Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Aiden's Disney Cars 2nd Birthday Preparation

Hey all!

Sorry I was MIA again. I was just gearing up for our most important party of the year, i.e. Aiden's 2nd birthday party (with the theme Disney Cars) and of course our housewarming event. That definitely took up almost all of my time (outside of work) after being home from Houston. As usual, I am still going through the pictures from our own DSLR (taken by my sister-in-laws so please excuse their faces being in almost all of the photos), until our own hired professional photographer delivers the official photos (which may take 2-3 weeks). Anyway, this post is all about the DIY for the party. For pictures of the party, click here!

Aiden's Disney Cars foam poster in his bedroom.

Why Disney Cars, you ask? After last year's Football theme, I decided an F1 Racing theme would be interesting. Slowly but surely, it evolved to include Disney Cars. Then, I started religiously reading party blogs, most of them from outside of Malaysia, and their Disney Cars ideas were so interesting that I wanted to try them out for myself!

Here are some of the great party blogs I used as inspirations:
  • Buckets of Grace: Melissa provides links to almost all of the resources she uses for a particular party. And check out her son's birthday party, her ideas are so unique and inspirational! A special shout out to Melissa for her great help: When I was in Houston, I emailed her to ask where she found those checkered ribbons and her pretty cake stands. She was so sweet to immediately reply the very next day, and needless to say I found everything I needed where she told me to go! So if you're ever in the States, go check out Hobby Lobby, T.J. Maxx and the dollar aisle in Target. You'll be surprised at what you can find in there!
  • Kara's Party Ideas: A collection of parties to refer to. They also have winning party features every week.
  • Gywnn Wasson Designs: Desperately wanted to try her popcorn cone idea but never found the time to do so! Such a shame....
  • Catch My Party: Hundreds of party themes for inspirations.
Anyway, unlike last year (when I was very much more kiasu and planned the party about 8 months before!), this year my preparations only started about three months before the party. These were all that I could manage within that three months:

Goody bags: I bought almost all of the goody bag items from Houston, mostly sourced from Arnes Warehouse. Not only do they have almost everything under the sun, they sell it at dirt cheap warehouse prices too!
Got the Cars plastic cup, Cars blower and Cars pencil (not in picture) from Arnes. The bubbles and the horn were sourced locally. I also made personalized labels for each bubble bottle.

And assembled them to look like this. Each net holds a handful of chocolates, sweets and mini jelly puddings.

I had pre-prepared about 60 of these when I finally made my party guest list and figured out that I actually needed about 100. Thank god for the recent Houston trip, I was able to buy the remaining cups.

All printables were designed by Dear Azalea, based on a Disney Cars table cover I had purchased earlier. I ordered the whole works: posters, water labels, chocolate wrappers, bubble labels, even hand fans! Thankfully, I had two maids during the preparation period. The old one was due to go home permanently so she was having her 'handover' period with the new maid. So I roped both of them into helping me out with the cutting and the pasting!

Printables review board.

Both of us were busy cutting the mineral water labels and bubble labels.

While the other stuck them to the bottles.

For the cake cutting session, I desperately wanted to make a podium. The problem with me is, I am wonderful at making ideas, but a sad case for executing them. I had to turn to dear Hubby for help. This was how we did it: Firstly, find an old tall bench and use that as a stand for podium number 1. Take black styrafoam (easily found at art shops) and cut to size. Paste the 4sides to each side of the tall bench to cover it. Then use a similar width sized styrafoam and paste at each side of podium 1 to make podium 2 and 3. Use white tape to outline the edges for a neater finish. Paste checkered A4 sized paper to each of the podium and print the numbers in a cute font (since it is a child's birthday party), and tadaaaa you're done!

Aiden checking out the podium, and the completed podium.

