Party Art By Robin
 
I had a great time painting these three models for the annual Edmonds Fasion Show! They were representing the Fabric of Life Boutique, which carries fair-trade handcrafted items from around the world, and is actually the outgrowth of a non-profit which supports a school for girls in Africa. More info is on their website at www.fabricoflife.org.

These three models were representing various products at the boutique.

The one on the left is a Global Spirit Doll. These are small beaded dolls made by girls in West Africa, for the purpose of spreading happiness! Her face is painted like one of the intricate African beads from which the dolls are made.

The model in the middle is representing the products from the Snow Leopard Trust, which provides an alternate form of income from traditional handcrafts to families in the mountains of Nepal, so they do not depend entirely on raising cattle... So they do not need to hunt and kill all the endangered snow leopards, which occasionally kill some of their cattle. The snow leopard trust helps in practical ways to teach people to respect and value their beautiful native cat, while still providing for their families.

The model on the right was modeling a dress made from bubble wrap, representing the many products they carry made from recycled materials, and several of the lovely handcrafted purses, wallets, and bags, made from the gorgeous fabrics hand-dyed by the girls at Fabric of Life Foundation's school in West Africa. Her fanciful face design features both "bubbles" and an abstract design reminiscent of the tye-dyed fabrics featured on several of her purses.

It was a very fun evening, and all three models were a huge hit!
 
 
(Click here for the full article on Alphamom.com)
This is a great little article from the author of the FANTASTIC blog www.filthwizardry.com. She made these costumes and swords for "Talk Like A Pirate Day", but of course they would also be fabulous for a pirate birthday party too! And the swords are simple and easy (they're actually made from newspaper!) and would be popular with both boys and girls. And personally, I think those little bandana skirts would be SUPER cute using striped bandanas, if you could find those! For some reason, stripes just look oh-so-piratey.
Picture
 
 
Great, simple instructions! What a special memory for a birthday girl.
 
 
I just read a great article on CNN.com that I wanted to share with you, on kids with allergies at birthday parties. Don't kill the birthday guest
Believe me, I have been there... I was a kid with food allergies. Now I am an adult with food allergies. In case any of you thoughtful, hospitable parents wonder why I generally turn down (politely!) any offers of cake or ice cream or food from the buffet at your party, that is why. I don't make a big deal about it... I have never been comfortable with drawing attention away from the fun birthday celebration to myself and my health issues, especially since I am there to entertain, not to eat cake. :-) But the article points out a lot of good ideas and considerations to keep in mind when planning a party, ways for you as a host(ess) to be considerate of your child's young friends who may have allergies.

Contrary to some people's mistaken ideas, kids with allergies are NOT just fussy, and we are not "faking it," or "trying to get attention" and it is not something that can be simply ignored. I have heard so many horror stories of clueless people serving someone a food they are allergic to on purpose, to "help them get over themselves and stop the drama" and the allergic person needing to be rushed to the hospital or jabbed with an epi-pen! I know none of my gentle readers would consider doing anything like that, and thankfully with all the news stories about allergies lately, more and more people are coming to recognize allergies for the serious problem that they are. I myself am highly allergic to peanuts, among other things, to the point that even someone who has been eating peanuts shaking my hand and getting peanut oil on me will make me break out in a rash! Just being in the same room with an open jar of peanut butter, or where people are eating peanuts, can give me mild asthma symptoms and make my eyes start to water. Thankfully my allergy is not life-threatening, that is why I don't stipulate "please no peanuts" in my party contract, :-) however being around peanuts does make me seriously uncomfortable for quite a while afterward.

And no, those with allergies are not expecting the whole menu or party to revolve around them and their dietary needs... it's embarrassing enough as it is not to be able to eat what everyone else is eating, they certainly are not trying to get more attention. Just having a few options that are allergy-friendly, such as sliced fresh fruit, dairy-free sorbet, and pretzels (for those who are not allergic to gluten) will be better than nothing. If you find out in advance (and usually parents will tell you) that one of your guests has a specific allergy, just making a little extra effort to provide them some options (picking up a gluten-free cupcake and a little tub of dairy-free ice cream for them, for example) can make all the difference!
 
 
I was just reading a FABULOUS book called "That Was The Best Party Ever" by Sharron Werlin Krull, and she has an excellent way of handling the present opening portion of any child's party! Often, this is where the party dissolves into chaos... all the kids are shoving their gift into the birthday child's face, others are begging to play with some of the toys that have been opened... and it's easy to see why some parents try to avoid it all by opening the gifts after the guests have left. However, opening gifts later doesn't allow the guests to enjoy seeing the birthday child's reaction and how their gift was appreciated! And it doesn't allow the birthday child to look them in the face and say "thank you!"

