Caught in the trap

This past weekend I found myself in Pinterest hell and it nearly broke me. I rarely ask for help but I had to call in reinforcements on late Saturday afternoon (thank you Wendy for answering that call!). I find it funny (in the ironic sense of the word), that I had only just last week written about the pitfalls of Pinterest and then found myself walking right in to that very trap.

Normally my children’s birthday parties are fun times for me I love the challenge and thrive on putting together a fun event, but our 6 year old’s birthday this year made me want to throw in the towel. Usually I begin my preparations well in advance to make sure that I have thought through the layout, site plan and little details. The week leading up to the actual event gives me time to do any printing and finishing up my last DIY projects. This last week everything that could possibly have pulled my focus did (nursery school duty days, my husband away for 5 days, product photo shoot for the website, my babysitter away for 2 days, basically just life stuff).

Part of the reason I felt like I was trapped in the Pinterest abyss was that we were creating all the décor for a really fun client this past weekend. We were totally in luck and got in to the venue the day before. The client came to us with a really clear vision of what she wanted and we created a very glamorous feel with feather centerpieces, and candelabras draped in pearls. The one “WOW” that she wanted was a dance floor covered in balloons. We did the measurements and for the space she wanted to fill we were looking at around 400 helium filled balloons.

Now in theory this number didn’t sound too bad to me. It was a large number but I thought it would be doable in 4-5 hours. Friday morning we arrive onsite to begin the install. Nothing bad happens but balloons are shockingly deceptive. There were a couple of factors that weren’t on my side. The height of the ceiling made it difficult so that each balloon needed to be placed precisely which involved lots of up and down on the ladder. I sure got my step workout in! It ended up taking about 7 hours from start to finish to get the balloon covered dance floor finished. The final product created such a WOW it was absolutely worth it. Plus the fact that the bride and her daughters saw it in progress and loved it. We got a video from the wedding on Saturday night and the guests were loving it and the party was in full swing. It is those moments that make it feel worthwhile.

The journey of 400 balloons starts with a single balloon
The journey of 400 balloons starts with a single balloon
It's deceptive but this is roughly only 150 balloons
It’s deceptive but this is roughly only 150 balloons
The finished product
The finished product
It really was a WOW
It really was a WOW

So after the marathon balloon project, I was feeling less than inspired to start on the birthday party. I came home Friday night with raw fingers from tying balloons and decided to call it a night and get a fresh start in the morning. My in-laws had kept our oldest but my little helper wanted to get up bright and early and pitch in. As much as extra hands can be useful it is hard to explain to a 3 year old your vision and reasoning for event execution. Maybe by the time she is 4 she will get it!

I went to the shop to pack up and I truly felt like an addict. It is almost too much to walk in to 8000 square feet of various event products and be able to pick what you want. I really had to edit myself but I kept having different ideas on what I needed. For the most part I stuck to my list but it is very easy to get side tracked. It got so bad that I truly felt I was in the midst of a self-induced panic attack. Seriously, who freaks out over a mad science birthday party for 13 kids? I know it is not that big a deal. I got the van loaded up and back to our house. I had a good friend jump in and show up at my house to lend a hand. She totally feeds my addiction and enables me! With some team work I got the big pieces finished. I worked until about midnight finishing up anything I could so that I felt it was manageable when I woke up the next morning and had to deal with the edible pieces that come out closer to event start time.

Maybe it was because it was rushed and I didn’t get to fully enjoy the design and production process but I was left with a less than accomplished feeling. Usually I can step back and love it but this time it seemed like I fell short to what I wanted to do. This just eats at me, it felt lackluster. I know that everything was good. The kids all loved it, we got to spend a fun filled afternoon with our friends, and there was laughter, great memories and s’mores!

I know that I am being overly critical and it was no doubt a party that my 6 year will remember (the photos taken by the amazing Dom will ensure that) but why is it that I can’t just enjoy what I put together, damn you Pinterest, you got me all psyched up and then I feel less than picture perfect. I should know better than anyone the dangers of putting my faith in styled photos! At the end of the day it is the memories that matter, though I did get a job offer from one little girl for her next birthday party. She told me I could bring my party to her house any time and I had the best ideas (this was said as she was doing shooters of milk and cookies).

*All mad science birthday photos by Dominique Gibbons

The S'mores experiement
The S’mores experiement
Security badges for the "lab"
Security badges for the “lab”
Milk and cookie shooters
Milk and cookie shooters
Lab specimens
Lab specimens
S'mores bar
S’mores bar
The birthday boy
It’s in the details

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