Hadley’s 12th Birthday “Close to You” Painting Party!

Hadley is so obsessed with all-things painting that I knew we had to do something creative for her 12th birthday party. There are several fabulous painting/drinking studios but I didn’t want to deal the hassle of driving somewhere so it was a no-brainer when I heard about Gallery on the Go, a mobile canvas painting party service that was started right here in Colorado.

I don’t have an artistic bone in my body so the thought of getting out the craft supplies and cleaning them up makes me cringe. At the time of Hadley’s party, I was juggling sixth grade continuation, putting our house on the market, helping at a wedding reception and four graduation parties, which is a nice way of saying I had no time. 

Do you want to know what I had to do to plan our Gallery on the Go party? I simply told them when to come to my house and Hadley pre-selected what she wanted to paint from the variety of artwork for boys and girls from their gallery. I provided the food and drinks while they supplied everything else–from the table and floor coverings to chairs, aprons, paint, canvases, a fun photo booth, a game and even a gift for the birthday girl!



Carrie, our “Independent Gallery Guide,” was fabulous as she assisted the girls through every brush stroke made even easier with their color-coded brushes while still giving them their own creative outlet. The girls were widely varied in their artistic abilities and all were thrilled with the finished product, thanks to Carrie’s patience and expertise while I stayed hidden on the sidelines.

It was a win-win for everyone.

But the party was just getting started. If you’ll recall, last year I pulled the ultimate prank when a huge birthday package arrived for her from J.B. When she opened the big box, several smaller ones were inside. When she got down to the final box, the girls were squealing “I’ll bet it’s a cell phone.” It was much better: it was a Justin Bieber T-shirt. Hadley was so hilariously mortified she stuffed it in the toilet.

I wondered how I could top J.B.’s celebrity appearance and the inspiration came to me when I heard The Carpenter’s song, “Close to You.” I asked each of her friends to secretly learn the words and they performed it for her, complete with costumes and props.


I asked my friends at Talk to the Camera to pull together a video for it and I had one requirement: make it cheesy and they delivered. I get teary-eyed watching these great friends (Alex, Addison, Maeve, Morgan, Alicia, Kasey, Ellie and Haley) and I know she’ll treasure this for many years to come…when she gets over her shock.   https://vimeo.com/169764033 Password: Stars

Close To You Hadley from Audrey Walters on Vimeo.

And yes, the Biebs did make a surprise celebrity experience at the end. Unfortunately she didn’t really notice Alex was wearing the shirt until the camera stopped rolling but it would have been footage for the ages.

Happy 12th, my dear!

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