Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Then comes a yellow day...

(don't know what's going on over the next two weeks?  Read the intro here, read about our experts here and join the party here!)

and wheee!  I'm a busy, BUZZZZZZZZZY bee!
(have you read "My Many Colored Days" by Dr. Seuss?  You really should.)
This one page was, essentially, the entire basis for our Busy Bee party.

You see, ever since mini's first birthday, at which she received this pillow pet from Oma, 
she has been IN LOVE with bees.  She sees any flying creature and immediately yells: BEE!  BEE!  She sleeps with this pillow pet and what she calls her "baby bee" pillow pet every night.
Plus, she really IS a busy bee.  So the party was all too appropriate.

I should probably mention at this juncture, that birthday parties around here are very low key things.  We invite family over and that's pretty much it.  When I was younger, there were a few "special" birthdays at which we had larger gatherings of friends as well - 8, 12, 16, 18... and our "golden" birthday.  And that suits the mr and I just fine as well.  Actually, the mr would be just fine with a piece of cake and that's it.  But he's not getting off that easy...
So, it stands to reason then, that you will not find incredible birthday parties like this at my house.  Nor will you find parties like this.  Or this.  Or this.  They are beautiful and amazing and completely over the top.  My parties are frugal and simple and mostly handmade.  Maybe that means they're lame?  If you're looking for ideas on a budget, though, you've come to the right place.

It began with an invitation.

I made this in picnik.  I used the collage and only one picture on the bottom half.  Then I just filled the text in the top using a few different fonts.  I created each bee individually with the different shape stickers - each one is one big oval, three skinny rectangles for the lines, and two little ovals for the wings.  That's a whole lot of shapes to manipulate into six different bees... like 36 shapes.  Anyway, it took a while even using the handy "duplicate shape" trick.  But look at that adorable mug.

Next up.  Decor.

The way I see it, the food and treats pull double duty as decor, too, so if you play your cards right, you don't need too much else!  This was my "treats" table.  (Keep in mind that there were only a total of 8 other people at our home aside from the four of us who live here... so I don't have mass quantities of anything, really.  If it looks sparse, that's why.)

So, I covered the table in a plain white sheet I use for photos and backdrops and such.  Then I found that great yellow and white striped light cotton fabric in my stash and layered it over the table and the piano bench.  I wanted to give the table a lot of texture and detail, and I know adding varied heights and such can add interest.  On top of the striped fabric, I layered some smaller fabric pieces of white/yellow/black/gray patterns.  Behind the cake I fluffed up some white tulle for whimsy.  That amazing layered cake?  I wish I could take credit for that. As I was bemoaning the fact that I really wanted a bee hive cake but knew it was beyond my abilities (don't believe me?  Have you SEEN this??), my sister IL valiantly jumped in with her incredible cake decorating services.  Thank you, S!  Also, there are zig-zag flowers, cupcakes, and a large jar of lemonheads.

I made several accordion style flowers, following the same method as I did here.  In the center of each I glued a yellow circle so they'd look like daisies.  Then I made a BUNCH more of these fun zig-zag type flowers using different patterned paper - dots, stripes, diamonds, damask:

1.  I covered our patio door with this large piece of soft cotton in black with yellow polka dots that I had in my stash.  Then, using the accordion flowers and the zig-zag flowers, I made a few garlands of varying lengths out of fishing line and taped them up over the fabric.  Also, you can't really see them at all, but I made bees out of clothespins and coffee filters.  I drew yellow and black lines on the clothespins and then squinched up a coffee filter and clipped it in the middle.  See here for actual instructions. (mine didn't have a face or antennae.)
(As a side note, I'm really sorry about the outcome of these photos - but it's impossible to get decent ones at night in winter.)
2. I set our peninsula up with the dinner portion of our food.  I covered it first with a black with white striped satin-esque fabric (also from my stash).  I layered a white and yellow gingham cotton in the middle where I put our piece de resistance - the casserole.  Also notice the zig-zag flowers scattered around everywhere.  I had a few of these circular straw placemats that I got at the dollar store many moons ago with the intention of turning them into something awesome and then never getting around to it... so I layered those on top of the fabric as well for a place to put our plates, utensils in a glass jar, napkins, cups, water bottles and individual packets of lemonade.  All of which were - you guessed it - yellow black and white. Except the water bottles.  I had big plans of making those all pretty but procrastination got the best of me so they were just clear.
3. I "made" several "garlands" out of fabric in my stash.  I use the term "made" loosely because all I did was rip the fabric scraps into strips and then tie them together.  Also, "garland" is used loosely as well.  But I think they're kind of cute in a shabby way.
4.  A closer look at the piano bench portion of the treat table: Another circular straw placemat, cotton fabric, yellow plate, glass dish with colorful candy, and yellow cups filled with caramel corn.

