Gold and Black Dinner Banquet

The party came right on the heels of Christmas, so there wasn't much time to do any more than the invite and a little gift box for all of our guests (it would've been nice to show you had I taken a picture of it!).

The boxes were filled with an assortment trio of Ghirardelli squares.
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With a Grateful Heart


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The next adventure begins...

One of my best girlfriends asked me to create a special and unique announcement for her first pregnancy. She knew she wanted it travel-themed, reminiscent of her wedding and the rest of the details were left up to me.

I designed and put together three different sized suitcases: First Class for Daddy, Fragile: Handle with Care for Mommy, and Special Cargo for Baby to use as props; took this picture with the Mommy and Daddy-to-be in the background; and added text to create the final product.
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Buzz Lightyear's Astroblasters

If you know our son, then you know he absolutely LOVES Buzz Lightyear. Aside from Mickey Mouse, Buzz Lightyear was one of the very first characters Rhyle recognized and since then, he's been obsessed! Given his affinity for all things Buzz, his favorite ride at Disneyland is of course, none other than Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. We know it well, because he makes us go on it repeatedly (luckily for the us, the line is usually short).
When planning for his 4th birthday, he asked for a Buzz Lightyear theme. Great! We'll do Toy Story and call it a day. All the fun ideas started rolling into my brainstorming session, and then he clarified, "No, Mom. Not Toy Story. Buzz only. I don't want the other characters at my party." Deflated, I was back at square one, until it hit me: use his favorite Disneyland ride as inspiration and attempt making it come to life on a budget. It seemed almost impossible, but I was game!

Taking ideas from here and there and really stretching my creative muscle resulted in what was probably one of the more craft intensive parties I've assembled, but the elements came together quite nicely.
| The Invitation |
DIY | Designed by yours truly, inspired by the Toy Story logo and Buzz's space suit.

| Welcome sign |
DIY | The Buzz Lightyear above was part of wall decal set mounted onto cardstock to welcome the guests as they arrived.

| Food station with DIY flair |
Knowing we would be serving pizza, I had to recreate the Pizza Planet signage from Toy Story. After all, it is where Buzz Lightyear met and saved the lives of the indebted Little Green Men, a.k.a. Aliens.

By the way, the pizza you see above measures at a whopping 36" and was one of two we ordered. They were so big the second pizza had to be relocated to a table outside.

| Family room décor |
DIY | The fireplace was dressed with a table cover, circles and stars cut from cardstock, and DIY paper-pieced Happy Birthday banner. The Buzz Lightyear figure was also from a wall decal set mounted on cardstock. 

I added The Claw station (another element from Toy Story) using a Toysmith Robot claw we already owned and a bucket of 25 Little Green Men figurines purchased from a recent trip to Disneyland. 

| Outdoor seating |
DIY | These centerpieces were created using free online clipart of Buzz and the alien, tall wooden sticks, tissue paper, floral foam (for stick stability), and a party cup. Easy peasey with a whole lot of pizzazz!

| Dessert Table |
I love how this table turned out!
DIY | The background was created with a black plastic table cover with stars, 3 white poster boards decorated with various color cardstock to emulate Star Command's control panels and system operations, and a colored poster board with pieces removed made to look like a window.  
DIY | Rhyle's name is made of purchased cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby, decorated with lime green cardstock to match the color theme.
DIY | Homemade cake pops -- moist yellow cake covered in vibrant green chocolate with various sprinkles.
DIY | Homemade chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting, topped with stars, Astro Blasters, or Astro Blaster "4" targets.
Skittles in 1oz plastic shot glasses
DIY | Homemade double-layer chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, decorated with a store-bought Buzz Lightyear/Alien candle set and a DIY "To Infinity and Beyond" cake topper.
DIY | Little Green Men party favor bags
Favor bags were filled with a Buzz Lightyear paint by numbers kit, glow sticks in lime green or purple, and several pieces of candy.

| Piñata |
DIY | I didn't have the heart to spend $$$ on a Buzz Lightyear piñata only to bash our beloved hero to pieces, so I made one of Emperor Zurg using a large cardboard box, tissue paper, glue, string, and construction paper. No one bats an eye when you're beating defeating the Sworn Enemy of the Galactic Alliance with a baseball bat.  

| Activities for the kiddos |
DIY | signs for the different play stations

| Photo Booth |
DIY | Photo props are one of my must-haves for any party. It adds a little character to the party and gives people something to do. This spaceship above was a huge labor of love. It took a long time to create and put together, but I loved it and more importantly, Rhyle loved it! 

| Other creative touches and miscellaneous décor |
DIY | Countless Astro Blaster targets were scattered throughout the walls of the house. Using the real Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters Ride target as a model, I created these targets from scratch after failing to find a usable clipart or graphic online. Getting that zig zag lighting bolt onto the bottom of the "Z" was a huge pain, but hours later, I finally made it work.  
DIY | Chalkboard art with 3 character pieces from a wall decal set
DIY | The left is an image I photographed from the actual Astro Blaster's ride while waiting in line. I printed it out and placed it on the restroom door. On the right is a sign I created to block guests out from private areas of the house.  
This was such fun birthday party to put together! Styling it. DIY-ing it. Slowly watching it all come together. Seeing the uncontainable excitement on my son's face. It was most definitely worth every minute spent!
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The seaweed is always greener

Flip your fins this way where the seaweed is always greener to our Little Mermaid's second birthday party!

