When Maggie’s daughter, Penelope, turned three years old she didn’t get any ordinary party. The party she received was a sweetly styled designer affair centered around two things little girls are sure to love – playing with friends and dressing up.
Photographs by: Maggie Brereton
Written by: Staff Writer
When you’re a Wife and Mom of four kids, all under the age of five, creating designer birthday parties and hand-making your daughter’s party dresses probably isn’t going to be on your calendar. But, most Mom’s aren’t Maggie Brereton, owner of Smashed Peas and Carrots blog and online store.
Fabric is often a great jumping off point when designing a room, so why not turn to pretty prints when styling a great party? In this case, Maggie fell in love with Sarah Jane Studio’s ‘Playhouse Line’ of fabric prints.
Read more about the custom made dresses at Smashed Peas and Carrots.
Pink and aqua became the signature colors of the party. They popped against a backdrop of predominately white props and serving pieces. Notice the little dress banner in the background.
Even the food became an important design element to this mixed desert and appetizer buffet.
Maggie placed mason-jar styled drink dispensers on a white wooden crate in the center of the table. She allowed the Citrus Water and Ice Tea to become centerpieces, making the most of her space without sacrificing beautiful design.
Even if your party centers around deserts – as most kids birthday parties do – it is important to add munchies as well. Something needs to balance out that sugar rush and the adults need snacks too.
Maggie cut out the little dresses that are part of the ‘Playhouse Lines’ printed fabric and attached them with clothes pins to ribbon that she draped across the back window. The effect became a miniature wash-line of little girls’ dresses and plays beautifully with the ‘Just Stay Little’ theme.
Maggie skipped a large cake in favor of individual vanilla cupcakes baked in pink and blue polka dotted cupcake liners from Shop Sweet Lulu.
The cupcakes are iced in simple swirls of white icing and topped with custom made dress toppers that Maggie made from her inspiration fabric.
Maggie carried her ‘Little’ theme into her food choices as well. Here, miniature Blueberry Muffins are stacked on a white ceramic cake stand and decorated with miniature pendants made from the same inspiration fabric.
Penelope’s party took place in late morning, so donuts became a must-have addition to the desert selection. Maggie iced miniature donuts with a simple glaze and generously sprinkled them with the party’s signature colors.
There are so many ideas from this party that can translate to other events throughout the year. One of our favorites is the this – Maggie decorated mason jars with strips of fabric made with more prints from Sara Jane Studio’s Children at Play ‘Play House Line.’ Each jar received its own fabric ribbon bow made from a different print, ensuring that each mother knew which drink was hers.
Using more fabric from Sara Jane Studio’s Children at Play ‘Play House Line,’ Maggie created these fantastic napkins that both matched the cupcake liners and tied everything together.
Even the children’s drinks and straws matched the color scheme. Maggie served Strawberry Milk in vintage inspired milk bottles. The aqua swirl straws came from Shop Sweet Lulu.
The morning light coming through the Ball beverage dispensers make the tea glow deep amber and the Citrus Water shine with bright slices of Oranges and Limes.
These Mini Tomato Basil Mozzarella Kabobs are a prime example of how food can become a design element of a tablescape. These tomatoes add a pop of color that plays nicely with the deep fuchsia elements of the inspiration fabric and surprisingly well with the amber colored Ice Tea.
A well designed party ensures that the food being served also speaks to the overall theme and reflects other elements of the design. These little cheese and crackers are just darling and they accomplish this perfectly. They continue the miniature theme of a party titled ‘Just Stay Little’ and they speak to both the fabric dresses used in the banner and cupcake topper and the paper dolls given for the kids to decorate.
Designing a tablescape calls upon the same design principles as decorating a room. Think about styling your fireplace mantel or a corner table. Consider symmetrical designs, groupings of three or five, and repeating ideas or patterns.
Here, Maggie has added a large white wire birdcage to beautifully bookend the delicate tiered wire cupcake stand on the left. She also handmade hair clips in contrasting shades of pink and blue polka dotted fabric, using them first as table decor and then as party favors. This fabric repeats the colors and pattern found in the polka dotted napkins and cupcake liners.
One of Maggie’s central principles in planning a children’s party is the inclusion of fun and age appropriate activities to keep the kids happy and busy. She filled two bins with dress up clothes, complete with jewelry, for the girls to play ‘dress up.’
She also provided boy and girl paper dolls for the kids to decorate with crayons, googly eyes and gluesticks that were laid out on the crafts table. While these were purchased at the local Micheal’s craft store, paper dolls can easily be made with card stock and a simple pattern.
Maggie made sure the boys wouldn’t be left out of the fun. She made mustaches, lips, glasses, a few monocles and even a bowler hat and hot glued them onto dowels so the boys wouldn’t miss out on the dress up fun.
Photographs by: Maggie Brereton courtesy of Maggie of Smashed Peas and Carrots.