December birthday celebration tips

How to make a December birthday special

My birthday is on the 1st December and do you know what used to bug me?  An advent calendar as a present!  (Ungrateful child I know).  The thing is, everyone else got them anyway, but mine would be part of my present.  (Having said that, I often ended up with 3 chocolate calendars, so it wasn’t all bad!)

I used to think it was bad enough having a birthday 25 days before the big day, but one of my close friends has a birthday on Christmas day – now that sucks!  Especially when you’re a mum!

So how do you make a birthday special in December?  It really can be the most wonderful time of the year, but birthdays sometimes get a bit lost and overlooked in December because it’s also a hectic time.  I asked friends, families and local parents and it seemed to strike a chord with so many people!

Presents
With birthdays and Christmas so close together you can end up with gift and toy overload!  A top tip from Laura from Max and Mummy is ‘Max’s birthday is the 1st December. We tend to do presents for one and an outing for the other. This year we are going to see School of Rock for his birthday and he’s got some presents for Christmas!’

Emma, mum to teenage twins with birthdays on Christmas Eve says ‘Always use birthday paper even when tempted to use the Christmas stuff!! Also give separate birthday and Christmas presents as you wouldn’t buy someone with a July birthday a joint Christmas present.’  These two tips alone were mentioned by nearly everyone I spoke to … you have been warned!

Birthdays near Christmas

Birthday Cards
The card shops turn red and green from November onwards, so make sure you buy birthday cards well in advance, as the shops assume no-one has a birthday in the month of December and hide the birthday cards!

Decorations
Unless it’s a few days before Christmas, try not to put the Christmas decorations up until after the birthday is over.  If it falls soon after Christmas, consider taking the decorations down early.

Louise from Bournemouth says ‘Noah loves telling people that his birthday is on Christmas Eve! …it can be hard to fit birthday things in when everyone is so busy and focused on Christmas, but it is such a magical time of year that so far he hasn’t felt as if he’s missed out at all. The Christmas tree gets a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner wrap for the day.’

Party Time
If the birthday falls between Christmas Eve and New Year’s day, consider having a half birthday and have a party or special day out in the summer.  For birthdays in the run up to Christmas, think about having parties or celebrations as early as possible because everyone gets so busy.

Dawn Cook from Dynamic Women in Business says ‘My son is the 13th and my daughter is Christmas Day so on the 25th its birthday half of the day, with the other half Christmas. We used to have a party for them in the summer when they were little but now they’re both teenagers!  She does feel hard done by, bless her, especially as there is nothing you can do actually on Christmas Day apart from go to a pub or restaurant for lunch, but she doesn’t miss out!’

Rebecca from London says ‘As a Christmas baby, from an entire family of Christmas babies, I recommend treating it as a normal birthday. You can’t ignore Christmas (and I love Christmas), make sure you have a separate celebration for the birthday (never one tacked onto a Christmas celebration).

December Birthday celebration tips

Special Touches
‘Daddy Moo’s birthday is Xmas Eve! I think for children it’s the little touches which are important.  Having somewhere separate to Christmas cards to put their cards. Having a birthday cake making the day about them and not an extension of the Christmas celebrations.’  Joanne Dewberry from Charlie Moos

My birthday is 3rd January and everyone’s partied out by then and completely skint.  The little things like breakfast in bed and no cooking or chores helps.  Recommends Grianne from Times To Treasure.

So do you or one of your family members have a December birthday?  What special things do you do to celebrate?  Can you recommend somewhere to eat on Christmas day so that those poor souls who have Christmas day birthdays can eat something other than Turkey?  Or perhaps that would cause uproar with the rest of the family!  I’d love to hear your family traditions.

Christmas birthday ideas

Happy first birthday to me!

Kids pamper party

How I Created A Beautiful Children’s Craft and Pamper Party

My daughter recently turned 8 years old (how did that happen?!).  She decided that she’d like a pamper party, however I couldn’t resist adding in a little of the Made By Me Craft Party magic and sparkle!

My printer has been playing up recently and caused no end of headaches, so I cheated with the invitations and bought some on ebay, but I think they’re very cute!

