Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Parties and Styled Shoots: Looking Back At 2011

With this year almost behind us (and can I take a moment to just marvel at how quickly this year swept by?! Crazy!) I thought it would be fun to pull together all the parties and styled shoots I did in one place. You know, just because sometimes my old tired brain forgets that I actually did anything and it is all like a blurred distant memory in my head!

Ready to take a ride down memory lane? Hold onto your seats... here we go!

If you remember, I had a baby a few days after Thanksgiving (I know, that was 2010 but it effected 2011 so I'm mentioning it) so not much happened until the end of January. When I finally emerged from my new mommy daze, I styled a shoot for my Be Mine, Valentine Collection. (More pics and details here.)

Having two boys, it's always so fun to have an excuse to do something a little girly and PINK! (I might have gone a little overboard here!)

With February, came Sophia's Vintage Barbie Inspired 5th Birthday Party. More pink! How could I resist?! (You can see all the details here.)

In April, with Easter fast approaching, I styled a bright, energetic shoot for my Hippity Hop Easter Collection. We had SO much fun doing this and the kids absolutely enjoyed "taste testing" each and every treat! (More details and pictures here.)

Jack's Little Squirt Birthday Party was up next. It was a great theme to play with and I love that we were able to add a bit of a nautical twist without being too on the nose! (You can check out all the details and pictures here.)

At the end of May I was so lucky to be asked to create a Pirate and Fairy Party for Kacey and David. It was fabulous to be to able to bring a little bit of Neverland to life for their joint birthday party! (More details and pictures here.)

In July we hosted a Backyard Summer Camp Party dubbed "Camp Dashell". Each child had their own tent and there were tons of fun activities and yummy food. It was the perfect summertime playdate! (Pictures and details here.)

I always love exploring a theme I haven't had the chance to do before, so I was thrilled to be asked to style Dean's Tiki Inspired 1st Birthday Luau this summer! (A few more pics and details here.)

As summer drew to a close I threw a Circus Train Party for my son Dashell's 3rd Birthday. Oh yeah, I haven't posted about this one yet. Remember when I mentioned earlier that 2011 has been a bit of a blur? I wasn't kidding! So, stay tuned because I owe you some fun party pics, tons of details and the blueprints to make your very own train table! Here's a sneak peek...

To kick off Dashell's first official year of school, in September, we had one of his best friend's, Lauren, over for a small party/playdate with lots of fun First Day of School / Back To School treats and activities! (Pics, details and free printables here.)

And as the year drew to a close, the inevitable happened, my little baby, Becks, turned one! That in itself was enough to make me ask, "where the heck did this year go??!" Well, you only turn 1 once and so it absolutely has be to an occasion to remember! Thus the planning and throwing of Beckett's Winter ONEderland Party. Welcome to this beautiful world, my little bear cub! I hope your first year was wonderful. (Tons more pictures and details here.)

I was also SO very honored to be asked to collaborate on printables for too many parties to count this year! It was a great privilege and I treasured each and every opportunity! Thank you for inviting me into your lives to help you with your own very special celebrations. It meant the world to me!

And, thank you all for supporting my work, creative endeavors and random ponderings this year!! AND for sharing so much of YOUR joy and inspiration. It has all made the past year so much more fabulous than I could have ever imagined!

Monday, December 19, 2011

{GWD Parties} Beckett's Winter ONEderland Birthday Party!

I am BEYOND excited to share this party with you!! But before I get to the good stuff I have to explain how this was the party that almost wasn't!

On the Wednesday night before our party (which was scheduled for Sunday), as I was tucking my 3 1/2 year old into bed and he asked "Mama, what does a tornado sound like?" Well I have to tell you, I wouldn't have made my lame tornado sound effect for him if I had known that that very night, only a few hours later, we were going to have what the news media initially dubbed a "once in a generation wind event" (I love that they called it a "wind event". So random and weird. It just didn't fit into any weather category I guess. Too funny!) 90-100 mile per hour hurricane level winds whipped through our area for hours. Through out the night, all we heard were incredibly loud swirling winds, trees cracking and fire engine sirens blaring. It was a little terrifying. 

