Celebrating Mila and Marlowe

Despite being two years apart, Mila and Marlowe had the same due date, August 26th. Neither was born that day, but somehow I have decided that this fact gives me the eternal right to hold one joint birthday party for the rest of their lives…heeheehee (evil laugh). Well, that is until they go to school and get exposed to horrible tacky theme parties and all our future parties are sponsored by Disney. But until then, we all know parties for babies are really parties for their parents and their friends. Hey look at me, I kept my kids alive for a whole year! 

Mila and Marlowe before their fourth and second birthdays
Mila and Marlowe before their fourth and second birthdays

Marlowe is now two and Mila is four and I have held two joint parties for them. The first party was larger, for family and friends, and the second more intimate, mostly just family. I love making a big deal out of birthdays, I always have. I like to pay attention to the little details, the things that can get overlooked sometimes, but allow me to explore my creativity, like the invites, centrepieces and treats.

For both the parties, the month prior, I did a photo-shoot of the girls for their birthday invites. I usually print through Apple, but this year I tried Staples and I was satisfied with their quality for the price.

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Left: Joint Party Invite #1 from Apple,  Right: Joint Party Invite #2 from Staples

For their first joint birthday party photo-shoot, I used a few props I had around the house, the “&” sign from the living room gallery wall, the butterflies from the basement feature wall and the girls’ metal name letters from their rooms. The photos were taken on Mila’s day-bed. The sign is one I made for Mila’s first birthday party. I had the girls hold balloons to signify the ages they were turning.IMG_5998 (2)IMG_6092 (2)IMG_6049 (1)We had Marlowe’s first and Mila’s third birthday at a friend’s condo party room. The room is a large space, with modern furniture and a definite cool factor. I liked the mature feeling of the space, but since it was a daytime event, I wanted to add a little bit of whimsy to make it feel lighter.

IMG_6788I never liked using the term DIYer to describe what I do, but I am accepting that I do fall into this category quite often. I did DIY many of the elements of this party, such as the centerpieces. I spray-painted different sized glass jars gold and silver and purchased a few bouquets of flowers and mixed them together to create mini bouquets in each jar. I love arranging flowers and I am always looking for excuses to make floral centrepieces. IMG_2784 IMG_2785

Along with the real flowers, I used green plastic drink containers as vases and added some fabric wands to make wand bouquets for added height and whimsy. The wands and containers are from Target, the metal flowers are from Umbra. Where else can you do something like this besides little girls’ birthday parties? This is my take on whimsy and a reminder that this party is for kids (kinda). IMG_6795

In addition to displaying framed pictures of Marlowe’s first year and both girls’ five month photo-shoots, I printed square format Instagram pictures of the girls and displayed them using Umbra photo holders to chronicle their first year as sisters. Since we were having the party outside of the home, I wanted it to feel “homey” and include lots of pictures of the girls like I have at the house. As they were leaving, many of the guests helped themselves to a few of their favourite photos. IMG_6858On another frame, I attached photos of the guests along with the birthday girls for them to take home. Even though we live in the digital age, I really consider it important to print photos and pass them around. I’m old-school and sentimental that way.

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I like to give “treats” to everyone, even adults at parties. Since we were celebrating the birthdays of our mini M&M’s I wrapped packs of mini M&M’s in craft paper with a small thank you picture. IMG_6857

I designated a little area for the kids to create drawings and to hang their work in the mini-gallery. I found this great stack of papers with different printed vintage frames by Melissa and Greg. I had a minor theme of “art” in mind for the party, because of the mini-gallery, the mini easels on the desert table and also, the kids’ treat bags consisted of mini art kits. The art teacher in me can’t help promoting all the benefits of art on mini people.

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Because I have a major sweet tooth, a desert table was a very important element. So I took over the main feature of the room, the large wood table, to house all the sweets. Since many of our family members took the time to contribute to our sweet table, I wanted to recognize their contributions with their name and description of their desert written on a mini-easel near their treat. 
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Our parties are not complete without cookies from my friend Christy at Dolce. Christy’s amazing custom cookies add a personal touch to all our events. I simply sent her the girls’ birthday photo-shoot pictures and she used the images and colours as inspiration to create her fantastic designs. Christy’s cookies are both tasty and tasteful. 10351649_735587703173244_763397797779827783_n

IMG_6809 (1)IMG_6783I also used Christy’s cookies as cupcake toppers, since I’m not really a cake person (it has to do with the icing to cake ratio, it’s complicated.) 
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And my favourite moment of that day goes to the very end of the party, when it was time to clean up and Mila, who was watching me get ready for the party all week finally got her chance to arrange some centerpieces. I couldn’t be prouder of three year old mini-me. IMG_6971IMG_6764

So since joint party #1 was a success I decided to do it all over again. This year’s party was more intimate because it was held in our home. But even a party at the house is an excuse for me to make it personal and unique in as many ways as I can. I started with the photo-shoot for the invites. This time I put the girls in matching ballerina dresses from H&M.IMG_2137

I used the sign from their first joint party and I added some pink flowers to infuse a little bit of colour into this years’ theme. IMG_1267IMG_1292

Instead of balloons signifying their age, I used party hats with scratchboard circles on them. These hats and many of the decorations were purchased from Target. Can you tell I was the only person shopping there before they closed all their Canadian stores? (Insert sad face). IMG_1297

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The sign is made of craft paper and mirrored letters from Dollarama. I like that it compliments the decor in my house and I’m sure I will use it for many birthdays to come.

IMG_2192Here is my pride and joy, my mini-sweet table, which also holds the treat bags.

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The treats for the adults are cookies by Christy at Dolce placed in black paper boxes, with a thank you picture of the girls. IMG_2267

Here are Christy’s masterpieces for this year’s party, again inspired by the images and colours from our photo-shoot. Her attention to detail is impeccable, the cookie ballerina dresses have the same sparkle as the real versions! These cookies are appreciated by kids and adults alike and yes, they taste just as good as they look. I always order a few extra ones so that I can enjoy them the week following the party…often in secret far away from the birthday girls…hey, I deserve it, I kept you alive for another year. 

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Since I can be picky about aesthetics (and spelling), I asked Christy to make cookie toppers for the ice-cream cake as well. I’m not sure I can trust the kid working behind the counter at Dairy Queen to cram in two birthday wishes on one cake.IMG_2329

Just for fun at the house this year, I set up a mini photo booth in the basement playroom, mostly as an excuse to use my new Instax camera, but also so that everyone could leave with a printed photo memory from the day.

Photo booth backdrop
Photo booth backdrop

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I made personalized party hats for everyone at the party to use in the photo booth, along with some typical photo booth props. 
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Here are some of our photo boooth pictures from that day.IMG_2505

Finally, last year I decided that since the girls receive plenty of gifts from family and friends, in lieu of buying them more toys, I will make them each a photo book chronicling their special day for them to look at whenever they wish. I create my photo books using Photos on my Macbook Pro. Photo books are meaningful keepsakes, and this way the girls can look through them years from now and think: Hey mommy and daddy kept us alive and threw us a pretty good party tooIMG_5734
IMG_2514Mila is off to school this year, and next year will probably want a princess party for her and all her new friends. I am slowly coming to terms that I may have to give up my adult-friendly kid-parties and include the girls in the party planning process. I am sort of looking forward to taking on the challenge of Disney decor one day…heeheehee (evil laugh).

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