Monday, August 16
Tuesday, August 3
I made this Welcome Page for my Shindig Facebook Fan Page, but after countless hours of HTML and FBML codes, I STILL can't get the darn thing to load on the page! Arrrrgh! So I thought I'd just share with you and see what it looks like on the screen.
Now to the post and the apology....I know my regular viewers are probably growing a little weary of all the announcements for Shindig features. I apologize. And I promise it will stop.... soon.... REALLY! I'm just so excited I can't stand it! At this point, I only have these two completely done with maybe 10 or so more in the works, so there aren't any more parties to be featured anyway. That means the celebrating should end pretty soon, and I will get back to what I really need to be doing..... creating awesome parties for the kids in Auburn!
I still can't believe it all started from a simple little upload, early in the morning, while we were at the beach less than 2 weeks ago. I was just bored.... a simple little act of boredom started this whole ball a -rolling!
I woke up one morning about 5:00am, couldn't sleep, and went to the den of the condo to play on my laptop. When I came across the Catch My Party website, which I had visited quite a number of times in the past checking out other people's parties, I noticed a little tab that says "Add a Party" that I had never noticed before. So, like I said, I was just bored, and I found the one file with some party photos from the fairy party that were on my laptop (I keep picture files on my desktop). So I uploaded them and didn't think much of it other than that they could possibly help someone out there planning a fairy party. And then, within a couple of days I get an email saying the party had won Party of the Day. And then another email from someone wanting to feature the entire party, then another and another. And well, I guess you've read the posts. It was amazing.
For a girl who will work til she drops (really!) Who isn't even close to where she needs to be to open this party business.... A girl who has 3 children, a husband and a ton of responsibilities outside of starting her own business..... for a girl who, because of all of the above, was growing more and more discouraged.... I was truly feeling like, "HOW?? How am I going to make this happen? How am I ever going to get enough time to do all the work I need to do?" For that girl, all of this attention is just what she needed. I've been so busy...... a little cut off..... I haven't been able to share all the things I've done with friends for a little support or encouragement. I haven't focused on the strides I've made this year.... instead, I was thinking of all the things I HADN'T done yet..... perfectionist that I am and all..... So all of these posts, and all of the wonderful comments out there on other people's sites, well, it's just really, really nice..... and motivating.... and humbling to now be a small part of this talented "party girl" community that I have been in awe of this entire year.
I do have some more great news though. Today Kara's Party Ideas featured my Fairy Party in addition to the feature she did on Star Wars a day or so ago. And a blog called Petals and Sunshine featured it, too. Then, this afternoon I started getting hits on my blog like crazy, and found that another site called Be Different, Act Normal had featured the Star Wars party as well. It's been a lot of fun opening my email lately! But the funniest of all was a link to my blog that looked a little, well foreign to me. Turns out it was a site from Brazil that featured the Fairy Party! Jonathan and I both started cracking up when we went to look at the post.... all my pictures...... my party..... all with words neither of us could understand! At least there were a lot of exclamation points..... I guessing that works the same way no matter what language you speak.
Life is Good. I am Grateful. And hey, don't forget, click the "Like" button to become a Fan of Shindig on Facebook. We've had a great response on Facebook..... I'd love to see you there, too!!
Monday, August 2
And believe it or not, later I found out that we also got PHOTO OF THE WEEK on their Catch My Party Blog! When I told Jonathan he just smiled and said, "Wow, I'm famous!"
Here's the winning shot.
And now for the REALLY good part! One of my very favorite websites, one that I've been stalking for months, Kara's Party Ideas, made the Star Wars Party their winning feature! I still can't believe it! Whoo-hoo!!!! And I also got a mention from another adorable website called Parties and Cupcakes. Just the Kara's Party Ideas site alone gets 260,000 hits a month! Now THAT'S a working girl! Thanks! Thanks! Thanks to Kara and to Brandy! Check them out sometime.
I still can't believe all the attention my little Enchanted Fairy Party is getting. I tend to have big dreams and put in a pretty big effort to realize those dreams, but I gotta tell ya..... this party business has been QUITE an undertaking. Much more than I ever thought. In the beginning, I was so excited and so passionate about every little detail of all the parties I was seeing on the internet that I could barely sleep! I think I drove my family a little crazy saying, "Wow! Look at this! Can you believe how this woman made this cupcake stand?? Look at this table setting!"
I had to be pretty annoying. And then there's the quadrillion hours I've put in.... super-laser-focused on exactly what I want Shindig to be.... want I want Shindig to bring to Auburn and all of it's little ones. And that Fairy Party.... whew, how much I put into that one. But I loved....... DEEPLY loved Every. Single. Minute. Tired, no sleep, but I still loved it.
So there are no words to express how happy.... elated...... excited...... THRILLED I am that so many people all around the U.S. in the party business (and party-loving mom's, too!) have loved this Fairy Party as much as me. This last week as been one of the most amazing of my life. I've always believed in hard work. You can't really go wrong if you know you gave something your best effort. But I was beginning to get a little discouraged after 8 months of gluing, sewing, painting, designing, sawing, nailing, glittering, shopping and all the rest without reaching my goal of opening Shindig by fall with 6-8 parties fully designed and ready for the kids. And on top of that, I was turning 40.
Well, guess what? Forty has been WONDERFUL!!!! As of right now, that I know of, Shindig has been featured on 8 different party websites in one week! Talk about exciting and motivating. I think my prayers are being answered, and I am so very grateful.
