Party Time

When birthdays come around some moms prefer to arrange the entire event via credit card, while others go the DIY route and try to make most of the decorations themselves.

Now while there is nothing wrong with either of these approaches and I'm more in the DIY category, I will sometimes buy a few extras if they really catch my eye. I always spend days and weeks before the party looking for inspiration on the internet or in old magazines and usually have so many ideas that I run out of time and only end up using a few of them.

That was until my daughter decided to have a 50s Rock and Roll party for her 11th birthday, everything from the decorations to the birthday girl's outfit turned out to be a challenge. I got some great decorating ideas from my mom but my big concern was sewing her party outfit.

I googled 'Poodle Skirt Patterns' and started working my way though all the links, by the time I was done I knew all there was to know about the history of the poodle skirt, but still had no idea how to actually make one. A few days later, totally stressed out, I finally turned to my facebook friends for help. An American friend (who is now living here in Cape Town) told me her mom made a poodle skirt by using a round table cloth and cutting a hole in the center.

This worked like a dream and since the bottom (outer edges) are already hemmed it meant a lot less sowing on my part. For the waist I decided to use wide black elastic to make it look like she was wearing the traditional elastic belt that often went with the poodle skirts.

Then there was still the issue of the tulle petticoat; let me just say here that I am no seamstress. I do own a sewing machine but usually it comes out of hiding once or twice a year when I have to shorten new jeans for my hubby or kids, the rest of the time it just sits in the corner and grins at me. I turned once again to my trusted google for petticoat ideas and while I could find plenty of beautiful pictures an actually, easy to make, pattern was nowhere in sight. Two days before the party I finally decided it was now or never, somehow I had to get this done - so hubby patiently took me to the local fabric shop for supplies and once home I sat down and made a petticoat my way.

I was rather surprised at how well it actually turned out and the best part was that the birthday girl loved her outfit. After the entire 'skirt' issue the cake and decorations seemed really easy and the party turned out great. We were lucky to end up with a bunch of really sweet and well-behaved kids who all seemed to have a great time. I have to take my hat off to my darling Hubby and say a big THANK YOU to him; by the time the party started I was pooped so he took over and kept everyone entertained with SingStar and Buzz (a PS3 quiz game) competitions. This way I could look after the 'Milk Shop' serving ice cream and soda floats.

And what is a birthday party without the birthday cake?

Keep an eye out for my new party pages on this blog where I will share more detailed ideas for decorations, cakes and outfits for different themes I have used over the past few years.

Change vs Holiday

They say a change is as good as a holiday; well that might be true most of the time but sometimes there is just no substitute for the real thing.

I’m not talking about staying home and trying to catch up on all those chores you don’t usually get time for; a real holiday is when you get to close the door to your house behind you and go away for a few days. Away from the dishes, the homework, the washing, dusting, sweeping and all those other little things that prevent us from really relaxing at home.

We just got back from a short family holiday and I must say that I don’t believe any amount of change could have meant so much to us. It took us just over two hours to fly the 1 600km from Cape Town to Johannesburg and from the moment we got there we could sit back relax and let the fun begin.

The kids spend the week living in the freezing pool and soaking up the warm rays of the sun to celebrate the end of a long cold winter. While the adults chatted and relaxed in the shade enjoying coffee and fresh baked goodies from my mother-in-law.

I am one of those lucky women who actually love spending time with my mother-in-law, she is very creative and understands my passion for baking. As a treat she took me to a baking specialty shop and bought me a few new toys to come try out at home. I was like a kid in a candy shop, there was just to many wonderful things to look at but eventually I chose some new flower cutters, a JEM baby mould and a few other bits and pieces. I loved the shop so much my hubby took me back there the day before we came home and we also got a set of butterfly cutters and some edible music notes I want to use for our daughter’s birthday cake next week.

My only complaint is that the week went by far to quickly and before we knew it we were back on the plane and on our way home. We landed late Sunday afternoon and by Monday morning it was back to work and school (and washing, dusting, sweeping, etc) but somehow all those little things seem easier to deal with and besides, I still have a bag of new goodies to go experiment with.