Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An "Under The Sea" Themed Fourth Birthday Party

My daughter has probably known since her 3rd birthday that she wanted an 'Ariel' birthday party this year when she turned four.  Rather than do the typical 'full-on' Disney Princess party, I wanted to incorporate some other quircky and fun elements and make it more of an "Under the Sea" theme with a touch of Disney.  I *hope* I managed to pull it off.  Of course I owe so much to Pinterest and the wonderful bloggers out in Internet-land for the inspiration and ideas!  Here's a peek at some of the details of the party.

our invitations came from Partybean, a fantastic Etsy shop.  I was able to print them on photo paper and purchased A10 envelopes at the craft store to mail/hand them out in.  My daughter had 'a lot' of say in which invitation she wanted - so happy there were so many great choices to choose from!
As parents & kiddos arrived they were greeted right off the bat with our theme - I added a tissue pom pom (purchased from Oriental Trading Company in turquoise and royal blue), as well as a little welcome sign and a coffee filter wreath.

I made all of the signage for the party - this was a simple particle board with craft paint, puff paint, a chipboard fish and a sharpie!
This was my first coffee filter wreath attempt.  I am in love with the results!  I actually 'dyed' a number of the coffee filters in turquoise, blue and green but they're very subtle.  From there I added the sand dollars which are enhanced with some glitter glue for some sparkle!  Here's a peek at my inspiration for the wreath and some ideas for dying:
Wreath:  Coffee Filter Wreath Tutorial
Dying Coffee Filters:  how to dye coffee filters
The front entry had my 'standby' candy jars and a welcome note on our chalkboard.  A metal fish decoration also hung close by (JoAnn's)
I found this fantastic idea via Pinterest and the blog That's My Letter.  Using a roll of plastic tablecloth from the party store, I used 3M hooks and embroidery floss to drape the tablecloth and tulle.  I added some coffee filter jelly fish that I made at the centers.  For a closer look at these jelly fish you'll need to wait for an upcoming post!  ;)
I really need to take some photography classes, huh?  The ligthing, everything - bleh!  Oh well - you get the idea!
Coming into our house further is our 'dining area' - it's really one big large room with the kitchen/dining/living areas combined.  There are however lots of fun places to decorate and of course I took advantage!

The menu was pretty basic - with the age range of the kids that were there, as well as the time frame of the party (2-5pm), I knew I didn't need anything heavy so we kept things light with fruit, veggies and sandwiches.

I 'tried' to make all the food tent cards relatable to the under the sea theme.... obviously I was stretching with a few!!!!  The octopus dip above is so cute!  I used raisins for the eyes instead of candy eyes.  The veggie dip recipe was fantastic - here's a link so you can try it too!  Veggie Dip Recipe.

I added numerous props to the buffet area - sea shells, metallic palm trees, stuffed toys like the fish you see above and some easy artwork I created with scrapbook paper.  Just do a Google search for 'mermaid silhouette' and you'll have something easy to trace onto plain white paper - then I glued it to the blue and white chevron paper and stuck it in a frame.  SUPER easy!
the pasta salad recipe: Summer Garden Pasta Salad
these turkey roll ups were fantastic!  Here's where I found the recipe: cordonpink.com
I draped our dining room chandelir with bubble wrap tulle and some jelly fish - then later added tissue pom poms instead!  :)  A work in progress.....
the dessert table turned out so fantastic!  I had the idea for a ruffled ombre table cloth but wasn't sure what size of table to put it on, how to sew it, etc., so I procrastinated for a LONG time in making it.  One day though I decided to just go for it.  Stay tuned for a future post to see how I went about making it!  The backdrop was 'easy' too.  I sewed a TON of these great ruffled streamers (thanks Dana Made It).  From there I used three 3M hooks and strung embroidery floss between them.  Then I just taped strips of the ruffles to the top of the string and let them hang down to the height of the dessert table.  From there I added a few coffee filter jelly fish and some paper medallions.  (Dollar Store purchases!)
Would you believe that cake was baked twice?  I did a homemade cake first but it was SOOOO thin then I did a cake mix for layer two.  Add LOTS of homemade buttercream frosting and you have one heck of a cake!  I added the Ariel candle and sugar decorations as well as the bunting.  
I also had chocolate covered oreos and Dr. Seuss cookies on the dessert buffet with lots of swedish fish and gummy worms.  AND it was all well within a kids reach so we had a LOT of hopped up kids on sugar highs!  :)

The mantle area was also fun:
I used the same concept for the mantle that I used for the dessert table backdrop - the 3M hooks and ruffled streamers.  I also put wrapping paper over the painting we normally have hanging above the mantle (for some added color), as well as a second fabric rag garland. 
The hurricane vases hold a bunch of great seashells I found at JoAnn's and the sconces have blue glass marbles in them.  I also sewed the "Happy Birthday" banner too.  I loved the tie-dye look of the fabrics for it - reminds me of being under water!
This is a special piece - I painted this mermaid boasting her happy birthday message and love how it turned out.  It's just a store bought canvas, craft/acrylic paints and sharpie marker!
There were also little touches here and there throughout the house:

a fun little restroom sign
splash sign made with particle board and chipboard letters
a neon polka dot fish painting
a tropical fish purchased at JoAnn's
these were recycled jars that I superglued plastic fish too and then spray painted to hold CANDY!  :)
a closer look at the mermaid silhouette artwork
some coffee filter jelly fish!  I'm going to do a future post about how to make these - they are AWESOME!
another mini fabric rag garland above the mantle
awful photo for sure but this is a garland made out of.... (WAIT FOR IT) - EGG CARTONS!
Found the idea for it here:  sayyestohoboken.com
a closer up of the cardboard egg carton garland!
a second mermaid silhouette art piece
another great sign saying "Mermaid Crossing" sat atop the bookshelves in our dining area.  Again - particle board, chipboard letters and mermaids and puffy paint!

Outside was full of color too!  We had two bounce houses, seating as well as outdoor toys and games.  We strung crepe paper ruffles along the fence, dotted it with tissue pom poms and strung up that fantastic fabric rag garland I showed you awhile back - see it below?
plastic tablecloths, fishing nets, clam shell candles, daisies and carnations in painted soup cans and seashells decorate the tables outside. 
some of the decorations on the fence in our backyard - lots of crepe paper streamers for sure!!!!
the birthday girl gets to open some of her gifts in front of the fabric rag garland.....

I love this piece.... might need to hold onto it for a future room - maybe my craft room at our next house?!
these great thank you tags were tied to the beach buckets we gave as favors.  I found them via Etsy as well from the shop FuntasticParties.  I was able to just print them from my computer at home which was a HUGE plus!  The buckets included a fish squirting toy, a fish whistle, Mermaid fruit snacks (all from Oriental Trading Company), as well as Goldfish Crackers, sidewalk chalk and a sand mold (Dollar Store). 

And that's it!   It felt so great decorating for the party and having my daughter say "thank you for making all these beautiful decorations Mommy, my party is going to be so pretty".  So gratifying to get a thank you!!!  :)

I'm actually going to be selling most of these items I made as a 'party package' so if you're interested and local in Jacksonville - let me know!  My plan is to post on a couple of local FB sites as well as craigslist.  I'll keep you updated!

Other credits:
White Cake Recipe: www.megzcakes.ca
Ring Toss Game: www.amazon.com
Ariel Pinata: www.birthdayexpress.com
Big Mouth Fish Squirters (favors): www.orientaltrading.com
Tissue Pom Poms:  www.orientaltrading.com

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