First Birthday Carnival

Invite design by my super talented husband!
Our boys are ONE! The night before the big party, I was prepping and thinking how first birthdays are kind of silly. The boys are too young to remember and yet the first birthday party is such a big deal. I came to realize that this party was in part for our boys, but more so for all the close people in our lives. And of course for us to celebrate having made it through the newborn and infant stages!

Chase and Caden have completely different personalities. The inspiration for the party came from that difference.  We always thought that Chase had very gentleman-like qualities. He is quiet, observant and plays independently.  Caden always reminds us of a king. He sits up very straight and almost looks down his nose at others! And he loves when he is the center of attention. Little Man Chase and King Cades became the theme of the party and to make it even more fun, we made it a carnival!

Color palette: dark and light blues with gold and silver metallics. I wanted to combine top hats and mustaches with crowns and sparkly golds.

My husband and I are big kids ourselves, so when we throw a birthday party for our kids, the fun is for the adults too. As soon as the guests entered, they grabbed a crown and a ‘stache.

My little crepe paper buntings draped the top of every window and sliding door. It was such a simple DIY and I love anything that can be stapled!

TIP: I keep hooks over the slider all year round. They come in handy for holidays and parties.

Over the fireplace, I made a super full but still really easy crepe paper banner. TIP: Did you know that you don’t need any tape or glue with crepe paper tassels? Twist it and it holds!

TIP: Always, always, always try to make decorations that can be  re-purposed for another celebration. This paper straw banner was from my daughter’s party earlier this year. I just added some metallic fringe to the ends.

One of my favorite parts of a first birthday party is seeing all of the monthly photos together. For King Caden’s banner, I chose very royal, metallic and bold prints. The shape of the bunting also gave it a medieval feel.

For Little Man Chase’s banner, I chose muted colors and prints that reminded me of a business shirt. The shape of his bunting looked like a tie.

To label each photo with the month, I gave them mini construction paper top hats and crowns and wrote the number on them.

You have probably heard me say over and over that I am not a baker. I wish I was but I’m not. Thank goodness for my amazing market bakery.

I told them exactly what I wanted and they gave it to me and they were delicious.

Ten minutes on the Cricut machine and I had the cutest little crown and ‘stache cupcake toppers!

For the outside decor, I wanted to keep it fairly simple as all of the games would be outside too.  Flowy crepe paper hung from the trees,

dollar store white and blue table clothes mimicked a circus tent around the patio,

and one of my favorite DIY decorations, punch ball balloons! TIP: Those huge balloons are so festive and this is a great way to have them minus the helium. The reason they work so well is because they have elastic on top to hang and a place to tie a tassel on, on the bottom!

The games were spread out on the lawn. All homemade and classic carnival fun. I knew not only would the kids enjoy them but the adults would too.

If you don’t know already, I am the oldest of 16 cousins, I think it’s 16, haha. My mom has 5 sisters. So we have a BIG family. They all came to help with the party and even manned the games and gave out tickets.

Ping pong toss was the first game I thought of, it is my fav! There’s something so satisfying when that ball clinks around on the glasses and then falls in! It was fairly easy to make, the backboard took some brain power and effort.

Can toss was another game that was super easy to put together. We saved our cans and I wrapped them in fun paper, ordered some bean bags and that was it!

Tic tac toe was a little more challenging to make but I ended up finding the perfect square cardboard box, which was not easy to find. I cut the dividers out of foam core and covered them in wrapping paper.

Maybe the simplest game to put together but one of the hardest to play was ring toss.

The highlight of the games was the prize table where you could turn in your tickets for all of these goodies!

Okay, I lied. The highlight was the cotton candy machine.  Everyone wanted to try it but my cousin Kathy is now named Queen of the Cotton Candy. She was determined to master it and I think she did!

The kiddos loved it!

What’s a carnival without popcorn?  These mini popcorn containers were adorable. We popped bags and bags of microwave popcorn and my uncle handed them out to the crowd.

I think the highlight of my boys day though was definitely the cake. They were SO tired at this point but they were such troopers. I barely saw them as they were passed from friend to family to friend. They definitely stole the show.

Having twins is no joke, and add in other siblings and you have a very full life; full of every emotion, activity and feeling that you can think of. Our friends and family have supported us from the beginning and our parents have been there for us more times than we can count.  This party was for them and I hope they enjoyed every minute of it.

