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Real Parties: Curious Charley’s Monkey Party

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Paper Lantern Adorn Arbor

I literally went BANANAS for this incredible little girls “Curious George Inspired” Monkey Birthday Party! Paige from Paiges of Style didn’t miss a beat with the vintage-modern celebration that she created for her daughter, Charley. From the use of the old saying “Keep Calm and Carry On” (which she changed to “Keep Calm and Go Bananas”), to the addition of the classic throwback kids game “barrel of monkeys”, to the modern pink and yellow color palette, this is a major upcycling of your traditional monkey theme birthday party!

Some of my favorite elements include the “outdoor living space” that was created, the hanging “Keep Calm and Go Bananas” frame over the dessert table, and the fabric flower cupcake toppers. Incredibly, Paige even threw this party together in just two weeks! Just goes to show that you don’t have to spend months planning to host an unforgettable party…

Amazing Monkey Party Dessert Table

Read on for more inspiring, colorful images from the party, as captured by Marla from Sprout Photography. I just can’t get enough of these amazing photos! We know you will love them too. . .

Little "Monkey" Charley and her Adorable Cake

Curious Charley Cupcakes, Toppers, and Monkey Cake Pops

Vintage Drink Stand and Decked Out Arbor

Curious Charley and her Adorable Family

Cupcake Toppers, Banana Cupcake, and Adorable Party Hats

Adorable "Boxed Lunches" and Personalized Chair Markers

Curious Charley Party Hats and Water Bottle Labels

Monkey Drink Boxes, Incredible Cookies, and Welcome Sign

Banana Cupcake, Banan Cupcake Toppers, and Curious Charley

Dessert Table and Monkey Cake Pops

PARTY DETAILS as told by Paige

Even before Charley was born, we have been calling her monkey (it happens to be my favorite animal since childhood). I had a piece of monkey art commissioned for her room that I actually brought to the party and her stuffed monkeys are just about taking over our house! Once I decided that the monkey theme was perfect for her 2nd birthday, I began thinking of ways to make this monkey party unique and chose the “swinging monkey from a barrel of monkeys” angle. Charley’s obsession with Curious George also helped to inspire both the yellow and the style of font that I used throughout the party.

I wanted to make the party feel girlie and modern at the same time so I incorporated varying stripes of pink and yellow throughout the party, including my all time favorite version, the chevron stripe. I have found that it is best to create or stick to a few patterns and use them throughout the party to help tie everything together.

When our guests came to the entrance of the park, they entered into the beautiful arbor and were met with a “Happy Birthday Charley” banner and 40 paper lanterns that matched the party colors perfectly. After scouring the internet, I found the best pricing at Paper Lantern Store.

I also made the kids party hats and custom wraps for the barrel of monkey favors (purchased on ebay). The custom wrap around labels said “thanks for monkeying around with me. love, charley“.

The show stopper of the whole party was the dessert table. To make the backdrop, I sewed a thin pocket at the top of the fabric, then we put a piece of thin PVC pipe through the pocket. The pipe stuck out a few inches from the fabric and my husband drilled holes into the pipe so we could thread our rope through it and then hung the rope from a tree branch. (Bring a level with you to ensure the fabric is hanging straight!) I’m sort of obsessed with Keep Calm posters so I knew I wanted to incorporate one into the party, I came up with “Keep Calm and Go Bananas“, had it printed on foam core and placed into a $2 yard sale frame.

I think a key element to dessert tables is to use symmetry and keep similar shapes. I always use all white cake stands, the ones used here are my absolute favorites from the Martha Stewart line at Macy’s. I also love HomeGoods and Ikea for their selection of white serving pieces. I try to invest in a couple of new ones for each party, it’s worth it to buy good pieces that can be reused over and over regardless of the theme of the party.

We hauled our old dining table over to the park and I sewed the custom ruffled tablecloth to fit perfectly and added the yellow pom pom trim to the front side of the table. This was my first dessert table so it was definitely a learning experience but I love the way it turned out!

I ordered a plain white cake from my local Albertsons. I worked with the bakery department to create this cake on a budget. It cost me $48 – BUT if I had selected the EXACT same one from their wedding catalog, it would have cost me $199! I found some yellow and white striped ribbon to add to the base of each layer of the cake to dress it up.

Anna of Sugar and Stripes Co custom created the adorable fondant monkey and the beautiful flowers for the cake. She was a dream to work with and even drove two hours to help me set up all of her goodies. Also, she created the edible image sugar cookies. I just emailed her the jpgs of the monkey, banana and the patterns I was using for the party and she created these gorgeous and delicious cookies. She also created the striped fondant cupcake toppers with the open banana for the banana cupcakes that I baked. This was such an easy and inexpensive way to have beautiful cupcakes.

The monkey cake pops were a blast to make. My husband gave me the one and only Bakerella’s cake pop book for Christmas and I was eager to test some out. This was the first time I had ever made a cake pop and they were so fun and easy, the toughest part was hunting down the supplies. Anna made the sweet little bows that I added to the cake pops.

One of my favorite things on the dessert table are the fabric flowers that I made for the cupcake toppers. They were so easy and they were so gorgeous, our friends were raving about them! Check out the DIY Tutorial right here.

I used white take out boxes to hold each child’s lunch which was a peanut butter and banana sandwich and Curious George fruit snacks. I decorated the table with simple flowers and a pennant banner in the patterns that were used throughout the party.

