Ask Design Mom: Birthday Party Resources

September 20, 2010

Hi Gabrielle. I am absolutely broken-hearted over the end of Cookie Magazine, but I was happy that for a while I could at least peruse the site for ideas and inspiration. Now, that too is gone. No more birthday ideas, house tours, etc. Do you know of anywhere else to find any of that information? I have a toddler birthday coming up and wanted something simple but sweet. Can you send me in any sort of direction? Thanks! Amy in Florida

I miss Cookie too, Amy! But thankfully, there are some great websites out there dedicated to party ideas. Two of my favorites are Sara’s Party Perfect and the newly launched Hip Hip Hooray! Both are searchable and full of brilliant themes and helpful instructions.

What about you, Dear Readers? Where do you find your party inspiration?

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julee September 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I love planning birthdays for my J+J.
Hip Hip Hooray is one of my favorites, but I also like:
One Charming Party (
Hostess with the Mostess (


2 Mary September 20, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I am eagerly awaiting more comments on this one! I am planning to have a small at-home party for my son’s 4th birthday, and I’m feeling inspired about theme and decorations (his easy request – rainbows!). However, I need some ideas about activities! What do you do with a handful of 4-year-old boys?


3 Mary September 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I am eagerly awaiting more comments on this one! I am planning to have a small at-home party for my son’s 4th birthday, and I’m feeling inspired about theme and decor (his easy request – rainbows!). However, I need some ideas about activities! What do you do with a handful of 4-year-old boys? (Oh, and it’s Boston in December, so indoors!)


4 Hannah S September 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I agree with the first comment, one of my favorites is

She has wonderfully creative ideas plus fantastic and clear photos by Nicole Hill Gerault (little sussy) .

She just submitted a rainbow (artist) party that would work perfectly for your indoor need.


5 barchbo September 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

My fave site is

I may not buy a lot from there, but I always see something I like that inspires me! They even have a section where they provide ideas – I hope it helps!

PS: I’ve never used it for kids’ parties, so I don’t know how much they gear toward that.


6 Tina September 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I miss Cookie for all the same reasons (and more!) I get some good ideas from Ohdeedoh as well. I know they are mostly a design site, but I get some inspiration from there. Real Simple has also had some great ideas too.
Also, as for the 4 year old boys inside? My son turns 4 in March and people always get excited about any party in my house because I ALWAYS have a play list. I usually make a play list with a theme and have a dance/jam session during the party. The parents LOVE to watch the kiddos dance and burn off all that sugar from the cupcakes! For my son’s 3rd birthday we had a truck party. Included on the play list was Blind Melon’s version of School House Rock “3 is a magic Number” and “Truckin’” by the Grateful Dead.
Love this post! I adore throwing parties for kids!
P.S. I (stole) made the truck cake from Say Yes to Hoboken….I think?


7 just September 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm

my gf in sf runs a party business called its a piece of cake!
we used to do art parties at a studio.
id press her if i wasnt lucky enough to have crazy ideas fall in my lap.
winter bdays are hard-bc of the NE weather factor & indoor restraints.
i was going to do an art party for my 3 year old son Wade this year.
trying to avoid the racecar monster truck kinda craziness.
thought about soccer and hockey event-a first for most this age.
it will be hard to out do myself after last year’s “Wade-stock”.
now he has a slight obsession with ….sad but true…beer trucks.
so i maaay just have to do “Wade-weiser” just bc its so funny.
that may only appeal to the offbeat friends&fam tho.
so, yes, help!
cant wait to hear more posts myself!


8 angela September 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

i just have to say that i’m also desperately missing cookie a whole year later:(


9 nikki September 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

LOVE Sarah’s Party Perfect! I do however have quite a number of sites bookmarked for parties.
Another great one is
or this lovely inspirational site


10 mandi September 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I love OhDeeDoh for party ideas too!


