Tuesday, December 17, 2013

{Party Time} A Beautiful Ballet Party in the Garden

We recently worked with a very creative Mum on this sweet party that was a combination of a ballet theme and a garden party theme. We ended up with a lovely shabby chic feel. Lots of pretty details and trinkets, that the Mum had, tied it all together beautifully. 

We used various shades of pink along with white to give a lovely ballet feel to the garden. Mum had lots of cute little accents to add to the food table. Aren't the hanging ballet slippers sweet. 

The seating area was the focal point of the party with flowery accents and glittery birds. 

We love the tutus & bow ties that Mum provided. We hung them up on a 'clothes line' so the children could help themselves. It gave a slash of pink and provided a barrier to the pool. 

Photos by Anna from Dream Machine 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

{Inspiration} Christmas Tree!

We have what I guess could be termed an eclectic Christmas tree. It has neither a theme or a colour scheme! It is a random collection of decorations collected from all over the world. I have been an expat longer than I haven't been and early on in my expat career I decided I was going to buy a Christmas ornament from every place I visited. 

We now have bells from Camaguey in Cuba, baubles from Florence in Italy, leather camels from the markets of Fez in Morocco, ceramic eggs from Istanbul in Turkey, elephants from Colombo in Sri Lanka . . . I could go on like this for ages as there is not a decoration on the tree that isn't 'from somewhere'. As I get older and can not remember things as well as I used to I have to put dates on the bottom of some of them so I remember when I got them. I usually remember where they came from. 

Sometimes the decoration was clearly intended to be for the Christmas tree and other times we have 'adapted' them into becoming ornaments. As the children have come along they get to chose too so we are developing an even more eclectic collection! 

Clockwise from top left - New York sign clearly from NYC, the lovely ceramic bauble in the background is from Florence, Baby's First Christmas is from the Vienna Christmas market, the enamel ball and bell (on either side of the horse) is from Beijing and were one of my first purchases over 20 years ago, the little red horse is from Stockholm in Sweden,  Qatar Camel from right here in Doha - Doha Designs sells these.

With family in the US we visit there more often then some other places so we lots from various locations around the country. The Kringles Confections is from our Christmas in the US in 2011, Sea World Elmo is from a trip to Sea World in Orlando, Florida, the red and blue cable car is from San Francisco. 

Enjoy putting up your Christmas tree this year! 

Photos by Anna from Dream Machine
Qatar camel available from Doha Designs 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

{Freebie} It's an Ikea Christmas!

We decided to make it super easy for you to throw your own DIY Gingerbread House Decorating party! We have already given you the details on how to make the houses - see that post here. Now we have made it even easier for you! Kim from Imagine - Design - Cre8 has designed some free printables to go with the current Ikea Christmas range and we have put together some ideas for you in the photos below where almost everything we have used is from Ikea. No more running all over Qatar to get what you need. It couldn't get any easier!

It was great having such bright colours to work with. The table coverings are part of the Ikea Christmas wrapping paper collection. We punched a hole in the Christmas baubles coasters to hang above the table. 

Kim's printables added a personal touch to the Ikea paper plates and cups. The cookies we used on the place settings were kept simple by using only white icing on the gingerbread which makes them stand out among all the colour. They were made by Abby from Simply Sugar Designs. 

We used royal icing on our houses but if you are having small children Abby from Simply Sugar Designs suggests using a thick layer of butter cream icing over the roofs and letting the children stick their candy on it rather than dealing with the royal icing that can be hard for young hands to squeeze out. 

As many of you who have worked with us before know we are a big fan of giving the guests a meal rather than a selection of party food. These mini burgers and fries were perfect! We used the coasters to sit the burgers on and the cups with a napkin pushed into them were ideal for holding the fries. 

Desert was keep very simple - divine gingerbread cookies (again made by Abby) and fluffy's.  You could go for hot chocolate rather than fluffy's (thick frothed milk) but we figured that the kids had had enough sugar by this stage of the party! We adore these little expresso cups which are also part of the Ikea Christmas range. 

Take home treats were again kept very simple. These cute jars with mini gingerbread men and stars were the perfect little treat to say Merry Christmas. And of course the children got to take their houses home too. 

Prinatables by Kim from Imagine-Design-Cre8 are available for FREE download here
Cookies by Abby from Simply Sugar Designs
Photos by Anna from Dream Machine

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

{Party Time} Fabulous Activities

Today we are sharing with you a car themed party that we did a few weeks ago. It was a party for two year old Yousef but the guests varied in age from babies to 12 year olds. It was a stunning success because there were lots activities to keep everyone busy and happy. The children spent their time moving from activity to activity before sitting down to a meal for dinner. 

The eating area was set up in the middle of the beautiful garden as a focal point. All the activities were set up around the edges. 

Yousef's Bakery was fantastic. The children could come and decorate cupcakes and cookies and either eat them right then and there or take them home to enjoy later on. As you can probably guess not many made it home! 

The play dough fun station was set up in front of the cake table. As always we colour coordinated the play dough with the party theme. This is usually a very popular activity as children of all ages seem to really enjoy it. 

The other activities on offer were face painting and mask making. As lots of you probably already know we have the best face painters in Qatar! Not only do they do an amazing job of the children's faces but they also manage the children well and have a great system to make sure the children don't have to stand around waiting for their turn so they can go off and play until their turn comes up. 

There was also a popcorn station to hold off any hunger until dinner was served.