Cloth Party Favor Bags (With Free Printable!)

I don’t know about you, but anytime I go to an event where there are gift bags for the guests when you leave, well, I always feel like a celebrity picking up their “swag bag” on the way out of an Oscar’s party or something. Giving out little gifts to your guests is a great way to say “thank you for coming” and let them know you appreciate their effort and presence at your event. While it’s totally up to you what items you want to fill your favor bags with, we partnered with Canon USA to share a cute printable so you can customize some cloth favor bags to be as cute as the rest of the decor at your celebration (and you can do it all yourself at home)!

Supplies:
-cloth favor bags (I used these 5″x7″ bags)
-Canon Light Fabric Iron-On Transfers Paper 
Canon PIXMA TS9521C printer
-fabric scissors and iron
favor bag printable (right click to download)

Download the favor bag printables and print them out onto iron-on transfer paper. The Canon PIXMA TS8521C is perfect for craft projects, and Canon just came out with their new new light fabric iron-on transfers paper that we’re loving! You can use it for lighter colored fabrics and the color quality really comes through! If you want to make these at home we have one design option with four of the same designs on one page for making lots of smaller bags like I did and then another option with just one design per page that you can scale up as needed for larger bags. The files are already mirrored for you so they will look right once you iron them on the bag.Cut out your designs with scissors to leave a 1/8″ border all the way around the design. Place the designs face down onto the center of your bag and iron your designs on per your iron-on sheet instructions (I pressed mine with a dry iron on the cotton setting for 60-90 seconds).
Once your designs have cooled, slowly peel off the backing and reveal your design!

How sweet are those?! We made a few different types of designs so there would be one that could work for birthdays, kid parties, baby showers, weddings … basically any party you want!

Depending on what your party is, you can fill your bags with whatever you like! Things like candy, little toys or stickers are great for kid’s parties and small beauty items and candles are fun for showers … the possibilities are endless! I like that these cloth bags can be reused as gift bags again by the guests or they can also store lots of things around the house (I save and use small cloth bags like these when I pack for trips—super helpful for organizing my daughter’s suitcase to hold socks or hair accessories, etc.). I feel like I always appreciate extra little touches like these at events and I love that you can easily batch make these at home with a printer and an iron. These cutie bags are a great end to a fantastic event and I hope that they make it onto your party list soon! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop. Graphic Design: Mara Dawn.

How to Make a Sandcastle Cake

How to Make a Sandcastle CakeWhen considering what kind of cake to have at a birthday party, every good mermaid knows that only the finest sandcastle cake will do! A sandcastle cake? I had never made one before, but figured I could give it a shot. I wouldn’t recommend waiting until right before the party to decorate the cake, like I did, but I would definitely advise flexing your baking muscles and giving this sandcastle cake a try! It was truly a lot of fun to make.

If you plan to make a sandcastle cake like this one, I recommend planning for three days of cake making/decorating sessions. (Not three full days, silly! Just three sessions.) One day to bake and crumb-coat the cake layers, one day to prep the fondant shapes and assemble the main pieces of the cake, then the day of the party to add cookie crumbs (the “sand”) and fondant decorations. Read on to find out about how I made each element and assembled the cake!

How to Make a Sandcastle CakeMaking the “Sand” for the Cake

The first step of making this cake is crushing a box of vanilla wafers to create the sand for the sand castle. Use a food processor or a rolling pin for this process. Set the cookie crumbs aside until ready to make your fondant.

How to Make Marshmallow FondantHow to Make Marshmallow Fondant

I had never considered making fondant before, because, frankly, I never really thought fondant tasted very good compared to buttercream. But then I realized I could combine fondant elements with a buttercream cake and get the best of both worlds! The Great British Baking Show convinced me that making marshmallow fondant was fun and easy, so I decided to give it a try. Turns out they were right!

