Posts Tagged ‘Kate Landers’

Entertaining with Kate: Do-It-Yourself Hobnail & Shabby Chic-Inspired Pumpkins

Kate Landers Halloween Pumpkin Decoration Layla-Grayce Photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Halloween Pumpkin Decoration Layla-Grayce Photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Halloween Pumpkin Decoration Layla-Grayce Photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Halloween Pumpkin Decoration Layla-Grayce Photography: Kate Landers

It’s Kate Landers here again, sharing some inspiration for fall and Halloween celebrations. I absolutely love autumn and the beautiful pumpkins and gourds it yields. I also adore all things “shabby chic” (including Shabby Chic designer Rachel Ashwell) and loved the idea of pairing my style with this season’s décor.

I am here to share two beautiful ways to dress up pumpkins. The first is a white hobnail milk glass look, and the second a shabby chic ruffled look inspired by my dear friends of the former Icing Designs.

These would be fabulous displayed on a hearth, mantle or tabletop centerpieces for both Halloween and Thanksgiving. I also love them as decorations for a fall bridal or baby shower, wedding or a little girl’s autumn first birthday.

Supplies Needed:

  • ~ 4″ and 8″ crafting pumpkins (I used ivory ones from Target)
  • ~ White flat-finish spray paint such as this one
  • ~ White upholstery pins (approx. 150 to make 1 large & 1 small pumpkin) like these.
  • ~ Needle, white thread, scissors and 1 yard white muslin fabric
  • ~ Lo-temp glue gun and glue sticks
  • ~ Black paper bat decorations (optional) from Martha Stewart found here

Instructions: White Hobnail-inspired Pumpkins

1. Insert white upholstery pins into pumpkins in vertical lines, each pin approximately 1/3″-1/2″ apart. For 8″ pumpkin, each row should be 1.5″-2″ apart. For 4″ pumpkin, each row should be 3/5″-1″ apart. There is no exact formula to this; these are basic guidelines, so do what feels best to you!

2. In a well-ventilated area, coat pumpkins (pins already inserted) with white spray paint. Allow to dry minimum 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Instructions: White Ruffled Pumpkins

1. In a well-ventilated area, coat pumpkins with white spray paint. Allow to dry completely, preferably overnight.

2. Fold yard of white muslin fabric in half (this yardage includes extra fabric if you want your ruffles wider or fuller).

3. Cut fabric into eight 1″ strips (fabric is folded over so there will be two strips one on top of the other, total 16 strips) for small pumpkin, and ten 1.5″ strips for large pumpkin (again fabric folded over, so there will be one strip on top of the other, total 20 strips).

4. With a simple needle and white thread, use a simple stitch (thread knotted at end opposite of needle) and thread needle through center of strips (having the two strips on top of one another creates a fuller ruffle), each stitch close together for tighter ruffles. After approximately 15 stitches, you can push fabric down thread and see it gather. Continue until you reach end of the strip and push down fabric so it all gathers. I recommend approximately 12″ gathered length of strip for large pumpkins, and 8″ for small pumpkins.

5. After you hold up your ruffled strips of fabric to the dried painted pumpkin to confirm proper length (you can elongate by making ruffles further apart or make shorter by scrunching ruffles closer together), knot thread at end so ruffle length stays in place.

6. Warm up glue gun, and carefully glue ruffled fabric strips onto each pumpkin, top to bottom, one at a time.

Enjoy your pumpkins!

Celebrate with Kate: Event Photography Tips With Expert Lee of Lee Bird Photography

Children's Birthday Party Photography Tips at Layla GrayceStyling: Avie & Lulu Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Tips for Candid Photography at Kids Birthday Parties by Layla GrayceStyling: Boutique Affairs Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Photography Tips for Kids Birthday Parties at Layla GrayceStyling: Avie & Lulu Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Event Photography Tips at Layla GrayceStyling: Avie & Lulu Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Photography Tips for Theme Birthday Parties at Layla GrayceStyling: Boutique Affairs Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Candid Birthday Party Photography Tips at Layla GrayceStyling: Boutique Affairs Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Gorgeous Event Photography Tips at Layla GrayceStyling: Boutique Affairs Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Tips for Photographing a Child's Birthday Party at Layla GrayceStyling: Avie & Lulu Photography: Lee Bird Photography

It’s Kate here again, thrilled to share with you fabulous tips on photographing your celebrations! I had the privilege of chatting with one of the most talented event photographers in the business, Lee Bird of Lee Bird Photography, and she had plenty of great advice to share with you. Plus, we have included plenty of her photos to give you lots of inspiration and a little eye candy.

