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In Birthday, Graphic Design, Parties on
November 16, 2017

Hubs’ Surprise Birthday Party

For the past couple months, I have been sneakily planning my hubs’ 35th birthday party. I really couldn’t wait until his 40th to throw a big bash. Having seen how much has changed (euphemism for how much we’ve aged) since having kids, I feel that a celebration midway through a decade is worth celebrating!

As usual, I start every party planning with a theme of some sort so that there is some cohesion throughout the party. For this particular one, I chose to (lightly) focus on the decade my husband, Ryan, was born…the rad 80s! I had an 80s pop Pandora station playing in the background, a DIY “Totally Tubular Dude!” light box sign, and some Rubik’s cubes scattered as decor. I even made goodie bags for the kids that each included a mini Rubik’s cube and a slinky!

The centerpiece of this party was the DIY chili bar because food is of utmost importance! Our guests ranged from babies to preschoolers to adults so I felt that the chili bar would work for all. Would you believe me that the first type of bar I was thinking for a party was a poke bar?? How cool would that be?! Oh well, another time, another party!

This party was quite easy to pull together in terms of food preparation. The hardest part was getting Ryan to get out (and staying out!) of the house for several hours. Thank goodness I have an equally sneaky mother-in-law who “needed to shop” and look at not one but multiple open houses nearby. Ha!

To begin, I cheated and purchased a dry mix by Bear Creek called “Darn Good Chili” that my sweet (and also sneaky…there appears to be a theme!) neighbor made in her home. She prepared two batches, one with ground beef and the other without, in crock pots. Once my hubby left the house, I pulled everything out for the party. Days prior to the party, I had bought various items and stuffed them in every nook and cranny in our house so that he wouldn’t see any bulk products. I even hid a huge box of 50 individual Fritos bags inside our suitcases! I did forget to pull out one item, which Ryan found the next day…a whole tub of Red Vines! Well, y’know you can’t return a tub of fresh red vines! YUM!

I got my toppings inspiration from this Buzzfeed article and placed them in individual bowls on top of kraft paper (roll from Michaels by the dollar bins). I added a bowl of fresh fruit, a tower of Fritos chip bags, and a plate of hot dogs (to make chili dogs because why not?). Lastly, I used a large sharpie marker for food labeling and voila! The DIY chili bar is all set up!

Another element I like to add to parties are printed goods, primarily because I love to design them. For Ryan’s grandfather’s 80th birthday earlier this year, we made a “Back in <insert birthyear>” sign that was quite the hit! So, I replicated the idea, incorporated the trending Memphis patterns, and found some fun stats for the year 1982. Everyone loved reading it!

We ended the night with the ultimate ice cream birthday cake from Baskin Robbins and playing a round of modified Telestrations, where we drew/wrote about our fondest memories of the birthday boy! Fun times all around!! 🎉








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In Parties on
August 22, 2017

For Baby Hank

One of my first friends in college who also was my lab partner in one of the hardest engineering classes everrrrr is having a baby! Hooray! 🙂 While I may not have aced that engineering class, I know I can get an A in creating some pretty cute baby shower decor.

She and her hubby love to travel so it was no brainer that lil Baby Hank’s nursery will be travel/adventure-themed. And because the party organizers and I are practical people, we carried that theme into the baby shower as well so that any fun decor can be reused to decorate the nursery. Making it as easy peasy for the parents-to-be!

In my experience, the best way to plan decor for an event is pretend you are a guest and do a mental walkthrough (or a physical one if it’s at your own home) of your party spaces.

So, come with me! Let’s attend Baby Hank’s baby shower virtually!

Next, a pseudo-chalkboard sign was placed near the front door so guests knew to enter the party through the front door versus the side yard which is the first thing you see after walking through the gates. You ready to learn about my secret weapon when it comes to large signs? Two words…engineering prints! This 18in x 24in “chalkboard” sign was created in Adobe InDesign and printed at Staples as a black and white “engineering print” and it cost just $2! You can print up to 36in x 48in and in color (although I was told by the guy at Staples that the color can only be about 25-30% of your design to be considered “engineering print”).


I think social parties like baby showers need a focal point so that’s where I spend the rest of my attention. The dining table was pushed against the wall and a 36in x 48in backdrop was hung to create the focal point. And yuuuup, that backdrop is also an engineering print and in color!! Next, I added dimension to the space with 3D hot air balloons that brought pops of color against the backdrop. An adorable hand-sewn circle+onesie garland also draped below the backdrop for some visual interest.


The hot air balloon icon can be seen again here on the cupcakes toppers. Personally, I like to repeat icons/patterns/colors/shapes throughout in the decor because it not only makes the entire event feel cohesive but it also reiterates the theme. These cupcake toppers were customized by using several different designs from the Silhouette Design Store. I tweaked Lori Whitlock’s Design ID#36441 to create the hot air balloon piece. The clouds are from Snapdragon Snippets’ Design ID#44219. The “oh boy” banner was created layering my own text on the banner shape in this design by Kolette Hall.


My favorite piece of this baby shower was the luggage favors. M&M fun size bags filled each kraft soap box, which was then wrapped with light grey/silver wrapping paper. To create the look of a suitcase, thin strips of dark grey cardstock were added on the sides and one on top to create a handle. I felt the front of the luggage looked bare so decided to add a little travel flair with a cute graphic printed on Silhouette’s clear labels. It was also an opportunity to acknowledge the favor is from Baby Hank’s baby shower. The finishing piece was the luggage tag that I created in Adobe Illustrator. The luggage tag listed some special numbers and letters. The numbers represented the baby’s due month and year. The 3-letter “airport code” is actually the baby’s initials. So fun sneaking in little things like that! Anyways, I imported this graphic into Silhouette Studio so that the tags could be individually cut by my Silhouette CAMEO. I love incorporating my graphic designs into Silhouette projects!

