wedding and baby inspiration, diy, design and other loveliness

A Lego Ninjago Birthday Party

Every year, I tell myself, we’re going to tone it down, we’re going to invite less people and keep it simple. I’m talking about the kids’ birthday parties. When we finally nail down a theme, (at this age, we kind of leave it up to the kids if it’s reasonable.) I get excited for all the fun things we could do and it once again gets blow out into a big production. However, at the end of the day, I’ve come to the realization that celebrations are my love language, for me it truly is a labor of love and I have thus fully embraced it. The perks of children having a graphic design mom. Downsides are your seven year old thinks he’s allowed to art direct.

For my son’s seventh birthday, he chose Lego Ninjago. While I am a fan of Legos and ninjas separately (because ninjas in real life are pretty damn cool), I’m just not a huge of of Lego Ninjago–but it’s something we are okay with the kids enjoying.

We rented a park building in Sunnyvale because in February, the weather is unpredictable. It’s great because if weather permits, you have the park right outside. Fortunately for us this year, we did not have to do any indoor activities.

I was inspired by this Ninjago like temple set up I found on Pinterest so I redesigned it to fit my needs and printed it out and stuck it onto foam core. Sorry I don’t have any detail shots this time around–I was too tired! The goal of my parties is always: how can we blow this out on a budget? 

I happened to have a large format (13×19″) photo printer so I’m always wasting ink with these types of projects. I blew up the Ninjago characters and also stuck them on foam core as you see them prancing around the temple.


The font I used was this knock-off Ninjago font.

An interesting tidbit I found out from The LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE The Making of the Movie book is that this font was custom designed for this movie and actually won a typography award.

Sometimes to bump your decor up a notch without too much on the wallet, I’m a fan of the tinsel foil garland. Make sure you buy the shorter one if you’re just skirting part of the table. As cheesy as they can be, when used correctly, they can warm up the decor. It comes in a lot different colors as well.

Luckily the Ninjago colors are primary colors so I picked up some colored cups, plates and yellow napkins to add color and folded them into ninja stars. It actually is very easy! You just need two large square napkins. I found a good tutorial on how to fold them here.

I also picked up some mini popcorn boxes and stuck on some customized labels. I filled them with my son’s favorite snack: popcorn!

For the cups, I just cut out these free Ninjago Eyes. I’ve uploaded a PDF here for download and set them atop some colored square plates.
For added value, thrown in some chopsticks!


ninjago party

For party favors, I did a very standard colored gable box and pasted circle dots on them to make them look like Lego bricks. I found some affordable Lego colored gable boxes on Amazon. You can kind of see them sitting on the dessert table.

I purchased these really awesome ceramic minifigures that you can paint from eBay. The seller offers premade favors with brushes and paint but I opted to purchase my own once again through the amazing online mecca that is Amazon.




While I love crafting, I am at best a mediocre baker. I wanted to have a cool birthday cake but I wasn’t going to pay an arm and a leg for it and I wasn’t going to successfully produce one–at least not this year. Here is an awesome tip to get a custom cake through Safeway. At my local Safeway (and others I’ve been to), sometimes, the decorator is willing to customize the cake for you with no additional charge so long as the cake structure retains its existing shape. What does that mean? I know our Safeway makes dome cakes which in theory could be the head of a ninja. I showed the a similar photo and asked them if they would decorate the cake in that way. The cake came out so great and it only cost me $25. Personally, I like Safeway cakes and this one was a chocolate cake with fresh strawberries and whipped filling. Good enough for me, good enough for my kid.

ninjago cake

Additionally, you can preorder any set of 10 or 24 cupcakes ahead of time with any color frosting you want. I ordered them with the Ninjago colors and that made dessert so much easier and affordable.