First, a lovely introduction to Lee Bird. Lee is mother to two beautiful young girls, Mia and Zoe, whom she refers to as her inspirations and muses. An editor of a travel magazine, Lee has allowed her passion for photography to flourish.

After the birth of her first daughter Mia, she began photographing her constantly. She continually practiced, learned much and soon realized she needed more variety, inspiration and different subjects. She then began taking photographs for friends, and from there her new business blossomed. Lee turned to mentor Wende Whitfield Trew of Timeless Image Photography, who graciously shared a wealth of information.

Lee absolutely loves her job, and enjoys learning and growing as both a business owner and photographer. She currently focuses on family, newborn, events and food styling photography, all of which she truly savors.

When asked to name a favorite or stand-out party she has photographed, Lee said it is simply too hard to select just one. I am absolutely thrilled she has shared so many images for us to enjoy!

Three Pieces of Advice To Improve Your Event Photography

These questions are geared for non-professionals who aspire to capture better pictures of personal parties using a digital SLR camera.

Q: Is lighting important in event photography? What do you suggest for providing the best light for your event photos?

A: Lighting is important in ANY photography. The ideal set-up for a dessert table is opposite a big window, which allows an even fall of light. Secondly, observe the spot carefully to determine during what time of day it receives the best light, and try schedule your photos around that time. You actually don’t want direct sunlight falling on the table or set-up, but instead a nice, even light that won’t cause harsh shadows.

It’s hard to specify the best shutter speed and aperture as it depends on the amount of light in the area. However, in an ideal situation, try keep your aperture around F/3.5 to f/5.6 and your shutter speed around 1/200 or higher (kids move fast and anything lower may cause a blur).

Q: What is your short list of shots parents should capture to ensure the most memorable moments of the party are caught on camera?

A:

  • Child’s first reaction to seeing their party all set up
  • Child greeting guests and receiving gifts
  • Birthday song and blowing out candles
  • Party games and activities
  • Full shot of the dessert table
  • Close up of cake

Q: What is the best time to take shots of dessert tables, and what lens would you recommend using? Do you have any other simple tools that might make a big impact when trying to capture the details of the cookies, cakes, etc?

A: I would definitely recommend taking all the dessert table and event styling photos before guests arrive. You can even take them really early on and then put all perishables back in the fridge. I use my workhorse lens for the main images of the table – a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Most zoom lenses would work just great. For the close up shots I use a Tamron 90mm Macro lens which gives the most beautiful, crisp macro images. I have used a reflector in the past and it really helps lighten some of the shadows. If you don’t have a reflector, you can use a big piece of white cardboard or styrofoam to bounce some light into the shadows. Another trick I’ve utilized on really sunny days is having someone hold a big white sheet over the table so I don’t have harsh shadows or blown whites.

Five of Lee Bird’s Top Tips In Getting Better Event Photos

1. Capture even the small moments. Looking back, you’ll never regret getting those images of your child’s excitement upon her best friend’s arrival.

2. Try to achieve the best lighting possible. Help yourself out by preparing the light prior to the event so you’re not left floundering.

3. Avoid too many narrow stripes as they can go wonky in photos.

4. Avoid bright reds and yellows. They are difficult to photograph and process.

5. I am a stickler for straight horizontals in photos. I don’t enjoy extreme angles – more often than not it looks like that cookie plate or cupcake tower is sliding off the table and out of the photo. If you can’t fit it into the photo while it’s straight, take a few steps back until it does. You can always crop closer in post processing.

You can find Lee on her blog here, where you can learn more about her new event photography workshops. A tremendous thank you to Lee for sharing your expertise with us all!

