wedding and baby inspiration, diy, design and other loveliness

A DIY Octonauts Birthday Party

My son and I discovered a book series called “The Octonauts” at the library about two years ago. I immediately loved the cute, adorable characters and my son loved the stories. We found 3 different titles there and he became obsessed. We then discovered that it was turned into a show with the best end of the show jingle: “Creature Report.” You all know what I’m talking about. We also found out the author is a design agency based in San Francisco called Meomi.

When my older son turned five, I asked him what kind of party he was interested in having and he told me, “Octonauts party!” I excitedly started brainstorming in my head some fun ideas. This year, we decided to invite all of his classmates in addition to our regular group of friends and family so we rented a park building which is a great alternative if you need a larger space during the winter birthdays.

Unfortunately, “The Octonauts” aren’t popular enough to have too many party supplies readily available. We had to channel our inner-DIY guru to generate some fun Octoanuts birthday ideas.

The Invite
I had really enjoyed the style the characters were originally drawn for the book and wanted to apply that to the invite design. I found a desktop wallpaper and did some photoshoshopping to the image and added more waves so the background felt continuous and had my local print shop print them out for me.

octonauts-invite

The Decor
I wanted to give a feel of The Octonauts and the ocean feel without blatantly doing that. I remembered Oh Happy Day’s big fringe garlands and had always wanted to use that idea in a party. They kind of reminded me of large kelp but I wanted to maintain a blue scheme that mimicked more of an ocean. The twists and fringe texture gave it that lovely feel of motion (of the ocean. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself). We used some 1″ wooden dowels and taped the end of the fringe to the dowels. We then mounted about 4 of these small 3M wire hooks to the wall. We then nested the dowels onto the hooks to hold the fringe up. This made for a fairly easy set-up and break down; much easier than setting up my PVC frame at least.

I promised myself in the beginning that I wouldn’t redraw these characters but I couldn’t find large enough images to print out so I did end up redrawing them and printing out the characters that floated above. They are about 13×19″.

Octonauts decoration
DIY jellyfish has to be one of the most satisfying DIY projects ever. They are incredibly easy to make and very affordable. In the book, there are some imagery of these light pink jellyfish and I wanted to incorporate that into the decor. After researching a few DIY jellyfish projects, I ended up using the one from Party City//tutorial here.

I made Kwazii’s telescope out of some mail tubes and gold duct tape. Another inexpensive party favor that is great are the bubble wands, or bubble swords as we called them.

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Each kid received a little Peso Medical Kit favor box mostly for collecting goodies from the breaking of the piñata. This idea is a pretty standard Octonauts party favor idea but it’s such a great and easy idea, why reinvent the wheel?

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Also really easy are these tissue paper corals. If you have ever made Tissue Poms Tutorial, it’s the same technique except you cut a long triangular pattern and to make them sit, you just only pull out half of the tissue. They reminded me of sea anemone!

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Food & Cake
For the food, it wasn’t very Octonauts themed. I just wanted to be able to serve some semi-decent food for a large party that could be easily made, but you can also have fun with the naming conventions.

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Because of my both my sons’ food allergies, I ended up making a lot of food. It may seem like a lot but with some careful planning, it’s actually not too bad and much more economical for a large party.
– Garden salad consisting of romaine lettuce from Costco and peeled carrots
– Minestrone soup made from home with fresh veggies and ground turkey
– Meatball subs (more for the adults). I bought packs of hoagies from Safeway. They were like $2 for a bag of 6–such a deal. Cooked them with some spaghetti sauce and frozen meatballs from Costco. Topped it off with some mozzarella and stuck it in the oven. Super easy and tasty.
– Cheese pizza and baked chicken nuggets from Costco (Costco was my food hero for this party)
– Fruit bowl made by my mother- in- law. Fruit ALSO from Costco.
– Veggie straws
– A whole mess of chocolate chip cookies. I made them earlier in the week and froze them and them baked them they day before. Still tasted just as good.