Just this morning on Facebook, I noticed Shindig was being featured again on another website I love called A Few of My Favorite Things on their "Fave Things Round Up." Beyond excited I tell you!! Thank you all for your support, and the absolute best part of all of this are the women I'm meeting in the business. You Ladies Rock! I am both inspired by you and humbled by your encouraging words.
Sunday, August 1
Not being very "into" Star Wars myself, (I am a 40 year old woman after all!), I had to dig in..... DEEP...... to find some inspiration. I spent countless hours googling..... soaking it all in until, well, I too knew all the characters from Super Battle Droids to Darth Sidious!
So here are the details for all of you who have been asking..... my new "Party People." I love you all, and still can not believe there are so many of you out there as obsessed as I am with throwing beautifully decorated parties.
The invitation...... I scoured the internet for inspiration for the invitation and this is what I ended up with. I used the lego bricks for a frame and the lego Star Wars characters to let all the guests know right from the start that this was no ordinary Star Wars party -- it was a LEGO Star Wars Party.
I used homemade almond buttercream frosting tinted in a nice shade of "galactic gray" for my white chocolate wedding cake cupcakes. They were YUMMY! I wanted to use the characters in some fashion, but still make them as tasteful as possible. This is what I came up with: blue glittery scrapbook paper cut into a diamond shape for the background piece with a black scrapbook piece on top. I then found different images of the Star Wars lego characters on the internet and used Photoshop to get them all the same size. I printed them out on cardstock, cut them out and glued them onto the cupcake topper. I used aluminum foil cupcake papers and spread out some silver tinsel onto a silver metallic charger plate.
The cake should be an entire post unto itself........ it took me 3 whole days!! Professional cake maker and decorator I AM NOT! But it does go to show that with..... (1) a good photo of a cake you like ...... (2) the internet (for Googling your mistakes and how to fix them!)....... and (3) some pretty dogg-ed determination, just about any of us can work with fondant and make a show-stopper. Well, only if you're experienced in the fine art of creating with playdough.
I'll try not to go into too much detail, but it went like this: I made an 8" and a 10" 2-layer cake, and then I covered them with buttercream frosting. I made my fondant (marshmallow, of course, for better taste) and colored it in.... oh..... I don't know...... 10,000 or so colors! No, really, probably 10-12, but it sure seemed like a lot at the time. I used gel paste food coloring for depth of color and kneaded it, and kneaded it, and kneaded it......
Then I made each of the lego Star Wars characters..... Yoda, Darth Vader, Hans Solo, a Storm Trooper and Luke Skywalker. You cannot even imagine how happy THAT made my birthday boy! (I think he went and looked at them every 10 minutes for days on end.) Then I made his name and the number 5 from cookie cutters, the Star Wars logo sign, the light sabers, the Death Star, and then the lego bricks and stars -- all out of fondant. Oh, I almost forgot, I painted everything with edible metallic dust, too. 3 days I tell you!
But, again, soooooo worth it for the sense of accomplishment and the look on that little boy's face.
After much, much deliberation, I finally decided on a Death Star centerpiece. I used a ball pinata, took all the extra fluffy crepe paper off, and paper machied it again with newspaper to make it smoother. I cut out a circle, inverted it, taped it back in the ball to create the Super Laser, and then covered it, too, with newspaper paper machie. After it dried, I painted it metallic black and silver to resemble the Death Star.
I created large, black legos from old foam blocks my children weren't playing with anymore. I spray painted them black, hot-glued black checkers on them to create the lego "knobs" and covered the checkers with a punched-out black circle of cardstock. I used paper machie stars painted silver and a number "5" I made from glittery scrapbook paper.
The place settings:
I used black melamine dinner plates with white star dessert plates at each place setting..... blue linen napkins in a silver napkin ring I made from wood pieces (Hobby Lobby) and decoupaged with the Star Wars Logo. The placecards were designed in Photoshop and placed in a silver glittered star I bought in the Target $1 section. The juices boxes were covered with blue paper, and I punched small blue circles out and taped them to the juice boxes to make them look like a lego brick.
The Jedi robes.... I made 12!!!!! Well, actually 13 (a big one for Luke Skywalker, too!) All I can say is I'm really glad THAT part is over -- but the end result was worth all the work. Sewing is one of those things that is so time-consuming, it's hard for me to enjoy but I do it anyway to save a little money (well, maybe ALOT), and I guess for that "I did it!" feeling. I used the tutorial here for the basic design.
I thought it would be fun for each of the boys to get a name tag necklace with their Jedi robes. I designed these in Photoshop.... name on the front..... tasks on the back. Each time the boys completed a task, they earned a silver star sticker.
And a scavenger hunt is ALWAYS a hit at kids' parties, so I went shopping to find lots of theme-related items. I decided on pop-rocks, yo-yo's, frisbees, a blaster gun and a disc shooter -- all that I made a little more Star Wars-ish with stickers. I designed a Scavenger Hunt card with photos of the items they would be finding since most of the boys were 5 and weren't too proficient with their reading skills. I gave them each a bag with his name on it, and said, "Go for it!" They ran around like crazy finding all of the items that they put in their bags and then got to take home with them.
Here is the Star Wars Lego character Bingo Game I designed for the boys to play at the end of the party. I thought it might be a good idea to have a little "settling down" activity before their mama's came to pick them up. They all loved it, and were excited to win a few extra "prizes" like stickers, rings, and glow in the dark necklaces.
The goodie bag....... I bought blue paper sacks and punched blue circles from cardstock to make them into lego bricks. I designed the thank you card and attached it with curling ribbon.
You can find a full line of Star Wars inspired party printables in my shop here to help you host your own Star Wars party.