Blogger Blessings… But I’m Bombarbed!

Dear wonderful peeps…
Well, how full of empty promises I am! I totally thought I would be able to post more this year but… but… well… no real excuses. Life just keeps getting in the way! Anyway, I have been absolutely bombarded with work this year which is a something I am so very thankful for. I am getting to chat and work with so many of you lovely people from all over the world and I’m beyond grateful for every comment, email, word of mouth references, and etsy convo and sale I get.

A very heartfelt THANK YOU!

I always try to get back to each fabulous person who takes the time to contact me, but lately I have been Slacker McSlackerson. I apologize if you’ve written me and you’ve gotten nothing but silence from me. I hope you all understand that my inbox gets full pretty quickly and if I wrote everyone back, I probably wouldn’t have time to feed my children, sleep, or even put on my clothes. I’m sorry. I still love you! Please don’t drink the haterade!

I have no idea who spiked the party punch over the last week or so, but I have had more requests for custom orders all at once than I ever have had. It’s not in my nature to say no. It’s really, really hard for me to turn down anyone, especially the best blog-readers in the world! I swear, you’re all so sweet! Please know I wish I could help you all out, but I think I am at capacity for work over the next few months. While my belly gets larger, my brain is surely getting smaller so I am not firing on all creative cylinders at the moment… why would you want a pea-brained pregnant lady doing your design work anyway? Hee hee!

So, though it never hurts to ask, please don’t take it personally if I have to turn down your projects. I feel so invested in all of you as readers and hearing about the ideas you have for your mom’s retirement party, your crazy 2-year-old’s idea of a birthday party, or your husband’s 40th, makes me so happy but also so sad that I can’t help with them all.

I love you. Don’t hate me. I will try to be a better blogger, better worker, better everything. Thanks for reading and I hope you stick with me… One day when my rascals are bigger, I will be your go-to-girl. For now, I will do what I can!

xo
Annika
(Above: a sampling of some of the projects I’ve been consumed with… will share more about them when they are all complete!)

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!

Girl’s Night :: Crafts & Cocktails

Some of the best parties happen when something goes seriously awry and last week’s Girl’s Night of Crafting & Cocktailing was no exception. I had expected about 40 gals to be here gabbing, crafting, and sipping the night away.The Southern Californian Edison Power Gods had other plans and threw a Tijuana-to-Orange County blackout our way.
If you’re from SoCal, you know that we can’t even drive in the rain, so imagine the panic that set in when we were told we wouldn’t have power for up to two days. (It only ended up being about 12 hours, but still!) It was like the sky was falling. No power meant no cell phone use (which I still don’t really get), no computers, and most sadly, no party. Juuuuuuuuuust kidding! A power outage wasn’t going to kill this shindig.
Most of the people who were supposed to come, now couldn’t. They either assumed I cancelled the party, their husbands were stuck in traffic for hours (really! the sky was falling!), or they just wanted to stay close to their kids (this was days before 9/11 and I think some people were a little freaked out.) I ran to the dollar store (cash only!), bought Mexican candles and flashlights that I hung from the chandelier, and tried to toast bruschetta bread in my car (to no avail… I actually ended frying my adapter and not being able to straighten my Chewbacca hair – oh the horrors!), but the show must go on! And on it went… with 15 brave (child-avading, husband-ditching, cocktail-guzzling, blackout-loving) ladies.
I had two crafts planned – Glittering G.I. Joe type figurines… (Elephant glittered by me.. Rat glittered by my 3 year old) … and making a necklace out of washers. Yes, I’m talking about washers from Home Depot. And actually making a necklace that looked like it was from J. Crew. Impossible? I think not!

No one glittered because it was so dang dark, but everyone made one (or more) necklaces!)As far as decor went, I wanted to keep it funky, crafty, and urban (is that a possible combo?) but super simple. I wrapped branches with colorful yarn (idea stolen from Ohdeedoh) and used them as decor. I also hung them from the chandelier & the outside overhang to hang the signs. (Had to use fishing line somewhere! Love that stuff!) The result was floating colorful branches. Loved it.I set up the “Make A Washer Necklace” table inside using galvanized buckets for “BIG,” “MID,” and “WEE” sized washers as well as for the instructions. And I have to give a HUGE thank you to Pinterest for addicting me introducing me to so many fun projects. I found the instructions for the washer necklace through Pinterest on Tiny Sparkly Things Blog and I have to say what FABULOUS and detailed instructions she drew up for me to follow. Because I knew that my friends would need to read the instructions themselves, I redrew her instructions in Illustrator and made instruction sheets. So thank you Tiny Sparkly Things! What a fun resource you are!

