Archive for birthdays & parties

A Roald Dahl Birthday Party

Quentin Blake illustration for Roald Dahl Day

Last year, my daughter wanted a Harry Potter party, which I had a lot of fun with. You can see pictures and ideas from that party here. This year, she asked for a Roald Dahl party, which I thought was a pretty great idea. Turns out it was easy to put together too.


I made a very simple invitation this year using the Quentin Blake illustration above (which he drew in celebration of Roald Dahl Day). If I had planned farther ahead, I probably would have tried to make a Golden Ticket invitation.

Games & Fun

In addition to watching Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda AND the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (it was a slumber party – we had a lot of time to fill!), we also quizzed kids on Roald Dahl characters and stories using the Roald Dahl Quiz Book.

But the highlight of the party? A Fizzy Lifting Drink burping contest! Have the kids chug some seltzer or soda and let them burp as loudly as they want.

Party Favors

Always my favorite part of the party. This year, we gave the kids:

A Roald Dahl book (we bought an assortment)
A Roald Dahl bookmark (found these at a local toy store , but here’s a free printable Roald Dahl bookmark that you can print on cardstock)
Lickable wallpaper (candy buttons)
Everlasting gobstoppers

Party favors for a Roald Dahl birthday party

Food & Drinks

I did not go all out and serve Roald Dahl-themed food and drinks. However, chocolate milk (from the chocolate river, of course), Fizzy Lifting Drink, and Frobscottle are obvious drink choices. You could also turn to Revolting Recipes for many disgusting-yet-delicious (dahlicious?) ideas.

For more resources, you can find some ideas on the Roald Dahl website (check the teacher section for activity ideas), and the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre website too. Probably your best resource is the Roald Dahl Day website which even has party packs to download.

Images: Quentin Blake illustration for Roald Dahl Day (top)
Party favors by Charlotte’s Fancy (bottom)


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Stock Up: Birthday Cards

It’s important to have a stash of birthday cards (and stamps!) in the house. Here are a few of my current favorites:

Birthday card box set by Meesch NY

Box set by Meesch (also comes in blue/yellow/green)

Balloon Bonanza birthday card by Yoke

21 Again birthday card by YOKE

Balloon Bonanza and 21 Again by YOKE (lots of new items in their shop)

Fly Away Birthday Card by Rifle Paper Co Birthday Candles card by Rifle Paper Co

Fly Away and Birthday Candles cards by Rifle Paper Co. (15% off their “Featured” section through July 24 with the code NOTE 15)

Helicopter birthday card by Egg Press

Train birthday card by Egg Press

Helicopter and Train birthday cards by Egg Press (don’t miss their online sample sale July 16 – 20)

Birthday Wishes card by Sugar Paper LA

Birthday Wishes by Sugar Paper

Happy happy birthday by Parrott Design Studio

Happy Happy Birthday by Parrott Design Studio

Are you a paper junkie too? Check out my “Stationery and Paper Goods” archives for other paper designs and shops to see and bookmark. I also have a Pinterest board dedicated to paper goods.

Images by their respective owners

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Perfect Party Favors for Kids

Perfect Party Favors for Kids by Charlotte's Fancy

Party favors are my favorite part of the party planning process, and I admit that I am willing to spend a few more dollars on nicer favors—in part because my kids’ birthday parties are small, so I’m not buying favors for 20 kids. But also, I just like to give gifts.

I try to strike a balance between fun, useful, not too cheap, and not too expensive. A bonus is finding things sold as multiples like the mini card games above, which you can divide up among your guests (more bang for your buck!).

So these are some of my favorites:

1. Classic card games by eeBoo ($12.95 for five games)
2. Mini notebooks (several designs to choose from) by ecojot ($4.75)
3. Twisty Stix scented erasers by International Arrivals ($2.95)
4. Crayon rocks by Clementine Art ($5.99)
5. Metallic colored pencils (also comes in neon!) by eeBoo (~$8 – shop for the best price online)
6. Mix n Match sticker set by Peaceable Kingdom Press (~$10 – shop for best price online)

What are your favorite party favors?

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How To: Harry Potter Party


A handful of ideas, if you’re considering a Harry Potter Party:


Golden Snitch invitations tutorial here

Party Favors

Jelly Bellys (I didn’t actually buy the Bertie Bott’s Beans)
Sand timer (by Koplow Games, found at local toy store)
Chocolate gold coins
Magic glitter wand by Toysmith
Gold pail (found at Target)

Games & Crafts

DIY Harry Potter glasses = black pipe cleaners
Sorting Hat game (we recorded messages with an app on our phone to sound like the sorting hat and played them as each kid sat in the chair. When sorted into the correct house, we gave each kid a necklace with their house’s color.)
Practicing spells
Harry Potter character charades


Harry Potter fonts (for gift tags, invitations, etc.)


We had lots of fun. And red velvet cupcakes. Yum.

