A Golden Birthday Celebration

I absolutely love birthday parties. As an adult, I attend far less than I did as a kid, and I think that’s too bad! Birthdays are the perfect excuse to get your friends together and overindulge in all of the delicious things. So when I decided to plan a party for Shane’s golden birthday (you know, turning 26 on the 26th of the month) I wanted to go all out.

Per usual, I turned to Pinterest right away and curated this “Golden Celebration” board. I gave it a broad name because as I was searching for decor ideas, I realized that there are many, MANY reasons to throw a party with a gold theme: Oscars, weddings, new years, golden anniversaries, etc. I asked Shane for his input on an accent color, and he picked blue (he’s been watching Notre Dame with his dad since he was a kid, so this should have been an obvious option for me).  We hosted the party in the evening at our church, during one of their “Thursdays are Fine with Wine” summer events. Each fine with wine is hosted by a member of the church, and this made finding a venue so easy! Between the color scheme and time of day, I had the perfect inspiration for invitations.

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I really love designing sunbursts, and was pleased to see that Adobe Illustrator has some really great sunset color schemes to make my gradients. I simply inserted this image into an email and send them to our guest list a few weeks before the party. This was much simpler than creating an event on facebook and hoping everyone would find their invite, or creating a custom e-invitation with evite or pingg.

For the rest of the decor, my goal was not to buy anything that could easily be made (everything but the candles, really), and to use decor things we already owned or would use again. I loved the idea of painting some sort of banner, but I wasn’t sure I had the time (or space to let it dry). So instead I used a blue frame we had at home, and some leftover gold paper from a previous custom order, and hand lettered the simple sign below (sadly, I left my DSLR camera at home, so please bear with the 3 megapixel mobile photos). Instead of a cake, we made a pyramid of baked chocolate donuts dusted with powdered sugar and topped with gold sprinkles! I was inspired by this cake and this cake.

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Before we decided on a venue, I was thinking of coming up with a beer pairing with picnic foods, but that didn’t quite fit the scope of fine with wine. Instead, we stopped by Half Acre Brewing and asked them to refill our growler with some of their Daisy Cutter golden ale (get it? golden ale for a golden birthday?!). We set out a few jars of gold-wrapped candy (rolo, mini reese’s cups, and hershey’s nuggets with almonds) as well as a salmon spread with sliced bread and homemade salsa with tortilla chips.

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With Shane’s help (thank goodness!), I turned an ordinary string of lights into tassel garland with lights. We used this tutorial, and all of our patience. I recommend a couple good movies or a TV series to keep your mind pre-occupied during future tassel garland projects 🙂 Now that college football season is in full swing, this garland hangs in our living room and we turn it on during ND games!

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I was super excited when it was time to light the candles and sing happy birthday. The gold candles came from party city, and I bought the star-shaped sparkler candle as an alternative to a “2” and “6”. They were sold out of one of the numbers when I went to place the order, but it was just as well since it matched the star garland and Shane is an amateur astronomer. Please note my gold sparkly nail polish too, I told you I wanted to go all out!

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Below are a couple night shots, not the easiest to capture with the phone. On the left are a few vases with tea lights inside, which I decorated with gold curling ribbon (this was my favorite money saving project because we spent 85 cents on the ribbon, rather than buying five pre-curled ribbons for $2.95 a piece!) and some star garland, all of which we had lying around at home. On the right, you can see our tassel garland among the other decorations in the garden.

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Oh, and the next day (his actual birthday) we met for dinner and I brought his gift. There were plenty of sheets and strips of tissue remaining from the tassel garland, so I used those for an extra festive gift wrapping (the couple sitting next to us even complimented how nice it looked). I gave him The Brewmaster’s Bible and tucked a hand made card inside, telling him that we would go shopping for a home brewing starter kit together (we ultimately bought this kit from Whole Foods and are loving it)!

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Enjoy 26 Shane ❤


Two Ways to Dress Up a Gift Card

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of gift cards. I’d rather buy (or even better: make) a meaningful gift. But there are those occasions where a gift card just makes sense. So to add a little personality and flair, why not make a gift card holder? I followed this tutorial (the step-by-step instructions, not the video) to jazz up this card for a college grad.



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This isn’t the first time I used a tutorial from this same page, but last time I followed the instructions in the video. I didn’t have anything to fasten the card, except for a ribbon, which is why I opted for the other version this time.

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There you have it, two ways to dress up a gift card!

What are your thoughts on gift cards? Do you love to give them or would you rather a hand-picked item?