Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Paper & Cake have done it Again!

Those girls (don't you love it when I pretend I'm not talking about myself?) over at Paper & Cake have branched into Weddings. They are making it über-affordable for everyone to have gorgeous, custom wedding stationery sets.

Here is what comes in the "Bluebird Wedding Collection":
  • Invitation
  • Response card
  • Save the Date card
  • Ceremony Program cover
  • Map card
  • 8.5 x 11 Letterhead
  • Menu
  • Favor Bag Topper
  • Favor Box
  • Place Cards
  • Circle tags
  • Table numbers

and for what, $10 in their etsy store? Really girls? Are you just trying to save the planet one wasted paper product at a time?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nancy Drew Birthday Party, Part 2

Alright, let's get right down to it... How many mom's are just terrified of organizing a mystery hunt? Okay I guess it was just me.

For this, part 2, of the NDBP (Nancy Drew Birthday Party) we will uncover simple yet theme inspired party crafts, and how you too can plan a big mystery hunt.

Craft Project:
To set up, we used a 6ft table, covered in paper and little baskets full of supplies. There was glittery foam stickers, paint, dot markers, glue sticks, jewels, sticky foam sheets and crayons.

the birthday girl's personalized ID badge

For that "official" feeling, I created an "ID Badge" for each child, with their name, a space for them to draw their own face and put a fingerprint. After they were done with their badges, I put them in plastic holders and tied them with a ribbon to wear around their necks.

these kids had so much fun decorating (click to enlarge)

Next, each child had a clue journal to decorate. I found these at (where else) Oriental Trading Co. These were a spiral bound notebook with a canvas feeling cover, good for paint or even crayons.

Mystery Hunt:
I was able to hide most of the clues before the party even started, but a few were left to the very last minute, just in case someone stumbled upon it. I had the moms take the kids out front until everything was finished, and while they were out there, they were given some guidelines (okay, rules). I divided the kids into two teams - I did this myself so that no feelings would be hurt by a child not being picked - and put a strip of colored tape on their shirt (blue or orange). Each team had a mom helper also with tape on them.

Both teams would search for the same clues, just in a different order (then maybe it wouldn't feel like a race, and nobody would get trampled). Each clue was put into a ziplock bag with a strip of team tape on it, so you wouldn't accidentally grab the other team's clue. Some of the baggies also had a puzzle piece to collect (more on that at the end of the mystery hunt description).

Here were my clues, printed out on plain paper and taped to a 4x6 card of our purple and black question mark design.

Clue hunters, hard at work (click to enlarge)

1) a close up photo of my washing machine
2) inside the washing machine, "not the wet but the DRY"
3) inside the dryer, "Mirror, mirror on the wall... Who is the fairest of them all?"
4) taped to my full length closet mirror, "find a way to press PLAY" (this was printed backwards)
5) the tv/DVD player in the bedroom, when they pressed play it revealed a close up photo of the numbered storage lockers in our mudroom
6) inside the number 32 locker, "You are nearby, which TWO numbers added equal SEVEN?"
7) inside locker number 25, "A secret massage has been MAILED to you, hurry!"
8) inside the mailbox along with a magnifying glass was the clue printed very tiny, "go to the shelf with all the toys. find the toy car with your team color tape on the bottom. you will be given your next clue."
9) they handed the mom their team toy car and were given a close up photo of the microwave in our pretend kitchen
10) inside the toy microwave, "LEMON aid for sale! Get your LEMON aid here!"
11) at the lemon tree in the backyard was a baggie with play dough in it and a clue that read, "I’m lost! Can you help me find my home?"
12) in the playdough drawer (yes, i have a play dough drawer), "Don’t get WET in this place you get CLEAN, just look for your clue near the DRAIN."
13) in the bathtub was a cell phone, a mom was standing nearby and called the number to tell the team to meet at the fireplace.

blank puzzle from Oriental Trading Co. hand illustrated (click to enlarge)

If your family is at that stage where the children really don't feel comfortable with competitions, then this might work well for you. Remember the puzzle pieces they were collecting? Well, each team only had half of the pieces for the final puzzle, they had to all come together to put the pieces in to solve the mystery of the "What is missing from this party?" The puzzle led them to the pantry where the goodie bags were hiding. It was SPECTACULAR! and it took the kids a while to get through the game.

black tote bags filled with spy equipment

UPDATE: This printable collection is now available in our Etsy store! Only $5 for the entire set.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Yes, Today is My Birthday!

