It’s a 4th Birthday Party

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (21)

I wanted to share some photos from my son’s 4th birthday party last month.   

As you’ve seen by past posts, I made all of the paper products (invites, hats, pinwheels, birthday banner, cupcake toppers & thank you notes) with the festive & colorful party theme called “Life of the Party” by BasicGrey.    It was so much fun to create all of the various party elements and to see them all come together at the end. 

The party was held at a bouncy place so the little boys & girls could expend their energy bounding, jumping & sliding to their hearts galore.    It wasn’t the best place to get great photos but I am happy we also got some at home too while opening gifts.    The other thing you’ll notice is that the handmade items (banner, pinwheels, etc) weren’t designed exactly for the setting, they look much better at home and we are still enjoying them! 

The birthday boy is ready to head to his party!  This is the first time we’ve done his party outside of the home and he’s thrilled. 


Cupcakes (stand from Sur La Table), water bottles,  fruit tray, veggies & hats.

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (32)

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (33)

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (34)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (29)

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (38)

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (41)

For the water bottle labels I used these printable labels (thank you Bump Smitten!).    Then added Balloon & ticket sticky notes to the labels to give a splash of color. 

For the party favors we had cookies in a bag with a  “thank you” sticky note that was also from this BasicGrey collection.   Daddy & Gavin made some tasty sugar cookies and punched them with Cars 2 (Lightening McQueen, Mater, Francesco & Fin McMissile) cookie cutters.  Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the close up photos of the cookies.  They were really cute & tasty, we’ll have to make them again.  

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (54) copy    

Birthday Boy with his friends & their younger siblings.

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (119)

Party Hats on the cute kids! 

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (138)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (140)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (143)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (142)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (145)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (144)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (153)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (150)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (155)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (223)

Since the party, one of Gavin’s cousins has taken her party hat and put it on her stuffed kitty.  It’s so sweet & cute that she’s saved it and gave it to her kitty! 

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (244)

Grandma added the names of the kids to the front of the stickers on the water bottles.  (thank you!) 

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (162)Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (160)

We had three cupcake flavors red velvet, coconut & carrot cake.  The coconut ones were my favorite, they were amazing with a creamy filling inside!

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (187) copyGavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (190) copyGavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (228)

The birthday boy gets to sit in a big blow up chair.  All the other 4 year olds wanted to get up there with him, it was very special. 

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (240)

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012_a(362)

Normally he’s not into smiling for the camera too often but when opening gifts I saw many smiles for the camera.  Mommy was happy to get some great photos.

Gavin's 4th BD Party_Apr2012 (325)

Happy 4th Birthday!  Hope you all enjoyed following this party theme.   

I am now working on a few things for Gwen’s 1st birthday party that’s coming up very soon.  It’s so MUCH fun working with bright girl colors (purple, teal, fuchsia, etc).  I’ll share some photos soon!

Thanks for checking out the party!  Here’s one of the handmade thank you cards.

thank you notes (5)


more thank you cards

birthday thank you cards (4)

I had to make just a few more thank you cards for the birthday party and here’s what I came up with. 

Wanted to keep it simple & quick so we could finish the thank you notes.   I used the extra strips of paper left over from the other party stuff, brads, decorative small stickers and the die-cut shapes to make all of these.   

birthday thank you cards (6)

Die-cut shapes are great for cards because of the variety of shapes, different patterns/colors and they make it so quick to complete cards.   I like the new elements they added that were different from the set of patterns in the paper.    My favorite die-cut shape is the circle above where the boy and girl holding hands, it’s the same pattern on the orange paper and it’s so cute.  On the inside of the invites I used this same view of boys/girls holding hands  with the stamp.

It was a lot of work to make all the thank you cards, invites & other details for the party but I had fun and loved working with this BasicGrey collection.   I was very happy to get all of the cards in the mail this week so I can work on NEW things! 

birthday thank you cards (11)

One thing that might be hard to believe, with everything I made for this party, is that I still have 7 more huge packs of embellishments items from this collection that I didn’t even get the chance to use: (colorful epoxy stickers, canvas tags, die-cut flower petals, colored rub-ons, chipboard stickers, woolies felt stickers and a ton of the clear rubber stamps).