Personalised spa party invitations

Personalised pamper party invitations

I tend to get a bit over excited about party planning and decided to make life a bit less stressful this year, so we served the girls with a simple bbq and cake at the end of the party and nibbles to keep them going.  So once I’d booked the beautician, I was free to knock myself out with the details and some extra fun activities.

Previous experience has taught me that people don’t always arrive on time to parties, so I got the girls going on a fun activity while they trickled in through the door. This also allowed our beautician to set up in peace!

I purchased some plastic champagne flutes and the girls decorated them with foam stickers, gems and Sharpies.  Once they’d completed their masterpieces, I added some Pop a Ball rose gold shimmer to some flavoured fizzy water.  Oh my goodness, they absolutely loved it and felt so grown up!  Not only did the drink become all shimmery, it went into bubble overdrive!

Pamper party crafting

As the girls arrived to the party, they each personalised a plastic champagne glass with stickers and Sharpies

Personalised champagne glasses

Each girl created a beautiful personalised glass to drink from at the party and to take home at the end.

I was worried about keeping the girls captivated throughout the pamper element of the party as they needed to wait around to have their nails done.  (I was worrying unnecessarily because the girls loved the foot spas!).  Once the girls had been beautified with face masks, nail varnish, hair curling and makeup, they came over to the lip gloss making station.  This activity went down a storm and the girls loved it so much that they asked for extra pots to fill and decorate.   The pots looked like giant gemstones and I gave them more gems and the trusty Sharpies to decorate the lid.

Pamper party craft activity

All set up for eager 8 year olds to make lip gloss

Lip gloss making activity

A couple of the girls checking out each others lip gloss results!

Finally, I set up a photo booth so the girls could show off their new looks and use some fun props.  I decorated it with bunting, circle fan decorations and a sequined backdrop.  We themed the party in pink, turquoise and a spot of gold and I think it looked stunning!

Spa party photo opportunity

Say Cheese!

A friend made the cake and did an awesome job of it, but I think we were eating cake forever because it was so big!

Spa party birthday cake

If you’ve been following my party adventures for a while, you might know that I’m a huge champion of party favours that are useful, unique and fabulous.  This party was no different and I spent a happy afternoon trawling the shops for pamper themed goodies.  I’m rather pleased with myself and came up with a clear makeup bag filled with; a body pouffe, lipstick eraser, lipstick pen, nail varnish highlighter, nail file and a packet of tissues.  As most of the girls were only 7 and 8 I felt that make up wouldn’t have been appropriate.  Of course, I had to do a bit of personalisation and hand stamped each girl’s initial onto a tag and tied it on with some ribbon.  The favours were surprisingly reasonable in price but looked stunning.

Spa Party Favours

Grown up party bags

I loved planning this pamper party and I’ve been inspired to add a pamper craft party option to my packages, so watch this space as I’ll be launching it soon!

Spa party photo booth

The birthday girl and I 🙂

Fabric party bags

Five of the Best Party Favours and Party Bag Ideas

There’s something really exciting about party bags and favours for children and adults alike.  I know some people are from the school of ‘whats wrong with a bit of cake and a balloon?’  But I love it!  I love hunting for little bits and bobs that fit the party theme or even better finding a single item that is both useful and fun!

I also love supporting small and local businesses, the chain stores and pound shops are great for a bargain, but it feels amazing to know that your purchase from a small business is going straight into paying for football or ballet lessons for someone’s child.  Plus you get something unique, made with love and generally awesome!

Paint pallet party favour

A rainbow paint pallet for a My Little Pony Party

I’ve trawled the internet to bring you a selection of fun and quirky party favours.  So first up is the trusty party bag itself.  It’s so exciting to rummage through a party bag of goodies, but what if the bag was part of the favour too?  Charlie Moos is a family run business specialising in handmade fabric party bags.  They can tailor their designs to suit most party themes.  People have the tendency to overfill party bags but with a gorgeous handmade reusable fabric one, it becomes the gift.  You really only need to add cake and a token item.  Prices start from £1.85.

