Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Fancy Nancy 5th Birthday Soiree

Mia wanted a Fancy Nancy theme for her fifth birthday party. I spent a fair bit of time figuring out how to do this since I saw that there was a limited amount of official items to be purchased, and honestly, I didn't want to spend the money on them since it was mostly disposable things like plates and cups. I feel like I have more time to spend making things than I have money to spend buying them, so here is where creativity comes in handy.

The Invitations:
I made fuchsia purse invitations for all of the girls in her preschool class. (Fuchsia is Fancy Nancy's favorite color, although she describes it as a fancy way of saying purple, and I would call it more of a hot pink). I couldn't find a template, so I made my own using 8 1/2" x 11 cardstock and folding it into three sections. I attached ribbon handles and cut out some Fancy Nancy pictures that I found online to use on the front of the purses. I punched some small tags, wrote each girls name as fancily as I could, and attached them to the handles with embroidery floss. For the inside, I had typed: "You are cordially invited to a Soiree! Soiree is French for party (everything is fancier in French). Please don your fanciest ensemble to help celebrate Mia's Fancy 5th Birthday!" I placed another picture of Fancy Nancy on the inside as well. The scanner on our printer conked out, otherwise I would try to give you a template for making purse cards. Here is a basic outline for another purse card.

The Decorations:
One of the few throw-away things I will buy for birthday parties is plastic table covers. They come in tons of colors to fit with any theme, and when you're done, you just roll all the mess inside and chuck it in the trash. For this Fancy Nancy soiree, I bought a fuchsia table cover, naturally. It was cut to fit our dining table and then taped down. The extra square was used to cover a card table.

Mia helped me make enough place mats for all of the girls. I took purple construction paper and cut all around the outside edge with scalloped scissors. I had cut out crowns, shoes, jewels, dresses, and fans using my Cricut Happily Ever After cartridge. (This was a nice way to use up lots of purple and pink scraps of cardstock that I had in my stash.) Mia glued three or four shapes to each piece of construction paper. I thought about "laminating" them with clear Con-tact paper so that the girls could take them home, but decided it wasn't worth the time. They just went into the recycling bin at the end of the party.

I already had plain pink paper napkins leftover from a previous year's party. (This is the other disposable item that I will buy for parties because, face it, kids get messy, and they need to get cleaned up.) To make them fancy, I stamped ice cream cones onto half of them and butterflies onto the other half using a black ink pad. There are no actual Fancy Nancy stamps in existence, or at least none that I am aware of, but these went with the theme well enough and Mia was happy.

I really wanted the chairs to look fancy since I had seen this on another blog. I was pretty impressed with myself when I figured out that our pillow cases would fit perfectly over the dining room chairs. Except that they weren't fancy and I didn't have enough of them to go around. When I realized it would cost around $30 to cover all 6 chairs, I abandoned that idea and borrowed the other blogger's idea of using plastic table covers. (See, they're even multi-functional.) I bought three white table cover at Dollar Tree, cut them in half and used 1/2 for each of the dining chairs. Then I wrapped pale pink tulle that I picked up inexpensively at Jo-Ann (with coupon, I might add) around each one and tied it off. Lastly, I hot glued a hot pink fabric peony onto each "bow." I had purchased two bunches of these at Dollar Tree. Then, shortly before the guests were to arrive, I decided we should really set the table for all ten girls, and of course, I hadn't bought enough table covers for this. Since the four folding chairs were smaller, my mom's quick thinking to use trash bags worked out perfectly. We added the rest of the tulle and when that ran out, some fuchsia satin ribbon on the last one. Thankfully, there were enough flowers to go around.

For added oomph in the dining room, I twisted together pink and purple crepe paper streamers and hung four of them on the ceiling so that they converged at the chandelier. Then, I used fishing line to hang a generic princess themed paper lantern from the chandelier. (This was also left over from a previous birthday party.)

Mia loves banners, so I made her one using my Cricut for both the flags and the lettering, which spelled out "Happy 5th Birthday Mia." On either end, I made Fancy Nancy themed flags by adhering pictures of Nancy and her dog Frenchy. These were punch-outs from a Fancy Nancy scrapbooking paper kit that I was thrilled to find at Michaels. (It will definitely get some use when I am ready to scrapbook these party pages.) I "laminated" all of the flags using clear Con-tact paper so that I can re-use them (with the exception of the one that says 5th), hole punched them, and threaded them through some fuchsia ribbon. Then, I taped it up on the wall since I couldn't get them to hang right, otherwise.

