Sometimes Pinterest gets a bad rap. People – OK, let’s face it; typically women – feel frustrated/overwhelmed/intimidated/less than some perceived ideal when they browse Pinterest and see the amazing ideas.
Over and over I’ve heard friends say that they know they can’t do something that’s worthy of Pinterest.
I already know that what my culinary or crafty creations lack in style, they make up for in substance. In other words, most of the food that I serve doesn’t look like it should fill in as a food model – but it sure tastes great. Same as my crafts or decorating attempts – they’re not jaw-dropping feats, but I encourage myself that instead of seeing failure, I know I’ve at least made an attempt at bettering my little corner of the world.
And so I want to encourage you, everyday maker of your home, to keep pinning ideas. And actually try some of them! If they work out, great. If not, at least you attempted to improve your own life or home in some way.
My daughter’s birthday party
As a personal example, my daughter celebrated her birthday earlier this week. I’ve been pinning party ideas ever since I joined Pinterest two years ago, but I rarely have an occasion to try most of them. I decided that now was the time to try some of these Pins, just to see what would happen.
As is completely typical and expected of my domestic abilities, my attempts were simple, creative, and less than perfect. I wasn’t disappointed, because you know what? My daughter’s 4. She doesn’t care that her birthday party doesn’t look completely manufactured or like it’s taken from the pages of a magazine. She gets excited because it’s her birthday and out-of-the-ordinary decorations are up for a day.
Here’s the truth I want you to remember after you read this post: Your family is not going to care if your Pinterest-inspired attempt is less than perfect. You’re trying to enhance your life. Granted, your attempt may be laughable – but laugh right along. Gracefully use Pinterest ideas as an attempt to make life a little more special. Not perfect.
Before I share my photos
I need to give you two warnings:
- I’m not Pinterest Perfect. I know this. The photos I’m about to share are not Pinterest Perfect. But they’re an everyday, loving mama’s attempt at making her little girl’s birthday a little brighter.
- You know that I’m one to pursue healthy choices in life. I have to warn you that on birthdays, health goes out the window. I love to bake, and cake decorating is my mommy dream come true. (Really. For decades before I had children, I imagined that decorating my kiddos’ birthday cakes would be about the best treat in the world. Nothing like a little added pressure now that the time is here.) So as I share with you my recipes, know that the buttercream frosting is filled with refined sugar and lots and lots of butter. And the fondant is completely made of processed marshmallows, powdered (refined) sugar, and artificial food coloring. There is nothing healthy about this at all. But as I’m in my birthday planning mode, I know that I do this only twice a year. And a twice a year splurge is not going to harm my family. (Not that much, anyway.)
My girly girl’s party
Now that I’ve given all of my disclaimers, I have to admit that I loved my daughter’s Lalaloopsy birthday. Our entire family had a great day together, and I have to give myself props – I was able to throw a creative party on an extremely tight budget. By using supplies I already had and getting creative with a little recycling, the party was green, affordable – and fun.
Here’s what I did:
After a fun day out and about, we had a dinner of our daughter’s choice at home with grandparents as her birthday party. I made invitations by hand out of supplies I already had – cardstock, yarn, buttons, and markers. (The idea was my own. I warned you that I lack artistic ability.)
For decorations, I liked the Pinterest button idea made from paper plates. I purchased a pack of pink paper plates for $1.60 and taped on circles I cut out of black construction paper. Here’s what my version looked like:
I also glued on buttons to wiry artificial flowers I already had, then attached them to our chandelier. Since I already had the materials, this craft was completely free.
After seeing a bunting idea on Pinterest, I was ready to create my own out of old birthday cards I’ve saved. However, just as I was ready to start crafting, I remembered that I still had cloth bunting that my mother had sewn for our baby’s nursery. I dug it out of storage, strung it on yarn, and hung it around our dining room. Another completely free decoration.
A long time ago I saw colorful ice balls made from balloons. I wanted to attempt them last winter, but it just wasn’t cold enough. This winter is fah-reezing cold, so I had no problem putting them outside. I blew up five balloons I had from past birthday party decorating plans, and filled them with colorful water, made with food coloring I’ve had for 10 years. (When you don’t use artificial colors, it seriously can last that long.) I set them outside in cut up plastic milk jugs to freeze for 18 hours. It wasn’t long enough. Most of the water was frozen, but the insides were still sloshing with liquid when I cut the balloon away. They still worked, even though they looked fairly quirky.
For tableware, I finished up a package of pink paper napkins I bought for other parties, and set the table with our glasses, real silverware, and festive yellow, orange, green, and turquoise Fiesta Ware. (Free, free, free for this party.)
My decorating efforts were finished, and cost a grand total of $1.60 for the paper plates. (I don’t keep paper plates on hand, because, like plastic, I try to limit them in our house – we’re a pottery/stoneware/glass kind of family.)
My last bit of birthday fun came with my daughter’s cake. I was inspired by this particular pinned idea. So I attempted it. Because of an incredibly hectic schedule I went with a boxed cake mix, but typically my favorite from-scratch cake recipe is The Perfect White Cake. (Now that I’m even seeing my Pin of this recipe, my mouth is watering … and I’m wondering why I didn’t take just a few extra minutes to create this deliciousness.) I made my favorite homemade buttercream frosting and homemade fondant. (Making your own fondant is quite simple – especially with practice – and so much tastier than the store-bought boxed varieties.)
I made Lalaloopsy’s ringlets out of Rice Krispie Treats, covered in fondant. Oh yes, marshmallow and sugar-covered marshmallows and Rice Krispies. Lalaloopsy’s hair definitely was the culinary hit of the party.
I also baked some button sugar cookies, which no one ate. They were a cute idea, but didn’t turn out visually appealing … plus, too much sugar is too much sugar.
And that was the party! My daughter was thrilled – and that alone thrilled me.
What are some of your favorite party ideas, Pinteresty or otherwise?
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