Friday, August 10, 2012

Ashley's 2nd Birthday

Hello All!

Ashley's 2nd Birthday party was Saturday, August 4th. It turned out absolutely perfect. The theme was Minnie Mouse & Zebra. Everyone who knows me, knows I love themes! I really ran with this one! Haha! Mostly everything for the party I made. I downloaded a program called Gimp, which is basically a free version of photoshop. It has so many features that I'll admit, I got a little overwhelmed at first. I found some AWESOME tutorials from Sara over at Here is a link to the tutorial: She was super helpful and even responded when I had some questions!
With the Gimp program I created cupcake toppers, a sign for the front door, labels for the goodie bags, and various other minnie heads and labels throughout the party. The program ended up being super easy to use and once I got the hang of it I was a crafting machine, churning out tons of things as soon as I thought them up!
Pinterest was really great to have for this party. Everything I made, was inspired from pinterest. A lot of things I kind of tweaked to make my "own", but initially it all came from there. So lets begin!

First things first, here is the invitation!

It was made by Julie from Jaybee baby. She is awesome and makes such nice things!

Here are some of the decorations:

We rented tables and chairs because we had about 50 people and the uniformed look of matching tables and chairs was important to me. The tents we actually bought with gift cards we had received from our housewarming party. The balloon topiaries were one of the first thing I pinned on pinterest. The only problem was the pin was just a picture, with no link or tutorial attached. I HATE it when that happens. So I searched and searched and found a video tutorial on youtube how to make balloon topiaries. Believe it or not they are super easy. The center is a wooden dowel wrapped with zebra duct tape. I bought floral foam which I was planning to glue to the bottom then stick the dowel in. My handy hubby had other ideas though! He actually drilled a small hole into the dowel and another small hole into the bottom of the buckets (WHICH, might I add, I found at Target for 10 cents each!!!!!!) So he put the screw through the bottom of the bucket and screwed the dowel onto it. It was nice and tight and the dowel stayed perfectly straight up. 

This banner was also made by Julie from Jaybee Baby designs. She has made my banners and invitations for the past 2 years and she does a great job. I love how this turned out.

Isn't this "Ashley" confetti awesome!? When I saw it I knew I had to get it. It looked great on the dessert table and was only about $2.99 from Party City!

These next pictures are of a sign I created with Gimp! I was inspired by sometime I saw on Pinterest. It was a link to an Etsy store and they were selling pretty much exactly this sign for $25.00! I KNEW I could make it and for obviously a lot less than 25 bucks! It came out perfectly and was a really cute addition.

Here are the cupcake toppers I made, again, using Gimp

And here is a sign I made for the table by our front door. It was nice to have something welcoming everyone into the house getting them in the Minnie spirit!!!! :)

Using Gimp was wayyyyy easier than I thought it would be and like I said, the tutorials I posted before were such a huge help. I couldn't have done what I did without them!

Onto the food tables:

This is the food table, before all of the food. My step brothers wonderful girlfriend is a ridiculously talented artist and drew out these Minnie heads for me. My super patient sister painted them! I love them and have them hanging up in Ashley's room now!

Here is Chelsea with one of the Minnies' she drew. I <3 her!

 The little zebra buckets for the utensils I got at Target and I love the accent they added. The hot pink and zebra just go so well, don't they!?

Here are the ears and goodie bags!!

I just loved these ears. I was worried how they would turn out, but when I was finished I was super impressed. Even my husband was like "Wow, those are so cute!" They took a lot of time to make, but were surprisingly easy! I bought headband at The Christmas Tree Shop. It was a pack of 6 for a dollar. I bought 4 packs and went to work. I wrapped each headband with black ribbon and secured it with hot glue. I bought some stiff foam from walmart and cut out circles and glued 2 circles together. Then, I cut out the ears from felt and hot glued the foam inside. I slipped the ears onto the headbands and secured them with some more hot glue. That was it for the Mickey ears. For the Minnie ones I bought some ribbon and made the bows! Everyone that came were great sports and 90 % of the adults wore them. It was so cool to see everyone wearing them!

The goodie bags were probably the easiest thing I did for this party. I must admit, I bought the actual bags from party city. We didn't have too many kids so I didn't mind spending the money on buying them at .79 cents a piece. Had we had more children, I probably would have come up with a more economical alternative. These bags matched perfectly, so I was happy with them. I used my trusty program Gimp and created the labels. Obviously I used Minnie for the girls and then I used Mickey for the the boys. I was able to download a Disney font and I typed each of the kids names on the bags. Here is an up close picture of one:

I just cut them out and hot glued them on. Voila! :)

Now for my Princess's outfit!! 
My Mom and husband did wonderfully for me for Christmas this year and along with a ton of other gifts chipped in and got me a Sewing/ Embroidery machine. I swear, I love that thing. I'm still getting the hang of sewing, but the embroidery I'm pretty good at. After paying a significant amount of money for several embroidered outfits for Ash, I thought to myself "I can do that!" I love being able to create things for her exactly to my liking and make them identical to my "vision". Her outfit was perfect. I did buy her skirt, because I really haven't learned how to sew like that yet and I felt tulle on a tutu would have been too hot for August. So here it is!

And here she is in it! It isn't the best picture, but have you tried to take a picture of a 2 year old at her own party? I was not able to make her be still all day! So this is the best I could get! :) (I had adorable light up Minnie shoes, but the little Miss refused to wear them! :) )

Now, onto the best part- the desserts!!!!

