THE PARTY WAGON: AN INSPIRED BLOG ABOUT KIDS, PARTIES & FUN!

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Welcome to The Party Wagon! My name is Lydia , and I will be your hostess on this adventure through adorable children's parties. Get ready for all sorts of goodies, tips, tricks and hints on all things pertaining to entertaining your little ones and their friends!

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Copyright © 2011, Lydia Menzies. All rights reserved.

Monday
Sep242012

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE PARTY

What began as a simple gesture to introduce my daughter to a wonderful book series has become a special evening ritual for us- reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books!  I must admit, I didn't realize quite how interesting these books would be to her, but she cannot wait to read all nine in the series.  It was only fitting that her birthday party focus around Little House on the Prairie!  Together, we had a ball planning all of the details of her party that related to the books in some way.  At Camille's request, we focused on some of her favorite parts of the stories... prairie flowers, covered wagons, tee pees, the colors in the drawings of the books,  and "pretty"...because "Ma" liked things to be pretty!

Our neighbors were kind enough to let us host the party at their horse farm next door to our house.  It was the perfect prairie!  Using old-fashioned goodness to set the tone, guests received vintage handkerchiefs with the invitation printed on them. 

Each hanky was folded and tied to a card that gave details about life on the prairie during pioneer days...

My mother drew the covered wagon art work for the invitation.

As the girls arrived, each chose an apron and sunbonnet~ similar to what the prairie girls wore!

I loved the mix of fabrics that were chosen to reflect the florals, ticking, gingham, and solids of the day!

 I loved how they helped each other!

The prairie was complete with a covered wagon where the food was displayed and tee pees depicting the "Indian Territory" from the stories.

 

 Each girl also had a "dinner pail" waiting for them so that they could use them throughout the party.  The tin pails had a crocheted tag with each initial to help them keep up with their own pail.  Crocheting was one of the many handcrafted activities that pioneer girls learned on the prairie...

 The desserts were beautiful- each like a little work of art!  I wanted to make sure that the food wasn't too excessive, and so we served cake, cookies, and popcorn...but, wow, the cookies and the cake were so pretty!  "Ma" would have been proud!

The cake was a wonderful collaboration between baker and fondant artist!  The blue gingham reflected the fabric of the time, and the flowers were chosen to represent all of the prairie flowers.  A simple wooden barrel of flowers was the perfect topper~

 

 

The cookies were gorgeous and such a treat!  Gingham cookies with wildflowers...

I asked Renee, of Bee's Knees Creative, if she thought she could make a "crocheted" flower cookie.  Wow!  They turned out perfectly!!

One of Laura's nicknames was "Flutterbudget" and so Renee also made bite-sized Flutterbudget flowers that I displayed on tin spoons tied with customized birthday ribbon~

I also wanted to tie in "quilted" cookies as quilts were another handmade activity and necessity in pioneer days.  Christine, of Better Bit of Butter, impressively crafted quilted cookies and created an exquisite "cookie quilt"!

The cookies came with directions on how to arrange them!  Christine thought of everything!

Christine made two sets of quilted cookies~ these I loved stacked on a "rusted" cake stand...notice the quilting technique hand stamped on the cookies!

I also love these button-stitch cookies that were served~ so beautiful and perfect!

I always like to make sure the "new birthday number" is part of the special day, and so the filigree vintage 9s were a perfect way to incorporate!  I surrounded the lollipops with hand-crocheted flowers and served them from a wooden box~

 Because candy was a very special treat in pioneer days, I wanted to have old-fashioned candy as part of Camille's party.  I loved being able to tie-in her name in vintage calligraphy at the same time!

Popcorn was another extra-special, very exciting, and rare treat for the children and adults on the prairie!  I wanted it to feel extra-special and so I put the popcorn in blue and white bags and then placed those bags inside paper bags that were tied with tatting (almost a lost art) and lace.

If you look closely in the photo above, you can spot the tatting- a delicate chain of hand-sewn trim that I found in an antique shop.  I loved the intricate way it was sewn.  I also used lace, as tatting is hard to come by~

I used crocheted flowers on the party balls that I made from muslin and ribbon to decorate the popcorn wagon...

A party was also a rare occasion and, in the book, Laura was invited to Nellie Oleson's birthday party.  At Nellie's party, Laura tasted lemonade for the first time!  Pure joy and excitement for Laura- very surprising to Camille!

