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Friday, November 23, 2012

Mary Poppins Party for Pounds

So you want to throw your small person a Mary Poppins party on a budget?  I'm here for you!  We've just done it with a bit of time and effort but most importantly, not a lot of pounds. You probably already have most of these goodies at home or can pick them up at your local dollar/pound shop and online.

You, too can keep to a theme and a budget. Remember, the best part of a party is being together.

Step One: Make your own invitations. Tell the kids they'll get "Carried Away" with your little one with a colorful graphic and construction paper.

Step Two:  Create an easy craft that will also get tucked into the favor bag. These are tiny canvases sold in multipacks at Paperchase. I think there were 3 or 5 to a pack for £1. I cut out Mary Popp silhouettes from black construction paper and glued them on. Colorful baubles in cupcake papers and glue bottles around the table and you're set. Big Brothers' services as craft assistance was free. Be sure you write each guest's name on the back before the party to keep them sorted. And not to make you jealous, but I live within walking distance of the Paperchase flagship store. Begin angel singing here. Heavenly.

Step Three: Decorate!  A few bowler hats, a stuffed penguin (thanks, Amazon!), and a black brolly strung above the table might have cost £12 total.  Sprinkle the table with chocolate coins (tuppence) from Poundland and toss around a few tape measures (Practically Perfect In Every Way) on the table. The first photo is during the set up phase and shows the penguin. He ended up at the door in front of another open (Poundland) brolly with a homemade sign (Thanks, Big Brother!) welcoming guests to Cherry Tree Lane.

Step Four: No Bake Cake. Take a cake from your grocery store, strip it and add your own embellishments and colorful piping. I added a black ribbon, 3 sugar penguins and a Mary Poppins doll Gift and cake topper all in one! SO thrifty. Even if the Mister is afraid of dolls. Best part of the cake: two 10 pack of Poundland teaspoons encircling the cake and topped with sugar cubes!

And here's a tip no cake decorator will tell you: If you've moved and cannot find your icing tips, put an icing tube in a baggie, snip a corner, and pipe away.

Step Five: Entertainment. The focus of the party is watching a dvd you probably already own while eating takeout pizza. It is a long movie, so Big Brother suggests your guests get up and dance during the song and dance numbers. And there are plenty of them to get the wiggles out.

Step Six: Dress the part. I'm very sure you already have a white blouse, black skirt, and red bow. Pop on one of those jaunty bowlers, tack a few flowers to the brim and you're more than set. Blazer and carpet bag optional.  Oh, speaking of carpet bag, I found one of those online, too and put it on the coffee table where it was filled with presents as the guests arrived.

Step Seven: Favors. Ever since my favorless wedding, I swear not a single person has left my home without a favor. I kid you not -- I have friends lined up to make favors for my funeral. God willing, they'll be terribly old little ladies when that time finally comes. Still. Favors are paramount in my book, but don't have to cost much. Ours were a cute bag filled with the finished craft project, sidewalk chalk, chocolate coins/tuppence, and a homemade Mary Poppins coloring book (thank you, Google images and clip art). Think broadly - carousel, penguins, London, umbrella, rooftops, etc.

And while you're here I'll close by telling you that we planned this party from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. which was perfect. We weren't racing around early in the morning and had just the right amount of time for a craft, movie/pizza, presents and cake, and playing.  And plenty of the rest of the weekend, too. 

It is just me or are we in the minority of families who actually open presents during the party? Isn't that one of the best etiquette lessons? I think learning to give and receive gifts graciously is a worthwhile endeavor. 

Most worthwhile, though is celebrating your small person.  And getting carried away. Your party will undoubtedly be practically perfect in every way!  I sure hope so.  xo


  1. Hi
    I love your party! I am trying to do a Mary Poppins party for my kids. I'm wondering how you got the Mary Poppins doll to stand up on the cake? Did you have some sort of stand? Thanks!

  2. Hi, Polly! Forgive me that I'm so delayed in responding -- I missed seeing your note. That doll came with a stand, but I think you could find a similar (and inexpensive) one at craft store. Otherwise, you could poke a small dowel into the top cake layer and work it under the doll's clothing so it didn't show.

    Thanks for your kind words on the party - it was fun and easy!