The Fantastic Mr. Fox Birthday Party

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We made it. We had the birthday party at our house, got our s*#@ together, and made it happen. We were ready, prepared, excited, and set up the backyard with a bouncy house, tables, rugs, and made shade with a pop-up tent and umbrella. The coolers were stocked with drinks and the food was all set. The weather report told us that it would be a nice 73 degrees. They were wrong. It turned out to be a sweltering 90 degree sunny day with no breeze. Everyone wanted to escape the heat, so we had the air conditioner on at full blast, and the forty-plus guests packed in our house like sardines.

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The fox masks were handmade for each child. I started making these at the beginning of the month, and were pretty easy to make after I got the pattern down. Let me tell you, my felt sewing skills are gettin’ pretty good. (For those of you who sew, you know how ridiculous that statement is.)

fox-cake1Chocolate cake was requested by the birthday boy, so I baked a two-layer cake and 3-dozen cupcakes. To decorate, three little fabric flags, a fox, and a hand-drawn “Fantastic Mr. Ben” banner adorned the cake. Oh, and sprinkles too… can’t leave out sprinkles. I forgot to take pictures of the food, but happy with how it all turned out. While coming up with the menu, my whole theme for food was, “Make it simple, stupid.” Here’s what I prepared/didn’t prepare:

  • Tomato Corn Salad: easiest and fastest salad you will ever make. I got the recipe from a friend and maybe some day when I get around to it, I will share it here.
  • Pigs in a Blanket: Yeah, you say it’s trailer-park food, but you secretly love it. These were made days in advance and stored in the freezer. When it was time, all we had to do was put them in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. These were gone in a flash.
  • Ina Garten’s Mac + Cheese: Also made in advance! This is a rich mac + cheese that everyone loves. I left out the tomatoes for the kids and it was a major hit.
  • Vegan Mac + Cheese: Cause it ain’t no fun going to a party if you can’t eat anything. We had a couple vegan guests and I found this recipe online. Kind of insane how easy this was to make, and get this… everyone ate it and loved it.
  • Berries: cut up strawberries and added blueberries. The secret to sweet strawberries other than picking the right ones? Sprinkle on some balsamic vinegar, not too much!
  • Mediterranean Party Platter: I ordered this from SF Bay area restaurant, La Mediterranee just to have a little somethin’ somethin’. I hate not having enough food, so I always go opt for a lot of food.

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Since Mr. Fox’s tail got shot off by the farmers, we decided to help him out and play Pin the Tail on the Mr. Fox. My husband drew the fox and I cut out fox tails from felt. We added washi-tape to write down the names, and put a sticky dot on the back. It was hilarious and the winner got a prize.
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In addition to the fox mask, I made a S’mores Kit for the little guests. I wanted something with an outdoors theme, so I stuffed graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows in a kraft box. I wrote one of my favorite quotes from the movie on the top to remind all the kids how fantastic they are.

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Ok, so want to hear about the good and the bad? The BAD: when you have to have a party with kids inside your house, be ready for some spillage. I found chocolate on my silk pillows, chocolate on my floors, and mac + cheese residue on my rug and carpet. But all was not lost! My mother-in-law told me to wait until everything dried completely, and then brush it off with a dry brush (like an old toothbrush). It totally worked and all I had to do was brush, spot clean just a little afterward, and then vacuum. Love that woman.
fox-invitation The GOOD: My son saying that it was the most awesome party ever. That’s pretty good….. way good…. very good….. like, that’s all I needed to hear.

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At the end of the party, my husband found me out in the backyard on the jumpy house and snapped a picture.  This, my friends, is what happens to parents after throwing birthday parties. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this image.

{All images by Nancy Cho for Uncle Owly}

{You can also check out this birthday party at Anthology Magazine’s blog!}

 

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The 5th Birthday Party

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I think that I’m getting birthday party burn out. Strike that… I KNOW that I’m getting birthday party burnout. Already you say? Yeah, I hear you, this mama better shape up because there are many more to come. I am late sending out the invites, I was almost late in reserving a bouncy house, and now I’m racking my brain for all the other little details. It’s been procrastination city in my head. But maybe we won’t fret over the details this time. Maybe we will just fret over the food – cause we love food in this house, and making sure the kids have fun. We decided to have it at home this year so that we could remind ourselves to have it somewhere else next year.

