March 14, 2013
I cohosted a baby shower months ago (ahem, I just did a 2 month photo shoot with the baby), and the mom recently asked for the photos which made me realize I never posted them, oops!
The design of the shower was based off the bedding that was going in the babies room, so our color palette was purple with small amounts of cyan and pink.
Since it was an afternoon shower we had a dessert buffet (okay, who really needs an excuse for a dessert buffet), and I designed the labels to match the invites.
We even tried to have all the snacks be some what related to the theme colors, especially the desserts. So I hunted down blue, purple and pink candy (The other cohost made the fabulous diaper cake)
I dusted off my cookie decorating skills and frosted cookies. It reminded me of the cookie decorating parties one of my close friend throws in California every year. I am sad to miss them, but I had fun decorating these cookies!
We made favor boxes (can you tell that when I embrace a theme, I really embrace it?).
And we ordered a banner to hang.
We also hung tissue flowers in coordinating colors, which I didn’t take any photos of. We did have other snacks as well. My cohost left me in charge of the food, because well I love it and she knew that there would be cheeses they had never even heard of. And in this case some fruits as well.
Look purple cheese!
I dusted off the my kids pram and used it as party decor and as a place to stash the gifts.
And one final shot of the mama to be, oohing and ahhing over all the adorable girly clothes she got.
I had so much fun cohosting this shower! My co-host was fabulous and so was the mama-to-be. I will post photos soon of Little Miss Claire.
February 14, 2013
I have so many posts to write that I actually have a list, the problem is finding the time to write them. But Im going to ignore the list for today and share Fiona’s Valentines cards. Gone are the days of me deciding what to do, Fiona has an opinion and she has known how to express it for a couple of years. So I asked her what she wanted to do for her valentines cards and she said she wanted a big heart.So I got busy drawing a heart.
Together we went to the paper store and I let her pick out paper. She found some flower paper that she loved so she wanted that for the back and she picked purple cardstock for the front side (in future I am only going to go with one paper, glueing 3 together was time consuming, and I don’t think it needed 3 layers. But I like a good thick card). She also picked out some sparkly bejeweled stickers to embellish her cards. Then we went to target to pick out pencils to go with the cards, I figured I could have the heart hold the pencil. I don’t do candy, I just don’t think every holiday needs to come with sugar. So Fiona picked out some heart pencils (are we sensing a theme here?). I cut and assembled the cards and Fiona decorated them. She had to make 25 valentines and I was impressed that she had the patience to decorate them all (I figured having her assemble them was pushing my luck).
In the end she was very happy with them. So it was a good collaborative effort. Her class is having a tea party (which I have to leave for in 45 minutes), so I volunteered to bake some cookies for it (I know, I know, what was I thinking?). Going with the theme of no candy, I tried to find a healthier cookie recipe. I ended up going with a cherry/orange cookie (which was vegan, nut free, and even low fat. And they even taste good! They are Mark approved). Yesterday was one of those rare days that I felt like I got the whole working mom thing down. I finished valentine cards, I baked 3 dozen cookies, I got my work done, and we even went out to dinner with friends. Its a rare day when the stars align and I feel like “I got this”.
Now I am off to put on my yellow dress (Fiona picked it out), and a tiara and join my little princess at her school for a valentines tea party. Im pretty sure it is going to be the highlight of my week.
September 17, 2012
I started thinking about Lincoln’s first birthday months ago. Trying to decide on a theme; monsters, dinosaurs, cars; there are so many options. For Fiona’s first birthday we threw a rock concert, and called her our rockstar. Which she was, she arrived 8 weeks early, spent 22 days in the NICU and by the time her first birthday rolled around she was healthy, strong and you could no longer tell she had ever been a preemie. On the other hand Lincoln arrived 4 weeks early and was super strong and healthy right from the beginning. He got checked out by a NICU doctor and was declared healthy enough to go home with out a visit to the NICU at all (even though the Amnio I had several days prior had said that his lungs still needed 3 weeks to develop!). So for his birthday we decided on a super hero theme. He is my strong, healthy, giant superhero.
