Mario Party

Mario.  All Mario, all the time.  I have a son… that should explain a lot.

This is my professional blog, for my wedding invitations.  But I put a lot of work into the birthday parties I throw for my kids, and I thought, maybe another mom out there might appreciate some of the stuff I’ve done.  Maybe some of my ideas might help them when they’re planning a party for their kiddletons.  With that in mind, let’s get to some Mario goodness.

Last year the Kamikaze Kid turned six.  He was obsessed with Mario, and asked for a Mario party.  This is what I came up with.  Let me start by saying that everything in the stores was Lego themed, and it was hard to find much Mario and Luigi stuff.  This year I decided to go easy on myself and convinced him to go with a Lego party – and everything in the stores is Mario themed.  I can’t find anything with a Lego block on it.  GO FIGURE.

The first step in my party planning (or wedding planning) is aways to come up with a basic color palette.  For a Mario theme, I knew the colors would have to be red, blue and bright green and yellow – a true primary color scheme.  I repainted a picture frame I bought at Goodwill a zillion years ago and printed out something I MacGyver’d together in photoshop to make this sign for our front door.

Mario front door sign
Welcome, gamers, to the Kamikaze Kid’s epic sugar infused pool party!

I made a lot of the decorations – I usually do.  Because of time constraints I try to buy more than I used to (I used to insist on making EVERYTHING but who has time for that?) but I always end up making at least a few things.  With Mario stuff being so hard to find, I ended up DIY-ing quite a few things for this party.

Like everyone else online, I went to Home Depot and bought some PVC pipe, then spray painted it green.  It really does make the perfect tunnels that mimic the ones in the game.  I then cut out a triangle from some styrofoam balls (for the mouths of these – what are these red dotted things anyway?) and painted them.  I had trouble finding something sturdy enough to hold them up, and couldn’t face making another trip to Michael’s, so I used green popsicle sticks which I raided from the kids’ craft drawer.  A year later and the Kamikaze Kid is still playing with these things, so I’m gonna call this a crafting success – and they looked pretty awesome on the food table at the party, too.

I made the little food sign – the “fire power” sign by the cheese balls – out of a wooden stand I got at Michaels.  I usually buy them when they are on sale or I have a bunch of coupons, and then hold on to them.  I always end up using them for something.  I printed out the Luigi picture from photoshop and glued it on, then painted the bottom of the stand green and the “stem” of the stand red with white dots to match the red headed mushroom thingies I had made.  It looked pretty good!  I made a few food stands like this.

mario party
Marshmallow mushrooms

These marshmallow treats were a HUGE hit.  HUGE.  I’ve discovered that anytime you put a marshmallow on a stick (or in this case a straw, since the sticks I had kept breaking and I didn’t trust using them without getting splinters into kids’ mouths) and toss a bit of icing into the deal you are going to have some seriously happy children.  I love how these turned out, and they weren’t very hard to make at all.  The first step is putting the marshmallow on the straw, so you can put the icing on the marshmallow without smudging it.  I learned the hard way – you can see the smudge on the first one I did before I figured this out.  The marshmallows were gone in about 7.8 seconds.

mario party
Tablescape.

I think the table turned out pretty cute.  I usually don’t have a formal “sit down and eat your cake here” area, but decided to this time because the kids are getting older and since we had a pool party we had to call them all in for cake anyway, so they may as well have somewhere to sit down and eat.  And since I’m a crazy person, I hand painted those clouds on the cardstock squares as decoration.  Yup.  Nothing but the best for my kids.  They’d better throw me one awesome retirement party one day, I’m telling you…

mario party
Table setting, complete with a hat and hand painted placemat. Because momma be cray cray.

mario party mario party

The favor boxes were a lucky find, I think I found them on amazon.  The sign says “Game over, thanks for coming.  Please take a gift box!”  The frame is a cheap Ikea frame that I have used a thousand times over at different parties.

Mario party
Mario cake with buttercream frosting.

The Kamikaze Kid had opinions about his cake and how it should look for the first time ever.  I let him describe his wishes to the (very patient) baker behind the counter at our favorite bakery, and she actually managed to give him exactly what he asked for.  And it was absolutely delicious!  The sides have all the different Mario characters on it.  If you live in the Austin Texas area, I recommend checking out Sweet – we go to them whenever we need a cake or other sweet treat.  Their prices are competitive, they are friendly and have always given us exactly what we have asked for.  You should have seen the crazy amazing thing they created for my daughter’s Nightmare Before Christmas birthday party… apparently a few of the bakers were obsessed with the movie and were calling dibs over who could decorate it.

