How to make a DIY Number 7 Pinata With Joanne Dewberry

The Pinata craze looks here to stay and they’re a popular activity at so many parties.  But what if you want to make your own? Well, party bag queen, turned small business champion Joanne Dewberry has created a rather useful DIY guide for lucky number 7.  So here’s how you can save some pennies, do a spot of recycling and unleash your inner craft queen!

When organising a birthday party for your child the most useful thing you can do is have a theme.  Having a theme helps collate all your ideas, colour schemes and activities.  For Megan’s 7th birthday party she requested a “Woodland Themed”, so we held it at our local Country Park.  Utilising the park and walking opportunities meant the children were entertained leaving us with less to organise.  For me that was an epic win in party planning.  We put up a gazebo, which we filled with activities whilst we waited for everyone to arrive including decorating wooden slice necklaces and a pinata, which was Megan’s idea before going on a scavenger hunt, ending the party with snack boxes and cake plus a play in the park.

Number 7 pinata action

Megan’s pinata suggestion was super last minute, like a couple of days beforehand!  She’d suggested a pinata would be a great way to entertain her friends whilst we waited for everyone to arrive, she was of course right!  After consulting my craft best friend “Pinterest” I realised there wasn’t anything suitable as I didn’t want to be covered in paper mache stressing out so late in the day.  So quite simply I crossed my fingers and botched something together!  Luckily we’d had a few deliveries and I knew the recycling bin was full of big boxes.

This is probably one of the easiest and most entertaining things I’ve ever made.  I literally cut out a giant 7 which I used this as a template to create a second 7.  Using bits of cardboard I built up sides around the first 7.  You can see I have taped card in the inside to make sections. I did this for 2 reasons :

  1. To add a bit of stability to the 7 and stop it being so flimsy.
  2. To stop the sweets from sitting at the bottom of the 7 as they’d have all fallen out in the first smashing. This way the children had to break through 3 sections giving everyone a chance to hit the pinata and win a sweetie treat.

Cardboard Pinata DIY

When I said I’d bodged it together I wasn’t lying!  There is nothing level or neat about this number 7. I used duck tape on the corners alongside lots and lots of sellotape to connect the sections.  Some of the cardboard wasn’t even the same size it was literally held together by tape, lots and lots of tape.

I filled the three sections with sweets and then sellotaped the second 7 on top, which wasn’t exactly pleasing to the eye.  Lucky for us Daddy Moo is a day before Christmas Eve shopper and ends up buying all the naff Christmas paper rejected by us normal shoppers.  I found some holly and berry wrapping paper in the stash which was perfect for the Woodland theme.  Keeping with making this as simple as possible, I wrapped the cardboard number 7 like a present.

It looked amazing hanging up and the children had a blast knocking it down!

This post originally appeared on Charlie Moo’s.  Joanne is a 30 something coffee lover living in rural Dorset with her long suffering partner and three children Charlie (2007), Megan (2008) and Olive (2011).  Joanne owner and creator at Charlie Moo’s specialising in handmade fabric party bags.
Joanne also writes a small business blog www.JoanneDewberry.co.uk, and author of Crafting a Successful Small Business.  In 2010 Joanne was named Dorset Business Mother of the Year and has numerous accolades and awards to her name.  In her spare time she likes to eat and watch crime dramas sometimes at the same time!
DIY Number 7 Pinata Making

5 Top Tips for Taking Photos at your Child’s Birthday Party with Samantha Prewett Photography

You’ve spent hours planning the perfect party; booked the entertainment, sorted a cake, prepared the food and party bags … phew!  Often children’s parties are so busy that it’s hard to preserve decent memories of the special day.  I’ve invited local, leading baby and family photographer Samantha Prewett to share some tops tips that will help you take some lovely photos to remember your party forever.

‘I launched Samantha Prewett Photography just over 5 years ago, I offer beautiful, natural and newborn and family photography across Dorset. As a parent to two little ones aged 9 and 6, I know how important it is to capture all those first memories to treasure for a lifetime.’

