One day last June, I scrolled to my virtual mailbox and found a lovely invitation inside. Ebony of Sparkling Events & Designs, whose mission is to show people how they can create beautiful events on a modest budget, was inviting this lil’ piggy to take part in a challenge. Ebony was gathering designers with varying levels of experience and different backgrounds to participate in the first ever Designer’s Challenge: $100 Budget. {She had me at $100!}

We were asked to design a party for 4-6 guests with a budget of $100. The theme was “Go Green.” The party design needed to include a tablesetting, an activity and favors. If we wanted to include desserts, we were encouraged to present them in a new and innovative way. All photographs had to be non-professional and we were able to use a few “free” items—dining table and chairs, plates, glasses, napkins, silverware, tablecloth and a cake stand or platter. These “free” items along with a camera are things most people have around the house. When planning on a budget, the first step to is to shop around your house first then shop at your family and friends’ houses and finally shop at a store!

I’m so excited to share my entry with you today! Presenting…

Each morning as I headed into my home office, I would pass this lil’ plant sitting on a side table. It was a plant florists use to fill up a basket full of plants. The kind that looks great with other plants but not by itself. This lil’ plant was nothing special until the day it inspired me. Until the day it became a beanstalk.

Ever since that day, I have had my heart set on designing a Jack and the Beanstalk party. When I heard the theme of “Go Green” it wasn’t my first idea though. I had an adorable lil’ frog on my desk that J had drawn and my first party design was based on the lil’ frog. Then I found out that someone else had chosen a frog as their theme. I was so disappointed until I walked past my lil’ plant…Jack and the Beanstalk! I would finally have a chance to design the party I had dreamed about!

I wanted to create an enchanted adventure from the earth up to the sky for the birthday boy, Jack, and three of his friends. My party would take place from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. which is the afternoon “sweet” spot when you don’t need to provide a meal. An easy way to trim your budget right from the beginning. As you’ll see later, I could only seat 4 guests at my table due to the centerpiece. I love intimate parties for kids though. It allows them to really focus on their friends instead of being overwhelmed by a large group of people. The party activities were designed for kids ages 4-8.

TABLE SETTING: I wanted to created a magical setting for the lil’ guests. A green tablecloth served as the foundation for the dining table and green chairs from our patio set were the perfect choice for seating. The centerpiece and focal point of the party—the beanstalk—was created using a cardboard box, crumpled newsprint, a brown piece of material, four green pool noodles, raffia and leaves from our Jack and the Beanstalk Collection. I placed the box in the center of the table, covered it with the tablecloth and then added the newspaper to give it an organic feel. The pool noodles were tied together at one end with raffia then weaved together like a braid. They were tied again just below the middle. Next I weaved the noodles through the chandelier and tied each noodle to one of the chandelier arms. The beanstalk leaves were curled by rolling the paper in different directions and attached with double-stick tape. To give the illusion that the beanstalk was growing under the table, each table leg was wrapped with ruffled streamers.

Giant beanstalk leaves were used as placemats. A clear plate topped each leaf and held Jack’s cottage and magic beans. The cottages are favor boxes filled with Green Apple and Watermelon jelly beans. A reclosable sandwich bag was used to hold the beans and tied with a leaf ribbon. Dimension was added to the roof by printing 1.25 extra roofs per cottage on text weight paper. Cut the extra roofs into strips, make little cuts along one edge of each strip and attach them to the roof with double-sided tape. Then ruffle the fringe to make it look like a straw roof.

The leaf ribbon was used again to tie the brown cloth napkins which mimic the beanstalk growing near Jack’s cottage. Green silverware from our picnic set was tucked into the napkin ring. The final touch to the table setting were the drinking glass jars wrapped with leaf ribbon and filled with cow’s milk and green straws.

TREATS-n-TOYS: The magic and mischief of “Jack and the Beanstalk” takes place high in the clouds at the top of the beanstalk. A magical Treats-n-Toys table was created using our infamous paper plate backdrop. This can be easily recreated directly on a wall for approximately $5.00. Ruffled cloud-colored streamers topped the backdrop while white cardstock clouds floated in front. The clouds were cut out free-hand from white cardstock, scrap pieces of foam core added dimension and then they were suspended with fishing line to the ceiling.

The puffy cloud table was created with reclosable bags filled with packing peanuts and topped with a white tablecloth. The giant’s castle was a bargain find at $2.99. The picture on the front of the package stated it was made for ages 6+. Let’s just say, it contained 152 tiny pieces of balsa wood, no written directions and took two college grads—one with a masters in civil engineering—over 8 hours to put together. {Be warned!} The castle floated on top of three upside down popcorn buckets. To make them sit a little higher, I added crumpled newsprint and plastic bags in between the buckets until they reached the perfect height. “Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum” flags were attached to toothpicks then added to the castle with poster putty.

The serving pieces were all white except for the golden coin purse to keep the table light and airy. The coin purse was made with a lunch sack and a piece of braided suede ribbon and the Silly Putty eggs were wrapped in florist’s foil. The beanstalk would definitely poke through the clouds so leaf ribbon was added to the serving pieces with double-stick tape.