Do you like Mario?  Is Mario taking over your house?  Do you have the Mario theme song running through your head constantly?  I wonder what the next obsession will be…

Help! I need some somebody!

A color scheme is important to have during your wedding planning.  It helps to narrow down your choices and to bring everything together in a cohesive manner.  Following a color scheme can make an event go from looking like you picked up some mismatched dollar store finds to hiring an upscale event coordinator, and you’ve basically spent the same amount of money.

pastel color scheme
Romantic color scheme in “dusty” shades.
energetic color scheme
Romantic “energetic” color scheme in popping shades.

I need a color scheme and I don’t know where to start

I’ve been seeing this a lot on bridal forums lately.  Brides who are at the beginning of their planning, and feel lost with their color choices.  I get it – there are so many great color pairings out there, and all you have to do is play around on pinterest for a while to have your mind changed twenty times.

The best thing you can do, I’ve found,  is to use descriptive words – don’t focus on big picture right away, but rather descriptive words for your event.  Elegant vs funky, timeless vs modern, traditional vs unique.  Is there anything you absolutely do not want?  If you know you are more of a traditionalist, then you probably won’t want to go with a black and bright pink color scheme.  Love the drama of Hollywood red carpets and want to emulate that excitement at your event?  Then maybe black, red and gold is something you’ll want to lean towards.  If you are using descriptive words like fun and lively for your wedding then maybe something bright like orange and pink are going to be more appropriate.  Descriptive words are the best way, over years of doing this, to narrow your focus on the feel of the event you want to have.

Color Connotations

There are probably some color combos you want to avoid because they are associated with certain thingss.  Be wary of color combinations like red and green because they are Christmas colors, orange and black because of Halloween, pastel purple and yellow because of Easter and black and yellow because you’ll have a bumblebee wedding.  That being said, if that’s what you’re going for then have at it.

springtime romantic colors
Springtime colors, more casual theme.
springtime color formal
Springtime colors, more formal theme.

Invitations

If you like my invitations, and you know what you don’t want, then let me know what you hate and we’ll work from there.  Sometimes it’s easier to try a couple of things to see what really works before you hit on “it”.  And that’s ok!  I don’t charge based on the number of mockups I do, so if it takes twenty tries, it takes twenty tries.  If we get it right after three tries, then that’s awesome too.  If you have no idea what you’d like color wise, let me know and I can help you narrow it down.

It used to be that I had to do a face to face consultation.  But we are no longer living in the dark ages!  With the advent of me not being a lame-o and having a smart phone and ACTUALLY KNOWING HOW TO USE IT (insert the voices of a thousand angels singing here) we can now do scheduled consultations no matter where you are.  So get in touch with me and we’ll set something up.

Good luck!  Let me know if you need some direction!

RSVP Nightmare

I found this online and it was just way too funny not to share.  I think just about every bride has at least one rsvp nightmare story.

rsvp
Don’t make Liam Neeson mad.

I hope yours isn’t too bad, and is one that you can laugh about in the very near future.  I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t get much better when it comes to waiting for replies to kids’ birthday invites.  May the odds be ever in your favor.

I know a guy who’s tough but sweet

I want candy…

I have a feeling a lot of my clientele is too young to know the song referenced in the title.  Now I have a case of the sads.  GAWD I’M SO OLD.

Now that that’s out of the way…  What’s your favorite candy?  I’m Canadian, and miss good Canadian stuff like Allen’s toffee and Smarties now that I live in the States.  And no, not Smarties like the round pastel stuff you get at Halloween.  Canadians know those are called Rockets.

smarties rockets candy
Smarties and Rockets are the same thing…?

Now THESE are Smarties, and yes, they are the best.  And no, they are not M&Ms.

smarties candy
Canadian smarties… nom nom nom

Guess what I found?

I just discovered someone on instagram who might be really helpful for all you brides or others planning events.  Or for people like me who just really, really love candy.  Check them out:

candy pros logo
CandyPros.com Logo

What is helpful about this site is that you can easily shop by color, event or candy type, so you don’t need to spend ages clicking around hoping to come across something that might work for your candy buffet (or late night binge sessions – not that, I mean…  binge? on candy? wha? people do that???  I definitely don’t.  What a weird thing to think about.)

