Penelope’s Dino Brunch


Saturday’s dino brunch plans went without a hitch! I had invited just her aunts & uncles over for a little brunch to celebrate her third birthday. A few aunts & uncles couldn’t make it so there were only 8 of us. It’s so much easier to plan a small party like that! So much easier, in fact, that I sorta went overboard. I mailed out invitations, made napkins with dinosaur decals on them, calligraphed place cards & made little favors. I was just so thrilled how everything turned out, I can’t help but be so excited to share it with all of you.


• T H E   M E N U •


The menu was simple, but coordinated with the party colors: orange, yellow & pink. I served cut fruit – pineapple, strawberries & oranges; fruit-garnished yogurt; dyed, hard-boiled eggs; lemon water & my own variation on Lemon Pull-Aparts. Since the theme was obviously dinosaurs, it was so fun to play into the theme with hard-boiled eggs. I used the same Dying method that I used last week & arranged the eggs in a “nest” of coordinating tissue paper.


I switched up the Lemon Pull-Aparts by baking them in cupcake cups & adding strawberries to the glaze. I consider them a breakfast version of cupcakes. YUM!

I believe I spent about $25 on the food. Again, I kept the menu super simple.

• T H E   D E C O R •

I didn’t have to do too much for the decor. I already had the orange table cloth & the garlands (from decorating Penelope’s old room), so that was simple & easy! I had found the yellow display thing at a thrift store ages ago and took this party as an opportunity to give it new life. I just spray painted it a bright yellow.


My mother-in-law gave me the yellow cupcake stand a while ago for my birthday & I just recently picked up the large cake plate from Target for $14. I thought that was a great deal for a white ceramic cake plate.



I made the napkins from the same fabric I used to make Penelope’s chevron pillow & just cut it with pinking shears as I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time ironing & sewing (especially since my sewing machine is on the fritz). I made little brachiosaurus decals using my Silhouette & flocked iron-on material & used that to decorate the corners of the napkins. The napkins cost little to nothing to do (besides the cost of buying pinking shears, but I’ve needed a pair for ages).



The yellow dinosaurs were a $1 Walmart find & I spray panted those bright yellow to match the decor. I found the rad sparkle ribbon at Michael’s for $2. This was a great decoration idea, as it’s a toy for Penelope afterward! I was considering hollowing them out & planting wheat grass in them (like these dinos via here), but there was no time & I’m sure Penelope would’ve made a big mess out of them anyway.


The Lemon Water dispenser was one of the big ticket items at $20 (great deal, though!). I found it at Target. There was a yellow one available, which would’ve been perfect for this party, but I feel like white is a little more versatile in the long run.


While I was at Michael’s picking up frames & various party supplies I came across this T-Rex hat for $4. It doesn’t match any part of the decor, but I couldn’t help get it for Penelope because it’s so adorable. She has a similar tiger hat that she wears all the time.

I bought the yellow bucket from Target for $2.50. It’s a pretty rad vase, except that it leaks. Luckily, I can fit a mason jar in there no sweat. The white flowers (chrysanthemums?) cost $5 & the daffodils & tulips were from a neighbor’s front yard (thanks, Judy!).

• T H E   G I F T •



The biggest ticket item was Penelope’s gift. It’s pretty much the whole reason why I had a dino-themed brunch in the first place. I can’t remember whose blog I found it on (Ardor? Say Yes to Hoboken?), but someone posted about these rad Noah’s ark toys ($$!) and while browsing through the rest of the shop to see if there was something more along my price range, I came across this dinosaur story box! It took some consideration, since I don’t normally spend $70 on toys. However, considering the coolness & handmade factors, it was worth it. I bought it back in March & believe me it was SO HARD to wait until Penelope’s birthday to give it to her. She loves her new toy. I’m so glad I got it for her!

• P E N ‘ S   S H I R T •


I purchased this pink shirt at Walmart for $3 &  added the dino decal. Penelope LOVES it. It took about 5 minutes to make since I already designed the dino graphic for the invitations & favors.

• T H E   F A V O R S •


The favors were pretty simple. As I’ve already mentioned before, I designed & printed everything in house, so my costs for the actual bags were nil. I just spent $5 on the jelly beans & chocolate eggs.

We had a great time hanging out & giving Penelope some much-needed attention. I was so happy that everything went as planned (actually better!). Even though I perhaps went a little overboard, it was a lot less stressful than last year’s party. I kept things fairly simple & reused where I could. Overall I was pretty cheap. Including everything, I spent less than $170 (and that includes everything – even my splurge on P’s toy). Besides the food, everything I purchased can be used again for future entertaining, thus reducing the cost by quite a bit. I have a feeling I’ll be entertaining quite a bit in the future between all of our birthdays, so I may as well invest in some good party supplies.

