Monday, June 25, 2012

An Impromptu Surprise Unbirthday Breakfast

This morning we celebrated a Half-Birthday.

Our middle child's birthday is two days after christmas, and at 5, when birthdays are oh-so-terribly important, he couldn't quite understand why everyone else had a celebration during the year, and he does not. So this year (and this year only I'm telling myself!) we celebrated with a Surprise Unbirthday Breakfast for our little family.

I set the table the night before, but after the children were in bed. Orange and Green was our theme, with a touch of "Alice In Wonderland" for good measure (seeing as it was an Unbirthday Party!)

I made up a little bunting that said "Happy Unbirthday" and place tags to match saying "Happy Unbirthday ...." Matching tags that said "drink me" on each mug, and a little "eat me" for the itty bitty cupcakes I purchased from Coles.

We had little party favors for the children on the table, and pass the parcel for them too, made up with things from my stash box.

The main tip I wanted to share with everyone was the balloon stakes I whipped up.

I wanted to create a helium balloon "bouquet" effect for a centerpiece. But as this was an impromptu breakfast, helium hire was not only too expensive, but not available at such short notice. So I grabbed some wire, and some co-ordinating ribbon and attached the balloons, then moulded the wire to point the balloon in the direction I wanted. I think it was a fantastic idea, they still look whimsical, but saved all the hassle!

So an easy little idea that you can whip up very quickly, my gift to you xoxo


Monday, June 18, 2012

~The Little Miss and her First Birthday~

The Invitation...
Can you pick the theme?! I loved the idea of using polka dots and then carried the polka dot (circular) theme through to the invitations, decor and food! I had so much fun planning this party. The colours I used were pink and white.....right down to the The Little Miss' polka dot birthday dress.

Party Decor... a year in clothes!
Such a sweet idea, borrowed from Mell from Ella's first birthday.
String, pegs and some baby clothes, super easy and super cute!!

Something special to put into a time capsule...

Have done this for both of my kids now and it's something special that you can bring out at a birthday later down the track, like an 18th or 21st. It doesn't have to be anything detailed or say specific things but a good tip , if you plan to use this idea, is to have near the cards a small list of Topic Starters. They may include things like, "My hopes and dreams for you are...", "I love you because..", whatever you want really. oh and pens that work :)

Some simple but OH SO BEAUTIFUL deco's!
I think they may just be my favourite feature for this party. Just love the colours, the softness and prettiness of the pom poms,coupled with some paper lanterns...perfect for the Little Miss in your life. Another combo of colours that would be oh so sweet is pastel yellow, white and maybe even a touch of pink. Delicious!
I will add a tutorial on the paper pom pom's at a later date, they are easy to make if you have a bit of time and enjoy getting crafty!

(before food)

Some yummy treats

More yummy treats. Love the tea cup biscuits- so cute!

~ Yummy food ~

How easy are circles to incorporate into food?! And lots of fun to plan!

Some bubble fun....more round things!! Yes I think about these things! hehe.

Perfect for the rainy backdrop we had that day to see glorious bubbles floating around. Adults and kids alike had an absolute ball!

The polka dot birthday cake! Not my best but the birthday girl was happy and that's the main thing!!

~Train Party~ 4th Birthday Party

My son was very much into Thomas and trains in general so it was a very natural and easy choice to have a train party. There is a lot of Thomas merchandise available, along with many other licensed brands but I much preferred to decorate and theme the party around a few basic colours. 

Above is the invitation I created for Caleb's party and below, the ticket for their entry to the party- with string tied on so it could be worn around their necks. I loved the idea of the kids presenting a ticket stub to be "torn" at entry but with staggered arrivals and having no one spare to be the ticketmaster I went with a different option. These tickets were included with their invitation, to bring on the day but I did have a container of spare tickets at the door just in case!

I loved the combination of the colours in the red, white and blue tones. These colours were carried through into the decor of the party table and other decorations, which made a simple but effective backdrop to the party.

This beautiful bunting was a great addition to the party decor, made for me by a friend who created it to match the colours I had chosen. Obviously if you have the talent and the time, you could easily whip one up yourself to suit your occasion! I am sure my sewing machine seizes up in fear when I walk by and I was pretty time poor when I was needing this done so I took the easy option and got someone to do it for me! Once made, you have a beautiful decorating tool to use again, again and again when it suits. Great item that can also be lent out for friends and family to borrow for their parties too!

