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vintage shirley temple birthday party

If you loved Heidi, A Little Princess, Curly Top and any other Shirley Temple classics then you’re going to LOVE this Vintage Shirely Temple Sippin’ Soiree! Evelyn’s curls, polka dots & her grandmother’s love for the American Icon inspired this 2nd birthday party. Mom, Nicole Gould of Million Dollar $mile Celebrations, always picks the cutest pop culture themes (Project Runway, Jimmy Buffet & Saved By the Bell to name a few!) and dreams up so many adorable details! (P.S. If you want your day uplifted even further, just read what Nicole said about a special letter from Shirley herself! You won’t be able to help but smile!)

“I sent one of the photos of my daughter to Shirley Temple-Black with a short note of thanks for all the decades of entertainment and for truly being a role-model for so many generations, and to my surprise, I received a reply!!  A signed photo along with a sweet note hand-written by her assistant made my day!  It’s not everyday you get a letter in the mail from a Ms. Shirley Temple-Black!”

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– “Animal Crackers in my Soup” (frosted animal crackers)
– Pink depression glass plates with sweet treats like meringues + homemade whoopie pies
– “Evelyn’s Sweet Shop” with candy, pink vintage diner hats & bow tie boxes
– Vintage paper dolls, “fishing” in a big red boat & an adorable “Baby Take A Bow” dress up station!
– Berry basket lunches & mini wood utensils wrapped in doilies

Shirley temple cake

shirley temple fountain station

shirley temple party decorations

shirley temple party invitation

shirley temple playbill program

vintage shirley temple dessert table

shirley temple desserts

shirley temple vintage dessert table

shirley temple dolls

shirley temple sweet shop

music gift boxes

red boat

shirley temple centerpiece idea

vintage shirley temple party dress up station

shirley temple party outfits

vintage shirley temple paper dolls

shirley temple inspired party

animal crackers in my soup


shirley temple


PARTY DETAILS, as told by Nicole



I have been dreaming about hosting this birthday party for my sweet doll, Evelyn, because of very special reason for a very long time!  Inspired by my grandmother’s love of the American icon, I envisioned those curls… those eyes… those polka dots… and of course, those ageless songs about Good Ship Lollipops and Animal Crackers.  A vintage Shirley Temple Sippin’ Soiree was the perfect theme for a small afternoon event to celebrate Evelyn’s 2nd Birthday and remember a time when life was a little less busy, a little more carefree, and no one counted calories in desserts!!!!  The photos reflect a happy, curly-haired girl and her perfect party thanks to About Love. Inspired Photography.


Each guest received a tiny white box tied up with a big red bow.  Inside, they discovered a lollipop, a pettiromper, a big red hair bow and a hand-glittered and die-cut invitation that featured a cut-out Shirley Temple curtsying in front of the sheet music to “Baby Take a Bow”!  A note asked the guests to wear the bow and romper and to please bring a donation to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in lieu of a gift for Evelyn.  Every year we honor the memory of Great-Grandma Charlyne who just happen to adore Shirley Temple and left a lifetime of memories and quite a few amazing Shirley Temple dolls and collectables to her lucky granddaughters.


Inside the Bungalow is the absolute cutest and quaintest coffee shop in downtown Mesa, Arizona.  Betty, the owner, and her husband allowed us to celebrate Evelyn’s birthday in this original turn of the century bungalow home painted and decorated in the most charming way.  From the teapot and tea cup chandelier to the adorable ‘doll house’ gazebo, the venue’s character whispered… ‘Whimsical’!  Desiree from PaperCandee and Rebecca from Petite Party Studio made decorating a song and dance.  Desiree truly outdid herself by creating the most delicious custom banners, boxes, boats, and favor tags.  All created with original Shirley Temple sheet music, Desiree used a mixed media of paper, lace, and ribbon to make everything look just dandy. Petite Party Studio was my one stop shop for all things pinky, minty, and red and white polka-dotty!  It’s a good thing that their store is just 3 miles from my home because visiting is always a joy!


We decided to make the front courtyard a place for entering party guests to play and pretend before the lunch began.  We set up various stations and gave parents a Playbill program to encourage interaction, as well as guide guests where to go and what to do.

The guys and gals first visited the “Baby Take a Bow” dress up area under a perfectly pink pergola to slide a tutu on top of their ruffled romper.  Julie from Juju’s Tutus created THEE Shabby Tu, and I just knew I needed to have them in a mixture of Swiss dot lace, pink satin, & red and white polka dots.  She has the most amazing eye for detail and finishes each tutu off with the most precious floral and pearl clip!  The girls smiled at their reflections in a sheet music framed mirror and grabbed a twirling ribbon that sat next to great-grandma Rose’s antique radio.  The boys were fitted with newsboy caps and little red neckties for the affair.

