Posts Tagged ‘Kate Landers’

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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Celebrate With Kate: Noah’s Baby Dedication

Baby Dedication Party by Kate Landers

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Baby Dedication Party by Kate Landers

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Baby Dedication Party by Kate Landers

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

It’s Kate Landers here, and I am absolutely thrilled to debut my latest personal event with you, our son Noah’s Baby Dedication. I have found there to be a shortage of inspiration online and in print of Baby Namings, Baptisms, Christenings and in my case, a Baby Dedication. It was a joyous challenge to create something unique and personal for this very meaningful event, and it’s a sheer delight to share it with you!

THE MEANING OF YOUR CHILD’S NAME CAN MAKE A PERFECT THEME: Noah’s name means “peaceful, restful, calming” and that is the exact effect he had on me during my pregnancy. I wanted to use the meaning of his name as a theme for our event, and therefore picked the visual symbol, a white dove carrying an olive branch, for printed details.

A NON-TRADITIONAL COLOR-SCHEME: I selected white and tan as the color-scheme for Noah’s Baby Dedication. It has a very sweet, soft, soothing effect, which carried through the theme of his name throughout the event details.

USE SIMPLE WHITE ELEMENTS FOR AN ELEGANT AFFAIR: I highly recommend floor-length white table linens, white cake pedestals and platters, as well as white decorations. I consider these investment pieces, as they can be re-used for other events in the future, coordinating with almost any theme or color-scheme!

USE A MIX OF CUSTOM AND STORE-BOUGHT PRODUCTS: I saw Kara of Kara’s Party Ideas use white eyelet for her son’s Baby Blessing last year, and I knew I wanted to use this as inspiration for our own baby dedication. The eyelet paper lanterns, paper rosetttes and favor bags are all available at large discount craft retailers online. Mixing them with custom printed banners and gorgeous ribbons, it can take something beautiful to an entirely new level.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: We opted for a very intimate gathering with a catered at-home luncheon. The dessert table offered guests beautiful custom cookies, fondant-eyelet-topped cupcakes, as well as a simple yet stunning cake. I was careful to keep the number of desserts under control, allowing me to display everything with room to spare. I have learned that sometimes too many desserts can distract the eye, taking away from the simple beauty of a dessert table.

INCORPORATE RE-USABLE DECORATIONS: You will note that beautiful stunning fabric wreath from our baby shower {from She’s Kinda Crafty} was given a facelift with a new gorgeous ribbon – another example of how a classic white item can be used for a variety of celebrations.

BLESSING BOARDS: I also created “Blessing Boards,” which you will see in the background of the dessert table. Guests each wrote a little blessing for Noah and inserted it into one of the eyelet envelopes on the boards. These boards are now in Noah’s nursery, and we look forward to reading them to him every now and them, reminding him of all those who love him!

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Celebrate With Kate: Interview With Amy Atlas + Giveaway

Amy Atlas Interviewed by Kate Landers
Photography: Robert Caplin

It’s Kate Landers here, sharing a personal interview with Amy Atlas, sweet stylist extraordinaire. Sweet tables have become quite trendy at celebrations across the globe. Amy is one of the pioneers who started turning a simple table of desserts into a stunning work of art. You may recognize Amy and her work from her appearance on NBC’s The Today Show, or from her many features in several print publications such as Real Simple, Martha Stewart Weddings, O Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, as well as thousands of blogs. She has been a personal inspiration to me and my work, I am so grateful she has shared such talent and inspiration with us all!

