My idea of a really good party is curling up in front of a roaring fire with a good book and an empty house. So when I tell you that I hosted a theme party for my kid, complete with costumes and *gasp* guests, you will have a full appreciation for what it took to get me there mentally. The last theme party I threw was 3 years ago at someone else's house (which is a good deal easier).
Never mind that I postponed it about 6 times and celebrated 6 months after his actually birthday... we got there. And my fellow Lord of the Rings nerds are going to like this one.
I'm going to take you through our cast of characters first. The kids did a great job putting these together on a tight budget. And I got away with very minimal sewing...
I had great plans for making this costume from scratch but rejoiced exceedingly when we came across a $5 costume at a garage sale. It was a medium women's gown but I did some heavy last minute costume editing and we made it work. The head piece came with the dress. We washed, parted, and braided Button's hair the night before to get the waves.
I picked up a gorgeous silver embroidered formal gown for $7 at a resale shop many months ago with this party in mind. It was perfect for Cookie and the embroidery was remarkably similar to the Evenstar necklace which I found on Amazon. The cape was a cream colored crushed velvet. No sewing involved. We just tied the ends of a large rectangle (in a last minute attempt at a little more modesty) and it perfectly completed the outfit.
Again, I had wonderful plans for a fully handcrafted gown but was saved by a last minute discovery. A few years ago, I picked up a $3 First Communion gown at a going-out-of-business sale and in a desperate closet search for something (anything!) that would prevent me from having to sew all night, I found it. I added a glittery blue sash and a silver cape and topped it off with a handmade crown.
I'm rather pleased with the way the crown turned out. I used a soft and thick florist wire (found at Joann Fabrics) to fashion it since it is so flexible and forgiving. I started by measuring her head and making one loop of the wire to fit. Then I added a second, making the twists and turns I wanted as I went. (Yes, this was hastily done.) We found a beautiful glass bead and affixed it with jewelry wire and then I took a hammer and lightly tapped the front wire to flatten it and secure it. Doing this too hard will break your wire so take care if you try it yourself. The back of the crown is secured by curving and hooking the ends. Nothing fancy.
We fixed her hair by washing, parting and braiding (many little tiny braids) her hair the night before. We simply brushed it out shortly before the party.
FRODO AND ARAGORN
Here is the birthday boy (Crash aka Aragorn) and his little brother. I love this picture. Cub actually looks like a little hobbit under Aragorn's protective presence.
Crash found most of his outfit the morning of the party (we know how to make things exciting) at the local thrift shop...
Pants and shirt: Thrifted.
Boots: Hand-me-downs from a relative.
Cape: Made by me from a heavy grey knit.
Sword: Crash purchased this Medieval Broadsword with his own snow shoveling money. He has been very pleased with it.
Elf Stone: Crash crafted this (to be worn either around the neck or on the forehead) from costume jewelry and a decorative glass stone (both found around the house).
Leaf Brooch: Amazon for a couple bucks. I have looked since and the price has doubled but you know Amazon... up and down. It was pretty cheaply made but perfect for the job.
Staffs: Made by Crash
Full outfit: This Frodo costume was the only costume that we flat out purchased. I had Amazon credits from the blog (thank you to all who purchased through my links!) and it worked out. Not super duper high quality but complete and perfect for the purpose. Adorable, in fact.
Dagger: In addition to the costume, Cub had his dagger (Sting) which was purchased for him as a gift from Alejandro's shop last year.
Pipe: Handcrafted by Crash
Okay, so this was a bit of a cheat. We just stuck a pretty dress on the baby and called her Baby Elanor. Here she is being given a balloon by Rosie Cotton.
Group shot of all who attended in costume. I've already identified most of mine but see if you can find cousins Goldberry (in a costume made by her own hands... so proud of you, girl!) and Samwise. The guy in the suit jacket is mine but he decided that putting together a Gandalf costume was a bit over his budget so he was our self-appointed sommelier...
On to the party details, the first of which is a major cake fail which worked out in the end...
This is Mount Doom.
