about us

Blonde Designs is an inspirational blog focused on invitations, parties, and good design. We are Angie Gubler and Kristin Rees, best friends, graphic designers and moms.
We are both former art directors at Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, respectively. 
We own Blonde Designs, an invitation and stationery company.

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Wednesday
Sep302009

school pictures

Today was school picture day at school. My girls were excited not only that they were going to be able to pose in front of a camera (they are both hams), but also that they were able to wear "free dress" (every other day, they have to wear school uniforms).

 

I was excited for multiple reasons: 1. I love school photos – I remember what I wore in every one of my elementary school photos (this photo is from 1st grade) – some outfits were definitely better than others; 2. the weather was a breezy 77 degrees, much better than yesterday's high of 94!; 3. due to reason #2, Charlotte was finally able to wear her new fall outfit from Crewcuts which is about the cutest thing ever. Don't you love the striped knee socks?

I used to be obsessed with fashion for myself....now I derive much more pleasure from buying clothes for my girls. 

 

Amelia's outfit was from Crewcuts last year.  I bought it on sale and now it finally fits. Pardon the shoes...we had cuter options but had to be practical as both girls had P.E. after the photos. Alas, fashion compromises!

Tuesday
Sep292009

winter coat assistance requested

Help! I am in need of an all-purpose, yet chic, winter coat for my 6-year old daughter, Charlotte. I saw this one in the Mini Boden catalogue a month ago when it was 110 degrees outside, and thought, "oh, I'll just order it later". Big mistake – it is now on backorder for 11 weeks, putting its arrival sometime in the middle of December! Ideally, I would like something that is nice enough to wear over dresses but also looks cute over jeans. My beloved Crewcuts does not have anything under $100 (the coats the first daughters wore at the Inauguration are lovely but I cannot bring myself to spend $168 for a child's coat!). There's nothing great at Gap either. Does anyone have a solution for my coat dilemma?

Tuesday
Sep292009

a bowling party

My daughter, Charlotte, is a social girl and she decided that for her 6th birthday, she absolutely had to invite her entire kindergarten class (this was said with all the drama an almost-6-year-old can muster!).  With a few additional friends thrown in for good measure, the guest list was fast approaching 30 children.  My hope for a party at home was completely out of the question and an outside venue was needed.  Thanks to Red Rock Bowling Lanes, we were able to accomodate all the little guests quite comfortably and I was saved from a possible nervous breakdown.

For the invitation, I decided to keep it very graphic with a single bowling pin in front of a bowling ball.  I chose a color palette of pool blue and red to complement the dominant color inside the bowling alley (red).  I cannot overemphasis the importance of a color palette when planning any event.  A good color palette that is carried through, from the invitation, to the decorations, to the favors will unite the party.

 

For decorations, I covered each of the tables in our reserved lanes with pool blue plastic tablecloths.  I tied pool blue, red and white balloons to each of the chairs and made tented signs for each of the tables.  Immediately, it was clear where our party started and ended.  All of the paper goods were bright red.  I always prefer solid-colored paper goods – I find they keep the party looking much more modern.

 

I purchased inexpensive white t-shirts and used a fabric transfer to iron-on the party "logo".  The kids loved the shirts and I loved getting a group photo of all Charlotte's friends in matching t-shirts for her scrapbook.

 

I created "bowling ball" cupcakes using pool blue-dyed cream cheese frosting with 3 white chocolate chips flipped over for the "holes".  Totally easy and totally cute.  For favors, each child went home with bowling ball sugar cookies tied up in a glassine bag.  I loved that everything was chic and relatively easy.  Charlotte loved that her entire class was at her party.  Next year, however, we are doing something on a much smaller scale!

Monday
Sep282009

ice cream party

Who doesn't love ice cream?  My good friend, Megan, decided to celebrate her daughter's favorite food and have an all-out ice cream party.  Considering it is still
95 degrees here in Las Vegas, this seemed like a perfect theme.  The invitations were designed in cheery colors and paired with pool blue envelopes.

 

For favors, Megan made ice cream cone-shaped cookies and I designed a tag using a darling photo of the birthday girl eating, what else, ice cream!  Gabby's photo was also used for a rousing game of "Pin-the-Cherry-on-the-Ice-Cream-Cone". Scented ice cream cone bubbles were the final treat at a very sweet party.

Friday
Sep252009

pumpkin faces

A couple of years ago, I hosted a Halloween party for my kids and their friends (ages 2-5). I thought this was a fun and easy way to decorate pumpkins without any mess. I printed eye, ear, and mouth cut-outs on label paper. The kids loved creating their own personalized jack-o-lanterns.

 

Another perk to this activity is that it can be done early in October and you can still carve the pumpkins later in the month. Click on the image below and print your own cut-outs on label paper. Have fun making pumpkin faces!

 

Thursday
Sep242009

halloween treats

I am in the process of gathering inspiration for this year's Halloween party (I'm trying to keep it small – 10 little girls at the most).  Here are some of my favorite food ideas, all from Martha Stewart: witch cupcakes, "boo-nilla" milkshakes, bat and cobweb cookies, and monster candy.  The invitations are printed and go out next week.  I'll keep you posted on the rest of the preparations.

