Tagged: party

The Middle Party Way: A Dog and Dolphin Double Birthday Party

Often, there seems to be a dichotomy in parties lately — either you go whole-Pinterest and do up an elaborate party at home or in a venue (which I’m all for, being that it allows for maximum creativity) or you have your party the local bounce house place where it’s pizza and cake and the theme is always “Birthday Party.” Well, my amazingly creative friends have shown me the middle way, in between I-must-host-at-home-and-clean-before-and-after-and-transform-this-house-into-my-theme and I-must-make-sure-to-bring-socks. The Middle Party Way, as I call it, involves a theme but only a certain amount of control of how the venue looks.  My friends have done this with a local party places like bounce house places (Star Wars and Monster themes), Lego stores (Lego themed, naturally), etc.  I did it this time around with a sports center.

My two oldest kiddos have summer birthdays and they each have an idea of their own themes. This year, we decided to do a double birthday for both of them together… the problem was that they both wanted their own themes… the elder kiddo wanted a puppies themed birthday while the younger one wanted dolphins. It took a bit of thinking and some research, but we finally came up with this beach-inspired, Puppy-looks-at-Dolphin theme. As it turned out, we had a family emergency out of the country, so I had a week to pull this together and so I limited my energies to cake and favors and cut some corners (like the cake!).

At this sports center, they have a table setup for the cake display, so I thought I’d get most of my theme in there.  It was simple, but turned out cute and was appropriate to the beach theme. Here it is: OneCraftyThing.com | Dolphin and Dog Beach Party

Like I said, pretty simple. I just got a fashion fabric to put under the cake and a dollar-store net (in the party section) to kind of give it an ocean-y feel.  On the right and left of the cake, I had our themed-favors (detailed below) and cocktail umbrella topiaries. The cocktail umbrellas were in everything, including the cake and the decorations. In this way, they brought everything together (and were fun for the kids). Here is a detail shot of the topiary, which is just a styrofoam ball held up with a dowel in a pot filled with sand. The umbrellas were a little challenging to put in but that might have just been the white styrofoam I used (instead of the simpler green one).

OneCraftyThing.com | Cocktail Umbrella Topiary

For favors, I offered tic tac toe games. I have often lamented the easily breakable plastic toys in favor bags at parties because they inevitably end up in the garbage. So I thought these would be good for people to keep, a small travel game that could be taken to a restaurant, or in the car. I sewed up these little drawstring  bags with felt on one side and a turquoise chevron fabric in the back. My sewing machine does embroidery stitches, so I did a fancy x-stitch on felt to make up the playing board and used wooden round/star pegs for game pieces. OneCraftyThing.com | Tic Tac Toe Favors

To display them, I put them in a round bucket facing up and then stuck an umbrella in each. The kids loved the umbrellas 🙂 And inside I also added a little square of Ghiradelli chocolate and a lollipop.OneCraftyThing.com | Favor Display for Dog and Dolphin Beach party

We have quite a few friends with little babies, too, so for the babies, the favors were these washcloth dolphins.OneCraftyThing.com | Washcloth Favors

And on to the cake! My absolute most favorite part of the party stuff. I love the way this cake came out! I got the idea from another beach cake I had seen a while back. I majorly cheated with the cake — I ordered a plain blue cake from our local grocery store and decorated it myself 😉 The “wooden” fence around the cake were Pirouette wafers and the sand was made from crushed Nilla wafers. The letters were fondant and I made the dog and dolphin with edible molding dough. And then, of course, the umbrellas for fun!

OneCraftyThing.com | Dog and Dolphin Cake

A detail of the dog. I used some edible modeling dough from Wilton. It held really well and the only added structural help I did was put a toothpick in the dog’s body to secure the head. I think the head would’ve stayed, regardless, but I didn’t want any mishaps.

OneCraftyThing.com | Dog and Dolphin Beach Cake

And here is the dolphin, which I absolutely loved. I had black and white doughs which mixed up beautifully for this steely gray color. OneCraftyThing.com | Dog and Dolphin Beach Cake

All in all, it was a fun party and the best part was that both the kiddos loved it. Good times, good times — and just a few days worth of effort. My kind of party.

Today I used:

A Hot Air Balloon First Birthday Party

My littlest kiddo turned one this week. ONE! When I my first kiddo turned one, it seemed to take a long while to get to that first birthday. But on this last kiddo, it feels like he was a newborn just last month. So this is my last first birthday 🙁 It’s a little sad for me, but we went out of babyhood forever with a bang 😉 My little guy had a Hot Air Balloon First Birthday. And here are the pics!