Amy Atlas Interviewed by Kate Landers
Photography: Gemma Comas

Amy Atlas Interviewed by Kate Landers
Photography: Gemma Comas

Amy Atlas Interviewed by Kate Landers
Photography: Gemma Comas

  • Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your business. What is it about designing sweet tables that drove you to start a business out of it? My father was my original partner in sweets and then there was my grandmother who was an incredible baker – I learned how to bake in her kitchen. So for me, desserts and sweets were always a source of happiness. Originally it was a hobby and then it organically grew into a business through word of mouth. Because no one had taken the Viennese table to the next level, I recognized that there was a niche that could be filled. Since dessert is the final vestige of a lovely gathering, I thought it should be the most memorable.
  • It is apparent from your blog and across the web that sweet tables are increasingly popular at all sorts of celebrations worldwide. What do you think sweet tables add to events making them so popular?
    It is a fantastic way to send your guests home with something sweet to remember the night.
  • What was your inspiration for writing your new book?
    A few things inspired this book, the first being my love for baking (and cookbooks). I’ve had ideas of dessert tables that I wanted to create for years that I needed to get on paper. My readers were also a big inspiration to me – I wanted to give them a step-by-step manual so they could create their own dessert tables at home.
  • Any hints you can share with our readers of what to expect to find in your latest labor of love? I wrote my book to give people approachable tips and tools to create their own memorable dessert displays. It is a baking book, paired with crafting instructions and styling tips. I deconstruct each of my displays so readers can see how they are made. Readers can use the book as inspiration, mix and match recipes and crafts from different sections, or recreate the entire displays. There are displays for intimate parties with a few friends all the way to to large, extravagant weddings. It makes a wonderful gift!

For a sweet ending, a surprise giveaway! One lucky reader will win a copy of Amy’s new book, Sweet Designs: Bake it, Craft it, Style it. Leave a comment on the blog and we’ll choose a winner at noon on Friday, May 4.

Thank you for your participation, the giveaway is now closed!

Celebrate With Kate {Spring Celebration Dessert Table}

Kate Landers Easter Table Decor Inspiration for Layla Grayce

Design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Spring Table Design Inspiration for Layla Grayce

Design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Easter Table Decor Inspiration for Layla Grayce

Design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Easter Tablescape Inspiration for Layla Grayce

Design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Spring Mother's Day Luncheon Inspiration for Layla Grayce

Design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

It’s Kate Landers here, excited to share with you a spring themed dessert table I was asked to design exclusively for Layla Grayce! I am completely smitten with the new Rosanna products, as well as a spectacular new line at Layla Grayce, Pip Studio. This theme and color scheme works beautifully for Easter, but also is perfect for baby & bridal showers, a birthday luncheon or Mother’s Day brunch. All the textures (from linen ruffles to ceramic hobnails) keep it fresh and current, while still maintaining a classic look.

DESIGN INSPIRATION: This dessert table was inspired by the stunning Pip Studio table cloth which features bird, butterfly, branch and floral silhouettes, in a fresh white, pale aqua and soft linen color scheme. Note how the gorgeous cookies, cake and cupcakes were all created to mimic these designs and are artfully displayed on Rosanna white cake stands and compotes.

BACKDROP: I’ve always adored the look of Pine Cone Hill Ruched Linen Platinum Pillow Shams, so I had Sweet Tea & Linen create a custom backdrop in a similar design to make this table feminine, romantic and oh-so-Layla Grayce. The best part is it will repurpose perfectly as a headboard or wall art to use at home all season long.

LAYLA GRAYCE PRODUCTS: Many times I find mixing products from different artisans creates a spectacular end result. For this dessert table, we used the gorgeous Pip Studio table cloth, as well as the following items from Rosanna to display our sweets: Les Petite Sweets Large Compote, Small Compote, Medium White Pedestal, 2 Small White Pedestals, Bon Bon White Footed Cake Stand, and a personal favorite I used for a vase: Les Cookies Jar (this cookie jar was absolutely perfect to show off our pretty ranunculus and tulips).

The great thing about these white Rosanna products is they mix beautifully with white platters I already have at home. I used mini cupcake stands and oval cookie platters from my personal collection to keep the budget in check, and it worked out beautifully.

DESSERTS: I absolutely love a beautiful cake as a centerpiece, and this one turned out to be simple yet stunning. The edible bird’s nest is beautiful on a clean white fondant covered cake. In addition to the cake, I had white coconut cupcakes topped with fondant robin’s eggs, coconut jellybeans, french macarons, and a personal favorite–custom decorated cookies! Check out the beautiful hand-iced bird silhouette cookies, a lovely match to the table cloth. The edible 3-dimensional white flowers on pale aqua cookies are almost too beautiful to eat! The butterflies, ruched swirls, and dainty floral designs all compliment each other, but varying shapes give them a bit of contrast.

PRINTED DETAILS: Everyone’s favorite striped paper straws were a must, and Loralee Lewis provided the most beautiful cream and white ones with coordinating straw flags. I recommend having them printed with the event date and name of the guest of honor. I also wanted some dessert signs to identify the different flavored cookies. I knew that with the romantic ruffled look and feel of the table, rosettes would be perfect. Loralee created stunning double-layer custom dessert tags that I could easily stand by each dessert, serving a purpose and adding style as well.