The good  news is that the stickers, tags and woolies will all be great on layouts.  The other stuff will be perfect to create a good stash of “happy birthday” cards. 

birthday thank you cards (7)

Now that I am all done with this 4th birthday party I am working on just a few handmade things for Gwen’s 1st birthday party next month. I am excited to try a few new things out and can’t wait to how things turn out.

birthday thank you cards (1)

Supplies:  BasicGrey Life of the Party Collection Paper, small details decorative brads, pieces die-cut shapes, We R Memory Keepers corner rounder, white Bazzil cardstock, “thanks” rubber stamp. 

thank you cards

thank you cards_a (4)

We had my son’s birthday party this past weekend and it was a lot of fun.   I’ll share some photos of the party soon but for now I’d like to share the thank you cards. I made all of these with the leftover scraps of paper from the other birthday party décor items.   (card #5 above)

card #6

thank you cards_a (17)

We opened a lot of presents after the party and Gavin was excited with all the new gifts. He played with a few but we are saving the rest until we write all of our thank you notes.  First thing Sunday morning he asked if we could “write our thank you notes today” (he wants to get the rest of the toys).   We spent the morning sitting together at the table working on our crafts. I made these 10 cards and he colored in a book with his colored pencils & new glitter sparkle pens.

My girlfriend, Jenni, was just asking me how I find the time to do crafts and this is a good example of how you can do it together with your kids.   It’s a great use of time.  They love to draw, paint, cut, do mazes, etc.   I am thrilled when Gavin and craft together!

card #7

thank you cards_a (20)

All of these cards are based on this beautiful Allison Davis card sketch #13 found at Sketch Support.    I selected this sketch for the thank you notes back when I made the party invites so I didn’t have to spend anytime this weekend figuring out the design (another reason why sketches are great).

card #8


First, I did four cards that stuck to the sketch completely (see second set of cards below #1-4) then I saw how well these large die cut pieces would work with the sketch.

Variations: cards #5-10

  • The die cuts are about an inch larger than the journal block on the sketch so I added a 7th flag so that you’d see color on both sides of the die cut.
  • The larger die cut shapes don’t lend well to have the three flowers (buttons in my case). So I left them off on the four above.
  • I added a brad to the top of two tags giving more detail to the patterns & stripes on the die cuts.

card #9

thank you cards_a (40)

card #10

thank you cards (56)


  • Life of the Party Collection paper (various patterns) –BasicGrey
  • Glazed Brads-Life of the Party– BasicGrey
  • Die Cut Pieces-Life of the Party – BasicGrey
  • Buttons-Life of the Party – BasicGrey
  • Wooden block Stamps – “thanks” and “thank you”

thank you cards (62)

When you are making cards, do you ever notice with each card you seem to like them more?      I keep saying to myself, oh this one is my favorite, then I say that about the next card, and so on.

I made the green card here first.  I quickly saw that having 6 busy patterns side by side wasn’t quite how I wanted the card to look.  The green title box helped calm things down but I knew that there were other possibilities since I had so many scraps to choose from.

card #1

thank you cards (63)

With card #2 & #3 I alternated the flags using a pattern & then a solid color to keep it simple.  These patterns still have a lot going on with the solid/pattern combo.

card #2

thank you cards (68)

Alternating solid colors & patterns helps make the patterns stand out more and the solids tie everything together.

card #3

thank you cards (73)For

card #4 I reduced the amount of colors in the card keeping it to green/brown/orange/blue  like colors (no red, yellow or pink).    This one is my favorite from this set, the orange paper at the bottom with the kids holding hands is so dear.

card #4

thank you cards (71)

Here’s to a quick colorful set of thank you cards!  I love this sketch Allison, now I am ready to do some of your layouts with the flags.

thank you cards (84)

Which one is YOUR favorite?

My favorites are #6, 7 & 8.  I love shiny patterned brads with the die cuts.

party hats

party hats (11)

Today I’d like to share the party hats that I made for my son’s birthday party.  I used the same festive party themed paper that you saw in the invites, pinwheels, banner and cupcake toppers.  The patterns on this paper are so amazing and they are perfect to make bright & colorful party hats.  It was my first time making a party hat and I really enjoyed making them.    They are quick & easy and look so adorable on all the little kids.

party hats (15)

5 Quick Steps to make a party hat: 

  1. I used a hat from last year’s party as the template to trace the shape of the party hats.  If you don’t have a spare hat there are plenty of them online for download.  I traced on the inside so that I didn’t have to worry about the pencil marks showing when the hat was completed.

