27 April 2011

a sock monkey 1st birthday

the weather is getting warmer and summer is almost here, so i thought i would show details of my daughter's 1st birthday party, from this past july...

first, a quick story... my husband and i call our daughter monkey. actually, the monkey reference originally started because of my mom. when i was born i had a thick head of jet black hair. so thick that my eyebrows and hairline were pretty much connected. according to my mom (as quoted from my baby book):

timi and randy also came to visit us in the hospital. they both said "she's beautiful". i thought to myself, are they kidding? she looks like a monkey!

thanks mom (she doesn't have a filter). after my husband heard that story, he started calling me monkey. then when i got pregnant, instead of saying "it" (before we knew it was a "her"), we would just say the monkey and it stuck! of course her room is filled with monkeys (blankets, stuffed animals, sheets, decorations, etc...) and of course when she turned 1 we just had to do some kind of monkey-themed party! this poor girl is going to hate monkeys when she's older!

the postcards i did for her invitations:

i set up my own photo shoot in her room, spreading out one of her curtains as a backdrop. i also gathered up assorted monkeys and arranged them in the bin on top of her toy chest. she wasn't walking at the time so i had to set up something for her to hold onto. i also had some cute ones of her in a white wooden rocking chair, holding some of the monkeys but i thought this set-up made her look like she was a more of a "big girl". i'm so happy i got some cute pictures of her in that party dress! i didn't feel as bad when she grew out of it...

for decorations, i wanted to keep it simple. i wasn't finding what i wanted so i purchased this adorable sock monkey clip art from cupcakecutiees on Etsy, got plain pink and red party hats and gift bags and made my own using printable sticker paper:

the birthday banner i made using the sock monkey clipart (i added the letters), printed on white card stock and cut into circles:

since most of the kids were 2 and under, i figured favor bags full of candy wouldn't work. i thought it would be fun (and would fit with the theme) to give parents kits to make sock monkeys at home. i found printable instructions here and included them with a pair of red-heeled socks (of course, my 7 year old nephew was a little disappointed to be getting a pair of socks instead of candy but lesson learned for next year - older kids need candy!):

my daughter wore a sock monkey onesie that i found on zazzle.com and my husband and i wore matching shirts (yes, we're big dorks). she ended up wearing her bathing suit for most of it anyway since it was a very hot july afternoon. this is me & the birthday girl:

the cake - my first attempt at fondant!

i know, it's a little goofy looking. i made this cake as well as a sheet cake with white frosting and pink and red fondant polka dots. i thought i was being clever (and budget friendly) when i just bought white fondant and then got red food coloring to make pink and red myself, since i only needed a little bit. if you decide to do this, make sure you have disposable gloves! that didn't occur to me until i was kneading the fondant to get the color mixed in properly and, in the process, dying my hands red.

the birthday girl seems to like it:

 i love kids covered in birthday cake (good thing she was in her bathing suit):

i have to figure out the theme for her 2nd birthday, which is right around the corner (i can't believe it!). of course, i'll keep you posted...

p.s. a big THANK YOU to my in-laws for letting us host the party at their house and use their big back yard!

26 April 2011

a shower for lauren & dave

my sister-in-law, lauren, is getting married in june. she is the older of my husband's 2 younger sisters. i've known her since she was 14 so the thought of her getting married is making me feel a little old! lauren really is like a little sister to me (especially since i have 4 brothers!) so i'm really trying my hardest to make whatever i'm involved in, really special.

her shower was quite an undertaking. there are 8 bridesmaids total but between us and my mother-in-law, we all did our share and pulled it off. of course, i did the invitations:

matching address label on the face of the envelope:

lauren and dave are having a june wedding, overlooking the beach. her color palette is very subtle - metallic dark gray and silver with a few light pink and hot pink accents. i thought the shower invitations were a great place to be a little less formal. i wanted them to be more fun. both their save the dates and wedding invitations featured a sand dollar so i kept that theme.

of course once i created the invitations, i had to make sure everything else matched.

instead of a guest book, we had cards for guests to leave advice for lauren and dave:


we also came up with trivia questions and i made those into a trivia game that was played while lauren and dave were opening gifts:

we collected all the trivia answers and i'm going to make them into a keepsake book.

for favors, we decided on starfish wine stoppers. we really wanted something the guests could actually use (as opposed to a cookie or candy or bubbles, although nothing against those ideas). they came already in boxes with white ribbon so we just had to add the favor tags. i punched holes in the tags and then cut slits next to the holes so they could be slipped onto the ribbon without having to untie and retie all those bows.

for my brides that are also friends, i usually do matching thank you notes as a gift. of course, since it was for my sister-in-law i did a little extra and also pre-addressed all of her thank you note envelopes (i credit that idea to my sister-in-law, julie, who addressed all my thank you note envelopes when i got married). since i made the invitations, i had the guest list anyway.

here are the matching thank you notes with return address labels (the sand dollar pattern continues on the back):

it really was a great day and i can't wait for the wedding!

25 April 2011

testing, testing 1 2 3...

just wanted to see how it was, blogging from my phone. it seems to work ok but it looks like I can't upload photos. hmmmm... will have to figure that one out.

23 April 2011

happy easter! (and why i hate white chocolate)

i love easter. i have a sweet tooth anyway so you can imagine how i feel about a holiday involving chocolate bunnies and cadbury cream eggs! however, easter is also the reason that i cannot stand white chocolate...

as a kid i would wake up easter morning and there would be a huge basket of goodies at the foot of my bed. my mom was pretty strict with the amount of sugary things in our house so the baskets were mostly toys and maybe a small chocolate bunny and some jelly beans. i can sympathize now, i'm a parent and i also put together easter baskets for my nieces and nephews (5 all together). less sugar, more toys for all the kids is perfectly fine by me! but i grew up in a house where coca cola was such a treat that my brothers and i would mix it with milk to make it last longer (seriously!).

there was one easter in particular that sticks out in my mind. i was probably around 7 or 8, young enough to feel the magic and surprise of finding that easter basket in my room when i woke up but old enough to know that my mom had snuck in my room and placed it there while i was sleeping. that particular morning i tore right into that basket and immediately found what i was looking for - my chocolate bunny! i remember it distinctly, it was white and shiny and the box had an alice in wonderland theme. that was as much as i saw before i ripped open the box bit the ears off. it took me a few seconds of chewing before i realized something was wrong. i had ever eaten white chocolate before but it was chocolate just the same, so why did it taste rotten? i spit out the huge bite, picked up the discarded box and actually read it... alice and wonderland SOAP!!! wait, what?!?! ok mom, first of all, why would you give a kid SOAP as any kind of gift anyway. second of all, if you are going to give a kid soap in an EASTER basket, why would you chose the MARCH HARE?!? i wouldn't have bit the head off of alice! if you put a bunny in my easter basket, i'm going to eat it! i've tried to eat white chocolate since then and it still grosses me out. which is fine, it's not even real chocolate anyway...