I’m going to start with my most favorite part of all, the photobooth! I loved this photobooth. It was SUPER easy to make and really fun to take pictures in.

To put it together, I bought a 3 foot balloon (I actually bought several for the decorations) and a hot air balloon net. Then I bought a basket big enough to fit a full grown adult (sitting down) and all I had to do was tie the net to the basket handles. The wall behind it was painted light blue already, so I didn’t have to have a backdrop. I did add some white 12 inch balloons tied together with some fishing wire and tacked to the wall with thumbtacks. I also used the fishing wire to tie some white balloons to the bottom so you didn’t see the floor from the right angle (at this angle, you could totally see the floor, but check out the next picture).

Hot Air Balloon Party | OneCraftyThing.com

This is my grandma in the photobooth after most of the guests had left and we were goofing around. The whole prop was next to a window and the shadows here kind of were strong because it was late in the day, but the party was in the morning and the light was much better then.

Hot Air Balloon Party | OneCraftyThing.com

The photobooth, like I said, was my absolutely most favorite thing of the party.

So on to the rest! The decorations were also fun to do. I bought some cool paper lantern hot air balloons and put little people finger puppets in them. So simple, but looked good:

Hot Air Balloon Party | OneCraftyThing.com

Around the rest of the house, we had a couple of large 3 foot balloon like the one in the photobooth and we attached them to several baskets with the nets. Some of my older kiddos’ dollies made for hot air balloon riders 🙂

Hot Air Balloon Party | OneCraftyThing.com Hot Air Balloon Party | OneCraftyThing.com


For the dessert table and cake, we set up a swag on the wall made from a simple red plastic table cloth accented with balloons. For the table, we served fruit, popcorn in mini popcorn boxes (similar to these), mini cupcakes, meringues, chex mix, alfajores cookies (soft, crumbly cookies with dulce de leche inside), and mazamorra morada (a sort of purple maize pudding; it’s not super sweet but has a fruity taste to it). Here was the set up:

Hot Air Balloon Party | OneCraftyThing.com


And here’s a detail of the cake, made by my awesome friend at Sweet Party Treats! She makes delicious desserts and this cake was just perfect. I made more use of those nets and 3 foot balloon to make it look like a hot air balloon:

Hot Air Balloon Party | OneCraftyThing.com

And I painted some kokeshi cake toppers of the birthday boy and his sisters in the balloon:

Hot Air Balloon Party | OneCraftyThing.com

Lots of fun was had as we had a bouncy house and a magician/face painter/balloon twister come in to entertain. It turned out perfect! At the end, when we all were going home, we gave some fun favors to take home too.

The whole lot of them took up much more space than I thought, but here were a lot of them:

Hot Air Balloon Party | OneCraftyThing.com

And here they are a little more close up. I used mini popcorn boxes (similar to these), for the “basket” part and put some holes on each side, using some baker’s twine to attach it simply to a balloon. Inside, there were people finger puppets (there are six to a family pack! A grandma, a grandpa, a mom, a dad, a girl and her brother), a small bottle of bubbles, a pack of crayons, and an mini activity book that I designed. On the front of the mini activity book was a coloring page of the birthday boy’s face (I offer custom coloring book portraits on my etsy page here), a hot air balloon maze, a word search and a hot air balloon coloring page. My older kiddos loved them 🙂

Hot Air Balloon Party | OneCraftyThing.com

In the end we were tired but happy. It was a great send off to that first year. Here’s to many many more for my big birthday boy 🙂

Today I used:

A Gingerbread House



Some friends and I got together for a fun gingerbread house party where everyone brings all kinds of candies and cookies and decorates a gingerbread house without the distraction of kids (although I had to take my youngest kiddo with me). All the different people meant an insane variety of different candies and sprinkles. My friends came up with some amazing creations and I spent most of my time just piping the roof– errr, I’m really slow! But I am happy with the results. My favorite thing, besides the roof, were the little mushrooms! So cute.

Some of the candies I used were Smartie gumballs, white sixlets, snowflake sprinkles for the house front, candy cane swirls, chocolate/cookie mushrooms, chocolate mint drops, reindeer cookies, tropical Mike & Ikes and Chiclets for the path, and coconut flakes for the snow!

Today I used: