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Pinwheels & Pearls design (part 1 of 3)

We had such a magical day last Saturday transforming a backyard into a pinwheeled and pearled paradise for a sweet little girl’s first birthday. I was so very honored to be chosen to create this party for a very lovely and incredibly deserving family. See the easy to replicate pinwheel invitations HERE.

If you haven’t heard, I finally found an incredible photographer to work with me on my event designs. He is amazing and I loved EVERY single shot he took. I am splitting the design story into three posts, partly because there are so many pictures I just want to show you + it gives me the freedom to go a little more in-depth with the details and projects that were especially sweet.

Starting today with post one, The table & food-

Our dessert bar was such a fun addition to the party. The tablecloth is a thrift store sheet that I found for under $2! We also used a 75 cent teal bed ruffle as our central seating table cloth. Thrift stores are a great option if you are looking for a table cloth with personality and funk yet still affordable. The table was set with the most deliciously delightful treats.

Delicate white meringues jeweled the table, seeming to us like soft scrumptious pearls.

The cupcakes were adorned with creamy pink speckled frosting and each was topped with our easy to make small paper pinwheels. They sat in layers on two homemade box stands.

The center of the table boasted a white powdered doughnut tree.

Skewer sticks embellished with Starburst pinwheels made a lovely lollipop substitution. The sticks stuck straight up out of bowls of candy pearls and were quickly swooped away to be eaten.

To make these Pinwheel-pops we simply rolled out a bag of Starbursts into flat squares, cut in on each of the fours sides towards the center, folded over each corner and wrapped the center meeting point around the kitchen skewers. They stuck easily right onto the sticks, and in groupings of three really seemed to come to life!

A vase of pink pinwheel taffy was included in our dessert bar. The taffy with the rest of the food was labeled with our free downloadable pinwheel labels and tied together with a wispy string of craft pearls, giving each food item its very own necklace.

To ensure the kids & parents wouldn’t go crazy with just dessert, we had a sandwich bar complete with croissant bread shaped into pinwheels.

On a side table sat a bowl of pink popcorn. Did you know you can make popcorn in any color imaginable? Such a fun and easy way to incorporate our party theme.

To make pink colored popcorn– Simply mix equal parts sugar and water with a few drops of food coloring + a drizzle of corn syrup. Mix with your popcorn when hot and add salt to taste. It was such a pretty snack for our party.

On the drink bar sat a sampling of pink lemonades and fruit flavored water underneath a floating extra-large pinwheel suspended in mid-air.

It was truly a birthday feast with many delicious and sweet additions.

Concept & Design by City Cradle Design, photography by Michael Chan

Part two- The design & games
Part three- The favors and hat


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  1. Holy heck. I just found you via Amy Atlas a few days ago. I was so stoked to find out you‚Äö?Ñ?¥re local (I‚Äö?Ñ?¥m in Oceanside). But to think you got one of my long-time photography crushes to take photos for this party has made me insanely jealous. I‚Äö?Ñ?¥d love some more step-by-step details on the colored popcorn. I‚Äö?Ñ?¥m planning a RoyGBiv party for my daughter and think multi-colored popcorn would blow everyone‚Äö?Ñ?¥s mind.

  2. Thanks you guys. This design was so much fun for me:)

    Mandi, my photographers name is Michael Chan- he has been amazing to work with so far:) I am incredibly thankful for his work.

    Yolanda, You can find a great recipe for the popcorn @ My only suggestion is to add a tiny bit of corn syrup to ensure the color sticks the popcorn well. Hope you party goes wonderfully.

  3. Jennifer, thanks you are very kind!

    Mandi- are you coming down to SD ever? I would love to visit when you do:) To answer your question the site is for the photography business not one particular person, they have quite a few photographers Michael is one of them. So yes, I do not know Nate but I believe they work together.

  4. I am coming to socal for memorial day weekend, but to orange county…for my dad’s birthday…im hoping to make another trip this summer, one with no schedules or places to be. as soon as i figure it out ill let you know…I would LOVE to meet up and see your new stopming grounds!

    Your photographer is great…i love how he captured all the details. especially the pinwheels on the sticks. I never knew you were so darn creative! Wish you were here to help me with Brooke’s carnaval birthday next month…and to join us :o) let me know when your back for a visit!

  5. I’m looking to make some pinwheels for my son’s b-day party, so thanks for the tutorial! But, where did you get the pinwheels in the picture of the pink popcorn? I love them and would like to get a few just in case I can’t make enough pinwheels in time for the party. Thanks for your help! If you wouldn’t mind, it would be great if you emailed me.
    [email protected]
    Thank you!

loving mom + a giveaway.

Pinwheels & pearls design (part 2 of 3)