Paper Dolls for Boys

Raising 2 crafty boys and thrifting every chance I get.

August 6, 2011

Filed under: Birthday Parties — twlowenstein @ 8:42 am

Thank you from youngest son’s 5th birthday, carnival themed.  Will post photos soon…


Marching Band Birthday Party May 16, 2010

Filed under: Birthday Parties,Family & Friends — twlowenstein @ 7:28 am

I remember the look in my working friends eyes during the boys’ birthday parties when I was a “Stay at Home” mom.  You know the look.  If eyeballs could speak they would have been screaming, “Free time much?”.  I get it.  I was determined to not let the parties suffer now that I am back to work full time outside of the home.  I also teach Kindergarten which is not one of those jobs you get to take little breaks and check your Facebook or order supplies online from your desk.  Oh the stories my eyes could tell.

This year my youngest changed his party theme from “Duckie Candy Party” (he knows what he likes, my boy) to a Honk! Marching Band party.  We could have made Duckie Candy work but I was so much more thrilled with the new theme!

We were watching this at bedtime on Youtube, simmer down Librarians, I’m a teacher – I got this.

And my son was inspired.  He also loves the Honk! fest we go to every year which is a street marching band joyful noise kind of thing.  He mixed them together and we got our Marching Band themed party.

I got this off ebay, not while at work!, and then my son designed how we hot glued the ribbons on for further finery.  I should say that one of the concessions  to my working, was this was a total sew-free party.  I am ok with that.  My co-teacher at work says that she doesn’t like eating an apple because it’s, “Too much committment for [her] mouth.”  Funny, right?  But I feel the same way about my sewing machine these days.  Only not eating it, just using it.  It feels like too much to set it up and use it these days.  Maybe soon little dusty one, soon.

I ordered this decal from ebay and was really happy with the way it looked on this thrifted vase.  We picked up sticks from the yard and attached ribbons and bells to use as marching batons.

The hats can be found here.  And the felt hat I got for the birthday boy as well.

This poster is from etsy,  I love the image and it’s something I’ll frame and hang in my little ones room as a reminder of the party.

The shirt we made using a stencil bought online, can’t find the vendor.  I was going to freezer paper but then I smartened up, see my earlier comment about sewing as further proof.  We added some ribbon to the sleeve to give it that drum major look.  The hit of the party was the new sand box that’s an old boat we got off Craigslist, dug into our backyard and filled with sand.  I’ll do another post on that one later!

The birthday Poo-bah.

Ok, about the cake.  Let me explain.  The sun was in my eyes….  My little Food Network Challenge watching guy asked for a “tall tall cake” that was white and had strawberries sticking out on top.   We had strawberries on the side, check.  Tall tall was a tall order since I baked egg free cakes.  Not sure if you are aware but eggs kind of give baking it’s structure.  They are super binders those little f’ers.  Ok, there were other mistakes.  I was super proud of myself for slipping wax paper between the cake and the cake stand.  Apparently you’re supposed to just have it under the edge, not the whole thing.  It makes a difference, I assure you.  But let’s focus on my concept.  Not to brag, BUT, I was stoked when I thought to add a vintage drum as a layer for height and interest since you can guess my piping skills are non existent.   My little one decorated the top and stuck the candles in, credit where credit is due.

I may have screamed, “Get over here, the cake is about it fall!” to gather people.   It was keeping with true Food Network Challenge style.  Suspenseful and a little wonky.

It was delicious though.  A parent asked for my recipe.  Not sure if she was mocking me or was really interested because that baby was directly out of da’ box.  I did add my flair with the icing, half store bought half whipped cream cheese to cut the sugary taste.  Maybe it was the lack of eggs that made it so moist and yummy.

Such a fitting present.  This trumpet got a lot of use after the party.  Until I made my oldest stop.  I was ready to donate my ears to charity by that point.

Things I did not get photos of:  the instrument making table for one.  I set out tubes, tin foil, bells, pipe cleaners, empty containers, corks, chopsticks and tons of duct tape so kids could make their own instruments.  We also showed a video clip of the Ok Go song and a few other drumming winners from youtube.

This being my favorite:

And then there was Fishel.  Poor guy has taken a bit of a beating on my porch.  I plan to shellac him soon to salvage what I can of his dignity.

My little guy is 4 and will be starting pre-k next year.  It amazes me that I got so lucky in the family department.  Happy birthday my little drummer.  May you always march to the beat of your own drum.


Duckie Birthday Party May 19, 2009

Filed under: Birthday Parties,Uncategorized — twlowenstein @ 8:44 pm
Tags: , ,

My youngest is a boy obsessed with rubber duckies.  Really really loves his duckies.  So we had a Duckie party to celebrate his 3rd birthday last weekend.

Invitation blog

I sent out this invitation using a photo I took of his “Duckie Shop” that he sets up thrice weekly.  Do not get your hopes up, each time you ask, “Can I buy a blue duckie?” He takes the blue duckie and puts it in a pile and says, “Not fer sale!”  No matter what, none of the duckies in the Duckie Shop are ever actually for sale.  Fun game.

