It is indeed nice to be back to blogging after an unintended hiatus--I won't go into details but suffice it to say that laptops are great, and coffee is delicious, but you shouldn't use one to flavor the other.
I love my kids' birthdays--didn't anticipate enjoying that part of parenthood so much, but I do. I have fond memories of waking up on my own birthday to find the house decorated with streamers and balloons, so I've done the same for our guys (the party banner I made a few years back has to be one of the best investments of sewing time ever). and there's no better excuse for making special-but-useful items for them.
when it's clothes, though, you always have to prepare yourself for the crestfallen look that might come after they open the box. because, clothes? come on. still, after a brief look of confusion that the package he opened didn't contain a toy, game, or, you know, candy--Owen said, "Thank you for the warm winter clothes, mama." Not a gushing response--just sweet and sincere. Just like my boy. And I loved it.
A quick round-up, for the record:
freezer-paper stencil birthday shirt (his handprint at 150% is almost exactly the same size as my own hand, it turns out)
handknit Thorpe hat (minus the crochet edge--anyone know any good crochet books/tutorials?)
sweater vest and scarf set made from a jcrew men's sweater I found at the thrift store a while back--used one of his old vests for a template. The grey binding came from an old sweater of mine I'd been hemming and hawing about cutting or saving. I'm glad I cut it.
and the piece de resistance:
yup, Owen wanted a Peter Pan birthday party. Except that he wanted to be Captain Hook. We invited the oher party guests to come as characters from the book/movie versions: fairies, mermaids, Indians, lost boys, or pirates--it ended up being a really great theme for a costume party because there was so much flexibility. The coat was a bit of a hack from a thrifted ladies' bathrobe and some gold braid, but I think it gets the point across, don't you? The ruffle is just that--a three-tiered ruffle sewed to a neck-sized loop of elastic, and the other costume parts were either ours already or available in our (clearly well-appointed) thrift store Halloween aisle. Oh, blessed timing of the fall birthday.
To set the mood, I downloaded the soundtrack to the animated Disney version, which turns out to be 80% beautiful studio orchestra tracks (and 8% offensive Indian stereotypes--sigh). The Mary Martin musical soundtrack is also a classic, though my kids are less familiar with that version. And there were a couple of other things-to-make for the party:
goody bags using a Yellow Owl Workshop stamp set we've had and loved for a while. (I'm not really a papercrafter but I love their stuff... the holiday stamps they have out now are lovely and I used their cityscape stamps set for last year's bike parade birthday party.)
and a bunk bed turned into the Jolly Roger by my brilliant husband. We didn't plan much in the way of games for the party, but this set up plus the vast expanses of our backyard did the trick for whatever imaginative play the kids could come up with. They had fun, I think.
So you see? Kids' birthday=me having fun, and getting stuff done. With a little help from my friends. way to go, Marzipans. way to go, kids' clothes week challenge.