Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Carnival Party Part V - Food, Carnival Style

I'm back with the next feature from Ethan's Carnival Extravaganza - the yummy Carnival Style Menu.  Ethan's FAVORITE food is chips and salsa - I know, pretty normal for a four year old, right?  :)  I wanted to incorporate his favorites into the menu.  I thought that a build your own carnival nacho bar would be a great way to do that.  Here are some pictures of the Nacho Bar.

Here are a few pictures of some of the other tasty carnival style treats!

I have a few more things to feature from the party.  Stay tuned :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Carnival Party Part IV - Refrigerator Box Ticket Booth

What is a carnival without a ticket booth?  In planning for Ethan's carnival birthday party, I saw lots of cute ideas out there for making a ticket booth and was inspired to create my own :) 

Of course I did not want to break the bank on something I knew would be loved and abused during the party.  With this in mind, I figured a refrigerator as the base for the ticket booth would work great.  I called a local appliance store and asked for the warehouse to save me a refrigerator box.  Thankfully they were more than willing to do so :)

My first step was to turn the cardboard red. I decided to use spray paint.  Caution - if you use spray paint, make sure you get enough.  The three cans I originally purchased only went half way.  I was running to the store in the middle of the painting project :)  I ended up using about 5 and 1/2 cans of red spray paint. I would have spray painted the inside of the box to give it the finished look, but I couldn't justify another 5 cans of spray paint to do that :)

After the spray paint dried, I took white duct tape (duct tape comes in every color and tons of patterns!) and started applying it as stripes going up and down the front of the box.  I did not have the box assembled at this point, making it easier to do this with the box still lying flat on the ground.

Once the front of the box was "striped," I took a level and drew out with a pencil the shape for the "window."  Make sure you get it low enough for the little ones that will be handing out the tickets.  I then had my husband take a box cutter and cut out the window shape.

After the window was cut out, I took the cardboard letters that I had previously painted white and applied them to the box (still flat at this point).  I adhered the letters to the box with wood glue. 

For the "finials" on the top corners of the box, I used a pennant from the Dimple Prints carnival collection, adhered it to a small wooden stick and tied ribbon to the bottom part of the pennant.  I set those aside until the box was assembled.

The day before the party, my husband taped the box together, using red duct tape.  We cut a door in the back of the box, by cutting three sides of the "door."  I then took the pennants and taped them to the top sides of the box.

Add kids and presto - easy, DIY ticket booth.  By the end of the party, the ticket booth was barely standing.  The kids would have loved to have kept it, but it needed to be put to carnival pasture!

Next, I can't wait to show you our yummy carnival style menu!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Carnival Party Part III - Carnival Sweets

Up next on the list of featured items from our carnival party, a traditional favorite, the sweets table!  This table was so fun to do!

The centerpiece of the table was of course the beautiful cake from The Tasteful Cake, but also, my favorite Ung Drill frame from Ikea that I spray painted light blue.  I removed the glass, wrapped the cardboard backing with red and white polka dot and then attached with hot glue a cardboard "E" that I also spray painted blue.  Using my Dimple Prints printables, I made a mini-bunting to drape across the E.

The "drapes" for the background were two $5 tablecloths I found at Target this summer.  I love using tablecloths and shower curtains for table backdrops!  The "drape" "tie-backs" was also from the Dimple Prints printables - a small bunting.  The balloons are from Oh Goodie Designs

The topper for the cake was a wire "Ferris wheel" I found at JoAnn's during the Easter season.  I'm pretty sure it was meant to hold Easter Eggs.  It was yellow and blue when I found it.  I spray painted it red, added some bunting and gumballs and magic - a carnival themed cake topper!  I love how the cake that Melissa from The Tasteful Cake turned out!  She is so talented and can make a gluten-free cake taste delicious!

These adorable cookies are from my my gal, Christine of Happy Cookies.  Not only are the adorable, but they are absolutely delicious!

I tried my hand at the cake pops.  I've made them before and had better luck.  Not sure why I had so much difficulty with them this time.  I added tickets as flags to the sticks to continue with the "ticket" theme.

In planning for this party, I stumbled across Vintage Confections.  Oh my goodness - these custom lollipops did not disappoint.  As delicious as they were adorable!  I know its not as pretty for the picture with the bags on the lollipops, but I didn't want them to attract the flies and bees :)

For the cupcakes, I found the cute clowns at Fancy Flours.  I then made the paper fan cupcake toppers, adding the tickets and the red poms.

Here are some shots of the rest of the sweet goodies on the table :)

Thanks for looking!  Up next - how to make a DIY Refrigerator Box Ticket Booth!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Carnival Party Part II - Carnival Prizes

Today's feature from our carnival party - the prize area. 

This was one of my favorite parts of the party! (As if all if it wasn't!)  As I noted in the previous two posts about our party (here and here) I tried to incorporate variations of clown noses throughout the party.  I used lots of red poms in all different sizes attached to almost everything :)  I also used tickets wherever I could. 

