Friday, June 11, 2010

Hip Host: Suzi Waters, Alannah Rose Stationery

Oh, how excited we are to share with you the first of our Hip Host interview series. Along the path of our own journey in business, and now blogging, we have been inspired by many amazing people designing beautiful things, celebrating life’s occasions with simplicity and style, and most importantly creating precious memories for their families and friends.

We hope you love taking a little glimpse into the lives and inspirations of our Hip Hosts and take away a few tips each time to help celebrate your own life with style.

Suzi Waters is the talented designer behind one of Australia’s leading custom stationery brands – a favourite amongst brides for elegant, distinctive designs and now a hit with the Mums with her ready-to-write children’s invitations.

Suzi with daughters Alannah and Ella

Clockwise from top left: Alannah Rose boxed invitations for children; sweet details in Ella's room; Modern Retro wedding stationery suite; Suzi's space for creativity. All images courtesy of Suzi Waters.

As Mum to two young girls, Suzi delights in designing stunning children’s parties. Her attention to the details has captured the blogosphere – including THE Amy Atlas - with this beautiful bird-inspired soiree created for 5 year-old Alannah, the sweet namesake of both her business and the popular little Lala bird invitation.

All images via Alannah Rose Stationery blog

Tell us a little about yourself, your business and the people in your life worth celebrating
A mum to two gorgeous girls, wife to my lovely husband (my childhood sweetheart!) and owner/director of Alannah Rose Stationery. I'm a self confessed shopaholic, detail addict and control freak. I love my family, friends and my job. Alannah Rose was started 5 years ago after the birth of my first daughter - out of a need to spend more time with her and still do the work I love - design!

What has been the most memorable celebration in your life?
What were some of your favourite `details’?
The most memorable celebrations in my life were the births of both my daughters and my wedding day. Preparing for the arrival of a baby is so much fun (I cheated and found out I was having a girl - both times) and the emotions of holding such a precious life you've created for the first time is something to celebrate. And cherish. The preparation of the nursery, details in their rooms and of course their baby thank you cards were little details that I enjoyed preparing. I also of course love doing the girls birthday parties, as they get older their excitement levels grow and the joy on their faces when they see the final setting, the food, their party outfits and having fun with their friends makes it all worth it. Our parties are planned well in advance, the girls usually choose their invitation for their next party before the current one is even finished!

What are your three must-haves for creating a Hip Hooray?
Can I do four? Invitations, family/friends, cake and colour!

Are there any parties being planned in your household right now? What is inspiring you and what stage are you at in the planning?
We've recently had Alannah's 5th birthday, so plans are now in place for Ella's 4th birthday in July. She's chosen the invitation (one of the new designs!) and I'm finding lots of inspiring things that will tie in nicely. I tend to just pick up pieces here and there when I see them and try to stick to a main colour theme. Today I picked up some table cloths and pots in the colour I'm working with, and so it begins! (by the time the party arrives I have a big box of goodies!)

Could you share some of your favourite resources for creating a Hip Hooray?
Oh so many!
Details Details! of course for little extras like paper decorations, plates, table runners etc.
I love Ikea - you can pick up basic pieces in white that look great with ribbon tied to them, flowers put in them, etc, just use your imagination!
Invitations from Alannah Rose, of course! :)
For Cakes, in Sydney Sweet Art are fabulous, in Melbourne I use Jodie at Designer Cakes in Donvale.
And Etsy for little hard-to-find pieces.

Do you prefer an intimate dinner party or catering for a crowd?
I really love a simple dinner party, fine food, friends and chat, but with small children and crazy bed time antics, that doesn't happen too much at our place, so catering for a crowd is the norm at the moment and I embrace it and love it for what it is, a super fun, big day!

What’s your party drink of choice?
For kids? Water! But is it their favourite? probably not. I usually use Mini Pops for the kids parties, they are preservative and artificial colour free, easy for the younger kids to use and eliminate spills!
For me? Champagne - preferably French!

Who would be on your guest list for the ultimate dinner party – any four people?
Oh, hard question! Richard Branson. Amy Atlas. Jamie Oliver. Kylie Minogue. (I'm assuming I'm already there!)

If you could be a guest at a Hip Hooray anywhere in the world, which would it be?
Corny possibly, but the Oscars! Glamour, fashion and excitement all rolled into one.

Where do you draw inspiration for your beautiful stationery designs and stylish parties?
I'm renovating at the moment, so spend a lot of time pouring over home magazines and weblogs. Being a shopaholic, a trip to the stores can be quite inspiring - I'm the crazy one eyeing off the visual merchandising displays rather than the store contents!

What is your favourite colour palette?
Red and Pink is my favourite at the moment for the girls.

What’s coming up next at Alannah Rose Exclusive Stationery?
Lots of things! We are excited to have just launched some new party designs and there are more secret things, so stay tuned!

What gift is on the top of your own Birthday wish list this year?
I have already celebrated my birthday this year and got everything I wished for! Lunch with friends, dinner with family, new boots and a holiday!

And finally, do you have a tried and tested, never-fail party recipe you could share with our readers?

Gingerbread Shapes

125g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup golden syrup
2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 box Orchid roll out icing
food colour of choice
cookie cutter in shape of choice

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 10-12 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the golden syrup, flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda and beat until a smooth dough forms. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough between sheets of non-stick baking paper to 4mm thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the dough. Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 8–10 minutes or until golden. Cool on trays. to ice, add colour to packet icing and knead through. Roll out and cut with same shape as used for gingerbread. Stick on cooled ginger bread shapes with sugar paste (sugar/water). Display on plates or put in cello bags with ribbon for pretty take home favour. Makes approximately 22.

Yummo! Thanks so much Suzi - delighted you could kick off this little series for us.

Here’s a little more of Suzi’s beautiful party design – head over to her blog for the full details and to keep up with beautiful new things in the world of Alannah Rose Exclusive Stationery.

Images via Alannah Rose Stationery blog


Sharnel said...

I really enjoyed getting to know Suzi a little more.
Great addition to the blog girls. Love it!

Alannah Rose said...

thanks so much for the lovely write up girls, love your work as always xx

Lyndsay said...

Suzi is such a lovely person to learn more about, thankyou! An inspirational leader in the event stationery industry and ridiculously talented to boot.