Birthday Banner

I hung this banner at the park.  My sewing machine bit it so I glued this baby together.  Actually a little harder to manage than if I could have just pinned and sewn.  I freezer paper stenciled a birthday message.  I like the way it turned out and plan to hang it in his room when we move.

Cake and Goody bags

Cake and goody boxes. I bought fabric to sew goody bags but a) my machine wonked out and b) I had already bought these Chinese take out containers as part of my ‘be nicer to yourself’ project. I had these little photos printed up at Snapfish (highly recommend them, much better job than my beloved Flickr) and used them for the labels.

Duckie Cake Pops

Here’s a ttv shot of the cake and the duckie cake pops I made.  I saw them here and here.  They were harder to make than I anticipated, why do I never learn?  At first I made them fist sized and not surprisingly found them to be unwieldy as I dipped them in the yellow candy melt mixture.  But then I smartened up, reread the directions and went with something closer to the quarter size they were suggesting.  Next time I would add less frosting, maybe no frosting and just cream cheese as a binder b/c these things had to have been sickeningly sweet.  I had no desire to try one.  It was all about the joy on my little one’s face (oh, and the PHOTO opportunity).  The cake below I was quite proud off.  To bake without eggs is not so easy.  I layered 4 cakes and slathered a blue dyed coconut/frosting/cream cheese mixture between and all around.  Layering was key because egg-free cakes tend to have very little rise to them so this cake felt substantial, like a “real” cake.


Waiting for guests to arrive.  Wearing a vest he picked out of the dress up drawer just for his party.  Dapper little dude.  See those balloons?  They were supposed to launch the ceremonial pacifier off into the sky (and out of his mouth) to mark turning 3.


Half way through the party a great wind (or my husband’s loose knot tying driven by fear of LWP – life without the pacifier) whisked the balloons away.  Plan B – sew those suckers into a stuffed duck.  We’ll see…


The most fun the kids had was making “duckie popcorn” with the parachute.  It was perfect because they could all do it at once and there was minimal parent direction.  They just popped those ducks all over the park!


In this lovely hand made bag was a lovely box with a rubber duckie “handle” on the lid.  My son immediately ripped it off.  He treasures the box but insists that the duck goes INSIDE the box, not on top.  Sorry L about his critique of this particular craft.


There were no complaints however on this next craft.


Do you see the greatness that is this shirt?  Duck, duck, GOOSE!  Lauren freezerpaper stenciled it, she is the MASTER.  He got many more lovely duckie themed presents, including a duck umbrella that is as cute as all get out but I don’t think my husband wants me posting the photo of him under it.  Will check and get back to you. Update:  He acquiesced.


Love that man.


Thank you to my lovely contact on Flickr, PaperNest who suggested feathers in playdough as an activity.  The kids loved it and a couple of the adults got in on it.  My father in law declared my friend Vonda the duck modeling genius of the party!  Disclaimer:  this is not a shot of Vonda’s work.


Here one of my best friend’s daughters taking a good whack at the pinata.  Isn’t she adorable?   This was my last party pinata.  We made one before that didn’t break so we went with store bought and it also didn’t break without serious adult intervention.  I did kick it old school and let the children fend for themselves.  There was not one shove or tear involved and it was a lesson learned for me.  For my oldest son’s 3rd I had individually wrapped bags for each child inside the pinata so it would be “fair”.  Blah blah blah, no FUN!

pinata spoils

Thank you to all our friends who came and helped to make this such a joyous celebration.

We love you all and look forward to hosting you in what we damn sure hope will be our new house!

Birthday Collage

My little guy in the cool duck costume sent to him by my doting parents, A-One grandparents!  My big guy wore this to welcome the kids to the party.  They worked it out that he was the “number one helper” of the party.  Very sweet.

I wonder what next year’s theme will be?  I am challenging myself not to start thinking about it until the party is 3 months away, instead of my usual 6 month mark!


My Little Man is 2 May 18, 2008

Filed under: Birthday Parties,Family & Friends — twlowenstein @ 10:28 pm
Tags: ,

We finally had my son’s 2nd birthday party after a one week postponement and a 5 hour rain delay. In the end, it was a beautiful sunny day shared with good friends and family!

If I had to pick which thing my son loves more, dogs or balls, I’d be in a pickle so Doggie Ball party it was!

I made dog ears for each kid to wear in lieu of birthday hats. I got a bunch of sparklie headbands from the dollar store and fashioned some felt & fur ears. They even left them on for 3 minutes!

The hit of the party was the dog bone dig. I had the “big” kids bury the dog treats in the sandbox and then the younger kids search for them. They collected the bones in the dog bowls I also scored from the dollar store. At the end of the party we gave a box of slightly sandy dog bones to a dad at the park who had a dog at home, so no dog bones were wasted in the making of this party.

