A Jessie Toy Story Party… On a budget.
What the prep!?!?
Not too long ago (okay, a million years ago… we were a little behind with this post), Little Mama turned into the not-so-little 5 year old she always dreamed of becoming. Even as a 3 year old, she kept talking about turning 5 and how she was going to own her own restaurant, drive a car, and watch Teen Titans, because she will be a “teenager” by then. She wanted to make and see a difference as a 5 year old. She wanted to make some noise!
Alright, so she doesn’t exactly own her own restaurant (unless her playroom kitchen counts, where she hosts a couple hours a day with her favorite diners, Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear), her car happens to be a yellow scooter, and Teen Titans is still not the first choice of programming in our household. But she definitely made some major noise turning 5. She, with a little help from her mommy, planned a Jessie Toy Story Party otherwise known as a yodellin’ good time!
We love to dress up; for Halloween, for themed birthday parties, and for good ol’ fashioned playtime. Even more, Little Mama loves to completely immerse herself in the lives of her most beloved characters. Two years ago, it was Jasmine, during her Make 4 Wishes Birthday Extravaganza. And the year before, Minnie Mouse. The years prior to that were pretty much a blur as far as she’s concerned because her mom took the reins on everything. She was too busy learning how to walk, talk and cause a ruckus in and around the house.
But this year, our 5 year old wasn’t going to have any of that. It was time to speak up, speak loud, and be heard.
These were the items on her Jessie Toy Story Party bucket list:
I found these fantastic square gift boxes which we later printed out letters on, atop a light wood-inspired background. All we needed – double sided tape, a good quality laser printer (fit a few of the letters on one sheet and saved ourselves some coins and a forest of trees), and a pair of scissors.
A Gigantic Jessie’s shirt-inspired backdrop
We took a fun trip to the local fabric store and grabbed a large piece of yellow felt which we later cut into Jessie’s western themed silhouette. We also grabbed some silk red material from the out-of-season holiday clearance rack and used it as a simple drape. We dug around our crafts closet to find flexible red piping string to form the western loop accents, which we had hand-sewn on to the yellow felt. We had a red blanket that has sadly been shoved to the back of our linen closet waiting to be attended to. It served as the overall canvas rather than a plain white tarp.
All we needed was a little thread and a needle, somewhere to hang it (we decided instead of putting it up against a window with an adjustable curtain rod, we used my portable photo backdrop frame so we would have more flexibility in location), and a good pair of scissors. Naturally, we had Jessie’s hat laying around so we made sure we found a perfect spot for it since it’s a too big for Little Mama‘s head.
A life-sized Jessie
As much as Little Mama wanted to greet each and every friend coming through the doors to attend her much-anticipated Jessie Toy Story party, she was adamant that Jessie herself, make an appearance. I grabbed an image of Jessie in her sassiest cowgirl pose, and spread her out onto 4 sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper. To give it a little more strength, I added some foam core to various sections rather than cut out one piece to cover the whole poster, as it that would just be time-consuming and frustrating getting around those tiny details in her silhouette. We later taped her to an upright stand I had lying around in my studio.
A Little Direction
Most of Little Mama’s Tiny Sheriff friends are in the 4 – 6 age range. So if they (or their parents) need a little help finding the Little Sheriff’s room (in addition to the playroom, the eating area, and of course, where to get their tattoos… I mean, priorities!), they would know exactly where to go. We decided to print out some signs with a wood background (thanks google!), because who can justify etching actual wood pieces and shaping them into arrows? I wouldn’t even know where to start. So wooden facades, it is! (P.S. Don’t forget the foam backing, like Jessie’s above, to keep them sturdy and not flimsy, while hanging off the pole).
Cow Print Accents on… Everything
We spotted the most amazing cowprint decorative tape at Dollar Tree which we never really had solid plans for. We just figured, throwing it on a piece of foam (also a convenient Dollar Tree find) or any of the decor pieces would help tie the theme together. We had big plans for cake pops and a big table centerpiece, so we knew it would behoove us to grab a few cubes of foam, thin pop sticks, and of course, some paper crinkle shred that would serve as mini haystacks.
