Since the girl could talk, anytime I would mention that it was someone's birthday, she would immediately reply in inquiry, "CAAAAKE??!!!" As in, will there be cake?!
The few months leading up to her third birthday, she really had not defined what theme she wanted for her party. Brainstorming, I realized what better theme than just CAKE. Being the art teacher (and lover of Pop Art), Wayne Thiebaud's Cakes.
Unable to find a print to work for the invites, I decided to draw my own and watercolor it, scan it in and add the text in illustrator.
Then and there, the theme was born.
The front of the invitation:
And the back (she literally said this days before I sent these to the printer):
I re-used this garland that I made for her first birthday - I just added glitter to the letters to change them up a bit.
These were the main decoration. The HUGE cakes.
About two months before her party, a friend of mine made some large dice for my brother-in-laws birthday party. At the time, I asked her if she might be interested in helping me come up with some ideas for Ellis' party. I pulled up the original Wayne Thiebaud painting on my phone and she immediately had an idea. I could literally see the light bulb on top of her head!!! (I LOVE CREATIVE PEOPLE!) She said, "We could make them from concrete forms from Home Depot!" And I was like, "OMG! You are a genius!!!" I would not have even thought of it. She is responsible for these amazing works of art! Concrete forms, felt, yarn, and hot glue!!!
The first one she made and sent pictures of, I literally felt my heart do flips of happiness :) Perfection.
I made the letters on the mantle like I did her alphabet wall. The Land of Nod banner I found on eBay, gently used, but in great condition! The 24X30 Insta Poster was printed by Persnickety Prints. All of the photos are from my Instagram feed that I have taken of her from the day she turned two, until she turned almost three...minus 6 or 7 photos because you can only print 60 photos on this size poster.
We decorated the tables with cookies to decorate cookies!
I made five batches of sugar cookies, and two batches of royal icing using the awesome instructions from Alison's Cookie Party class...of which I have been addicted to - making sugar cookies that turn out like works of art is so.much.FUN!!! That' s a whole other post in itself - cause I'm obsessed.
Colorful plates to keep the sprinkles on the floor to a minimum. A few colors of royal icing in squeeze-y bottles, a tray of sugar cookies, little cups with lots of different sprinkles in them, some colorful paper doilies for spots of color, and mini glass slices of cake (actually salt and pepper shakers) from Cracker Barrel for decoration. Under each plate was a plastic bag and twisty tie so guest could take their decorated cookies home.
But the MOST awesome part of each table could be found on the backs of the chairs...
My sister. My talented, amazing sister, volunteered to sew homemade aprons for each kiddo we invited! She used fat quarters in the most delicious fabrics, her time and talent, to create mini-aprons for kids. Insert ALL THE HEART EYES here!!!! They were absolutely perfect. Each sweet kiddo that came got to take their apron home as a party favor.
My sister is better than you sister ;) Or rather, Ellis' aunt is the BEST AUNT EVER!!! :)))
At each place mat I put a little bookmark I created using my inspired watercolor at as a party favor as well.
A quote from Wayne Thiebaud.
And a "thank you for coming" on the back.
Cookies were decorated.
Sprinkles, icing, cookies, and laughter were shared among family and "Sinds" (friends).
My wonderful family came...some even fitting into the aprons and making delicious works of art cookies.
And the cakes. OH.THE.CAKE.
Twelve made by our local bakery, Flour Power, who did an amazing job recreating the cakes from the painting.
And one Dora Cake made by my talented and sister of a friend, Amy, who so lovingly volunteered literally days before, to make a Dora cake. At the last minute (like the week of), Ellis announced "I have DORA cake for my birthday!" (Insert blank stare from me! "You what??!!!") THANK GOD for loving friends who don't blink an eye or hesitate to help.
Each cake not only looked super cute, but tasted even better!!!
I made the banner using cardstock, paper punches, and my sewing machine. Surprisingly to me, it only required like 1 or 2 12X12 sheets of each color of cardstock for a long strand. And once punched, the sewing went really fast.
She did great blowing out the candles.
And boy did she eat a huge hunk of cake! We all did.
I hired Ashley again from Ashley's Twist and Paint, and man, this woman is awesome! She is always such a magician with the kids - keeping them entertained and enchanted with her balloon twisting skills.
This little doll baby scooted around in her walker and hung with the big kids like a champ!!! I just love her so.
And this year, even Ellis was interested in the face painting. She was willing to sit still long enough for a darling design!
A last minute party favor - I was at the Dollar Store grabbing paper towels and saw these cute mini gumball machines (I think they were for Easter). Grabbed the whole box for under $14 and attached a bookmark and a balloon to them.
All the sugar and excitement meant that this is the kind of photos I mostly captured of her. Blurs.
And a couple towards the end when she started to wind down.
This next picture we captured at the end of the party. I wish I had taken more with all of my friends who came to celebrate our girl with us. But these two (and my sister) completely stole my heart upon the end of the party. They did something so very thoughtful and heartfelt that I was literally dumb-founded and speechless.
During the party, they took lots of photos with their big cameras. I had my own, of course, but with the busy-ness of hosting, I only took a handful before guests started arriving.
So before we started saying our good byes, they both turned their camera's over, popped open the SD card spot, and handed me their SD cards saying, "oh yeah, these are yours babe!" My face was like, "huh?! what?! I don't understand." It genuinely caught me completely by surprise and took me a few seconds to stand there and realize that they were giving me all the photos they had taken. And even better than that, I would be in the photos - not just behind the camera.
To this day, as I type it out, my heart is still so touched by the thoughtfulness and I am so grateful for their friendship and to know them.
Thanks to them, I have lots of AWESOME photos of that special day (many are in this post!!!).
Megan is the girl to the far right. She is also the supremely talented creator of the large cakes up top! Abbie is next to Megan - she has a heart of gold.
I took this as a "yes!"
Her third party was so much fun.
Full of dearly loved family and friends that feel like family.
It was so very memorable.
And in all the meanings of the word,
it was sweet.
An album of all the photos from the party can be seen here!