 

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A Balloons & Bubbly Sprinkle

On my husband’s side, between him and his two sisters, there have been 6 grandkids born in 4 years! With the next making her grand appearance this summer, we wanted to celebrate my sister in law and our new niece with a little sprinkle and the theme was Balloons & Bubbly! Two things that are very hard not to love and to decorate for. Needless to say, I was excited to help plan it and my inspiration: rose gold, blush and champagne. The drink and the color!

In the entryway, I borrowed a gorgeous gold sequined table cloth from a dear friend to cover the console table. (Remember A Rustic, Glam Wedding?) Yes, it was gorgeous! It was the perfect place for the favors: bottles of rose champagne and rose gold goodie bags with personalized handwritten tags.

Going with the theme, goodies for the guest included everything that “pops”: bubbly, bubblegum, blow pops and popcorn!

A big thing right now is metallic cutlery and I was able to find these rose gold plastic forks, just perfect to eat the mini blush cupcakes with pearl sprinkles.

I used white melting chocolates to lighten up the pink ones to a very light blush color as well and decorated them with pearl white and gold sprinkles.

Using chiffon and tulle fabric strips, I strung them across the fireplace for a whimsical and feminine tassel garland.  TIP: To give your fabric garland a more modern feel, try to keep each strip a uniform length and thickness. Also cut away any loose strings or frayed edges.

For parties and events, I love creating my own floral arrangements.  I picked up a bunch of blush and light green roses and a bouquet of mixed white and green flowers.  I always have a bunch of different shaped vases in the house and even use my tealight holders for the cutest mini arrangements.

Can you believe these champagne glasses are from the dollar store??? Since the party was on the smaller side (about 12 people), I wanted to personalize the glasses and decided to make custom initial charms.  See the tutorial here!

Hanging over the dining room table, were diamond honeycomb decorations that I added rose, blush and champagne colored ribbon to. TIP: If you purchase decorations, try to find ones in basic solid colors or shapes that can be reused at other events.  Small elements like ribbons can personalize it to the event’s theme.

To go with the bubbly theme, I used lots of clear balloons. I strung some and put them over the sliding doors and windows and also made a balloon wall where guests could take pictures. See how I made it here!

Since it was a “sprinkle” we wanted most of the time for my sister in law to visit with her close friends and family.  We did include a small activity where guests could write endearing and funny messages on diapers for those rough midnight changings.

Honestly, I never really understood the concept of the “sprinkle” as I always thought that having another shower, which is basically what a sprinkle is, was a faux pas.  But now, having had 3 kids, I really think it is not a shower but more of a last hurrah before the baby comes.  A reason to throw a party and celebrate with all of the people closest to you before you become twice (or more!) as busy as you were before!

 

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Balloon Photo Wall

I have always wanted to make one of those super full and bubbly balloon arches and the Balloons & Bubbly Sprinkle was the perfect opportunity to try it. Did you know that you can actually purchase balloon decorative strip just for making balloon arches?  I decided to save the $7 and work with my good ol’ butcher’s twine instead.

You will need:

  • Butcher’s twine (or any string really!)
  • Balloons in different sizes and colors (I used 5 inch clear balloons and pink and white water balloons. Yes. Water balloons!)
  • Clear tape
  • Party balloon pump

If you have ever tried blowing up a water balloon, it is nearly impossible! I suggest the party balloon pump for the smaller balloons.  It will save your cheeks! After blowing up the white balloons, tie them to the string anywhere from 3-5 inches apart. It really depends on how full you want your garland to be.

After all of your “base color” balloons are tied on, in my case clear, attach it to the wall in the shape you want it. It will be easier to place the other colors and sizes in the exact places you want them. My balloon garland was used to accent this foil “love” balloon.Roll a piece of clear tape and stick it to the side of the other balloons.  Find the spot you want it to go and stick it to one of the base colored balloons. Some may need more than one piece of rolled tape just to make sure it stays in place.

Continue on with all of your different colors and sizes!

Your wall is ready and just waiting for photos to be taken. Here is the guest of honor and her family of 3 soon to be 4!

Did you see the Champagne Glass Charms for the Balloons & Bubbly Sprinkle? See the rest of the party HERE!

 

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Champagne Glass Charms

If you are anything like me, at parties you lose your glass.  Sometimes, I spend a good 2-3 minutes circling the room looking for my drink, so thank goodness for charms! I know this one is mine!

I found these beautiful plastic champagne glasses for the sprinkle I was helping to throw for my sister-in-law but did not have enough wine charms for all of them. I wanted to reuse them so permanent marker was not an option. That’s when I decided to make my own.