I made a batch of marshmallow fondant to make some of the decorative elements of my cake, such as the cones at the tops of the towers, the crenelations of the castle, the shell adornments, and the castle door. You should make the fondant at least one day before making the fondant shapes and pieces, and I recommend making the shapes and pieces the day before decorating the cake. (It just makes decorating go a lot faster when you’re not fussing with fondant!)

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces of marshmallows
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) of butter or shortening

How to Make Marshmallow FondantStep One: Microwave marshmallows for 1 minute to begin melting them.

Step Two: Stir in the water and vanilla extract while marshmallows are hot.

How to Make Marshmallow FondantStep Three: Transfer the hot mixture to a stand mixer and gradually mix in 2 pounds of powdered sugar. Save some of the sugar for kneading in the next step.

Step Four: Place sticky fondant “dough” onto a surface dusted with powdered sugar.

How to Make Marshmallow FondantStep Five: Coat your hands with butter or shortening. This will keep your hands from sticking to the dough.

Step Six: Knead the fondant “dough” until it is barely sticky, adding powdered sugar as necessary.

how to make fondant seashellsStep Seven: Add food color and knead it into the dough to fully incorporate the coloring. I had to do a bit of experimenting to get the correct color of fondant that looked like sand. It’s helpful to keep a bag of the cookie crumb “sand” nearby to compare my color.

I combined brown, copper, yellow, and teal colors to create the sand color. The teal and yellow added a yellowish green hue which muddied and toned down the reddish hues in the brown and copper coloring. Just add a little bit at a time to keep the color going in the right direction without making any irreversible mistakes.

Step Eight: Place your finished fondant in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for at least one day. Before rolling out the fondant to make your decorations, allow it to completely come to room temperature.

how to make fondant seashellshow to make fondant seashellsMaking Fondant Shell Decorations

I used a silicone fondant mold to make fun shell shapes to decorate my cake. This is the mold set I bought, which is currently unavailable. I think this fondant shell mold set looks even better, though!

Step One: Allow your one (or more) day old fondant to come to room temperature and press pieces of it into the crevices of the silicone mold.

Step Two: Use a sharp knife to cut away the excess fondant from the surface of the mold.

how to make fondant seashellsStep Three: After trimming away the excess, press the remaining fondant into the mold again. This is in case any of the fondant lifted out of the mold while trimming.

Step Four: Place the mold into the freezer for at least five minutes to set the shape. Then pop the shaped fondant out of the molds and store between parchment paper in an airtight container until you’re ready to decorate the cake.

sandcastle cakePrepping the Layer Cakes

Now, on to the cake! I made my cakes a week before the birthday party and popped them in the freezer until the day before the party. Gotta be honest—to save time, I opted to use a Pillsbury funfetti cake mix. I chuckled when everyone raved about how delicious the cake was, considering it was from a mix! I did swap melted butter for oil, so maybe that was the trick? The entire sandcastle cake used three boxes of cake mix, each one giving me one 8″ round cake and one 6″ round cake. I used these cake pans which I greased and dusted with flour before filling with batter.

While the cakes were cooling, I made a double batch of buttercream frosting which I ended up coloring the same way I had colored the fondant. Then I cut off the rounded tops of the cakes and stacked them with buttercream between each layer. After stacking, I covered the cakes in a thin layer of frosting to act as a crumb coat. Crumb coats are intended to seal in the crumbs so that they don’t ruin the look of the final coat of frosting, though honestly for this sandy cake, crumbs wouldn’t even matter. Old habits die hard though! So crumb coats it is.

I placed the cakes in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, then covered them with wrapping and foil, then placed them in the freezer until I was ready to decorate the cake the following week. The cakes were removed from the freezer 24 hours before the decorating took place.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cream

sandcastle cakeAssembling the Sandcastle Cake

Step One: Cover the crumb-coated cakes with an even layer of sand-colored buttercream frosting. I made an effort to make my frosting nice and smooth, but it doesn’t need to be perfect. It will be covered with crumbs, after all!