Celebrate With Kate: 4th of July Mason Jar Pies

Glorious Treats Apple Pies in a Mason Jar @LaylaGrayce
Baking, styling & photography: Glorious Treats

Mason Jar Apple Pie Recipe from Glorious Treats @LaylaGrayce
Baking, styling & photography: Glorious Treats

Kate here again to share with you a fabulous Fourth of July dessert by Glory of Glorious Treats! When considering a patriotic summer dessert to share with you, I immediately thought of fruit pies. My mom bakes the best pies all summer long with in-season fruit, and we never celebrate the 4th in our house without fresh pie and homemade ice cream!

I knew I needed an expert food blogger and stylist for help and immediately thought of Glory, who knew just what to create: her favorite dutch apple pies in small mason jars. A charming set of free printable labels and dessert flags were a must, and I turned to paperie designer extraordinaire Loralee Lewis to help you dress up your desserts like Glory’s.

Read further for the recipe, an interview with Glory and the free printables link.

Crumb Topped Apple Pie (Dutch Apple Pie) in Jars by Glorious Treats

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1 sheet of prepared pie crust dough (available in the freezer section of the grocery store), or one recipe pastry pie crust
  • ~ 4 large tart apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled and chopped (about 5 1/2 cups chopped)
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ~1/2 cup sugar
  • ~ 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • ~ 3 Tablespoons flour
  • ~ 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ~ 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)

Topping Ingredients:

  • ~ 3/4 cup flour
  • ~ 1/4 cup sugar
  • ~ 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • ~ 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ~ 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature

Supplies:

  • ~ 6, 1/2 pint wide mouth canning jars (usually available from Walmart, or your local grocery store)

Directions:

1. Thaw the pie crust (if using frozen), or prepare pie crust. Please note, frozen pie crust sheets usually need to thaw several hours.

2.  Preheat oven to 375*F.

3.  Use the ring from the lid of the jars to cut 6 circles of dough. Place one circle of dough into the bottom of each jar and use your fingers to press the dough into the bottom of the jar and up the sides a bit.

4. Peel and chop apples and place in a large bowl. 

5.  Add lemon juice and toss to coat well.

6.  Add both sugars, flour and spices and stir to fully coat apples.

7.  Scoop apples into the prepared jars, pressing the apples in as tightly as possible. Divide the apples between the 6 jars.

8.  Prepare the crumb topping by combining all ingredients and mixing together with a pastry blender, or fork until the butter is in small pieces and the mixture is crumbly, yet well combined.

9.  Top each jar of apples with a generous portion of crumb topping, pressing down a bit as needed. The apples will cook down quite a bit while baking, so you want to start with full jars.

10.  Bake the jars on a large baking sheet (because the pies will likely bubble over a bit while baking). Bake 35 minutes at 375*F.

11.  Cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Serve as is, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. The pies may be made up to two days in advance.  Keep covered and in the refrigerator when storing for more than 1 day.  Serve at room temperature, or heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave before serving.

Let’s learn a bit more about baking expert blogger Glory! She learned to bake from her mother, and began entering her winning pies in country fairs at a very young age. I had the lovely opportunity to interview her recently, and am excited to share our conversation with you!

Q: Please provide us with a brief introduction to yourself and Glorious Treats!

A: I’m a mommy to two sweet little girls, and wife to a supportive husband/taste-tester/editor. I spent eight years as a floral designer, and after deciding to stay home with my girls, I felt a need to find a new creative outlet. After a one-night class on cookie decorating (through my local parks and rec.), I was instantly hooked on decorative baking! I sought out all the books, websites and classes I could find and have spent the last six years or so baking up a storm! I feel so lucky to have found/created a job that allows me to work from home on my own schedule and keep up with my girls’ activities.  

Q: Tell us a bit about how you came up with this recipe, and why you think it is perfect for the 4th!

A: Certainly apple pie is the quintessential “All American” dessert. Now, technically, since I added a crumb topping (instead of a top pastry crust), this style of apple pie is called “Dutch,” but so far, every American I’ve fed this pie to has had no complaints!