I kept everything minimalist for this table, wanting it to be a real source of inspiration for your spring event. Note that keeping all items on the table crisp and uniform in white makes them easy to reuse, such as re-purposing the cookie jar as a vase for fresh spring blooms. Will you be hosting an event this spring? I’d love to hear about it!

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Celebrate With Kate {Her Own Baby Shower!}

Celebrate With Kate {Her Own Baby Shower!}
Images: Liza Voll Photography

Celebrate With Kate {Her Own Baby Shower!}
Images: Liza Voll Photography

Celebrate With Kate {Her Own Baby Shower!}
Images: Liza Voll Photography

Celebrate With Kate {Her Own Baby Shower!}
Images: Liza Voll Photography

Kate Landers baby shower
Images: Liza Voll Photography

Kate Landers baby shower
Images: Liza Voll Photography

Celebrate With Kate {Her Own Baby Shower!}
Images: Liza Voll Photography

Celebrate With Kate {Her Own Baby Shower!}
Images: Liza Voll Photography

Celebrate With Kate {Her Own Baby Shower!}
Images: Liza Voll Photography

Who knew a girl who lives the color pink, fabric ruffles and pearls could fall in love with baby blue sailor suits and masculine fonts?!?! It’s Kate Landers here, debuting my very own baby shower! I was beyond thrilled to learn we were expecting a baby boy. Visions of hand smocked rompers and a vintage pram with sparkling silver spokes filled my head. I soon became aware that you CAN have a classic, romantic, sophisticated and timeless baby shower, regardless of the child’s gender. The images, beautifully captured by Liza Voll Photography, tell much of the celebration story on their own.

INSPIRATION ABOUNDS: A monogram family heirloom silver baby cup and my Petunia Pickle Bottom Cake Collection juniper berry diaper bag provided inspiration for the details of the shower (and also made a fabulous decoration on display!) My vision of smocked romper cookies, edible saddle oxford baby shoes and classic baby block Rice Krispie treats came straight from the armoire and nursery. All were hand-crafted in the most extraordinary way imaginable. A vintage-inspired pram from a thrift shop and charming rocking horse (also from our nursery) fueled the idea for more of these perfect and utterly darling cookies. I adored the dainty details! A gorgeous wreath inspired by the fabrics used in our nursery (baby blue toile and crisp white quilted diamond linens) introduced guests to the theme as soon as they walked up to the door.

SET THE STAGE: Serving as a focal point of the shower, the darling edible delights on the dessert table were a highlight of the event. Amazing designers generously provided many of these treats and the finished display speaks volumes of how successful this collaboration was. I simply adore the monogram sterling silver baby cup, silver rattle, white lamb and my diaper-bag-inspired cookies and Rice Krispie treats. I got goosebumps when we placed the sweetest fondant buttons on petit fours and baby bottles on mini carrot cupcakes. Coordinating pacifier mini cupcake toppers added a bit of whimsy to the dessert table, and French macaroon pop “rattles” were a guest favorite.

DELICIOUS DETAILS: Designer and friend Brittany took on the great challenge of creating a stunning fondant cake banner and matching cupcake toppers, all designed to coordinate with the gorgeous custom printed paper details created by the spectacular Loralee Lewis. I fell in love with Loralee’s petite rosette cupcake toppers, but had no more cupcakes to put them on! But I realized how perfect they would be for favor box adornments, and they fit perfectly on the custom printed mini gable boxes I ordered from friend Pam. A few trendy elements like silver striped paper straws were mixed with vintage-inspired silver urns to keep the beverage table fresh.

THE MAGIC OF FRIENDSHIP: I must share the greatest lesson I learned from this event: the power of teaming up with party designers or friends who love to design and entertain. I knew I would have a hand in designing my own baby shower (an etiquette no-no), and was also aware that hosting and executing a shower on the scale I imagined would require the help of women passionate for party design. Jenny and Christy stepped up to the plate, traveling from near and far, to co-design, coordinate, set-up, execute and break down the event. They worked so very, very hard, and threw me the perfect shower. For many weeks we worked together as a TEAM, each coming up with brilliant ideas (such as Jenny’s idea of signing baby blocks instead of a guest book) and setting up a perfect dessert table (thanks Christy for your vision!). Party planning can be overwhelming, and pairing up with others not only relieves stress, but also can create a celebration far greater than you ever imagined.

