Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party

Yesterday our little guy turned two years old and the 21st his big sister turned seven.  She had her own fairy party so we combined the kids' celebration with family and close friends.  We were inspired the classic children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle for the theme, which began with this adorable invitation.  It's a freebie from Make it Cozee.
This year was going to be really low key with no decorations just food and cake, but E picked out a caterpillar cake and our theme took off from there.  Here's the timeline I was dealing with.  We got home from a quick trip I've yet to post about late on the 22nd, leaving me just the 23rd to the 27th.  Most of the 23rd doesn't even count since we didn't go to order the cake until that night, when I decided to go for broke and theme up the party after all.  Good thing Pinterest made it easy to find doable ideas in a short time period.
I got the idea for the "Happy Birthday" banner from this pin.  I forgot to go back and add the antennae and feet but I think it still looked cute.  Our second row has each of the kid's names on their own caterpillar but since we keep their real names private, I've edited that part out.

My Cricut helped take care of the cutting, but if I hadn't had one this paper plate version also seems like a time saver idea.  I was tempted to go with that one because it would be big and and a real eye catcher, but the banner I made uses only supplies I already had - money saver, won out.
I saw lots of food signs and was inspired by these DIY Food Labels from Learn with Play at Home to make versions for my favorite Ikea Tolsby frames.  I used the fruit from her signs create the frame inserts, but added the text to match the one I used throughout the party.  Then I placed three on our mantle to fill in space and carry out the theme.
For the tables I put a double sided Tolsby frame, with a picture of E on one side and B on the other, taken during the past year.  E spent an entire afternoon making our own watercolored paper to use for decorations.  I used some of the larger sheets of green she painted to make sweet little leaves.  Some have holes punched where the caterpillar ate through, just like the book and so cute!  We also made pom pom caterpillars to place on a leaf.
The adorable M&M holder aka "Caterpillar Food" jar I based on an idea from this pin, using an empty pickle jar. 
The caterpillar balloon idea came from this pin.  I also really liked this one, that's crawling around a door frame.  That's perfect for when you don't have helium.  There were also great ideas for making a caterpillar shape out of large tissue paper pom poms and colored Chinese lanterns.  We had just enough air left in an a tank we got last year so the balloon idea was perfect, again I forgot to add the face but guests got the idea.
For the sign in we put out a board book for everyone to leave a message in and create a keepsake for our little guy.  E decided she didn't want a book but did want an autograph page for her scrapbook so we created a very simple one with flower stickers, thicker letters, and washi tape.  We put both out with a sign and pens.
Last year we moved E's celebration for family to the beginning of July for E and then they all had to come back over at the end of the month for B.  It was nice to combine the two into one and she was okay with it because she got her own fairy party and we went on an overnight trip on her actual birthday.

For this gathering she requested one thing, that there be a photo booth with cool photo prompts.  I found a mini pack of pre-cut props at Archivers and we were good to go!  I made a little sign and popped it into, you guessed it...yet another Tolsby frame.  I told you I love those frames!
Here's the sort of lame photo backdrop I was still making when guests began to arrive.  It should be longer so that the picture is filled with the backdrop.  But seriously, the girls are so sweet you don't notice it's incomplete, right? :)
I hope you did notice E's shirt in the photo booth picture.  I'm really proud of how that turned out!  I made both her shirt and LB's #2 shirt.  They are no sew and were made using a sheet of ink jet iron transfer paper and also have their names printed on the numeral.  It's just been cloned out of the photo so I could share these pictures with you.  
I had fun adding little touches there and there and everywhere.  I attached a little sign onto the side of the silverware and plate caddy I picked up at Target back around Memorial Day.  I've put off getting one for a long time but it's so worth it.  It's so handy to have someplace to stick all that kind of stuff that looks neat and tidy.  The sign uses the same file as the invitation at the top was created with, just re-sized.
Here is how we used the rest of the water colored papers that E made for me.  I dug out all of my little white cardstock scraps leftover from scrapbooking for this and it was a great way to use up stash!  Then I used my two inch circle punch to make a border for our island that was inspired by the dots in the book.  The other papers were used for the leaves placed on the tables, shown earlier.
I had to use some cute food signs, this platter was inspired by the book and uses some food images from the Learn with Play at Home download.  Two more great ideas I really liked are a caterpillar sandwich and all fun caterpillars formed out of cupcakes used in lieu of a cake.  There were many versions of each, I've linked to two examples.

Besides the platter above, our menu consisted of:
  • Hamburgers and Choice of Toppings: Cheeses, Lettuce, Tomato, and Onion
  • Mini Slider Burgers with Hawaiian Mini Rolls - a little sweet and really delish!
  • Chinese Slaw
  • Potato Salad
  • Veggies and Ranch Dip
  • Watermelon - also with a book inspired sign, I also was tempted to make these fruit & tomato skewers.  Mine wouldn't have been nearly as cute though!
The last little touch for guests to enjoy, were these Caterpillar Snack bags with fruit snacks for favors and inspired by Make It Cozee.

I really had a lot of fun throwing together our Very Hungry Caterpillar themed birthday, even though I was under time constraints.  It forced me to use what I had and make do with what I could find, preventing me from obsessing and over thinking.  We didn't have very many little kids there but I did come across some fun ideas to keep little hands busy and occupied.  Here are some of my favorites.

Kid's Party Activities:
Caterpillar Coloring Page
Make Your Own Caterpillar: Paper, Egg Carton, Fingerprint, and Paper Rolls.
Balloon Caterpillar Picture
Playdoh Make Your Own Caterpillar

Have you based a party off a book before?  If so I'd love to know which ones.  If you have a favorite party theme, I'm always looking for ideas for future birthdays, leave me your suggestions!  Thanks for coming by!

4 Friends Said:

Rita said...

So cute! Great idea for a gender neutral party. My kids birthdays are 3 days apart, so this is a great idea. If you get a chance, please link up to my link party: http://suburbsmama.blogspot.com/2013/07/sunday-linky-18.html

eriochrome said...

You did a great job.

Amanda said...

Adorable Party!

Unknown said...

I love this party idea thanks for sharing. Kristti @http://www.specialbirthdaypartyideas.com/

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