1. Take some photos before the party guests arrive

The chances are you will be very busy during the party, so by planning a little time beforehand to take some photos of the birthday child, party set up and any important family members who can arrive early, you will be saving yourself some time and be calmer for the party.

Party Photography Tips - Take photos of the set up

2. Social media etiquette

If your children are inviting friends from nursery or school you probably won’t know all of them. It is always polite to ask their parents when they drop them off if they mind them being in photos, especially if you plan to post photos online. As a general rule, I won’t post any photos of children on my social media if I am not “Facebook friends” with with their parents. Also don’t forget to check your privacy setting regularly.

Party Photography Tips - social media etiquette

3.  Set up a DIY photobooth

If your children are a little older, a great way to make sure lots of photos are taken during the party is to get them to take some themselves. All you need for this is a tablet with camera function, something to mount it into, and some props which you can either make or buy from fancy dress shops. There are lots of ideas online and you can even download a photo booth app!

Party Photography Tips - Set up a photos booth

4. Take lots of natural photos

During the party, take lots of photos of the children playing/crafting/what ever they are doing for their party, without getting them to “pose”. Natural, in the moment photos make the perfect keepsakes and are lovely to look back on.

Party Photography Tips - take natural photos

5. Print your photos!

My best tip is to make sure you print off the photos you take. In this digital age we take so many photos, but how many of us still print them? There is nothing more satisfying than looking back through printed photo albums or scrapbooks, and your children will love doing this as they get older. Trust me, mine do. You can even let the party magic live on longer by getting your child to make a party scrapbook with you. They can stick in some of their cards or small decorations that you might want to keep too and put their own mark on it by writing or drawing in it to.

Party Photography Tips - print your photos

I hope you enjoyed my tips and will try some of these ideas at your child next birthday party.  I would love to know how you get on, and don’t forget me when you need someone to capture those extra special parties and events, I do that as well as newborn and family photography sessions and I love the opportunity to do something a little different.

www.samanthaprewettphotography.co.ukTop Tips for party Photography

Craft Party

Introducing: A Spa of Our Own Craft Parties

I’m so excited to launch the Spa of Our Own craft party.  This party option is available to all age groups and includes the following activities –

  • Bath Bomb making
  • Lip gloss making
  • Make-up bag decorating
  • Flip Flop decorating (older teens and adults only)

The child or teen party is an hour and a half and for the adult option, I allow 2 hours so you can spend a bit longer making and perfecting your creations.

You’ll make 2 bath bomb muffins, in your chosen colour and scent, adding some beautiful dried flowers on the top.  You’ll also package them up beautifully and add a tag so you can gift them if you’d like to.

Next up, you’ll learn to make your own lip gloss in a colour of your choice and then put it into gemstone pots which you’ll decorate and embellish.

Make Your Own Beautiful Bath Bombs

All materials are thoroughly tested for fun factor and quality by my team of keen crafters (ie my children and their friends).

Craft Party

We take party testing very seriously here at MBM HQ

Don’t just take my word for it, here’s what one of the mums said after her daughter’s Spa Craft Party

“Thank you so much, Lexy for a fabulous party! Hope and her friends had a great time and they all went home with beautiful flip-flops and lip gloss. Love how organised you are and all the tiny creative details. Looking forward to having one of your lovely parties again in the future.”

Pamper party craft activity

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

 

To book your party email me at lexy@madebymeparties.co.uk or pop over to the contact me page

Do you need more spa craft party inspiration?  Check out my post where I organised a pamper party for my daughter.

4 Ways to Make Your Celebration Cake and Party Food Look Beautiful

The cake and party food are an important part of any celebration.  These small businesses have caught my eye and I think they’ll inspire you to put some wow into your cake decorating and some oooooh onto your party table!

The Cake

As beautiful as they are, you don’t need to spend a fortune on a hand sculpted cake by a professional.  Little Bird Craft Party cake toppers do all the talking for you and all you need to do is make or buy your cake and pop the cake toppers in them.  I particularly love using cupcakes to give to guests at the end of a party instead of a cut up piece of cake all stuck to a napkin.  Susie has also designed some cake toppers perfect for Hen Parties and those who enjoy a spot of adult humour.

