Thursday, 29 April 2010

Other Rooms & the Birthday Party

Anyone who makes a regular visit to my blog may have noticed the slight change in the title of my blog. Previously just 'Louise's Kitchen' I have now extended the title to include '.... and other rooms'. My reason for that was so that I could, when the mood takes me, move out of the kitchen to share other 'doings' with you that share the common theme of 'homemade'.

I've always loved making things ... as a child I would avidly watch Blue Peter and try my hand at making the various craft projects with empty washing up bottles, wire coat hangers and double sided sticky tape. After a few false starts to my career (such as working for a bank), I got myself a place at Art College and studied Fashion Promotion for three years. I gained myself a good degree, but some how the 'creativeness' slipped away and although I've since worked in creative industries, I've worked with creatives rather than being creative myself ... my standards aren't professional enough by any means. But now, with this so called 'homemade revival', my rather cobbled together efforts have a place.

My creations do tend to stay close to home and make their appearances at those special occasions such as Christmas time and birthday's. My latest creative outburst was for Lily's birthday last month.

As a busy mum of two, my time is stretched at best. Any chance to relax is oh so rare, so why is it I regularly steer away from the ‘easy options’ in life. I wonder if it is a deep scar from years ago when my school reports were frequently summed up with quotes such as ‘ nice girl, could try harder’. Lily recently celebrated her 5th birthday. She was very keen to have a party so I decided to hold one. Despite the chaos of hosting a child’s party at home, I am holding out from having to hire an expensive and dreary hall for as long as I can. I set the guest limit [12 including Lily] and Lily set the theme [Princesses].

At this point most sane mothers would text those lucky enough to be worthy of one of the 12 places, or maybe pop into town to buy some party invitation – I’m sure Lily would have loved the Disney Princess invites I saw and turned a blind eye to. But I decided to hand make them. And I didn’t stop there I made the party bags too, plus giant tissue paper pom poms [Lily isn't keen on balloons]. I decorated the room with the Poms and then gave one each to the children to take home with them.

My starting point for both the invitations and the party bags was a letter writing set, some fabric scraps and an old magazine all from one of my favourite stores Cath Kidston. I felt that the nostalgic pretty prints lend themselves well for a 5 year old’s party of carefree fun, games, dancing and cake.

The invitations were great fun. A selection of pretty papers, glue, alphabet stamps and some crimping scissors were all that were needed. I then followed the pretty floral theme through to the party bags. I simply purchased some cheap Calico fabric which I cut using crimping scissor [resulting in no need to hem] into long rectangles. Then using my floral fabric [and for the two boys that attended the party, blue spot fabric], I cut small rectangular patches and sewed them on. Finally, I them folded them in half and using my sowing machine stitched up each side. Once filled with goodies I fasten them with ribbon.

For the contents, I stuck to a bit of a nostalgic theme – focusing on little bits and pieces with a nod to yesteryear. Sweet treats are a must for any party bag and with Lily’s birthday falling in the Easter season a foil covered chocolate egg is a must. Then I made up small bags of retro biscuits fastened with a pretty ribbon. For girls I did hair slides. I replaced the cards that they originally came on with pretty cards I made using a fabric print from a magazine as a backdrop. The boys had a toy car.

Then I bought some nasturtium flower seeds and divided them up into tiny brown envelopes, I wrote some simple instructions on the back and using some printed paper and the alphabet stamp decorated the front of the little pouches.

I've Arthur's (1st) birthday next month and I telling myself to stick to the basics. It's actually quite difficult, but at one a piece of chocolate cake is probably all he requires of a party. Well, we shall see .....


  1. How fabulous Louise, you could be selling this stuff on i would buy it ;)

  2. Ah - thanks Wend ... will check out that website, as I've not come across it before. XxX