Monday, June 18, 2012

Tangled Birthday Party: Aftermath

With all the time, energy, and money (well, most of it was done cheaply) I put into Fiona's Tangled birthday party, I wasn't about to just trash everything I had created.  Fiona and Niall share the smallest bedroom in our house, a room that we decorated in a knight and fairy princess theme.  It only made sense to incorporate the party decorations into their bedroom.

I put the more delicate decorations up on a high shelf that had previously contained some very dusty piggy banks and an old broken toy truck.

On the walls I hung some of the kingdom banners and Flynn Rider wanted posters.

I also strung up some of the dollar store paper lanterns from the ceiling.

The only thing that really took effort was reusing the yarn lanterns.  I strung them and a few of the paper lanterns on three lengths of fishing line, then hung them from the ceiling above Fiona's bed.

One of Fiona's gifts was something that my sister and I worked on together.  I'd seen something like this on Etsy but didn't want to pay for it, especially since I knew we could do it ourselves.  My sister painted the face, and I did the hair.  Now all of her clips, headbands, and elastics are neatly organized.

And last but not least:  the braids.  I just strung these along the windows in her room.  It's a pain getting a picture because of the exposure, but you get the idea.

Now every day is a Tangled birthday party in Fiona's room!

**A lot of the items I've mentioned can be purchased through my Etsy store.  If there's anything you'd like but don't see, convo me!**

Tangled Birthday Party: Games

Well, I've talked enough about the prep - let's talk about the actual party!

We had several games and activities ready.  The idea was to start off reading a Tangled book that we have because I knew several of the party guests weren't familiar with the movie.  I didn't want them confused about the other activities (which would seem pretty bizarre if you don't know the significance of frying pans or chameleons).  All the kids enjoyed the book, to be honest, and I'm glad I did it.  I'd worried it would be something to just rush through, but it was a sweet way to start the party.

After that, we made Pascal Party Blowers, which I found on several sites, but seems to have originated on the Disney Family site.  I modified a few things, though.  All the foam pieces were cut out ahead of time.  Then, following a suggestion I saw on another blog, we used googly eyes instead of foam eyes.  We used Glue Dots to stick them on, and also to stick the foam heads together around the party blowers once the kids drew the mouths and eyebrows on.  I thought this would be a throwaway activity, but the kids loved it.

We left the table after that so the kids could get up and move around.  Our next activity was Pin the Frying Pan on Flynn Rider.  This was a lot of fun.  I drew a giant Wanted poster and cut out a ton of cardstock frying pans (thank you Silhouette!).  We used the ever-helpful Glue Dots to stick them on to the poster.

Once Flynn had been roundly beaten (each kid went at least twice), we went back to the table for another craft activity.  This time it was bottle cap necklaces of the kind you find everywhere on Etsy.  The kids thought this was a lot of fun, even the boys - I made sure to include a lot of funny images of Flynn, Pascal, Maximus, and the pub thugs.  Those necklaces got us some of the cutest pictures from the party:  Fiona and some of her friends checking out each other's necklaces.

While some of the kids were taking their time making their necklaces, we entertained the other kids by getting them to do funny poses with the Flynn Rider posters and the pinata.  We have some very silly kids around here.  But before we knew it, it was getting late and we had to hurry things along.  We skipped two of the games - a frying pan relay race with Pascal (and friends), and hide and seek with Pascal.  So we smashed open the pinata, which is always a good time.  Instead of filling it with a bunch of candy, I filled it with mostly toys - little plastic lizards and horses, Disney Princess rings, princess rubber ducks and pirate rubber ducks, and then a few Blow Pops and Starburst.

Cake and ice cream went by fast as always, and then it was time to pass out the goodies!  I'll admit to kind of out-doing myself here.  I made Rapunzel braids for all the girls, and felt satchels for the boys.  Imagine my dismay when all the girls declared they wanted satchels!  I promised them all that I would make them satchels as well, since I overbought felt anyway.  They did like the braids, though, really.  Everyone also got a set of Rapunzel watercolors.

