Sunday, April 8, 2018

Birthday Party themed birthday party

We are knee deep into planning Henry's 4th, which was a good reminder that I never posted pics of his 3rd birthday.  It was photogenic, if I do say so myself.  And luckily, it was captured by Lumatic Imagery.  

I've been pushing this "birthday party" theme for a while--classic party, classic colors, no overt theme--like how a birthday party would look in an old picture book.  Now that I'm kinda into balloons, I had the idea to do a crazy balloon arch in the middle of a field.  I had this idea from a visit to our fav Indianapolis park, Holiday Park the preceding fall, so when it turned out we were moving across the country about a month after Henry's birthday....that only emphasized just how important it was to make this party happen.  We actually showed our house with all these balloons blown up and weighted down under tarps in the back yard.  

So we went with a chic picnic because of the location.  Obvs I had to have animals and dinosaurs with party hats on.  I think I got the idea for lots of animal walker balloons from an old Bailey Quinn pic, but I can't find it now.   Anyway--these walker balloons were loads of fun.  I love classic gold crowns and to make sure they weren't theme-y, we added capes (from eBay).   Black polka-dot balloons were added to keep the pallet from being too sweet.  I was trying to keep it picture perfectly un-perfect.

The picnic tables are sheets of MDF from Lowes (standard size...8ft I think) on top of milk crates.   The MDF is wrapped in a vinyl tablecloth.  The picnic blankets are large drop cloths from Lowes that we painted stripes onto.  The cake was served from a picnic table we had moved to the side.

I paid slightly too much for these wooden berry baskets that we tucked food into.  It got Chick-fil-A nuggets for kids, and packed it up with a juice box, grapes, and goldfish (I think...something to that effect).  I found the checked waxed paper on Amazon.  There were boxed lunches for adults, too.  The confetti is punched cardstock--doesn't blow away quite as much.  The cupcakes are from the grocery store, and I added the chocolate ganache drizzle and sprinkles and cherry.

Tablecloth from Amazon

We kept it simple on favors--Confetti Lollipops from Azalea Circle Sweets.  And the capes of course.

(Confetti Lollies are being reposted)

I actually rented a UHaul van for this party--we loaded up the van with everything except food, including extra large garbage bags full of inflated balloons.  A new level of crazy for me.  

These balloons were supported by PVC pipe in a 5 gallon bucket filled with a 40 lb bag of Quickcrete each.  That's a pool noodle arching between the PVC pipe.  And it fell over pre-party and post-party (my mom kept guard during the party).  On a day that I'm pretty sure no one thought was windy.  Now that I live by the water...this will never, ever happen again.  But my siblings and I can fondly remember the day they helped make a balloon arch under my super chill tutelage.

9 am:

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Let's talk parties or #crappyiphonepicsaremyjam

I have been throwing parties, even if I haven't been blogging about them.  Working backwards, I did a small party here in West Palm Beach for Molly's 8th birthday.  I thought it was worth showing, b/c not everyone is up for a 2 day install (and breakdown).  It was also done at the last minute without any epackets from China. 

Our theme was Good Golly Miss Molly.  We just got some free clip art from a google search, and made the invites and mailing labels in Word.  They were packaged with this poodle skirt from Amazon, and mailed in mylar bubble mailers.

 I originally wanted to do black tuck-top boxes, but it was cost prohibitive (at least with my time frame, which was Prime) before I went to the post-office, and the mylar made it sort of festive.   

I had to order catering with the VIP lanes, so we decided not to go too crazy on the sweets on just focus on cupcakes and fancy sugar cookies.  And since I wasn't doing much else for this party, I figured I would do them.  

I bought the icing and cookie recipe from Sweet Ambs.  I spent a lot of time mesmerized by her videos...she'll make you want to be a cookie artist.  The cookies are amazing without icing.  With icing, kids like them.  I like them with coffee.  But they are cuter with icing.  Poodles were surprisingly easy, and the jukeboxes were SOOOO hard.  Not sure I ever made a good looking one.  The black icing on the bowling ball ended up bleeding into most of the bowling pins, so I suggest just waiting between colors instead of trying to do it all on one pass.  These extra fine Wilton writers are the secret to the Good Golly Miss Molly cookies and the poodles' lashline.

To keep our 50s theme, we did it at the bowling alley.  Now that I live in a tiny house, I'm scouring the county for party venues.  We were able to book the "VIP lanes" at the bowling alley in downtown WPB, which just meant you had a private area.  The set-up  (leather chairs and coffee table or high tops) wasn't great for decor or kids parties or the theme, but the classic car museum was $2000+ so we made due. 

