The Greatest Birthday Party

I’ve always been told that my second calling in life other than photography should be party planning.  I have a tendency to go a little overboard with the details at all of my kids’ Birthday parties.  I love putting all the details together to create a bigger vision.  I think I may be addicted and my husband would certainly appreciate it if you planned an intervention for me.  Anyways, moving on….. Recently I posted about the obsession my son has with The Greatest Showman and all the craziness that has come about because of that obsession.  His Birthday party was this past weekend and it was so awesome seeing it all come together!

If you’re looking for tips to throw your own Greatest Showman themed party or just want to find out if Hugh Jackman actually showed up to the party, keep reading and I’ll take you through the different ways we turned the Rogers Police Department into a big top for the day and all the details that went into it as well as where we purchased things!

Starting off, the big circus play tent and the overhanging one both came from Ikea.  You can purchase a red and white version of the play tent still, however the red and yellow play tent and the bed canopy (blue one) were discontinued and I found one at a local yard sale and the other at Goodwill just with sheer luck.  I used red and white streamers to make the backdrop and the paper fans came from Hobby Lobby.

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We used a lot of tulle and balloons.  We used tulle to create the “tent” (like, 300 yards of it…..) and I put some puffy tissue paper pom poms to kind of hide the area where the tulle was tacked into the ceiling.  We also strung lights up to give it a bit of an extra circus-y effect.  I also used a lot of balloons because somehow it just doesn’t feel like a circus party without them.

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The tablecloths were purchased from Party City and worked very well for the theme.  We also got some basic blue plates, yellow napkins, blue cutlery, and red and white striped straws all from our local Hobby Lobby.  The red and white pinwheel plates were from Etsy.  Instead of cups we decided to get glass bottles of Coca Cola from our local Walmart.  Even though this was a bit more expensive, I thought it was more genuine to a real circus than paper cups would have been.

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For table decor I wanted to keep it simple, but fun.  I started with tossing some gold confetti on the tables (be warned, it looks AWESOME but it will get everywhere – I found it in my hair all the way to in my 1 year old’s diaper).  As a table runner, I spread some undyed excelsior moss (purchased at Hobby Lobby) to resemble hay (though straw or hay would work just as well).  I then scattered peanuts on the hay, which was multi-purposed because it served as decor, a snack for people at the tables, and it also filled the room with the smell of peanuts, making you feel like you were really in a circus.  I then added a few of these small top hats because it just helped make it more Greatest Showman vs just a circus theme.  I then placed popcorn buckets (purchased from the Target dollar spot but they aren’t available online) as centerpieces with balloons inside.  After putting the balloons in, I topped off the buckets with real popcorn for aesthetic purposes.  I also added a couple 4×6 photos in gold frames of my son in his PT Barnum outfit to tie in more of the movie.

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This next touch was really fun and I felt it really helped bring in so much of what Greatest Showman fans love about the movie.  I had an etsy shop custom make some “confetti” using quotes from the songs of the movie and I placed them here and there on the tables.  I think this was my favorite little detail!

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On the food and cake table, I set up these fun little letter lights to spell “Circus” next to an 11×14 photo of my son.  I also placed a stack of wallets of the same photo in front of it so guests could take one home (I do this at every Birthday party so family members can always have an updated photo of them).

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For the last couple of years, I’ve really loved making some fun food signs for my kiddos’ parties.  This party was no different and I put together these little signs.  I used wood materials from Hobby Lobby to put them together, painted them a metallic red, then added some gold stick on letters, the gems, the trim (which was a stick on trim for scrapbooking) and custom ordered tiny top hat confetti from this Etsy shop to add to the top of them.

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While at a street fair in my hometown I happened across a booth with some super cute cookies.  I chatted a bit with the owner and ended up ordering some for my son’s party.  They came out super cute and everyone loved them (my sister was stuffing them in her purse like an old man at Olive Garden with the breadsticks and had us all cracking up)!  They were made by Confections by Cunningham and although they are located in Arkansas, they do also offer shipping.

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Another fun touch was actually inspired by this blog post about hosting a movie night for The Greatest Showman.  We served some Barnum’s Animal Crackers and I made these icing holders out of toy elephants (I got mine at Dollar Tree because I’m cheap, but any kind would likely do) by gluing small plastic bowls to their backs, bedazzling their ankles to make them look a bit more circusy, and adding some tiny plastic top hats to their trunks (I used the rest as confetti here and there on the tables).

