Friday, January 29, 2010

Feature Friday: The Roseville Utility Exploration Center

Today's Feature Friday brings you a fantastic venue that is perfect for a childrens party or baby shower: the Roseville Utility Exploration Center. Situated next to the Martha Riley Community Library and within the Roseville Sports Complex, the Center is "an environmental learning center focused on bringing visitors information on protecting natural resources in a fun, engaging way."

*Quote and all photos courtesy of the Roseville Community Exploration Center*
It is the mission of the Roseville Utility Exploration Center to promote a healthy environment by encouraging individual actions for a sustainable future. Topics covered include energy efficiency, renewable technology, water conservation and recycling.

The Roseville Utility Exploration Center was the perfect venue for Mason's Birthday "On the Green" in keeping with our commitment to making the event environmentally responsible. When we originally scheduled the room we reserved three and a half hours at a rate of $60 per hour. The party ended up running over by an hour and they didn't charge us any extra fees! While that was great in and of itself, what we were most impressed by was the impeccable service the Supervisor, Bob Garrison, offered.

From the moment we arrived, Bob asked what he could help with. He helped set up tables and chairs, instructed us on how to use the technology, brought pitchers for drinks, and provided ice and a jug for water. He offered a selection of movies to show and reassured us that his office door would be open should we need anything. Bob stayed visible until party guests arrived and then retreated to his office, still available if we needed anything.

The room itself was clean, bright and spacious with a functioning sink and ample counter space. One entire wall consists of windows, which allowed for light to flood in even on a cloudy and rainy day. Although not pictured, the room also had a large white board we were able to use-- children enjoyed drawing and writing messages to the birthday boy.

We will definitely utilize the Roseville Utility Exploration Center in the future and highly recommend the venue to others. For more information or to book the Center check out their website or call 916.746.1550.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mason's Birthday "On the Green": Budget

There is no questioning you can find parties everywhere on the web. There are thousands of blogs and websites devoted just to parties and party ideas. How often do you wonder about the budgets of those parties? The most common question we get from clients is, "How much will it cost?" Of course budgets vary greatly and no two parties (or clients) are the same but we thought you would be interested in seeing how the budget broke down for Mason's 1st Birthday. If you have additional suggestions or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. So here we go, this is what our budget worksheet looked like for this party:

Venue (which we will bring to you in detail tomorrow) $210

Food $63 (we are serious budget shoppers)

Smash cake $25

Decor $45 (tees $5, golf balls $10, Astro turf $15, bunting $5, paper $10)

Favors $63 (paper $5, jewel cases $15, printing $53)

Table settings $60 (all supplies purchases through Green Party Goods)

Total: $466

As you can see, half of this party's budget went to the venue, which we feel was completely worth the expense. If you host a party at home the costs are cut but there are trade-offs. If your home can accommodate this then great! If not, there are plenty of other options.

You could also cut costs by choosing a less expensive favor or going without them all together. We could have printed full-page calendars with just one picture and all twelve months to cut down on printing costs.

More ideas? Host a pot luck style luncheon, or simply a dessert party to reduce the costs of food.

So there you have it. A party thrown for 30 people, food included, for under $500. We would love to hear what you have done to cut costs or would have done differently for this event, so please share in the comments below.

Check back tomorrow for details on our fabulous venue!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mason's Birthday "On the Green": Vendors

For Mason's birthday we worked with some fabulous vendors and we couldn't wait to share them with you! We mentioned before that keeping the elements of this party environmentally responsible was particularly important-- even in the smallest details. Enter Green Party Goods.

 Green Party Goods carries just about everything you could want to complete your event. We could spend hours on their site (and several more hours telling you about everything they offer) but we'll limit ourselves to sharing just the items we used for this party and save the rest for a Feature Friday.

Table settings for Mason's birthday included Biodegradable Sugarcane Plates, Recycled Paper Napkins, Recylced Paper Cups and Potatoware Utensils. We also used their Natural Fiberware Lunch Boxes for to-go lunches for the golfers.

Speaking of the golfers' to-go lunches, we used brown and white striped twine purchased on Etsy from Swann and Smerlin. Despite this seller residing in Ireland, the items arrived quickly and were packaged beautifully. Exactly the attention to detail we appreciate!

Also found on Etsy were the cupcake liners we used for the mini cupcakes, cake bites and cake pops. The sheer selection in Cupcake Social's shop is awe-inspiring. We were specifically looking for cupcake liners that resembled blades of grass to mimic the look of golf balls "in the rough" and found them at Cupcake Social. It was hard to resist buying more than we needed since there were so many fun cupcake wrappers to choose from!

