Captain Hook, Peter Pan and Pirate Birthday Party

“Ahoy matey!” My son started to become a huge fan of the classic Disney’s Peter Pan movie.  He especially loved Captain Hook and his cunning ways.  He asked for a Captain Hook party and I jumped up to the challenge.  This should be fun!  I started to think about the old world, treasures, the ocean and more.  This was one of my favorite parties to plan and decorate to date.

First, I had to try to figure out a tone for the party decor.  This was Captain Hook that we were talking about, and not so much Peter Pan or meager pirates.  So I had to up my game for this one.

I first incorporated a lot of red and white striped fabrics to carry over the pirate theme.  I did this by using the concept on the invite, then I also purchased this fabric to use on the cupcake SHIP, yes SHIP that I made out of a large cardboard box.  I also carried over the stripes for the table runners and more.

I also used my Cricut machine to cut out letters and treasure map routes that you see on the wall.  I actually covered some of the entrance walls with this map marker routes just to make it a bit more fun and whimsical.  You could probably achieve the same mapped look by cutting these out by hand as well as it would only

Homemade banners were also a nice and fun addition.  I designed these, cut and strung them up used cardstock paper, a hole punch and ribbon.  Super easy!  Notice, more red stripes!

Jewels, gold and treasures!  I needed to include this without breaking the bank.  Strings of pearls are so expensive and managed to find some inexpensive loose decorated pearl-like looking beads in red, black and white.  I strung them myself using fishing line that I already had.  The big bold look helped to make this big impact.

Treasure chests were a must for this one!  I had to have a few.  I found a super cute treasure chest pinata at the store and doubled it as a centerpiece.  I then surrounded it with some chocolate coins as well as ones that I purchased from a party store.  I also found a perfect sized trunk at Hobby Lobby and embellished it with party favors, jewels and even a faux wood looking sign on the inside.  How did I do that??  I used my computer to create a calligraphy font and then set the background for a matching brown colored background.  Then I printed and cut so that it looked like a wood cut out.  (What is really great about this wooden treasure box is that it’s reusable!  Years later, my boys still have this box filled with pirate accessories so that they can play dress-up.  As a bonus, closed-up it fits right in to store in my living room undetected.)

I was able to find a really cool Captain Hook and Mr. Smee stand-up.  Not only did this add to the decor, but also was a great addition for photo opps.  After the party, my son had this posted on the wall of his room as decoration.  There are a handful out there on the web, more than before!

A party like this would not be complete with pirate patches and hats which you can get at any party store!  I made sure to offer these to the kids as they joined the party in lieu of party hats.

I forgot to take photos, but offered up a feast of BBQ food.  Pulled pork sandwiches and all of the fixings for a “hearttttyyy meal.”

Root beer bottle seemed like a perfect addition for decoration and for the older kids/adults.  I created personalized Captain Hook root beer brew labels which made it pretty fun and cute.

I did a little spin on the s’mores as you can see below.  I dipped the large marshmallows in chocolate and then topped them with a graham cracker.  Then I also adding a small dusting of gold colored sugar crystals to make these look a bit like treasures.  Then when I plated them, I added MORE gold crystals to the plate.

Jell-O boats were also another fun addition to the party.  Just added blue Jell-O to some clear cups, orange wedges and a pirate sail.  Although I got these pirate sails from a cupcake topper, you could easily create these with either a black or white sail, or even with scrap booking red and white paper.

Pirate Booty!  A must!

For the favors, I knew that I wanted to give each kid a treasure pouch.  I really couldn’t find anything out there that really spoke to me.  So I semi-homemade my own.  I purchased some inexpensive canvas pouches.  I then had a really hard time trying to figure out how to decorate the outside.  I really didn’t want to add skull and bones, plus I wanted to carry on the treasure theme.  I looked all over Etsy and craft stores and really came up short on finding a stamp, stencil or anything else that didn’t break the bank.  Soooo… I made my own potato stamp!  Yes, I sure did.  I used my pumpkin carving kit and started to whittle away this cool design.  Then, I just used black fabric paint and started to stamp away.  After I let it dry, I was really super pleased with the result.  It look really vintage and authentic to the time period.  PLUS, the stamp made it easy to be consistent.  So cool!!!  I also filled the favor bags with more chocolate coins, pirate tattoos, Pirate Booty and more!


Posted on 7.6.17

Toy Story Birthday Party

It’s Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Mr. Potato Head and the rest of their friends here for another birthday celebration!  My son had watched all three Disney Pixar Toy Story movies as if it were a movie marathon every day.  Needless to say, I got to know all of the characters pretty well and to be able to incorporate this into a fun birthday party for him.