Okay, so if you’ve read through this blog, you know we love piñatas and ever since I made my first one a few years ago, I’ve been hooked. Initially, my thoughts are to make a piñata of one of the characters–presumably Lloyd Garmadon. When I solicited this idea to my son, he said we should do Lord Garmadon because if we’re going to be attacking the piñata, it should be Garmadon. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea but it made sense and we went with it. If you want to get an idea of how I made my first piñata, check out my post about our Octonauts Party

Mostly, I’ve used cardboard but with Garmadon, I tried a different route and used foam core. This was not a good idea because the structure did not hold as well and was not as easy to bend so piñata making tip: use cardboard.

I didn’t go all out and make the food ninja-themed but we did order some Chinese. We used a company here in the area called GoGo Cater which for a small delivery fee, will drive and set up the food for you. It helped save time and me attempting to cook for 100 guests. I supplemented the food with an Asian salad. Sometimes it’s a good idea just to have the food catered but you can supplement the sides or what not.

I also picked up this amazing Ninjago shirt from H&M. It’s those shirts made from sequins and it flips into another image. This one flips back and forth between Lloyd and Kai.

Lastly, check out my Zazzle store for a Ninja Themed Party Invitation!

ninja party invite


Golden State Warriors Birthday Party

My youngest one recently turned two and we decided last minute to throw him a birthday party. He loves sports which is great for us because we are a big sports family. He particularly loves baseball and basketball and since the Golden State Warriors had just won the 2015 championships, we decided to throw him a Dub Nation party. Having two kids and not much outside help, I really had to limit myself in the party planning process. As much as I love doing it, I had to set some boundaries (or more like my husband had to :)).

I think the natural idea for any type of sports themed party is to do ticket invites so I had a little photoshoot with my little guy, added some blue lasers in photoshop and off to the presses it went. A friend had donated her laminator to me and I had been going crazy doing some DIY foiling with it. We also got lucky as USPS just released some awesome looking Wilt Chamberlin stamps. Also sent an invite to my homey, Steph Curry cuz you know, we tight like that. 😛


 Since it was summer, we had the party at a nearby park. Everyone came decked out in their Warriors gear.

Decorations at a park are a pain so we just went with some simple blue and yellow decor. The fun part for me was redrawing the starting line up in this chibi-like cartoons. I really get a kick out of redrawing anyone and anything into these little characters. It’s a weird hobby of mine.


By the way, my Silhouette Portrait cut these bad boys out. I never have to buy another birthday banner again, EVAR.


Years and years ago, at the advice of a friend, my husband bought me a button machine for my birthday. Initially, he didn’t understand what in the world I would use a button machine for. Well, DH, it is to make awesome button party favors for our son’s birthday, obvis.



Now let me tell you about this double shot basketball hoop. I searched around to see how much it would cost to rent this thing. Everywhere I checked was going upwards of $350 for 2 hours. $350??? I figured a used one on eBay must be less. Fortunately for me, it was on sale on Amazon for a whopping $160. Add to Cart. Done. Despite the brunt of building it and dragging it to the park, it was a hit. My son LOVED it. He couldn’t even reach it but he absolutely loved it. I’ll admit, my husband and I stayed up a few nights duking it out as well. Great for kids AND adults!



 As my kids get older, there has to be a little more entertainment at these parties. We brought out our Little Tikes hoops for some toddler balling action.



Food. Food is very important. There must always be enough, and there must always be a ton left. We hired an amazing taco cart guy who made their tortillas fresh ON THE SPOT. It was some legit tacos. We also had a few other more kid-friendly snacks. Would’ve loved to have made some basketball-themed food but time got in the way.







Happy Birthday, little one! Keep practicing and most importantly, enjoy playing!!

GSW party details

Golden State Warriors Thank You Card




Construction Birthday Party

Yes, yes, it seems as if the blog has become the neglected second child but my excuse is–I had a second child. With that said, I have a post loaded with visual goodies for you. Motherhood has been extremely busy but another great part of it, you get to throw your kids fun birthday parties and see their happy faces when they see the final result. This year, we were originally supposed to be in Maui for a wedding but plans fell through and we decided to host a small birthday party for my son’s third birthday. I asked my son if he preferred a construction themed party or a fire truck party. (He loves all things transportation so I had to narrow it down for him). We decided to go with the construction party because he has tons of construction trucks already. I wanted to keep it low budget and an easy DIY construction theme party mainly because on the limited amount of planning time and my home isn’t that big. For the party itself, while there are some really cool black and yellow theme construction parties out there, I wanted to change it up with some color.

