Growing up, we always celebrated my birthday at home. After school, entire class would fall in line (there were less than 30 of us) and we would walk to my house (I lived like 5 minutes away, and when I was in Kinder, I used to go home every time the teacher told us to go to the bathroom). My mom, aunts and uncle would work for weeks before my party, making invitations, decorations and party favors. I recently chatted with a grade-school classmate, and she said they so looked forward to my parties every year.
My ultimate, all-time, absolutely most favorite party was my seventh. Since I was already a bookworm way back then, my mom decided to have books as a theme. My aunt wrote and illustrated a story that worked in all the party details; then they mimeographed copies (computers and printers and all that weren't used back then); then cut up each page and hand-colored each drawing; my uncle cut up illustration board to make a cover for each book invitation, which my aunt drew on again. Imagine making more than 30 pieces of that! The giveaways were candies and little toys in a 'book' box my mom made from cardboard, with the name of each guest written on the spine. During the party the giveaways were arranged on the shelf, like a library. They cooked all the food (yes, the usual spaghetti and hotdogs and barbecue), organized all the games and did all the hosting. Only when the party was done did the adults come to pick up their kids.
Anyway, that was a rather long intro to this post on planning and executing Raine's first party. I wanted her party to be like mine, and my sisters'. I didn't want store bought stuff, or party professionals. But given that 1) Raine's guest list was huge, since it was her dedication and birthday celebration; 2) our current house wouldn't fit all the guests; and 3) even if it did, I don't think I can cook that large scale. So I settled for having it in Mario's Kitchen in Tiendesitas instead.
Mario's offered to do balloon centerpieces for the tables (for an additional fee, of course) to make it more festive, but I declined. For one thing, what will you do with the balloons after the party? I don't think they're quite environment friendly as well. And also, I am such a cheapskate. I can't imagine spending P1,200 for balloons. So in the tradition of our Baguio parties, I decided to make my own centerpieces.
I liked the idea of some friends of ours, who had their photos at the wedding reception tables. I thought it was a good idea to let people see pictures of Raine as she grew up (and besides, it was good use, other than Multiply, for the thousands of pictures I had of Raine). So I decided to make a rock-and-wire photo holder. Theoretically, it's easy to make. You get a rock, paint it, let it dry, twist wire on and voila! Artsy-craftsy photo holder. Ha! Little did I know.
For one thing, did you know that these days you have to buy rocks? I remember being able to walk around Baguio and rocks were everywhere for the picking (I can imagine myself old and in the rocking chair, saying things like, "Rocks? Rocks? Bah! In my day we didn't need to buy rocks! Oh...you were talking about socks?")! Unless, of course, I went around the village going through the neighbors' landscaped yards, you apparently can no longer pick up rocks these days. Fortunately, my in laws had a nice collection of river stones that they used in a school project (the in laws run a school in San Pablo), so they hauled the rocks from the bukid over to our house for painting.
Now painting was a different thing entirely. I mean how difficult can it be to paint a rock? In my mind, it was such a duh task. And so I kept putting off painting the rocks. Until the day before the party. My friend Stef (Raine's Tishpy--or godmother) came over to help. I am so glad she did. Because I discovered painting rocks is not that easy, especially if you're as--ahem--artistically uninclined as I apparently am. My first rock looked like a bad case of chicken pox and zits. Taking pity on me (and the rocks), Stef said, "Paint stripes...no one can go wrong with stripes." And still Stef had to coach me on how to paint stripes! Ayayay. Putting the wire on wasn't easy either; I couldn't figure out how to use the long nose pliers at first, but I eventually got the hang of it. So long story short, I ended up with only 24 out of the originally planned 40 rock photo holders (I couldn't in good conscience hold Stef hostage until she finished all the rocks).
In the end, I think they came out rather nice. Thanks so much, Stef! You are such a blessing! Oh, and Fuji Film in Glorietta had a great printing promo, so I spent half of what I expected for the prints, so that was another blessing. As I mentioned in my previous post, we have experienced such blessings and favor since Raine came into our lives. And we are grateful.