My eldest sister, Carley, turns "the big 30" in a week or so.... I think 30 deserves a bit of a celebration so about 2 months ago I decided, on a whim, that I would organise a Surprise Party for her.
Every good party needs a theme so after a little think about something particular that Carley loves I couldn't go past: Books. My mum tells us that from the minute Carley was old enough to turn a page she would sit and read book for ages.
Carley... a long time ago:
To this day Carley's love for books of all kinds is still alive and well (take a quick look through Carley's blog HERE and you'll see that she very often talks about what book she is reading or has just finished) so it was settled Carley's surprise party would be a Library theme!
Away I went with the help of Google and made an inspiration board.
A HUMONGOUS thanks goes to the very, very talented and awesome Samone of Red Letter Studio who made the invites for the Library Party - I absolutely LOVED them!! I went to Samone with an idea to do the invites like old borrow cards that are in the front of a library book and Samone designed the most perfect invites ever. They even had the header: 'The LIBRARY of Carley' on each one, the party date was done to look like it had been stamped on and the envelopes were made from the yellow craft paper to look like the borrow card pockets!! I had also decided Carley isn't the kind of person who loves to be absolutely and completely surprised so I asked Samone to make up a 'Late Notice Card' that Carley's hubby could give her the morning of the party (so she would be able to organise herself into a party outfit and not be shocked when she showed up in her Sunday trackies - LOL). Again Samone hit the nail on the head with this 'Late Notice Card', matching it to the invites.
With invites under control & on their way to the guests I got to thinking about decorations... The party was a casual picnic at a lovely local park but to make it feel a bit more like a library I went looking for a library or book case backdrop and couldn't find anything - never fear, I'll make one!
I bought 3 metres of plain calico fabric on ebay and pegged it to my back fence then with a sharpie I drew a book case on it
Next I began painting the books and ornaments on the shelves
then painted the shelves in and once it was all dry I outlined everything, drew in details with a thick sharpie and a gold and a silver pen and added some photos of Carley's family to the photo frames
I even had a row of 30 books that I titled appropriately for each major milestone of Carley's 30 years like starting school, her wedding & her kids.
With some ties sewn along the top and sides we hung Carley's 'Grand Book Case' at the park for a Library feel.
To help make the day stay casual I asked each of the guest to bring along a plate of something to share, so with food covered next on my To Do list was decorations & cake.
I found two very old and very boring books on my bookshelf and ripped out every page. I turned the pages into approx 6 metres of bunting, 30 cupcake wrappers, 30 pinwheel cupcake toppers and with all the off cuts I used a craft paper punch and made some star shaped sprinkles for the food table.
Being a morning tea event & with my original plan for the cake not quite working out the way I hoped I decided a cupcake tower with the book page wrappers and mini pinwheels would look cute and with the bits and pieces like the plastic cups, plates & serviettes all in yellow, to match the yellow envelopes of the invites, I iced the cupcakes with yellow coloured marshmallow frosting - YUM! I also found a worm shaped cookie cutter on ebay so my little girl and I made some yummy butter cookies and iced them with some yellow royal icing. Worms? why worms?.... Book worms!!
Now what better gift to give a book loving reader than a book mark? So in each invite envelope I added a small note that read:
In place of gifts we ask that you please bring along a bookmark for Carley.
You may choose to make one, buy one or pull one from an old book you have never managed to finish.
We are sure all bookmarks will be used many times in
The LIBRARY of Carley.
Please remember this is all a surprise so just like in a library.... SSSSSSHHHHHH!
I then found a great book shaped box to take to the party and have all the guests put their bookmark gift in it so we could give Carley them all together sometime during the day... but for a bit of extra fun I included a few little book/library themed gifts for Carley to open.
Small note book made from 100% recycled library ephemera from Baking with Medusa - in this notebook each guest wrote a short birthday message to Carley and we added photos we took on the day. Bookworm & Library button badges from Bean Forest. A vintage Bates stamper from Blue Bell Bazaar. Mini library book keychain from Elloh. Some hand wrapped pencils from Miss Isa and a fabric and paper brooch from Stacey Winters.
I'm pretty sure Carley had a great day and she tells me that it really was a surprise, as she had no idea until she got the 'Late Notice Card' from her hubby - Yay! These are just some random pics from the day.
Happy 30th Carley!!