stay cool tags… free!

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If you’ve not ever been introduced to the eighteen25 blog, then you’re in for a real treat. These ladies make me wish I had sisters! {Love you big brother!}

So on Monday they posted a FREE download of the tag you see in the picture above. Very “cool” isn’t it! They designed it so we could all give fun goodies to our neighbors and friends this summer. Hop over to read all the details, download your printable and to see what else they’ve been up to!

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just around the corner

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I know what you’re all thinking. It’s a little early to be talking about Halloween! Actually it’s not. For those of us in the stationery business we have to be way out in front of the upcoming holiday, and Halloween is what’s been on my brain now for weeks. I have to admit I’m getting a little giddy about sharing what’s coming. Since it’s not quite ready, I thought I would share a few hints for one of my “new favorite” Halloween collections. I’m hoping to share it on Facebook as early as this afternoon so make sure you join us if you’ve not already!

Stay tuned!!

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customer: buzz-worthy

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I absolutely love seeing pictures from our very talented customers. The pictures above were sent in from Teena. She hosted a “Chic Bee themed 1st Birthday Party” for her little girl using our Buzz collection. Don’t you just love that cake!

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And I’m always amazed at how our printables are further embellished to fit the occasion. In this picture you can see how Teena overprinted text, “I got buzzed at Hanna Bee’s 1st Birthday,” onto the design. Just lovely!

Thanks so much for sharing Teena!

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real parties: end of summer fun

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When I was browsing the web to find just the right images to pull together yesterday’s back to school party post, I stumbled across Brooke at Cheeky Kitchen and Jaimee at Sophistimom, two talented women who are also moms and friends. I was instantly inspired by their posts about an end of summer picnic they had with their children last year. The photography is beautiful, the recipes are yummy and their writing style is engaging. If you’ve not met them yet, you must meet them now!

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I’m absolutely in love with Brooke’s unique lunch pail (the kind of buckets you get when you go to your local orchard) idea. They’re simple and yet make such a statement in her beautiful photography. In Jaimee’s words “Within each basket was nestled a sandwich to satisfy the most ravenous sweet tooth, a vintage book, confetti corn, and a root beer.

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Don’t you just wish you had been invited along on this adventure?!

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And the food looks amazing! (There are many more photos that you must hop over and see on both blogs.)

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As you likely are, I’m inspired to plan a end of summer/back to school picnic for my boys. I hope we have as much fun as it appears these two families had! Happy Wednesday everyone!

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back to school buzz

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A customer wrote in asking for ideas on how to throw a back to school birthday party for her soon-to-be 16 year old daughter. Back to school makes you immediately think of yellow buses and pencils, but remember, this is a 16 year old girl. Oh, and the guest list is another 50 teenage girls… so you can see, here in lies the challenge this mom faces. How do you pull off a semi-sophisticated teen girl approved party with a back to school theme? Needless to say I was intrigued to help her.

So the easy way out would be for me to point her in the direction of our black and yellow Buzz collection as seen along side the beautiful black and yellow cake from Cake Girls above, but the event planner in me wanted to give her choices.

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So here’s a black and red alternative and some economical ideas on how to pull it together:

1. Serving table backdrop – hang or frame a lovely damask fabric, or even a chalk cloth as your backdrop and then make it evident who the guest of honor is with these rod iron letters from Pottery Barn, but don’t stop there. Get some red tissue paper from the craft store and make mini-pom poms to insert in the letters for a more dramatic effect, plus tissue pom poms won’t wilt like real flowers might in the heat of August.

2. Drink service – teen girls love to gossip and mingle… like us older girls don’t!… so have a easy drink service like this idea from Better Homes and Gardens.