The next morning the whole neighborhood was outside in their pajamas looking dazed and confused at all the damage and destruction. 100 foot tall trees had crashed to the ground EVERYWHERE. Crushing cars and houses. Blocking most of the streets. All our power was out and a state of emergency was declared for the whole area.


It took us a few days to get our bearings. But the party must go on, right??! I mean you only turn 1 once and because of where my son's birthday falls during the holiday season if we didn't do it that weekend, we'd have to wait until January and that just seemed wrong for a first birthday party! So not knowing if we would have power or not (or even parking for the guests since the roads were rather clogged with fallen trees and debris) we decided we would make the best of it and move forward with the party.

Lucky for us the power was restored the night before the party. And, at 6am the morning of the party five work crews showed up on our street with bulldozers and cleared the debris! 

The party gods were definitely with us that day!!

I am so thrilled that we were able to give Beckett a good birthday party. I have never met a baby that loves a party as much as he does! He is ridiculously social and just naturally full of good cheer. When I was planning his party I wanted to make sure that it was as fun-lovin' and happy as he is.

So when I designed the invitation I knew that right off the bat I wanted to try to bring a smile to people's faces and to sweep them up in the excitement of the party. I tried to make the penguins and polar bears on the invitation simply exude glee as they whizzed down the snowy slide. And in the RSVP, I left a little hint that there might be a sprinkling of snow at the party! (So many people were curious as to how we were going to do this in sunny Southern California that they just had to ask. How much fun, right?!)

The Entryway
As our guests arrived, I wanted them to feel like they were truly being transported into a magical, wintery wonderland, so I created a whole welcoming committee of penguins, each holding a darling polka-dotted balloon from Polka Dot Market, to greet them. 

Beckett was in love with these penguins and would giggle and laugh every time he saw them!

Over our driveway I made huge welcome sign and softened this with beautiful snowflake printed gossamer from Shindigz and paper snowflakes from Oriental Trading Company and Bake It Pretty.

The Dessert Table
Sweet treats are one of the highlights for kids at every party! With Beckett's dessert table, I worked to capture the fun of the invitation and inspire the imaginations of the children at the party. (I had so much fun setting it up. I don't think you ever really out grow wanting to play with your food!) 

Gorgeous polar bear and penguin cookies, created by Jen of JP Creatibles, literally slid and sledded down gentle slopes, created under the fleece table cloth, on their tummies and on little sleds that I found on Ebay. 


Cute polar bear and penguins cake pops by Mom's Killer Cakes and Cookies were displayed in the perfect aqua vessels that I found (on sale!) at Joann Fabrics. I made a batch of cupcakes and decorated them with whipped frosting and rock candy and then adorned each of them with a fun printable party circle from the Winter Onederland Collection which is now available in my shop

Beautiful snowflake cookies from Katie's Something Sweet and snowflake lollipops from Sweetniks floated above the cupcakes suspended on glass cake stands from Crate and Barrel into which I inserted foam discs and then covered them with fleece to add to the snowy look. 

The centerpiece of the table was a beautiful cake made by Fantasy Frostings and decorated with adorable 3D fondant polar bears and penguins (SOOO perfectly sculpted by Brittany at Edible Details!) who were gleefully sliding and sledding down the topsy turvy angles of the cake. 


And topping the entire table was a marquee style Happy Birthday sign laden with peppermint detail and candy cane inspired text. 

For the backdrop, I was lucky to find the ideal aqua snowflake fabric at Joann's and then to bring in even more snowflakes, I spray painted some cardboard snowflakes from Bake It Pretty, aqua and red, and glued them to the back drop as well.

Drink Station
Just in case anyone needed to warm up a little or just wanted to rinse down a few of the tasty treats, I set up a "Warming Station" with Hot Chocolate, Coffee and Milk (for the kids.) I decorated the mugs with a little ribbon and a few printable party circles, "Sweet" for the cocoa...

