Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Canada!

Happy Canada Day!
Hope you all enjoy the long weekend.

Photo: Jared Grove, used under Creative Commons licence

Party Tips: Recyling

Creative Commons License photo credit: garryknight

Recycling and composting at parties can be a real challenge. Have you ever stood in someone's kitchen at party unsure of what to do with the plastic plate, food scraps and pop can in your hand?

RecycleScene has some great tips:
  • Choose items that are easily recyclable. Serve drinks in cans rather than styrofoam cups. 
  • Put out easily identifiable bins where guests can see them. Blue for recycling, green for food waste, black for garbage. Guests are more likely to recycle or compost if the bins are accessible.
  • Compost food scraps. In Ontario, most of us have green bins so this is really easy.
  • Use Cloth napkins and real dishes. You can rent the dishes for a large party. If that doesn't suit you, look for biodegrable tableware made from sugarcane or wheat fibers. If you must use paper products, look for post-consumer recycled fibers. And don't forget that napkins can go into the green bin!
  • Re-use decorations from other parties or make decorations out of other materials, such as a pinata. Invset some time in making non-specific festive decorations such as felt pennets or banners, a generic "party" sign that can be used for any party over and over again. I love the idea of the wooden sign in the image above. Why not try your hand at a diy project?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Re-Post: Felt Citrus Slice Coasters

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Lemon, Lime, Pink grapefruit, Orange 

By now, everyone knows I love felt. Look at these fantastic citrus slice coasters.
Love, love, love!
All you need is some appropriately coloured felt, scissors, pins and a needle and thread. 
The step by step instructions for this project from Purl Bee can be found here

Is there anything you can't make from felt?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flower Garland and Updated Birthday Banner

I updated the "Hoppy Birthday" banner for my sister in law's birthday.I changed the "o" to an "a" and switched the bunnies for some pink and red die cut flowers. Cute, and it matched the fireplace quite nicely. 
You can find the original instructions to make the banner here 

Here's a close up of the paper flowers. I bought a large package of them at the dollarstore. Very handy, I've used them for greeting cards, embellishments for gift bags, to decorate easter baskets, the garland below and I still have more!

Flower Garland
  • paper flowers in your choice of colours
  • needle and thread
  • tape
This is super easy, I whipped it up in only a few minutes.


 Line up your flowers so that you have a relatively straight line, see how the side petals line up? Then simply string the flowers onto your needle and thread from the back side, so the thread runs along the back. Tie off and tape the end to the back of the end flowers. I used a random pattern of all the colours, but feel free to cutomize as you see fit. The only small thing that bugged me-the flowers tended to twist around. A very tiny detail no one would notice except me. I might attach them all individually, like I did with the sweet pea banner when I have some spare time. Sweet pea banner instructions are here
Everyone commented on it, it's a cute way to add a pop of colour to a party.
  And very cheap, it cost only pennies.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Toy Story 4th Birthday Party

Date: June 4, 2011
Location: Mississauga, ON
Guests: 17 children (age range 1-8) plus about 30 adults
Budget: $40 (not including food)

*To protect privacy, no photos of guests are included in this post. 

This party was intended to be held outdoors in Erindale Park. Major thunderstorms forced a last minute change of plans-party was held at the client's house. While not ideal, I did manage to salvage most of the party plans. It cleared up in the afternoon, I was able to take the kids outside for a few games.

Concept: Woody's Round-Up.
Four stations with various activities, at each station the children received a prize.

Upon arrival, each guest received a cowboy party hat and a sheriff badge. 

I put out crayons and colouring sheets for the kids to do while we waited for all the guests to arrive.

Free download from the Disney website, you can find it here

Station #1: Mr. Potato Head

For this station, I cut out a potato shape from brown cardstock for each child and provided them with a variety of features to choose from, including shoes, hat, arms, noses, mouths etc to glue onto the background shape with a gluestick. Obviously,  younger children might need help with this activity. Each guest can take home their creation at the end of the party.
Variation: Print out the shapes onto sticker paper.
I didn't do this since the adhesive paper is quite expensive.

The link to download the features can be found here
Template for the body can be found here I found the body to be too large for the features so I reduced it on the photocopier to 70% before cutting out the template.
It could have been a bit smaller.

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Station #2: Woody's Shoot-out
Knock down a pyramid of plastic cups with a water pistol. This activity should be done outside, we played this game on the front lawn. It was little too difficult for the younger children. The older boys had a great time, they asked to do it again and again.I was so involved with running the games, I forgot to take pictures.
You'll have to use your imagination.