11 Sarah from CocoBlu September 20, 2010 at 2:36 pm

This year, I am having a Pirate & Princess Party for 2 of my kids (this weekend, as a matter of fact)! It is a great way to accommodate a girl & a boy party in one theme! We’re having a treasure hunt, printed on treasure map paper from Oriental Trading… hiding 2 treasure chests in the neighborhood. I bought a cardboard castle for the kids to color and play in. We’ll have an ice cream sundae station (a “booty” bar, perhaps) where the kids can add their own treasure toppings- liquid gold caramel, sparkly sprinkles, m&m gems… Should be fun!

See the invitations by clicking my name- I’ll post pictures on Monday!


12 Heather September 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I miss Cookie so much!!! Loved that mag & am so upset with Conde Nast for ditching Cookie and Gourmet.
Love Ohdeedoh and am looking forward to checking out the sites mentioned here now.


13 Anne September 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm

If you already have some idea of what you want, Etsy is a great place to find more inspiration. I typed my theme into the search function and found beautiful invitations that were my starting point for decorating for my daughter’s birthday. You can also find printable party packages and more.


14 Sarah Buttenwieser September 20, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Sister of Design Mom’s a party planner with her (also) great blog oh happy day.

I have four kids & have noticed that with each child the parties get less themed & created & more homespun & somehow more fun (but you don’t have to believe me!). I love making invitations for the sake of creating a paper trail of birthdays over the years & this year my 15 year old isn’t having any of it. Which is okay too.

For four years, my second guy invited extra people to our whoever wants to come pick up soccer game (we play each weekend) & the party aspect was this: a little tailgate ice cream cone station out of our old SUV. Everyone loved it.


15 twirling betty September 20, 2010 at 6:05 pm

I know that sites can be variable, but one I actually really like for parties is:
Megan who writes it (and who also has another personal blog which is lovely) has some great ideas for parties that are fun but not too over the top. I always find good insipration there.


16 Autumn September 20, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Great sites! Thanks.


17 Tanya September 20, 2010 at 8:53 pm
18 Cissy September 20, 2010 at 9:01 pm
19 Kristy B September 20, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Polka Dot Birthday is awesome!!


20 Janet September 21, 2010 at 12:24 am

In addition to Hip Hip Hooray and Sara’s Party Perfect, I also like looking at and (I see that other people like these too!)


21 Adri September 21, 2010 at 5:36 am

I found great stuff for parties at Etsy. My 5 y-o daughter had a butterfly party. It was in a park and we decorated the trees around the table with little and colorful butterflies (from a chinese store in NY but PaperSource sells the same products). The girls got wings, the boys got kites. And the cake got the most amazing edible butterflies from Etsy:


22 Nicole September 21, 2010 at 7:25 am

Ohdeedoh! They rock! They post a party almost once a day and they do some pretty cool room tours!!! I love how simple it is…just really cool pics, with some great links!


23 Carrie Kane for Anders Ruff Custom Designs September 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

We would love to help! Please stop by our Etsy shop -> … for invitations, announcements and coordinating printables for your party. We also have a blog: for great party ideas.


24 Amy S September 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm

wow! how awesome…that was my question! Thanks for posting it, Gabriella. And thanks to all who provided links and ideas. I am checking them all out. This is my third child, but first boy, so I just want to do something cute, but super easy. Thanks for everyone’s ideas!

P.S…..I don’t suppose a “Bring Back Cookie Mag” letter campaign would do any good???


25 Amy S September 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Sorry, I was typing fast and typed my Gabriella, as in my friend’s daughter! Sorry! I DO know it’s Gabrielle!


26 Lover September 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I find party inspiration in: polkadot wallpaper, unicorn wallpaper, and double rainbows.


27 Adriana September 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm

If you miss Cookie check out “Momfilter” on Facebook. Some of the former Cookie editors have a new project in the works!


28 Anneliese November 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm

A belated thank you for introducing me to these two party sites. I started following and they both recently featured my daughter, Scarlett’s “Modern Farm” party! So fun…


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