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REAL PARTIES: Classic Red Ball Birthday

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classic red ball birthday party

{Note from Jenn: I’m so excited to share the very first contributor post from talented designer Jessica Kirkland of Pen N’ Paperflowers with you today! One look at this party that she designed for her daughter and I think you’ll see why we’re so VERY HAPPY to have her! Also – be sure to check out the note on Pastry Pedestals™ in the party details portion of the post – this is an adorable & brand new patent-pending product that she designed herself. So without further adieu… here’s Jessica!}

“You are absolutely going to have a BALL pouring over all of the details of this “Classic Red Ball Birthday” party.  As a brand-new blog contributor for HWTM, and this being my very first post, I’m thrilled to share with you a party I hosted for my very own daughter’s 2nd birthday!  I hope you enjoy the crisp color palette and the fun & simple details that follow…

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

Read on for LOTS more images (and we really mean LOTS!) plus all of the party details…

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party

classic red ball birthday party


After mulling over several different party themes for my daughter’s second birthday, I decided on a “Classic Red Ball” birthday theme for two reasons. First and foremost, it had everything to do with Ella’s current infatuation with play balls. Second, it was the most simple out of the various creative themes I’d been dreaming of.  Considering the fact I’d be helping to host two baby showers, Thanksgiving dinner for 25 and Ella’s party all in the same month, I knew I needed simple . *wink* Being well aware this theme had been done before, I was determined to make it my own and chose to do something classic and feminine.


As a graphic designer, the invitation is always of utmost importance to me.  Not only does it set the stage for what guests can expect, it also provides me with a foundation to continually refer to throughout the party planning process. I carry the printed invitation with me everywhere I go. By keeping it with me, I’m always prepared for whatever party decor I may accidentally stumble upon while running an unrelated errand. Coordinating party accessories aren’t an issue when you can whip out the invitation right there on the spot to see if they work with the theme! (I seriously suggest doing this!)


Honestly…the decor for me is all about the dessert table. It’s my very favorite part of hosting a party because it ties all of my favorite party & design elements together in one nice little package; desserts, graphic design, decor, color palette, personalization, theme, accessories, etc. It’s also “smart”. Not only is it the focal point of the party…it’s functional too.  I’d rather spend my time creating a real focal point drenched in details vs. sprinkling little elements all over the house. With that said, our back patio became the “party hub”. It was the perfect choice since I wanted to encourage the children attending to play in the backyard filled with a variety of different sized red play balls.

Although I don’t normally do balloons at parties, they just so happened to be another one of Ella’s favorite things, so I opted to have a ceiling filled with red balloons.


I knew I wanted to incorporate actual play balls onto the dessert table and had originally wanted to hang oversized red balls above it as a focal point. Because the oversized bouncy balls were a hard commodity to come by during the Fall season in which the birthday was held…I reluctantly scrapped that idea. I was able to add height to the table by using some nesting hat boxes from Ikea. I simply removed the lid to the top hat box in order to nest the ball on top!

I lined the backside of the table with smaller red play balls and simply used inexpensive white round candy dishes to secure the balls.The backdrop for the dessert table consisted of a 4×8 piece of white V-groove paneling from Lowe’s flanked by some perfect polka dot fabric I happened upon at Ikea.


It was so fun coming up with some toddler-friendly desserts! I was determined to make sure everything on the table would be things Ella and her little friends would not only enjoy eating, could also handle easily. I knew mini red velvet cupcakes were a must, and adding a small red gum BALL to the top tied in the theme perfectly! On one side of the dessert table, the mini cupcakes were placed on a cake stand decorated with red ribbon.

Using a trifle bowl with a thick piece of styrofoam, I  was able to display additional mini cupcakes on personalized Pastry Pedestals™. Pastry Pedestals™ look adorable, and they make it really easy to add a personal touch to party pastries & help tie in the colors and theme of the party! (I’m especially passionate about these because they are a product I designed and are in the middle of the patent-pending process! *pinch me*)

Aside from the adorable cupcakes…giant RED jawbreakers tied with a red polka dot ribbon were placed on the table to mimic bouncy balls and were nestled in sugar-filled baking cups.

