Monday, February 28, 2011

Ciara's Sweet 16 Party

It's been a week since I posted last and what a week it's been. I'm so thankful for all the help I had before and after the party. I'm also thankful Ciara is now old enough to help with her parties and I think it really gives her a better appreciation of all the work I've put into her parties over the past 15 years. Nothing is perfect, not every thing turns out as planned, but ultimately it all works out. And with that being said, I won't dwell to much on the fact that I didn't get a photo with my daughter during the party. I was so worried about getting photos with everyone else, I never stopped to take a photo of the two of us! 

I've posted most of the family pictures on Facebook and wanted to post the "behind the scenes" and "craft" photos here on my blog, so lets begin!

First, lets start with decorating. I made all these signs and chandeliers with my trusty best friend...the CRICUT! I had planned on hanging 3D chandeliers under each doorway, but time was just going by to quickly, so we used each half as it's own decoration. To be honest, I enjoyed having all the chandeliers around the room, so it worked out perfect.

This chandelier I had bought for Ciara's room some time ago on clearance and had stashed it away for her birthday. At the time, it wasn't meant to be used for the party, but we hooked it up to the basketball hoop and it added some great elegance to the dance floor. 

The gift table was decorated with some black and white wrapped boxes. They just brought attention to the table and added some more pizazz to that side of the room. If you are a fan of black and white paper, be on the look out at Hobby Lobby after Christmas. They always have a great selection. Most people don't buy B & W paper for Christmas, but I always buy some and use it during the year for birthdays. Love it! The rose petals all around the room, came from one bag at the dollar store.

The memory table in the foyer, turned out beautiful. The ceramic box, is a memory box from Creative Memories. The memory cards themselves were cut out from the Cricut using the kitchen cartridge and one of the recipe card options. After she was done, I added the black rhinestone hearts. The C I found at Michael's in the $2.00 section. The material was left over from a pillow project Ciara sewed a couple weeks ago.

Each table was decorated with a black picture frame, containing one of the B&W photos we shot last week and a white bow added. We also made our own little bags to use as balloon weights. I bought a package of these party favor bags from the dollar store, added a few rocks in the bottom, topped with some tissue paper, added a black bow and they were perfect to tie the balloons to that I also bought from the dollar store. Those we're probably my biggest expense for the party, but I didn't want to get  tank and do it myself. 30 Mylar balloons for $30.00 is well worth not doing it yourself!

Next are the cakes. Probably, the biggest hit of the evening. We knew cupcakes were a necessity, considering the "Cupcake Gang" would be present. At first I was going to make cupcakes, then Aunt Tammy offered to purchase the cupcakes. When we found these Giant Cupcakes at  The Bagel Bakery  in Thornton,  Ciara immediately knew what she wanted. She tossed in a couple ideas on what she wanted them to look like and a few flavors, then I surprised her with the rest. Michelle, the owner of the Bagel Bakery is a fellow Tiara Club member, so I was happy to give her the business. The kids loved the fact that they could pick out what flavor they wanted. 

The center piece cake, I kept as simple as possible because I was adding the topper pieces myself. I cut out the girl and the sweet 16 from my Cricut and added them to a piece of florist wire. The feather and bead picks, I bought at Hobby Lobby. Once it was time to cut the cake, we just removed them and added the candles. This cake was Chocolate with Marshmallow filling.

This cake was Snickerdoodle with Nutter Butter Filling. 

This cake was Cookies and Cream from top to bottom. Always a kids favorite.

The we had Vanilla cake with Blueberry filling. 

Good old fashion German Chocolate cake and Pecan filling. 

Last, but not least, this cake was Boston Cream Pie, so it was a yellow cake with a custard filling. This was Ciara's 1st choice. She LOVES Boston Cream Pie.

After we had all the decorations and cakes set up and ready to go, I headed home and Ciara went to the salon to get a little "Up Do" style going on. What we thought would take awhile, only took James 1 hour. He's done her hair for homecoming and this party now and has done a great job both times. He's a stylist at our local "FANTASTIC SAMS" around the corner...LOL 

After Ciara's hair was done, we picked up Bruna and headed to the church. Ciara got ready in the "Mother's Room", which made her feel like a princess even more. Having your own little dressing room does that to a teenage girl! Bruna did an awesome job on her makeup. She's another friend of Ciara's, I'm very thankful for. She's a great girl! 

While Ciara got ready, I added the final touches to the snack table. Black Licorice, Oreo Cookies and Marshmallows!

To give the cakes some variance of height, Tammy wrapped various boxes for me with black wrapping paper and we used those to prop the cakes on. My idea worked perfectly! I added the extra balloons and the table look fantastic.

Once she was ready, I gave her a special little gift. It was the first gift her father had given me. It just happened to be a black and white pearl necklace. Couldn't be more fitting for the occasion. 

