Real Party: Sunflower 1st Birthday!

My daughter Mia turned 1 recently.
Seriously, where did the time go?! This was the fastest year of my life thus far (which felt even faster since the year of my pregnancy was the slowest year of my life!).  She has brought us so much joy… of course we had to celebrate her 1st birthday with a blowout bash.  My friend Deb and I decided to throw a joint party for our little girls who were born 5 days apart.
Where we live in California the weather is pretty nice most of the year.  But around the end of November you just can’t count on sunshine. We had too many guests to fit in our little house, and a park was out of the question.  I stressed about where to have the party.  We needed a big space, but I didn’t want to blow the budget on a venue.
I finally decided to have the party at our gym. My husband I belong to a CrossFit gym. My husband actually coaches there, and we are great friends with the owner. If you aren’t familiar with CrossFit, its a workout that can be done with minimal equipment. Our gym is basically a warehouse with lots of open space. And better yet, lots of mats on the floor — perfect for a large number of the guests who are just starting to walk!
My main challenge was turning the bare bones, industrial space into a party appropriate for 2 little girls.
Here’s the before so you can understand my gravity of this task:

I also had to keep guests away from the equipment.  I didn’t want anyone to get hurt.  I decided to rent some stanchions and chains to rope off the party area to keep it on the mats.

In the end I think it came together quite well…

I love this picture. I feel like it captures the wonderful chaos of so many family and friends packed into the gym so well.  Makes my heart smile. 

Anyway, the reason why you are here: The details!!

It all started with the invitation. My vision was perfectly executed by Jennafer of Oh Creative One.

Isn’t it great?
I had them printed on brown paper, and used a rounded corner punch.

(sorry, iPhone photo — but you get the idea)

I had decided on this theme awhile ago, and thought I’d died and gone to heaven one day when I was randomly browsing at Gymboree and found a line of sunflower dresses on the sale rack.

I never get that lucky. But the stars were aligned that day and I snapped up the only 2 dresses left in their sizes. They were SO cute, and this mom was happy!
Ella’s grandma crocheted sunflowers for their hair.  (Thank you Audrey!)

My big chalkboard sign greeted guests.

I made some paper plate sunflowers for one of the sections of wall.  These were inspired by this, but I made a simpler version with just paper centers to save time. The stems are made from streamers. I borrowed the fencing from Akemi’s pumpkin patch.
I rented tables and chairs to scatter throughout the party area.  We had yellow tablecloths and burlap runners.  I had ordered some flower arrangements from a local grocery store that had sunflowers in them, and the order was messed up.  :( I ended up with these potted plants instead. No sunflowers, but I was just happy the colors were right!
I love to use party items multiple times. It helps me justify to my husband why is so important to store them in our crowded garage and attic also! The burlap runners were from here, but have also been used here and here. The centerpiece boxes were from here, but have also been used here.
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know I love to use a children’s book as a guest book at baby showers.
I decided I will continue this tradition with her birthday parties. Each of the girls had a little station set up for their guest book.  I ordered these to use.
This was the biggest group I have ever have ever hosted for lunch. I struggled with the menu, but I think we came up with a great solution that was yummy and budget friendly.
I am terrible about getting photos when the food table is done. People are usually swarming it when the food gets out, and that was the case with this party. But here’s a picture of the set-up before it was all finished.
We served:
Grilled sausages (3 flavors) with buns, grilled onions, and assorted condiments
Green salad
Potato chips
Mac & cheese
And then we had clementine oranges and some applesauce pouches for people to snack on as well.
Monthly banners of each of the girls were hung above the table.
I made some food labels to match the invitation.
And I scored again at the Michael’s dollar section with these gorgeous sunflower clips. Easiest banner I ever made!
My husband must really love me because he agreed (with a little grumbling) to haul our reddish-colored wheelbarrow all the way to the gym so I could put drinks in it.
How could I not? :)
We had wine, beer, sodas, and bottled water.
Desserts were pretty simple since we were feeding such a large number of guests.
Deb made lots and lots of cupcakes and I made some simple yellow cake pops.
I did my standard display with the much-used shelf, but kept it simple with white linens and just did an accent of wide sunflower ribbon from the fabric store.
(You’ve seen the cupcake shelf here.)
Each of the girls had a highchair with a little cake I made and a few balloons.
(I know my party girl readers will understand how frustrated I was when I went to three locations the morning of the party to find yellow balloons. No one had any! After the 3rd stop I decided I was being ridiculous and just stuck with cream. Yellow would have been much cuter…)
My favorite detail of the party:
My husband and I made this photo wall out of piece of plywood. He attached legs to the back and cut holes. The I painted the simple sunflower design. It was SO cute to see all the pictures & so easy to make. I tried to get a picture of each family.
(I decided to just post one of me, Deb, and Lindsay messing around rather than post pictures of anyone’s kids. But trust me, it was cute.).
Party favors were yellow bubbles with custom labels (by Oh Creative One).
I was very happy with how everything turned out. It seemed like guests of all ages really had a great time.
Happy Happy Birthday Miss Ella!
And Mia…
We are so lucky to be your parents! 
Thank you for making this the best year ever! 
Happy Birthday!
Printables: Oh Creative One
Photos: Lindsay Little & Renee Padgett

