Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Elmo Party!

My daughter loved Elmo and Sesame Street so we decided to throw her an Elmo-themed party for her 2nd birthday!  If you are looking for creative ways to decorate for an Elmo party of your own, read below for details on all of the decor from our party.



I made the invitation above based on a sample that I saw while doing an Internet search.  I loved the little poem that is read to the tune of the Elmo's World song!  At the time that I made this invitation I did not have Photoshop Elements (like I do now).  So, I made the invitation using Microsoft Word.  Microsoft Word works fine, but it is a little difficult to make the text "pop".  After making the invitation I took it to a local print shop for printing.  Making your own invitation saves a lot of money.  This invitation cost about $15 as opposed to the nearly $40 that I would have spent had I ordered it from a site like Shutterfly.  Plus, in doing it myself, I could totally customize what the invite said.


Many of the decorations were hand made by me and my mom from ideas that we found on Pinterest.  Some of the other decorations were generic items purchased at Party City.  Some other decorations were the Sesame Street toys strewn about my house!  All of the decorations are detailed below.


It just so happened that we had a goldfish (whom we renamed "Dorothy" for the party).  We tried to make Dorothy's bowl look like that of the real Dorothy on "Elmo's World".  We put stones in the bottom and anchored down a tiny birthday hat, since Dorothy typically has something in her fish bowl related to the theme of the show.  Dorothy became a cute centerpiece on our food table!

Welcome Sign

When guests arrived at the party the first thing that they saw was a Sesame Street-like sign that said, "Myla's 2nd Birthday" on one side and "Thanks for Coming" on the opposite side.  This sign doubled as a welcome sign and a goodbye sign.  The sign is made out of a white foam display board.  After cutting the display board to the shape of the Sesame Street sign, I then covered it with green poster board.  Then I cut thin strips of yellow poster board to create the border around the edge of the sign.  I attached the green and yellow poster board using double stick tape.  Then I attached Vinyl letters that I purchased at OfficeMax.  I punched two holes in the sign and attached it to the lamp post in front of my house using zip ties.

"Myla Street" Sign

My mom made this super cute "Myla Street" Sign.  It looked really neat on our dessert table and now is a decoration in our playroom!  We found the idea on Pinterest.  Here's how it was done...

Materials Needed:
  • 2 circular placards (two different sizes)
  • 1 railing rung
  • 1 dowel rod
  • 2 small wooden craft balls (with a flat bottom, if possible)
  • 1 large wooden craft ball (with a flat bottom, if possible)
  • 2 small chains
  • 2 small "s" hooks
  • 2 small eye hooks
  • thin board cut to the shape of the Sesame Street sign
To create the sign, first paint all pieces green, except the large wooden craft ball.  Paint the large wooden craft ball white.  Paint a thin yellow edge around the Sesame Street sign, like on the picture above.  Using vinyl letters (from an office supply store or cut with a Cricut machine) add your child's name to the street sign.  I also added a number two at the top of the sign because it was my daughter's second birthday.  Drill a hole through the bottom of the two circular placards and insert a screw through the placards and into the bottom of the rung.  Make sure that you sink the screw in the bottom far enough so that the base sits level.  Next, drill a hole about 2 inches down from the top of the rung to insert the dowel rod.  Make sure it is a snug fit.  Then drill holes in the flat part of the two small craft balls so that they fit on the ends of the dowel rod.  Next, drill a small hole in the top of the rung and on the flat part of the white craft ball.  Insert a double-sided screw (both ends are screws) into the top of the rung and then screw the white craft ball on top.  Next, screw two tiny eye hooks on the bottom side of the dowel rod.  Attach the chains to the eye hook and place the "s" hooks on the ends of the chains.  Drill two tiny holes where the "s" hooks will hook onto the sign.  Hang the sign on the chain and your done!


My mom also made a banner to hang above our dessert table.  The banner is made out of scrapbook paper and ribbon.  There two scrapbook papers as the background of each piece and then Elmo and the "I'm 2" are also cut out of scrapbook paper.  Each of the 4 scalloped papers has two holes punched in it (one on the left side and one on the right side).  A string is then woven through the holes to connect each piece of the banner.  The string is then taped to the backside of the banner using packing tape.  This prevents the pieces of the banner from tilting.  In between each scalloped paper are several short ribbons that are tied around and knotted. 

"Thanks for Coming" Sign

I created the sign shown above on Microsoft Word.  I then printed it out and attached it to a piece of foam display board.  I cut the foam display board the exact size of my sign.  I then punched two holes in the display board and placed a yellow ribbon through the back and tied large knots so that it could not slip through.  I hung the sign on the inside of my front door so that guests would see it as they were leaving. 

Mural and Balloons

When guests entered the house they were greeted by a life-sized Sesame Street mural.  The mural, balloons, and Cookie Monster and Elmo pictures were all purchased at Party City.  The mural became a fun place for photos.  Plus, the kids thought the life-sized characters were pretty cool!

