Because apparently one fourth birthday party isn’t enough, we also threw JJ a birthday party for family and close friends on the weekend. JJ asked for a Rapunzel doll cake, and of course every budding Rapunzel needs long golden hair (unless you decide to cut it all off, but that’s another story…)
JJ fell in love with the Rapunzel story through reading (and re-reading and re-reading) our vintage My Little Golden Book version (which I’ve just seen is available on Amazon for a cruel $0.01).
In this interpretation of the story, Rapunzel’s pregnant mother is bewitched to crave Rapunzel, a plant that grew only in the sorceress’s garden. The woman agrees to give up her newborn child in exchange for Rapunzel leaves. The daughter Rapunzel grows up imprisoned in a tower, where she is one day overheard singing by a handsome prince. When the prince is caught visiting Rapunzel, he is blinded by the sorceress as punishment, and Rapunzel is banished to the most deserted place on Earth. Only years later are the pair reunited when the price blindly stumbles upon Rapunzel’s exile.
As you can imagine, I was quite surprised when JJ wistfully said one day she wished she was Rapunzel. I asked why? Surely it would have been unpleasant to grow up away from your parents, imprisoned in a tower by an evil sorceress, and to have the only other person you’ve ever met and fallen in love with blinded before being banished to exile? JJ, the eternal romantic optimist said “But she does get to marry the prince in the end.”
It’s only recently that JJ’s been introduced to the Disney’s version Tangled, with it’s significant plot shifts from the Golden Book version we knew. JJ was hooked all over again. I’m sure it must be the allure of long hair, especially as JJ’s own hair refuses to grow. But I do secretly think that Tangled’s Rapunzel has a bit of spunk. She’s a child who can entertain herself, be it through reading, writing, painting, baking, sewing, candle stick making. She’s smart, kind, charismatic and playful. She has the confidence to chase her dreams, even when she’s told she can’t.
We bought JJ a Rapunzel doll that would be both a birthday present, and the centre of her Rapunzel cake. To make the skirt, I I planned to bake a Bundt butter cake. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have witnessed the highs and lows of my Bundt baking attempts. However it wasn’t until I began constructing the skirt that I realised one Bundt cake wouldn’t be enough. Rapunzel has long legs, and so she needs a big skirt! I ended up stacking one and a half Bundt cakes to bring the height up to match Rapunzel’s waistline.
I covered the skirt with butter cream icing and coloured ready to roll icing, and added a few details using edible markers. It’s not perfect, but JJ still thought it was magical.
And of course every Rapunzel loving girl needs her own Rapunzel wig of long golden hair, or in this case, a headband of Rapunzel hair extensions.
Here’s what I used and how I did it:
yellow packing tape (I already had this, but they were cheap as chips at $2.00 for a colourful set of 6).
yellow streamers ($1.50)
repurposed cardboard (free from an old cereal box)
a wide fabric headband ($2.00)
lots of pegs!
bulldog clips (optional)
I bought yellow streamers and a headband from the discount shop for $3.50, and the rest of the materials I already had on hand. I began by cutting the streamers into long strips (roughly about 2 metres long), sticking them along a section of packing tape (roughly about 40cm wide).
I continued this for three rows, overlapping the tape by about 1 cm each row, and offsetting the streamers each time. I then taped on to a piece of upcycled cereal box cardboard, and glued the whole lot to a headband using PVC glue.
Pegs held it all together while the glued dried. (Be sure not to glue the pegs to the headband in the process though!)
(One can never have enough pegs).
I gave JJ her new Rapunzel headband just before the first guests arrived. She put it on, and her eyelids fluttered in that way that all little girls do when they feel like they are the most beautiful being in the world. Success!
JJ ran, played, climbed and even rode her bike (with helmet) all while wearing her long golden hair. I love that it is light weight enough that she could feel the length flowing behind her without it restricting her movements. I love that it is such an easy to make and low cost dress up that there was no need to try to keep it looking ‘pristine’.
