DIY Friday: Make a paper fan

Paper fans are so versatile. They can be used layered or tiled for backdrops, to dress the front of your table, or adhered to a stick as a centrepiece, even hung from the ceiling on fishing wire. So when we spied this amazing paper fan backdrop we asked clever stylist Vanessa Morris from Little Pear Events to show us how to make this versatile decor element. What you need: 2 x Cardboard (needs to be rectangle) A glue gun or glue Disk for the middle

  1. Start by folding a cardboard sheet in half (from the short end), fold again and then again (this means when you move onto the next step each fold is even)
  2. Fold out again and then fold in a concertina (folding forwards and backwards onto itself)
  3. Repeat with the other sheet of cardboard
  4. Now is the time to get your disk ready, in this one i just cut out a heart and glued it onto a doily then onto some thicker card stock
  5. Back to the concertinaed cardboard, use your glue gun to clue down one of the edges then quickly attach the other to this so it from a semi circle
  6. Repeat with the other side and glue so you have a complete circle
  7. Now glue the disk to the middle of your fan (be sure to position the disk so the top is aligned with the edge that wasn’t clued, this was will ensure when your fan hangs in doesn’t fold open.

Meet the Stylist: Thetis Sardo from Little Sooti

Scandinavian Inspired Sooti Party

Scandinavian Inspired Sooti Party


Valentines Day Luncheon

Valentines Day Luncheon

The definition of Eclectic is ‘A person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources’ and when you look through Thetis Sardo’s portfolio of events, you can certainly see her ability to adapt her creativity to a range of styles is certainly a strong point. Whether its a children’s party or an adults affair, the diversity is shown through the use of colour, design and approach by using a broad range of different elements and more importantly, stylistic themes. Rolling out umpteen events at a time, Thetis eclectic approach sure seems to be winning her lots of business, well deserved to an amazing creative eye and dedication to her work!

Describe your style in five words? Eclectic, Fun, Fresh, Simple, Modern

What has been your favourite theme/event to date? So far would have been my daughters 3rd birthday. It was a Scandinavian inspired fox party. Very quirky, bold colours and lots of geometric shapes. That is definitely my true style.

 Where do you look for inspiration (what inspires you)?  I find inspiration everywhere from fabrics to art, shapes and colours and I love to mix and match it all up.

Name one of your all time favourite event décor elements? What is that makes this element so fabulous? I love the geometric shaped paper garlands we used at Zoe’s 3rd birthday. Bright pops of coloured shapes!! So in right now.

What is your number one piece of advice for planning an event? Be organised. Make lists for each part of the event like dessert table, table setting and décor and start planning and purchasing early for each section of the party. 

For more inspiration by Little Sooti go to:

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Coral and Mint Easter Table

Coral and Mint Easter Table

Preppy Polo 1st Birthday Celebration

Preppy Polo 1st Birthday Celebration

DIY Friday: Jeanees Spiced Blood Orange Fizz

DIY Friday: Jeanees Spiced Blood Orange Fizz

DIY Friday: Jeanees Spiced Blood Orange Fizz

Our gift tags were recently featured on a lovely craft blog I got ‘chatting’ to clever creator Jeanee to find she had quite an amazing portfolio in the craft world, including writing a book ‘Abode à la Mode: 44 Projects for Hip Home Décor’ (Sterling, 2005), starring in the DVD ‘Re-Construct: Eco-Friendly Crafts Made Easy’ (Eyekiss, 2009), and co-designing ‘Honeydoux jewellery’ along with writing the Dining Out column for Atlanta’s Newcomer magazine.

With such an amazing list of achievements (and sharing lots of passions in design and craft with yours truly), I asked if Jeanee would like to contribute to our blog with a DIY Friday….WELL…as it turns out Jeanee also Hosts Project Runway Series parties (I KNOW!! What is there this talented lady doesn’t do??!!) For each party, Jeanee designs a new cocktail….she would be happy to share with us one of her new recipes. WELL INDEED!!!

So it is with the greatest honour and pleasure that we share Jeanees ‘Spiced Blood Orange Fizz’ recipe with you, I will let her tell you ALL about it!