I used the colors of cobalt blue and lime green as the main basis of the party.  I used these for the balloons and where I had paper products as well.

Fortunately, my son had a ton of actual toys that I was able to use as decor.  That in itself saved me a lot of money.

For the cake table, I used a cupcake tier stand that I had.  I surrounded the stand with all of his favorite Toy Story characters.  I didn’t have the infamous Toy Story ball, so I found an image online and cut it out to use as part of the display.  I also found a bucket of aliens which they only sell at the Disney themed parks, usually at the Toy Story attractions.  They are called, “Toy Story Big Bucket O Little Green Alien Men” and cost about $19.95.  I used these figures to whimsically surround the tower of cupcake.  That was a bit challenging to do as it felt a bit like dominoes at times.  “Oooooohhh the cakes!!”  🙂

For the backdrop, I used my Cricut “Old West” cartridge to cut out “Happy Birthday Tyler” in black.  I also designed a string of pendants that you see on top.

The kids also had fun with a photo booth that I created.  I didn’t have a photo booth contraption, but encourage everyone to take a selfie.  I hand designed cutouts which can be glued onto sticks.  You can feel free to download my creation here: Toy Story Photo Booth

Here is a sample of one of my fun designs.

We had to add Woody and Buzz to the party and invited them over as well.  We found these cutouts online and my son was able to mount this as decor for his room.  We got some mileage out of this investment for sure!

We also found a Buzz Lightyear pinata as well.  Score!

For the main food, we featured our version of “Woody’s BBQ.”  I used my Cricut machine to be able to print these cutouts using their “Old West” cartridge  and add them to the serving area.  They even had “Woody” which was a bonus!

I was able to use his bucket of green army men and sprinkled them around a food station.  I was lucky to be able to find GUMMY green army men online.  Let me just tell you, these were super hard to find, but found them on Amazon.  Albanese is a company that produces a lot of various gummy candies, so you can start your search there.

Vintage type cupcakes were features for this party, topped with Toy story printouts that I found on Etsy.  The hardest part about this was actually having to cut around some of the small details of the toppers.  Once cut, I used non-toxic Elmer’s glue to affix to the back of lollipop sticks.

Ok, I think that I had a little too much fun with this.  I purchased these alien looking bags through Etsy.  I probably could have made these myself, but didn’t have much time and the cost to purchase GREEN sandwich bags was another thing.  I knew that I wanted to have fun with these bags and constructed a faux claw out of a cardboard box, silver paint and a lightweight metal chain from the hardware store.  I mounted the claw from the ceiling using a 3M Command Strip Hook.  Then I attached an EMPTY alien favor bag to complete the look!  I thought that this came out pretty funny and cute.  The kids all thought that this was the best thing ever!

Posted on 2/3/17

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (TMNT) Birthday Party

“Cowabunga dude!”  My youngest asked for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (TMNT) birthday party and I seriously had to recollect on my younger days to come up with some really cool ideas for decoration, food, favors and more!   Here are a few things that I did that hopefully you can replicate for your own party!  Here’s what I did…

I was thinking street smart.  New York City and all things green.  So I started off with going to Hobby Lobby and getting their “Brick Photography Backdrop Paper Roll”.  I thought that this would resonate well with the theme to create the biggest impact for the focal wall.  You only really need one roll to cover what I did above.  Then, I also wanted to add my son’s name in graffiti, but I have zero skills for that!  So I opted to use a website that let me create one, customize the color and etc.  I enlarged and printed his name across two pages and then taped and carefully cut around his name, then taped it to the faux brick.  Voila!  I also decorated the brick wall with cutouts of the TMNT faces which you can download here: Ninja Turtle Faces

There are few cute ideas on the web and I used paper lanterns and simply affixed masks to them by using party streams which you can find at any party store.  Then add eyes.  Instant turtle heads to suspend from the ceilings.

The water bottles were covered with TMNT labels.  I created my own and you can download here: TMNT Water Bottles.  Simply cut around down the red lines and tape to a regular sized bottle.

I also found a really cute 3D pinata which I purchased from a local store.  This thing was crazy tall and doubled for decor as well.

On the menu, I served up what else?  Pizza!!!  Lots of it.  I also served up sour gummy worms, green grapes, “green ooze” Jello-O with a sour gummy worm on top, Oreo cookies (since they looks like manhole covers), cupcakes and more.

