Huwyl’s 4th birthday was a big deal for me this year. I was away for his birthday last year so I wanted to compensate and make this year a big fun celebration. But. There is always one of those isn’t there? I didn’t want our party to result in:
1) Lots of junk and extra bags for the garbage man;
2) Junk sent home with other people.
I believe that you can celebrate in a conscious and responsible way (wow how fun am I?); so was born Project Eco Party. These are the steps that I took to minimise the financial and environmental cost of our party fun.
- Bought second hand plates, cups and serving dishes. Instead of paper plates that need to be thrown away (even the groovier corn kind) I wanted something that we could reuse for future events. So off to Value Village I went. No they aren’t a ‘theme’ but they are seventies and cool and, more importantly, they can continue to have a useful life as our party plates for years to come.
- Made my own party decorations that can be reused. I have to admit I love making fabric bunting, it is repetitive and simple and oh so very satisfying. I love how jolly it is. I love that it flutters in the breeze in a delicate way. I love that it reminds me of being a child in the seventies and eighties with all those street parties and royal weddings. Most of all I love that I can use it again and again. I have a box set aside just for bunting now, so when I have the odd bit of time I can run off another string for our next opportunity to celebrate. Stay tuned for seasonally themed bunting…
- Made loot bags and contents. So this took the most time I think. The bags themselves were made out of some vintage sheeting that I also used for the bunting. I made them 11″x9″ which was about perfect. The ribbon was a cheap spool from Michaels and the tags were made using this printing set that my lovely sister bought for Huwyl. The print is so adorable and authentic it was a pleasure to do the name tags, all 14 of them! In the bag went homemade chocolate cookies, homemade play dough (green and lime scented) and a small bottle of bubbles (which we did actually buy but they weren’t expensive). I was very proud of my collection of loot bags, they looked so celebratory crowded together on my counter, I was reluctant to give them away! I like to think that the bag can be reused and that the items are largely biodegradable and reasonably wholesome for body or mind. Preferable to a bag of plastic items that break and end up in the bin? I certainly think so. On the whole I would say the effort was worth it and will happily make bags in the future. With a bit more organisation I think I can make it a lot easier on myself by running up bags over the year that I can use when needed.
- Made our own cakes. Now this comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me but I love baking. So knocking out the cakes was definitely a pleasure and they all seemed to go down well with adults and children alike. I was also really glad to see empty plates of fruit at the end of the party. The watermelon shapes went down a storm and the local strawberries, picked and bought the same day, were gone in record time. For once I didn’t massively over cook so we had a few left overs but not what I would call waste, as they were quickly devoured by helpful family and friends over the next couple of days.
The entertainment was made up of what we already had or could borrow. I laid out some of the home made play dough with a big box of different cutters that were thrifted for $2. The kids loved the shapes and the smell which was wonderful. I had a craft table that had some of our supplies on it, paper, feathers, a cut up egg box etc and the children made their own masterpieces. The train table was very popular, as were the sand box and slide out in the garden. Of course the bouncy castle was the most successful, borrowed from our lovely pals and monitored by the uber dads Stephen and Paul, so no one came to harm. It was so satisfying to see the children enjoying the toys and activities and as always I was amazed by how little input they required. Just some supplies and each other. And some cake.