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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days: Day 4 - Party Favors

Oh, party favors - those little bags of silly candy and cheap toys that we all feel obligated to give out because everyone else does, right? Yeah maybe. But I prefer to think of them as our little Thank You gifts to the guests that attend the party. And as another creative way to bring the theme of the party full circle, giving the guests a little something to take home to remember all the fun.

It may seem slightly out of order to talk about party favors now when they are usually tagged on at the end of the party. But I've found that it is the party favors and the decorations that I need to think about first so I can keep my eyes open and grab fun things when I spot them in the stores. It's really hard to go into a store a week or so before a party and find exactly what I'm looking for, especially when I don't know what I'm looking for until I find it! So as soon as I decide on a party theme, I start collecting favors. Good places to look for this kind of thing are the dollar sections at Target or any of the craft stores, dollar stores, party stores, etc. Also pay attention to packaging and unique food items when you walk down the snack or candy isle at the grocery store.

Plus, I felt like working on them today :) I did much more than my usual running around yesterday (early out for school, parent/teacher conference, dr appointment, dance class) and today I wanted to stay home, indulge myself, and maybe get a few things crossed off the To Do List. So this afternoon I turned on Nate Berkus (DVR'd of course - I watch very little TV and pretty much none of it is watched in real time anymore - am I the only one that does that?? I also only watch TV with about half my attention, choosing to work on projects during home improvement shows or using cooking shows to zone out right before bed), plugged in my glue gun and got to work.

When choosing party favors I always look for two things - does it creatively fit the theme? And is it unique or useful enough for someone to want to keep the item longer than the time it takes to drive home? Oh, and #3 - is it inexpensive? Because very few of us want to drop more money on the party favor than the amount we would spend on a gift if were were the guest.

The theme for the party I am planning for my daughter's 8th birthday is Fish. And I decided to go with a straight blue and color scheme - blue in many tones as it's very very hard to get the same shade of anything unless it's black or white - since blue is her favorite color right now.

A lot of my ideas for the favors came from inspiration I found on Pinterest - like these cute ribbon fish. The original idea was an embellishment for a card (instructions can be found here), but since my daughter has also declared the party to be "girls only" I turned them into hairbows. Fun huh? Kaitlyn was pretty pleased when I showed them to her.

I also found a recipe for homemade "moon sand" so I whipped up a batch and divided it into snack-size zip top baggies. I then printed out a little label/instruction tag and stapled it onto the baggie. Notice the fish clipart? She's the same little fish I used on the invitations. I like to repeat things like that in more than one place, to tie it all together. And because it makes people ooh and ahh - especially when you do things like putting the same logo from the invitation on all the water bottles :) I had picked up some pencils and shark themed fruit snacks (I didn't know at the time that they were packaged in blue too - how lucky am I?) when I ran across them and I think the four items fill out a goodie bag just right.

It's all about presentation right? I love to do something a little unique when I package anything even if it's only adding ribbon or feathers to the top of a colored paper bag. This time I decided to cut fish shapes out of fabric to make bags. This blue patterned flannel was on sale for like $3/yard and I thought the circle shapes looked kind of like scales so I grabbed it. I used the hot glue gun around the edges to attach the two sides together, leaving the mouth open so I could fill them.

Printed out another sheet of fish clipart for the tags. Used a stamp to add a "thanks so much" message, and cut them apart.

And there you have it - a fully stuffed fish all ready to party.

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