Q: How do you celebrate the 4th of July? Any tips on food to serve, and ways to serve/display it?

A: We usually celebrate the 4th of July by taking a picnic dinner to a local park that has a fireworks display. These little pies are perfect to just pack in the cooler and enjoy anywhere. If you are enjoying these apple pies at home, they are extra delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

Glory also recommends styling the dessert using these free printable labels and flags, along with red, white and blue baker’s twine.

Download the darling free printable dessert flags and labels by Loralee Lewis, here.

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Celebrate With Kate: Horseback Riding Themed Birthday Party

Rustic Horse Themed Birthday Party @LaylaGrayceConcept and styling: Lily Chic Events Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Popcorn Stand & Dessert Table for Horse Themed Birthday Party @LaylaGrayceConcept and styling: Lily Chic Events Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Pink & Mint Horse Themed Birthday Party @LaylaGrayceConcept and styling: Lily Chic Events Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Colorful Ranch Themed Birthday Party @LaylaGrayceConcept and styling: Lily Chic Events Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Horseback Riding Birthday Party @LaylaGrayceConcept and styling: Lily Chic Events Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Giddy Up! Kate Landers, here again, thrilled to share with you a darling Horseback Riding Party recently hosted by a dear friend and fellow party stylist, Lilian Oliver of Lily Chic Events in Australia. Take a look at the gorgeous eye candy, and read on for some helpful party planning tips!

1. The Inspiration: Lilian’s daughter, Mikayla, loves horses, and with the recent purchase of their farm, her love has grown even deeper. As soon as Lilian set eyes on Loralee Lewis‘ invitation for a Horse Riding Picnic Party, she instantly knew it was the perfect theme to celebrate Mikayla’s 13th birthday. The paperie also served as inspiration for all the sweets on the dessert table. Tip: Seeking inspiration for your child’s party? Chat with them about their passions and favorite things!

2. A Memorable Party Activity: Lilian booked Mikayla’s party at a reputable horse riding establishment–the birthday girl and all her guests said they had the best day riding through a state forest for two hours. Tip: Thinking of hosting a horse back riding party? Lilian says at the right establishment, children of all ages and experience levels can enjoy it–and it can much more affordable than you think!

3. Creating A Rustic Party Setting: I was thrilled to hear that the girls set up the table themselves and loved it! From laying out the picnic boxes with paper horse ribbons to lining up old fashioned fishing stools, each guest thoroughly enjoyed playing “party stylist”! Tip: Love setting up details for your child’s parties? Include them in the process–they may find it just as enjoyable as you do!

4. A Perfect Picnic Lunch: Lilian made picnic lunches of chicken salad baguettes, apples, potato crisps and bottled water to bring along for the ride. At the end of the ride, guests were greeted with a popcorn and hot chocolate bar–yum! Tip: Looking for a darling way to present a picnic lunch? Dress up some large kraft gable boxes and fill with a sandwich, fruit and snack…one two three go!

5. A Rustic Dessert Table: With the help of family, Lilian was able to hang a vintage sliding door frame as the backdrop for the dessert table set up in their barn. In addition, an old barn door served as the tabletop to display all the gorgeous desserts. I absolutely love the non-traditional (and stunning) “chocolate mud” flavored three-tiered cake. Sweets included many of Mikayla’s favorites like “Apple Crumble” macarons, old fashioned candies, chocolate covered oreos and iced sugar cookies. Tip: Seeking a non-traditional dessert display? Consider re-purposing vintage doors, trunks or crates. Create desserts in flavors the birthday child loves, in your party colors to reinforce the color-scheme and theme.

6. Finding A Balance: Life can be a balancing act. Lilian is a mother to four beautiful daughters, recently purchased and moved to a “farmlet” with her husband in Victoria, which they have been slowly renovating and replanting. Her party styling business and online shop are currently on hold as they get their property in tip-top shape, yet creating her daughters’ parties allows her a creative outlet and precious time spent with her girls. Lilian looks forward to one day returning to her business, but is thoroughly enjoying her life now. Tip: I’ve learned from Lilian that sometimes you simply cannot do it all–at once. She has shown how to balance building a home, raising four girls and keeping her business afloat, keeping her priorities in order.