 Label Signs

I made little tiny "Myla Street" signs and sat them around the house.  I also made labels for the food using the same format.  I simply made the signs on Microsoft Word, printed them on card stock, then cut them out.  It was really easy, cheap, and they looked cute.



In an effort to de-clutter my house before the party I put all of my daughter's toys away or moved them to her playroom.  I thought it would be fun, though, to leave the Sesame Street toys out.  We dressed the big Elmo up in a party hat and placed him on the dessert table!

Party Hat

I bought a pack of party hats at Party City for the kids to wear.  On the one for my daughter I added a number "2" and some feathery cord to the bottom edge and the top.  This helped her party hat stand out since she was the birthday girl! 

Dessert Table

Above is the completed look of the dessert table, including the banner, "Myla Street" sign, cake, cupcakes, cookies, and stuffed Elmo.  I wrapped a couple of boxes in striped paper that matched the colors of the party in order to elevate the cake and cupcakes. 

Cookie Monster Cupcakes

The cookie monster cupcakes were super cute and not hard to make, but were a bit time consuming.  In order to make some of your own check out the Cookie Monster Cupcakes recipe on the Duncan Hines website.


Elmo Cake

The Elmo cake is made with the Wilton Elmo Cake Pan.  It was pretty easy to make and turned out really well!  For directions on how to make it check out the Elmo Cake Instructions on Wilton's website.  

The Number "2" and The Letter "M" Cookies

Just like on Sesame Street, the letter of the day was "M," and the number of the day was "2".  This theme showed up on the invitation, various signs, and in the "2" and "M" cookies.  These are sand tart type cookies with a glaze and polka dots.  They were cute and yummy, but took awhile to make because I made so many.


I kept the food simple because, with a two year old, preparations are tough even if they are easy, but also because I wanted the kids to eat too!  I did make a few things to fit with the theme of the party, as shown below.

Dorothy's Goldfish

I got some tiny cups and tied a red and white polka dot ribbon around them and placed Pepperidge Farm Goldfish in them.  The kids enjoyed this snack!


Big Bird Eggs

To make the big bird eggs, I made hard boiled eggs then sliced them in half vertically (the opposite of the way you do deviled eggs).  I then took the yolks out and "deviled" them.  I dipped the egg whites in some water dyed with yellow food coloring.  I then put the yolks back in the whites.  I made a beak out of yellow and red pepper.  I placed two candy eyes (I know, kind of gross to have candy on deviled eggs, but I couldn't come up with anything to make the eyes) above the beak.  To finish it off I put a thin piece of red pepper over the top of the eyes.  They resembled Big Bird a little bit! :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Neat Sentimental Gift for Grandparent - "Reasons We Love You"

My grandma has always been a very special and important person to me and my cousins.  For her 84th birthday we decided to give her a meaningful, heartfelt gift to remind her how much we love her.  We heard about a really cool idea...write down 84 (or the age of your loved one) reasons why you love your grandma (or anyone else that you choose).  Put those reasons in a jar and have your loved one pull one message out each day until they are gone.  In our case my grandma had 84 days of little messages from me and my cousins. 

Continue reading for details on how to make this special gift for your loved one!

The Messages

First of all you need to determine how many people will be writing messages.  I asked five of my cousins to participate in this project for our grandma.  My grandma was turning 84 years old, so I asked each of my cousins to write and email me 14 messages about why they love our grandma.  I also typed up 14 messages.  We wrote about memories of times spent with her, about her character, about family trips and holidays, and much more.  We (the cousins) allowed our spouses and children to add their own messages too.
I created a table on Microsoft word and inserted each of the 84 messages.  I formatted the text so that the fonts and sizes were all the same.  Choose a font size that is relatively small (because you might have a lot of messages to fit in the frame) but that is also large enough for people to read when the frame is hanging.  I also added each cousin's name after the message so that my grandma would know who wrote it.  Check out this sample...

You will then need to print the messages on some sort of cardstock.  I used an ivory color because it looked nice with the background scrapbook paper I used on the frame.  I cut each message out using the guidelines from the table.  I then mounted each message on a colored piece of cardstock.  I used a different color for each cousin.  After the messages are all prepared, lay them out to determine the size of frame that you will need to purchase.

The Frame

Purchase a picture frame that will be large enough to hold all of the messages that you printed above.  Prepare the frame by removing the glass.  Cut a thin piece of cardboard to fit inside of the picture frame.  (Make sure that the cardboard is not too large to fit the glass back in the frame with it.)  Cover the cardboard with scrapbook paper.  It does not matter if there are seams because the messages will eventually cover them. 

Add a title at the top of the frame.  I created the title for my grandma's frame by using decorative adhesive letters.  I placed the letters on a piece of cardstock that matched what I used to print the messages.  I then mounted the title on two pieces of colored cardstock that matched the ones used behind the messages.  It looked like this...

