A blog by Felicity Ditchburn

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Under Construction

This wonderful construction party was for a special little guy "Harrison" as he was a huge fan of diggers, construction and trucks.  He talented Mum Anna, decided to host a "Construction Party" for little Harrison for his 3rd birthday.

Anna handmade the invites using some coloured cards and she found some 'Digger/machine' wrapping paper and cut out the various trucks/diggers and used a stencil to write the words 'Under Construction".                                  
The excitement is ‘Building’...
And we’re gathering a crew...
We’re going to celebrate and we need you!
Please join us for
Harrison’s Construction Birthday Party

At the Lloyd Construction site: address
Your shift begins at Noon and finishes at 2pm on Saturday 13th October 2012
RSVP The Construction Supervisors Anna or Warren on (Phone Number) by 1st October

Plastic construction hats with the kids names to them was the dress code. Each child also received a 'Workman Pass!' As Anna is a photographer took photos of all of Harrison's friends added their cute faces to a 'Bob/ Wendy the builder body which she printed off the internet and coloured in texta as it and laminated the passes. She then attached some bright coloured 'rope' so the kids could wear the passes around their neck.

Each child got a 'workmen's lunch' which was a pre-packed lunch in a brown paper bag that contained 'a sandwich, a fruit strap,a packet of corn tubes (chips) and a box drink. On the brown paper bag Anna printed a tag that said 'workmen's lunch' and had a picture of either Bob or Wendy glued onto fluoro coloured paper depending on the child's gender.

Anna made a construction cake that she said was the simplest cake she had ever made and apparently she has made a few! It was a basic cake cooked in a round tin and when it was cool she cut some 'chunks' out to make it look like a quarry.  The icing was butter icing with a few yellow food colouring. She also added some chocolate covered sultanas to make it look like rocks and finally she smashed up some violet crumble and sprinkled it on top to make it look like rumble. Lastly she few men, trucks and signs and of course a truck, digger and a car and some candles.

This very talented lady also painted a beautiful keepsake and added the words "Harrison we dig you' and she got all of his little friends to add their hand prints to the picture...which is now hangs in Harrison's room and he loves looking at it. She then wrote the kids names next to their handprint in a black marker.

Activities included  finding things buried in the sandpit and a set of road works made form witches hats which the kids rode the bikes through.  The take home gift instead of lolly bags was a some small canvas from the $2 shop that Anna created a boarder with a blue marker for boys and a pink on for girls and their names.  Anna then set up a painting station set up so the kids could create their art work with their parent. By the time the party was over their art work was dry and they could take it home. So when they went home they had their artwork, their 'Crew pass' and their construction hat.

The Wooden Digger was made by Harrison's Grandfather for kids to have their photos in front of! What a beautiful touch and very special for little Harrison.

The beautiful family at Harrison special event. What a very special day for a very special boy!!!


Friday, 5 April 2013

When did cupcakes become so complicated?

I remember not that long ago when I was a child, ok a while ago when cupcakes were simple and the most difficult decision was what kind of birthday cake to make. I remember flicking through the Women's Weekly Cake cookbook and choosing my favourite cake and Mum would cook it for a family dinner. Mum would also make the most beautiful cupcakes with plain icing (still does) and the biggest decision that my Mum had to make was what flavour to make the cupcakes! The choice was chocolate, strawberry or vanilla.

Parties have become somewhat of institution these days and there are so many party products to choose from! Where to start? What theme?  Who to invite? Where to have it? What decorations to buy and if you live in the middle of nowhere like me where to start on the internet! 

