It’s, It’s a Birthday Blitz

We celebrated V’s birthday with a bash on Friday.

He asked for a dog party, I wanted to make something he’s love, but I limited myself to not spend a dime on decorations.  It’s nothing crazy, but here’s what we had.  Scalloped paper banner I made for his 3rd birthday party, a flat twin bed sheet turned table-cloth, and a few special dog creations.

A paper banner and framed husky silhouette decorate the boring (hole filled) wall.

To make the banner, I simply typed out Happy Birthday Vincent in Photoshop.  I’m obsessed with the Arvil font lately, which I also used on his invitation.  And the condensed style fit three letters per sheet at 815 point font.  After arranging three letters per page, I merged the visible layers, then flipped horizontally.  Using scissors, I cut out each letter, then poked holes at the tops to string embroidery floss through.

Stars separate the words and dog silhouettes at the ends match the party theme.  But next year I can pull the dogs off (I didn’t knot the ends) and swap ’em for something matching next year’s theme.  For another decorative element (to take attention off the holes), I traced a husky silhouette on a large piece of white roll paper I have in the basement.  Popped into a large frame I had hiding under the guest bed, it’s a fun, simple decoration.

After taking down party decorations, I took down a map poster and hung this big dog above the boys’ kitchen.

For food, I planned to have hot dogs (to tie in with the dog theme), chips, grapes, sweet potato fries, bread, and V’s favorite cheese.  Well, Ben saw pork ribs were cheaper than hot dogs (go figure!) and bought that instead.  Oh well, our guests liked it.

So our desserts consisted of puppy chow and dog cupcakes.

I saw these cute and easy cupcakes and knew it would work for us.  No special tools or tricks, just cookies and candy.

Because I was in a hurry buying ingredients, I forgot to buy black icing.  So I improvised and used a dot of frosting with black sprinkles for the pupils.

A little something I learned: don’t put the cookies on the day before the party and cover your dish with foil.  Trapped moisture will weaken your cookies, breaking in half.  Super simple party and we all had fun.  Check out last year’s rainbow themed party, too.

What do you think of the party decorations?  What type of parties have your kiddos requested?  Do you limit your budget?  Or go all out for parties?  How was your weekend?

Dog Days of Invitations

We’ve got two upcoming events that I made invitations for.  A dog themed party for V, per his request.  Specifically, a Jack party.  Right when he said that, I thought of Kim’s adorable Pet Shop paintings.

I spotted this adorable Husky Print that looks just like Jack.  It was perfect.

So I emailed Kim begging asking her if I could pretty please with a cherry on top use this painting for the invitation design.  Luckily, Kim is fantastic and said I could use the image, so long as I don’t use it on anything else.  Not a problem.  So, I saved the image and opened it in Photoshop.  Wanting a white background, I right clicked on the eraser tool.  Right clicking brings up the options.  Click on the Magic Eraser Tool.

Then click an area of the background.  This handy little tool picks out any of the same colors, and erases it.  Seriously, this Magic Eraser is just as handy as the Mr. Clean version.  And really magic.

A small area between the front legs didn’t go with it, so I clicked again and gone.  After a transfer to my invite, I had an adorable design.
Because we’ve been so busy working on the house, I’ve really slacked in the birthday decoration department.  We’ll have a small celebration at our house on Friday, and another larger party with my family in Minnesota a few weeks from now.  What are we doing in Minnesota?  Going to my sister’s wedding, which I also created invitations for.  My sister has a modern aesthetic (we’ve shared her stair bookcase) so something clean and simple was in order.  The invitation is 5 by 7, focusing on the text.

For a dose of fun, we added diagonal stripes on the backs.  The wedding is small, so I also made pretty wrap around address labels.

These invites are one of my favorite designs yet.  V loves his dog invitation.  And Ashley loves her wedding invites.  Which makes me a happy camper.  I aim to please.

What do you think of the designs?  Do you like simple designs?  Or something more decorated?  What did you do over the weekend?

Festive Flair

Sorry this is last-minute, but that’s how my mind works these days.  Tomorrow, we’re planning to have a small barbecue at our house.  So I’ve been brainstorming cheap and easy ways to add festive flair to the table.  Here’s a super quick rundown of what’s going on.

Traditional red, white, and blue with sparkle.  I borrowed the coral utensil caddy from the bathroom to carry the silverware and a few candles hold down the center.  Due to time constraints and little hands, I set only one place, but it shows what I had in mind.  A white vinyl place mat at the bottom with an 11 by 17 sparkler print on top to add color.  Our every day white dishes mix with everything.  We don’t have fun colored glasses, so I filled a clear glass with a cold red drink and topped it with a festive stirrer.  A napkin on the side held together with a sparkler-esque pipe cleaner ring adds more bling.

To make the drink stirrer, I cut a piece of aluminum foil into a three-inch wide strip.  Then I folded the bottom over to stiffen the base.  Cut lines, without going completely through.  Add a piece of tape to one end and wrap the foil around a bamboo skewer, securing with tape at the other end.

For each pipe cleaner napkin ring you’ll need two sticks.  First cut one cleaner into 4 pieces.  It’s better if they aren’t perfect.

Group the cut pieces together and wrap the long pipe cleaner around the bundle once.

Wrap the pipe cleaners around your napkin and twist around to secure the ends.  Fluff up the spikes and you’re done.

Add a sweet touch to dessert plates with powdered sugar.  Make a star template from paper and dust with sugar.  To add a touch of blue, I made a paper flag.  Use the flags as cute accents, place markers, or as drink stirrer.

What have you made for the 4th?  Favorite foods?  I love skewers.  What is more American than food on a stick?!?

We’re taking the day off tomorrow, but we’ll be back on Thursday.  Enjoy your day off, my fellow Americans.

4th Invite

Are you as excited as I am for the Fourth of July?  Seriously, fireworks and we should be able to see them from our house.  Awesome!  I started thinking about invitations, so I put together this printable version.

If you have Photoshop, you can download the .psd file, add your information and add a second to a page.

Or get this version to write your info in.

And, you can use standard envelopes from any office supply store, no searching for a specific size.

Put a Balloon Animal On It

It’s hard to believe, but E will turn two in thirteen days.  I can’t call him a baby any more.  In fact, sometimes he acts bigger than V.  He certainly defends himself (and initiates scuffles) like a big boy.  I’ve slowly been working on some birthday party projects, like cupcake toppers.

The toppers were pretty easy because I used the balloon animal graphics from the invitation.

I separated the three designs, copy, and pasted to a new 8.5 by 11 Photoshop document.  Once I had arranged one set of animals, I merged the three together, copied, pasted, and flipped horizontally.  Then I merged the two sets together and made a second set, flipping vertically to fit 12 animals per sheet, like this.

I could have made standard circle toppers, but I thought it would be more fun to cut the animals out completely.  Carefully, I traced the outline with my blade.  They’re not perfect or completely symmetrical, but they are close enough to not notice.

Several pieces of double-sided tape and a toothpick on the back of one.

The press the mirror image on top, sandwiching the toothpick between.

I won’t say these were especially quick (about 1 hour for six toppers) but they are darn cute.  With the whole moving thing and all that goes with creeping closer, I don’t know how much of my original plan I’ll get to.  But I want to make the day special and celebrate my little guy.  Now I have to learn how to make real balloon animals.  That’s right, I still have not attempted one.  How long do you suppose a balloon animal can hold air?

Have you made cupcake toppers for a birthday?  Any ideas for quick and easy decorations?