Of course so much play results in significant wear and tear. It didn’t take long before the headband detached (after another bikee riding with helmet attempt). It’s since been reglued and is now sporting some bulldog clips on each side to give the glue a chance to stay stuck. Meanwhile, almost all of the streamer strands have been trodden on at some point and are either significantly shorter, squished in parts or missing altogether, causing an usual case of premature pattern baldness.
Notwithstanding, JJ still thinks is is beautiful, and continues to play with it over a week later. I’m not sure how much longer it will last, but either way, we’ve gotten our $3.50 worth. 🙂
This time it was a joint birthday party for Bee (turning 1), our friend Megan (turning 40!) and myself (turning 36 21).
Really this post is just an excuse to share this number one cake that I made for Bee, made with the other half of the batter from her other birthday party.
Here’s how to do it:
I covered the whole lot with white fondant (ready-to-roll) icing and added natural food colours (free from these nasty food colour additives) to the remaining fondant. Then I cut circles in three different diameters and randomly stuck them using a touch of water to act as glue.
Megan also made this cute egg-free cake (from this recipe), as we had a few guests with egg allergies. It tasted like raw cookie dough. Yum!
I made some more of my healthy-ish wholemeal banana and blueberry muffins (with no added sugar), and a few of my wholegrain chocolate crackles – recipes below.
Wholemeal Banana & Blueberry Muffins2 overripe bananas mashed (defrosted from frozen is perfect) 1 egg 125mL water 125mL oil (I use an extra light refined olive oil, which has a mild flavour, low smoke point and is liquid at room temperature) 250g wholemeal self-raising flour (or add an extra 2 teaspoons baking powder if using plain flour) 1 teaspoon bicarb soda (also known as baking soda) 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1 cup blueberries (frozen is fine)
Preheat oven to fan-forced 180 degrees Celsius. Mix banana, egg, water, oil, flour, bicarb soda and baking powder in a large bowl until combined and mostly smooth. Gently fold in the blueberries (if you mix too much you’ll turn the batter blue). Spoon into patty pans, silicon cupcake moulds or greased muffin trays. Bake until the tops are golden and spring back lightly when pressed, which was about 10 minutes for the mini muffins and about 15-20 minutes for the larger muffins. My tip – turn the trays around in the oven at about the half way mark so they cook evenly.
Wholegrain Chocolate Crackles75g of puffed wholegrains and cereals (I use a mix of all-bran cereal and puffed corn, brown rice, millet and kamut) 150g of milk chocolate buttons 100g butter 4 tablespoons golden syrup
Mix wholegrains in a large bowl. Melt chocolate, butter and golden syrup together, and pour over wholegrains. Spoon into paper cupcake cups (the sort that are sturdier than your usual patty pans), and pop in the fridge to set. Yum!!
And to finish off I couldn’t resist throwing in a few photos of Bee, who is using a variety of methods to get around these days…
Phew – two birthday parties down, I think we’re almost all birthdayed out!
I learnt how to make the roses recently on a cupcake decorating course, and I used a 3D cookie stamp for the butterflies. The other flowers, stems and leaves were improvised. My big tip, is to use baking paper on both the table and the rolling pin when rolling out the ready-made icing. It was quite humid, and I found that otherwise the icing would stick to both. The baking paper also made it easy to flip the icing over onto the cake to make the white background.
And you can’t have a kids birthday party without cupcakes… What’s the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? Icing on top!
I cookie cutter to cut out star shapes from the ready-made icing, and then stuck store-bought iced flowers on top with water. That’s cheating I know, but I had the iced flowers in my cupboard already and was looking for an excuse to use them up…
I was pleased to see that the kids were eating the whole thing (or in JJ’s case, eating the muffin and leaving the icing – bless!), so the healthy-ish cupcake / muffin base was a big hit with the toddler crowd.
