Saturday, July 31, 2010

Christmas in July

The weatherman is predicting 27 degrees today in Brisbane. Seriously, it's the middle of winter! No cause for complaint usually. Except today the neighbourhood is gathering for a new tradition - Christmas in July. We might have hoped for a little nip in the air while we go about stuffing and roasting the pork and preparing all the trimmings. But really, it may as well be December. The kids have dubbed it `Early Christmas' - which means anticipation is high about what today might hold - they even got up earlier than normal!! I fear there may be disappointment.

Last weekend, the talented Australian photographer Tracey Lau, celebrated Christmas in July. I have been popping back to her blog all week to swoon over these beautiful pictures and that amazing dessert table.

(Images via Tracey Lau)

Just looking at these images gives me the warm and fuzzies and it seems easy to imagine that it may have been freezing cold outside her home in Sydney.

Looking out the window to my 27 degree winter day I know there's not a snowman who would stand a chance out there. And while the kids dreams of a double dose of Santa may be dashed today, there will still be much to celebrate with friends. Much to be grateful for.

And much to eat.

Merry Christmas in July.

P.S. While you're over at Tracey's blog, don't miss her exciting announcement and extraordinary I-gotta-have-one-of-those giveaway.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Beauty Full Collection (Invitations for Ava)

Something of beauty to share with you today.
In more ways than we can possibly describe.

A beauty full child who flew to heaven too soon - adored, missed, remembered.
Her beauty full family who opened their hearts to us and a pretty little idea we had.
A beauty full way in which they have chosen to honour their daughter - a tea party, simple or fancy, it matters not. But it matters.
And nine generous, creative friends who embraced our idea with all their heart and created this.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sharing the Love

Wandered over to Eat Drink Chic tonight where Amy whispered in our ear about her adorable download and DIY tutorial for Message in a Bottle favours currently featured at Once Wed.

What a sweet idea for sharing the love, both a message to your lovely guests and a way for them to send their very own message of love to the happy couple. Grab all the instructions and your free download here. (No weddings on the horizon for us but these are too darn gorgeous to resist!)

They would also fit in beautifully at a baby shower, naming day or Christening with Love Letters for the newborn and their family.

(Images via eat drink chic and once wed)

Another fabulous outing for these cute little bottles too! Love it!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Delicate Drinks

You know how we've got a little thing for doilies going on ?

Well after seeing these . . . .

(images via A Field Journal)

it's officially a head-over-heels, heart-pounding, butterflies-in-the-tummy, can't-get-enough-of crush!

Pop over to this gorgeous blog for more details and links to the DIY tutorial.

We have been busy creating some doily garlands in white for a very special project, but wouldn't they be pretty in pastels too? Off I go in search . . .

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hooray(s) for Saturday

So much to love this week. Hope you have your cuppa and your oohs and aahs at the ready.

(image via Twig and Thistle)

Sweet. And sophisticated. And grown - up. (Pictured)

Gobsmackingly beautiful cakes indeed - but me oh my, we're smitten with the styling on this shoot.

Hello Yellow!

Pinwheels, bunting, pom poms - a few of our favourite things in one pretty little party (via Party Perfect)

Cure your craving with this seriously sweet sugar hit.

Love the new outfit and accessories, Ms Polka.

You can now catch up with us over here, too. Pyjamas still the dress code. Cup of tea obligatory.

And just because we love snail mail. And this celebrates it. Awwww. (via Little Pinwheel)

Sweet Surprise

There is such joy in finding pretty things in unexpected places.

These lovely bottles of lemonade (Product of France!) are available at . . .ALDI! This week only of course - you know how it goes.

I have stocked up for Ava's `Strawberry Lemonade' party, but they are just made for a pretty baby shower or high tea.

Thanks to Alicia for the tip-off. You were right. They are perfect.

Real Hip Hooray: Vintage Chick (en)

images via Jennifer Birkhead Design

What a wonderfully sweet and creative celebration for little April's 1st Birthday.

Just the coordinating vintage `chic' outfits alone were enough to make our heart skip a little beat. But then, oh, the details! Cupcakes and chicken cookies served in doily-lined egg cartons. Vintage glassware and fresh flowers. Pretty paper garlands and a clever doily backdrop. Chicken wire framed for guests to peg their birthday wishes to.

This party embodies all that we love about celebrating with children at home - creating a theme out of something that they love or is special to your family, beautiful mum-made details, a space that is so personal and reflects family all around. It simply made our hearts warm.