Handmade Fabric Party Bags

Beautiful Handmade Fabric Bags from Charlie Moos

Here at Made By Me Craft Parties it’s all about the arts and crafts so the perfect party favour to pair with our parties would be from the talented Cotton Twist.  An inspiration for parties & play, they pride themselves on making activities & gifts you’ll love to give, & children will love to receive.  Nostalgic, chic, simple & inherently satisfying, crafts draw upon a palette of raw materials from lolly sticks to boxes, & from twine to felt. Wave goodbye to all that plastic!  And just look at those tins, they are so cute!

For something a bit more grown-up look no further than the tasty Willow and Boo!  Their mission statement is ‘to transform the humble lollipop into something delicious and dazzling for every occasion.’  And wow do their lollies ‘POP’!  When I first saw the sherbet jars I fell in love!  These grown up treats would be perfect for a teen or tween party favour!  I can also see them going down a storm at hen parties and weddings.

Now who would like to go home with a baking mix party favour?  ‘Me please!’  I love the idea of giving party favours where you go home and make something.  A baking mix favour is simply perfect!  Katie Bakes is based in Hampshire and offers personalised baking mix party favours that only need an addition of melted butter.

Don’t get me wrong … I love cake, however I find it often comes home from a party all smooshed up in a paper napkin and then looks totally unappetising.  The solution?  Biscuits By Sarah B.  They’re cute, they’re delicious, they’re packaged up beautifully.  Yum!

This is a small selection of my favourite beautiful and unique ideas, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you make and sell party favours or if you’ve sourced some fabulous ones for a recent party 🙂

Roarsome Dinosaur Party Details

I love party planning and adore making party venues look special.  I’ve themed lots of girly parties, but dinosaurs were a whole new world for me.  I recently decorated our local Girl Guiding hall and transformed it into a prehistoric jungle for my son Austin’s 4th birthday party.

The theme of the party was set with these adorable invitations.  I designed and printed the words and hand stamped the dinosaurs using my ‘No Bones About It‘ stamp set from Stampin’ Up!

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Orange is Austin’s favourite colour, so the colour scheme ended up being green and orange, with a dash of yellow to brighten things up.  I made lots of lovely jungle leaves and hung them around the room with green and orange streamers and yellow balloons.

I dressed the party table with a plain white table cloth and punched out lots of orange and green circles and then added some plastic dinosaurs with … (wait for it!) …. party hats on!  How cute!  (PS I know that the first photo is a dragon, not sure how he snuck onto the table!).

dino hats 2

I made signs for all the dinosaur activities that we did.  I printed off the wording finished them off with my dinosaur stamp set and then popped them in these versatile frames.

dino sign 2

The hungry dinosaur explorers all sat down to party food served in individual orange, green and yellow lunch boxes from Party Pieces.  I added a bit of decoration with hand stamped labels.  I made the labels using the Scalloped Tag Topper Punch from Stampin’ Up!  I love using these boxes as they reduce food waste and are a lot easier than preparing a huge buffet.

party tea 2

I incorporated a game into filling the party bags at the end of the party.  We gave out plain paper bags decorated with hand stamped labels for the children to collect their dinosaur eggs.

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As a final surprise, Mr Made By Me dressed up in this rather marvellous dinosaur costume and as you can imagine he was very pleased with himself!  The kids loved it too!

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I hope I’ve inspired you with some dinosaur roarsomeness for your next party!  To find out more about how I can run a craft party for you please get in touch with me at lexy@madebymeparties.co.uk

Bye for now,
Lexy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stomp, chomp, growl, roar! It’s a dinosaur craft party!

My little boy Austin turned 4 this year and had been begging me for a party with his friends.  He decided he’d like a dinosaur party, which I was pleased about, as you can really go wild with this theme.

Blowing out the candles

Austin loved his dinosaur cake and party by Made by Me Craft Parties

I normally run craft parties for children aged 5+ but even some 5-year-olds have quite a short attention span so I often need to have lots of activities and back up plans!  Bearing this in mind I was a bit worried about keeping twenty 3 and 4-year-olds occupied! (Luckily I had a few big brothers and sisters who I enlisted as my helpers)

We started off decorating dinosaur explorer hats with lots of alphabet and dinosaur stickers.  The kids loved this activity and all popped the hats on their heads ready for their first adventure!