Welcome to the world Baby Hank!! 🙂


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In DIY, Parties on
July 5, 2017

Party Time with Wonder Woman

How was everyone’s 4th of July? We had a fun-filled day starting with a morning play date followed by chowing down some fried chicken sandwiches and schmaltz fries at the Crack Shack. And as if that wasn’t enough food, we moved onto the next feast of super-delish Korean BBQ buffet and ended the day with gooey chocolatey s’mores. My pants might have felt a little tight this morning… #noregrets

Anywaaaays, let’s talk about the new Wonder Woman movie. Have you seen it? It is SO good! SO good that some of the Silhouette Design Team Members worked on some extra projects to celebrate our new BFF, Diana Prince…aka Wonder Woman. After seeing the movie, I had a gut feeling that many little girl birthday parties would soon become Wonder-Woman themed so if that’s you or you know some mama who is wondering where to start to pull together a wonder-filled party…look no more! I have put together a tutorial on how to create simple yet eye-catching Wonder Woman party decor, from cupcake toppers to water bottle labels!

Click here to read my tutorial!

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In DIY, Holidays, Silhouette on
April 18, 2017

Circus Animal Cupcake Wrappers


Today is National Animal Cracker Day! Super important stuff. #yourewelcome

So obviously it is only appropriate to celebrate this momentous day with some delectable treats! To this day, I prefer the frosted animal crackers…probably because it was super rare when I got to enjoy these sweet cookies…like only at birthday parties…someone else’s birthday party. But now that I’m a grown woman, there are days I channel Donna and Tom (from Parks and Recreation) and I think to myself, “Girl, it’s time to Treat. Yo. Self!”

I thought it would be fun to put the frosted animal crackers on top of a yummy cupcake (go big or go home right?!). To play along with the animal (cracker) theme, I created a unique cupcake wrapper that resembled a circus podium. For those planning a circus-themed party, these cupcake wrappers will really dress up your treats and make them stand out!

Here’s how you can make these easy cupcake wrappers:

  • Download the cupcake wrapper I created.
    • When you open the file, it includes one podium ring, ten triangle panels, and ten stars.
    • All of these shapes make one cupcake wrapper so duplicate as-needed.
    • Lastly, use scrapbooking adhesive or glue to adhere the pieces.
  • Download Miss Kate Cuttables’ Designs ID #42737 and #42738 from the Silhouette Design Store.
    • I made these cut files into a “Print and Cut” file because I wanted to use the animals as a cupcake topper, which is another fun way to dress up the treat.
    • In order to do this:
      • Ungroup and release any compound paths.
      • Keep the pieces you need to make the circus animal. You may need to overlap some pieces to create the full image. Delete everything else that is not used.
      • Open up the “Fill Color Window” and choose a color to “fill” your animal shape.
      • For most shapes’ lines, I chose “Transparent” in the “Line Color Window” except for the elephant because I wanted the elephant trunk and tusks to stand out.
      • To make this a “Print and Cut” file, we need to create an outer cut line for each animal.
        • Pick one animal and open the “Trace Window” and select Trace Area, from which you will adjust the High and Low Pass Filters to get a good outline of your animal.
        • Then, click “Trace Outer Edge”
      • Almost done…click on “Cut Settings” and make sure the outer line that you just created is the only one that has a cut line applied to it. In other words, this should be the only line in red.
      • This step is optional but I highly recommend it to keep your shapes in tact. Highlight and group the various pieces per animal. Re-size your grouped shape as necessary. You may want large or small cupcake toppers.
      • Lastly, open the “Registration Marks Window” and set your registration marks.
      • Send it off to your printer, then place your printed document on the cutting mat, and send to Silhouette. And that’s it!


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In DIY, Holidays, Silhouette on
April 17, 2017

Summertime Drink/Straw Umbrellas


Warm and sunny days here in SoCal have me thinking about summer and all the fun get-togethers with family and friends. Last year, we hosted a 4th of July BBQ potluck. It was our first party since Zoe was born. I’m pretty sure it was my idea but truly, I think all three of us (hubby, firstborn son, and me) were ready to have folks over for good food and fellowship! Prior to kids, we used to have friends over for hours, playing games after games after games, sometimes until 10/11pm. These days, we are asleep by that time. Young children have no mercy…it’s go time when the clock strikes 6am.

If we host another Independence Day party this year, I’m going to add some holiday pizzaz to the drinks with this drink/straw umbrella combo! The paper straw is a fantastic way to add color and/or incorporate the party theme. Adding the drink umbrella is not only fun but can also be practical! For narrow glassware like the milk bottle pictured, you can even push the umbrella down the straw and it can serve as a “drink lid,” keeping your beverage free of bugs or falling leaves. Nothing is going to ruin your holiday festivities!

Want to make some of your own? It’s incredibly easy! You need the following:

  • Silhouette Design ID#81181 (the Silhouette Design Store has several other designs as well)
  • Cardstock (for the base umbrella piece)
  • Patterned paper (for the decorative panels)
  • Scrapbooking adhesive or tape
  • Paper straws

In order to “thread” the straw through the drink umbrella, I modified the original drink umbrella cut file by adding a 0.25″ circle and centering it. See screenshot below. No need to do anything else…simply send it to your Silhouette machine to cut. Fold on the preforated lines and voila! It’s fancy drink time!

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