Step Two: Use your hands to gently press the crumbs into the freshly frosted sides and tops of the cake. Try to get as many crumbs to stick as possible. They will become saturated with the butter of the frosting and darken the crumbs a bit, so keep this in mind!

Place the frosted and crumb-coated cakes in the refrigerator to stay cool and firm until you are ready to stack them.

The top layer of your cake should be placed on a 6″ round piece of cardboard to support the cake while stacking it in step four. Be sure to add the cardboard to the bottom of the cake before frosting it.

Step Three: Make four 8″ tall towers for each corner of the cake. You can use cardboard from paper towel rolls covered in fondant or even wrapped PVC pipes as I did! I covered my pipes with buttercream and rolled them into crumbs to make non-edible castle towers. Originally, I had planned on making these entirely out of thickly rolled fondant, but decided it wasn’t worth the fondant as they would not be eaten anyway.

How to Make a Sandcastle CakeStep Four: Place four dowels into the 8″ layer cake as Emma demonstrates in her wedding cake tutorial. Use spatulas to carefully lift the cooled 6″ cake to rest on top of the dowels of the 8″ cake. The cardboard at the bottom of the 6″ cake will protect it from being pierced by the dowels, whereas the dowels keep the 6″ cake from smashing the 8″ cake.

Adding Fondant Decorations

Now it’s time to add your fondant decorations! I recommend that you prepare all of your fondant decorations at least a day before you plan to decorate the cake, only because it goes much faster without worrying about creating the fondant elements. But if you have plenty of time, you may opt to do it all in one day as I did. (For the record, I did not have plenty of time, but it all worked out in the end!)

sandcastle cakeStep One: Print two of these small cone templates and one of each half of this large cone template (half and half) onto card stock. Roll out the fondant into 1/8″ thick sheets and cut out the five pieces for the cone shapes. Keep these stored in an airtight container until step three. Place parchment paper between the pieces so they don’t stick together.

Step Two: Roll out more fondant into 1/8″ thick strips and cut into 1″ strips using a fondant ribbon cutter or a clean ruler and a blade. I used a square-tip X-acto blade to hand cut crenelations into the strips. You could use any clean, sharp blade for this step. Store these strips in an airtight container or tightly covered pan until you’re ready to add them to the cake.

sandcastle cakeStep Three: Tape together the card stock cone templates to act as a platform for the fondant cones. Use your fingers to blend the seams. The seams do not need to be perfect as they will be covered in crumbs, but you will be able to tell if the seams are very poorly blended.

Step Four: Brush all of your fondant elements with alcohol (such as vodka) to moisten it for crumb application. Alcohol evaporates much faster than water, preventing the fondant from getting too mushy. If you don’t want to buy alcohol for this project, you could probably just use minimal water, though it would not be ideal. Or you can just buy a tiny bottle at any liquor store.

How to Make a Sandcastle CakeStep Five: Working with one moistened strip at a time, gently press cookie crumbs onto the surface of the fondant.

Step Six: Pipe leftover buttercream frosting onto the areas where you need to apply the fondant decorations.

How to Make a Sandcastle CakeStep Seven: Trim the crenelation strips to fit the areas where they will be applied and press them onto the buttercream. Be sure to use enough buttercream or the weight of the fondant will cause the pieces to fall off the cake.

Step Eight: Add the fondant shells and a front door to the castle for the final decorative touches.

How to Make a Sandcastle CakeI used a wood cheese board as a cake plate, because none of my cake plates were big enough! I have seen people use upside-down pans covered with cloth and even hat boxes used as cake stands. The gaps at the sides of my wood platform bothered me (I’m such a diva sometimes), so we decided to add card stock waves to the edges to complete the whimsical look of the cake.

How to Make a Sandcastle CakeAs you can tell in the image above, the vanilla wafer crumbs did absorb some of the moisture of the buttercream, but it didn’t get any worse than you can see in the above image. We had the entire bottom half of the cake leftover from the birthday party and served it at a family event the next day. I’m happy to report the crumbs held up nicely, didn’t absorb any additional moisture, and the cake still looked great without the towers and the fondant crenelations!

