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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real parties: bridal shower

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Mandy at Everyday Obsession sent me these beautiful pictures of a green and white bridal she hosted for a girlfriend back in May. And as many of us are, she was inspired by the talented Amy Atlas.

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Aren’t these vanilla pudding shot glasses adorable,

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And these cake balls yummy?! Make sure you hop over to Mandy’s blog to see all the details!

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press: styled bbq for Mom mag

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The backyard BBQ article I styled at the request of the fabulous Natalie Klein of Hot Moms Club for Mom magazine is finally here!

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRINTABLES NOW!

The assignment had two parts. First, create a look that could be perfect for the upcoming July 4th holiday, as well as all summer long. My immediate thoughts went to mixing traditional patriotic patterns and colors with traditional summer colors, hence the pops of yellow and green! The second part of the assignment was to involve the kiddos.

My tips are in the blue boxes to the right on each page and here on the first page of the two-page spread. You can see my lemonade service and apron craft (the burgers belong to Chef Sam) in the images.

  • Lemonade service – mason jars are a charming way to bring the party outdoors and colorful straw slips are the perfect way to help your guests tell their beverages apart (get these FREE printables).
  • Flowers – I went with these beautiful sunflowers, the traditional yellow and a vibrant red (dyed by the florist), nestled in a bright blue tin vase to give the table a little pop.

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Here’s a closer look at the apron craft. I stopped in the craft store and picked up white, child-size aprons, fabric paint, stencils (you can find just about any shape and lettering) and sponge brushes. I set the boys up outside and placed wax paper (to contain any paint that may bleed though) between the apron and the table. They held the stencil in place with their hand, then using a round sponge brush dabbed the stencil on. It was really quite easy with quick clean up.

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And here on the second page you can see my ice cream service idea, my choice of primary dot plates and napkins from Inviting Company and the invitation craft.

  • Ice cream pails – For the ice cream I picked up some red and white mini pails and some clear plastic cups. I’m a big fan of pre-scooping your ice cream before your guests arrive and refreezing the scoops on wax paper. It just takes too much to scoop while they’re there; I’d rather be mingling myself! For serving, I arranged the pails on a tray, filled each about 1/3 way with ice, inserted the plastic cup and then popped in my cones. And if you have a variety of flavors you can take orders and use a cute little tag (get these fun tag/placecard printables FREE) so you don’t get your orders mixed up.
  • Invitation craft – since I own a custom invitation company my first reaction was to design something fabulous, but since the assignment was to make something the kids could help with, I went “old school” and used scrapbooking supplies (cardstock, vellum and ribbon) and a fun star tablecloth weight as a little favor.

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Make sure you pop over to my post from Monday to see closer shots of the printables I used to style this article!

Thanks again to Natalie and the wonderful ladies at Hot Moms Club for giving me this opportunity. And thanks to Jennifer Sbranti of Hostess With The Mostess for mentioning me to Natalie. I’m honored to be in these fabulous ladies company! And finally, thanks to my little boys for sitting still long enough for us to get these fabulous pictures of them. Of course the ice cream helped! {wink}

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

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free printables for summer!

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I mentioned in last Wednesday’s post that there is a real buzz around here in anticipation of getting our hands on the July-September issue of Mom magazine. I’m so excited to say that I styled a backyard bbq for the issue at the request of the fabulous Natalie Klein of Hot Moms Club! Well I don’t have a high res file of the full article yet (and it’s already out), but I did get my hot little hands on the cover and a low res (that’s why the article is so small here)! I should be getting the full article very soon and I will definately post it so you can read every word! {wink} UPDATE: Full article and more pics!

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In the meantime, I don’t want to give it all away by showing you the images used in the article, but I will show you these tight shots of the printables that I used to style the shoot. I chose a variety of patterns all in primary colors so they can be perfect for the fourth and all summer long!

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Here’s a closer shot of the straw slips I used, which can also be perfect as toothpick skewers in sandwiches, etc.,

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the napkin rings, and

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the placecards, which can also work great as favor tags.

And since I love giving things to my friends: those who read my blog, follow me on twitter and friend me (like me) on facebook, I’m giving these to you!  I’ve posted a download link to these freebies on facebook and I’ll be tweeting the link for several days to come. We’ll also be sending e-mails this week to everyone who has purchased from us in the past and is signed up to receive “special offers” (box in the upper right corner). And if you’re new here, please come join me on facebook, twitter, or sign up for offers so you don’t miss out on future freebies!

I hope you have a wonderful week and that you swing back by to read the full article!

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all things dinosaur

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As much as my oldest is into science, my youngest is into dinosaurs. And as those who stop in often know, this weekend I’m hosting a huge dinosaur birthday party to celebrate his fourth birthday (I still can’t believe I’ve been blessed with him in my life for four years already)! So as you can imagine, over the past weeks I’ve been pouring over all things dinosaur. These were just a few of the cute and clever things I found.

I’ll be bringing you many many party pictures on Monday so please make sure you stop back in and check out how the big weekend went.

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