There were also red cake BALLS (thank you Michele), licorice sticks, peppermint sticks and two of my favorite items: custom-made lollipops and peppermint marshmallows sent by Vintage Confections. Again, for the lollipops, I used white table sugar to fill a serving vessel and displayed the lollipops upside down. Perfectly decorated sugar cookies from the Cookie Jar and delicious chocolate-dipped oreos from Sweeties by Kim filled the table as well. Alongside red chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, Ella’s favorite snack was also displayed on the table in little nut cups for easy grabbing.

Adorable red jello cups topped whipped cream and one round red edible sequin were such an easy way to tie in the theme and offer an age-appropriate snack. Serving them in plastic shot glasses made them suitable for toddlers to handle, and the mini spoons provided to eat them with made these the perfect toddler-sized treat!


The beverage station included Shirley Temple sodas, fruit punch flavored Juicy Juice, and of course – what’s a classic red BALL party without red polka dot straws too! *wink*


The backyard was filled with all types of red play balls for the kids to play with. In addition to those, I created toddler-sized paddles – for a “don’t let the balloon hit the ground” game – by hot gluing mini paper plates and wooden tongue depressors together.

Other age-appropriate activities included making balls out of red playdough and using jumbo-sized red crayons for coloring the customized coloring sheet. And a very sweet gentleman in the neighborhood kindly surprised us by making a matching wooden bean bag toss game. My mom pitched in by sewing the polka dot bean bags from some napkins I happened to find at Old Time Pottery.


Favors were super EASY!! Kids were allowed to pick one or two play balls to take home, as well as their favorite leftover treats from the dessert table.


Coordinating thank you cards were mailed out after the party and included a wallet-sized photo or two of the very sweet birthday girl…”

Vendor Credit


  1. Michele @ crazyfordesign March 10, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Yay! It’s soooo adorable, just as I knew it would be. I love the way you added height with the “cake”. Thanks for including me in the vendor list! I look forward to more of your party inspiration!

  2. HiLLjO March 10, 2011 at 7:59 am

    This is a perfect party for little kids! It’s cute, bright, simple and amazing! The repeated theme really pulls every detail together from the invite to the thank yous to the birthday outfit. Very cute!!! Ella is, too!

  3. Allison March 10, 2011 at 9:03 am

    There is nothing about this party I don’t love. I plan to shamelessly copy so many of your marvelous ideas.

  4. Aaliyah Goodman March 10, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Very cute ideas. Love it!

  5. Oh My Gosh!!!!!!!! I’m on overload with all this cute stuff! I love the shirley temple sodas. They are soooo tasty. I get mine at bevmo.- Sarah http://agirlintransit.blogspot.com/

  6. Adriana Garcia March 10, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Absolutely gorgeous, what a wonderful theme!

  7. Ashley Holmgren Events March 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Love this – such a simple theme & beautiful pictures!

  8. WENDY March 10, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I LOVE IT!! Every little detail is just perfect!

  9. Lisa {With Style and Grace} March 10, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I absolutely LOVE this! So simple, classic and still playful. Ok and where did you get the little model, she’s precious!! jk ;)

  10. Patti Davis March 10, 2011 at 9:23 am

    This is so precious! I would even consider this darling party for adults – just change up the beverages. I can’t imagine this not making everyone feel totally happy!

  11. emily piper March 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Wonderful, Jess! it all turned out just perfect!

  12. Heather {WhipperBerry} March 10, 2011 at 9:36 am

    I am soooooo in love with this party!! GENIUS!!

  13. Vicki Murray March 10, 2011 at 9:43 am

    LOVE this party!! Just love it….and the pastry pedestals…awesome!!! Congrats on the new product, Jessica!!!

  14. Tori {Thoughtfully Simple} March 10, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Perfectly put together and playful — just right for a 2nd birthday! Great work!

  15. Kim @ The Celebration Shoppe March 10, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Lovely, lovely job Jess!

  16. Amy March 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Wow! This is such an amazing party! Thank you for the inspiration!