Dino hat making 2

You can’t have a dinosaur party without a dino dig, so we went off to a mini sandpit to excavate for dinosaur bones!

I had a pot of paintbrushes, plastic spoons and mini sieves on hand for the children to look for bones in the sand.  I made the bones using a pack of dinosaur skeleton sand moulds and poured Plaster of Paris into the lightly greased moulds.  I also hid some small plastic dinosaurs amongst the sand too.

dino dig 2

Then it was time for some dinosaur themed games!  We played musical footprints and a game with a spinner where the children had to roar/stomp/flap/dance like a dinosaur (very funny).

We calmed things down a bit with a story, I found an excellent book called Mad About Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae and it captivated the children and got them ready for food.

Dinosaur Story Time

Finally, I enlisted my band of helpers and we did a big dinosaur egg hunt.  Plastic green eggs were hidden all over the hall (it was raining otherwise we would have done it outside).  Each child was given a paper bag and had to collect eggs and exchange them for their party bag items (a dino tail ruler, dino stamp, chocolate bar and a dino activity book).

egg exchange 2

For those children who were a bit younger or who didn’t want to take part in some of the activities, there was some dinosaur colouring and a themed play area with grass, dinosaurs, plants and boulders.

I am offering a dinosaur themed craft party as part of the Made By Me Craft Party packages.  For older children there are options for dinosaur decopatch, a dinosaur spotters log book or decorating fabric cases to keep a set of mini-dinos in, as well as any of the options in this blog post.  If you’d like to know more about booking a party with us, please contact lexy@madebymeparties.co.uk

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Dinosaur Decopatch

Keep an eye out for all the dinosaur party details in my next blog post!

Roar! for now,
Lexy 🙂

Ker Pow!

It’s been ages since I last blogged, but I promise you I’ve been beavering away running craft parties and coming up with new designs and themes for you (not sunning myself in the South of France …sigh).

First up is the superhero cuff.  Of course, boys like crafting too and I’m keen to include lots of party options for them.  Keep an eye out for my Superhero ‘Capes, cuffs and masks’ party option which is coming soon, but for the meantime, the cuffs have been added into the Bronze package.  If you’ve a mix of boys and girls you could choose to have a mixed activity of crowns and cuffs.

Crowns & cuffs.jpg

I’d also like to introduce The Sun Catcher.  Sun Catchers are a lovely option for craft parties, especially in the summer.  I’ll provide all the high quality materials to produce a masterpiece that can be treasured for years to come.  The children will be able to add pom poms, tassels and ribbons to their creations to give them extra wow.  I’ve added the Sun Catchers to the Gold party package.

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So that’s a taster of some ideas I’ve been working on, I hope you like them.  What would your child choose to make if they had a craft party?  I’d love to hear from you and discuss your party needs, you can contact me at lexy@madebymeparties.co.uk

 

My Little Pony Party – All the fun and games!

I recently hosted a My Little Pony Party for my daughter Izzy.  You can read all about the party theme and décor over on my previous post.  I’d now like to share with you the details of the fun and games.

As the My Little Pony Party had quite a few young guests I decided not to do a craft activity this time, but in the usual Made By Me style, I wanted to make the games a bit unusual!

We warmed up with a disco and some musical statues and bumps just to get the party started and swiftly moved onto Cloud Blowing.

The opening credits of My Little Pony show the ponies on a hot air balloon in the clouds and Rainbow Dash is a Pegasus (for those of you not in the know!) so a cloud blowing game fitted perfectly!  I lined the children up on one side of the hall behind a pre-marked line and gave them each a straw and cotton wool ball (the cloud).  The aim of the game is to blow the ‘cloud’ across the hall to the finish line using only the straw.  It was very funny and a real hit.

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Cloud Blowing game

We finished off the party with a quieter game of My Little Pony Bingo after the party tea as the children were getting quite lively.  This meant the children went home slightly calmer (and I hear they were all shattered).

