Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pinspiration for Birthday Parties

As a graphic designer, I have been collecting ideas of inspiration for well over a decade. Really, this compulsion goes back to when I was a kid and would flip through catalogs and magazines and circle things that I liked. 

In my early graphic design years, I hoarded collected pages from magazines. Daniel recently made me throw a bunch of these old clippings out. About 5 years ago, I shifted to creating desktop folders on my computer where I stored all of my images in neatly organized folders (topic and year the image was pulled). I still collect images on my computer, but in the last couple of years I have also started pinning ideas I come across. It helps me to quickly get inspiration for projects and see what trends are happening right now. I'm sure that Daniel is thrilled that I gave up collecting samples of magazine pages!

Invitation inspiration on left {via here and here}, Jack's invitation on the right.

For our last minute birthday party, I found several invitation designs (on my laptop) that helped me to hone my vision. Frogs were the theme since Jack LOVES frogs right now.

2012 Photo Collage on left, 2013 Photo Collage on Right

After I had my invitation created (which we just emailed out), I moved forward with creating my Photo Collage of Jack from the year. I did this last year with his monthly photos and we loved it so we ended up leaving it up all year long. Once again, this yearI used the birthday card theme and included a photo from each month of the year. I really liked how this turned out, and I plan to keep the calendar up and update it every year.

Chalkboard inspiration on left {via}, my version on the right.
I also utilized our large menu chalkboard to write out a birthday message for Jack (Pinterest has great ideas, much better than my little handwritten message).

Inspiration Cake recipe {via}

Since we were going with a laid back, easy party, I turned to Pinterest to see where my head has been at in terms of cakes. I found a cool Funfetti Cake with Marshmallow Cream icing that I thought would be delicious (it was!). 

Cake Design Inspiration on Left {via}, my version on the right.

For decorating the cake, Pinterest provided inspiration in the form of a sprinkle cake with a number in sprinkles. I ran with this idea, but took it a step further incorporating the little shield with the #2 that I had used as an element on Jack's invitation. I loved how this turned out! 

My decorating process.

As a graphic designer, it was easy for me to print out my design, tape it onto wax paper and then cut it out with an exacto knife. The sprinkle part was super easy and I loved the effect.

CupCake Design Inspiration {via}, my version on the right. The recipe is a family tradition.

For the cupcakes, I used my family's traditional Pistachio Cake recipe, after seeing this frog cupcake image on Pinterest. Then I spooned the icing into a ziplock back and piped it onto the cupcakes and added sugar googly eyes that I picked up at Walmart. These were delicious and really fun while being super easy to make.

For drinks, I found a green punch recipe on the Food Network web site and a decadent Crock Pot hot cocoa on Pinterest. Both were delicious. 

Punch recipe {via}

Once again, Pinterest came through with helping me flesh out my ideas. Not all of the ideas were from Pinterest, but it was a good starting point. I love to look at the different ideas out there to kickoff my brainstorming sessions. 

Here is a link to my Party Ideas Board on Pinterest.


  1. I may have to steal your ideas when the time comes. Because they are awesome...and easy. And you are awesome! :)

    1. Thanks Tabitha! My sister is the real party planner in our family. I help her with the design related stuff, but she comes up with amazing ideas. I normally share about her kids parties on my blog, so check in with me in mid Feb and mid June!

  2. Can you tell me more about this photo calendar that you made? I would love to do that for Owen. :)

    1. I think I am going to write a tutorial blog post that explains how I did it. I have had questions about the calendar and my 12x12 black and white prints (both were done in a similar way). I'll try to get that written in the next week or two.


Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...