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Party Animals On Parade

For Q’s animal themed birthday party I decided I wanted to try out this trend of painted plastic animals. I’ve seen them used in various applications such as here and here and was inspired.

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I wanted to create a series of larger animals to use as decorative pieces on the table, so I raided the toy bin to find just what I needed.

We have collected quite a surplus over the years between three kids and I knew some of the ones we had were of lesser quality than others so I chose these for a little makeover.

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You can readily find these at your local dollar store, which is exactly where many of these came from and where I also found the small ones I used for dessert toppers.

Of course my little birthday girl was happy to be involved in any party planning I was undertaking so she volunteered to help paint the animals.

We used a washable latex paint in a colour we had lying around the house. This is actually leftover from the kids playroom. It’s a soft robin’s egg blue and one of Q’s favourite colours.

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We laid out some newspaper and got busy painting over these animals. Coating one side first and then once dry to the touch flipping them over to finish the other side. The animals got two to three coats in total.

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For the animal adorned containers and decorative dessert toppers I used the small assorted bag of plastic animals you can find at the dollar store.

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We gave them the same paint treatment and once dry they were either glued onto a candy stick (like those used for making cake pops) or right onto the top of these small glass containers I picked up at the dollar store as well. These would become the party favours for our guests to take home after our wild celebration.

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I just placed a bead of glue on each foot using my hot glue gun and stuck them on top of the container lid. So easy!

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To make the paper hats and boxes that adorn the animals on parade, I followed the tutorial found on This Heart of Mine using an assortment of decorative papers I had on hand.

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I also took apart a favour-sized box of Smarties and used that as a pattern for making my own boxes. I used my paper trimmer to cut and score the paper and then folded and taped it into place to make the box shape.

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I’m not sure if this was the most logical solution for creating these but it made sense to me at the time.

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I tried different combinations and placements of hats and boxes on my animals to see what worked best. No logic, just trial and error and a lot of fun.

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They turned out so sweet and were such a fun little addition to our animal themed party.

 

 

 

 

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A Wild Celebration

For my oldest’s 8th birthday she wanted to invite a few friends out to a movie to see Zooptopia and then come back to the house for dessert.

I love these small intimate parties the girls have been favouring these past couple of years and this formula of just a few close friends, a short outing and dessert back at the house has really been working well for me (uh… I mean us).

Since the guest list is small everyone can easily fit around the dining room table and I can focus on a themed table scape and dessert bar rather than having to decorate a whole house.

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It really takes the stress out of planning and I get to focus on the details, which is my favourite part. It worked really well for past parties like our mermaid theme and even our spa theme.

Playing off the movie selection, Zootopia, we decided on an animal themed party. Which was an easy sell for our birthday girl who is a self-proclaimed animal lover.

The local party supply store did offer up a plethora of Zootopia party supplies but I prefer a more eclectic and homemade approach to my party decor.
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As we were turning “8” this year I decided to take a bit more sophisticated and grown up approach to our theme opting for a black, white, gold and minty blue palette.

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Black and white striped paper straws, zebra print cups and cheetah print napkins paired with white dinner plates and black square chargers helped set the foundation for the table scape.

Each setting featured a different animal adorned candy container filled with pretty pastel chocolate treats.

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I also painted inexpensive plastic animals and topped them with homemade paper hats and gift boxes inspired by This Heart of Mine. The animals were lined up parade-like down the centre of the table with a few pieces of faux greenery strewn about to play up the wild factor. You can see my own tutorial here.

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A combination of homemade and store-bought confetti was scattered over the tabletop for an extra splash of colour and to compliment to animals hats and presents.

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The place settings also featured a different animal mask for each child that I handmade using a few craft supplies and these fantastic templates from illi style. The template includes a fox, raccoon, deer and owl. From there I just customized them to create my bunny and peacock (which was inspired by this mask).

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The kids enjoyed popcorn and a treat at the movie, so lunch was simply make your own sandwiches (a birthday girl request).

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Our birthday girl was very specific about her menu this year and didn’t want a cake. Just a good assortment of yummy sweet treats.

Dessert featured animal crackers with confetti dip, strawberries with chocolate for dipping, chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles and a chocolate chip cookie tower.

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The kids talked about the movie over lunch, then we opened presents and shortly thereafter moms and dads arrived to escort our guests home.

Each friend took home their animal felt mask, an animal adorned reuseable container filled with chocolate treats, and a Zootopia movie themed cup from the party supply store.

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It was such a great celebration for our sweet birthday girl. I loved that she handpicked only her closest friends and sister to mark the occasion with her. It definitely made it more special (and easier to manage for me – wink, wink.)

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Next Stop New York

I’m turning 40 this year. Yes, F-O-R-T-Y.

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So my best friend and I have decided to mark the occasion with… wait for it… a trip to New York City! It’s a destination that has been on the top of my bucket list for years and my bestie is the best possible travel companion for this adventure.

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Our husbands are both three years younger (born just two days apart oddly enough), so we decided to leave the boys (and my kids) at home to make this trip all about us.

We are both quite excited about turning 40. A landmark I’ve heard so many others groan about. But for us, turning 40 is a really big deal and something we both want to take the time to honour.

Sure we’re not in our thirties anymore and we’re entering into a whole new realm of womanhood yet to be defined. But the way I see it, we’ve earned every one of these forty years. Every story, every scar, every wrinkle, every pocket of cellulite, and rather than cringe at the sound of “40” we want to embrace it and celebrate it.

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We are also celebrating 20 years of friendship at this juncture in our life. So for us, this trip has two major milestones worth recognizing, which is all the more reason to go big this year.

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Having met at the tender age of 20, we’ve seen each other through a lot. Our twenties were all about exploring, experimenting and trying to find our way in the world.

Our thirties we’re about building our nests and our families, settling into ourselves as partners and providers and getting comfortable with our new identities.

Our forties will be… well I’m not sure what our forties will be about. But I am confident that we are both feeling more assured of who we are and what we want to both give and get back from this world. We know what we need to both survive and thrive day to day and at this moment… it’s a trip to New York City!

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It’s an exciting time and what better way to celebrate than with a trip to the city that never sleeps. Except for us of course, because we’re like forty and totally know the value of our sleep now.

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Stay tuned for more about our adventures in the Big Apple and my thoughts on turning forty.

 

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DIY Mermaid Tail Apron

There seems to be this recurring theme for me when I celebrate birthdays for my kids. I make a big list of all the things I’m inspired by and want to accomplish with my party planning and preparations. I fine tune the list and come up with my plan for food, decor, activities and favours. Within this plan there is usually an overly ambitious craft or project that I challenge myself to complete before the big day, and this year for P’s mermaid party it was a mermaid tail apron.

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