Sunday, September 25, 2011

{Party} A Vintage Shabby Chic Garden Party to Help HERizons

I feel like I need to start this by saying how fortunate I feel to have been able to create this very special birthday party for my daughter, using my passion for styling, and supporting an organization that gives so much to women and children {HERizons}.  Every detail of this event was a labor of love, and I could not be happier with how it all turned out!  Even though I love photographing and I was able to capture some wonderful shots, I am so grateful that Jen of Partridge Photography was willing to come at the last minute and capture all the details!
Just a warning might want to get a snack and get comfortable, it's a long one!

I told my daughter, Fleur, that this year I would do a special themed birthday party for her.  When we travelled together to Montreal this summer we talked a lot about ideas, colors, details, and entertainment for the party. Fleur has her own ideas about things, so it was tricky at times to get her to buy into MY vision!  Last year I had come across a guest feature submission on the fabulous Amy Atlas blog and I instantly fell in love! The Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice styled photo shoot had me so inspired, and I knew that I wanted to create something beautiful with all that inspiration.  

A Shabby Chic theme can leave a lot to the imagination, but I had a vision of a vintage bird cage, lots of fabric and ribbons, antique cake stands and a garden oasis!  More important than all the details was the menu and food entertainment we created for the party.

I remember as a child my mom doing a party themed around American history.  It may not sound very interesting but it still ranks as one of my all time favorite parties she ever threw for us!  The fun was all in the menu!  When I told Fleur about the idea she loved it and I got to work creating a similar "game" for her Vintage Shabby Chic Garden party {my mom and dad were a huge help with this one!}

The girls arrived and sat at their special places at the patio table.  After a toast with some bubbly.....juice, they were each given a handmade chalkboard.  On the menu in front of them was a list of 13 food items, each given a special cryptic name themed around the party.  They could order 3 courses at once: appetizer, entree and dessert.  In each course they could choose three items from the menu.  We encouraged them to try and figure out what the menu items might be but told them that they may end up getting a portion of a dessert item with an appetizer!  It was so fun to hear them laugh about the names of the food.  "Bird Poop" had them all intrigued and although they were hesitant, some of the girls ordered it for their first course.....much to their delight!  It was a glorious treat of whipped cream! {it was meant to compliment the stack of mini waffles and fresh berries, but of course some of the girls just ate it by it self}

Once again Jenna of the Little Red Kitsch'n helped me out with delicious little sandwiches, spinach filo bundles, veggies and dip, and amazing pie pops!  They were such a wonderful compliment to the other menu items.

For 10 little eight year olds to sit patiently for an hour and a half, we knew they were being well entertained.  From the kitchen we could hear them chatting about school, teachers, friends and everything in between.  

When I first started planning the details of this party I asked Fleur for her input...on colors, design, desserts, etc.  She was very clear about what she wanted and was always careful not to "hurt my feelings."  It was no different when she informed me that she did not want to receive gifts, instead she wanted her guests to bring art supplies so that she could donate them to children who didn't have any.  I got to work researching and was lead to Tanis Crosby, the Executive Director of the YWCA.  She let us know about HERizons, a supportive housing group to support single mothers pursuing post secondary education.  She was thrilled that Fleur wanted to share her birthday with the children living in this program!

 Its no secret that I love styling parties, but with the added bonus of supporting an organization that has grown by leaps and bounds in the past five years, it makes every tiny detail even sweeter.

At first I thought I needed a custom design for all the paper details for the party but quickly realized that the sweet pastels in the Tomkat Studio Flower Garden Party Collection were perfect.  

The birthday banner, cupcake toppers, and party welcome sign {Tomkat Studio} were the perfect compliment to the rest of the shabby chic party colors. 

As I have mentioned many times in previous posts, I can get pretty carried away when planning any special event.  Every time I step into a store I see something that would compliment the party and everything becomes a "must have!"  So much of what I loved about this shabby chic theme was the use of things I already had at home.  The vintage chalkboard came from Fleur's bedroom, and it didn't even occur to me until I found myself searching online for an antique chalkboard!  I loved using my grandmother's antique cake stands and dessert plates, it gave a real touch to that vintage feeling.  The side table and mini bicycle were also fixtures from Fleur's room and bathroom and even the beachcomber bike resting in the garden was borrowed from a friend.  

I love Props Floral Design {my favorite local flower shop!}.  Ashley put together simple garden stakes and connected the round twig balls and ribbons and flowers to set such a beautiful mood around the garden.....

.....the rose petals along the walkway were one of my favorite little touches!

I knew I wanted the party to encompass the entire backyard and that meant several little staging areas.  Our outdoor sectional was pushed together on the patio, covered with white quilts and fabulous pillows and served as a fun place for the girls to hang out and giggle!  Pink paper lanterns hung everywhere and flowers and ribbon adorned every surface.

My older daughter and her friend wanted a little place they could do hair wraps for the party guests, and when I found the rod iron table and chairs I knew they would be perfect!