I also had button candy to represent a traditional gift that mothers and young girls made for babies back then...button strings as toys for the babies and toddlers!

For the tables settings, I used mismatched lace tablecloths that I found in vintage shops.  I used a lot of muslin throughout the party- I covered the chairs in muslin to resemble flour sacks.  Each guest had a tin cup with a crocheted flower tied to the handle~

Napkins were a collection of different, hand-embroidered, vintage handkerchiefs tied with birthday ribbon~

My favorite part of the table setting was the hand-embroidered pillows in each chair.  Throughout the books, gifts were always placed at the table setting for family members or guests.  Camille's guests had adorable pillows with their names waiting in each place~

The pillows were another nod to handmade goodness that was a consistent part of prairie life.  Each pillow had wildflowers across the bottom and a bug motif along with the name. 

There was a grasshopper invasion that was a huge part of the story of the Ingall's lives, and so many of the pillows included a grasshopper (other bugs were butterflies, ladybugs, dragonflies, and bees)!

I can't say enough about how darling these little pillows were- each one unique with hand-embroidery and with a different fabric on the back. 

The girls were eager to try all of the cookies and to enjoy the cake!

 The cake was served on tin plates.  My daughter found a lace ruffle that she liked on one of our fabric store trips and she asked if we could use it.  I wasn't sure how I would use it at first, but we ended up adding the ruffle to the tin plates.  We did it together using Glue Dots, and it turned out to be a pretty little detail!  Here they are stacked...

One of the biggest sources of entertainment for Laura Ingalls and her family was Pa's fiddle.  Laura loved for Pa to play at night and they would dance and sing and have a wonderful time together.  I was lucky enough to find a wonderful fiddler for Camille's party!  She played from the moment the guests arrived and her music set the tone for a fun and lively party!  She also led the birthday song when it was time for cake!

A few fun details...

Old- fashioned good times continued after the cake!  Laura Ingalls and her sister Mary liked to collect beads from Indian Territory.  They would go with Pa and collect the beads, and then they would make jewelry out of it. We scattered beads around the tee pees so that the girls could have fun hunting for beads, too!

They also played "Blind Man's Bluff" (one of the favorites) and "Who Has the Button?"...

There was a sweet little pony for the girls to enjoy taking care of on the prairie~

Slates were scattered about for doodling and there was also the Clothes Pin Drop Game.

And, the absolute favorite of the day...jumping rope!!

At the end of the party, the girls were able to choose their own party favors!  An obvious choice of favors~books from the series!

 

 One of the most fun projects that Camille and I did together for her party was making candles for each guest.  We scoured many vintage shops in order to find enough teacups.  We then filled each with a wick and wax and tied a ribbon on the handle.  The best part was choosing each beautiful little cup!

We explained that the Ingalls family relied on candle light and later kerosene for light...

This was such a fun part of the planning!  We ended up making 30 tea cup candles to include the guests and the grandmothers- and we plan to give some as gifts for teachers!

Old-fashioned fun with my favorite 9 year-old!  It is hard to believe she is already NINE!!

VENDOR CREDITS~

Invitations and Paperie- Loralee Lewis
Aprons and Bonnets- Aimee Broussard Handmade 
Embroidered Pillows- customized- Yelli Kelli
Fondant Cake Topper and Flowers AND the gingham icing sheets/sugar sheeets- Sugar High Inc.
Cake Baker and Designer- My Sweet Things
Gingham, Crocheted, Mini Flowers, Personalized Cookies- Bee's Knees Creative

Quilt Cookies- Better Bit of Butter  

Button Stitched Cookies- BB Sweets  

Photography- Zoomworks Photography
Filigree Number 9 Lollipops- and Lettered Lollipops-  Vintage Confections 
Button Candy- Andie's Specialty Sweets  
Crocheted Flowers and Initial Tags (on pails)-  Q Spring 
"Happy Birthday" Ribbon customized-  Clutterbug Studio 
Silver Pails- Oriental Trading
Flowers- Always Always Florist

Party by Lydia at The Party Wagon

"quilled" flowers on cake inspired by KaylasKakes

http://pinterest.com/pin/17451517275579315/

Gingham design on cake inspired by Bijoux Doux Specialty Cakes, NY

A HUGE thank you to my husband, my parents, my in-laws, and my nieces for ALL of the help on party day!  If not for your help, I would still be setting up!  And, another huge thank you to Laura and Mike for letting us borrow your "prairie".  And, to Laura Pennington for the tee pees and covered wagon top!