And I kept one of the larger cupcakes icing-free for Bee. She hasn’t really had added sugar in her diet yet, and I’m hoping to keep it that way for a while longer.
A floral invitation to play… As there were some older kids invited, I set up a floral “invitation to play” in a corner of our backyard.
Stems of fake flowers were displayed spilling out of watering cans and plant pots, around the log stools. I also included our dolls house and play kitchen (both council clean-up finds), our various toilet paper roll dolls, our stick family (I’ll have to blog about them another time), and a few other odds and sods that I thought would encourage some interactive play.
Flower wall decorations
On the upper level of the garden, I used these flower decorations to tie the theme together. (I love an excuse to introduce textiles).
These flowers were actually made a few months ago, and have up on our playroom walls over Winter. But in honour of Bee’s birthday, we brought them outside into the sunshine.
The flowers themselves were simple to make – they are just fabric glued to recycled cardboard, stuck to the fence with packing tape and/or blu-tack.
I think they added quite a bit of pop to the backyard!
We had a lovely afternoon. Bee enjoyed being the centre of attention, even if she didn’t quite understand what all the fuss was about.
What a happy and grubby birthday girl!
PS: Special mention to Mrs T for the outfits and the set up, and to Megan for helping with the happy snaps. Love you both!
My friend Megan Webb is celebrating her 40th birthday today, so I made got her this totally fake genuine signed birthday card from her teenage crush Alex Papps.
You remember Alex as Vince from The Henderson Kids, and then as Frank Morgan from Home and Away, don’t you? Well, actually I don’t, but then I’m a few years younger than Megan. Although the top right photo of Alex in the green shirt does ring a bell…
But now that I have kids, I do totally know Alex in his current role as a Playschool presenter. (Particularly the scene where he dresses up as a watermelon in a fruit fashion parade. I’d show you a photo, but my Google Image search for “alex papps camp watermelon outfit playschool” came up blank…
Anyway, Megan is such a closet fan that she actually married an Alex Papps look-alike. Talk about dedication! Their youngest (Master 4) is convinced that the centre photo in this collage actually is his Daddy, and can’t work out where Daddy got a watch since he doesn’t usually wear one? He’s also a tad jealous that Daddy’s apparently met Big Ted.
But, I digress. Just wanting to wish you a very happy 40th birthday Megan. Hope you have a lovely day, week, month, year and decade!
PS: None of these photos were actually taken by me – all credits go to the original photographers. This birthday card was made just for laughs. I found all of the images via Google Image search, but I forgot to save some the sources at the time (*smacks hand*), and some of those I did save have been since deleted.
But on the bright side, you got to taste food for the first time! We’d been trying to hold off as long as possible, but at around five and a half months you started shouting at us whenever you saw us eat. Not crying, SHOUTING. Audibly demanding to be fed. Or at least included. I think it was the included part that you wanted most of all.
Whilst we are doing a version of Baby-Led Weaning, I thought some mushy roasted sweet potato might be a good first start.
You squished it, and painted with it, and ended up collecting the majority around your thighs. But you never actually brought any up to your mouth for a taste. That’s OK. At your age, food is not just for eating. It’s also for touching, feeling, smelling, participating. And I’m totally counting this as your first work of art.
The second try, a day or so later, was half a banana. You picked it up, squished it into mush in your fist, and had fun painting again. I did put some to your mouth to encourage you to eat some this time, but no, you were having too much fun with all your other senses to actually taste any.
So we tried again that night with a steamed green bean at dinner time, and this time you knew exactly what to do. The bean was firm enough for you to hold without squishing, and yet soft enough that you could suck on it and get some of the taste.
And here you are a few nights later trying some noodles. Yummy AND fun!
