Pretty things make me happy, so when I saw these party hats from The Polka Dot Pinwheel I had to post about them. Twelve party hats for $29.95. I think they're worth it. See for yourself...
No one throws children's parties like Kate Landers, owner of Kate Landers Events, LLC.
So when I recently spoke to her, I asked her what makes for a great children's party. And I really liked her answer.
According to Kate, it's all about creating an "experience" where the children feel transported to another world.
So, for example, she likes to provide costumes for her guests, like these custom caplets and hairbows for her Madeline in Paris Inspired Birthday Party.
She serves foods that feel authentic to the theme, like this "make your own trail mix station" at her Enchanted Woodland Fairy Party.
She transforms the physical space, like placing the table for her Woodland Party outside, and providing the children with gorgeous toadstools to sit on.
And she designs theme-related activities, like this "design your own floral masterpiece" at her Madeline in Paris Party, that the children find exciting and engaging.
Now I know we all wish we could have Kate Landers design us a party, but for those of us who can't, I asked Kate how someone can add those special touches on their own, without a huge budget.
And here were her recommendations:
- Instead of using regular paper plates, invest in a set of nice white melamine or ceramic plates and some colorful fabric bunting to use over and over at all your parties.
- Repurpose what you have. For example, pull out your silver candlesticks and use them to dress up your table. Hang an an old chandelier above your buffet.
- Keep food to a minimum. Schedule your party from 2pm -4pm and serve easy foods (fruit, veggies, mini sandwiches, and cake). Forget making an elaborate dessert table.
- Be careful with making things yourself. A lot of times it can be a lot of work, and it might not save you as much as you think.
And if you have any interest in learning how to throw a party like Kate, she will be starting The Kate Landers Events, LLC, School of Children's Party Design, where she will offer webinars on everything you'll need to know to throw unforgettable parties for children.
So when Kristy said she'd be happy to do a quick tutorial on how she made them, I jumped at the chance.
Here's how she did it...
- Unfinished wood candlesticks (any craft store)
- For toppers: unfinished wood circles, small saucers, paper plates, melamine plates or anything else
- Non toxic paint
- Mod Podge or another sealer
Unfinished candlesticks have a metal cup in them. So gently pry out the cup with a butter knife and discard. This will allow your topper to be attached to a flat surface.
Paint the candlesticks and toppers as desired -- neutrals, wild colors, or mix and match. I found two coats worked best. As an alternative to wood candlesticks, you could certainly use a crystal candlestick and omit the painting.
You can seal any of the wood pieces with a sealant or Mod Podge at this point.
Place your desired top plate upside down on your work surface.
Line the top of the candlestick circle with glue and then attach to the middle of your top plate. Let dry upside down.
You may want to use temporary glue dots for the paper plate idea, so you can easily remove the plate when finished.
Also, keep in mind that ceramic plates will make your piece more top heavy, so take into consideration what you are putting on it and how careful your guests will be.
Here are some different toppers, desserts, and ideas. You can put a small doily on top, a piece of patterned scrapbook paper, card stock, flowers, or fabric. You can embellish with ribbon, rhinestones, fabric ties, pom poms, or anything you find around the house.
These pedestals are perfect for cupcakes, donuts, Ring Dings, mini pies, mini bowls of ice cream, one piece of fruit would be adorable -- anything you can dream up!
That’s it! These individual dessert pedestals are a beautiful and simple way to add a charming element to your dessert displays.
Thank you, Kristy!
To see all of Kristy's adorable homemade party goods and get more great party ideas, take a look at her blog, The Purple Pug. And while you're at it, take a look at the insanely creative parties she's added to Catch My Party.
I'm a big fan of homemade photo booths at parties. I think they're a great activity for guests, plus the host gets some nice memories out of it.
I also really like props. Props instantly get people to relax and have fun. Ask yourself, who doesn't love getting their picture taken in a big pink boa?
In fact, I've already written about my love of photo booth props here and here, but a photo booth trend I'm also a big fan of is the "empty picture frame." Not only are they easy to make (just empty out a big framed picture, and you're in business) but I also think you get some visually interesting shots.
Take a look at these picture frame photos from some parties on our site and see what you think...
Tiffany N's Cupcakes + Cocktails Party
Kristy's Super Grover Rave
Mattie B's Roaring 20th Birthday
Friday night we were invited to a friends' house for dinner, so I stopped by Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica, CA (where I live) to pick up some cupcakes.
The store is so lovely and the desserts so beautiful, I had to shoot some photos.
Vanilla Bake Shop was started by husband and wife team, Amy and Jeremy Berman. Here's an article from the New York Times about their story.
Amy has also appeared on the Martha Stewart Show to bake her famous Meyer Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes.
Some iPhone photos of the store...
The baby cupcakes I bought for our dinner... Yum.
If you're visiting Los Angeles, I think Vanilla Bake Shop is definitely worth a visit for some of these tasty baby cupcakes.
An unexpected way to serve drinks at your party is in mason jars. The nice thing about mason jars is that they're not too expensive (less than a dollar a jar), they're more interesting and homey than plastic cups, and they're easy to dress up with ribbons, straws, flags, or whatever you like.
For inspiration, take a look at how people on our site are using mason jars to add a warm touch to their parties.
Carey B's Cookie and Milk Party
Ashley S's Garden Baby Shower Luncheon
Tanya M's Red, White, and Blue Backyard BBQ
Claudia S's Tickled Blue BaByQ Shower
Kelly S's Pink Cowgirl Party