Although I'd given her the necklace, I knew that Uncle Byron had a great surprise up his sleeve. He had spent the last several weeks designing some jewelry for her birthday and I have to say, they are absolutely the best pieces he's ever done. Don't get me wrong, he's made a lot of beautiful stuff, but these were perfect for the occasion! Betsy Johnson is Ciara's favorite designer and they are absolute knock offs to those pieces. 

The nacho bar was set up and ready to go....

Colin Lough was set up to DJ....

Let The Party & Dating Begin!!!! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Party Countdown Begins....Saturday is the Day!

As much as this mom loves to throw a party, having a daughter who starts counting down for next year, the day after this year...can wear a women down!! Last year we were lucky enough to take a group of friends to the YMCA cabin in Estes Park, so the thought of a Sweet 16 party was kind of put on hold. Months went by and she didn't want a big party, then.........the flood gates opened.

I'm very thankful we are able to use the church building as the setting for our party, I'm thankful we know a young DJ, I'm thankful Aunt Tammy wants to provide cupcakes, I'm thankful for Shari and the fun times we had brainstorming for the party, I'm thankful for Byron and the "secrets" that lie ahead. Most of all, I'm thankful for my  husband putting up with us two girls! He really has no concept of why we have to throw this big bash, but he's going along for the ride. 

As the day gets closer, we have more and more to do. I'll admit, it hasn't been one of my post prepared parties, but as I told Ciara, I've never not come through for a party. I also have had plenty of offers for help and for once, I'm going to take advantage of each and every one of you that has offered! 
Today was photo shoot day. We still needed Black and White photos for the party. Anna took Ciara downtown and was able to get some great shots of her in one of her dresses. After work, I took her to the local school and shot some less formal photos in her jeans and T-shirt.  We needed 11 and between Anna and I, their were exactly 11 photos that were my favorite in Black and White. I was going to save them for the party, but since my daughter has posted them on facebook for the world to see, I think I'll share them as well. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Green Season is Upon Us...

The passing of February 14th means one thing...St. Patrick's Day is just about 1 month away!  That means, a wee bit of Irish is settling in our home. We'll be feasting on Irish food and I'll have plenty of recipes to share. A few will be brand new recipes I'm going to try. My sister in law, called a few weeks ago and told me about a great place we took a cooking class at recently. She asked if I wanted to join her for the Irish cooking class and of course I wanted to. I'd never heard of The Seasoned Chef Cooking School but they have a wide range of cooking classes. Some of the classes include:






Our "St. Paddy's Day" class will be celebrating the wearing of the green with a menu guaranteed to put a twinkle in any Irishman's eye. Learn to make traditional comfort foods that are staples in any Irish household. These robust dishes will be become your family favorites too: Beer-Cheddar Soup; Irish Stew with Herbed Dumplings; Corned Beef and Cabbage; Shepherd's Pie with Hearty Mustard  Sauce; Colcannon; Irish Soda Bread; Apple-Oatmeal Crumble with Irish Cream Sauce.

I'm super excited to learn how to make real dumplings and a new Shepard's pie recipe. Best of all, I get to take the class with the best cook I know. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine Cupcakes...DONE!

They are a couple days late, but I'm sure they'll taste just as good. My dear daughter whipped out a batch of her own cupcakes last Friday and totally messed up my plan. Yes, I had a plan! White cupcakes with Cherry Frosting and Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting. Well she took the white cupcakes and used the cream cheese frosting. Doesn't matter what cupcake flavor she's making, she always chooses cream cheese frosting first. But, I figured what the heck, my friends are going to have red cupcakes with pink frosting.
Using one of those multi, split sprinkle bottles during the holidays, is the way to go. It gives you a ton of variety and brightens them up, when you don't have time to do them from scratch. Between all the sprinkles and toppings I had and what Tammy gave me, I'm set to sprinkle cupcakes for at least 3 years!! 

I only made a batch of 12, so I had enough left over to make a mini heart cake.  Not enough frosting, but in this case it works! 

Before shutting down for the night, I figured I'd check out Bakarella and see what she's had up her sleeves this month for Valentines Day.

She had some Kiss Pops posted on Valentines Day that are very cute! For the recipe, you can link to  Kiss Pops 

From her archive, I pulled this little impressive treat out. If you have the patience, go for it. I would never (or at least say never for now) make something so labor intensive like this Candy Box. And this was in the beginning, when she was just starting out. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blessings of Project Valentine!

Carrie has shared some of her photos from deliveries she made yesterday for Project Valentine. These photo reflect those blessed by so much love from these hard working women. Making so many people smile, on such a difficult day, equals the true meaning of LOVE!

If you may be interested in crafting this coming year, for Project Valentine, I'll be posting information regularly for opportunities to give your time and service.