If you've read the previous post (or been reading my blog for a while) you will know that it was the small person's 4th birthday party this Saturday just gone. We hired the village hall and a company called Fit n' Fun Kids, who were absolutely fantastic. I'd definitely hire them again. We had a pirate theme.
The parachute fun part of the Fit n' Fun Kids party
We had 24 children aged between 2 and 7. We set up the food in a small side room (the committee room) so that it wouldn't need to take up the space of the equipment. We had the usual food (cocktail sausages, ham sandwiches, cucumber sticks, crisps, cheese cubes and jelly, etc etc) and we also provided ham, cheese and onion and egg mayo sandwiches and some crisps for the adults. My mother in law very helpfully went around asking if the adults would like tea and coffee so they were well catered for.
All the kids looked fantastic and everyone had a costume. We even had a ships cat :D Mr Bogert, my friend Simone and I also dressed up in our pirate gear. Well, why wouldn't you? Adds to the fun, and any excuse, right?
When I made the small person's pirate jacket and Mr Bogert's waistcoat, I used an existing item of their clothing, preferably sleeveless, to draw around and make a pattern base from. (For Alexandra, I used a new sleeveless party dress bodice, and for Mr Bogert I used his sleeveless zip up jacket) I allow extra for turning or seam allowances and, once cut, hold against them and make any alterations (for example, Mr Bogert's waistcoat once cut, needed a lower neckline at the front).
The small person and Mr Bogert in their costumes (with yummy cake!)
Mr Bogert's was easiest because it's a non fray fabric so did not need the edges turning in and there's no sleeves, so it was only the shoulder seams and side seams and hey presto, all finished!
Alexandra's needed a jacket skirt, a collar and sleeves. I used an existing template for the top of the sleeve. One that would require a little pleating at the shoulder, but not too much to create puffed sleeves. I measured the length of her arm from shoulder to wrist and also underneath from armpit to wrist to give me an acurate sleeve length. The fabric I used was non fraying, so I blanket stitched large black felt cuffs on afterwards. Had it been a fraying fabric, I would have finished the sleeve edge off first. The collar was added in the same way also from black felt. The skirt of the jacket was created using 4 wedged shaped strips of fabric sewn together then stitched to a 2 inch wide strip of fabric. This was then sewn to the main jacket body with a pleat at each side and 2 pleats either side of the centre back to create the fullness. All there was left then was the gold lace trim simply tacked on with a very small running stitch, and the gold buttons. I'm quite pleased with the end result.
The banner (which is a bit of a tradition) was painted onto 2 A1 pieces of blue card that had been cellotaped together on the back. I choose a font I like on the computer and print large lettering in draft (so as not to use too much ink). I trace around the outline on the back of the print outs with pencil, then arrange the printed lettering across my banner, pencil side down (so as it's readable facing upwards). Once I'm happy with the placement, I trace over the outline of the letters once again, which transfers my previous pencil marks, and the shape of the lettering onto the poster,
Then all I have to do is fill in with paint. This time the only paint available to me was magnolia emulsion :) Then I decorate the surrounding card. I just painted on some glittery bubbles with glitter glue this time. I would have liked to paint some fish and seaweed, but without any other colour paint I couldn't.
The bunting is my absolute favourite. I had in mind exactly what I wanted to do, but couldn't find fabric for ages, then my mum and nan came across the perfect ones at a car boot. They bought it back for me, not even knowing I was desperately seeking some! How lucky is that!?
So, I cut a triangular template to cut out all of my pieces. I cut 8 of each colour (pale blue with white spot, pale pink with white spot and black and white striped) and cut the backing pieces from an old sheet which is a very pale peach (It's almost an off white it's that pale). On 4 of the pale blue triangles I handstitched a black felt heart using pink embroidery floss and a running stitch, and on 4 of the pale pink triangles I hand stitched a pale blue felt skull and cross bones again using a pink running stitch. I pinned the pale peach triangles to all of the other triangles, right sides together. I machine sewed 2 sides leaving the top open for turning. I tied of the ends, trimmed and clipped the points. Then I turned and pressed them. I used a length of white tape (no thinner then 1") which I pressed in half. Each newly sewn triangle was pinned between the pressed sides of the tape, then machine sewed using a zig zag stitch. The placement along the tape is all in the eye of the beholder, so what ever you like the look of if you're going to have a go making any bunting yourself.
You can just see the bunting in the background, but I will aim to take a cleraer picture in better light to post.