While the games were going on we also had Rarity’s Beauty Boutique where the party guests could get their faces painted with cutie marks and mini temporary tattoos.

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Rarity’s beauty station

The photo booth was very popular (especially with the boys!).  I provided a basket of fancy dress and created a gorgeous backdrop of a giant silver cloud with a rainbow of hearts dangling down.  I was so pleased with how the photos turned out.

Photo booth

Photo booth fun!

You may have noticed that the birthday girl wasn’t wearing any old dress.  I had planned on buying a new party dress but apparently that was too easy ;).  My daughter wanted a more fancy dress feel to her outfit, so I got the tulle out and went for it!  She was delighted with the end result.

Blog Dress & badge

Rainbow Dash tulle dress and headband

Izzy’s actual birthday was on a Monday and she had mentioned that she would like to wear a 6 badge to school.  Sadly she reminded me at 5pm on the Sunday and I had totally forgotten (oops).  So I had to raid the craft room, where I used a few of my glitter and ribbon scraps to put together this beautiful badge.  I was so pleased with the final result I plan to offer these up for sale.  Isn’t it funny how new ideas and products can sometimes come along by accident?

When my daughter asked for a My Little Pony party, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with the theme choice.  But over the last few months I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for these brightly coloured crazy ponies!

** UPDATE **
You can read all about Eliza’s My Little Pony themed craft party over at the Chelsea Mamma blog.

My Little Pony Party – The Little Details

I recently styled and hosted a My Little Pony Party for my daughter’s 6th birthday and it was so much fun!

The decorations were all themed around Rainbow Dash and her rainbow mane, so lots of bright bunting, tissue paper pom-pom clouds, and table confetti were the order of the day.  I was particularly pleased with the rainbow we created with the simple use of crepe streamers (although it did put my brother through slight trauma trying to get it all even to fit the gap).

Rainbow table confetti and party ware, pom pom clouds and crepe rainbow.

Rainbow table confetti and party ware, pom pom clouds and crepe rainbow.

I decorated the party table with a plain white table cloth and sprinkled large tissue paper circle confetti down the middle.  I used rainbow and My Little Pony napkins and found these awesome plastic bottles with straws.  They were so good as there were no drinks spillages and I can use them again.  I then finished the look with a few foil balloons.

For the party tea I used cardboard lunchboxes from Party Delights and they were so effective!  They saved a lot of time and there was a lot less wastage.  Inside I put 2 finger sandwiches, a yoghurt tube, small packet of rasins, and I found some cute cardboard muffin pots to put a few cocktail sausages and sausage rolls.

Easy party tea!

Easy party tea!

Dessert was a selection of small cakes, some great rainbow cupcakes and these brilliant rice crispie cakes lollies that I found on the Capture By Lucy blog.  My daughter absolutely loved making them for her friends.

Cake collage

Beautiful rainbow cup cakes, easy cake pops and a Rainbow Dash masterpiece!

The birthday cake was made by a good friend and inside there were layers of rainbow sponge (sadly I didn’t get a photo of that).

As you might already know, I like to make party favours a bit different (without spending fortune).  Befitting of the rainbow theme we gave each party goer a small tin of rainbow paints and a strip of rainbow laces wrapped in a belly band of pretty paper and a thank you tag.

Paint pallet party favours

Paint pallet party favours

I had a ball planning and designing this party and the birthday girl had such fun!   I’ll be back soon with another blog about the party activities and the dress.

Friendship is magic … (as the My Little Pony motto goes!).

If you would like me to run a party similar to this one or something totally different, please get in touch at lexy@madebymeparties.co.uk

Want to learn more? see what Chelsea Mamma thought about our MLP craft party making manes, tails and decorating pencil cases.

 

Sew, a needle pulling thread!

In truth, I’m not much of a sewer.  In my head I’m amazing and I have a fabric stash that makes my husband’s eyes roll up to the sky and a bookcase full of gorgeous sewing books that sit on the shelf gathering dust.  Sadly, in reality I have a go at making something, do an ok job and then put it all away and forget all the skills.