I really had a specific idea how I wanted the dessert table to be. I had seen many blogs and tons of things on pinterest and really wanted to do an extravagant table with multiple desserts. A friend I work with is extremely talented and baked Ashley's cake. She is so great and really listens to all my insane ideas. She is even receptive to me when I give her my own drawings! LOL! Every time she has made me a cake she has made is exactly how I imagined it. I love that about her! All the other desserts I made myself, and while it took A LOT of time, I loved how everything turned out and wouldn't have had it any other way!

First, here are the chocolate covered oreos. I got the tutorial from Pinterest (where else?). I changed a few things from the tutorial. Maria, the woman who made the tutorial and did an awesome job, made super cute bows from fondant. I didn't have enough time to do that, so I just tied some bows on the stick with ribbon. Also, she used marshmallows for the ears. I had some mini oreos at home so figured I would use those! I love how they turned out. I used candy melts to "glue" the ears on, it worked very well. I tried to use chocolate, but it was too soft. Also, instead of dipping the pops in the chocolate, I spooned the chocolate on. It was easier and I found when I dipped them, the ears would some of the time fall off. Spooning the chocolate gave me more control. (Tip- thin the chocolate out with shortening. It doesn't weigh as much on the pop and falls off much easier so you don't have a super thick coat of chocolate, also, the shortening makes the chocolate nice and shiny ;) ) Here is the original tutorial!

Next, we have the Minnie cake pops. I got the tutorial from the original cake pop maker herself, Bakerella! The tutorial can be found here I also thinned the candy melts out with shortening to give them a more shiny look and also, make the coat of candy less thick. Bakerella says not to freeze the pops, however I found they turned out MUCH better after being in the freezer for about an hour. I would only take a few pops out at a time to work with and left the rest in the freezer. As soon as I was done working with them I would let them cool and put them in the fridge to cool the rest of the way. I found them to turn out the best doing it this way. For the stand, I purchased some styrofoam from Michael's and used some straight pins to pin coordinating ribbon on. Simple, but adorable! <3

The Rice Krispie treats were simple. I just followed to normal recipe and used a Mickey shaped cookie cutter and cut them out. I then used Wilton sparkle gel icing to draw on bows. The plate I got at Party City for $3.99!! I couldn't believe it was so cheap!

I just LOVE these cookies!! I used the same cookie cutter for these that I used for the Rice Krispie treats. I got the sugar cookie recipe and royal icing recipe from Marian at Sweetopia. She is so sweet and also, has answered when I have had questions. Here is her blog There are a ton of yummy recipes and like I said, she is so helpful and WILL answer you if you ask her a question! 

Now, we have the pretzels and Minnie candy apples!! The pretzels were sooooo easy. I dipped them in white candy melts, then put melted black candy melts in a squeeze bottle made for candy making that I purchased from Michael's. I read a post from Pinterest saying using a squeeze bottle to drizzle chocolate is the best and easiest way to do and boy, were they right! It was so easy to do and they turned out great. I love how they kind of look like zebra pretzels! I couldn't have asked them to turn out better! 

Those adorable Minnie candy apples almost didn't happen. It was something I had pinned and wanted to do from the beginning but honestly, they looked a little intimidating to me and I was nervous they would turn out looking terrible and I would have to scrap them after wasting time making them. At the last minute, I decided I REALLY wanted them and really felt they would add a super special touch to the dessert table, which, they did! Believe it or not, they were pretty easy to make too! Here is the tutorial I semi followed: In this tutorial they dipped their apples in caramel first. I didn't do that. Like I said, I decided to these at the last minute (the night before the party) and didn't have the time to make homemade caramel. I just dipped them in chocolate and they turned out fabulous. In the tutorial they also used sanding sugar, which is thicker sugar, for the skirt. I searched and searched and couldn't find sanding sugar anywhere. I had some Wilton gel food coloring and sure enough, I was able to dye regular sugar! I just dumped some sugar in a ziploc bag and used a butter knife to put some of the gel color in the bag. I sealed it and smushed the sugar around and it turned to be this perfect pink color! I used toothpicks for the marshmallow ears because if not, the ears would fall right off as soon as I spooned the chocolate over them. The toothpicks made life so much easier. They are just adorable.

And last, but certainly not least...THE CAKE

Like I wrote before, a girl I work with made the cake. I made the bow on top and the ears. I LOVE this cake. It was exactly how I envisioned it! It was all funfetti cake (that is our all time favorite, mine and my husband's wedding cake was even funfetti!) The top layer had homemade whipped cream filling and the bottom had chocolate mousse. It was beyond delicious. The Minnie mouse cut outs you see on either side of the cake in the top picture I found on Pinterest. I downloaded them, printed them, cut them out and hot glued them on thin dowels and stuck them in the styrofoam. I really like how it all looks together! The cake stand I actually bought at Home Goods. It originally had a bright blue ribbon through it. I took that ribbon out and replaced it with the zebra ribbon, and made a coordination bow that I hot glued on. I glued it to the ribbon though, so I can take it off easily and replace it with any ribbon for any occasion!

Here are a few pictures of the table all together!

Here is my little angel looking at her dessert table!

Me showing my angel her cake!!

And here is my little 2 year old blowing out her candles!

And here are some party pics

Here is the 2 year old Princess with her Daddy <3

I can't believe my tiny Ashley is 2! We all had such a great time and the party turned out better than I could have ever imagined. Everyone had a great time. I am so happy to be able to share it with all of you! More soon!!

XOXO- Kelly

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