I’ll be honest, I’m still recovering from this weekend. I feel a little stunned but also immensely happy and proud. My vision came to life before my eyes and Ella had the best day. So without further ado, The Nutcracker Ballet in honor of Ella Belle.
I always do a party showstopper and these “Tutu Curtains” I created were definitely the focal part of the party (besides Ella, of course).
So these weren’t my original intention– I wanted to make pink paper Christmas trees but I didn’t love the way they were looking. But I noticed that the folded paper looked a lot like tutus and after some experimenting, I came up with this tiered tutu wall. And I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out! I’ll do a post on how to make this yourself (it takes a bit of time but it’s actually really simple to put together!) and more of the inspiration behind it.
I like to do activity stations at parties– it keeps more occupied and normally keeps them all from congregating in one spot. This was the Sugar Plum Fairy Station. I found these adorable Nutcracker-themed party hats and I put out star stickers and glittery face paint so that the girls could transform into fairies. To add decor, I strung flower heads on fishline (a lot of the party was inspired by the Waltz of the Flowers) and added trees and a sugar plum fairy ornament.
They each got a little tutu as well. (Ella’s tutu outfit is from Plum NYC)
The mantle was sort of a mini-showstopper. Purely decorative because it’s in such a prominent place in the room. So I had to have pictures of Ella and trinkets related to the theme. I painted unfinished nutcrackers and put up trees (my bottle brush tree obsession from last year really paid off!)
And my neighbor made the most beautiful banner for Ella– I just went to Michael’s and picked out the paper and she did the rest!
Besides dressing up, I made two craft stations. The first was the “Wanderful” station where the girls would decorate wooden wands and pick ribbons to tie around them. This was a huge hit!
I love the tassel garland because I customized it. I bought the iridescent tassels and put them together and then strung them on fishline (my new favorite DIY tool) with Nutcracker gift tags I found. The colors complemented each other so well.
At every station, I had the activity and some decor that would either have a function (like the candle stick holding the ribbons) or wouldn’t interfere with the activity (like the trees and lollipops in the mason jar).
I was the most nervous about the last activity station but the kids were really into it. I guess if they get to paint, they’re happy.
Ella actually helped me with this idea; she said she wanted to turn the fireplace into a stage where the girls could dance. I couldn’t really think of a way to do that but that inspired me to figure out a way the girls could make stages themselves. I toyed with the idea of dioramas but that seemed way too labor intensive and then I came up with these canvas stages. I hot glued tulle and fabric to make them look like curtains and provided the girls with wooden ballerinas and nutcrackers.
So they could decorate the canvas to look like a scene from the Nutcracker (or indiscriminate painting, which is what most of them did, haha!) and then paint the characters to go with it. To keep the mess down, I used these dot paint markers. And even with 10 girls, all 5 and younger, absolutely zero paint got on the walls or furniture.
And then to decorate this area, I placed Ella’s “5” balloon next to the table and taped extra cupcake toppers to the wall. Very simple but kept with the delicate and pretty atmosphere I tried to create.
The last piece of this main party room was the tablescape. I wanted to set a table for the girls to gather and eat their cupcakes. Of course, they ended up just eating them in the kitchen but I enjoyed setting it up so not a waste in my book.
Give me all the angles.
I always imagined our living room being the main party area (this lighting, hello?!) but with the Tutu Curtains, I knew I couldn’t put a ton of pictures up on the walls as well. It would be too busy. But I feel like my signature is doing photo collages of the kids at their parties so we can see how much they’ve grown. So I did pictures in two spots, the entryway and the dining room.
I didn’t really have a plan when I started either of these photo walls, I just kind of figured them out as I went along. For the entryway, I put the pictures on snowflakes in roughly chronological order and I love seeing that progression.
I love the entryway decor too because the colors of the trees match the colors of the Nutcracker book my mom gave to Ella a few years ago.
For the dining room photo wall, I taped the pictures to extra plates I had and a sort of constellation out of them. I don’t know why, but stars were an inspiration for me with this party. They’re not strictly on theme but I wanted to create a sort of twinkly and magical atmosphere and stars just seemed to fit perfectly.
Finally, you can’t have a Nutcracker themed party without a desserts table. The official Land of Sweets.
This was another set up that I had general ideas for but you can’t really know what it’s going to look like until you’re putting it together. That’s the really fun and creative part of the process but also the stressful part of planning! Some things you just can’t know until the day of the party. I even had a few other places in mind to set up the Land of Sweets display but I kept coming back to the idea of hanging the banner (another masterpiece from my neighbor) from the ceiling.
The sweets were my favorite vanilla cupcakes and the cutest sugar cookies from a local bakery.
I also put some candy in different apothecary jars. I picked candy that would match the color scheme.
Then to decorate the table, I added nutcrackers, flowers, and more trees.
I don’t know if these parties are getting bigger because each year I’m gaining more confidence or going a little more insane but I have to say, this has probably been my favorite one to put together. My favorite colors, such a nostalgic and meaningful theme to both me and Ella, and our first one in our new home. I have so many great memories from this weekend and from planning this event with Ella. She inspires me so much and it gives me such joy to create these little worlds for her. I hope you enjoyed experiencing it with us.