{last minute} party inspiration: british royal wedding

After weeks of being indifferent about the upcoming Royal Wedding, something bit me yesterday and I finally caught the fever.  I mean, it's kind of a once in a lifetime event right?  So if you're in the same boat as I am and having trouble getting across the pond, Birthday Girl has got you covered... here's just about everything you need to throw together a last minute Royal Wedding viewing party in the comfort of your own living room.

First, head to the kitchen, put on a spot of tea and bake this {recipe below}.

Then, download these...

and this...

and something like this, from here.

Liven things up with a little friendly competition using these.

Once everything is set up the way you like it, get into your pjs {or wake up in your pjs, or spend the day in your pjs}, turn on the TV and cuddle up with one of these...  

Okay, so maybe some of you can't do that last part, but lucky for me I happen to have one of the Queen's beloveds {aka Her Royal Highness Scout The Dog} at my beck and call.  Happy wistful wedding watching everyone... cheerio!

Union Jack Flag Fruit Pizza

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 15x10x1-inch or 13x9-inch pan with foil. Spray bottom only of foil with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Press evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

2. In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Spread mixture over cooled crust.

3. Arrange fruit over cream cheese. Refrigerate at least 1 hour until chilled. To serve, cut into 5 rows by 4 rows. Cover and refrigerate any remaining fruit pizza.

real parties: skateboarding little dudes

 Jill of Paperbox Press put together this low key 4th birthday skateboard party for her 'little skater dude'.  It's so hard to find cute items for a specific boy theme like this, and she made a smart decision by creating a blue, grey, green and orange color scheme and working around it to unify the look.  The layered jello molds with flag toppers are a unique and fun treat, as are the fondant cupcake toppers and favor bags which included a Tech Deck, some skateboard tattoos, candy and hand molded chocolate skateboard pops.  Of course, Jill also designed all the paper goods herself, available at her shop here.

{images via paperbox press}

real parties: the tale of peter rabbit

With Easter just around the corner, I was reminded of one of my favorite parties last year... this Peter Rabbit themed first birthday, designed by Kate Landers Events and executed & photographed by Marti Mashburn for her son Hudson.  I've always had a love for the Beatrix Potter series, and am looking forward to sharing the books with Caitlin.  This party is a wonderful nod to the story of Peter Rabbit.  The cake and fondant toppers are just the most charming thing, as are details like the vegetable centerpiece and craft paper letters.  With the addition of burlap, it's a soft rustic style for your Easter or spring celebration.

{images via kate landers events}

real parties: rainbow brights & stripes

Sure, we've all seen rainbow parties before, but in my opinion this one takes the cake.  Created by Jen of The Cupcake Social for her daughter's 6th birthday, this vibrant party offers the most brilliant use {and lack} of color. Interestingly, it's the inclusion of black that makes this party stand out from the rest... it takes an artist's mind to recognize that an absence of color would truly make all the others pop.  I love that kind of out of the box thinking.  I also love the sassy rainbow striped printables designed by Heather of Chickabug, which mirror the striped party tablecloth and bunting flags. Jen offers some great background about her party inspiration and sources on her blog, so head over for more details.

{images provided by chickabug}

real parties: a bookish birthday brunch

Last weekend my bookclub got together for a birthday celebration since there were several of us with April birthdays.  We held a simple brunch and I offered to decorate so I could have an opportunity to test out my new Epic machine, sent to me from Lifestyle Crafts.  I set the table with a kelly green & white striped cloth, and created centerpieces by wrapping our club’s books in kraft paper and stacking them up between mason jars of simple flowers.

As place cards and favors, I designed bookmarks using the letterpress feature of the Epic and tied them with a navy satin ribbon.  The letterpress process was a bit tedious and didn’t give me the deep impression and even coverage of a professional letterpress print, but that aside I think they turned out pretty good.  Frankly, just being able to create my own letterpress products at home gives me insane joy.  For this project I used one of Lifestyle’s stock plates, but you can actually design and order your own custom plates too... next time I’ll definitely go that route so I can get exactly what I want.

In addition to the bookmarks, I used both the letterpress and the die cut feature to create little bunting flags for the cake.  The great thing about the die shape is that it cut little slits at the top of the flags so I could easily string them through a bit of baking twine and attach them with skewers to the cake...

Oh yes, the cake.  My friend Chris outdid himself with the baking... he actually made the Pop Rocks cake!!!  It was everything I hoped it could be too... delicious velvety chocolate with a surprise burst at the end of each bite.  Seriously, it may have been one of the most fun things I’ve ever eaten.

Hope you enjoy this simple brunch and stay tuned... on Monday I’m running a *GIVEAWAY* of an Epic machine combo kit!  Come back to enter and you could win one for your very own.  In addition, Lifestyle Crafts is offering a discount to Birthday Girl readers for 20% of all products on their site through the end of the month.  Just enter the code: BLOGBIRTHDAY at checkout.  

{images © birthday girl 2011}

spotted: DiY party tablecloths

Maybe I'm just stating the obvious here, but when designing a party I always opt for fabric tablecloths over their disposable counterparts.  In fact, I often find myself buying bolts of pretty fabric with no specific purpose, subscribing to the theory that 'if you buy it... the party will come'.  And it generally does.  I'll be sharing a party later this week incorporating one of my recent finds, but in the meantime I want to share a terrific tutorial for creating your own fabric tablecloth, courtesy of Simone at Beach Vintage.... visit her blog for a step by step guide.
{ps: last chance to vote!}
{image via beach vintage}

real parties: mod about vespas

Alessandra of Almalu's Place in Italy sent in this hip Vespa party created for her husband’s birthday and I just love it... the very definition of cool! A classic red, white and blue color combo is a nod to the Brits, while printed Vespas and magazine spreads gives this layout a fashionable mod look.  The details are everywhere, from the iron on transfers to the bunting, straw flags and even the confetti on the table. Unexpected touches like little vintage pins on the wall and an over sized zinc letter pull it all together.  Read on for more details from Alessandra...
{ps: vote for birthday girl!}

 {images via almalu's place}

My husband is a vintage Vespa lover and his favorite colors are blue, red and white. As he was born in the 70s, when Mod was born too, I decided to play with all these elements for his birthday.

Printable and decor: I contacted Susanna Mancini, from
Daily Suze
to make invitations, cupcake toppers, tags, iron on transfer motives, buntings, confettis. Everything turned out super cute: I cannot choose my favorite item: the cut out Vespa invitation or the Vespas iron-on transfers I used for the favors?!

Setting: I used as a backdrop an IKEA tent and I hung on it the Happy Brithday banner plus some pics of 70s Vespas, mod fashion and vintage pins. On the table, as a centerpiece, I placed a zinc "A", with other pictures and a red Vespa. I also spread heart shaped confettis on the table. And I used a British flag on a side of the table.  I bought at Maison du Monde two boxes with British flag that I used to display cake pops.

Favors: I made some placemats with a little Vespa on it (with iron-on transfer) for all guests.

Desserts: I made all sweet and salty treats. I bake some chocolate with chocolate frosting and vanilla with colored fondant cupcakes, cake pops and the Vespa birthday cake. My sister baked some pizza.