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Celebrate With Kate: Everyday “Hooray!” Moments

Kate Landers Ideas for Celebrating Everyday Moments @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Ruffled Cake Inspiration @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Paper and Bamboo Party Essentials @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

There are so many events in life, big and small, worth celebrating. This is Kate Landers, here to share with you a personal event, along with some tips on creating your own simple and unique party.

Our son Noah was diagnosed with severe plagiocephaly and torticollis as an infant, and underwent treatment including a helmet. You can read about our story here.

When Noah completed his physical therapy and helmet treatment, we decided to host a little celebration! You can also celebrate your own “Hooray!” moments, such as running in a charity race, performing in a recital or finishing a thesis, with very little prep time. Here’s how we did it:

1. Simple Decorations: In our light green and blue color scheme, we decided on two simple decorations for Noah’s party: Fluffy tissue poms on the cake table and surrounding floor (no need to hang from the ceiling with fishing line – this kept set up very quick) and a “Hooray for Noah!” garland.

2. Handmade Party Products: Handmade party products are on-trend, whether you craft them yourself or support your favorite handmade party business. My dear and incredibly talented friends of Icing Designs custom-created pennant garlands with festoon trim, ruffled crepe and hand-glittered letters, along with matching invitations, cake topper and rosette pins reading “Hooray for Noah!” for guests to wear.

3. Ruffled Cake: If you follow wedding and party sites, you’ve probably seen many ruffle frosted cakes. Whether frosted on the sides, top or all over, they add a festive touch. We went with a pale blue cake ruffled only on the sides so the cake topper would stand out.

4. Bamboo Cutlery & Paper Party Products: Finally, opt for simple and classic paper party products! I love using the ever-popular bamboo cutlery at my events. We kept ours plain, but there are many options to decorate with tape, stamps, glitter and more. In addition, we used rectangular paper plates with coordinating napkins. The best part? Each place setting fit perfectly into a darling matching paper favor bag, creating a pretty display of meal essentials that guests could easily grab. Noah absolutely LOVED sliding the plates in and out of the bags, so it served as a surprise dose of entertainment for the littlest guests!

Lastly, don’t stress with steaming those fabric table linens… a simple white table works perfectly. We even repurposed a desk drawer to display the place setting pouches as described above. These touches kept everything so simple, especially due to a quick and easy set up and clean up!

I am THRILLED to say that Noah’s helmet is nothing but a memory now, and we cannot wait for our next “Hooray!” moment as an opportunity to gather loved ones and enjoy cake and laughter.

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Celebrate With Kate: Easter Inspiration

Kate Landers Easter Cake @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

White & Pink Eastern Party by Kate Landers @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Easter Party @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers here to share some celebration inspiration for spring, my favorite time of the year! One of my very favorite childhood storybooks for spring is about a fluffy white rabbit, and these desserts were inspired by a rabbit’s white cotton tail. Read below on how to get this look for your Easter celebration!


1. The Coconut Cake Bite Tower WCreating the dessert tower is incredibly easy and is sure to wow those you serve it to! You can use cake bites, cake pops or even donut holes!

To achieve the look shown, you will need approximately 4 dozen 1″ cake bites, 1 styrofoam cone (4″ diameter at base by 8″ tall) or to keep everything edible, a frosted rice krispie treat that mimics that shape, and several small toothpicks. Insert a toothpick on a slight angle upwards into the styrofoam starting at the base. Attach a cake pop onto the toothpick, and repeat for the entire bottom of the tower. Work your way up to the top until finished.

Display on a petite round dessert pedestal and you are ready to serve. I had some lovely embroidered blush cloth napkins on hand, perfect for guests to hold under their cake bite to catch any loose coconut.

2. Rabbit Printed Details Loralee Lewis has a gorgeous printed white rabbit collection seen here that utilizes a soft blush color. I used an “EASTER” banner to hang behind the tower, a small dessert sign and some favor carton labels (details below). Simple yet sweet.

