Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Butterfly Birthday Party

Clara chose a butterfly theme for her all-girls' 5th birthday party. Ubiquitous butterfly-themed party supplies and plentiful Pinterest pages made this an easy party to plan. Read below for the scoop from butterfly favors to food, cake, and decorations.

One of my favorite projects for Clara's birthday was preparing the butterfly box favors for the guests. I like the idea of having one substantial gift to take home rather than lots of trinkets that don't last for long (or last for too long in plastic-y piles at the bottom of Clara's toy box). 

I love Melissa and Doug's do-it-yourself crafts, and when I saw their Wooden Butterfly Chest, I thought that would make the perfect party favor for Clara's butterfly-themed party.

Just a few days after I thought I had settled on the boxes, I saw a butterfly party bag favor on Pinterest, and I decided that would make a good topper for the butterfly box. This cute little butterfly favor turned out to be a much bigger endeavor than I anticipated. And, I defeated my initial plan to give a more substantial gift since I ended up giving the guests a bag full of candy and trinkets (look inside those butterfly wings in the photo below) in addition to the nicer gift.

I was totally unprepared for how many steps were needed to make these butterfly favors. I lucked out that my artist mom happened to stop by on the day I was planning to make them. 

"How are you going to attach the googly eyes and pipe cleaners to the clothespins?" she asked.

I replied casually that I was just planning to use some of Clara's glue sticks.

After she chided me for thinking that the glue sticks would be strong enough for the job, my crafty mom went to her car and pulled out a glue gun that she subsequently gave to me because she said everyone should have a glue gun. After hours of gluing, I was a convert. Everyone should indeed have a glue gun.

The clothespin butterfly bodies individually decorated by Clara. I love that she found a way to make each one different.
My mom hard at work affixing pipe cleaner antennae to the clothespin butterfly bodies.

Rainbow sour gummy worms... I tried a few as we packaged the wings. They were disgustingly good.
Butterfly rings.
More trinkets for inside the butterfly wings.

The finished party favors


Again, Pinterest was my friend in selecting ideas for the butterfly-themed food. I had never looked at Pinterest before, but I found it to be an easy and visual way to see (and copy) what others had done for their butterfly parties. 

The butterfly sandwiches were probably the most commented upon and complimented element of the party. My husband was in charge of creating these cute sandwiches. He used a butterfly cookie cutter, added a slice of turkey and cheese, and one baby carrot and small celery slice served as the antennae. (We also made five cheese-less sandwiches for Clara's friends who don't like cheese.)

Lunch time!

I come from a family where birthday cakes were a big deal. My birthday cake often involved many, many hours of detailed work for my mom. She often reminisces about my sixth birthday request. Initially, I wanted my cake to have an image of little orphan Annie. I soon added a request for Annie to be singing, "Tomorrow." Under a rainbow. With a unicorn on the side. Although every square inch of the rectangle cake was filled with decoration, she complied with my ever-expanding request.

Perhaps because of my own birthday cake memories, I feel compelled to create a homemade cake for Clara's birthdays despite the fact that I don't have training as an artist and her birthday is the only time each year that I bake a cake. The infrequency of my baking experience means that I regularly forget simple things like how to make icing or how many boxes of powdered sugar are needed to bake 40 cupcakes if I ever even knew these things to begin with. 

We bought a natural food dye kit for the icing and while it may have been a better choice for our bodies, I wished the puce-y purple would have turned out to be a more vivid pink which is what I was aiming for. Despite these obstacles, I was mostly happy with the finished butterfly cupcake cake. I made 20 vanilla cupcakes and 20 chocolate cupcakes and they were all gone by the end of the party.

 Clara blows out her candles.

Decorating for a butterfly party was probably the easiest part of the event since there are so many butterfly-themed decorations at Target and party stores.

This massive butterfly balloon beckoned guests to enter the party.

The dangling butterflies from the door were my favorite decorations.

Butterfly-themed paper supplies were available at nearly every store we visited.

I always planned my own party games for birthdays when I was a kid, but I was glad that we decided to hire some party planners to help with the games and activities. Clara had twenty children as guests and we had about twenty parents there, so it was nice for me to be able to visit with the adults while the kids played. Here are photos of some of the butterfly activities of the day:

Flapping their wings like butterflies for an outside game.

Butterfly rainbow art ornament craft.
Making the butterfly craft.

Butterfly "tattoos"
Butterfly stickers and "tattoos"


Clara was excited to rock some butterfly attire for her birthday party. She chose to wear a butterfly dress AND butterfly sandals. I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of her guests also chose to get into the spirit of the butterfly theme, too.
Clara about to fly away... do you see the pink butterflies poking out at the top of her dress?

This butterfly dress worn by one of Clara's friends was especially beautiful.

Clara's cousins sported matching butterfly sequined barrettes.

Even the adults got in on the butterfly fun. Lisa looked stylish in a blue butterfly blouse.


Most importantly, the birthday girl had a magical day. It was special that Clara's birthday fell on a Saturday this year so that she could celebrate with friends and family on her actual birthday.

Happy Birthday, my sweet butterfly girl!


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