Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An Art inspired Birthday party...

We celebrated Ava's 8th birthday with LOTS of paint and LOTS of art...which I think would have been my dream birthday as a kid : )  What is it that they say about living vicariously through your children? Anyway...

It all started with the invitation which I LOVE.  My friend Carolyn helped me out with her amazing graphic design skills.  Pantone color books were the inspiration for the invitation.  Ava is obsessed with them, so it seemed like the perfect way to get her excited about the festivities to come.  You can see more about the invitations and find out where to order them here

I had seen many art parties where the kids painted on individual canvases, but I wanted to try something different.  In the weeks leading up to the party, I bought some insulation foam sheets and had the hardware store cut them into various sizes.  In all, I had 8 pieces.  I then painted them white.  I looked up "famous artwork coloring pages" online and found a lot of choices.  I took my favorites and projected them onto the foam sheets and then traced them with a large sharpie.  

The result looked like life-sized coloring pages.  I LOVED it.  And who could go wrong with Vincent Van Gogh, Mary Cassat, John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet and Piet Mondrian as inspiration? 

I really wanted the back yard to feel like an art studio, but I had no clue how to display these really large "canvases"...so I gave that job to Jason : )  And he had the amazing idea to make easels out of ladders.  We gathered 8 ladders of various sizes, some wood...some metal, and he attached wood dowels to them and made them into easels. We then took canvas dropcloths and draped them around the bases of the ladders, so it would feel like a messy art studio. 

In the center of all the easels, we had a table set up with all of the art supplies- aprons, paint brushes, tempura and acrylic paint and pallets. 

The weather was going back and forth between cold and warm in the week prior to the day of the party, so we had a space heater on standby, but it ended up being a beautiful day.  To chase a way the last bit of cool in the air, we had hot chocolate and apple cider for the kiddos..

I had a little sign to greet everyone that said "Ava's Art Studio" as they came into the backyard. 

And then it began...

Everyone selected their apron, paint brushes and paints and then chose the artwork they wanted to paint.

The canvases were large enough for the kids to work in pairs which ended up being a lot of fun to watch.

A couple of them got a little carried away and started to paint each other...

 ...but most stayed pretty focused : )

After the masterpieces were completed, it was time to eat.  Ava chose everything on the menu- veggies and dip, fruit salad, cheese and crackers, orchard salad...and to throw a bone to the people who eat meat, she consented to corn dog muffins : )

We served lemonade and punch in mason jar glasses.

I use these glasses at every party now, but try to make them look different with new toppers, ribbons and straws.  This time, I used the same artwork coloring pages for the toppers. I colored them in with the pink, green and yellow that Ava picked out, and then tied a ribbon around each one, and added a classic yellow chevron paper straw. 

I made silverware packets by gluing two paint cards together (that I picked up at Home Depot) and then stuffed it with a napkin, fork and spoon. 

After all the food was eaten, it was time for cupcakes!  I thought a good way to carry on the art theme, was to let the kids decorate the cupcakes themselves.  Each child got their own paint pallet with a rainbow of colored toppings to choose from. 

The last thing to do before everyone left, was to give away the favors. 

Carolyn made me these cute little thank you cards to match the invitations.  I clipped them to the bags with each child's name written on the back.  Everyone took home their art apron, paint brush, paint pallet and an artist clipboard. 

I bought small clip boards that were perfect for 5"X7" paper at Office Depot, and painted them white.  I then sewed a piece of elastic to hold one pencil and six crayons for each clipboard.  I love that the kids' can take their clipboards with them wherever they go, and create their own masterpieces : )

It was a crazy day, but Ava had a blast!  The party wasn't even over before she started telling me what she wanted the theme to be next year.  She is her mother's daughter : )

Happy Birthday my sweet Ava!

You are a treasure that your dad and I have been blessed to call our own for 8 wonderful years.  We LOVE you to the moon and back : )

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