May 17th, 2010
Early May is a busy time around here, with Sylvia’s birthday and my birthday only two days apart. I don’t mind the busy-ness so much, though. May is a great month for a birthday! With so many flowers blooming, it seems like nature shouts “Happy birthday!” to us every year. And the weather is usually cooperative for an outdoor party.
Remember the party garland I made for Sylvia’s birthday last year? About a month later I lent it to my next-door-neighbor for her daughter’s surprise birthday party. A couple of days after the party, my neighbor knocked on my door and sorrowfully announced that she’d lost the garland. (The party had been held at a local church, and she’d put some of her daughter’s friends in charge of hanging the decorations. No one knows what happened to the garland.)
She felt just awful about this, but honestly I wasn’t too upset about it. She offered to make a new one for me, but I decided on a compromise instead: she could do all the cutting. She (happily!) did this while watching the Winter Olympics and gave the pieces to me in plenty of time for sewing them together into a new garland. And this one, at 80+ feet long, is even longer than last year’s 60-foot-long version!
Sylvia wanted to help made decorations, too. So Jan created a skull-and-crossbones stencil that she could place over construction paper and paint with craft paint. When the “pirate flags” were dry, we glued on eye sockets and nose openings cut from black construction paper, then strung the flags on some yarn.*
Jan is an awesome baker, which means that Sylvia gets pretty amazing birthday cakes each year. (Remember last year’s fairy cake?) To match this year’s pirate theme, he created a three-dimensional pirate ship. This is chocolate cake, with reduced-raspberry-jam “glue” in a few places, covered with chocolate buttercream. The cannons are Rollos, the ropes are red licorice, and the cannonballs were Whoppers. We even managed to find gelatin-free gummi-style sea creatures. And the whole thing is sailing on a sea of baked meringue.
My own birthday was a more low-key affair but just as enjoyable. We went out for high tea, then spent the afternoon flying kites in a park. Awesome.
*Red Heart acrylic yarn is pretty vile stuff. Seriously–I think I’d rather knit with boogers than with that stuff. But it is useful to have a skein of it on hand for kid-oriented crafts.