Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bella's Party

Okay, I am so behind in my posts, but I will come back with a recap of Bella's 4th birthday party. Afterwards it occurred to me that almost every single picture I took was of the decor and hardly a one of the actual kids or the goings-on of the party. What can I say? What did I spent the most time and effort on? The details of the decor, food, and favors... Molly took some more pictures so hopefully she has some that actually feature people and I can post those later.
Bella had originally told me she wanted a blue birthday party, a request that was met with more than a little reluctance. Blue? Really? Are you sure? So for a few weeks I racked my brain trying to think of the decor, food, favors and activities incorporating the color blue. I came up with giving the kids blue ribbon name badges, but that was about it. Luckily one day she suddenly told me she wanted a green party, at which point I replied 'Are you sure? Green? You're sure? Okay it's green. We're not changing.' Luckily it worked. Green happens to be my favorite color so I had fun imagining the possibilities for a simple and inexpensive party. The results:
It all started with the invitation. (Shell's affirmation covering my address and phone number)

Unfortunately none of the pictures do the party justice, so please mentally enhance the images.
Centerpiece featuring Molly's vase, limes, key limes, lemons, fake green and white Gerbera daisies and some forsythia stems from my yard. Monochromatic, so cute.
These were the favors. I spray painted mini terra cotta pots, tied them with ribbon and did a monogram rub-on for each guest. Then for an activity we planted a small impatien in each one. The kids had fun digging soil with a spoon and had a small cute pink flower to take home.
Fresh fruit- always a cheery centerpiece.
I attempted to make these party hats/cones for them to wear and then collect their loot in. I hung one on each chair.
These tissue paper pom poms make my heart sing. I saw them on Martha Stewart's site, and then my friend Kim made them and solidified my desire to make them myself. Martha and Kim both have tutorials, and ti is the easiest thing possible. This is my new favorite decoration for any special occasion. Each one cost 99 cents, and took about 5 minutes to make. All you need: tissue paper, monofiliment, and floral wire. Ta-da! Seriously, I'm a little obsessed with these. It's now Thursday and they are still up. I'm not sure when these are coming down. They just lift my spirits to see them floating there, ethereal and magical. Also I made a mini pennant banner out of scrap green fabrics I had, using Michelle's tutorial, on a mini scale. Love it! Now we're going to hang it over Bella's window in her room. Whenever I take it down, which is undecided as of now.
I was rushed so I didn't get a better picture of the adults food as they were trying to eat from it (the nerve-), but I just served cucumbers, green apples, green grapes, celery and dip, all in various shades of green bowls of course, with another lime-filled vase with floating tea lights.
Party sign on the mailbox. Timm's only job prior to the party was to pick up 3 green balloons on the way home from work. I was somewhat exasperated with the 2 blue balloons, but apparently Timm thinks aqua is a shade of green. Really.
The setting.
If you look very closely you may be able to see an actual child at the party, and in fact, it is the birthday girl! I hope Molly has better pictures of my cupcakes, but just in case, here's the description: various green card stock wrappers around the cupcakes, green icing, and green pennant cupcake toppers. I had them on two stacked cake plates with Bella's topped with 4 skinny celery colored candles.
Also not pictured, or at least visible- I made Bella an appliqued '4' shirt. I used a bright green scrap of fabric that I also used in the banner and appliqued it to a white shirt we already owned. I'm going to get a picture later and make it a tradition.
Homemade paper bag pinata! I was going to make her a traditional paper mache pinata in the shape of a 4, but time was running out so I googled pinata substitutes and immediately came up with a paper bag version! What could be easier or cheaper? I didn't spend a dime on it except for the green candy inside of it. It was surprisingly strong! Totally doing this again.
I tied ribbons and bows through the arms of my chandelier.
Close-up of the mini-banner.