Inside of the hat:

party hat_supplies

2. Cut out the shape & then use an exacto knife to cut the slit where the paper will be inserted to close the hat.

  party hat_supplies (3)

3.  Adorn with rick rack or ribbon.   The rick rack sticks secured well with glue dots.    For variety I used both ribbon & rick rack. 

The paper ribbons were part of the Life of the Party collection called ribbon dollies.   There were three different spools.     It was nice because the back side was already sticky.  Unfortunately they didn’t work completely as I would have hoped with this shape because the hat is graduated.  The paper ribbons would work best with  with a complete circle or flat surface. 

Thank you to my dear mother who gave me her huge scrap bag of fabric rick rack to use on the hats!  She makes baby blankets for all the new babies in the family so she had a great leftover selection of colors to choose from.    I really like the pattern & texture given by adding the fabric rick rack. 

party hat_supplies (4)

4.  Add a colored pom pom to the top, using hot glue to adhere. 

party hats (23)

5. Add string-cut small holes in base to attach the string.  Thank you Cally for helping me attach all the elastic!  


Here are individual photos of some of the hats:

(listed by the paper name)


party hat_indiv


Ice Cream Headache-

party hat_indiv (1)


party hat_indiv (2)

Popcorn Poppin-

party hat_indiv (3)

Orange Whip-

party hat_indiv (4)

Confetti Cake-

party hat_indiv (5)


party hat_indiv (6)

House Party-I made this cute hat with a red pom pom for the birthday boy because red is his favorite color.   As I mentioned with the banner, this pennant banner print is my favorite from the entire collection so I thought it would make the perfect hat for him.   However, he didn’t want this one and so he selected the one he liked.   Reminded me that we can never “plan” how things are going to go when parenting.    One of his sweet friends (Roman) had his eye on this hat and loved wearing it during the party. 

party hat_indiv (7)

How You’ve Grown –  hat selected by the birthday boy.  Such a fitting name for someone who’s grown so much in 4 years! 

party hat_indiv (13)


party hat_indiv (9)

Play Fair-

party hat_indiv (10)

Block Party-

party hat_indiv (12)



  • pattern paper-Life of the Party Collection paper pack (BasicGrey)
  • paper ribbon dollies – Life of the Party (BasicGrey)
  • various fabric rick rack
  • elastic cord sting (0.03)-recommend getting this one size larger so it won’t fray
  • pom poms (assorted colors)


  • exacto knife
  • hot glue gun
  • scotch tape to reinforce the seam
  • glue dots

cupcake toppers

cupcake toppers_a (85)

I’d like to share some cupcake toppers that I made for my son’s birthday party.  This was my first time making these and I had so much fun!  They are so quick to make and you can do them so many different ways. 

The hardest decision I had was selecting the final size I wanted for the circle, two inches or 2 1/2.  I settled on 2 inches because I knew that they wouldn’t be too big for the cupcakes.  We were having regular size cupcakes and I didn’t want the toppers to take away from the actual cupcake. 

I used the same festive Life of the Party Collection paper that I used for the invitations, pinwheels and banner.

cupcake toppers_a

Cupcake toppers can easily be made with extra scraps of paper.  I was thrilled to have a use for the leftover stuff from the banner.   I had more than enough paper choices because I just needed 2 inch circles.

I used 7 of my favorite color schemes (9 patterns) from the patterns seen in the banner so that the designs would vary.  For the text that’s on the white paper I used Word and created a template.  I added a circle shape to the document and then defined the size of the circle, adding a border that’s slightly smaller than the punch allowed me to have the blue outline around the outside.  Having the blue line makes it super easy to know where to line it up inside the punch.

cupcake toppers_a (64)

Next up I’ll share more colorful party decorations… can see a HINT below in this picture! 

cupcake toppers_a (14)


  • 1 1/2 inch circle punch
  • 2 inch scallop circle punch
  • hot glue gun
  • mini dowels (Woodsies 2 5/8 tall)
  • text created in Word
  • white cardstock
  • pattern paper-Life of the Party Collection (BasicGrey)

party pinwheels

I’ve been busy preparing some fun decorations for Gavin’s birthday party and wanted to share the pinwheels first.

pinwheels (72)_a

I used the same “Life of the Party” (BasicGray) paper that was used from the party invitations.  This paper is really great for pinwheels because it’s two sided, the front has a beautiful pattern and the backside is a solid bright coordinating color.  With pinwheels you see both sides and these pinwheels really show off this great collection.