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On the upside, our little man decided to have a Fantastic Mr. Fox themed birthday party. This did lift up my spirits as we are big fans of Roald Dahl, and big fans of Wes Anderson. I decided to go rustic with this one and paint the heading. It’s much more difficult than writing with, let’s say, a pen or a calligraphy pen. Also, painting words with watercolor made me lose my ability to spell.

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I did however, manage to paint the fox and be fairly happy with the result. I’ve never used watercolors before, so I had to quickly Google, “How to watercolor.” I wasn’t even going to go there with the hands fearing that it would frighten children and look mutant-like, so I cropped the very bottom of the fox in the invitation. I’m also not that good at drawing, so I ain’t gonna lie – I traced just the outline of the head from some other fox image I found online.  But I did have to free-hand the rest and paint it in. You should’ve seen my other fox… it looked like a dog.

Now I guess I’ll put stamps on them and mail them out today. Or tomorrow. ;)

{All images by Uncle Owly – Nancy Cho}

Sailboat Party Theme

I love party themes because they give me direction. Sometimes, it can become a little too obsessive, but in the end, it somehow turns out pretty well. I am in love with this Sailboat party theme by Diaper Style Memoirs. All done DIY style with, get ready for this…. $20. With all the money that goes into parties these days, that $20 price tag is music to my ears. Click here to see all images and full post!

 

Ben’s Second Birthday


My little guy is already two years old. I swear I can still remember him kicking my ribs when he was in my tummy, but now I have to say that that was years, (yes, years plural), ago. The week of the party was a little nuts. Thankfully, my crafty-genius-mother-in-law, came down to help watch the little guy while I frantically started getting things ready for the party. Did I mention that I had to also work, teach, read a book for a book club meeting, and go to a parent board meeting that week too? Oh, and let me also mention that my husband also broke his ankle and had to have nine screws and a metal plate put in his leg. We probably wouldn’t have had a party if my mom-in-law didn’t come to watch the little rascal. I just hope that amidst all the craziness, we didn’t scare her and she will come back again.

Here are some pictures of the party. I baked carrot cupcakes and Ben’s birthday cake. I like simple things… haha, who am I kidding? I didn’t have time to make an extravagant birthday cake, so I was lucky enough to find a cute train set birthday candle holder to go on top of the cake. The suitcase which is holding the party favor bags was my mom’s from the 70’s. If you recall, the favor bags match the invitation I designed. Little Ben wore a t-shirt that read, “Choo choo, I’m 2!” from Cantaloupe Corner. And see that garland above the banner? I actually sewed that! Just cut circles out of felt and fed it through the sewing machine. Voila! It was actually simple and didn’t take that much time. It also helps to have the circle fabric cutter that I have.

Lemonade Anyone?

I can’t wait to have a lemonade stand with the little guy. I want to make him the most bomb-a** lemonade stand ever. I think these vintage looking beverage dispensers from Victorian Trading Co. are perfect for any party, wedding, and yes, the bomb-a** lemonade stand. It will be totally, (in higher pitch voice), awesoooome.

For the Boys

 For those of you have boys, have you noticed that there is a serious lack of stuff for boys out there? For instance, when I go to a place like Target, I find myself in a sea of girls clothes and am so disappointed to find maybe six racks dedicated to boys. Shoe stores will have maybe two rows for boys and about seventeen for girls. Some stores don’t even carry stuff for boys. Apparently, boys don’t need to get dressed or even try to look cute. If we read into this further, we can say that society is already training little girls to shop. That there is a lack of things for boys because boys and men don’t need that stuff to be validated. (I hope you’re getting my sarcasm at this point.) Anyway, point is, there is a lack of stuff for boys.

I was super surprised to see this little Etsy shop by Mates & Rubbish, carrying a Customized Birthday Boy Cupcake Topper for boys. I looked around for the girl one, but did not find it! I’m sure they have one or can make one for the little girls too. But for once, I finally felt like this was one for just the boys.

Snack Bags. AKA – Favor bags

I can’t sew very well. Even straight lines is a challenge for me. When I need to make an absolute straight line, I draw a line on the fabric to follow it. I saw this awesome tutorial for snack bags about a year ago and wanted to give it a try. The instructions are so clear and so easy, that I knew that even I could accomplish this task. I designed the fabric to match the invitations and ordered it through Spoonflower, and loved the way it turned out. If you order from them, I suggest you do this way in advance because it took about five weeks for mine to arrive. They told me that they were backed up, so hopefully it was just bad timing. My amazing mother-in-law is a crafty genius extraordinaire. She recommended that I use a French seam for this project. At first, it sounded like a daunting task, but it was super easy and turned out great!