You will need:

  • Scrapbook paper (cardstock thickness)
  • Circle cutter or paper punch
  • Wine glass charm rings (these are not the ones I bought but are similar)
  • Pearl seed beads
  • Scrapbooking letters

Using the letters, I personalized each circle with the guest’s first initial.  These letters added some extra glitz with the sparkles.

If you have two people with the same first initial, I added a small cursive last initial. If you have two with the same first and last initial, you can always add a distinguishing feature like a small star or sticker embellishment. After stringing the charm hoops with the seed pearls, I punched a hole at the top of each of the circles and attached the hoops.

Annnnnnnnd, that’s it! Perfect for the Balloons & Bubbly theme.

Did you see the Balloon Photo Wall for the Balloons & Bubbly Sprinkle? See the rest of the party HERE!

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Crepe Paper Tassels

I love banners and pennants and garland and bunting for party decor. The tissue paper tassels are adorable, but to me, they are a pain in the butt! Sometimes it’s worth it, but having to cut strips of the tissue over and over again can drive a person insane. If you feel the same as I do, I would highly suggest trying these crepe paper tassels!

You will need:

  • Crepe Paper Rolls
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • String

  1. I cut three (or more!) 4 foot strips of the crepe paper but depending on how long you want your tassel to be, you would simply have to double that amount.
  2. After gathering them together, find the middle and twist until you can make a loop.
  3. Wrap tape around the bottom of the loop.
  4. Cut the strips in half. (or more!)
  5. You’re done!


For the tassels inside, I used 3 strips of crepe paper, but for outside I used 6. Depending on how full you want them to be, you can increase the number of strips.

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I loved seeing them move in the breeze and they really added a lot to the patio. The best part, how much time was saved!

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See more from A “Press Here” Birthday Party.
Have you tried these? If so, I would love to hear from you!

 

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A “Press Here” Birthday Party

Our little girl turned four.  One of my very first posts was her Totoro party when she turned 2 and then her Lava party last year. I love her what interests her and she always makes it fun for me to work on a party theme. Her favorite book is “Press Here” by Hervé Tullet.  It is such a simple yet really clever book and perfect for her fourth birthday.

Our home has huge windows throughout. We made each set of windows a page of dots from the book using tissue paper and a circle cutter to make the dots.img_4739img_4732img_4723I love the look and idea of the paper straw, but I don’t like using them as a straw.  Strange, I know, but I hate the feeling of the paper getting soft in the drink. I found a great tutorial from Oleander + Palm on straw bunting. Super easy and I love the minimalist look!img_473320170319-ellie4thparty-002My greatest discovery this time around: CREPE PAPER garland! I might never make another tissue paper garland again! Tutorial to come…img_4729img_4750Love love love helium balloons, but they can be expensive if renting a tank and a bit of a pain if your order and have to pick up the day of the party. ***TIP*** Order them for the day before with hi-float and they will last 3-4 days if not longer! Also, if you feel the space is a bit cluttered already for balloons, try putting them in the corners of the room. (A tip from the hubs, believe it or not!)img_4751Great discovery #2! PUNCH BALL BALLOONS! Most, if not all of my party decor was from the dollar store including these punch ball balloons. Blow them up and hang them from the ceiling! Since they are shaped a bit differently from regular balloons, you can even hang streamers or ribbon from the bottoms as well!img_4744img_4737img_4752The highlight of the party was definitely the cakes. I am not an experienced baker, but Once Upon A Pedestal made this polka dot cake extremely manageable with a cake pop pan, food coloring and boxed cake mix!img_4753My sister made this four-tiered adorable chocolate mini cake just for Ellie, complete with her own banner and homemade white chocolate nonpareils.img_4731Since we decided to have a small party this year, I knew there would not be many kids her age present as Ellie is the oldest cousin.  I wanted something fun and interactive for her, so we made these “Press Here” inspired cards for her to play.img_4527Our whole family was great sports in each picking out a card and wearing it so Ellie could go up to them and play her game. (Left says “Smell this dot.” Right says “Poke Me!”.)img_4754

I think Ellie had the best time. I know we did.  I can’t wait to see what she is interested in next year!

 

 

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Birthday Banner

Before I had the twins, I knew that my craft making time would be severely limited if not non-existent. As impossible as it seemed, I had to find time to do what I loved. It would keep me sane in all the kiddo madness.

