a peek inside the fishbowl

10 Apr, 2011

Sarah’s birthday weekend, day 1

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Oh! Things!|Ottawa

Sarah’s official birthday isn’t until Monday. That means that we have the whole weekend to celebrate beforehand. (!)

The agenda was packed. As per Fishbowl tradition, it began with a special breakfast in bed. Sarah requested breakfast sausages, pancakes, and fruit. So that’s what she got:

Breakfast in bed

We spent the morning tidying up and getting ready for a party at 4Cats Art Studio. (They are a blog patron, but we’d be 4Cats fans even if they weren’t.) It is a bright, lovely and creative space, a great place to have a kid’s birthday party no matter the age:

4Cats Art Studio

4Cats Art Studio

The 4Cats mascot is a fish?

On the agenda: a “pop art” silkscreening workshop and collective art project.

First, the girls created their own little silkscreen projects on special art paper. Here they are, helping Sarah keep her frame pressed to the paper:

Inking the screen

Did you know that silkscreens are made of real silk? And that Andy Warhol owned 25 cats, all named Sam? I’m still not sure if that’s kooky or smart, but these are the memorable little bits of information that you learn at a workshop like this one. :)

Here are a couple of their finished pieces. Funny thing, I assumed the girls would all paint regular kinds of brown cats, but it was good to see purple, polka-dotted varieties, as well as cats surrounded by rings of fire and rainbows. It was kind of cool to see:

Sam the cat

The girls were there to help Sarah with a big painting of her own. Picture a giant canvas (44″ x 44″) attached to a table. On it was silkscreened a giant butterfly in blue. First, the girls painted inside the body of the butterfly. Sarah chose the colours; pink, orange, and red. They used thick brushes and watered-down paint, which blended together for great effect:

Painting on the canvas

Afterwards they painted the background in blues and greens. Here’s a sneak peek at the results of their hard work:

While the paint is drying...

We are paying a little extra to have it stretched on a frame. I was blown away. The end result is so beautiful! The photo doesn’t do it justice at all. I love that Sarah has a wonderful memento of her party. Once it’s stretched I might try to find a way to have the girls all sign the back.

After the painting part was done there was time to have a snack (fruit dipped in cooked chocolate pudding, which was a huge hit), fizzy lemonade and… the birthday cake:

The birthday cake

Blowing out the candles

In lieu of loot bags each little girl received an inexpensive little stuffy. Sarah had taken the time to pick a special one for each guest. She knew that one girl loves monkeys and another liked dogs etc. We printed the gift tags the night before. (I found them online here, if you’d like some of the same. They’re free to download and print.) On the back, Sarah wrote each girl a little thank you for coming message.

These little guys were a huge hit:

In lieu of loot bags...

It was a great party. It went by so quickly, and everyone seemed to have a good time. And there was no clean up at home afterwards! Yay!

We went home and opened gifts from Emma, and Mark and I.

Emma gave her a motorized butterfly in a jar, which sounds bizarre but was actually a huge hit. You tap on the lid and it flutters:

Sarah's gift from Emma

And Mark and I gave her a necklace I had picked out at Heavens to Betsy, a store I adore:

new necklace, from Heavens to Betsy (love that store)

Also on the list: a brand new bike… but we haven’t been able to find the perfect one yet.

The afternoon was too nice to waste inside, so the girls played in the backyard until dinner.

The birthday girl chose to have dinner out. Sarah loves sushi, so we walked to Westboro Village and happily snagged a window-seat at MHK.

Here’s Emma, looking lovely while we waited for our meal to arrive:

Emma poses

And here is part of our delicious dinner:

Dinner by request: sushi at MHK

We walked home, stuffed to the gills (no pun intended), and settled in to watch a movie.

Today is Birthday Celebration part II! But first, a shower and breakfast. :)

8 Responses to "Sarah’s birthday weekend, day 1"

1 | alicia.fagan@hotmail.com

April 10th, 2011 at 3:15 pm


Wow, what an amazing day. What a lucky lady :)

2 | Alina Muresan

April 11th, 2011 at 9:03 am


Happy Birthday Sarah! What a fun day!

3 | Javamom

April 11th, 2011 at 9:36 am


It’s posts (and pictures) like this that make me look forward to ‘older’ children and the various activities one can do with them!!

Your girls are so adorable and it looks like the funnest party ever!

4 | andrea

April 11th, 2011 at 12:45 pm


Thank you everyone. It was really a great day. So fun and easy! I can’t wait to pick up the canvas. I will post more photos of the finished product!

Javamom – It is nice to have big girls now but sometimes, SOMETIMES I want them to be little again. It goes by so quickly. I still can’t believe we have 10 and (almost) 12 year old KIDS. Eek!

5 | Sara

April 11th, 2011 at 2:23 pm


Wow – what a great birthday weekend! Happy Birthday to Sarah :)

6 | Ginger

April 12th, 2011 at 2:16 pm


It is a little late…but Happy Birthday Sarah!

Andrea, your girls are so grown up and beautiful! I have enjoyed watching them grow up over the years that I have been a reader now. I cannot even imagine my boys at age 10!

7 | Parent as dreamcatcher, matchmaker >> a peek inside the fishbowl

May 19th, 2011 at 9:18 am


[…] written about 4Cats a few times before. The girls have taken workshops there and Sarah had a birthday party there too. A few weeks ago the owner, Emaly, sent out an email to a group of us, wondering whether […]

8 | Ottawa giveaway from 4Cats Arts Studio! >> a peek inside the fishbowl

August 24th, 2012 at 1:56 pm


[…] heard, 4Cats is an amazing art studio for children located in Hintonburg. We’ve hosted birthday parties there, participated in some fantastic workshops, and I even attended a very special 40th birthday […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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