  17. Nikki March 10, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Congratulations Jessica! Looks GREAT!!!

  18. Kori Clark March 10, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I ADORE IT ALL! The simplicity of the theme carried so beautifully and throughout the party and really made an amazing design throughout!! I know Ella had a “ball”! =)

  19. Maureen Anders March 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    This is absolutely precious. I LOVE the red lollis that look like balls… and the cutout board ball game… and the adorable ball on the dessert table.
    It looks like everyone HAD A BALL! ;-)

  20. katia March 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Stunning! So lovely and delicious looking. The red ballerina skirt was the cherry on top for me. so pretty!

  21. TERRI March 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!! WOW is all i can say! :D

  22. Jessica March 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    ADORABLE!! I love how they took something as simple as a red ball and made it an AWESOME theme…the little biscuit is super cute too:)

  23. Julie March 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Absolutely adore this little girl and her party! Very appropriate for 2 year olds birthday party! Thank you for your charming and dainty post!

  24. Chris @ Celebrations At Home March 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Love the party and the pastry pedestals are Brilliant, Jess! Congratulations!!

  25. Lisa~The SweetTalk Shop March 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    So amazing in its simplicity! Love every detail and those Pastry Petals are adorable!!!

  26. Sarah March 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Wow! Looks perfect.

  27. Paula @ Frog Prince Paperie March 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I love this! What a great theme for any kid, and just love those pastry pedestals! Brilliant! :)

  28. Andrea Fraga March 10, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I love this Jess, incredible job! I love the bright beautiful details, the big round balls and those beautiful lollipops. You are so talented! Great job!
    xoxo, Andrea

  29. Maree Sperle March 10, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I cannot wait for those pastry pedestals. They look amazing. Please keep me informed for these when they are available.

    Fantastic party for Ella. I am sure she had a wonderful time.

  30. vicki March 10, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Sweet party for Sweet Miss Ella!! Beautiful job Jess and I know how cute everything was because I got to attend!! Good luck with your invention; I’ll be ordering! Ella looked adorable!

  31. Jessica March 10, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Love this party! It’s perfect timing as I too am doing a ball party for my little 2-yr old son. I was wondering where you found the large bouncy balls. I’ve been looking like crazy trying to find some for the party. And the pastry pedestals are so fun. I went on your Etsy store and didn’t see them. :(

  32. Gayle March 11, 2011 at 2:05 am

    I adore this styling. Executed perfectly and oh so sweet!

  33. Madison March 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    This is absolutely adorable! Everything is so well thought out. She’s lucky to have a mom like you!

  34. Genevieve Le Bel March 14, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Sweet Jess!!! Congrats!!! Your work is BEYOND fabulous… ALWAYS! But this party, holy hell gf, you outdid yourself! It packs a MAJOR punch!!! BRAVO bella!!!! Genevieve =)

  35. Genevieve Le Bel March 14, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Sweet Jess!!! Congrats!!! Your work is BEYOND fabulous… ALWAYS! But this party, holy hell gf, you outdid yourself! It packs a MAJOR punch!!! BRAVO bella!!!!
    Genevieve =)

  36. Kelley March 23, 2011 at 10:32 am

    What’s not to love about this?!?! Beyond creative. Beyond awesome!

  37. Raiza Calderon March 24, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Pastry Pedestals are a must item to buy. Please let us know when this product hits the market. I’m so buying a bunch. I love making cupcakes and decorating in different way. I can’t wait.

    • Jessica @ Pen N' Paperflowers Studio & Design April 5, 2011 at 10:52 am

      Raiza…thanks so much for the excitement about the Pastry Pedestals…the official launch is scheduled somewhere between mid to late April…

  38. Joshua Jones April 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    What a darling party!

    My only question…..with a color-inpired name like Scarlet, why not call it the “Scarlet Ball”, as opposed to the “Red Ball”, heheh.

    Thanks for sharing!! :)

  39. Fábia May 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Its a dreamen party for everyone celebrate!
    Sem sombra de dúvidas, divinas idéias muito inspiradoradoras e instigante.
    Obrigado por compartilhar, grande iniciativa!
    O tema é ideal para crianças nessa fase de até dois anos, bola sempre é o brinquedo favorito delas, além de socializar os convidados ao extremo.
    Adorei muito.

  40. Amber Walker April 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I am just curious because I am having troubles finding red boucy balls online? Could you suggest some places for me to look. Thank you!!

  41. Amanda September 26, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Where did you find all of the huge balls?!!

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