February 24, 2012

1st Birthday Party

This last weekend my baby turned one! I still can't believe it. One minute I am holding a tiny little 7 lb. bundle and the next minute she is walking, talking, and dropping small toys into my Diet Coke. Of course in between there we dealt with reflux, food protein induced colitis (FPIC), food allergies, specialists, and a myriad of medications... so this birthday is an exciting one for which we are all grateful.

We invited a few family members over for a small party at our house. I've spent the last few weeks planning, and I must confess that I found so much amazing inspiration on Pinterest that I now need to throw another five and a half parties to take advantage of all the ideas that are now filling up precious space in my ditzy brunette head. 

Let's start with the invitations.

I designed her invites in Pages (on Mac) and printed them on card stock on our home printer. The front has one picture from every month of her life and says "our little sprout is growing." For the back, I used some scrapbook paper that I scanned and altered in Photoshop. 

For the paper garland, I first cut out some shapes (circles, butterflies, and flowers) using my Cricut paper cutter, then sewed them together with the sewing machine. It took an insane amount of time to complete, but I love it and I am going to put it in H's room, so we'll enjoy it for a long time. 

I didn't have it together enough to take a picture every week in the same outfit or against the same back drop. Instead, every week since her birth I would take a photo that we had taken that week and, using the eye-dropper tool in Photoshop, I added a colored banner to each photo that coordinated with something in the photo (background, clothing, accessory.) For some weeks the only photo we had was one taken on the iPhone.  Those photos aren't the best, and I wish that they were all perfect but seeing all those weekly pics together makes them perfect anyway. I love seeing how she has grown during the year and seeing her personality come through in the photos as she gets older. I strung them up all over the house with white yarn, and everyone had fun picking out their favorite photo. 

I made the cupcake toppers using the Cricut paper cutter (love that thing!), some more scrapbook paper (remember my never ending supply?), and a sucker stick.

H and I both have egg allergies, so for the cupcakes and her smash cake I used this recipe for eggless vanilla cake and my own recipe for cream cheese frosting and they were delicious. The cupcakes baked up pretty flat on top, so Nate just piled the frosting up high. (yes, you read that right. I am living with my very own Cake Boss! Just one more talent that I am discovering about my husband of almost twelve years!) I made H's smash cake and even though it was listing to one side, if you squint your eyes a little it turned out pretty cute!

I set all the food on the dining room table (after moving the chairs into the living room). Instead of using a tablecloth I bought two yards of yellow and white polka dot fabric. If you look closely you can tell that I didn't hem it (too lazy), so now I can use it for something else. Our table measures 36" x 60" and two yards worked just perfect!

Pink lemonade in canning jars with yellow striped paper straws. Nate used a metal drill bit to make a hole in the lid for the straw. So cute!

For the take home gifts, I filled plastic lined kraft paper bags with homemade kettle corn. The tags say "Thank you for coming to my party... Keep in touch, write to me or email me" and then her email address. I attached a few cute pencils that I found at Target to each bag with some pink striped bakers twine. 

Before H was born, I created an email address for her and started writing to her about all her milestones, my feelings about her during the pregnancy, and advice that I wanted to give her. Now I write to her about all the funny things that she does that I don't want to forget. I decided to give her email address to all our family members so they could write to her as well. When she is older (nine? ten? eighteen?) I will give her the password and let her read all the messages.

Hope you have a great weekend! 

kids party ideas, children's birthday party, 1st birthday party, girls birthday, garland, bunting, smash cake, party favors, party food, party decorations, what to serve at a kids party, 

February 20, 2012

The Gallery Wall

Sometimes a project will take me so long to complete that I:

a) learn to live with a half-done mess

b) give up and start on something else

c) down an entire bag of chocolate covered cinnamon bears - but you don't need to know that.

I have been working on the gallery wall for a while now (you can see the beginning stages in this post). Yes, I started January 13th. I know, it's pathetic. My only excuse is that an entire bag of chocolate covered cinnamon bears tends to make me feel a little sluggish.  Did I mention that there might have been more than one bag?  But you don't need to know that.

Here's what you do need to know: 

I rounded up all the un-used,  ugly, and mis-matched frames we had laying around. I started by tracing around each frame on some brown paper bags. I cut them out and taped them up, moving them around and around until we reached a placement that we liked. I measured and marked how each individual frame would hang and hammered a nail right through the brown paper. 

I knew that I would need to paint the frames, but I wasn't sure what color I wanted or even if I would paint them all, so I hung them as they were - empty, side-ways, and/or upside down. They stayed that way for way too long while I ate another bag of chocolate covered cinnamon bears consulted my advisor and contemplated my next move. 

I definitely wasn't liking so many different colors on the frames - it made the whole arrangement look too messy, but I also didn't want them all white or all black - I was worried that would look too sterile. I settled on a compromise by painting everything (except the black frames and the one gold) white. 

This next picture is to prove that we live in the real world, where people are clutzy and run into the wall where the frames are hung (I won't name, and where the brand-spanking-new baseboards that were just installed get munched by falling frames. **Note to self: find a clutz-proof method to keep the frames on the wall and off the baseboards. Nails alone are not cutting it.

February 15, 2012

French Inspiration: Versailles & The Hamlet

When I'm feeling less than inspired, I travel. There is nothing quite like stepping off the train somewhere new that really opens your eyes to a whole new realm of exciting possibilities. And good eats. Oh the food! I definitely travel for the food. (It's lunchtime...can you tell?)

Nate and I always have a trip planned or in the works. Having a location to look forward to keeps us motivated even when the day-in-day-out drudgery drags us down. Our next trip(s)? Peru.  Croatia.  Ireland, with an absolutely necessary stop over in Paris and a little jaunt out to my most favorite spot of earth: Versailles...but more specifically Marie Antoinette's Hamlet - an idealized slice of country life amid a sea of overwhelming grandeur.

What inspires you?


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