Handmade Birthday, Part Two

Funny, I’m not the only mom blogger fascinated by the whole DIY/handmade/craft trend. I guess that’s not surprising. What’s more DIY than raising a kid?

Over the weekend, I got to thinking about the idea of handcrafting and why it’s so appealing. I had these thoughts as they related to Sophie’s birthday party, but it’s something I’ve been ruminating over for a while. (Oh no, my dear readers sigh, there she goes again — trying to tie high-minded concepts together….)

Indulge me. I have the flu.

Sophie’s birthday party was pretty DIY. Every year, I try to walk the tightrope that stretches over the abyss known as overdoing your kid’s birthday party, but as Ray and I decided a few weeks ago, what kid deserves an over the top party more than Sophie? She’s worked her teeny tiny butt off this year and done so well (this morning Ms. X announced she made it to “benchmark” in her kindergarten testing — and that was even timed, which her IEP doesn’t require). A proper celebration was required.

But no one wants some sort of overdone ho0hah with a full-scale carnival and ponies in the back yard. So we had music and bagels and I limited the “decorations” to a Happy Birthday banner I bought years ago and some hot pink roses I found on sale at Safeway.

Still, I (and others! It wasn’t just me!) went overboard in a few places. My mom designed invites, thank you notes and even did an oil painting of Elmo holding a birthday cake.

Did you know that here in Phoenix, you can actually order a custom designed pinata and have it delivered? For a woman who loves valet parking as much as I do, this was heaven-sent. Two days before the party, like magic, Piglet appeared on the front porch. (www.azpinatas.com — I highly recommend it. Not cheap, but worth it.)


Piglet was so real looking (for a book character) that I worried Sophie would have trouble with the destruction part of the pinata activity. Not at all.

The coup de grace was dessert, and this is where we really get into the DIY thing. My dear friend Kathy volunteered to make all the cupcakes for Sophie’s party.


She covered our dining room table with dozens of cupcakes — mini cupcakes, full sized cupcakes, cupcakes with pink frosting and a cherry inside, vanilla bean cupcakes with salted caramel frosting (really! here’s the recipe: http://www.chow.com/recipes/12129), “better than sex” chocolate cupcakes.

We renamed them “Better than Six” and Kathy left one plain for Sophie, who requested a chocolate cupcake with no frosting. Kathy took at least two days off work to make them; it took her two separate trips to get them over to the house. They looked beautiful and everyone oohed and aahed, but no one louder than me, because I know what those cupcakes represent: LOVE.

To me, that’s the DIY thing at its best.

(There will be a Handmade Birthday, Part 3, because I have more to say but I want to end here on the Kathy Love.)



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4 responses to “Handmade Birthday, Part Two

  1. Happy Birthday Sophie!

  2. How cute is that! Both of them- all of them. And those cupcakes sound to die for.

  3. Kathy

    I’m telling you, the salted caramel/vanilla bean ones are a lot easier than you think. I promise. And not expensive to make (did you know caramel sauce is two ingredients: sugar and water). Thanks for the nice words, Amy. 🙂 You know I adore that girl…

  4. Lora

    Kathy rocks!

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