For the cake, there was a request for a “Kelp Cake”. In the book/show, vegimals love to bake kelp cakes. These guys right here:

kelp cake
I am by no means any sort of a baker. I can only bake cookies and that was after practicing the same recipe for a year! I decided to attempt it. Granted, it isn’t going to win any sort of Food Network bake-off contest but I think at the end of the day, my goal was, “when you look at this kelp cake, does he make you smile?”
kelp cake
kelp-cake
We also picked up these short cakes from Safeway for everyone to design and eat their own kelp cake. The kids loved doing this. I provided some sliced fruit, whipped cream, sprinkles and some frosting for the kids to draw the kelp cake faces on. Definitely a hit.

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Activities
We didn’t have to have too many activities because we were at a park but a few things we did do was bubbles, cloud dough and the piñata. (I originally had a pin the eyepatch on Kwazii too but I forgot the eye patch. womp womp.) A bubble machine and a large bubble wand goes a long way.

*Party Tip*  Face painting and balloons are awesome–and also awesomely expensive. We rented a helium tank for $65 and bought our own balloons online. The tank blew up over 100 balloons. For face painting, we asked a friend’s creative teenage daughter to lend her artistic skills. She isn’t a professional face painter but you could’ve fooled us! We were very thankful to have her help.

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I thought it would be fun for the kids to dig up some sea creatures in sand but I didn’t want to do sand so a friend suggested I make some cloud dough. It kind of feels like kinetic sand and as much as they advertise how less messy it is, it will be messy. However, we were outdoors and it was easier (and cleaner) to make cloud dough than to buy sand. I found a good recipe on Pinterest but essentially it is just flour and vegetable oil.

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The DIY Kwazii Piñata
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Make your own piñata?? Are you crazy?? I will just preface this section that it isn’t that hard to make and it’s a lot of fun, especially if you like to craft. If you don’t, find a friend that does because I guarantee you, they’ll get a kick out of it. Initially, I wasn’t going to have a piñata, but then I thought it might be fun to have fun one. I searched high and low for a decent Octonauts piñata. I found some on Etsy but they weren’t that great for the price I had to pay and I was already behind on time for shipping. I YouTubed some videos to get an idea of how those big number piñatas were made and decided to apply that same technique.

Being a graphic designer has its benefits. I was able to redraw Kwazii’s silhouette and blow it up as a template to trace onto cardboard.

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You will need two of the templates. One for the front and one for the back.
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Next, you cut about 2-3″ cardboard strips and using masking tape, tape down the strips to the other side. If you are like my husband, this would be very clean and neat. If you’re me, it will be done very haphazardly with no intent of consistency. Either way, it don’t matter; it will all be covered up. I would also recommend not to tape it too well because if kids are hitting this piñata, you don’t need it to be that strong.

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For the body, I bought two large rolls of orange crepe paper and cut along the sides like the photo below. Using a sponge brush and tacky glue, my piñata making assistant and I proceeded to glue down the crepe paper. She sat on one side while I sat on the other and just passed the crepe paper along. It’s also fine if it’s not done in one long stretch but it will feel more seamless if you can. Also remember to start from the bottom and work your way up since it will be layered from the top.

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When you’re done, cut a hole up top and proceed to fill with cavity inducing goodies.

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For the face, I just print and cut them out. I thought the details would be too intricate to use crepe paper on and this kind of made it easier to do.

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The look on my son’s face was priceless when I showed him the complete piñata. It was totally worth it.
Now came the sad part, the destruction of all your hard work…

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I can’t believe this little guy is already five. Time flies so I better make the best of these moments. Celebrations are one of my love languages and boy do I love this little guy! I hope you guys enjoyed our Octonauts journey and may yours been just as grand.
“Octonauts at ease! Until the next adventure!”

octonauts party

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Invitations, Paper Goods, Pinata – Rachel Of JolieJolie
Decoration Supplies (large crepe paper) – PaperMart
Pink jellyfish lanternsAmazon and Party City for the crepe paper
Peso Medical Box – PaperMart
BalloonsBargain Balloons
Big number piñatas inspiration by Sorry Girls
Party City jellyfish instructions
Big fringe garlands by Oh Happy Day

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Golden State Warriors Birthday Party

My youngest one recently turned two and we decided last minute to throw him a birthday party. He loves sports which is great for us because we are a big sports family. He particularly loves baseball and basketball and since the Golden State Warriors had just won the 2015 championships, we decided to throw him a Dub Nation party. Having two kids and not much outside help, I really had to limit myself in the party planning process. As much as I love doing it, I had to set some boundaries (or more like my husband had to :)).

