Sophie’s Watercolor World



Mercenaries are driven by paranoia; missionaries are driven by passion. Mercenaries are bosses of wolf packs; missionaries are mentors or coaches of teams. Mercenaries are motivated by the lust for making money; missionaries, while recognizing the importance of money, are fundamentally driven by the desire to make meaning.  John Doerr

There are two types of people in this world: the mercenary and the missionary. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to do things that transcend the mere purpose of making money. In other words, the missionary beats the crap out of the mercenary, day in, day out, 24 / 7.

I think people have this innate ability to sort out in their minds, the mercenaries (those who are just out to get your money), from the missionaries (those who strive to create meaning).

At Party Magic, I’m striving to create a team of missionaries, because that’s what I am.

And in the missionary mindset, we don’t just “set up a party”. We create art.

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Sophie Turns One in a Watercolor World

THANK YOU to Cradles by Anne Naig for these amazing images!

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Lace parasols glide over the venue at Sophie’s Birthday


If you are looking for a dreamy, ambient birthday party, you can’t go wrong with Sophie’s theme. My client, mommy Kim, specifically requested a “watercolor animals” theme, and we delivered it like this:

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The trickiest part of the stage is achieving that soft, brush-like effect on the animals. For those who might wonder, these animals weren’t printed out. They were literally hand-painted. This is true for ALL the animals you see on the stage:

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Choosing to do something like this, hand-painting our characters on the stage vs. simply printing them out, might not really make sense economically as hand-painting can be tedious, time-consuming, and labor intensive.

But how we do something is as important as the end result. And, you might not notice the difference looking at these photos, but in person, and up close, these animals look much more…genuine. Genuinely artistic!

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With styling you are always teetering between “minimalist” and “too many things”. Personally, my style is a little bit of both, but not too much of either. Make it too minimalist and your party turns bare; put in a lot of things and it will turn crowded. I think I got the mix just right with this one.

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A cascade of flowers dance in between parasols

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These faerie lights in bulbs really completed the ceiling work detail

Our photo op was no slouch, either:

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The photo above was cut off, but there’s supposed to be more decor off to the right. Because the photo-op we did was too wide, the whole set-up couldn’t fit into one frame!

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Here’s a unique perspective by Anne of Cradles Photography:

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What I really loved with Sophie’s party was the desserts, starting with the cake:

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Kudos to Sugarplum Pastries for doing another work of art. The watercolor treatment on the animals was spot-on!

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Dearest Sophie, you are so lucky to have such wonderful parents! Happy, happy birthday!

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About the author

Michelle Lao


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