We are back home from our holiday...and I'm feeling more exhausted than before I went! Holidays with young children are fun but they are definitely non-stop!
So.... as promised here are some images from our latest 'handmade birthday party' This year was a Mermaid and Pirate party.
I so love setting the scene for the children so their imagination can run wild!
The dining room was completely emptied and transformed into an under the sea scene.
As we only had an evening to dress the room and the garden, we spent a few evenings in the lead up to the party, making the props. We made everything apart from the fab deep sea back drop.... an unexpected find in our local joke shop. We covered the back wall from floor to ceiling with this plastic sea covering and it transformed the room! We also popped a sand and seaweed seabed mural along the bottom edge that 'dad' had painted on a roll of lining paper, using sponges and poster paint.
We draped two lengths of blue netting across the ceiling to give the effect of being under the sea. I cut wavey strips of crepe paper, and curled parcel ribbon. These were stapled along lengths of parcel ribbon and strung across the ceiling and windows. Varous fish silhouettes had been cut out and were ready to stick onto the backdrop.
I had also made a few jelly fish the night before. They were very quick and easy to make. I used some cellophane cake presentation/gift bags and bubblewrap. I blew air into each bag and deflated it slightly so I could push up the bottom to look like a Box Jellyfish. As the bags are made of cellophane this shape stays in place. (plastic bags won't work). I then sealed the top with the metal ties that come with the bags. I cut thin strips of bubble wrap and used PVA to stick them around the underside of the jellyfish. PVA is great as it becomes transparent when fully dry. We hung the jellyfish from the ceiling using thin cotton thread.
I also made a net out of string which hung from the ceiling. I borrowed some realistic toy crabs and a lobster for the 'catch'.
When the children came downstairs in the morning they were so surprised. Our daughter just said "Oh my! Wow! and our son said "Cooool" But what I loved the most was that both of them rushed upstairs to put on their mermaid and pirate costumes, and couldn't wait for the other children to arrive. The party started at 11.30am so they didn't have too long to wait.
The children played mermaid and pirate themed action games, along with Musical Chairs and Pass the Parcel which are always so popular. We put pink shrimp sweets and chocolate coins in each Pass the Parcel layer.
A row of childrens tables and chairs were placed in the 'under the sea' room for the party tea. The tables were covered with the same sea water fabric. The girls each had a sparkly mermaid princess tiara and the boys had an eye patch and ear ring, to wear at the table. The table was simply dressed with silver paper plates, blue clear cups, crazy straws, and plastic fish shaped serving platters in the centre of the tables.
The birthday cake was made up of 4 thin layers of sponge in different shades of blue......mmmmm yum.....yes very blue! I asked a cake decorating shop to make the mermaid as cake decorating doesn't come easily to me. All I had to do then was to pipe some cream wavey icing between the layers, add some rough sea on the top and pop the mermaid in the sea!
As we had previously put on a Pirate party for my son we had lots of pirate props stashed away. Some pirate bunting, a flag pole, some pirate flags, balloons, and a ships wheel transformed the playhouse into a pirate ship.
We played a version of Grandma's Footsteps but called it 'Sleeping Pirate', where the children had to steel the treasure from the pirates treasure chest.
The children also had a treasure hunt in the sandpit, and an obstacle course which included 'walking the plank'. One little pirate didn't want to stop and walked the plank 16 times.
Lots of fun!
I wonder what next year's party will be?