Sorry, I know the above photo is a bit dark but don't have any brighter ones of the whole table....only tricky bit about placing your party table in front of a window....I was rushing and didn't realise I needed the flash on for the first few pics!
 ** TIP** Think about the placement of your party table for things like lighting and photo's but also for your decor items. I would have had my table on the other side of the room with the brick pillars to frame, but unfortunately the bunting wasn't long enough to fasten around them! Darn!! So think ahead! **

Water is a great option for drinks at a child's party as well as an adults. Usually they're running around non stop, so it's better for keeping them well hydrated than other sugary options. And you can add cool, themed labels to the water bottles too. Mell created these graphics for me and I used them on the water bottles (as above) and also on the bubbles bottles. Have a texta handy to write kids names on, give them a funky paper straw and the kids will think they're Kings!

It's great if you can incorporate another level- or even two, into your party table. I picked up this idea from Mell and the first brithday party for her daughter that she created. It was a beautiful table with draping fabric across a window and varying levels to create an interesting and eye catching display. I haven't done it nearly as beautifully but I was still pretty happy with the result! It gives you a place to elevate and emphasise certain elements, like balloons or pictures of the birthday child, or even jars of appropriately coloured lollies.

You can use things from around the house as your "building blocks". I used some toy containers! Super easy and of course no expense!

To suit the theme, I used Station labels to mark the activity areas. A really easy and fun activity to cater for all ages is a colouring table. Pages obviously chosen in theme....for this party I found a great bunch of Thomas character pages- and all FREE!! There are heaps of sites with free colouring pages....just get your google on and get hunting!

Train stamps..........all the way from the USA!! Thanks Nay! We send birthday boxes across to each other each year so it was just a matter of including something else....not a separate expense. These are perfect for kids and they LOVED using them!! I just had the parents help supervise their own kids as they "created" so it wasn't a big drama adding paint into the equation. I had plenty of oversized shirts to protect their own clothing and a plastic cover on the outdooor table. All the paint was the washable kind too. 

Also at this station they got to paint some wooden trains that I had stuck magnets on-so they had a nifty fridge magnet to take home if they wanted to. 

Story Station!! A great way to bring them all together and calm them down a little before sending them home. Have a story teller picked out beforehand and give yourself the chance to sit back and enjoy watching their beautiful faces as they listen to a theme suited story!

Another station label- "check-in" at the entrance. I just used plain old wooden pegs to stand the signs up with. Super easy and super cheap!

Bubbles! What kid doesn't like bubbles!??!?! Some fun for the party or to take home! Using the labels again here that Mell created. Containers like the ones above can be found for an absolute steal at Red Dot- or for those not in WA, your local dollar or thrift store. They are great to have and I have used them multiple times since, so a great return for a very small investment!

We set this up as an activity that kids could do in between other things or for those that just weren't into the group activity thing! Only limited by the space available and your imagination.


All credit to hubby for creating this one, I barely helped- too busy getting everything else ready this time! Worked out beautifully and it STILL gets talked about by the birthday boy so we must have done something right!

How cool is the train track?! Simply just popsticks and licorice! Easy peasy! 

And last but not least, a train style party favour! Get some drink holders from your local fast food outlet ....I got them for free!! YAY! I added a cup to one end (the taller end of the train- I know it has a proper name but I don't know it!!) and a cupcake wrapper for the front part. Popcorn in the cup and a few  stickers, blowers, a balloon  and a boy/girl toy in the stripey cupcake holder. I added one lollipop but otherwise just a fun favour without too much additional sugar to what's already been potentially consumed at the party. 

The Birthday boy blowing out his four candles, on the four carriages of his super cool train cake!
Happiness all round!

Monday, February 20, 2012

~ Sarah's 30th Birthday ~ High Tea

I am not usually one to want parties for myself at ALL- but I thought that turning 30 was pretty significant and wanted to share the experience with our family and friends. I had decided many, many months prior to the day that I really wanted to host a High Tea. I know it is often reserved as a girly experience but I thought it'd be easy enough to make it not too squirmy for the guys as well..... they were most welcome to use the dainty tea cups and saucers but could use the larger/more able to be held by man hand type mugs too! 

