Polka Dots Everywhere!

Warning: I had a reallly hard time narrowing down pictures for this post, so it will be slow to load, I'm sure. Please be patient!

Saturday was Avery's 3rd Birthday party. I love planning parties. Love it. But I don't have many occasions for it, so when I get the chance to plan one, I tend to go all out. I realize she likely won't remember them, and that she doesn't care about the details the way I do, but I enjoy it. And really, though there are lots of details, it's more of an investment in time than money. Nearly everything is papercrafted, and paper is cheap, especially when you shop sales, as I do.

Avery is very into pink, and decided back in June that she wanted pink polka dots and flowers for her party. Those two things didn't immediately make sense to me as a theme, so I figured out a cute name--polka dots and posies--and I was able to begin visualizing it. That name was nowhere in any party things; it was just for me.

I loved the way her outfit turned out. I made a pillowcase top out of a sheet that we had never used, because we don't have a bed that it fits. I was going to make the pants, too, but then I found these at Babies R Us for $3 and decided my time was worth more than that. Unfortunately I got the 18-24 month size, forgetting I was going to go back to 12-18 for Spring/Summer since length is not as important with capris. She was trying to keep them up all day.

I started with the invites. They were simply made in Word (I had photoshop issues...the text kept printing blurry) with layered paper flowers. I bought one jar of these flowers at Michael's and used them for everything. They went a really long way. I bought large sheets of textured paper and cut it to 8.5x11 so I could print it.
I always feel the need to start with a little poem. This year's was: "They grow so fast--can you believe? Avery Adkins is turning three!"

Oh, and I always put magnetic tape on the backs of the invites so they will stick right on the fridge. One $2.99 roll has lasted through three parties (I just put four little pieces in the corners.) I can never find a magnet when I need one, and this eliminates that.

The day was beautiful--sunny, clear blue skies, and about 75. It was windy though! I was running around during the first part of the party taping down tablecloths. We put up the tent that we use for the family reunion, which gave me a way to cover the food and decorate.

And here's a close up of those paper bag flowers I made..

And another showing some of the table set-up. The party was at 1pm, so we had picky food as opposed to a full lunch. There was chips and salsa (round tortilla chips, of course), a veggie tray with round Ritz crackers and cheese that I cut into circles with a small coookie cutter, those yummy Lofthouse cookies with mounds of pink icing, strawberries with chocolate and cream cheese dip, chicken nuggets for the kids, pink M&Ms, cake and ice cream. Oh, and chocoolate dipped strawberry marshmallows on lollipop sticks. Yummy!

Here's the M&Ms up close. Apparently no one realized they were for eating, because most of them are still sitting in that jar on my dining room table. Single color M&Ms can be pricy, especially if you have to order them. Because I plan ahead so far in advance I was able to stock up on the pink mix back in October during breat cancer awareness. I would find them on Kroger plus for 2 for $7, and then use a $1 off coupon. Two coupons, actually, because I was buying two.

What about the St. Pat's mix for a John Deere party? Pastel Easter mix for a cupcake party? There's a Spring mix out right now that I might need to stock up on for a shower I'm hosting this Summer. They'll keep forever if you leave them in the package.

I love that apothecary jar, by the way. I got it for Mother's Day two years ago, and it sits atop my china cabinet, holding red ornaments at Christmas, pears at other times, pinecones...all kinds of things.

And speaking of the M&Ms, I used them for the favors, as well. I searched everywhere for those clear pillow boxes. i really wanted the M&Ms to show through. They're the polka dots!
I made the tags with my Cricut, of course, and my new Mini Monogram cartridge. And there's more of those flowers!

The kids got goody bags made from Wilton popcorn boxes. Inside was a round lipgloss, a notepad, pink pencil, one of the M&M boxes and some flower tatoos. The boys got a light up toy, and boyish pencil and stickers.

I love the way these hats turned out! Avery's special one is in the front, the others had the single flower. I made 11-onch circles, cut them in half, and then rolled into a hat. I made the ribbon loops, taped them together, and taped them inside. You can't see it in the picture, but I placed a small brad in the hole where the elastic goes in. This helps keep the elastic from coming out or the knot from tearing through the hole.

Here they all are on the table.

Rather than buy fancy tableware, I bought clear cups and forks and dressed them up with paper. I think there's some formula you can use to make the angles work on the cup wrappers, but I just used a Starbucks cardboard thing as a pattern. And did you catch the picture of the napkins and the hats? Since when does my camera take such fabulous pictures?

I set up my nephew's little folding table and chairs (two sets pushed together) for the kiddie table. The centerpiece is made of tissue paper flowers and a giant pink lollipop from the Easter aisle at WalMart. $1!

Avery got this bouncy house for her 2nd birthday. We gt so much use out of it for things like this. It's instant entertainment for birthday parties, the reunion, whatever. The kids jumped on it nonstop...

...except when they were playing in the playhouse.
Which of course was decorated, too. (Hey, to get four shades of pink, I ended up with a ton of balloons. Might as well use them, right?)

Then we ate cake. The flowers are gumpaste, quilled ala Collette Peters. I should have let the buttercream set up a bit before placing the flowers, because they caused it to fall some.

While we were eating cake, Avery enjoyed opening her gifts with a little help from cousin Kaylee. Most of her gifts were wrapped in pink, and several of the guests wore pink, too!

Of her three parties, this one was the most difficult to conceptualize, but in the end, I think it came together the best. I found so much inspiration throughout Blog World--no real specifics, but lots of things that informed my planning. That's what I love about blogging: you get to virtually pick the brains of so many creative people.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday party, Munchkin. Thank you for letting me plan it for you!


Shyla said...

Once again, I am highly impressed. Have you considered a career in party planning?

Valerie said...

I second Shyla's thought... quit teaching and become a party planner! In fact, come help us with Amy Kate's wedding. Set up will be May 28th at GWP in BG.... I think we're gonna need you!
That party looked awesome! WOW!!!

Heidi @ Blue Eyed Blessings said...

Found your FABULOUS party through Creative Parties & Showers...

This is such a great party and you remind me of myself with all of the little special touches/details. It is just so much to fun to make everything themed and creative. I love the idea of wrapping the clear cups and I like how you made the napkin rings. There are so many things I adore about your party and I will be saving some of these ideas for my daughter's birthday next year!

My daughter also just turned 3 last Wednesday and we had a lollipop party and a tea time party. Come visit and take a peek if you'd like!

Jess said...

SUCH A CUTE PARTY! Looks like maybe some there could be some Polkadots & Pirates inspiration in there? LOVE IT! :)

Katie said...

I saw your party on Creative Parties and showers and I love it! You did such a good job!

Rachel said...

So....You are ridiculously creative and thrifty. I think I'm in love! LOL!

Kim @ Frostmeblog.blogspot.com said...

I love the party hats!!! Great details!

Kim @ http://frostmeblog.blogspot.com

Amy said...

What a fabulous party! I love your party hats! You should post a tutorial just on how to make the hats! I'm a new follower - adorable blog! ;)

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