60th Birthday Bash :: Garden Party! Flowers & Stripes!


Well, hello! I’m popping back into my blog to finally share my mom’s 60th birthday bash we put on last month.The invites set the tone. We were so stumped on a theme for awhile and then it became blindingly clear. She is SUCH a flower girl. Her first job was as a florist, she always has fresh cuts in her house, and the flowers in her garden seem so happy to grow just for her. Keeping things on the bold side, we paired bright Mary Englebreit inspired flowers with black and white stripes with flashes of green.Here’s the overview of the backyard. I was convinced that we needed to place big banners up all over the backyard. We ended with a “Jan is 60″ sign that you could walk under. It was pretty cool but was such a Lucy/Ethel moment when my mom and I tried to set it up. (Standard!) We knew we wanted the dance floor black and white… and we’d seen them checkered before… but we made it striped instead to keep with the vibe. We printed 12×12” flowers and put them on big green dowels to place throughout the garden. The Kalama Brothers jammed for us and, as always, were fabulous.The big flowers, stripes, and black banner were repeated throughout the party.On the mantle as well as on the invites, we used a quote from Emerson: “Earth Laughs In Flowers.” We thought it was fitting for my mom and this party… since if there are two things that are SO my mom, it’s laughter and flowers.My mom also has the tastebuds of a 5 year old boy. We had the menu reflect that and had gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, donuts, and cupcakes (among other more normal food!). The first station that greeted you was the dessert table. Eat Dessert First why don’t you?The little flowers on the table are actually cookies my mom made and put on dowels covered with black and white straws so they would look like they were growing.We actually had these as favors for everyone as well but FORGOT TO PUT THEM OUT! What a dingbat! That was my job and I totally forgot about it! Oh well!Flowers grew at the front of the house too!More signage…We even brought my couch over to the party since it’s black and white! (See if up there in the top right corner? That was the loungy area.)The centerpieces were made with flowers pulled straight from the garden among other potted plants and surrounded by picket fences. All my mom’s doing.Black and white fabric from Ikea was sewn by Crafty Jan into tablecloths and we added to the black and white stripe thing with an umbrella, a water tent, the dance floor and the couch.It was a fabulous party for the most fabulous mom ever! Love our Crafty Jan!Photography: Stephanie Anderson Photography (and a couple iPhone photos from my Aunt Chris! Ha!)
Caterer & Rentals: Thank Goodness It’s Sofia
Music: Kalama Brothers
Cupcakes: It’s All About The Cake
Styling… Crafty Jan & Me