And I'm turning 32 years old... (again)

And what a day it has been! To celebrate, my mom, my sister Missy and her little girls came over to play. We had coffee time, we had craft time, we had run and scream time (it was raining all day), we had home made playdough time (note to self: buy more cream of tartar) and after lunch, we had CAKE TIME!

My sister was so sweet to bring over this fabulous home made cake. It was delicious. I sure do love her.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nancy Drew Birthday Party on Etsy!

This Nancy Drew birthday party was so full of fabulous printables, I've decided to make everything available in the Paper & Cake Etsy store. I did make a new invitation (in fitting with the purple and black color scheme) that you can customize with your own information, AND that is appropriate for girls and boys.

Please take your time in browsing the store and try to figure out who in your life deserves a "Mystery" Birthday party!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Nancy Drew Birthday Party, Part 1

What is purple and black and has fingerprints all over it?

This party of course! In this first installment of all things mysterious, lets talk decorations. It was tough to pick out a color scheme for this one, because Nancy Drew doesn't necessarily radiate any particular hue. So, I put on my thinking cap and chose purple and black.

I started with plain black construction paper, and cut large question marks till I couldn't any more. Then, I found some free images online of fingerprints and bootprints and printed them on repositionable clear window decals (inkjet compatible, available at Staples). If you have ever read any of my other posts about our birthday parties, you already know that there are a ton of windows in my home, perfect for adhering all party décor. Oh, but the bootprints were (obviously) stuck to the floor.

giant construction paper ? marks

oversize fingerprints printed on window decals

and they fooled lots of guests

Moving on to birthday banners. I've never made one of these banners where you spell out the name in individual letters and hang them adjacent to one another, so here is my crazy version. Each letter was layered in photoshop with a fingerprint and a touch of purple. Then I had them printed at Costco's photo center as 5x7 photographs, on sale, and very cheap compared to buying more ink for my awful color printer. I mounted each 5x7 on a larger piece of sparkly silver paper and strung with dark purple ribbon. I think it turned out okay, don't you?

happy 7th birthday Autumn!

all the guests with the birthday girl in the middle

We decided on a popcorn "bar" as one element of the snack table. I saw the coolest jar labels here and borrowed the idea for these fabulous jars I found at Cost Plus World Market. I used a little more of that black construction paper in 6 x 12" strips and wound them into a cone shape (with one simple staple) to serve up this popular snack.

three kinds of popcorn

easy cones for little hands

Lastly, I had so much leftover paper and scraps and supplies from invitations and trial printing of fingerprints and letters, that I used them for garlands. I used an 1.5" punch for the papers and backed them with an 1.5" Avery round sticker (printed with, what else, question marks) and strung them with 1/8" silver ribbon. Scotch tape works pretty well on painted drywall and (usually) comes off cleanly.

okay, maybe I did go a little overboard on decor


UPDATE: This printable collection is now available in our Etsy store! Only $5 for the entire set.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Birthday Party for my Mom

my mom in the middle

crazy angle view of the table

I love my mom, and these days I feel pretty grateful for our relationship. She turned 65 at the end of January, so my 2 sisters and I threw her a little party. There were 9 of us, including my mom's sister, her ex-sister-in-law (because when you love your sister-in-law you don't have to divorce her too) two cousins, my sisters and (of course) me.

We had a lovely brunch of; egg casserole, Baked Blueberry French Toast (thanks Aimee!), fruit, scones and coffee (the most important food group, i think). The food was good but the conversation and laughter was the best!

When it was time for the birthday gifts, my sisters and I surprised our mom with a piece of jewelry. Not just any jewelry, but a hand made silver charm necklace spelling out each of my mother's daughter's names with their children's names on each charm respectively.


I can't wait till next year, when we will celebrate my mom's birthday again. I do have this sneaky suspicion that she will probably be turning 65 again.

fabulous charm necklace