 ...and "Cozy" for the coffee. 

And, I adorned the cute milk bottles and stripey straws (which I was lucky enough to find at Polka Dot Market) with the same printable party circles that I added to sticks for the cupcakes.

Smash Cake Central
Every first birthday party needs a place where the guest of honor can take center stage! So for Beckett's birthday, I gussied up our garage door with bright red and white polka dotted curtains, a little bead board I had sitting around, a printable Happy Birthday banner and a few more spray painted Bake It Pretty snowflakes. I painted an old wooden high chair, I found on Craig's List, red and decorated the tray with a some cute aqua snowflake ribbon from Michaels and a printable name banner.


And, as you can imagine, it's not right to smash your cake in just any old outfit. So I went on a mission to find the ideal 1st birthday attire for my little guy. I searched high and low for the perfect sweater, and where do you think I found it? Ebay. One aqua and red snowflake sweater in the exact right size. Absolute luck! 

Then I cuffed his jeans with a little red and white striped cotton jersey and Stacie from Beanies By Stacie was sweet enough to knit an adorable hat and Lindsey from Pocket Baby made a coordinating personalized bib and he was all set to smash away!!


Although Beckett was undoubtedly the star of his party, he did share center stage with the "snow". 

When I first toyed with the idea of creating a Winter Onederland Party, the initial thought that popped into my head, was how the heck was I going to help transport our guests when we don't have one peep of a chance of getting even a dusting of snow out here in sunny, mild Southern California. 

Although I was sure that the multitude of paper snowflakes which I was going to hang over their heads in our trees branches would help, I really wanted some kind of snow. 


So, I searched and searched and although I briefly considered the shaved ice/fake snow route, I eventually discovered Sno-Wonder. 99% water, bio-degradable, environmentally safe and a lot cheaper than shaved ice. (It's primarily used for indoor snowboarding parks in Japan.) 

My husband was sweet enough to build a large frame (kind of like a giant sandbox). We covered it with polyester batting to look more like snow, lined it with a white tarp and then filled it with "snow" and dozens of penguin beach balls from Oriental Trading Company. 

To add to our wintery theme, I decorated our playhouse with red and white flowers, a little snow, and wreath from Polka Dot Skies and dubbed it Chalet Becks for the day!

The kids had an absolute blast!! 

Snow fights and snow angels. Tons of laughter and buckets of giggles!! 


I wasn't sure how the snow would go over (it really could have been the great birthday debacle of 2011) and I couldn't have asked for a better response. What unbelievable fun!!

When the time came for our guests to go, each child was able to "adopt" a polar bear...


...and take a small snowmaking kit so that they could have a snow day of their very own whenever they wanted!

- Event Styling, Graphic Design and Party Printables - Gwynn Wasson Designs

- Tissue Snowflakes - Oriental Trading Company and Bake It Pretty
- Cardboard Snowflakes - Bake It Pretty
- Aqua Glass Vessels - Joann Fabrics
- Snowflake Fabric and Fleece - Joann Fabrics
- Ribbon - Michaels 
- Glass Cake Stands - Crate and Barrel
- Penguin Beach Balls - Oriental Trading Company
- Milk Bottles - Polka Dot Market
- Striped Straws - Polka Dot Market
- Polka Dot Balloons - Polka Dot Market
- Snowflake Trays - Target
- Wreath - Polka Dot Skies
- Snowflake Gossamer - Shindigz
- Miniature Sleds - Ebay
- Snow - Sno-Wonder

- Fondant Polar Bears, Penguins and Igloo - Edible Details
- Polar Bear and Penguin Cookies - JP Creatibles
- Snowflake Cookies - Katie's Something Sweet
- Snowflake Lollipops - Sweetniks
- Old Fashioned Lollipops, Malt Balls, Gum Balls and Sixlets - Candy Warehouse

- Polar Bears - Stuffed Safari
- Tea Tins - Specialty Bottle

- Hanna Andersson Snowflake Sweater - Ebay
- Bib - Pocket Baby