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May the Birthday Be With You

17 Aug

I rarely actually have the lavish budget or the extra hours during the week (or months, depending on the size of the event) to pull off a beautifully detailed, high maintenance gala. (Oh, what I’d give for a chance to do a no expense spared event…)

Sometimes though, it’s actually the last minute, pull a rabbit out of the hat, ideas that just execute so well. For N’s birthday, I really wanted to plan and design a fantasy Star Wars table setting. Unfortunately, due to (inset excuse here), I found myself scrambling the night before the party to figure out something, okay, anything. And that’s when I found these over at Toy-A-Day:

And Bingo!!!!!!

I googled Star Wars Paper Toys and came up with hordes of sites that feature Star Wars paper craft, from origami Yoda to intricate Death Star models. Since it was already pretty late in the game, I settled on the easiest ones I could find.

We’d decided on a brunch and to make things really easy (read; to give the hostess a chance to enjoy some yummy mimosas) we set up a waffle bar along with fried chicken, french toast, muffins, bacon, fresh fruit and coffee.

For the tablescape, I simply covered the table with “space” (as in outer) pattern fabric we had left over from a previous Halloween party and scrunched up yellow fabric to use as a runner using fabric left over from my mom’s birthday tea.  Some free form folded white paper napkins resembling little spaceships / airplanes added a little something different and something to safely throw at certain people 😉 Then I arranged the little paper cutouts my Mom and I had cut and taped the night before all around the table.

For the centerpiece, I took a cactus in a little terracotta pot and arranged some flowers around it to cover any exposed dirt. Then I wrapped the pot in the same fabric as the tablecloth and set a big round vase over the whole thing to try to give it more of an out-of-this-world feel. As you’ll see, the fabric kind of got away from me, oops…

If I had had more time and resources, I’m sure it could have been much more impressive, but, I have to admit, I was pretty stoked with the results. And the food – well, I think a picture of my plate will say it all 🙂

Blitheful Birthday: Tea Anyone?

24 May

With an endless array of simply stunning tea party inspiration on the web, it’s so easy to spray out in a hundred directions. My greatest hurdle for this next event wasn’t deciding on the food, venue or guest list but rather in trying to reign myself in to create a cohesive design. Originally, I had every intention of creating a romantic but modern Georgia peach-ish gala. So I sent out this invitation using Pingg

I happen to favor tone on tone or working with hues and my hubby N was nudging me to play outside my comfort zone and I somehow ended up with something completely different when I got home from the fabric store…

While my super helpful MIL and great friend Lena were finding me teacups, N and I spent a full day browsing this awesome antique store to find the last six, which would later serve double duty as presents to mom. I picked up some ribbon, fake jewelry, mini topiary trees and boxes from Michael’s and the Dollar Tree. The rest of the decor, I found around mom’s house.

My MIL also went on a mad mission to find authentic scones and she seriously scored. These were so delicious!

And check out these adorable petit fours.

This whimsical cake creation was very yummy too

We made some tea sandwiches using a Martha Stewart Recipe and then just improvised the rest with our own recipes;

We also served some “spa water,”   to go with all that tea.

The pièce de résistance was this amazing hat from Nordstrom. On the day of the party, N, my dad and I presented her with the hat and told her to go get pretty so we could setup.

I had so much fun playing with all this color and I think it the mix of bold vibrant colors in her serene garden was really stunning. I hope you enjoy!

Swanky Seventy-Fifth Birthday Bash

25 Aug

All of my grandparents passed away before I was old enough to really get to know them. When I met my hubby though, his Numa (well really his whole family) kindly accepted me into the folds of her family. I could ramble on and on about the plethora of inspiring, adventurous and hilarious memories she’s shared with me about her amazing life growing up in Chicago, raising her family in California and the glory days of glamorous Las Vegas and Palm Springs, but that would need its own blog! So instead, I’ll settle with sharing the details of her 75th birthday party.

Numa’s not exactly a “me, me” type of person, she’s the kind of woman who had spent the majority of her life silently and happily working in the background to ensure that her family had the best of everything life has to offer and if you ever meet any of her kids, you’ll see what a great job she did.

Getting her to divulge what she wanted for her big birthday was no easy feat and after nearly three weeks of pestering her, she finally told us that the only thing she wanted was to have a nice dinner with all of her family and a family portrait to frame on her wall.

After searching high and low for a venue to have the dinner at, we finally decided that the best thing would be to have a surprise party for her at her daughter’s house (the same home my previous bridal shower post was hosted in). Since her furniture was brown and beige, we stuck to that as our main color scheme, adding some red for pop and dark brown, blue and green as accent colors.

The idea was to have a lounge style setting with plenty of room to dance and play games (she’s an avid card player). Everyone was asked to dress in black or white and the guest of honor was cajoled into wearing red, which made the family portrait stunning! But first, here are some pictures of a very surprised Numa entering the party:

SURPRISE!

SURPRISE!