3. Apple centerpieces- for the centerpieces, don’t spend a fortune on a florist unless you have money to burn. Buy apples in bulk at your local Costo or Sam’s Club and place them in glass jars around the tables and if you don’t have enough jars, stack them into pyramids. But remember to send everyone home with one as part of their thank you or you’ll be baking apple pies for a week! (image via Merry B Events)

4. Book centerpiece - another idea is to re-purpose the books you have around your home and if you don’t have enough, make a trip to your local library. Just remember that if someone spills a drink on one you’ve borrowed, you might have to pay a fine or even for the entire book! (image via Martha Stewart)

5. Cloth beverage napkins – for a group of 50, or even five for that matter, paper napkins are just lovely, but if you wanted to make a statement you could use cloth. These could be made easily with a few yards of fabric, red fabric paint, a stippling brush and a stencil from the craft store. (image via inhabitots)

6. Chalk board coasters - I also thought these could be fun and could double as placecards. They can be picked up from Purpose Design on Etsy. Or, if you’re feeling crafty, run to your local dollar store for the coasters and the craft store for the paint. In a few hours you could have 50 of these little guys.

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7. Paper lanterns – I love to give parties height with either pom poms or paper lanterns (or Pterodactyls…) and these lanterns are a lovely way to achieve that.

8. Cake – What birthday is complete without a beautiful cake? This one is from Sweet Libertine Cakes.

9. Cupcakes – I couldn’t resist putting our black and white damask cupcake wrappers from the Buzz collection in.

10. Candy – Taking a tip from Amy Atlas, it’s always a good idea to have a little candy around. These lovely jars came from Pottery Barn and you can get any color of bulk candy from The Candy Warehouse.

And just a few more things:

Table setting – For the yellow and black option, all the decor can be found with our Buzz collection. For the red and black option, we have a modern twist of red and white stripe plates paired with red and white polka dot napkins with our pirate collections. Lose the pirate eye patch napkin ring and you’re in business. {wink}

Favor - Last, but not least, the favor. A damask journal would be lovely at each placesetting, but with a guest list of 50 that would be an investment. My suggestion would be to pick up the black and white ledger books, the ones with the white block on the front for your name, that are typically with the school supplies for about $.65 this time of year. Embellish them with a red grosgrain ribbon and the guest’s name. You’ve just solved your favor and placecard needs in one project.

I hope I’ve helped Janelle in her quest for the perfect back to school birthday bash for her daughter and maybe given you a few fun ideas along the way! And if you’re not up for a full “to do” before the school year begins, maybe you would be up for a little end of summer picnic (clever ideas and beautiful photography await you)! Happy Tuesday everyone!

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customer: perfectly pink

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I was admiring this beautiful party over at P is for Party, especially the height of this room with the pom poms… so lovely… when I realized this very talented mom, Christine, purchased some of her table decor from my princess castle collection!  Her little one, Sadie, is shown in the bottom right image, tuckered out after what was obviously an exquisite and fun filled party.

For all the details, many more pictures (courtesy of Leslie Gaworecki of Goodlight Photography) and all the fabulous resources used to pull this perfectly pink party together, hop over and see Christi’s original post.

Happy Monday everyone!

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real parties: safari adventure

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Loralee of No Fuss Fabulous (love that name by the way) just celebrated her youngest son’s first birthday, with lions, giraffes and monkey, oh my! She did such a beautiful job and gives some very smart planning tips along the way. Like pre-bagging the little ones’ lunches in advance so that parents don’t have to fret with balancing a little one and a plate. Or creating your own cake stand out of apples and a piece of Plexiglas.

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But my favorite design element of this party was the life size silhouette animals her friend and business partner, Annie, made for the event. (They remind me of our safari collection.) I love that they’re not only creative, but modern. The hardest part of this craft would have been the facial details and I really like how they skipped it and the outcome was that much more wonderful for it.

Make sure you hop over and see Loralee’s full post including the invitation she designed and her lovely little boy. Happy Friday everyone!

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real parties: bookworm birthday

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I met Amy from Giggleberry Creations some months ago when she tried making my DIY no-sew pirate flag, and with her talents I’m positive it turned out beautifully. So when I saw this unique and very detailed bookworm birthday party that she threw for her sister I just had to share. You see, I’m a bookworm myself… or a want to be bookworm. I love to read, but with two little ones, a business and a house to run it always falls to the back of the line. I keep a list of books I’ll read when my boys are grown and I’m retired… it’s getting long.

Anyway, back to this lovely party. I love the way she used, in her words, “two very old and boring books” to make the cupcake wrappers and pinwheels. Smart idea and so perfect for the occasion. (I’ll admit I made a craft from an old book, something that I nor anyone else would probably ever read, over the winter. My oldest son, who is also a book lover, got very very VERY upset with me… needless to say I won’t be doing that again… at least not in his presence.)

