Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Layla's Frozen-inspired birthday party

 Layla turned another year older last week - SIX! The extra-long summer had us fooled it was going to be warm forever, so we were very excited about rigging up a sheet tent in the backyard, filling it with pillows and cushions and blankets and fairy lights and borrowing a friends projector for an outdoor movie night. Then winter actually made an appearance and that idea vanished as quickly as the heat. At least it would have been an appropriate movie - Frozen is THE movie of All Of Time for kids apparently. Except we'd have been frozen... So regular hours and regular party it was - maybe she can have a half-birthday celebration in summertime! A Frozen theme didn't go away though, so we decided on brunch, a few of her closest little girlfriends and some traditional party games - pass the parcel, pinata, musical statues. I also threw in a few extra bits just for fun. Here's how it went down!

I already had a bunch of tissue paper, honeycomb balls and streamers in the right colours - (I stocked up once in pinks and blues/greens and whites - they're the colours I always seem to use the most!) so all I bought for this party was the food, a packet of white balloons and a couple packets of clear hair combs from Coles.

Mini Elsa dress-ups This is why I bought clear hair combs in case you thought that was a weird thing to buy for a party. I made each of the girls Elsa crowns because WHY NOT? This was worth every second minute of the whole hour or so it took to make them - they LOVED them and it even was responsible for bribing one little partygoer out of the car and into the party (you know how kids go strangely shy when they arrive at someone's house even though they know them and want to go there!). I promise you they were easy enough to make - I used a cereal box and drew the pattern on (I just Googled Elsa crown template and copied it from that) but because the edge of the combs are curved, it wouldn't have glued to it properly, so I continued on the bottom of the template and curved it to match the curve of the comb. Then I cut them out, used a scalpel for the inside bits and then gave them a couple coats of gold spraypaint. Once dry I used some metallic blue paint on the middle parts, sprinkled on the blue glitter. Once that was dry, I ran the hot glue gun along the edge of the comb and pressed the crown onto it. Done! Elsa crowns! Each girl also had a bit of metallic teal netting stuck to their clothes as an Elsa cape - I had some left over from Layla's mermaids party last year - but they kept tripping on them and the tape didn't stick (I had no safety pins!) so they quickly got discarded. The crowns, though? Didn't move from little heads all party. 

Doily snowflake decorations I knew I'd use this DIY I created years ago for something! And this was it - these doily snowflakes made sweet decorations in the living room.

Pinata Of course there was a pinata! A snowflake one - snowflakes were the motif of this party. The invitations (which I didn't get a picture of, but were just a white circle with a blue watercolour snowflake painted on the front and the details written on the back), pinata, cake, cookies and one of the activities all featured the pretty snowflake shape. This was made from a nappy box! And some packaging tape, but I didn't tape it too crazily because every year my pinatas need at least five rounds from all the kids, plus a few extra whacks from Zak and occasionally an adult before it gets a hole in it! But it STILL HELD and needed some encouragement for the lollies to fall! Anyway, once the shape was created, I stuck on some blue tissue paper on the front and back and cut out the snowflake cuttings from white paper.

Cookie decorating! I had a Christmas cookie decorating party for the kids and their friends one year and they had so much fun, I thought the girls would like to do this too. So I made some sugar cookies using this recipe and let them at them. They were there for ages icing and carefully placing their little cachous, sprinkles, M&Ms and mashmallows on the stars, snowflakes and clouds (they were Olaf's flurries!)

Snowflake cutting Zak led the way here and showed the girls how to make them. I tried but got shooed away and told I wasn't doing it right (I was, but who am I to argue with a seven-year-old who seems to know everything?). Some of them came out quite cool.

Keychain threading I thought I'd make use of the leftover beads I had and the girls could make some keychain decorations for their schoolbags. Not quite as popular as I thought this would be, but some of them still did it! I originally wanted small quartz crystals for the ends and a few pretty beads at the top but must have imagined seeing the bag of crystals that inspired this as when I went into the store and asked for them, they looked at my blankly and told me they didn't sell what I was asking for. Not sure why I thought they had them, but anyway!

