Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Showstopper Superhero Party

What is it with superheroes?

My 3 year old son had never seen a superhero TV show or movie, had never read a comic or book, had never seen a superhero in action at all and yet he desperately wanted a superhero birthday party for his 4th birthday (well he actually wanted a 'Spiderman' party but we gently suggested that it might be nicer for guests, not to mention easier for us if we included all heroes of the super nature).

This was the first party that he was really old enough to choose for himself so what master 3 turning 4 wants, he gets (well he got the party anyway). It was really hard to find inspiration for superhero parties on the Internet so I thought I would share our very easy, low cost DIY superhero party! It was a great success with some showstopper moments.

 

This was my first real 'theme' birthday party and I had so much fun with the planning and organising. Everything was kept pretty low-budget and DIY - most of these kids were only 3 or just turned 4 so we kept the focus on making it as fun as possible without too much fuss.
  • I made a superhero cityscape using old cardboard boxes and paper. I posted a tutorial here: DIY 3D City
  • The cupcake stand was a plain cardboard cheapo that I hand-painted. More on that here: Superhero Cupcake Stand - DIY
  • The Spiderman cake I made myself using some great tips from tutorials from around the web (pun intended). More on that here: Spiderman Cake!
  • The name was also DIY. I just used cardboard letters and pasted on some cut out comic strip gift wrapping paper that I found. Super cheap and easy!
So with the table taken care of, we could focus on making this party fun. We had it at our home and luckily have some space in the backyard where the kids could run and play, which to be honest, would have probably been enough at this age BUT, this is a party, there is no such thing as enough!


I resorted to the classic party game staples with a superhero twists:
  • Pin the spider on the Spiderman - again another DIY where I just got a Spiderman poster and... well you get the drift.
  • Pass the parcel - wrapped in that comic strip gift wrapping paper that I used for the letters and with a superhero themed goody in each layer.
  • Make your own mask - we also had a table set up where kids could make their own masks.
Remember that these kids are 3 so it was important to make any craft activity something simple with instant reward (eg stickers better than waiting for glue to dry etc) otherwise the parents end up having to do it for them.

The kids DID have fun with these games, BUT the most memorable thing about this party was a personal visit from Spiderman himself.


...yes, that is my husband in a Spiderman suit (purchased online for a very reasonable price). You may not have been fooled but the kids sure were and they were SO excited that the 'real' Spiderman had come to Harvey's party.

The celebrity visit was planned perfectly and came off without a hitch.

First we called out to the playing kids that Spiderman had called us on the 'spider phone' and needed all the 'creepy crawlies' cleared from the yard. This then segued into a scavenger hunt for little plastic bugs and critters that had been strewn around the yard in advance. They had to fill a central container with the bugs (teamwork) and when they did there would be a surprise at the end. The kids loved the scavenger hunt, but we keep finding those little plastic bugs, frogs and snakes throughout the garden which has caused a sharp intake of breath on more than one occasion.

Once the container was full, the Spiderman theme song started playing and in ran Spiderman (husband took the opportunity to get changed in secret while the scavenger hunt was on). He had cans of 'silly string' and sprayed 'spider web' all over the kids. They were overcome with squeals of delight.

Spiderman was on a timeframe, that suit was hot (not to mention a little tight) so we had an activity planned. The little superheros were going to have to cross an obstacle course, lead by Spiderman, so that they could return to head quarters and enjoy the birthday meal. We used slides and swings and crawl tunnels etc, just toys and play equipment that we already had.

Once the obstacle course was successfully crossed by all little superheros they sat down to eat a birthday lunch. Spiderman had a (very small) gift for them all before doing a magic trick (using his superhero powers of course) before he left.

The magic colored water trick was the easiest, most effective thing to do and it blew the kids minds. Spiderman announced he was going to fill their water jug with 'magic spider water', then took a jug of clear water and poured it into another jug at which point it turned blue - cue the gasps of amazement and pure awe from the kids. The trick is to put the smallest amount of food coloring in the bottom of the second jug. The kids don't see it as they are paying too much attention to Spiderman and from their perspective the water just turns blue by magic (you will need 2 clear jugs for full effect).

In the wake of the awe of 12 tiny superheroes, Spiderman then made his exit. The party was a huge success.




