I'm finally getting around to editing photographs from j's 6th birthday party. He still talks about his birthday party which makes me so happy. Here is a little sneak peek of the garland I made out of neon paper circles.
Seems just like yesterday that J was off to his first day of preschool [yes, with a cast on his arm].
And last month he celebrated his 8th birthday [with a sprained ankle...see a trend, here?]. Can someone please press the slow motion button?
Our sweet j turned five last month. Yes, FIVE!! [I keep telling my boys to stop growing up so quickly but they don't seem to be listening!] This year we celebrated j's birthday with Miss E, a classmate + family friend. Miss E's mother and I both share a love for planning birthday parties for our children so I knew we would have a lot of fun with this birthday party. The party venue was our local park which has a nice covered area and bbq grills. As I mentioned before we chose a red + white + blue color palette and opted not to have a specific theme for the party. Instead we focused on the concept of "Hello, Summer!" which gave us a lot of options when it came to designing the birthday party print material, decorations + favors.
I've been wanting to design party invitations with cute bunting ever since I saw Sharilyn's darling invitations for her daughter's 1st birthday party. Since I love texture I thought it would be fun to make the bunting out of washi tape. I printed out the text on to heavy white card stock and then cut and placed a bunch of washi tape triangles on to the card. The invitations were paired with my favorite polka dot envelopes which I picked up in Korea. The thank you cards are similar to the ones I've been designing for several years now. The simplicity of the cards make it really easy to get them in the mail shortly after the party [which is key in my book!].
My favorite thing about party planning is coming up with new + fun decorations. I try to keep things simple by using items and materials around the house or in my studio. For the centerpieces I filled mason jars with candy [red hots] and added several different handmade decorations. Using painted bamboo skewers as the base I glued paper flowers + flags, tied strips of fabric and made picture circles of the birthday kiddos [I love the picture Miss E's mother took of the j + Miss E while they were playing dress up].
After sharing with Miss E's mother about my failed attempt at making caramel apples for J's 7th birthday party favors, she decided to have a go at it. And although her caramel apples turned out better than mine we decided it was a bit time consuming making the 25+ favors needed for the party. So instead she made caramel apple kits for the party favors. She put the ingredients + instructions in a clear bag and tied it up with twine and custom label. I love edible favors + cute food kits so I was thrilled with how these favors turned out. And even after making more-than-you-can-imagine paper globes for J's school carnival, I made more for the birthday party. Paper globes are one of my all-time favorite decorations because 1) I usually have all the supplies on hand, 2) they come together quickly, 3) they are reusuable, and 4) they are versatile. You can hang them, string them or toss them onto to a table.
Miss E's mother sewed the birthday boy + girl sweet coordinating fabric birthday crowns [which j LOVES] and we each made them our traditional fabric applique birthday number shirts. Using fabric from my stash we sewed together yards and yards of bunting and reused some bunting from j's 3rd birthday party [see, using the same color palette over and over again comes in handy!]. Miss E's mother also made a cute birthday banner for the party.
We enjoyed yummy food prepared by Appah + Miss E's father [grilled chicken, ribs, fresh veggies + fruit, salsa + chips, freshly squeezed lemonade] and our traditional vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and rice krispy treats [for our non-cake loving friends]. This year we tried something different ordered a red velvet sheet cake from a local bakery [it was so good] which we decorated with red + blue M+M's. I made little cupcake toppers and a paper banner decoration to put on top of the birthday cake.
Needless to say the birthday party was a lot of fun and the birthday boy + girl had a great time. And I actually took some photographs at our homemade photobooth this time around. One of my favorite props was the blue frame [which is an old matte frame covered with blue paper] and a painted embroidery hoop.
I have to admit I was going through birthday party planning withdrawals after the party. But since I cannot wait another 9 months to throw the next birthday party I've decided to throw a few non-birthday parties for the boys + their friends. Stay tuned!
Birthday party season is in full swing. The boys attended two parties over the weekend and I actually had time to make a few goodies for the birthday girls. One party was for our friends Miss E + Miss E, sisters whose birthdays are five days apart and this year they had a joint birthday party.
