updated 14 Jul 2014, 03:53
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Fri, Jun 27, 2014
The Star/Asia News Network
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Taking the DIY route for your kids' parties

Some parents would rather not leave their precious ones' parties in someone else's hands.

Azliya Yasmin Yahaya, 31, organised her four sons' birthday parties. She celebrated her first-born, five-year-old Aiden Irfan Ahmad Siddiq's birthdays every year with themed parties inspired by Disney's Cars, the beach and even pizza.

"I had hired a party planner for Aiden's first birthday, but they didn't quite meet my expectations. While the party went well, I felt no one would care more about the party than the parents.

"So, I decided I'd 'DIY' all of my children's parties from then on and prepare my own favour bags, cake, decorations, table centrepiece, dessert table and balloons," says the mother-of-two, who blogs about her DIY parties at

The offshore structures project engineer finds inspiration from Pinterest, a virtual pinboard.

"I have pinned approximately 1,900 picture inspirations to my boards. Being the perfectionist that I am, I usually have the theme for Aiden's birthday party a year in advance - when Aiden celebrated his first football birthday, I knew his second birthday would be on Cars, and his third birthday, a pool party. Planning that far ahead allows me to form ideas and even slowly collect props and decorations related to the theme," she says.

As Azliya has discovered, DIY parties require tremendous efforts and costs. Azliya spends an average of RM3,000 (S$1,160) on each of her son's parties.

"Party planners give you the peace of mind that someone out there is organising your party for you. But with DIY parties, you are taking on that responsibility. When one is accountable for so many things, one may drop the ball especially on the minor details."

That said, Azliya believes that her son appreciates his parties better when she's the one organising it.

"I always work on his parties three week in advance, and that helps to build up his enthusiasm as it gets closer to the date. I also let him help out with the preparations, especially in arts and crafts. The cutting and pasting improves his fine motor skills and he enjoys showing off to his friends the decorations he did. I also ask Aiden for his opinion to get more involved with the party planning," she says.

Agnes How, 36, spent several months gathering the props for a DIY Winnie The Pooh party for her daughter Adele Khoo's first birthday.

Every night, she'd burn the midnight oil trawling the web in search of Pooh and Tigger cookie moulds, and later managed to snag a cheerful Pooh-themed cake topper off for RM60.

"DIY was very much a part of my wedding, so I knew I wanted the same for my daughter's party. I'm a stickler for detail and enjoyed designing the invitation cards and decor. I also have a passion for baking, so making the cookies and cupcakes was really no problem for me. The most challenging though, was baking the birthday cake - I stayed up until 4am the night before the party as I had to make long leaf-shaped fondants to cover the cracks on the cake," says How.

All in all, How says she spent over RM2,000 to throw Adele a memorable birthday party.

"It was tiring, but well worth it. DIY parties can give you a great amount of satisfaction, but only if you're into stuff like that."

If you're planning to organise your own party, get family and friends to help, says homemaker Nadia Akwal, 31, who recently celebrated her daughter Haya Khan's first birthday. Over 150 guests attended the party, which had a theme based on Haya's favourite TV show, Charlie And The Numbers.

Nadia spent nearly RM5,000 on the party, mostly on food from hired vendors.

"Throwing a DIY party isn't too tough if you have the right help. My family was excited about the party and did everything they could to lend a hand. Our cousin volunteered as the photographer. An aunt helped with the Charlie figurine cake topper.

"My mum knew food vendors. My sister and brother-in-law made a piñata from scratch. They also organised the games and prizes for the kids and took care of the decorations and the 100 helium balloons. My father did the invites and on the day of the party, my husband took care of the baby. All I had to do was pick out the baby's dress," shares Nadia.

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