As for the dessert table center piece, I had previously bought (sometime last year!) a readymade race car center piece from a party shop in Ikano Power Centre since the original idea was to have an F1 theme party. Since I didn't want it to go to waste, I decided to fix it to match the theme! I used red shiny paper (bought a whole roll of this during the recent Macy Warehouse sale), cut to size and pasted it on the yellow strips to match the red/blue theme. I then went to a printing shop and told them to print multiple Lighting McQueen images to size (mirror front and back), cut it out and replaced the helmet shapes with the Cars printables. And voila... I had a center piece!

My dessert table centerpiece - the before (picture Googled) and after.

Besides all of the above, I also made a pennant banner for the dessert table and some cute life-size signages, inspired by the daily road signs that I see on the road. No pictures of the preparations but you will see the end product further down this post.

I also found a picture of a triangle checkered flag on Google, enlarged it to fit an A4 paper and printed them double sided. I would then spend my after working hours cutting them out and then used glue to stick them to a rope. Simple, cheap banners! I also printed some mini rectangle checkered flags, cut them out and glued them to a toothpick to be used to spruce up the dessert table.
Now for all preparations made a day before the event!

First thing I did was to pick up all printables from Dear Azalea. This includes the table center pieces, using Ikea Tolsby frames - one side with photos of Aiden in his Disney Cars t-shirt (not in picture) and the other side with cute cheeky descriptions of Aiden.

Made 10 centerpieces frames, one per table, designed to match all other printables.

I highly recommend Dear Azalea for your design and printing purposes. (Although I wouldn't recommend it,) they were kind enough to accommodate my last minute edits (and last minute pictures as we only had a photoshoot with Aiden in his Disney Cars t-shirt about 5 days before the event!) and even rushed the order so I could pick it up earlier than schedule. And since their business is really booming, I recommend engaging them at least a month and a half before your party to avoid your order being turned down.

Then, I laid out everything for the dessert table. A special thank you to Azwin for letting me borrow her Ikea containers as it certainly saved me from having to buy brand new ones. I had previously studied pictures of dessert tables from past Dear Azalea projects, so I had a feel on what I wanted it to look like. I also made sure that I ordered/pre-purchased the desserts that I wanted to lay out, so I had time to specify my tent place cards to match the food.

Overview of the dessert table. As I mentioned earlier, the printables design were made to match the Disney Cars table cover (not in picture), hence the theme colours red and blue.

Bought this frame stand for the dessert table in Walmart, and my cheeky boy turned it into a gun instead! I wonder, where did he pick up this influence??

Disney Cars pail, purchased from Hobby Lobby. Was going really cheap as it was one of their Easter pails, hence on discount. Stuffed it with styrafoam so I can stick chocolate coated cars in it later. Paper plates from a party shop in Berjaya Times Square.

Chocolate bars and all other printables by Dear Azalea. The two remaining empty trays to be filled with Oreo Tyres and Mushroom Quiches on the party day. The four Ikea jars to be filled with jelly beans, puddings, Reeses and wafers respectively. Round styrafoam on the far left pasted with black foam paper with ridges to resemble a tyre, to be filled with Pop Cakes.

Square shaped container from Ikea, to be filled with multi-coloured M&Ms to add a tinge of colour to the blue/red setup. Serviettes from a party shop in Berjaya Times Square. Red boxes from D'Nata in Intermark, self adorned with checkered ribbons from Hobby Lobby.

Four-tier Wilton cupcake stand from Arnes Warehouse, to be filled with Lighning McQueen inspired cupcakes by Shireen Bakes. Disney Cars cup at the Disney Store outlet (buy one get one free). And my pride and joy - my dessert stand was only USD10 at T.J.Maxx. It was the only one left, so I could only hand carry one home. To be filled with nyummy-licious macaroons from Shireen Bakes.

Shireen from Shireen Bakes has been my good friend since I can ever remember. We were in the same school ever since we were 7 years old, and is even my bridesmaid. As we are both only childs, we often joke that we are sisters! I swear, she makes the best cakes, cupcakes and even Hari Raya cookies. I am really proud to be the first to order macaroons from her. And for her first order, it was simply amazing that her macaroons were a big hit during the party!

