a foresty fifth birthday party

over the weekend, we had the absolute pleasure of celebrating N’s fifth birthday with a bunch of woodland creatures! our little fox/owl/deer/bunny/bear-lover requested a “forest animal” birthday party this year, so i did my best to interpret N’s request and had an awesomely artful time doing so!

you know how we’re big on birthday themes over here. first we decided to ask my friend, meredyth hite, the one-woman show behind the amazing vegan bakery in the bay area, bliss bakery, to create nut-free, gluten-free, vegan cupcakes (to accommodate all of the dietary restrictions among N’s friends and ourselves!) after i perused pinterest for ideas, i asked meredyth to create fly agaric mushroom cupcakes, displayed in a rustic wood setting — and WOW! she sooo beautifully and deliciously delivered!

mushrooms are foresty, sure. but now i had to figure out how to incorporate the forest animals into the party, since that’s what N had specifically requested. i asked my talented friend, chris willow, of the mamaroots shop on etsy and of the inspiring mamaroots blog, to create five candle holders for my five year old — each a different woodland creature. i order her sweet candle holders as birthday gifts all the time for friends, so it was time that N got her own.

forest friends enjoying the party

our custom set of cute candle holders by mamaroots

and for some more forest animal action, i decided to make 36 (yes, thirty-six) felt animal masks to give to the children at the party. instead of sewing them all, like my mom and i did for N’s halloween owl costume, i used craft glue to afix the features onto the felt, and just sewed the elastic bands onto each one. muuuch easier for a bulk order like this. (reminder: you can click any of the photos on my blog to see them enlarged.)

the bday girl selected these for momma to make: bear, owl, deer, fox, raccoon, bunny

mask basket at the party

the masks were a hit — what a fun party favor!

in addition to the mask party favor, i decided to create some magical acorn necklaces with allll of these acorn caps N collected at the park one day. i just hot glued felted wool balls (here’s a nice video tutorial on how to make them) into the caps. next, i hot glued baker’s twine to the tip of each cap to make them into necklaces. in hindsight, i should have drilled a hole into each cap before putting the wool ball into it so i could thread the string through, but this worked out just fine and was (i imagine) easier to execute.

they looked so cute pinned to a giant redwood tree for the kids to see and select.

there's even a creek babbling by this woodsy park - perfect setting!

for decor, i wanted to keep it earthy, and decided to sew some fabric scrap garland to string between the trees. i used scraps of fabric i had leftover from my bean bag project, and cut them into circles. then i just fed them through the machine, double-sided (right sides facing out.)

strung between the redwoods

the party was basically a playdate in the park from 2-4pm, so being so brief and in between meals, we just served hot apple cider, water, popcorn, fruit, and of course, those adorable cupcakes. to keep things simple and eco-chic, i used compostable hot beverage cups, cloth napkins from my fav cloth napkin etsy seller – love for earth, and no plates. (who needs plates with this light fare?)

i even used our rustic rock picture holders for display signs around the party.

despite the chilly day and the muddy park, the birthday girl and her friends had a blast! N barely stopped chasing her friends around the playground for a sip of apple cider – but she did brake for cupcakes! also, can you tell i had a good time pulling this one off?

we created such beautiful memories of N’s fifth birthday — and now we get to celebrate again on january 26th, when she actually turns FIVE! i know people always say, “where does the time go?” but i feel lucky (and friggin’ tired!) because it seems like i’ve been there for every minute of it all. happiest of birthdays to the sweetest and most energetic woodland creature i know!


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  • That IS a wonderful foresty birthday!! Loved all the details esp the cupcakes and the masks:) Im sure N had a blast!! Happy birthday again:)

  • Heather N

    Amazing and beautiful party. Happy Birthday to N. Thanks for sharing the details of the party with us!

  • Abby jacobs

    What an ideal birthday party! So cute, perfect setting, cupcakes, animals, favors- totally awesome! Great work, and happy birthday, N!

  • KarenM

    Wow, it looks like everything was just so beautiful! I’m sorry we weren’t able to be there to join in the fun! Happy birthday, N! XOXO

  • What a great job you did Jen- it looks so magical for N! So glad the candle holders were in such a magical place with such awesome mama, papa and their birthday girl!

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  • Emily Duhaime

    Really just spectacular!!!

  • Oh my gosh I love these masks especially the raccoon and fox! They were the inspiration for the masks I made for my daughter’s birthday present. I gave you a post back here on http://notyournormalsteam.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/duck-a-palooza-part-4-homemade-gifts/

  • thank you gwendolyn! your masks are awesome!!!

  • Christine

    Wondering if you have or know of patterns for the masks that I could purchase?

    Christine @ ciovannicci@hotmail.com