This is Summer Birthday Party #2 - Jenna's Swimming Party!
Summer Birthday Party #1 was Kate's Bug Party. Both parties are arbitrary-date parties i.e. not the actual birthdates. We think it's worth faking the date just to get nice outdoor weather.
Long story short: last October, when we were planning Jenna's 6th birthday party (in November), she asked for an outdoor swimming party, with a "pinata" that dispensed water instead of candy. Much drama followed, the result of us explaining why November in Minnesota was vile weather for anything outdoorsy, least of all swimming, and Jenna protesting that it could still be done. We eventually reached a cunning compromise: Jenna had an indoors Halloween-themed party that year and a dip in a heated indoor hotel pool, and we promised her that the next year, she could celebrate her 7th birthday in the summer at our favorite water park.
Last Saturday, we did just that, under a blue sky and the most spectacular weather.
The cousins came, along with Jenna's favorite friends from preschool and kindergarten. They swam, dunked, splashed, zipped down waterslides,
and floated in tubes down the meandering lazy river.
followed by gift-opening and friends-thanking.
Then we resumed play: watersports and sandpit digging and a round of miniature golf, before stopping for a teatime ice cream treat at the in-house cafe. It was a glorious, glorious day. Jenna declared it the best birthday party she'd even had. And I personally thought it was absolutely wonderful that there were no crafts or treasure hunts or organized games or coordinated themed decorations and goodie bags and dollar store flotsam and jetsam and all that other nonsense that our other parties sometimes have to resort to when we have to stay on dry land. I mean, this is a swimming party, for goodness' sake - is there anything better than swimming? No, there isn't. This is my mantra in life: whenever there is the choice, pick swimming. It is superior.
I did, however, make something. Just one.
Well, that's not quite accurate. I made twelve of them,
but it was the same bag.
These are mesh wet bags. Wet bags are bags for wet things. They are full of holes for airing and draining and drying of their wet contents. Like scuba gear and swimming stuff and water shoes.
The opposite of wet bags are (drumroll) dry bags, which are watertight and keep important things dry inside while, say, on a boat. Some day I will make a dry bag for you. But not today.
When a person has a swimming party at a water park, there are very few things that person's mother can make as practical take-home goodies for the guests. And in a narrow field of materials, at that. For instance, cardboard is out (sob). So is regular fabric. Neoprene briefly crossed my mind, but I decided it would have to wait till I could head out to the marine fabric warehouse to procure that special jersey binding before dabbling in it.
So mesh it was, then. And since it was mesh, then of course it was going to be a swim bag.
In the next post, I'll show you how to work with mesh and its popular sidekick, ripstop nylon or packcloth. Today is just the photoshoot. Enjoy.
These mesh bags are bucket totes with circular bases
and drawcord openings. The nylon drawcord runs through grommets
and is controlled by a cord stop.
They have a single shoulder strap whose length is adjustable for different-sized children (we had kids from 5 to 13 at the party) and to allow the bag to be carried on one shoulder
or cross-body style.
It also has a carrying loop
that allows the bag to be hung from hooks and pegs in changing rooms and bathrooms.
There is no interfacing (because it's a mesh bag!) so the base keeps it shape by rigid piping around its base.
Here are the bags in 6 colors,
with patch pockets,
including black, to which I added colored topstitching just because.
I made two in each color.
At the party, we handed out these laminated fish tags that I drew and Jenna colored
and we looped them around each kid's bag to identify it after the kids had chosen their favorite color.
Find the tutorial in two parts here - Part I and Part II.