My kids still think the real Spiderman came to Harvey's 4th birthday and although I am sure they will work it out eventually they currently think it was the coolest thing in the world. Thanks Spiderman.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Superhero Cupcake Stand - DIY

Preparations for the 'Superhero' party for Mister 4 are in full swing and, let's face it, the creative juices are well and truly flowing.  

Enter the superhero cupcake stand:


I purchased a super-cheap plain cardboard cupcake stand (the type you put together yourself), and just painted my superheros of choice. I used some paints that I had around the house to create the perfect stand to match the party theme (and colors).



I know that you can get some 'superhero' themed ones of these ready-made, but the only ones I could find were either super cheesy or super violent. I chose the three superheroes (my sons' two favorites and one to match the color theme) and went to work.

I even included an 'H' instead of the 'S' for 'Super Harvey!'



It was a bit more work than I expected (it took a few coats to get the colors bright enough) but I think it looks pretty cool. I was a bit reluctant to cover it up with my version of 'cupcakes' (chocolate crackles).


More of the Superhero Party posts, tips and tutorials HERE


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

More colorful characters...

Is your dog a colorful character? We love dogs and we love colors. Wallfry's colorful dog competition is nearly over - we'll draw the winner on June 15. In the meantime, here are some of the awesome entries so far...
If you would like to enter, tag a photo of your flashy furry friend on Instagram with #wallfrycomp and you will go in the draw to win a Wallfry dog print of your choice.
Here are some entries below...
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Spiderman Cake!

A Superhero cake for my 4 year old Superhero.




I always promise to take photos and post a step by step of my next cake, but I always run out of time.

Here is a snapshot summary of this one:

  • Base rectangular cake - white chocolate mud cake cooked in a rectangular tray.
  • Spider man head cake - vanilla butter cake cooked in a soccer ball tray cut and pasted back together to make an oval shape 
  • *I added blue and red color to the head of this cake before baking to go with the theme. Unfortunately it came out a browny purple red and blue swirly mess. We called it 'Spiderman brains' and the kids LOVED it - save!
  • Fondant icing - marshmallow fondant (first time I made my own and found it a bit grainy and difficult to work with, but delicious, might try a different recipe next time)
  • Colors - Americolor gels (make sure you use proper gel colors, the watery ones you get at the supermarket will not get bright deep colors like these)
  • Webbing - Royal icing (dyed black). I practiced a heap on baking paper before piping on the actual cake, no going back on that one
  • Buildings, eyes etc - Colored, rolled fondant. I find this much easier than gum paste when working with flat shapes (moulded shapes are a different matter)


Most of my inspiration came from a lovely blog called Amanda's Cookin' and she has some great pics (including details of how to cut the head).

Some more superhero party goodness HERE. Will be adding more of the super hero party fun and creativity over the coming weeks.






Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cooking With Kids - Damper

I think by now we all know that kids love cooking. They love learning how things are made and being part of the process of creating something that they can eat. It gives them a great sense of satisfaction and achievement and can even sway a fussy eater into trying something new if they have 'cooked' it themselves.

I am always looking for ways to get the kids involved in the kitchen like Sunday night 'build your own pizzas'. When it comes to the kitchen though, what my kids like most is getting their hands dirty. That usually means cakes and cookies and while that is OK on occasions I am always looking for alternatives that are both fun and (at least moderately) healthy.


Enter damper. If you are Australian you know damper as bush tucker, a quintessential part of your childhood. Pulled over a stick and roasted over an open fire or backed in the coals of a camp fire there was no better way to spend a cold, wet winters day... ahh good memories...

For those who have no idea what I am talking about damper is basically bread without yeast.


The base ingedients for damper are flour, salt, butter and milk / water (maybe a bit of baking soda) and then you can add pretty much any ingredients you and the kids fancy. We added sultanas and blueberries but the options are almost endless (cheese, herbs etc). There are plenty of recipe variations online, we used this one for our base.

The kids loved getting stuck into it and choosing the ingredients that we added.



While roasting in the coals of a campfire is nice and all it can just as easily be baked in an oven.

We just ate ours with some butter, but next time we might have to try some golden syrup.


Fun, educational and a lovely rustic snack on a cold winter's day (or any day to be honest).

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Aussie Animals On Their Way!

I am sooooo excited about this!

A little known fact (not really but it sounds dramatic) is that we welcomed our adorable baby girl into our family of four last year. Now, I will confess that I don't do pregnant well at all (I will spare you the graphic details) and coupled with the (although completely gorgeous) considerably demanding new baby on the scene pretty much wiped out any opportunity to get creative. Although WallFry has been open for business this whole time, I haven't really been able to create something NEW (other than the new baby of course).