I wrapped the tables with kraft butcher paper, gathered various ribbons in glass jars, drew out how long each ribbon should be using a sharpie directly onto the butcher paper, and used this crazy awesome roll of Greenwrap that I found at The Container Store as a runner on the tables as well as on the mantles. I just love that extra texture. Because I was expecting many more peeps, I had pie tins ready so that you could bring your washers & ribbon anywhere you could find a spot. They were a great way to contain the chaos!Look how seriously cute the necklaces turned out! (PS – please note, that this was at the end of the night. Purple teeth, wine-soaked eyes, and frizzy Chewbacca hair should please be ignored. Please focus your attention on the necklaces. Thank you.)Oh and before moving onto the glitter station, I have to mention two things about the mantle. One: that I also found that seriously cute fringe stuff in the gift department of The Container Store. Who knew? And Two: Did anyone (besides my super fab & with-it sister) pick up on the “She’s Crafty?” reference or am I just a freak? For the record it’s a Beastie Boy’s song and I could not stop singing it while I was getting ready for this party, so it made it’s way onto the mantle. If you got it, you’ve earned yourself a License to Ill.Okay… onto the glitter station. Crafty Jan owns all of this stuff, so I just borrowed it. Such pretty glitter, though it can get super messy. The blackout made it nearly impossible to see outside, so these little figurines never got their glittery new life, but that’s just a reason to throw another party in my book.There’s the set-up with the added candles as night started to fall. For food, I luckily kept it simple. Well, I always keep it pretty simple since I am a horrendous cook, but I mean there was no heating involved which turned out great since the use of an oven was a no-go after 4pm. Here’s the un-toasted guacamole ‘bruschetta’ (recipe here), which was still pretty good even though it was just bread. I also had cut veggies in plastic wine cups lined with cupcake liners with ranch dressing at the bottom. This was not my idea. I found it somewhere in the blogosphere but I cannot figure out where. If anyone knows, let me know and I will give credit. I’ll totally do this again. It was a nice individual way of serving veggies. Added bonus: no clean up! Just toss. Finally, just brownie bites from the grocery store to satisfy any sweet tooth. And we were very thankful for those candles, even if they didn’t fit the theme! (Though there’s nothing wrong with a little Jesus at a party, right?) We sipped away and this…
turned to this…I love hosting girl’s nights during the week. I think most of the gals I know (especially the ones with young ones) are DYING for a night off and a mid-week night off is even sweeter. Another thing I always do is provide some alcohol but ask everyone to bring a couple beers or a bottle of wine to share if they can (no problem if they can’t.) That way, it doesn’t put you out financially to host which means you’ll be more inclined to have more parties, and no one ever seems to mind pitching in for a fun night. It’s a win all around!Here’s the night in progress… mind you we could barely see so these pics are pretty bad! I love the flashlights hanging from the chandelier. I think I might do that again if my boys ever want a scavenger hunt or camping themed birthday. It kind of looks cute.I think that the blackout actually made this night even more fun. I mean, what else would we all have been doing? Talking to our husbands? Playing with our kids? Oh man! (I am TOTALLY kidding!)

What an unexpectedly fun night without light. And what’s that you say? You want to host a party just like this? Okay! Here are some free printable PDF files for you just because I’m feeling glad to be back and thankful that you all are hanging in there!
Here are the FREE printable PDF files for:
How to Make A Washer Necklace Instructions (3 to a page)
She’s Crafty banner
Hello You Crafty Minx door sign
Make a Washer Necklace sign
Little signs for ribbons, big, mid, wee, sip, & yum
DOWNLOAD HERE (clicking the picture above won’t get you the files): CRAFTforBLOG

Have the best week!

Vacay

Hi there friends!
I have decided to go on a little bloggy vacation. I think all the unfolded clothes, messy drawers, dirty children, and my ignored husband (sorry honey!) need a little more attention than I have been giving as of late. During this time, I will be working getting more goods up in the Etsy shop and trying to crank through the many orders for other projects I’ve gotten through this blog. THANK YOU all so much for reading and participating in this blog so far. I am so excited to see what comes of it and hopefully this little break I am forcing myself to take will make it even better when I return.
***Please note: I cannot take on any extra work or special orders at this time. I have the hardest time saying no to people, but please know that it’s not personal! I’m just too busy at the moment!*** If you order through Etsy, I will be able to complete those orders.
I’ll miss you! Not sure when I will be back, but might pop in a few times to say what’s up! Thanks again for all the love and hope you’re all having a very lovely summer!
xo
Annika
(image found here.)

