With Holly turning 9 we are worriedly coming to the end of the magical themed birthdays in return for trips out or pamper nights or fast food meals. :( Thankfully every single one of the girls in her class made sure they did NOT miss this one and loved it so much that we're in no hurry and may be able to string out these parties for at least the rest of juniors?! Please!!... I'm not ready for the tweenage stage yet.
The food room was the Emerald City. This meant developing a slight obsession with sourcing all things green to add to the decorations. It also meant I had to try to create as much green food as possible. As I'm not a fan of food colouring I decided that I would not add colour to anything that otherwise wouldnt have it in already. Holly once went to a princess party where the sandwiches had been painted pink. Too much. For the desert table we made green jellies, green glittery cake pops, pistachio macaroons with chocolate filling, marshmallow crispies dipped in green chocolate, green candy floss in bags and 'over the rainbow' cupcakes to match the poster I made for the backdrop. We also had mint swirl lollies, mint choc chip icecream and australian green apple licorice.
Every room was linked together with more meters than I can count of 'yellow brick road'! To make this I sent the kids outside to do a crayon rubbing on the brick wall. We cut out the brick shapes to make a stencil for a load of lining wallpaper and a tub of yellow emulsion. This started outside the house to lead the girls in and each way where they met the signs to the Emerald City, Kansas and the Field of Poppies.
I let the kids go crazy on the gingerbread house. Its nice to share the preparation work with them now they are old enough
The Emerald City cake. This was lots of fun to make and fairly stress free because it can't go too wrong at last minute (like when your really neatly rolled icing breaks mid placing it on the cake) this one is a case of keep building and the messier the better! I stacked 3 plain round sponges - baked in 3 different sizes and attached with chocolate filling. I make a light green plain frosting and then started to stick on the shards.
The shards were made with a couple of packs of value mints. I think they are about 20p a bag from Sainsburys. They are clear and I had to add the colour. You could collect up sweets that are already green but this may give you far too many orange, yellow and red ones to get through after. It would also provide you with a lime flavoured cake rather than mint. (I decided mint was the lesser of two evil flavours) I laid them out evenly in a silicon cake mold and baked for about 10 mins until they were melted then stirred in a touch of green colouring with a skewer. When it was cool I took a rolling pin to it and smashed it into a collection of these shards. I probably did this with 3 cake tins worth. The nice thing is that they don't have to match in thickness or even shades. They're really easy to build on with the 3 ledges of the cake so you can just randomly layer and slot them in and have fun creating a spiky castle. The mint flavour might not be to everyones taste but the nice thing about this was that a delicate mint flavour infused the cake which was lovely with the chocolate filling. This was slightly accidental so I was glad I had left the frosting and the sponge plain. Much yummier than I expected.
We made up jugs and drinks dispensers with cloudy apple, lemonade and lime and coconut cordial. we love our party bottles that the kids can chalk their name on so they know whose is whose and served with green paper straws. We used green ribbons and runners underneath a clear pvc table cover and clear party plates that Holly glued green stars to. They also wrote Wizard of Oz phrases onto green paper hearts to scatter across the table.
In the kitchen (which leads to the Emerald City) I wanted hot air balloons in rainbow colours hanging from the ceiling. I made these with plain varied sizes of white paper lampshades, ribbon and cardboard plant pots. I knew these would be bulky to store if we wanted to keep them afterwards so instead of just binning them we would make sure there was enough for each guest and make these the party bags!
At the end of the party each of the girls could choose which of the party bags they wanted, we cut it down and then they came to fill it with a rainbow lolly, a 'ruby red slippy soap', a packet of 'emerald green bath fizzies' and a bag of rainbow drops. These were bigger packs I bought and divided into smaller packets with labels I printed out. The lollies were from ebay from the same seller as the green swirl ones - they'll do any colours you like.
We made the garden into the Field of Poppies. We made these giant flowers from tissue paper, chicken wire and concrete in plastic pint cups for the bases. These make an amazing photo opportunity back drop too but we didn't have time to do it during the party. Holly painted lots of poppies onto paper to scatter onto the decking too.
|My little scarecrow|
|My little Dorothy|
We filled three envelopes with names. There was team 'If I only had a heart', 'If I only had the nerve' and 'If I only had a brain' I made Holly go on the latter as it doesn't seem quite as nice! The teams went round three different stations to create something at each.
In the lounge (Kansas) we made fabric notice boards. The girls could choose a blue gingham or a blue toile de jouy style one (which was made from a dead cheap duvet cover from Ikea). They then chose ruby red or emerald green ribbon to do their 'criss crosses' and I helped then to glue gun it together. They put a split pin through and chose 3 red or green buttons which we also glue gunned onto the split pins.
In the kitchen they made their initial with wooden letters and red or green glitter. I glued string ties onto these first so that when finished they'd be ready to tie onto their notice boards.
In the garden the girls took heart shaped tags with the name of one of the others on it and decided in their teams on a nice encouraging message to write to her. This was an anonymous and surprise message that would be, again, tied to their board so that they could read it and keep it when they collected it at the end of the party.
We had a game of pass the parcel at the party table during food. This year I saved a forest full of paper by losing the sweets in between layers. I wrapped 2 nail varnishes as prizes. One was a Glinda the good witch sparkly pale pink, the other a Theadora the wicked witch green. All the layers were either a green paper or a red paper. When the music stopped if the girls unwrapped their layer to find a ruby red layer they won a choose out of the prize basket (a mix of pens, rubbers, sweets and toys) but if they revealed an emerald green layer they didn't win anything. I thought they could deal with this at 9 years old and just before pudding! (and better than forfeits! - I will never do those!)