Here it is: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodle parties. My Kids’ Birthday Party Resume now reads: Ducky Luau, Candy Land, Max & Ruby, Monkey Rainforest, Butterfly Birthday, Under the Sea, and now Rainbow Art. I think it’s a beautiful ending to a beautiful run of themes, almost 100% created by the girls (the only outlier is the Ducky Luau, as 10 month old Sara was unable to brainstorm with me).
While the invite was my official “muse”, my first crafting idea was to make smocks. As in most of my crafting endeavors, I like to blend ready-made with added flair, so I bought a package of 20 smocks for about $20 bucks at Lakeshore Learning Materials, and used my stash of fabrics to add initials. Believe it or not, this took no time whatsoever. Applique is a piece of cake with my Bernina, aptly named Peter Pan.
THIS craft, however cute it might be, was a total fail. You are looking at my one, successful yarn balloon. I made 12. I tried every kind of glue, every possible glue to water ratio, and employed tricks to get this darn thing to work. After a solid month of experimenting, I gave up. Dipping a billion yards of yarn into glue, getting it to stick to a balloon, waiting for it to dry, and then popping the balloon without the yarn collapsing inward is about as maddening as dating Frat Boys, circa 1995. ‘Nuff said. Some things just don’t work. Walk away Crafters. Walk away.
I could sit here and critique the cake all day long, but you know what? Who cares. My friend Kellie and I agreed it was artistic with all that black. I put on some French Cafe music, and suddenly, the cake fit the mood. Voila! Note to the cake makers: no one wants to eat a gigantic blob of black icing, but the kids went crazy for the paint circles.
The “K” on the cake table was made by tracing a large K onto grey paper, and gluing 150 buttons into the shape. It took…well, honestly, does the time really matter when you’re making art? It took some time, but zero dollars. Finally, a Pinterest success story (for women who own a lot of buttons).
I’m just going to say it: ceiling pictures are IMPOSSIBLE. If there is a class titled, “Photography for Crap Hung on Ceilings”, please let me know. This picture doesn’t capture the essence of the tiny balloon pennants with the cabinets covered in balloons, but it was bright and dynamic in person. Tiny balloons are quite expensive and hard to find, and Sara got the idea that a package of water balloons had all the colors we needed and would be easier to tie. That Sara…so smart! For $3 and a couple of nights spent in front of the Olympics with a bike tire pump (along with Grandmommy and I stringing these with fishing wires and needles and precariously hanging off of stools and countertops), and we had the shooting rainbow of our dreams.
The mobiles were my favorite, but aren’t they always? I used the Cricut Cartridge, “A Child’s Year”, and sewed the pieces together with my sewing machine so they would spin. With the girls getting older and graduating into much smaller, slumber party style birthdays, I think I’ll miss the mobiles the most. You know my motto: it ain’t a party until Lori hangs something on the ceiling.
The child riding the firecracker was my favorite.
No, wait. Momma and Child was my favorite. Oh heck, I loved them all. I could hardly narrow it down to 15 images. Again, thank you to my childhood pal, Roxanne, for loaning me the cartridge. It’s precious!
The “Rainbow Fairy” was Kelly’s favorite. Her Halloween costume made with my hands. My sweet, sweet girl. She knows how to flirt with her Momma.
The dining room (aka Decorate Your Own Puppet Station) was a display of decorations from year’s past, again, costing me $3.
The foyer was an experiment in “how many years will these cheap old lanterns hold up”? So far, so good, but I’m pretty sure they’re on their last legs. I like the prices thus far, because it gives you the illusion that I did this party for pennies. HA! HA HA HA! That’s the sound of Greg laughing from his office across town. I can hear it from here. This party, per capita, was probably my most expensive to date. The decor was cheap. The rest…was not.
I put tiny dollar store pinwheels into my front wreath, but it wasn’t very bright. Grandmommy took leftover ribbon from last year’s party and dressed it up. Much better. But then we both stepped back, and well… you know how it goes. What’s better than some ribbon?
More ribbon. We loved this simple entryway when we finished. I just realized I spent the Mother-Lode, $3 at a time.
The kids started at the Painting Table, assembled using canvases from Michael’s (bought over many weeks, using coupon, after coupon, after coupon…), and plastic plate holders from the dollar store. We go through about 3 dozen eggs per week, so collecting “paint palettes” was easy-peasy.
The paint? I have lots and lots and lots of paint around here. The kids moved from the paint station to the puppet station. Again, I bought the puppets at Lakeshore in a bag of 16-ish. I bought bags of buttons and eyes, but the rest of the what nots? Oh yes, I have bags and bags of what nots.
I think the puppets turned out adorably:
Some more abstract than others:
The kids rotated in and out of face painting, which many chose to be “arm painted”. Kelly from Abracadabra (found on Angie’s List), was just stellar.
I should mention the painting table developed into a very distinct theme. Wonder why?
There was also a “Make Your Own Sun Catcher Station”, on the back porch, along with some really cool multi-layered stenciling tools for ad hoc drawing. The weather was an absolutely perfect 78 degrees and sunny, so while I didn’t decorate the back porch, it was in full use from morning until nightfall.
