Sunday, January 26, 2014

winter wonderland party

Hope you're all staying warm! I love looking out the window to see snow, but I'm not enjoying the arctic temps keeping me inside with a stir-crazy toddler all day.

I had the incredible opportunity to style a weekend of parties for my first "real" clients earlier this month. The first night was the "fancy" party for their business associates and older family members, and the second night was for friends and family to hang out. We chose a Winter Wonderland theme, and I got to style their incredible house with birch, metallics, antlers, and branches. You know, just some of my favorite things.

Spray paint was my best friend for this party. I bought some cheesy snow village houses (at the thrift store, on half off day, no less), and spray painted them white. Suddenly they became so much more modern. 

These were grouped on their gorgeous dining table with gold painted toy deer and gold sparkle trees. 

Also in the dining room were the ugly antler candle holders from Hobby Lobby that were completely transformed with gold spray paint.

We grouped three trees in what they jokingly call the ballroom (It's a big room with tall ceilings, big windows, a fireplace, and a grand piano. So until they get furniture, yeah, it basically is a ballroom!). I used the patented Kara Hallead Tree Skirting Technique of grouping lights at the bottom and wrapping it in tulle. I love how it glows and reflects off the floor a little bit.

I used gold beads, gold and silver branches from Joann Fabrics, and these little white birds from the Dollar Store. Two for a dollar! They had ugly red beaks and feet, but a gold Sharpie took care of that.

If you were at my wedding this tablescape should look familiar. I love the shape and shadows that branches make, and the gold spray paint just makes them fancy. I used these same gold and silver confetti dots all over the place. They really sparkled once the candles were lit.

This was my little set up on the piano. Pretty sure "put a dome on it" should become a thing. ; )

But the big centerpiece was the hot chocolate bar we set up in their gorgeous foyer. 

The backdrop is made of tons of circles punched out of old book paper, sewn into long strands, and strung on twine. Here's a GIF!

The circles gently fluttered, and sort of gave the effect of snow falling.

We rented this beverage dispenser, but I totally wanna buy one now. So pretty!

So bummed that I can't keep these topiaries forever and ever. I think I'm gonna clear coat them and cross my fingers that they'll last till next Christmas (without attracting critters).

And now, the toppings:

Two gallons of marshmallows, of course

Chocolate dipped spoons. There was also a second tier with white chocolate and dark chocolate and sea salt. Yum.

White and dark chocolate dipped marshmallows. On my favorite birch straws, of course!

Candy canes and gingerbread cookies that hooked on the side of your cup; like so:

And lots more goodies to doctor up your cocoa. (Notice I wrapped the whipped cream in that super-useful Martha Stewart birch paper.)

The cups, lids, and sleeves were from the, the napkins were from Joann Fabrics, and the white ceramic trays were from Pier 1. 

The homeowners had already bought the fabulous Restoration Hardware lighted birch trees. They framed out the table so nicely.

Thanks, Jordan and Alicia for inviting me into your home, and letting me do my thing! They also had a great bartender, and an excellent caterer. Chef Marco's food was insane. Seriously. Check him out at Osteria de Giuliano.

And HUGE thanks to my sister, Faith, for being my right hand woman and photographer on party day. Couldn't have done it without you, my dear.

Party Credits
Party Styling: Kara Hallead of karasdomesticlife
Photography: Faith Scheuerman
Dipped spoons, marshmallows, and cookies: Kara Hallead
Lighted birch trees: Restoration Hardware
Hot beverage cups & sleeves:
Birch fabric, bulap & napkins: Joann Fabrics


  1. Wow, amazing! You were made to do this. :) I want to try your tree skirt idea some time (all credit to you, of course ;)).

    1. Thank you! And, yeah, you've gotta try the tree skirt thing. I made it up when we didn't have a tree skirt and I didn't want to buy one. (Or make one. Circles, math, no thank you.)

  2. Wow! This party is so chic! I'm kicking myself now for not picking up those napkins when they were on clearance at the end of the season at Joannes. I love how everything was modern but cozy, and your transformation of thrift/dollar store items was ingenious. Gold sharpies might be my new friend :-)

    1. Thanks so much! Check Joann's again, they have a few packs left at ours!

  3. Your attention to detail is amazing!! Kara I'm so excited for you and your future parties!!