Cute tags for place cards

As you may (or may not) know, I am hosting a tea party baby shower for my sister in law this week.  For a unique twist on place cards, I thought I may do these tea bag shaped tags (from Martha Stewart) and attach them to the napkin rings with thin pink ribbon.

Amidst the cake pop rage...

Cake pops seem to be all the rage on the party blogosphere so when seeking inspiration for some cute little girly treats to add to our candy/dessert buffet for a baby shower, I couldn't help but fall in love with these. (For the full DIY, click here)
Don't get me wrong, I am not at all obsessed with Hello Kitty.  However, the guest of honor happened to choose this bedding set for her nursery so I thought it may be fun to incorporate one tiny Hello Kitty touch into her shower as well.

What do you think?  Should I whip up a batch?

"La Petite Boulangerie" First Birthday Party

La petite Claire recently turned one year old. 
To celebrate this occasion, I created the following French Bakery themed party. 

As you will see, there are several elements that made this party stand out.  The first of which, of course, was the theme.  I cannot take credit for it, however, since I got the idea off of a party blog (see previous "inspiration" post). In random order, here are some things I did and how I did them.
 The Paris Postcard Invitations
 I used a customizable postcard of the Eiffel Tower on and added in the text and photos to both sides. Before mailing them out, I added a vintage postmarks from Paris from a rubber stamp collection (being a French teacher, I own these kinds of things). I thought they were the perfect invitation to set the tone for the entire event.

The Pastries
 I used the lovely assistance of David Lebovitz and Julia Child in making the pastries pictured above. The tartes aux fraises (strawberry tarts) and the babas au rhum (rum soaked mini cakes) were from the Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook by Julia. The macarons au chocolat (French chocolate macarons) and the madeleines (shell-shaped little cakes) were from David's website (click here). I used a Martha Stewart recipe for the raspberry macaron base and got creative by making a raspberry chocolate ganache filling for them using the leftover chocolate ganache from the chocolate macaron filling and adding in high quality raspberry preserves. I made a few pains au chocolat (chocolate croissants) as well. The cream puffs and éclairs were just prepackaged ones from Sam's Club, but I couldn't make ALL the pastries!!!
The cake was obviously homemade and not too French.  I did that because I wanted it to look cute and wanted the cherry chip cupcakes as a cheap and easy choice for the little kids to eat. The black and white damask cupcake liners as well as the pink bakery treat boxes were purchased at
        The Piroulines were on clearance at Marshall's (of all places!) as were the "C" black damask napkins pictured on the "café" table. The black damask stands that held the food labels were just 3x5 notecards from Target cut in half. Double sided "permanent" scotch tape is my best friend with party decor.

In the other room I set up this café area with typical French café beverages and snacks.  I found the black metal letters in the dollar bins at Michael's and bought a simple chalkboard at Hobby Lobby.  I simply covered the oak frame with hot pink ribbon.

The Foods and Beverages
I made miniature French baguettes and made two types of sandwiches out of them: Les hot-dogs (small sausages in French baguettes) and sandwichs au jambon (sandwiches made of ham, butter and baguettes). I set out a jar of Grey Poupon for the hot dogs as well as some croissants, Brie cheese and red grapes. I added Nutella last minute just because I love it. 
    In true French café fashion, I got Coke in glass bottles, Orangina, limonade (a lightly sweetened, lemon flavored soda) and Perrier. To accompany the many sweets being served, I had milk available. I fully intended to have coffee too, but got too busy.
Party favors for the kids
For all of the kids age 2 and older, I ordered these kids cloth aprons online and personalized them with fabric paints before hanging them on display.  After a while, I announced that each child could come and get his or her apron to put on for our baking activity.  They were thrilled. I was fun to see how excited they got when discovering their names on their very own aprons.

Baking time

Once they put on their aprons, I took groups of two or three to go to the baking stations to make their own "Pains au chocolat" which is basically chocolate-filled croissants.  I didn't use actual croissant dough for this, but just used pre-frozen puff pastry dough and chocolate pieces along with an egg wash on top.  The kids seems to enjoy rolling them and painting them with the egg.  After I baked them, I put them in the pastry boxes for them to take home as their party favor.
I used to edit some snapshots that I took of Claire throughout her first year of life.  I then added hot pink, black and white borders as well as her age at the times of each shot (written in both French and English).  I did a similar treatment on some recent photos of Paris taken by a friend and then interspersed themwith the shots of Claire and displayed them on the wall.

The birthday girl

I think that the party was a huge success overall. Claire had all over her grandparents, several aunts and uncles, cousins and lots of friends there with her. The guests all seem to have had a great time trying new pastries and enjoying one another's company. 

Now it's time for those darned thank you notes... 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: A Co-ed Baby Celebration

Voilà: the final product of the shower I have been planning for quite some time. I cannot take all of the credit: I have two wonderful friends who hosted with me. Thanks for the help, Liz and Rachel!
I made this ribbon star banner with a tutorial from Martha Stewart.  Click here for the instructions. I have to say, however, that it was not easy.  Hence the very "homely" looking stars. Overall, I think it was pretty cute.

The foods were a collaborative effort.  We tried to meet the palettes of both men (honey ginger wings) and women (veggie pizza bites) as well as carry our theme throughout the foods. The Posh Piggies were the first to go. You can grab their recipe here.
The lemon meringue cupcakes were a Martha recipe, of course!

Once again with the guidance of Martha (DIY tutorial from her website) I made this sugar scrub as a favor, packaged in baby jars with a large star tag.  One side said "A star is born" and the other said "From our shower to yours." These were a big hit!

Under the Sea/Mermaid Party

Little Kyla has been asking for a "Mermaid Under the Sea" party for four months and her wish came true.

The inspiration came from Living Locurto's Blog, where there are several party ideas and themes to choose from.  She threw her daughter a Mermaid themed pool party and describes it in detail here.  Living Locurto sells a printable party pack for the party that includes these cut outs: 

That turned out like this:

And these cupcake toppers:

That turned out like this!

The other downloads were the invitations, thank you cards, and candy wrappers.

For decor, Kyla's mom covered the windows in blue plastic (tablecloths) to give the room an underwater feel, then used blue and green streamers (see below) and twisted them to look like seaweed.  Felt sea animals were hung from the light over the table and around the room.

For the tablescape, a pink tablecloth was used to make it girly and blue shimmery organza to feel light and wavy.  Pearls were strung around the table to make it pretty.

The snacks served were pink marshmallows (birthday girl's favorite) with umbrellas, fruit, goldfish crackers, Gogurts (Spongebob), fruit snacks (sharks and Nemo) Capri Suns for the kids, ham, cheese and cucumber 'Sushi' Rolls and Hershey's nuggets (wrapped in theme).

Can't forget cupcakes and the birthday girl's ONE special request,

A Volcano Cake!  'Lava' included.

The felt sea animals were handmade using a template found here.  They were hanging around the room, but later cut down and used for...

a fishing game!  
The kids used a fishing pole with a clip attached to the end and took two turns each tossing it over the shower curtain beautiful ocean scene.  Kyla's mom, hiding behind the curtain, attached a felt sea animal to the clip and the kids reeled them in.  They got to keep them as part of their favor!

They also got sand buckets filled with bubbles, silly straws and candy.  The girls got handmade mermaid tails, instructions here.

The printable mermaid downloads unified the theme while the details made it special.  This truly was an adorable party.