Next, the mini movie sensations were directed to the “Curly Top” doll area where hand-made Shirley Temple rag dolls sat nestled within a cluster of pink satin pillows atop a red blanket.  Shirley Temple paper dolls were a hit for the older girls while snuggling their new curly-haired friend was special for the smallest ladies.  Of course, the boys skipped this step entirely and immediately found the fountain and boat area to be much more exciting.  Speak of boats… we’re sailing off to “Peppermint Bay” play and pose zone!!

Guys and gals alike enjoyed filling an adorable PaperCandee bow box with some candy or grabbing a felt lollipop created by Sweets by EJ from Evelyn’s Sweet Shop and becoming a sailor with a hat and a fishing pole.  Thanks to Rebecca from Petite Party Studio for allowing me to use your genius fishing pole favor idea using your candy capsules for Swedish fish!  It was a special gift for the kids and had a special meaning for my husband… honoring the memory of his Papa Ches’s fisherman adventures!!  Grandma Dianne made the amazing play boat and everyone enjoyed a smooth sail then posed for a picture or fished in the fountain!  Either way, they had fun!!


We headed around back to the equally charming patio of Inside the Bungalow to sit and enjoy sandwiches, fruit, and chips served in berry baskets with mini wood utensils wrapped in doilies.   The afternoon was gorgeous as we sat around the white iron tables and snuck an occasional piece of the BEST salt water taffy in the WORLD sent overnight to ensure freshness from Estes Park, CO.   The kids’ table sat precisely in the center of the ‘doll house’ gazebo.  Red IKEA pillows were placed around a tiny table topped with wood boxes filled with lunch and topped with a cake pop masterpiece from Cake Pop My Heart.  The polka-dot and ruffled skirt topped with the star’s image was placed in front of a mirror as if to look like a real music box.  They enjoyed Uncrustable PB&J’s, mini mason jars of Jell-O, fruit snacks, and those little circle cheeses covered in red wax that my girls are crazy about.  The boys had all the same fixins’ but were presented in a much manlier manner… a red sailboat with a cake pop mast!  Boxes of frosted animal crackers (not in soup) sat piled high in the center of the table for anyone who wasn’t quite full… yet!!  A complete Shirley Temple bar featuring an assortment of fizzy sodas, fresh fruit toppings, and that ‘oh so famous’ Rose’s grenadine was visited and revisited for seconds and thirds!


The dessert table turned into a dessert ‘room’ inside the dining area of Inside the Bungalow.  Pre-existing shelves displaying vintage tea-cups and books were adorned with Great-Grandma Charlyne’s Shirley Temple collectables and pink depression glass plates and trays filled with sweets and treats.  The three dolls displayed are authentic, very old, and hold a special place in my memory.  Some of my favorite professionals provided an assortment of petite delicacies, and for the first time, I attempted quite a few family recipes AND the birthday cake; however, it was the Shirley Temple fondant topper from Edible Details made it a cake worthy of praise.  Nana Wendy completed the dessert menu with home-made whoopie pies, miniature cheesecakes in mason jars, & marshmallows.



– Party Styling: Million Dollar $mile Celebrations
– Venue: Inside the Bungalow
– Photography: About Love. Studio
– Paper Banners, boats, favor boxes and tag (pretty much everything adorable): PaperCandee
– Shirley Temple shabby tutus: Juju’s Tutus
– Party supplies and decor (berry baskets, candy containers, striped straws, big balloons… all the delicious details): Petite Party Studio
– Shirley Temple fondant cake topper, fondant lollipops: Edible Details
– Shirley Temple’s dress cake pops: Cake Pop My Heart
– Cherry cake pops & cherry sugar cookies: Laurie + Jordan
– Mini sugar cookies: Hayley Cakes and Cookies
– Cupcakes: Sweet Daddy Cupcakes
– Mini Cupcakes: Sprinkles Cupcakes
– Macarons: 21 Cakes
– Shirley Temple rag dolls: Ms. Heather Long
– Portrait photographer: Justine Miller Photography
– Rag doll and fishing pole favor tags, lollipop thank you notes: Embellished Paper
– Ribbon wands: TiTi’s TuTus
– Fabric Flower Pom Arrangements: Dunne with Style
– Pink sailor hats & pink lollipops: Oriental Trading 
– Ruffle pettirompers: Pout in Pink
– Felt lollipops: Sweets by EJ
– Paper Pinwheels: Designs by Mary Grace
– Salt Water Taffy: The Taffy Shop (Estes Park, CO)