Baby Shower/Sprinkle :: World Theme

Get ready world! My nephew Hutch is on his way! To celebrate, Crafty Jan & I threw my sister Ellie a wordly sprinkle.I’ve been wanting to do something with globes for the longest time, and since Ellie is doing a mapped up nursery, this theme fit the occasion perfectly.My mom found an enormous atlas at a used book store for $12 and we cut it up (which actually kind of pained me a bit!) to use as envelopes and as a backing to the invitation (and much more as you’ll see throughout the party.) I love how those envelopes looked. As for the invites, I printed the “Hutch” banner separately, then sewed it onto each with my sewing machine so that there would be a little bit of a 3D pop. So let’s welcome this little one into the world.We had the shower at 7pm on a Thursday night with Ellie’s local friends to try to keep it on the low key side. We also decided that we wouldn’t focus on anything actually good for you to eat and went straight to desserts. The invite said it was a “cupcakes & cocktails” party but we had a few more sugary items to choose from!Cupcakes, marshmallow pops, chocolate covered strawberries, macaroons, whoopie pies, mini ice creams, popcorn, and “Oreo worlds” filled our tummies.In case you’re wondering where those beautiful cookies came from (ha, ha!) I proudly admit that they are another failed attempt at confection perfection by yours truly. In my head they were so much cuter but you get the idea! I dipped Oreos in candy coating, waited until they were dry, then took a stencil I made with cardstock and an x-acto knife and spray painted them to look like worlds with edible spray paint. Honestly, why I keep trying to make it work in the kitchen is beyond me. I’m telling myself that they were made with extra love. Moving on!We used burlap through the party… which is a nice, inexpensive way to add some texture.I bought 12″ paper mache letters from Jo-Ann’s, covered them with pages from the atlas and strung them from the ceiling using fishing line and jute twine. It was probably my favorite thing about the party… and I was even happier that Ellie liked it so much that she’s planning on hanging these in Hutch’s room.
Ripping more pages out of that fabulous atlas, we made bunting by sewing them together with seambinding. I think I am addicted to this atlas!On the mantle and in other parts of the house, I cut smaller strips of the atlas in varied sizes and strung them together over the jute twine. They are super small and cute. I think I am going to keep them up forever. Okay, at least until the next party.The atlas even worked heart-shaped.Aren’t they cute?My mom has a pretty big vintage globe collection which made decorating a breeze. I added in the couple I had as well and we were all set.I’ve collected blue bottles for years so we pulled those out and put fresh white tulips in them. Simple, simple.In case you’re wondering, that white thing above is the ice cream holder… which is really an old art marker holder that we spray painted white. I took these photos before the party began which is why it’s ice creamless. My mom gussy upped the signs with rope and rosettes made from the atlas pages.Water was cute, but wine was much more fun!Instead of having guests bring gifts, we noted on the invitation that no gifts were necessary, but if they were so inclined, we’d have a “Double Stroller Donation Jar” they could contribute to. Though Ellie is having a different gender this time, she’s got all the clothes she could possibly need since this little nephew of mine has 3 older boy cousins’ hand-me-downs. What she really could use was a double stroller.It worked out great. No presents were opened at the party, and she will definitely be able to get her double stroller now… which is probably the most necessary item a mom of two needs.Most people brought their donation in cards, but if they just brought some bills, I had business card sized papers they could write on and slip their moola through.Ellie had my brother-in-law Elliott (yes… Ellie married Elliott!) come by to sneak a peak before the party. Aren’t they the cutest? We had a full house of fabulous friends to celebrate this little munchkin… and it seemed like half of them were pregnant too! Lots more baby parties in our future, methinks!For favors, we repackaged lip glosses. We were well aware that lip gloss and worlds go together like… well lip gloss and worlds… but we try to give favors that people may actually take and use. We were actually looking for those cute chocolate globe candies but couldn’t find them in time.The last of the guests didn’t leave until nearly midnight… which in pregnancy terms is like partying until sunrise. We pregos felt super hungover the next day even though all we drank was Pellegrino! We had the best time on EARTH, the biggest blast on the PLANET, and we love little Hutch more than anything in the WORLD.
**PS… I’m thisclose to getting 1,000 likes on Facebook! Wanna help? Okay, thanks! Like away!**

33rd Birthday :: Black & Blue

The huz turned 33 this weekend and insisted that we not do anything big this year. We ended up having a few friends over for an early BBQ and I just used what I had to decorate.We had to do something a little bit festive, so my 3.5 year old and I hung balloons from the ceiling and called it a party. They are totally off and it kind of killed me to not even them out but I realized about halfway through that maybe a pregnant girl should not be standing on a not-so-sturdy table so I just let the balloons be.The birthday boy was happy, we had a great night, and it was nice to do something on the low-key side for a change!Happy birthday to the best man in the world!Hopefully more posts this week!

Engagement Party :: Wild Safari Theme

We’re just wild about Kasey & Tom… so we threw them an engagement party. My best friend Kasey got herself a sweet little rock on her finger so my friends April, Susannah, and I (with the always over-the-top help of Crafty Jan) threw these two sexy beasts a party to celebrate.My parents graciously opened up their home for us to host the party there, and though it rained the day before and the day after, we lucked out famously since the sky was dry and the day was stunning, if not a little chilly. After walking through the from door, guests were greeted with a huge poster on an easel that we had printed at Walmart. (I know! The devil! But their prices are too good!) We gave this to Kasey & Tom afterward as something they could hang in their garage. I designed it using a vintage Disneyland Jungle Cruise poster as inspiration. Before heading in to the party, we had guests drop off their gifts in the dining room. We indicated on the invitation to “bring your favorite bottle of wine to stock up their Jungle Hut.” With that in mind, we turned the entire dining area as… well… a Jungle Hut!We had labels ready for each guest to write a note on and affix to the back of the bottle they brought. By the end of the night this room was overflowing with vino.After ditching their gift, everyone walked into the living room. I didn’t want to make my mom take down all of her beautiful fall decorations (um… we already invaded their house!) so we just left the mantle as is and added a big WILD banner. Pumpkins & Wild Themes totally mix!Where the kitchen nook table normally is, we set up a lounge area. All the leopard & zebra print fabric you’ll see throughout is from fabric.com which I find to be a great resource. My mom is crazier than I am and made pillows to match with the remnant tablecloth fabric. In the middle of the room we set up the cake table.We got that tent thing at Cost Plus and used it above the desserts. (I’ll get to those in a minute! Don’t you worry.) Hula skirts were used throughout the party to add to the safari-like vibe. We yanked my zebra rug from my house and replaced theirs with it. I wish I took a better photo of that but it looked cool.We repeated the safari vibe outside and had a total of 4 belly bars for people to gather around. Draped with painter’s cloth (you can get these at Lowe’s or Home Depot) then covered with leopard or zebra fabric, we added jungle animal figurines & large vases with monstera leaves to keep it funky yet chic.Here’s a few more views.The bar was set up outside as well. We added hula skirts to the top of the umbrella to make it seem more like a palapa. We served up beer, wine, water & specialty Jungle Juice. I don’t drink mixed drinks so I didn’t try it before serving it. Big mistake! I guess it was pretty potent. Next time I will leave the mixing to the experts… like my husband.Ready for a movie?To make things a little funky & unexpected, we set up the outdoor movie screen that my parents have. I rented a National Geographic African video from Netflix and had that on repeat throughout the party. (See the elephant up there?) It was pretty cool… even if things got a little weird during the mating portion of the movie. Using a leopard fitted sheet cut in half, my mom covered the lounge chairs so that people could watch the movie in style. (Not the best photo… but you get the idea!  Please ignore the hose!) Okay… let’s take a bathroom break…We couldn’t leave the restroom untouched. I always love to have a compliment on or near the mirror at the party. This time a “Well hello there you sexy beast you” sign was strung across the mirror to up your confidence level!So I guess you may be hungry about now! We did half the food ourselves and half the food using an amazing caterer friend of ours — Cassie from Anything But Ordinary Catering. She’s great.All of the really fancy looking stuff came from her. We did the veggies in individual cups, caprese skewers, meatballs, and Chinese Chicken Salads ready to go and served atop an elephant.Love that they make boxes that fit our theme so nicely!For dessert, we had The Crimson Cake make us the most adorable cakes ever. I am really becoming quite a fan of Alicia’s talent here. If you’re in Southern California, she is totally worth looking up!Check out these darling cakes!I sent her a photo of the bride & groom to be and this is what she came back with! Uncanny! Tom actually ate his own head at the end of the party. Cannibal.In addition to her lovely work (it pained me to cut these cakes!) we made brownie pops. They tasted great though they were obviously made with love and not expertise! Ha ha! I was trying to mimic the leopard & zebra patterns. Told you I wasn’t great in the kitchen! But by the time everyone took a bite, they were too hopped up on jungle juice to care what they looked like!Onto the props!On to the photo booth area! We hung a queen sized leopard sheet and had animal faces & cute messages in bubbles at the ready!How frickin’ adorable are Kasey & Tom!? She came decked out in a beautiful white dress which was perfect for the leopard ears & veil we made her! What a cute kitty!We hostesses all donned animal print – and I was super excited when so many of the guests did as well! Party people unite!The wild theme was actually pretty great because it reunited all of us UofA Wildcats. The best thing is that Kasey & Tom both went to UofA but didn’t meet until last year. Two wildcats that are wild about each other. Perfection!We moved a wire basket to the door filled with individually bagged chocolate-covered “elephant ears.” It was super smart to put them right by the door because they were all gone by the end of the party. I feel like sometimes people forget to take their favor so that was an accidental epiphany.
I think that’s about it! We’re sooooo wild about this couple and what a fun way to celebrate! Get ready for many more posts about Kasey & the parties we’ll be throwing for her until she gets hitched next summer! I have some really fun ideas up my sleeve for this beautiful friend of mine!