I am so pleased with the result! I think I might put it up in the small person's room, at least for a short while. I'm also thinking I might make 2 or 3 more of these to put in my folksy shop, just because I enjoyed making them so much :)
Now, the cake. My sister has really gotten into baking of late (I think it's because she likes to keep baking cakes for her boyfriend!) so she offered to bake Alex's birthday cake. This was a life saver. It saved me so much time, and I am not a baker. My sister's cake tasted far better than anything I would have made. I just decorated it. I covered it in a dark sandy coloured icing all over. I then used white icing to create a rolled and worn treasure map. The map is drawn with icing pens and the sea and yellow sand colours were painted with a very diluted food colouring using a small paint brush. The edges of the "map" were rolled and notches were cut into it. A little soft brown sugar around the cake base for added sand and some chocolate money as pirate treasure. The small person and I actually saw this in a cake book I have (but done to a far higher standard!) but I can neither find the book or remember the name or author, sorry!
The goody bags were pale blue and pale pink paper bags ordered from an online shop. I used glitter bouncy balls (from £1 shop - 8 in a pack), hand sewn eyepatches made from felt and elastic, chocolate money bags, and an under the sea finger puppet (from Ikea just under £3 for 10), then there was cake. They were all sealed with a name sticker printed in "Arr Matey" font (the kids all also had name tag stickers printed out the same so that the entertainers and us could identify each child) and handed out by the small person at the end of the party from her treasure chest (which normally belongs to Grandma).
Ready to give out goody bags from the treasure chest on the table
We also had helium balloons in pale blue, pale pink and black, and a couple of soft toy crabs (seat cushions) I bought in the sale from Ikea a few months back.
The food room (which is actually the committee room) had pink and blue streamers hung around and more balloons. We used the toddler goup tables and chairs (just the right height!) and covered them with with white, blue and gold (for the head of the table and Captain Alexandra) table coverings. We sprinkled pirate table confetti and used gold paper plates, cups and bowls. I even found some cute animal printed pirate napkins with a blue background on sale a few months back.
So it all seemed to go very well. Alex had a great time, the kids seemed to enjoy it, and I think even quite a few of the grown ups had fun! Alex had some lovely presents from her friends, and I'm pleased to say that quite a few of them are of a crafty nature :D
We've actually already been threading 2 bead necklaces this afternoon. She wants to make the other 2 tomorrow. I will aim to post pics, but the light is rather icky. (Trust me, that's the best description for it).
As the small person's birthday is "officially" over now, that means it's Christmas! Yay! We put up our tree yesterday and all helped hang the decorations. Alexandra hasn't been very well, so she only hung her few decorations and put the star on top (That's her job, dontcha know?). The stockings are hung down the side of the bannister which I made about 6 years ago now. It was a bit disappointing not being able to make the new ones in time like I'd planned. I WILL replace them next year. The small person helped me fill them with treats for everyone. In our house, if you visit us at any point on xmas day, you have a personalised stocking. We fill the stockings in the run up to Christmas, but Santa fills Mr Bogert's, the small person's and mine once we've gone to sleep on Christmas Eve!
Mr Bogert's advent calendar is also now hung (a few days late, but I think he'll survive, although it was touch and go there for a while) and each pocket is filled with chocolatey-ness of some kind. I also made this going back to 2003. I'd like to remake this too, but it may be like tearing a favourite blanket from a toddler.
Mr Bogert has put the outside canopy lights up and lights inside each of the front windows. Bob IV* is sitting outside our front door with our only coloured lights wrapped around him, and the Santa stop here sign is planted firmly in the ground. Oh and the wreath I've been replacing for the last 2 Christmasses is also hung on the door. I really want to remake this too. I wanted to have a go at one of those lovely bauble wreathes, but alas, it was no meant to be. Next year I suppose :(
After finishing the Christmas transformation of the Wishes household, Mr Bogert made hot chocolate in our "special" mugs (mine's a santa head, his is Jack Skellington's head and the small person's is Barbie, but we have got her a new one for Christmas) and we all sat snuggled on the sofa watching (and singing along to) A Muppet Christmas Carol. :D Oh Yeah, Christmas has definitely arrived!
*I should probably mention to those of you who haven't the foggiest idea about Bob that Bob is in fact our real Christmas tree that we have every year, and who sits outside the front of house. He is called Bob because Mr Bogert likes the name Bob (he thinks he should have been a Bob instead of a Rob) and he is Mr Bogert's tree. Without Bob the tree, it simply isn't Christmas!