Which is why I am so excited about this work in progress:


This is a wombat.
This wombat is one of the new Australian animal designs I am working on to add to the WallFry range.

Another little known fact (again not really) is that we are Australian and for years now I have been wanting to add an "Australian Animal" series of prints to the range. So I have been drawing, drawing, drawing and the creative juices are well and truly flowing and I am just loving designing these gorgeous little guys.

The hardest part is choosing which animals to include, here are some up for consideration...



Can't wait to share the final products here when they are done!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Colorful dogs competition - Win a Wallfry Dog Print!

Is your dog a colorful character? We love dogs and we love colors. We’re on the lookout for the most colorful canine character – and we’d love you to be involved. Tag a photo of your flashy furry friend on Instagram with #wallfrycomp and you will go in the draw to win a Wallfry dog print of your choice.
Here are some entries below...

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Designs! Now I know my ABCs

With an alphabet twist...

It has been a busy busy start to the year! I wanted to share some new and recent designs that we have added to the collection with an alphabet focus.

Most recently we have added the ABC prints featuring the tranpsortation series in fully customizable colors.

Great for the Nursery:




And even awesomer (yes I did just invent that word) in the playroom:


Lots of different color options too:


We have had so many requests for a simple, modern alphabet and numbers prints and here they are:




Different color options to choose from too!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Friday / Cyber Monday SALE - 30% off the entire shop



This is our biggest sale of the year!

How is your Black Friday sales shopping going?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mount your pictures on canvas - DIY

My youngest son is growing up (heartbreaking but true) and I am in the process of redecorating his 'big boy' room. I have used this very effective method of displaying wall art and wanted to share this very very simple DIY idea for mounting pictures on canvas:

 
 
 

I love this method of block mounting for a number of reasons:
  1. It is easy - picture, paintbrush, scissors, glue. What could go wrong?
  2. It is cheap - you can usually purchase canvases in a range of sizes at your local craft store for a very reasonable price.
  3. It is easy to hang - canvas is light so you can use removable hooks and blu-tak to hang them. Easy to move too if you don't like where you put it the first time!
  4. It is effective - I love mixing it up on the walls, different colored frames, canvases, block-mountings etc. Something different with a 'Wow!' factor.
It is so easy to do:


What you need:
  • Pictures! - paper a little thicker than standard copy-paper works best. If you are a deft hand with Photoshop you could create your own pictures to print out or use some of the many free printable, downloadable, artworks out there (if you don't have your own printer Officeworks or Kinkos or something similar will print a file for you for minimal cost). Your favorite scrapbook paper could work too for a patterened block effect. In this instance I used some of my own designs from my Transportation series.
  • Scissors, ruler, pencil - to cut your picture to size.
  • Canvases - your size of choice.
  • Glue & brush - I use Mod Podge although I am sure you could use something similar just as effectively.
Process:
  • Cut your picture to size.
  • Use a generous amount of glue and paint the face of the canvas
  • Attach the picture to the canvas, smoothing out any airbubbles with a clean, dry cloth, being careful not to get any glue on the front of the picture.
  • I didn't seal the front of the picture, but if you do want to seal it, be careful that your printout is not going to smudge.
 Tips:
  • My paper curled a little when in contact with the glue so I put the whole thing upside down on a clean dry surface until it was dry.
  • Don't stress that it looks buckled or warped at first. Canvas stretches when wet but will reform it's size and shape when dry so it should all flatten out when the glue has dried (as long as you get out the air bubbles and don't crease the picture when smoothing).
I LOVE the end result:
 

 Because these were smaller, lighter canvases, I attached them to the wall with Blu-tak (wall mounting putty like fun-tak) so that I can move them around easily. With any of these wall putty products, be very careful to test on your walls first and super-careful when removing it so as not to remove any chunks of plaster with it!


 While I was in the mood, I also created some fun typography and mounted them on canvas too:

 
 

Twinkle Twinkle is always his song of choice for his bedtime song and 'Banana' is his favorite word (don't ask). I have hung these at the foot of his bed for a personal touch. They will be cheap and easy to move or replace as his 'favorites' change over time.

I am planning to do a collage of larger canvases and printouts for my older son's room, so I will keep you posted.

Have fun creating!
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