Monday, August 30, 2010

{Tips & Hints} Race Car Party

As I pop around the blogosphere each day checking out all the wonderful parties and general inspiration, many times I'm struck by the thought "How did they do that?" I love it when people give a little how-to here and there, so I thought that I'd try to follow up my party posts with a Tips & Hints post on things that might be helpful if you were going to try to throw a similar party yourself.

My race car party was pretty straight forward. Not a lot of tricks to it. But here are a few tips...

Back Drop
For for the back drop, I purchased a 1x2" and cut it to be the same length as my table. Then I stapled a full size sheet to the 2" side and rolled the "bar" a half turn, so the sheet was partially wrapped around it and screwed two hooks (one at each end) into the 1" side. I then lifted the whole thing up and hung the screws on two matching eyelets that I had attached earlier to the overhang of my roof.

Once it was hung, I cut a 2x4" to the same length as my original 1x2" and stapled this to the bottom of my sheet to help pull it taught.

For the table cloth and the cake riser, I used a matching sheet so that the color flow was seamless.

Popcorn Cones
Treat cones are showing up everywhere these days. One of the best pieces of advice, I read on Martha Stewart's site (no surprise, right?! Those gals are on top of everything!) Always use TWO lollipop sticks for each cone. Stick them into the foam base separately. First insert one stick, place your cone on the stick and then, through the cone, insert a second stick. This will help keep your cones from spinning around on the sticks and give them a uniform look and placement.

Cake Pops
I probably shouldn't have tried these a couple nights before the party. But I have noticed, from reading other people's blogs, that I'm not the only one with this particular last minute inspiration. If you venture into the land of Bakerella cake pops, here are a few helpful hints...

- It helps to bake the cake and roll the balls the night before you are going to do the chocolate dipping so that they have enough time to chill.

- When Bakerella suggests making the balls the size of a quarter, pay attention. And if you are like me and think you remember how big a quarter is and don't need to pull one out for reference... just do it anyway. Trust me. Quarters are SMALL! My memory was a little faulty and let's just say that I mentally confused a quarter with a silver dollar. This, my friends, had a few repercussions. Namely, my cake balls were so heavy that once I dipped them in chocolate, they kept sliding down the sticks. Luckily, if you find yourself in this predicament it is not irreparable. First you can, of course, make your balls smaller. But if you choose not to, just (while the balls are still on the cookie sheet) insert the lollipop stick to make a hole. Pull out the stick. Dab a little chocolate in the hole and put the stick back in. Now wait a few minutes until the chocolate hardens and lift up the pop and proceed with the chocolate coating. Ta-da! Cake pop!

(Not quite as pretty as Bakerella's, but still incredibly yummy!)

Race Track
If you decide to have a race car party and want to build a track similar to the one we built...'s how you do it:

I ordered my track from Blutrack. (Of course, I wish that they had been called "Redtrack" so that it would have matched my party a little bit better. But, what can a gal do?!) The track is one continuous roll which makes for easy set up, and the track sets come with loop ramps. 

Once you have designed the way you would like you track to go, simply staple the edge of your track (this is the outside edge not on the track part) every few feet. Be careful not to staple too close to the ramps if you are integrating loops into your track. If the track is too secure close to the loops it will make it so that the cars can not complete the loop. I don't know enough about physics to understand why, but trust me. Just run a few tests as to determine the best place for a staple before actually adding one.

I had two baskets. A small one to bring the cars to top of the track and large one at the bottom to catch them so that the kids could race the 20-some cars before having to reload.

And, of course, you can add all your own embellishments to trick out your track!

Sooo there you have it... my Tips & Hints for throwing your very own Race Car Party. Enjoy!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

{GWD Parties} Dashell's Race Car Party!

I don't know about you, but when I start planning a party that is always the question for me. Sometimes I'm stumped and sometimes it just magically comes to me (or someone comes to me with a great idea). But it always starts somewhere: a color choice or a theme or a pattern or a cute saying. With Dashell's Race Car party, I knew that I wanted a party with a theme that could incorporate at least one activity that would be good fun for a bunch of two year olds. Two is a tough age. They're a little young for games and they don't really play together yet, but they definitely need things to do at party or they get restless (and mommies can't get in all the visiting we "need" to do!)

My son, Dashell, is really into garbage trucks, trains and cars just like most 2 year old boys. So when I started to plan his birthday party, a few months ago, I started there. At first I thought trains but I came up with SO many ideas that I decided it might be better to have that party next year when he could actually participate a little more. As far as garbage trucks...well, truth be told,  I just couldn't come up with too many activities random pieces of recycling littered throughout my garden. That left me with cars. Race cars seemed like a really fun theme. And when I thought about it, I immediately had an idea for an activity (provided my husband agreed to help construct it!) So, it was decided... race cars!

Now all I had to do is decide on a color scheme. It should have been obvious, I guess, in hindsight. But it wasn't. I got stuck on the whole black checkered flag thing for a little while. But black seemed so "big boy" to me. After all my little guy was only turning two! He had plenty of time to go through his "black period". (I think I hit mine in my early twenties.) I definitely wanted a limited color palette but I still wanted it to say "race car". So I thought about going blue and white or green and white or even green and yellow, but in the end I really thought about where I was going to stage the party... my backyard. You should know that I didn't do my yard in a neutral palette (which maybe would have given me more fixability for staging events). Instead all my throw pillows and all my outdoor umbrellas are red. Bright red. So, red and white it was. Oh, and then I threw in a some yellow to give the color scheme a little zing. And there you have it. Where to start... at least for this party.

I designed some invitations to let everyone know right from the start what kind of party it was going to be...

And on the day of the big event, I decided to line the driveway with huge 3 foot balloons to kick off the red and yellow color scheme from the get go and mixed in a some of the traditional black and white flags as well...

Dashell had a blast running around with a giant balloon on his wrist! In fact there is so much helium in those things that it kept pulling his arm up into the air!

I pulled together a dessert and favor table that incorporated the theme and party colors...

(All the printable party items are available in my shop.)

As I mentioned, I recruited my husband to build the "activity". A race track! All the kids had a blast...

And I purchased a blow-up race car and filled it with 120 tiny pillows for the kids to flop in...

We made sure that no one left empty handed. Each child was given a some bubbles...

 ...and a crayon caddie made by the wonderful Melissa at Beau Melange...

Originally I'd shipped her the fabrics to match our party theme, but now she has almost the exact same one in her shop!!

It was a pretty wonderful day. And most importantly, Dash had a blast!!

If you are open to sharing I would love to hear about your party inspirations!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gettin' It Rolling

So, I've finally decided to dip my toe into the bloggy waters and see what it's like out there. I'm excited to reach out to so many of you whose blogs I've rudely been lurking on for months without commenting. My gosh there are a lot of TALENTED women out there!!

I'm also looking forward to sharing a few of the parties that I have had the pleasure of styling and staging recently as well as the inspiration and how-to tips behind them. I love hearing about the spark that started the idea for people whether it was a mishap, a found object or even another party. So, I'll get the ball rolling by sharing a few of my points of inspiration in the weeks to come and hopefully you'll join along and share a few of yours too!

Below are a few pics from some of the parties I'll be talking about in the near future...

Dashell's Race Car Party

Emily's Woodland Fairy Party

So, come back soon and we can talk color choices and edible toadstools and why not to try to make cake pops for the first the night before a party!  Sound like fun?!