Construction Party Invitations
For the invitations, I’ve always found blueprints to be just so cool and I thought it would be a fun way to incorporate into the party invitation and mail it off in a shipping tube. The kids had a blast receiving it in the mail. A little on the pricey side to ship, but with a small guest list of ten, it was manageable. Because the intent was for the invitation to be “blueprint”esque–large and thin paper.  I ended up just printing them on my laser printer which also reduced cost.

construction party invitation

Construction Party Invitaton

Construction Party Decorations
I had a lot of leftover yellow tissue paper from a previous project that I used to make some tissue garlands around the house. I found an easy tutorial from Martha Stewart that I used.

Tissue paper garland

The backdrop was created from blue paint chips from the local hardware store. Over it, I had cut out a cardboard L and lined it with yellow tissue paper tassel. By the way, a leveler is your best friend for this particular task. Don’t mind the last few greenish paint chips, my husband grabbed the wrong colors 😛

DIY paint chip backdrop

My son loves egg tarts so rather than cupcakes, we decided to go with some egg tarts and the yellow color of the tart matched so well. Also with younger kids, I’m just hesitant to turn the party into a sugar fest. We can save that for my birthday 🙂 The translucent acrylic cake topper is something in the works in our store so if you’re interested, feel free to contact me. Moving on…

number cake topper

My son loves to turn anything he can into a road for his cars and trucks to travel on. I thought it would be fun to make him some XL roads–or as my son calls them, “woads” for the party. I lined the tables with some black paper and using some bright yellow duct tape, added the yellow lines and dashes. I’m in awe of the color duct tape selection nowadays! For the table settings, I also cut some slits into yellow paint chips and stuck in the utensils. Also included, obligatory striped paper straws.

diy roads

Construction Party Decorations

Construction Party Activities
This was one of the more fun parts of the party planning. Now if you’ve ever had more than three kids over playing at your house, you know it can turn into quite a mess with the toys everywhere and then the wonderful “sharing” going on. I find sometimes with toddlers, they play better with each other when there isn’t anything to fight over. Since my son’s birthday is in the winter, it’s a crapshoot to do it at a party where the kids can burn off energy running around so I wanted set up construction related activities or stations for the kids to participate in. I also happen to have a handy button maker my husband gifted me a few years back so the idea came about have the kids each complete a station and “achieve” a skill button to pin onto their tool belt that they would all receive at the beginning of the party along with a construction party hat.

construction party tool belt

construction party hats

construction party games

One of my favorite stations was the hammer and nails station. I found this great activity idea off Pinterest. You basically mimic hammering a nail but you use golf tees and styrofoam blocks. The kids loved this! A little noisy, but safer than a real hammer and nail! Now, I don’t know about you but I searched far and wide for some kid toy hammer favors to use but all I could find were the ones sold in sets and inflatable ones. I mentioned my hammer distress one day to a family friend and being the handy guy that he is, he volunteered to make some mini-sized mallets for the party! He had an old wooden closet rod that he cut up, drilled a hole into and glued a small dowel into. It was the PERFECT size for the kids and had such a natural look and feel to it. I told him he should start selling these himself!

kid toy hammers

Another favorite activity was the bulldozer stations. My toddler loves loves loves to bulldoze anything–like most little boys his age. He will take puzzle pieces, legos, blocks and just doze and dump all day long. This sparked the idea of the bulldozer yard. I set up three large trays and filled them with beans and dry macaroni. I just couldn’t deal with sand and dirt in the house 😛 although I am still finding pinto beans on the ground. Inside each child’s toolbox, they received a small construction truck to take to the construction yard to dig around. I also threw in some “lumber” for good measure.

