Wednesday, October 1, 2008

(Paper bag) Princess Party

I am feeling so uninspired to do anything lately that does not involve yarn, felt or, apparently, butter. It seems I have been going through butter at an alarming rate. That is probably because I made this crazy castle cake for Emma's birthday party.

The cake involved baking five little cakes and layering them. It seemed like it would be really easy after watching this video of some pastry chef masquerading as a normal lady make the cake. Anyway, my cake had a few foundation problems and leaned way over to the side, causing the ice cream cone turrets to sort of come at you from weird, scary angles. Emma was very happy with it though and it tasted okay so that was really all that mattered.

Not that you asked, but here are the puppets and backdrop I made for the Paper Bag Princess party.

It turns out it's really easy and rewarding to make your own puppets. I found an easy pattern for making the base of the puppet (I would share it with you, but I can't seem to find it on the internet just now). Then I just had fun gluing on their faces and accessories. As their faces came to life I just kept smiling at my little felt creations. It's probably hormonal (on my part not the puppets'), but they just seemed to have their own little puppet personalities once I was done with them. Anyway, I highly recommend making some puppets. And it's so fun to personalize them to your child's favorite stories. I still owe Charlie a rocket ship puppet. Here's our puppet show in case you're interested in checking it out!

The other fun, crafty thing I did for the party was to make giant coloring pages to serve as decoration and a party activity for the kids. Basically, I scanned in pictures from the Paper Bag Princess book. Then I turned the scanned picture into a black and white line drawing by using the "lithograph" setting on the software that came with my printer/scanner. I also have a similar setting on the software that came with my Kodak digital camera--it's called "coloring book" in that software. Anyway, I turned a color picture like this:

Into a coloring book page like this

Then I took the black and white pages to Kinko's and blew them up to 2 ft. x 3 ft. posters for the kids to color. You can see the same picture behind Emma & Charlie in this picture.

I was very pleased with how the big coloring pages turned out and I think they would also be a fun and inexpensive way to jazz up a kid's bedroom. You could have them up as coloring pages and give your child (washable) crayons to use at his/her leisure or you could frame some favorite storybook art this way too. Oh, my brain is just bursting with the craft ideas at the moment! Not so much with the writing, but for everything there is a season, right?

Here's another project I've been working on at night (instead of blogging):

I won't tell you how long it took me to get that one piece of the baby sweater completed. I had to start over at least eight times before I finally got the hang of the cables. Before I figured out the pattern, the baby in that Time For Baby picture would stare up at me and I imagined he was saying, while smiling his smug little baby smile "you'll never figure out how to make this sweater. You are completely incapable of knitting cables, silly." But I sure showed him. Check out those cables, baby. Who's silly now? I am now working on the front of the sweater and so far, so good. Once I figure out all the weird knitting lingo and my hands just start doing what they're supposed to do and I don't hear that baby making fun of me in my head, I really enjoy knitting--especially knitting for a baby that is kicking and wriggling around as I my needles click along. I can't help but think of the following verses (from Psalm 139):

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

There is something almost holy about knitting something for a baby. With each stitch there is the opportunity to ponder this new life that is on the cusp of being in this world, but is still not quite here yet. How will this baby leave his mark? What will his particular gifts and talents be? What will my job be as his mother? I love to think about this stuff as I make his little brown sweater. That is so much more fascinating to me at the moment than writing. Writing, I'll come back to you soon, I promise. For now, I've got a sweater I simply have to make.


Jennifer said...

So sweet. You're already doing the work of mothering to this little fella. I bet he will be so happy to see you. Have you read the "Are You my Mother?" book lately? For some reason that story popped to mind.

Great ideas!!


Phillips Family said...

What a great party...I am loving the large coloring book pages. Glad no one lost an eye on a wayward ice cream cone from your cake (which is super cute!)

Good luck with the knitting!

Childrens beds said...

Awwww that baby sweater is lush, wish we had the time to make something so special!

Suzanne said...

Wow! Your kids are really lucky! Could I move to Mommytown?

Robin said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE all the craftiness. Emma's party looks like a ton of fun (both preparing for it and experiecing it). I bet she was in Princess Heaven. How Clara would have loved to have been there (not to mention her mommy). And the sweater is just amazing. Oh, I am so excited for #3 to arrive!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so impressed with your creativity. It's easy to see where Emma gets it. The party and the puppet show were precious. You have some very lucky children. Sorry I couldn't be there this year.

Deanna said...

This looks so fabulous! I too have been living in kid party land where everything starts blurring into a craft idea. I love the puppets and the show and the coloring book pages! Very cool that you have a video of the puppet show up.

Raegan Brown said...

Okay, I have to say that for a mother of two that is going to have a baby soon you are way too impressive. I can't imagine how you do it, and then find time to write about it!

Love the party and love the sweater. And that is an awesome idea about the coloring pages. Even just normal-sized ones for daily use.

BTW, you've turned Deanna on to that SouleMamma site and created quite a monster :)