Congratulations Kate!
Images: Liza Voll Photography

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Celebrate With Kate {Double The Fun! Birthday Celebrations For Twins}

Celebrate With Kate {Double The Fun! Birthday Celebrations For Twins}
Photo Credits: McAllister Photography

Celebrate With Kate {Double The Fun! Birthday Celebrations For Twins}
Photo Credits: McAllister Photography

Celebrate With Kate {Double The Fun! Birthday Celebrations For Twins}
Photo Credits: McAllister Photography

Celebrate With Kate {Double The Fun! Birthday Celebrations For Twins}
Photo Credits: McAllister Photography Invites, thank you notes and printed details: Anders Ruff Custom Designs

Kate Landers here to share with you twin and boy/girl birthday party celebration inspiration! It may seem daunting at first to create a party that works for celebrating the precious lives of twins, let alone a boy and a girl at once, however I am here to share some helpful hints and show you how to create double the fun. A lovely client Megan graciously allowed me to share with you her niece Olivia’s and nephew James’ first and second birthday parties. Megan and I had great fun coming up with themes, color-schemes, decorations and all the custom details to make these celebrations a perfect blend of each child’s personalities. Here are some helpful tips taken from their parties, to show you how fun and enjoyable the challenge of throwing a twins or boy/girl party can be and how to develop your party theme from year to year!

  • Color Scheme: Don’t be afraid to combine each child’s favorite colors. You will be surprised with how fabulous the mix can be! In this case, we used soft bright colors of orange, lime, watermelon pink and aqua for their first birthday. For their second birthday we used light blue, tangerine, raspberry and white.
  • Theme: Patterns make wonderful themes, as do things that fly! For James’ and Olivia’s first birthday we went with stripes and polka dots, incorporating those patterns into everything from printed party details to the cake decorations. It was fun, festive and bright. When coming up with a second birthday party theme, it proved more challenging as the children began developing more likes and dislikes. Megan had it covered: birds for Olivia and planes for James. These tie together beautifully as both fly high in the sky among the clouds. Other suggestions would be a farm theme; picnic: ladybugs & caterpillars; or mermaids & pirates.
  • Two Cakes: Twice as sweet! I love individual cakes for twins’ birthday parties, also providing you the perfect opportunity to mix in the color scheme and theme of the party, all on a pretty pedestal or tray. For Megan’s niece and nephew she went with identical polka dot smash cakes for their first birthday, tying in the theme and color-scheme. For their second birthday, Olivia received a bird themed cake using raspberry from the color scheme. James enjoyed an airplane cake, tying in to the party theme as well as light blue and orange from the color-scheme.
  • Coordinate Elements of the Party Year to Year: String together special details one year to the next, repurposing party decorations and creating new traditions. Twice the number of children does not mean twice the price! I love how the polka dot baking cups and tableware were able to be used at both James’ and Olivia’s first and second birthday parties. The cupcake liners served double-duty across the years as both cupcake adornments as well as snack cups for sticky fingers. Each year these twins get a custom fabric appliqué shirt with their age on it, in the colors and theme of the party. I recommend framing the shirts and soon you will have a wall of precious birthday memories.
  • Incorporate Your Theme Into Your Stationery: Marching thank you notes are a darling reminder to guests of the special day you shared with them. Let that theme linger a little longer by incorporating it into your stationery. Anders Ruff Custom Designs created the most darling matching invitations and thank you notes for James’ and Olivia’s second birthday. The printed signature at the bottom not only added charm, but saved a few moments while writing notes of gratitude.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and sweet party inspiration. Are you a parent of multiples? How did you celebrate your children’s last birthday?

Celebrate With Kate {Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!}

Celebrate With Kate {Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!}
Photography by Andréa Winchenbaugh of Open Shade Studios.

Celebrate With Kate {Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!}
Photography by Andréa Winchenbaugh of Open Shade Studios.

Celebrate With Kate {Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!}
Photography by Andréa Winchenbaugh of Open Shade Studios.

Celebrate With Kate {Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!}
Photography by Andréa Winchenbaugh of Open Shade Studios.

Celebrate With Kate {Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!}
Photography by Andréa Winchenbaugh of Open Shade Studios.

Celebrate With Kate {Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!}
Photography by Andréa Winchenbaugh of Open Shade Studios.