Disney Cars balloon centerpiece from Arnes Warehouse. Mini white bucket from the dollar aisle at Target.

By then it was already noon and it was time to install the khemah (tents)! Since Hubby wanted a clean look, he ordered white tents, white scallops and white chair covers. I was actually quite pleased with the results!

Aiden playing in the garden with another of the Target bucket in blue (for next year's birthday, perhaps?). Can you see the checkered pillars in the picture on the right? I found some checkered black and white tikar getah (latex mats) at a local shop nearby and I managed to convince Hubby to nail them to the garden pillars. I then hung my self-made triangle checkered flag banner in between the pillars.

Laid out the Lightning McQueen floor mats on each entrance into the house (bought these at the recent Macy warehouse sale) and stuffed the pinata with a Cars Candy Mix I purchased at Walmart. However, the candy mix was a bit of a let down. Granted, it had Disney Cars themed candy but they did not taste nice and was so limited in number that I had to buy more candy to stuff the pinata full! By the way,I hand carried the pinata all the way from Houston. Yes, I am sometimes crazy that way!!!

(Also, if you're living in a tropical climate, please do not leave your stuffed pinata to hang in the sun during the party. We learned this the hard way. By the time the kids tore the pinata into pieces late afternoon, most of the candy and chocolates had already melted!)

Next project on my list was the balloon arch. Ever since my neighbour, Sara, told me that she made her own balloon arch for her son's birthday, I was determined to try it out for myself. Armed with packets of balloons purchased from the Macy warehouse sale, I self-taught myself the art of making a balloon arch through YouTube.

The entire guest room was filled with blue and red balloons. How did I manage to blow them up so quickly?

I used a vacuum cleaner. I am not kidding! My Rainbow vacuum comes with not only a suction hose, but an inflator tool as well! Just stick the nozzle into the balloon (as shown by my SIL in the picture) and turn on the blower.

Yours truly twisting the balloons into pairs of two.

Also, the key to a beautiful balloon arch is to ensure that all the balloons are equally sized. We blew up the balloons within a box to use it as a rough measure for size, as shown by Norman (and Noris) who came over to help us with the balloons.

Besides trusty office colleagues, friendly neighbours also came to help! My two neighbours trying to twist the balloons to the vertical PVC pipe.

Until they figured out that it was actually easier to twist if laid on the floor!

We're getting to the end!

Noris, Norman SILs, Fatimah, Lin and Lina, look at what we created!

By then it was close to midnight, and Hubby arrived home after picking up the Pop Cakes (by Walnut and Almond), chocolate coated cars (not in picture, by Sureachoc) and of course, the full calorie birthday cake (not in picture, by Shahue's Sugar Pink Icing )!

Also, if you are serving chocolates on your dessert table, be wary of what the sun can do to chocolates. I had actually picked up my chocolate coated cars earlier that morning but since I was rushing on a couple of other errands, I left them on the back seat of the car in the sun. By the time I came back, it had all melted into a puddle of chocolate. Sureachoc was so sweet to actually stop all other orders and make new chocolate cars for me. They even waited until the wee hours of the night for my Hubby to arrive to pick up the order.

Also, I vouch for Kak Shashue for birthday cakes. She has done all my party cakes, including my baby shower cake, and I absolutely love her attention to detail! Check out her kebaya cakes and tuxedo cakes. Absolutely delish!

Meanwhile, the birthday boy was still up and wide awake.

And insisted on running into the balloon pile we had carefully put aside to be hung outside the next day!

He even sat on the Disney Cars themed balls I had carefully inflated earlier in the day!

And finally it was the big day! The first thing I did when I woke up that morning was to peek outside the window to check whether it had rained during the night. The weather during the past week wasn't really kind. It rained cats and dogs nearly everyday of the week.

I was so relieved when I looked at the sky. Sunny blue skies!

