Girls Scream Loudly (magic wands, tiaras, and princess capes)
Okay, I just survived another in-home children’s birthday party–once again reminded of why it’s so nice to hire one of those places to do it for you, on their own turf. But here we were able to save a huge amount of money and prevent a huge amount of garbage-generation. And my daughter had fun.
All in all, this was pretty okay. 8 girls total, ages 4-5, for a “Princess Pajama Party.” They came in their jammies, we made pizzas and decorated and iced our own cupcakes, we made princess tiaras and magic wands, and I made them each a little princess cape. We used disposable cups because we honestly don’t have enough real cups to serve all these girls (plus I have a stock leftover from pre-greenness, so I didn’t go out and buy anything at least), but the flatware and plates were all real–and when all was said and done, we were able to save the “disposable” cups anyway, because they were that hard plastic that washes really easily. (The kind of thing I would never buy now, but they are in my house, so the footprint for them is mine whether I want it or not–might as well make the most of it.) I lamented to a friend today that the cupcakes were a little overbaked, but she wisely said, “who cares? They won’t eat the cupcakes anyway; they’ll ice and decorate them, and then they’ll eat all the icing and decorations off them, and then they’ll say they’re full.” She was absolutely correct. And between crafts and foodstuffs we played a couple of games, and they ran around the house a bit, they screamed at the top of their lungs a bit, and in the end we got them settled in front of a princess movie munching popcorn for the last 20 minutes till their parents arrived.
I was fairly proud of the crafts too, though they in hindsight might have been better for girls maybe age 6-7, requiring a little more dexterity than these kids could handle. The basic tiara directions I found here–you use pipe cleaners and beads to make a really nice sparkly crown thing. The magic wands were pretty much my own creation: you get wooden dowels about a foot long and a quarter inch thick, and either cut out cardboard stars to glue onto the end or, in my case, little spheres with the right size hole in them to fit into the dowels. Roll the dowel part in aluminum foil, put a little square over the tip (or star if that’s what you’re using), and it’s silver-colored. (no toxic paint fumes.) Tie three different colored ribbons around the tip–I strung a jingle bell on one of the ribbons too, so it made a nice jingle. If we’d been outside I would have done glitter glue instead of foil. Easy and quick, and I was basically thinking to send kids home with things that they would actually play with, not throw away.
The princess capes were fun too, and surprisingly easy,though of course I did those myself. Two words: panne velvet. ($4.99/yard at JoAnn’s, I got 9 capes out of 2.5 yards.) It has this nice quality of sort of curling around the cut edges, so you can get away without hemming it or finishing any of the edges. I made these little capes by gathering the cloth onto a band and sewing ribbons onto either end; if I were doing it again, I’d probably just buy double fold bias tape, extra wide, and just enclose the gathers onto that. But these were really easy; making 9 of the things only took a couple of hours, if that–and that included a lot of trial and error and figuring out the easiest way to do it; I could probably do it in half the time now that I have the hang of it. Each princess got her cape as she came in the door.
I was slightly aghast that two of the girls, before leaving, stood there in front of me with their capes and crowns and wands and asked where the goodie bags were. Sigh. You can’t win.
But my daughter is happy. That’s what matters.