Sunshine and Lemonade, Birthday Party Invitation and Party Photos

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sunshine and lemonade birthday party invitation processIf I haven’t said it a thousand times already, Jess and I make a great team! So when she came to me with the idea of a vintage summer birthday party for her son’s second birthday, back in probably November haha, I had many months to get excited to get started on the project. This time, she left it fully in my hands on what to do. She just gave me a photo of a lemonade stand that she wanted to make and then said go. I thought about it for a month or two—seriously, she always gives me plenty of time—and came up with using watercolor as a way of coloring in the invitation. And since her colors started as being yellow, gray and white, I thought a simple line art illustration would work perfectly.

sunshine and lemonade birthday party watercolor invitation processJust to show Jess the layout I wanted to go with, I sketched out a rough idea. Once she saw it, she suggested adding the pendant banners. Love! And then we also decided to add the blue and green to add some more color and make it more kid like. It was for a 2 year old’s birthday party after all.

I then traced the photo she had given me of the lemonade stand, added a kid’s big wheel bike and voila! The invite was almost done.

Then came the fun part… I first tested water coloring straight on the invitation. We ended up not going that route for two reasons: 1. who has time to paint each invitation? and 2. the paper just got too warped from the water.

So instead, I painted on a blank page with the general idea of what I needed. I then scanned that in and added it the drawing. I really am happy with doing that, it allowed us to have the lemonade stand wood in solid white rather than having the green grass show through.

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But to still give it that tactile feel, we printed all the invites on watercolor paper from our home printer.

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Then my part was pretty much done. Except for a few more graphics for the party, the rest was up to Jess’ magical party planning hands (see her Pinterest board here).

It’s always fun to hear about all the planning that goes into such an event and then get to just show up and see it all brought to life!

I took a few hundred photos of the party… the day couldn’t have been more perfect for a sunshine filled party celebrating little Grayson! Hope you enjoy…

And thanks Jess for sharing some of your photos with me too… hers are marked below. Read her post on the party here, and then invitation here.

Since this was a lemonade party, the focal point of the decorations was this amazing lemonade stand that Jess and her hubby Scott made!

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Then Jess took a few old bicycle tires, found at a garage sale, spray painted them white and adding dozens of photos of G through the years. Such a cute idea!

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Then she had the treat table…

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Along with the “guest book,” a sun I designed based off the invitation that was filled with fingerprints of all the guests (like last year’s caterpillar!).

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And then of course, a party couldn’t be complete with cake!

Grayson seriously makes the sweetest faces! Here’s just a few as he was so adorably admiring his cake…

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And any good 2 year old’s party includes lots of kiddos running around… so let’s end this post on the cutest of notes!

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You remember baby Parker?

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Grayson had the sweetest reactions to his presents… especially his new Toy Story pajamas.

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Little Grayson,

Hope you know how much you are loved… how much you have been prayed for. I love your sweet demeanor, those sparkly eyes, and your flirty show-off side… may you never lose that sparkle and precious little smile that shows us all that dear heart of yours.

Love, Auntie Sam

Meeting Baby Emily, My New York Niece

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See part 1 of my trip to upstate New York to visit my best friend and her new baby here.

I can’t believe I’ve already been back from New York for a week! I seriously miss it more and more each day… once you see these photos you’ll know why… we spent the week relaxing and cuddling on the couch with the new babe… going on walks downtown… taking baths of course… and then taking lots of photos to document little Emily in all her 3 weeks adorableness!

I love this little family of 3 and just couldn’t wait to go through the photos from the trip. Shockingly, there aren’t that many… Considering I was there for almost a whole week that is! But it was so nice to put the camera away and just enjoy life! Hope you enjoy this small glimpse into small town life from upstate New York where the fields are green and a little rain never hurt anybody!

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I’ll forever cherish these little moments when Joyce was napping and Emily and I got to snuggle up… she was a big fan of all my picture taking… 🙂

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We spent an evening just sitting on the porch, Emily loved looking around at the trees and birds flying by. And of course I just loved how she was so gently holding on to her mama’s arms. Ugh, so sweet.

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Seriously, check out that head of hair!!

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The “maiden voyage” of the stroller… walking around town with the pups.

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More baths!

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And of course, after bath time, I just had to take some last photos before my plane ride home.

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I was so fascinated by those gorgeous eyelashes of hers. She’s just beautiful!

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And then on our way out to the airport, we just had to take a photo of us girls and one of mama and baby!