You haven’t quite figured out the swallowing bit yet. Even food that you’ve mushed up gets spat back out. But there’s plenty of time for that. For now, you are enjoying the act of eating, the different colours, textures, smells and tastes. You are learning where your gag reflex is, and how to use your tongue to push food around your mouth. You are developing your hand-eye coordination. And you are enjoying the social aspects of eating, of being included as part of the family dining experience. All important lessons for such a wee little girl!
Mummy, Daddy and JJ love you lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots.
But first up. Awwww. Isn’t she the cutest little Satellite you ever did see? She’s was only 2.5 months old at this party, and despite my headband, she was definitely the star of the show. Cluck cluck cluck.
I chose a T-Shirt appliqué for her outfit, because at that tender young age, I needed something comfortable. Something soft. Something she could nurse in and sleep in.
First I bought a cheap little plain black T-Shirt and shorts (to represent the black space) in the smallest size I could find, and then took them here, there and everywhere to convert them into a newborn size.
Then I googled satellites, and discovered there are some really tricky images of satellites that I would have no hope of replicating in fabric. I chose this one, which seemed remotely do-able, and copied the design onto the back of some iron-on sewable adhesive.
I chose some four shades of grey fabric from my mammoth fabric stash (I keep getting donations of old clothes that are no-longer wearable but the fabric is still salvageable – it’s awesome!) and ironed on the adhesive, cut out the shapes, and then ironed them onto the T-Shirt. The design becomes reversed, but that doesn’t matter for a design like this where there is no right or wrong way round.
By now we were running behind schedule, and I had Mr Banya breathing down my neck to finish the damn outfits. So I wizzed this around the sewing machine at lightning speed. Luckily I like little flaws.
And here’s how it turned out.
BUT, once we got to the party, Bee decided to do what newborns do best, and that was nurse, cry and sleep, and repeat. So the family shot above is the only one of her actually awake and happy. For the rest of the night, all you could see of her outfit was this.
What do you wear to an “S” themed fancy dress party? Space outfits of course!
Today, I’m sharing with you how to make a Saturn and a Sun face mask.
First up, the sun, for my gorgeous little girl JJ.
Luckily I keep a stash of I’m-sure-it-will-be-useful-one-day recycling in our hoarding room study. So I found a piece of sturdy corrugated cardboard (that had once been an infant car-seat box in a previous life) that would be perfect to upcycle.
I drew the inner circle by tracing around a saucer, then I free drew the sun’s rays and cut it all out with a Stanley knife (or utility knife or box cutter – whatever those knife-thingies are called). Then I raided JJ’s paint supplies and painted on yellows and oranges, and glued on some yellow glitter. Cos, you know, everything needs a bit of sparkle.
Next I glued on some strips of yellow felt around the inner ring, pegging until it was dry, as I didn’t want the mask to chaff my daughters chin.
Lastly, I stapled on some elastic to the back with my staple gun (which, by the way, was the best birthday present ever – thanks bro!)
Technically she is supposed to be wearing all black, as her clothes should have been the “space”, but it was an unseasonably cold afternoon and we ended up raiding the emergency jumper stash in the back of the car and found this pink and grey number which she wouldn’t take off for the photos. Kids don’t understand the need for blog-pretty photos sometimes! Anyway, I digress…
Next up, was Saturn.
I used this Martha Stewart costume as my inspiration. Then I elicited the help of my Dad to draw on the design and cut it out. The cricket was on the tele at the time, so he didn’t mind…
Then I painted the planet yellow and orange, and the rings silver with a touch of blue, and glued on some yellow and silver glitter. Given that it was for my husband to wear, I probably should have skipped on the glitter, but you know, sometimes I get a bit carried away. 🙂
I decided to roughly blacken out the areas in between the rings and the planet using black packing tape. I decided against cutting holes instead, as I wanted the mask to retain it’s sturdiness. I feared if I had cut the sections around the rings, the whole thing would be weak enough that my toddler would destroy it in seconds.
And there you have it. A Sun and a Saturn, two parts of our little Space Family.