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When my daughter wanted a Circus McGurkus themed party for her fourth birthday, I ran with the theme. I created several fun items to turn our home into a circus. You can see my previous post for behind the scenes goodies at :
We had carnival games and food, dressed in costume, and entertained with balloon animals and face painting. The kids and the parents alike loved it! Fun for all!
Our family portrait: Strong Man, Bearded Lady, and Ring Mistress.
No circus birthday is complete without a Big Top cake!
Happy fourth birthday to our sweet girl!
For my daughter's 4th birthday, she requested a Circus McGurkus theme, based after one of her favorite Dr. Seuss books, If I Ran The Circus. As usual, I took the idea and RAN with it. Over the last month, I have been hard at work making all the elements come to life. From signs and labels to costumes and full props, I went nuts. Here are some of the behind the scenes images.
You can see some of my decorations, with the pennant banner I made with my daughter's name. We decided to go all out with costumes, chosen for us by our daughter. She wanted to be Ring Mistress, my husband to be a Strong Man, and me to be the Bearded Lady. I made the Strong Man costume for my husband from striped fabric and added a costume belt.
For my daughter's Ring Mistress costume, we already had a leotard, tutu, and sequin vest that would work. I wanted to make her a special miniature top hat to bring the whole outfit together. I started with a basic felt hat and sewed pink satin around it, covering it entirely.
I adorned it with a sequin headband as a hat band and some poofs of satin and tulle.
It was still pretty plain for circus standards, so I glued on more sequins and added a rainbow flower. Perfect!
I wanted the Strong Man to prove his strength, so I made a barbell from a length of PVC and two beach balls, papier-mâchéd and painted black. I added a little crudely painted "500" on each weight. Done!
I felt we should have a station for the kids to try and lift the barbell, so I painted a "Test Your Strength" sign to use as a backdrop.
I wanted to create a large photo prop, with holes cut out for the kids to put their faces. Here I am painting while listening to the show Criminal Minds.
The finished result, being tested by my husband and daughter. Wonderful!
I made a Ring of Fire from a hula hoop and colored tissue paper and hung it with my daughter's toy tiger from fishing line.
Last, but not least: the cake! I did four layers. These are the middle two, which are a basic white cake recipe, separated into 6 equal portions, food coloring added, then dropped into pans one color at a time. Rainbow cake!
The bottom and largest layer was an Apple Spice Cake. Yum! For the top layer, I made Rice Krispie Treats and molded them into a peak, making the shape of a Big Top. You can see where I am going with this...
I iced the bottom layer normally, but did the Big Top in fondant. I sewed the pennant banners and attached them to straws, which were then just placed into the cake. My daughter had found the little clown figurine that we used as a cake topper. Voila!
Up next: the Party...
I have never entered any of my photos or artwork into the art exhibit at the county fair. I saw the info and figured "what the heck, I'll do it". I didn't have the time to frame any of my drawings or paintings to exhibit, but I did enter nine of my photos into three categories in the Professional group: People in Color Photography, People in Black and White Photography, and Children in Color Photography.
I never expected the response that I received! My family and I attended the opening night of the fair last night (a great mellow night to attend, by the way) and I was shocked to find that all nine of my photos placed with ribbons! One of them even won Best In Show! I am honored and touched that others enjoy my work so much. Wow.
I had some of my favorite models with me (my Mom, husband, daughter, and best friend) and they were equally thrilled to see their photos as winners. My three-year-old daughter kept saying "I won first prize!"
The photo above is a photo taken at Halloween of my daughter as Bride of Frankenstein. I made the dress and wig myself and fell in love with this shot of her. Her enthusiasm and silliness show so well. This photo won First Place in its category and Best In Show. Wow!
She was thrilled! Two other photos of her also received ribbons.
"Autumn" 2nd Place in Children: Color
"Retro Christmas" 4th Place in Children: Color
"Repose" 1st Place in People: Black and White
"Expecting" 2nd Place in People: Black and White
"Three Generations", a portrait of myself, my daughter, and my mom. Taken with a timer and a tripod.
3rd Place in People: Black and White
"Dia de los Muertos" 1st Place in People: Color
One of my favorite models and themes.
"Gentleman with Mustache", a photo of my husband.
3rd Place in People: Color
The man behind the mustache.
"Amber Light", a photo of my best friend.
4th Place in People: Color
The beauty with her photo. I was so pleased they could be there with me to celebrate.
And celebrate we did!!
Thank you so much to my wonderful models, family, and supporters! Thank you to the Redwood Empire Fair! I am so grateful to you all.
Next year, I will be entering some of my paintings and drawings as well. I can't wait!
I LOVE portraits and always use any excuse I can to create a new one. I created these two new portraits as gifts recently. The first, shown above, was done in colored pencil on toned paper (8"x10") as a gift to a friend. I had photographed her daughter and was inspired by her love of spiders and the texture of her dress being so web-like. Here is the original photo beside my drawing:
I added two spiders crawling on her and a background web.
For the second portrait, I wanted to give friends a little something special on their wedding day. Luckily, they had shared some great engagement photos a friend of theirs took, so I had some great reference material. I decided to do their portrait in watercolor and turn the black and white photo into a color portrait, as the bride-to-be has such fantastic red hair.
Below is the original photo as well as a shot of her showing her beautiful red hair.
You can see why I had to do it in color!
Something handmade always makes the best gift. My three-year-old daughter made a painting of her own to give the happy couple as well. Gifts from the heart!
I have been in the studio a lot lately. Photos, photos, photos. So, I thought I should show a little bit of fun from yesterday.
For St. Patrick's Day, I photographed my daughter in some fun, silly accessories. The girl LOVES to accessorize and play with props. She is quite the ham and VERY expressive. Here are a few of my favorite faces from my girl:
You would never know she has such range if you only saw this: