Birthday House Party On a Budget

I’m a packrat, coupon clipper and a daydream believer, and I love to make something out of precious little, be it a book out of an idea or a party out of a shoestring.

We celebrated our youngest grandchild’s 9th birthday a week ago.  She wanted a sleepover with The Wizard of Oz as the theme.  Perfect! says Nana.  There’s a limit of 6 on sleepovers, but no limit on the magic.  Because we seldom use our living room, we can take a week decorating.  Out comes the party box—bits of fabric (also used for dress-up and costumes), strings of white lights, hats, colored paper, and assorted treasures I’ve picked up on holiday clearance—and we start scouring the internet for ideas.

The Wizard of Oz is almost too easy.  We have a glorious witch’s hat, put it on a black paper puddle, green cutout hands, wrote “I’m melting” in chalk.  We watched the movie and put out signs with movie quotations all over the place.  We didn’t have to do much shopping, and when we did, we used our 40 or 50% off Michael’s and Joann’s coupons.  Here are some of our party bits:

I use Smilebox to make invitations, birthday cards, thank you notes.  Often I use a photo in the invite, but this time I wanted Oz.  Thank you note features party photo.  You can e-mail, but I prefer to print.  Smilebox is $6 a month, and I only subscribe by the month.
.001 invite (2)
My favorite bakery offers half price Groupons periodically.  I get them when a special occasion is coming up before the expiration date.  Love Groupon.
Yellow brick road is 2 yards of felt.  Munchkin land back drop is folded tag board from Michael’s.  Birthday girl painted the landscape.  Bottom right is a Michael’s birdhouse she painted—witch of the East is underneath.  The little dolls are from McDonald’s a few years back.  I have the whole Wizard of Oz set.
Two $2 plastic tablecloths cut up to turn lighted curio cabinet into Emerald City.  Look closely—the yellow brick road has a hopscotch board.  Other activities included making paper Munchkin houses, Apples To Apples board game, and glow stick jewelry to highlight a dance party.
Two or three shades of tulle on a length of thin wire and a few cutouts from the internet and voila!  Instant tornado.
No store-bought centerpiece—just the ball, please.  The balloon basket is a stack of plastic bangle bracelets in a plastic bag.
It only took one roll of each rainbow color of crepe paper streamer to deck the window, fireplace, chandelier and a few other places.  The sign:  “Lions+Tigers+Bears…”
Dorothy is from my doll collection.  It’s hard to see my apple tree, but it’s a diamond willow stick—the knots look like faces—with nearly invisible wire branches with a few cutout leaves and apples.
Party favor baskets and most of the filling—little puppies, little grow-your-own poppy seed kits, rainbow glitter nail files, lollipop—came from Joann’s and Target’s dollar section during the post-Valentine’s Day 70% off.  The dress on the wall was b’day girl’s Halloween from toddler days.  Used lots of printouts and coloring pages from the internet.
Breakfast:  a basket of apples, a basket of strawberries, a basket of blueberry muffins.  Six sleepy girls won’t eat much.

Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?  Are you crafty?  What’s the best part of partying for you?

I’ll send an Amazon or Barnes & Noble e-book download of my new (March) Special Edition ONE LESS LONELY COWBOY to one randomly chosen visitor who comments today.  (U.S. winners have the option of a print copy.)



About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in birthday parties, book giveaway, free book, Kathleen Eagle. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Birthday House Party On a Budget

  1. All the details are fabulous! I hope the party was great fun.

  2. TrishJ says:

    OMGoodness. I want to be on your party list. This looked like more fun than a Disney trip. I bet those kids will talk about this party for months. Good Job. I am definately a good witch, but the good witch has more fun. I just wish I were crafty, I have too many thumbs. 😉

  3. Teresa Hughes says:

    I am a bad witch. I am not crafty at all! Luckily my 19 year-old daughter is. And when I really need help by best friend can make about anything. So they are my craft suppliers. It sounds like your granddaughter’s party was great

  4. Jody Vitek says:

    I was a good witch but now I’m bad. I don’t have the time or patience to do all the work. Fantastic job Kathleen! Some great ideas to help inspire others. Hope you survived and the girls appreciated and enjoyed every moment.

  5. Kathleen O says:

    WOW you did a fantastic job… I am in between the two.. There are something’s I can do, like think up the themes, but putting them together is another story, because I am not crafty… But I do great table decorations.. Learned at the hand of my grandmother. In fact my St. Patrick day table gets set up this weekend…. She always told me it was not the quantity but the quality of what you did that made a great table..

    PS.. I had your book on pre-order… I will bow out from the contest part…

  6. michelehauf says:

    Wow! Are you sure you’re not a party planner in your other life? Very cool. Those grandkids are very lucky! (As I’m sure their grandma feels the same way.)

  7. Marcia in OK says:

    I second the WOW! What lucky girls. They may not realize it now, but when the think back someday – it’ll be WOW again for them.

    I too love making something special from not much. I have a sweet 16 and and a Turns 13 coming this summer. Ideas are already rolling around in my head. I suspect both will be sleepovers!

    Congratulations on the book!

    • Ohhh, 16 and 13. Must be girls if you’re doing sleepovers. One idea that’s gone over big for me twice now is finger lights. You can find them in bunches cheaply on the internet. Great summertime fun after dark.

  8. loisgreiman says:

    Oh, Kathy…grandparenting done to perfection!! I’m so proud of you. Look at that! It’s all gorgeous and you let Kraya paint the background and you spent all that time. I think time is everything. Fantastic job. I’d like to take grandmother lessons from you.

  9. Nicole says:

    B-day party planning are so much fun. I used to do theme party when my girls were younger. Now, they are college students so we do the family dinner instead.
    Wonderful decorations! I’m sure they had a great time.

  10. Leanna H says:

    Wow I could never do all that creative. I am usually in charge of the food for a party.

  11. Cindy Gerard says:

    That party looks so fantastic, Kathy. And the fact that the kids helped create OZ is something they’ll remember for a very long time. Kudos!!

  12. Quilt Lady says:

    What a cute idea! I am not very crafty at all other then making quilts and you kind of follow a pattern with those. You done a fabulous job with this.

  13. roxrustand says:

    I am in awe. You are one fabulous and creative grandma–and are making wonderful memories by turning parties into such an event!! This is just so cool. I wish I were half as creative as you!

  14. MaryC says:

    Lucky granddaughter!
    My last project was a crocheted tablecloth for my Mom’s birthday – the smile on her face was the best thank you.

  15. laurieg72l says:

    I’m sending these wonderful ideas on to my daughter. My granddaughter is only 1 1/2 but you can never plan too early for birthday parties!

  16. Emma says:

    ONE LESS LONELY COWBOY sounds wonderful.

  17. Pingback: Eagles’ Nest Becomes Hogwarts School | Riding With The Top Down

  18. Jolie says:

    Superb, what a web site it is! This website provides helpful facts to us,
    keep it up.

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