All in all, I felt like her party was a complete success. A little stressful and busy leading up to it, which could have been avoided by not procrastinating, but the actual party felt flawless. i wasn't stressed, I purposely kept the activities simple and low-key. The adults mostly socialized inside, and the kids played 'freeze dance', 'red light green light', planted their flower, hit the pinata and had cupcakes and ice cream. No gifts, no drama, no stress- just 5 4-year olds (or nearly 4) running around playing, together just for the sake of having fun, celebrating a birthday, eating ice cream and being friends.
Other things I loved about this party: the theme. I love that it is simple and doesn't promote or pursue commercialism, consumerism and doesn't feature any characters whatsoever. Other themes I've thought of for the future: a letter birthday, i.e. 'F' for Fiona- courtesy of Michelle and Martha Stewart, a polka dot party, a number party, i.e. '5' for next year, an art party, a book party...I want to do another one soon!
And last but not least, my total cost for the party including every detail was about $40. My goal was to keep it at $25, but the produce alone for the adults was $15, so that was shot. Still, $40 for the whole she-bang. Not bad.
So as you can see, it was cute, and as you cannot see but I will tell you anyway, is that a good time was had by all. I got several comments from the adults that they really enjoyed the party, and the general flow and feeling of it. It was the perfect length (almost 2 hours) and just enough mix of structure and freedom. Best of all, there was hardly any cleanup when everyone left!
I mention every detail and list every achievement not to boast, but to document and remember for next time. This was done well. We all liked the outcome, and the pattern should be repeated.
Coming Soon (meaning at some point-) Bella's 4 post, Fiona's 8 1/2 months catch-up post, gardening updates, whining and typical minutea. Where does the time go?
Stay tuned for the thank-you cards!


Susan said...

I already heard from Linda that it was a huge and darling successful affair! It looks to be! I'm so glad that my daughters love the joys of creativity on many levels and I'm quite sure that Bella will be following in the same footprint.

Wish I could have been there. Congratulations on a great successful event and I say it's a repeatable one for sure!! WAY CUTE!!!

emily said...

I am so amazed at your creativity and skills! I'm so impressed that you can just applique a shirt, sew a banner, and make cupcakes complete with cardstock wrappers. Everything is so cute. I'm glad it was a success!

Jill said...

It's not surprising that you forgot to take pictures of the party goers when such gorgeous, festive, green decor was there to be documented. Wow, you really outdid yourself. It's beautiful!

Cris said...

I love the green party! I love everything on it! (I adore green!). My niece's birthday is coming up and since she loves the color pink, I think we'll make it a 'pink party'. She'll love it!

michelle said...

I love it! I knew I would! But I had to see the photos. Now I really must see the birthday shirt, that sounds like a tradition I should borrow.

All I can say is, if you are feeling like you can't wait to have another party, you must have done something right! I always feel like I am grateful there is no upcoming party for a couple of months...

Dad said...

Very impressed!! Wish we could have been there....
Can you plan my next birthday party??

shannon said...

I am in total awe! This is the cutest party in the whole history of cute parties!!!!! I can't get over it! And it's not just because green is my favorite color...You really outdid yourself!

I love that you are so detail oriented...I can just hear those creative juices bubbling in your head!

Well done!!

charlotte said...

What a spectacular birthday! I'm definitely impressed with your party-throwing abilities. Bella and Fiona have an exciting childhood ahead of them.

kim said...

Super cute, Jessie! You are so creative.

Amy E said...

Very cute and adorably creative. I may use some of your ideas! :)

Denise said...

SO cute! I love the appliqued shirt idea, and I love that it was a low-stress but highly cute party. Way to go, Mom!

kim said...

Jessie, this is perfect! Monochromatic theme, pendant banners, pom poms, swoon! :)

linda said...

It was all totally cute, you are so talented. My favorite part of course was sharing cake and ice cream with Fiona!

Natasha said...

I love the idea of a green party and it looks like you did a fabulous job. Griffin had a purple party when he turned 3 (I think it was 3?) since purple is his favorite color. Isn't it funny what these kids come up with?

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