If you’re jonesing for a sweet fix or need to get your guests properly sugared, check these guys out.  They seem pretty rad.  If you use them or have purchased from them in the past, give me a holla so I can update this post with feedback for others.

If you do end up buying something for your event from Candy Pros, the favor boxes on our website are a great way to box them up and hand them out to your guests.  Just sayin’.

Ah crap… I had told myself that today would be day one of my healthy eating program.  Now all I want to do is see what kind of leftover Valentine’s candy I can scrounge from the kiddleton’s school loot bags.  Just say no, Chantal…

Don’t box me in!

In the beginning…

I launched my invitation business right after my wedding in 2006.  A few years later, we started a family.  I went on hiatus to focus on the offspring, because boy oh boy are babies ever a (cute) time suck!  Now that the littles aren’t quite so little anymore (the Divine Miss A is in third grade and the Kamikaze Kid started kindergarten), I’ve been itching to get back to my other great love, my little business.

New stuff

One product I’m very excited about and having been thinking about since the kidlets were tiny is favor boxes.  I’ve been playing with different templates over the years, and after some trial and error this is the one that has passed all my tests.  I can’t wait to see it in action in client wedding photos!

Like all the Chantal Claire products, the favor boxes can be recolored to match your color palette, and can include your fonts and wording at no additional charge.  The boxes are around 2″x3″ when assembled.

Favor box for fall leaves wedding collection Favor box for allover floral wedding collection Favor box for swirls wedding collection Favor box for cherry blossom wedding collection

Yup, I’m awesome, lol!

This is a bit unheard of, but despite being a vendor in the wedding industry I’m actually not a total douche.  I’m all about keeping costs down for brides when possible.  I remember all too well what it was like to see the budget slip away, and I had a small wedding!  With that in mind, I like to provide options for my clients while still providing the best quality product I can.  If you are crafty, you can purchase these favor boxes unassembled.  This will save on shipping and labor costs.  They arrive flat; you will cut them and assemble them yourself.  They will come scored and easy to fold, like this:

 

 

Favor box for flourish wedding collection unassembled
Flourish favor box, unassembled.

If you think glue is just for sniffing (just say no!) you should probably have me assemble them for you.  This is the better option if you don’t have time yourself.  The price will be higher to account for the labor and the extra shipping charges.

I hope you will consider these for your event!  If you do, please send me some pictures of them in action!

 

 

Anniversary Party

Last month we threw a pretty epic anniversary/birthday party.  Hubber and I are both turning the big 4-0 this year, and it’s our ten year wedding anniversary.  My parents and friends flew in from Canada and my cousins came over from Holland.  We held it at our house and it was pretty awesome.

The party had a pink floral theme with gold accents.  Here are some pictures of the details.

I hand painted the signage and menus, and made the plastic wine glasses pretty with little paper roses.  Due to the rental company sending the wrong sized tables I had to come up with some last minute centerpieces the night before but you would never know come dinnertime what a ball of stress that was.  A big thank you to the unexpected weather patterns for messing up another large scale event for me  – the first being my wedding.

DSC_3993

It’s important to note that Hubber hates Michael Buble.  Naturally, this means I need to Buble shiz up as often as possible, so I had asked our guests to give him a Buble related gift at the party.  We got some pretty epic stuff including a “signed” picture and some really high quality whiskey with a somewhat explicit photo of Michael on a custom label.

I made him a picture in photoshop, because two Bubles are better than one.

Behind the scenes, everything went wrong for this party.  It’s a month after the fact and I’m still not over how much of a disaster stuff was right up until guests started arriving.  It was all things that were out of my hands like weather not cooperating, vendors supplying the wrong tables and chairs with curse words scrawled on the back, things like that.  But in the end it all came together and people have told me they had a great time.  It looked beautiful.  So all in all, it was a success!  Just a much more stressful success than I have ever experienced in all my years of party planning.  I guess I got off easy with my wedding since things went pretty smoothly, so I was due.

The main lesson here is, of course, that things will never go as smoothly as you expect and you’ve just gotta roll with the punches.  The guests only knew that things looked great, the food was excellent and they were having a great time.  They didn’t know about the gonzo nutball lead-up I had experienced in the days before.  Try to keep that in mind during your wedding, mitzvah, quincineara, or whatever event it is you are planning.  THINGS WILL GO WRONG.  LIFE WILL GO ON.  Someday, you will laugh about it all.  I’m not quite at the laughing part yet, but that might be because I’ve sobered up from the party.  Somebody pour me another drink…