Sunday, September 26, 2010

4th Birthday Little Picasso Art Party!

Yesterday was my little guy's  
4th Birthday!

Because he loves to color and paint,
he choose an Art Theme for his party!

And this was my inspiration:

"Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
- Pablo Picasso

I made it into a little canvas 
to match his invitations :)

I had SO much fun with this theme!
Bright splashes of color,
Creative, fun, artful touches,
crayons, chalkboards, markers...
(all on sale for back-to-school time!)

and artist palettes...
and I baked palette cookies, too!
Of course, for starving little artists,
I wanted lots of yummy, sweet treats for them to eat!

So baked a heap of delicious treats:

Giant Rice Krispie pops on sticks with M&Ms,

Lollipop Cookies...

All sweetly packaged with colorful rainbow-like ribbon!

Making lots and lots of yummy cookies!!
I didn't have a crayon-shaped cutter so I made my own template!

Sugar cookie letter "A"s (for my son's name)
and number 4-shaped cookies in varying sizes...

 Cookies to match my artist canvas...
(I made the design in Illustrator and had them printed on edible icing
and then I attached the images to sugar cookies I made and iced)...

they turned out better than I could have hoped! 

Don't they look almost TOO pretty to eat!

Getting things set inside before the party!

All handmade {with love!} by me!

We held the party in our backyard so Andrew and his friends
could just run carefree and play.
Happy Birthday Banner created by Jill @ Peas and Thank You's!
Crayon and Number 4 Balloons on the mailbox.
A fun way to greet party guests!

Handmade crayon directional posterboard signs let guests know where to go.
Since this was a party for 1-7 year olds,
I didn't think they'd want to sit and do arts and crafts on a beautiful fall day.

 So I planned just one structured activity: 
every child made a handprint canvas! 

I purchased a package of 10, blank 8x10" canvases at Michael's with a 40% off coupon. 
With various acrylic paints that I had on hand,
I hand-painted every canvas a different, bright solid color.

Each child had their hand rolled in white Tempera paint 
and then we pressed them down on their canvas color of choice!

A few of the handprints drying.

This was everyone's FAVORITE part of the party!
Not only did it make for a fun activity,
but it also created a beautiful keepsake for each child to take home 
as a special memento of their fun-filled day together!
The parents LOVED this! :)
(so did I!!)

The little artists pose proudly with their canvases!
We had a little table set up with the paint tray, roller, and canvases...
and a hose and towels nearby to wash up afterwards
(the added benefit was that their little hands were clean to eat!).

I bought them all bright-colored art aprons from Oriental Trading Company so no one would mess up their clothing
(they each got to take one of the aprons home with them, too).

They had a blast playing in my son's playhouse mostly,
and on the swingset and climbers.
We put out his Tonka trucks, bright colored balls,
basketball hoop, various toys and ride-ons...
it was a day filled with play!

Above: The birthday boy (left) and his friend Jack (right).
I fell in love with his special birthday t-shirt the moment I saw it!  
It's an adorable appliquéd artist palette from Noodle & Meatball.
You must check out their other designs - all equally as precious!

The playhouse became party-central!!

I set up art easels in the yard

We had chalkboard placemats that I bought off on ebay and repainted,
dry erase boards that I bought in the $1 bin at Target...

and we made a chalkboard table runner using brown craft paper,
cut to runner size, and painted with chalkboard paint!
(you can see one on the table below:)

I set out lots of little buckets of colored chalk so guests could doodle while they ate.

I used various buckets for LOTS of things!
I ordered some online and picked some up at Target
in all colors and sizes.
They were bright and colorful,
and came in so handy!

I used them for some of the kids' drinks, too...

and we filled one of his Radio Flyer wagons with ice
and used that, too :)

Everything was coordinated with labels and tags.
Here are a couple closeups of the water bottle labels...

We had two buffets: one for food and one for sweets!

For the kids, I made mini sandwiches and sloppy joes...

and topped them with handmade flag picks!