When I have ladyfriends over for TV night, I always serve a special cocktail. I like tall, fruity drinks that work with or without alcohol so that my guests can opt for a “virgin”—after all, these parties are usually on weeknights! This blood orange fizz hits the spot year-round, but the clove flavor is especially nice in chilly months. If you like, multiply the recipe and make it in a pitcher or punchbowl ahead of time, but hold off on the sparkling water until just before serving.

Blood orange juice, fresh squeezed or bottled
Clove syrup (see recipe below)
Dark, sweet cherries preserved in syrup
Sparkling water
Orange peel spiral (see directions below)

Fill a tall glass with ice. Add a shot of gin, then fill 2/3 with blood orange juice. Next add 1 tablespoon of clove syrup, a few cherries, and a drizzle of cherry syrup. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Top off with sparkling water and stir with a straw. Garnish with an orange peel spiral.

Clove Syrup

1 cup filtered water
1 cup turbinado sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a simmer. Add the sugar and cloves, and stir to dissolve. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool. It will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Orange Peel Spiral

Use a vegetable peeler to make a long strip of orange peel, being careful not to include any white pith. I find it easiest to make a fat strip, then cut it in half lengthwise. Hold one end of a strip against a skewer, spiral the peel around, and hold both ends for 10 seconds.

For more creative inspiration, fabulous DIY projects, recipes, spotlights on fabulous design and a lovely inside to other crafters homes, visit:

Client Party Feature: Sing me a Rainbow by One Magic Day

Sing me a Rainbow Party by Nicole, 'One Magic Day'

Sing me a Rainbow Party by Nicole, ‘One Magic Day’, with musical note garland and paper clouds by red elephant creative

Recently I was contacted by the lovely Nicole about her daughters Birthday with a bespoke request….’Can you make me a rainbow garland with musical notes?’ Indeed I love a challenge and as the creative process unfolded, I found out the garland was for her daughters ‘Sing me a Rainbow’ Birthday Party, which was also to surround the launch of Nicole’s new printable business ‘One Magic Day’.

Matisse and her Mum, Nicole

Matisse and her Mum, Nicole at her Sing me a Rainbow 3rd Birthday Party

I love events based on a personal theme, and this was no exception as Nicole has been singing ‘Sing me a Rainbow’ since her daughter was a baby. As always happens when you get two creatives together, the idea grew and Red elephant creative was making not only the garlands, but some paper clouds to compliment the design for the backdrop.

On the table, Nicole featured a rainbow cake by Cake Envy, who also made the cake pops and cookies. Along with ‘rainbow jelly smiles’ and ‘rainbow jelly cups’ and ‘rainbow fairy bread and popcorn’.

The finishing touch to bring together the whole theme was Nicoles ‘sing me a rainbow’ themed printables. With Invitations, food labels, chocolate and water bottle labels, popcorn boxes and sweet little straw flags, Nicole has left no stone unturned with her designs.

Nicole’s new business venture ‘One Magic Day’ Party Printables can be found on Facebook, Other themes include Vintage Tea Party and Dino Roar Party for the boys.

We are very excited to have been a part of this beautiful party and thank Nicole for the opportunity. Congratulations also on your recent feature by Amy Atlas, I am sure this is a good sign of many amazing parties to come from One Magic Day!

For more about One Magic Day including Nicole’s beautiful printable designs go to

Choosing a professional photographer for your special event

Event Photography by Sarah Braiden Photography

Event Photography by Sarah Braiden Photography

A few years ago I contracted to a personal family friend and wedding photographer working as a PR girl of sorts at his tradeshows, chatting to his customers, building new business. From the reports of his past clients, and looking through the albums, it fast became clear to me the importance of capturing memories from a professional eye and more importantly with the right person behind the camera.

Nursery Interior Decorating Shoot for Mud Pie Designs by Sarah Braden Photography

Nursery Interior Decorating Shoot for Mud Pie Designs by Sarah Braden Photography

Fast forward to just a few months ago. My littlest was a ‘model’ of sorts for a new and exciting product about to hit the shelves (more about that later…). I was feeling really nervous. She’s a baby, what if she doesn’t sit still? What if she cries? Is hungry? And God forbid, what if she needs a nappy change mid shoot?