This sandcastle cake was such a fun project and really was the (buttercream) icing on top of my daughter’s mermaid birthday party! I’m so excited to try my hand at another showstopper cake sometime soon. – Mandi

Credits//Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Mermaid Birthday Party

Mermaid Birthday PartyOne of my favorite (self-imposed) duties of motherhood has got to be party planning! My kids and I have such a fun time dreaming up their ultimate party themes and fun homemade cake ideas to match. This year, my daughter Juniper turned 4 years old and requested a mermaid birthday party. I think she was probably envisioning something fit for Ariel, while I was busy thinking of ways to do this theme without the red-headed Disney character plastered on each dinner plate and napkin. The party was a lovely event certainly fit for a mer-princess like Ariel, but still kind to the Earth, my wallet, and my eyes!

I wanted to share my table decorations and themed treat ideas so that you can also easily throw together a fanciful mermaid birthday party for the special mermaid or merman in your life!

Mermaid Birthday PartyEarth-Conscious Party Supplies

I know a lot of children’s party supplies are often made from plastic—like flatware, cups, and even plates. Not to mention party favors and cake decorations. While paper plates and cups are still coated with material designed to prolong their lifespan, they still eventually break down and are a much kinder choice compared to plastic alternatives.

I decided to combine paper party products with compostable items like plates made from pressed palm leaves and flatware made of birch. This is the perfect party theme for these types of product since they go with the earthy vibes associated with the beach.

My sequined tablecloth is something I decided to buy last year, knowing it would probably coordinate with most birthday party ideas my girls dream up. (They love sparkles, and the white color matches everything!) So far we’ve used it for a My Little Pony party and this mermaid party. This time around, I covered the tablecloth with one of the two fishnets that came in this set. (The other fishnet is hanging on the wall behind the table.)

For party favors, we simply made starfish wands with ribbon streamers. I wasn’t sure what to do about the starfish, to be honest. I know that using real starfish seems like an eco-friendly choice, considering they’re natural byproducts of the ocean. However, I also know that not all starfish you buy at stores are ethically sourced and may have been alive when caught. Even if they weren’t alive, I’m learning that taking shells from the beach does have an impact on other sea/beach creatures’ natural habitats. In the end, I decided to use these resin starfish I found on Etsy.

Mermaid Birthday Party

Mermaid Birthday Party SuppliesMermaid Birthday Party Supplies

  1. Clear Bubble Balloon Set
  2. Lilac Paper Cups
  3. Lilac Scalloped Napkins
  4. Holographic Shell Paper Plates
  5. Birch Flatware
  6. Resin Starfish
  7. Compostable Palm Leaf Plates
  8. Natural Fish Net Decoration (set of two)
  9. Drink Dispenser with Natural Base

How to Make Starfish WandsHow to Make Starfish WandsThe starfish “mermaid wands” were a cute addition to the table settings, and the kids absolutely loved playing with them through the entire party. These were a breeze to make, and more fun and imaginative than a lot of the little trinkets often used as children’s party favors. Here’s how to make your own.

Starfish Wand Supplies:

How to Make Starfish WandsStep One: Cut the ribbons into 18-20″ lengths

Step Two: Knot one of each ribbon type around the top of each dowel. Stagger the lengths so that one side of the tied ribbon hangs lower than the other side.

How to Make Starfish WandsStep Three: Apply a line of hot glue across the tied ribbon as shown above right.

Step Four: Press a starfish onto the hot glue and hold for a moment.

Mermaid Birthday PartyThese starfish wands were a big hit, which got me wondering why didn’t we think about doing mermaid headbands as a party craft? Maybe we’ll do that for our next mermaid birthday party. (I’m already getting requests from sis for a similar party because—mermaid dresses!)