3. Cottontails-to-Go There are many spring holidays I remember heading for a relative’s house for an afternoon dinner, and being very hungry in the car on the way. These “coconut cottontails” are a perfect sweet treat at home or on the road to hold you over. It was important to me that special take home packages were provided for guests so they could enjoy while heading to their final holiday destination. The white ice cream/soup cartons from Think Garnish work perfectly! In addition, Loralee’s labels are a lovely fit for the lid and to wrap around the carton. You can personalize them with guests’ names or simply print with a seasonal sentiment.

4. Spring Flowers There is something so cheerful about spring blooms. Hyacinth, rannunculus, tulips…and adding a small bouquet of these limited-avaiable-stems to the dessert table set the spring tone. They look beautiful arranged in a vase, small pitcher or urn.

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Celebrate With Kate: Valentine’s Day With Loralee Lewis

Loralee Lewis @LaylaGrayceKate Landers here, thrilled to share Valentine’s Day dinner party inspiration and free exclusive printable gift tags courtesy of the incredibly talented designer, Loralee Lewis. It is with great joy that I can take this opportunity to introduce you to Loralee (whose favorite holiday happens to be Valentine’s Day!) and her latest collection, debuting right here on Layla Grayce. Loralee is founder of her self-named business, Loralee Lewis, a company specializing in event paper and fine stationery for special events. She also serves as the party editor of Babiekins Magazine. When she isn’t designing wedding suites or styling photo shoots, you will likely find her trying to keep up with her four small children.

Loralee Lewis Paper Boutique @LaylaGrayce
Design, Styling & Photography by Loralee Lewis

I asked Loralee if she would design a few free printable Valentine’s Day gift tags exclusively for Layla Grayce readers, and she said yes! I wanted a sophisticated yet simple design, using soft pink and another color such as grey, gold or emerald green. I knew with very few guidelines, she would create something absolutely perfect. Two of the gift tag designs feature sweet love phrases, which Loralee suggests can also be use yearlong attached to favors for weddings, baby showers or a girl’s first birthday.

Loralee Lewis Paper Design for Valentine's Day @LaylaGrayce
Design, Styling & Photography by Loralee Lewis

In her own words, “Paper gives hosts and hostesses the chance to express themselves and their personalities beyond flowers and a table setting. When done correctly, paper can bring an event to life! Each paper item is adorned with cheeky phrases, such as ‘Take Me. I’m Yours.’ to keep guests on their toes. My goal is to create paper people will cherish for a lifetime, tokens of happy memories.”

Loralee Lewis Valentine's Day Paper Suite @LaylaGrayce
Design, Styling & Photography by Loralee Lewis

Much like other admirers of Layla Grayce, Loralee values quality and exceptional design. She is always innovating and creating new paper items for that “wow” factor. Stay tuned as Loralee will be releasing a digital Summer Party Resource Book in the coming months, and the expansion of her event paper products, including her newest item, the personalized favor boxes you see here in this shoot. I look forward to printing these tags myself, adding some silver german glass glitter and raw silk ribbon to attach to gifts for my loved ones. Click here to download the gift tags.

Loralee Lewis Valentine Paper Suite @LaylaGrayce
Design, Styling & Photography by Loralee Lewis

Celebrate With Kate: First Birthday Party

Kate Landers Party Design for a First Birthday 0Event concept, design and styling: Kate Landers Photography: Liza Voll

Kate Landers Party Design for a First Birthday 3Event concept, design and styling: Kate Landers Photography: Liza Voll

Kate Landers Party Design for a First Birthday 1Event concept, design and styling: Kate Landers Photography: Liza Voll

Kate Landers Party Design for a First Birthday 4Event concept, design and styling: Kate Landers Photography: Liza Voll

Kate Landers Party Design for a First Birthday 2Event concept, design and styling: Kate Landers Photography: Liza Voll

This is Kate Landers, thrilled to share with you a most darling personal event: our son Noah’s First Birthday Celebration! As an event stylist I have always recognized what a milestone event a first birthday is. As a mom, I have experienced first-hand the emotions and tremendous joy that comes along with celebration the first twelve months with your little one. I invite you to enjoy the beautiful images that captured a most perfect birthday celebration.

