Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What I Made Wednesday {An Elevenses Birthday: Tolkien-Style} THE INVITATION

I'm a firm believer in the birthday invitation. It introduces the theme to your guests, it sets the scene, and it evokes excitement and mystery. The invitation is the all-important, initial first step to any party planning so you've got to get it right (no pressure).

Like last year's decade celebration with a Harry Potter theme, this year's party break down will be issued in several installments because this post would read like a book otherwise. It won't have as many "chapters" as the Harry Potter theme (last year's party was insanely awesome), but it will be incredibly interesting to follow nonetheless, if you choose to come along on this little journey to "there and back again".

There are so many various races in Tolkien's classic, The Lord of the Rings, like the elves, the hobbits, the dwarves, etc. We decided to make all our guests elves and, in so doing, relating the invitation to an elvish character.

The Invitations
"Lembas. Elvish waybread. One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man."
Legolas Greenleaf on Lembas.
There are several elements to this party invitation including Lembas bread, the Mallorn leaf, writing the guest's name in Elvish, and creating the scroll with all pertinent party information. There's a lot to this invitation but we'll take it nice and slow. Ready?

Lembas Bread
The idea behind the Lembas bread is to send it to each "elf", wrapped in a Mallorn leaf, with an invitation to an adventure, The Great Journey. How do you make a bread depicted in literature that no one alive has actually made, smelled, or tasted? You rely on the author's descriptions and try your hand at doing the best you can with it. But, I also had a little help from this website, to which I should give proper credit.

I tried two different recipes: the one found at the website and my own scone recipe. I'll admit, the scone recipe matches more to Tolkien's description of Lembas bread being dry, brittle, and a bit crumbly. But, the Lembas bread recipe I found at the website was soooo much tastier. I opted for deliciousness over authenticity since the bread was going to be consumed by kids we wanted to come to the party. (You can't excite with crumbly bread, no matter how true to the story.)

Follow the Lembas Bread recipe at this website and you're good to go! (The lemon extract makes ALL the difference so use it.)

Mallorn Leaf and Note

Once the Lembas bread is made, it will be delivered, wrapped in a Mallorn Leaf and tied with raffia or twine. During this project I learned something new that has changed my crafting world forever! You know that foam sheet you can get at any craft store on the planet? Well, if you apply a little heat to it, it's like putty in your hands! You can shape it and bend it any which way you like without melting it and when it cools, it stays the way you shaped it. Don't believe me? Check out my Mallorn Leaf instructions...

What You'll Need
Printout of leaf template, found here 
Green foam sheet (I purchased the large one so I could get 2 leaves out of it)
Black ballpoint pen
X-acto knife or scissors
Heat source (like an electric stove)
Raffia or twine to tie the leaf together with the invitation
Lembas bread

What You'll Do
Cut out foam leaf using template as your guide.
I made 7 invites, plus one to keep for nostalgic purposes, so I purchased 4 green foam sheets to get 2 leaves out of one sheet (so thrifty). Once you get the leaf template printed, cut out the shape and trace that shape onto your foam sheet. Using an X-acto knife for ease, or scissors if you don't have the knife, cut around the outline of the leaf.

Using a black, ballpoint pen add the veins of the leaf as indicated on the template.

Draw the veins using a black ballpoint pen.
OK, here's the fun part. That leaf is flatter than a pancake right now. I really want the leaf to hold the Lembas bread securely so I'm going to apply heat to where the folds should be. I used the burner on my electric stove. BE CAREFUL! It doesn't take a lot of heat to begin to see the foam become malleable to fold. Once it begins to lose its stiffness, take it off the heat and fold it to how you would like it to bend. Allow the couple of seconds for it to cool and repeat until the folds are precisely where they should be (follow the pictures for clarification).
The pointy part will tuck in once the bread is inside.
What You'll Need to Know to Finish
For sanitary purposes, I wrapped each Lembas bread in wax paper. I opened up the Mallorn leaf, placed the Lembas bread in the center, and folded the leaf around the bread like so (see picture). Be sure to tuck the point of the leaf into itself.

Take a looonng piece of raffia and securely tie the leaf in place, leaving enough slack to attach the rolled up invitation (details follow).

Visit this website to convert each guest's name into Elvish. This site will also show the name in Elvish writing. Kiddo's name translated in Elvish to the name, Erufael. Super Hubby found this wonderful font named, ElvenCommonSpeak, and used it for the note and the invite. I purchased tan-ish card stock with a slight texture for the note cards.

Attached to the Lembas bread was a note that had each guest's name and their Elvish name, as well. When they opened the card, this is what they read:

  Erufael sends this Lembas Bread, Elvish Waybread, as sustenance while you await your journey. Wrapped in a mallorn leaf for freshness, "one small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man." It is also offensive to evil creatures, in case you happen upon Gollum in your travels.

The Invitation
Map of Gondolin on back of invite
The type of paper the invite gets printed on makes a big difference. We used a parchment paper with a grey hue to it and it turned out beautifully. The invitation served several purposes. First, it gave the pertinent information about when, why, who, what, and where. The second purpose was to set-up the adventure that awaits our journeying elves. And, lastly, the invitation contained a map necessary for the journey once they arrived to the party. That's a lot from one little invite. Here's the map on the one side of the invite. They'll need this map of Gondolin to navigate through the adventure.

The other side of the parchment read the actual invitation in that really cool font.
Long ago in the First Age
past the Grey Havens
and far over the Blue Mountains
was once a great city of elves.
Though hidden from the world
its secret was betrayed
and the city fell.

A gateway to the past has been opened.
A traveler from another time has entered the Third Age.
Erufael has summoned you, an elf of strong character
to travel with him back to his homeland.

If you desire adventure, come to the Prancing Pony
at xxxx The Shire
in the village of xxxxx
on Saturday, the Eighteenth of May at Five in the evening
for a Tolkien inspired Minecraft expedition
Celebrating Kiddo's Elevenses birthday

RSVP to Lilly

Bring this map, and beware green, creepy men

HOLD THE BOAT! Did the above invitation mention Minecraft, the hottest internet video game around? Yup! Are we combining a Lord of the Rings theme with Minecraft, somehow? Yup! Tune in next week to know how in the world we were able to make this cool party happen.


Heidi Rew said...

So creative!! Love this & Pinning! Found you through Living on Love and Cents! <3 Heidi Rew from Parties for Pennies

Fine Craft Guild said...

Wow, that's pretty!!! Thank you for linking it up at ~ Rose

sbmowery said...

I was looking to see the website you used to covert names into elvish... Am I over looking it?


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