Monday, August 30, 2010

Neighborhood Party Ideas: Old Fashioned Fun Cookout

We had a great time at our Neighborhood Block Party this weekend. The weather couldn't have been better for meeting neighbors at this fun cookout and pot-luck dinner.

Neighborhood Cookout Ideas
Photo by Robin Conn, The Huntsville Times

My absolute favorite part was walking up to see the Colorful Balloon Bunting hung all around our community's greenway, where the party took place. So eye catching! It really established a festive atmosphere. Wouldn't these look great at a birthday party?! (No helium required!)

Balloon Bunting Party Decor

There were lots of old-fashioned party games like sack races, watermelon seed spitting, ring toss, and tug of war. Plus, there were more modern classics like a hula hoop competition enjoyed by young and old.

Neighborhood Games Sack Race

Neighborhood Games Tug of War
Photo by Robin Conn, The Huntsville Times

Neighborhood Games Hula Hoop
Photo by Robin Conn, The Huntsville Times

I love sidewalk chalk!  I was dying to join these little girls, but I pretended to be an adult and just watched.  Okay, I admit it...I drew a tiny star while no one was looking.  Couldn't resist!

Block Party Ideas Sidewalk Chalk
I brought my Bubble Wand Party favors in our time-worn wagon covered in a bright green sheet, which made for a great mobile bubble station at the neighborhood party.

Mobile Party Favor Station
The bubble wands went super fast! Completely-gone-in-15-minutes fast!  The kids really seemed to have a good time with them. The wands made nice big bubbles, which made a beautiful backdrop for the festivities.  I can't believe I didn't get any photos of the kids playing with them!

Bubble Wand Party Favors

I was really impressed that someone thought to bring this step ladder for the speakers before the event.  I love pre-planning and thinking about all of the details an event will need, and this ladder gave just enough height to get everyone's attention and help the speakers voices carry a little further through the crowd.  Kudos to whomever thought of this!

Neighborhood Parties Speech
Photo by Robin Conn, The Huntsville Times

I just had to share this one final photo of my little friend Clara enjoying her first ice cream cone ever.  How sweet is that!

Neighborhood Party Food

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sneak Peek: Bubble Party Favors for
Neighborhood Cookout

This weekend, my neighborhood is having a cookout, and of course, I couldn't go without bringing something fun for the kids. Aren't these Bubble Wand Party Favors super cute?!


I designed some tags and added a little ribbon to dress up these bubble wands that I found on clearance for $0.25 at Walmart. I couldn't believe what a steal they were, especially considering that they're about a foot tall!

I can't wait to see how they'll all look displayed all together at the neighborhood cookout and see how much fun the kids have with them. I'll share photos from the event next week.

If you'd like some Bubble Wand Party Favors like this for your event, let me know super fast before Walmart runs out. They come in pink, green, purple, orange, aqua, and blue. If you use one of my standard tag designs (ask to see), the fully-assembled bubble favors will be $2.50 each plus shipping. I can also do completely custom tags to match your party's design. Contact me at to discuss the details.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Great Party Buys: Ice Cream and Nautical Party Favors

If you're planning any End of Summer Parties, definitely check out the dollar bins at Michael's.  That's where I found these adorable Ice Cream Party Favors and Nautical Notebook Party Favors. Michael's had lots of items for both themes that you could use as party decorations, too.

Michael's Arts and Crafts Store - $1.00 each
Nautical Large Notebook with whales, anchor, or lobster
Nautical Small Notebook with pen featuring lobster, rope, or anchor
Ice Cream Eraser and Pencil
Ice Cream Facial Tissues
Ice Cream Mini Glittered Note Cards with Envelopes, Set of 8
Ice Cream Lip Gloss

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bridesmaid Invitation: Sweet and Sour Lemon

This is my absolute favorite custom design of the summer! These lemon yellow Bridesmaid Invitations are bright and cheerful. Not only do they bring special news but also a sweet treat of Lemonheads and a vibrant matching pencil wrapped in a cute box. 

Another detail is a check yes/no response card at the bottom of the invite personalized with the bridesmaid's name, which is why I included a pencil. Under "Yes," I added "So sweet of you!"  Under "My Regrets," it reads "No sour feelings." It's a fun way to tie in the lemon candy into the invitation text.

Inside the lid of the box is a matching return envelope for the response card. There's also a clear layer between the pencil and candy to hold everything in place during shipping and keep the pencil lead safely away from the Lemonheads.

Of course, the padded shipping envelope matches, as well.  This is the only lemon in the design that wasn't hand-stamped.

Here's a couple of detail shots.  I love how the embossed lemon on the invite has a real citrusy texture that couldn't be more perfect. Even the bakers' twine is lemon and white.

As with all of my custom designs, I'll be glad to tweak the look until we come up with something you absolutely love. The final version of the bridesmaid invite is sans the response card and pencil for a cleaner presentation.  I love them both ways!  We did special versions for the bride's Maid of Honor and two Junior Bridesmaids, too.

Thanks, Carla, for finding me on Facebook and inspiring such a wonderful project!  By the way, Carla is a wonderful portrait and wedding photographer in the Huntsville-Athens, AL area.

These Boxed Candy Invitations are also now available for sale on and can be personalized to match a variety of colors and party themes.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Paperless Post: The Best Party Invitations Online

For the very first time, Paperless Post made me a fan of party email invitations. Their online invitations have the charm and elegance of some of the nicest printed invites and still let you experience the delight of opening an envelope to see what's inside.  Click this sample email invite to see exactly what I mean.

