Friday, October 12, 2012

31 Reasons to Celebrate!

Are you ready for the thrilling conclusion?!

Here's when you get all the deets on the party and see everything come together!  Let's jump right in!

I mentioned in the initial post that there were a few obstacles to overcome, not the least of which was the fact that El lives in a different state and most of her friends do, too.  Add to that the issue that I'm not friends with her friends (since I don't live there and all) and therefore had no addresses to send out invites... well, it was kind of a hairy situation.  I tried to find a way to work around all of that, though.

Firstly, the theme:
Obviously the main theme was simply that it was her golden birthday.  But I decided to add to that with the phrase "31 Reasons to Celebrate!"  She's had a tough year, lots of things I won't elaborate on, but I really wanted to remind her of all the people who love her and all of the reasons she has to celebrate herself!  
One thing I did to both incorporate this theme AND include all of those out-of-staters that couldn't come to the party, was make a pretty page with the above graphic at the top.  Underneath that I typed the words: "I celebrate Elaine because..."  
Since I didn't have addresses, I used facebook to make an event, then posted this page on the event with the instructions that all friends and family should fill the page out, listing the reasons they love and celebrate Elaine, and email them back to me.  (I also got some email addresses from Elaine in a very sneaky sneaky way.)
I also made a list of 31 reasons Elaine should celebrate herself - from things she should be proud of, to big accomplishments, to talents and more.  I printed these out on card stock in a fun font with a purple and gold border, then cut them into little rectangles and used them as decorations, which you'll see below.

The invitation:
I created the invitation on picmonkey as a collage.  I found some free gold graphics on google and uploaded them to pic monkey as overlays.  Then I could adjust the size and fade, and filter them in different ways.  I posted this on the facebook event page and emailed it to a bunch of people, too.

On to the actual party!
I held the party at this local park - El and I spent some time here when we were younger, so I thought it fitting.  Plus, whenever I thought about setting up her party, my mind would picture this white pavilion.  I tried to reserve it, but no one returned my call... so we just majorly lucked out that no one was there at the time we needed it.  Come on in!

Decorations, outside:

I tied two purple plastic tablecloths together and hung them in a kind of swag along the side railing.  I did this to both sides.
I also made a pennant bunting with paper and yarn.  I used various shades of purple paper and a purple sharpie to write "31 Reasons to Celebrate!" on the triangles.  There's one blank triangle between each word.  I attached the triangles to the yarn with the diy washi tape I made.  Unfortunately, this was seriously the windiest day in August (seriously.  It was crazy.) and my triangles were flying away.  So I took my staple gun (smartest thing I took to the park) and stapled the triangles to the front so it just LOOKED like it was hanging there on the yarn...

Decorations, inside:
A friend of ours who is much taller than I, hung the gold white and purple balloons on the center rafters on the ceiling and the cross sections at the sides.  (I got the purple balloons with white polka dots at Target).
I made two long pom pom garlands with purple and gold yarn.  I should have gotten a closer picture, as you can't really see the pom poms, but they were all different sizes and tied onto a string of yarn randomly.  I strung them up on the sides of the pavilion.
Under that garland, I hung another strand of yarn, to which I clipped most of the "reason to celebrate" cards and a bunch of photos of Elaine with friends and family with clothespins.

I got a sad looking "e" in the dollar section at Target.  I spray painted it white, then shook white glitter all over it while the paint was still a little wet.  I shook the excess off and then sprayed the whole thing down with glossy craft sealer.  It was originally standing up on the food table, but with the wind it didn't fair well.

There were two types of favors at the party, ones for the guests and one from the guests to Elaine!  
First, the favor table had more photos of Elaine and friends strewn about like confetti.  Photo confetti!  (Except that with the wind, we had to actually TAPE the photos to the table... so just pretend they are just scattered and strewn, ok?)  
For the guests, I got the small white bubble bottles at the dollar store.  I used small circular labels from the office supply store.  On the front I stuck circles with a capital "E" and dots in a circle around it.  On the back I put circles that said "thank you!" I wrote in fine point, purple sharpie.  (Wish I'd taken a better picture of that...)  It might seem an off favor to you, but if you know El at all, you totally understand.  Not only is this an homage to her bubbly personality, but she and I have a childlike love for blowing bubbles.  It's great stress relief.