Everyone seemed to have a great time, and I was so pleased to be able to give my princess the 'perfect' party!  The only problem now is.. where to turn my crafting energy?!  ;)

**A lot of the items I've mentioned can be purchased through my Etsy store.  If there's anything you'd like but don't see, convo me!**

Tangled Birthday Party: Food

Normally, party fare is pretty simple for us.  Pizza, fruit, cheese and crackers, veggies, etc.  For whatever reason (ahem), we went a little crazy this time.  This is where the internet was both a blessing and a curse.  It seems that every Tangled party must feature Jello boats, which originated (as far as I can tell) from Paging Supermom!  And rightly so, as they're super cute!  Here are ours.

Those little sails were a pain to make, but again, my Silhouette came in super handy.  The kids really loved the Jello boats, though a word of warning:  Jello liquifies in the heat.  Keep them cool!

Another cool idea I found (on Pinterest this time) were Rice Krispie treat paintbrushes.  The idea is, again, pretty simple:  cut Rice Krispie treats into squares.  Stick a popsicle stick into them.  Dip in different colored candy melts.  Ta-da!  And if you're especially lazy (like me), you'll get the pre-packaged Rice Krispie treats so you don't have to make them yourself.  Again, they were a huge hit!

Of course we needed a cute display, too.  Originally I was intending to use this tower for the cupcakes, but 1) I made way too many cupcakes, and 2) the candy melts melted (duh) and I didn't want to clean it up in the middle of the party.  The tower is made of three Wilton cake plates, two Pringles cans covered in decorative paper, a wooden birdhouse I painted to look like Rapunzel's tower, a bunch of silk flowers that you can't really see in the picture (they're around the base of each level), and prodigious amounts of hot glue.  Oh, and the obligatory braid.

For non-Rapunzel themed food, we served cold cheese tortellini pasta (again, really simple - cheese tortellini, cheese cubes, cherry tomatoes, green onions, and a bottle of Newman's Italian dressing) and cold sesame ginger pasta salad (going with the 'simple' theme - chicken marinated in sesame ginger dressing, bowtie pasta, shredded carrots, green onions, cilantro, and another bottle of sesame ginger dress).

We also served a delicious parmesan artichoke spread that my husband discovered - pretty much equal parts mayo, canned artichokes, and parmesan cheese, blended in a food processor and then baked until hot and melty.  We served sliced French and Italian bread to go with it.  There was also the customary fruit salad and cheese and crackers, which also had Kingdom Flag toothpicks similar to the Jello Boat sails - unfortunately, I don't think anyone got a picture of those.  Most dishes were served in frying pans, of course.

For dessert, we had cupcakes for the kids and a cake for the adults.  I thought the cupcakes turned out really well, but I was less than thrilled with the cake.  Part of the problem was that I forgot to 'steam' the cake to make the fondant all shiny - it still had powered sugar all over it.  However, discussing my mistake with friends did provide me with a few alternate methods of steaming.. previously, I would turn the shower on super hot, open the curtain a crack, and hold the cake as close to the steam as I dared, rotating it as necessary, and hoping and praying it didn't dissolve or I didn't drop it.  But like I said, the cupcakes turned out much better.  Here's one sitting on top of the fondant sun that topped the cake.

These were a real pain at first.  I used the tiniest tip to do the green icing, but it kept clogging.  After I while, I realized I had used a different kind of salt than usual and decided that was what was jamming the hole.  So I dumped the entire double batch of frosting down the sink and made more - and then it went much more smoothly.  I thought that ice cream cone cupcakes would be kind of gross, but I actually thought they were pretty tasty.

**A lot of the items I've mentioned can be purchased through my Etsy store.  If there's anything you'd like but don't see, convo me!**

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tangled Birthday Party: Decorations

Fiona turned four last week.  A girly-girl to the core, she loves the movie Tangled - her choice for the theme of her birthday.  Those of you know me know that I tend to go overboard with parties, and this was no exception (how far overboard I go is in direct correlation with how much I like the theme.. and I love Tangled).

I started over a month ago, working on decorations and creating party favors.  A few things were musts:  the purple banners in the village scene, a special Happy Birthday banner, and the Flynn Rider wanted posters.

