Worth turned six in February. He requested a “knights and dragons” birthday.Inspired by Pinterest, I cut flames from a sheet of red poster board. Stuck to the door with painter’s tape, it became an opportunity for Worth’s guests to “breathe fire” and get their photos taken.
Worth wanted a dragon hat, so I used a basic hat pattern to sew a black hat from fleece, then added fleece ears and spikes and some greenish-yellow felt eyes. Worth has worn his Toothless-inspired hat in both cold and warm places (like to bed) quite frequently since I made it, so I felt good about his its reception.
My mother totally outdid herself with an enormous, amazing dragon cake!
And what’s a knights and dragons party without some castle-storming food? Or something. I also cut shields out of cardboard and spray-painted them silver, then let Worth’s friends decorate them with paint as a party activity. I thought these turned out cute but I somehow never managed to get a photograph of them.
Notice my oldest daughter (above) is wearing a tiara. Apparently she felt that her role at a knights-and-dragons party should be royal princess, subtly outranking Sir Worth at his own event. We did manage to talk her down to lady-in-waiting, however, with the help of paid duties involving the herding of six-year-old boys and shield paint cleanup. Shew!
Today’s post is about birthdays and half-birthdays too. In our family we celebrate six-month birthdays with cupcakes, as was the tradition in my family growing up. For Worth’s half-birthday we made Pinterest-inspired monkey cupcakes with chocolate frosting, vanilla wafers, white chocolate chips, and piped dark-brown frosting. My kids had a great time decorating these, and they were simple enough that the 4-and-a-half-year-old boy of honor could fully participate.
Dorothy wanted un-decorated cupcakes that we could upend over some clipart of the Wicked Witch’s feet (see my photo on Instagram) to make the cakes look like houses that fell on the witch. Fun! We’d just been on a field trip to an apple orchard, and I was still working my way through the huge bag of apples I bought, so I made apple cupcakes with caramel icing. The apple cake recipe I used calls for shredded apple, so there is a nice apple flavor without the chunks that end up mealy or tough in some apple cake recipes. I substituted pie spice for the cinnamon, and the moist consistency of the cake made perfect cupcakes that don’t fall apart when you eat them and peel away from the paper easily. Go and make these cupcakes this afternoon–seriously, they are so good. And the cakes would have made a perfectly nice dessert or snack without frosting, but of course for us they were meant to be cupcakes, so they really had to have frosting. I used this caramel frosting recipe and it was just right, Caramel frosting over apple cupcakes–yum.
Amid our half birthday celebrating at home, Worth got invited to the birthday party of some friends. The kids were having a space-themed party so I made them embroidered comet t-shirts. Some of my favorite free embroidery designs are the retired sets at Bunnycup Embroidery. I used a design from the Stars N Stripes set, but rotated it to look like a falling star or comet. I like to do embroidered shirts like these, where the embroidery is done on a fabric panel that is then fused and sewn to the shirt, rather than directly on the shirt. That way I don’t have to deal with embroidering on stretchy knit, and the itchy back of the designs is not up against the wearer’s chest. I think the children liked their shirts.
Unbelievably, it is time to get ready for a first birthday party. Wasn’t I just waiting impatiently for her, getting all those tiny little newborn handmades ready? But here she is, a big, sturdy, almost-toddler who moves of her own locomotion, calls me by name, and incessantly tries to eat the dog’s food. I’m planning a little apple-themed party for our family and a couple homeschool friends with toddlers who I think she can safely count as friends.
I crocheted this sweet hat for her from this free pattern by Kay Meadors but made a little leaf from felt instead of crocheting one. I also made a little garland of felt apples to function as a party decoration, photo prop, and fall decoration in our kitchen.
Daphne wasn’t feeling particularly smile-y when it was time to take her picture, and she’s too little to bribe with M&M’s so I settled on this sweet but semi-serious pose for the back of her invitation.
Then I designed the front of her invitation in Photoshop with the help of the instructions on this blog.
Now we’re ready to party, except for this Mama trying to remember to not waste Daphne’s 11th month being nostalgic for the first 10. I won’t have more babies and I’m actually happy with that choice, but I do wish I could just keep one in the closet to snuggle on or sniff or nurse just when I want to. There is nothing like snuggling on your own sweet baby. I’ve been a lucky mama. And now I’ll focus on how lucky I am to hold her hand when she takes her wobbly steps; enjoy Worth as he takes in the world all new, amazed that everything around him is Covered in Words!; and be amazed at the poised and accomplished girl my big one is turning out to be. Lucky indeed.
And in real time, the fox party arrived shortly after our preparations–in blog time, it seems to have taken a bit longer! I carved a fox stamp using this very easy kit, then stamped our napkins and the children’s hands. I needle-felted the little fox from wool roving.
Worth chose a snack mix at Target that he thought looked most authentically like fox food, which we supplemented with pretzel rods for their stick-like shape. The other needle-felted woodland animals I’d made for Worth’s baby mobile joined the fox as table decorations. I took the fox fabric left over from shirt and pressed the edges under to make a temporary table topper.
I used the little fox graphic I designed for the invitation to decorate our cups. I printed them on cardstock in 1 inch circles, then used my 1-inch craft punch to cut them out, and we glued them to the cups.
Worth was so excited to be turning “plain 4,” which is his designation for the age that comes right before 4-and-a-half.
A cardboard banner declared our purpose.
And my printer and more cardstock got our china cabinet in on the action.
Worth got his very own camera as a gift, which means I’ve now had hundreds of opportunities to see the world from Worth’s perspective. When I uploaded his photos to my computer and we browsed through them I found dozens of Worth selfies, a surprising number of very artistic snapshots of his plated meals, and a hefty collection of shots out the front of the car, including the back of my head and my arm, driving.
And of course he needed a camera bag to fit the theme, so I made him a little padded pouch from the fox fabric. I think my boy’s transition to “plain 4” was a success.
Like many other kids, mine have fallen prey to that funny What Does the Fox Say video. Inspired by this love, Worth decided to have a fox-themed fourth birthday party. I made him this 70s-style shirt from a pattern in the book Sewing for Boys: 24 Projects to Make a Handmade Wardrobe. I wasn’t planning to sew snaps on the shirt since he intended to wear it open, and because brown snaps (plus shipping) were going to cost almost as much as I paid for the cute fox fabric, but the birthday boy complained, so (expensive) snaps were added subsequent to the picture-taking.
I decided to make small gifts for Worth’s party guests instead of the usual little baggie of throw-away goodies. I sewed sleeves for standard composition books then ironed on fusible printer transfer paper circles with the kids’ names on them and a little fox I designed on the computer. The sleeves were easy to make and slip easily over the books, can be reused, and are appropriate for party guests of either gender, which is something I was going for. I’m not sure they were as exciting to take home as bags of candy and plastic frogs, but hopefully they will prove to be a more lasting and useful gift.
This is the invitation I make for Worth’s party. I haven’t done much with computer graphic stuff in a while, and while I’m far from proficient or professional, I was pleased with how these turned out and was happy to test the waters in a crafty/homemade area outside my usual sphere. Worth certainly thought they looked fine because they contained a fox–his one requirement!