For his invitation Mark and I collaborated. Originally I asked his to draw a Super Lincoln for me, I spent weeks drawing the ladybug, but I was pretty sure a super hero was beyond my ability. Mark suggested a photo shoot instead. He sent me photos of examples for the type of cape he was thinking, and I got to work making a pint sized super hero costume.
We headed to downtown Austin to take some photos, we had a particular location in mind, and then we drove past the skyline, and changed our minds. We wanted the super hero in front of the city skyline, kind of like you would see Superman in front of Metropolis (The photos came out awesome: http://www.flickr.com/photos/markheaps).
For the design of the invites, I wanted to stick to the Superman colors; Red, blue and Yellow. Since they are primary colors they would work great for a 1 year old’s birthday. Which is also why his outfit is red and blue. The invites were also a collaboration. I will admit that I know nothing about comics (in fact I had to ask people where to find comic books so that I could use them for decorations). I came up with the layout and most of the design, and Mark super heroed it up for me. I am officially the mom of a little boy with captain america and comic book fonts on my computer. Its the first time we have collaborated so closely on a design (literally standing over each others shoulders), and if this is the result, we should do it more often!
Once I had the theme and colors established I searched the internet for inspiration for superhero themes. Thank you pinterest for being a wealth of ideas. I’ve spent the last 3 years designing girlie stuff, and now I had to change tracks and design for a boy. I had a lot of fun playing with bright colors.
I bought a few used comics to cut up and use as decor. I modge podged the comics onto a couple wooden L’s. One went on the food table, and the other I put in a yellow wreath and hung it on the door from a red ribbon. This Superman L greeted guests at the door, and let them know that a superhero lives here.
Since we had used the skyline on the invites, I wanted to incorporate that in the design of the food table.
I loved the overall look of the table. It was a counter to ceiling look that had buildings, balloons and tissue poufs (that said things like ka-pow, and bam).
Other decorative elements included the Large modge podged L, a banner that spelled out his name (thank you Hannah from SweetPartDesign for helping with the banner! http://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetPartDesigns?ref=ss_profile My friend Hannah cut out the blue rounded squares and all the letters, which made assembling the banner easy. I was really picky and couldn’t fins paper I wanted for the background behind the letters, so I designed some. And managed to find 1 superhero scrapbooking paper).
For the cupcakes I wanted to keep them simple, and made fondant superhero badges.
A few had L’s on them for Super Lincolns!
For the kids snack table we had Power Puffs (Trader Joe cheesy puffs), and Action Packed Apple Sticks (Trader Joe apple and cinnamon sticks). Two of Lincolns favorite snacks.
I made superhero lollipops that were both decoration and favors.
Here is a close up of one of the tissue poufs. I loved how they looked for Fiona’s party, but for Lincoln’s I wanted to boy them up. Pointy ends made them the perfect sign holders.
My awesome neighbors/partners in party decorating crime helped me put most of the decorations together the night before. The party was bright, colorful and perfect for my little superhero.
Later this week I will post party photos, but I will warn you now; there are a lot!!
August 20, 2012
Fiona LOVED going to see the Lorax when it was in the theaters, so when I found out it was being released on DVD I pre-ordered it weeks in advance. We invited a couple of her preschool friends over for a Lorax movie night, and not being one to pass up being able to decorate I put together a few quick Lorax themed snacks and decorations.
I think the most time consuming project was the bottles, not designing the labels or attaching them. No the hardest part was finding them! I decided the day before that I wanted cute bottles for the lemonade. It involved lots of internet searching, and finally a plea on facebook if anyone had seen these types of bottles locally. Luckily a friend noticed that they were similar to a bottle that HEB uses for their freshly squeezed orange juice. So I went and bought some orange juice. I already ordered more online so that in the future I won’t have to search for them at the last minute…although I’m sure I will find something else to search for.
Fiona helped paint the trunks of the large truffula trees, and we reused the tissue poufs from her birthday party. And the girls loved them! At one point all of them were removed from the vase as they ran around pretending that they were ice cream cones and wands.
Fiona did a great job painting them! She also helped glue all the little food signs together. Fiona was so excited to help with the decorations.