Mermaid Birthday PartyFor a party backdrop, I kept it simple with a hanging fishnet covered in various sizes of clear bubble balloons. I purchased this set of bubble balloons from Etsy and was pleased with the mix. They were really difficult to blow up by hand, so I’d recommend using a pump of some sort if you’re not using helium. I strung them up with monofilament and 3M hooks.

shell shaped macarons with chocolate pearlsIf you follow me on Instagram, you may have really questioned my sanity when you saw me spend the better part of a week practicing making macarons until I found the perfect method for making shell-shaped macarons. I’ve made macarons before, but had never really achieved perfection until my self-imposed macaron boot camp. These little guys looked really special and were admired and enjoyed by each of our guests. (The chocolate pearls are sixlets I found at a party store.) I made them a few days before the party and kept them sealed up until the big day.

Mermaid Birthday PartyHow to Make a Sandcastle CakeYou may be wondering about this sandcastle cake, so don’t worry! I’ll be sharing a tutorial for it very soon. It was sort of a grand experiment that I had planned for a while and ended up making the morning of the party. It went really well and ended up being a straightforward (though a bit time-intensive) project. I really think this party wouldn’t have been the same without the sandcastle cake. I would certainly make it again if I were to go back in time! Plus, it was amazingly delicious and gave us good leftovers for a family gathering the next day.

Mermaid Birthday PartyWe have ourselves one happy little mermaid! It was such a fun day. My heart is always filled with so much joy to see my kiddos truly enjoy the fruits (or cake) of my labor! Party planning can be a lot of fun, but obviously can be a lot of work too, if you let it. Do the amount that you find fun and works with your schedule and family lifestyle. I’m just the crazy lady scrolling through Pinterest already planning the next big bash! – Mandi

Credits//Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Oui Fresh (Major) Birthday Sale!!!

It’s Oui Fresh’s birthday week—and we are celebrating BIG TIME with one of our most major sales ever that will be running through this week. Starting with a fan favorite, bonus beauty grab bags (if you didn’t know, we have a monthly beauty subscription box that is clean and cruelty-free)! You’ll get a box of SEVEN items from past beauty boxes for just $15—that is a full on deal, my friends. They’re a “mystery,” so it’s a fun surprise, too!

Next up, we have our super popular daisy sunglasses for 25% off! Includes the matching toddler styles, and they all come with a protective case.

ALL T-shirts are 30% off! Our shirts are really soft and were made and printed in the U.S. Our bestselling Babe with the Power tee is included in the sale, too!

This next one is a big deal! Get 20% off of EVERY oil in the shop (including premium oils like frankincense and manuka). We never discount them this much, but on your bday you gotta go all out! Our oils are 100% pure, no fillers ever—so you can use them with confidence.

We are really going for it with $5 mugs and 40% off stationery! Both our mugs (Damn Fine Cup of Coffee + Stay Home and Make Something designs) and our stationery are amazing gifts! Our Meal Planner notepad is included in the stationery sale as well. 🙂

And last but definitely not least, you can get ANY lip product (even the new shades) for 30% off. Our lipsticks are buttery smooth and our lip glosses have the most insane velvety texture that’s rich but never sticky. The best thing about our lip products? They’re made with great ingredients! Vitamin E, shea butter, and coconut oil will have your lips feeling amazing, and of course, we left out the not-so-cute ingredients. Who needs those?!

The sale is on now through Saturday, but we will definitely have some sellout items that won’t be restocked, so don’t wait if you know there’s something you want!

Credits // Author: Keely Rust. Photography: Keely Rust and Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Cocoa Puffs Popcorn Balls

I am sure that we all had a favorite breakfast cereal growing up, right? Well, mine was most definitely Cocoa Puffs. I have been a chocolate lover for a very long time. Ha. As a kid, probably my favorite thing about the cereal was not only the cereal itself (crunch, chocolatey goodness—yes! sign me up!), but how it turned your milk into chocolate milk by the time you were finished. Yum! So I was really excited when General Mills reached out wanting to work on something together to celebrate Cocoa Puffs’ 60th birthday! Call me a sucker for nostalgia, but creating a simple recipe to help them celebrate this milestone is pretty dang cool.

