There are so many photos, I should break this into separate posts. But I won't. Nobody has dial up anymore, do they? If you do, I bet you've quit reading my blog by now. At any rate, the really marvelous photos were taken with my sister's fancy camera, mostly by my sister.
So we had originally planned this shin-dig for a fabulous gazebo in the park 4 blocks from our house: a sweet, rolling view of the river, and an historic bear cage nearby, and, hello, playground equipment! But it rained for 3 days solid before the party, so the puddles were too much for us, and we moved it to our town's mall. Which, I know, sounds lame, but our mall is so under utilized that it was perfect. We had a fancy mall fountain, and sky lights, and cobblestone walkways, and almost no one even looked twice at us. Plus, there was a Maurice's, a GNC, and a gun shop all around us. What else does a girl need for her fifth birthday?
Above is most of the food table: cake, cupcakes, olives, jelly, pb & jelly, and pickle sandwiches, crackers and cheeseball, grapes and strawberries and kiwi, and cheetos cheese puffs. What's not to like? The cupcakes say "EAT ME." Alice in Wonderland references snuck in lots of places.
Here're some food close ups, to make you wish you'd been there even more.
I love party gift bags as a theory, but in practice I always forget to give them out. Kid parties are great that way: kids can smell a gift bag from 50 paces. We filled ours with plastic tea set parts (I bought five 12-piece sets & split them to fill 10 bags), notepads, and a pirate eyepatch. Originally we were going to have a Mad Tea Party, but then V decided it should just be a Stuff V Likes in General party. So it was.
I sewed the gift bags from some orange gingham yardage in my stash. First, I cut big rectangles, and then V and I stamped this fabulous Alice in Wonderland stamp that Jen Aasen had sent me many years ago. I chain straight-stitched up the sides, sewed a casing for the drawstings, and ran a double length of thread (it's cotton string, really) through, and called them done. Very simple, but they feel nice and look substantial.
We had about a dozen pink flamingos that people got to bring home, too, as favors. They're technically dog toys, and all of our friends with dogs got at least one; some of our friends without dogs are happy to let their kids play with dog toys. That's how we roll.
The Cheshire Cat card, above, is one of about 90 that we hid around the space. Well, not so much "hid" as "taped." It was a game: whoever fouind the most won a prize.
Here's the kid's table, about halfway through. Everyone got up and wandered, which was fine: I used a vintage sheet for the table cloth and laid the gift bags down the center. In the background you can see Maurice's, and the wee merry-go-round.
Here's the lovely Sara.
I made party hats, from these instructions, tweaking a bit for my purposes. I made them 12" high, for example, because that wasted less paper (and gave them more of a dunce-cap look, which I enjoy). The lace was the easiest by far, because I didn't have to scrunch as I sewed.
Oscar's sister, Matilda, workin' it for the camera.
Beautiful Beth, Shaun's little sister.
Beautiful Jess, my little sister.
Nancy and Crystal, surrounded by sippy cups that don't belong to either of them, at the coloring/eating table.
Shaun gives V a ride on the Merry-go-round
Michael, who we invited to a) up the adorableness and b) show our multicultural skills. (He's on his mama, Sara's, lap).
McKenna, who's smile is absolutely angelic, or wicked, depending on how you look at things.
Phil, who is so dreamy and in a band to boot.
Emerson Claire in her party hat.
Carla and Shaun making goo-goo eyes at Tilda.
We played a pretty cool egg-carrying game that didn't use real eggs (note the Cheshire Cat in the background).
Lotsa hats! (Will, McK, Eli)...
I like this picture of my friend Jenn, partially because it really captures the Mallness we were looking for.
Pinata. Did I mention there was a pinata? Several people mentioned that they especially enjoyed Shaun holding the pinata in the middle of our space, calling "Children! Children!" to get the thing opeed up. There's just something funny about a big man who looks a little like Charles Manson beckoning youngsters that warms the heart.
All in all, it was a marvelous party, with marvelous guests, excessive gifts (were my childhood birthdays this lucrative?? Jeez), and enough handmade stuff that my martha stewart itch got scratched real good. And that's what a good party should do, isn't it?