Friday, May 28, 2010

A Tiffany Style Sweet 16 - Part I

One of my best friend's daughter is turning 16 and I have been asked to help plan her party. This might come as a shock and a surprise, but in all my years of party planning I have never had the opportunity to do a Sweet 16. It's been a few years since I was a teenager, so I thought I'd study up on the latest trends. My research started (and quickly finished) with reruns of MTV's My Super Sweet 16. Even though it was painful to watch, I did realize that teens have strong opinions and that it would be in my best interest to include the birthday girl in the decision-making process.

The very first thing that I needed her to decide on was a theme, which took no time at all...Tiffany's. I love the color, I love the store, so this worked for me too. My friend is inviting a large number of out-of-town guests and wanted to send Save-the-Date cards asap. I happened upon a picture of the iconic Tiffany little blue box that I thought would be great for the cards. The birthday girl's name is Tayler, so I figured I could personalize the card in some way. Here is the original image...

And here is the image that I created using, of all things, Windows Paint tool...

I know there are a ton of really powerful tools out there that are specifically designed to manipulate images, but who knew that little old Paint could do all this? I had to keep the etched look of the font, so I kept playing around until I figured out which letter and symbols could be used to make the ones I needed for Tayler's name. Can you tell? Of course the T, A and Y came directly from the Tiffany name. The L was made by flipping the F and erasing the little middle part. The E was made by adding the bottom part to the F. And finally the R was made by taking a little piece from the & symbol and combining it with the F. Okay, it sounds a lot more complicated than it was...seriously. All this to say that you don't have to invest a lot of money in software to make cool stuff happen.

For the Save-the-Date card I put the 'Tayler & Co.' picture on the outside of Tiffany blue folded note cards.

Here is a look at the inside of the card...

One of the coolest aspects of this party is that Tayler will have a Sweet 16 court to celebrate alongside her. The court will be made up of close friends and family members. I wanted to come up with a fun way for Tayler to extend this invitation to her friends when I stumbled upon a large silver fortune cookie - that was all the inspiration I needed. The actual invitation was written on the fortune that was placed inside the cookie. It read..."It would be Tayler's great fortune if you were a member of her Sweet 16 Court!"

The fortune cookies were then placed in...wait for it... Tiffany blue takeout boxes. I tied a white bow around the box to resemble the original little blue box - I just love it when a great plan comes together!

I am currently in the process of designing the invitations and ironing out a billion other details, so stay tuned for future posts about this shindig.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

School's Almost Out For Summer

I'm not quite sure how the end of the school year snuck up on me so quickly, but here it is. For the past 9 months my kids have been developing friendships with their classmates - relationships that I would hate to see end just because summer has arrived. So I set out to create a fun way for the kids to keep in touch. I would love to say that my idea is as slick as any of the social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, but the truth is that I decided to go old school by simply handing out our phone number and asking the kids to give us a call this summer.

Here is the final result of my efforts - I took miniature beach balls that I had purchased a hundred years ago from Oriental Trading and personalized each one with sticky foam letters...

I then attached what I'm referring to as a "playdate business card" to the beach balls. The Internet is such a wonderful thing - who knew there were beach ball-themed business cards out there? You can pick this style up at

Hope you have a ball this summer!

Friday, May 14, 2010

DIY Elmo Party

A couple of years ago I hosted an Elmo-themed birthday party for my kids. Even though there were unlimited supplies of packaged Elmo party kits, I thought it would be more fun to do it myself. But I have to admit that while it was great to flex my creative muscle, by the end I had become a little obsessed with that little red monster!

What would an Elmo party be without Elmo there? My goal was to decorate the party space with a ton of Elmo dolls. The only problem was that kids love Elmo, a fact that is not lost on retailers who charge ridiculous amounts for those dolls. However, one day I ended up at a consignment sale and came face-to-face with a bunch of inexpensive, barely-used Elmo dolls. So, definitely check out consignment sales and thrift stores if you are looking for these guys.

For the invitation I used red enclosure folders from one of my favorite paper stores - the Paper Source, and embellished them with a big picture of Elmo (the addition of the googly eyes was my son's idea and the kids loved it). I then inserted a flat card that contained all of the party info inside the folder.

Instead of using traditional birthday party hats, each guest received Elmo visors. These were so easy to make - you can purchase foam visors at any craft store and then just cut out the eyes and nose using white, black and orange foam paper. And two years later, my kids are still wearing them...