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Miss Emily, oh how I miss you! I’ll start sobbing if I write too much to you here… but I will sure miss seeing you growing up in person. But I am so excited to come out and see you, and of course living vicariously through photos! With parents like yours, I can only imagine the selfless, carefree, and funny Godly woman you will grow up to be.

Forever and always yours, Aunt Sam

 

 

Missing the Best of Friends and the Littlest of Friends

I just got back last night from a week long trip to upstate New York.

Whenever I tell people I’m going to New York they get really excited and recommend places in Manhattan to visit… but “my” New York isn’t in the city… you see a little piece of my heart moved back to upstate New York almost 6 years ago.

Looking back though, when I met my friend Joyce, almost 10 years ago, I had no idea what kind of monumental friendship, a best of friendship, we were about to embark on. Joyce is someone who matched me in uninhibited enthusiasm for the smallest things in life. Someone who understood me far better than most. And knowing she called New York her home, I pushed her away trying to break the friendship before it could really form. But God had other plans. While Joyce was back home in New York going to college, we grew ever closer by weekly phone calls and when she finally came back to California, our best of friends-ship truly began. But you see, Joyce is easy to get along with and she truly is adored by all who meet her. Her joyful attitude is just that contagious.

Flash forward a few years, a few moves, a few weddings… to the here and now… to where just 3 weeks ago she blessed us all further more by giving birth to little Emily Ann.

I had the pleasure to go up to this farm laden country side, where we spent this past week cuddling with the new babe on the couch and driving around town eating more ice cream I’ve had all year put together!

I had the best intentions to get a lot of creative brainstorming done while I was there, I even bought a brand new sketchbook for the trip and everything! And I had all these dreamy magical newborn photo ideas in my head… but instead it was nice to just *be.* I never once used my sketchbook, some days I didn’t even take a single photo! We just talked, and talked, and talked and just really cherished each moment with little Emily.

All that to say, I’m still a little heartbroken to be home, still a little jet-lagged—oh these darn headaches of mine—and still a little behind in life right now so even though I had big plans to post a ton of photos from my trip this week, I am just going to end this little introduction and follow up with more photos from my trip later on.

But of course, I have to post some sort of photo so let’s end with the last group photo from the trip… me and my bestie with her new little love.

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Loving Life thru My Lens

This past week was just so fun… from Disneyland trips to the birthday celebrations over the weekend… I spent a lot of time behind my camera capturing the moments. I feel so incredible blessed to call these people friends who are really more like family.

I just wanted to share a few of my favorite photos from this last week, just a glimpse of the joy I saw thru my lens.

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Molly’s first trip to Disneyland.

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Just the cutest little profile of an almost 2 year old on a break from playing with the ducks.

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Eli runs home at his weekly baseball game.

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Trying to capture all my last moments [for awhile]  of the Happiest Place on Earth.

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Amelia’s happy grin in her mama’s arms.

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Eli’s first pinata experience.

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And a dad’s extreme joy and getting to pull the pinata out of reach. 🙂

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How cute are two 2-year olds!? I mean really, is there anything cuter??

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And then spa splashing fun!

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Eli’s fun with his new bubble machine from Auntie Yoyo.

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Hudson’s backward binoculars experience.

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The big boys playing ball games.

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And to end the weekend, our new two year old Owen being so happily embarrassed during his happy birthday song.

Hope you enjoyed loving life thru my lens!

DIY Wall Art from Modified Shanty-2-Chic Tutorial

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Hi all! I am so excited to share this most recent project with you guys… but first a little background on our little group.

In January a few of my closest girlfriends and I started a monthly craft night. What started as a “learning to sew” group has now grown into a more general craft night. First we crafted aprons, which was so fun and my first ever project hand sewn by me! Since I don’t cook very often, so far I’ve only worn it making cookies for Super Bowl! ha! Then the next month we made curtains. I can not wait to show you how those came out, I made them for the office which is SO close to being done!

Okay okay, so then in March we decided to have a 2 night craft project, making the wooden wall art from Shanty-2-Chic, that we had made for Amie’s wedding.

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The first night, we stained our boards, cut out stencils for the letters, and learned how to make the fabric flowers (tutorial here).

Some behind the scenes iPhone photos…

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Those pesky flowers sure took way more time than any of us predicted! My board alone has over 130 flowers and each one takes about 5 minutes to assemble. Ugh, don’t try to do the math there!

But it was totally worth it!!

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Of course, I wanted to try to do a different kind of design than the LOVE, something that was more unique to my husband and me—since it was going in our bedroom. I kept playing around with “established ’07” designs but was just not loving it. Then my friend Lauren reminded me of our first dance song “Me And You” by Kenny Chesney. Which then inspired me to create the board based on my beloved ampersand (&) sign. And let me tell you, I absolutely looooooove this project!!