I’ll be giving out these little favor bags at the birthday party. Parents can use them again as snack bags. I made a couple mock ones before these and have used them for pretzels and crackers. You can even use them for or dirty socks and shoes bags. Oh, you mean that hasn’t happened to you yet? You know, when your kid decides to go play in the puddles and mud and you have to figure out what to do with his nasty socks and shoes? Haha, of COURSE you have!

Birthday Party: Part Deux

OMG. Is it really happening? I realize that veteran parents must be laughing at me, but what ev’s. I need to have my moment, and to all you first child mom’s, you deserve this moment too. The little one is turning two and dang, has time flown by that quickly? If so, then WHY?!?!?! I just looked at all the 1st birthday photos ooh-ing and awwww-ing over the cute little boy in his diaper eating his first cake, and missing the chub stomach rolls and chub thighs. Why is baby growing up so fast?! Too fast!!

Ok, I had my moment. Um. Alright. Yeaaahhh, I’m still obsessing about it.

So, on to birthday number two. The little boy is obsessed with trains. I realize that it probably isn’t the greatest idea that I feed his psychological obsession over trains with a train theme birthday party. Nonetheless, the party must go on! I started with the invitations and loved this train drawing on some wallpaper I saw a while back. (Yes, and I have an obsession over wallpaper, I know, I know.) I used that same train to put on the invitation. Then I custom made fabric to give out as party favors for the kiddos. I told myself that I would tone it down for this party since number one was a little insane. Hehe, I guess I just can’t help myself. No, seriously, I will tone it down.

Anyway, here is the invitation I drew up. I made it look like a train ticket and made little address return labels to match. I do not take any credit for the train drawing because that was wallpaper. As you can see, you will find no Thomas the Train theme here because the little one is actually a little freaked out by Thomas the Train. Weird, ain’t it? I’ll post the fabric bags next time so you can see what they look like.

Tama’s Party by Beka

This colorful birthday party by Beka Clement makes me want to drool. I wish I was a kid at that party standing in front of the dessert bar! In my early days, I was so afraid of color. Yes, I dressed in dreary black all the time. I still do, but I finally have more color in my closet.  This party would convert anyone to love color.  Amazing!  I think I’ll have a bright day today.


Ink + Wit

Sometimes, I wish I was fast and witty. I often find myself saying, “I should have said this!” an hour after a conversation. This stamp set from Ink + Wit is one I wish I had found for the first birthday party. Oh well. But, I looked around and found these adorable tea towels. Super cute, well, almost too cute for tea towels. I think I’d rather hang these up on my walls!

Dabbling with Invitations

I started dabbling around here and there with designing invitations for Korean first birthdays. Since there was such a lack of stuff out there, I decided to take a swing at it. I like incorporating the traditional and the modern together so that things don’t look too, dare I say, fobby. My only problem is, is that I love using Photoshop and I don’t know Illustrator. After talking to my graphic designer friends, seems to be that one must put things in Illustrator to get things printed. I just use my handy-dandy inkjet printer at home. But let me tell ya, this bad-boy printer is great! I’ve been disappointed by getting things printed before and I often times just use my inkjet now. And check out the wood card! I can print that from my printer at home, so I’m excited to try out tons of ideas.

The two flowers that I found a lot in Korean culture was the chrysanthemum and the peony. I am working on a Pogaji one, but that one has me a little stumped. Anyway, let me know which ones you like! Hopefully I’ll be able to get them up on the “Eggy” store soon. Sigh… I should start packing to move my house though…

Benjamin’s Dol

We had Ben’s Chut-Dol party at my aunt’s house. She has a lot of furniture, so it was hard to arrange things to put the head table. We ended up putting it in the middle of a room, which isn’t ideal, but it had to work. The shot above is one of the few taken of my hubby, baby, and I together. Can you believe that we forgot to take more photos as a family? Eesh, these parties can be hectic! But we had lots of fun and ate lots of good food. That’s what it’s all about, right?!

My mother ordered a HUGE ddeuk cake. It was beyond enormous. It didn’t fit in with my table scheme plan, but I let her put it on the table anyway. What can I say but two words… Korean grandma.