Courtesy of Tamsen Photography

Courtesy of Tamsen Photography

I started out by scouring her albums and scanning in pictures of her and the family. Everyone also contributed by sending in their favorite pictures of her. All the pictures were converted to black and white and I bought pre-cut card stock in red, beige, blue and green to frame them all. I layered the different sized cardstock to create dimension as well, using DOTS to attach the pictures. Then I created a wave pattern around the entire room and provided little flashlight so everyone could see the pictures since we wanted a candle-lit effect to create a loungy mood. At the end of the night, the guests could take their favorite pictures off of the wall as a parting gift.

We hired Tamsen Photography , a very reasonable and friendly photographer, to take the family portrait and you can see her beautiful pictures throughout this post.

My hubby helping set up the pattern

My hubby helping set up the pattern

Family Photo with the Picture Wall

Family Photo with the Picture Wall courtesy of Tamsen Photography

Numa checking out the pictures with a small flashlight

Numa checking out the pictures with a small flashlight

The best part about this project was that all the photos were now digitized and uploaded to Shutterfly. I love the Shutterfly share site, which gives you the ability to create your own event website. This gave everyone access to the treasured scanned photos, Tamsen’s professional shots and each guest the ability to upload their own pics from the night. You can also download pictures onto your computer without having to order a CD (I’m looking at you Costco) which is VERY nice. It’s a one stop picture shop, lol.

To make the house feel, well, less like a house and more like a “venue”, we hung silk beige floor length drapes over all the windows and to conceal the open floor plan kitchen. We bought shower curtain rods, attached them to the wall with 3M Removable Hooks and hung the drapes on them. We also bought tons of beige, brown and red pillows to place all over the furniture and around the room.

The kitchen is to the left

The kitchen is to the left

My MIL on the left with our photographer Tamsen Arabi of Tamsen Photography

My MIL on the left with our photographer Tamsen Arabi of Tamsen Photography

We ordered our flowers from Visser’s, a phenomenal florist (they also did my wedding flowers) who helped us come up with these designs based on one of Numa’s favorite flowers, stargazer lilies. We ordered one large and about 8 small arrangements to place around the room.

Large Arrangement by Visser's, Picture by Tamsen Photography

Large Arrangement by Visser's, Picture by Tamsen Photography

Small Arrangement

Small Arrangement by Visser's, Picture by Tamsen Photography

We also ordered some additional bear grass and lilies for the fireplace and glass shelves and hydrangeas for the sconces.

Bear grass gathered with a napkin holder and proud grandpa with his boys

Bear grass gathered with a napkin holder and proud grandpa with his boys

Setting up the hydrangeas in sconces filled with cranberries the night before

Setting up the hydrangeas in sconces filled with cranberries the night before

75th BB

Since the event had to be kid friendly, we used battery lit candles everywhere, including above the archway in the above pic. It’s hard to tell from the pictures but all the candles (nearly 50 total) gave the room a really soothing and warm vibe, and more importantly, we didn’t have to worry about the kids, me or an accidental fire (you’d be amazed at how clumsy I am).

I found these gorgeous napkin rings at Target and, after visiting 5 stores, we found enough for all the tableware.

Napkin Rings from Target, Napkins from Jay's Catering

Napkin Rings from Target, Napkins from Jay's Catering, Photo by Tamsen

The napkins turned out to be a focal point on the buffet, which we created with serpentine tables. Jay’s Catering, one of the BEST caterers around provided all the food, desserts (except for the cake and fruit basket), and table/dishware.

Table Setup

Table Setup

Pre-settup the night before

Pre-settup the night before

Cake in her favorite color

Cake in her favorite color, Picture by Tamsen

You can see the tiny dessert shooters from Jay's Catering at the bottom right of the picture. Three words...To Die For!

You can see the tiny dessert shooters from Jay's Catering at the bottom right of the picture. Three words...To Die For!

Fruit basket at the center of the buffet, photo by Tamsen

Fruit basket at the center of the buffet, photo by Tamsen

We converted a large cabinet into a bar and my hubby cut out Numa’s initials from black construction paper and taped them to red wrapping paper to conceal the contents of the cabinet. Then we stuck these cool press lights that stick to nearly any surface on the underside of the cabinet to give the bar a nice glow.

Initials on the bar

Initials on the bar

75th BB Bar

My absolute favorite aspect, though, was the signature drink bar in the entry. I arranged the cups to look like the number 75 and dropped a cranberry in each glass. The signature drink was White Cosmopolitan Martinis, which were simply delicious!

75th BB Signature Drink Bar75th BB Signature Drink BarHere’s the recipe for the drinks courtesy of Martha Stewart, the only substitute we made was to use White CranRaspberry Juice:

White Cosmopolitan

And finally, here are some pictures of us playing Left, Right and Center, a really fun and inexpensive game that can be found at Amazon in the link above or at Party City.

7th BB LRC75th BB LRC

Thanks so much for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, etc…until next time!

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