picklesink

A mom, a dad, and two nutty kids.

Molly’s (last-minute) Crock-A-Doodle Birthday Party

Things got a little crazy around Molly’s birthday this year, what with March Break and my mom’s broken hip and all that jazz, so we didn’t manage to plan Molly’s birthday party until a month after her actual birthday. (Poor second-born children, always getting the shaft…)

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“Happy Birthday Molly!” message on chalkboard
©PicklesINK 2013

I had glanced at the Crock-A-Doodle pottery-painting website a while ago and put it on the back burner, thinking, “Probably better for an older group,” but then went back to it and decided to give it a shot – Best. Decision. Ever.

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Crock-A-Doodle logo on plate glazed with paint choices
©PicklesINK 2013

A birthday party at Crock-A-Doodle includes use of the party room for 1.5 hours, 1 piece of pottery for each guest to paint,

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Some of the pieces from which to choose – plates and wands
©PicklesINK 2013

a tile decorated with the birthday child’s handprint and guests’ thumbprints, staff to organize everything and instruct the children (In fact, for older kids, they require the grown-ups to leave – “No, no, we insist! You MUST go and have a coffee and leave the chaos to us!”), and crayons and colouring sheets for children who finish their pieces early.

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Ben hard at work painting his ice cream bowl
©PicklesINK 2013

The paint is all washable and non-toxic.

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Paint palette with 6 paints and paintbrushes
©PicklesINK 2013

Once everyone is finished painting, you use the rest of the time for food and cake.

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Molly blowing out the candles on her pink and purple princess cupcakes!
©PicklesINK 2013

Package pricing is based on 8 participants – if you invite more guests, you pay for each extra piece and if you have fewer, you receive the balance on a gift card.

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Friends hard at work on their cereal bowls
©PicklesINK 2013

Once your party is finished, the pieces are labeled with the children’s names, glazed and kiln-fired to a glossy, food-safe finish, packaged, and ready for pick-up in a week to deliver to your guests as a “loot bag” that will last forever!

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Finished “cat” tile by Emma
©PicklesINK 2013

The kids all had a great time and made some really lovely artwork. The time flew by – there was just enough time for painting that the kids (aged 3-6) didn’t get bored or frustrated, and then time afterwards for some snacks and cake.

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More friends concentrating hard on their pieces!
©PicklesINK 2013

The staff were attentive and knowledgeable and kept things moving along. They were able to gauge the kids’ abilities and let the younger children do their thing while giving the older kids (and parents) tips like how to make polka-dots (you use the wooden end of the paintbrush, FYI). The handprint tile was a great birthday souvenir for our family.

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Staff member helping Molly make her pink and purple handprint
©PicklesINK 2013

The whole Crock-A-Doodle party concept was a great fit for us. It was a perfect party for Molly, who loves doing any type of craft, as do most of her friends. For the last few years I’ve been trying to stay away from “treat bags” with lots of little things in them, so the idea that the item they painted became each guest’s take-home treat suited me to a T, and as an incentive to return Crock-A-Doodle throws in a $5 gift-card for each guest.

Finished products

Ben’s ice cream bowl and Molly’s magic wand.
©PicklesINK 2013

Finally, the recyclable tissue paper and paper bags within a reusable shopping bag that everything was packaged in was the sustainable icing on the cake!

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Ben and Molly hold up their carefully packaged pieces
©PicklesINK 2013

The cake, by the way, was from Sobeys, which was also a great choice: The cake and icing are yummy, prices are very reasonable, and the bakery only requires 24 hours’ notice. Molly requested pink and purple princess cupcakes, and as you can see, we got exactly that!

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Molly’s birthday cake/cupcake combination
©PicklesINK 2013

In sum, I would be all fired up to do another birthday party at Crock-A-Doodle – You might say Crock-A-Doodle is kiln it with this birthday party thing. All in all, Molly was pretty happy with her 3rd birthday party, and that was the most important part!

Handprint tile

Molly shows off her handprint tile (while making a very silly face!)
©PicklesINK 2013

~ karyn

Do you do birthday parties? What has been your favourite idea?

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Life is a great big canvas

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.

~ Danny Kaye (1913-1987)

I picked up the raw materials for a craft for Ben and Molly a little while ago and have been saving them for a rainy day. The opportunity presented itself last week so I set them up and let them go to it!

Cotton swab (Q-tip) painting on canvas – materials:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Paint
  • Small white canvases
  • Egg carton
  • Painting smocks

Paint, cotton swabs, canvases and egg carton.
©PicklesINK 2012

I put a different colour of paint into each egg cup and stuck a cotton swab in each. The only instruction I gave to Ben and Molly was to use each cotton swab for only one colour. I wanted them to be able to mix the colours on the canvas while keeping them unique in the cups.

Molly painting a pink line.
©PicklesINK 2012

Molly, true to form, immediately picked the “pretty, pretty pink!” (With some urging from Ben – “Look Molly! There’s pretty pretty pink paint!” – There’s a bit of a chicken or egg situation when it comes to Molly’s love for bubblegum colour.)

Ben, painting coloured shapes.
©PicklesINK 2012

Ben started with his favourite colour, green, and concentrated on making distinct shapes, one of each colour.

One of the things I find really neat about Ben and Molly is how close they are to one another and how interested they are in each other’s activities. I was wandering around tidying etc. while they were painting but snapped pictures occasionally of what I thought what their singular focus on their own paintings. I didn’t realize until I looked at the pictures on the computer screen tonight that I had captured two very typical Ben and Molly moments:

Molly watching Ben paint.
©PicklesINK 2012

Molly taking a break from her painting to watch intently as Ben paints;

Ben watching Molly paint.
©PicklesINK 2012

And vice versa.

Ben has always struggled with his fine motor skills (inasmuch as what he is capable of producing does not match up to his satisfaction with the picture in his head, which frustrates him), so drawing and painting have not generally been his favourite activities. He seemed to find the cotton swabs an easy tool to manipulate and he concentrated very hard to paint one shape in each colour. He was incredibly proud to sign his name to his finished product and wants to hang it in his room!

Molly started out painting directly on the canvas and then took the craft in a uniquely Molly direction and started painting her fingers and hands and making prints for a neat effect of layered multi-coloured handprints.

While watching Molly start painting her hands for a second painting, Ben said, “Oh no, Mommy! Do you see what the paint says? It says, ‘Washable’!” Thinking he had misunderstood, I said, “It’s okay, bud – that means it will wash right off Molly’s hands.” Ben said, “No, mommy! It’s WASHABLE! We have to be careful never to get my painting WET!”

The finished paintings:
Ben’s, above, and Molly’s two below.
©PicklesINK 2012

The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.

~ Edvard Munch (1863-1944)

I will be very, very careful to never get these paintings wet!

~ karyn

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