With some of the extra cow print tape, we wrapped it around some yellow juice boxes and slapped on more of Little Mama‘s logo for an added personal touch. Because… well – why not? (Big Daddy thought we were going overboard, but c’mon… how excited were we to find something yellow to coordinate with the rest of our spread. #daddyjustdoesntgetit)
Buzz Lightyear’s Spaceship
Toy Story isn’t Toy Story without a little love for the Buzz. I wasn’t as keen on making a spaceship from scratch so I did some investigating around the house to see if anything would be stable enough for food, and pointy enough to potentially shoot through the milky way. [A tip from one frugal parent to another… Always shop at home first! You never know what you’ll find!] A cupcake stand made of cardboard from one of Little Mama‘s old birthday parties (word to the wise – keep some of the old stands and trays from previous parties… they WILL come in handy) was the perfect solution to house small square bites of pizza, while looking galactic enough to pass as a base for a spaceship. I grabbed a paper towel tube and took a silver cardboard piece and wrapped it around so it comes to a point and gives it the height it needs to stand out. Can’t wait to show you the finished product. Unfortunately, if anyone at NASA caught wind of this, they would probably laugh hysterically at my interpretation of a spaceship, and then fire me for insulting them and the universe.
If you’re anything like me, adding a couple accents as far as colour and dimension is all it takes to transform a paper towel roll into a sleek vessel designed solely for interstellar travel.
A “Wishes for the Birthday Girl” Station
Inspired by a very successful “Make 4 Wishes” for the birthday girl station at her 4th birthday Jasmine Party, we decided it would be fun to have little inspiring notes once again for our yodelin’ cowgirl. It’s always such a treat to look back at what Little Mama‘s little buddies and their parents wished for her on her special day. We simply took our yellow plastic play cups from her pretend kitchen, and a matching bowl, blinged it out with self adhesive red sparkle tape, and Woody the Cowboy’s “There’s a WISH in my boot” station was born. Now to get our hands on some boots…
Snacks. Lots of Snacks. And Cute Containers for Them
We got our hands on some Toy Story Digital prints (Thanks Etsy!) so we took full advantage and utilized them for snack containers and the like. Simply cutting square shapes so we can easily manipulate them into little snack cones held together by a couple pieces of transparent tape – was as easy as throwing them in a bowl and letting the kids at it. But why do that when you can keep consistent with the theme, meanwhile keeping the kids’ sticky fingers out of the communal bowl and on to their own containers. Win win for all!
To keep them standing upright, we added gentle foam floral blocks at the bottom (Yay, Dollar Tree!) to fill the boxes and covered it with paper crinkle shred. Be careful with the foam, they come apart easily if you poke too hard.
Fancy Dining for the Fancy Guests
My fault. I gave Little Mama the feast of her life, adorned with gold-esque accents for her Jasmine Make 4 Wishes Birthday Party. Now, she only knows of coordinated plates and cutlery. Even if this is not something that happens regularly at home, we definitely pull out the big guns (the hot glue gun, that is…) when it comes to her very special days (and folks, herein lies the reason why “only child syndrome” actually exists…). This year, we kept things fun and bright and alternated colours across the dining table. We rotated between yellow, red, and cow print napkins, and yellow and red cutlery. All was held together with our left over red sparkle self-adhesive tape. (Be sure to use a narrow item like a slippery chopstick to secure the glue without touching the napkin while the glue dries).
An “Etch A Sketch” Photobooth
We held the party in a big playroom so we were spoiled with a lot of blank walls to play with. We decided to grab one wall and make it into our photo booth area. We spent a whopping $2.50 on a powder blue shower curtain from Dollar Tree (Can you tell, we basically bought out the whole store?), as a backdrop and taped it against the wall. To bring in the the Toy Story theme of clouds, we traced one of Andy’s bedroom screenshots online and cut up card stock into cloud shapes. No need for a glue gun, strong double sided tape did the trick. We then made a giant Etch A Sketch to frame our photo booth. All we needed were:
- 2 red foam core boards from Michaels
- An exacto knife (and a person who’s good at using it)
- Strong transparent tape to hold the pieces together
- Red tape to cover the seams/transparent tape (we used left over self adhesive red sparkly tape! Yay for leftovers!)