 Creating the Gift

Buy a small cookie jar (glass allows the messages to be seen through it).  Place all of the messages in the jar.  Tie a ribbon around the neck of the jar and attach a tag.  Our tag said,
"84 Reasons We Love You!  Happy Birthday Gram!  Love, Nick, Dusty, Maggie, Katie, Alana, and Shawna.  August 8, 2011."   
We then wrapped the jar and the frame and gave it to my grandma for her birthday.  She was very touched by our thoughtful gift!  We had her pull her first message and read it for everyone.  Be sure to have some double stick tape on hand so that the message can be placed on the frame.  Use only a small piece of tape in case the message needs to be moved later. 

Finished Frame with Messages

After 84 days of opening messages from each of her grandchildren, my grandma's frame is complete. With her frame hanging on a wall in her home she can continue to cherish the messages from each of us!

Friday, April 12, 2013

1st Birthday Party - #1 Theme!

It can be difficult to decide on a theme for a first birthday party because baby doesn't really have an interest in any specific characters that you could base the party off of.  For my daughter's first birthday I decided to go with the "number 1" as the theme.  Here are some ideas that you can use for a first birthday party regardless of your theme!


I found this invitation on a website called Lil' Duck Duck.  You can find it at  You can choose the colors you would like to use, and you have some ability to customize the invitation.  I liked this particular invitation because it showed how much my daughter grew and changed during her first year. 

Wooden #1

My husband made this wooden number 1 out of a 4x4.  He then affixed it to a sturdy board so that it would stand.  I painted the number 1 light pink and set up a backdrop of balloons so that it would look cute for photos.  I later tied some balloons to it and used it as a decoration at the party. 

#1 Welcome Sign

This wooden number one is cut out of plywood.  I then painted the plywood white and added stripes of various thickness and colors.  The writing was done with wooden letters that I covered with sparkly purple scrapbook paper.  At the time of this party I did not have a Cricut machine.  If I were to do this sign over again I would cut the letters out of vinyl using my Cricut machine.  I added a crown and made a wand out of a wooden star.  I covered the crown and the wand with scrapbook paper as well.  I drilled two small holes in the top of the 1 and placed wire and ribbon through it to make a hanger so that the number 1 could serve as a welcome sign on the front door.

#1 Decorations 


I found a really big number 1 balloon at the local party store, and I used that as a decoration where guests entered the house.  Balloons are not expensive but make great decorations because they stand out.  Plus, there is no better way to be festive for a birthday party than with lots of balloons!

Shoe Photo Decoration

It is a little difficult to notice in the picture above, but there is a tiny pink shoe holding a stick in the shape of a number 1.  That stick has small pictures attached to it with tiny clothes pins.  In order for the stick to stand in the shoe you must insert a piece of floral foam in the heel of the shoe.  I then placed shredded tissue paper over the floral foam.  This is a fun and easy way to display some pictures of the birthday girl or boy!

#1 Cookie Favors

For party favors I made some cookie sandwiches and tied a number 1 to the cellophane bag holding the cookies.  To be honest this process of making the cookies, wrapping them, and affixing the number 1 tag took quite a while.  If you choose to do a favor like this, I suggest making the cookies a couple of days before the party.  I then stuck the "Thank You" sign in a little vase behind the cookies so that guests knew that they should take some home.

Happy Birthday Banner

To make a simple birthday banner like this one, you will need scrapbook papers and ribbon or cord. If I were to make this banner today, I would use a Cricut machine to cut each of the letters.  Since I did not have a Cricut machine at the time of making this banner I typed and sized each of the letters in Microsoft Word and then printed them out.  I cut out the letters and traced them on scrapbook paper.  I then cut the scrapbook paper to create the finished letter.  (Yes, this was the long way around...but it worked!)  Glue the letters onto rectangular pieces of scrapbook paper.  Punch two small holes at the top of the scrapbook paper to feed ribbon through.  Hang the banner somewhere that lots of guests will notice it at the party!

#1 Cake

I got a cake and cupcakes at Sam's Club, which was easy and inexpensive.  I was very specific, however, about the colors and design on the cake and cupcakes.  I wanted it to match the party colors perfectly.  I took a printed picture of a crown and wand to the bakery at Sam's Club and they used their fancy machine to make it edible and place it on the cake.  I created a 3D number 1 to use as a cake topper.  I created this out of scrapbook paper.  (Create a sample first and then work on the real thing.)  I also purchased a small round cake for my daughter to dig into.

1st Birthday Party Hat

You can buy some very cute party hats on Etsy or you can attempt to make it yourself like I did.  The best way to do this is to use a sample party hat as a guide.  Take a piece of scrapbook paper and cut it the shape of the sample party hat.  There needs to be a notch in the back where it will hook together (you will see this on the sample hat).  You can also tape the inside of the hat to make sure it is secure.  Glue some feathery ribbon/cord around the bottom edge of the hat.  Make a small bow out of ribbon.  Put a piece of floral wire through the bow and insert the wire through the small hole on the top of the hat.  Tape the wire to the inside of the hat.  Add a number 1, flower, or other embellishment cut out of scrapbook paper to the front of the hat to complete it.  There you go...super cute and you saved yourself some money!