I made the little flags using scrapbook papers, wooden craft picks, and printing some (double-sided) on the computer...then simply gluing them onto the wooden picks.

Below is the Starving Artists sweets table!

Edible pretzel crayons (dipped in colorful candy melts and wrapped in crayon-like wrappers),
varieties of cookies (see above),
GIANT Rice Krispie treats on popsicle sticks (with colorful M&M candies inside!)
Birthday Snack mix (my own special recipe!)
Fruit Loop sticks (great for wee little ones!)
colorful Rock Candy sticks
Giant Lollipops, 
mini lollipops
Skittles candy
Custom made pinwheels from Twirlie Whirlies (doubled as favors!)
old-fashioned striped paper straws from Fort and Field
Chalkboard labels and signs from Braden's Grace
and even a gumball machine!

Custom toppers by Jill @ Peas & Thank yous!
Custom paintbrush chocolates from Mandies Candies!

Adorable little treat bags from Fort and Field to take home the candies, chocolates and cookies!

His cake was adorable!

With fondant dots and crayons!

The favor table featured a crayon wreath I made 
using inexpensive wooden embroidery hoops and hot-glued on crayons!

On the bright-colored buckets, I used oval, chalkboard labels
to resemble a crayon wrapper...
and wrote on them with bright-colored chalk markers.
The best part is that the labels are removable and reusable! 
Chalkboard labels and signs from Braden's Grace

I also made alphabet-shaped crayons
with unwrapped, broken crayons that I melted down
in alphabet silicone molds
as part of their favors.

(The Crayola crayons were on sale for 25 cents a box!)

And each child also received a box of crayons,
a few containers of party-size Playdoh,
and a colorful art apron,
all tucked inside a reusable mini canvas bag
to tote home their canvas handprints.

The totes were the perfect size,
and they can be reused for toting their little storybooks,
as Halloween treat bags,
for carrying a special stuffed teddy bear or a collection of cars...
there's virtually no limit to what little ones can use it for.
(this mommy loves practical, useful favor gifts!)

The totes had custom splat tags in four different colors
Jill did an OUTSTANDING job putting together many of the custom touches for this party!
She did a great job of bringing my crazy vision to life!
{thank you, Jill!}

I hope you enjoyed the look at the party!

It was a fantastic day filled with close family and friends
creating, laughing, playing 

and celebrating our little guy's 
4th Birthday!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Preschool Cupcakes

Because my son's birthday is on Saturday, he was the "snack leader" at his preschool this morning.  OK, I admit, as a mommy that can bake - this was about the most fun I've ever had coming up with something CUTE!  

I promised my husband though that I wouldn't go, I took a few short cuts to save myself time/work.  First, I used a store bought cake mix.  I also used store bought frosting (hey, no sense in re-inventing the wheel, right?! The fun part is the decorating!)

Then, to make them adorable, I had to think of something simple that would create a big impact on little ones...and the answer was so EASY!  Since my son's party is an art-theme, crayons were the logical choice!

So I made fondant crayons as cupcakes toppers!  And to save myself more time, I alternated the crayons with fondant apples (with tootsie rolls cut into slivers for stems).  I added a little icing leaf on the apples to make them look a little more authentic). 

And I have to give a shout out for my cupcake liners - love them!  They're the new Reynolds "StayBrite" cupcake liners that don't fade once they're baked.  They held up remarkably well and gave the cupcakes a little extra pizazz!  

Little leaf confetti sprinkled on for fall and back-to-school time!

The little ones and their parents were "Oooooing" and "Ahhhhing" this morning as they peeked in the bakery box to see the snack. They were deciding what color fondant crayon they'd choose or whether they wanted an apple instead :)   

I can't wait to hear how they kids enjoyed their fluffy little school-time snack as they say their daily prayer...

God is Good,
God is Great,
Let us thank Him,
For our snack.

Hope you enjoyed your little peek! :)