I always have so much fun putting together favors for the kids.  I might get a tad more excited about this portion of the party planning in particular!  I wanted to provide each kid with a pizza takeout box.  So I managed to find some inexpensive ones online that were the size of mini personal pizzas.  Perfect.  Then I personalized each box with a fake pizza label with my son’s name.  I even added a label to the front side edge to make it look a bit more authentic.  Here are the contents of what I included.
– Pizza sticker scenes found here at Oriental Trading  It’s a paper pizza and you add sticker toppings.
– TMNT gummy snacks
– TMNT lollipops
– TMNT tissue packs which I found at the Dollar Tree
– TMNT stickers
– Green apple Jolly Ranchers
– Pringles pizza stix
– Mini M&M’s.  I created a custom TMNT label which you can download here: TMNT M&Ms
– Maze activity sheet which I found through Nickelodeon and you can download here: TMNT_maze

For the cupcakes, I purchased plain ones from the bakery and embellished myself.  I purchased a turtle shell cookie cutter through Etsy and purchased pre-made green fondant.  It was super easy to make and decorate as toppers on the cupcakes.

For the cake, I purchased a plain chocolate mini cake for my son.  Something a little more special since I served cupcakes to everyone for convenience.  I decided to embellish the cake which would save me a ton of time from baking it on my own!  I purchased a TMNT looking manhole cover cookie cutter through Etsy as well as black pre-made fondant.  I carefully cut out each one, then lightly sprayed each one with Wilton Color mist in silver.  Notice that I didn’t cover the entire thing with silver so that it would add that contrast of color.  Be sure to let this dry completely!  As you can see, I also added some Lego TMNT characters to complete the look and served it on a silver charger plate.

Posted 1/12/17

Crayola Crayon Birthday Party

Who doesn’t love a fresh new box of Crayola crayons?!

For my son’s second birthday party, I thought that it would be fun for him to enjoy a colorful themed Crayola crayon themed birthday party!  Here is what I did to make it come together and included a few photos, links and a download for you to be able to replicate for your little one.

Watermark Template Portrait CRAYOLA

For starters, I tried to focus on four colors to use as the party color theme: blue, red, green and yellow.  Those were pretty easy colors to find and really POP.  I also had tons of matching colored balloons hanging and tape throughout the house.

For the cake table set-up, I personalized my son’s name onto banners which I made.  I also used my Cricut and simply cut out generic HAPPY BIRTHDAY pieces so that I could carefully tape onto the walls.

Next, I went to Toys R Us and purchased these cute colorful crayon banks which stand about 43″ tall.  I was able to use these on the main table as well as throughout the house.  Talk about a focal point!  Here is the link to the crayon banks.  I was lucky enough to scour a few of the stores in my area.  Be sure to check carefully for any cracks or defects.

Lastly, I was able to use a tiered cake stand to hold the colorful cupcakes.


For the food, I wanted to keep with the colorful theme.  I tried to offer both sweets and healthier options for our guests.  It was really hard since these party colors just scream candy!  🙂


Here I made faux crayons.  Yes, they are edible!!  They are pretzels which I cut down to size, dipped each end (not the whole thing) in Wilton candy melts and then wrapped them in faux crayon wrappers and secure with tape.

I created my own wrapper which I am happy to share for your own personal use.  Just click here for my chocolate crayon wrapper template: Crayola Pretzels template  I would suggest printing the template out on colored paper since the colors will look richer and won’t bleed onto the food nor will it crack if you are using a laser printer.  Plus, colored paper is usually a tad thicker, but you will NOT want to use cardstock.   That would be too thick.


I managed to incorporate some really colorful, kid-friendly fresh fruits: green and purple grapes, bananas along with strawberries!  Yum.  And yes, there are some colored mini-M&m’s that I added as well to the mix.


I also found these oversized carnival type lollipops.  These were more for decor than anything else.  I found these at Smart & Final, but also have seen them at the Dollar Tree.  I also found a box of crayon candy and used a few for decor.


Candied popcorn which I made myself.  This took a bit of time as I had to make three separate batches to achieve this look: green, yellow and red.  First, I used mushroom popcorn for this recipe as I like how they look vs. the butterfly ones that you get at the store.  I love to keep these on hand as they look so pretty and ideal for making chocolate popcorn as well.  I purchase my popcorn from Just Poppin and just toss the kernels in an air popper.  Voila.  Commercial looking popcorn!  As for the recipe for candy popcorn, that was super easy as it’s Jell-O based.  Here is the recipe: JELLO-O Rainbow Popcorn For easier cleaning, I spread the coated popcorn onto parchment paper vs. a baking pan.

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For this party, I decided to make my own cupcakes.  Not sure that I would do that again since I think that for the cost and time, it probably would have been cheaper to go to grocery store and purchase plain ones that I could dress up myself.  In any case, I purchased these Crayola cake toppers on eBay and even found Crayon candles.  Yes!  They are actual crayon candles!!  Then I got a few small tubes of icing down the baked good aisle and drizzled them on top so they looked like scribbles.