I brought my own tablecloth like a psycho, but it did punch up the space. I did a couple tassel garlands with tissue paper for our large balloons from Party City.  If you don't buy tassel garland from aliexpress or etsy, use this method.  Don't use this method--its so much harder.)  Warning--the balloons looked generally the same size when I picked them up but one couldn't support the tissue garland and the other could.  The third got popped by Kevin on the way into the bowling alley, so suffice to say this is not what was envisioned, but it was fine.  I recommend having your balloon place put the tassels on if you can to avoid weird quality problems.   

The downside of the bowling alley is that I have no good photos as it is super dark.  But it was very cute to watch all the little girls in poodle skirts running around and bowling.  I'm officially a fan of sending out attire for parties. 

We put a small sparkly lollipop from Azalea Circle Sweets and a pearl necklace (from Target's Sprout line) in these gift boxes with a big satin bow.  Definitely made the most of a small favor, and helped fill the table. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018


Anybody out there?  Yes, it's been a very long time.  A little awkward even.  I think about the blog a lot--like, I should really do a post on X--all the time.  But instead I sleep.  Or worse, I sit on the couch scrolling through my phone and then I realize its 11pm and I need to go to sleep.  So I do.  

Where did we leave off?  Me moving across the country.  I think cross-country moves are difficult, but I think downsizing is more difficult.  The combination is quite trying.  We have 6 people living in 1500 sq ft.  It doesn't help with blogging.  Nor does it help with sanity.  There is less to clean but the mess is more overwhelming.  And it seems impossible to do anything without making a mess. 

Like when we had to make Halloween costumes this year.  We made Molly's wings using this tutorial, and it was pretty much accurate.  We used a heavier fabric (a stretchy metallic lycra, to match the leotard).

(early notes to architect)

We are pretty close to finding a contractor to put our planned addition on the back of our house.  So hopefully I'll be blogging about that, soon.  We have the architectural plans pretty much done, and are down to a couple contractors who are in the budget, at least on viewing the project.  It has taken a very long time...I thought we'd be wrapping up construction now, so yeah....

We did throw some parties prior to departing Indianapolis, and we've even thrown one party here in FL--albeit a smaller one.  So I'm working on those posts now as well.  But I've been working on my ballooning game...I highly recommend watching the Poppies for Grace instructional videos.  So, so easy and no special tools required.  

What am I scrolling on my phone for hours?  Well, sometimes just Pinterest, but I'm also obsessed with Palm Beach real estate.  I think its important to know where you would spend your Power Ball winnings, just in case.  Many of the million dollar properties are whomp whomp, but every once in a while you find someone with good taste AND money, and its such a pleasure. 

How am I finding the time now?  I am home with a broken ankle, and my kids are at the beach.  It is too cold for swimming, but they are shelling.  Molly is sure that this is the next phase of our Sparkly Cans.  And while I was skeptical, these showed up on 1stdibs for just under $1K

To me, the question is whether we strive to keep it strictly found shells, or do we supplement with a few orders from China (or our local souvenir shop)?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Surprise, I live in Florida now.

Yeah, so there was a sort-of good reason for the radio silence.  Turns out selling our house, buying a house, commuting out of state every other week and finally moving a family of 5 across the country really, really, sucks.

Obviously, there is a lot to discuss.  Like the fact that my new address is on the Dixie Highway.  And Circa Who is a walk away, next to my new cupcake place.  And the fact that I am renovating a 1953 mid-century house.  And I renovated my old kitchen prior to selling the Indy house.  And I threw 2 birthday parties.  And then I took 3 children to Paris for a week at the end of March and there was a more recent Montreal/Quebec City summer vacation.  A lot to keep going, let alone blog about considering I don't have my shit together on a good day.

But let's talk about the Indy house, because like it or not that project is over.  And it was just the best house ever (i.e., WPB is expensive).  I really wanted to have shelter-mag style photos taken, but I didn't really have time and wasn't really cool spending the money since I did not consider it "finished" or even close.  Compromises had to be made for listing purposes. But I do have some real estate photos, and as much as they are your standard wide-angle photos that highlight the floors we all make fun of, they are the only house tour we've got. 

Living room .  They really wanted me to repaint it gray, but I refused.  Kevin and I decided that if you came in that living room, you could tell that it could be a great room even if blue walls aren't your thing.  Plus that couch, chairs and mirror weren't going to look good with gray.  I wanted to cover the red coffee table with black python auto vinyl, but it didn't happen.  Well, really I wanted to commission a custom table from my trusty wood worker/labor lawyer Chuck.  Oh, and don't get me started on the fact that no one fixed my pillows on the striped couch.  I had a call during the photos and FREAKED when they came in.  We had to reshoot the kitchen b/c all the papers and magnets were left on the fridge.  But the house sold anyway, so I guess I won't kill anyone.  