The front door was decorated with an enlarged color copy of Nancy from the book cover of Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly, which the lady at Staples was kind enough to help me with (and thankfully did not tell me that this was some sort of copyright infringement). I added the words "Bonjour, everybody! I am ecstatic that you're here!" by printing them in a fancy script using word art and coloring them in with purple and magenta markers. I "laminated" all of this with clear Con-tact paper.

On one wall, I added another enlarged color copy from the cover of Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique. I used my Cricut to cut out the words "Ooh la la! Look who's FANCY now!" Again, I laminated everything with clear Con-paper (and now it is adorning Mia's bedroom walls). I did my best to place the wording so that it would be high enough to be over all of the guests' heads, but not so high that it made picture taking difficult. This served as as the backdrop for the pictures, which I had printed and included in the thank you cards.

The Activities:
Once the guests arrived, their first stop was at a card table filled with all sorts of accessories: wands (I found these in packs of 3 at Dollar Tree), tiaras (I found online templates for these and printed 2 of each - one on pink cardstock and the other on purple so there were enough for all the girls and none of them were identical. This is low cost, but it involves some prep work of cutting them out, plus they need to be assembled after being decorated.), feather boas, heart-shaped sunglasses (a 12 pack from Party City), and lots of self-adhesive jewels and self adhesive foam letters/shapes to decorate them with. As Fancy Nancy says, "A girl can never have too many accessories." (Once they were finished getting fancy, I took their pictures by the photo background.) I love activities that double as party favors.
crown template 1
crown template 2
crown template 3
crown template 4
crown template 5
crown template 6 

Another activity was reading a story to the girls. Of course, the reading selection was Fancy Nancy.

The last party activity was a candy guessing game. I had found two small, plastic, Valentine-themed jars (one said "LOVE" and the other said "KISS") at Dollar Tree and then filled one with M & M's and the other with Laffy Taffy. I had the girls write down their estimates while waiting for cake and ice cream to be served. I actually had no idea if this would work with preschoolers or not, but amazingly they did great. One girl guessed the exact amount of taffy (11) and another was only 10 off from the total of M & M's (190), and most of their estimates were reasonable. I took photos of the two winners and included the prints in their thank you cards.

The Food:
For food, we served "Posh Pinwheel Sandwiches" with frilly toothpicks which were inspired by this. I made signs for all of the food and tried to use language from Fancy Nancy books. Beneath the words "Posh Pinwheel Sandwiches" I had typed "Cream cheese and strawberry jam definitely taste better with frilly toothpicks." We also had "Fresh Fruit Kabobs" (strawberries, blueberries, and grapes served on frilly toothpicks) with a sign asking, "Don't you love the aroma?" Butterfly shaped crackers and cheese that had been cut with small heart-shaped cookie cutters were labeled "Chic Cheese and Crackers." Below that I typed, "There isn't a fancy -- or better-- way of saying that." The signs were laminated with clear Con-tact paper (which was probably unnecessary, but I figured I was doing it with everything else, plus it would keep them clean from food and drinks, so why not?).

To drink, each of the girls had a glass of pink lemonade in a fancy plastic cocktail glass (in 6 packs at Dollar Tree). I rimmed the glasses with pink sugar from Michaels. To do this, I found directions here. At first I tried unsuccessfully to spread the pink lemonade around the rims of the glasses with a basting brush. Then I decided to use a wedge of the only citrus fruit I had in the house: grapefruit. It worked very nicely. I rimmed all the glasses the night before the party. Then, shortly before the girls arrived, my dad filled all of the glasses using a ladle. The finishing touch was adding a fuchsia straw to each cup. The straws all had flags attached, which I had made by printing out the words, "Pinkies Up, Darling!" in fuchsia ink (in a fancy font, of course), trimming them down, cutting a v-shaped notch in the end of each, and adhering them to the straws with double-sided tape. These adorable and very fancy drinks were inspired by this blog.