I set the favors out on our piano as kind of "decor" ish elements as well.  Here they are in their yellow take-out boxes.  (notice also that we had our Christmas decorations up, too... kind of didn't really go with the bumble bee theme, but it was December 4th, what are you going to do?)

Also, I don't have a picture of this, but thought I'd pass the idea along.  I didn't know you could blow up a balloon INSIDE another balloon!  We had a bunch of "Double" balloons as decor, too.  Basically, you stick a balloon inside another balloon.  You blow up the outside one a bit, then stick the hole of the INSIDE balloon out of the outside balloon hole and blow that one up all the way, tie it off and push it down inside, then finish blowing up the outside balloon and tie it off.  It looks so fun!

Alright, so dinner didn't really go with the theme.  But it was delicious, if I do say so myself.  I made my original Taco Dip Casserole, which you can find here.

1.  The taco dip casserole (in its place of honor).  
2.  The incredible cake.  It was chocolate with white frosting (yellow food coloring).  My sister in law even made chocolate lines around the "hive" and a little chocolate doorway and tiny little chocolate bees piped on. I don't know how she got the frosting so smooth!  Something to do with water??
3.  Little cupcakes for the littles.  I found the PERFECT cupcake "decals" at Walmart, of all places.  They are in the baking aisle by all the candles and decorations.  All you do is peel it off of the plastic, place it on the cupcake top and pat around the edges gently.  You can NOT tell it's only a decal, I thought they looked awesome!  It helps if the frosting is really smooth.
4.  I made "rice krispie pops".  I didn't make the rice krispie treats myself, but my mom had bought a big box.  I just cut each square in half, rolled each half into a ball, stuck a (long) lollipop stick in it (can find these in the party aisle), and then made a chocolate frosting/glaze to drizzle over them, finishing up by sprinkling little yellow sprinkles on top.  The glaze turned out to be too thick, and looks a little lumpy, but the kids loved them.  I just stuck them in a vase with yellow paper grass stuff in it so they looked like flowers.

Here you can see the food "spread" - essentially just casserole, chips, homemade salsa and lemonade/water to drink.  Back in the corner, I labeled those individual clear plastic cups with crayons because it worked like a charm... an obvious idea which is NOT original in any way that I stole from the restaurant circuit.  Give each kid their own cup with crayons, set them up with a bee to color on, NO FIGHTING OVER CRAYONS!  And it keeps them occupied.  For like TWO WHOLE MINUTES.

I made mini a little "tutu" for the occasion.  Unfortunately, pretty much ALL of the pictures of her look like this:

Because she WILL NOT sit still EVER.  (Unless Blue's Clues is on)

But here's a not super attractive one I managed to snap while mr was holding her.  It's one of those fabric tutu's - You've seen them and they are so cute right?  I don't know what I did wrong, but when it was all done and the strips were tied to the elastic, the elastic had stretched so much that it was about TWICE the size I'd started with!  I sewed a little lace trim sash to the sides and we used that to tie it in the back... but it didn't work out quite the way I'd envisioned.  Any tips?

And although we've already discussed the cake, I had to show you the candle pictures.

She tried so hard to blow them out on her own,

but in the end, needed a little help.  

My gosh, she's getting big.

I think this is a pretty good representation of my methods:
1.  I think of a theme and make sure it's represented in the invites.
2.  I decide what kind of decor will match the theme that I can MAKE with my own two hands.
3.  I figure out what things I have stashed away that would work with the theme/decor.  Mostly, I pull out a lot of my fabric stash - and try to stick to fabrics that can be easily washed.
4.  I decide on easy food - and since I only have to feed 12 of us, I try not to go overboard.
5.  I buy only the necessities - generally.
6.  I plan one or two activities knowing full well that the cousins are just going to want to run around like crazed lunatics instead of doing anything organized.  (for instance, the bee coloring page)

So, you CAN make a cute party - albeit SIMPLE - with things you have on hand.  For mini's party, I only bought:
napkins - $1.99, walmart
plastic utensils - $1.99, walmart
black balloons - $2.30, walmart
lemonheads - $1, dollar store
cake mix - $1, (pillsbury) walmart
candles - $1.99, (cakemate) walmart
decals for the cupcakes - $2.99, walmart (I know, I went all out for those...)

Everything else I had on hand, in my stash or just around the house.  Even the favors were made by me or down in my stash.

So, I spent a grand total of $13.26... which would be different for a larger party or with more kids there, I know, but still.  $13.26?  Even mr can't shake a stick at that.

And in case you aren't familiar:
(Although I think I do better voices when I read it.)

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!


Four Marrs and One Venus said...

Kim! What a fun Bee Party for your little Bee! Love all the details- the tutu was adorable! You rocked this lady! I really enjoyed reading about your day/post/memory! Loved it!

Creative Raisins said...

Oh my gosh I love the theme. Such a cute idea and I love the tutu

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