Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Events: My "The Blue Umbrella" Themed Birthday Party (Featuring Our Custom Red Umbrella)

Well, my birthday yesterday was, I think, a big success! A HUGE thanks to my incredible wife and phenomenal family for making my day perfect, filled with tons of birthday magic from start to finish.

Of course, I also need to thank Saschka Unseld (the short film's writer and director) for such an amazing film that inspired the theme of this party.

So, to start off this post, I wanted to spread the news that I have finally made an official "Dan the Pixar Fan" YouTube channel! The video below (a short video documenting the decorations of my party last night) is my first upload and there will be many more to come. I eventually want to go back into my collection and do video toy/collectible reviews to go along with the written posts I've already done. Please support this site and my new channel by subscribing here!

As mentioned, check out the video below to check out footage from my birthday last night. I recommend watching it on YouTube's actual site though (by pressing the YouTube button on the player) so that you can view it bigger. It's pretty small here on the blog. Also be sure to continue reading this post after for many more images and insights into my great day!

Ok, onto the birthday details. The magic started a few months ago when my wife Brita was trying to come up with a birthday theme for me using one of the Pixar short films as an inspiration. It was her brilliant idea to do a party based on "The Blue Umbrella." Since then, she has had ideas that she had written down and kept secret on how she would bring this theme to life. 

When we got back from our Disney World trip, it was time for her to start making the preparations. Between presents, decorations (most of them homemade crafts since there aren't any real The Blue Umbrella themed decorations out there), the cake, the food, etc, it was a lot of work to do. Being the dedicated person that she is, she found the time for it all even with her very busy and draining job as a nurse. 

Brita worked hard on this theme for weeks leading up to the night before the party. Together, Brita and I worked on creating a custom red umbrella to go along with my Pixar Studio Store exclusive blue umbrella. For whatever reason, Pixar never released "red" to go with "blue", so we took matters into our own hands. Red was not only to be a decoration to go along with Blue, but it worked out as a present for me as well! 

To create our custom red umbrella, we started off by purchasing a, well, red umbrella at Target (the last one in stock luckily). We found the absolute most perfect one which is the exact same size and the blue studio store one, even with the wooden "J" handle.

We then went online and made a template based on her main expression from the film and sized it to be the same as "blue". We printed that and Brita cut out the facial features with an X-acto knife to that she could be as precise as possible. 

Once the template/stencil was done, we centered it on the umbrella where we wanted to (based on where Blue's face was on the studio store umbrella). Carefully (and nerve-rackingly, since we had just one shot at this and couldn't afford to mess up), I taped and held down the stencil (with a book under it so that there could be a hard surface) while Brita filled in the spaces with a black sharpie...and voila! We had done it. It came out pretty perfect if you ask me and I was completely thrilled.

 There they are, together at last.

We also made templates/stencils for our blue and red cake plates (which also came out perfect), which you'll see down below.

Now onto my actual birthday. Lots of really cool things happened! I was able to relax and take it easy. I awaited my parent's birthday package in the mail and, sure enough, it came just in time! Not only that, but my package from my in-laws came as well and also my card/classic birthday check from my 93 year old grandmother who still has perfect timing. Another instance of perfect timing was that something Brita had ordered came in the nick of time for my party. She was really hoping it would get there in time and sure enough it did! It's all part of the birthday magic.

Throughout one's birthday, it's always fun to get lots of extra love. All day, I enjoyed getting messages and calls from family and friends, from people on Facebook I haven't seen in years and from Instagram/Twitter users that I've never even met. How cool right?

I then took a drive to Walmart to see if I could find any new Pixar cars. I had been waiting and checking the store for weeks waiting for a new case...and of course, my birthday just happened to be the day some new ones showed up! I felt very lucky. Leave it to that, once again, birthday magic. I even found an extra one for my good friend and fellow Cars collector.

 Once Brita got home, I headed out for a drive again while she worked on secret preparations. When I got back, the place was transformed! I was amazed at all the work she put into it, and took footage of everything as seen in the little video at the beginning of this post. 