First Birthday Party :: Beach Theme

I have literally been dying to share this insanely fresh and fabulous “both”day party with you all! Our little friends Dane & Ryley are each other’s cousins and their fantastic parents (Becky & Brad and Nicole & Andy) threw their kiddos – born only weeks apart – a beachy ‘both’ day party! The invite said “It’s O’FISH’ial! Dane & Ryley are ONE!” (Can you get over those highchairs? Me neither! So cute!)Let’s take a gander at the stunning park they threw this shindig in. Oh and that peak of blue between the trees there? Just the ocean. No big deal. How pretty, huh?There honestly was so much to love here! One of my favorite things is how they managed to make this party cool enough for a boy but sweet enough for a girl. It was such a great example of how to throw a joint party for different sexes. “Catch of the day cookies”  from Gwynn Wasson Designs. Oh come on! How cute! They also used printables from Catch My Party. What a great mix! Their dessert table was so cute! My favorite detail was that the cupcakes matched the balls in the inflatable pools. Such great synergy! Speaking of the pools, they set up a few inflatable pools from Target and filled them with balls from Walmart ($10 for 150 of them!) They had so many babies there and it was THE BEST activity for them. Added bonus that it was so adorable and theme-related! What a no-brainer! A perfect idea for summer parties!They made PB&J sandwiches for all the kiddos in the shape of a fish. So cute! The grown-up food was pretty cute too.

And check out these fishy nibbles. My 3-year-old loved eating Nemo!

My favorite detail and hands-down the most brilliant thing I have seen in the party world as of late was their use of flagging tape – NOT ribbon – to stream around branches and umbrellas. It looked so whimsical and fun and it was just really quite beautiful. The best part about it? It is CHEAP! What’s flagging tape? It’s what police use as “Caution” tape but it comes in really cute designs and colors. From what I googled it goes for about $1.50 a roll. That’s bananas cheap! You get the effect of a ribbons without the price. Idea Thieves, take note! This is one worth stealing. (I certainly intend to!)Yet another thing I loved was that they rolled two big wagons down to gather gifts for the wee ones. It not only looked cute, but was totally practical… They just had to roll the wagon to the car and unload. You can’t go wrong with bubble favors. Here’s another view of the park. How cute do all the big blankets, pools, balls, and umbrellas look? What a fabulous first birthday for two of the cutest little wee ones I’ve ever seen. And because who doesn’t like to look at cute babies, here’s a pic of the birthday cousins.To die for right? The party AND the babies! I know that Becky & Nicole worked so hard on making such an adorable party for their little ones, but I’m told that the VIP award goes to Dooey – Dane & Ryley’s grandma Judi. Way to go! What an adorable celebration. Not a detail missed! A perfect beachy birthday for two very darling beachy kiddos.Please note: I had nothing to do with this darling party! (Though I wish I did!) If I missed any of the details and you want a little more information, I am happy to ask the party throwers for you. Just leave a comment below.
(All photos by either me, my sister Ellie, my friend Steph, or the birthday boy’s mom Becky. Sorry I don’t know which is which!) 

Idea Thief :: Faux Milk Glass Bottles


Have you ever gotten so obsessed with your vision and getting just the right thing for a party that it becomes more about finding it than the party itself? Happens to me all the time and I’ll tell you now, it’s not a pretty trait. I’m working on it, but I can totally see me getting on a “find the milk glass” kick and hitting every single thrift shop in Southern California until I need to be checked into an asylum. Thank goodness for the DIY Gods in this case! What a GENIUS idea! So simple, but I would have never thought of it! Spray paint plain old glass vases. It fakes the look of milk glass so you get what you want, without losing your marbles! And now let’s run with this idea… What about black vases for Halloween? Or pale blues and greens for a beach table-scape? Oh man! Thank goodness Ruffled Blog posted this over a year ago! I think they may have saved my sanity! Happy spray-painting! And happy Friday!

Big Beg :: Please Vote For Me!

I have to tell you that I am just overwhelmed and totally overjoyed by all the support behind me on this “little blog that could!” I truly cannot believe we have a shot at the Circle of Moms Top 25 Party Plannin’ Moms contest. I honestly signed up just in hopes I’d get a little more traffic each day and never in a million years thought I had a shot at the Top 25. And guess what? Because of all of your incredible encouragement, votes, and those lovely facebook shout-outs, we may even have a shot in the Top 10! I am literally flipping out. Thank you all so much! We have until April 11th to vote and the competition is getting tougher! (Understandably so! The other blogs are all so inspiring so be sure to check them out as well!)
So this is a big fat THANK YOU to all of you for your unbelievable support. I appreciate it all so much and if you feel so inclined, please keep voting until next Monday! I would kiss all of your beautiful faces if I could! Thank you so much.