"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." -John Muir
Evangeline's third birthday party was tucked away in a little redwood grove (that's an oxymoron if there ever was one). I was so happy with the way the party details came together, so here's a little backstory on how I decided on the theme.
This past year, Evangeline and I have loved exploring, learning, and reading about nature. We've just been so drawn in by its beauty. I kept thinking that the best way to celebrate would be to do so with California's State tree -- the redwood tree -- as the backdrop.
Even still, searching for the ideal party venue can be frustrating, especially when you live in San Francisco and all the desirable venues are booked months in advance. Throw in the requirement of a redwood grove and I was expecting to come up empty. But to my surprise, I quickly discovered Old Mill Park in Mill Valley, and seeing it in person sealed the deal. The park has a perfectly sized redwood grove surrounded by a playground and even a small creek.
Once I had the venue, I just let my imagination run free for a bit, and it didn't take long for the redwoods to inspire an enchanted forest theme. I generally allow our current interests to inspire her party themes. For instance, last year we were all about Paris, thus her Parisian Picnic Party was born (you can read more about that here).
From there, I headed over to Pinterest for some visual inspiration, but honestly, I can only handle it in small doses. Don't get me wrong, I love Pinterest, but it overwhelms me. I typically search some top-of-mind ideas, find some things I like, pin a couple photos, and then I'm done. I'll go back a couple more times during the planning process, but I can't be on it for too long. It's like shopping for me. I enjoy spending money on pretty things (just ask Hons), but the bigger the selection, the quicker I leave the site or store because I just can't handle all the options thrown at me.
With several pins in mind and thoughts of what an enchanted forest would look like, party details began to come together. There were a few things I was set on, like lots of greenery and flowers (thumbs up to SF Flower Mart), butterflies and fairy gardens (thank you Joann's for your 50% off sale), tulle, toadstool cupcakes (made by Safeway . . . what?!), a DIY flower crown, and a homemade cake (a future blog post will be solely dedicated to this cake).
But executing a vision does require help. Thankfully, I have wonderful friends and family who contributed to the planning and day-of preparations. Big thanks to my mom for the idea of the clever favors from Target. Target's dollar section had butterfly nets, bubbles, and small flower and vegetable pots with seeds and starter mix, so . . . our little friends left the party with "fairy nets," fairies (bubbles), and seeds and pots to build a fairy garden. (High five to the geniuses behind Target's dollar section!)
Celebrating our new three year old among the redwoods and watching her and her friends come alive in nature was beautiful, a reminder that the desire to be in nature is deep within each of us. I'll leave you with my tribute to the redwoods, who graciously hosted us as we wished our Evangeline a very happy birthday.
A redwood grove is magical. At first, the towering trunks with interlocking arm-in-arm branches resemble an inner circle, a secret fraternity where outsiders are not welcome. But soon, the golden sun rays peak through the green canopy above you and invite you in. Once you reach the center of the grove, under the protection and warmth of these ageless creatures, you begin to believe in its world of enchantment, where fairies, gnomes, and magic live.
(Most photos by my super talented husband, Hons)