1. We opted for a very intimate family affair, 15 guests. Also, for the sake of Noah and other little ones, we kept the party at a manageable length of one hour.

2. We held the party mid-afternoon, offering a simple menu of birthday cake and a few special sweets, doubling as party favors, on the dessert table. This is also keeps your party within a reasonable budget.

3. Hiring a professional photographer allowed us to relax as parents, and feel fully present for this special day. It was an investment I highly recommend. Liza was able to capture precious moments as well as event details I normally would fuss over as a stylist.

4. Noah has a favorite giant teddy bear that he loves to tackle and snuggle, who served as inspiration for the party theme. The soft blue, yellow and tan color palette kept the event sweet and “baby”–celebrating his first 12 months of life. Loralee Lewis created a most darling paperie collection that everyone adored.

5. I thoroughly enjoyed hand-crafting (with my husband Ryan’s help!) pom poms for party hats I made. They were also displayed as soft toy balls, paired with the yellow polka dot boxes representing baby blocks, making for crafty centerpieces.

6. Noah had his very own “smash cake,” while guests enjoyed a soft blue ruffled cake filled with whipped cream and strawberries. Smash Cakes are fabulous for that infamous first birthday portrait!

7. Garden chairs and floor-length table linens created a clean palette for styling this event. The 3′ white balloons from The TomKat Studio also filled the celebration space with white. I used wide satin ribbons to tie them to the back of chairs, making them perfect for little guests to carry home.

8. I fell in love with the “Noah” banner created by Loralee Lewis, and we now have it hanging in his room, a charming way to remember this milestone celebration.

9. Inviting long-distance friends and family members to create items for the party can be a wonderful way to celebrate your child’s party with them. My dear friend Lynn made the gorgeous fine-wale pale blue corduroy overalls Noah wore, while my good friend Ruth monogrammed them.

10. Guests signed cards leaving “Warm Fuzzy Birthday Wishes” for Noah to read and enjoy for many years to come. I cannot wait to put together his first birthday book, another way to let the celebration continue!

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Celebrate With Kate: New Years Eve Party

Kate Landers New Years Eve Party

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers New Years Eve Party

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers New Years Eve Party

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers here to share with you inspiration for a stylish way to celebrate the New Year! Mint green and metallic gold were huge in fashion and home decor the mid-20th century, and I am smitten with their comeback for 2013. Take a peek at this modern take on a retro-inspired New Year’s Eve party.

TULLE: It isn’t just for dresses and petticoats anymore. Whether you choose to hang tulle poms in the air or skirt a dessert table with layer upon layer of this frothy fabric, it is an inexpensive yet highly stylish way to decorate your party space.

MINT & METALLIC GOLD: Metallics are often associated with New Years parties and fashion. How perfect to pair one of the hottest colors, mint, with metallic gold for a modern take on a long-lived tradition for a 2013 celebration. I adore the invites & paper products by Loralee Lewis, perfect for this party.

CELEBRATION TABLE: Introducing a new take on a dessert table…a celebration table, as featured here, displays party horns, hats and confetti along with bubbly & cake. I find this to be a fabulous way to display gorgeous party decorations and attire, sure to strike up conversation.

PARTY ATTIRE: In addition to a traditional party hat, offer your guests glittered crowns and chic fascinators to add a more stylish accessory to make their look festive.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY NEW YEARS EVE: We love celebrating New Years with the entire family. I encourage a few family-friendly activities, such as “make your own midnight mix” where children and adults alike to create their own confetti pouch to toss when the clock strikes twelve. For the menu, offer sparkling cider in child-safe glasses for children and offer champagne at the bar.

SPARKLING CELEBRATION: Add some sparkle to your party with glittered tulle poms, starburst napkin rings, glitter-paper party horns and hats, as well as edible glitter on “2013″ cookies as featured.

CELEBRATION TABLE: Add some sparkle to your party with glittered tulle poms, starburst napkin rings, glitter-paper party horns and hats, as well as edible glitter on “2013″ cookies as featured.

