We can talk about decor. It included giant mushrooms inspired by Filth Wizardry. Ours made use of water bottles as bases, plastic bowls for caps and lots and lots of aluminum foil, paint and glitter.
This one in particular made people giggle for some reason.
Alea's mom made giant playing cards and strung them around the party, and painted a Cheshire cat for a pin-the-smile-on-the-cat game.
Colorful ruffled streamers hung everywhere. Not because they related so much to the Alice/Alea in Wonderland theme as because they're colorful and ruffled and so so so so so fun to make.
The tables were set with lots of teapots. Lovely ones.
We can also talk about a crafty gift. Admittedly, we'd done a lot of fun things for Alea's party, but I still wanted to wrap something fun up for her. Any time I'm giving a little girl a gift, I can't help but think... when I was a kid, what did I want? (Uh, well, what I want hasn't changed that much. I still think I'd like this gift.)
But first I'll explain the inspiration. I'm totally fascinated with containers and packaging. I hate throwing it away. Recycling is better than throwing it away, of course, but it still generally means the end of the package. So when I was about to toss a cotton swab container recently, I looked at it a little harder. And I thought it could have a new, albeit short, life.
Another component to the idea? As a kid when my Mom would suggest homemade gifts I'm fairly sure I made a cranky face in response. In my mind, homemade gifts were boring. They lacked shiny newness. Commercialism. Packaging that you got to tear apart. (Come on Mom, those landfills need filling! It's my job!)
So in giving Alea a homemade crafty gift that cost pennies to put together but was most definitely made with a whole lot of love and a desire to encourage her creative exploration, I assembled my tools:
- an empty cotton swab package
- knit scraps
- computer + printer
- card stock
- craft glue
- clips (bulldog, binder, clothespins, whatever)
I started by carefully tearing off the backing of the package. I wanted to keep it in one solid piece so that I can use it later as a template for a new backing. I soaked the plastic front in water and gently scrubbed off the paper bits around the edges.
Here are the package components:
I went to my knit scrap pile and cut strips of similar lengths and varying widths. She can braid, sew or knot these together to make all sorts of bracelets. While I was sifting through the scraps I also cut coordinating flower shapes that she can glue or sew onto her designs.
I believe that it is a result of Adrianna's influence that there is absolutely no purple to be found in my scrap pile. (edit by Adrianna: This could also be related to the fact that I had recently "sorted and organized" Susan's scrap pile)
I used the original packaging insert to create a new one. I just printed a design that was slightly larger than what I needed, laid the original piece on top of my design and trimmed it to match. No math required. I really don't mind math in general, but when one is multitasking there tend to be problems. When I've got one eye on a project and the other on a preschooler, I try to avoid it.
Same idea for the backing piece, which is just card stock with a phrase repeated continuously.
All of the strips are laid into the container on top of the insert that shows through the front of the package.
I removed a few here and there from the stacks I had cut so that the box isn't overfilled. (Guess who gets to make a few bracelets?)
A thin bead of glue all the way around, smoothed out carefully. Extra effort to avoid glue on the knit strips. Alea has high standards, let me tell you!
Then the backing piece is applied and clipped all the way around for a bit until the glue dries.
And now Alea has a crafty, personalized birthday gift. Homemade, but with shiny repurposed packaging she gets to pull apart herself. (I hope she's not disappointed that there aren't cotton swabs in there?)