Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A "Cars"-themed birthday party

I can't believe it's been 10 months since my last entry!  My shop on etsy has been SO busy (, and I couldn't be happier!  However, my poor little blog has been neglected, so I'm taking advantage of this lull right before the holidays to start catching up on this past year.

Below are pictures from a Cars-themed birthday party from March 2012.  This was a birthday celebration for two brothers (turning 1 and 3) and I was in charge of the 16 FOOT dessert table!

 I also made centerpieces for each table, complete with the birthday boys' ages written in gold, black and white checkered flags, and a first place trophy!

I tried to choose desserts that I could relate to cars somehow, which is how we ended up with:

Manhole Covers (pudding cups with Oreo "manhole covers")
Traffic Lights (red, yellow, and green-layered jello)
Coolant (ice cream sundaes)
Lug Nuts (Oreo truffles)
Tire Pile (chocolate donuts)
Air Bags (s'mores pops)

Cake and cupcakes completed the dessert table.  The theme carried over to the drink table, where guests could choose between "Motor Oil" (iced tea) and "Antifreeze" (apple juice with a few drops of blue food coloring).

This was a lot of fun, but a LOT of work!  After this party, I've learned the importance of balancing refrigerated vs. non-refrigerated items...almost everything I made needed to be refrigerated, including the buttercream-frosted cupcakes!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Sesame Street birthday party!

Just four short weeks after Emily's Pinkalicious party, I had my son Ryan's 1st birthday party.  He LOVES Cookie Monster, and for the few attempts at sounds and words that he makes, his favorite one is Cookie Monster's's priceless!  We had also gone to Sesame Place for the first time over the summer, and since I had a giant Elmo costume just sitting in my basement (from Emily's first birthday party, and YES, I bought an Elmo costume), I figured what better theme than a Sesame Street one?!

For the invitations, I wanted to do something with the Sesame Street sign, and something along the lines of "Brought to you by the letter "R" and the number "1", and as I searched around, I found all of my ideas already created!  Sara from Less Ordinary Designs created the above custom printable invitation template for only $15!


The colors of the party were the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) plus green.  Using Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, and Big Bird made it easy to use these four colors; the decorations also had a circular theme, as you can see on the invitations, banner, topiaries, pompoms, etc.

The background of the dessert table was decorated with simple, inexpensive crepe paper.  Spacing each line the same distance apart with the same amount of "twists" was really an eye-catcher, and only cost a few dollars!  I hand-cut the letters on the "Happy Birthday Ryan" banner, and used a circular cutter for the millions of circles that I cut for the party, including the circles for the banner.  I trimmed the doorways, entryways, and windowsills with pictures of the 4 characters glued inside circles of their corresponding color...WAY too tedious to ever do by hand again, which is why I am now the proud new owner of a die-cut machine!

I came up with the Sesame Street tissue paper pompoms when I was decorating for Emily's Pinkalicious birthday party...I remembered looking at the pink pompoms and thinking "Hey, I could put an Elmo face on that one!"  And there you have it, Elmo, Oscar, and Cookie Monster (I did Big Bird too, but he didn't come out so good, so no pics of him!) 

The Sesame Street topiaries were also inspired by my ribbon topiaries from Emily's party.  I covered styrofoam balls with marabou boas and added the facial features, painted a dowel and a terra cotta pot, and there you have it!

Balloons were added the day of the party, and festive-colored tablecloths and the games throughout the house also added to the decor.

The pictures above are the games and activities we had running throughout the party.  Guests were invited to "Count with the Count", and basically guess how many pieces of candy were in each jar.  They also went fishing for rubber duckies with Ernie (the number on the bottom of each duck corresponded to the prize), "Trash Toss" with Oscar (tossing crumpled-up pieces of newspaper into his trash bin), and "Arts and Crafts with Abby Cadabby", where they could make fairy wings, color pictures of Sesame Street characters, and create projects with homemade "play dough" (Sorry, the picture of the arts and crafts table is pretty dark).

Of course, Elmo HAD to make an appearance!  That's me on the right holding Ryan...see how HAPPY he is?  LOL!  Elmo stayed to give out lots of hugs, take pictures, sing some songs, and eventually....sing happy birthday to Ryan and have dessert!

The dessert table was so fun to create!  I tried matching desserts with different Sesame Street characters, and we ended up with Oscar the Grouch's Dirt Cake (complete with "Slimy the Worm" gummy worms), Cookie Monster's Cookie Cake, Ernie's Rubber Ducky Cupcakes (from the recipe book "What's New Cupcake?", and Elmo's "Swedish Fish Dorothy".  Elmo was a last minute change...I was originally going to make little "fishbowls" with blue jello and gummy fish swimming in the bowls, but the project totally bombed the night before so I just stuck the fish into cups of ice cream...sometimes things don't always pan out like you think they will. 

The birthday cake was covered in fondant and the cupcakes were frosted with primary-colored buttercream. Oreo truffles were sprinkled with colored sanding sugar, and Rice Krispie treat "flowers" were dipped in chocolate and finished with an M&M in the middle.  We also served strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and green grapes, so EVERYTHING was red, blue, green, and yellow!  (Well, and chocolate too, you can't ever leave out chocolate no matter what your color theme is).

I totally forgot to take pictures of the goody bags, but they were red lunch bags that contained Sesame Street themed items...a packet of Goldfish for Elmo, a packet of cookies for Cookie Monster, a puzzle with Abby Cadabby on it, etc.  Each bag had a label attached that said "E is for Emily", "C is for Christopher", etc.

All in all, it was a great birthday party, but with these two parties only being 4 weeks apart from each other, I think we're doing a combo party next year!