Kate Landers here again, to share with you tips for creating a charming birthday celebration based on your child’s favorite storybook or character. My goal is always to create an experience for the birthday child and their guests, helping them feel as if they are living right out of the pages of their favorite fairytale. In my experience I have found this can nurture the imagination in ways eating off of party plates with images of a character, cannot. Please note that what is most important is providing the child with what makes them happiest on their special day!

  • Include The Birthday Child In Planning Their Party I highly recommend involving the child in as many age-appropriate aspects of the party planning process. This is an incredibly rewarding gift to the child and creates great anticipation and excitement. One way to do this is to have the child help select the theme for their party, based on their favorite storybook or character. Parties based on fairy tales are particularly enchanting, but can also feel overwhelming. Rather than trying to re-create the entire book, focus on just one character, chapter or scene, and use that for the theme. It will also allow you to create a much more cohesive look.

    The beloved character Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was selected for the theme of this charming birthday celebration, focusing on her blue and white gingham apron, ruby red slippers, and basket carrying Toto to be used as inspiration for elements throughout.
  • Use The Story As Inspiration For Your Color Scheme I recommended sticking with two or three primary colors for your color-scheme. Whether you choose colors from a character’s costume or from book jacket illustrations (or maybe what your child dreams up!), this can help reinforce your theme throughout all the details of the party.

    We selected a light periwinkle blue, ruby red and crisp white color scheme for our Wizard of Oz-inspired party, based on Dorothy’s costume in the film. We incorporated these colors in all aspects, from decorations to party favors and desserts!

  • Create Storybook Costumes For Your Guests Costumes are incredibly powerful for young children. Whether wearing a pair of felt fairy wings and a tulle tutu, or superhero mask and cape, children often feel transformed when they are disguised in costume pieces. I recommend offering a simple costume piece for the birthday child and their guests to wear during the party, and take home as a favor (which they can re-use again and again!

    For our party, we went a bit overboard, providing each child with a pair of ruby slippers, gingham apron and pettiskirt (pettiskirts are enormously popular). This worked because of an incredibly small guest list of all girls. Notice how we tied the aprons to the back of each child’s chair, with a custom printed tag–this created a darling table set up for photos, and the aprons doubled as place cards letting each child know which seat was set just for them (not to mention it helped us make sure each child got the proper size).

  • Use Storybook Elements As Inspiration For Your Dessert Table If you opt to design a dessert table for your party, I highly recommend using the scenery, magical creatures or fabrics from the characters’ costumes as inspirations for your desserts and props. In our case, we used baskets instead of cake stands and platters to display the desserts (since Dorothy always carried that straw basket on her journey through Oz). We also used her blue gingham apron and ruby red slippers (as featured in the film, not the book) to help us dream up designs for the desserts, cupcake toppers and dessert tags. {A VERY special thank you to the fabulous printables designer & party stylist Kim Stoegbauer of The TomKat Studio for creating all of the darling printables you see throughout the party! They are available for purchase in her shop. Also, many thanks to Jessica of Pen N’ Paper Flowers Studio & Design for creating the darling Dorothy silhouette!}
  • Create Activities Based On Story Elements Guests Activities are often important at a child’s birthday celebration, and can be a wonderful way for you to creatively emphasize your storybook theme. For example, for our party the guests enjoyed a felt game of pin-the-badge-of-courage-on-the-cowardly-lion.

For resources used in our Wizard of Oz-inspired party, visit here.

I wish you much success in your child’s next birthday celebration. What storybook or character might you use as inspiration for planning your child’s next party?

Celebrate With Kate {Baby Landers Gender Reveal Party}

Celebrate With Kate {Baby Landers Gender Reveal Party}
Celebrate With Kate {Baby Landers Gender Reveal Party}
Celebrate With Kate {Baby Landers Gender Reveal Party}
Celebrate With Kate {Baby Landers Gender Reveal Party}

Make Way For Our Little Duckling
Kate Landers here again, this time to share with you a personal event–the baby gender reveal party my husband and I hosted for our first little one arriving this fall! I find gender reveal parties to be an excellent creative outlet for all those mamas-to-be who want to design and plan an event to celebrate their very special upcoming arrival. Whether you choose to keep it intimate with just immediate family or large with everyone you know, it is a wonderful time to share your joy with others.