I think the natural idea for any type of sports themed party is to do ticket invites so I had a little photoshoot with my little guy, added some blue lasers in photoshop and off to the presses it went. A friend had donated her laminator to me and I had been going crazy doing some DIY foiling with it. We also got lucky as USPS just released some awesome looking Wilt Chamberlin stamps. Also sent an invite to my homey, Steph Curry cuz you know, we tight like that. 😛

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 Since it was summer, we had the party at a nearby park. Everyone came decked out in their Warriors gear.

Decorations at a park are a pain so we just went with some simple blue and yellow decor. The fun part for me was redrawing the starting line up in this chibi-like cartoons. I really get a kick out of redrawing anyone and anything into these little characters. It’s a weird hobby of mine.

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By the way, my Silhouette Portrait cut these bad boys out. I never have to buy another birthday banner again, EVAR.

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Years and years ago, at the advice of a friend, my husband bought me a button machine for my birthday. Initially, he didn’t understand what in the world I would use a button machine for. Well, DH, it is to make awesome button party favors for our son’s birthday, obvis.

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Now let me tell you about this double shot basketball hoop. I searched around to see how much it would cost to rent this thing. Everywhere I checked was going upwards of $350 for 2 hours. $350??? I figured a used one on eBay must be less. Fortunately for me, it was on sale on Amazon for a whopping $160. Add to Cart. Done. Despite the brunt of building it and dragging it to the park, it was a hit. My son LOVED it. He couldn’t even reach it but he absolutely loved it. I’ll admit, my husband and I stayed up a few nights duking it out as well. Great for kids AND adults!

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doubleshot-bball

 As my kids get older, there has to be a little more entertainment at these parties. We brought out our Little Tikes hoops for some toddler balling action.

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Food. Food is very important. There must always be enough, and there must always be a ton left. We hired an amazing taco cart guy who made their tortillas fresh ON THE SPOT. It was some legit tacos. We also had a few other more kid-friendly snacks. Would’ve loved to have made some basketball-themed food but time got in the way.

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Happy Birthday, little one! Keep practicing and most importantly, enjoy playing!!

GSW party details

Golden State Warriors Thank You Card

 

 

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Construction Birthday Party

Yes, yes, it seems as if the blog has become the neglected second child but my excuse is–I had a second child. With that said, I have a post loaded with visual goodies for you. Motherhood has been extremely busy but another great part of it, you get to throw your kids fun birthday parties and see their happy faces when they see the final result. This year, we were originally supposed to be in Maui for a wedding but plans fell through and we decided to host a small birthday party for my son’s third birthday. I asked my son if he preferred a construction themed party or a fire truck party. (He loves all things transportation so I had to narrow it down for him). We decided to go with the construction party because he has tons of construction trucks already. I wanted to keep it low budget and an easy DIY construction theme party mainly because on the limited amount of planning time and my home isn’t that big. For the party itself, while there are some really cool black and yellow theme construction parties out there, I wanted to change it up with some color.

Construction Party Invitations
For the invitations, I’ve always found blueprints to be just so cool and I thought it would be a fun way to incorporate into the party invitation and mail it off in a shipping tube. The kids had a blast receiving it in the mail. A little on the pricey side to ship, but with a small guest list of ten, it was manageable. Because the intent was for the invitation to be “blueprint”esque–large and thin paper.  I ended up just printing them on my laser printer which also reduced cost.

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Construction Party Invitaton

Construction Party Decorations
I had a lot of leftover yellow tissue paper from a previous project that I used to make some tissue garlands around the house. I found an easy tutorial from Martha Stewart that I used.

