Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Doll Party- Nuts and Bolts

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 
marvelous things with their peg and spool dolls. Someday when the 
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 - 
a variation of Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey.

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 
(too tiny for ric-rac).

The food:
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) 
with a corner snipped off. The clothes were piped the same way 
with tinted frosting. 

The doll cake:
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.

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic party for a little girl, thanks for linking over!


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