I sewed a few skirts out of my favorite black + white gingham which I picked up at the Jin Market in Busan. Using leftover scraps I made fabric flowers to embellish a simple white t-shirt. And yes, I was very tempted to make myself a matching outfit, but I resisted.
Since I was literally sewing the gift 10 minutes before we had to leave for the party I put the outfits into a white food box + slapped on a personalized gift label. The red + white polka dot box is the gift my boys picked out for the birthday girls [a girly Lego set]. Although the boys' gift was a bigger hit with the girls, the birthday girls' mother loved the handmade gift.
I'll be sharing more handmade birthday gifts + photographs from j's 5th birthday party soon!
I love planning birthday parties for my boys. In fact I wish I could plan more parties throughout the year so I could execute all the ideas floating around in my head. The boys' birthdays are five weeks apart so once we celebrate J's birthday in late April it always seems like j's birthday sneaks up on us so quickly. [Side note: I still need to finish editing photographs from j's 4th birthday party in Korea but hopefully I will be able to share them before his 5th birthday party photographs are posted.] This year j is celebrating his birthday with Miss E who is his classmate + family friend. We are inviting all their friends from their class and are crossing our fingers the weather clears up since the party is at a local park.
This will be the THIRD time I am using a red + white + blue color palette for j's birthday party. What can I say, those colors are perfect for a summer birthday party. Since he is sharing the celebration with Miss E we decided to avoid having a specific theme. The overall party concept is "Hello, Summer!" Ironic, since it has been really un-summer-like here in Portland [read: 19 days of rain!].
I have been working on new decoration ideas. I love how different ideas evolve once you sit down and actually manipulate the materials. I came up with this simple paper flower while working on a mobile for the party. The flowers would be cute hanging from twine or glued onto a dowel and placed in a mason jar or even tacked on to the wall. The party is in a week so once J's school carnival is over [I'm in charge of decorations] I'll be in complete party planning mode. Speaking of kids birthday parties, Suann of SIMPLESONG DESIGN is launching Hip Hip Hooray! this summer, a blog geared towards "little kids, big celebrations". I can't wait to see what fun ideas + inspiration she has in store for us.
My sweet J turned seven last month. [And yes, I'm in total denial of how quickly my boys are growing up.] Every year we have a big celebration for J which satisfies my love for planning kids birthday parties. This year I gave him the choice of inviting all his classmates to his party or taking four of his closest buddies on a special outing. At first he liked the idea of a smaller party but then when it came time to making the guest list he proceeded to name all his classmates. What can I say, this boy is friends with everyone. So option #2 was nixed and we decided to invite his entire class [and teacher] to his birthday party. After deciding on the date, time and venue for the party it was time to pick a color palette. J chose green and black and I threw in the white. Have you noticed a black + white + [insert color] trend to our past few birthday parties? I also wanted to [minimally] incorporate J's love of lizards into the birthday party.
I designed a simple invitation with a few lizard-like critters. Designing + printing thank you cards at the same time as the invitations really helps me get them sent out in a timely manner. Using the same thank you card format from the past few years makes the thank you card writing process pretty easy.
I feel like for this party I recycled many ideas from previous birthday parties we've thrown for the boys. There is the standard fabric bunting which is so simple to make and instantly brings a festive feel to a party. Can you believe all this fabric was from my stash? And I used up the last of the black + white striped bias tape I picked up while living in Korea last year. I made a few simple signs out of card stock and attached them to dowels which I painted with white acrylic paint. The signs were placed in simple glass containers with little pebbles. I also printed out letters spelling "HAPPY BIRTHDAY J" and cut them out individually and affixed them to green textured cardstock circles cut out using this circle cutter [you could also use a die cut machine at your local craft store]. I like layers and texture in my decorations so I tend to do a lot of cutting and gluing but you could easily just print directly on to card stock and call it a day!
