Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's the Freshmaker! (Party Prep for Kate's 1st Birthday and an apology)

Hi, it's Kathryn! Just a quick note to apologize for being largely MIA from the blog since Monday! My schedule has been all thrown off since I went to go see that little vampire/werewolf movie at midnight with about 10 million screaming teenagers. (Yes, I was one of those people.) So please accept my sincerest apologies - Carol and I do intend to announce the winner of our Summer Days Giveaway very soon!

These last few weeks, I've had my nose deep in party-planning research for Baby Kate's first birthday party, and it's been very eye-opening as I'm learning so much about Korean culture! For more explanation on our latest project, I'm going to turn it over to Carol...

Carol here! So, in the Korean culture, the celebration of a child's first birthday is called a "dol" (sort of pronounced "dole") and it's a very big deal. I'm sure this dates back to high infant mortality rates that existed well before modern medicine and public health movements, but there you have it. Still, Korean families really tend to have big to-dos for their children's first birthdays, often spending ridiculous amounts of money (think wedding budget) on dols, and while we - my family - appreciate the sentiment, we think we can do a very nice party for less. Also, my husband is Chinese-American, and well, they don't do the crazy all-out dol-type events. So, we're doing a cultural mash-up type of first birthday party (which I think are often the most fun kind) and throwing in a bit of everything.

Now, the focal point of a dol, aside from the birthday child, is the table, which has specific types of symbolic elements on it, bringing the child (according to cultural lore) good luck, long life, etc. One of those items are "towers" for lack of a better word, called dol go-im. Traditionally, these are made from stacks of colored puffed rice cakes which were often taken apart at the end of the party and shared with guests, but these days, they're often used purely as decorative elements, and so, aren't required to be edible. While researching, online, Kathryn found a darling blog called "Little Seouls," which had a post providing some directions on how to make these yourself from paper towel rolls, candy, and hot glue guns. We decided that we'd like to try making some and after a long afternoon of work (all told, it took 12 man-hours - er, woman-hours? - to assemble them), are pretty happy with the result.

We plan on making a total of four go-im towers. We completed three of the four today. Materials used in the process included 60(!) rolls of Mentos, black beans, dried garbanzo beans, red beans, 3 paper towel rolls, 2 hot glue guns, and lots of glue sticks. Kate was born in the year of the Ox, according to the lunar horoscope, so the go-im to the upper left features a cute "ox." We found an image of this little guy online, printed it out, taped it to the papertowel roll, and then glued beans and mentos all over it. The go-im tower to the right spells out Kate's Korean name, Yeh-Jin, in Korean characters.

(Notice Carol making the flower-themed dol go-im while wearing the Parted Petals Cardi?)

I thought I'd do a flower for one of the towers...and the fourth, yet unfinished tower, will bear Kate's Chinese name, in Chinese characters (whoo! cultural mash-up!).

All three completed towers from the front.

And the three completed towers from the back.

The remaining detritus after many hours of hot-gluing. In case you were wondering, a handful of those Mentos did end up in our tummies. ^_-

Well, I can't type much more as I'm pretty sure I burned off most of my fingertips with the hot glue gun today! But as I mentioned at the top of the post, Carol and I will be posting the winner of our giveaway as well our our Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks, so stay tuned!


  1. aww the towers are so cute! happy birthday to baby kate :) i'm glad i got to learn a more about korean culture too

  2. Those look so great! The long hours were worth it, they definitely don't look like DIY towers made from a roll of paper towels...

    Carol - had a question about the anniversary sale. I stopped in on Friday and looked at the shoes and bags, did you happen to look at the boots? There are pair of cognac Miz Mooz "Kings" I'm waivering on... I wanted to get Frye riding boots for Fall, but these *might* be a good (cheaper) sub... was wondering if you saw them and if you thought the style was likable

  3. Wow, the dol towers are so cute! Wish I had seen this before we did our daughter's dol last year. I scoured the internet for dol ideas and never noticed this "how to" on the little Seouls website/blog. Great job!

  4. What a special celebration, Carol! Kiss Kate for me...she's so adorable. In the Chinese culture, we have a similar type of celebration for the 1st year...even for the first 100 days!! I'm so excited to see some pics of Kate. I just love her cute little face!

  5. How creative! They look GREAT! She is going to have such a special birthday. :-)

  6. I'm going to be watching for you two on Design Star - great job ladies! And only a FEW Mento's? What is up with that? I say one for the centerpiece, one for for the centerpiece, one for me....

    What a special celebration, I really enjoyed learning about a Dol :)

  7. These are so cool. I love the cultural mash up! Happy Birthday to lil' Kate.

  8. Thanks so much for showing and explaining the dol go-im! They're incredibly cute! I hope the party is lots of fun.


  9. Missed this over the weekend - but WOWEE ladies! So awesome and I'm so impressed. Kate will LOVE those - Happy Birthday to Kate! My youngest turns 2 this coming Monday - were he and Kate born the same day (different years, of course!)

  10. this is perfect!! i've been searching for a diy on these! i have a few questions - is there a place to buy the mentos in bulk for cheaper or did you just buy them at the store? do you have a link to the ox you found online?

  11. Cute! I made one of these for my son's 1st birthday last week and had so much fun. Love yours!

  12. Oh, wow. You are really good at that. Where did you get editing services uk - all those ideas? I wish I could be as creative in such things as you do.

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