Love the fact that the tent comes with a flag at the very peak! I did not ask for it, but it blended so well with my theme.

Printed a high resolution Lightning McQueen image, pasted it on a styrafoam and cut to size to make a simple and cheap backdrop! The yellow trophy was a pinata from Aiden's first birthday. I simply used it again as decoration as it matched the theme! Although in this picture I have yet to put the box base underneath so it looks like it's inside the podium rather than on top!

Hung a birthday banner at our favourite corner in the garden.

Mini rectangle checkered flag purchased from a party shop in Ikano Power Centre. Did not know what to do with them so I ended up sticking them in front of my flower bed!

A3 board by Dear Azalea. Easel stand purchased at a local art shop.

Centerpiece made by my SILs. I just gave them one example and they made the remaining at their own home. Also in picture is the other side of the Tolsby frame. Not in picture are colouring sheets of Lightning McQueen with the words "Aiden is 2" and colour pencils to keep the children occupied while the adults eat.

We then dragged the balloon arch out to the gate. Imagine 4 girls carefully carrying a balloon arch out of the door, squealing and shouting whenever the balloon touched the ground!

So proud of the end result!

The birthday boy checking out what the commotion was all about.

Next, we piled the inflated balls into a self-made net.

The net was by the gate in the open so that the kids can just take one ball whenever they wish.

Unfortunately, the balloon arch did not last long outside due to the sun and the balloons kept on expanding and popping. So in the end we had to drag it in near to the front door. Note to self, next time buy thicker more lasting balloons!
Next, it was time to stab the road signages into the garden soil!

A view of the garden.

Excuse the garden hose. Hubby actually wanted to water the grass the morning before the party!

Then the most exciting part of it all. Setting up the pennant banner and the dessert table!

Pennant banner was self made to match the blue/red theme. For more pictures of the completed dessert table, you simply have to wait for the next post - the actual party!

And finally, the bouncing castle arrived.

Come back for the next post featuring Aiden's 2nd birthday party! Or click here!


  1. this is just crazy!!! set up all be urself (with help of course)... :D just fantastic liz!!! i could just imagine all the kids go wild at the party.. hehehe... btw, happy birthday aiden!!

  2. Farah, thanks! I am crazy sometimes hehehe. But I can only afford to be this crazy once a year. No more parties this year! ;) I'm happy the kids had fun too!

  3. Sara, I jealous, you dah update aqiqah Hessa in your blog even faster than me! Hehehe.. and thanks for coming babe ;)

  4. wohh, awesome! you can be a party planner lah :)

  5. Zana thank you! Penat mengemas!!! ;)

  6. Fatma, seriously a shopaholic like me can never quit my job to be a party planner. Hehehe

  7. Hi there!

    im gonna make a birthday party for my boy. The theme is also CARS...i'm just wondering if u still have the road sign, podium and the foam poster? and to u want to sell it?

  8. What is the shop name that u buy easle stand from?

  9. hi there very nice im about to throw my son cars birthday can u send me any free site were i can get printables pls...

  10. hi sis...
    nak tanya mana nk beli stick untuk handfan tu?

  11. Hi liz... sy nak buat party ala2 cars utk my boboi, tengah mencari kain alas meja atau kain checkered hitam putih tu, kat mana ye... pening kepala nak cari xjumpa2... if you dont mind pls inbox me tq ;)

  12. Hi Lion Heart, the easle stand is from an art shop in Taman Melawati. In fact, any art shops should sell the same.

  13. Lady Mira, I tak sure mana nak beli the stick for the handfan tuh. Handfan tuh I tempah from Dear Azalea. Vendor links ade I letak at Aiden's 2nd birthday party post.

  14. Ms and Mr Red Ribbon, kain checkered hitam putih and alas meja tuh I beli kat US. Tapi as an alternative, tikar getah ade jual checkered hitam putih - kalau you tengok, I ade guna untuk lekat on my garden pillars.


Thank you in advance for leaving a comment. ;) All comments are moderated. Liz

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