memorial day weekend

Thank you to all those who have served our great country! I would also like to especially thank both of my grandfathers for their years of service.

We will be planting in the garden, attending a parade, swimming with friends and enjoying the first weekend of summer. Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone!

i scream, you scream...

We all scream for ice cream! Ice cream parties are everywhere these days. I thought I'd share my "old" one with you. For my daughter's third birthday, we had a "Sundae Social". This has been a couple of years ago and so much is different in my little party planning world. There is a lot I would do differently now - so much inspiration out there. But still worth the post to share a couple things I would probably still do the same way.

To start, I want to tell you the two reasons this party theme came about. First, my daughter's actual birthday fell on a Sunday that particular year, so I translated that to "Sundae". Secondly, I had randomly seen an ice cream sundae cake picture on CakeCentral (if you love cakes, you'll love this site. Beware it's VERY addictive). The cake had the three scoops of ice cream on top. Three, just perfect! So there you have it - a Sundae Social for a third birthday. Another lesson in finding inspiration everywhere - even days of the week!

Check out these interactive invitations I made. I mailed these invitations in tube mailers, but unfortunately I don't have pictures of that part. The invitation is a little beat up since it's been in a box for two years (promise me you won't be too critical), but I thought it was important to include in the overall party details. Before being bent, it use to roll up so nicely. You get the idea anyway.

I used brown and cream cross-hatched paper (in the Martha section at Micheal's) for the "cone". I made myself a template that had a tab closure system (kind of like on a cereal box) and a shape that allowed it to roll up nicely. This definitely took some time - trial and error. Then I printed the actual invite on pink card stock, cut the edge with decorative scissors and drew on little ice cream cones. Then I waded up pink tissue paper for the "ice cream" making sure to shape it so there was a good amount to go down into the cone. Hot glue on a red pom pom (in the kids craft section at Micheal's) and you've got it! I packed the invitation in brown paper shred to secure it in the mailer tube. I also drew the same little ice cream cone on the mailing labels so the guests would know there was something fun inside.

I happened to find this shirt right before the party. Sorry I don't remember where - even if I did, it would probably be moot anyway; I'm sure they wouldn't be selling the same thing 2+ years later. She was sure proud of her shirt! Side note: She had matching ice cream panties on too! No, we didn't show anyone, it was just our little secret.

Now for the good stuff... ice cream! I wrapped the table in a black and white checkerboard wrapping paper that I found at Ikea. I thought it very reminiscent of a old ice cream parlor. Any good ice cream shop has black and white checkered floor right!?

I got inspiration for the "cone stacks" while in Italy. All the little gelato shops stacked their cones and I just loved it. Some went WAY up in the air and really made a statement. I wish I would have had a deeper container, then I could have done them a lot higher too. See what I mean!

Truth be told, we ended up with almost all the cones still there at the end of the party. Everyone used bowls to make their own sundaes. I found little ice cream dishes at Wal-mart for 97 cents. Again, reminiscent of the ones you would find in an old ice cream parlor. Perfect! I also bought some larger bowls for the guests who wanted a BIG sundae.

I put the ice cream containers in a galvanized bucket that usually holds drinks because I didn't want the labels showing. I nestled them down in the ice and all was well - I was happy and the ice cream didn't melt. We kept the flavors simple - vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. Neapolitan anyone?

Speaking of Neapolitan, I used those colors for the spoon and napkin detail. Notice the "e" (for Ella) I formed out of the pipe cleaner used to secure the napkin to the spoon.

And here's all the goodies... As you can imagine, some kids piled them high!

-crushed oreos
-peanut butter cup
-chocolate, strawberry and caramel syrups
-whipped cream
-and of course, a bowl of cherries!

Now for the cake. Ohhhh, the cake! I have to tell you all this was actually the second cake I made for this party. I had made the first one and left it my office for safe keeping while we went to dinner and a show with some family in town for Ella's birthday. We got home late the night before the party to find the cake in a crumbled mess on the desk. We are still not a 100% positive what happened, but obviously the structure was lacking. So after getting Ella to bed, several of us started in on cake number two. Luckily, the "scoops" had stayed somewhat in tack and all I really had to redo was the base. Nothing like baking, building, frosting and decorating a cake a few hours before the party. I will say, even those this was my first major cake-tastrophe (and still my only one to date), it was the perfect cake for it to happen to for two reasons. 1) it was for my family, not some clients that I would then assume hated me for the rest of my life and 2) being a sundae it didn't have to be perfect. I just piped whipped topping (frosting) all over the top and we were good to go. The bananas and cherries were molded out of fondant and the syrups were colored chocolate melts.

Watching her blowing out those candles still makes me smile. Don't you love it when little kids blow straight up and not out leaving the candle still lit. And then they look so bewildered - why is the candle still a flame!? Too cute!

