Sunday, April 15, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party: Success!

I love to have parties.  I love to plan parties.  I hate to host parties, because I feel like I am the world's worst hostess.  I always forget something, people whose names I was born knowing I can't remember, I don't introduce people, I can't hold a proper conversation, I feel like I am always leaving someone lurking alone in a corner, feeling bad ... I hate to host parties because I feel like I am awful at it.  (I also hate hosting parties because I feel like no matter what day I pick, I always pick a day when everyone has a million conflicts.  Last year I was afraid that that gene was rubbing off on CAM, who had an awful lot of "no" rsvp's because it was just a crazy weekend.)

But this was CAM's fifth birthday, and the first one where she didn't just "get it," (she got it last year) but where she's now had a few party invitations under her belt and was genuinely excited for her own party.  And what with Pinterest and the Food Network and all, I decided that we could be crafty and fun and we would throw a Strawberry Shortcake tea party.

Here are some snapshots of our day.  (There are a few shots I realized I completely missed taking -- like a family one -- but you get a sense of the day.)  Yes, it was a lot of work, but none of it was hard.  I am not lying when I say I loved every minute of this.  And was some of it for me?  Sure.  I could have bought plastic tablecloths, but I wanted the fabric ones.  That kind of thing.  But otherwise, I just wanted her to have the perfect little party.  I think we pulled it off.  One little girl at the party told me it was "the best birthday EVER!" and one of the moms told me I'd set the bar really high now.  It was never a competition, but the compliments feel good.  I did it right!  Wahoo!

Next year, CAM already told me that she wants a princess party, and when she turns 7, a My Little Pony party ... and then when she's 8, back to Strawberry Shortcake.  I think she had fun. 


I made about 15 two-sided strawberries for our front lawn, and attached a cut wire coat hanger between the sides to use as a lawn stake.  Instant strawberry patch!  (Thank you, dry cleaners, for donating the hangers!)

The view when you enter ... balloons EVERYWHERE!  The ones hanging down were really fun to walk under -- and there are two rows of them!

Strawberry patch!

  The banner I made -- I struggled with the light, but hopefully you get the idea.
My friend Maci took this photo -- she did much better with the lighting than I did!

The tea party room.  (We moved most of our regular furniture out to the garage, but kept the couch for grown-ups to sit if they liked.)

Another perspective.  The kitchen is in the background, set up for Strawberries.

This was before we were really ready.  The balloons were scattered all over the floor (not just in one clump) for the party.

Our strawberry planting section.  Every guest got to decorate a pot and plant a real berry plant!

The table settings.  I made the napkin rings and the berry (marshmallow) baskets and the toppers in the snack cups.  (The snack cups held red jelly beans and strawberry fruit snacks.)  I bought the hats, striped straws, plates, and confetti.  I purposely bought solid cups and napkins, and only the licensed plates and hats -- I liked the contrast of the patterned stuff with the solids.

The snacks and cake were set up in the dining room.
The pink lemonade bottles.  The glass is from a set of juice glasses I bought CAM about a month ago, just for fun.

This and the photo above were taken by my friend Maci.

Strawberry-and-rice-krispy-treat kabobs drizzled with white and dark chocolate.  Hello, deliciousness!

White-chocolate-dipped pretzels with red sugar.  Strawberries!  Another "sweet and salty" treat.
Festive water bottles ... before we added the ice and put half the bottles in the cooler. The cupcake wrapper is really printed duct tape!  Super easy, and what a way to dress up a water bottle!

The cake!  Homemade strawberry cake (a modified Paula Deen recipe) with alternate layer fillings of real strawberry puree and homemade buttercream.  This was my first effort at doing both a fondant cake and a tiered cake.  Minus that little wrinkle, it came out okay!

The goodies table again.  The bottle is pink lemonade -- every table had a bottle of lemonade.

Strawberry planting!  You can kind-of see CAM's dress ... Strawberry Shortcake!
Not the best photo of CAM, but a better shot of her dress.  I purchased it, made to order, from a WONDERFUL Etsy seller named Erin, who runs the shop "lover-dover's clothing."  She has all sorts of fabulous little girl (and grown-up) stuff!!

Enjoying her strawberry cake!  Hooray!

Before ....

After!  Everyone got to decorate a pot with markers, stickers, washi tape, and ribbon. I painted regular clay pots "watermelon pink" with Krylon spray paint  It worked great.   I put the decorating stuff in little metal pails I picked up in the little "deals section" right when you enter Target, and the gloves (pink and green, of course!) were also from Target.   The little plant picks were like the front-lawn strawberries -- cut on the Cricut and fastened together over a cut wire hanger.  We also had clear bags that the berry pots went in so that when the kids took their plants home, they wouldn't spill everywhere in the car.

Birthday Girl!

Starting to get "over it..."

Mmmm .... cake time!

Not my best photo, but it says "Bye!  Thank you berry much for coming!"

After the party, posing in her strawberry dress and new shades!  The ribbon says "birthday girl."


  1. Such a cute party theme. I love the planting of strawberries!

    1. Thanks, Jess! It feels good that it went so well ... and feels GREAT to be done and get to enjoy the photos! :)