Although I loved having Winter babies, snug and warm hibernating by the fire in our cosy farmhouse with a newborn, having birthday parties in the depths of a Thorpdale Winter was not the best in forward planning. And then we did it again. Two birthdays, two weeks apart, in June/July. And we live in a teeny tiny house. And have a big family.
This year I said ‘family only’ for the girls birthday’s, which is still about 20 adults and 14 kids! But with a few inabilities on the invites it actually turned out a perfect number to squash into our little lounge room, after a bit of furniture rearranging. It made sense to have the girls birthday’s together, at this age Eleanor loved sharing her birthday with her little sister – I don’t know if that will always be the case! I’m not sure if we’ll always do a joint birthday, or perhaps alternate years? And although Matt insisted that we didn’t need to do anything, Harriet’s first birthday surely had to be marked, because: #secondchildsyndrome. Eleanor wanted to have a fairy party, and chose the classic Women’s Weekly toadstool fairy house for her cake (although she wanted it “PINK NOT RED BECAUSE PINK IS MY FAVOURITE COLOUR! ACTUALLY!”) She also assured me that Harriet loves bears, so I went with a woodland theme to incorporate lots of forest friends, magical toadstools and as Matt said, ‘assorted feral vermin’…
Of course, I had to make a cake for each girl, I imagine the thought process was somewhat like what twin mums go through?! One each, yeah? I’m surprised you couldn’t hear Matt’s eyeballs rolling back in his head from where you are. I finished one cake and then got started baking again, he was like “what are you doing?!” Baking the other cake – obviously! A toadstool fairy house (pink!) for Eleanor, which made actually did the icing on, and a naked cake with woodland animals for Harriet…because I’ve been wanting to try my hand at a naked cake for ages (and one year old’s don’t really demand specially shaped cakes…yet…) Also, Schleich animals: making birthday cakes presentable since forever!
As well as the cakes on the party table I put out some ‘forest berries’ (blueberries and strawberries in cupcake paper cups), ‘forest twigs’ (mini flake bars and chocolate biscuit fingers), made ‘fairy wands’ (watermelon stars and red grapes on skewers) and had some teddy bear biscuits also. Quite easy with the amount of people we had (only four ‘little kids’, with four ‘big’ kids as well) as I didn’t make many of each, having learnt from previous Eleanor birthday parties that there’s always too much food! The party bags I made to look like bears and included some bubble wands, some erasers, a balloon, woodland animal stickers and some ‘fairy wands’ Eleanor and I made with sticks we collected and scraps of ribbon. I stupidly didn’t factor in that Eleanor would of course want a party bag too! Rookie error. Duly noted for the next ten years of birthday parties.
The girls wore outfits which I made for them (although at times in my sewing room I thought they could just wear tracksuits for all I cared! Always the way, I finished the outfits and am glad I did it…) Eleanor had a tea party dress from Tadah Patterns and Harriet a summer romper from Brindille and Twig. I was initially unsure about the fabric and how well you would actually see it, but was really happy with it in the end, after some particular animal head placement when cutting out (even if my iron did put a big mark on the front of Eleanor’s dress and I had to cut it out again!) Harriet’s romper worked up especially well, it was my first time making the pattern and I found it was super easy, definitely going on my never-ending ‘to make more of’ list (sometime in the next decade…) Eleanor’s dress was my fourth tea party attempt, and although it does get easier each time I’ve made it, my side seams still are a bit wonky matching up the lining and skirt gathers, and the rear opening and inside isn’t the prettiest! Not that the birthday girl (or anyone else really) seemed to care.
At the last minute I decided to make Eleanor a deer headband (which she wore for all of two seconds anyway) but was the finishing touch nonetheless. Just a bit of felt, some white berries which were part of a fake flower arrangement from the $2 shop, some white pipe cleaners for antlers and a brown headband (also from the $2 shop). Plus: hot glue gun, which I have a love hate relationship with! The party table was decorated with some reindeers dragged out of the Christmas decorations box, antlers which I have from our days living in South Australia, and a simple leaf and stick backdrop, which was also a very last minute addition the morning of the party, running out in the freeeeeeezing frost to get some camellia leaves – it was -3 degrees the night before the party!
We had baked potatoes for lunch, actually Matt’s idea to keep the food simple and easy, with assorted toppings of guacamole, corn salsa, spicy beans, jalapeños, sour cream, coleslaw and Matt’s mum’s yummy Cyprian salad. Our girls were spoilt with lovely gifts and well loved upon by big cousins, aunties and uncles, Mumma and Opa, and my 94 year old Nanna, which is pretty special. My favourite photo of the day is of Eleanor and her great-grandmother sharing some birthday cake together.
It is always a big effort putting on a birthday party, and I know the girls couldn’t care less if we had a supermarket cake and no ‘theme’, and I know it drives my long suffering husband around the twist, but I love it (and he quietly rolls his eyes in a corner and tolerates me! #whatstrongmarriagesaremadeof) I do hope our girls have special memories of their birthday’s with their family though, of days surrounded by those who have helped them grow, all squashed into our little farmhouse on the hill celebrating another year of them. Big love for little people.
And just look at them?! So loved, so beautiful and growing like…well, mushrooms on a forest floor! These are the golden days of my motherhood and their childhood, days that we will want to remember and look back on, Eleanor and Harriet just as they are at three and one. Eleanor having way too much fun opening her little sister’s presents…and Harriet quite happy to play with the wrapping paper and cardboard box anyway. Happy birthday to my two woodland fairies, we can’t wait to see what adventures you will get up to together in the next year!
Our big reindeer is from The Colors Are Brighter. The smaller reindeer on Harriet’s cake are from Bed Bath & Table.
The bear plates are also from The Colours Are Brighter.
The woodland animals stickers for the party bags were from our local $2 shop.
The girls’ outfits are made with fabric from Spoonflower.
Eleanor’s brown tights were actually the ones she wore last year to her farmyard birthday party with another tea party dress (I think an eBay purchase) and Harriet’s tights are by Lottie Shoes.
Eleanor’s long sleeved top with flutters is from Toots Kids, Harriet’s is part of a three pack from Kmart.
Eleanor’s shoes are from Next and Harriet’s are from Best and Less.
The graphics I used on the invitations and food signs are from Tiny Confetti on Etsy.