As a parting gift I just bought red pails, put a red ribbon on them and filled them with Elmo-themed stuff...simple.

Of course no child's birthday party would be complete without food or games. Here are some of the things I did for this one:

Serve Elmo-inspired food, like pizza (Elmo's favorite food), bananas (Elmo's favorite fruit) and goldfish crackers (in honor of Dorothy, Elmo's beloved pet).

Play Elmo-inspired games, like pin-the-nose on Elmo, guess the number of goldfish in the fishbowl and Elmo trivia.

Hope this helps anyone who might be planning a similar party...I'll be posting more do-it-yourself party ideas soon!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Mother's Day

For the last six years it has been my great pleasure to be called "Mom" by two amazing little people. Mother's Day has always been a really fun celebration at our house, but this year the week leading up to Sunday was something just short of torture for them. Both of my little ones were convinced that they had outdone one another in the gift department and were dying to find out which one I liked best. But they knew (or kept being reminded by Dad) that they had to keep the gifts a secret until Mother's Day. And it was the waiting that almost killed my children.

The funny thing is that I also had a secret gift that I was keeping from them. Even though Mother's Day is designed to celebrate moms, I have always wanted to give something to my kids on this a thank you to them for making me a mom. My kids love books, so I decided to give them a Cliff's Notes version about me - do they still make these, or should I refer to it as the Wikipedia version of me?

I included a bunch of different pages in the book like: mom's favorite things, mom's family, mom's other jobs, oh the places mom's gone, etc...

In addition to the book, I also surprised the kids with a planting project that we all did together (thank you weather for your cooperation). While planting my favorite flowers, I was bombarded with a ton of follow-up questions about stuff that was included in the book. Be careful what you wish for!

All in all it was a really great day...I hope yours was as well!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fiesta Anyone?

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Three things come to mind when I think about this celebration: good food, amazing drinks and lots of vibrant colors. I usually like to go out to my favorite Mexican restaurant to join in the festivities, but this year I'm doing take-out and celebrating at mi casa instead.

I thought it would be fun to give my house the feel of a Mexican restaurant. I dug out a tortilla warmer that I bought about 5 years ago and have used exactly once. I figured if I used the warmer at least one more time no one could accuse me of being a hoarder - right? Instead of using the warmer for its intended purpose, I decided to use it as a is the result:

Since I am not doing any cooking, I figured there was no sense in having to clean either. I pulled out some colorful paper plates, napkins and plastic utensils to complete the table. Okay, I'll even admit the fact that I have all of these paper and plastic products stored in large containers at my house screams of hoarding...

In elementary school I remember making flowers out of tissue paper for our Cinco de Mayo parties. I thought it would be fun and nostalgic to decorate the table with these, so I surrounded myself with paper and started crafting. I would love to say that my results were on par with Martha Stewart's flowers, but in reality it just looked like a bunch of crumpled up tissue paper...oh well.

Not one for giving up, I came up with another idea of creating flowers out of colorful peppers. I gathered up a good mix of sweet peppers and got to work.

And here's the result...

Not bad, but some time in the near future I will be devoting an entire post to creating the perfect tissue paper flower!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

And They're Off...

In honor of the 136th "Run for the Roses", I created a few fun things specifically for kids who might be attending your Kentucky Derby party.

Some might argue that the most exciting part of the derby has nothing to do with the horses or racing - it's all about the hats. Here are some edible versions of those infamous chapeaus that the kids can make during the party...all you need are candy wrappers, lollipop sticks, fruit roll-ups and great chocolate:

The chocolate derby hats were inspired by these adorable creations from Bakerella...thanks!

No Kentucky Derby party would be complete without the traditional Mint Julep cocktails. You could make up a batch of the non-alcoholic variety for the kids, but why not add a chocoholic twist to it instead? Here is a kid-friendly Junior Mint Julep - however there's no guarantee that the sugar won't have the same affect on them as the alcohol will have on the adults!

Finally, what would a Kentucky Derby party be without horses? Each child can take home their own personalized thoroughbred winner as a thank you for coming to the party. And trust me, these toy horses will go over big...about 10 seconds after this picture was taken my kids grabbed the horses and have been playing with them ever since - and I wish I was exaggerating about this!


Blog Template by