Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mum's 70th Birthday

No, don't wish her a happy birthday, I am just remembering this day as it was the first family party I was solely responsible for planning and hostessing. It was in July of 2007.
A winter party.... that meant hot food, plenty of tea and coffee but with soft drink for the teenagers. I had to even out the oven temperature between contradictory recipe heat requirements and adjust the time to suit.... I like brain work so making the timetable for that was strangely fun. As was making the shopping lists.
The cake, well, I wanted mum to have a unique cake, not the traditional chocolate that we each have for our days, and not the fruitcake with orchid icing that marks a special birthday. Something that said it was a cake for my mother. This is what I did. I made two large sponge cakes and sliced them into four layers each (if you know what I mean). On a golden foil covered cake board I assembled my apricot cream sponges into one super cake(the layers of the two separate cakes pushed together). The bottom layer had apricot jam and cream applied. The next layer had just cream. The middle layer had jam, pieces of actual apricot, and then cream applied. Repeat until the top, which simply had clear glaze of apricot jam spread all over. Next I applied cream to the sides of the cake and piped cream across the top join where the two separate cakes met. On the morning of her party, I went out into her garden and snipped some fresh white camellias off her beautiful giant shrubs. They were perfect, not a speck or discolouration or water stain on any of them, they sat in the centre of the join in a lovely arrangement. I put a gold 70 from a cake decorating set, and applied golden star candles on toothpicks and one large candle 'happy birthday'.
I even had time to invent an activity at the last minute the morning of the party. I ran to the spare room and found a large white board of fairly stiff cardboard. Then I got lots of different coloured pieces of paper and on each one wrote a lovely memory or achievement from mum's life. For example meeting my father, the day they got married, getting her nursing qualifications, owning a show winning kitten, travelling in her youth with girlfriends etc And applied each paper memory on the board, then I blew up more balloons then one person should ever inflate by mouth unassisted. Each balloon was applied to the cardboard panel so that the whole thing was covered with no gaps (ribbon tied around balloon base then stickytaped onto the board). The concept was that mum had to remove the balloons one by one and read out the paper underneath for all the guests to hear. It was enjoyed by all, whether they shared the memory or were learning of the achievement for the first time, very bonding and enlightening and lots of laughs were had.
I made my first ever party hat for mum, a crown from a christmas cracker, with an aqua star glued on, with the numbers 70 from a cake set glued on, and some sparkly stick on gems, for her to wear while she blew out her birthday candles. I now make many a birthday crown, but that was the first, and she was very surprised.
So, that was my first family party, I remember it fondly, and it gives me the confidence for future party planning. I intend to post some more party activity ideas (mostly for children) down the track, and my idea for a 'no-tears' Easter egg hunt.... stay tuned. Love Starry


Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Starry!

Great post! My sister & I did an 80th birthday party for our mom many years ago. It was a challenge since we had to organize it from out of town! AND it was a surprise party which was incredibly hard to keep from her. But we did and it was a great surprise and success! Whew! What a challenge!!

Your party sounds like it was WONDERFUL! Everyone should have a big birthday party once or twice in their life. Just to realize how many people love and care about them! Great job Starry!!

hugs, Sherry

Starry said...

Hi Sherry, I'm glad you liked it, it sounds like you and your sister had fun (even with the difficutlties) organizing your mom's special day. Labour of love, nothing compares to knowing you are going the extra mile for someone special.
I keep on enjoying your blog, by the way I keep forgetting when I comment that your home and your lovely pets are beautiful,
xxx Starry

mandy said...

Great party by the sounds of things Starry....
I must admit I love organising parties but they can be hard work and I never seem to be able to relax when hosting them...I haven`t mastered that side of things yet...
It`s a big challenge when they are surprise parties...We did one many years ago for a 25th Wedding anniversary... Keeping it secret from the couple was the easy part it was trying to hide all the visitors cars that was

Starry said...

Hi Mandy, I was fortunate in that mum knew we were having a party, but the balloon game was a secret and I was sure she would hear the bobble bobble of the balloons jostling each other as I blew them up in a small room, I could hardly move for all the loose balloons! I did have to find a way to get out of the room without bursting any when I needed to go to the bathroom halfway through, it was like painting yourself into a corner!
I know how it is to not get a chance to sit and enjoy the party when you are the hostess, but this one wasn't so bad once it started, it was the hours beforehand that kept me scary busy.
Well, I must see what is new in your world, xxx Starry