Snowball fight! This was everyone's favourite thing. The easiest, cheapest, non-decorative, non-time-wasting activity ever. Put the kids into teams, hand them a pile of newspaper, count down and let them scrunch up the paper and throw it at each other. First one to use up all their pile wins. They loved it. It's also a great way to spend a few minutes on a boring, rainy day - the kids and I have messed up our lounge room a few times doing so...

Indoor snowstorm Actually it was a toss up between the snowball fight and the indoor snowstorm that took the favourite thing title. Just for fun all the little Elsas got to wave their magical hands and create some snow. I chopped up a bunch of blue and white tissue paper and placed them into balloons. Then I blew them up, hung from the ceiling and when they performed their magic, popped the balloons. Down floated the "snow" and up went their voices into squeals of joy. It was pretty cute. Messy, of course, but nothing my vacuum cleaner couldn't fix! (which is why inside it better than outside - I'd have tissue paper squares in my grass for months if I'd done it outside!)

Snowflake cake I try to make food as easy as possible (for this party we had pancakes, yoghurt, waffles, scones, ham and cheese croissants, fruit and more in a buffet style) for myself. So while I made Layla a cake-from-scratch on her actual birthday (with strawberry buttercream - yum!), for the parties, I usually grab a plain double sponge cake from the supermarket and just ice it and decorate to make it a little more special. This time, I did a ruffle pattern with the butercream and then cut out some shapes for a snowflake pattern out of the ready-made white icing. A handful of blue sugar sprinkles finished it off. You can find a how-to for the ruffle icing (and how to make a mini cake out of cupcakes here).

The aftermath Hard icing all over the table + half-eaten biscuits and mashmallows stuck to all sorts of surfaces + a bench full of... crap + furniture in the wrong place + paper all over the floor and woolly rug = signs of a successful party! No I haven't painted the ceiling or floor yet. But the doors are done - yay! Baby steps...

The birthday morning surprise Party or not, I always try to make the actual birthday morning a little special - hanging balloons or streamers over the door or a decorated hallway - they love waking up to something. This year, I made some balloons animals and stuck them to Layla's door with an incredibly classy paper-plate sign. She loved it and those balloon animals are still living it up somewhere in the house. Balloons, cardboard and double-sided tape go a reeeallly long way in my house.

So there we have it - another party over! Layla had fun, her friends had fun and I had fun. Win win really! It wasn't TOO Frozen-ish, too girlie, too... much. It was a little bit trad (the kids also played pass the parcel and musical statues), a fair bit messy (snowflake decorating, snowball fight and inside snow storm), and a whole lot fun. Just as a kids birthday party should be!


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  2. What a lovely party . I agree that mess is a sign of a good party.
    We like to recycle things for parties. our best was a fairy party for my 1 year old granddaughter the whole family got involved

  3. My youngest son is going to a few Frozen parties as well & loving them! He certainly would have loved Layla's (& so would I just quietly) I think the simple home based parties are usually the best, it's all I ever had as a child & I still remember them fondly. Happy b'day Layla!

  4. Michelle HerrettJune 25, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    Gorgeous as ever Belinda. LOVE the idea of the tissue paper in the balloons...Frozen or not! Cake looks delicious too. Happy birthday Layla :)
    Btw, completely off topic, but can you tell me the distance from your bench to your kitchen cupboards? As in, the width of the floor work space. We've hired an interior designer who's drawn something up for us but we think it looks a wee bit narrow, so i'd love to get an idea on what other people have done. Thanks!

  5. I hope you don't mind but I'm stealing one or two of these ideas....well maybe all of them! Brilliant!!! Our party is next week and I'm so time poor atm you've given me all the ideas! Thank you!!!