When I imagined the backyard it wouldn't have been complete without the styled lunch table!  I had imagined burlap, ribbons.....lots and lots of ribbon, and fabric.  The centre burlap table runner and ribbons was a favorite inspiration from the Sugar and Spice photo shoot.  I searched high and low for an antique bird cage....I couldn't stop picturing shabby chic as a white washed bird cage with a swinging cupcake inside!  I never found the bird cage but when I spotted the vintage dress form I KNEW it was a close second, and I was still able to make a mini swing inside for a tasty cupcake to swing back and forth!

After seeing the amazing fabric bunting in the Sugar and Spice shoot I was dying to try it out.  Surprisingly, I was able to to use all the fabric pieces from my collection in my craft room.  Keeping all those chunks of leftover fabric suddenly proved to be a great idea!  I absolutely love how it turned out and it served as a beautiful backdrop for the dessert table set up on the deck.

The many sepia pictures I strung across the patio were a sweet display of Fleur's life.  The girls had fun trying to figure out how old she was in each of the photographs.

When it came time to plan the dessert table Fleur knew exactly what she wanted!  She chose the Martha Stewart inspired ruffle cake {Femme Fondants}, an assortment of flower iced cupcakes, and macaroons.  Since popcorn is a favorite treat I made sure her table had some of the sweet and salty stuff!  Making the popcorn cones from scratch initially proved to be a challenge but with the help of a friend we turned wrapping paper and kraft paper into adorable cones!  Thank you Heather!

 I found adorable colored glass preserves mason jars for the favors and each girl went home with a monogrammed ceramic ball, a beautiful cookie by Tracey Lowe, and whatever else Fleur could fill their jar with from the treats on the dessert table.

This party was such an intense labor of love, and not just for the details I love creating....but for knowing that Fleur cared so much about sharing her birthday with children she didn't even know.  When everyone had gone home and the backyard was cleaned up, Blythe and Fleur sat and unwrapped each gift of art supplies.  Their excitement grew with every glue stick, sketch pad, paint brush, craft kit, glitter paint, colored pencil....but what amazed me most was how happy they were that a child would get to use the supplies.  They imagined out loud what the little boy or little girl would make with these "amazing art supplies." 

Thank you darling Fleur, for showing me the true meaning of giving.

A special thank you to all of Fleur's friends for their generosity in supporting HERizons.

Much to my amazement, Fleur's party will soon be featured on The TomKat Studio website! 
Stay tuned for postings on the Forty 4 Change Blood Drive {a huge success!}, Bras Across the Bridge, and much more.


  1. I'm not at all surprised that Fleur is so generous. She has a wonderful example in you, and I'm always so proud of you and the kids for your generosity of spirit ... not only your willingness to give, but the joy with which you do so. Big hugs to Fleur for her idea. Some children will be very happy to make beautiful art with her (and her friends') gifts.

  2. Darling Fleur, Your generosity and compassionate nature for others is truly awe inspiring. Your parents have certainly set an incredible example, but without your desire to give to those less fortunate, this amazing idea you had for your party would not have been the incredible success it turned out to be. I am so very proud of you and all your friends for supporting this wonderful cause. The delight you will feel over and over again each time you look at a pencil, paints, or drawing supplies will give you so much joy as you envision the children who had none making beautiful art.

    Jennifer, you are such a wonderful, loving, loyal person with an incredible talent. You give of yourself tirelessly to your friends and all those around you including people you don't even know. There is no job too daunting and if it is to help others in need, "no" is not in your vocabulary, and THAT!!! is what everyone loves about you. I could not be more proud of all you accomplish.
    Love you, and give a very special hug and kiss to Angelina from her Noni.

  3. A perfect day for everyone! Amazing memories you are building for your family and planting the seeds of philanthropy for them! Well done!

    p.s. -you can adopt me anytime! :) XOXOX

  4. You know me and Shabby Chic, I love it so much that, that's how I decorated & continue to decorate Amelia's room. I LOVED it, what a lucky girl Fleur is to have such a talented mama. And how lucky are you to have such a sweet beautiful girl! Love ya!

  5. fabulous all around! the party and all its beautiful details, the donations and the birthday girl!

  6. To plan and set up a great party is just art. I like your idea. You better come to work with us at Trendy Lime. Trendy Lime Prties is a social network for trendsetters and world travelers that started in San Francisco event planning, California in 2009 and has become a global movement in 3 continents with chapters in San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Vienna, and Barcelona. Social & Networking events by Trendy Lime blend Fashion, Travel, Music, Technology, Photography and feature innovative businesses, as well as good cause initiatives dating profiles sale.

  7. This shabby chic party decoration is really amazing. Thanks for sharing photos. Well dear I have been making plans to visit LA as I am free nowadays. It would be great to attend some fun Christmas special events at popular Los Angeles venues. Could you tell me about upcoming Christmas events?