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As far as other details, we really just wanted it to feel like you were at a circus, so we kept the food and snacks as circus-y as possible.  We served hot dogs for the main “meal” and then had the animal crackers, peanuts, cotton candy, and popcorn as snacks/sides.  For the full effect, we even borrowed my dad’s vintage popcorn machine.

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The cakes were both made by the ever amazing Nichole with Cakes by Crazy.  She makes all of my kiddos cakes and is fabulous!  She made one cake look like a circus tent at the request of my son and the other one was a cute little top hat!  I made the cake stand out of a red plastic bucket (from our local Walmart, however they don’t sell them online – they are in the party section though).  I used felt for the yellow triangles and blue foam stars from Hobby Lobby to make it look like a circus elephant stand.  A little bit of hot glue and voila!  A circus cake stand!

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Finally, this awesome cake topper was designed by me in Photoshop and made into a reality by the talented Laura from this Etsy shop.  She can make just about anything you can dream up and I use her for pretty much every one of my kids’ parties!

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This party was just so much fun!  I really enjoyed putting it all together and watching my son light up when he saw that room turned into a big top!  Also, for those of you who have been following along with this story, Hugh Jackman didn’t show up much to my son’s dismay, however he is still over the moon with getting to be on the news in his outfit and he wrote Hugh the sweetest letter.  Hopefully he’ll get a response eventually (if you happen to know Hugh Jackman, help a girl out and send him this)!  Thank you all for coming along with us on this wild ride!  It’s been fun and I have to say I’m rather sorry that’s it’s over.  But we made some amazing memories that will last a lifetime!

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Mermaid Beach Party!

I have a tendency to get a bit carried away with kids’ Birthday parties lately.  I don’t really know how it started and I definitely don’t know how to stop it, but I do know that it’s a lot of fun!  While visiting Disney World this year, my daughter fell in love with the Little Mermaid ride and begged us for a mermaid themed party.  I didn’t want to do a typical Ariel party, so I branched out a bit and just encompassed a mermaid/beach theme in general.  In this blog post I’ll go into a little bit more detail about how I achieved the look and where I bought some of the decor and supplies.

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The main thing I wanted to do was cover up the ugly cabinet that is located in this room.  To do that I used some basic streamers and made a backdrop using the color scheme I wanted for the party.  To make it a little more interesting I twisted some green streamers here and there to resemble seaweed and I also used some glitter scrapbook paper to cut out “bubbles”.

For the big shell, I actually used an exacto knife and foam board.  I am SO not crafty and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was.  After cutting out the shape I slapped some paint on it and made an outline of a shell in white paint to make it a bit more obvious what it was.  After that I printed out silhouettes of my daughter’s name in a pretty font, seahorses, coral, and seaweed, cut them out, traced them onto glitter scrapbooking paper, and cut them out.  I then hot glued them in a pretty looking arrangement on the shell.

For the jellyfish, I started with basic paper lanterns (I got mine from Walmart however you can find these at most stores that carry party supplies), wrapped the top in tulle, then used tulle and ribbon to make the “stingers”.  Voila!  You have some pretty easy to make and convincing jellyfish.

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The tables were simple but pulled together very well with the rest of the party.  I bought iridescent tablecloths from my local Walmart, however Party City sells them online. The place settings were all purchased at Party City (here are the links for the big plates, small plates, napkins, cups, and cutlery).  I added some little jewels to the cutlery with hot glue to make them a bit prettier.  For a table runner, I purchased some big decorative fishing nets from Hobby Lobby (but they also have a smaller one as well) — side note, if you decide to purchase things from Hobby Lobby, make sure to watch for sales and grab the 40% off coupon!  If you have a store near you you can use it on a full priced item once every day for every person in your party!).

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On top of the fishing nets, I added in lots of real seashells.  I found many of them at local thrift stores and flea markets, but also used the 40% Hobby Lobby coupon in-store to buy a couple BIG baskets of them.  You can also find large lots of seashells online in a few places.  I also used a couple of plastic pearl necklaces (reusing those pearls from my daughter’s tea party themed Birthday last year) and I scattered some fake pearls in the nets as well (found at Hobby Lobby).  For one of the “centerpieces” on the table, I also found an old bottle and put a rolled parchment paper inside to look like a message in a bottle.  This is a super easy and cheap decor idea!

