Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Polka Dot Parties for Dummies" (or... all you need to know about throwing a super fast, easy, cheap party of polka dots)

Well, the girl turned one last Friday and we threw a little family soiree on Saturday.  Here’s that obligatory birthday party post.  
We’ve vowed not to go overboard on the kid’s parties except for huge milestone birthdays they can actually remember.  BUT I did want a cute party.  
So, I tossed an invitation together on picnik, and ran with the theme

I based the colors for the party on this balloon wreath.  (If you want to make one yourself, you can find my tutorial here.  It’s double sided!)

 And, in keeping with the polka dot theme, I made about 6 million yards of this polka dot garland.

I simply punched circles out of scrapbook paper that coordinated with the colors, the sewed them onto super skinny ribbon.  

 I strung them up all over the room.

 Of course mini tried to eat them.

Instead of making a banner with photos of mini from the past 12 months, I just mounted them on paper plates that matched the color scheme.  Then I taped them down the banisters in order.  It was so easy to throw this together the night before, but was still something cute for the guests to look at.

We just did a “sweet treats bar” for the food.  The food was all circular.  We had cupcakes,


a round cake for mini,

and cookies.

All the fabric for the table cloths, etc, was just in my craft stash.  I made a white backdrop behind the food table by hanging up some white fabric from the curtain rod.  I was pretty happy to have a simple way to add color and depth without spending a thing.

I made some simple “platters” for the cookies.  I had some clear glass candle holders that I filled with different circular things - homemade pom-poms, buttons, and yarn balls.  (to make the pom-poms, go here.  To make the yarn balls, just wrap yarn around styrofoam balls and hot glue the end!  Voila!)  Then I put the plates of cookies on top of the filled vases.  I would liked to have used real plates that coordinated with the party, but I’d hit the budget limit, so I just put the paper plates on top.  And while it wasn’t elegant, it was still cute and it worked.

My favorite decor item was this:

I know, it’s so silly that it’s my favorite since it’s nothing spectacular, (though I think I broke my thumb making it...) (no, I’m serious...) but I just think they turned out really cute.  I wrapped some yarn around tiny styrofoam balls and hot glued the ends.  Then I wrapped green yarn around some chopsticks.  I stuck the pointy end of the chopstick into the ball.  Flowers!  Then, I stuffed some blue yarn in the vase (for water, and to hold the flowers up higher) and stuck them in.  Easy.  Cheap.  And polka dotty!

When the guests arrived, those who didn’t wear polka dots had to wear the “polka dot of shame” on their heads... It’s a good thing mr had a polka dotted tie.

We played polka dot inspired games with the kids.  First, we had a “polka dot hunt.”  I had hidden a ton of those little polka dot stickers all over and we had the kids run around and find them, then stick them on their shirts.  Whoever had the most stuck on their shirt at the end of the time limit was the “winner” (although, really, ALL of them won...)  They loved it!

I was happy they got really into it.  mr helped mini find dots, and she thought it was awesome - but she did attempt to eat them.

Then, we played “Color Call.”  I put colored plates all over the floor - making sure there were enough of each color for every kid playing.  Then, I put one balloon of each color in a bag.  I drew a balloon without looking, then called out the color, and the kids had to run and find that color plate and stand on it.  Since there were enough of each color for every kid, no one got “out” at all, so this was perfect for the little ones.  The loved jumping all over the place.  Many times, they’d all go for the same plate.  I was surprised at how much fun the parents seemed to have just watching the kiddos play!  Towards the end of the party we played one more game - “musical plates.”  This worked exactly like musical chairs, but with paper plates on the floor and my turning my ipod on and off.  They liked this one as well, but not nearly as much as the first two games.

The “prizes” for the games were the favors.  I punched out more circles and used double sided tape to stick them to the bags (I stole that tip from my sister). 

And, you guessed it, the favors were all dot themed as well.  They got circle stickers (smiley faces, balls, flowers...), a tube of bubbles, a bouncy ball, a big m&m container filled with m&m’s and lots of gummy lifesavers.

mini got first dibs on the cake.  I just made two round cakes and frosted them together.  I was pretty proud of how it looked after frosting it, because usually I’m really bad at that part... I baked a few sugar cookies onto chopsticks, then frosted them with white frosting and used icing markers to draw polka dots on them.  I stuck them in the middle of the cake and added the “1” candle.  mini refused to touch the cake until I gave her a spoon.   I managed to salvage half the cake for everyone else.

bug just wanted the "cookie on a stick"

Oh, and of course she got to open presents.  She was thrilled.

It was short and sweet, and pretty fun, too.

Later that night, after the party and after naps (yes, even with all the sugar they still took naps, weird, huh?) when I was exhausted from making all the decor, baking my hiney off, and setting everything up, PLUS running all the games and you know, general host-type duties... we took her to Red Robin for a birthday dinner I didn’t have to make.  She loved the balloon and the free ice cream sundae.  She couldn’t figure out why everyone sang to her, though.

PS.  Did you see that cupcake stand?  I made that too, and it’s easy shmeezy.  I’ll show you how.
pps.  Here is a close up of the adorable shirt my sister made for mini to wear to her party.  She made the “party hat” (AKA barrette) as well.  You can check out her description here.

Linked here:


Jill said...

Great job! I love that you did it with a bunch of stuff you already had!

Wani said...

Super cute!!

Ashley said...

So creative as always! I LOVE that balloon wreath and the yarn ball decor.

Heather said...

What a cute idea! I love it :) (And PS-I find the yarn flowers quite adorable!)

Lara Neves said...

one of my goals this year is to be a much more awesome birthday party mom. Previously, my parties have been quite pathetic.

You will obviously be my inspiration on this quest. Because if that is not going overboard I'd love to see what it looks like when you do!

So adorable!!!

Ali Rockwell said...

Um... do you want to come throw my birthday party for me, too??? This is the most amazing party ever! :) Everything is just perfect. The balloon wreath is probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen and I love that you took all of the colors for the party from it! You did such a good job!!

Amnah said...

Such an adorable party with really sweet details. I'm loving the balloon wreath and all the little bits in the candle jars.

Lori@Paisley Passions said...

Super fun AND adorable! Thanks for linking up and linking back to Thrilling Thursday @ Paisley Passions last week :)

Ginger said...

Very cute!!! Thanks for linking up to Mad Skills Monday!

Sandi said...

cute! love all the games you did!

Kendra@My Insanity said...

What a cute, colorful party! Thanks for linking up!

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