A relatively long time ago I organized a surprise party for Agent Smith’s birthday. It was one of those milestone years and his parents and their spouses attended along with my parents. This was back when we lived in SF. His sister also came in and served as the distraction. It was a nerve wracking experience and I vowed I would never do such a thing again.

But I did.

Only this time the party wasn’t in our house, it was all the way in Ohio. I do not recommend organizing a surprise party from almost three thousand miles away if one wishes to keep their sanity intact. If you do happen to find yourself in such a situation, be sure to plan accordingly.

This post isn’t so much about the party as it is a few things I put together for it.

First off instead of a guest book, we went for a guest board. A neighbor had a spare plank of cherry and a friend who was visiting is good wood worker. The board was finished nicely and then I printed a header using some vinyl and my trusty Cricut. A couple of paint pens with pretty flowers attached to them sat beside the board on the reception table. The end result was something they now hang on their wall.

I also made some cute little photo books for those who came to the party who also had attended the wedding way back when. They were crafted from foam board that I covered in leftover sample fabric swatches from the blinds project for the boys’ space and the studio building. I printed off pictures and affixed them to the pages using a glue stick and some of those edge stickers available at craft stores — the pages were some heavy weight craft paper.

I’m still quite proud of these little keepsakes.