The cupcakes, cake bites and cake pops were nice, but the most important dessert was the birthday boys cake. The Frosted Cake Shop custom made Mason's smash cake for the occasion. We requested a "golf inspired" cake in orange, apple green and brown. The result was nothing short of perfection! Owner, Tessa Lindlow, even managed to accommodate our order with a low-sugar and organic-ingredient recipe. If you ever need a specialty cake or cupcakes, The Frosted Cake Shop is the only way to go!

There you have it, a few of the fabulous companies we work with and order from. We hope you will consider them for your next event and please feel free to share other vendors you have had success with.

Next up is the budget. The single most frequent question we get from brides, mothers, friends and party-hosts (or hostesses) everywhere: How much will it cost? We'll share this party's budget with you tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mason's Birthday "On the Green": Decor

For Mason's 1st Birthday "On the Green" decor was minimal, partly because the venue didn't need a lot of embellishment and partly because we wanted to keep costs and materials down. We used 6' x 1.5' lengths of astro turf as table runners. They were sturdy, inexpensive (about 48 cents per square foot) and can be used after the party. Centerpieces were cylinder-shaped vases (which were re-used Pom juice glasses) filled with golf balls and wrapped with a strip of grass-patterned paper and an orange ribbon.

(The golf balls in the center pieces were actually more of a source of entertainment for the kids than anything else!)

We made a simple bunting using eco-felt and 1/4 yard of three different fabrics. The bunting now adorns Mason's bedroom walls!

Favors aren't necessarily "decor" but they were our favorite project from this party so we wanted to highlight them. We used this template from Shutter Sisters to create mini photo calendars for guests (using recycled paper.) Each month featured a picture of the birthday boy from the previous year during that month.

The calendars are made to rest in jewel cases. On the back were directions on how to assemble the jewel cases. Adorable and relatively inexpensive to make.

Activities during the party consisted of Wall-E (the movie) playing for the kids, a station to color golf-related clip art pictures, a "Guess How Many" jar full of golf tees and a "Mason Trivia" game for the adults.

When guests RSVP'd for the party, those who wished to golf were given a tee time and we incorporated a golf mini-tournament! There was plenty to do for all ages-- a must for any party.

Come back tomorrow to check out the awesome vendors we used for this event and Thursday for a sneak peek at our budget!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mason's Birthday "On the Green": Food

Yesterday was Mason's 1st Birthday Party "On the Green". Not only did the party have a golf theme but the "green" carried into every aspect in the form of recycled materials, compostable elements and even guest participation. We'll be sharing this party all week so first here was the menu:

U.S. Open Club Sandwiches
Presidents Cup Fruit Skewers
PGA Tour Potato Salad
Masters Marinated Vegetables

In the Rough Red Velvet Cake Pops
Fairway Vanilla Cupcakes
Muddy Golf Balls (Chocolate Cake Bites)

Drinks included:
18th Hole Bloody Mary's
Pebble Beach Punch

When guests RSVP'd for the party those who wished to golf were given tee times. Everyone met at the party location (which we'll share on Feature Friday this week) and the golfers picked up their lunches before heading out to the course.

Up tomorrow: Decor and Activities
Wednesday: Vendors
Thursday: Budget
Friday: Venue

Thursday, January 21, 2010

DIY Button "Bouquets"

Last weekend was Laura's baby shower! This time of year (close to Valentines Day) the price of flowers rises significantly so we opted for some non-flower alternatives. One of which were button bouquets pictured below. These are super simple to make, work with any color scheme, are cost effective and most importantly (we think) utilize less resources than fresh flower bouquets.

For this project you'll need:
- buttons
- floral wire

Start with lots of buttons in various shades of your color scheme. In our case it was pink, pink and more pink.

Now begin to make stacks of buttons for each "flower". Three or four buttons per stem is a good number. You want to vary the colors and shades-- or you can use three of one color and one small button on top for the center of the flower.

Bend the floral wire in half and thread the wire through two holes on each button. Push each button to the end of the loop on the floral wire.

Secure the buttons by twisting the floral wire all the way to the end. You're done!

Display groups of the button bouquets in small vases or tie them together with ribbon to decorate a place setting. When you're done with them you can untwist the wire and save the buttons for something else.

Easy, cute and environmentally responsible. We love it!
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