please be prepared for a major overload of details...
lucy just celebrated her 2nd birthday ♥
i never thought i'd plan a 'cartoon inspired' party... i'm not crazy about licensed characters... at least none of the newer ones or ones by certain companies... i strongly believe in kids using their imaginations to build on their interests and don't agree with the marketing and consumerism behind the goods of commercialized characters.
funny how that works though: the only comic book characters i really personally enjoy and own numerous items with their images are 'muumi' (or 'moomin' in english)...
i'm sure it has to do with a couple of things:
1- muumi is a finnish cartoon and therefore lucy will actually listen to the music, watch episodes of it and of course we can read the books directly from finnish (oh, in case i haven't ever mentioned this before - we speak only finnish with lucy. she hears english all around her and understand a great deal, but seeing as finnish is one of the world's hardest languages to learn, we'd like to give her a chance to soak up as much of it as possible at a young age)
2- muumi is nostalgic for me ♥ i grew up loving the characters and their funny sense of humour... seriously, read some of the comic strips such as this... they're still hilarious! i love their choice of words (and it's actually really well translated) and funny little predicaments.
so alright... the little girl is in love with muumi right now... and since it's lucy's party, we'll celebrate it her way ♥
since we don't live in finland, we made-do with what we had 'muumi' related and also got a little creative... hopefully some of these ideas will help you if you're also planning a cartoon-themed party. you shouldn't feel the need to run out to the party store to buy everything related to the cartoon... home-made can actually make the party seem a lot 'lovelier' even if you don't particularly love the characters (!) try to feel inspired by the story lines and the characters themselves.
'pikku myy' (little my) is one of my favourite characters... and when i was little, my parents gave me that nickname because of her whiny, cranky and peppery little character that was similar to mine (i know - nice eh?) and because they often put my hair up in a high bun similar to pikku myy's... lucy has this adorably little laughing impression of pikku myy... i wish you could all hear it!... so the shirt lucy wore with red polka dots and big bow was one that made me think of pikku myy's older-style dress as on this mug.
a few things that we already had...
lucy's muumi mobile by flensted came down from her room for the occasion... the extra characters decorated the dining table.
mikko's aunt so lovingly sent lucy a special gift from finland: some muumi paper plates, straws, napkins and candies. (these were fantastic to send since they were all light and could be packed flat.)
since there was close to thirty adults, we made use of my 'extensive' collection of muumi mugs... (and we still didn't even use them all... ha!)
i had my old arabia muumi figurines on display under glass cloches... i've had those since i was little. at some point they sold them as souvenirs on finnair flights... now they are collectible items and hard to come across.
i covered our throw-pillows on the couches with muumi pillowcases (normally used on our bed) and hung muumi hand towels in the bathrooms.
a few things that i made...
all the bunting was made using old muumi comic books: i simply cut circles out and sewed them together on my sewing machine (if you want all your circles to face 'up', make sure to sew them just above the centre line of the circle so that the bottom half is slightly heavier and the bunting won't flip over)
to decorate the front windows and door, i drew some 'shadows' of some of the muumi characters onto black bristol board, cut them out and taped them to the windows... i love how they were a part of the party while looking from the inside towards the windows and at night how they were seen from the outside as the party continued inside.
for a while i've wanted to make some sort of paper models using paint chips - so this was my opportunity... i'll add more photos of my muumi paper models in another post.
the wooden nesting dolls... i just couldn't resist dressing them up for the occasion... i'll add some photos of those as well in another post.
i just had to make some muumi dress-up costumes for lucy and her friends ♥ and really, they were quite simple to put together... but i'll write about those in detail in a later post.
for those of you that have read muumi books or watched episodes, you'll probably remember that they are often busy picking seashells and fishing. i wanted the kids to play some age-appropriate games where everyone could have a good time and feel connected to the muumi theme. the kids played a simple game where two teams had to bring one shell at a time to their own bucket; the team that picked the most shells in one minute, won... during our trip to sanibel island, we picked a lot of shells knowing that we could play with them at home. the rules got scraped quickly when we saw how much fun the kids were having just going back and forth to the bucket to get more shells ♥ for the fishing game, we used my old aarikka wooden fishing rod and fish (and some extra magnets) and the little ones had to fish them out of a pond (hoola hoop).
i always love a 'pin the tail on...' game - so i drew muumi onto some newspaper, taped him up on the wall and there we had a 'pin the tail on muumi'.
downstairs kids could watch episodes of muumi if they needed a little break and upstairs we were *supposed to* have muumi tunes playing (but mikko thought it was loud enough as-is...)
since muumi is a finnish cartoon, i thought i'd include a finnish meal that lucy loves: 'lihapiirakat' (meat pies) with 'sinappi' (mustard). i searched for a few variations of the recipe and combined them along with a friend's tip of using barley rather than the traditional rice as a filling... and i think they turned out pretty tasty (!) i'll be sure to post the recipe sometime soon.
for dessert we had vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and berries on top. i asked mikko's mom to make a classic blueberry 'mamman marjapiirakka' (grandma's berry pie) since i imagine that muumi-mamma would have probably made the same! years ago i bought a muumi-shaped cookie cutter in finland so i used that to make some adorable and simple muumi cookies (i had originally planned on flooding them with royal icing and trying to make them look like these beauties but figured i better keep it simple since i've never done anything detailed with icing... especially trying to recreate tove jansson's drawings! i also wanted to avoid any artificial food dyes.) in the cartoon they also spend time picking berries and mushrooms... i figured most kids love berries, but not mushrooms so much (!) i also included some classic finnish panda licorice and some 'finnish berries' (haha... bulk barn carries an imitation of swedish berries!)
we wanted to thank our little guests for celebrating lucy's special muumi-filled birthday. i thought it would be tricky to figure something out 'muumi related' for the loot bags - this is what i came up with: the white paper bags were filled with a muumi cd (i bought one from i-tunes and legally you are allowed to burn it up to seven times... this was exactly the number of cd's we needed - one per family of children - if i had needed more, i would have bought another copy of the cd... mikko and i don't pirate anything)... muumi colouring pages from this site and a box of crayons... a little envelop containing $1 for parents to purchase 'moomin play' for their i-phone, i-pad or i-pod touch... a cute little (annoying!) recorder (bought from our new canadian target!)... and i attached the sweet little muumi straws (from mikko's aunt) to the outside of the bags.
how's that for 'details' of a muumi party? i'm a detail oriented person... i like taking the time to collect ideas, make up my own and combine them all to create a special day for my loved ones. in fact, lucy might not remember her 'muumi party' one day, but she enjoyed every minute of it the day-of - so i'd say it was a 'happy birthday' ♥