Saturday, June 20, 2009

The BIG 1 (Part 2)

As promised in my last post, here are more pictures from Taylor's 1st birthday.  I love photos and documenting life thru the lens of a camera.  The moment Taylor was born, there was a camera in her face either from hubby and I or her wonderful Aunt T.  Hubby had to buy a 1 terabyte external hard-drive after year one to store all our photos, which were well over 2000+ images.  To share some of the images captured in her first year, we had a table displaying the photos at the party.  Aunt T found a frame intended for school pictures for Senior Graduation with 12 slots at Michaels; perfect to display photos from the past 12 months.

Since the theme of the party were "Barn Animals", I hired a petting zoo for the kids.  What a hit!  Owner Jennifer and her staff at Pony to Go were so friendly and knowledgable about the animals.

 We had a donkey!


A goat!

Chickens and bunnies!

We even had a miniture horse.

One thing to keep in mind about parties for such young children is that it can become very overwhelming if there are a lot of people.  Our guest list was a lot bigger then I had originally planned, I quite literally had to force myself to cut a lot of people off the list before it got out of hand.  I wanted to make sure that even though it was Taylor's party, the focus wasn't on her.  Plenty of activities that kept both adults and kids occupied.  Guests tend to shower the birthday girl or boy with lots of hugs and kisses and she/he ends up getting passed around alot.  I knew this and wanted to avoid it as best as possible.  One way to give kids some "breathing" room is to literally take the child into a cool and quiet area where they can relax.  Mid-way thru the party, I took Taylor up to her room, stripped her down to her diaper and let her enjoy some quiet time and refreshed her spirits when she rejoined the party.  Not a great picture, but here's the birthday girl having some quiet time with mommy.

Here are some shots of our wonderful friends and family who came out to celebrate such a fun milestone!

Tayls w/Grandpa.

Tayls and some friends.

Happy Birthday my Little Muon.  What a magical first year it has been!  Love Mommy!

Again, BIG THANK YOUS to my sister for her wonderful photographs capturing Taylor's special day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The BIG 1! (Part 1)

First birthdays are always so exciting... for the parents.  When Taylor's first birthday was approaching, I knew I wanted it to be something special, unique and memorable.  Plus parties are so much fun to plan. 

I first started my planning by deciding on a theme.  I knew I wanted a special activity to be the central feature of the party, but something Taylor would be able to enjoy as well.  Months before the party, I debated the idea.  Should I have it at a facility like Chuck E' Cheese or The Jump Zone (moonbounce)?  It would be less stressful and no clean up required, but not very personal or intimate.  So I knew it had to be at our house.  Should I hire a magician or Taylor's music teacher?  Fun for the kids, but not for the parents.  So then it struck me, a petting zoo!  It would lead into the perfect birthday theme, barn animals! 

I told my multi-talented sister and tasked her with coming up with a unqiue invitation.  She blew my mind away with what she came up with.  A movable invite with barn animals and all!

The animals inside the barn doors rotated in a circle and different animals would appear (a pig, horse, goat, etc..).  We had to cut by hand each barn and inner circle.  Then assembled about 25 cards.  Here's an image of just the barn so you get an idea of what was required in the assembly.  For some reason, the image below got cut off on the right side.  Click on it to view the complete image.

The back of the card was extra special b/c it showed that love was put into designing the card.  It took me two days to finish cutting each card and assembling them together.  That's when I promised myself that Taylor's 2nd birthday invite would be a lot less complicated. 

The goodie bags inspired by the invitation.  Here's a close up shot.

We even made name tags for the kids that played on the invitation.  I found these adorable plates at JoAnn Fabrics in the seasonal section.

I found a flower pot in the shape of a pig at JoAnn's as well and had to have it.  It was perfect for the farm animal lollipops I found at Oriental Trading.  I filled the pot with a styrofoam cube to keep the lollipop standing up and the green "grass" is edible candy that I found in the Easter clearance aisle at JF.

I wanted my main feature in the dining room to be a cupcake tower.  I found a tutorial online, visited a local cake supply store and voila, I had a custom cupcake tower.  Did I mention my sister was multi-talented?  Well, she made the barn cake that sat on the top tier.  My childhood friend volunteered to make the cupcakse and we somehow ended up with 144 cupcakes (she did the math wrong and we had alot of leftovers)!

The cake dummies were wrapped in a red gingham fabric. I was lucky enough to find scrapbook paper with a grass pattern.  That went on the cake boards which was then wrapped with a red ribbon to finish off the edges.  I found plastic barn animals at the cake store and barn animal candles at Oriental Trading to add to the finishing touches.

Overflow cupcakes went here.