April's mum, Jennifer Birkhead is a talented stationery designer and one we predict is going places. Happy First Birthday little April, you are one very chic Vintage Chick.

Oh and doilies are on our new favourite things list. Yours too? It just makes our Mum shake her head!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Enchanted . . .

by these cuter-than-cute invitations. We have always adored the idea of sending invitations with an extra something that hints at what awaits on the day. There is such fun in digging through a layer of sweets to get to the details beneath or receiving a little dress-up to wear to the party. These mini woodland terrariums would have any lucky invitees anticipation-ometer sitting on Very High, don't you think?

Sharnel has been planning and collecting and crafting for Olivia's 6th Birthday for some time and we love that we could help her find the perfect home for these friendly folk. Sarah at Style Me Gorgeous has translated the vision perfectly on paper. Follow the trail through the woods over here, we predict there will be magic made in a couple of weeks time.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Making Lemonade

Making lemonade has been on my mind these past few days. For several reasons.

It's summer on the other side of the world - weather made for celebrating outdoors. Lemonade and ice cream are abundant in the creative parties I have spotted recently. So sweet and refreshing. So uncomplicated.

Soon my Ava will turn 4. She adores Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Meringue (the characters, not the treats - they are for me to adore :). And as you know cartoon character birthdays are not our style. So I'm thinking of twisting up the theme into a little `Strawberry Lemonade' soiree.

And perhaps not least, because over the weekend we were handed a couple of lemons. Only small ones, in the scheme of lemons. But a lemon is a lemon is a lemon and this one tasted, well, sour.

On Saturday as I was preparing our scheduled Hooray(s) for Saturday post, I digressed to check in on our site traffic and discovered a new referral. As a store owner, this is usually exciting. But the name made me curious. Very curious. And my stomach flipped over as I waited to see where the link might connect me to.

And I found this. . . .

Did you click already? Wow, the launch of a pretty new blog, created by some BIG names in the US paper and party industry. Admired for their creativity, revered for their originality. They are our idols. And, yes, they still will be. We don't do grudges.

But for now the taste lingers. They know we exist. We follow their other businesses on twitter. Within days of their launch, they have linked to our store in a post (and for that we say thanks!). We have even (very shyly, I may add) emailed them directly with submissions for parties featured on our blog.

Now, beside them and their accolades, we feel LITTLE.

And this is how LITTLE works. Vanessa works full time to help make ends meet for her family and helps in the business late at night and on weekends. I work from home running our little dream store, and sometimes our ends don't meet. I pack orders on our dining room table, drag my kids reluctantly to the post office in the afternoon for our customers who are in a hurry, and somewhere between nappy changing, school pick up, and goodnight kisses we dream BIG.

When it comes to parties, we forget to take the butter out of the fridge in time and so have to stay up late whipping the buttercream for the birthday cake we made. We have hubbies who roll their eyes at the mention of a party - goodness, they may have to mow the lawn! And we are lucky to have generous parents who help us clear dishes, make dinners, entertain kids while we do the cutting, sticking, pasting of invitations and goodie bags. We take photos of our kids, of our parties, with an outdated digital camera. We have Photoshop on our PC - but get overwhelmed by its options. We love Pretty but are not so good at Perfect.

And so we might be LITTLE. But we have BIG hearts. And we play fair. If it simply didn't share our name, we too would be shouting Hip Hip Hooray - one more gorgeous party blog to follow. But Hip Hooray is our LITTLE piece of BIG. Here we have shared, laughed, connected in ways we once would never have imagined possible. To us, it is more than just the name of a blog - we dreamed it might become a brand and stand proudly in its field. I guess we were just not ready to have to share that.

We do know that there is, of course, room for all of us. That is the wonderful thing about blogs - no need to return one to the shelf in order to take another home, no need to donate the other to charity when you get the upgraded model, right?

And in case you're wondering, that's why we are introducing you through this post. Because we know that you will find this blog. And love it. That's OK. We do too. But we have manners and think it is the right thing to do. We wanted you to know that we know they have arrived to the party (way after it got started over here!). We wanted you to meet them and avoid any confusion over the nametag pinned to their lapel. To welcome them and to make sure you benefit from the wealth of experience, amazing creativity and resources they will share.

Hip Hooray is our happy place. We hope it is your happy place too. And in that spirit we have pondered whether to share with you even a taste of how this made us feel. We hope you did not mind that we chose to.

