Tuesday, May 17, 2011

OLIVIA party :: Decorations, invites and thank you cards

Inspired by the Olivia children's books and Nick Jr. TV show, we threw a party last weekend for our 3-year-old, Natalie. This was a major undertaking, so I'm splitting up the details over several installments! :) Be on the lookout for these upcoming topics...
  • Food and favors
  • Crafts and activities
  • How I spent my $150 budget
Decorations: Olivia Cutout
OK, so you're probably wondering about that first photo with the adorable girl who happens to be hugging her favorite pig role model. Although my husband and I hold the patent for how to create that adorable girl, I can disclose how we created the "life-size" Olivia cutout!

It took the largest piece of white foam core I could find at Hobby Lobby, a handy 40% off coupon, and some paint and brushes already stocked in my craft closet. Oh yeah, and a utility knife that my husband begrudgingly used to cut around Olivia so the party guests could pose with her.

I started with this image of Olivia in her signature red and white stripes. I used a pencil to freehand sketch my approximation onto the foam core. Then, I used three basic paint colors--red, pink and black--and custom mixed to get some variations for the shadows and highlights. For example, tint the pink with some black to achieve the right color for the inside of Olivia's ears and her nose.

Alternatively, if painting isn't your forte, you can make an enlargement at a print shop and glue it onto the foam core. (See another Olivia party for directions on that project.)

Decorations: Paper Lanterns & Window/Wall Hanging
By now, you've probably noticed that our colors were red, white and black. As the centerpiece of the party, I hung red and black paper lanterns from the curtain rod over the food table and then suspended a frame, all using fishing line.

In a pinch, you can spray paint your paper lanterns to match the colors you're using. I happened to have a brown lantern just sitting unused in my garage (see center) and a can of black spray paint, so I repurposed it for this party.

Some of you may recognize the white frame from a previous post. My mom helped me with this project by lining the back of the frame with black damask gift wrap paper, then hot-glueing two black ribbons along the width of paper to disguise the paper seams. I cut out the initial "N" from some scrap red cardstock and glued it over the top. Very simple, very inexpensive. I liked how the paper almost looks like fabric; the way it filtered the window light was really nice, too.

Decorations: Signage
Using more gift wrap (this time red and white polkadots), we covered a yard sign and glued on a print-out of Olivia welcoming our guests. We tied a red balloon to the sign and stuck it in the front yard.

Another sign in the back yard read "Don't be a messy pig! Please recycle here." Again, I covered another sign with cardstock, wrapped some grosgrain ribbon around it and attached a print-out and a balloon.


My idea for the party truly began when I found these red, black and white invitations at Target on clearance. I originally thought I'd use pink in the color scheme (you know, piggy pink), but I really liked the more grown-up appeal of the red, white and black--not so cutesy.

Thank You Cards
Our homemade thank you cards only took some leftover damask gift wrap glued to black cardstock and a printed sticker that matched the other party details. FYI, the typeface I used is called "Daniel." The birthday girl scribbled on some index cards that I glued to the inside of the cards along with a note of thanks for her gifts. At least I'm teaching her some old-fashioned manners in the midst of all this crafting! ;)

That's it for now, folks! Stay tuned for the rest of the party details soon. To get all the Olivia party posts, click on the tag, "olivia" below.

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