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The next night, when we all got together with quite a few flowers completed, we laid out our stencils on our nice dry boards and painted out the designs. Once that was dry, we started to add our flowers, but none of us finished that night as we had a ways to go with our flowers. But it was so fun over that next week seeing the girls complete their boards.

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Lauren was smart and chose to not have flowers at all, and I love how simple yet just as gorgeous and rustic hers came out! She also decided to do something different for her board. And I was so happy to hand letter the “love” for her!

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With all that to say, hope you love how our boards came out! Here are some freebies for you, PDFs of all 4 of the designs you see above!

– the sanserif LOVE based on the Shanty-2-Chic original

– Amie’s serifed LOVE

– Lauren’s Love from a 1 John verse

– and my You & Me design

And I’ll end this post with a fun “I just finished and I’m so proud of this project” iPhone photo, taken late at night while I was crafting in my jammies!

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Unique Gift Idea for the Bride: Bridal Beauty Scrapbook of all the Wedding Events, Bridal Showers and Parties

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Creating a scrapbook of all the bridal events for the year is a great keepsake and gift for a bride!

A couple years ago, I started up a scrapbook whirlwind by making 2 books for my girlfriends that were getting married in 2012. I started way too late into the year though and didn’t have nearly the arsenal of scrapbook tools that I do now! So for Amie’s book, from this past year’s wedding celebrations, ended up being triple layered in stickers and all sorts of embellishments! Plus I started it right away and did one page/event at a time—which allowed for my creative juices to really flow through each page.

So I just wanted to share a few of my favorite pages from these books and at the end of the post there are some tips if you find yourself making one for yourself or for a friend!

For another gift idea, see my post on a scrapbook of letters for the bride!

First up, Lauren’s scrapbook:

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This was my first ever scrapped page… I remember being so excited working on it with my mama at her kitchen table.

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I’m pretty sure we blew Instagram up on the day of their wedding! So we definitely needed to have a #wagonerwedding page—which also included a wood engraved sunflower from their wedding favors.

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My absolute favorite page in Lauren’s book was their wedding day page. I just love the pictures she chose—by All Aboard Studios.

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And here’s a few of my favorite pages from Brittany’s book:

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Their engagement party was Anchorman themed so we chose some of our favorite Anchorman quotes for the page.

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My mom and I had fun making the pages for our Fairy Weekend… that was such a great weekend! We included the fairy house, fabric from the sparkly purple tablecloth and a mini paper scroll to remember our moments reading our bride our favorite memories with her.

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I love the details on the shower page too… since we had a panty line and lavender sachets, the book had to have them too! More photos here.

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And just like Lauren’s, my favorite page in Britt’s book is of the wedding. It was such a beautiful day. They had moss covered table numbers so I found some green glittery numbers for the wedding date and also included a key from their favors! So much fun remembering the day through the details.

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And now a TON of photos from Amie’s… I had a really hard time narrowing down my favorites…

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Starting with page 1, I loved that I had found a bench sticker to remember where Matt had waited for his soon to be fiance!

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And we included lace from the mason jar decorations at the engagement party!

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Engagement photos below are from Harvard Photography.

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Bridal shower photos below are from J. Rose Photography.

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With the shower being as detailed as it was, I tried to incorporate as much as I could… from the cupcake topper to the paper flowers on the favor boxes.

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Photos below are by me! See more from our engagement session here.

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The bachelorette party was also filled with details! We saved a business card from our crazy scavenger hunt in Pacific Beach along with some kisses from “Pin the Kiss on the Groom” game. And of course a giant ring sticker to remember our light up rings when we went out dancing—just wish I could find a pink ring for the book!

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Hashtag: #pankratzwedding! I loved having an Instagram themed page in Lauren’s book so we had to have one here too! And I love my new banner punch I got in my stocking at Christmas! I was really excited to use it in the book!

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And then the wedding… Amie had a very hard time narrowing down photos and since I knew my scrapbooking adventure was coming to a close, we decided just to include the whole wedding! See more photos of the glorious day here.

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This is one of my favorite pages! It was such a sweet moment!

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There were just a few name card tags leftover from the wedding… it made a great touch for the reception page.

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And with one odd page left, we ended the book with a page remembering their honeymoon in Zion.

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And now a few tips on making your own Bridal Beauty Scrapbook!