For the bottles I used the movie poster (which can be downloaded here: http://loraxtoolkit.tumblr.com/tagged/Art) and cropped it to the size I wanted and added the “Pink Lemonade”. I also found the adorable straws at a local craft store. I cut out some mustaches to make them extra loraxy. This was another project that was a huge hit with the girls, and they all took their drinks home with them.
I loved how the mustaches came out.
I served Lorax themed snacks; humming fish (aka whole wheat gold fish), truffula fruit (strawberries and raspberries), and marshmallows (which is what the bar-ba-loot bears eat in the movie), and truffula trees. It would have been so easy to do a huge Lorax themed candy bar, but with only 3 little girls, 2 baby boys, and 3 moms I didn’t want too much sugar. I figured the marshmallows and truffula trees would be enough.
I love, love, love the truffula trees. They were really easy to make, just pretzels with cotton candy tops. I had to use store bought cotton candy (which my husband was sweet enough to go out and look for in the middle of the night. Which isn’t as bad as it sounds! He went to a few places after playing a gig, but it was still very late. And he totally rocks for getting it and not questioning my sanity!), and for future reference I need to wait until just before they are served to make them. The cotton candy crystalized really fast and got hard. I don’t know if the fresh stuff would last longer or not. But regardless they were super cute and the girls loved them.
The first of the snacks to disappear were the marshmallows (of course!). They were long gone before the bears started eating them in the movie. As soon as marshmallows started flying across the screen the girls wanted more. But one bowl full was more then enough!
As you can see, Fiona got a head start on the marshmallows.
The girls engrossed in the movie, eating the truffula fruit and humming fish. In case you were wondering, why yes that is a toy syringe in Fiona’s hand. You never know when Doctor Fiona will need to administer a shot.
And just in case you were wondering what the boys were up to while the girls watched the movie and ran around shrieking like only little girls can do; they were beating each other up with blocks. Lincoln kept pulling all of the blocks out, and the other little boy kept putting them back in. It looks like the other boy was getting tired of Lincoln making a mess
Everyone had a lot of fun at the Lorax movie night. We may need to do movie nights more often… hmmm I will have to start coming up with other movie snack ideas…
August 2, 2012
I tend to go over board on birthday parties, I know that. Most people don’t throw a concert for their kids first birthday. And For Fiona’s 3rd birthday we invited almost 40 people over to tea, 15 of them being kids. I love parties, birthday parties especially. Maybe its having a child that I never got to throw a birthday party for that makes birthday parties that much more special. Its another year to celebrate that they are alive, and celebrate I will!
So when we decided on a ladybug tea party theme I embraced it whole heartedly. We rented child size table and chairs and transformed our front room into a tea room. A big thanks to my husband and our friend Sam for taking photos of everything. I was running around all day getting ready that I didn’t have time to take many photos!
After Fiona went to bed we set about decorating the room. We made a bunch of tissue paper balls (and by “we” I mean my fabulous neighbor and mother-in-law) and hung them all over the room. Fiona loved the tissue balls so much that she asked me to hang them in her room after the party.
Balloons were added to the mix to make a very fun and colorful room. We placed ladybug plates and tea cups at each seat. Fiona came down the stairs the next morning and oohhed and ahhed over everything. Her reaction was better then christmas!
While wandering around Hobby Lobby I came across tiny butterflies and ladybugs in the floral department. I thought they might be cute to put around the room.
Fiona thought they were awesome, and ran around the room trying to spot them all. A couple were on the tissue balls, some were on the table, a couple on the flower vases and one was on the roof of her playhouse. She wanted to hold one and walked around with it on her finger (this is the only photo in this entire post that is mine!)
The kids got their own snacks and tea sandwiches (triangle peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and butterfly turkey and cheese sandwiches).
I had made several trips to good will to find all the teacups. I went with mismatching cups 1) because I thought it would be more fun and a little mad hatterish 2) for practical reasons as well; there was no way I was finding 12 of the same tea cups! Fiona added a couple of the ladybug clothespin magnets from the favors to her place setting, I guess she thought it needed more ladybugs!
Amazingly all but 2 kids actually drank the tea, and even more amazingly nothing was spilled or broken! The kids all loved that I went around serving them tea and fruit. For the most part 12 kids ranging from 18 months to 7 sat down to a tea party and had fun. All the parents hovered near by…just in case. I look forward to throwing tea parties when Fiona is older that involves my serving tea, sandwiches and cakes and then leaving!
