Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, my little girl turned four...

The one passion I share with several close friends is the need to celebrate life - to celebrate the child.  So when I asked Alex earlier this spring what she wanted for her fourth birthday party, her thoughts included the words: pink, purple, sparkle, princess, dress-up, castle, and Rapunzell.  And she wanted it to be at home because to her, "that's where the best parties are."

I set up an enchanted party board on Pinterest to gather my varied thoughts into something tangible.  I wanted the party to feed her imagination, to be welcoming to both boys and girls, and to truly allow children play openly and unstructured.  And so the thought was born to make it a storybook fairy tale, which would force books, not Disney princesses, to be the focus of the party.
I found the perfect invitation from the Etsy seller Perfectly Touched - an 10" x 6" sparkly castle invitation.  The seller left the inside blank so that I could complete the wording.  The best part? Not only did I save time and money, but the purple and silver tones of the invite set the color theme for the party!

I will admit that I'm one of those crazy, creative, crafty people, and this party ignited a flame within me.  And like my mother, I wanted to put my personal touch on every detail - all because I have a girl that is so grateful for the handmade.  On the list of items created: Rapunzel hair wig, unicorns (from stick horses), treasure stones, knights costumes, gift boxes.  Dude, I was burning the creative candle on both ends. My kid was gasping daily.
I saw a page in Parent's magazine that suggested alternative Easter baskets including one that was crafted to look like a castle.  So I experimented with $.60 gift boxes from Michaels where I hand-cut the top edges to look like a castle, painted them grey and finished them off with a faux stone design.  I filled them with shredded purple fill, chocolate coins, handmade treasure stones, ring pops, and Tobos thematic figurines.

I found these books at Michaels and scattered stacks of them around the tables.

And I used tea cups on the tables filled with silver gum balls in lieu of apothecary jars.  (I think every child asked if they were gumballs and then slinked off with one or two in hand.)
And then my friend Shannon lent me this ridiculously funny frog prince for the table just because.

As for the children's area, I wanted everything to be at their level - the tables, the dress up area, the moon bounce - creating the fantasy from their vantage.  I placed two low 4'x8' tables  together and surrounded the perimeter with smaller chairs; it was not a round table, but at least a setting for a feast.  The table was decorated with white and pink linens, silver chargers (Michaels $1), and golden goblets filled with sparkling cider.

I surrounded the table with a staked canopy that was covered in ribbon, tulle, flowers, and butterflies punched out of vintage children's books.

I had another crazy thought to paint a mural for the background; understand that I don't paint and the project made me sweat.  I sewed 2 twin sheets together and then used basic acrylic craft paints to create the scene.  And knowing my girl, I added details like purple flags at the top of the castle, Rapunzel's hair flowing from a window, and flying lanterns drifting away from the castle.
Witness the power of prayer.  Booyah, I can paint!

And lastly, the cake.  It was based on the book "The Princess and the Pea." 

Now for the important details…the children.  At this point, I will use very few words and let the images speak for themselves.

I feel so grateful to be in the presence of children.  I cherish their ability to find the joy in the basic.

I have a feeling that she will not forget this celebration for a long time.  And that my dear friends is what it's all about - carving deep grooves into her childhood.

I am grateful to my friend Cindy for helping to staple up not only a million butterflies, but for also capturing many images.

And she lived happily ever after.  The End.


The Salty Dogs said...

Beautifully done, my friend!

Gen Santanelli said...

I can't seem to find enough words to sum up my thoughts on what you did here. You defined [celebration] of birth, well... Perfectly through every detail. I already thought highly of you, but I see you are in fact even more amazing! These photos and your love for LOVE is just inspiring.