I wanted to do a crazier cushion in the dining room, besides my grand plans for the drapes, but I didn't want to deplete my hoard of La Fiorentina just to leave it behind.  If you live in Indy, I got a cushion/slipcover lady for you.  Just convo me for digits.  

We'll talk about this later.  

Henry's room....I never loved the green.  It had it's moments, but just wasn't optimal.  So this gray was in the works for a while, to be paired with a ceiling wallpapered to match his closet/changing nook.  Obvs I'm not wallpapering a ceiling right before I list my house.  I love that paper so much that I took it with me to paper his ceiling in the new house (hopefully that happens in the next 3 years).  That rug is Ikea and I love it.  Very soft and plush, 8x10 ish.  

Ah, the girls room.  We were forced to finish the canopy bunk bed because I didn't want to take down the hardware that we installed in the ceiling a year ago.  A special thanks to churchmember Stacia for sewing the panels.  The valance and the inner valance each took me a full morning/half day.  That chartreuse dresser was going to be the end of was supposed to be neon yellow but neon spray paint is not furniture quality.  Probably for the best, since that might have photographed odd.  (Odder?)

While I didn't have a full photo documentary done of the house, I did schedule family photos in the house.  While we talked a long time about a full on Wes Anderson styled shoot (so we could have a corresponding yet totally different Wes Anderson styled shoot in FL), I did not have time to style it and get by-in from the kids (although my fav Design Crisis literally did just that as part of her kitchen reveal--so check it out).  I was travelling and got in at midnight before the was overcast, started raining during the outdoor shots and Henry was in a very bad mood BUT my trusty photog at Lumatic Imagery seriously delivered.  Having lived through it, I have no idea how there are any shots of all of us or any of Henry.  

Yes, Henry is eating a giant sparkly lollipop as a bribe to be in the shot.  Sailor dresses from H&M.  Henry is in Janie & Jack + crewcuts (at 3 times $$).

Monday, May 29, 2017

So I threw this party.....

This has been in draft for MONTHS.  But I've got a 3 hr layover (in the C Terminal of Reagan--yuck), so without further ado....

So back in February, I threw a little Valentine's Day party.  It was very, very pink.  I needed wanted to practice a balloon installation, and it was high time I got to have a party.  The starting point was a desire to use this cool silver dessert tray my brother gave me (Two's Company, via EBTH) and a pink sequin tablecloth I saw on Amazon.

I made the cupcakes and I bought the macaroons.  We dressed up some favorite junk food in fry boxes.  The roses are from  I bought them by color (cheaper than variety).  I bought a few bunches of the different "pink" colors (light pink, dark pink, coral) but I would recommend sticking with just one category.  My bunches didn't blend together as well as I had hoped, so I stuck the different colors in different arrangements/locations.  Also, the tablecloth is just OK.  Not as sparkly as the pictures on Amazon.  Those are plastic tablecloths framing out the sequin tablecloth for extra width and light blocking--it is covering a set of french doors (it makes sense for traffic flow).

The big story here are the balloons.  Hundreds and hundreds of pink balloons.  I used this tutorial from The House that Lars Built and hooked a chicken wire frame to the wall (on preexisting hooks or nails, etc.).  I also used this balloon tape for the balloons over the window bench.  Mostly  b/c I wanted to try it--I think it is perfect to keep around for a more casual balloon install.  The balloons came from eBay, aliexpress (those marbelized ones!), and Party City. We had 3 ft balloons partially filled, lots of 18" balloons, hundreds of standard 11" balloons, and then 5" balloons to fill in the gaps.  This balloon pump is required.    

Overall, blowing up balloons and installing them, took AT MOST 8 hours.  But I was working solo.  Also, I left it up for a full week and besides a few of the glue dots failing, it looked perfect.  So this is one install that can be done ahead of time (at least indoors).  One of the random things delaying this post was that I meticulously counted all the balloons, by size, used in the LR installation.  And someone threw away my sheet.  I was sure no one would toss such an OBVIOUSLY important document, so I thought for sure it would turn up.  But no dice.  I can only say I multiplied the length of the install x 6 (i.e., 6 balloons per foot) and then used their expected diameter to come up with how many I needed.  

The dining room installation was a last minute decision, but I enjoyed the excess.

We had plenty of champagne, Diet Dr. Pepper, and La Croix.  Because it was my party.  And yes, I had napkins printed.  I'm too lazy to find a detail shot but they said "You Look Fabulous".   

And what did we do?  We made Valentines, naturally.


Photos by Tyler Hromadka/Lumatic Imagery.  And a styling credit to Charlotte (who assembled favors and foiled all my tags) and churchmember Sarah, who flew in from NJ to help set up.