Thursday, July 30, 2009

Table Décor: So Cool, it's Hot!

We just love the color combination of Tiffany blue and cherry red. It’s a vibrant blend of the dramatic and the gentle that inspired the colors in our logo (which are a close match on the Pantone chart) – and this charming little affair designed by MerryB Events.

Special touches balance whimsy and sophistication. A custom made banner (we found easy instructions on and color coordinated balloons introduce fun, while place cards, serving trays and red lilies present elegance–making this table appealing to girls of all ages.

There may not be a little blue Tiffany box tucked under the silver and crystal cupcake stand, but this celebration still sparkles!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Real Life Inspiration: A Birthday Party That’s All Business … Monkey Business!

When Tally Dettling started planning her son James’ first birthday party she knew she wanted something unique to reflect his emerging personality. Since she had dubbed James her “little monkey”, it only seemed fitting to go with it–and once the decision was made, she didn’t monkey around!

Tally set off by designing the adorable invitation herself – blending bright yellow, teal and brown to complete the party’s color scheme. Not a big fan of character themes, her biggest challenge was finding monkey-related accessories that weren’t branded with Curious George. After a lot of internet research and a little shopping around, Tally found the monkey birthday hats and napkins at She picked up additional party trimmings in matching yellow and teal from several other sources including Party City.

The big celebration was truly a family affair. James’ first birthday cake–a sweet little monkey–was made with love by his doting mother. His grandmother and aunt, in town for the festivities, decorated the cupcakes. And his adoring daddy, Aaron, documented the festivities in the photographs seen here.

Pulling from her vast supply of entertaining accessories, Tally styled a charming tablescape to showcase the birthday treats and refreshments. She covered the tables in swatches of burlap and arranged the cupcakes on elegant multi-level serving trays and a cupcake tower to create visual interest.

A borrowed “Happy Birthday” banner (which just happened to match the color scheme perfectly) was draped from the canopy and a sweet monkey hand puppet (made by Tally and Aaron to commemorate the occasion) adorned the table.

Friends and family went bananas for James’ special day and are looking forward to his second birthday party, which Tally is already planning!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Backyard Camp Out!

Summer is the perfect season for a Camp Out birthday celebration. Whether it’s just a few hours (better for guests under 6-7) or a sleepover (best for 8-12 year olds), all you need is a tent in your backyard for everyone to enjoy the fun. And if the weather won’t cooperate, moving it indoors can be just as exciting for party-goers.

There are so many choices when it comes to invitations. We found the adorable invites and personalized sticker labels on our inspiration board at You can also make your own by folding off-white cardstock into triangles (like a tent) and writing all the details on the back.

For sleepovers, be sure to collect telephone numbers of all the parents before the party just in case you have some guests who find it too difficult to stay all night. Most parents will warn you ahead of time if their child may have trouble, so it's a good idea to develop a "plan of action" for dealing with these children.

Create a camp like atmosphere but setting up your tent in a “remote” location (even consider the basement). Our inspiration board highlights a simple pup tent featured on the blog Earthchicknits. Hang lanterns from poles or string white lights across the camping area. Play a CD of nature sounds which you can get from your local library.

Arrange a few logs to sit on in a half circle or full circle (depending upon the size of your party) around a stone campfire area if local law allows (keep water handy for safety). A manufactured firepit will also do nicely. If your guests aren’t old enough to have a real fire, you can make one by creatively stacking branches on top of a string of red or orange Christmas lights.

"Must have" party activities include:
- Grilling hotdogs
- Making s’mores
- Singing campfire songs
- Telling scary stories
- Stargazing

Flashlights, canteens and personalized lunch boxes (by make great party favors and can be used many times over. Have plenty of sleeping bags and blankets on hand so everyone has a place to relax and settle in after the festivities. For sleepover campouts, make sure an adult is outdoors with the children at all times and most importantly, remain flexible. You may find your party guests enjoy the "thought" of camping out much more than they'll enjoy actually camping out. You might need to move the sleeping portion of the party indoors. Enjoy your camp out and send us your pictures!
Additional Credits:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy With Summer Parties!

We've been so busy lately, we've hardly had time to post updates on our summer celebrations. Here's a brief recap of all the fun we've had lately!

Last weekend, we organized the 2nd annual Ross Bridge Independence Bike Parade in Hoover, AL. More than 300 people turned out with bikes, wagons, strollers, golf carts and more decorated in red, white and blue! The sirens and bells of the Hoover Fire Department ladder truck led paraders into Ross Park for popsicles, water (courtesy of The Sweet Stop) and July Fourth fun! See more pictures.

