Mini candy bars

Today I am so happy to write about Terron de Azucar, a lovely spanish brand, run by Rebeca, which makes the most beautiful mini candy bars!!! All in them are so full of details, and all of that in a mini size.

Aren’t they lovely? All made by hand by her and personalized with the theme you want. It makes a wonderful present for the kids. I have tried them myself and I can say they are just wonderful.

Great job Terron de Azucar!

-Maria

DIY: Stick Horses


My daughter Coco, was born one cold night at the end of December. It was a cozy time — we stayed inside, everyone was in a festive mood as her birthday fell between Christmas and New Year, so just added in an extra celebration. But one thing that never occurred to me at the time, was the extra complexity of celebrating a party with energetic under 10-year-olds inside; it is either raining or snowing! I am really envious of Courtney, whose eldest son was born in June. She can just let the hoard loose in the garden.

Our birthday parties always need a bit of extra planning and a bit of an activity to keep everyone entertained… and this year the request by the birthday girl was a pony party.  No more, no less. So after a bit of head scratching and internet research, we decided on the following: Stick horses made out of plywood to be decorated at the party (very much inspired by Esther’s stickhorses and knight parties).


It was a ton of fun and the bonus was all the games afterwards were naturally pony-themed. Musical horses (every time you remove a horse instead of a chair), the dancing statue game done while galloping on horses, carrot cake and apple tarte as birthday cakes (’cause ponies like apples and carrots).

It was such a success that Violette has already commissioned a puppy-themed party for her birthday party in April — so it is back to the drawing board!

- Emilie

Beat the January (and February) blues!

Last Monday was apparently ‘Blue Monday’ — the most depressing day of the whole year! Courtney and I are always complaining about January and February months here in Northern Europe — it’s dark, cold, wet, the kids are sick and there is not a lot to look out to. Well, on Blue Monday, I put up a few pompoms in front of our living room window to brighten things up a bit, and it had an instant happyfying result. The pompoms are available from Visje bij de Thee — along with many more gorgeous products that would make my January/February blues melt in an instant. I also made this quick Lemon Poppyseed Drizzle cake, and treated myself to some some new Marimekko coffee cups. We’ve got to do what we can, don’t we?!
What’s the weather like where you are??

xxx Esther

Linen Party Hats from Colette Bream

For Christmas this year Esther sent my kids these adorable little party hats. It was one of the first things we opened on Christmas morning and so my kids spent the remainder of Christmas wearing them. It made for some super cute and festive photos (see here, here and here)! The handmade linen hats are so sweet and are such a fun little thing to wear for any celebration. I’m already excited to use them for upcoming birthday parties this year.

The hats are available from the ColetteBream Etsy shop along with so many other cute, cute things. (Seriously, this shop is one of my favourites on Etsy!).

x Courtney

Cake Pops


Some gadgets are essential in life, like a can opener and, for me, an espresso maker. Others are not essential at all, but really fun to have.

Take the cake pops maker, which my girls were given for Christmas. It will definitely not be used daily, but it is great to have for rainy afternoons and birthday parties. It’s actually a great alternative to cupcakes.

I know cake pops have been around a while now in the US and the UK, but they have not arrived in Paris yet, so I am looking forward to introducing them to Paris, one cake pops at a time!

- Emilie

Imaginative party selections at Carousel

I just received a little package with a selection of stocking fillers and toys from new shop on the block Carousel… and oh, how pretty it all is! Carousel recently launched with a beautifully designed webshop and a superb selection of children’s party products. Everything about Carousel is just so stylish — the website, the branding, the presentation of the products, the selection of products itself, the way orders are wrapped… Clearly a lot of thought and care went into every aspect of the design of this great shop.

You will find great decor, fun tableware, a great dress up selection, stylish stationery, and a wonderful selection of toys and sweets for stocking fillers and party bags. This is really the perfect place and one stop destination for everything you need for your kid’s next birthday party.

xxx Esther

Sewing Christmas Cards

Today I would like to share the Christmas Cards we made at home this year which I posted in eb&m this week. With craft paper and a sewing machine we made the envelopes, and the cards.