This is my first time making pinwheels and I choose to do 6 inch squares.  They turned out quite large though so next time I’d like to experiment with varying the sizes with 2, 3, 4 & 5 inch squares.

pinwheels (8)_a

I’ve placed four pinwheels in each square vase and added sand so that I can vary the heights.  I am going to have two of these pinwheel vases on each table with third vase holding circular happy birthday sign.  (want to make sure the centerpieces  are in groupings of three)

pinwheels (51)_a


I haven’t made pinwheels before so I followed the instructions found on this site.

  • wooden dowels- 1/4 x 12 inches tall: soak the dowels in water first to get them soft before pushing the tack into the wood. This was a great tip from Martha Stewart’s pinwheel tutorial.
  • washers-for the backside between the paper & dowel (these help let the wheel spin)
  • spectrum thumb tacks ( from the Container Store)-these worked great because they have such a large round top.  I tried little small push pin map tacks but they didn’t do a good job with this size pinwheel.  The colors also work really great with these papers.  I have some brads that came with this collection but unfortunately I couldn’t figure out a way to get them to work since they are not sharp/pointy.

I like the pennant paper the best!

pinwheels (6)_a

pinwheels (26)_a

Stay tuned….Next up I am going to share another party decoration.

preparing for a party

Gavin’s 4th birthday party is coming up in three months and am so excited to find some GREAT products to help me set the theme & make the decorations.

Basic Gray_life of hte party (9)

Gavin & I were shopping at paper zone two weeks ago because they are going out of business (so sad, no idea where I’ll be able to get reams of paper & envelopes) and I found these cute packs of Basic Grey birthday paper.

The paper pack has two sheets of every pattern in the line and an embellishment sheet.   However a few months ago, I had already purchased a 4 pieces of this paper to do a birthday layout.  At first though I didn’t need anymore of the paper……BUT  it was on sale for 70% off!   We all know that is a super-good deal for scrapbooking paper & supplies so I grabbed the two remaining packs and bought them not knowing how I’d use them.

Thinking about it a little more over the next day I realized this paper would be PERFECT to make the elements for Gavin’s party!  It has bright primary-based colors (red, blue, yellow, orange, green, pink) that are great for boys & girls.

The line is called Life of the Party.

life of the party

After having a hard time trying to find the right paper for Matthew’s birthday banner, it made me realize it’s important to get supplies when you find them.  Because when I go out searching purposely I never find what I am looking for but I also have to balance this with not wanting to get things unless I know I have purpose/place to use them.  I ended up going to the Basic Grey website and ordering more elements from the line so that I can use it across all the paper products.  It was even on sale because this is an older line!

Here’s what I am planning to make:

  • “happy birthday” pennant banner (attempted this at his 1st bd and never finished it, thankfully I know how to make one)
  • party hats
  • pinwheels (the double sided paper will lend well to make them beautiful)
  • cupcake toppers (I’ve stocked up on some great circle/scallop punches to be able to do them myself)
  • invitations
  • thank you cards

I know that a bunch of four year olds aren’t going to pay much attention to all of these details and they’ll probably rip the pinwheels right up.  It’ doesn’t matter, I am going to have so much fun making it all and seeing it all come together!

Here’s some inspiration that I’ve gotten from the products in this line—

Basic Grey_life of the party (3)

Hats with fabric rick rack around the base (good idea from mom and she gave me all her extra rick rack leftover from making so many baby blankets)

Basic Grey_life of the party (6)

Patterned banner paper with lots of colors & ribbons.  I’ll use a variety of prints for the pennants but I’d like to use this shape seen above for all pieces.

Basic Grey_life of the party (25)

Another good idea for shapes & colors to use in the banner

Basic Grey_life of the party (14)

Stamps to make the invites & thank you notes

Basic Grey_life of the party (18)

These stamps are to make background patterns for cards of scrapbook pages.  I haven’t used this style before and I am excited to try them.

Basic Grey_life of the party (4)

Colorful double sided pattern paper to make paper pinwheels.  Found a great pinwheel template at Martha Stewart.

Basic Grey_life of the party (30)

Buttons/brads on the invites, thank you cards, or hats?

Basic Grey_life of the party (22)

Tali wants to help with all the craft projects I have going on in my office!  Oh we are going to have so much FUN staying up way to late making things for this party.

Basic Grey_life of the party (9)

Stay tuned for some shots of the creations over the next few months.


Bye bye Paper Zone!  I’ll miss your store so much.  Finding this great pack & idea for Gavin’s party though makes it a sweet memory to have as my last experience at the store.