Okay, are you ready for some pictures??? (Well, actually a lot of pictures!? a.k.a - long post! You've been warned!) As I've mentioned, we had an "April Showers Bring Ella Flowers" themed party for my oldest daughter's 6th birthday. With all of Ella's previous birthdays, the weather has been cold, wet and rainy, so this year we decided to embrace it and have a whole party themed around April showers. Ironically, the day actually ended up being one of the prettiest days yet this season. Of course, right!? With amazing help from my husband, we made everything you see. I also want to give a little shout out to my friend/photographer, Kate Panza. She captured the day perfectly. Enjoy!
Being married to an architect has lots of perks! Jeromy shares my passion for good design and layout. So, with a program called SketchUp, he modeled the room so we could best plan the space. With ease, we could move/switch things around. Below is one of the quick sketches. As simple as the drawing seems, it was a tremendous help. We used the sketches constantly to verify measurements for hanging elements, spacing activities, count seating, so on and so on. I realize not everyone has access to such great resources - both my husband and architectural drawing programs - but everyone DOES have a pencil/paper and a tape measure. With all of my jobs, I do a layout plan - with or without a computer.
Before I start the pictures, here is a quick refresher of the invites. Umbrellas and flowers - yep, that's what they got at the party too!
The wall opposite where guests walked in was covered in stacked umbrellas. Beyond being the initial site line for guests, the umbrellas provided a colorful backdrop to the food table. Since the party was from 1:30-3:30 we just needed a few snacks and, of course, cake!
We set up two long tables in the space - one for eating and one for the craft activities. Both tables were covered with hanging umbrellas adorned with acrylic "rain drops". Both tables also included astroturf runners with little rain boot centerpieces. Each place setting at the eating table had a flower placemat, plate and umbrella garnished cup!
This is a close-up photo of the craft table. At each seat was a little terra cotta pot and paper mache frame to be decorated with supplied foam stickers, markers and paint pens. They used the pot later in the party to plant their own pansy to take home. Likewise, for later, the frame was to put in their photo from the photo booth. (More on both of these a little later in the post.)
This was the donation area. Our family was blown away by the outpouring of contributions to benefit the devastated children of Japan. Along with a place for guests to drop their donations, the table housed another spring arrangement and the party favors. The favor bags, embellished with a thank you tag, ribbon and cocktail umbrella, included a packet of zinna seeds, a mini terra cotta pot and a soil disk for planting.
An easy little detail... toothpicks for the fruit and veggie trays. I hot-glued all the extra flowers from making the invites onto toothpicks. The kids loved these!
Look at these little ones eyeing the decorated umbrella cookies I made. Notice the rain boots behind the cookies? Since I had a few extras, I used them as the cake stand, too. I used the extra cocktail umbrellas for the kids' cups. They loved them! As a kid I remember how cool it was to get a drink with an umbrella in it!
Here are the girls hard at work decorating their pots and frames!
Another great part to the party was the multi-functional cloud - a centerpiece and a pinata! When guests first arrived, it was hanging high with the sewn paper rain drops "sprinkling" down. Directly under the cloud and rain drops, was the hopscotch board. We made the hopscotch numbers to resemble puddles; like the rain drops above were dripping into the puddles. (I doubt the kids made the connection, but I know the adults did.) After a fun round of hopscotch, we lowered the large handmade pinata and it was the next party activity for the girls.
Now, I might catch some slack for doing this... I read a book to the girls. I know, I know, not the most exciting thing to do at a birthday party (especially since they were enamored with their loot from the pinata!), but this book was perfect!!! Ella's Umbrellas - It is a cute little lesson book about sharing/giving.
As mentioned before, the girls decorated picture frames. We had to have something to go in the frames, right!? So we built a photo booth. We built the angled overhang "cloud" from foam core board and stuffing/batting. We added a few more sewn rain drops like the ones on the pinata. The blue backdrop is just cheap gift wrapping paper spliced together. On the floor, we put down a large piece of astroturf. After throwing in a few props - a couple of umbrellas and a bundle of flowers - the girls were ready for their photo shoot! There were both individual and group shots. So fun!
After all the planned activities, it was time for CAKE! It is truly an honor for me to have the skills to make my children's cakes. I love creating something special for them every year on their birthday. The two tiers are frosted with vanilla buttercream, but the rest of the decorations are gumpaste. This was the first time I ever made gumpaste flowers. I've still got lots to learn, but I thought they turned out okay for my first try.
Look at that smile - she is so happy! It just melts my heart.
On the invitation, we asked the kids to wear their rain boots. Getting the guests involved in the "decorations" always makes it fun. Kate captured a few fun shots of the kids in their boots. Adorable!
We held the party at a local park building. At this particular park, they have a lot of farm animals. Since it was such a beautiful day, the park ranger asked if we would like to take the guests out to see them and feed them. Ahhh, Yes! It was such a bonus for the kids. Ella got to ride in the park truck while the other kids ran behind - they were so cute and laughing all the way! They fed miniature horses, played with baby goats and petted show-winning rabbits. The kids got to go in the goat pin and run around with the momma and babies. They LOVED it - both the kids and the goats! They are all "kids" afterall! :) Ironically, one of the baby goats was named Ella. Very apropos!