All images: Charlotte’s Fancy

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How To Make a Golden Snitch Invitation

My soon-to-be eight year old asked to have a Harry Potter birthday party this year. Originally, I was going to make some little owl invitations out of felt and cardstock, but then I had a brainstorm about making a golden snitch invitation (inspired by this locket) which opens up to reveal the party details inside.

These are very easy to make. Here’s what you need:

  • white posterboard
  • gold spray paint
  • black paper
  • glitter
  • small brads
  • 1/16th hole punch (I use a Martha Stewart one from Michael’s)
  • some tape and paper
  • Harry Potter fonts + a printer
  • A9 envelopes

1. Use a bowl or a lid to trace circles on a white piece of posterboard (one circle = one invitation). Spray paint the circles with gold paint, and let dry thoroughly. When dry, cut out the golden circles.

2. Draw a set of wings freehand on some cardstock as a template, and then cut out several pairs on black construction paper. Coat them with spray adhesive and sprinkle glitter on them. (In hindsight, I probably should have made the wings gold too. Instead, I used glitter to make them gold and add some sparkle to the invitation.)

3. To assemble the snitch, first cut the circles in half. For the left wing, overlap the two halves of the circles just a little, put the wing underneath, and use a small hole punch to make a hole through all three. Push the brad through and secure it. (Incidentally, I first tried poking a hole through the three layers with an awl, and it didn’t work; then I remembered that I had a tiny hole punch, which worked beautifully.)

4. For the right wing, simply punch a hole in the top half of the circle and the wing, then push the brad through and secure it.

5. I used this template for the party details, with Harry Potter fonts from the link above. I laid out the text, two to a sheet, printed them, and cut them. (They measure about 4″ wide and 8″ long). Then I folded them up, and sealed with them a gold foil sticker.

You could lay these out however you want, though, because all you’re doing is folding up the piece of paper so that it fits into the pocket (see next step for pocket details).

6. To make a pocket on the back of the golden snitch, which holds the party details, I just cut out a semi-circle of posterboard and simply taped it on the back (it’s not pretty, but it works). The folded party details slips into the pocket:

Just to be safe when I mailed these, I sandwiched the invitation between two pieces of cardstock, and taped the cardstock together, so that the invitation would come out of the envelope assembled perfectly. I also wrote on the cardstock as a teaser, “The golden snitch will reveal all.” (Which also gave them a clue that the invitation was a golden snitch, in case they had no idea!)

These really are simple to make, but do allow time for the spray painted circles to dry overnight.

Raise your hand if you’ve got some Harry Potter fans in your house too!

Images: Charlotte’s Fancy

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From the Archives: Surprise Balls

wrapping crepe paper around the Halloween surprise ball

Need an idea for something creative and fun that is sure to delight? Try making surprise balls. I made these for party favors one year, and then again for a Halloween party. It may not surprise you to hear that kids truly love unwrapping them to discover the  layers of surprises.

Get the tutorial here.

Image: Charlotte’s Fancy

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From the Archives: Organizing Inspiration

Chalkboard tin birthday party favors by Charlotte's Fancy

I made these tins with chalkboard labels as party favors for Rosa’s birthday last year and filled them with fun little toys and art supplies. But wouldn’t they be great for organizing all kinds of things? Desk supplies, paint brushes, remote controls, and pantry staples are just a few things that come to mind.

See the original post here for information on where to buy labels and tins.

Image: Charlotte’s Fancy

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Favorites: A High Tea Birthday Party

High Tea Birthday Party menu and table by Birthday Girl and Cakewalk Baking

High Tea Birthday by Birthday Girl and Cakewalk Baking

High tea birthday party favors by Birthday Girl and Cakewalk Baking

Such a sweet and pretty birthday party idea by Birthday Girl and Cakewalk Baking (more photos and details to be seen on their blogs). Plus, there’s nothing better than tea sandwiches and petit fours.

Images by Sherry Heck
via Party Perfect

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Favorites: DIY Flip Book

Flipbook invitation 1 by My Paper Crane

Flipbook invitation 2 by My Paper Crane

Flipbook invitation 3 by My Paper Crane

Heidi of My Paper Crane created these fantastic flipbook invitations for her son’s birthday. Didn’t you love these kind of mix n match books when you were a kid? I know I did.

I like this idea for invitations, but I think I like this idea even better as party favors.

Images: Heidi Kenney / My Paper Crane
via Party Perfect

p.s. See my Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas on Design Mom!

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And They Lived Happily Ever After

Royal Wedding Handmade Etsy Picks

Today only, every person on the planet has to talk about the Royal Wedding. It’s the law.

True story.


“Night Rainbow” fine art print ($30) by Keri Bevan
London calling Union Jack dress ($58) by The Trendy Tot
London Town earrings (~$35) by Signatures by Natonia
Union Jack bunting hand carved stamp (~$13) by Skull and Cross Buns
Royal cookies ($36, set of 6) by SweetAmbs
Royal breakfast tea towel ($14.25) by Mr. PS
Set of three pillows ($175) by Karen Hilton Designs

On a serious note, a royal wedding is a lovely way to start a Friday morning, don’t you think? And there has never been a princess prettier than Kate.

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