Four years ago, on the thirteenth day in September, as nature burst into new life and the Jasmine flowers bloomed, my “Miss J” was born. It wasn’t a lovely labour – you can read about it here – but when she was placed in my arms I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Another girl. Another healthy baby. Another life full of possibility. A sister for Miss A. A second daughter for us and a tribe of cousins ready to meet her.
We had shortlisted our girl names but hadn’t yet decided on the “the one.” It’s tempting to say we wanted to wait to see her to name her, but the truth is we simply couldn’t make up our minds. We liked three girls’ names equally. It was my husband who named her shortly after her arrival. “I think she looks like a J,” he said. He was right. She was small, delicate and oh-so-pretty. That she should be named after a Spring flower, the scent of which makes me happy, seemed perfect. And so, “Miss J” she became.
She requested a ‘Spring Garden’ theme for her birthday this year. 12 of her friends gathered at our home to celebrate and the party was a hit. I had a fabulous time theming and styling the party and now I am going to share it all with you. Here’s how YOU can create a spectacular garden party that would easily suit a boy or girl. And it won’t break the bank.
Naturally, the ideal setting for a garden theme is in a garden, provided it doesn’t rain! We were blessed with clear, sunny skies and our garden was the perfect backdrop for the celebrations. The party guests sat at several kids’ tables joined up to make one long table. I borrowed a few extra chairs and we were able to seat 12 kids together. I used white wrapping paper to cover the tables and I bought some green felt from a craft shop and created a “grass” table runner.
The beauty of a garden theme is you don’t really have to go out and create a garden. Extra elements can be as few or as many as you like. I bought a cute butterfly bunting from Typo and my talented mother-in-law made a pretty bunting for Miss J’s bedroom, which we hung behind the party food table.
I had SO much fun styling the table. On top of the grass I scattered moss rocks and wood chips (bought from Zart Art). I then placed fairies on top of the wood chips and these cute little ladybirds (bought from $2 shop). The girls made pixie petal dust by collecting petals from the garden and filling these cute jars (also from the $2 shop). I spread leaves and flowers from the garden over the table, and each table setting included a pretty flower. The birthday girl had a bunch of fresh jasmine on her plate.
I pegged nametags to the serviettes and the kids all looked so cute when they raced to the table to find their spot. It created a sense of celebration by seating them at one table…and it confined the crumbs to one spot!
The party food
There are lots of options for party food within a garden theme. Some easy options for the non-bakers too:-)
Cupcakes are a staple at all our parties. This time I decorated with buttercream and fondant flowers. Miss A helped me create Toadstool cupcakes with ladybirds on top by dying the buttercream red and placing white choc chips on top.
Aren’t these just adorable? I saw these on Pinterest and they were super easy to replicate, even with my average piping skills. Simply dip the strawberries in melted chocolate, allow to set slightly and then attach eyes (see below for method). Pipe chocolate on top of strawberries and you’re done!
Caterpillar fruit sticks
The caterpillars were another Pinterest find that I adapted slightly. Simply thread grapes onto a bamboo skewer. Top with a cherry tomato and use some icing paste to attach the eyes. I made the eyes several days prior to the party by piping white chocolate buttons onto baking paper and then placing a cachous in the centre. I kept in a sealed container in the fridge.
Fairy Bread and Sushi
What child doesn’t love fairy bread? We cut stars, flowers and dragonflies with cookie cutters. Easy. Yummy. I also served sushi and sausage rolls – nothing fancy about heating sausage rolls and buying sushi. The guests drank fruit juice from these cute little milk bottles.
A garden themed party needs a garden styled cake. And I set myself another fondant challenge. You may remember my maiden attempt at fondant for Miss A’s ballerina cake earlier this year. There’s a great deal of fear when working with fondant. So many pressure points.
I made two standard butter cakes that I froze in advance. I made the fondant shapes a week prior to the party. They keep in an airtight container and with a cake like this you simply have to prepare early. Miss A helped me dye, roll and cut the fondant shapes. She even has her own little fondant rolling pin.
The cake assembly happened the night before. I iced it in two coats of buttercream (once as a crumb coat), and then I draped it in white fondant and covered it in pretty flowers, dragonflies and ladybirds. The beauty of adding shapes to the fondant is it conceals any errors. The other trick is to tie a ribbon around the base of the cake. Finally I topped with a bunting and her name.
I picked up these cute garden themed party bags from Spotlight and attached with a fairy wand, because fairies live at the bottom of EVERY garden.
In Australia, it’s nesting season and as luck would have it, three baby birds were born just days before the party. How’s that for fitting with the theme!! Serendipitous.
So, there you have it – a Spring Garden party for a 4-year-old girl. I won’t pretend it was easy – it was a BIG job. But when I looked at Miss J’s eyes dripping with gratitude, her face shining with happiness, it was worth every ounce of effort. That night, when she collapsed into bed with a full heart and a full tummy, she locked her eyes with mine and said: “Thank you for the great party, Mama”… and then she was asleep.
My darling Miss J, without you the world wouldn’t be half as beautiful, or half as meaningful, or half as large. You are beautiful, vibrant, happy and delightful. How I love you, darling girl. You’ll never know the half of it, and that’s just fine. Happy 4th birthday!
Do you typically have your kids’ parries at home or are you smart and have them elsewhere? :-)