It was my niece’s first birthday and I really wanted to help but I had to keep my expectations realistic. I offered to make the birthday banner in a similar style as the one I made for my nephew’s first birthday.

For more detailed instructions, see here!

Believe it or not, I have a handful of projects that are just waiting to be posted.  Thanks for sticking it out with me and I promise to get them up as soon as I can!

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GUEST PEACE: A Gold, Glam, and Fab Bridal Shower

My dear friend, Yadira, is engaged to be married next month and she recently had her bridal shower hosted by Linda and family.  This fam could open their own event planning business with talents in multiple areas! Needless to say, they threw a gorgeous bridal shower.  Here is a peek into her gold, glam and fab shower!

A re-purposed wood sign and thrift store wire screen painted gold by Linda’s daughter and the bride-to-be’s BFF, Katie. Photos hung on the screen by Jordan Hazel.Linda’s husband, Reid and craftsman extraordinaire, painted and put together the posts surrounding the main banquet table.Outdoor bar cart complete with a hand stenciled “Bubbly Bar” sign and lots of rose!Gorgeous floral centerpieces by Linda’s friend, Elizabeth: roses, lisianthus, ranunculus, stock, coffee bean and geranium leaves

The gold containers were spray painted gold by Reid and complimented by paper goods purchased from Etsy and Cake Girls.Catering by Linda’s son, Daniel: smoked salmon, parmesan crisps with a goat cheese mousse, chicken salad on wonton skins, toasted points with micro greens and vinegarette, bruschetta, mini eggplant sandwiches, and mixed greens with carrots, cucumbers, and grilled chicken with a ginger citrus dressing.Linda’s daughter, Sarah, made the naked cake from scratch to accompany the mini eclairs and cream puffs.Custom photo backdrop complete with an old painted bench by Reid, tissue paper tassels, and gold frames.Katie spray painted old wine and beer bottles to place as accent pieces around the garden.Favor bags: pink tea bag with a pink rock candy stickWhite lanterns and glass and gold tea light holders hung from the poles above the table for a dreamy and romantic feel.The beautiful bride-to-be and her flower crown by Elizabeth.  We can’t wait for you and Mike to tie the knot!

Linda is a Southern California native and a passionate party planner in her spare time. Every event she holds is perfected down the the smallest detail.  She has a beautiful eye for color and shabby-chic, rustic decor. She is a loving wife, mother of 6 and has 8 grandchildren!  That’s a lot of parties!

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Guest Peace: Cakes & Cookies

Tiffany is a full time working mom of 3 amazing kids ranging from 8 months to almost 8 years old. She has loved cooking and baking since she was a kid. After completing her master’s degree in business, she was still drawn to cooking and baking and decided to attend culinary school. Tiffany had her first child towards the end of her culinary education and since then making treats for family and friends has been her culinary outlet.

I started dabbling in cake and cookie decorating when my oldest son turned 3. I had very specific ideas of how I wanted the kid’s birthday cakes and treats to look which made the ones I purchased pretty pricey.

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As I decorate my treats my older kids often sit at the table and work on their own creations. They usually end up using the extra fondant like play dough which gets messy but it is fun quality time.

Most of my designs are based on what the client requests. And by clients I mean my kids, nieces, nephews and close family friends.

One of my latest projects was a doll cake for my niece. She knew exactly what she wanted and gave me detailed instructions. It was so much fun.

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The typical design process starts with the client telling me the theme of the cake. Then together we look at pictures so that I am sure to include important details. Once that is done I sketch out a rough drawing of the cake and create a game plan on how to accomplish the design. With the exception of the dolls, I try to keep everything edible.

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Larger figurines on my cakes are made out of rice krispy treats. What’s the point if you can’t eat it, right? If krispy treats do not work I use extra cake or even cookies to get the job done.

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Taste was also a huge factor in how I wanted to make my cakes and cookies. I was never a huge fan of fondant until I happened across a recipe for marshmallow fondant. What a game changer! Delicious and I could make all sorts of fun design with it.

For the cookies, I use candy melts for the simple designs. Candy melts on sugar cookies are wonderful! There are times when royal icing is necessary though. I try to keep the designs simple so that the cookies do not need extended drying times. There is nothing tasty about a dry cookie.

My fondest memories are cooking and baking with my grandma over the weekends. It was never anything particularly fancy but my grandma had a way of making the simplest things amazing. Now as a mom of 3 I want to create similar memories with my kids.

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