Babar Birthday Party

• 27 February 2012




It started with a stack of books and a lucky find in Target's $1 section last year...and soon an idea was born for a sweet, little birthday party that would be appealing to both lads and ladies. Babar bien sur!


I popped onto etsy and lo and behold there was a shop selling Babar envelopes and cards--made from vintage books.  I couldn't believe my luck...hello invitations!  With the addition of some labels from Martha's fabulous, new label collection at Staples, we were good to go (all sources listed at the bottom by the way :)).

p.s. did anyone else used to make envelopes like this as a teenager like I did?  Total flashback.  




We set Babar at the head of the table and allowed him to provide the inspiration for the tabletop.  I couldn't believe how lucky I was to find a craft store with a crown die-cut that looked just like Babar's crown.  They made for the perfect bowls and held all sorts of snacks and treats during the party.

Accompanying the crowns were extra loud party horns (the kids looooved these) and wooden forks.



One of our vintage, French Babar books was in poor condition and so I decided to recycle its pages into a simply party banner.  It felt like a fun way to celebrate how loved that book truly was.  The beautiful French cursive made it even more charming. 



My daughter requested turkey/cheese and ham/cheese sandwiches for her party.  I opted for a daintier, easier-to-eat-version by making them into sliders.  Sara Lee's mini buns to the rescue! Little flags fashioned from toothpicks and Japanese washi and masking tape made lunch a lot more celebratory.  You might think kids don't notice and/or appreciate details, but they really ate it all up, both literally and figuratively.

My oldest daughter, who assisted me with this party, suggested to the little guests to place the flag into the top of their party hats.  Such a festive addition!  I'll definitely recycle that idea again :)

I had to show you the inside of a Babar book, in case you hadn't seen one before.  Even though ours are all in French (we purchased them on amazon.ca and at vide-greniers), they are just as readily available in English.  Your local library probably has a copy or two on its shelves.  They are really sweet little books and I love the illustrations too--very reminiscent of one of my favorite childhood books.


One of my daughter's few requests for the party was a "big, chocolate cake", which she later tried to talk me out of because she didn't want me to have to "work too hard to make it".  I was so touched by her concern and sensitivity that all I wanted to make for her was a big chocolate cake!  I made sure it was chocolatey, but not overly rich (wanting to cater to the 4/5-year-old crowd).  As it turns out though, adults were big fans too (I sent home each parent with a slice) and now I'm thinking this is more versatile than I originally thought. The addition of chocolate ganache (or "frosting" as the kids called it) really hit the spot and now I'm looking for another excuse to make it again.  In case you're curious, I'll be posting the recipe tomorrow...

Inspiration for the cake's mini banner came from Danyelle...she posted something similar on her blog months ago and I've never forgotten how sweet it looked. 


Case in point...you never know what you'll find in that $1 at Target!  These over-sized Babar pencils made for the perfect game prizes. 



Since it was the stack of Babar books that partially contributed to the inspiration behind this party, I thought it apropos to gift each child with his/her own vintage Babar book (in English).  I found them for a reasonable price on etsy, but you can also find them on ebay too.  Wrapped up in good, ol' fashioned kraft brown paper, red cording and an upcycled label, they made for great, little party favors.

On a side note: while this wasn't my motivation when planning the party favors, but I like the idea of gifting children something meaningful--something that won't end up at Goodwill or in the trash by next month.  You just can't go wrong with a new or used book...in any language! 



1, 2, 3...make a wish!

 

p.s. I still can't believe my youngest daughter turned 5 last week.  Crazy!  I started this blog a couple of weeks before she was born, per the encouragement of my sister, and thought maybe two people would view it regularly--my sister and my mom.  Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing.  It's so fun to interact with you all and I am so grateful for all the wonderful people I now know because of this blog.  xo

Party Supply Sources:

crown die-cuts  /  party horns  /  party hats  /  "milk" bottles  /  striped strawsribbon  /  toy   / tape

giant balloon  /  pencils (mine were from Target)  /  vintage books  /  tablecloth  /  invitations  /  labels 

59 comments:

Valentina said...

Настолько все выглядит оригинально, аккуратно ... o)
Вы конечно удивляете меня!
V.

engquist said...

Bundt cake, balloons, and Babar? That is officially the best birthday plan, ever! For any age! I dragged my husband into used bookshops all across Paris just so I could look at Babar and Madeleine books.

Starr said...

Babar continues to be one of my favorite childhood books. Of course, I notice different things now -- like how chic the rich, old lady is.

Completely charming party. Wow.

Ana Degenaar said...

My daughter would adore something like this.

Birdie in DC said...

I love it. Happy Birthday S!! How fun. And that chocolate cake, it's to die for!!

Carin said...

ADORABLE!!!!!!!!!!!

Stephanie said...

engquist, I hope you picked up a few on your travels! Love both Babar and Madeline books.

Starr, so true about the rich, old lady!

Ana, I'd be honored if you threw her a similar party!

Birdie/Robin, if you were anywhere remotely close, I would give you and Scott a HUGE slab of cake. It has creme fraiche in it...that I made...you'd love it! xo

Carin, thank you!