With a snowflake punch I  garnished the cards a little bit.

And then Nico painted them!! Now we have to do some more, and we are waiting for the day to send them. I love receiving Christmas Cards in the mailbox. Don’t  you?

Many people asked me about sewing paper. If  the paper has enough weight you have no problem and it sews just perfectly!

- Maria Cañal

The Kid Who — for great gift giving!

The Kid Who is a freshly launched online store with a great collection of the coolest contemporary children’s products. Simply everything is want-able in this shop, for kids and for their parents alike. I love how fresh and fun the products are.

Besides the superb collection of gifts, the collection of wrapping paper, gift-tags and cards is also really great. So fun and so original. At The Kid Who, the whole act of shopping, wrapping and giving becomes a party by itself. I will definitely be shopping by this season!

xxx Esther

Last Minute Halloween Costumes


This year for Halloween Henrik is going as a bat and Maja will be Red Riding Hood.  I like to keep Halloween costumes simple, something we have at home or they can wear over and over again as dress up.

Henrik has been talking about being a bat for Halloween for a long time now and I was happy to oblige (some of his other ideas sounded very complicated and involved).  His costume was so easy to make, for the bat body I bought a black long sleeve shirt and leggings in the girl’s section of the department store. To make the wings I cut two pieces of felt, black and gray, in the shape of bat wings.  I cut the black felt smaller and sewed it onto the gray felt.  I then sewed thick elastic at the ends of the wings as armbands for Henrik to slide his arms through.  I also tacked the top of the wings to his shirt in a few places like the neck and shoulders.  To make the mask I cut a thick band of black felt, cut out two eye holes, and attached the back onto a piece of thick black elastic.  I then cut the ears out of black and gray felt, sewed them together and attached them to the mask.

I used black washi tape to make the Haunted Castle and Henrik made the grave yard out of silver washi tape.  This was so easy to make, It only took about five minutes and Henrik and I had so much fun doing it.

Little Miss Red Riding Hood’s costume was even easier than the bat costume.  Luckily I had this darling red cape (One of the first things I bought after I found out I was having a girl!).  The rest of the outfit came from Maja’s wardrobe as well.  The wolf toy you can get here and the large log pouf here.  I bought most of my washi tape from Darly Bird, she has an amazing selection.

I hope you enjoy and have a happy Halloween!

-Meta

A rock and roll birthday party

Last weekend we celebrated the 6th birthday of my son Nicolas. He and his friend Nacho wanted a party with loads of music. And they sure got it!. They very much enjoyed their birthday — singing, playing the drums, guitars and piano! All made at home with cardboard boxes and wood.

The name of the band was chosen by the two kids, and I am not sure it means something meaninful in English, but it sounded quite cool for a “spanish” band!!. The illustration of the lovely bug was made by our really good and talented friends, Mr. Wonderful.

The Hat Bugs did the sound check before the rest of the guests arrived. They had to check guitars, piano, microphones, drums… it was fun! And when the guests arrived they all wanted to go on stage and sing!! (more…)

Super hero photo booth

A few weeks ago we threw my son Henrik a super hero party.  I thought it would be fun for the kids to feel like they were real super heroes flying through the sky saving lives, so we created a city scene photo booth.  At first the kids didn’t understand why they needed to lay on the ground with their arms stretched out and their feet pointed. Once they saw the pictures they understood they were more willing to oblige and started getting into it.  The adults at the party had so much fun watching the kids strike their different super hero poses.

To make the city scene all you need is an old blue sheet, a ladder, a cloud pillow or two, buildings made out of cereal boxes and duct tape, and of course a willing super hero with a cape and mask.  For the buildings I enlisted the help of my good friend Merrilee who among her many talents is something of a duct tape genius.

All the photos are taken by the lovely Ashley Thalman.  To see more pictures from the super hero party and a leather mask DIY click here and here.

I saw this idea originally many years ago in a craft book and unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the book, maybe someone can help me out?

