Rebecca had her birthday party over the weekend. She'd requested an art party long ago, and I was only too happy to oblige.
The invitations were easy enough, just blobs of colored construction paper glued to a quarter sheet of cardstock. With rounded corners, of course. The pertinent info was first printed on the backside. I was super diligent on the RSVPs this time, because I needed to know exactly how many kids were going to attend. I had the brilliant idea that each kid would get a personalized apron as they walked through the door.
Seventeen kids later, I wasn't quite so keen on my idea, but I managed. I even finished everything up before midnight on the eve of the party. Final count: 5 As, 4 Js, 3 Ms, 2 Ks, 1 H, 1 P, and 1 R; 68 straps; 34 plastic rings; 8.5 yards of fabric; 2 sewing machine needles; and at least 21 meals eaten on the coffee table, since all the sewing stuff was strewn all over the dining room.
I didn't have a pattern, just made it up by studying some of the aprons I own, and using what I had. I would have liked having D rings for the adjustable neck straps, but they were too cost prohibitive, and anyway I had these plastic circles I'd gotten years and years ago from an estate sale purchase of a box of knitting supplies. They worked fine for my purpose, and I still have some left over. These aprons are fully reversible and adjustable, and highly customizable. I hope all the kids liked them, I'm proud of the way they turned out. I've never sewn seventeen of anything at one time before, and it was quite an experience. I know there are a million apron tutorials out there, but if anyone wants to know how I did these particular ones, I'd be happy to put together a show and tell. I took a ton of pictures along the way.
So anyway, back to the party. Everyone got an apron as they arrived, siblings had their initials in matching fabrics. There was even a mini apron for the youngest guest, only 18 months old. Our first activity was cornstarch clay, using this recipe which produces the smoothest, most non-sticky homemade dough I've ever had the pleasure of playing with. Jessie kept inhaling it, saying it smelled like rice. Nothing caustic, unbelievably inexpensive, and comes together so easily. It feels amazing. I recommend turning off the heat the instant the dough starts forming, while it's still easy to stir. Remove it from the heat, you don't want a crust to form at the bottom of your pan. I skipped the food coloring bit, planning to use watercolors instead, but the kids were fine with just the white clay, so I figured why complicate things? On the tables I had plastic cookie cutters, texture plates and Play-Doh tools, along with some straws. I made six batches for the seventeen kids, but four probably would have been more than enough.
Then we moved on to fabric softies. Totally pinching Louise'sidea, I made seventeen randomly shaped stuffed things and set out buckets of fabric scraps, ribbons, yarn, buttons, beads, fabric markers and fabric glue. These are just a few of the amazing creatures that were born. I didn't go with needle and thread because of the mixed ages of the kids, but I could totally see revisiting this idea in a few years. Wish I'd taken some before photos, I liked that bucket full of chubby shapes. Some had yarn appendages, some didn't (mainly because I just forgot to include them before I started stitching).
Then the kids had some snacks while we cleaned the tables and set up for the final craft, painting. I found some wooden frames and keychains at Michaels, and along with some cheap paintbrushes and a couple dozen bottles of acrylic paint I had in my stash (yikes!), the kids really got to make a mess and play with color. It was so much fun watching everyone thoroughly enjoy themselves. Even the parents were getting into it. And, oh, in case you were thinking I was completely insane, this was all done in a rented clubhouse, *not* in my living or dining room. Ha. I'm not that crazy.
My sweet, sweet baby is seven today, she hasn't seemed baby-ish in quite a while now. All arms and legs, skinny and so grown-up. She reads Roald Dahl with legs hanging over the arm of the couch, and wants to check her email at least once a day. She plays a mean game of Dots, and puts away all the utensils as they come out of the dishwasher. Happy seven sweetheart, I'm glad you had so much fun at your party with your friends. I hope the next year is your best yet.
Great, great times, and I even had help cleaning up.