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If you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge advocate for thrift stores and flea markets when it comes to Birthday parties.  You can find some really cute and unique touches there!  I found three of these seashell picture frames and even a little sandcastle! If you’re crafty with a glue gun you could probably even make some picture frames of your own!  I also used some twine (and followed this tutorial) to wrap some old bottles I had lying around the house in “fishnets”.  You could also do this with mason jars.  These were a really cute touch and everyone loved them!  The seaweed on the walls was simply cut out of glitter scrapbook paper.

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At my son’s Lumberjack themed Birthday party, I fell in love with punny little food signs, and there were so many options for this mermaid theme!  I made some cute little signs with some unfinished wood pieces from Hobby Lobby.  I painted them and voila!  For sandwiches we made some “starfish” with a cookie cutter, ham, and cheese.  We also did this yummy spinach artichoke dip recipe to use as “seaweed dip”.  Goldfish made a very easy and theme-appropriate snack.  I also used this candy mold to make some chocolate “shells”.  I bought some white Sixlets and used them for “pearls” and also made some “oysters” to go with them.  I made the oysters out of vanilla wafers with icing in the middle, white chocolate drizzled on top to resemble lines of a shell, and one Sixlet pearl in the middle.  “Driftwood” was another easy snack by using pretzel sticks, as was “coral” by using rock candy sticks.  We also made “ocean water” by using blue food coloring to color drinking water.  You could also make ocean water with blue colored Sprite!

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Another quick and lovely decor idea is to get a big candle holder, put some sand at the bottom (we used sand from our first beach trip to make it more special – I knew there was a reason I had kept it for the last two years), add in a few seashells and fake pearls, then put in whatever age your kiddo is turning and viola!   A beautiful looking detail!

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Finally, we had this beautiful cake made by Nichole with Cakes by Crazy and we found this gorgeous glittery mermaid topper on Etsy!

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I hope you enjoyed some fun ideas for a mermaid themed party!  If you’d like to see some of my other parties feel free to check them out here on my blog or on my Pinterest page!

Landon’s Lumberjack Bash!

Recently I did a lumberjack themed Birthday session for my son’s first Birthday.  This past weekend was his party and I loved getting to turn this small space into a lumberjack bash for him!  Full of lots of plaid, pine, and wood, this little Birthday party was so much fun!  In this blog I’ll go through what we did to make the lumberjack theme come to life and where we purchased the supplies and decor we used.

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For the table settings, we got the table runner, plates, buffalo check napkins, wood patterned straws, and woodland animal confetti at our local Hobby Lobby.  The red and white cups and black tablecloth all came from Party City.  I found some large round tree slices and used them as the base for our centerpieces.  These can be purchased or if you know someone who works with trees or has recently cut one down in their yard, you can also just ask if they have some extras you can have or borrow.  On top of the wood slices, I put some fresh pine and pine cones.  I went out the day before and found some pine branches and pine cones.  I also gathered some pine needles to use as confetti here and there along the tables.

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This section was just a little place to put extra plates and a few more details. As a photographer I always love adding in photos and we also used a small lettering board from Hobby Lobby to put his birth stats on it since this was his first Birthday.  I borrowed this little teepee from a friend, but you can find it on Amazon (yes it’s a dog bed).  We added in more pine elements to this section and I used one of my shawls as a blanket (the awesome thing about a lumberjack theme is that any plaid or buffalo check you have around can be used as decor accents).  The stuffed moose is a super cute addition and we got him from JellyCat.

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For the snacks table I kind of just threw together a bunch of eclectic pieces that would work for a lumberjack theme.  I used rustic looking wooden frames for the photos, more pine elements, and random things I found in different places over the year (I try to come up with my kids’ party themes a few months in advance so I can keep an eye out and take my time when putting together the pieces).  I found the wood lantern, little wooden  house, buffalo check deer silhouette, and wooden ladder at various thrift stores and flea markets.  I always encourage looking at second hand stores for Birthday themes because you can find some really interesting and unique treasures.  The “Into the Wild” sign came from Hobby Lobby, as did the small “adventure” sign (this one has since been discontinued) and the plaid bear silhouette.  The lumberjack hand puppet came from Target, however they sold out fast and I’m not sure if they will be restocking.  As far as smaller details, I purchased a bag of tiny round tree slices from Hobby Lobby to use as additional decor and to set some votive candles on.