We arrived to a uber cool studio in Sydney’s Balmain….more nerves, rang the doorbell and we were met with a warm smiling face and a friendly ‘Hi, I’m Sarah’. Instantly I felt like I was with an old friend, welcomed upstairs…. and we started the process. ‘Take your time, its okay. We will work to Lily’s schedule’…and away we went. Through the process, it became evident to me once again, the importance of having a rapport with your photographer to get the best results…and with Lily and I at comfort, we did.

Through the process Sarah and I were chatting. As it turns out her portfolio is HUGE. Sarah not only does commercial photography, but does wedding shoots, special events (including parties) and portraits….With such an instant liking of Sarah, and such a broad portfolio, I asked her to join our blog and tell us a little bit about:

The Importance of choosing a professional photographer

…and more importantly how to ensure you are the choosing the RIGHT photographer!

This is what Sarah had to say.

At Sarah Braden Photography we believe it is important to choose a Professional Photographer for your family portraits, weddings and special events. These are such precious moments in your lives that you wouldn’t entrust them to just anyone, you need to be assured that the photographs taken on these days capture your memories in a way that reflects you.

 Professional Photographers:

Are able to deliver beautiful, natural photographs under all conditions. When unexpected things happen, you will be at ease knowing that your photographer can cope with the circumstances on the day and create a photographic experience that is relaxed and enjoyable for both the photographer and the client. 

Will ensure that they have the latest camera equipment, which will produce a high quality image, and they have a filing system to ensure your memories are archived.

Are active members of professional organizations such as the AIPP. All photographers who are part of the AIPP have passed a rigorous accreditation process and must adhere to the code of ethics and business practices.

Sarah Braden, the woman behind the lense

Sarah Braden, photographer

Always has the end image in mind and therefore take into account:

Light – They reveal the best time of day to have your portrait sitting or location photos. They look at shadows and sun and see how they can use this to create a magical image.
Image Composition – This is the creativity behind the shot. The photographer evaluates each scene and decides what’s best to keep and remove from the image.
Styling – This may involve styling a beautiful room for an interior photograph; or the bride’s room when she is getting ready to removing unsightly items that may spoil an otherwise perfect shot.

At Sarah Braden Photography we offer you a relaxed and unobtrusive style that captures the fun, the family memories, the details and elegance of your day. Sarah works closely with all her clients to ensure she offers a personalised service that will allow her to record their story as it naturally unfolds. 

I can very confidently say from experience, Sarah’s approachable and open-minded manner will guide you through your day with ease as she captures your beautiful photographic collection for you to enjoy for many happy years to come….to view Sarah’s very extensive portfolio, check out her page.

and stay up to date with the latest, like her Facebook page

Modelling portfolio photos by Sarah Braden Photography

Creative Wedding Shot by Sarah Braiden Photography

Creative Wedding Shot by Sarah Braiden Photography



When opportunity takes you to a place unknown


This morning a rare moment unfolded where I had the opportunity to go to my favorite dawn yoga class. So I Rugged up and met the misty drizzle of a mountains morning to find the studio….empty and dark – school holidays!
Back in the car I decided not to let the opportunity for some quiet time pass me by and headed to my favorite place to go, sans kids.
If your a fan of our Facebook page, you’ll know that new things are happening for red elephant creative. We are teaming up with one of my most respected creatives (and longest friends), the person who made red elephant happen for me. We have more than just one project in the pipeline, and whilst this opportunity is leaving me with less than a winks sleep, I couldn’t be happier.
I am being challenged creatively, and this makes me happy, it grounds me in the oddest ways. Just like this morning, whilst we have plans on paper now, I am really not sure where all these ideas will take us in 12 months, 2, 5 or 10 years time…but I do know in my heart it will be a place that dreams are made of…that’s what you get when you team two very determined strong minded creatives with the utmost respect for each other, balanced perfectly in skill and temperament (she doesn’t have half the potty mouth I do)!
But wait! This doesn’t mean curtains at all for red elephant creative, instead it means bigger and better opportunities for our products and more importantly our customers, say tuned people…your gonna LOVE it!!