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And here, to the left is her inspiration board for this lovely party, and to the right are the gifts she gave her sister in addition to a bookmark from each guest. How fun!

Now, you must hop over to Amy’s to see the library backdrop that she drew and painted herself. It is huge and it looks just like a library wall. Very talented. Must go see!

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real parties: dino-ROAR!

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Well, it is official. My youngest son is four… FOUR. And of course we celebrated in true dino-ROAR style, his absolute favorite, with our new dinosaur printable party supplies. I shopped for just the right fabric, props, gifts, favors and activities for months and here are a few of the things I came up with. Let’s start at the candy table, the kids’ favorite… and maybe a few parents’ favorite too.

I found this beautiful fabric in the early planning stages and it made me think of the undergrowth of an overgrown forest. Use your imagination a little and you’ll be able to see it. Let’s face it, my T-Rex is blue so why can’t my forest be elegant with a splash of whimsy. {wink}

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So starting with the cake tier, the centerpiece for my candy table, I made a T-Rex and a Stegosaurus topper, both inspired by a fabulous tutorial at A Baked Creation.

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The table was teaming with treats, like: 

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salt water taffy,

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licorice,

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lollipops,

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fruit chews (a.k.a. Skittles),

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rice krispies treats embellished with the number four and his name (on the bottom tier of the cake display),

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vanilla Oreo cookies in cupcake papers (found on Etsy at Hey Yo Yo) topped with our dinosaur cupcake circle pick and displayed on a piece of scrapbook paper that looked more like reptile scales than paper, and so much more.

Some of you might recall that my youngest son has severe food allergies, so as you can imagine I had a bit of a time pulling together a candy table that was both milk (at least “cow milk” as my son distinguishes) and nut free, but I’m a mom that is here to tell that it can be done and it can still be yummy! This is one of the primary reasons that I filled the containers with marshmallows instead of candies. Plus, it’s a cheap way to fill up your jars, so two wins in one!

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As you can see here, my little guy liked the marshmallows as much as the lollipops!

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As for the decorations on/above/around the candy table, there were many, but everyone’s favorite was probably the Pterodactyls flying overhead. 

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There were also large foam dinosaurs on the table that later became toys for my little boy. Those along with the Pterodactyls now grace his playroom. (I picked up the foam dinosaurs a few years ago from Step2 online, but I’ve not seen them around in a while.)

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In addition to the candy labels, we also created a dinosaur banner,

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and signs/mats for each food station. In addition to the well known Herbivore and Carnivore, the latest Paleontologist find is the Sweetivore, the candy eating dino. And if you have doubts, I have two descendants, minus the scales and tails, living in my house! {enthusiastic giggles}

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Here are the Carnivore,

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and Herbivore mats too. All three are now in the shoppe along with the banner and candy table tags.

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And once all the yummy food was gone we had a few activities planned for the kids. My favorite was the photo booth. At first I was going to hang a solid backdrop so that all the images would be uniform, but then decided to have them stand in front of my favorite out of control vines (that my late grandmother gave me) to the right of my pergola. They worked out perfectly. The kids looked like they were standing in the jungle… okay, again… a little imagination please.

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They had about 12 dinosaur masks to select from and the only instruction was to ROAR! I just wish I would have had a video recorder with me too. They were hilarious!

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This is one was just too cute not to share. My Cole and his little friend Nicole checking out each other’s masks. 

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I also had a little scavenger hunt set up with dinosaur skeletons hid around the yard, more like a hunt than a dig, but you get the picture. And, I had coloring mats for them. Something to do while they waited on lunch to be served.

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I want to end this post with this picture of my little one blowing out his candle the day after the party. We served the cupcakes the day of and saved the cake for him. He really wanted the T-Rex on top! {I love you my little Coley Bear!}

And if you want to recreate this party for your little dinosaur lover, stop by the shoppe and see all the details. And then send us your pictures at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com; we would love to see them!

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

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patriotic inspiration

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As we’re all gearing up for a fabulous long weekend, I thought I would share a few last minute ideas for desserts:

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And a few DIY decorating ideas:

Have a safe and fun holiday everyone!

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