Unfortunately, I can't find any picture of the favor bags I did, but I do remember two things about them worthy of sharing. I bought bubbles in ice cream cone shapes. You can actually see a couple of them on the table by the toppings. I found those at the Dollar Tree. I also found some "ice cream cone" guns at Micheal's. You know, the ones where you push the button and the foam ice cream scoop pops off at you. I didn't do this, but wish I would have thought of it then. You could buy little ($2-3) gift certificates to your local ice cream shop. What kid wouldn't love that!? Heck, what adult wouldn't love that!

I hope you enjoyed this "Sundae Social" post and I hope it helps you ready for an ice cream party of your own. If nothing else, it gets the creamy concoction in our minds for the coming dog-days of summer. Like today here in the northeast! I just checked our thermometer - 97 degrees! Maybe the girls and I will go get ice cream right now!

national stationery show - part two

Some more great inspiration from the NSS 2010...

Blackbird Letterpress showcased a brilliant new card - another "Best New Products" candidate. The bear hug card can "hug" money, a gift card or how about a concert ticket. The options are endless.

One prevalent trend at the show was all the eco-friendly products. And boy do I have a great one to share with you! reGreet is a product to reduce, re-use and recycle greeting cards. I've always thought what a waste it is to trash all the beautiful, hilarious, and thoughtful cards that celebrate moments throughout the year. How does it work? See a video here. Deservedly so, this was yet another "Best New Products" competitor.

Okay, now for some cool display ideas I saw. These could all be easily translated to party decor (which of course was what I was thinking the whole time).

This was a whole wall made up of broken down furniture. See the tables, nightstands, drawers, etc. All painted white for unity and covered in colorful display items. Don't they just pop!? You could even make this in your own home. I think this would be a great idea in a kids room for toy shelf/storage. (Hey hubby, what about our playroom? Get your saw out!)

Tissue paper has made a huge impact on party decorations lately - can you say pom poms! Tissue paper is a very cheap and versatile material - both assets in my party planning book. Big impact on the cheap. Check out these examples in some of the booths.

Flowers floor to ceiling - simply fantastic! Oh, I also love the display shelf idea - It's a yard stick.

This a was a pom pom of sorts at the Lilly Pulitzer booth. The half dome shape is perfect for table centerpieces.

And how about this... Make your own tissue flowers. Poppies, roses, mums and my all time favorite flower, peonies. Look at this booth display! The flowering making kits will be available here soon according to the representative I spoke to. It's so new they don't even have it up on their website yet!

Paper-Source is one of my favorite sources for all things paper - hence the name Paper-Source! Ha! They had a display of quick and easy wrapping options with their products. You could use anything you have really, but theirs are great quality. Simple and functional wrappings, but all gorgeous! I know I will be using some of these ribbon ideas in the future.

Jax Invites has a great new product that creates buzz about your party right from the beginning. A tube mailer invitation that can be mailed as is. You just put the postage on and drop it in the mail. Both the out side tube and inside invitation can all be customized. What I love the most is you could also put other treats in there as well. Some jelly beans to an Easter party, a drink umbrella for a luau, red and white peppermints at Christmas time... Love it!

I still have more from the show (slowly making a dent in my seven pages of notes)... actually two of my absolute favorites yet to come!

national stationery show - part one

Wowza, that was fun! I went to the Stationery Show this past Sunday and loved every moment of it. I am going to do several posts on my visit because there is just too much to share at one time. I walked aisle after aisle of fantastic booths, but I also attended a few demostrations and a "meet the author" session. So without further ado, let me get started with all the wonderful stuff!

My first stop was the Press Center. I got my registation finalized and then perused the racks and racks of press kits. Such inspiration! I'll share some more details on these after I get the bags and bags of stuff I came home with organized.

Notice the paint cans on the bottom shelf? I just wanted to show you all yet another idea for a paint can. Remember the time capsule idea here.

And then I was off to discover all this... over 900 booths!

Some of my favorite finds...

Okay, there is offically a "bar" for everthing now. Check out this Stationery Bar! Very practical for a stationery shop and MY OFFICE! I want, I want!

This is a great new product by Hello Hanna. It was named one of the "Best New Products" of the show. Of course it was one of my favorite finds too - I am the cake lady after all. Individual cake stands called Sweet Stands.

Hello Hanna had another product making it into the "Best New Products" catagory. The Wishing Tree is making it's way around the blogosphere of late - see here that Amy Atlas loves it too. (Side bar: Wish I would have known she was going to be there the same day as me! I would have been watching out for the Queen of all things dessert. Just knowing I was in the same building as her makes me hopeful some of her talent rubbed off on me. We were breathing the same air you know!)

Wouldn't this be a wonderful addition to a wedding, shower, anniversary party, etc. Guest write their wishes on ready-made slips of paper with string already attached. After folding, the guests hang their message from one of the branches of the tree.

Here is an image from their website to give the product the showcase it actually deserves.

Look at this idea for a wedding - love it! Make your table seating chart look like an open book. Aren't those flowers down the middle divine!? A completely doable d.i.y. project. Unfortnately, I didn't document the source.