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Station #3: Space Ranger's Training

The hunt for moon rocks.

Sort of looks like a rock, you get the idea. The moon rocks were hidden throughout the front and side yards for the children to hunt down. Sort of a space themed easter egg hunt, if you will.
Prizes inside were small toys like parachute army men, bouncy balls, toy story note pads and silly bands.

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Station #4: Jesse's Lasso Challenge
This game involved "lassoing" a toy cow. I thought using rope might be a tad dangerous with small children around (think choking) so we used frisbees with holes in them, sort of like ring toss.

In addition to the usual streamers and balloons, I made this centrepiece from a box, paper and templates from the Disney website. Lots of free templates, crafts, etc can be found there, with all sorts of characters.

The aliens are easy to put together, Woody and Buzz are more challenging. Prepare yourself for lots of cutting and gluing. Since this is paper, it's not exactly the most kid friendly thing. All the kids wanted to play with it. Looks cool though. And since it's just paper and glue, it's practically free. Woody is technically a marionette, but I cheated by mounting him on a skewer instead of hanging him. I covered the box with blue paper and cut out white clouds that sort of look like the wallpaper in Andy's room. Each little character has toothpicks taped to the inside. I drilled holes in the box with my cordless drill and inserted the toothpicks. As I said before-toothpicks are not appropriate for young children. This was meant purely for decoration-but of course all the kids wanted to play with it. I had to explain over and over that it was only made of paper!

This party was not without it's challenges-rain, last minute change of venue, wet grass and mud, and a small space. I must admit-I was exhausted after this party! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Woodland Fairy Party

I saw this party theme idea in the May edition of Paren'ts magazine. In fact, there were lots more of great ideas, all under $100. But this particular one struck a cord with me. I actually saw faux wood grain wrapping paper at the AGO giftshop for 99 cents, but wasn't sure what I would use it for. Now I know!

Isn't the cupcake stand fantastic? Love it.

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Toadstool cupcakes? Easy and so cute.  I like the use of two different sizes.

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I found wings online for $4-$5 a pair.Oriental Trading Company has some monarch butterfly wings, they look pretty awesome. Link is here

I'm sure party packagers and some dollarstores also have them.
The headband and hat are made from paper. 

This theme reminds me of a Midsummer's Night Dream.Older children could dress up and act out scenes from the play. This is a blue sheet with white clouds attached to serve as a photobooth, but could also be the backdrop for the stage.
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I have the photo printer already to print out the pics, kids can make the frame to take home as a favour.

See the website here for more details and instructions. Lots more themes for both girls and boys of all ages and price ranges.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lady Bug Decorations

A friend asked to help her with some things for her daughter's first birthday. I didn't have alot of time to contribute, but I came up with these two quick projects.

 Directional Signs

The idea for these guys were to be signs to point the guests to the party, without giving away to much information such as the address or child's name. Guests were told to look for the ladybugs. One was at the entrance to the complex, one each on the front and back door. I made them from cardboard and acrylic paint. I painted them freehand, so they are not all perfect, but since they would not be side by side, it didn't matter. They are quite sizable, I used the lid from a paper box. Easily seen from a distance. I think the middle one is my favourite.

Leaf cupcake flags
These little guys are so easy to make and look adorable. 
  • toothpicks
  • green paper
  • red dot stickers
  • black marker
  • glue stick

 Cut out a leaf shape from green paper.

 Add some red dots (the body of the lady bug)

 Draw on the details with black marker.

Add a bit of glue and roll the stem of the leaf around the toothpick.

Of course, try not to touch the pointy end of the toothpick, or wear gloves. It's easy to whip up alot of these in a very short period time. I made a dozen in about fifteen minutes.
If you are considering a theme for a young child's party, especially if that party is in a backyard or park I encourage you to use a ladybug theme. There is so much available online-free printables, games, activities etc. If you can't find ladybug decorations, they are easy to make. Or simply use red/black/green as your colour scheme.

Baby Shower Activity

I love this idea, courtesy of Real Simple. As I've mentioned before, Baby Shower games can be horrifying for both guests and the mom-to-be. That's why I love this idea-ask guests to bring a photo of themselves as a infant and sting them up around the room on a clothesline. Have the guests guess who is in each photo.
Sure to be a great hit!

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 After the game is over, take down the pictures and hang up cute baby items such as onesies and socks, as the gifts are unwrapped.

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If you like, decorate the clothespins to match your theme or colour scheme with strips of decorative paper, japanese decorative tape, paint or stickers.

I love this idea, I'll be sure to try this one out.