Here are the 3 “older girls” who were great sports about attending a “little girl’s” party. These might be my 3 favorite “big girls” in the whole world, and watching Sara flanked by her 2 BFFs fills my heart with happiness. They are her sunshine. The funny math is that they while they are standing in height order, the age order is backwards. The tallest is the youngest, and the shortest is the oldest. I’m telling you, together, these 3 could rule the world.
The Sun Catchers are a fun little craft. Layer translucent pony beads into muffin tins or cake pans, and melt in the oven at 400 degrees. It takes about 20 minutes to melt, which cools and pops right out of the pan, leaving no residue. The smell is a bit toxic, so the fact that every window and door was open on Saturday made a huge difference. These could also be hung on Xmas trees, so I see this craft evolving as the season changes.
I should mention, I don’t discriminate based on age. Parker is 11 weeks old. Surely he’s about ready to hold a hot glue gun? I love kissing his head! I also made a smock for an unborn baby, which was ambitious, but Mark Christopher will be here in October, so I wanted to make sure his parents were ready for the crafting which is to come. ALL KIDS should craft, in the womb, out of the womb, always trying to crawl back into the womb (my girls)…
On we go. There was food! There is always food:
This watermelon is deceptively delicious. Ball a watermelon, marinate in chopped cilantro, the juice of a lime, and the zest of a lime. Depending on how much I’m making, I might zest and juice 2 limes. I let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours, toss, and then skewer. Y-U-M-M-Y. I pair it with as much Whole Foods Guacamole and chips I can afford. I’ve never seen Whole Foods Guacamole last on my table longer than an hour. As one guest put it, “I could sit down and eat this stuff with a spoon.” Um…well…I’ve actually done that. I also had big red drink buckets filled with wine, water, and a rainbow selection of every sparkling juice available at Whole Foods. I tried one (or two..no judging) of everything.
My favorite were the rainbow veggies tucked into champagne flutes with Ranch dressing. I saw something similar in Pinterest in small plastic glasses, but as luck would have it, these flutes were left over from my birthday party, and Grandmommy got her creative ON. I should be clear: I’ve never, and I mean NEVER, attempted one of these parties without Greg’s Mother. It’s like having Martha Stewart on standby. Only a really, really sweet Martha Stewart who takes off with the girls for hours while I work, and problem solves on the spot without breaking a sweat. Everyone needs a Grandmommy.
You knew the rainbow fruit skewers would appear. Oh Pinterest, you flirty website, you. Can you imagine the time it’s going to take me to Pin this stuff? You can follow me at Indiana Lori, by the way. If I make it and blog it, I pin it. And if you want more details on how I make ANYTHING, just write me. I have no secrets. Mod-Podge residue all over my kitchen, bruised fingers from tying balloons….but no secrets.
I love these pots! I bought these for like 80 cents each at Wal-Mart, sprayed them with some white primer I had lying around, and used acrylic paint I had leftover from last year’s party. Until Kelly spilled my paint bowls, and I had to run out for more. Wow…you should have seen that mess! I sprayed them with a shiny Mod-Podge finishing spray to make them shiny. I love rainbows. Who doesn’t love refracted light, man?!
Kelly told me 43 people singing Happy Birthday to her kind of freaked her out, but she smiled from ear to ear through the whole thing. [That's right: invite 6 children and siblings and parents, and the number ends at 43...which I'm always prepared for, but it's a number new parents designing "small" parties don't always anticipate. We've found 5-6 invites, and adding siblings of course, to be just about right for a home party. If I'm holding it in the back yard? Sky is the limit! Oh, how I loved that party too.]
Under the table, while people sang, Sara held Kelly’s hand the entire time, which might have been my favorite moment:
That moment, along with watching these 2 cuties anxiously sitting at the dining room window, waiting for the first guests to arrive, and listening to them scream out to their friends as they walked up the drive:
The party ended as all my parties end: they don’t. I invite people to stay for pizza, throw the kids in the pool, and let the evening drift on with music, wine, adults scattered about discussing politics while the kids end up in the basement in their 10th outfits of the day, watching movies and finishing off every last morsel from the table. Usually second servings of birthday cake get passed about, and I run around the yard cutting flowers in order to turn craft tables into dinner tables:
I felt quiet and reflective on Saturday. While the girls’ littlest years have lasted for decades, looking back, I’m a tiny bit melancholy to see them pass (only a tiny bit…the baby/preschool years have been equally sweet and exhausting). Sara wants glittery ballet flats and CDs for her birthday. Kelly is counting down until she is old enough to have her first slumber party. Everyone is wiggling teeth, wrecking bikes without training wheels, and stretching their wings to fly. Life is changing right before my very eyes, and while I’m very content when I look back at the memories, I’m thoroughly shocked to see these years turn into just that…memories.
I’m so grateful you’ve joined me for this ride. It would have never been the same without you. Your witness has inspired me to create a life worth writing down. I have no idea what crazy inspiration will hit me next, but I hope you’ll stick and around and enjoy the journey with us. Godspeed my friends. Godspeed.