-Meta

DIY: Personalise your party glasses

Last weekend we celebrated my son’s birthday.  Today I would like to share the glasses I made for the day. It is a simple idea that helps the kids keep track of their own glasses!!!

I got the milkshake glasses in “La Fiesta de Olivia“. They are are so nice, remind me of some “old movies”!!.  I just added a band of chalk paint to each of them.

And wrote the names of the guests!! It also works well in glass, but in glass the paint will go as soon as you wash it, which is good so you can use it just for the day of the party!!

- Maria

Apple stamping and tote bag making!


Last May it was Sara’s 7th birthday, and she wished for a ’sewing’ party with her girlfriends. I suspect this has to do with the craft night I organise with a few of my girlfriends every 2 weeks on Monday night, which involves tea and homemade cake and lots of chit-chat. Sara loves the idea of it — she always lies awake in her bed, waiting until my friends are here and secretly joins us for a bit of cake and some knitting before I put her to bed for a second time.

For her birthday party, I decided to apple-stamp tote bags with Sara and her girlfriends. I prepared the bag linings beforehand (up to step 4 below), and cut and ironed the outside of the bags in preparation as well. At the party, we let the girls stamp their own name and apple design first. When the outside of the bags were drying (see photo) we played games and had cake. Afterwards, we let the girls sew the sides of the bags using Sara’s sewing machine (step 6 below). Nothing but two straight lines, but except for Sara, none of the girls had ever touched a sewing machine before, so this was a big success! I quickly sewed the lining to the outside of the bags so all the girls could take their personal tote bag home. It was such fun to see all the tote bags the next day at school – used as gym, book or lunch bags!

As for the making of — here is a quick how-to. I used this twenty-minute-tote-tutorial from the PurlBee for the basic idea. And in the meantime, I have been making more of these bags for personalised baby presents. Fun!

(more…)

DIY: personal birthday candles

This week in escarabajos bichos y mariposas, I wrote about the candles I make for my parties. I like them being more personal. The ones in the pictures are from my son’s cowboy  birthday party. To make them long I use a wooden skewer, I attach the candle to the stick with some string and finally add a little object/goodie related to the party, in this case a blue star.

Photos

Very simple and I think it makes a difference. Kids love it!

- Maria

Engel — bunting and more

What a wonderful mini-present, this adorable bunting birthday card by Dutch company Engel. The card itself features sweet printed bunting, but in a little plastic bag attached to it (with cool neon stitching), is an adorable mini bunting — such fun to decorate the cake with, or the party table, for example! And it comes with an envelope so can easily be posted to far away friends as well.

Engel is a Dutch brand and webshop which started some years ago when Sabien Engelenburg decided to sit down behind her sewing machine to sew her daughter a bunting made from the fabric scraps her grandmother left her. Engel is most known for its beautiful buntings, but I also love the pretty and practical wipe-clean tablecloths and pompoms, and the many other cool products they sell in their webshop. Worth a visit!

xxx Esther

Giant Coloring Poster


Here is yet again a product that I am officially buying for the good of my children, but to be honest, I actually also want it myself. It is a 3m (which I believe is 10 ft) long giant colouring poster! Can you imagine pulling this out of your hat one rainy weekend, when everyone is cranky and a little bit bored?? I reckon this could be a hit for the whole family! It can be used as wallpaper that kids officially can draw on,  or you can spread it out on the floor or use as a tablecloth for a party — the possibilities are endless.

- Emilie

Decorate your own shield — a knights’ party


For Pim’s ‘knights’ themed birthday party last week, we had the idea of letting the boys decorate their own shields. I always like to do something a bit creative with the kids to offer some ‘downtime’ before the more active games we played later. My husband had made 8 shields out of thin beech plywood, with bands (from cheap winch straps), and rivets. He used a round plate to make the design, and an electric jigsaw to saw out the shields. I was impressed by how fast he made them, by the cool-looking end results, and by the sturdiness of the shield! Oh, and the materials we used were really cheap — I think we didn’t spend more than 10 euros for the 8 shields together.