 

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Reader Comments (59)

Lydia - It is amazing, as always. We also love the Little House books and series. Covered wagon, spoons, aprons, lunch pails -- love it all. So much work, and yet it still capture that "simpler time" feel of the books. Great job - will share on FB.
AMAZING - every little detail is so perfect!!!!
Lydia, I am in awe at how amazing this party is. There are so many darling details I don't even know where to begin! I truly admire your talent! I especially love the unique theme and how everything portrayed the time period so well!
September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHolly @ Paisley Petal Events
What an original theme--and you really did an amazing job! Shared on my FB page :)
September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRM, Home Confetti
Wow! I love it all, especially the adorable cookies and cake! Little House of the Prairie was my favorite and I would have died to have a party like this as a kid. Lucky girl.
September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy @ Living Locurto
I am late on commenting on this, but only because I had to look at it several times to ooo and ahhh over everything. The covered wagon dessert table totally steals my heart. AHMAZING JOB on everything!!!
Jill @Peas and Thank you-
Thank you so much! I appreciate your leaving a message, and I love it that you loved Little House, too! I have the kindest friend who had a handyman make the covered wagon and we loved having it on the prairie. It has since been taken to another family to use for a western party! How great that it can be used again and again!! Thank you!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
@Aimee Broussard- you are so kind...and so much fun to work with on the aprons and bonnets! Big props to you and your mom for getting them ready and having them here in perfect condition and so early! The girls really loved wearing them, choosing their favorite, and helping each other. Thanks for adding so much charm to the day! I appreciate you!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Rebekah- thank you so, so much! I appreciate your sweet words and that you took time to stop by! The details were loads of fun! :)) Thanks, again!!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
@Michelle at I Do Invitations- thank you!! I couldn't agree more about the cookies- they were so beautiful! I am thankful for all of those talented "cookie artists" that could add so much color and sweetness to the dessert table! My daughter saved one of each! :) Thanks, again!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Lanni,
Thank you! My daughter and I really did have so much fun deciding on what to include in the party. The books are so full of ideas and we have read so many that we had a lot to choose from! This theme could be done so many different ways! We made it what she liked and she was thrilled with pretending to be like Laura! What a great book series! Thanks, again!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Nikki at Tikkido!
What a sweet comment- and I really appreciate that you could tell it was designed using the enjoyment we have had over reading the stories and spending time together. It has been amazing to see how she uses Laura's life as a basis for history timelines that she learns at school and on vacations. She loves these stories and is fascinated with life back then! I'm pretty fascinated, too- the pioneers were quite impressive with their determination and integrity and true grit! Great history lessons! Thanks, again!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Mariah!
Thank you so much, and thanks for noticing the simplicity!! I wanted to be sure not to let it get too modernized- which is sometimes hard to do with so many beautiful things at our fingertips! :)) Thank you, again!!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Mayra- you are super sweet! Thank you so very much!!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Renee @ Bee's Knees- you are just wonderful and so talented!! Your cookies made me stare and stare at them! The detail and time that you took to make them so beautiful is really appreciated! And, the way you learned to crochet with icing is pretty impressive!! We loved all that you sent us and thank you so much! My daughter saved the cookies "forever". So gorgeous and more than I wished for!!
Thanks a million times over!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Stefanie @ LaBelle- you are so kind! Thank you- I realized that I didn't write you to tell you that the wagon top was made by a talented man that my friend knows. I need to put his name in the credits if he will let me! We loved the covered wagon! :)
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Nikki Berry!
How sweet of you! Thank you for your comments- and I love it that you want to read the books with your daughter. I think reading them together is the key- there are lots of old-fashioned ways and words that are great to explain as you go. So much to learn from Laura! :) we love them and hope you and your daughter will, too! Thanks, again!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Linda V- thank you!! You are so sweet to stop by! I agree-- those cookies are just adorable and beautiful in every way! And, they all tasted great, too! Such great "Cookie Ladies"- I could brag on them all day!!
Thank you, again!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Leah,
Thank you! My daughter would be so envious that you have been to South Dakota! She wants to see it all! Hopefully, one day, I will take her! Thank you so much for your kind comments!!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies
Hi Aneta- you are so kind! Thank you for leaving me a message- I am so glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks again!
Lydia
October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLydia Menzies

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