Oh My Gosh! Where does the time go? How is she already 2??!! I, once again, got emotional as I was making her cake (Does this feeling ever go away?? Does my mom still cry on my birthday ?lol). But it didn't last long! I have (mostly) reconciled with the fact that she is not a baby anymore, She is a full blown kid! And she is fantastic! Her little brain is growing like crazy and I love watching it happen right before my eyes! She started with the "whats this?" and "why?" questions this week & I love trying to explain things to her! So, to all you mommas (and daddy's) out there that might be struggling with how fast your little ones are growing, know that it these next phases are SO MUCH FUN!!!
So...this being her 2nd birthday & the fact that we just got back from our Hawaii trip less than a week ago I told myself that we were just going to have a small bbq with close family & friends. No theme. No invitations. Easy Peasy!
Then I got on pinterest and it was all over! 1 TeFiti Banner & a Moana cake from scratch later we had a party! haha! I made everything myself (with the help of my most artistic & creative friend Dori!). It was super fun to do & didn't take up too much time (but Ill also give you some links to similar items you can buy for less than $10 if crafting isn't your thing!!)
I was searching Pinterest & came across this picture! It was the inspiration for the entire party! And anyone that has seen the movie Moana knows that the TeFiti scene brings all the feels!! SO I loved the idea of her being the focus of the banner! And I could buy the printable fromthis etsy shop (and you know how much I love supporting small businesses & it comes with some extra super awesome printable for table decorations too!!) but I REALLY wanted the flowers to be Plumerias (since Ashlyn's middle name is Hawaiian for Plumeria-Melia) & I love to craft.... So, I decided to get all my paper supplies out, make a quick run to The Lakeshore Learning Store for the green backdrop paper, called Dori & got started!
Cut out the flowers & leaves. I used this pinterest link for inspiration on the leaves. It helped guide us but was ended up freehand cutting them instead of making a pattern. They were pretty easy and we could make all different sizes! I messed up on a bunch of them (like by cutting the into the center instead of from the edges...I swear I don't know hoe I get through he day sometimes!)
For the Leaves We Cut:
16 Large Leaves-10 light green, 6 dark green
8 each of medium, small & really small leaves for TeFiti's hair decorations-16 light green, 8 dark green
For the Plumerias:
ok, these were A LOT harder than I thought they would be. SO MANY FAILS!!! Thank goodness I was able to use 3 of them (with a lot of glueing to the leaves so they would stand up...). I had found a tutorial on making them but the tutorial was for a much smaller finished product. In hindsight, I probably would've been happy with a bunch of smaller plumerias but the image in my head at the time said BIG! so I went BIG!
For The Hair
I happen to have rolls of this brown paper so I cut them into 12" x 54" strips & rolled them up lengthwise and twisted them into "hair". This was the easiest part of the entire process!lol!
For the size of your banner, I wanted mine to fit just above my table so I measured it (54") then added 3" to each side for a total of 60" wide. But this is totally adjustable depending on how big you want it to be.
I started by laying everything out where I wanted it to go. First I placed the hair tendrils, 2 on each side. Then I placed the leaves across the top. I had to make some adjustments so the colors were spaced how I wanted them. Then I used my glue gun to glue down the hair tendrils, then the leaves, then the paper Plumerias. Then I grouped together 3 of the med/sm/xsm leaves & paper flowers for the hair decorations and glued those to the hair, staggering on each tendril (In the photos you see that I did this step 2nd but I should've waited so they were more visible as the top ones got lost in the bigger leaves-you live you learn.). I let it all sit to dry overnight (not that that was necessary at all for the glue since that dries very quickly, but I wanted it to lay flat to the paper didn't "roll" as much).
The very last thing I did was to draw the face. I procrastinated on this for days! I was so happy with the way the rest turned out, I knew I could ruin it all if I messed this up! I thought about tracing it by making my own DIY projector (seriously, whats wrong with me?). Finally, on the day of the party, once it was up on the wall, I got one of Ashlyns dark green crayons and went for it! Completely free hand! And Whew!!! It turned out ok. Not perfect but ok. SO, If I could do it again I might draw the face first. Before glueing anything. That way if I mess up I can get a new piece of paper and start over. No pressure!
I love to decorate cakes! It is so much fun & I love tapping into this creative side of things. But IM TERRIBLE at it!!! Like most crafty things, I do the pinterest inspiration then trial and error method of learning. So while I have this grand idea in my head as to what its going to look like, the finished product is usually somewhere between that and total pinterest FAIL! lol!!
And when it comes to baking-T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E!!!!! I just don't have the knack for it, but I keep trying anyway! And I found this recipe this time & it actually turned out ok!!! Like, really ok!! yay!!!! CLICK HERE for the White Funfetti Cake Recipe!! I made 3-9" cake layers. If I do this cake again I would do smaller diameter (maybe 6") and go to 4 layers so its taller and thinner.
I really like the frosting recipe that goes with this cake (its super yummy) but I would double the amount. I definitely wish I had more for the filling and frosting the cake.
While the cake layers were cooking I created the Fondant Flowers. I have NEVER EVER used fondant for anything so this was all new to me! And there are 2 HUGE things I would do next time and will save you the time & effort for your project:
I found that once the petals are cut out and laid out in a fan shape & you pick them up and wrap them around, they instantly become a beautiful flower!!! So pretty! then i used a new paint brush to "paint" the dust on each flower, doing each one a little differently. the powder goes on very lightly so don't be afraid to use more to layer the color so its darker. I only got 2 colors-pink & yellow (they aren't cheap) but next time id like to add blues & purples !
DECORATING THE CAKE
Place a piece of parchment paper (makes for an easy transition to a cake plate but if you are going to use the turntable for the display you do not need to use it) on a cake decorating turntable (if you don't have one, its ok, just make the process a lot easier) Then place the first layer of cake on the parchment paper and layer the 3 tiers of the cake with frosting in between each layer. I left the frosting white for this but you could use blue or do something fun with some oranges or pinks as well.
For the outside I started with the top first. I added 2 small drops of blue food coloring to the entire batch of frosting then used that to coat the top. Then I put a couple of spoonfuls into my decorator bag and, using a wide open tip, went around the top 1" of the cake. Then added another few drops of blue to the frosting and repeated this step again leaving a little space in between. Repeat with more food coloring and another strip until you have reached the bottom of your cake. (HINT-Keep a little from each color level for touchups if needed)
Then, using a frosting smoother at a 45 degree angle, turn the cake turntable as you smooth the frosting against the cake and blend the colors together, creating that Ombre look. Voila!! You have a frosted cake!
Lift the cake off the turntable with the parchment paper. Peel back the paper as you gently place the cake on a cake plate. Refrigerate to set the frosting-approx 30 min-1 hr.
I used brown sugar around the base of the cake for sand. The I placed my Plumerias & figurines around the base and on top. I found the Maui figurine was heavy so I used a toothpick for extra support. The plumerias were easy and didn't need anything to hold them on but if you did them down the sides of the cake you might want to try using a toothpick.
Enjoy & Good Luck with Your DIY Moana Party!!!