasonal picks that are in little open boxes with styrofoam. If necessary, wrangle and rearrange their displays nicely and neatly, then ask politely if you can have the now-extras. Take those bad boys home, unfold them, spray adhesive the outside, slap on the paper of your choice, cut down and reassemble. Wrap styrofoam insert like a present, poke holes with ice pick. Boom.
  • Flagging tape and stake/marking flags from the hardware store are clutch. I’ve just discovered a fancy flagging tape artist while pulling photos for this post, if you’d like some inspiration. At any rate, Lowe’s is probably your best one-stop shop since they have orange and pink and orange flagging tape and pink and white flags in stock. My gripe about both Lowe’s and The Home Depot is they don’t stock yellow flagging tape, neon or otherwise. I eventually found some yellow tape at Harbor Freight. Because who doesn’t shop at Harbor Freight for bridal showers?

 

  • If you have time on your side and/or a different color palette, try Tape Brothers or Gempler’s for rainbow colors and even patterns like polka dots, stripes and checkerboard. Your guess is as good as mine what pink and white polka dots signify in the universal tape meanings, like electrical, sewer, etc.
  • I also just discovered stake whiskers. Wow. Turn that upside down and you have a readymade tassel.

Sterling Express [Let’s Party]

11 Mar

Just what was I doing in Texas? Mostly this girl wants to party all the time, and that’s just what I did. My nephew, Sterling, was turning the big 2 and celebrating it with a train-themed birthday party, so that was priority #1 upon landing.

My sister, Kelly, did a ton to get things started, then called in a bit of an SOS to me and Selina as the party got closer and she got sicker with the flu. Let me mention she is a 7-month-pregnant doctor with a successful medical practice and a toddler, so what she did pre-SOS was that much more impressive. She started with some awesome printable invites from etsy. These ticket/train invites set the tone for the party, though it was not a Thomas the Tank Engine affair.

From there, she put her Silhouette to work to make a great train engine and car birthday banner,  insanely cute train tickets and tented train food cards. Food-wise, she dragged me out shopping, a little zombiefied after my red eye flight. We decided that Oreo pops and Rice Krispie pops were  must haves, as well as kid-friendly finger foods. Bring on the bagel bites and pigs in blankets!

Moeller’s Bakery in Houston makes awesome cakes that will melt your brain a little. OK, maybe just your willpower and heart. But the petit fours definitely would move you to do crazy things–rob a bank, kick a puppy. What I don’t love is their decorating of said cakes. When we picked ours up, it was a little underwhelming. More than one person asked (pre-taste) if we had made the cake ourselves, surely because the writing was so amateurish.

More Silhouette and Selina to the rescue! We decided to mimic the birthday train banner in miniature form to spruce up the cake. The last thing my sister wanted was me and Selina near the Silhouette a couple hours before the party, but that’s what she ended up with. We tend to egg each other on in true maximalist crafting style.

  • Selina: What do you think of a little cloud coming out of the engine? Maybe if it had a 2?
  • Me: Yes!! I had wanted white balloon “steam” coming out of the train-style food display that Kelly vetoed. What if it said like, two-two, you know, like a train sounds?
  • Kelly: What are you two doing in there? We don’t have much time. Put the Silhouette away.
  • Selina/Me: Nuhhh-thing! *conspiratorial smiles*

Our projects did last a little longer than planned, but I think that was partly owing to the fact that Kelly’s Silhouette blades and mats had seen better days, and the replacements were still lost in the mail. Selina took over paper duties while I started dipping Oreo pops. We ran out of time for Rice Krispie pops and my Sterling Crossing sign, but the world kept turning.
Most party-goers were probably more impressed with the train that took everyone on magical journeys around the block, but we were pretty jazzed with the decor.
Oh, and on the fashion front, I made sure to match my attire to the party via my new Jason Wu for Target dress and a borrowed necklace from my sister’s closet.
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