Robyn said...

sooo cute- i love Babar. a beautiful party

Liz said...

ADORABLE party steph! WOW!
I love the cake flags, the book giving away (no junk!), the scalloped book banner, and the darling girl of course!
what a party planner you are! so elegant AND cute!

kathy said...

Adorable! I just love the simplicity of it all. It has been fun to travel along with you for the last few years. I am so glad you started a blog five years ago. Have a wonderful week!

Rachel said...

I love love LOVE Babar!! A childhood favorite. Where did you get that wooden car?

Michelle Stiles said...

What a fun and well thought out party!

Stephanie said...

Robyn, Liz, Kathy & Michelle, thank you taking the time to leave a nice comment! Totally appreciate it.

Rachel, I included a link below to the toy car. If it's sold out you can search "Vilac Babar" and you should be able to find it. I bought mine from someone on etsy, but they just had one I believe.

Lisette said...

Great party. I love how your parties are not overly commercialized like most children's parties can be.

Annie a.k.a. hairyshoefairy said...

That is a darling party! Those envelopes are especially cute. What a sweet theme. I'm not super familiar with Barbar but my brother really loved those books. I actually have plans to do a post about Richard Scarry's Busytown books. They were my favorites growing up and now my kids love them, too.

Nora said...

Steph! What a truly charming, lovely party. Brought back so many lovely memories reading babar as a child. So simple yet so full of "totes gorg" details (my nieces say that regularly--it means "totally gorgeous"). Thanks for sharing, and can't wait to try that chocolate bundt cake recipe. Happy Monday!

Stephanie said...

Lisette, we will ride this train as long as we can...:)

Annie, you should check a few out next time you're at the library...really fun.

Stephanie said...

Nora, the best part of being a parent is kind of reliving the best parts of our own childhoods, yes? I"ll try not to keep you waiting long on that recipe...until tomorrow!

p.s. your nieces are cute :)

Anonymous said...

So beautiful! So classic and refreshing. Seems just like what childhood should be. What a lucky little girl.

Angela said...

I always avoided "goodie bags" at my son's birthday parties and gave one thank you gift to each child. Books were often what we sent home but one year each guest got a kite, another year a substantial Scooby Doo key ring that ended up on many a back pack. All the moms were thankful that didn't have to deal with candy and little plastic things that broke quickly or got stuck between car seats on the way home.

Marilee said...

I think this is one of my favorite party posts Steph and I love the photo of Sophie!

Molly W. said...

Perfection! Darling, darling!

Briana said...

I love your kids parties! I get so excited when you post a new one. This Babar party is fantastic! I recently threw a b-day party for my four year old where she requested ham and cheese sandwiches. I bought mini buns and turned them into sliders too!

Great job!

sandra s. said...

What a sweet and special party! I love all the little details, especially the envelopes! Looking forward to the recipe, the cake looks scrumptious! Congratulations to both you and your daughter.

Sharmyn said...

What is so delightful about your children's birthday parties is that they are so original. Yes, you may borrow cute little touches here and there, but in the end they are wholly you. I mean really a Matroyshka doll party? Babar? Hot Air Ballons? Cherries? Love them, love their clean, classic, simplicity. So like you. And um thanks friend you've just added something else to my frenchie shopping list - vintage Babar (and what the heck Madeleine) books. Hmmm.

Stephanie said...

Anon, thank you for the note...that's kind of the goal here, what you said about keeping childhood innocent. It's difficult to do this day in age, but it's worth a shot! This is such a great age/stage--5. Love it.

Angela, it sounds like we are of the same mindset! Sometimes my favors are better than others, but I do try to avoid junk too...

Marilee, thank you! We wish you lived closer so you could come by and eat cake with us :)

Molly, thank you so much!

Briana, aaah, our kids are on the same page (and their moms too!)

Sandra, thank you!

Jennifer @ Double the Fun Parties said...

Love this party - simple, charming and vintage - best of all worlds. My brother would have loved this party as a child.

cecilia said...

This is so adorable!!
You've given me a wealth of ideas for other themes too: I have a pile of story book pages from dr. seuss and curious george (and i'm sure there are others) from when my daughter was in a paper-tearing phase.

Cher said...

I love it! You should make a photo album of birthday parties for each of your kids when they turn 18. How fun to remember it all!

And can you just do my kids' parties? I need help in that department...

Stephanie said...

Jennifer, thank you so much!

Cecila, I think a Dr. Seuss party would be so fun. You could really have a great time with that theme. Also, curious George would be awesome as well. You could decorate with bananas or have banana splits or whatever. Send me a link if you end up doing that and posting about it on your personal blog!

Cher, that's a good idea. I wish I were better about that sort of thing. Oh and I'd be happy to help you anytime with the kids parties...anytime! Just say the word :)

Mair, Domestic Policy Czar said...

Oh my what a fabulous party! Great ideas Stephanie!
One more source question for you - where did you find your tall skinny candles?

Becky said...

Stephanie. Your parties get me so excited to have kids and to think of more original parties for my husband and I.

I'll definitely be trying that cake banner soon.