Sharron recommends solving all these problems by turning the gift opening into an organized game, in fact the last game of the party. The basic game is that all the kids sit in a circle, with their gift to the birthday child behind their back. The birthday child sits in the middle of the circle. An adult or older child has charge of a large trash can or trash bag for wrappings, and another adult controls the music and takes notes on who gave what (to help with writing thank-you notes later!). A large stuffed animal or other item (in keeping with whatever the party theme was! So for example, perhaps a wand at a fairy party, a bear dressed as a pirate for a pirate party, and so on) is passed around the circle as music is played. When the music is paused, whoever is holding the item gets to give their gift to the birthday child! The birthday child opens the gift, and stands up and turns around so everyone can see the gift and "ooh and ahh" over it, then the birthday child turns to the child who gave the gift (it's easy to remember who, because they are still holding the pirate bear or whatever!) and says "Thank you _________!" Then the gift is given to an adult who puts it away for now. No opening packages or taking toys out, because they are in the middle of the gift opening game! Then, the music starts again, the bear or other item is passed, and the game continues until everyone has had a chance to give their gift to the birthday child!
This is a perfect activity for while the parents are arriving to pick up their kids, as they will doubtless be impressed by how calm and well-organized all the kids are! Plus, the adult in charge of the music can subtly control who gets to give their gift next, so if someone needs to leave before the game is finished, that can be easily arranged. :-)
There are a lot of other variations to this game too, such as:
  • Numbering the gifts (if there are less than 12 kids present) and then letting the birthday child roll dice to find out which number gift is next,
  • Writing all the guest's names on the underside of individual floating rubber duckies in a little wading pool, then letting the birthday child fish for duckies with a net! Whoever's name they drew gets to give their gift, and the birthday child gives them their ducky to put in their loot bag to take home!
  • Drawing names out of a hat to find out whose gift is next
  • Tossing a soft foam ball or stuffed animal from person to person across the circle, rather than simply passing it to the person next to them, while the music is playing.
Another great idea: How about arranging for the birthday child's one very best friend to stay for a few hours after the party? Likely the birthday child will still be all hyped up on adrenaline, and having a friend to play and talk about the party with, especially with all those new toys to play with, will help calm them down! It will also give you a chance to relax and clean up after the party without an excited hyper kid bouncing off the walls in your way! :-)
 
 
Just found this video... These cupcakes are so very cute, and actually pretty simple to do! These would be especially cute, I think, if they were baked in either shiny gold or skull-and-crossbones cupcake papers. :-) I always think cupcakes are fun for kid's parties, because they are much easier to serve than cake which has to be cut and served up. And making and decorating your own cupcakes is a great way to save money so you can afford some great party entertainment! (hint hint)
 
 
On Friday night I had a BLAST doing regular Henna and Bling Henna for conference attendees of the annual American Pharmacist's Association (APhA). Here are some photos!
Picture
Picture
Picture
Below is my first-ever bling henna dragon!
Picture
And my first-ever bling henna fairy!
Picture
Here I am with the Elvis impersonator who was also at the event! What fun!
I love my job. :-)
Picture
 
 
Just found this video... great, simple ideas for how to decorate some lovely cupcakes for your daughter's Princess or Fairy party! And it's easy enough that perhaps your daughter can help you decorate them. Wouldn't this be a fun way to make some memories together the day before her party? And she'll be so proud to share her special cupcakes, that she decorated, with all her friends. Enjoy!
 
 
Just now finally getting around to posting some new balloon pictures! I have been focusing on learning some new designs lately, especially fairy-tale and fantasy type designs, since that's what I love the best. :-) Enjoy, and please let me know what you think! Oh, and BTW I was out of Blush and Mocha balloons when I made these, (out of a lot of colors, actually) so I apologize in advance for the fact that they all have fishbelly-white skin! :-)
Picture
Blue Fairy. I would have made Tinkerbell, but I was out of lime green balloons. :-)
Picture
Princess! With a full skirt and lovely long golden hair. I am so looking forward to getting some more colors so I can make different princesses! I want to try to make Princess Tiana. :-)
Picture
Lovely Little Mermaid! I can also make a mermaid hat, by doing her tail a little differently.