I also revisited the terrarium centerpiece idea from J's dinosaur birthday party. The boys picked out some succulents from our local nursery and helped me assemble three terrariums. Their favorite part was adding a few lizards in each terrarium. Since J's party was at a local park we opted not to have any organized games or entertainment. Instead we had a bin full of balls + bubbles, both of which got a lot of use. We also set out some paper and fun wood colored pencils [which I bought in Korea, but looks like this online store sells a few varieties] and I was pleasantly surprised that many children sat down and drew a picture or two. In the past we have always given party guests a box of goodies. And although I originally wanted to make some handmade goodies I decided this year to keep the favors really simple. I packaged up caramel corn in long clear envelopes, added a little lizard figurine and slapped on a label.
And for those of you who have planned kids birthday parties before you know how some things don't go according to as planned. I had set up a little photo booth at J's party which I thought would be really fun for the kids. I hung up some black + white gingham fabric [sewed a little pocket on the top and ran some ribbon through it] and placed a few stools in front along with a bucket of random signs. And guess what? I completely forgot to take any photographs at the party. Honestly the kids were running around the park the whole time and I was having so much fun playing hostess and chatting with all the parents who came to hang out I didn't even realize our neglect of the photo booth until after the party was over. Which affirms my belief that it is really a good idea to have someone designated to take photographs at a party, whether it be a professional photographer or maybe just a friend who is a good photographer. On the same note we have no photographs of the food from the party, but we served french bread with spinach artichoke dip, pita bread + hummus, veggies, fruit, water + freshly squeezed lemonade. Appah also fired up the grill and made sausages and his delicious teriyaki-style chicken which he served over rice along with a crisp cabbage salad with sesame-lemon dressing.
So although we didn't make use of the photo booth at J's birthday party we did set one up at home the next day and took photographs of our family. The boys had so much fun posing in their matching lizard fabric applique t-shirts that I made for them to wear to the birthday party. We even got some cute captures for J's thank you cards. All the work that goes into planning a birthday party is completely worth it in my book when my boy says, "Mommy, my birthday party was so much fun!"
It seems like J + j are being invited to more "boys only" birthday parties. I admit this makes me a little sad because I love putting together handmade gifts for their "girl" friends. Although I would love to make gifts for all their "boy" friends, realistically I pick and choose depending on the child and how much time I have. Last month j's best buddy at school was having a birthday party and I was excited because I knew this boy loves arts + crafts [my kind of boy!]. After consulting with j we decided to put together a little artist's bag for him. We picked out a sketchpad, our favorite new "doodles at lunch" tear-off place mats [my boys don't use them as place mats, but love that each place mat teaches you how to draw something new], ruler, alphabet stencil and colored pencils.
I made a simple drawstring bag to put all the art supplies in. One of these days I am going to make a stack of drawstring bags so I won't be sewing the bag 10 minutes before we have to leave for the party [this happens way too often]. Anyways, the birthday boy loved his gift and that's all that matters, right?
Wow, this month has flown by! Over the past four weeks I've been unpacking dozens upon dozens of boxes, finding a home for all our belongings or giving it away. I think I'm getting a bit addicted to the purging and trying to only keep the things we really love or need in our home. The boys are keeping busy now that they have all their legos and books at their disposal. And we are all enjoying walking along the trail that is close to our home.
The boys had two birthday parties to attend last Friday and j has another one coming up this weekend. Although I would love to make handmade gifts for all their friends, I realize this is all dependent on the child. I am planning a semi-homemade gift for j's friend since he likes arts + crafts [yay!]. Oh, and I realized that I haven't been taking many photographs of the boys, or photographs in general as of late, so I am making it a goal for February to take a few photographs every day. Hooray for small goals!
>> quick fabric applique t-shirt >> fabric button hair ties >> coordinating pants >>
>> japanese kraft box >> handmade gift tag [part of the new holiday stationery collection] >>
>> handmade card by J >>
P.S. For those who were inquiring about the silver Sharpie pen. I purchased them at our local Michaels, but if you can also order them here.