Idea No.


Olivia Party 4yr



March 2006


Deda in Raleigh, NC USA

Special Mention


Olivia Birthday Party (4 yrs old) --  My daughter and I were looking for an original birthday party theme for her 4th birthday.  When we saw the Olivia paper products in the Birthday Express catalog, my daughter got very excited and quickly grabbed her book (Olivia by Ian Falconer  he has additional Olivia books as well).  Olivia is one of her favorite books so we decided to have a small Olivia birthday party.  INVITATIONS:  We kept this simple and used the pre-printed party invitations from Birthday Express and sealed the envelopes with Olivia stickers (Olivia stamps are now available for mailing the invitations).  For thank you notes, we bought blank Olivia cards from Barnes and Nobles.  DECORATIONS:  Red and white party decorations!  Our dining room ceiling was filled with red and white polka-dotted balloons, a mylar Olivia balloon bouquet was tied to the birthday girl's seat, red and white streamers and balloons were hung in the living room, and Happy Birthday Addie was written in chalk on the sidewalk leading up to the house.  We used the Olivia paper products from Birthday Express.  The dining room table was used for crafts at first so it was covered in butcher paper.  After the crafts were over, a red tablecloth was thrown over the table for lunch and cake.  In the background we had The Classic Child at the Opera music playing since Olivia likes opera music.  My daughter wore a red sailor dress that she still calls her Olivia dress.  PARTY ACTIVITIES:  We began the party by reading the book Olivia by Ian Falconer.  After the reading, the girls decorated tiaras (bought at Oriental Trading) since Olivia loves to dress up and imagines herself as a ballerina princess.  The tiaras were used as their party hats.    Then the girls went outside and did their own splatter painting in the style of Jackson Pollock.  I'd purchased $1 art smocks for each of the girls at Michaels and had warned the parents that we would be painting at the party.  We had 6 different colors of glitter acrylic paint in no-spill containers, with each container having its own paintbrush.  Each girl got to create at least 2 masterpieces and they turned out pretty well!  I plan to frame my daughter's art and hang it in her room!  Note:  I would advise to have another adult available to take the finished masterpieces to a safe drying location, out of the way of the party.  After the splatter paining, the girls made their own bookmarks since Olivia loves to read books.  I had seen this idea in Parents Magazine and adapted it for the party.  We supplied cardstock cut into 1.5 x 5 inch strips (the corners were rounded with a photo cutter), alphabet stamps, assorted stickers, and markers for the girls to design their own bookmarks.  When they were finished, I laminated their bookmarks with material bought at Staples (contact paper would have also worked, but it's more difficult to use because it's thinner).  I left a quarter inch laminated margin around the bookmark except the top, where I left about three-fourths of an inch so a hole could be punched and a ribbon tied to the bookmark.  I rounded the corners on the laminated bookmark, too.  While the girls were making their bookmarks, my husband was hiding small bean bag Olivias in the living room (one for each girl).  After the bookmark craft, my husband read Olivia and the Missing Toy and then the girls went on a hunt for the missing Olivias.  (During this time, I was setting up for lunch.)  After lunch, the birthday girl opened her gifts and then the girls went back into the dining room for cake and ice cream.  The party favors were passed out along with balloons.  My parents were a tremendous help during the party, taking pictures and assisting with crafts.  It was my first birthday party and I was glad to have the help.  It all went well, the girls had a great time, and we received so many compliments!  Some additional activity ideas were pin the bow on Olivia, doing a dress-up fashion show, decorating sunglasses, a sandcastle contest, a tea party, and reading Olivia Joins the Circus and then letting the children jump on the trampoline (these ideas make sense if you've read these books).  FOOD AND CAKE:  Since we had a very small number of guests, we were able to serve baked spaghetti with rolls and salad.  I got the idea for the birthday cake from the website, Sweet Dreams by Tracy, but I don't think the picture of the cake is posted anymore.  It was a rectangular cake with an icing portrait of Olivia in her red party dress in a center oval.  Red icing surrounded the Olivia on top of the cake, but the sides of the cake were white with red dots.  The cake said, Gracefully, Addie turned four.  PARTY FAVORS:  I found these adorable Olivia sand pails on eBay and was able to purchase one for each guest.   Each guest's name was written in fabric paint on a red ribbon tied around the handle of each pail.  Inside the pail, we had an Olivia journal (bought on clearance at Barnes & Nobles), red sunglasses (from the Birthday Express), fake pearl bracelets from the Dollar Store, a red yo-yo and a jump rope from the dollar section at Michaels, and Olivia stickers.  Plus the girls got to take home their bean bag Olivias (also bought on clearance at Barnes and Noble), their splatter painting masterpieces, and their bookmarks.  I tried to find candy lipstick, but didn't find any in time (I see it everywhere now, of course).  Other party favor ideas include a beach ball and red hair bows.

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