Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Secret Garden Birthday Party

Our daughter turned seven recently ~ her birthday always falls during our public school's Spring Break.  Therefore, her friends are usually out of town and we end up having two  birthday parties.  This year was no different!

The house we live in belongs to my Mom, who is an amazing gardener.  The green thumb, however, skipped my generation!  The backyard is lush and full of plants.  It has a beautiful wooden arbor over the patio and the property backs up to an Audubon Preserve.  The front of the house is beautifully landscaped and planted.  And down one side of the house is a path through an arched trellis (with roses growing on it), under beautiful plum trees and past a tree covered in blooming jasmine.  So it was the perfect location for a "Secret Garden" birthday party.

For those of you not familiar with The Secret Garden . . . it is a wonderful piece of children's literature written by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  It is set in England and is about a young orphaned girl sent to live with her uncle.  She is alone most of the time, with only servants for company.  She discovers a locked "hidden" garden on the estate and is shown the way in by a robin redbreast.  She brings the garden, and subsequently her sickly cousin, back to life.

So for the party invitation I knew I wanted a locked gate with a bird.  After using Cricut to find a "gate" I determined that the one I was looking for did not exist on a cartridge I own.  Isn't that the way it is!  So I got creative and made my own using Cricut Design Studio and the following cartridges:  Tags, Bags, Boxes & More (TBBM), Disney Pooh Font, and George & Basic Shapes. 

I constructed my base card by welding two tags from TBBM.  I then laid out my gate with the capital letter "I" from the wooden letters on Pooh Font cartridge and overlaid the same arched top tag.  The lock was created using the rounded-corner rectangle from the George cartridge as was the keyhole -- I made it using a small circle and a rectangle. 

The bird is from the Create-A-Critter cartridge -- and I know . . . this is not a robin.  However, the brown robin just didn't stand out against the brown gate so I improvised!  The ivy is from Paper Doll Dress Up.

I stamped an antique key on the envelope flap with a russet brown stamp pad.  The envelope looked like it had been made with old parchment paper.

The card base is ivory card stock and measures 5 1/2" x 4 1/4".  The gate is Bazzill Basics brown; the ivy is also a Bazzill paper and was stippled brushed with an evergreen stamp ink; the bird is cut from two shades of Bazzill and I used chalk on his chest.  The lock was cut from a metallic gold paper I've had for forever.

Party decorations were pretty simple - a banner, two centerpieces, a butterfly "chandelier" and some tissue paper pom-pom flowers (that we ended up not hanging) that I made; and paper lanterns from the $1 store.

The banner was made using Create-A-Critter and Plantin Schoolbook.  It is hard to see in this photo but there is a bee, butterfly and ladybug used as spacers.  The flowers were cut at 5 1/2" and the letters are about 2 1/2" tall.   The tissue paper pom-pom flower directions came from the Martha Stewart website -- I did add extra paper to make them fuller.  The flower pot centerpieces are painted paper mache pots, ribbon around the top, and have glittered tulips, butterflies and paper grass purchased at the $1 store.  The butterfly "chandelier" was created using an embroidery hoop that I covered with satin ribbon, sheer wire ribbon, $1 store butterflies, some flowers left over from a scrapbook project and hot glue.

One of the games the girls played was "Pin the Bug on the Flower."   I created a huge daisy using my Cricut as well as ladybugs and bees for each girl.  The flower was cut using the Create-A-Critter cartridge.  The petals measured 8 1/2" and the center was approximately 8".  The leaves are from the Walk In My Garden (WIMG) cartridge and measure about 10 1/2" wide.  The bees and ladybugs are also from WIMG are about 2 3/4" tall. 

They loved it and played it several times!  Scented bubbles were our game prizes.

And of course, we had cake!  Dee made a beautiful flower cake and cupcakes! 

The daisy cake is her signature chocolate cake covered in buttercream.  The cupcakes were white cake also decorated with buttercream. 

The bees and ladybugs are made from fondant.  And the sign in the center of the cake was cut from white card stock using the WIMG cartridge.

To say that the party favors were a hit is an understatement!  We created a "Sweet Shop" for Demi and her friends. 

I made a sign using the following cartridges and tons of glitter:  Cindy Loo, Mickey font and Create-A-Critter.  The basket tags are made using the scalloped oval on the Pink Journey cartridge. 

The little bags, the flower embellishments and the baskets (two for $1) all came from the $1 store.  I also made lollipop flowers using the flower from the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge.

The girls had the following sweet treats to fill their bags with:  gumballs, jawbreakers, starburst, smarties, sixlets, pixie sticks, tootsie rolls, candy bracelets and two different kinds of lollipops! 

I always make the little girls in my life special shirts and tutus for their birthdays.  However, Demi told me early on that she was getting too old to wear tutus in public -- they're OK for dress-up at home, but not to wear in front of her friends.  So I made her a special shirt to wear using the freezer paper method and the following cartridges:  Create-A-Critter (tulips) and Pooh & Friends (bee and butterfly).

Thanks so much for taking the time to see all of the things created for our daughter's Secret Garden Birthday Party.  It was fun, simple and inexpensive.  Parties don't have to cost a small fortune or be super elaborate to be special.  Demi declared at the end of the party that this was her best, most-special and wonderful birthday ever!

Side note: I love this picture! Demi's expression tells so much about her -- she cracks us up on a regular basis and she is full of fun, energy, life and surprises.

~ Jen

P.S.  Getting a little more "bang for my buck" ~ the butterfly chandelier and the pom-pom flowers were made not only for the party, but to hang in Demi's room later.  The two flower pot centerpieces are currently on my buffet as part of my Easter/Spring decorations -- I have used these flower pots for numerous parties by just changing out the ribbon and the contents of the pot!  The little pink baskets will get put to use in my craft room and for other parties.


Scrappin Rabbit Designs said...

Jennifer Wow!! I love all of your birthday party decorations. The card is amazing the gate looks wonderful. Great job!


craftaholic said...

Wow Love what you did to make the secret garden come alive!! Very super creative and I would love to have you come and do my granddaughters birthday party in the same theme....LOL I wish!! Your daughter looks like she is a very fun little girl to have around!! Thanks for sharing all your very creative decorations!! I am looking for someone to help me get a blog hop together for november. If this is something you might be interested in you can contact me by way of e-mail. TFS!!!
ilovetonkinese2 at hotmail dot com

Kate said...

What lovely, lovely decorations!! How special for your daughter!! I know the story of The Secret Garden quite well as I read it numerous times as a child - and also as an adult, reading it to students and my own children. What a wonderful idea for a birthday party theme!!
I'm also here to let you know that you are the lucky winner of the My Creative Time Color Me Happy stamp set during my giveaway during the FCCB Spring Fling Crawl last week! Congratulations!! Please email me with your postal address to I can send off the stamps to you. (smallbitsofpaper(@) - remove brackets). You have one week to claim your prize. Congratulations again!

Jean said...

How fun!! All of the decorations look great!

JustYolie said...

WHOOOOAAAA!! These are gorgeous.... a true secret garden! Beautiful!

Ladybug said...

Jennifer, your blog is simply adorable. The Secret Garden party was beautiful.

I'm now a follower and can't wait to see what you come up w/ next. :-)

Kaye said...

You need to become a party planner/designer! Unbelievable!!! I love it all!

Where did you find the paper mache flower pots?

Kaye said...

Oh yeah, one more thing. That garden gate invitation is fabulous! Watch out, Cricut might follow your lead and come out with a cartridge....