Monday, October 24, 2011

Grace's Enchanted Forest - The Elements

First I would just like to thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers this weekend after the passing of our Grandma Zada. So many of you have written or spoken words of encouragement to our family, and you have been an amazing source of support for us. To say this weekend was an emotional roller coaster would be the understatement of the century. (For those of you who don't know or who are reading this much later, we found out the morning of Grace's first birthday party that Eric's grandmother had passed away in the night.)

We take comfort in knowing that Grandma Zada was feeling great at the time; she had just gotten her hair done and was living life as usual. She simply went to sleep Thursday night and didn't wake up. What a blessing to end a full life in such a peaceful way. We'll be remembering Grandma Zada this evening and tomorrow at her memorial service, so continued prayers of comfort for the family would be very much appreciated.

It was was definitely a bittersweet feeling on Friday as I ran around the house icing cupcakes, doing the last minute decorations, and trying to clean up where I could. I definitely didn't check everything off of my to-do list, because well...I wasn't moving quite as fast as I normally would. But with the help of my wonderful mom I think we were able to pull together a really nice party for our Gracie girl!

As usual I'm going to break up the birthday posts into two, because there are just too many details that I don't want to miss. So today I'll share with you all of the decorations that I put together and tomorrow we'll take a look at the actual party. :)

Before we jump too far in I just wanted to explain one thing. Grace's party was scheduled at night time, and the idea was that inside and out the lighting would be dim and dreamy to reflect the Enchanted Forest theme. It was beautiful to see in person, but I knew it would be a total pain to try to photograph. (And it was!) So to be honest, the pictures of everything aren't the greatest. In fact, they're all a little blurry. (Boo!) I tried to get shots of the birthday decor while we still had some sunlight, so I think you'll still get the "feel" of the party, even if you won't be able to see exactly what it looked like in person. :)

Our guests were welcomed with a little poem. 

Great! Now that you all know the rules, we can step inside. :)

I baked chocolate birthday cupcakes for the first time ever (usually I do white cake) and topped them with some hot pink frosting...

...and that darn icing was a nightmare. It was so runny and gooey that it was literally melting and dripping off of the cupcakes. By the time our guests were actually eating these things they didn't look so hot. :)

I made the cupcake toppers with my Cricut machine, and they had little acorns, mushrooms, and number "1's" on them.

We used the celebration arch on the gift table, and it turned out super cute wrapped in ivy and twinkle lights. When the sun set we had a lovely glowing arch to illuminate the area.

I always make a birthday banner with the theme of the party. This time I used an acorn shape with lots of different pretty patterned paper to spell out "Grace's Enchanted Forest." I only wish that I would have gotten more close-ups of things!

Ugh, horrible picture, but you get the idea. ;)

Grace's birthday seat.

We were partying it up in a cardboard forest! Haha. I spent...a lot of time...breaking down boxes, tracing out patterns, and cutting out giant trees to line the walls. 

To create our lit tree I poked white lights through the back of a piece of cardboard to form the letter "G." It was actually really, really easy to do. The hard part was getting the tree to stay up once I assembled it! I'm pretty sure this thing gave me my first gray hair. :) But praise the Lord for thumbtacks. I'm proud to say this beast didn't fall on anyone, haha.

The branches creeped up onto the ceiling, and guests who looked closely enough would see a little surprise spelled out in the branches...

I never said anything about it, so I wonder how many people noticed. :)

There were little forest critters hiding everywhere, and my favorite was this sly little fox. Isn't he cute? 

Our birthday favors were set up and waiting for little gnomes and fairies. (I'm not sure if a single kid actually kept their headgear on for the evening, haha.) 

I still love those darn hats and halos!

We had an enchanting grapevine wreath hanging on the front door. That butterfly fell off of one of the girl's fairy wands months ago, and I saved it just for this occasion, haha.

I don't know why, but I always have to do something to spruce up the trashcan. This time we decided to help out the less fortunate in our magical world....

And boy did we collect a lot of donations for those darn trolls! ;)

The ceilings and walls were covered in strings of pinecones, blowing leaves, and a bazillion tissue paper pop poms. 

Here's a wider look at one side of our party area. We had to do some creative furniture arranging to make sure we would have room for all of our guests.  

I didn't even bother snapping pictures of what's beyond the countertop. Picture this: another green table, more pine cones, more pom poms. I think you get it. :)

Let's head outside, shall we?

We hung a sign to beckon people "Into the woods..."

And what would they find out there? Why, there were s'mores and hot chocolate and a (sometimes) roaring fire to gather around. - More on that tomorrow, haha.

Excuse the food haphazardly thrown onto the table...I hadn't arranged everything just yet. :)

Lining the walkway were hanging lanterns filled with moss and glow sticks. 

Which brought everyone to this:

A big huge stinkin THANK YOU to my dad for stringing up these icicles lights for me. They gave us just enough light to party by. 

Look closely and you will see my husband acting a fool inside the house. Haha.

Back inside I made Eric take a couple of pictures of me "inside" the party. Since I'm the one taking pictures most of the time I wanted to make sure that there was documented proof that I was actually there. :) Luckily, thanks to our awesome Uncle Ty Ty, I was in quite a few pictures after all. But here I am hanging out in my labor of love for our darling little girl. 

Just moments after these were taken it was party time! Woot woot.  

One question I seem to get a lot is how much we pay for our birthday parties. We're a family on a budget, so I definitely have to use my thinker and pull lots of strings to make our fun birthdays happen. This particular party was pretty easy, because I was able to use a lot of re-purposed items and things picked up from nature -- meaning, they were free! The twigs and pinecones were picked up on walks here and there...and every single cardboard tree, branch, or viney thing came from boxes we had in our basement and paper grocery bags. That alone made up at least 50% of the decor. The majority of the rest of the decorations came from Dollar Tree. 

All of the lights and lanterns were purchased on clearance at Target, and every single sign, banner, forest creature, or floating leaf was cut out from paper in a single paper pack picked up from Hobby Lobby for $10. I bake and decorate my own cupcakes which also saves the budget. It's more about the amount of time you can spend and less about the amount of money you have to spend. :)

Thank you to everyone who was able to celebrate with us, and for those who couldn't make it I hope you enjoyed taking a look!  Check back in tomorrow for the festivities!


Anonymous said...

Amazing! You do such a great job! Your little girls are so blessed to have such a creative mama like you :)

Alanna said...

Oh my word, everything is soooo cute! You always do such a great job on parties!

Heather said...

Wow...Gracie sure had quite the party! Good for her! And great job on everything!

Ashley Mitchell said...

Great job! That sure is one lucky little girl!!! Too cute. You could be a party planner. :)

Lara said...

Looks like your hard work paid off! Nice Job Mommy!
Do you buy all your cricut cartridges or do you borrow them from someone? They are so pricey!

Melissa W. said...

Wow!! Great job, Adrien!! I <3 your LOVE for your kiddos!

The Pettijohn's said...

That looks amazing. Sorry I did not make it, Isaac was fussy and not feeling good so I stayed home with him while Vince and Wyatt went to the football game. Hope she had a good turn out.

Adrien said...

Thank you, everyone! This was my favorite birthday theme yet. :)

Lara - I've never bought a cartridge unless you count the two that came with my cricut. I have a friend who has let me borrow cartridges from her. If I were going to buy one though, I would definitely get mine from ebay!


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