Halloween Party :: A Bewitching 60th Birthday Party

Tis the season to share parties I threw about 2 years ago! Well before this blog was even a glimmer in my eye, my ‘bewitching’ and fabulous Mother-in-law Sally turned 60. Of course we were going to throw her a well-deserved party! And lucky for me, her birthday has a built in theme. She was born on October 31st. Why fight that when it’s so fun to be bewitching?!When it came to decor, I was (and always am) very lucky to be able to steal from my mom. While we wanted to go with the Halloween theme, we wanted it to be more chic & girly rather than spooky. Breaking out black and white toile tablecloths and black crystal chandeliers helped keep it more “Sally-esque!” My mom made the centerpieces and I still adore this idea! Putting a real white pumpkin on a stick was so fresh and the bright flowers around it made the table feel more feminine.Each guest was given a bewitching hat to wear which was tied to the back of each chair. The cute thing was that everyone wore them nearly the entire time! I hope I am that cool at 60! Sally got a really pretty witch hat and a feather boa which she rocked like only she could.I think there were nearly 20 guests so we mixed and matched plates & pumpkin bowls my mom happens to own which made for a funky effect. Dessert was served……candy was collected…And Crafty Jan made these frickin’ phenomenal candy cones as favors. I wish I had taken better photos, but trust me it’s pretty cute. It was such a great theme for the best Mother-in-Law in the world. Look how cute she is there right in the middle with her boa. See? Rocking it! (And PS: If it appears that I had eaten 25 burritos in one sitting in this photo, please note that I was veeeeeeeeeery pregnant at the time.) Yay for Halloween birthdays and bewitching ladies!

Book Club :: Bar / Beer Themed Party

Crafty Jan has been in a book club with some of the best ladies in the world for years and years now. Each month they choose a book to read, then get together to eat, drink and eventually discuss the book.This month they chose The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer (great book, FYI. I’m reading it now.) and because of it’s boozy theme, my mom decorated with beer, nuts, and coasters. I love how she wrapped a pretzel around the napkin. Clever.Everything on this table, she already had… She just pulled things from different places around her house. The coasters are from when she and my dad went through Europe in their 20s. She’s kept them all this time and I used to love looking through them as a kid. With newer coasters, she created a garland for the mantle. Easy idea. I’m thinking that this would be such a good party to repurpose for the boozehound man in your life.She threw flowers from her garden into pretzel boxes and added 40 oz. beers as centerpieces. More pretzels to snack on…… and water with beer labels to drink. That Crafty Jan! She honestly should be writing this blog, I swear! 

Holiday :: Fourth Of July Table

Can you even believe it’s the Fourth of July Weekend already? Wow! Anyhoo, I wanted to share an easy table I put together for my father-in-law on Father’s Day. We called the night “Star-Spangled Pops” because he’s super patriotic – but it’s perfect for this weekend’s festivites as well.The table runner, placemats and napkins were all a gift and came from Williams-Sonoma. (Thanks Maryann!) If you host Fourth of July get-togethers year after year, this set will serve you well. One trick my mom always uses, especially when seating is tight, is to turn the place mats vertically so that they are draping off the table. Not only does it look a little more funky, it gives the table a little breathing room. And with this set (which is reversible – stars on one side, stars on the other) – it really looks cool with the runner at the top of each plate.Speaking of the Fourth, did you remember to print your Fourth of July banner? Click here to go grab it! I’m getting excited for the weekend! Happy Thursday friends!