TISSUE DECORATIONS:Vintage honeycomb tissue balls are making a big comeback in weddings, baby showers & holiday celebrations. I love the mint ones we used here. Also take a look at a hot trend: a tissue tassle garland, making the perfect backdrop for the celebration table. And a personal favorite: the tissue fringe lantern: a nod to the ball drop in NYC, this festive decoration is perfect on New Years Even, hung overhead.

THE PERFECT NYE CAKE: Strawberry Pink Champagne Cake. My personal favorite cake, this is a perfect dessert to serve your guests as they prepare to ring in the new year. I love how it looks on the Rosanna, Inc cake stand, available at Layla Grayce.

STYLISH PAPER PLACEMATS: I love the trend of paper placemats at more sophisticated table settings than your favorite local diner. They make fabulous “trays” to display party hats, party horns, desserts as well as the purpose for which they were intended. Line them up to make a table runner! These gold confetti placemats are perfect for New Years.

SIPS WITH WORDS OF WISDOM: I loved attaching resolutions and inspirational words on custom printed paper flags, to the decorative paper straws. A great way to spark conversation.

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Celebrate With Kate: A Simply Darling Sip And See

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

It’s Kate Landers here to discuss a fabulous celebration: A Simply Darling “Sip And See,” and share a favorite summer “sip” recipe for Cucumber Mint Lemonade!

A Sip and See is just as simple as it sounds: Guests come and “sip” beverages and have a chance to “see” the precious newborn baby. Typically the event is held approximately 1-2 months after the baby is born. Unlike a baby shower, you rarely will play games or see the mother “showered with gifts” off of a registry (though guests may choose to bring a present for the little one). Decorations are minimal, and guest lists are usually small.

Many find a Sip and See is a lovely party for a second-born child, as etiquette usually calls that you don’t usually have more than one baby shower for a mother. I personally LOVE this traditionally Southern celebration, and am here to share a few ideas for hosting one yourself. Soak in all the inspiration from our mint & white gender neutral Sip And See.

SIMPLE DECORATIONS: Often decorations for a Sip And See are simple and sweet. No need to go all out as you might for a lavish baby shower. I chose honeycomb tissue balls and placed them casually around the base of the table. A vintage decoration that is making a big comeback–and in the perfect shade of mint, it reinforced the color-scheme! I also used four sweet honeycomb tissue rosettes and placed above the table.

CLASSIC ENTERTAINING DETAILS: White floor length table linens (I took a simple floor length white table cloth and styled with a charming rouched swag adorned with mint green satin ribbon, similar to this table seen here), a white cake stand and clear pressed glass goblets and pitcher are all entertaining must-haves in my book, and are perfect for this precious party..

STYLE YOUR “SIPS”: with solid mint green paper straws, and add waterproof (and weatherproof!) flags to add some charm.

SIMPLE MENU: No need for an elaborate menu here. Often hosts of a Sip And See serve beverages and light appetizers or a charming cake like ours, decorated with mint ribbon and topped with fresh flowers from our garden. (Garden bouquets are perfect to decorate your home with for a Sip And See.)

SOUTHERN COMFORT: Hand held fans to keep cool, hand sanitizer for guests to use before holding the baby and a comfortable rocking chair for the new mom to comfort baby are all must-haves. Another fabulous old tradition to make new again: Hold the sweet newborn in a gorgeous bassinet like this one, or a moses basket, close to mom.

Cucumber Mint Lemonade Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1/2 gallon lemonade (store-bought such as from Whole Foods, or homemade)
  • ~ 5 large cucumbers (4 peeled and coarsely chopped, 1 unpeeled, sliced)
  • ~ 1 small, fresh bunch of mint
  • ~ 2 cups ice

Directions:

Pour lemonade over 2 cups of ice into your favorite pitcher

Blend the 4 peeled and coarsely chopped cucumbers, as well as 12 fresh mint leaves, until liquified. Pour mixture over sieve into the pitcher of iced lemonade. Stir.  

Add slices of unpeeled cucumber and additional mint leaves (I prefer 2/serving) as garnish.

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