I wanted to post this before winter is entirely over and mittens are, at least for a little while, long forgotten. Because as relentless as the winter sometimes seems, the time will come for sure.
Elliot has a December birthday, so this year due to moving and general newness at his school, we decided to postpone his birthday celebration until January. I sort of figure that during the busiest season of the year, people have very little time or patience for a child's birthday party, let alone a child who has just transferred into the school. I have to say this was a wonderful decision, because his party came near the end of January, when in snowy Michigan parents and children alike are willing to do just about anything to get out of the house on yet another weekend morning.
We headed out to the Kalamazoo Nature Center with thirteen friends for Winter Tales themed birthday party. The birthday boy planned the menu- chocolate cupcakes, hot chocolate and pizzelles dusted with "snow." Be warned that you should know how you will prepare and transport hot chocolate for thirty odd people (well, the people weren't odd) before you promise it to your five year old. But with the purchase of a pump pot disaster was averted and very dark hot chocolate was delivered for the birthday boy-- who didn't even consume it, because it was, um, hot.
It seemed a very nice time was had by all, even though at times it was a bit chaotic. Following the telling of the folktale "The Mitten," a brief animal scavenger hunt, and some gift opening, we handed out our favors and sent the kids free to run, er, I mean roam about the place.
So, the favors. The nature center provided a goody bag with the price of the party, but it was just trinket-y stuff, you know the kind of stuff kids just love, and parents love to hate. Elliot and I decided to give a little something else and happened upon some plain cotton tote bags on sale 3 for $3. (I've since seen them at JoAnn's for 3 for $8ish, but with the 40% coupon this is a fairly good deal) He wanted to take them home and paint them right away, but I prefer a more planned approach to crafting, so while he was sleeping I ironed a few cute gender neutral prints to some HeatnBond Ultrahold iron-on adhesive and cut them into a mitten shape. I then ironed this applique to the bags. They were very fast, I may have done all 14 of them in 1 1/2 hours, and I'm not a terribly quick crafter. Someone like Hillary could easily turn out a few hundred in that time frame.
I wanted to show these here, because aside from the obvious use as tote bags, I thought these could also make nice reusable gift bags and really would be less expensive than the paper ones that many people buy for $2 or $3. In addition to ironing on patterned fabrics, you could also freezer paper stencil, add a button closure, etc. And they could be used again either as tote bags or gift bags. And of course, they aren't restricted to being used for children only. They come in many shapes and sizes and could be used for upcoming holidays like Easter or Mother's Day.
It's been really fun seeing these pop up here and there at school. And it's nice to know that they will be used a bit before they end up in a landfill. I was really surprised by how much waste was created by having a birthday party away from home, and this is just one nice way to cut down on the waste.