last year’s birthday theme was ‘away in the woods’.
this year had to be a little princess themed, a little Ratatouille inspired, 
(& honestly mainly driven by what I could pick up the store an hour before the party).
you don’t have to spend alot to get interesting gifts (that hopefully will get saved and someday become heirlooms)
case in point. some of her toys:
(found via found free and flea)
an austrian dyrndl (traditional costume) $14  
a marionette (hand carved found in prauge) $30  
a pan flute from peru $5
a collosal set of hand made doll house furniture from the 40s (ebay) $40
a stack of antique books from the Czech republic $10 e
hand made gingerbread cookies from Prague $2 
a crown with tuil from London $12
a set of russian nesting dolls $15
(stay tuned for next post with shots of her birthday take)
I try to apply the filter of ‘new vs old’ to everything.
reality is, we couldn’t walk into a Barnes and Noble and buy a new kids book for under $15.
and yet you can pick up a gorgeous letterpress book from 80 years ago with hand painted spot color illustrations at a flea market for $10.
new dollhouse furniture at ToysRus(the plastic, bad, disposable versions) will run you $25 just for a bedroom suite. on ebay, you can buy an entire household for little more.
but all she really wanted to play with was the bag in came in. (of course)
her little crown with the veil train trailing down the back…
the roses her aunt mary picked for her out of garden (the last two for the season) to match her dress.
10 minutes and a bag of jewel balloons later, we had an impromput table.
our friend patrick gifted us this amazing handmade vintage tablecloth- each side features a nursery ryhyme built out in parts of felt sewn together on a netting base.
charlie spent a good chunk of the morning, walking around the table inspecting each story, trying to pull wings off ducks, hats off of cows, etc.
inspecting the cake with dad. where to start??
do you remember the scene from Rataoullie, where the main character tastes the cheese with the strawberry to get an explosion of tastes…? that was the theme for her cake. 
cheese in one hand berry in the other. she acted out the whole scene…

kissing the rat’s nose, (just before she bites if off)

…contemplating which to eat first. the strawberry or the cheese…

she loved the rat so much she lifted him off the cake and carried him around the house, eating off limbs one by one.

the last two roses from aunt mary’s garden….

birthday cookies! picked up at the market in prague– a traditional style of intricate icing ‘lace’.
(only about 8 of the 14 survived the trip home, even though i wrapped each like a sumo wrestler in bubble wrap.) alas….

the best part of charlie’s day was the friends with babies….
its like an explosion of kids all of a sudden!

happy birthday, charliegirl..