Meet the Event Stylist: Nicky from Sweet Details Event Styling

Toy Store Dessert Display

Toy Store Dessert Display

Surfer Penguin 3rd Birthday

Surfer Penguin 3rd Birthday

For those who are familiar with my designs, you will know I love clean lines, stripes and my favourite palette is red with two shades of blue….so when I first saw Nicky from Sweet Details toy store display, I just has to see more of Nicky’s work – and I wasn’t disappointed. Tonight I am pleased to share with you Nicky’s responses to our quick five questions along with photos of her work…which I am sure you will agree is quintessentially fresh as the beaches of the Gold Coast, where she lives, works and plays.

Describe your style in five words? Stylish, uncluttered, unique, vibrant and modern

What has been your favourite theme/event to date? I loved styling our toy store display. I wanted to use something other than a table so I used shelving instead.  I wanted to give the impression of looking into a toy store window. I knew I wanted to use strong traditional colours such as red, blue and white and incorporate traditional and classic looking toys. The foods were  designed to compliment the toy theme.

Where do you look for inspiration (what inspires you)? Everywhere! Sometimes it’s colour combinations I notice or other times it may be finding a great prop and building the table or theme around that.

Nicky, Stylist at Sweet Details

Name one of your all time favourite event décor elements? What is that makes this element so fabulous? There are so many but currently I’m loving one-off and vintage pieces to incorporate into my tables. They add a unique element to the table and can be made to work with modern or vintage displays. I also tend to add my own hand made pieces to mzny of my events.

What is your number one piece of advice for planning an event? Give yourself plenty of time. I also try and keep a sample display set up from the start in order to see whether the envisaged plan for the table works in reality. I find that my tables evolve and take on a life of their own and can often end up looking different to what I originally thought. Having the sample table means that you can see straight away whether something is or isn’t working.

For more info, like Nicky’s page on Facebook:

Wedding Candy Buffet

Wedding Candy Buffet

Tips to planning an event: Brainstorming the theme

Vintage Circus themed hire items from Tiny Tots Toy Hire

When my career took me to a boutique events agency, it was the year 2000. Many events were surrounding our cities privelidge to host the 2000 Olympics….and EVERYONE wanted to be an Event Manager. I was a lucky one….plucked out from a sorted team of conference professionals, the hero of my time asked me to join him and grow his events company…what more does a girl want!?

During this time, a lot of the theming choices requested by clients were influenced by Hollywood…’Moulin Rouge’ was overwhelmingly huge and ‘The Oscars’ created a wonderful backbone to an evening fuelled by corporate dollar, and limited only by our imagination…

As time progressed, I noticed themes, like fashion, had their trends….white parties, silver parties, gangsters and moles, rock n roll 50’s, Lord of the Rings, Morocco, Under the Ocean all had their day…and now as I enter the world of children’s events, I can see that this is still a common element.

Weddings take a slightly different approach, the themes are more fashioned towards styles and colour trends….Vintage is huge, along with a more organic, neutral and natural approach to wedding decor, against a stark white crisp pallet. Mint is taking its upper rung in the ladder of popular wedding colour trends and Yellow has been up there for a while. I laugh to think back to a lady who commented on a recent forum that her wedding colour was mint, back in the early 80s, big hair and all and so with this in mind it stands to make sense these trends will have their day over and over.

So whether we choose our event theme based on decorative style period, colour, a hollywood movie, a children’s book or a cultural kaleidoscope there are a few tools and processes which can be used to explore the theme and brainstorm….

1. Brainstorm a word list: So you have a theme in mind. Now brainstorm the buzz words. Think of any associations which you might have with that theme….Jot it down….you never know what you might come up with and how it can be incorporated into your overall event decor. So for example, say the theme is Vintage Circus. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind…Clowns, Big top, Roll Up Roll Up, Ringmaster, Bunting, Red and White, Blue, Lions. Now your have your buzz word list. Now write next to your list what you could turn these things into, how the elements could come into play, for example, Big top could be your cake or the invitation. Ringmaster might be how you dress your child, Clowns as entertainment or might be a fun costume option for Mum and Dad (if your brave), Bunting has its obvious place, Red and White Cupcake toppers and so on.