And I know this sounds bat-crazy, cause I'll thank you a million times for it. But thanks a zillion for your Sundance Outlet Tolix tips. We love our barstools, and I never would have gotten them if it wasn't for your post. :)

Jenn Kirk said...

You have the greatest birthday ideas, as always! Those yellow crowns are so sweet.

brooke field said...

I just love your party decorating style!!

Anne said...

Oh my gosh, I love this party! And I loooove the Babar drawings, too. We have a few vintage Babar books, and I was wondering how do you handle the parts with the African natives? My kiddo is just 3 so I usually skip those pages, but it's kind of a bummer. Perhaps the new editions of those books have edited that out—anyone know?

Laura said...

I mean to comment everytime you share one of your parties--they are always perfection. Simple and sweeet, and so inspiring!

likeschocolate said...

Happy Birthday to your baby girl!

MCC said...

This is beyond adorable. I'm such a fan of your taste and styling! Thank you for sharing!

Tara Celeste said...

So sweet! And that cake looks delicious.

Renee said...

The party photos are just beautiful, Stephanie! Thank you for sharing them and your sources so generously. One question: How did you make the shapes for the banner? I'd love to know.

Michelle said...

What a fabulous party!!!!!! I love it, and your daughter is so beautiful!

Ali said...

I sweet steph! Thanks for showing little Sophie! Her coloring reminds me of your Dad's!Ssooooooo cute! Love you!

Ali said...

Hello Sweet Steph, I was so glad to see the cute picture of Sophie! Her coloring reminds me of your Dad's. Thanks for sharing your wonderful creative ideas!! love, ali

Stephanie said...

Sharmyn, not sure how I missed your comment earlier...maybe we left ours at the same time! Anyway, I can only image the damage that you, me, and Christine would do at the flea markets in France!

Mair, I found the skinny candles at Display and Costume here in Seattle. It's a large party store. They might've been Wilton?

Becky, I am so glad you snagged those stools...they are not easy to procure but with much diligence (and a little info as to how to beat the system!) it's possible. They are beautiful and I'm glad you have some in your home now! Wahoo!

Brooke, Jenn, Tara, Likes Chocolate, Michelle and MCC, thank you for the sweet wishes.

Renee, I made them with a scalloped die cut at Ben Franklin Craft Store in Redmond, WA. But any scrapbooking store should carry it...call and ask first!

Ali, we are still trying to figure out where she gets her looks...I"ll let my Dad know you said that. He will be thrilled!

Shannon { A Mom's Year } said...

What a beautiful party! I love how everything is so elegant yet perfect for little ones. Lots of great ideas and inspiration.

And, yes, it's crazy when your baby isn't a baby anymore!

Bree said...

Best party planning mom, ever!

Stephanie said...

Shannon, thank you for the compliments! and thankfully I still have one more baby left :) He is 1 and growing...aaaahh!

Bree, you're sweet. That's not really true (have you seem one charming party...amazing!!) but I so appreciate you saying it anyway. You made my night!

Stephanie said...

Anne! How did I miss you before...sorry! Okay, so most of the time my husband reads these books to my children (as he speaks French to them) so I'll have to ask him what he does.

Alison B said...

What a fabulous idea! My daughter just turned 5 too and loves Babar. Of course, it helps that she's learning French and we can have fun reading the books "en francais" - tonight our bedtime book was a very fun Richard Scarey livre en francais - her birthday gift from your friend and mine, Christine, of course!

Lovely Lindsay said...

birthday party perfection. i love this sweet one, stephanie.
love, lindsay

Kayla Poole said...

hold the phone! this is incredible, stephanie, and so charming.

Stephanie said...

Alison, Oh I love Christine! She is so thoughtful and always chooses the BEST books.

Lindsay, thank you...that means a lot coming from you!

Kayla, your comment made me chuckle. I am holding the phone :)

willowday said...

I am returning to this again. This may be your most perfectly curated party yet. It's so perfect in all of it's details. Just lovely!

Tessa said...

this sweet little party is perfect in every way, but what stuck with me most was the image of the cake. and it sounded so delicious. thank you for the recipe. i made it today, just because, as a very special after school treat. it was incredible. so, so good. i blogged about it too. the link is below. thank you! tessa
http://nineandsixteen.blogspot.com/2012/03/tulips-chocolate.html

mer said...

seriously the most darling thing ever.
xo
mer

Stephanie said...

Tessa, I am so glad you made it and loved it too. Ooh, that makes me feel good to know that! Thank you for the link as well! (p.s. love your name!)

Mer, thank you for the compliment. That's such a nice thing to say!

marianpease said...

I just discovered your blog today - with this sweet party! My daughters loved Babar and Madeline growing up and this is a such a lovely idea. I think many parties today are so over the top - this is calm and beautiful! I LOVE that you found things at Target too! Best wishes!

Leslie said...

Such a wonderful party. I am hosting a baby shower for a good friend that is using Babar as the art work for her nursery so we are incorporating it into the shower. I was wondering which die cut you used for the crowns as I think it would be perfect addition. Happy New Year!

Lauren said...

Where did you find those crowns? I'm having a Babar themed baby shower and I think those crowns would be perfect place settings.

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