When I started planning my daughter's first birthday I was on leave from work and had plenty of time as a stay at home Mum to search the internet for the perfect party goodies to make her special day beautiful.  I never realised how many party  places there were, all the different products and how many cupcake toppers you could buy. Then there is the choice of what cupcakes you need to bake. As I looked through one of my many cupcake recipe books "200 cupcakes", I wondered, when did cupcakes become so complicated? There was chocolate strawberry cupcakes, rose delight cupcakes, lemon drizzle cupcakes, plum polenta cupcakes and hot and spicy cupcakes (this one I wouldn't recommend for a child's party). Then there is themed cupcakes including pirate face cupcakes, snake in the jungle cupcakes and lady bird cupcakes.  When did cupcakes become so complicated?

I thing I figured out is that all these cupcakes are basically based on one you beaut cupcake recipe "The vanilla cupcake!"

So here is the never fail recipe that I use as a base:

150g (5oz) of lightly salted butter, softened
150g (5oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Put into cupcake cases makes 12
Bake for 20minutes at 180 degrees

For chocolate cupcakes make the above recipe but substitute 15g of flour for 15g of cocoa powder 

As I progressed in the planning of my very first children's party I started to gain a passion for all things that make a special event. I was planning an owl themed party and I loved looking at all the stylish parties and wondering how they made everything look so perfect!    This party was heaps of fun and I learnt heaps about styling parties.  I made these cupcakes for the party was a bit sneaky I purchased so come fondant owls to put onto of the cupcakes.

Another year past and again I found myself planning my daughter's second birthday and like a lot of Mums thought this was a good idea at the time.  I decided that she would have a fairy party.  Only thing I failed to take into consideration that I have a four month old who is attached to my hip. 

Again I found myself pondering when did cupcakes become so complicated?  I wanted little mouthfuls of  fairy goodness. Again I flick through my cupcake book to find the perfect recipe.  To many to choose from, how could I ever pick?  Why not have a selection? Now to add insult to injury for those who are not super woman in the kitchen they now have added cake pops and biscuit pops! What the??? So again I spent time researching and trying to find the perfect recipe and again looked at the parties who have been perfectly styled by those talented ladies.  Again I decided to cheat!

So I decided that I would make pops but they would be coconut ice pops!! Have the pop look with about have the effort!
One can of condensed milk
3 1/3 cups of icing sugar
4 1/4 cups of coconut and mix well.

Add what ever food colouring that suits your party and roll into balls.  To make these into pops, just wait till they have set in the fridge and stick a cake pop stick in them seen in the photo below - a cheats way to get the pop look!

I can do this, I thought I am super women!  Oh what was I thinking???  Even my plan to get up early and organise everything wasn't going to plan.  A baby just consumes so much time! We were lucky to get everything set up before our guest arrived.  Then it was into the kitchen to get all the food out for the party.  This is when I decided that everyone needs a little help in planning and conducting the perfect party especially if you have small kids. Luckily I had a few extra helpers floating around to made it easier for me by helping out with the preparation of the food.

There are so many recipes out there for cupcakes but I say keep it simple and remember they are just cupcakes.

Happy baking!

PS if you have a fool proof recipe that you use at an event please post below!!!



Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Welcome to the Greast Show on Earth - Harry's Carnival

Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth!!!
Harry's Carnival!

I love this theme it has the opportunity to be so fun!  This party was styled by my sister in law for my nephew HARRY! He had a wonderful party with a petting zoo, clowns and jumping castle to complete the carnival theme.

The brightly coloured theme was carried throughout the party from the invitations to the back drop to the cake and decorations. The invites were the tickets to the carnival and were taken from guests at the homemade ticket booth. 

Food at the party included hotdogs, fairy floss, popcorn, cookies, clown fizzie drinks and of course cake!

The entertainment at the party was lots of carnival games. Like at the carnival you participate in the game and win a prize like a lollypop. 

All the guest were encouraged to dress up and get in front of different back drops and get their photo taken.  A big beautiful golden frame was used to frame the guest's photos.  Lots of props were used including glasses, wigs,  

The multi-coloured layer cake was iced in red icing and fit perfectly with the theme.
The carnival theme is perfect for either boys or girls and for any age group.  Why not host a carnival party in your backyard or in a park near you for your next party.