Now onto what you've been waiting for...the decorations! How do you turn this film into a themed birthday party? Well, see for yourself. 

The blue, red and gray M&Ms that Brita found in Disney World! They traveled all the way back to Idaho for my party.

It is so cool that I have this official The Blue Umbrella poster now, another great decoration that doubled as a gift! More on that in a future post.

I just loved these three "rainclouds" with "raindrops" coming down that Brita made. Such a cute and crafty idea! It really added a lot to the atmosphere. 

The birthday table with the custom red and blue umbrella cake plates I had mentioned earlier. 

Later that evening, our good friends showed up for the party. We watched the film and had the soundtrack going later as well for the full ambiance. 

At the end of the short film, the two characters are seen together at the "le parapluie cafĂ©", which is French for "The Umbrella Cafe." Because of the French cafe and the European vibe throughout the film, we assume it takes place on the city streets of France. Brita, in turn, made a whole bunch of French cafe style snacks to much on before opening presents. Isn't she great?! It was delicious. 

Then it was presents time...always the most anticipated part of any birthday party! I'm not going to be posting pics of anything I got today so I don't ruin the upcoming posts for the next few weeks. I wish I could share them with you right now though! I can't believe some of the items I got.

One present I will post here (since it's unrelated to Pixar but is Disney and Vinylmation) is that my parents surprised me (big time) with the complete set of the new Star Wars Weekends 2014 series 4 Vinylmation! I'm still baffled at how they had time to get them and have time to send them in the birthday box.

The next morning while looking through them, I realized that my mom actually got me a chaser (the Wampa) that is signed by the artist Casey Jones! Wow, that was dang cool of her.

After presents, we all went into the kitchen for singing happy birthday and eating  homemade cake (my classic strawberry one I've had since I can remember) and ice cream. YUM. 

Don't you love the two umbrella cake toppers surrounded by the black candles? It was such a fun ideas that turned out really awesome. 

Something that really stood out to me during the present opening was the Toy Story 3 card I received from my in-laws. It really describes my emotions to a T! It says:
What Happened? 
Just yesterday, you were a little boy.
Filling the house with laughter.
Robot toys, bicycles parts 
and endless energy...
...and now you're a grown man
with serious accomplishments confidence, skills, and a respected name in the world. 
Two things haven't changed though...the fun and the love.

Another cool thing that I thought was super thoughtful was a drawing my 14 year old brother-in-law drew for me of Carl from Up. I was really impressed since i didn't know he could draw like that! 

When I went into our room for bed, the birthday magic continued! Sticking out from under the covers was yet another present...but more one that soon! Look for that in an upcoming post.

 And so that was the end of yet another amazing birthday. I feel so grateful and blessed to be so loved and to have so many loved ones around me. It really couldn't have gone better! I just wanted to thank everyone involved once again, you really outdid yourselves. Everyone was SO incredibly generous!

One last funny note, when I woke up the next morning, this is how the red and blue balloons were. They ended up together! Not only that, but all the black balloons lost their helium while these two stuck it through the night. 

I hope you enjoyed the video and pictures as well. Please comment below or send me an email if you have any other questions! Also, be sure to look forward to many new birthday additions to my Pixar collection, right here, starting tomorrow.


  1. Wow - so cool! I guess I'll have to wait to see everything you got but man did you get a ton of stuff from the looks of it. So a few things...Geatrude! :) Also, I can't wait to hear more about the poster as well as the extra gift after you thought all the gift-giving was over. Finally, what a perfect touch that red and blue were still up there together.

    Sounds like you had a blast overall!

  2. Thanks a ton for checking this out TJ! Glad you had fun seeing how it all went down. It was an absolute blast! The party was just missing two of our favorite Pixar fans (well 3 actually :) I wish I could show all the stuff I got RIGHT NOW! It's killing me. But I gotta drag it out and keep the suspense to my readers. And heck ya...Geartrude was a dang awesome find! If you want to give me the go ahead (if you didn't end up finding her), I'll send her tomorrow! Thanks for checking out all the pics and enjoying details and touches. Super fun. I keep going back to look at them myself. Great memories once again!