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.


hiking party

Our friend and former co-worker at Martha Stewart, Shannon, had a hiking party for her 7-year old son, Erwin. He wanted to invite his whole class, so Shannon had the party after school at a nearby park with a hiking trail. Shannon used a "log" font on the invitation to emphasize the outdoor theme. Her 5-year old son cut them out, and Erwin wrapped and drew on them. I love that her boys were so involved!


Shannon used the same "log" font to make a hanging sign with Erwin's name at the entrance to the park.


Shannon wanted a working compass for the party favor, but not something that would just get lost in a pocket. She found key chain compasses that were inexpensive and actually work! The kids have them on their backpacks now.


Erwin and Shannon drew the trail journal "bingo" pictures, printed them on colored paper and stitched them together. She wanted the kids to use the journal so that they would not just run full blast to the end of the trail without taking time to look around. It worked!


Trail mix was on hand just in case someone was too hungry to wait until after the hike.


She made cute water bottle labels for the hikers!


After the hike, the guests enjoyed mini corn dogs and s'mores and played at the campground. What a fun party for a 7-year old! Thanks for sharing it with us, Shannon.


will's 1st birthday

My baby turned one last week! We had a little party with family and friends to celebrate. Since the party was over Halloween weekend I incorporated a few Halloween activities, but tried to keep it a "birthday" party. We had food from our favorite restaurant and my mom made two delicious cakes. The birthday boy loved his party even though he went to bed before the guests left!


Will has moved on from the baby month cards to year signs.


I made chocolate graham cracker haunted houses for the kids to decorate. They loved the personalized signs to identify their creations.


I put candy, marshmallows, cookies, etc. for decorating the haunted houses in orange buckets. Although, I think most of the candy was eaten before it was used to decorate!


My mom made this chocolate cake and this carrot cake. I think most of the guests enjoyed a slice of each – it was hard to choose. They were both so good.


After Will blew out his candle, we had a cake walk with all the kids. When the music stopped and a number was called, each child got to pick out and eat their peice of cake.


And finally, a little cookie favor for the guests to take home an enjoy. Too bad I left them in the freezer and forgot to take them out during the party! Oh well, more for me to eat. Happy birthday, baby Will!


kelli's witches' tea 2010

My friend, Kelli, loves to throw a party and boy, is she ever good at it! Her Witches' Tea has become a much-loved annual event and she spends the months beforehand plotting and planning, always trying to outdo her last year's shindig. I didn't think Kelli could top last year's soiree but she proved me wrong.


The darling invitation arrived at the beginning of the month and all 30 guests started planning their costumes.


The night of the Witches' Tea, we entered the Despain manor which had been entirely reinvented. Mirrors were covered with signs that read "The Witching Hour," vases were filled with glittered skeleton heads and family photos were replaced with witch silhouettes (ingenious!).


The food was delicious. Appetizers included spinach dip, garlic toasts and this amazing brie with a grape chutney.


The tables were set with black and gold dishware; a painted black tree branch nestled in a moss-filled urn was the perfect centerpiece.


Each place setting included a menu outlining our courses: savory pumpkin bisque served in a homemade dilly bowl, grilled apple salad with brown sugar-cider vinaigrette, and panini milanos (grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches).


I especially loved the hanging glass orbs which Kelli found here.


For dessert, we devoured mini pumpkin cakes with vanilla glaze, ghost and bat sugar cookies, and spice cake cupcakes.


The piece de resistance was the favor… each witch went home with her own homemade caramel apple.


I can't wait to see what Kelli comes up with for next year's Witches' Tea! A special thank you to Brooke Ashley for allowing me to post her lovely photos (those photos that are not-so-lovely are mine!).


milano ghosts

On Saturday, Amelia and I made a little project for her preschool class Halloween party – Milano cookie ghosts. She had previously requested that we make a treat that she could help with. Happy to oblige, I came up with the following project, easy enough for an almost 5-year old.

Step 1: buy Milano cookies, melting white chocolate and mini chocolate chips. Step 2: melt white chocolate in microwave. Step 3: dip cookies halfway in chocolate and lay on wax paper. Step 4: decorate with mini chocolate chip "eyes."

