Saturday, April 27, 2013

DIY party stuff

Birthday parties are a BIG DEAL around these parts.  These Joneses and their bar-raising make me just want to insist on 2 friends and a visit to a park, but Sophie, being the social butterfly that she is, was grieved by this concept, so after much hand-wringing (mostly by me) and tears (mostly by her) we came to a compromise - 15 friends (or was it 16?  I lost count when it got bigger than 10) and a party at home.

We had a bit of a rugged week with a sick baby on meningitis alert at ChCh Hospital and a few other commitments, but we managed to pull together a few crafty bits and pieces to make it up to Her Nibs' standard.

Until now, I've resolutely refused to do loot bags.  I just don't like the fact that my kids pig out on lollies that get stuck in their teeth, hair and car-seats, then get grumpy when the sugar crash hits.  I also get slightly scowly at the expectation that every party has loot bags.  I've actually been told this by children before, upon a noted absence of loot bags on my kitchen bench.  Anyway, it seems I'm alone on that one, so I fell headlong into Loot Bag Hell with this party.  Only I forgot to buy bags.

I figured there'd be something online, but everything was confusing and involving pre-printed templates or else involved bad instructions and / or photos.  I really couldn't be bothered going somewhere to use a printer and cutting stuff.  I'm lazy like that sometimes.

So we winged our own, using square scrapbook paper from a regular pad purchased for next to nothing from The Warehouse about 9 years ago. 

Step One: 
Fold one side of the paper up about 2/3 of the way across, and glue edge.  Fold corresponding edge over, seal and crease.

Step Two:
Fold bottom edge up, creasing at fold.  This will be the base of your bag.  Ours was about 8cm.

Step Three:
Fold outside corners flat as shown, making a diamond shape.

Step Four:
Fold top and bottom points of diamond to meet in centre, creating two smaller diamonds.

Step Five:
Fold entire edge of bag in towards centre, then fold back the other way.  Do the same on the other side.  This forms the square edges of your bag, enabling it to sit nicely.  Unfold.

Step Six:
Tape the bottom of your bag.

Step Eight:
Insert hand into bag, straightening out edges and creasing any dodgy folds.

Step Nine:
Fold over top and decorate.  We used a heart craft punch to make a hole in the top, and used other paper prints to decorate the front.

We also made party pom-poms from this tutorial:

Quite a cute blog, actually.  I may have killed an hour or three browsing it.

My pompoms weren't photographed (clearly, I wasn't thinking!) but you can kinda see them in this pic.  And it shows off my fancy gluten and dairy-free 3 tiered cake, which I am ludicrously proud of.

And just 'cos I have your attention, here are a few other party snaps.  On autumn days like this, I can't help but think we live in paradise.


  1. For the record, loot bags contained stickers, playdough and bubble mixture. Not a lolly in sight!

  2. not true... mine got chocolate and a lollipop!

    1. Not both, surely?! Quality control was lacking in the filling of those bags, as you may have noticed by the cutting of the sticker sheets. 6 year olds... Anyway, I hope they smeared confectionery all over their car seats!

  3. Well done Miss! And fyi, I think you do live in paradise.
    Ps could I please get the recipe for your gluten and dairy free cake? I have a friend with allergies here in HK who'd love some cake for the first time in a couple of years!

    1. Here 'tis:
      Dana's chocolate cake [GF!]
      1 2/3 cups of gf flour mix
      1 1/2 tsp of baking soda
      1 1/2 cup of sugar
      2/3 cup of cocoa
      1 tsp of salt
      1 1/2 cup of rice milk
      100gms of melted DF spread.
      2 eggs
      1 tsp of vanilla essence

      Preheat oven to 180 'c, grease a 20cm cake tin and line bottom.
      Put all ingredients into your electric mixer [or use a whisk, whatever] and mix until smooth. Pour into tin, bake 50 min to 1 hour, check if done with skewer.