My good friend Amy and I had blast collaborating on a joint birthday party for our two kids, who both turned five within a week. I say birthday party – but I have to admit that Amy and I both got a little carried away – and this turned into a full fledged EVENT. Collaborating with another creative mama was crazy fun – and it quickly turned into a creative project that included set design, styling, art direction, event management, catering and DJ-ing.
During the course of planning the party, we had many late night and early morning text conversations that went something like this:
“Stage, Paparazzi, VIP badges?”
“YES! Face paint, dress-up station, temp tattoos?”
“I’ll order blow up guitars and echo mics for all the kids.... Oooooo and punky hair colour!”
“secret Pinterest board started – check it out for stage ideas”
“We should have a band name or two.....”
“Jake and The Ankle Biters”
“Mia & The Music Machines”
“The Pip Squeeks”
“The Treble Makers”
“OK, Snacks - pop-rocks? BBQ?”
“Sno Cones! With tequila for the grown ups!”
“This is going to be epic....”
And so on. It was a real treat to work with Amy on this creative project and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. For the many people who (very rightly) think we were flat out crazy to put this much effort into a kids birthday party, I have to direct you to this fabulous article by Sasha Emmons of Parenting.com. She says: “...scratching the itch to create makes me happy, and that happiness bleeds over into every other area, including how patient and engaged and creative a mother I am.” This perfectly sums up the way Amy and I both feel about the efforts we put into creative projects. We create because it’s fun, and makes us happy and as a result - we are able to be more engaged with our kids.
Here’s a breakdown of how we put it all together:
All of the kids came in their best rock star outfits and we accessorized and added some rock star glam. Many of our fabulous party mamas and papas helped the kids with styling as they arrived applying face paint, hair colour, tattoos and helping the kids choose guitars, mics and other instruments. Without the help of our friends - we would have never pulled all this off. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
- Coloured Hairspray, temp tattoos, inflatable guitars, echo mics – Amazon.com
- Fabric sashes, boas, sunglasses and accessories – dollar store, and Fabricana
- Face paint done using snazaroo paints – Michael’s
We were lucky enough to borrow a professional pipe & drape system normally used for trade shows and events – and this really made our stage impressive. One of our party papas built the wooden stage from pallets and plywood, and together with Amy - designed and built the chalkboard behind the stage from plywood, chalkboard paint and trim (The chalkboard was inspired by this project and this project). We borrowed lawn chairs from everyone we knew, decorated the stage area with colourful lanterns, sequined tie-backs and Christmas lights - and Amy made ridiculously cute cardboard speakers as a prop. A couple other party moms & dads volunteered to help be security, producers, DJ’s, and vocal coaches (thank you!).
We asked all of our guests to share with us in advance their kid’s favourite music – and so had a very special playlist for the kiddos to lip synch to on stage. This included a WIDE variety of tunes – including “We are young” by fun., “Closer” by Tegan & Sara, "Thriftshop" by Mackelmore (radio edit of course), and my favourite “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr. It was pretty awesome to see all the kids rocking out to their favourite music.
I made personalized VIP passes for each of our rock stars, and the kids were so stoked to arrive at the party and be given a backstage pass with their face on it. A great keepsake too. Amy made some fabulous hand lettered posters and props to designate the different stations.
In addition to the great photos that Amy took – we had the pleasure of having the event documented by the lovely and talented Karen Gentleman. She did an amazing job capturing the spirit and energy of the party, and it really helped Amy & I relax and enjoy the moment, knowing that Karen was our paparazzi. Our three way collaboration on set dec, styling, art direction & photography was incredibly fun, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. If you’ve been thinking about having some family photos taken – I can’t recommend Karen enough. She has a rare talent for capturing people’s true spirit in photos.