My son was at this station for about four hours (with a lunch break of course) and the kids all played at this station the longest. Later on, I did notice that my brilliant idea wasn’t so brilliant and was done many times on Pinterest already. HA! Oh well, here’s to sensory play!

diy construction party activities

Construction party activities
Construction party activities
Construction Party Toolbox
Each child received a little toolbox with some goodies with a little DIY flair. 

Tool box party favor

Construction party favors
Initially, I was going to purchase a few small construction books but being the graphic designer that I was, IT DIDN’T MATCH! So utilizing some stock art and my handy dandy Xacto knife, I put together some custom construction coloring books.

Construction Coloring Book

I mentioned my son’s love of “woads” right? Whenever we go out to a restaurant, he will grab whatever he can to make a track or a “woad”: chopsticks, napkins, whatever. I saw the idea of DIY felt roads awhile back and thought it would be a fun addition to the toolbox. I dubbed them, “Ride-Along-Roads”. I basically cut up strips of black and felt and once again utilized my yellow duct tape for the dashes. Each set of roads came in a little muslin bag to take with you when you are out. A great way to occupy the kids at restaurants when waiting for the food.

DIY felt roads

I also found some awesome inkjet tattoo paper on Amazon! You can print out any design you want.

dump truck tattoos

The adults also got a sweet treat to take home. I made some not so appropriately named for a kid party “Better than Sex” Chex Mix for each family. Apparently everyone couldn’t stop eating and finished within minutes.


All month long he watched as his sleep deprived mother labor over his party assets, he would ask “Is that for my construction party?” In the end my son loved the party and the look on his face was priceless. I would do it all over again 🙂 Hope you guys enjoyed it as much as he did!


Here are some other great construction themed birthday party invites for your party from my Zazzle store.

  1. Excavator Party Invitation 2. Dump Truck Party Invitation

excavator party   dump truck party invitation

Little Man First Birthday Theme

Last weekend we celebrated another first birthday! At first, the idea of going small for my little man’s party did cross my mind but that idea didn’t keep for very long. Birthdays should be celebrated and I wanted to do just that. I wanted to throw a party to not only have a creative release but more so to show friends and family how much we appreciate them and to show my son how much we have enjoyed being his parents!

We threw him a little man theme birthday party with tops hats, bow ties and mustaches.

I really wanted to focus on the kids and entertain them. So I created a a table and a place setting for each kid with their names that consist of black construction paper as a place mat held down with washi tape and chalk for them to draw on the construction paper. With some help, I was able to make a top hat that floated above the center of the table.

Each place setting came with a box that had a handmade bowtie and bow clip (for the little ladies) and put in a kraft box tied with blue and white baker’s twine with a piece of washi tape. Each child got a mason jar with a vinyl mustache with a top that fits a straw. The wooden forks were wrapped with a striped washi tape and stamped with the letter “e” and a mini tote bag that I silkscreened with my gocco and heat bonded a fabric mustache on the bag to say “my stache”.

For food, the kiddos had a bunch of fun treats like fruit, mac and cheese, kettle popcorn, crackers and Fruit Crushers from Trader Joe’s. For the fresh kettle corn we got from the local farmer’s market, I used my gocco on sandwich bags to hold them in.

For the adults, I created a fun Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) Bar! I had so much fun setting it up! My fave part was creating this infographic on how to make a banh mi.

I also made ice cream macarons!!!

The challenging thing that I did was I wanted to created a bench for a photobooth for the kiddos… made of cardboard. Yes, of cardboard. This by far was the most time consuming project I have even done! But with help from my awesome brother-in-law, we were able to get this bench done and it was AMAZING!

We had a play area and made chalkboards for the kids to draw on and a water table that was brought out at the end of the party that was a big hit!

Here are some more pictures from the party! I am still amazed that we got 17 little kiddos to sit at a table to eat!

Photobooth fun!

We would like to thank all our friends for helping us make this party possible. Also thank you for donating gifts to a local foster home instead of getting Ezra a birthday gift! We are so thankful!

Check out some of our favorite first birthday shirts!

  1. Balloon Baby’s First Birthday Shirt
  2. First Birthday Candle 1 Shirt

first birthday shirt   first birthday candle shirt

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