Cute as a button at 6 months old.....
Almost walking on her first birthday....
And cute as pie today.....
So to planning the party. As a frustrated former stylist I can't help myself when it comes to planning and styling parties. I love it, although sadly time and space have not afforded me luxury of being able to plan and prepare as much as I'd like. I'm no Sharnel or Amy, but do the best I can given my time limitations and lack of space. It does give me the chance to exercise the frustrated wedding planner, stylist, crafter and florist in me. I think my family think I'm a bit nuts and self indulgent, and can't really understand why anyone would go to so much trouble for a 2 year old, who probably doesn't notice, understand or appreciate the effort, but I hope the grown ups do, and apart from anything I utterly enjoy doing it! So why not?
Thankfully it was a glorious spring day in the Highlands. Everybody pitched in to help, and it was such fun getting it all ready, making the cake, and decorating cupcakes with my mum and grandmother. My husband was given the task of hanging bunting and balloons, although we had to change the location three times as the wind picked up and kept changing direction.
I had made the invitations using sweet polka dot imprinted cardstock, and cut out the two on pretty coloured scrapbooking papers from Spotlight. I wrote a little rhyme and tied it with pink rickrack.
Here's the selection of scrapbooking papers I found at Spotlight, that I used as the colour scheme and theme. So sweet.
A couple of the papers had really pretty painted details which gave the papers dimension and shine.
Now I am absolutely not a baker. I don't have a sweet tooth, and am really completely rubbish at making cakes, cupcakes and sweets of any sort. It doesn't come naturally to me, so I get sloppy and impatient. I have always bought the baked bits etc for parties, but for some reason this year I thought I should have a go. So I started baking on our crappy little 50cm wide gas stove in the rented cottage on Thursday night. I was attempting to make a 5 layer rainbow cake, (Donna Hay Kids recipe) which was complete insanity, plus three different types of cupcakes, muffins, cookies and meringues. It was pretty much a disaster with everything burnt at the back and raw at the front. I did manage to salvage the cake though, by adding a couple of layers of Woolies sponge, plus lots of butter icing, whipped cream and jam. Here's proof I persevered.
And the result. Yeah! Pretty stoked with myself. I bought the vintage straws at the local party shop, and made the mini bunting which I glued to ribbon and tied to the straws. About ten years ago I bought about 5 coloured glass cake stands from Martha Stewart's website, those were the days when she was selling wonderful products like this and shipping to Australia. So I dug them out of storage and was thrilled to have a chance to use them again. There's about 750gm of butter in that icing too.
I made large bunting from the same scrapbooking patterned papers and coloured cardstock. I didn't have templates, it was just trial and error, but seemed to work in end. I cut slits in each and threaded ribbon through to hang.
I had made Smartie cookies, but while they were cooking the dough spread and it turned into one gigantic rectangle the size of the baking tray and they got a little burnt. So I cut them into heart shapes with the only cookie cutter I had while they were cooling. To disguise their ordinariness I put them in cellophane bags and made pretty wrappers tied with coloured string.
Inspired by the many dessert tables I have seen on blogs I set out to find foil covered chocolate bars, with the idea that I would just replace the paper wrapper with my pretty papers. But after a day of searching I could only find a packet with foil wrappers featuring Australian wild animals so I had to remove the whole wrapper and rewrap in alfoil, then wrap each in the cut strips of paper and tie each with string. I had to laugh at the ridiculousness of myself doing this - utter madness!
Another dessert table inspiration, but one I find a little absurd is redressing the drink bottles. The time it took to do this, pulling off the old label, cutting the strips of paper and sticking them on...again, seemed a little silly, but it did look lovely and of course it all matched!
My cupcake toppers were recycled from last year. I bought the diecut from Spotlight, and reused the little wooden sticks, glueing new circles from my papers. I found the vintage sticky numbers and letters at Spotlight. I managed to salvage my cupcakes, although only because my grandmother worked some magic on the fondant icing and little sugar sprinkles.
And now the lolly bags. Found these lovely multi-coloured polka dot bags at Pulp in Balgowlah, the most wonderful stationery and party supply shop. I cut out the circles from cardstock using the die-cut, then had to cut the white circle to glue on top. I punched the hole in the tag and bag, and tied with string and added the vintage letter for each child's name.
And so to the treats. Charlie and I went shopping at the supermarket for all the lollies, and he was so excited at the checkout that we had a trolley full to the brim of what he called "junk". I bought the little cupcakes in from the local bakery along with the meringues and macarons, and added the lollies, biscuits etc.
The last thing I made was these pom poms from coloured netting, again from Spotlight. I just bought two metres of each colour, and cut it in eighths. Then tied ribbon around the centre and pulled it tight, then fluffed up the netting to create the pom pom. Much hardier and longer lasting than the tissue paper ones I made last year which didn't stand a chance in the wind.
And here's the piece de resistance.
|Poppy and her gorgeous godmother, my BFF Alex|
|Birthday girl shoving lollies in as fast as she can!|
|Her sweet little dress from Janie & Jack in LA, and shoes from Cotton On!|
|My mum, my grandmother, my other BFF, little Imogen and moi|
|The cake had a bit of an icing avalanche on the right side from sitting in the sun|
|It looked sensational and tasted fab too! So chuffed with my colours.|
All images by Melinda Hartwright
So there you have it. Now I have to back up and do the same thing again this weekend for Charlie's birthday. I really should have organised the birth of my children better - makes for a very busy week in September. Between filling lolly bags and buying decorations I've been trying to buy doors, skirtings and architraves, door handles and lights this week. So will have a house update soon.