Fiona was very concerned about her cupcakes all day. “Mama? You made my cupcakes right?” “Yes, dear I did, and they are pink” “Are you sure?? I don’t see them.” Don’t worry they were safely next door at our neighbors house and Fiona loved them when they were brought over.
I had a lot of fun getting ready for this party, and Fiona helped alot. She picked out balloon colors, colors for the tissue paper balls, the cupcake wrappers, and we went tea tasting so she could pick out the tea. In case you are wondering Watermelon Chill tea from the Tea Embassy (http://teaembassy.com/) was a HUGE hit with the kids. And the people there were fantastic and very patient with an almost 3 year old. The Barton Springs blend was also tasty and is what I used to create the favors.
I hope that Fiona had a great time at her birthday! Now to prepare for the boy’s first birthday!
July 31, 2012
Finally I am getting around to doing Fiona’s party posts! Fiona is obsessed with a book called Ladybug girl, I’ve mentioned it many times before (remember the halloween costume?). So for her birthday we gave her a few choices and she chose a ladybug tea party We did ladybug versus ladybug girl, but Fiona didn’t care. She wore her ladybug girl dress (red with white polka dots) and was thrilled.
For her invites I illustrated a couple of ladybugs having tea. Let me just say, Im not an illustrator, so this invitation took forever for me to make. My friends heard lots of whinnying as I worked on it. Im pretty sure I asked them at least once a day why I do these tings to myself. But I love the way they came out! So it was worth all the banging of my head on my desk. The back had a lady bug print (just like the back of all the ladybug girl books), and front had a flap that opened with all the party details. And there are 3 yellow flowers, because Fiona was turning 3!
I’m so happy with how they came out, and a big thanks to Jill at Almaden Press for the fabulous printing job!
I used the invitations to base the rest of the design for the party around. Including decor. Originally I was going to go with all red decorations, but since there were so many colors in the invitation I went with a more varied color palette for the decorations. But the decorations are another post… on to the favors! For the favors I made little teas party kits. So that each kids could go home and throw a mini tea party themselves. Each kid got to keep their teacup from the party as well.
The tea party in a bag kits contained:home made tea cookies, a custom made tea bag with a tea blend from the party (caffeine free of course), a honey stick, a ladybug and bumble bee temporary tattoo, and a ladybug clothespin magnet (for decorations for their party). It was all packaged in a parchment bag, which has the bonus of being good for the planet as well as cute.
Here are the labels for the tea cookies and tea bags:
I made organic, healthy animal crackers in the shapes of ladybugs and butterflies. Yes, I am one of those mothers, and I am ok with it
Normally I would do cupcake toppers for the cupcakes but Fiona picked out really cute flower cupcake holders so I thought I would make the frosting look like a ladybug on the flowers. That is until Fiona also insisted on pink cupcakes (pink, pink, pink! So that if she ate enough she would turn pink. Yep, Fiona has been reading Pinkalicious). So pink ladybugs it was. I’m hoping that at least a few people got what they were suppose to be, but if not then at least they were tasty cupcakes with chocolate chips and eyes.
The cupcakes and frosting were vegan just in case any of the kids had milk allergies (I had a few without the chocolate chips as well), and because this is my favorite recipe to make.
Next post will be all the decorations from the tea party!
May 23, 2012
A friend of mine is expecting a little girl next month and I cohosted a shower for her. Amy was going with a butterfly theme in the room with pink and sage green as the colors, so we went with that as the theme of the shower. Since Amy already has a little boy, we wanted a girly shower. All pinks, flowers and butterflies.
I designed the back of the invitation as well. I did a mama butterfly and 2 little baby butterflies; one for each of her kids (her son, and soon to be daughter).
The main hostess is fabulously crafty, dare I say even more crafty then myself, so it was a lot of fun planning and designing the shower. Hannah makes really cute door wreathes (that she sometimes has in her etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/sweetpartdesigns) and she showed me how to make one so that I could help with some of the decorations.
