It is often a challenge to fight (and be victorious over) the insidious
merchandizing and commercializing out there when it is time to hold
a birthday party. Emily loves princesses, dolls, fairies and all things
girlish. And she always wants Dora, Strawberry Shortcake, Barbie,
Cinderella (and her Disney cronies) whenever she thinks about toys,
parties and presents. I prefer old-fashioned non-character stuff to the
pink-and-glitter plastic in the stores, but I also want Emily to like
how her parties turn out. So we try to compromise and I try to help
her see that it's OK not to have stuff that everyone else seems to have.
Unique is good, not bad, and handmade unique,
while risky, might be even better.
This year we had a Doll Party.
You can read the full post in the family blog but, on the advice
of a good friend, I'm posting here too so I can include all the
other goodies like How Tos and supplies and sources and stuff
that would send regular people into a coma.
Still interested? Then read on!
First, the welcome activity:
We'd done bead-stringing to death at last year's Princess party, so this
year we hopped on the Peg doll bandwagon and made our own peg dolls.
No paint, of course- too messy for a group of little kids, so we used
fabric scraps, ribbon, white glue and fine-tip permanent markers.
Nothing makes me happy like a table laid with colorful craft stuff
ready to be attacked by little hands!
Incidentally, the wooden blanks came from here although I've seen
them at Michaels sold in pairs. We only made girl dolls (the ones
with the skirts) at the party but I also have the peg people blanks
shaped like other family members and thought you might like a
picture of them, with a clothespeg for size reference.
Isn't the tiny baby to die for?
I've been inspired by some extremely talented people who have done
kids are older, I plan to paint our own family dolls. Until then, they
sit in my project box with about 20 containers of acrylic paint and
varnish, taunting me.
Next, the game:
For want of a better name, we called it Dress The Dolly -
Essentially it's a picture of a doll drawn on posterboard/vanguard
sheets, with accessories for sticking on the picture. I used my old
pungent art markers bought about 15 years ago from Art Friend:
Make enough accessories for each guest to draw one from a bag,
stick a loop of masking tape behind them and have each blindfolded
participant try and stick that accessory as close to the actual spot as
they can. At the end, have everyone vote on who did best
and that person wins.
The picture on the left was how it would have turned out if
everyone could see. The picture on the right was how the
8 blindfolded, giggling girls did.
Look - two games in one - let's Spot The Differences!
Incidentally, the purse/handbag-sticker won.
And this was her prize:
- a big (10") brown stuffed gingerbread dolly made of scrap fleece,
buttons and ric-rac trims.
Everyone else got mini-versions of this, with embroidered details
It was a lunch party, so apart from pizza (which I did not make),
we had doll sugar cookies. I prefer my sugar cookies thin and crisp
to chewy, and these were rolled out the day before, cut out with
gingerbread boy and girl cutters, baked and then frosted.
The hair and eyes was simply chocolate chips melted in the
microwave and piped from a small plastic bag (like Ziploc)
This was a boxed cake-mix. There is nothing like a good made-from-
scratch cake but I have made peace with myself about waiting till the
kids are older to do the fancy gourmet stuff. Till then, Betty Crocker's
French Vanilla supermoist thingammybob in a box is very, very good!
This was made in a rectangular pyrex dish, and then cut to shape
when it was cool. The fun part was decorating it, and all it took was a
little star nozzle and a plastic bag. Oh, and three sleeping kids. Phew.
Other excuses to further the doll theme:
Emily wanted a pinata and I was tempted to make a papier mache one
from an old favorite craft book I'd had as a child. But I decided to wait
till she and Jenna were old enough to help with (and enjoy) the paper
pulp and save it for another birthday. So we bought an inexpensive one,
left it undecorated (since it was going to be bludgeoned to death
anyway) and saved the fancy doll motifs for the goodie bags. Here
are the dressed-up plain brown lunch bags to contain the candy
from the pinata and all the other takeaways from the party.
Why is that little pink one in the bottom row nameless? you ask.
Emily drew it before she lost interest in the party prep
and it was too precious to give away.
And finally, the blowouts. Emily was really passionate about wanting
"the things that go "whee" when you blow on them and they shoot out"
at her party. She'd tell anyone who mentioned her upcoming party
that she was going to have them. We had to improvise with cardstock/
vanguard sheets and glitter glue, of course, since store-bought ones
weren't likely to have weird bald doll/gingerbread-person themed ones.
Tomorrow, Emily has to bring a blue item to preschool and she's
picked the blue blowout. Minus the doll decor, which had become
damp and fallen off from overuse. Yes, she saved her bare blowout,
so highly favored as a plaything has it become.
Which reminds me - I need to get the thank-you cards done. Oops.