Real Party: Little Pumpkin’s 1st Birthday!

In an ideal world, I would have brought you this post back in October when all my readers were in pumpkin-mode. No one cares about pumpkins right now, right? But I’m hoping that we always care about cute parties!
My life (and crazy 1 year old) just aren’t allowing me to blog in a timely manner at the moment. I have several cool things to share and I will get them up as soon as humanly possibly, they may just be a little out of season. Ok?So…pretend its still October and take a look at this adorable Little Pumpkin party!

My daughter’s bff had her 1st birthday party. That is my best friend’s daughter (We have decided they are bff’s obviously). Lindsay threw an amazing party in her backyard to celebrate (of course!). I can’t wait to share all the details with you!

Jennafer of Oh Creative One created the invites.  They were perfect!
The hostess wore her pumpkin, of course. :)
Lindsay rented a few tables and chairs for the backyard.  Her mom made fabric pumpkins to cluster on the tables for centerpieces. Aren’t they amazing?!
Lindsay strung a banner of monthly pictures of little Akemi on the fence.  Some of those faces are priceless.
Lindsay set up “Akemi’s Pumpkin Patch” in a corner of the yard.  Since most of the guests were 1-year-olds, she decided to forgo a traditional activity. Instead, kiddos were encouraged to wear costumes, and they all posed for photos in the patch. Too cute.
Lunch was a taco bar, catered by one of my favorite spots.
The dessert table!
The desserts were as tasty as they were cute…
The star of the table was the pumpkin smash cake Lindsay made with a mini bunting. Too cute.
I made some pumpkin cake pops, Lindsay made pumpkin spice cupcakes, Akemi’s Grandma made mini pumpkin pies, and Deb made caramel corn. Lindsay also added some sugar cookies.  We made some of these pumpkins and scattered them around the table as well.

 At first Akemi was a little hesitant with her cake.

But she quickly figured out what wonderful things sugar and butter are. :)

Happy Birthday Akemi!

And since you haven’t seen her in a while…

…here’s my little butterfly posing in the patch. :)

Party Rentals: Danny Thomas Party Rentals
Invitation: Oh Creative One
Lunch food: Pancho Villa
Akemi’s dress: Baby Gap

