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A Springtime Flower Party

It feels a tad weird to be writing about Springtime and flowers while currently traveling through winter weather, but Spring has already sprouted in our southern home: trees budding, wildflowers sprinkling the highways, songbirds chirping at sunrise. As Rilke wrote, “It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” And so we celebrated our youngest songbird’s eighth birthday with flowers and friends, two of her very favorite things.

To keep birthday experiences simple for our home, our children only have the option for a birthday party on certain years, a year when they can opt for a party experience with friends as their gift from me and Mark. So when they choose a party, I tend to make the details special, something they will enjoy and something to remember. Olive and I had several conversations about what type of party she wanted, which left me feeling she should consider event planning one day, as they were all such large-scale, fun ideas. In the end we opted to recreate a flower market experience and allow each friend space to make their own arrangement. Blythe thoughtfully painted a sign for Olive to hang in her shop.

Since our backyard is currently a mesh of backyard projects and renovations, I asked a dear friend if I could host the party on her beautiful property in the country. We don’t have a flower market at our farmer’s market, but they are one of my favorite things to enjoy when we travel.

When the girls arrived, they each had a spot at the table, marked with a paper doily, mason jar vase, drinking glass, and paper-lined basket for little nibbles. They each perused and gathered from the flower market (set up with a lemonade stand) and returned to their spots where they had access to scissors for trimming stems and various colors of string for decorating their vases (and for marking their personal arrangement). We talked about the importance of flowers and pollinators in the world, a repeat conversation from our homeschool group’s flower study the week before.

Once the girls finished making flowers, they sipped Italian soda and filled their baskets with berries and popcorn. We sang happy birthday to Olive with mini lemon-filled cupcakes, and she opened gifts and read thoughtful notes from friends, many of which included bubble gum. The girls each filled and stamped small envelopes with wildflower seeds to take home and grow their own cutting gardens.

Although the party created quite the mess, it was a simply, beautiful way to celebrate the season. For those of you interested in hosting your own (even for adults!), here are a list of materials I used. for younger girls, it’s best to have a few extra set of adult hands available for helping tie knots and cut difficult stems. For older girls and adults, create a bit more time for the art of arrangement with helpful tips, such as how to choose colors or arrange by height and spill. Consider the audience ages and their attention span/interest levels. Most of this group preferred to simply jump right in! Either way can be fun. Enjoy!

MATERIALS TO CREATE YOUR OWN SPRINGTIME FLOWER PARTY

watercolor invitations

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In the world of digital everything, receiving real mail (even when hand-delivered) can feel like a gift. E-mail is convenient and free, and with so many digital invitation options (Evite, Paperless post, etc.), it’s often difficult to justify the time and expense for paper. I get it. Believe me, I get it. Time is valuable, which is exactly why a handmade, snail-mailed invitation can be just the right treat for your guests, no matter their age. Of course, an invite tucked in with confetti and wrapped in twine will feel like a mini-party in itself.

I love the variation and imperfection of watercolors for this project. Although similar, each invitation had a slightly different hue and rhythm, but most of all, Blythe made each one. I helped her mix the paints (crimson, with a little white and yellow) and write, but she chose the colors and painted them herself (sadly, I only had my iphone available for that part).  It was such a fun collaboration and a way for Blythe to feel a little ownership in her event. We used them for her birthday, but you could easily adapt this idea for any event or to create a stationery gift. Below, I included the materials and steps for you to do it yourself at home. Enjoy!

{what you need}

  • watercolor paper (postcard size or cut larger sheets)
  • watercolors
  • paint brush/es
  • pen/marker
  • envelopes
  • confetti
  • twine

{steps}

  1. Decide the color/s you want to use and mix your paints. Don’t worry about it being perfect, as I said, the imperfection is part of the beauty.
  2. Fill a glass of water and begin making strokes along your paper. You may choose to cover the entire paper, creating an ombré effect (dark to light) or leave unfinished edges (as Blythe did).
  3. Let them fully dry (at least 24 hours).
  4. Use a fine-tipped marker or pen to write your invitation.
  5. Place completed invites in an envelope with a small bit of confetti.
  6. Seal the envelopes and wrap with twine. (You may skip the twine altogether if you’re sending them in the mail.)

a {little} spa party

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Every other year after age 5, we give each of our kiddos the option of a birthday gift or party. Blythe, who turned seven this weekend, had the choice this year. And until recently, she had wanted to repeat last year’s trip with just our family only to decide two weeks ago she wanted to celebrate her special day with her friends instead — spa style. So with two weeks to plan and a small-ish budget (under $100), we began to collect ideas. Her only requests? Nail polish and cucumber slices for their eyes. So with the help of Pinterest, my sister, and the dollar store, we changed our dining area into a {little} spa complete with manis/pedis and facials for nine little girls. Kristen and a few of my friends volunteered to help me as the spa technicians, and we all dressed in black accordingly. (Wink.) I bought the flip flops, pedicure sets, wash cloths, sequin head wraps, and plastic party buckets (“foot tub”) at the dollar store to use at the party and then send home with each of the girls. I also bought fake rose petals, lavender epson salt, crepe paper, and nail polish there as well. In the event you’re hosting a similar party for your little or wanting to adapt it for women, here’s the details. Have fun–these girls sure did!

——————————————————————————————————————–

{menu}

+ yogurt bar  {yogurt, berries, granola, marshmallows, mini-chocolate chips, & sliced almonds}

+ powdered donut cake

+ infused water {filtered water with muddled blackberries, strawberries, peeled oranges, and mint}

{supplies} –all purchased at dollar stores or borrowed from our home

per person:

+ plastic party bowl (“foot tub”)

+ pedicure set

+ 2 washcloths (1 dry for feet /1 warm, damp cloth to clean their faces)

+ 1 rolled towel or pillow

+ head wrap

for group use:

+ 1 package of lavender epsom salt

+ 1 bag of fake rose petals

+ nail polish

+ candles

+ music (found an existing playlist)

{facial mask}

1 part parsley, 1 part cucumber, 1 part plain yogurt

Puree the parsley and cucumber together. Mix in the yogurt. You’ll need approximately 2 Tbsp per face.

{description}

When the girls arrived, we “checked them into the spa” near the front door where they exchanged their shoes for their flip flops. We wrote their names on a list that we used later for gifts. The girls also wrote their names on little white tags that they carried with them to their seat inside the “spa room.” I really wanted to create the feeling they were entering a space, so we had twisted various shades of crepe paper to look like large beads and hung it from a string pinned between two walls. (I modified this tutorial to get the technique.) Each of the girls chose a seat and began soaking their feet in the lavender water until a helper came to gently scrub, dry,  and lotion their feet and then paint their toenails. After their pedicures, the helpers placed their name tags into their pedicure bags so we could make sure the right supplies went to the right homes.  We then gathered around the table just outside the “spa room” and sang Happy Birthday. The girls created their own yogurts using mini-jelly jars, ate mini-donuts on cocktail napkins, and drank the fruit-infused water. During this time, the helpers and I emptied water buckets, cleared the chairs, and prepared the same “spa room” space for facials. We pulled out rolled towels, placing head wraps for each girl on top (so their facial mask wouldn’t get in their hair). When the girls finished eating, they put on a headband and laid their heads on the towel rolls. The helpers and I went around brushing their facial masks on–complete with cucumbers over the eyes–and painting their finger nails. After sitting for a few minutes (some of them would have fallen asleep), we used warm, clean washcloths to wipe their skin. When the girls were clean again, Blythe opened her gifts and the two-hour party ended.  (And all the adults needed naps–wink.)