Tissue paper garland

The backdrop was created from blue paint chips from the local hardware store. Over it, I had cut out a cardboard L and lined it with yellow tissue paper tassel. By the way, a leveler is your best friend for this particular task. Don’t mind the last few greenish paint chips, my husband grabbed the wrong colors 😛

DIY paint chip backdrop

My son loves egg tarts so rather than cupcakes, we decided to go with some egg tarts and the yellow color of the tart matched so well. Also with younger kids, I’m just hesitant to turn the party into a sugar fest. We can save that for my birthday 🙂 The translucent acrylic cake topper is something in the works in our store so if you’re interested, feel free to contact me. Moving on…

number cake topper

My son loves to turn anything he can into a road for his cars and trucks to travel on. I thought it would be fun to make him some XL roads–or as my son calls them, “woads” for the party. I lined the tables with some black paper and using some bright yellow duct tape, added the yellow lines and dashes. I’m in awe of the color duct tape selection nowadays! For the table settings, I also cut some slits into yellow paint chips and stuck in the utensils. Also included, obligatory striped paper straws.

diy roads

Construction Party Decorations

Construction Party Activities
This was one of the more fun parts of the party planning. Now if you’ve ever had more than three kids over playing at your house, you know it can turn into quite a mess with the toys everywhere and then the wonderful “sharing” going on. I find sometimes with toddlers, they play better with each other when there isn’t anything to fight over. Since my son’s birthday is in the winter, it’s a crapshoot to do it at a party where the kids can burn off energy running around so I wanted set up construction related activities or stations for the kids to participate in. I also happen to have a handy button maker my husband gifted me a few years back so the idea came about have the kids each complete a station and “achieve” a skill button to pin onto their tool belt that they would all receive at the beginning of the party along with a construction party hat.

construction party tool belt

construction party hats

construction party games

One of my favorite stations was the hammer and nails station. I found this great activity idea off Pinterest. You basically mimic hammering a nail but you use golf tees and styrofoam blocks. The kids loved this! A little noisy, but safer than a real hammer and nail! Now, I don’t know about you but I searched far and wide for some kid toy hammer favors to use but all I could find were the ones sold in sets and inflatable ones. I mentioned my hammer distress one day to a family friend and being the handy guy that he is, he volunteered to make some mini-sized mallets for the party! He had an old wooden closet rod that he cut up, drilled a hole into and glued a small dowel into. It was the PERFECT size for the kids and had such a natural look and feel to it. I told him he should start selling these himself!

kid toy hammers

Another favorite activity was the bulldozer stations. My toddler loves loves loves to bulldoze anything–like most little boys his age. He will take puzzle pieces, legos, blocks and just doze and dump all day long. This sparked the idea of the bulldozer yard. I set up three large trays and filled them with beans and dry macaroni. I just couldn’t deal with sand and dirt in the house 😛 although I am still finding pinto beans on the ground. Inside each child’s toolbox, they received a small construction truck to take to the construction yard to dig around. I also threw in some “lumber” for good measure.

My son was at this station for about four hours (with a lunch break of course) and the kids all played at this station the longest. Later on, I did notice that my brilliant idea wasn’t so brilliant and was done many times on Pinterest already. HA! Oh well, here’s to sensory play!

diy construction party activities

Construction party activities
Construction party activities
Construction Party Toolbox
Each child received a little toolbox with some goodies with a little DIY flair. 

Tool box party favor

Construction party favors
Initially, I was going to purchase a few small construction books but being the graphic designer that I was, IT DIDN’T MATCH! So utilizing some stock art and my handy dandy Xacto knife, I put together some custom construction coloring books.

Construction Coloring Book
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I mentioned my son’s love of “woads” right? Whenever we go out to a restaurant, he will grab whatever he can to make a track or a “woad”: chopsticks, napkins, whatever. I saw the idea of DIY felt roads awhile back and thought it would be a fun addition to the toolbox. I dubbed them, “Ride-Along-Roads”. I basically cut up strips of black and felt and once again utilized my yellow duct tape for the dashes. Each set of roads came in a little muslin bag to take with you when you are out. A great way to occupy the kids at restaurants when waiting for the food.

DIY felt roads

I also found some awesome inkjet tattoo paper on Amazon! You can print out any design you want.

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The adults also got a sweet treat to take home. I made some not so appropriately named for a kid party “Better than Sex” Chex Mix for each family. Apparently everyone couldn’t stop eating and finished within minutes.

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All month long he watched as his sleep deprived mother labor over his party assets, he would ask “Is that for my construction party?” In the end my son loved the party and the look on his face was priceless. I would do it all over again 🙂 Hope you guys enjoyed it as much as he did!

Custom Chocolate Covered Oreos

If you thought you have seen it all… look what Sweeties by Kim has done with our childhood favorite! 
They are too pretty to eat!
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