I've said it before (see "throw a Downton Abbey Party") and I'll say it again: All great party-planning should start with Pinterest. Pinterest is single-handedly the best source for creative, inexpensive, innovative, and DIY party ideas of any place online. Plus, you can now make "secret boards," as I did with Jude's Little Blue Truck Birthday Party, and keep your ideas a surprise.
So my Pinterest board for Jude started in May. Jude LOVES the Little Blue Truck Books. The first book, self-titled "Little Blue Truck," features our little hero, a blue farm truck and his adventures with a bunch of animals and a really rude dump truck. Whenever we get to the page about the dump's cry for help, reading, "Nobody heard, (or nobody cared)," I ask Jude, "which was it?" For the longest time he'd always say, "I don't know!" But just a few weeks ago, he looked at me seriously and said, "nobody cared and I don't care either." Ha ha! He kills me!
The second book is called "Little Blue Truck always the Way," where LBT goes to the city, meets a bunch of jerks, tells them off, rescues a politician in need, and delivers his goods by sundown. Yeah, LBT is kind of amazing. Well these books are flooded with wonderful illustrations, so I wanted Jude's birthday party decorations to reflect the colorful characters and feel of the books.
We decided to stick with the original book only and planned to have a pizza / Splash Park party filled with LBT themes and designs. This was our attempt at going low key after last year's insanely exhausting Drive-in Birthday party. I started the decorations 2 weeks before his big day, which in retrospect wasn't far enough in advance. I used left-over brown floor protection paper from our renovation of the ceilings two years ago to make the illustrations. Half-way trough the first mural I realized I had NO BLUE PAINT, an unfortunate reality when the second word on the title of the party is "blue." So we went cheap, international rip-off with the first illustration and made a "small aqua farm vehicle" with a few interestingly proportioned animals in the back. Oh, and driven by "the big green toad," of course.
Next, I made a 5.5' long banner with all of the featured animals that read "Happy 3rd Birthday, Jude!" That took almost an entire week to sketch, paint, and outline in black sharpie. During this process, I made up crazy back stories for each of the farm animals, including the acutely depressed cow, a rooster and chick with severe anxiety disorder, and a VERY confused sheep. Yeah, I maintain a very stranger inner dialogue...
The night before Jude's party, I had only finished the big green road, the LBT, and the birthday banner, with the BEEP BEEP BEEPs only outlined. Plus my hopes of a plethora of flowers and produce was no where in site. In other words, at 7am I was guarding our treasured spot at the Splash Park while frantically sketching, painting, and outlining 4 feet of mural. Although it turned out fine, between the last minute painting and my crazy run to gather 8 bundles of wild flowers, I was a mess by 11:00am (party start time).
Thankfully 3 year olds aren't critics of art, though they have plenty to say on many other topics of equal import. We had a wonderful time playing in the water, devouring Justin's mouthwatering, homemade double-chocolate cupcakes with his personal buttercream icing, and taking pictures with Little Blue Truck.
Mitchell (Jude's granddaddy) made an AMAZING LBT photobooth by hand! It put my illustrations to shame! Plus, he ordered these awesome farm animal helium balloons to make it look like the truck was carrying the farm animals from the book. When you stood behind the truck, there was even a button you could press that made the "BEEP BEEP BEEP" sound! Jude Loved it!
We tools pictures of all of the kids "in" the truck and are sending their photo out with a thank you card this week. The best part was that Jude got to keep the truck photo booth in his room after the party. So many nights, well past his bedtime, I'll hear "BEEP BEEP BEEP! ha ha ha ha," coming from his room. It truly warms my heart!
-Invitations: Made by hand by Justin
-Mason Jars: from the stockpile of hundreds left over from our wedding -Wildflower as from the park -handmade illustrations -handmade photobooth with balloons -pizza, cupcakes, and drinks -water guns and splash ball and glow bracelet party favor bags - LBT books on tables -Farm / wooden baskets for favors - balloons, streamers, and the like -SPLASH PARK!
Big thank you'd to everyone who helped us pull of this great celebration and for all of you braving the insane July heat to be there and share it with us! Thanks to Mitchell for making the BEST photobooth ever! It was the talk of the town!
And of course, my amazing husband is owed a HUGE thank you for grabbing our much-coveted spot at the Splash Park. He had to get up at 6:30 to secure it even though he'd stayed up with me till midnight the night before prepping for the party.
Construct Your Own Little Blue Truck Photo Booth Our Little Blue Truck Photo booth was cut out of a refrigerator box and mounted with a homemade wooden easel frame by my very talented father-in-law. He is something of an expert at all things DIY, so I'm not sure how he did it precisely, but here are the photos of the booth from behind. Hopefully they will help you in constructing a similar birthday party masterpiece.
That black box attached to the top left was a small speaker with a button that played a "beep beep beep!" Whenever a kiddo pressed it. Yes, my father-in-law is crazy good!
We sent the photos of the kids with their thank you card and it was a huge hit!
Unfortunately, since those awesome photo prop is now part of Jude's room, we can hear a suspicious "beep beep beep" late at night followed by a host of stifled giggles.