Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tea (& Cake) for 10

For my daughter Autumn's 5th Birthday party, she asked for a Tea Party theme. I'm pretty sure the reason she asked is because only a few months earlier, she watched me throw a tea party for my mother's birthday - and it was pink and sparkly and grown-up.

So, as usual, I did some research online to see what kind of inspiration I could come up with. The first thing I uncovered, was how to make a teapot cake (more on that nightmare later) and also, I found a very cute teapot piñata.

With my research complete, I began as I always do, with the invitations...


To start, I drew a simple teapot shape. Using the airbrush tool in Adobe Photoshop I outlined the edges in pink and added polka dots and decorated the "lid" in shades of green. After printing these on my home color printer, I (not too carefully) cut out the shape and used a dimensional tape to adhere the teapot to a flat pink card. Do a cute little matching label (thanks Avery), throw them in the mail, and there you go!

This ended up being a little bit of extra work than I'm used to - what with all the cutting - but we were only inviting 9 little girls (and two of them sibblings) I really only had to make eight. Easy, right?


Two words: flowers and teapots (paper teapots). Those really were the only decorations - simple, very inexpensive and visually stunning (if I do say so myself).

If you've ever read any of my birthday party how-tos, you have see these fishbowl style vases before. I own three of the small size, and one large one and they are the most versatile decorating staple I own. For this party, I purchased pink and white roses from the grocery store (they were on sale, how can you go wrong with that?) and arranged them with two shades of pink curling ribbon from my ribbon box, and placed them around the house.

As for the paper teapots, my mother drew these 3 teapot shapes which I then transferred to a thick cardstock along with the invitation teapot (no computers here ladies). Using 8.5x11" paper in different shades/patterns of pink, I traced and cut teapots until I could trace and cut no more. Using regular old scotch tape, I affixed a couple dozen of these to the windows and glass doors around the house.


As this was a tea party, coming up with food items was a snap! When your guest list is just kids, make the food choices appetizing for them - if not necessarily for you. We offered apple scones, pumpkin muffins, turkey and cheese sandwiches and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

To make the sandwiches look slightly more fancy, I used alternating pieces of wheat and white bread cut into triangles without the crust (kids don't like the crust anyway, right?) You could also use a cookie or biscuit cutter for more variety.

I also served a vanilla DECAF tea (oh please make sure it is decaffeinated) with lots of milk, and lemonade on the fancy china. The girls were so careful and respectful of the dishes - it was so nice!


I'm sure everyone understands me when I say, at these birthday parties I try to save money whenever possible. This craft project is no different. On 6ft tables (from my garage) I set out baskets full of art supplies (from my kids art supply bins) and cut more teapots out of cardstock for decorating with rubber stamps, stickers, glitter glue, crayons and markers. The only item I purchased, were some cute little plastic tea cups with saucers to decorate, and to be part of the party favor bag.

Right after the craft, the kids all played dress up. I placed the full length mirror from my closet against the wall, and filled up a toy box full of our dress up things, as well as a few items we borrowed from a neighbor. It was a HIT! These little girls who came already dressed in cute party clothes piled on more sparkly frilly layers and topped that off with a crown, tiara or fairy wings.


Does anyone else have an unnatural obsession with the Cake Walk activity from their childhood? I can not help myself but to come up with any/every excuse to plan a cake walk! Using a (borrowed) heart shaped cake pan, box-of-cake mix and can-of-frosting, I made 10 of the cutest pink sprinkle covered cakes. I put them all on a 6" cardboard cake round and added a paper doily for good measure.

You've never heard of a Cake Walk before? Well, let me explain how it works. First, mark a large numbered circle on the ground with chalk (if you can't use chalk then whatever you do use has to stand up to marching and running and stomping little feet so choose carefully). We had 10 guests so we numbered our spots on the ground 1 through 10 (you can certainly have more numbers than that, but, depending on how many guests you have you can always take turns). We played music as the girls marched in a circle, and when the music stops everyone stands on one number.

Technically, you then pull a number out of a "hat" and call it out - whomever is standing on the number gets to go choose a cake as their prize. Now, these girls were all 5 and under - and I think everyone here remembers my personal guideline of "non-competitive games"- so we did stretch the truth a little and called out numbers that didn't necessarily correspond with what was written on the paper, just so that each child won one cake, fair and square (and I didn't have to make more than 10 of those cute little heart shaped cakes).

Now if that wasn't enough, we also had a Piñata. Not just any Piñata, a teapot Piñata!


Let's just say, it is always a smart idea to have a back up plan... just in case. A bakery nearby should do the trick.

This cake was a nightmare for me to make! I'm not even going to tell you how to make it, there are so many places online that you can go to that give you step by step instructions, like here and here.

My problems began when the "directions" I found online called for angel food cake baked in a round Pyrex glass mixing bowl. Well, after the angel food blew up, I switched to regular cake (box of cake mix) and baked cake in the mixing bowl 3 times. What a mess! I just wasn't grasping the idea that the regular cake was to heavy to hold itself up. At about 11 o'clock the night before, I gave up, and told myself I would order a cake the next morning at 10am. At about 7am, I gave myself one last chance to put it together. I slowly assembled the bottom and top halves with a sliver of the third round in between. About a ton of buttercream later, it was finished - and it even looked pretty cute.

Tip #1: Try using cardstock for the handle and the spout.
Tip #2: Use a beautiful platter rather than a cake board covered in tin foil.

But in the end, with the look on my daughter's face, it was kind of worth it. Don't you think?

To wrap it up, I hope you have gotten at least a couple good ideas to help you
with your next tea party. Just use your creativity to make any theme your own, spend as little as possible and make it look homemade - even if it isn't!


Amy said...

Absolutely love this party! The cake really is cute. I love Cake Walks, too. The kids always love to do them.

Unknown said...

love the cake walk & tea pot cake!

Julie Gallagher said...

Yeah! Finally I know what a cake walk is! The tea party is stunning! I love all your brilliant home-made ideas...especially the teapot cut outs!

Classy Entertainer said...

I love the DIY inspiration- so adorable! This is prrof that fabulous parties do not have to be really fussy. This is really well done!

dcyrill said...

That party is beyond cute. Good job.

Tonya Staab said...

What a fabulous party. I love the cake, the pinata, the flowers, everything.

MaCheryl said...

I just happended upon your blog. I love the party ideas. Would you mind sharing where you got those adorable tea cups?

Vivienne said...

Thank you for sharing the teapot outlines.