Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Planes, Trains & Automobiles 2nd Birthday Party

Recently we celebrated our sweet boy's 2nd birthday. Like most toddler boys, he is crazy about all things that go, so we had a Planes, Trains & Automobiles themed party. I wanted to share some of the details from his party, so here you go!

Here is the invitation (personal information having been erased). Being a card maker, I of course wanted to make invitations rather than using something like Evite.  This allowed me to introduce the theme of the party in a fun way and really personalize it. Besides, who doesn't like getting fun mail? :) The text and image of my son "driving" were created on the computer and printed out on white card stock. I then went back and stamped the plane and clouds using Papertrey Ink's Little Hot Rod set, and mounted it to green card stock. The invitation is a traditional A7 size (5"x7").

This was the mantel display, with the over sized chalkboard frame being the centerpiece. I used chalkboard markers to make the design crisp and stand out. The vehicle images at the bottom are actually from transportation coloring pages I found online. I resized them to fit and then traced them onto the chalkboard using this technique.

The Speed Limit 2 sign was also an image I found online, printed out, and glued to a piece of stiff board. The other decorations were things I "shopped" from my house. We already had the toy race car and, of course, a picture of the birthday boy.

The other end of the mantel featured more of my son's toys and a silhouette we had made of him over the holidays. 

Last year at his first birthday party I had a display of our son's "monthly photos". I didn't deliberately take monthly photos this year, but I still liked the idea of watching how he has grown throughout the year, so I went back through my files and found a representative picture from every month. I tried to include special events or trips, but some months didn't have a lot to choose from so I did the best I could! It was amazing to see how "babyish" he still looked at 13 months compared to his 2 year old self. Time certainly does fly!

We hung blue streamers from the living room ceiling and then hung about a dozen foam glider planes with fishing line to fly through the "sky".

This cardboard train was our piece de resistance. We used it as a photo booth to take photos of all of the party guests. I'm wearing the conductor's hat because the birthday boy kept taking it off! This was a fun activity and also a great way to make sure I had a picture of everyone who came. Afterwards, I emailed all of the guests their picture as a fun party favor.

The train engine design was also originally a coloring page. I found the simplest train engine I could, added the number "2" in Photoshop, then printed it out so it would be approximately 38" tall (this took around 20 sheets of 8.5x11" pieces of paper!). I taped my template together and then traced it onto cardboard with graphite paper. Using an exacto knife I cut out my design, then gave the green and blue segments two coats of paint each. Lastly, I outlined everything in black to make it pop. My son is still having fun playing with his "choo choo". :)

This next activity was a bit of a flop, I'm sorry to say. I made a traffic light out of black tag board and construction paper circles then sewed matching colored bean bags out of felt. The idea was to toss the red bean bag onto the red circle, and so forth. No one but the birthday boy would go near it, though, and all he wanted to do was match the colors! Oh well, perhaps this was too advanced for the 2 and under crowd! 

And on to the food!

I found an image of a yield sign online, then added the words "for a snack" underneath in Photoshop. 

Most of the food had cute little signs to go with them. I used the Little Hot Rod set for these, too. The vehicles were die cut and stamped, then adhered with foam tape to printed signs. The "Stoplight Skewers" were made from strawberries, bananas, and green grapes.

We made "Race Cars" from apple slices with green grapes for wheels. A big thanks to my dad for trimming all of the toothpicks so they didn't stick out past the grapes! The checkered flag toothpicks are from Oriental Trading Company. 

"Steering Wheels" made from mini bagels with cream cheese.

The "dip" sign was another online find that I printed out. It was taped to a small bamboo skewer, which was in turn taped to the back side of the serving bowl. 

These sugar cookies were by far the most work, but definitely worth the effort. I had never attempted anything close to this level of decoration before; usually a solid frosted cookie with sprinkles is as fancy as I get! But when I found these cookie cutters from Wilton I knew I needed to step up my game. And it was fun to stretch my cookie decorating skills a bit. A big shout out to my mom who helped me make the frosting and do the decorating! I used the cookie recipe that came with the cutters, which can be found here on Wilton's site, and this royal icing recipe. I had never used royal icing before, but I don't think they turned out too bad for a first attempt. As you can see, we ran out of frosting and some of the trains had to remain outlines. They were still delicious!

Whenever we asked our son how old he was going to be on his birthday he would say "cupcakes!". Clearly having cupcakes at his party was much more important than turning 2. :) I took the easy route and used a boxed mix for the cupcakes, but did make the chocolate buttercream frosting from scratch using a Betty Crocker recipe. 

The drinks station. We had water, cans of pop, and a simple punch of raspberry lemonade mixed with ginger ale.

A few minor last details. I used part of one of my son's train sets to create a display on our dining table. Again, using things from home to decorate whenever I could!

And lastly, the goodie bags for the kids who were able to come. I had aspirations of really getting fancy with these, but in the end decided simple was best for my sanity. Regular brown lunch sacks with construction paper toppers and bakers twine and they were done.

I had a blast planning and making things for our little man's party, thank you for letting me share them with you!

1 comment:

Debbie said...

What a fantastic party for a little boy!