I decided against setting a dress code....didn't want people to be put off coming if they didn't feel like being too glamorous and hoped that the invitation and theme would say enough about the event to give people an idea of how to dress (ie preferably not in boardies and thongs!! ) Fancy and dressy if you wanted but come as you felt comfortable.

Setting up for this party and planning all the itty, bitty details was the fun part! I bought a great size marquee (6m x 3m) off ebay for an absolute bargain at $97. From what I found, you couldn't hire them that cheaply and in even on ebay they varied in price over time. It was fairly easy to set up and provided the perfect elegant backdrop for the occasion. I also bought a few paper lanterns off ebay to hang from the "ceiling" and made some tissue paper pom poms to complete the hanging decor. Once purchased you have a great marquee you can use over and over again and lend to friends and family for their parties.

The key to making things as budget friendly as possible is to BORROW where possible!!  ( maybe some begging required in some cases) I did end up choosing to hire a few round tables to display  the tea and coffee and provide some places to sit and enjoy each others company. We also hired some chairs as we just didn't have access to borrowing for this occasion. In the past we have borrowed/used chairs but it just wasn't possible this time. That would obviously help keep costs down.

Beautiful bulbs, that I have had for years, and by chance they were all white so suited my decorating theme perfectly. I really wanted it to be an elegant affair and little touches like this go a long way. If you don't garden or happen to have matching bulbs sitting around - ask a friend or friend of the family if you can borrow some of their potted plants to create a bit of atmosphere for your party. 

Framed menu's add a touch of class and give your guests a hint of what's to come! White was my chosen colour - scrounge through frames at home or look in Red dot or some other discount store for alternative frames/colours, whatever suits your theme. Alter the font to suit the party theme, there are HEAPS of free fonts online that you can download to use! Search for free fonts online :)

Cheated with the table decorations a little, in that I didn't have them sitting around but potted colour is a fairly cheap way to decorate tables for any event and you get to enjoy them in pots or in your garden afterwards!! A dear friend of mine, who guest blogs on here, wanted to contribute to my 30th since distance wouldn't allow her to be here. The ribbon around the potted colour was from her bought at her local dollar store- and it looks fantastic!! Mugs pictured were my own, but again you could easily borrow some off a friend or family member if you needed more than you owned or wanted a certain colour or style!

This exquisite silver tea service belonged to my beautiful Gran and I was so excited to be given it for my 30th birthday. I absolutely adore it!! Tea party anyone?!

Basket- mine, originally bought from Red Dot I think!!
Napkins borrowed from my Mum.

Some of the yummy treats! Beautiful brass urn on loan from my Mum, passed on from  her Mum!
A stunning array of trio's (teacups, saucers and sm. plates) that I am now lucky enough to have! A collection of beautiful teacups from my Grandma Porter, My mum and Jason's Aunty Bev plus some of my own.

 Gorgeous Tea box that was loaned to me, my Grandma's sugar bowl- complete with sugar cubes- a must for any High tea!

All tablecoths were borrowed from my amazing Mum and Mother in Law. This beautiful Irish Linen one I had already inherited from my Grandma.

I was so lucky to have amazing friends and family who got behind my dream party and loaned me their treasures and their special talents. Between some amazing friends, clever mums, sister and sister in law there was a stunning and delicious array of treats to eat!! To top it all off was the array of fine teas and coffees....what an afternoon!

This was the amazingly beautiful cake, created by my talented friend, Alisha. This was a very special addition to my birthday.....and absolutely DELICIOUS!! The vintage look cake was just perfect for the occasion. The cake topper was created by another super talented friend. (link included underneath "Sweet Cheeks")

This is the link to her business page on FB....I highly recommend her!! Amazing, creative lady!

Gift boxes all the way from the USA, bought in bulk for an amazingly cheap price by my dear friend Naomi for guest thank you's.

Yummy shortbread biscuits in the shape of a teapot, wrapped in cello and tied with some ribbon for guests to take home. Fantastic icing job done by hubby helping!

 It was a wonderful afternoon, I know it looks like a lot of work but it was well shared around and there were plenty of amazing helpers to get it all out and ready! AND it was so much fun to plan and do!  I had an absolute ball and am looking forward to the chance to spoiling someone else with a tea party one day. Maybe the little Miss.... xx