Since it was a small intimate shower we were able to make all of the food ourselves. I was in charge of the fruit and cheese. I also made little signs for all the food, so everyone knew what everything was. I dusted off my old fruit tray making skills (ah, the things you learn at your job in high school. I bet I can still make a tomato rose if I needed to), and made a very pretty fruit tray. In case you are wondering that is mint mixed in with the watermelon (try it sometime, its tasty and refreshing).
My friends learned that if they want normal cheese then they shouldn’t put me in charge of it. But I think I got a few of the girls hooked on chevre.
For favors we got little plantable paper cut into butterflies and assembled the little containers to plant them in. And Hannah made chocolate butterfly lollipops.
Here are a few photos of the decorations. The vision was Hannah’s, I merely assisted and fluffed pom poms.
The happy mother to be.
The shower was a lot of fun, and we got to celebrate the mama to be. And I will happily cohost any event with Hannah again, it was so much fun working with another crafter/artist.
April 25, 2012
Its been awhile since I have posted design work. Mostly because I know nobody really wants to look at boring powerpoint presentations. But I have had the chance to design a couple of invitations recently, which I love to do.
A friend of mine’s son turned 1 a couple of days ago, and she wanted some fun invitations for his birthday. They were going with a Mickey Mouse theme, but didn’t want it to be too over the top Disney.
I came up with a subtle Disney design, that was still bright and fun. The colors are red and yellow which are the colors of Mickey’s clothes (red pants with yellow buttons). I used a small silhouette of Mickey’s head with his iconic ears and the Disney font for his name to make the Mickey theme noticeable. The result was simple yet fun.
Happy birthday Lucas!
April 3, 2012
I’m wrapping up at TEAM Polycom, and I am looking forward to being done. It has been a fun but exhausting project. I’m glad I got to come to Orlando and be on site to see the event. I watched the keynotes yesterday, and when I was working on the presentations its hard to imagine just how big the screen would be. 150′x15′ is a hard size to visualize. The screen size is impressive.
I didn’t work on keynotes, but I did work on some General Session presentations that were presented on the big screen, unfortunately I did not have time to watch any of those.
I was excited to see some of my work in the keynotes though. See the photo on the screen? Its of Kiosks in China. See the graphic/chart on all the kiosks? That’s mine. I made that graphic about 8 months ago for a different presentation, and some how that graphic has infiltrated the company and I have seen it all over TEAM Polycom. There are a couple of other graphics like that as well. It made me all warm and fuzzy to think that my graphic has made it around the world.
I am officially on vacation for a whole 24 hours before I dive into another project. I am going to make the most of those 24 hours. There will be lots of snuggling and floating down the lazy river. And probably a large amount of photos of kids in swimsuits.
January 3, 2012
I love to bake, especially around the holidays. I also love to make candy, and I am known for my peppermint bark, its fabulously minty and delicious. People start asking for it once December rolls around. I also make my own marshmallows (yes, you can make them. No, Im not crazy). Home made marshmallows are what store bought ones dream of being. My neighbor sent me a text after her delivery of the homemade fluffy goodness; “I will eat store bought marshmallows again, but I wont enjoy them!” This year I added home made graham crackers to the mix. So it was kind of a play on smores. And of course my favorite thing about baking is packaging up all the goodies. I have been wanting to do a play on our last name for a few years, so this year I finally made boxes that I deemed “Heaps of Sweets”, it had all three goodies in one box.
I also made a few boxes that were just peppermint bark (similar label to the Heaps of Sweets) and some that were graham crackers and marshmallows. Home made graham crackers are seriously tasty and paired with the home made marshmallows they were down right addicting.
Since Fiona is 2 and starting to really get in to the holidays I wanted to start establishing traditions with her. I mixed up a batch of reindeer feed (cereal, dried strawberrys and yogurt covered raisins) for her to sprinkle in the driveway for the reindeer to snack on while Santa delivered the presents (we also left out a special key just for Santa so that he could come inside, but that is for another post). Of course I couldn’t just leave the reindeer feed in a bowl, so I designed a label for it. I made a couple jars to give to a few of Fiona’s friends.
I will post a few holiday photos soon. Meanwhile I hope everyone had a good holiday!