Have you seen the Smash Books by K and Co?  I seriously want one so bad.  The idea behind these books is that they serve as a journal/scrapbook, but in a much less "formal" way.  Basically, you just smash stuff in there as it comes to you, as you find it, or as you are inspired.  The books come with a special pen that is colored ink on one end and a glue stick on the other end (and for that reason alone I would buy this awesome item) BUT there are also super cute "accessories" that you can buy for them too - like tabs, tape, stickers, rubber bands, clips... all coordinating.  Plus the patterned paper inside the books is gorgeous.  And no, I'm not being sponsored by K and Co - though I wish I were (did you hear that K and Co???) I just really love this item.
So I got one for Elaine.  On the first few pages I wrote out the entire 31 reasons why El should celebrate herself.  I glued in a few of the cards I printed out too, for added pizazz.  Then I also did a quick collage of mementos from places we'd been together.  I set the book out with some of the blank "I celebrate Elaine because..." pages, some tabs and stickers, some pens and scissors.  Then I printed out all the pages that were emailed to me and glued them into the book. It was like a guest book for everyone - those who could be there and those who couldn't!  That way some of Elaine's close friends and family who couldn't make could still help celebrate!

The Backdrop:
I made about a gabazillion accordion flower type thingies.  (what ARE those called?)  For some of them, I used large white construction paper which I hand stamped.  I also used purple card stock, paper painted with gold paint, purple wrapping paper and a shiny gold gift bag I cut apart.  I used hot glue to make the process go faster and then just hot glued them to each other.  I added the coffee filter carnations here and there, too.  Once it was all together in a pleasing way, I realized there was no way to transport it, get it to stand up with stability, or hang it.  Whoops.  Being ever resourceful, I dragged a small piece of fencing from the garage (same thing I used for this project) and hot glued everything to it.  It was so big, I had to borrow my dad's truck for it.  But I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

The food:
As I mentioned here, I decided on a "food on sticks" theme.  You can see how I dyed my skewers and made them pretty here.  You can see how I made my plastic trays pretty here. I made veggie skewers, fruit skewers, and sandwich skewers.  The veggies included mini cucumbers, mini sweet peppers in red, orange and yellow, mushrooms, and small pieces of carrots.  In front of the veggies was a bowl of dill dip.  The fruit included cantaloupe, red grapes, blueberries, and strawberries.  In front of the fruit tray I had strawberry cream cheese fruit dip in a bowl.  The sandwich skewers were my favorite.  They each had a small piece of crusty french bread, mozzarella pearls, basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, topped off with another small piece of bread.  Bruschetta sandwich on a stick!  In front of the trays of sandwich sticks, I had some garlic vinaigrette dressing with some small plastic condiment cups.
I also had oreos on a gold platter.  Because we love oreos. 
The drink was pink lemonade with ice and lemons, and I set out some "fancy" plastic goblets I got at the dollar store.  But there's more on the drink...

The drink:

My brother in law decided the pink lemonade needed a little something something.  He ran to the closest gas station and grabbed a small chunk of dry ice.  Smartest idea ever!  It was so fun!  He just dropped it into the drink dispenser and watched it bubble, foam and steam away!  Plus, it was all fizzy then - Sparkling Lemonade!  Delicious!  (The kids loved it.)

The cake:
Once again, I wish I could take credit for this cake.  But, like mini's cake last year, I commissioned the help of my sister in law.  She is amazing.  I wanted gold flakes for the top of the cake, but the only ones I could find cost about $10 for the amount I needed.  Yikes.  So I bought gold crystals at Hobby Lobby for about $3.  Much better.  A different look than flakes, but it was still very pretty.  The long skinny candles are from Target.

She blew them all out, too.  But there weren't 31...

And finally, the birthday girl:
Yes, I made her wear the gold glasses and funny hat all day.  Ha!

It was a fun little party, and I only wish more people could have made it.

Maybe I should start planning NOW for next July?

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!


Michelle L. said...

Yay! What a success! The color scheme is so scrumptious, and the accordion flowers are wow. I have no idea what they're called, either.

Julie Rosenhan said...

Wow! That's absolutely amazing! You're an awesome friend, and I bet Elaine was very happy with the party. I'm amazed because I'm no party-planning girl and find it awesome when people can plan and pull off great parties like this. Thanks for sharing all of your decorations and food; I'm storing it all away just in case I ever need ideas for a party.

lunadepana said...

Incredible! Amazing! She is SO lucky to have a friend like you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...