The Cake:
The cake was a fancy hat inspired by this photo. To make the cake, I used a 10 inch round pan and a glass bowl, approximately 6 inches in diameter. Both were sprayed well with cooking spray, and the bottoms were also lined with wax paper, which is really helpful for getting cakes out of pans. The cake itself was a white cake mix that we tinted bright pink with food coloring. I have never taken a class so I am far from an expert on cake decorating, but I am always trying new things to get what I want because I just refuse to pay for a grocery store cake. The cake base was a piece of cardboard from the recycling bin, which I had covered with aluminum foil. On top of that was a piece of fuchsia cardstock (12" x 12" that I had made into a circle by tracing around a stock pot, and then scalloped the outside edge with decorative scissors). This cake was first frosted with lots of buttercream tinted purple (with regular food coloring, not the stuff that Wilton tells you to use, but I had no problem). I had not made my own frosting before this (well, just for the practice run on this cake, but never before that), but it is definitely worth it, and I will do this from now on. The final layer of frosting was pastel pink ready-made Wilton fondant from Jo-Ann, which was on sale. This was my first time working with fondant and I have to say that it is much easier to use than I anticipated. For decoration, I trimmed the hat with purple and pink butterfly wired ribbon. If you use ribbon on a cake, I definitely recommend wired; it was much easier the the satin ribbon that I initially tried. The finishing touch was a fuchsia ostrich plume that I got with a half off coupon at Michaels. (I was glad to have that coupon because paying $6 for a feather seemed a bit steep, and I sucked it up and paid $3 because I knew the cake needed that feather to look complete.) At the risk of sounding boastful, I am really quite proud of this cake. Mia was thrilled, too.

Besides cake, the girls had make-your-own parfaits, (Nancy's mother teaches her that this is the French word for ice cream sundae) which were inspired by this. I didn't make it quite so ornate, but isn't that impressive? I just put the toppings including chopped peanuts, sprinkles, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips into pink paper baking cups and set them in the middle of the table. We scooped strawberry swirl ice cream for each girl and then let her put on her own toppings, except for the canned whip cream and cherries. Those were added by the adults since we didn't want them to make a gigantic mess of their fancy party ensembles. I decided to skip the chocolate sauce for the same reason. The girls loved making their own parfaits.

The Thank You Cards:
I made the thank you cards from fuchsia or purple cardstock. (I ended up using purple for her classmates' thank yous and fuchsia for the ones for the relatives.) On the outside of each is a "Fancy MIA" design that I made with a bit of help from tracing paper and a book cover. The "M" was based off of the "N" in Nancy. The "I" was made by tracing the first vertical line from the "N" in Nancy. The "A" was the easiest because I was able to trace it directly from the "A" in Nancy, tiara and all. Once I had my design made, I colored it with markers and tried to make the color gradation that is featured on the letters in Nancy on all of the book covers. Once again, I headed to Staples where a nice lady helped me out by scanning the design and getting 8 of it to fit on a page. This meant that I got two pages printed (enough for the thank yous) for a grand total of 52 cents. I am pretty sure that even if my printer were up to that job, I couldn't have done it for that amount at home. On the left side of the inside of each card, I used photo corners to attach the photo of each girl, or for relatives, a photo of Mia. On the right side, was the fill-in-the-blank format thank you note that I created and printed in fuchsia ink, with key words highlighted in a fancy font. It reads:

Dear ____________________,

Merci Beaucoup!
(That's French for thanks a bunch!")
Thank you for the _________________________________________ .
It is simply exquisite! (Exquisite is beyond beautiful.) Thanks for helping me to celebrate my 5th birthday with extraordinary style!

Your fancy friend,

{The Happy Birthday Girl}
I wrote in the recipients' names as well as the gifts on the blank lines and then Mia signed all of the cards. Lastly, I used a pen to write in the date below the photo for each of the guests. I think this makes a nice keepsake from the party.

At the end of the party, there was one very happy little girl and one mama who was pretty darn proud of what was accomplished (not without help, of course). I would definitely call this Fancy Nancy Soiree as smashing success!


  1. Hi there! My daughter is also wanting a Fancy Nancy birthday party- but I am having a heck of a time finding a font for the food table cards! Did you have to purchase it or? Help a gal out!:) Very cute party- lots of work there! Bet she loved it!

    1. I have never purchased any fonts, but I have on occasion, downloaded free ones. I think you are asking about the Curlz MT font, which is what I used to write the names of the foods (?). If so, that is a standard font in Microsoft Word, so you don't have to search too hard. If this is not what you are looking for, let me know, and I will try to help you out. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I completely enjoyed your Fancy blog! So many excellent ideas! I especially love how you covered the dining room chairs! Oh la la! I am so excited. We are having a Fancy Soiree for my daughter this weekend. Thank you for sharing the details of your party. :)