  • It helped that I took the majority of the photos with my camera so I had access to all the high quality images right away.
  • During the event remember to grab an item or 2 to use in the books: business cards, tissue paper, etc.
  • Remember the details that aren’t photographed and use as details in the book. For example, during the bride’s family portraits, a butterfly landed amid the girls’ bouquets so I made sure to get some butterfly stickers. Also, the bouquets were made with purple hydrangeas so I made sure to get those stickers for the wedding pages too.
  • Have the bride pick out the photos. I loved asking the brides to pick their photos because they chose totally different pictures than I would have—it makes the book that much more special because its their favorite memories of the events.
  • To save money, try to get sticker packs that will last through several different events so you aren’t buying a set of embellishments for just one single page. I have a pretty solid aesthetic across all the pages so it was easy to mix and match sets of stickers and paper.
  • Another money saving tip… I waited until the big paper pads went on sale at Michael’s so I got Buy 1, Get 1 Free! And to make them last, I bought one in warm tones and one in cool colors that would look good together to get a good variety but also keep a cohesive look.

A few more notes about the books… all of them are 8×8, a perfect size for a coffee table book. Brittany’s was bought at Michael’s while Lauren’s and Amie’s were bought at Hobby Lobby. All photos were printed at Sam’s Club.

Are you a scrapbooker? I just love it! Please share your tips below!

P.S. Dear Mom, I can’t say I’m sorry enough that I made fun of you for years for all the money and time spent on scrapbooking as I am growing closer and closer to having quite the paper crafting hoard myself. Please accept my apology. xoxo

A Rice Family Christmas, Murrieta Family Photography

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Just days before Christmas, our friends BJ and Melissa—along with their little family—were in town and we were able to get together to take some family photos!

My hubby and BJ have been friends since forever, BJ was in our wedding and my hubby in theirs… so it was an honor to be able to capture some memories of their sweet—and growing—family!

(And if you’ve been reading this blog from the very beginning, you may remember them from one of my first ever vacation post series: Roadtrip 2010 when we all drove to Kansas, South Dakota (part 1, part 2) and Colorado in a week.)

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A dad and his son, a mother and her daughter…

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These next few are my absolute favorite!

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Thank you so much for spending the afternoon with me and smiling for my camera!

Amelia’s 6 Month Christmas Photos, Menifee Baby Photography

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Oh my I have fallen so deeply in love with this sweet little girl. I’d like to think that I’m a special auntie and the only one who gets these adorable smiles out of her, but she really is just a happy happy baby!

Hope you enjoy these sweet photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Let’s start with my favorite…

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And then after such sweet laughs, we knew it was time to change the set up. 🙂

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The Wagoners’ Christmas Photos in the Snow, Big Bear

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When Lauren and I first talked about getting some new photos of them taken, all she wanted was to take them in the snow. So 2 weeks later, we all drove up to Big Bear, randomly stopping along the road to take some pictures.

It had been awhile since the 4 of us had hung out, and I’m so glad my hubby was there with me to help us get smiles from his best buddy.

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Seriously, isn’t Lauren just gorgeous! The snow really suits her. 🙂

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This is by far my favorite photo of the day.

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And we stopped for one last photo on the way home… you can kinda see a hint of pink noses as the temperature was dropping quick!

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Thanks Mr. and Mrs. for spending a fun day in the snow with us! Love you both so so much!

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A Pankratz Wedding: Amie’s Cherry Blossom Festival Themed Bridal Shower

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Amie and I say that April 10, 2000 was the day we became best friends because that was the day we left for our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. Before that day, we had grown up in girl scout trips not liking each other much… but after that trip, things changed. I stopped considering her a spoiled brat and she didn’t think I was as much of a cry baby as she once thought.

Six years later, Amie went back to Washington D.C. to attend American University as a transfer student for the next two years.

Washington D.C. holds a very special place in Amie’s heart which is why we were inspired to host a Washington D.C. themed shower. But you see, that isn’t a very girl-powered theme so instead we threw a cherry blossom themed shower in honor of the annual spring festival in D.C. (I seem to throw very geographic centered showers)

The shower, of course, wasn’t held in the spring months where cherry blossoms actually bloom so instead we opted to create paper blossoms. Easier said than done.

What followed is a good part of the year filled with crafting days, and nights, with cherry blossoms growing in my head. (see my Cherry Blossom Bridal Shower Pinterest board here)

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More photos and info on the invitation at the end of this post.

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Paper Cherry Blossom Centerpieces

My original idea was to handcraft each and every blossom at the shower. Obviously I must plead temporary insanity! I am so so SO thankful for finding a wonderful paper punch on Ebay… it came in 2 sizes as well so each blossom was a double layer of pink cardstock, punched through with half a pearl corsage pin (pin idea from this post) and then taped with green washi tape to the branch (most of the branches were purchased from Save on Crafts).

