Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Party I'd Totally Throw . . . Featuring Sock Monkeys!

Carrye Campbell’s adorable designs have been a part of Parker’s birthday parties since Year One. His first birthday celebration was fiesta-themed, although in pictures it probably tracks as a Day of the Dead party: given that it was held on his actual birthday, two days prior to Halloween, and at our overly decorated “Halloween House,” there were skeletons mixed in with the piñatas, to be sure. Let me try that again: there were skeletons mixed in with The Piñatas. Have to use initial capitalization for emphasis, because The Piñatas were Ever-Present at our house in the mid-aughts. The Piñatas were purchased by the mother of my best college friend Christi and initially used, if memory serves, as decorations at a graduation party for Christi’s cousin. Not long thereafter, they were used a second time, for Christi’s brother Jeff’s wedding rehearsal dinner. When I was pregnant with Parker and Christi was getting ready for her own wedding, we decided that we did not have enough on our plates (this is par for the course for both of us – there is a reason why we’re friends), and so we planned a surprise anniversary party for Christi’s parents, which was held at our house with centerpieces featuring – you guessed it – The Piñatas.

Then it became a game. Use #4: Christi’s Fort Worth wedding shower, hosted by Mom and me at Joe T. Garcia’s.

Use #5: My baby shower.

Use #6: Christi’s rehearsal dinner, on a boat on Lake Austin.

As they became more and more threadbare, we embellished them - some polka dot grosgrain ribbon here, a brightly colored silk gerbera daisy there.

Somehow The Piñatas made it back to Fort Worth, and into our carriage house. So there was really no question that Parker’s first birthday party (AKA “Use #7”) would have a Mexican theme. And Carrye Campbell’s pinata-ish donkey design was a no-brainer for a motif. (Roll over the word “donkey” to see the donkey on Carrye’s Web site; for some reason, hot links aren’t showing up for me, but I promise that the link is there.)

Parker’s second birthday was monkey-themed, and again I went to Carrye for invitations, which you can view by clicking here. Aren't they cute? You should totally buy from Carrye - and tell her that Kathryn sent you. She tends to show me extra love when I bring her new customers - and that's saying a lot, because she shows her customers (repeat and otherwise) a lot of love as it is.

It’s no coincidence that Carrye’s shop is called The Invitation Monkey – she has LOTS of monkey designs, and included among them are lots of sock monkey designs. I adore sock monkeys. I have no idea why, but I do. Parker’s actual party was a hodgepodge of monkey themes – invites from Carrye, vintage Curious George motifs on the plates and napkins (the “Curious George” film had just come out, and I had to really LOOK to find George Classic, versus New George, partyware), a banana-shaped pull-apart cupcake cake, and a delish chocolate cake in the shape of a sock monkey head. If I had it to do over, I would have done the whole thing in “sock monkey,” and I would have moved it up to his first birthday, which would have meant eschewing the piñatas, but perhaps not: Carrye is up to a challenge and no doubt would have cheerfully offered to design something combining the two concepts. A sock monkey with maracas, perhaps. Or a sock monkey riding a crepe paper burro. Oh, well - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

My fantasy sock monkey first birthday would have to involve Carrye’s sock monkey invites, as well as a t-shirt for the birthday boy decorated with sock monkey-style sleeves; click here for a link to a photo on The Invitation Monkey Web site.

I can definitely picture me putting the birthday boy in a fez – the type that Shriners and sock monkeys wear. The reason that I can picture this is that every time I visit the Montgomery Street Antique Mall, I visit the Shriners fez in the stall in the back corner. And I strongly consider buying it. For reasons passing understanding to anyone but me, because no one in my family, to my knowledge, is a Shriner.

But these sock monkey hats from Silver Spoon Scraps would be an excellent hat option for a sock monkey party.

Also love this monogrammed sock monkey bib from Our Little Messes’ Etsy site.

The bib would come in handy when the time rolled around to serve cupcakes topped with fondant cupcake toppers like these:

I would serve cupcakes baked in red and white polka dot liners, and I would decorate the party table with a red/white polka dot tablecloth over a burlap tableskirt. Bananas would be on the menu, for sure – banana smoothies, and those little banana-shaped Runts. (Can you picture me sorting through Runts packages and segregating the bananas? You bet I can, because I totally would – anything for a theme.) The Runts could be sprinkled over iced cakes or cookies or used to top Rice Krispie treats.

If older kids are in the picture, this sock monkey piñata from Mommy Do ($35) would be a huge hit! Treat bag-wise, I love these very simple sock monkey “car caddies” sewn from sock monkey fabric; a bargain at $3.50 each, courtesy of Party Favors and More, and a nice change of pace from crayon rolls, which seem to be everywhere these days.

I would throw in these fabulous sock monkey soapsicles as well; check out LoveLee Soaps’ Etsy store front to view these and other funky, "good clean fun" favor ideas.

In a prior post, I featured party crackers that I made in the shape of bananas for PJ’s second birthday. They are super-easy – you use toilet paper tubes, or paper towel tubes cut in half, fill them with toys, and then wrap the cylinders in yellow tissue paper (cut a couple of inches longer than the tube on each side), twisting the ends to make what initially looks like an oversized piece of wrapped candy. Then you keep twisting the tissue paper on either end, tape it with Scotch tape at the end, and curve each over to the side to make a crescent (banana) shape. Last step is to fringe lengths of yellow crepe paper streamers on one side only, and wrap that around the body of the banana, working from bottom to top and taping down the crepe as you go. Same principle as making a pinata, just on a much smaller scale.

I think that this could make a great party for an older girl – a crafty one with a love for all things funky and vintage. What better thing to keep big kids occupied than to center their birthday party around sock monkey-making? And you wouldn’t need to track down Red Heels socks for the project; a striped knee-high sock works just as well and would be a huge hit among preteen or teen girls.

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