2nd Birthday Party :: Cars & Trucks & Things That Go (Part 1)

Part One — The Decorations. I honestly, truly thought that for this party I was going to keep things simple, but the truth is that Simple & I aren’t good bed buddies. What we got instead was a full-on explosion of street signs, book pennants, box buildings, and vinyl roads. My brain just wouldn’t quiet down and I knew that if I didn’t “just do it” I would be bummed. So, here goes. Here’s a big fat “Cars & Trucks & Things That Go” KABOOM blast for you.Come on in and let’s get motoring. I mentioned before that I used the pages from about 5 books for this party which left me with the covers. I hung one book shell on the door as a welcome sign but covered Richard Scarry’s name with Wiley’s. Not sure if anyone even noticed that but I’ve realized that so many of these details are things that I do just because it makes me happy even if no one sees. Oh the things I spend my time on.Upon entering, guests were greeted with a license plate wall (more on that later in the week)……a pickle truck made from a box (Wiley’s favorite car in the book), and a vinyl ‘road’ leading you down the hallway and to the party.I bought an irregular 25 yard roll of vinyl on sale from US Cutter and added yellow duct tape to make a proper road. (I am selling it right now in my Etsy shop. *UPDATE* The road has been sold!) It turned out super rad, though I have to admit I totally felt like Dexter while preparing this thing. There’s something a little creepy about essentially tarping your living room. But once the yellow lines were in I felt better about the whole thing.We took all the furniture out of our living room so we could make a circular road for the kids to play on. We got out all of our big trucks, set up street signs, got our box city up and let the kids go bananas.The box city was based on buildings in the Richard Scarry Puzzletown toy that my brother, sister, and I grew up playing with. The real toy “town” decorated the tables. It’s truly the most creative toy ever that even though my parents still have the one we grew up with, we actually scoured eBay last year for all the packs to give my older son as his 3rd birthday gift. They love it just as much as I did.But back to the box buildings. I wanted to stay true to Scarry’s line-drawn style and since I’m not a perfectionist anyway, I kept things super loose by hand drawing the details and purposely not paying attention to keeping things super straight.Town Hall was in one corner……the barn in the other. (My mom made the barn sign which is why it looks better than everything else!) I used makedo bits to make working hinges on the doors. Pretty cool gear for box cities and box cars if you ask me!Using book pages (many of which were drawn on by previous owners and/or upside down… again – I’m no perfectionist!) and seam-binding, I sewed about what seemed like 20 miles worth of pennant banners and strung them throughout the house. (I am also selling these right here in my Etsy shop.) They tied the book into the party a little more and were so bright and colorful they just made me happy.Can you see some of the black sharpie on these pages? I’m glad that these essentially “ruined” books got another shot at life. (If you buy these, please note that they are NOT perfect but they look great all strung up together! Just want to manage expectations here!)I also used book pages to make the birthday boy’s banner. I just printed directly onto the page, cut it out, and sewed it up. This technique was also used for “the loo,” the bag room……and above the food table.Speaking of the loo……Goldbug (who is a big fixture in the book) turned up in there to say “Hi!” My mom had a license plate purse that we turned into a towel holder. Don’t neglect the bathroom, peeps! Now that I mention Goldbug, he seemed to turn up just about everywhere at the party! In the book, he is hidden on every page and my boys know exactly where he is on each one. Using that philosophy, I hid him all over the house. First he hid by the baseboards.Next, he turned up on a mirror.Then he hid behind the Yield sign on the mantle.And finally he popped his cute little face through the window in Town Hall.
Funny little bug. The mantle was decked out with a Dip sign (that my husband stole for me in high school because for some reason that’s what I wanted for Valentine’s Day. See? Even then I was off my rocker.) and a Yield sign that I think someone gave to me at some point because we just found it in our garage when I fished out the Dip sign. The license plates are part of a larger collection that I will explain later this week. I got a Lowly Worm piñata from Birthday Express and used it as mantle decor instead of hanging it. (More on this later in the week as well.) We also found a Lowly Worm stuffed animal that was on sale around Christmas so I snagged him up. My mom made ALL of the cool rosette things you’ve seen throughout the party. I love her perfect touches. We moved our couch and coffee table outside for the younger kids to play on and it worked out perfectly. We also set up the ‘town’ on the table outside so kids could gobble up their pizza while playing. And luckily for us, it didn’t rain – though it did the next morning! The party gods had my back that day!For favors, we sent each kiddo home with 10 personalized bookplates.I bought these cool business card sized clear boxes from Clear Bags. They were just what I had envisioned and I love when what’s in your mind actually was in someone else’s mind at one point too. Thank you Clear Bags! My mom has this fabulous display dealio that we’ve used for everything from cake pops to glitter animals and it was 100% perfect for displaying these.  These bookplates were printed on label paper so that they can be placed into the inside cover of books, so the back of the label was not pretty. Therefore, I put a little thank you note from Wiley in on the opposite side of the labels so it would be cute from all angles.The yellow pattern is supposed to mimic the “Golden Book” spine of the book itself. I’m not sure if the kids were excited about these favors or not – I’m sure they were a little underwhelmed and would have probably preferred a bag full of candy and a plastic yo-yo (I know I would have as a kid!) However, I know now that I’m a mom how much funky little junk can kids accumulate from God knows where so I didn’t want to add to the junk piles in anyone else’s house. If one person actually used these, I will feel pretty good about it.I printed on a page of the book again to make a pennant flag. “Find yours!” Now get out of here! 🙂  More posts to come on food, games, and the photobooth set-up the rest of this week! I hope you’ll keep coming back for more! Have the best day.


19 thoughts on “2nd Birthday Party :: Cars & Trucks & Things That Go (Part 1)

  1. Annika, my girls LOVED the book stickers!!! They wanted to put them on all of their books! But the stickers were so cute I had to approve what books we labeled so they were running around trying to find “their” hard-covered books that they could label! Of course, they both wanted to label the busy town book as theirs but I had to show them that it was already labeled for Ryan. Ha! Guess I know what needs to pop up one day as a surprise for each of the girls! Fun post!

  2. OH MY GOODNESS! This is the CUTEST birthday party ever!! I love it! I only wish I had done something like it when my son was into “things that go.” It also holds a special place in my heart because i am a huge Richard Scarry fan! Love it!
    PS–My parents have that same “eagle mirror” up in their house.

  3. I love this idea!! So much so that it has been the inspiration for my soon to be 2 year olds b-day party next month~
    Where did you get the image for your Goldbug??? Can’t find one anyhwere!!??!

  4. What a great party! I’m trying to create a similar one for my son and I was wondering, did you tape the vinyl to your floors somehow? Thanks for your help!

  5. Pingback: Busytown | Buenviaje(S)

  6. I just randomly stubbled onto your blog and I love it! I can’t stop saying “no way!” “so cool!” Your parties are amazing and the details are PERFECT! You are so so talented!

  7. my daughter is in love with finding goldbug! wondering about the goldbug cutout you posted around your house, did you make that? Thanks!

  8. I love this! Really wonderful ideas! I’m curious how you made the book labels. I’d love to do something similar.

  9. Annika,
    Wow, wow, wow!! You and your husband planned an amazing party for your 2 yr. old. We love it! I love Richard Scarry and grew up with his books. Right now my son is so into anything that goes! To start did you find your books on Amazon for cheap? Curious of your source for those. The book plates are such a wonderful take home, I so agree with you on not sending kids home with
    plastic junk. Did you create the template in Photoshop? Where did you have them printed? Look forward to hearing back from you.

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