Real Party: Blue & Orange Garden Party Sip & See

My friends Leslie & Pavel’s son is Dylan. Dylan’s Grandparents recently hosted a gathering for friends and family to meet little Dylan.
I was asked to help with decorations and desserts.  Of course my partners-in-crafting Lindsay and Drea helped to execute the plans.
What a beautiful day it turned out to be. Leslie’s parents have an incredible yard for entertaining. It served as the perfect setting for the gathering.
Leslie chose this invitation from and just reworked the wording so it wasn’t for a birthday.  This invite was our inspiration for the color scheme. The invitation was perfect because Leslie had really wanted to incorporate some of the 36 inch balloons we had used at her baby shower.
My husband made this chalkboard for me recently.  It was perfect to point guests to the backyard.  (We literally found the frame on the side of the road and he added the center wood, painted it with chalkboard paint, and then put legs on the back. I have so many uses planned for it already! Yay!)
This beautiful display lined the pathway that guests walked to reach the party area.
Leslie punched hundred and hundreds of circles and attached them to sticks.  Wow, that was a lot of work. But it looked so great!
The party area has lots of trees, so our main decor was hung from them.
We cut hundreds of triangles and sewed dozens of yards of bunting.
And Leslie ordered a bunch of paper lanterns in different shades of blue.
I thought it was stunning.

We had some round tables spread across the grass lawn.

Dylan’s Grandma put together some simple white flower centerpieces.  Lindsay and I made some fabric squares for the centers of the tables.

Now the most important part: Food & Drink!

There was a bar and 2 food stations: one with Mexican food, and one with Chinese food. Yum and Yum. We used more bunting and balloons to decorate the tables.

Lindsay, Drea, and I worked together to make lots of cupcakes.

We topped them with m&m’s in greys and blues, and built a simple little display with some fabric covered boxes. We put a few pictures of the guest of honor in Ikea frames.

Dylan and his Mom.

Too cute.

Invitation: Minted
Party Rentals: Danny Thomas Party Rentals
Chinese Food: New Orient
Mexican Food: El Paisa Taco Truck
Paper Lanterns: Jade Time
Balloons: Bargain Balloons

Real Party: Moroccan Baby Shower

My friends Drea and Eddie are expecting a baby girl this fall.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you might remember Drea’s gorgeous wedding. Or her fun bachelorette party. Or her super stylish bridal shower.
Anyway, now its time to celebrate the new addition.
Oh Creative One created the perfect invitation to set the stage for the party. I was so happy with what she designed for us!
Isn’t it perfect?!
I have to admit that I was a little overwhelmed when we settled on this theme.  Jewel tones and metallics are not my typical party looks. Most of my supplies lean more toward the rustic realm.
Amazing how a few trips to thrift stores and garage stores, some spray paint, and some borrowed signature pieces, came together so well to create this party.  I could not have been happier with how it turned out.
When guests arrived, we had appetizers and drinks out. People mingled about and we encouraged them to sign the guest book.
I purchased How the Camel Got His Hump from Amazon. I chose it because of the camel, but the colors on the cover ended up being perfect also. (I love that!)
Some gold doilies transformed an ordinary vase of flowers into a gorgeous vessel that fit our theme.
Lindsay found some yummy brightly colored sodas to serve along with white wines.
Since all of the hostesses have young babies, we had to keep the food pretty simple. We didn’t want to be cooking all morning.  I saw this post and we all knew it was the perfect solution.
Lindsay and I filled a cart with these bowls from Ikea, and we built our own salad bar.
 This was so much fun! I expected people to like it, but they all loved it! And I’m so glad we used the clear glass bowls because all the different colors of the toppings were beautiful.
Lindsay and I tossed guests’ salad with their dressing of choice in large plastic bowls and then scooped it back onto their plates.

We had seated tables for lunch.  We had alternating red & purple foil chargers over beautiful gold linens.  Lindsay and I scoured thrift stores for candle sticks in the weeks leading up to the shower.  A quick coat of spray paint to turn them old gold, and we had our centerpieces.  I also scored a huge bag of think gold hoops at a garage sale. We used them as napkin rings and sprinkled extras around the tables as well.
We also placed a large glass vessel with pita triangles and hummus on each table.
Placecards matched the invitation.