I made chocolate cupcakes and decorated each with a negative space dog bone. I cut out dog bone shapes out of paper, put them on top of the frosting and then sprinkled confectioners sugar over it to leave the bone shape. I didn’t factor in the wind but it was a party for a 2 year old so, really, a little wonky is just right. I also made some dog themed chocolates for the kids to take home. Candy molds rock, minimum effort for maximum effect. I tried creating candies with multiple colors this time, not so tricky and kinda fun. I will admit that I, myself, would not eat one of these candies on a $100 dare. Something about those little melting disks screams carnauba wax. I’ll have to experiment with higher quality ingredients next time.

We served the cupcakes in dog bowls that the kids took home. The wind never allowed us to light the candles but that did not deter my little guy. He’s been practicing. Every time we said something about his birthday he @@@B……l……e……w@@@ out imaginary candles, very sweet.

The goodie bags were stuffed with stickers, water colors, a notebook and a bone shaped carabiner.

And these didn’t quite make it to the party table:

You are just going to have to trust me when I tell you that these are meant to be dog bone shaped.

Reminder: do not treat the timer as just a suggestion.

edit: These were supposed to be dog biscuits with butter, cinnamon and sugar on top.

Our other big activity was playing “fetch” with a bunch of balls we brought from home and some winning additions to the collection received as presents (Thanks E, S and K)! I think they all made it home with us. A big thanks to K for risking poison ivy to rescuing the basket ball and to E for crawling under the car to fetch the much loved Hello Kitty ball.

This decorating was done for us prior to the party. My friend who likes to take a firm stand on graffiti is planning to bring a sharpie her next trip to the park and change “PooP” into “BooB” – you know, for the greater good.

Sign of a good time spent:

Happy Birthday little guy. You make me stretch my parenting muscles and you challenge me to be better. Most days I thank you for that! 🙂 I appreciate your wonder at the world and your capacity to love. You have taught me to appreciate the unique gifts each member of our family brings to the table and I am so glad we are a table of four.

I am buckling my seatbelt and looking forward to YOU at TWO!


Birthday April 8, 2008

Filed under: Birthday Parties — twlowenstein @ 5:49 pm

So when it came time for my youngest son’s first birthday I really thought about what he loved the most and hence the banana birthday was born.

I wanted to make the invitation from something that was cheap, wouldn’t just be thrown away and that would be fun. I was really excited with the result, a banana invitation:

banana birthday invitation

I took inspiration from here for the birthday crown:

banana birthday crown

We made a mix cd of some family favorites and my brother (who is an amazing artist) made/stole the cover from Andy Warhol:

birthday cd cover

I got this really cute shirt from etsy (I wish I could remember which shop it was so I could give the woman credit):

banana fana fo fana

Here are the brothers on the slide, my oldest is holding a bean bag I made out of some thrifted pjs:

birthday slide

A good time was had by all:

birthday parachute

I’m going to cut this short because, a) It’s not really that short and  b) my family has been waiting for me to finish up so we can go to the library.

I have the Ancient Egyptian birthday and another 1st birthday to share. Hold your breath.


Birthday Crazy March 15, 2008

About a week after the birth of my second child my foggy brain came up with an awesome realization. “I get to plan 2 birthday parties a year now!” I excitedly said to my husband (who humors me beyond belief). I love love love planning my kids’ birthday parties. Usually I stick to it being all about them but I fumbled on my eldest son’s 3rd birthday. I’m embarrassed to admit that I started planning for it about 8 months before his birthday! At the time he was way into robots, I like the vintage kitschy quality of robots myself so I got busy. I hand sewed felt robot invitations with silver metallic thread:

robot birthday invitation

I gocco’ed Thank You cards:

robot birthday thank you

I print gocco’ed some paint sample cards to string together for a banner:

robot birthday banner

I sketched the cake, I saved recycling and shiny things for the kids to make their own robot costumes, I’d even started on the robot piñata. Can you see where this is going? The whole thing became more about me, my vision and the pleasure I get from being crafty than about my son, HIS party and his CURRENT interests. So after some soul searching I asked my son what kind of birthday party he’d like to have, “Baseball!” he excitedly shouted. So I acquiesced. But I decided I wasn’t going to spend any more money on a second party. So I tucked away my runaway robot creations (although I’m really hoping my youngest develops an affinity for robots) and happily planned the baseball party. This time I looked at it as more of a joint project. My husband came up with a great idea, to cut paper plates to look like home plate and have the kids decorate them. My son asked that he get to throw “sprinkles” and dance. It was a kickass baseball party.

fenway bean bag toss

I used popcorn containers I already had for the goody bags, filled them with stickers and a Red Sox bracelet (the Lance Armstrong kind). The only bits I bought specifically for the party.



Swing battah battah! We filled the inside with baseball cards and “sprinkes”.

baseball pinata swing

I have to see if I can find one of the invitations to photograph, I delivered each kid a baseball with the party info written on a sharpie. I’m all about invitations that are also part of the favor.