We’ve all been there! A birthday is coming up and the birthday boy or girl announces they want a (insert character here) party. The problem is sometimes that character isn’t overflowing the shelves at Target. So how do you plan a party for an obscure character. Here are my four easy tips that I used to plan a Marie from the Aristocats party for my daughter. Take the mystery out of planning a killer party!
There is one universal truth when you turn one, “It’s a Small World After All.” My husband is a huge Disney fan and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that we are a Disney family. So I’m always looking for creative, not so obvious ways to incorporate Disney into the kids’ lives. While Pinteresting this past summer, I came across some “It’s a Small World” first birthday parties and I loved the idea for our sweet baby girl. I found there are two color scheme approaches – a very feminine light pink, white and gold or a livelier jewel tone style. I always prefer bright colors so I totally went for the jewel toned option.
Even though my husband is a graphic designer, I always hit Etsy first to see what sorts of invitations and printable decor might be available for a party. I figure if $30 saves him hours of work in the evenings, it’s worth it to me to have more time with him. I found a super cute set of “Small World” printables from the Etsy shop “Hello Darling Design Co.” out of Tampa, FL. Jaime was a dream to work with and I got a custom invitation, a custom banner, cupcake wrappers and toppers for $32. Once those were selected, my vision for the rest of the party came together.
Over the top tulle
No girl can turn one without a tutu in my opinion so I knew I had to get the perfect one for Ivy’s “Small World” birthday party. I found several tutorials online on how to make your own but my favorite was done using a crocheted headband (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby but here’s a link to a similar style – Crochet Wide Elastic 1.5 Inch Tight Headbands for Baby). I picked up four rolls of tulle (orange, yellow, bright pink and blue like this from Amazon – ORANGE Tulle 6in x 300ft (100 yards) roll.) and alternated those around the edge of headband. Here’s a link to a step by step tutorial. I decided I wanted it to be really full so I did a second layer one row higher. I then used a similar technique to make a tulle skirt for the edge of her highchair tray which I attached using adhesive Velcro dots. Lastly, I draped a few lengths of the tulle across the archway where I hung her happy birthday banner.
Quick and Easy Disposables
I usually try to avoid using paper products because of, you know, the environment and all that. But for certain parties, it just makes sense. I was lucky and happened across the perfect napkins and straws to match my colors at Ikea so I was able to pick them up for super cheap. I then grabbed some really basic plates and a plastic tablecloth at the Dollar Tree. My brilliant idea for this party, and for entertaining with kids in general, was to hit up the local restaurant supply store, Cash ‘n Carry, and grab a sleeve of small, clear plastic cups with lids for straws. No more wondering how I was going to scrounge up enough sippy cups for this crowd or keep track of which one belongs to which. Now you could manage spills with lids and ownership with a quick flick of a Sharpie!
Similar Straws: Ikea Flexible Soda Straws
Similar Napkins: Summer Bright Floral Luncheon Napkins
Similar Cups: Plastic Clear Cups with Flat Lids
As I mentioned in my previous posts about birthdays in general, you need to think about which area of the party you’d enjoy putting some extra effort into. For me, this was the desserts. I’ve recently become obsessed with watching dessert videos on YouTube, my favorite channel is “My Cupcake Addiction” with Elise Strachan but my inspiration for Ivy’s cake actually came from this video by “Rosie’s Dessert Spot.” I used her technique of filling your piping bag with a deep colored frosting and then gradually adding white as your run out until the color shifts to white to achieve this ombre effect. My goal was for the effect to look either like water or clouds – I didn’t really care which – and I think I achieved the desired effect. I did use my graphic design husband to tweak some elements from Ivy’s birthday invitation to make the city and the hot air balloons. He blew up the city scape across the bottom of the invite and made one long strip about 20 inches long on cardstock. I used an Exacto knife careful cut around the roof tops and then affixed the two ends together so I had sort of a city themed paper crown. I knew I didn’t want the paper nestled too deeply in the frosting so I attached three wooden skewers to the inside of crown and slowly inserted them into the cake so it looked like the city was floating in the clouds. Chris also enlarged the hot air balloons, added a “1” to the front of the biggest one and printed out two sets for me on card stock. I taped them back to back on wooden skewers and inserted them in the center of the cake so they were rising out of the center of the city. I’m so pleased with how this turned out!
For the cupcakes, I wanted a similar icing effect so I filled one bag with the bright blue icing and one with white icing. I cut the tips off of both of them and inserted them into a third bag fitted with a large star tip. Then, I pushed the icing out until both colors were present. When you apply the icing in a swirl pattern, you end up with a two toned effect that really tied in well with the bigger cake. The cupcake wrappers and toppers from Hello Darling Design Co were the perfect touch to bring the whole thing together.
I actually hosted two events for Ivy’s birthday as I mentioned in the previous post. A kid-friendly pancake party for just our friends and a pizza dinner for family. For the kid party, I wanted something universally liked and a little interactive. The pancake bar was the perfect match! Pancakes were made from a boxed mix and I put out a tiered tray of different fruits to top the pancakes and some different syrup options. I also included some fun-treat toppings like sprinkles and chocolate chips. To round everything else, I served frozen sausage links which were a breeze to heat up in the microwave and orange juice, water and Crystal Lite Peach Iced Tea (my favorite!) I used some of the paper napkins laid out as slightly overlapping diamonds to set everything on. My bright colored Fiestaware fit in perfectly with the theme for serving.
I hope this lights up your imagination when it comes to your next kid party! If you end up throwing an “It’s a Small World” birthday party, be sure to share the photos with me! I’d love to see it. Just remember when you’re planning your next party, do only what you love and not what you perceive others to expect. Remember, your friends just want to play with you – and celebrate another year of surviving parenthood!