Shields in the making

The finished shields

I printed some different images of coats of arms like dragons, lions, and unicorns, and bought carbon paper (didn’t know it still existed, but it does!). As a first party activity, each boy transferred a drawing onto their shield using the carbon paper. Taping the printed paper and carbon paper to the shield helped to keep everything in place. The magic of tracing the drawing and automatically transferring it to the shield kept them interested! Afterwards, they used markers to colour and personalise their shields. I was so impressed by their concentration — they loved this activity and were so serious, and so proud of the results!

Transferring the design using carbon paper

Colouring and decorating

Of course we couldn’t resist sewing 8 tunics for the knights the night before the party (including a tiny one for Ava!), and to get a few plastic party helmets to go with the outfit. (Swords were forbidden — for obvious reasons…)

Baby knight

Games (or ‘knight’s challenges’) included: Obstacle course in the kids’ bedroom (under the bed, over the bed, jump 10 times, somersault, etc.), pin the fire to the dragon’s mouth (like pin the tail to the donkey), mastering the yoga warrior pose, and killing the piñata dragon (finally they were allowed to use a sword!). All the kids got a score card around their neck, and each time they had surpassed a challenge they earned a sticker. Only with a full card did they earn their official ‘knight certificate’, which, printed with a Medieval type font on brownish paper and with burned edges, looked impressive enough!

Pin the fire to the dragon

The party bags (do you remember the stamp we made?) and the knight certificates

It was a fun party and the kids loved it! We were pretty exhausted though. I’m glad I don’t have five overactive 5-year-old boys in our house every day!

xxx Esther

Giant Balloons

I discovered these giant balloons on My Little Day and now cannot wait for one of my kid’s birthday parties to come up. I think they are so cool. They get up to 90 cm big and still are as light as a feather — so much fun to throw around and play with!

I also love another idea the clever ladies from My Little Day have: why not fill up one of these balloons with toys and bonbons before you blow it up and use it as a piñata? The balloons do come with a good piece of advice:  incredible lungs or a balloon pump are strongly recommended, if not you might get a little bit tired of blowing these things up… they need a lot of air

- Emilie

A knights party invite — lino printing

For Christmas my thoughtful husband gave me a set of lino cutting tools and some card-size sheets of linoleum. Do you remember linoleum cutting from when you were a kid? The smell of linoleum brought me right back to the craft room of my primary school in the countryside — amazing, the memories smells can bring back to you.
With Pim’s 5th birthday fast approaching I had good reason to make a stamp: the party invites! Pim had been requesting a knights party, so I asked him to draw a knight for me. I transferred his knight to the piece of linoleum — you can trace the drawing on tracing paper using a soft pencil, put it face down on the linoleum and rub so the drawing transfers on the stamp, or use old-fashioned carbon paper (another thing from the past).

After having cut out the stamp, which takes a bit of time but is extremely relaxing, you can ink the drawing using block printing ink and a little roller, and press down on a piece of paper. A rolling pin works well to press the stamp down evenly. Carefully lift the lino up and let dry. Done!!

You can also print on fabric using fabric paint — the possibilities are endless…

That was fun! And I already know how I’m going to decorate the party bags!!

xxx Esther

Pinatas

Seriously, is there anything better in the world than beating on a massive ball with a stick and, when you finally smash it open, being showered in bonbons? It’s no wonder kids go crazy for piñatas.

Piñatas had not really crossed my radar until I went on holiday to Mexico last year. But now we can’t possibly consider a birthday party complete without a good piñata bashing! Here in Paris I pick our piñatas up from a lovely shop called La Pinata, which is along the Canal St Martin (the photo above is of a pinata I picked up for Coco’s birthday last week). I have also found a ton of piñata DIY posts online, like these by the lovely Oh Happy Day blog, just in case you do not have a handy piñata shop around the corner!

By the way, it is hilarious watching the way kids react when they are picking the bonbons out of the broken pinata. Some just go crazy and try to grab whatever they can, others stand back observe and hone in for the choice pickings!

- Emilie

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