To say our daughter, Sadie, is obsessed with The Little Mermaid would be a huge understatement. She LOVES Ariel and all things Little Mermaid! I suppose I'm the one to blame for her inclination towards all things Ariel; afterall, The Little Mermaid was (and still is) my favorite Disney movie of all time. So of course, when sweet Sadie requested an "Ariel party" for her birthday (all on her own by the way...), I was more than willing to oblige and already had so many DIY ideas swirling in my head to make it come to life!
When planning for the party first started, I knew I didn't want to go with the traditional colors associated with Ariel for the party. I wanted to venture out and use a more youthful, fun color palette that also reflected the personality of our birthday girl. The party colors and components quickly came together as soon as I finished the digital invitation and the rest of the details took off from there! Almost everything was DIY--the way I like all my parties to be (because I'm that kind of crazy); it adds a unique, magical touch and personalization that just can't be bought. The end result was more than even I could have hoped for and seeing Sadie's reaction to it all made all the hard work worthwhile!

The Invitation
DIY | Designed by yours truly using a free Ariel clipart found online and our own photo taken during a recent trip to the beach.

The Outfit
DIY | I wanted a special outfit for her to wear, but couldn't bear to spend the amount on the price tags of so many Little Mermaid outfits/costumes being sold. Not to mention, her comfort was a concern and some of those costumes looked downright itchy and uncomfortable. Solution: make it myself. A little tulle, felt, and glitter fabric paint put together and voilà! A party-perfect Little Mermaid outfit.

The Front Door
DIY | Guests were greeted by this wreath, created with streamers, character clipart, and a foam wreath when they first arrived. The party was indoor/outdoor, so I wanted them to feel comfortable letting themselves in, in case everyone was outside enjoying the festivities.

The Dessert Table Components


DIY | The backdrop was created with streamers; the Happy Birthday banner was made with kraft paper and regular cardstock. The large Ariel image was from a store bought wall decal adhered to poster board, cut to size, and suspended from the ceiling. A string of clear balloons floating from floor to ceiling anchored both sides of the table (as seen in first blog photo above). 
DIY | Movie inspired touches - left: unfinished treasure chest painted and filled with gold coins, beads, and other costume jewelry; middle: clear wine bottle filled with sand and wine stopper candelabra complete with utensils placed on top; right: red felt Sebastian (template from Disney Family) peeking through wine glass.
DIY | SADIE letters purchased from craft store and decorated according to party theme with regular cardstock.
Dessert offerings made from scratch:
| Red velvet cupcakes (regular and mini sizes) with cream cheese frosting |
| Vanilla cupcakes (regular and mini sizes) with vanilla buttercream frosting |
| Old fashioned chocolate cake pops |
| 2-layer vanilla birthday cake with vanilla buttercream frosting |  
Other desserts (purchased)
| Green sour belts |
| Madeleines |
| plastic shot glasses filled with Jelly Belly Disney Princess jelly beans |
DIY | Party favors were goody bags filled with tropical Skittles which completely coordinated with the party's color palette. The addition of the mini forks literally made me squeal with joy at how cute they turned out.

Other Personal Party Touches
DIY | Chalkboard art - left: Food station chalkboard; right: drink station chalkboard.


DIY | Seaweed and various sea life added to bare walls. It's all about the ambiance!


DIY | A colorful banner to adorn the area above the gifts; the small lanterns were a fab find from the Dollar Store.


DIY | Photo op board drawn and painted by hand on foam board. No one loves a great photo prop more than me. This was the most time consuming project, and consequently, the one I am most proud of.

DIY | Flair for the buffet area - left: A colored napkin and a wint-o-green flavored lifesaver brought added character to boring white plastic utensils; right: fabulous clipart found online, printed on sticker paper to dress up white coffee cups.

Last, but not least...
DIY | Handmade paper flower hair clips - The ladies in attendance received one just like the one I'm sporting above, so we could all channel our inner Ariels, daydreaming about life on land and the cute Prince playing his flute outside his castle.

***This was proudly featured by Chickabug.com >>http://blog.chickabug.com/2014/10/little-mermaid-party.html
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Red, White, and Blue Wreath

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You've got a friend in me

How exciting! It's Rhyle's first Valentine's exchange at Preschool, and I knew I wanted to do something special, but nothing too over the top. I checked out the pre-made Valentine's cards at the store and left unimpressed. Suddenly, my creative juices started flowing.

Anyone who knows the kid knows he L-O-V-E-S Buzz Lightyear, so it only seemed fitting to have him express his friendship and love with his favorite character. That, and he specifically asked for Buzz, Woody, Jessie, and Rex. Here's what I came up with...3 out of 4 characters--good enough.

Toy Story themed lollipop sleeves! 

I borrowed the character graphic from the good ole world wide web and created two separate designs on my computer, using Woody's shirt and Buzz's spacesuit colors as my guide. After the sleeves were printed and cut, Rhyle carefully supervised as I wrapped each individual YumEarth organic lollipop. We love these lollipops and highly recommend them.
And there you have it!

Easy to execute + non-labor intensive + cuteness factor off the charts = one proud and happy little boy, eager to give them to all his {girl}friends. 

Happy {almost} Valentine's Day!
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