Tuesday, January 24, 2012

make-it party

My daughter's request for her belated seventh birthday party couldn't have been more welcome. She didn't want a theme (as in the past), she just desired an afternoon of art and crafting with her closest friends. She asked for a "make it" party. That's my girl!  I didn't take a ton of photos, as my daughter was quite happy to have the focus of my eyes and not the lens. Any pictures with children have been kept anonymous with some intentional blurring. Photo-laden or not, I can share the steps, because seven is really the perfect age for this type of party and I encourage you to give it a try.

The stage was set for their creativity by organizing separate stations for each kind of material with signs hung from above:
  • Drawing Door
  • Beading Bazaar
  • Sewing Station
  • Painting Place
  • Glitter and Glue
They were each welcomed to spend the afternoon roaming from one project to another. I didn't want there to be a sense of rushing, as everyone creates at a different pace.
drawing door
painting place
painting place in action
metalic paint
beading bazaar

beading action
Three of my favorite moms, who also happen to be good friends, stayed and helped. Between their able hands (all master needle-threaders) and my husbands fire-tending and snack prepping skills, we had a smooth and cozy three hours. I had a personal moment of bliss (rare in the midst of holding a children's party), when everyone gathered for sewing simple felt pouches and purses. So good! The girls each made something unique and amazing. My only regret... not having a record of their completed projects.  It must be a sign that I need to start hosting a little girl's sewing group.
sewing station
 I made 8 project/party bags in the final hour before the guests arrived- silly me! They were whipped up out of an old sheet with a cheery twill tape handle and printed with my old scissor stamp that I still love so much. Not my finest stitching, but they did the job as they hung on the mantle to await the piñata goodies and assorted craft projects to take home.
projectparty bag
I had made that super duper quick piñata in the top photo at midnight the night before. Under pressure crafting seems to be my favorite kind. Tissue paper, shredder scissors, glue, and a paper bag- that's all it took. The glue dried to form a nice hard shell and it was quite pretty for being so simple. An indoor piñata with big, strong seven year olds had me terrified once we got to that final moment. My husband saved the day with a wooden spoon! No blind fold (kept them from random whacking) and the smallness of their tool, made for controlled chaos and loads of fun! I'd actually do it again next year... even with bigger eight year olds!

7 craft party tips:
  1. Beads- use elastic beading cord and help make the final knots.
  2. Sewing- felt, felt, felt. 
  3. Paint- use real artist canvases in small sizes and emphasize filling out the info on the back which includes date, name, signature, title, material... it gives a sense of reverence to each small masterpiece.
  4. Music- quiet piano solos and such keeps the mood mellow, but a few dance tunes at key moments is good for shaking it out.
  5. Snacks- have a scheduled buffet, and then gather children on a picnic blanket on the floor (fun and keeps the project tables from needing to be cleared... until cupcake time.
  6. Cupcake Decorating- little dishes with little spoons for sprinkles, craft sticks for spreading frosting.
  7. Piñata- wooden spoon instead of a bat (had to say it again!)
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  1. I love your party! I have done lots of variations of this with my girls (now 12 and 14). I've started my own company for those people who would like to have these kinds of parties, but are not able to provide it themselves. Thanks for all your photos- it's really a picture of lovely time together with friends, in a caring and cozy home--that's the real gift! Worth all the late night crafting! Lise-Lotte, partygreencelebrations


  2. Looks like a great, cozy afternoon. Please tell us about your beautiful mantle, I love the pegs on it. They are really smart, in both senses of the word.

  3. Love this, and also the idea of hosting a sewing club. That sounds like a good time!

  4. Cute party idea! Looks like the girls had lots of fun! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Maya, what a GREAT idea! I love how crafty all these little ladies are! I think your bags are just perfect for the party!

  6. Such a fun party - lots of great ideas. With four girls, a lot of my sewing projects last year were party favors - including some of your buckets which were a big hit. I always seem to be sewing the hour before the party too!

  7. Can we have one of these with the grown ups?! What fun! Lucky girls.

  8. Looks like such a sweet and wonderful party Maya. I am sure that your daughter and her friends loved it.

  9. I'm in my 30s and this would still be my ideal party! Maybe with a little sangria! So fun!

  10. OH how fun! Our three boys were always more interested in tackling each other and making stuff that could be eaten so most of our parties centered around food and rough housing (the summer babies that is!)

    I personally think this sounds like a spectacular party as an adult... throw in some Izze soda, fresh fruit, hearty breads, sharp cheddar, and maybe a soup followed by a decadent chocolate. OH my now I'm hungry and want to craft with a group of friends!!

  11. I am a big fan of an at home craft party. I have done them on a smaller scale,but after seeing this I think having all those little craft corners is just excellent, I love it.

  12. Thanks for the enthusiasm!
    Tara Jane- The mantel came with pegs. I don't have any idea why, but we've loved them and used them well for years.

  13. Perfect party for a 7 year old?? I'd say it's a perfect party for a gal of any age! In fact, I think I know what I'll be doing for my 33rd :).

    I'm sure everyone had a great time. This is such a fun and positive party idea. I bet the girls felt great about themselves and the crafts they made.

  14. Oh I'm so glad that you had your art party! I love the stations that you set up and you're so lucky that you were able to have it in your home!
    My son's party was on Saturday and we celebrated away from home again. It was a very active party so maybe it was best it wasn't here! ;o)
    I look forward to the days of sleepover parties, I don't think it will be too much longer!
    Happy belated Birthday to your daughter!
    ~ joey ~

  15. it seems like so long ago that i sat on that couch in your living room, or was it the floor, gently petting your dear kittie.
    Happy belated birthday to your beautiful daughter.

  16. Love this, especially the idea of the children being able to take as much time as they want at each station instead of rushing from one to the other (quality always trumps quantity I think).

  17. oh, i think i would have liked to have attended your daughter's party!!!
    my little girl is about to turn 7 and she would *love* a party like this. last year at her party, we just did one craft project...i love your idea of stations! thanks for sharing :)