On June 13th, Major David Sparacio led basic training at Will's Boot Camp Birthday Party in Vestavia Hills. In spite of the rain, two skilled squadrons learned how to march and salute before competing in a tug of war, an obstacle course, a soldier down drill and a water balloon fight. The soldiers were muddy but they enjoyed every minute of it! See more Boot Camp pictures.

Then Anna Bella had a very special visit from her favorite princess, Ariel, in Mountain Brook on June 27th. Ariel shared her life story with a school of little mermaids and brought special gifts for everyone. She even crowned the birthday girl with an Ariel princess tiara of her very own before returning to the sea. See more Mermaid pictures.

And fast on the heels of the bike parade was a very special Ice Cream Social for Elizabeth, who will become a big sister this fall. She was surprised by her Grandmother with a Big Sister-to-be Shower where she received all the gear she'll need to be a great big sister. See more Ice Cream Social pictures.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tadpoles and Tractors - Any Summer Day on Granddaddy's Farm

Fence Post

The old gray barn my grandfather converted into a home sat at the end of a long gravel drive, behind a pasture, and surrounded by pine trees, dogwoods, and wisteria. The tall teal doors creaked when I opened them, but they were always inviting… and didn’t have a lock because people didn’t need them ‘in those days’. A graying silver box sat on the marble threshold anxiously awaiting the next delivery of fresh milk.

Breakfast at Grandmother’s came early. If I was clever, I’d ask for ice cream before the cooking began. My grandmother would giggle and lovingly serve up a bowl of Mayfield’s neopolitan. If I neglected to place my breakfast order early, it would be homemade biscuits, grits, and bacon. Not a bad substitute at all. Grandmother would tear the bacon and delicately place each piece on top of the grits to form a smiling face. Sometimes the grit man would have a hat. Other times, a beard. He always made me smile back at him.

After breakfast, I would be turned loose to explore the local wilderness. 32 acres of pasture, woods, and farmland in the rolling hills of the North Georgia country. I’d meander barefoot down the rocky drive past the orange day lilies looking for aging tadpoles in each muddy red puddle. The horses would beckon from the pasture searching for a handful of fresh grass or the apple I had tucked into my pocket especially for them. I’d stop for a little visit before heading up to Granddaddy’s vegetable garden.

I could see him up there, sun beating down on his tan shoulders, riding his tractor or tilling the fertile red Georgia clay. He would show me how to choose only the ripest tomato or watermelon before lifting me onto the white metal seat he had added to the tractor so we grandkids could ride alongside him. We’d plow the plots that needed plowing together and ride back to the barn just in time for a hearty lunch.

Approaching the front doors, I would listen to hear if my grandmother was at her grand piano playing her favorite tunes. If she was, I would sit on the red velvet couch and pretend to play too, listening reverently. Her musical talent was inspiring, though sadly not passed on to me. When she was finished, she would make us all a modest lunch –a fresh tomato sandwich or soup– ideal for summer.

Then it was back out into nature for the afternoon. Sometimes on horseback, other times on foot, my cousins and I would wander down the overgrown path deep into the woods that had once be the place of Civil War battles and camps. Along the trail we would visit the 19th century graveyard, secret waterfalls and cool creeks. We’d look for ancient treasures and wonder what it was like to be in that quiet place back when Sherman’s fierce march to Savannah was delayed by determined Confederates. We idled away hours in that forest never knowing how much that time together in that historic place would someday become so cherished to us.

Intuition drove me back to the barn in time for a dinner. I suppose that intuition is hereditary because any number of aunts, uncles, and cousins were likely to join us. My grandfather would inevitably arrive with enough fresh vegetables for everyone to take home and a flower for my grandmother. She would draw the bloom to her nose and inhale. “It smells wonderful!” she would always proclaim. We’d all sit at the table discussing history, dishes, or poetry (Grandmother loved them all), laughing at whatever made us laugh… enjoying the company of our family.

When the dishes were licked clean of all remnants and tucked away on the shelf, Grandmother and Granddaddy would take me out to watch the sunset and wait for the first evening star to appear. The first person to spot it would get to make a wish. Our chaise lounges set to the flattest position for optimum viewing, Grandmother would tell me the story of a land made only of candy while I watched the sky intently. Cotton candy clouds, lollipop trees, and caramel stars.

I was always first to spot the star and we’d recite the poem together. “Star light. Star bright. First star I see tonight. I wish I may. I wish I might. Have the wish I wish tonight.” Back then, I’d wish for a horse of my own or for the plums out back to ripen.

These days, I’d wish for my kids to have a sweet summer day on that farm.

*Image courtesy of Jan Herbert Photography (since Granddaddy's farm is now home to a collection of McMansions). Thanks Jan!