Curious Charley's Monkey Party
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I'm beyond excited to be sharing Charley's 2nd birthday party with y'all (that's my leftover drawl from living in the South for a couple years). I had such a blast putting this all together in honor of my monkey's 2nd birthday, where did the time go? It was such an honor to debut Charley's birthday party over on Hostess with the Mostess, I still can't get over that I had a party featured on Hostess. Ahhh, can you hear me jumping for joy?
Here are the collages that Jenn from Hostess put together for her writeup followed by what I wrote for her feature. Lots more DIY and specifics will be coming over the next couple weeks so stay tuned...
Enjoy the photos taken by Marla of Sprout Photography, take a peak at her incredible work here
“Even before Charley was born, we have been calling her monkey (it happens to be my favorite animal since childhood). I had a piece of monkey art commissioned for her room that I actually brought to the party and her stuffed monkeys are just about taking over our house! Once I decided that the monkey theme was perfect for her 2nd birthday, I began thinking of ways to make this monkey party unique and chose the “swinging monkey from a barrel of monkeys” angle. Charley’s obsession with Curious George also helped to inspire both the yellow and the style of font that I used throughout the party.
I wanted to make the party feel girlie and modern at the same time so I incorporated varying stripes of pink and yellow throughout the party, including my all time favorite version, the chevron stripe. I have found that it is best to create or stick to a few patterns and use them throughout the party to help tie everything together.
When our guests came to the entrance of the park, they entered into the beautiful arbor and were met with a “Happy Birthday Charley” banner and 40 paper lanterns that matched the party colors perfectly. After scouring the internet, I found the best pricing at Paper Lantern Store.
I also made the kids party hats and custom wraps for the barrel of monkey favors (purchased on ebay). The custom wrap around labels said “thanks for monkeying around with me. love, charley“.
The show stopper of the whole party was the dessert table. To make the backdrop, I sewed a thin pocket at the top of the fabric, then we put a piece of thin PVC pipe through the pocket. The pipe stuck out a few inches from the fabric and my husband drilled holes into the pipe so we could thread our rope through it and then hung the rope from a tree branch. (Bring a level with you to ensure the fabric is hanging straight!) I’m sort of obsessed with Keep Calm posters so I knew I wanted to incorporate one into the party, I came up with “Keep Calm and Go Bananas“, had it printed on foam core and placed into a $2 yard sale frame that I spray painted glossy white.
I think a key element to dessert tables is to use symmetry and keep similar shapes. I always use all white cake stands, the ones used here are my absolute favorites from the Martha Stewart line at Macy’s. I also love HomeGoods and Ikea for their selection of white serving pieces. I try to invest in a couple of new ones for each party, it’s worth it to buy good pieces that can be reused over and over regardless of the theme of the party.
We hauled our old dining table over to the park and I sewed the custom ruffled tablecloth to fit perfectly and added the yellow pom pom trim to the front side of the table. This was my first dessert table so it was definitely a learning experience but I love the way it turned out!
I ordered a plain white cake from my local Albertsons. I worked with the bakery department to create this cake on a budget. It cost me $48 – BUT if I had selected the EXACT same one from their wedding catalog, it would have cost me $199! I found some yellow and white striped ribbon to add to the base of each layer of the cake to dress it up.
Anna of Sweet Petal Bakery custom created the adorable fondant monkey and the beautiful flowers for the cake. She was a dream to work with and even drove two hours to help me set up all of her goodies. Also, she created the edible image sugar cookies. I just emailed her the jpgs of the monkey, banana and the patterns I was using for the party and she created these gorgeous and delicious cookies. She also created the striped fondant cupcake toppers with the open banana for the banana cupcakes that I baked. This was such an easy and inexpensive way to have beautiful cupcakes.
The monkey cake pops were a blast to make. My husband gave me the one and only Bakerella’s cake pop book for Christmas and I was eager to test some out. This was the first time I had ever made a cake pop and they were so fun and easy, the toughest part was hunting down the supplies. Anna made the sweet little bows that I added to the cake pops.
One of my favorite things on the dessert table are the fabric flowers that I made for the cupcake toppers. They were so easy and they were so gorgeous, our friends were raving about them! Check out the DIY Tutorial right here.
I used white take out boxes to hold each child’s lunch which was a peanut butter and banana sandwich and Curious George fruit snacks. I decorated the table with simple flowers and a pennant banner in the patterns that were used throughout the party.
One of the biggest hits of the party for the kids were the bananas that decorated the kids table. One of the little girls picked up a banana, put it to her ear, said banana phone and the trend caught on. All of the kids in attendance played “banana phone” for the next twenty minutes or so! What this taught me is that you can never be too sure what it is that the kids will gravitate towards and that it can be the most simple games that keep the kids entertained.
Another really fun unique aspect of the party was the outdoor “living room” that we set up. I brought over our living room chairs and the rug and art from Charley’s room. I also sewed custom pillow covers to match the backdrop of the dessert table. I collected all of Charley’s monkey books and placed them near the chairs so parents could steal away a quiet moment with their kids. The rug also turned out to be a great place for the 6-12 month old partygoers to hang out. This little setup cost me NOTHING and was so much fun. Your husband might think you are crazy when you tell him to pack up the furniture but it turned out to be so worth it! =)
The drinks table was also really cute. I used a galvanized three tiered stand to display the mason jars with the yellow striped straws and wrapped the juice boxes and water bottles in custom labels.
Also, I had bananas just about everywhere. Make sure to buy them at the perfect time, I bought about 15 lbs of bananas at Costco 3 days prior to the party and they were still green the day of. Again, Albertson’s to the rescue! We gave away bananas the following day to just about everyone who stepped foot in our house.
I printed mini versions of the Keep Calm poster and threw them into Ikea frames to carry the “Keep Calm and Go Bananas” throughout the party, it really is all about consistency.
I saved money on flowers by arranging them myself. This was super fast, easy and looked great.
Last but not least, we HAD to coordinate our clothing to the party scheme. I purchased Charley’s smocked monkey dress from zulily and I happened to have the yellow striped Ralph Lauren dress. I also bought a yellow and white striped bow-tie for my husband from Amazon. I asked him if he was willing to dress up for the party and he thought I was asking him to be the man in the yellow hat from Curious George…. so when I told him I just wanted him to wear the bow-tie, he was relieved. What a good sport! (though he did still get some teasing from his friends!)
The monkey party printables are available in my shoppe here
Give back some love to two incredible women who helped make this party so special:
Marla of Sprout Photography, website here
Anna of Sweet Petal Bakery, her etsy shoppe here (created the fondant monkey cake topper and incredible flowers on the cake, the gorgeous edible image cookies and the striped banana cupcake toppers)