2. Google and are your Friends: Particularly if you are working for a team or if you are person fuelled by visual inspiration, setting up a virtual pinboard is a great way to get the ideas flowing. Googling variations of the name of your theme and the buzz words listed from your Brainstorming session, then selecting the google images menu is your fast way to an image bank of inspiration. Saving them into your pinterest board will give you access throughout the planning period. Other amazing sources for visual inspiration include for creative handmade decor and supplies or some of the amazing party/wedding/event decor blogs such as or Then there is the media, online magazines such as mylittlejedi!mlj-magazine, there is just so many places to be inspired.

3. Create and inspiration board….Armed with your inspirational images, its now time to select your ‘hero images’. These are the pictures which hit the spot for your theme. You can then either create a virtual inspiration board using a platform such as photoshop (or event microsoft word), or you can print them for a physical inspiration board. The great thing about the physical inspiration board is this gives you a place to pin fabric swatches, ribbons, twine, and other decor samples for your event, make it colourful, give it texture….theres nothing like a tactile experience to help fuel your inspiration.

4. Share the creative process: They say two minds is better than one. One of the most enjoyable experiences about working in an events agency was sharing the brainstorming process with a team of creative minds. Just the other day a girlfriend and I were brainstorming an event. ‘We need height for the table’ she said. ‘Candelabra?’ I suggested. ‘It needs to be safe though, its a children’s event – what about a Chandelier hanging from the tree?’…and there it was, the perfect solution to make glam a children’s event. The process of a think tank gives fuel from one persons idea, to evolve into another persons adaptation of that idea and thus giving more depth to your creative process. Its is also nice way to share the organising experience with a partner/friend/family (and a great excuse to share a glass of wine or two, I’ve come up with some of my best ideas with a little grape therapy).

5. Give it time: There was nothing worse for creative block than a tight deadline. The boss would walk into the office after attending a client briefing. ‘We need to develop a theme for a client event, something surrounding ‘sports’. The client needs the proposal by next Friday’….and there it was, enter ‘Creative Block’. Good ideas take time to develop (like the old cliche of a fine wine). Inspiration comes through all moments in life: Something you might see on TV, read in the paper, see in a magazine, your surrounds – the decor in a room, a visit to a park, whilst your walking down the street, see in a shop window. Even something someone might say to you. Sometimes taking time out from the creative process for a few days (or weeks even) and returning with a fresh perspective can do wonders for injecting new ideas into your event creative.
6. Get amongst it! Visit hire companies, prop hire, decor hire, homeware stores, party shops, florists, markets….anything which might compliment your theme, go there. Touch the merchandise, play with it, HAVE FUN! Exploring your theme in person is a sure key way to ensure the shoe is going to fit. Chances are if you find something that takes your breath away, it will impress your guests too!
7. Remain flexible: As you continue organising your event, the creative element will develop even further. Rather than feeling obliged to set the decor in stone in the beginning, try to stay open to new ideas right up until the end. After 10 years of working with Mr last minute ideas, I was able to get my own back. On the morning of the wedding, whilst driving to the hairdressers came my one request, which I knew he couldn’t say no to….’The weddings in a barn, I think we need some lanterns’….and there it was…the element which gave the last touch of romance to an ol’ outdoor venue, thought of and delivered by one of our best suppliers and my all time favourite boss at last minute.’ I’m not saying you have to leave it so late in the piece, but sometimes those finishing touches take a while to come to you, be open to including them into your decor as you go along.
8. Make it personal: Lastly, make sure there is a personal twist. Whether the event is for you, a family member, friend or client, ensuring there is a personal element, a favourite piece of decor, flower, photos (or logo in a corporate world) ensuring there is something which is the signature to mark their event.
Without a doubt one of the most exciting elements to organising an event is developing the theming and selecting the decor which will make your guests event experience unique. Enjoy and live the process, look for inspiration in all that you do and its a great way to share the organising experience with your family and friends in the lead up to your big day.
Is there a special way you like to theme an event? Comment below 🙂 We’d LOVE to hear your tips!