Around June of this year (2012), I was talking to my friend Niki and someone the topic of garden gnomes came up, and she said, “that’s what you should do for Jacob’s party!” I loved the idea. It is not commercial, not common, and not gendered. I thought it fit perfectly with my little December birthday without making a “Christmas” or “winter” theme (although Winter ONE-derland is a very cute idea, too!). I also thought it would be adorable with the park setting. Of course I had dressed Jacob as a gnome for Halloween and one of his pictures was framed welcoming guests to his party!
I searched Pinterest for gnoma party ideas, and I did find a few. On those I found, the blog links were very helpful. I am trying to “pay it forward” with the crafting information on Jacob’s Gnome Party. Please feel free to contact me for more info!
The gifts were gathered around a gnome tree. The tree consists of manzanita branches that my friend Lisa purchased for her daughter’s Adoption Celebration. Hanging from them are mushroom ornaments from World Market, hand-painted birdhouses and gnome heads (probably meant to be elves – Christmas ornaments from Michaels that I painted and added felt beards to), and pictures from Jacob’s first year, month-by-month. I backed the photos from gnome wrapping paper and polka-dot ribbon to hang them.
I had ordered red polka dot balloons online and had them filled, but sadly they flew away before the party started. 😦 I was pretty sad. My brother and his girlfriend ran out and got the balloons you see above. Thanks, Ri and Taylor!
The fabric pennants were one of the most time-consuming details. The invitation envelopes had pennants printed on them, and I wanted pennants to be a sort of “sub theme.” I made them in primary colors planning on using them again. I cut the triangles and quickly glued them in pairs with fabric glue, then used a zig-zag stitch around the edge to prevent too much fraying. I then pinned them (so that the edges were touching) inside red quilt binding bias tape and then sewed them with a zig-zag stitch down the middle.
The centerpieces were adorable felt gnomes, felt gnome homes, and hand-painted birdhouses inside of glass vases. Lisa found these for the centerpieces for her daughter’s first birthday party, and I am so happy to have them “in the family” for future parties. You can do a lot with them! Moss lines the bottom. You can also see felt gnome hats sitting on the table for guests. I found them on Oriental Trading Company.
This is the back of the dessert table at the end of the party. The cupcake stand was made by Tracy and has been used so many times now! Here I edged it with red polka-dot ribbon and strands of tiny pennants that I cut from fabric and felt and strung together with baker’s twine. Various apothecary jars hold colorful candies. The cupcakes are funfetti (my favorite, and so festive) topped with homemade vanilla buttercream. The cupcake “bites” are so easy to make! This was scratch-made vanilla cake spooned into tiny cupcake papers which just sit on a cookie sheet to bake (no special pan necessary). They are the perfect one bite dessert.
Tracy (of the cupcake stand above) made these AMAZING gnome (and toadstool – see above photo) cake pops! They are insanely cute!
Here is Jacob’s smash cake post-smash. It was vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. It was delicious (although he didn’t really like it).
Vanilla Cake Recipe (yields 2 6-inch round cakes and a ton of little cake bites!)
Vanilla Cake Recipe from JoyofBaking:
3 cups (345 grams) sifted all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated white sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) room temperature milk
Vanilla Buttercream Recipe (I used two of these):
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons whipping cream
Apparently the sugar in the frosting acts as a preservative for the whipping cream so this does not need to be refrigerated. Know that if you do refrigerate it, the frosting will harden. A lot. If you want to spread it, it needs to be at room temperature (think butter). If it is hot out or you heat it up, it will run all over your cake and make a huge mess, so be careful! I put all of this in my Pampered Chef cake decorating tool and piped the frosting on.
Jacob’s high chair decorations consisted of pennants, a white paper “boa” and slipcover for the chair. I made the slipcover by roughly measuring the chair sewing an approximation of the shape, then placing it over the chair and pinning it more precisely and sewing it again. I thought it would make a much cuter backdrop than the regular chair back, and is machine-washable!!
His hat was made from a cereal box covered in fabric and rick-rack with a felt number and sparkly pom-pom at the top.
The tutorial is pinned to my “Jacob’s Party”board on interest: http://pinterest.com/koreyoskins/jacob-s-party/
His red tie was also made from a tutorial found on pinterest. I also made diaper covers in red and brown polka-dot, but it was just too cold, so I left his jeans on. The idea was that he would get all messy and then go back into his clothes. Oh well!
The invitation I sent out for the party included the template for the circles seen on the cupcakes above. I printed them, cut with a paper punch, and glued them to rainbow toothpicks. The cake topper consists of more tiny pennants of fabric and felt strung on baker’s twine between two wooden skewers, as well as a polka-dot “1” candle.
I had this banner made (and purchased the matching gnome party supplies like plates and tablecloths) from Birthday Express.
Well, I guess that’s about it! What a wonderful day!