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With this party I got a bit creative with the food signs.  My older son loves chocolate rocks and said we should pretend like they were real rocks for his brother’s party and I kind of just rolled with that theme.  All of the small wooden signs were purchased as a custom order from Goat & Kid.  I then hot glued either rope or a twig to either hang them or stick them in the food.  We used chocolate covered raisins for “bear poop”, chocolate rocks for the “rocks”, berry fruit snacks for “forest berries”, pretzel sticks as “twigs”, rainbow Goldfish for “rainbow trout”, carrots and celery for “rabbit food”, and just plain drinking water for the “morning dew”.

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Finally, this amazing cake was made by Cakes by Crazy in Northwest Arkansas.  The cake topper was custom made by Alexis Rae Designs.  The cake stand was literally a tree stump that I found on the side of the road.  I also put up some lanterns with battery operated LED lights inside and had a custom wood slice made with my son’s name and a silhouette of trees and mountains burned into it (also from Goat & Kid).

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So there you have it!  A how-to guide for how to throw a super cute Lumberjack themed Birthday party!  The key with this party is that it can be very budget friendly if you’re willing to put in some work at thrift shops and in the great outdoors.  Most of what I used here was either second-hand or I found out in the forest, which also gave it a more authentic feel.  All the fresh pine also made it smell heavenly!  Thanks for checking out my blog!  To see other parties that I’ve decorated, click here!

Fantasmic Birthday Party

This year for my son’s Birthday he wanted to do a Fantasmic theme!  I knew that this would be a challenge, since there aren’t any Fantasmic (or even Fantasia, which is similar) themed party supplies or anything.  I took a bit of research, craftiness, and lots of imagination, but we pulled it off!  We got the Sorcerer Mickey robe from Etsy.  I made the cups from a red solo cup, gold ribbon/rope (tied into a bow and hot glued to the cup), and some paper straws I found on Etsy.  The cake was made by the insanely talented Nichole Hamm (if you haven’t seen the Vincent Van Gogh Starry Night cake she made, make sure to check it out here!), the star toppers were from Etsy, the glitter number 6 was from Hobby Lobby, the confetti was a custom order from this Etsy shop, the plates were ordered from Meri Meri. and everything else was purchased either at Disney World (some of it through the Shop Disney Parks app) or Party City for the generic party stuff.

I love planning parties and this was a blast for me!  Below are some photos of the decor and one of the portraits I did of my son for the party.  In the words of Sorcerer Mickey, “Some imagination, huh?”

750A1463.jpgFantasmic.pngTo see more sessions like this, click on a tag or category in the top left of this post and it will bring up sessions in the same tag-group or category!  To follow my work, please follow this blog, like me on Facebook, or follow me on Instagram.  For photography inquiries please contact me through my website.  Thank you for visiting my blog!

 

Cora’s Garden Tea Party Birthday

Let me start off by saying, this Birthday party was a dream to put together.  It was so much fun and I truly loved every second of it!  That said, let me warn you that this is definitely not the cheapest party idea unless you decide to rent the tea party china or have a family member who doesn’t mind lending you theirs.  In my situation, I painstakingly put together this party idea piece by piece, literally starting when my daughter was in the womb.  I found the cutest tea set at a flea market and decided that it would be an adorable idea for her second or third Birthday.  I spent many hours since then looking through thrift stores, flea markets, antique shops, and yard sales for tea party items.  Tea cups, saucers, pitchers, lace tablecloths, doilies, vases, teapots…..the search sometimes truly felt like it was never ending.

Because most of what I found was at different thrift stores, I really don’t have any links in this blog to help you purchase items for this party.  If you are looking for an easy to throw together party, this is definitely not the one for you (however feel free to check out some of the other parties I’ve thrown for my kids), but if you are up for an adventure and are wanting the cutest little Birthday party around, definitely keep reading!  I will showcase some ideas and details that really helped bring this party full circle!

First, you want to find the perfect venue for your tea party.  For us, our backyard simply wasn’t pretty enough, and we didn’t really know anyone who had one we could use.  There were local tea shops that would work, however I really wanted it set in a pretty garden.  This local garden was perfect and I loved the pergola as well!  Unfortunately this was one of their last events and they have since closed down, however I encourage you to get creative when searching for a location.  Look at parks, ask friends if they’d lend you their backyard, and even look at tea shops or wedding venues if your budget allows!