One of the biggest hits of the party for the kids were the bananas that decorated the kids table. One of the little girls picked up a banana, put it to her ear, said banana phone and the trend caught on. All of the kids in attendance played “banana phone” for the next twenty minutes or so! What this taught me is that you can never be too sure what it is that the kids will gravitate towards and that it can be the most simple games that keep the kids entertained.

Another really fun unique aspect of the party was the outdoor “living room” that we set up. I brought over our living room chairs and the rug and art from Charley’s room. I also sewed custom pillow covers to match the backdrop of the dessert table. I collected all of Charley’s monkey books and placed them near the chairs so parents could steal away a quiet moment with their kids. The rug also turned out to be a great place for the 6-12 month old partygoers to hang out. This little setup cost me NOTHING and was so much fun. Your husband might think you are crazy when you tell him to pack up the furniture but it turned out to be so worth it! =)

The drinks table was also really cute. I used a galvanized three tiered stand to display the mason jars with the yellow striped straws and wrapped the juice boxes and water bottles in custom labels.

Also, I had bananas just about everywhere. Make sure to buy them at the perfect time, I bought about 15 lbs of bananas at Costco 3 days prior to the party and they were still green the day of. Again, Albertson’s to the rescue! We gave away bananas the following day to just about everyone who stepped foot in our house.

I printed mini versions of the Keep Calm poster and threw them into Ikea frames to carry the “Keep Calm and Go Bananas” throughout the party, it really is all about consistency.

I saved money on flowers by arranging them myself. This was super fast, easy and looked great.

Last but not least, we HAD to coordinate our clothing to the party scheme. I purchased Charley’s smocked monkey dress from zulily and I happened to have the yellow striped Ralph Lauren dress. I also bought a yellow and white striped bow-tie for my husband from Amazon. I asked him if he was willing to dress up for the party and he thought I was asking him to be the man in the yellow hat from Curious George…. so when I told him I just wanted him to wear the bow-tie, he was relieved. What a good sport! (though he did still get some teasing from his friends!)

Vendor Credit


  1. Viktoria-Pinkpastry February 7, 2011 at 10:27 am

    This is so cute!

  2. Tammy@Events By Tammy February 7, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Too cute! I love the monkey theme.

  3. Rowaida Flayhan February 7, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Amazingly cute and adorable party love the details Wow! Love it

  4. Catherine February 7, 2011 at 10:24 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE! I’m already bookmarking ideas in my head for my daughter’s 2nd in June!

  5. Courtney @ Pizzazzerie February 7, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Absolutely DARLING! I love the color scheme.

  6. HiLLjO February 7, 2011 at 11:17 am

    HOW cute! Pink and yellow is lovely! The children look like they had a ball!Charley is such a cute name for a girl by the way!!!

  7. Adriana February 7, 2011 at 11:24 am

    So very pretty!

  8. Mandy of Kini Style February 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

    So cute and colorful! I love the keep calm go bananas sign!!-Mandy of Kini Style

  9. Leila | Be Inspired PR February 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    SO adorable! cutest idea ever!!

  10. Nikki Brown February 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I just love this party theme! I think staying with the same color scheme is key! It just makes the party look so pulled together.

  11. Nisha February 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    what a great party, love all the details and the colour combo

  12. Coday February 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Absolutely love this idea!! 3rd birthday party in October is planned!!

  13. MARISOL February 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Love this!! It only took her two weeks to plan? Fabulous!!

  14. adriana February 8, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I love the pergola!

  15. Jen February 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm
  16. Maureen Anders February 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    This is precious. I absolutely LOVE all of it!

  17. Ava February 9, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    THis is really great! I love all the details explained. ANd I can’t wait to try the flower cupcake toppers!

  18. Nichole Clark February 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I love every single thing about this party! May I ask where the bunting/banner came from? I

    • Paiges of Style February 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm

      Hi Nichole,The bunting is a printable file that I will be selling in my etsy shoppe but I just haven’t listed it yet. Check back soon at http://www.paigesofstyle.etsy.com for the listing.Thanks for your kind words!XO Paige

  19. Kelly February 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    What an amazing party! I love every last detail! Beautiful family too!

  20. Karen February 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I used the monkey theme for my daughter’s birthday too… even the colors!! Umm but mine didn’t look this pretty! lol

  21. sarah February 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    is this party for real? the yellow/white/pink combo + details i could only dream of = perfection!!!
    it is truly incredible!! bravo!

  22. wendy February 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Such wonderful thoughtfulness and clever ideas! I will be attempting your fabric flowers and admire so many other details. Bravo!

  23. Kelly Balfour February 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Such an adorable party! Wonderfully executed! I’m impressed!

  24. Mallory R. April 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    This is SUCH an adorable party filled with tons of creative ideas! Great job, Paige!

  25. manvi @ mochatini April 26, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    super cute!! i love how cheerful this color palette is. love the details.!

  26. Lori May 12, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    where did you get the yellow striped fabric?

  27. lourdes February 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    where did you get the barrel of monkey party favors? Thanks–this is just too cute!

  28. Kathy d June 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I have to ask, how far in advance did you make the cake pops and how did you store them?

  29. Courtney July 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    LOVE! Do you happen to know where she got the curious georgeish font?

  30. Lisa August 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Great Party! Did you make the label for the barrell of monkeys?

  31. Sybil matas August 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Cute party! Where did you purchase your Barrel of Monkeys favors?

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