Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


Long Awaited Details

Ok, I know I've promised for months to do this. I really am working on it. Its taking forever though. I think the easiest thing to do is put it into parts. It will probably end up being several posts.

Wow, where do I begin? There are lots and lots of details but figuring out what to share and what really isn't that interesting is a little overwhelming. I guess the best thing to do is jump right in and warn you that if you aren't interested in a Carnival themed party then go ahead and skip right over this post.

All of our banners, signs, games, decorations, etc. were made. We used a drapery backing fabric to make all of them. We painted and sewed and built for hours and hours and had a GREAT time as a family working on Ash's birthday. Some of our best memories of the party were the days we spent together creating it. My biggest tip in party planning it to make lists. I keep a spiral for each party and I add ideas, hopes, dreams, etc. of what I want to accomplish for each party. I simply work through the spiral in the weeks leading up to the party. Obviously not everything always works out, but overall I'm pleased with the results of this years party. I'm already planning her 7th!

I'm going to begin with the games. So... Lets start with the MIDWAY.

The MIDWAY was a project that we began designing for Ashley's party a year in advanced. Remember that this party theme was originally planned for her 5th birthday but was abandoned because of the turn of events when she rejected her bowel and we spent that birthday at the transplant center.

The red and white striped fabric is an indoor/outdoor upholstery fabric that Hancocks ordered for me. I had ordered it when they had their 50%off sale which made it more affordable. It was actually very simple to design. We built 5 frames out of wood(mostly 2/4's) leaving the front of the frame open then attached them across the tops. This was Dave's area of expertise. I don't really use power tools. Across the back we stapled the fabric panel across the top and then we sewed side panels to separate the different booths. The scalloped awning was cut(used a paper plate to draw a pattern on computer paper) , stitched along the edge with a zig zag to keep it from fraying and then stapled along the top.

There were 5 games included in our MIDWAY.

Bullseye( created off a picture I found on google images, sent to power point, projected on the wall, traced, then painted),

Fish bow
(small glass gold fish bowls that you toss a ping pong ball into to win a prize),

Dart throw(use a piece of peg board and pull the tie of the balloon through to hold. ordered darts from oriental trading),

Three strikes(built an A frame out of wood and stacked bowling pins that I picked up at Canton and spray painted . Then used baseballs to throw and knock out the pins.), and

Ring toss(I bought old coke crates and glass bottles in Canton then found a package of plastic bracelets at Dollar General to use as rings). That was it! Super fun and super simple, but I truly believe it made the biggest visual impact of the whole party.

The prizes were picked up from all over. Large inflatable animals, bats, guitars were ordered from oriental trading co. and big stuffed koo koo birds I grabbed at Walmart. I also used those large punch balloons as a prize(Dollar Tree I think). We had crates with small prizes attached to the fronts of all the booths that held things like tattoos, stickers, ring pops, bouncy balls, silly glasses, picture rulers, etc. Prizes were simple but fun. The kids loved playing the games and picking prizes.

We provided prize bags for each guest to collect all their winnings in as they enjoyed the carnival. Not only did it make toting all their stuff easier it also was a great little party favor for everyone who attended. They were canvas tote bags ordered from Oriental Trading Co. They came in a variety of colors. A sweet friend did all of the embroidery for us and I can't tell you how helpful that was to us. Dave and I were painstakingly trying to get my little machine to do them and it was taking hours and hours!

Photo Op. This was attached to the far end of the MIDWAY. I again located the picture on google images, projected it through power point, traced and painted. This was my favorite piece of everything we created. I totally loved how it turned out and love all the silly pictures of our guests that we have.

There were a few other games included in the carnival around the grounds.

Bozo's Grand Prize Game was created by screwing through the bottom of 6 red sand pails and attaching them to a length of board. Then the kids stood at the end of the board and tossed a ping pong ball into the first bucket to win a prize. Then the second, third, fourth etc. The further you could toss the ball the more prizes you won.

Duck Pond
. I can't imagine hosting a carnival without this game. Its a favorite with toddlers. Simple to do. I filled a red plastic tub with water and I ordered the weighted ducks from Oriental trading. Painted the pink ones red to go with my color theme. The others were already yellow and blue. Then I took a sharpie and wrote numbers on the bottom. Pick a duck and turn it over to see what number you picked and that number tells you which prize bucket you pick out of. Ashley really enjoyed this game. One of my favorite pictures from her party!

Cake Walk. Love this game! We cut 12 large circles out of plywood. Painted them red, yellow, and blue. Painted large numbers on the front and laid them out in a circle on the grass. We played carnival music as the guests walked from circle to circle. When the music stopped we drew a number out of a bowl and whoever was standing on that number won. The winner chose from an array of yummy cupcakes baked by my sister(whose cakes are amazing!). We packaged them in individual carnival themed cupcake boxes that I found at Oriental trading. Too cute!

Kissing Booth. I loved this! We built a little kiosk type booth, painted the traditional red and white carnival stripes, and stapled a painted banner across the top. At the booth there was a huge jar of candy kisses and tiny slips of paper. Each guest made their guess as to how many kissed the jar held and our attendant tacked their guess on the booth then planted a kiss on their cheek(using a red ink pad and lip stamp:) Toward the end of the evening we announced the number of kissed and located the winner who took the whole jar home.

Photo Booth. Seriously, another one of my favorite parts of the whole night. The pictures are SO much fun to look at. Again, we built a little kiosk, painted it, hung a banner that read Photo Booth, and a fabric back ground. I had picked up two red vintage chairs at Canton for the participants to sit in. They were old, vinyl was cracked, legs were rusted...they were perfect! I placed a basket full of hats, wigs, feather boas, bow ties, felt mustaches and big sets of lips next to the chairs. I had Allie model the props, took pics, and sent them to Walgreens to have a big poster made to help the guests figure out what to do at the booth. We tacked the poster onto an A frame we fashioned out of pieces of foam and set it up next to the booth. It was so fun!

Pie Eating Contest. Loves this. We set up a little table in the middle of our seating section and covered it with some of the red striped fabric we had left from the midway. I took two pieces of old plywood and painted them white, taped them together at the top with duct tape and set up an A frame. I painted "Pie eating contest today" on both sides and set it on top of the table. I got tiny tin pie pans at the Dollar tree and individual fried pies(I think they were Mrs. Bairds?) at Walmart. The participants got on their knees around the table, hands behind their backs, and ate away! It was hilarious! 4 or 5 big teenage guys and one little girl participated. It was great!

I'm going to wrap this post up. I've been working on it for more than two hours. Crazy, I know! I think this is a fairly good representation of all the games and activities we offered. I can't really think of anything else. Of course there are a thousand pictures that I could show you but getting through them it taking forever. Hopefully you can see how we created each game and how much we all enjoyed participating in them. If you have a specific question feel free to ask and I 'll try and answer it for you.

I still have entertainment, decorations, and food to go over. Lots more carnival posts in the future.


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