Every once in a while I unleash my inner craft freak and go full on beast mode for a project. I rarely have the luxury of time or energy to do it more than once or twice a year, so that’s a lot of built up craft freakery that must be spent. Just call me the joyful craft beast.
For 2013, we did a simplified Christmas, which, among other things, departed from the typical round of 30-40 handmade Xmas cards that I really love to make every year (I’m so serious: L. O. V. E. Don’t hate me because my cards are fancier than yours, Jinhee). So, given the unused craft battery, I felt a near superhuman strength going into Arden’s January 8th birthday party planning.
My surplus energy combined with the unique circumstances of this event (only having two guests, as an example) gave me an opportunity to indulge in craftiness above and beyond what I usually do for one of my parties. In other words, this is the exception, not the rule.
So, before I continue on, I have a disclaimer: this post is no celebration of the pinterest crazy beeshes out there, who love flawlessly executing pinned ideas to flaunt on Facebook. You know, who you are. Nor is this a condemnation for people who like to share pictorial evidence of a craft well done (if it is, I’m going down with you).
I have no desire to ignorantly fuel the dark side of online craft broadcasting. This is just a slice of life–an incident of my limited and particular abilities intersecting with a compulsive drive to create special spaces where people (little and big) can sincerely connect.
Get the deets after the jump!
My planning always starts from a fundamentally practical and functional point: establish priorities, the “outlines.” Then I color in with idealistic, pretty details.
Priority #1: Plan food and entertainment befitting a three year old birthday girl and friends.
Priority #2: Stay sane.
First, I chose the entertainment: Catch Air—its like the ultimate tiny person fun zone.
- Their birthday packages are expensive, firm, and all inclusive (perfect for the planner who just wants to show up and enjoy the day, but not so much for the one who has his/her own ideas)
- Typical party times are very crowded (weekends) and, you guessed it, hoards of screaming children drive me crazy
- Non traditional times significantly stunts the guest list
- Main food must be ordered through them (but they do allow you to provide dry snacks, drinks, and cake)
- Arden is at a perfect age where she can navigate the space on her own (99%) and she loves the independence
- Did I mention its like the ultimate tiny person fun zone?
The Great Solution:
- Have the party on a weekday, instead of the weekend, which incidentally ended up falling on her actual birthday, Wednesday, Jan 8.
- Invite five very special toddler friends, and get excited that two can come! (It was a nice change of pace to have such an intimate party.)
- Eat breakfast and have cake + singing at 9 am before Catch Air opens at 10 am – perfect opportunity for moms to imbibe coffee, once again, successfully avoiding crazy mom-ness.
I am proud to report that happiness was had by all, and my insanity was no more than usual. =)
Requested: orange, polka dots, and a birthday cake. So, I zapped a quickie invite up on paperlesspost.com. Lurve me some hand crafted stationary, but alas, had to save those special craft hands for other projects.
- Recycled foam core board (used the back of John’s old grad school project)
- Free handed the “3”
- Cut out with a jigsaw (new discovery–by far the easiest way to cut foam core board)
- 15″ x 23″
- Tissue paper fringe, folded several times for quick fringing, double layer for each color stripe
- Scotch tape for adhering layers, and “invisible tape” is perfect for finishing edges all around
This took about three hours to create, but felt that it was worth it as the stand alone deco piece! Note to those wanting to try this at home: the hardest part was adhering the fringed pieces around the different curves. I used a scrapbooking adhesive runner to work on those weird spots.
Joli Kobe Bakery, Sandy Springs. 9:00 am
The Ham and Cheese breakfast roll and the Red Bean Paste bun were delicious and I give my coffee snob thumbs up to their drip brew. The gorgeous, fresh Strawberry Shortcake was a huge hit with the kids and I may or may not have polished off the leftovers all by my lonesome.
was the word that kept asserting itself into my planning, and so I asked myself, “How can I create an Adventure and what must a Three year old bring along?” Tada: The Quintessential Adventure Tote for the Cool Kid. And at long last, the project of all projects to exhaust my inner craft demon.
Before I get too carried away with all the crafty details, we must spend a minute getting acquainted with the Grand Scheme. After wrapping up at Joli Kobe, we drove down the road to Catch Air. The little women thrill seekers were given their totes, and sergeant mom (me) relayed the mission to the other moms: Use the map to travel through the wilds of Catch Air, putting “stamps” in the passport as you go. At the end of the journey, the expeditioners get to use their key to “open” the treasure box. *full disclosure, three year olds do not know how to read maps (really), but they do know how to plunder a treasure box. yay*
The tote can pretty much be summed up as my love letter to a 3 year old Arden–here’s everything you need to go out on your big adventure, and to find your way back home. Love, Mom (tear).
Upcycled billboard vinyl tote bag by Plywood People
Vintage scarves from this Etsy store
Antique keyes from this Etsy store
Treasure map – DIY via the Paper App for the iPad
Passport – DIY via downloaded template on Pages App on my Macbook
Passport case from Claire’s
Pencils and remaining items from Target
Fake eye glasses
Click for more info
To achieve the handwritten look of the tags and treasure maps, I used the Paper App on my iPad and and formatted the exported image files in Pages on my Macbook. Though I have had both apps for years, this was the first time I tried to use them for a project and the learning curve on getting these programs to communicate with each other and my printer significantly ate into my bed time. I will say, though I’m not sure what took me so long to use Pages–its about one meellion times better than Word. And its a native app–as in, already installed on my lap top! Bye, bye forever, Microsoft Word!
No Adventure Tote is complete without proper travel wear: Surprise, I’m a hipster jet setter!
The inspiration for this sappy little note hit me in the thick of my late night-before crafting…and I just had to make it. This pretty much sealed the deal on my all nighter (ugh, those things are hard on my 30ish year old body). We have stacks of blank postcards begging to be crafted upon. So, I made the below tear jerker and also the following photo thank you cards.
No matter how exciting the adventure…don’t forget to write home to mom.
And to you, and you, and you. Thank you for hanging in there through my monster craft fest! XOXO