I’ve made a blind, a skirt, half a dress (I know, I know!), taken up jeans and made a boat load of reusable shopping bags (Christmas presents one year).  But each time I start a new project, my confidence seems to have left the building.

I love pattern, I love design, I love clothes and bags and I love fabric.  So when I had a chance to enter a competition with Hillarys Blinds, I grabbed the chance to stroke some pretty fabric and make something useful.  My first challenge was deciding which fabric to use, there were 4 to choose from and all equally delicious.  I opted for Safi Turquise as blue is one of my favourite colours.

The second challenge was deciding what to make. Usually I decide what to make and then buy fabric (unless I see fabric that is too gorgeous to pass up of course!).  So I delved into that dusty bookshelf to seek inspiration and now I have a list of things to make as long as my arm (oops!).

I decided on making a tablet case for my Samsung Galaxy as the fabric from Hillarys is so soft and quite robust. Here’s how I did it and how I got on!

Hilary

If you want to know how I made it, here are some brief instructions (bearing in mind the measurements are for a Samsung tablet).

I measured out 2 pieces of the Safi Turquiose fabric for the outside measuring
24.5cms x 66cms
and 24.5cms x 22.5
One piece of lining fabric (I used a blue/grey polycotton)
Wadding measuring 24.5cms x 57cms

1. Fold a 1.5cm hem on the bottom (short end) of the smaller outer fabric and iron and then repeat the process again and sew a 1cm hem.
2. Put the 2 remaining larger bits of fabric right sides together and pin, then sew a 1 cm seam allowance along the top.
3. Open out the pieces from step 2 and place the wadding on the wrong side of the lining, pin in place and sew a straight line into the wadding 1 cm away from one from step 2.
4. Fold the outer fabric over so that the right sides are facing out with the wadding in the middle.
5. Place the outer fabric facing up and the stitched end of the fabric nearest you. From the stitched end, measure 27.5cms and put a pin on each side at this measurement (as a guide) and then pick the stitched end up and fold it so the fold is where the pins are and then pin the top in place.
6. Put the smaller piece of fabric on top, right side down and line up with the top edge. Pin in place.
7. Sew round the three edges with a 1cm seem allowance (the remaining side is a fold, so no need to sew that).
8. Trim the corners at 45 a degree angle.
9. Turn the whole thing inside out (a magical moment!)
10. Complete the project with some sew on velcro to secure the flap at the top.

Hilary 2Finally I added decorative button from my stash of pretty things!  Et Voila!  I’m insanely pleased with how it turned out and our tablet is now nice and snug in it’s new home!  (It also seems to make an excellent sleeping bag for teddies and dolls!).

I had a great time experimenting and re-discovering my love of fabric and sewing.  You can check out the other competition entries here.  Everyone has done an amazing job!

Unique and beautiful party decorations

Since I started up Made By Me Craft Parties it’s amazed me how many people want something a little bit unique and special for their celebration events.  I thought it would be nice to share some of my commissions and inspire you lovely people!

First up, and quite possibly my favourite so far is my pin wheel commission.  The Students’ Union at Bournemouth University contacted me about designing and making something special for their centrepieces for an awards ceremony.  This is what I came up with; it’s fun, fitting for an awards ceremony and reflects the seaside location too!  These would also look fabulous at a wedding in pastel colours.

Pin wheel collage

Bunting seems to have struck a cord in many people’s hearts for a while now and I’ve made up lots of bespoke paper bunting this year.

blog 2My mini bunting makes a perfect party bag gift and has been a best seller.  It comes beautifully packaged and can be personalised and themed however you want.

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I really enjoy pulling whole parties together, this spectacle themed party was one of my most challenging briefs to date, but I think it works beautifully.  I sourced a cake and balloons before creating paper bunting and this gorgeous photo booth prop jar.  I bet hours of fun was had with the beards and glasses!

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I do love a good party and I’m looking forward to my next challenge!  If you would like me to create bespoke party decorations for a party you are planning, please get in touch with your ideas at lexy@madebymeparties.co.uk.