We had a most memorable celebration, revealing to our families that we will be welcoming a little BOY into our lives! Despite a no-show photographer and our pup Henry eating the custom cake less than 2 hours before the party started, we managed to take what came our way and made the best of it–and looking back, I couldn’t imagine it any more perfect. Here are some hints for planning your own baby gender-reveal party:

  • Selecting A Theme & Color Scheme A wonderful source of inspiration for your baby gender reveal party is your favorite children’s book. Being in Boston and having a passion for classic storybooks, we selected a “Make Way For Ducklings” based on the beloved book by Robert McClosky. The book made an appearance on the party table with a custom printed bookplate inside and encouragement for the guests to sign a note to build Baby Landers’ library.

    The color-scheme was kept gender neutral, based on duckling colors of soft yellow, white and hints of brown. Fresh flowers such as pussy willows, peonies, summer stock and hydrangea add a nice touch to bring acolor-scheme to life.

  • Incorporate Your Theme With Custom Printed Details From darling mini ice cream carton labels to a custom bookplate, invitations to a charming rosette banner, designer Loralee Lewis custom created spectacular duckling-themed treasures. She even sent a larger print of the artwork for us to frame and put in the nursery (a great idea to remember this special celebration). Each item provides style and a function, sure to wow your guests.
  • Decorate Your Space, Ceiling to Floor You can create a festive environment and transform your space by using your vertical and horizontal hot spots. We hung fabric bunting from the ceiling (we had over 90 feet of custom yellow & white bunting that really “wow”ed everyone).

    We also used those popular tissue poms (we used wide double-faced satin ribbon instead of clear line for a fresh take) in colors called french vanilla and banana custard. We also made sure table linens went down to the floor, using a custom white gathered tablecloth, so guests felt surrounded by decorations.

  • Use Classic White As Your Base I can’t stress enough the value of investing in classic white fabric table linens and tableware. I took a charming white floor length gathered tablecloth topped it with a darling custom-made thick gathered white fabric table topper (6″ drop trimmed in white pom poms). I customized the table to the event with a simple ruffle-trimmed soft yellow table runner.

    Cake was served on white plates from Pottery Barn, and home made ice cream served in classic white cartons (with lids to take home) we dressed up with custom labels on the carton and lid.

  • Keep It Simple & Sweet We held the event for 90 minutes, perfect for an afternoon gathering with small children. The menu was simple and entirely sweet: home made old fashioned vanilla ice cream, a classic cake with a custom fondant duckling cake topper, mini banana parfaits, and darling duckling cookies as well as divine buttercream-filled shortbread and sugar cookie eggs. No candy jars here, as we didn’t want to overdo it with the kids.

    Guests took home berry baskets of the cookies, so they doubled as a dessert and party favor. Beverages (served in baby bottles with striped straws) were old fashioned lemonade, iced tea, bottled water and milk.

  • Involve Your Guests We included an insert with the invitation asking guests to wear pink or blue representing their best guess of whether we were having a boy or a girl (making for wonderful photos). We also had a chart for everyone to take their best “quack” at it to write down their guesss–perfect to add to the baby book later! Children enjoyed games of “Duck, Duck, Goose!” as well as an egg hunt in the backyard.

A couple “lessons learned”: Don’t hire a new photographer last minute–be prepared with a back up plan. Having to take my own event photos served to be quite a challenge and did not capture the event as I had envisioned. For the baby shower, we already have a spectacular photographer (and a back up!) who has been lined up for months.

Also: mistakes happen, even to those of us who do this for a career–allow for them. Our pup Henry ate the cake, so my husband quickly went to the store, got a box of cake mix and can of frosting (gasp!) and created a quick fix. These little “oops” moments add character to the event and will become part of the treasured story for later.

Celebrate With Kate {Outdoor Entertaining Ideas}

Kate Landers outdoor entertaining ideas
Images by Inga Finch Photography, courtesy of Brandi Brown.

Kate Landers outdoor entertaining ideas
Images by Inga Finch Photography, courtesy of Brandi Brown.

Kate Landers outdoor entertaining ideas
Images by Inga Finch Photography, courtesy of Brandi Brown.

Kate Landers outdoor entertaining ideas
Images by Inga Finch Photography, courtesy of Brandi Brown.

Summer grants most of us the longest days of the year. I find the extra hours of daylight and warmth perfect for lazy afternoons or late evenings spent outdoors with family and friends. It’s Kate Landers again, here to share a few tips for outdoor summer entertaining with style and ease.