Rather than having the favors pre-packaged, I thought it would be fun for the kiddos to be able to fill up bucket of prizes (what else would you expect from the lady who's blog is named "Buckets of Grace" :).  I found the MOST adorable buckets from Brody and Ma on Etsy.  Not only are they adorable, but Emily is fabulous to work with. She has the most gorgeous, vintage fabric and goes above and beyond for her customers.

I placed the buckets in our Radio Flyer wagon that I decorated with the small bunting from the printable package from Dimple Prints.  I attached a name tag to each bucket for the kiddos which I embellished with a red pom.  I spray painted clothes pins to coordinate.  Let me tell you - nothing was out of question to be spray painted for this party :)

For the prize table itself, I wanted to create a feel of a vintage carnival prize area.  I decided to create a bunting using the pennants from the Dimple Prints package and made paper fans out of vintage scribe scrapbook paper.  I used my Silhouette to cut out the word "PRIZES" and adhered the letters to the top of the fans.  I love paper fans, but they sure are difficult to make. 

I then wanted to make poles to resemble poles on top of a carnival tent.  I happened to have a large fabric pole that worked perfect.  I cut it in half, spray painted it red :) and wrapped it with striped ribbon.  I then glued a pennant from the printable package to the pole.  To top it off, I used the ribbon wrapped ornaments I had for our kids' Christmas tree I purchased from Pottery Barn a few years ago.  This all worked and looked great until the wind hit.  I hate wind as much as I do rain!  Those poles must have blown down 5 times before my husband got sick of it and decided to anchor them with rocks!  That's what having a "real" party is all about.  The rocks sure detracted from my adorable set-up, but they won out over the wind!

As I noted in the previous post, I started planning for the party last year :)  That may be crazy, but you sure can find lots of cute things and for good prices when you plan ahead.  I knew I wanted to have prizes for the carnival games but didn't want to break the bank.  My theory on prizes is that if you are going to buy the dollar aisle junk, you might as well save your money.  If it's going to break after the kids get it home or find it's way to the bottom of a toy bin, don't buy it.  With that in mind, what kid doesn't love bubbles?  I found bubbles after last summer on clearance for 75% off.  I know you can get them at the dollar store, but these were quality size bubbles!  I asked the gals at Anders Ruff to design a label for me to coordinate with the rest of their printable package I was using and adhered the labels to the bubbles.  I then took a red pom and glued it to the top of the bubble cap - easy, inexpensive things to do just to add that special touch!

My kids LOVE gum!  When I saw these gumball dispensers, I had to have them!  The color matched perfect and they seemed to have that nostalgic carnival feel.  I embellished the gumball dispensers with tags from the Dimple Prints printables and added a few tickets for good measure, tying it all together with my red and white baker's twine.

Of course, no carnival or circus party would be complete without animal crackers.  We had a few younger kids at the party and these were a great prize for them as well.  I took tickets, wrapped them around the boxes and then added a tag from the Dimple Prints printables.

One of the things I love to give away as favors are Christmas ornaments that match the theme of the party.  My mom and grandmother started off my sisters and I with a tradition of giving us a Christmas ornament every year so that when we were old enough to have our own trees, we would have ornaments not only to decorate our trees, but to serve as memories of our childhood.  I hope my kids look back on these ornaments and remember their birthday parties.

Last year, Kohl's happened to have a line of Christmas ornaments that were circus/carnival themed.  I watched them like a hawk and when they finally went on clearance and I of course had a coupon (you never buy at Kohl's without it being on sale and having a coupon!), I snatched up all of the ornaments I could find - going store to store in our area :)  Luckily, I found lots of them.  I again attached a tag, this time from the Anders Ruff printables as well as a few tickets, tying it all together with the red and white baker's twine.

My kids go through a truck load of chalk each summer.  And when we are stuck inside for the winter, they trade in the chalk for crayons.  These were both inexpensive favors.  I found an economy size bucket of chalk at Hobby Lobby, using a 40% off coupon (of course), packaged 4 pieces in a cello bag and topped it with paper from the Dimple Prints printables and tags from the Anders Ruff printables as well as a ticket. 

For the crayons, I had Anders Ruff create a label to coordinate and put it on the crayons.  I picked up the boxes of crayons at back-to-school time for $.25 a box!

For a fun prize, I placed clown noses in a jar for the kids to pick out.  These clown noses were a hit!

For the boys, I found packages of Army Men on clearance.  Ethan loves playing with "guys" lately.  I guess it is a boy's version of Barbies (shhh... don't tell them that :).  For the girls, I found some bling and lipstick pens.  Of course I forgot to take pictures of those two things...

And finally, for the brand new babies in our family (3 in 2 months!) I found monkey rattles.  They were adorable!

I hope the kids enjoyed their prize as much as I did assembling them and adding the "carnival touches!"  Stay tuned for the next post featuring sweets table :)  Thank you for looking!