Friday, June 20, 2008

1st Grade here we Come!

Having nothing to do with cakes or parties, but definitely on my mind today, I thought I would share a current event.

As my daughter “graduates” from kindergarten today, I was trying to figure out the best way (or any way) to commemorate the occasion without making such a huge deal that I would have to outdo it each year for the next 12 years.

So, I beaded a necklace for her. I used some of her beads, some of mine and a few from the bridesmaid dress that I wore in my sisters wedding. I thought it would be special to have a collaboration of both of our collections of beads. And then, I made a matching one for me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Polka Dot" Birthday Party Shopping List

Scrapbooking Store (or Michael’s, Target)

  • 12x12 sheets of cute polka dotted scrapbooking paper
  • 8 1/5x11 sheets of coordinating plain paper (needs to be able to go through your printer)
  • cellophane party bags as envelopes
  • several shades of construction paper to cut out different sizes of polka dots
  • polka dot ribbon – to use on party favor bags and for misc use on the food table

Party Supply Store
  • Balloons in coordinating shades to match invites and decorations
  • plates – coordinating shades
  • napkins - coordinating shades
  • plastic cutlery - clear, leftovers can be used at your next party
  • plastic cups - clear, leftovers can be used at your next party

Grocery Store
  • cake mix - find some on sale and buy 2 boxes, one box makes about 20 or so
  • 2 cans of white frosting – white so you can color it to match the party colors
  • food coloring – look for a “gel” food coloring, it works better than the liquid dropper
  • frosting in a tube - to make the letters on the cupcakes, you can also use a pastry bag with a tip or I've seen icing syringes or plastic kits right there in the baking aisle at the market
  • paper cupcake liners
  • make sure you have eggs and oil for the cake

Go the extra mile and make your own frosting… here is a recipe for vanilla buttercream, yum!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Polka Dot Birthday Party

When my daughter turned 3 years old, I went all out with her party. There were polka dots as far as the eye could see. Even I have to admit that I went too far with the details, so much so that I vowed to not go quite as crazy in the future. But, to be fair, I was pregnant with my second child and was not quite right in the head.

Inspired yet again by Martha, we threw a “Polka Dot” themed birthday party – and it just goes to show, that you can really make a party to be about anything you like. Have a “purple” party, or a “square” one. Does your child flip out when the mail carrier comes? Then have a “mail” party.

The invitation was really born out of an idea for the envelope. I am so tired of paying for specialty envelopes! Even a box of 250 A4 envelopes that you think can use for any invitation might go to waste over time, mostly because they may not be the right style or color for every party. My mom was telling me about an envelope she used when I was young, and I guess I wasn’t listening very closely because when I showed her my invitation and how she inspired me to do it, she laughed. I thought she told me to use a cellophane party favor bag as the envelope, so I did. And guess what? It worked! I used the clear and plain version, about 3.75x8.5 (approx.). Don’t use too small of a bag, because you may face extra postage for special handling.

The invitation itself was very simple. I used orange paper for the backing, and, to print the invitation information. I chose a polka dotted scrapbooking paper, cut slightly smaller than the orange and taped it at an angle on the orange. I cut crookedly around each grouping of invitation words and taped them to the dotted scrapbooking paper. Use a clear sticker to close the bag and a white mailing label to address it.

When using a crazy size envelope or thicker mail then normal I always take it to the post office for accurate postage – and sometimes I mail a sample one to myself just to be sure it works.


The easiest decorations ever! Circles! I just cut plain circles in 3 different sizes out of pink and orange construction paper, you can also use a scrapbooking punch or even your three hole punch for confetti. Tape your dots to windows and walls, and lay them on the tables. You can make polka dot “garland” over doors or hanging from the ceiling (use double sided tape and a long piece of curling ribbon).

I also used balloons at this party, in the same colors as the construction paper circles. Balloons can be a bit of a hazard and I don’t always recommend them for parties with little ones, so, at this party I covered the ceiling with them and made the strings really short so the kids couldn’t grab them. You can also use balloon bouquets as centerpieces on the tables, just weight the strings (I used cans of tuna) and drop them into anything from gift bags to vases to toys.

As I did with the “Jungle” themed birthday party, I used the party favor bags as part of the decorations. Clear plastic cellophane bags tied with polka dot ribbon and a round name tag really added to the table scape.


For this party, I ordered star shaped foam frame craft kits from an online birthday party supplier. I took a digital photo of each child, with the birthday girl, as they walked in the door, and quickly printed them. By the time they sat down to do the craft project, they had a photo to insert into the frame and take home as part of their party favor.


One word, CUPCAKES! This “cake” was more about the set up than the cake itself. As you can see in the photo, I set up a group of 25 cupcakes on a background of some construction paper polka dots and confetti. I wrote out “Happy Birthday Autumn” and the number “3” in pink and orange frosting, inserted candles and voila! Cake is finished!

This party went off without a hitch! And of course the kids had a blast!
This is a simple party, that looks spectacular.
Just use an original theme,
creative thinking, spend as little as
and make it look homemade - even if it isn't!