  • Take Advantage Of The Fruits Of The Season. I absolutely adore serving fresh fruit during the summer, purchased from local farmers markets and produce stands when possible to support my community. While I enjoy serving mini fruit pies throughout the summer (topped with homemade ice cream of course), many guests prefer to enjoy the fruit as a dessert on its own. Therefore I recommend setting out a food-safe bucket or bushel full of ready-to-eat berries, peaches, cherries or your favorite fruit in addition to the sweets you bake them in, for all guests to enjoy!
  • Bring What’s Indoors Outside During Summer Months. It’s becoming more common to bring weather-proof pieces of furniture (such as an armoire or hutch) to a protected area outside to provide a stylish and practical surface to serve guests. Where you use it for a serve-yourself beverage station or to set up a casual breakfast buffet stocked with pastries and jam, you will likely wonder how you went all these years not using it for your outdoor soirees.
  • Create A Casual Atmosphere With Your Tableware. Set the mood for a comfortable and relaxed outdoor celebration using casual tableware, such as mason jars for beverage glasses. These work great for ice cold drinks, and double as lightening bug catchers for the kids!
  • Use Products From Nature For Tables and Seating. Bales of Hay can be used as both a table and seating for children and adults for your backyard bash. Cover with a seasonal fabric to create a theme for a BBQ or afternoon picnic.
  • Keep Supplies Handy. I like to stock a bucket filled with sunscreen, wide-brimmed straw hats, bugspray, flashlights, a few decks of playing cards, hand-held fans, beach towels and blankets to provide guests protection and comfort.

Keep outdoor entertaining relaxed and simple. Enjoy yourself. Remember, nature has an incredible calming effect to help melt away those hostess-nerves–so enjoy every moment you can outdoors!

Celebrate With Kate {Bake Sale + Lemonade Stand}

Kate Landers Lemonade Stand
Photo credits clockwise from top: Lemonade stand via One Love Photo, Katie Brown Orchard beverage dispenser via Meijer, lemon image via Getty Images

Kate Landers Lemonade Stand
Photo credits clockwise from top left: Lemon Truffles by Sue Sparks, TomKat Studio imprintables, Pink Lemonade Cupcakes image courtesy of Neural 9 for The Cupcake Bar, TomKat Studio imprintables

With summer just around the corner, lemonade stands are popping up on grassy front lawns everywhere, often accompanied by baked goodies and darling smiles you can’t refuse! It’s Kate Landers again, here to share tips for creating the perfect bake sale or lemonade stand, styled to offer customers thirst-quenching lemonade and melt-in-your-mouth goodies. It’s a terrific opportunity to raise money for your school or charity and help children to learn entrepreneurial business skills and community leadership. And presentation can go a long way!

  • Dress The Part. Put on your favorite designer apron (one for you and your child!) not only to look fashionable, but also to protect your clothing from unexpected spills and splatters. One of my favorites is the Jessie Steele aqua and white polka dot apron.
  • Styling Your Sips. Use a plastic beverage dispenser for your lemonade {garnish with lemon slices and lots of ice} so customers can serve themselves, and you conserve table space. Next to the dispenser fill a jar or vase with striped paper straws–it is amazing how much punch a simple straw can add! Frost flex plastic are my cups of choice, as they chill even on a hot day. I love the monogram Clairebella trays to carry goods in and out of the house.
  • Trendy Baked Goodies. Home made treats are always a hit. In addition to the standard chocolate chip cookies and home made fruit pies, I recommend offering some trendy delights sure to “wow”: petite whoopie pies, cake truffles and pink lemonade-flavored cupcakes!
  • A Perfect Presentation. Other than keeping a tidy table, decorate your space with a striped fabric awning, a bowl of lemons and a charming printable banner. Kim of The TomKat Studio created an exclusive banner, dessert tags and cupcake toppers for Layla Grayce readers to enjoy for your next summer lemonade stand or bake sale! {see printable files below}. The dessert tags help guests identify items and cost, and the cupcake toppers add instant style to your home baked treats.
  • Pretty AND Practical Packaging. When it comes to wrapping up baked treats for your guests, get creative using colorful baker’s twine (available in almost every color you can think of) and paper doilies or treat sacks. Consider offering a stack of treats or mason jar of cookies for those who are in a hurry and don’t have time to hand select their sweets.

Enjoy this delightful opportunity to spend time with your child, raise money for your community or favorite charity and sweeten your summer!

TomKat Studio printable package