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For the tables, I simply added some lace elements, lots of doilies, pitchers, vases, and of course tea sets.  I also really wanted to go with the garden theme so I bought a big bunch of fresh flowers at Sam’s Club that morning to stick in some of the vases and teapots!  The great thing about this theme is that you don’t necessarily have to match.  You can be a bit eclectic and it still pulls together very nicely!

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I’m a true believer in little details.  I feel like little details make or break any event and so I wanted to set up a cute little area by the front steps and also add a bit to the pergola (not much but just enough).  I put out some lace, doilies, a couple picture frames, teacups, a teapot, bird cage, and lots of flowers to fill them.  This just added a nice touch when you first walked up to the party.  On a little hook on one of the rails we also hung some plastic pearl necklaces for people to grab and wear (not shown).  On the pergola I also added three small floppy hats, because what is a tea party without floppy hats?

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The food and drink tables were pretty simple, and continued with the eclectic tea party theme.  On the drink table I set a gorgeous painting (which I found at a thrift store for $2!) and made some lavender infused water.  I placed some additional details and flower-filled teacups.  I also had some really cute confetti made by an Etsy shop (she is my favorite for all my confetti and cake topper needs!) that was shaped like teapots and teacups (I wish I had a good photo of them, but by the end of things I was rushing to take pictures before the party started)!  For the food we kept it simple and did some chicken salad sandwiches, fresh melons cut into flower shapes, and mini quiche.  I had a gorgeous antique pitcher and basin filled with more flowers, and I made a floral 2 to adorn the cake area.  I purchased a large paper mache number from Hobby Lobby then hot glued fake flowers to it.

The beautiful cake was made by Nichole with Cakes by Crazy and it was wonderful!  She made it lavender flavored to go with the garden theme and being the sweetheart she is, she even added a few leaves that she had frozen and saved from the wedding cake she made my husband and I at our vow renewal!  This was the most special and beautiful touch!  The gorgeous cake topper was found on Etsy!

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This party was so much fun to put together.  Exhausting and long, but so much fun!  It was worth the time and patience to get everything together and I’m so happy with how it turned out!  Feel free to check out some of the other parties I’ve done for my kids here on my blog or on my Pinterest board!  Thanks for stopping by!

Princess Cora’s First Birthday!

My daughter recently turned a year old and we did a princess themed party for her!  We utilized the gorgeous Princess Party Palace venue in Fayetteville, Arkansas and it was just perfect for this theme!  Everything about this day was pink and gold and just gorgeous!  Keep reading for more details on how we achieved the princess look and some links for where you can find stuff!

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First, I set up this tiny little table at the entry with some invitations, photos, and the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast.  I love having something simple like this invite people in!

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For the main table, we kept it simple since there was already so much going on at the venue.  We decided to go with a simple set up with small details that would compliment the bigger picture.  We had adorable little cups and matching confetti made by Confetti Mama Party on Etsy.  We complimented the cups with some gorgeous little pink, white, and gold tiara straws custom made by this Etsy shop.  We added a few more details with some gold candles on gold candle holders, some photos of our little princess in some cute little frames from Hobby Lobby, and a few votive candles in holders as well.  Overall pretty simple, but very elegant.

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The food and drink table was also pretty simple.  We used a few picture frames to show off some of our favorite photos of our little princess, had some pink lemonade, pink chocolate dipped pretzel sticks with gold sprinkles, and other easy snacks.  We added some pink and gold glitter and confetti to the table as well to add just a little pop.

 

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The cake table was set up with lots of glitter and confetti.  I also had a big photo of my daughter in her Birthday dress centering the table.  I printed out some photos that I did of her at Disney World dressed as Cinderella, Snow White, and Jasmine.  Complementing these photos I had a glass slipper, bejeweled apple, and gold genie lamp.  The picture frame and number 1 were both very basic and I used gold spray paint to help them match.  The cake stand was also spray painted using this method (although the lady I borrowed it from added a bowl underneath and some trim around the plate).  I purchased the crown as an unfinished wood piece at Hobby Lobby, painted it, added some gold painted wooden letters, and jewels.

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The cake was made by the ridiculously talented Nichole from Cakes by Crazy and I couldn’t have loved it any more.  I purchased the gold “1” candle from Etsy as well as the cake topper as a custom order from this Etsy shop.

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Overall this birthday was just SO fun to plan!  It was perfect for any princess and I couldn’t be happier with how it all came together!  Thanks for following along and good luck on planning your own party for your little princess!