Organised by: Eden's Mum Holly
Location: Home in Sydney
Theme: Mermaid Party
Invitation: I hand-drew the invitation, then colour photocopied and added sparkle. The mermaid was also used on the stickers for drink bottles, the paper bags for collecting the piñata lollies, name tags for the party guests, lolly bags, pin the tiara on the mermaid game, welcome sign and on the thank you cards
Cake: I made the cake after reading lots of blogs about cake decorating, help from a very talented baking friend and by watching You Tube video tutorials. I learned how to make the ruffles for the cake from the tutorial on The Bronnie Bakes blog. Bronnie even very kindly answered some questions I had via email! I also find inspiration by exploring cake decorating shops. I made the fondant mermaid a week ahead so that she would be dry and stiff for the party and made all the white pearl bubbles a few days in advance so that all I needed to do on the day was glue them on with sugar syrup. I found the diamante 'E' from Cake Decorating Solutions online.
Party food: I tried to keep to a uniform colour palette for the table to keep with the theme. Food included:
+ Green and blue jelly/jello
+ Cucumber sandwiches
+ Green grapes
+ Cool Mints and Spearmint Leaves
+ White marshmallows
+ Green and blue mermaid meringues (made by Eden's grandma!)
+ Sour lolly straps in green and blue (I should have bought more of these as they went so quickly)
+ Diving mermaid cupcakes. I made the fondant mermaid tails using a mermaid cookie cutter a week ahead so that they were stiff enough to sit into the frosting.
Decorations: I created a blue, green, pink and white colour theme that continued through from invitations, to cake, to decorations, and the table settings. Eden and I made the jellyfish decorations that hung over the table (see the Scrapbooksetc Blog for a tutorial). Eden's grandma made a mermaid for the entry to the house to welcome her guests. We made tissue paper pom poms which are cheap yet effective for decorating a space. One packet of tissue paper will make one large Pom Pom or two small Pom Poms. We piled balloons (purchased from Spotlight and a variety store) on the trampoline and tied them along the stairs and fence line around the party space. I also cut up crepe paper into lengths and hung it at the end of the verandah as a feature wall. I stuck silver and white patty cake wappers onto the crepe paper to resemble barnacles. The table was decorated with a family heirloom antique white table cloth which was covered with a length of sparkly blue tule purchased from Lindcraft. The party plates, napkins and white lolly bins were from IKEA. I already owned all of the other table decorations including the glass ball, the glass bottles with shells, and the Dinosaur Designs fruit bowl which held the cupcakes.
Birthday Girl Wears: Eden wore a mermaid outfit purchased on Ebay, a tiara from Seed and the green 'seaweed' feather boa was purchased from a variety store.
Games/activities: We took the standard party games and gave them a mermaid twist! We downloaded mermaid music from iTunes including 'Under the Sea' from the movie 'The Little Mermaid' and a couple of other really fun Mermaid songs we found including 'The Mermaid Song' by Cab Calloway on the Album called 'The Scat Song' and 'It's a Mermaid!' by Uncle Rock on the album 'Here We Go'. We used these songs for games requiring music such as:
+ Mermaid bumps - like musical bumps but we had sea-themed pieces of paper and would call out the sea creature and the kids needed to stand on the nearest 'shark' dugong' 'shellfish' 'clownfish' etc.
+ Pass the parcel with necklaces and mermaid sticker prizes.
+ Pull a funny face game - a net bag with gold coins was passed and if it landed in your lap when the music stopped you had to pull a funny face.
+ Toss the gold coins into the treasure box - like coits.
+ 'Sea monster sea monster' - this was the favourite game it is much like whats the time Mr Wolf and my husband and little boy were playing the sea monster role and would chase the mermaids down the lawn
+ Treasure hunt for lollies
+ Mermaid Piñata
+ Pin the tiara on the Mermaid - we used the mermaid from the invitation and enlarged and printed her out on paper and then photocopied enough sticky-backed paper tiaras for all the guests with their names attached. The aim was to stick the tiara as close as possible to the correct position.
Budget-friendly Tips: Finding items from around your house that you already have to use as props or theming for the party. Handmake as much as you can instead of buying things ready-made. Don't be afraid to provide the entertainment yourself - kids are happily entertained with traditional party games, provided you have a plan and enough activities to fill the time. There is really no need to pay someone else to run the show!
Something special: Eden had an idea that she wanted a favourite mermaid book 'The Tiniest Mermaid' to be read at the party. We then discussed acting out the book as a little theatre performance for entertainment at the party. This was a really lovely interactive way to start the party and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Eden, her sister and her cousins were involved in the performance which probably took about ten minutes. My husband had the great idea to hang some old curtains on the swings and turning that area into a stage, which looked really effective and added interest to the back garden.
What an amazing experience for Eden and her family and friends! Thank you so much Holly for sharing your ideas and advice; so much inspiration for us.
Images: Holly Cowdery