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


  1. Gwynn, What a sweet party! Every detail is just perfect. So glad your little guy enjoyed his birthday!

  2. I cannot even get over this! There is too much cuteness to absorb! I mean really! We had one of those random wind events a few years ago and it was SCARY. They always call is Hurricane Elvis because we are in Memphis. Dorky.
    I want to know how you made that big sign for the front of your house! Fabulous!
    Everything is just perfection! I can't believe your little guy is one already! :(

  3. Where did you get your penguins on the walkway?

  4. Do you remember how much snow uou needed? Is 1 in thick enough?

  5. Can you tell me how you created the penguins on the walkway and how much snow you ordered? My daughter turns 9 in December and she wants this birthday theme. Thank you so much!

  6. What is involved in the Snow Day in a can? I can't see the instructions on the tin can.

  7. I absolutely LOVE theme!!!! I live in New York and have a January baby so this is perfect!!! Thank you so much! I will also be visiting your Etsy page and purchasing the bday kit! Thanks again!

  8. Okay so I am slightly obsessed with this theme and will be purchasing tons of stuff from your Etsy shop! I have looked high and low for a sweater like the one Beckett is wearing. I can't find one anywhere and was wondering if any of you who did a party like this have any suggestions for me on where to look? Thanks!

  9. Could you tell me the dimensions of your "snow box" and how much sno-wonder you ordered? I'm thinking of doing a similar idea, but wasn't sure how much "snow" to get.

  10. My little Lea is turning 1 November 4 and I am so excited to be giving her a winterwonderland in Sacramento ca, thank you sooo much where do you get the snow from by the way?

  11. Where did you get your penguins on the walkway?

  12. Yea! I was wondering the same- where did you get the penguins on the walkway??? Thanks!

  13. How did you make the penguins at the entrance?!

  14. I love this party theme. Where can I get the penguins on the walkway?

  15. is there a response for the penguins on the walkway?.. I am dying to know.

    1. The Printable PDF of the Penguin Graphic for Standees ($10) is available through a custom listing in my shop:

  16. Hi
    I went on your etsy shop but couldn't find the penguin standees

  17. Do you sell the snow in a tin in your shop? Can you direct me to what is inside???

  18. You can have your visitors RSVP to "The Royal Butler and Maid" (Princess Party), "Sheriff Smith" (Cowboy Party), "EGROEG and ARUAL" (George and Laura - spell your name in reverse for Alien Space Party flare)... get innovative with your greeting phrasing! site

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