I let them dry overnight and packaged them in clear bags with a cute label. Couldn't be easier and Amelia can't wait to hand them out to her class on Thursday!


corn flake pumpkins

My husband never ceases to amaze me. The other night after dinner, our girls wanted a sweet treat and surprisingly, our freezer was low on baked goods (clearly, I have been working too much!). Before we knew it, Charles was at the stove with a box of corn flakes, butter and miniature marshmallows. He remembered his mom making a modified version of Rice Krispy treats using corn flakes.

I was especially impressed when he shaped the still-warm mixture into pumpkins. Now, all that was missing was a stem. Charlotte searched through our candy stash and found some green Now-and-Laters which did the trick. Voila! An impromptu and totally cute Halloween treat. Perhaps Charles should be writing this blog???


we've been boo'ed

It's not too late to start 'booing' your neighbors (if you haven't already). Click here for details on how to do it.


vote for jim gubler

This is for you, dear readers, who are registered voters in Las Vegas, Clark County:

With early voting already underway, I wanted to make sure you knew that my father, Jim Gubler, is running for Justice of the Peace, Dept. 13. All paternal bias aside, my father is by far the more qualified candidate--he was a Clark County Public Defender for 26 years and has spent the last 8 years sitting on the bench as a pro tem judge. He has thousands of court appearances under his belt, and decades of criminal experience. His opponent, Suzan Baucum, has spent the last 10 years fundraising for the Nevada Law Foundation. She hasn't actually practiced law in years. We don't want to continue Nevada's tradition of electing bad judges.
I would appreciate it if you could support my father and vote for JIM GUBLER for JUSTICE of the PEACE in the upcoming election. And spread the word -- tell your family and friends. If you'd like some more information about my dad, please email me (angie@blonde-designs.com) or visit his website (which I designed) at www.jimgublerforjudge.com.
Thanks in advance for your vote.


vintage tv costume party

Charles and I spent Saturday night at our friends', Andrea and Scott's, annual Halloween party. Andrea is one of the most creative people I know and her Halloween parties are the highlight of our holiday. This year's theme was vintage TV.

After much debate, we finally settled on going as the cast from Gilligan's Island (minus the professor who bowed out due to babysitting demands). I was thrilled to find my entire costume for Mrs. Howell in my parents' basement.


The invitation was clever – a vintage television set fitted with a paper slider outlining all the party details.


The award for best costume (yes, we won!) was a "tv dinner" comprised of a homemade Ding Dong, brown jelly beans (baked beans), red licorice rope (spaghetti) and a chocolate bar (unidentifiable meat). All in all, a totally successful and totally fun way to begin the Halloween season!


spooky halloween story tradition

My girls love holiday traditions. Even if it's a tradition that I have just recently started, my girls are quick to jump on the bandwagon. I am determined to start this one immediately in anticipation of Halloween.

At bedtime, gather in the living room, light candles and ready "spooky stories" in the flickering light. At the end of the stories, let each of your children blow out a candle. I may also end it with a couple of candy corns for good measure.

Click on the image below for some favorite "spooky story" suggestions. Happy reading!


september book club

I look forward to Book Club every month. Not only for the socialization and the excuse to find time to actually read a book, but also to see what my talented and creative friends come up with in the way of food (it's always potluck). This isn't your average "bring-a-bag-of-chips" book club. No, thanks to my friend Andrea, our Book Club has been elevated to new heights and we all wait anxiously to see what she is going to come up with for the coming month.

For September, our book selection was The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. The synopsis is this: a little girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. It is a book that I couldn't put down and I highly recommend it.


My fellow friends and readers were inspired by the English setting and we feasted on a dinner of roasted sweet potatoes, stuffed mushrooms and delicious chicken pot pies.


The piece de resistance was Andrea's chocolate cake "garden" complete with meringue mushrooms. It was truly a work of art and tasted delicious. Andrea is hosting book club for October so stay tuned for something fabulous!

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