February 12, 2011

Woodland Themed Birthday :: behind-the-scenes

Can you believe I threw a party for 15 people for under $200? For everything! Food, balloons, decorations, cake... the works.

All you need is a frugal eye, a stash of scrap fabric, and some random pieces of colored paper. Oh, and some glitter and glue. But that was kind of a given, wasn't it?

:: Food :: pictures are included in the 1st Birthday post

I gave myself a $140 budget since I was making everything myself. The menu included:
~ Red Velvet Cake. This my very well be my FIRST successful cake ever. And it was beautiful! I wanted to cry... not because my only child just turned one, but because my cake looked pro. Just look! I used two boxes of Duncan Heinz cake mix, my mom's recipe for buttercream frosting using fancy French chocolate, and a jar of raspberry jam for filling. The toadstools and leaves I formed from Walmart "gum paste" that was pre-made in a bag. Eww Walmart, yay pre-made.

~ Deer Droppings (chocolate covered cranberries) which I got half off.
~ Banana Bites. Follow these directions and it's no-fail. I rolled them in coconut flakes or walnuts and used about 3 bananas which was perfect for 15 guests.
~ Egg and Tomato "Toadstools". These were deviled eggs prepared like usual. But instead of laying out the egg halves on a platter, I smooshed the two halves back together and cut the bottom flat so they would stand up. Then I cut cherry tomatoes in half, scooped out the guts, stuck the tomato on top, and sprinkled with feta cheese.
~ Butter Garlic Roasted Mushrooms. I can't get enough of this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen blog *drool*. All I did was triple the recipe.

~ Pear & Mango Fruit Salad. Really it was just 3 pears and 3 mangoes chopped up. Nothing fancy, but great for color.
~ Gnome-made Mac n' Cheese. My mom made this from scratch and it was fabulous! I'll post the recipe later.
~ Ham & Spinach Strata. I made two of these for the party. Check out this post for my recipe.
~ Drinks included: Pepsi, ginger ale, Sierra Mist, and apple mango sparkling cider.

:: Decorations ::
I gave myself a $60 budget, but I had most of the supplies so really only spent:
$22 on balloons and small helium tank
$17 on plates and cups

1. Soda label covers. Just rip a label off and measure it. Cut the same size rectangle out of paper and decorate with glitter.
2. Paper cut-out animals on popsicle sticks. I found some great pictures to inspire me with a simple Google search. I glued them onto popsicle sticks to stick 'em into different food dishes for a little pizzaz.
3. Happy Birthday sign. I simply traced a circle using a jar, glued it onto black metallic paper, and then cut a border around the whole thing. I strung them all together using some thin ribbon and used my mad calligraphy skills to write the message. You don't need to do calligraphy, just get fancy!
4. I think this is called "bunting". Just cut triangles out of some coordinating fabric scraps and serge them in a line or sew them onto a long piece of ribbon.

5. The invite! What's a party without an invitation? You might not want to get this snazzy, but I had a block of linoleum and printing ink laying around and decided to make and hand stamp the cards. On one side of the stamp I had cut out the dear, and on the other side I cut out the number "1" leaving a dear-shaped gap where he would fit in. Crazy.... I know.
6. The owl piñata I made a tutorial for! Check it out.
7. And last, but not least... The fabric mushrooms I made from scraps. How? Check out my tutorial.

Hopefully this helps out anyone who wants a non-owl/fairy-exclusive woodland themed party. I had so much fun doing this. I'm thinking next year the Camsters should have a Parisian birthday. I could make french macarons... AND berets for everyone!... ANNDD little French mustaches! Run while you can.

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