I always find myself making popcorn balls around this time of year, because again, it’s one of those nostalgic childhood treats that I just can’t get over. Using just three ingredients, you can make the most delicious (and probably easiest) chocolate twist on classic popcorn balls. These are sure to be a hit with both adults or kiddos; I know I loved them. But, of course, I’m a member of the lifetime chocolate lovers club, after all.

There are a couple keys to making popcorn balls of any variety. After you make the marshmallow batter, pour it over the cereal (or popcorn) and mix. Allow it to cool some (just a couple minutes) before using well buttered hands to form the balls. And yes, I’m serious, buttering your hands will make a big difference! It feels weird if you’ve never done it before, but it totally works.

Of course, these Cocoa Puffs popcorn balls can be enjoyed all on their own, but you could also dress up a birthday cake with them if you’re celebrating. 😉 Thanks for letting me share some childhood nostalgia with you. xo. Emma

Cocoa Puffs Popcorn Balls

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon butter
  • 10 ounces 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • 11.8 ounces 1 box Cocoa Puffs cereal
  • sprinkles (optional)
  1. On a large baking sheet with a lip, spread the cereal in one layer. Also have a small bowl of sprinkles and counter space covered in wax paper prepped.

  2. In a medium sauce pan or pot, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Use a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently swirl the butter all along the bottom and up the sides of the pan as it melts. Then add the marshmallows. Stir so all the marshmallows get coated in the butter as they begin to melt. Continue to stir occasionally until they have melted completely.

  3. Pour over the cereal and gently toss so all the pieces get coated in the marshmallow mixture. Allow to cool for a minute or two.
  4. Butter your clean hands and then gently press the cereal into balls about the size of a fist or a little smaller. Coat in sprinkles if using. Place on wax paper and continue forming balls until you’ve used up all the cereal.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Juniper’s Puppy-Themed Birthday Party

puppy birthday partyThey say that little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, but sometimes they’re also made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails! When I asked Juniper what kind of birthday party she wanted, she had lots of ideas, and they changed from day to day. When she brought up the idea of doing a puppy party, I knew it could be a lot of fun. So I quit asking her about party themes and got to crafting some easy puppy party decorations. The results were so cute, and most importantly, our kiddos had a blast and Juniper felt celebrated.

Last year, I selected a cake off the rack at a local grocery store, and I bought Juniper a balloon. That was about the extent of my party planning. We joked that her birthday party theme was “mom and dad just gutted a house.” So this year I wanted to put more effort into making her birthday party feel special. I spent a little time working on crafts or food each day during the week before her puppy party. With a little bit of effort and a small budget, her puppy party ended up being such a sweet affair!

puppy birthday partyThis guy here is part of the reason we’re all a little dog obsessed, to the point of planning a puppy-themed birthday party! At the beginning of the year I said to my husband, “Can we please finally get a dog this year?” And he agreed! So the girls and I spent months stalking PetFinder until we found a special pair of bonded dogs that we couldn’t leave at the pound. (Meet our dogs at this blog post!) This is Theo, and his buddy Alfie was standing at my feet (like usual) as I was taking this photo. The girls wanted to make dog ear headbands for them, forgetting that, in fact, they already came equipped with dog ears!

dog cut-out cookiesAfter seeing the cute cookies Elsie made for Nova, I knew I wanted to try out some fancy cookies myself. This was the most time-intensive part of party prep, but I learned a lot in the process. Next time will be much easier—and yes, there will be a next time! Ha!

