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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Comments

  1. Bellenza Bistro

    I AM TOTALLY IN AWE of every detail of this party!!! As a book lover since childhood myself, I can relate to Camille's fascination with stories. But you have done an incredible styling job…so obviously filled with love (not to mention talent)! Mom deserves a HUGE hug. 🙂

  2. Lydia Menzies

    Lissa-@ Bellenza- you are so sweet! Thank you very much! I am so glad she loves the books so much- I thought we might read one or two, but she can't get enough of the stories! She even wants to read the ones written by Laura's daughter, Rose- I never even knew those existed until she found them! I read some of the books as a child but watched every episode on tv- my sister and I always watched them together and loved it. I am happy that I have been able to enjoy the books with my daughter- they are full of great history and life lessons, too! Love them! Thanks, again!Lydia

  3. Jill

    Oh wow, Lydia, you have totally blown me away! The party is absolutely precious, and as a Little House fan myself as a child I am totally jealous!! The covered wagon is amazing. Fabulous!!

  4. Aimee Broussard

    I have now gone through the party at least 5 times and finally able to form a sentence. Every single detail is just extraordinary. Out of this world extraordinary! I am absolutely honored to have been a small part of Camille's day and such fabulous memories you created for each of those girls. You captured so many details of the book so elegantly and it's so much fun to see a childhood memory of ours come to life all over again. Well done, Lydia!

  5. Lanni

    What a wonderful party! I loved planning themed parties for my kids instead of having their party done outside of the home. It's something your daughter will always remember. It's also fun for them to help with the planning. Looks like fun was had by all.

  6. Nikki @ Tikkido

    It's absolute PERFECTION! Not only stunningly beautiful in every detail (that covered wagon table? Those quilt cookies?), but so very, very thoughtful. This is clearly coming from a place of love and connection between you and your daughter, and there's nothing more beautiful than that!

  7. Renee @ Bee's Knees Creative

    Oh. My. Gosh! This is AMAZING Lydia! So many details — you are just so creative. I would have absolutely loved this party when I was Camille's age!! Thank you so much for having me do some of the cookies for your fabulous party 🙂

  8. Nikki

    OMG Lydia! What an amazingly detailed party! Im in love with the cookies, they are works of art & love everything that Loralee Lewis does! What a lucky little girl you have! I didn't realize our daughters were so close in age. I want to read Little House on the Prairie with my daughter now. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Leah

    Love this theme! I am a huge fan of "Little House" books. I've even been to the house they lived in SoDak. Can't wait to read these books to my girls this winter. Gorgeous party!

  10. Aneta

    Lydia, that was one unforgettable party for sure. You did a fantastic job putting these together. Evey detail is simply work of art. Cookies and the cake were just stunning . All these girls will be talking about it for months to come 🙂

  11. Lydia Menzies

    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

  12. Lydia 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

  13. Lydia 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

  14. Lydia 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

  15. Lydia 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

  16. Lydia 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

  17. Lydia 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

  18. Lydia 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

  19. Lydia 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! 🙂

  20. Lydia 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

  21. Lydia 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

  22. Lydia 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

  23. Lydia Menzies

    Hi Lisa,Your comment made me laugh! Thank you! It was a very fun day for my daughter and her friends, and I enjoyed watching all of the action! Thanks so much!Lydia

  24. Lydia Menzies

    Hi Sue!Thank you! I love how Little House brings back sweet memories for so many people! I hope my little girl will feel the same way when she grows up. 🙂 I have truly enjoyed sharing the books with her- especially knowing how quickly she is growing up! I treasure it more than she knows! 😉 Thanks, again!Lydia

  25. Lydia Menzies

    Hi Alison~Thank you sweet friend! You are too kind! I appreciate all of your sweet compliments- and I know you can appreciate all of the cookie and cake work- you sweets artists always amaze me with what you can do!! xo!Lydia

  26. Lydia Menzies

    Thank you, Leoni! You are a sweetheart! Thank you for taking the time to sift through the photos! It was a fun day!! Thanks, again!!Lydia

  27. Lydia Menzies

    Hi Jennifer @ Double the Fun- thank you, thank you! I am so happy to hear that it captured the simpler time! I appreciate all of your sweet thoughts and thank you for sharing on FB! I appreciate you!Lydia

  28. Lydia Menzies

    Keisha- I can't thank you enough!! So kind of you! 🙂 I appreciate your stopping by to leave a comment! Thanks, again!Lydia

  29. Lydia Menzies

    Hi Holly! Thank you- your comments make me smile and I appreciate them! I really hoped to show a simpler time (with not so simple cookies and cake:), and I loved seeing how fun the simple games etc. were for the girls. Kids love to just run and play- no fancy toys needed! 🙂 Thank you, again!!Lydia

  30. Lydia Menzies

    Hi Amy @ Living Locurto,Thank you!! What a sweet thing to say! I agree- the cookies and cake were out of this world. The ladies behind the cookies are fabulous and they amaze me! Thanks so very much for stopping by!!Lydia

  31. Lydia Menzies

    Hi Brittany @ GreyGrey,Thank you! You are too kind- I am glad you enjoyed it more than once! I appreciate all of your sweet comments- it was a joy to do and I would do it all again anytime for my sweet girl! :)) Thank you again!!!Lydia

  32. Ana McCool

    I love Laura's books and I am AMAZED with this party! I love every little detail of it! Wow! Ma would be very proud, and Laura too! I would like to say more, but I really have no words. I was looking for ideas for my girl's party and found you! Thank you!

  33. jami

    Wow, wow, wow!! I am completely speechless at the splendor of this party.Could you please share how you printed on the hankies? They look absolutely incredible!! Well done, girl. This party is the best I've ever seen.