Wednesday
Sep232009

witch's brew

Below is a PDF template to print your own Halloween water bottle labels (just click on the image). You can print these on text-weight paper, cut at the crop marks and adhere to water bottles with double-sided tape. You can also print them on label paper and adhere them to the bottle that way. Just make sure to remove the original label first. The bottles can be refrigerated, but to avoid condensation, don't put them in the freezer or on ice. Hope you enjoy your "witch's brew!"

Tuesday
Sep222009

embellishing halloween costumes

I love clever Halloween costumes.  When I was little, my very industrious mother made all of our costumes from scratch.  I'm talking patterns, a sewing machine that never stopped, and hours upon hours of work.  Needless to say, my brother and sisters and I had very memorable costumes.  One year, I went as Bugs Bunny and my little brother (who was probably 2 at the time) went as a carrot, complete with orange tights, a crepe paper "carrot" body, and a green crepe paper hat comprised of "carrot leaves".  It was ingeniuous!

 

Sadly, I lack the patience for such sewing projects and instead, choose to embellish store-bought Halloween ensembles.  Last year, Charlotte and Amelia went as Alice in Wonderland and The White Rabbit.  Amelia's rabbit costume was purchased at Old Navy and then "White Rabbit-fied" – I designed an oversize pocketwatch and printed 2 copies (for front and back) onto heavy white cardstock.  An orange ribbon was tucked between the two layers and then the finished "watch" was pinned onto the bunny costume.  For the heart, I used white felt that was edged with pinking shears and then a simple red heart was stitched on the front.  To complete the look, I purchased a pair of inexpensive wire spectacles and popped the lenses out. The girls loved their costumes and I loved the ease of the whole process!

 

Another year, Charlotte really wanted to be a cowgirl.  I found a cute cowgirl hat, vest and matching skirt at Gymboree and then embellished the costume with simple yarn braids.  I bought brown yarn, cutting enough of the same length of yarn to make two, 2-inch-wide braids.  I stitched the top of each "braid" using a sewing machine and then braided the yarn until the braids hit Charlotte's waist. 

 

I secured the ends with a piece of yarn and finished the look with a red grosgain ribbon bow.  Each finished braid was pinned to the underside of the cowgirl hat. 

This costume has gotten more play than any other dress-up we have.  Every December, my parents take the girls to the National Finals Rodeo.  Charlotte and Amelia feel that the rodeo is much more enjoyable when they go in costume and the braids have made a big impact.

Monday
Sep212009

a halloween party

We are dedicating this entire week to Halloween inspiration.
Hope it gets you in the Halloween spirit!

My daughter, Charlotte, loves a party (surprise, surprise) and she especially loves a Halloween party.  One nice thing about living in Nevada is that every year, depending on when the 31st falls, we get the day off from school for Nevada Day.  It's the perfect opportunity to throw a little get-together for a handful of girls. 

If you are interested in ordering Halloween party invitations, they are $37.50 for 25 invitations paired with orange envelopes + shipping.  Email us directly with your order.

 

Last year, we made chocolate graham cracker "haunted" houses.  Prior to the party, I used a hot glue gun to construct all the houses (I suggest doubling up all sides, two graham crackers thick, to prevent breakage).  I glued the base of the house to a paper plate to avoid spillage.  I purchased ready-made chocolate frosting (but had to remove and redesign the labelling because it ruined my whole aesthetic) and various Halloween-colored candies.  The girls loved it!

 

Finally, I printed out each girl's name on a little "sign" using adhesive paper.  These were then affixed to a toothpick and stuck in a miniature pumpkin candy.

Friday
Sep182009

a dog party

Kristin and I have been going through our archive of parties we've thrown over the years and will be posting some of our favorites in the coming weeks.

My daughter, Amelia, is totally obsessed with dogs (probably because we don't have one!) and for her second birthday, not surprisingly, she chose a dog theme.  While I always prefer parties at home, I feel that a 2-year-old's birthday is the perfect excuse to outsource the venue.  Hence, we chose My Gym and I did my best to control the overall aesthetic as best I could.

 

I had to work with the colors at My Gym (think bright, primary colors) so I chose to play up the red and accent with pink.

 

I thought cupcakes would be the best bet for little hands so we made dog faces on white cream cheese frosting, using bran flakes for the ears, mini M&M's for the eyes and a chocolate malt ball for the nose.  Very easy but very cute (and Amelia loved decorating them with me!).

 

No standard water bottles for me (of course).  I removed the original labels, replacing them with new ones printed on text weight paper.  The labels were affixed with pieces of double-stick tape (you could also print the labels directly on adhesive label paper – this is Kristin's preferred method).

 

Each child received a package of homemade sugar cookies in the shape of a dog house and a dog bone (with each little guest's name on the bone).  

 

I also made homemade playdough.  I found clear plastic containers at Smart & Final and attached a cute label.  The best part of this party was no clean-up afterwards!