First, I spent some time on Pinterest deciding what kind of cookies I wanted to make, then I bought this dog cookie cutter set. I used this butter cookie recipe to make and freeze the cookies a couple of weeks in advance. Then I used this royal icing recipe to decorate the cookies two days before the party.

puppy partyI purchased a pink plaid table runner for the dining table and the food table, which brought a nice pop of color to the party decorations. Everything else I kept pretty simple so that the dog ears and novelty food could really stand out. I couldn’t find any cups or plates that I loved with a puppy theme, so I decided to make my own cup decorations and then buy some plain biodegradable party plates.

puppy party cupsHow to Make Dog Bone Party Cups

Materials:
plain white paper cups
-kraft card stock (I used this kind to match my plates)
dog bone template*
glue dots or double sided tape
-scissors
-printer

Load your printer with the card stock and print out one sheet of this dog bone template. Cut out each dog bone by hand with scissors. Use glue dots or double-sided tape to affix each dog bone to paper party cups. The dog bones are a cute decorative detail, but they also provide a nice spot for people to write their names on their cups!

*Full disclosure: I made the dog bone template out of this clip art that someone else designed.

puppy partyHow to Make Dog Ear Headbands

Instead of party hats, we like to make special headbands that go with our birthday party theme. (We still have a few bumblebee headbands from Lucy’s third birthday party.) Of course, it was a no-brainer to make dog ears for a puppy party! The girls were obsessed with them. We even got face paint to give the kids dog faces that matched their headbands. The kids ended up getting sidetracked at the party and we didn’t do face paint then, but we did do it the next day!

The dog ear headbands were pretty easy to make, and the supplies were inexpensive. Check out how I made them below!

DIY dog ear headbandMaterials:
-2 pieces of crafting felt for each headband (or just one for smaller ears)
-plastic headbands (I bought a set of plastic headbands to save money for this and future headband projects.)
-fabric scissors
-hot glue gun with glue

Step One: Cut out two ear shapes and at least two 1″ strips of felt for wrapping the plastic headband. I found that I could get by with only two strips of felt for wrapping the headband in step two, but it took a bit of stretching. I didn’t use any templates for the ear shapes, but you can see below what the shapes looked like that I ended up freehand cutting out of my felt pieces.

DIY dog ear headbandDIY dog ear headbandStep Two: Wrap the plastic headband with your felt strips. I used hot glue to affix the end of the strip where I began. After I wrapped the entire headband, I glued the very end, and trimmed the felt with fabric scissors.

Step Three: Glue the dog ears onto the headband. You may want to pin them in place first and put on the headband to see if you like the placement. Then you can commit to gluing them into place.

DIY dog ear headbandsI made two headbands of each dog ear style. One I got going, it went pretty quickly! It took me the length of a one-hour podcast to make 10 headbands.

The girls requested I try to make dog ears like our dogs, so I added some white fringe to the bottom of some black floppy ears to look like our Theo, and I did try to make Alfie cookies, but really they ended up looking more like Lassie. Oh well, they tasted great and the girls didn’t seem to notice the discrepancies the way that I did.

dog cut-out cookiespuppy cupcakesPuppy Cupcakes

I think it’s important to know your limits when planning a party, and for me, that limit was at cupcakes. I figured I could either make dog cupcakes or dog cookies, but I didn’t want to put myself through having to do both of them. So I ordered these puppy cupcakes (or pupcakes, if you will!) from my friend Shawna, who owns a shop called A Cupcake A Day in Medina, Ohio. They were delicious and I was so pleased with how cute they turned out!

preschool puppy partyPuppy Print Decals

The last puppy party detail I added was little paw prints across the walls in our kitchen and dining room. I found a template I liked using Google Images, printed out three per sheet of card stock, and hand cut them. They were stuck to the wall with glue dots, and they came off easily during party cleanup.

puppy themed birthday partyI really enjoy planning cute birthday parties for my kids, and it’s not a burden to me—as long as I don’t try to do too much myself. (I always ask for help when it comes to putting together party food!) Usually I get a lot of ideas spinning around in my head when planning a party, so I do have to choose where to hit the brakes before I enter crazy town. This puppy party had the perfect amount of fun details without being too much work for me. And when Juniper saw the party decorations and pointed out each detail with delight, it made it all feel even more worth it! – Mandi

Credits: Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.