A few months ago my sister called and started asking me all sorts of questions. What kind of cake stands do I own, what pieces of milk glass do I still have around, what kind of table linens and runners would look good at a kid's birthday party? She was combining my nephew Timmy's first birthday with my niece Sophie's 4th and doing a pirate and mermaid bash. After a lot of back and forth, I realized it would be too hard for me to just load my car with assorted props I think she may want and drive them all the way down to Virginia. Instead, I took a bold step and asked her if she trusted me. When without hesitation she said "implicitly", I suggested that I style the party tables and bring the props. She sent me some pins of parties she liked to give me a good idea of what she wanted and I came up with a design. There were many late night phone calls and face timing where I showed her some things I was thinking about. Last weekend I loaded up my car and headed down.
Everything I visualized came out just the way I wanted it too and even a few last minute improvisations before the guests arrived turned out better than expected. Trying to figure out where to put PB & J bagged lunches for little ones at the last minute meant covering a cardboard box with burlap - but it worked out great! When she is not chasing after two kids under the age of five, my sister makes amazing cakes and they really became the showstoppers of the tables.
Sophie was over the moon about her mermaid table and while still too young to appreciate the pirate ship his parents and I collaborated on, Timmy certainly enjoyed his "smash" cake. My sister was thrilled, my brother in law was so appreciative and the best part for me was when the parents of all the little guests hovered around the tables taking pictures of the set up "oohing" and "ahhing" the whole time. That's all the gratification I needed.
If you live the Northern Virginia area, my sister will be doing cake decorating demos at the Williams Sonoma in Tyson's Corner starting in June. You can email me for dates and times.