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We then collected a wide variety of bottles, each table had at least one large white vase along with a variety of blue tint and mercury glasses.

After spending months collected glasses from garage sales, Hobby Lobby, and Michaels… I then followed a few DIYs to get the exact number I needed:

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Flower Hair Pin Favors

Fellow bridesmaid, Joyce, made up the flower hair pins for all the guests! Our bride is well known for the various hair pin flowers she wears on a day to day basis. They were a hit and many wore them in their hair or as a brooch on their dresses throughout the shower. It truly was the perfect favor as it not only fit the theme but was so “Amie.”

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Eat, Drink and Be Cherry!

When I had asked Amie about some of the items she would like included at the shower, she said she’d love to have a custom cocktail! Luckily, we had already found quite a few recipes including a cherry blossom tea!

Drink Recipes: Cherry Blossom Tea and Lemonade and Blushing Bride Cocktail

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The dinner menu was inspired by one of Amie’s favorite D.C. restaurants, a French cafe called Le Madeline’s. Brittany compiled all the recipes, many of which were directly inspired by Le Madeline’s.

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Dinner recipes included:

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Paper Cherry Blossom Garland Chandelier

Hanging above our buffet table was a chandelier made from pink paper cherry blossoms, strung together with a variety of beads and pearls. Each garland was then fastened to a embroidery hoop which we had painted white and added a lace trim.

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Also hanging in the pergola were strings of tissue paper flowers, inspired by Emma’s bachelorette party on A Beautiful Mess. We changed the DIY tutorial by making them about 3/4 the size and using our cherry blossom template (enlarged from the paper punch).

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Dessert: Red Velvet Cupcakes and Strawberries Romanoff

Another request from the bride was to have red velvet cupcakes—her fave! Plus we had Strawberries Romanoff, another famous dish at Le Madeline’s. Recipe can be found here.

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Games and Activities

I am not a big fan on shower games so any shower I’ve had a hand in usually doesn’t have too many… but the ones we have usually end up being way too hard (like the Guess the Movie Bride game from Brittany’s shower last year)!

But when the idea for the “Guess the Washington D.C. Monument” game was proposed, we just had to do it! We collected years worth of photos of Amie’s time in D.C., framed and numbered each one and then had the guests guess which monument was which. Needless to say, this game was way too hard! But it was fun to have all the photos of Amie’s and almost all of her bridesmaids, mom, and fiance in them as well!

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We also had a “wishing tree,” where guests could write little notes to Amie… the tree was the very first shower decoration that I bought way back in April at the Garment District—cut from a whole Manzanita tree in the back of the shop!

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Another “game” we played was reciting the Panty Poem… each bridesmaid, along with the mother of the bride, chose a pair—or two—of panties for Amie. Since we had already requested all the guests to bring a pair to hang on our “panty lines,” it was only appropriate to have this poem. Fellow bridesmaid, Joyce, did a wonderful job reading the poem in her best 1st grade teacher voice. 🙂

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Gifts for the Bride!

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The backdrop for the gifts was one of my favorite decorations of the whole shower, and what took the absolute most time! Bead upon bead, blossom upon blossom, these garlands were strung ranging from 3 to 9 feet!

Now what do I do with them? Any buyers?? 🙂

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More About The Invitation…

As a graphic designer, I had placed quite a high standard for the quality of Amie’s shower invitations. I think 1/4 of my shower Pinterest board were various floral invites and envelope liner how-to’s.

Thankfully, it was time well spent because I just LOOOOVE how the invitation came out. Probably one of my favorite I have designed yet!

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I was able to take the time and get the details right, two favorite details though were the Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom postage stamps… and the envelope liner inspired by the crafted paper and bead garlands we had hanging in the tree by the gift table.

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buy-on-etsy

Thank you Jess!

A big huge thanks goes out to Jess from J. Rose Photography who photographed all the decoration details and the various group shots Amie requested. Such a load off my shoulders and really allowed me to focus on hosting the shower. Would totally recommend that you hire an event photographer, if photos are a high priority for you! It really felt like a prelude to the wedding with her there!

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More Thanks…

The amazing details of the shower could not have come together without the help of some very special women in my life… thank you Brittany, Jan, Mom, and my fellow bridesmaids! You never seemed to tire of the various questions I ran by each of you… thanks for the crafting days, your help setting up, and of course the delicious food!

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Update: This shower was featured on My True Blu, a site dedicated to helping the friends of the bride. What a great site!