However, our friend and photographer from Shades of Beautiful Photography took a picture with the cake I made for Benjamin in the middle of the Dol-Goh-ims like I envisioned before the set up was changed by all the Korean “Ah-jum-ah’s”. You can still see the enormous “Ddeuk” cake. That thing weighed 30 pounds and I was afraid that it was going to swallow us up, “Aaaai-gooo!” Note that all the good photos were taken by him and I took the “other” ones. I’d like to share more of the photos, but maybe in another post! And by the way, how in the world do you spell “ddeuk” in english?

I liked decorating the raffle table the most. It was simple and the easiest thing to do. The stuffed elephants were made by my amazing Mother-in law. The green represented daddy, the pink represented mommy, and the blue was baby. The elephants were also on tables as center pieces and the babies who came to the party got to take them home with them. The blue fabric from the baby elephant was used as table runners and was also used as the bunting flags that was scanned in to make things easier.

After getting used to his surrounding for about an hour, Benjamin finally picked up the pencil and the money. Poor guy was a little freaked out because he just woke up from his nap to see all these people surrounding him.

We set up a “photo booth” for people to take pictures. I have a feeling that this booth idea will be in every party we have from now on because I just loved it. I made the back drop out of two fabric panels and there were decorations that were attached to it. The mustaches and lips were made of scrapbook paper and heavy cardboard in between.

Remember the awesome Poms that I won from Pom Love? I wish I ordered more of them and just had them everywhere. They are so much more beautiful in person, but very difficult to photograph for me!

I think I focused on so many details at this event that there’s just too much to post! i.e. the favor bag, (pictured in previous post with Benjamin eating cake), was filled with Asian goodies and I put a label on it that matched the whole paper scheme, and the Chopsticks and napkin rings. Oh well, we’ll just have to have more birthday parties. In the meantime, I’m taking a break!

Dol Part 1 :: Designing the Paper Stuff

Ready for a total DIY party? Cause that’s what this girl opted to do for this Dol event. I chose the elephant theme because of this darling crib banner that my mother in-law made for my husband when he was a baby. Then I found this elephant punch from Martha Stewart and took off from there. I designed the invitation with the elephant theme and incorporated the traditional Korean stripes on the bottom edge. The pictures do not do the colors justice. I just took horrible pictures for this round… sorry!

Next up, I made little booklets that explained some of the Korean traditions for the first birthday. It was fun for the non-Koreans to read and fun for me to research!

Here’s the poster I designed and printed at Costco. The color and quality of the poster was great and it was printed on a board for $10, what a deal!  I made the raffle tickets and printed them on card stock. Then punched two holes on the sides and used a perforated blade for the top portion so people could tear it off to enter into the raffle.

For party favors, I baked cookies with the help of hubby and mother in-law. We used the Message in a Cookie Cutter set from Williams Sonoma. Love this cookie cutter!

And what’s a party without cupcakes?? I baked a lemon filled and carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I can eat these forever.

We only had one kid show up, (the rest were babies), so I had lots and lots of extras of these “Color Me” bags that I made for kids to color. Oh well, I’ll just hand them out later.

Faux Fabric

I got some fabric to make stuff for the birthday party. Strike that, I got some fabric and my mother-in-law made stuff for the birthday party. She is a wizard and I am an oaf when it comes to sewing. I got an email from her one day and saw that she scanned the fabric that I sent her in case I wanted to use the pattern on other projects. GENIUS. Yes folks, she is a genius. Why? Because I can’t sew and don’t want to sew fabric bunting flags for the party. So, I cheated and used the scanned fabric pattern and used paper instead. These Faux-Fabric flags will match the material that’s being used for…. well… that’s for another blog posting. Saved me a bunch of time, heartache, and fingertip ouchies.

Hot Glue

And the sweatshop continues. We finally finished ONE dol-go-im for our kid’s Dojabi event. Man, this was a lot of beans. I got the directions from the Little Seouls blog, and these instructions were perfect. I’ll load the finished towers when the party comes. Can you tell what animal this is? Because my parents and my aunt couldn’t tell what it was. Are they on crack or were we on crack when we made this?

Let The Crafts Begin!

Now that I have all my ideas down and finalized, I have to actually MAKE all the stuff for our baby’s first birthday. It’s gonna be “Nancy’s Little Sweatshop” in our home for two months. Started with these utensil bags for chopsticks. I bought some glassine bags and then designed a simple card to go inside. At the Korean market, I got a bag of 100 chopsticks for $2.63… I know, what a deal, right? Cut two slits on the card to slide in the chopsticks and voila! Cute chopsticks to match our little party theme. Works great with other utensil as well.