Oriental Trading had so many wonderful barn animal themed items.  I had to have the personalized banner.

And while the petting zoo was setting up, I had the children work on these barn animal foam frames.

The Birthday Girl and some friends working on their craft project.

 And another cute purchase from O.T., these adorable foam barn animal visors.

Whew, that's alot of barn animals!  Okay, next post will include live animals!  I leave you with a picture of the Birthday Girl watching the animals from the petting zoo being brought into our back yard. 

Special thanks to Aunt T for her talents in designing the invite and the wonderful photographs.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Girl and her Closet!

Ask anyone close to me for one word that would best describe me, it would probably be "anal", I mean, "organized".  So when I was busy planning and decorating Taylor's room, the closet was also included in the plans.  I wanted a closet that could easily be changed and modified as she got older, plus had extra storage space since she was limited to one dresser with not so very deep drawers. 

I did my research and found an easy closet organizer unit at Home Depot. 

The middle shelving piece was perfect for baskets to store little things like socks, bedding, onesies, etc...  The baskets were purchased at Babies 'R Us.  I also liked the fact that I had a double bar on one side for hanging clothes and the other side would be able to hold longer items like dresses for when she got older.  Definitely a unit that could grow with her.

I felt like I still needed a shelf at the top for extra storage up high. The unit did not come with this, so I had the hubby purchase the wire shelves.  Inexpensive and a quick installation, the wire shelves gave us usage of our closet space up high. 

The baskets were labeled using my P-Touch label maker.  I was overwhelmed with the amount of clothes we got from our baby shower and needed to find a way to sort thru them.  I found foam door hangers at Micheals and used them to separate the clothes by size.

And voila, in one afternoon, the closet was transformed!  Here's another last look.

After seeing the pictures, a co-worker half jokingly commented that I wouldn't be able to keep the closet this organized once the baby arrived.  I'm proud to say that the closet is probably more organized then before.  Every 2 months, I go in and purge clothing that is either too small, too stained, or never worn and pack them away.  I also reorganize and move things around to follow suit with what ever seems to be a trend.  For example, when Taylor started wearing jeans, they didn't fit well in the baskets.  I reorganized and moved her jeans into the dresser instead.  You just have to remember to utilize your space efficiently and in a manner that works best for you. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Making Room for Little Muon

My favorite part of being pregnant was decorating Taylor's room.  I wanted the space to be something that could grow with her as she got older.  I didn't want it to scream "nursery", but at the same time still be fun and girly. 

The inspiration came when my sister sent me a link to the bedding of my dreams.  It was love!

The bedding set is from Dwell Studio Garden Blossom collection.  Here's another shot.

I loved the colors and the pattern so much that I decided that the room would be based off of the bedding.  The walls were painted a mocha brown.  The trim and furniture were antique white and the decor would have splashes of pinks and greens. 

My parent's gifted to us the crib and dresser.  I love the curvey contour of the crib.  The crib is a Storkcraft Aspen Crib in Antique White.

When I first saw the Flea Market Chandelier from Pottery Barn Kids, I had to have it!  It was a bit more then I wanted to pay, but I couldn't get it off my mind.  When it finally arrived at the house, I realized it was a plug-in chandelier.  Not what I had wanted or expected since the catalog had said is was a hard-wire chandelier.  We had an existing light fixture in the ceiling that I wanted to replace the chandelier with and didn't want an ugly cord hanging from it.  Not wanting to give up my gorgeous light fixture, I went to Lowe's and spent an hour hunting down an associate that knew something about electrical wiring and lighting.  It was worth the hunt because he was able to give me simple instructions on how to hardwire the chandelier.

I wanted to add some whimsy to the room.  I found these adorable curtains from PBK that used ribbons as ties.  They were $34 and I couldn't fork out any more money to PBK, o I made my own!  For only $13, the finished product turned out better then I imagined!  And it was NO SEW!

I bought a sheer curtain panel from Walmart and ribbons from Michaels.  The hubster helped with the construction.  Here's a close up of the ribbons.

I knew I wanted a focal point in the room that wowed!  So I had my artistically talented sister paint a mural on the wall using the floral design on the bedding.  She spent 2 weekends and close to 20+ hours painting it, but it turned out beautiful!

Here's a close up.  Little Sis had to create a stencil and pain stakingly cuts out the pieces.  A very long process.  Unfortunately, this is the incomplete mural.  She later came back in to add a stem and petals to the flowers.  Strangely, I never retook the picture to show off the finished product.  I'll have to do that and post later.

A bookshelf gifted by my best friend and a few more small details finished off the room.


All there was left to add was Taylor. 

Credits:  Some of the pictures were taken by my awesome photographer sister!  Check out her blog.
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