Besides after all this, let me tell you, this week has had some sweet lemonade moments -

  • my Dad celebrated his birthday and the kids and I took him cupcakes and toasted marshmallows together in my parents open fireplace - just as we did when we were kids;
  • school holidays meant my six year old was a constant companion - I took her to her first play, Tashi, and was reminded of how much I love - and miss - going to the theatre;
  • I planned, prepped, created a mini photo shoot for a national magazine feature we have coming up - such fun;
  • the big girls went for a sleepover to Nannas and I delighted in using the time when I would normally lie with them, tell them stories of when I was a `little dirl', and tickle their backs (with three kids this is 2 hours most nights!!) to eat spicy thai takeout with my hubby and curl up with Dear John on the DVD;
  • Vanessa and her beautiful boys arrived home from the US yesterday lugging a little `extra' in their suitcase - stay tuned for some new pretties in the store and a couple of fun giveaways;
  • And together with 9 generous, creative souls, the light of a very special little angel and the big heart of her inspiring family, we have started the journey to launch a `beauty-full' project - we can't wait to share.

On Saturday night when I crept into bed, a little sad, my hubby woke and immediately thought of the ultimate lemonade moment - their traffic might inadvertently become our traffic! Hopefully they will stay a while and enjoy the read.

So without question we are going to `Make Lemonade'. And still dream that one day LITTLE will grow up to be BIG too. Hey we might even get a gig as a `Contributing Editor'! xo

P.S. If you feel like making lemonade too, there's a recipe over here

P.P.S sorry Hooray(s) for Saturday went missing. I got writer's block after I clicked that link :) Back this weekend.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hooray(s) for Saturday: A collection in red, white and blue

While we are Australian through and through, it's fair to say we have a little soft spot for the 4th of July. 20 years ago, young and adventurous, Vanessa packed her bags, kissed us all goodbye and set off for the U.S of A to complete studies in Journalism at Central Washington University.

The short version of the long story goes a little like this: Girl meets Boy. Girl and Boy fall in love. Girl comes home for visit. Boy comes to visit Girl at her home. Boy proposes before even meeting Girl's parents!! Boy and Girl get married. Girl has baby boy - an Aussie. Girl and 2 Boys move back to the U.S. Girl has another baby boy - an American. (Sister of Girl visits US and gets to help deliver new nephew - that was me, yay!). Happy family resides States -side for (too) many years (Sister of girl allowed to say that.) Girl + 3 boys return to Australia. Girl has another baby boy. Family complete. Australia is home. Girl and Boy and their 3 boys get to visit the U.S. often. They are there right now in fact. Celebrating the 4th of July with friends and family.

So like I said, a little soft spot, a special place in our collective family hearts for the United States. We will miss them tomorrow, when usually the American flag comes out at our parents house and its hotdogs all round.

Patriotism (by association? by marriage?) aside, Red, White and Blue is such a classic colour palette for celebrating all kinds of occasions - preppy, nautical, sporty - so we thought we'd round up a few of our recent favourite celebrations spotted in this scheme:

image via Sambellina's Party

A fun train-themed celebration styled by Kate, our very favourite spotty partyware designer for her own son's 3rd birthday.

image via Jack and Izzy

A handsome Party in the Park with so many lovingly-made details via Jack and Izzy

image via The Tomkat Studio

Nautical and oh-so-Nice, the combo is at its classic best throughout this crab-inspired celebration from TomKat Studio.

Happy 4th of July to our friends and readers from the United States.

Free printable: Milk and Cookies

Thanks to everyone who dropped by here for a little Milk and Cookies - we are always delighted to share some warm and fuzzy and love getting some back too - your comments are so appreciated.

I hope to come back and share some recipes from the day and a few tips on recreating the look, but for now can't wait any longer to share with you a new free printable designed for Hip Hooray - and you - by the talented Sarah at Style Me Gorgeous. Take a look at these lovelies - nine sweet polka-dot labels and tags to get your cookies looking gorgeous!

In creating Zoe's Milk and Cookies party, I used the large size to create labels for the cookie buffet jars, the smaller size to label the tins and petite cookie jars as take-home gifts, and the square tags to tie to the large bottles of milk - `chocolate' and `100%'. I do confess running out of time on the day to make them fancier (neater?!) with some overprinting or hand-stamping and had to make-do with my hand-writing - I'm hoping the guests saw that as `personal' rather than `overlooked'!

Even if you are not planning a party right now, a batch of home-baked cookies makes a lovely `Hello neighbour' or `Thank You, friend' gift at any time.

Mmmm, we can smell those chocolate-chips wafting around your kitchen already. Download these pretties over here and happy baking xo