- Metallic Card stock for the letters
- Hot glue gun
- Two foam disks for knobs
Thanks to Kathy at Merriment Design, we were able to do a quick download of pre-made Toy Story signs and editable saying bubbles for the kids to use as props during their photos. Why make life difficult when someone has already done the hard work for you? And handing them over to you on a red, blue, and yellow sparkly platter? Download these adorable props here. The only thing I had to do was take some long sticks at Dollar Tree and tape them on. Voila! A photobooth!
It came to no surprise that originally, my little bookworm, asked for books to be distributed at her Jessie Toy Story party. It was a thought that crossed my mind, but I couldn’t find anything convenient, cute, and in line with our theme that I could add to the kids’ goodie bags. So what’s the next best thing that will promote literacy?
Why, a book mark, of course!
Printing a bunch of sassy Jessies marked “Thank you Sheriff!”, hole punched and adorned with left over natural twine, was as simple as 1-2-3-4-5.
Art for the Goody Bags
We couldn’t stop at the super easy bookmark thank yous, now, could we? Yay – another reason to use up the rest of our self adhesive sparkle tape – to wrap a colouring sheet of each of the main characters from Toy Story. Because what is a Jessie Toy Story party without the beloved characters and a whole lotta color?
Western Goodies for the Goody Bag
This is where we always get stuck.
Luckily, the ideas basically fell out of the sky and landed on my lap. There is a plethora of western items out there. Thanks to our one stop shop for all things western, Oriental Trading Company, our goody bags were set in one fell swoop. Cowboy boot bubbles, Western hard candy fun packs (which I later discovered tasted a little like soap – so beware), Mini Cowgirl/Cowboy Hats, and Sheriff Badges, with a little help from a spool of paper craft ribbon and natural paper shred filled up these crazy adorable clear western boot plastic mugs given to all the attendees as a thank you (and yahoo!) for coming!
I would like to think the kiddos will think fondly of Little Mama and their yodellin’ good time at her Jessie Toy Story party, every time they take a sip out of their plastic boot cups filled to the brim with cold milk.
Something for the Extra Teeny Guests
Most parties are limited to the age of the celebrant, however Little Mama specifically requested that her special sibling friends come and join the fun as well. We couldn’t, in all good conscience, hand over candies and sheriff bags, let alone bite-sized cowboy hats right into the welcoming hands of an infant.
So we decided that western hat sippy cups were in order.
And we couldn’t forget their Sheriff Badges!
A Birthday Tutu Inspired by Jessie Herself
With all the time spent planning and prepping for the party, we had very little hunting time for the perfect party wear. Sure, there were a lot of western shirts out there, many of which were the exact colours that Jessie wore. But time was not in our favour, and shipping costs were not helping with our quest. Besides, when have we ever followed the rules of costume wearing? It’s not about replicating styles and patterns. It’s about playing with colours and themes and working with what you’ve got.
So we decided to put our tutu making skills to good use, grabbed ourselves a coarse and narrow roll of blue tulle, and got to work. Making the tutu was so easy – Little Mama took charge of the whole project. She was a little hesitant about mommy posting her creation while she’s wearing her jammies. Since when has modesty ever been a virtue with this monkey of mine?
I guess that’s what happens when you turn 5…
Want to see how it all turned out? Check out what we came up with as far as decor in our Jessie Toy Story Party series. Keep your eye out for the rest of our Jessie Toy Story party posts coming up this week. It was quite the adventure, and preparing for the big day was no easy feat.
But we all know…
Jessie never gives up! Jessie finds a way!
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