Who doesn’t love a pinata?  I went to Etsy and had this custom made just for our party.  Super cute!!

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I purchased a few green gable boxes and then filled them with various crayon theme candies and items.  For the outside of the box, I used my Cricut to die-cut each faux crayon box using the Simply Charmed cartridge by Cricut.  I also personalized each box with the child’s name on a crayon at the top.



I personally designed the invite so that it would look like the outside of a Crayola box.  I thought that it turned out pretty cute and tried to incorporate fonts that looked the part.Crayola Invite

Hope that you enjoyed getting inspired by my Crayola themed birthday party.

Posted: 6/9/16



Disney Pixar Cars & Radiator Springs Themed Birthday Party

Of all my Pinterest pins and boards, this party takes the cake for being the most popular.  My son was turning 3 years old and he wanted a Lightning McQueen birthday party.  Fortunately, we have a finished garage which we opened up and was able to host the party there.  We had Lightning McQueen, Finn McMissle, Luigi, Mater and Flo.  It worked!  I thought that I could share with you a few sample details of what I did an offer a tools so that you can pull this off.

CARS invite


Boxed Cars
This is the most popular project on my Pinterest board, the boxed Cars.  I wanted to have some of the main characters from the movie at our party.  There weren’t a lot of inexpensive items out there available so I decided to make my own boxed cars.  The kids were able to get inside of the cars and move around with their friends.  It was really cute.

I purchased a few moving boxes from Lowes and sat down to try to figure out how to strategically cut with a sharp razor and fold each side so that the entire box could be used.  I wished that I would have taken a photo of this diagram, sorry!  🙁

Once I had figured out the body and had it taped up, it was time to prime.  Yes, just like Ramone’s body shop.  For the painting step, I would suggest taking a can of primer and doing a light coat over the entire outside of the box.  Make sure to do this outside in a well ventilated area!  Once it dries, you will need to use one can of semi-pain spray paint to coat the color, let it dry, and then do a second application.  You will need to use the entire can and highly suggest that you use a quality brand.

Once the paint has fully dried, it was time for the finishing touches.  I designed faces and accessories for the cars that you see, and happy to share these with you to download.  I would suggest that you print these out on Avery white shipping labels with TrueBlock so that the paint from the car colors do not bleed through.  If you use an inkjet printer, I would also suggest using a light matte clear coat of spray paint to set the colors and images.  If you use a laser printer, you should be ok.  Once printed, cut the images out and apply to the cars by referencing the photo sample. Here is the pdf download which I created and sharing with you to use for personal use.  Printable faces for the boxed cars: Cars faces


On the menu, I tried to incorporate themed and pit-stop type foods.  Here is what I had on the menu.
– mini sandwiches
– Lunchables for the smaller kids
– Oreos (since they look like wheels)
– Hostess chocolate donuts (since those look like wheels, too)
– red and yellow candy to match Lightning McQueen
– individually bagged potato chips which were placed inside of oil pans which I purchased at the Dollar Tree and also served as centerpieces
– cupcakes with Cars toppers purchased on eBay
– and of course, plenty of fun pit stop refreshments

Cars collage

cars donuts

cars chips


Since we hosted the party in our garage, we didn’t have to decorate too much since we had existing old gas signs hanging.  We just had to clean!  In addition to the boxed cars I added a few more elements to make it fun.

Inflatable tires – I found these at the Dollar Tree!  These were supposed to be used as pool inflatables, but I purchased about a dozen so that I could stack to make it look like a pit stop.

Checkered flags – You cannot have too many of these.  I purchased some of these banners, flags and pennants at a local party store.  In addition, I also created and printed out my own checked flag table runner on 11″ x 7″ paper and just taped them together.  You can download my creation here: Checkerboard Runner

Decorative signs – As you can see in one of my photos, I customized a copy of “The Daily Exhaust” which is the newspaper that was featured in Cars.  In my version, I took a photo of my son and inserted him into the over sized paper and customized the caption.  I have a generic version of the paper that you can use by printing it out on 8.5″ x 11″ paper.  Such a fun and inexpensive decorative item to add to your party which you can download here: The Daily Exhaust

CARS Daily Exhaust

Along with the fun inflatable tires and boxed cars, we also hired a temporary tattoo artist.  We recycled an old thick posterboard and put out a sign for the kids.  We called it, “Ramone’s House of Body Art.”  Perfect!!


I hope that you enjoy the photos and get inspired to create your own FUN party!

Posted 4/21/16