Well, that's enough for now, but I have LOTS more to share. Stay tuned... I have to get back to the two cakes I have due this week.

national stationery show

I am so excited!!! I'm heading to New York City this weekend to attend the National Stationery Show. I have been before and it is so inspiring. I am attending as a media representative so I can share all the great designs and ideas with you!

Stay tuned...

Anyone else going?

time capsule

A follow up on the previous bumble bee party. I thought I would share with you all the gift we brought for Miss Fiona.

I made her a time capsule. We did this with for both of our children on their first birthdays and I really like the idea. I look forward to opening it with them on their eighteenth birthdays.

For Fiona's I started with an empty paint can (available at the big box hardware stores for $4-5). You can use any container, but with the paint can I can make labels and decorate it anyway I want and it already comes with a lid to securely seal it. As you can see, I added decorations and labels fitting with the theme of her first birthday party. I thought it would be yet another "sign of the times" when she opens it later. I decorated envelopes to put items in that matched the outside too. I purposely left the container open so Fiona's parents could add anything they thought of too.

For the contents, you can included anything really - the intent is to show what life was like at that particular time.

Ideas of items to include:
- Newspapers dated with the child's first birthday
- Magazines (People, Time, Newsweek, Better Homes and Gardens, MS Living, Sports Illustrated, etc.)
- Top 10 Billboard Music Chart from that week
- a postage stamp
- an envelope for a lock of hair
- an envelope for money with the particular year on it
- an envelope for a letter from the child's mom and dad
- an envelope for letters from grandparents
- an old cell phone
- receipts of general items like gas, milk, eggs (wonder how much milk will cost in 2027!)
- baseball cards of current players
- a song/video from American Idol
- a reality show video (think we'll look back and laugh about those?)
- a video of the child's favorite cartoon
- any current fashion trend (like these new Silly Bandz I see all the kids wearing)
- put on your creative cap, the options are endless...

For my oldest daughter's time capsule, we asked all the guests invited to her birthday party to bring "a sign of the times" instead of a gift. Everyone really got into it! It will be so fun to see what everyone contributed. It will also be great to remember all the people that were around the first year of her life. We noted on each item who it was from.

I hope Fiona and her parents look forward to opening her time capsule years down the road; I know we will enjoy watching our girls opening theirs.


I am so excited to share this new design with you!

I won a giveaway awhile back over at jp creative and the prize was a new blog header. I think Jessica did a wonderful job! Don't you? She was such a pleasure to work with!

Thanks for all your hard work Jessica - I just love it!

mother's day

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful moms!

I write this as I am being treated like a queen bee in my own house today. I awoke (late) to the smell of homemade cinnamon rolls made by my husband. They were delicious! He made Pioneer Woman's recipe. Unbelievable! We had enough to share with our neighbors too - gotta share anything that good and anything with that many calories! Then I was showered with homemade cards and gifts from my girls. What more could a mother ask for!?

And I can't sign off without a very special Mother's Day wish to my own mom - you know, THE best mom in the world. You are my best friend, biggest supporter and such a role model! Thank you for everything you do for me and my family. I only hope I can show my girls the love and wisdom you have shared with me throughout the years. I love you Mom!

bumble bee party

A bumble bee first birthday party that is too cute for words. Here's the buzz! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!) Fiona, the birthday girl, had a wonderful day - lots of details and love put into this party!

For starters, Fiona's mom bought the printable itty bitty bee package from Parties by Hardie here. So many cute items in the package - banners, tags, pennants, signage, and I could go on and on. Wow! Check it out!

Fantastic focal point! When I found out Fiona was having a bumble bee party, I was constantly on the look out for cute ideas. Blogland never disappoints. I shared this project with her mom and she did a fantastic job duplicating it! So cute!!!

Look at these perfect flower vases - don't they look just like a bee hive!? Another wonderful serendipitous Dollar Tree find!

Pin the tail on the donkey has been a long time party game staple. Change it up to fit your party theme like this! Notice the blindfold is bumble bee fabric too! The same fabric (found on eBay) was used for Fiona's dress (made by her great-grandma) and her birthday hat (made by her mommy).

I was asked to make Fiona's cake. A true honor. I used the image from the party decor for inspiration.

Look at that big girl eating her cake!

Another detail I just love is the mommy shirt. Can you see that!? Not only is it yellow and black, but it says MOMMY. She is proud to state her motherhood and it celebrates her surviving the first year. She bought the shirt from Firedaughter Clothing Esty Shop here.

Now this idea I just love! Every month Fiona was photographed in the same 12 month onesie. Obviously, the first few months she was swimming in that little white onesie, but now she fills it out perfectly. I love this idea for so many reasons. Not only do you get to see the physical growth of the baby, but the pictures also show the other developments - first smiles, double chins, toes in the mouth, etc.

Such "sweet" favors. Honey for all! Notice how the jars were laid out in a honeycomb pattern too.

Congrats on making it through the first year, Mommy and Daddy! Fiona will bring you many more years of happiness.
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