The banners were pretty easy.  I have a Silhouette craft cutter, so I put that to work cutting out golden suns, while I used my regular paper cutter to make the pennants.  Make two slits in each pennant, thread some yarn or ribbon through, and it's done!  Of course, doing 50+ pennants does take a while..

The birthday banner was a bit harder.  I used the Blessed Day font for the letters with bright pink cardstock, and offset the letters in black.  Then I found some 3-D flowers in the Silhouette store and added those to each pennant.  Once all the pennants were done, I strung them up and tied some leftover tulle from Fiona's dress in between each one.

The Flynn Rider signs were fairly easy.  In the movie, they all feature different, funny noses, but I thought I'd give poor Flynn a break.

I'll admit to using one I printed out to trace my own (I would have just used the printed ones, but my printer is crappy).  I did draw the big one freehand, though, which I thought was pretty impressive.  The big Flynn Rider wanted sign was for a game, Pin the Frying Pan on Flynn Rider.  I created a frying pan design on the Silhouette and cut them out for game pieces.

Something that I decided to do relatively last minute was the yarn lanterns that you can find tutorials for all over the internet.  Here's the one I used.  My husband and I spent two hours one night doing these, and I can tell you, they're a huge pain in the butt.  The glue mixture got everywhere and was next to impossible to get off our skin.  Then the lanterns had to stay strung up in our kitchen for a full 24 hours, which made preparing meals very difficult.  But they turned out well.

Another pretty simple decoration (albeit geeky on my part) was the magical golden flower that starts the story:

I got a bunch of similarly shaped yellow flowers and some glitter from AC Moore.  I also needed a little vase or bottle, and some decorative stones to complete the look.  It took me a few tries to get it right, but here's how my magical golden flower came out:

Other fun decorations to make (can you hear the sarcasm?) were the braids.  I wanted them long - at least 15 feet.  So I had to unwind skeins of yarn (several 1-pounders per braid) throughout my house.. then separate them into three sections and braid them.. all the while keeping the yarn untangled.

I swear, if I ever complain about brushing Fiona's hair, I need to remember how difficult it was to make good looking yarn braids.  They did turn out pretty well, though.

To continue with the hair theme, I strung a section of yarn from the deck, but I left this unbraided.. partly out of laziness, but also because in the movie, her hair is unbraided for most of the time.  Using so many braids kind of felt like cheating.

I also used some cheap decorations from Target's dollar spot and from the seasonal section.  The little tea lights above were great for holding gerber daisies, and the lanterns I hung from the canopy created a nice effect.  And for only a dollar each!

I wanted something to go on the front of the house, too, but there was no way I was making that long of a braid.  Online, I read the idea to use a roll of plastic tablecloth and thought that was a great idea.  I also copied another idea I saw online - a chalkboard reading, "Private Party," with a Snuggly Duckling sign attached.  I didn't want to buy a brand new chalkboard (they're expensive!), so my husband gallantly offered to make one.  He really impressed me this time.. in a day and a half, with no plans and only a picture taken off the internet, he created a large and incredibly sturdy chalkboard.  I did the Snuggly Duckling sign and we just taped it on, so we could have a regular chalkboard to use later.

I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful family.  My husband helped me with a lot of the crafting (besides the chalkboard) - which is just amazing because he's not crafty at all.  My parents and my sister helped me and my husband with the set-up, as well.  I never could have pulled off this party if it weren't for them.  In fact, I was certain that we wouldn't get the yarn lanterns strung up over the table in time, which was so disappointing because I had this great image in my head of how it would look.  Well, with 20 minutes to spare, my dad and my husband got them all strung up perfectly.  It looked just the way I wanted, I actually got really emotional and cried.  I was just so happy to be able (with the help of my family) to create such a beautiful party for my amazing daughter.

Well, this has turned into an incredibly long and picture-intensive post.. I'll do another one to cover the games, food, and party itself!

**A lot of the items I've mentioned can be purchased through my Etsy store.  If there's anything you'd like but don't see, convo me!**