Thursday, 1 March 2012

Woweee... Luca's 4th birthday

I hadn't gone away. Just that I'm still recovering. No, not booze recovering - I only had a couple of glasses of bubbly. Recovering from organising a birthday party.

Who knew they could be so exhausting? The planning, the making, the cooking, the hosting, the clearing up.

Would I do it all over again? 

Let's see....

Once the pompoms and number wreath were made, it was time to stitch together those strips to make hanging garlands.  

I did watch the DVD that came with the sewing machine, but we were pushed for time, so Graeme put his old sewing lessons into practice. 

They were so easy to do! Amazing results. They're going to be the decoration I always make from now on for any party. Can you imagine the possibilities for Christmas? A New Year's Eve party? 

Here's the tutorial

Next, the party bags. I desperately wanted to make bags out of Luca's paintings we've been collecting since his last birthday. I was thrilled to find this: a recipe for DIY gift bags!

Punched holes using a shell hole puncher and used orange yarn for handles. (Well, there was so much leftover since the blessed lanterns were a failure!)

Then we got to work on filling them. Cut milk cartons in half, painted them orange, poked holes in the bottom for drainage, and filled them with soil once they were dry.

Cut up orange crepe and tissue paper and wrapped sunflower seeds, and gingerbread biscuits. And for a bit of craft for the kids, we punched out butterflies in orange paper to make a pretty border. Then tied everything up in string and yarn.

They looked adorable - although next time if I'm filling a paper bag with a pound of soil, I might use more than yarn for handles!

We hung pompoms along paths into 'the deep dark wood', which was a great hit with all the kids who ran along looking for the next one to guide them. Hung garlands from trees. Oh, did I mention we also managed to make some bunting with some of the card? Why haven't I owned a sewing machine sooner????

And used this idea to create our very own obstacle course. Strangely enough, Graeme had lots of orange rope that he used to use for scuba diving, so this came in very handy. 

Luca called it a spider's web.

And yes, I even hung those pathetic lanterns, which had completely unravelled that morning, so we managed to make more of the 'web'.

Something to keep the toddlers amused next. A cardboard box wrapped in sticky tape, and a basket full of leaves, flowers, twigs, seed pods and bark. Didn't last as long as I'd hoped as Luca wanted to play with the box!

Pass the parcel. Very interesting trying to explain to a bunch of 2, 3 and 4 yr olds that you only unwrap a layer when the music stops. Why did it seem so much simpler when we were kids?


The food. 

A crab cake. A fudgey dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache. Made by me. Decorated by Luca and Graeme. Luca was thrilled with it.

Cheese and fruit sticks. Very popular with Luca and his friends.

Sausage rolls. Very popular with the parents.

Sesame squash on sticks (not as popular as I'd hoped) and pizza snails (almost all gone). I decided to adopt the less theme with everything, including the food. I had planned on zucchini and corn fritters, and some mini sandwiches, but I kept getting told to keep it simple. My own voice told me that a children's party was not the same as entertaining adults; while food is central to the latter, it most certainly isn't for the former.

So would I do it again?

Yes. Definitely. I had a ball. I really did.

I didn't care that my sticking corner wasn't as successful as I'd planned. I didn't care that no one really liked my sticky sesame squash bites, and I didn't care that the rowdy boys all took turns to beat the pompoms down one by one.

It was so much fun. 

And after everyone had left, we cranked up Justine Clark's The Witches' Ball and danced barefoot in the grass.

Sssshh, don't tell the ranger we had bubbly in the wetlands

Happy birthday my gorgeous little boy. 

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, I would love it if you could vote for me in the Top 25 Creative Mom Blogs.


  1. GORGEOUS! I always get a wee bit stressed before birthday parties but wind up having a ball and there is always such a nice after-party feeling, don't you think? Nice, I like the orange. You guys are creative! :)

  2. Looks like an unreal party. Well done!

    I especially love the party bags & milk carton pots.

    I'm a fan of the fruit kebabs for kids parties too. I was worried about kids poking their eye out with the kebab sticks so I was excited when a friend recently suggested using chop sticks instead. I tried it for a party I helped with last week and it worked a treat. I love that the chop sticks are reuseable too.

  3. Oh lovely, it looked fantastic and sounds like everyone had a blast. I love the pompous leading into the 'deep dark wood'.

    The party bags sounded great - id love to get a party bag like that instead of lollies!

  4. wow vanessa! so, so much effort going into your beautiful boy's party. I adore the party bags - I am definitely using that tutorial in the future. not even finished first term at kindy and my daughter's art basket is full already. I used them all up for christmas wrapping last year. those bags are gorgeous, and the sunflower seeds, brilliant. it looks like a wonderful day had by all x

  5. That is so impressive. Well done you!


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