Cake toppers

Unicorn Cake Toppers by Little Bird Craft Party

Sprinkles

OMG, bespoke sprinkles through the post – who knew that was a thing?  Well, it is and The Happy Mail can hook you up with some mighty fabulous sprinkles for your cake!  Sprinkle them on your cupcakes or celebration cake or they’d be amazing as part of a dessert station too.

Sprinkle mixes for cakes

Cake Sprinkles by The Happy Mail

Party Ware

Say goodbye to boring white paper plates and say hello to disposable partyware you’ll want to display on the wall!  The Jelly Rabbit offer so many beautiful paper plates and wooden cutlery to choose from, I’m not sure where I’d start.

If you’re based in Dorset and you’re organising a wedding, hen party or birthday party you could consider hiring beautiful china from Granny’s China Cupboard.  Not only will you have a gorgeous set of crockery to serve your food on, but you don’t need to wash up afterwards!  This award-winning family company also caters for children’s parties and up to 300 people!

Hire your china, save on washing up!

Beautiful china for hire from Granny’s China Cupboard

Hopefully that’s your party extras nailed, check out my blog on unique party favours to end your party on a high note!

I’d love to hear what tips and tricks that you recommend for making your party table special.

Five of the Best Independent Party Suppliers

So, you’ve got a special party to plan. Perhaps a birthday, hen party or wedding?  Wouldn’t it be nice to support small businesses and buy unique, beautiful or handmade party supplies?

I’ve scoured the internet to bring you five of my favourite party supply businesses suitable for adults and children alike, I hope you’re going to love them too!

First up … badges and hats …

If it’s a special birthday, Ellie’s Beautiful Mess hand makes fabric hats and number badges that will make you squeal!  The sparkly, glittery, squishy numbers will have everyone singing “happy birthday to you” all day long!

Birthday Hat

Personalised Felt Party Hat By Ellie’s Beautiful Mess

Let’s talk about party decor

Hello Party sell the most fabulous balloon garlands kits that really stand out from the crowd (I really want to cover my whole house with these).  I also think a tassel garland brings a bit of sparkle to any party, plus you can keep it up long after the party is over!

Balloon installation

DIY Balloon Garland Kit by Hello Party

Best party suppliers, by Made By Me Craft Parties

Tassel Garland by Hello Party

Balloons to Behold

Bubblegum Balloons make it easy to brighten anyone’s day, celebration or party with their inflated and personalised Bubble Balloons – arriving perfectly party ready by post.  Whether you’re hosting a Mermaid themed soiree or a Superhero extravaganza, there’s something for everyone.

Send a balloon in the post

Tropical Bubble Balloon by Bubblegum Balloons

Perfect Pinatas

You’ve decorated your venue and you’ve nailed the badge or hat to wear.  Surely every party needs a pinata?  Kate from Pinyatay hand makes every pinata to order and they’re absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  Possibly too lovely to smash up, so you could just use them as a centrepiece if you can’t bear to destroy them or you could purchase one of the pull string options.

If you’re organising a hen party you might just want to check out one of the listings at the bottom of the page (I won’t say anymore, chuckle, chuckle!)

Hand made cloud pinata

Cloud Pinata by Pinyatay

DIY Photo Booth

Foil letter balloons are bang on trend at the moment and Best Day Ever supply some excellent choices which are perfect for photobooth backdrops.  Add in some tissue paper pom poms or honeycomb balls and a tinsel curtain and you’re good to go!

Alphabet balloons

Foil Letter Balloons by Best Day Ever

These lovely small businesses are my personal favourites, but I’d love to discover more.  Who do you recommend?  Which party suppliers, trends and brands are you coveting on Instagram?

Thanks for reading, my next blog is all about independent suppliers of sweet treat and party table accessories, so please get in touch if you can recommend someone who fits the bill.

Crafty, sparkly hugs,
Lexy x

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!