In my life-before-children (LBC), I could not understand how anyone with any taste could bring themselves to throw a character-themed party. I always said that once we had children, I would only throw tasteful parties. I envisioned planning such parties just as I planned a photo shoot. First, beginning with a lovely color palette and everything else tasteful would follow. Call me a design snob but I can't escape my Martha Stewart roots.
Since having children, I have learned many lessons over the years. Perhaps most importantly is to not cast stones, so to speak. Hence, I have succumbed to my adorable, red-headed, now 3-year old, Bea, who is absolutely obsessed with all things Toy Story. The thoughts of anything not involving her beloved Buzz, Jessie, Woody or Bullseye was entirely out of the question.
Hence, never say never. Yesterday, I abandoned my design snob roots and threw Bea an all-out Toy Story party, doing my best to make it as cute as possible.
It started with the invitation which I created with a scan of Bea's face within an illustration of Jessie, which I drew in Illustrator (I'm sure I am violating Disney copyright infringement here).
Bea insisted upon having a Buzz Lightyear cake so after a bit of searching, I found a suitable pan here. I used my favorite yellow cake recipe and made the cake about 2 weeks before the party. After it was completely cool, I wrapped it in Saran Wrap and aluminum foil and placed it in the freezer. As you know, I like to do as much as I can in the weeks leading up to the party so I am not so stressed.
The night before the party, I took the cake out of the freezer and prepared myself for an evening of cake decorating. I made a vanilla meringue buttercream frosting (it tastes delicious and holds up well for cake decorating) and did a crumb coating over the entire cake. Next, I used a toothpick to outline the main details on the cake. I then used dark brown frosting to outline Buzz.
I used pastry bags filled with colored meringue buttercream frosting and outfitted with a star-tip to fill in all the colored areas of Buzz Lightyear, continuing to glance at my "inspiration" image.
The finished cake. Charles suggested that after all my hard work, we should shellac it rather than cut into it. Not a bad idea at all! :)
One of my parties is not complete without my favorite sugar cookies. I made these a few weeks beforehand as well and stored them in the freezer. Two days before the party, I frosted them with royal icing so they would hold up in the favor boxes. The star shape was a nod to the invitation.
For the favors, I modified the invitation a bit, printing out "Thanks for coming" cards to fit inside the front of the clear boxes. Charlotte and Amelia helped me fill the boxes with Toy Story figures, Toy Story gummies, candy and our star "B" cookies. We affixed a label on the top of the box with each child's name.
The miniature water bottles (just the right size for little hands), were spruced up with matching labels.
Just before leaving for the party, I took a photo of Bea with her 3-year old sign. I can't believe my baby is 3!
We had the party at a children's play area that Bea loves. It is basically an indoor playground complete with a party room, perfect for 3- and 4-year old's to run around and play. I have gotten very smart about outsourcing party venues these days. :)
The party was a huge success and perfect for my Toy Story-obsessed 3-year old!