I was running low on time and originally trashed the idea of a theme cake. I'll be glad if I can crank out any cake at all is what I was really thinking. So I picked up three boxes of gluten free brownie mix and planned a layered brownie cake, not recalling that gluten free brownies do not hold together well. So I made three layers in a round spring form and they all fell completely apart. So I transformed the mess into Mount Doom. Add some color, drizzled chocolate, three massive red candles found in a drawer, and some sparklers... and end up with something close to success.
Don't let the small size fool you. That baby was rock solid brownie. (Thank you, Hannah, for lending your carving skills!) And delicious.
EYE OF SAURON
It is so fun when we get to smash the bad guy. And really, the only pinata I know how to make is a balloon shaped one... so the Eye of Sauron it was!
Blow up a large balloon, apply newspaper and glue mixture according to internet directions, apply paint until it sort of resembles the look you're going for.
The pinata was filled with treats I was very proud of but that were inhaled before I could take a picture. I printed out labels that said: GOLLUM'S GOODIES and stuck them on individual bags filled with gummy worms and swedish fish. They were adorable but the kids were only concerned with the candy, not the crafty awesomeness. Someday, they will have their own Pinterest accounts and they will understand the offense given.
PARTY GIFTS AND FAVORS
As any LOTR fan knows, Hobbits give gifts on their birthdays. Aragorn is a clear fan of Hobbits and so we went to town putting some special things together for his guests.
Everyone received a handcrafted gift labeled in Elvish. (Instructions for writing and reading HERE) Once they decoded their name, they were able to have their gift...
*Handcarved daggers, staffs, and pipes.
These were all made by Crash. It took him many blisters to work through them, but it was worth it. The sheaths were made out of duct tape and cardboard and have a loop to be worn on a belt.
*Handmade fairy dolls
I love these little dolls and we whipped up some woodland lovelies for the girls.
*Handcrafted flower jewelry
I wish I had some pics but I don't yet. Cookie makes glass pendants using real pressed flowers and these were given to the ladies.
*Favor Boxes contained:
A ring pop
Homemade green "glass" candy (supposed to remind people of the Elfstone)
The boxes were from the Martha Stewart wedding collection. Pricey from the store but I found them brand new in the package for a song at a thrift shop.
I had great plans for the lembas. I was going to come up with a great GF recipe and cut leaf shapes out of fabric. But time just flew by and rice krispy treats and green napkins ended up working out just fine.
My original plans included decorating various areas to look like different LOTR locations. I wanted a Lothlorien and Shelob's Lair and a Prancing Pony. We simplified out of necessity. This Prancing Pony sign was a must though and I hung it in the kitchen area.
To make the sign I used foam core poster board as the base. I sketched a pony on a separate piece of regular poster board. I googled images and chose my favorite one and eyeballed it. Then I cut out the pony and glued it to the foam core. (That effort was largely to avoid messing up the more expensive foam core but it ended up "popping" in a cool way.) After that, I got out all my paints and used what I had to make it decent. I had no brown and ended up using gold and black for the wood. You can't really tell from the picture but I thought the shimmery effect was nice.
We borrowed white lights and hung them in a couple places. And then we created a party room where we set up a "speech table." The picture is so-so because I don't have a flash but it gives the general idea...
The Party Speech game
was a Hobbit-ish version of the classic Toastmasters 60-second speech exercise. Rules:
1. Everyone writes down a word on a small piece of paper. Any word at all.
2. All words are folded up and placed in a jar.
3. Participants choose a word randomly from the jar.
4. The speaker must give a 60-second speech. The speech must include the word on the paper plus a reference to the birthday or the birthday boy.
I wish we would have recorded some of them.
Elvish Name Game
I already mentioned this but we had people translate their names from elvish to identify their gifts. If we had more time, we would have had people try their hand at writing.
I had to stick this in here because Crash really did receive some fun and creative gifts which I highly recommend for 12-year old boys:
Gloves (Yes. Get these. You can avoid a trip to the ER and nauseous mother. I speak from experience)