The menu of Treats-n-Toys includes licorice beanstalks, cow’s milk, golden chocolate coins,  golden Silly Putty eggs, magic jelly beans, bean poles, meringue clouds, glowing bean bracelets and a cloud cake. Before the lil’ guests eat, they are asked a few questions about the story as a “verbal” Scavenger Hunt. “What did Jack’s mom ask him to sell?” They answer, “A cow!” and then they are asked to find the milk and it’s served to them. “What did Jack get instead of money for the cow?” Answer, “Magic Beans!”  and once they find the magic beans the lil’ guests add them to their plate. The questions continue until they have filled their plates with each of the Treats-n-Toys. After the Scavenger Hunt, it’s time to sing, “Happy Birthday!” to Jack followed by the cutting of the cloud cake.

ACTIVITIES: The activities table was covered with kraft paper from a dollar store and secured with double-stick tape. Since we have a small house and the lil’ guests will be diggin’ in dirt, we chose to place the table in the kitchen which has an easy-to-clean tile floor. A quick backdrop was created by attaching ruffled streamers and beanstalk leaves from the Jack and the Beanstalk Collection with double-stick tape.

The Story: After the party guests have arrived, the story of Jack and the Beanstalk” will be read. The guests will be encouraged to remember the people, animals and treasures that Jack encounters throughout the story. The storybook also serves as a guest book. The lil’ guests are asked to sign the inside of the front cover and after the party it will be added to the Birthday Library as a memento.

Planting Magic Beans: After the story, our lil’ guests will head to the activity table where they’ll plant their magic beans. Each guest receives a packet of bean seeds, a pot filled with dirt and a spoon to dig a hole for the seeds. After the seeds are planted, the guests then place the pot in a sandwich bag and add a little bit of water to help their beanstalk grow. Pots are placed in lunch sacks ready to take home and be planted.

String a Harp: Once the magic beanstalks are ready to go home, each guest receives a pre-cut and pre-punched cardstock harp from the Jack and the Beanstalk Collection. Our lil’ guests are given string to create their own singing harp.

Magic Bean Toss: Our bean bag toss was recycled from my Fifties Drive-in Birthday Party {coming soon!}. We created hamburger bean bags for my party by sewing together two pieces of felt and filling them with beans. The game board was made out of thick foam core. Each hole was assigned a point value using Jack and the Beanstalk Game Points printed on full-sheet labels. Instead of making new bean bags, I chose the bottom bun, hamburger and lettuce to represent dirt and the leaves of a beanstalk. The lil’ guests will have fun playing this until their parents arrive to pick them up.

FAVORS: Each lil’ guest will take home their own soon-to-be-a-beanstalk, golden Silly Putty egg, glowing bean bracelet and a cottage full of magic beans. The favors were integrated throughout the entire party and doubled as activities. When choosing favors my favorite is always one that performs double-duty—it fits the theme and is either yummy to eat or it can be used at the party.

ADDITIONAL DéCOR and INVITATIONS: Since the beanstalk was the centerpiece of the party, I wanted to keep the rest of the décor simple. Ruffled streamers were hung across the tops of the windows and a personalized banner was added behind the dining table. Guests were welcomed at the door with a lil’ sign hung with leaf ribbon. To invite guests, the Jack and the Beanstalk Fill-In Invitation which is included in the collection is an affordable option versus ordering a personalized invitation.

The Jack and the Beanstalk Printable Collection includes a Fill-In Invitation, Personalized Banner, Personalized Welcome Sign, “Create-Your-Own Text” Party Cards, Thank You Tags, Personalized Cake Stakes, Beanstalk Leaf Paper, Singing Harp Paper, Game Points Paper and the Cottage Favor Box. Everything you need to create a magical storybook party for special someone! The Jack and the Beanstalk Collection is available starting today in The Market.

BUDGET: To see a line-by-line breakdown on what I spent, please click here to read our feature from the challenge. Here is the category breakdown of the party…

Treats-n-Toys: $27.98

Servingware: $0

Invitations & Printing: $8.03

Décor: $49.57

Activities: $11.98

Favors: $0 (included in Treats-n-Toys)

GRAND TOTAL: $97.56 (Under budget: $2.44)

{break for an Under-the-budget Happy Dance!}

I hope your inspired to create an enchanted party on a Piggy Bank budget! If you loved our party, click here to pop over to Sparkling Events and Designs to see the 11 other party designs. Make sure you grab a snack and napkin…’cuz you’ll be drooling over the parties for a while! While you’re there, don’t forget to cast your vote for the FaN Favorite. You can vote once a day per IP address and if you happen to like this lil’ piggy’s best…thanks for your vote!

 

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Vendor Credits:

Party Design, Styling, Printables & Photography: Piggy Bank Parties

Birthday Library Inspiration: Jenny Dixon of Crossing the Bugger-Dixon Line

Castle and Florist’s Foil: Michaels

Ribbon: May Arts

Paper Plates: Party City

 

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