We rented a few umbrellas to scatter between seated tables.  We hung metallic bangle bracelets from the undersides of the umbrellas.  These were the one metallic thing I could find when I started hunting around my house originally! It was an easy touch.

Then it was time for gifts!

We created a cozy little area for gift opening, including large bedazzled pillows and colored glass stars.  We referred to this area as the “Moroccan Oasis.” 😉

After that healthy salad lunch, it was time to splurge!

We stuck with the “bar” theme and had a build your own sundae bar.  Featuring San Francisco’s famous handmade Mitchell’s ice cream, of course. Yum Yum!

Drea loved the headshots I did at Katie’s shower, so we did it again for hers. We encouraged people to wear their big, bright jewelry to the shower and many people did.
The star of the jewelry show was Johanna’s wrist though. It didn’t make the headshot collage, but I couldn’t leave it off completely.


Congratulations Drea!!
We cannot wait until she’s here!!!

The countdown is officially on for these two!

Thanks to the shower crew: Lindsay, Leslie, Deb, & Katie!
Printables: Oh Creative One
Party Rentals: Danny Thomas Party Rentals 
Photos by Lindsay Little

Real Party: Dual Gender Baby Shower

My friends Katie & Casey are expecting their first child. I recently helped to throw her baby shower with 4 of her other girlfriends.
They have decided to wait until he or she is born to discover the gender.  Katie’s bff Sam was determined to avoid the standard “gender neutral” shower. Instead, she wanted to throw a shower celebrating both genders. A dual gender shower. We all had so much fun designing a shower that was 1/2 pink, 1/2 blue; 1/2 masculine, 1/2 feminine. There were so many fun touches!
Enjoy… :)
Of course, we turned to my go-to invite designer Jennafer of Oh Creative One to capture our vision.  She knocked it out of the park as usual.
Guests were greeted with the following display:
…and encouraged to “wear their vote” to predict the gender.  Snails for a boy, flowers for a girl.  Sam made the adorable snails with poster board and twine.  Too cute.
Guests were also asked to sign the guest book.
I found the perfect book on Amazon to compliment our theme.  The Book of Boys (for Girls) and the Book of Girls (for boys) is a funny kids book full of gender stereotypes.  Ha! It even mentions snails and sugar & spice! I could not resist.  Guests signed the inside cover.
Then it was off to the backyard, where we had two food tables set up.
One feminine:
And one masculine:
For the “girl” table, we used soft pink linen and a lace runner. We used our prettiest serving trays and bowls.  Food labels were pink polka dot labels held by clear glass photo cubes.  Pink and white poms hung above. Food items included green and fruit salads, turkey and vegetarian roll-ups, and a “dessert tower” which featured cream cheese stuffed strawberries, cake pops, and strawberry mini cupcakes.
For the “boy” table, we used blue a blue linen and burlap runner and pulled out all our rustic serving trays.  Mini chalkboards were food labels. We topped it off with brightly colored party poms and a bunting banner.  Food items on the boy table included pulled chicken sliders, mac and cheese muffins, potato salad, monster cookies, and “dirt” cups.
We had a seated lunch at tables that continued our theme.
Two were feminine:
And two were masculine:
 We used the same linens as the food tables.
The girl tables featured clustered flower arrangements, rhinestone napkin rings, silver chargers, and wine glasses.
The boy tables featured a simple wood centerpiece, mason jar drinking glasses, brown wicker chargers, and burlap napkin runners.
Even the chairs were part of the theme: brown for the boy table, white for the girl.
Party favors were inspired by something I found on Pintrest.
Lindsay and I made 1/2 pink and 1/2 blue striped pretzels and packaged them up for guests to take home.  Cute and easy!
I managed to capture almost all of the guests with their wearing their gender guess pin. (A couple people managed to escape me & my camera!)
What a fun record for Katie to have!
There were definitely more snails… :)
Congratulations Katie!!
I cannot wait to meet him or her!
Invitations: Oh Creative One
Katie’s bridal shower is here
Katie & Casey’s wedding is here and here.