Honestly, I've always thought invitations online were tacky and impersonal. Services like Evite give you limited options to personalize the look of the invitations, and what options they do provide are clunky and hard to operate.

Paperless Post fixes these issues by delivering a virtual envelope to your guests' inboxes with their names displayed right on the envelope.  Upon clicking, the envelope opens to reveal a beautiful invitation online.  Paperless Post provides tons of email invitation templates and samples to choose from, which you can further personalize with your choice of fonts and text layouts.  The invitation design interface is very easy use, and you get the added convenience of online RSVP for your guests, which is great for guests and hostesses alike.
The cost of sending a single basic email invite is $0.20. Adding a photo or envelope liner, adds an extra $0.20 per online invitation. Therefore, you can send a beautiful invite by email for less that the cost of a US postal stamp.  It's like you purchased the stamp but got the invite free.  I'm all for that!

I'm a little too old fashioned to suggest email wedding invitations because I still think print is the way to go for a milestone occasion like this.  However, I think Paperless Post would be perfect for stylish "Save the Date" cards, especially for weddings on a tight budget. Paperless Post also has personalized stationery for thank you notes, as well as greeting cards for all occasions.

One thing I recommend is taking a screenshot of your invitation, so you can print it out for inclusion in scrapbooks or keepsake boxes.  It's nice to have a more permanent copy.  Here's a video I made that explains taking a screen shot of your Paperless Post Invitations. (This is my first video ever, and for some reason, it sounds like I have a lisp!)

Paperless Post has not contacted or sponsored me in any way.  I simply love the service and am thrilled to recommend it.  My last three party planning guide customers have all used Paperless Post and have loved everything about it.  With the purchase of their custom party planning guides, I was pleased to recommend a sample email invite and typeset all of their information. 

When you sign up for a new Paperless Post account, you'll receive 25 free stamps to send invitations and 10 free coins, which allow you to add photos on envelope liners.  Here's your invitation to join!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rock Star 6th Birthday Party for Grace

Check out this awesome Hannah Montana/High School Musical/Rock Star birthday party that was shared by one of Belly Feathers' Facebook fans Melissa of Buckets of Grace. She definitely has a flair for details, and I love all of her DIY ingenuity! Melissa's daughter Grace definitely celebrated her 6th birthday in rock-star style.

Rock Star Party Decorations

When I saw photos from the party, I was immediately transported back to playing with my Jem and the Holograms dolls. This party would have been perfect for me at Grace's age. I even had a rock star stage with instruments for my Barbies, and yes, one of them was a keytar! Can you tell I grew up in the 80's?!

Hannah Montana Party Decorations

So, when I saw this awesome karaoke stage that Melissa created for the party out of black table coverings and cardboard boxes, I let out a crazed fan scream!!! (Okay, not out loud but definitely in my head.)

Party Karaoke Stage

Party Karaoke Stage

Melissa found this cute guitar invitation from Paper Style. In the text, she asked the guests to come dressed like rock stars.

Rock Star Party Invitation

When the guests arrived, they were given treat bags full of dress-up gear like pretend headset microphones, sunglasses, pink feather boas, Hannah Montana lip glosses, and back stage passes (SCREAMS!) to further "glamorize" as Melissa put it.  I love that word!

Hannah Montana Favor Bags

Rock Star Favor Bags

Melissa designed these super cute personalized back stage passes with her Creative Memories online scrapbooking software using a Hannah Montana package download for only $4.95!  She made larger versions of the passes to hang as posters around the party space.

Hannah Montana Backstage Passes

There was also a Rock Star Salon set up for the girls with washable color hair spray in pink, blue, and purple; nail polish; make-up; colored hair extensions; and bling rock-star tattoos from Oriental Trading Company.

Rock Star Party Salon

As you can tell, it looks like the girls had a great time dressing the part.

Rock Star Party Guests

Melissa's creativity wowed me again with these awesome cakes!  Grace had her own gluten-free Hannah Montana cake, while the other guests enjoyed a High School Musical cake featuring Gabriella and Troy.

Hannah Montana Cake

Hannah Montana Cake Ideas

High School Musical (HSM) Cake Ideas

Melissa also served cupcakes with adorable toppers designed by Ciao Bambino on Etsy.  This store also created the the favor tags for Grace's party.

High School Musical Cupcakes

Rock Star Cupcakes

The main activity was karaoke on the party stage.  In addition to singing, there were inflatable guitars on hand for those that wanted to play along, too.

Hannah Montana Karaoke Game

"We heard 'Best of Both Worlds' at least 200 times," shared Melissa.

Other activities included "Pass the Microphone" (a variation of hot potato) and a guitar pinata.  You can really see Grace's rock-star makeover in this photo!

Guitar Pinata

Melissa found some cardboard guitars on Oriental Trading Company that the girls could decorate with stickers and stick-on jewels, too. "They LOVED those - especially the ones too shy to sing."

Here's a photo of the birthday girl's whole family.  Melissa and her husband wore security shirts.  Another awesome idea, proving no detail was overlooked at this party!

Rock Star Party Security Parents

Thank you so much, Melissa, for sharing your incredibly creative ideas!  You can see more of Melissa's fabulously detailed homemade parties on her blog Buckets of Grace and two more at the Maddycakes Muse blog: a cowboy party for son Ethan and Grace's 5th Ballerina party.

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