I’ll be posting her invitations tomorrow & the printable version of the favor pouches soon. Stay tuned.

• C L I C K   H E R E   T O   S E E   T H E   I N V I T A T I O N S   •

• C L I C K   H E R E   T O   S E E   T H E   F A V O R S   •

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  1. SarahJane says:

    So cute Melissa! I love it all! I got so excited when I saw you had posted the birthday bash!

  2. Holy crazy perfect! This is just lovely :)

  3. Brianne says:

    i just love this! you have me obsessed with the orange/pink/yellow theme now & i’m definitely adding those animal planters to my to-do craft list, sweeeeet.

  4. Jenn says:

    Super cute, Melissa! And the dino toy is very cool. Wishing there was another set in stock! Considering how much time it takes to hand craft each piece, $70 really is a fair price I think.

  5. Melissa says:


    that was one of the reasons why i just went for it. it’s amazing the detail that went into making that toy box!! it was so worth every penny!

  6. Shelley says:

    That’s the hat Melissa Layland has! Love it! I seriously wish I wasn’t one of the aunts who couldn’t make it. Maybe next year I’ll plan better!

  7. Oh. my. gosh. Melissa! Everything looks so perfect! Even the mismatched dino hat is fitting because it made Penelope stick out on her special day. Wow, I am absolutely drooling–and not only on account of the food.

  8. SO CUTE. I love when people say, “My daughter wants a dinosaur birthday party. GOOD IDEA” instead of “No, darling, dinosaurs are for boys. Let’s do dolls and flowers instead.” The whole party looks wonderful and I want to try those cupcakes. :)

    You should submit this to the Hostess with the Mostest blog – – they feature adorableness, which you have in spades here.

  9. PS: after clicking the link to the dinosaur toy – I’m amazed!! I had toys like that when I was a kid…I can still remember the smell of the wood figures, and the feel of them in my hands. I may have to get the elephant for my daughter’s 4th birthday this august, if it’s still around and i can justify $70. great find!!

  10. Taylor says:

    Wow what a gorgeous party! She’s lucky to have such a talented mom!

  11. Stacy says:

    What is the lovely font you used on your placecards etc? I love it!!

  12. natalie says:

    i love the color scheme of her party. it looks so spring-y. you thought of everything, i love it. i am going to look for that yellow bucket/vase. good job.

  13. Emily says:

    Thanks for inviting me to the big party!! Turned out darling. The pics don’t even begin to compare. Good job, you are amazing! Xoxo
    Nells is lucky to have such a cool mom

  14. Melissa says:


    You just made my day! That font is not a font, it’s my handwriting.

  15. Tamara says:

    TomKat Studio better watch out- this party has AMAZING style! Love it all!

  16. Libby Kleyn says:

    So, so cute. Seriously-dino girl party is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. And that toy is so great. I might maybe may need one for myself!!

  17. […] • C L I C K   H E R E   T O   S E E   T H E   P A R T Y   D E T A I L S • […]

  18. […] • C L I C K   H E R E   T O   S E E   T H E   P A R T Y   D E T A I L S • […]

  19. Emily says:

    Happy birthday Penelope! Love the fun colors and how you made a dinosaur party more girly. Those lemon pull aparts look yummy! I like the fun touches like her shirt and the napkins. :)

  20. Heather says:

    I love how Penelope has a color scheme for her life, which is adorable. I hope she doesn’t grow out of it! Cara-cara oranges would have been a great fit in your color scheme. They’re pink inside, plus they taste super delicious!

  21. angie says:

    what a pretty birthday brunch! great job, melissa! penelope looks adorable with that hat, too.

  22. Bmerry says:

    Walmart! Ah, I couldn’t think of where to find those dinosaurs. I’ve been wanting to hollow some out too. I bought one of the planters from Plaid Pigeon first though (so as to not feel totally guilty about DIY’ing their idea).

  23. Adorable! Looks like she had so much fun:)!

  24. […] Penelope’s Dino Brunch was really cute! […]

  25. […] with it. It’s great stuff & oh so fun to be able to have texturized iron ons! I made Penelope’s dino napkins & birthday shirt using the flocked material. She loves rubbing her hands along the soft dino […]

  26. Lindi says:

    Whoa!! I am absolutely crazy about this party! I would love to share with my readers. Please contact me if that is something you are interested in!

  27. […] • C L I C K   H E R E   T O   S E E   T H E   P A R T Y   D E T A I L S • […]

  28. tahnie says:

    i absolutely adore this!! did you just use regular spray paint on the dinos?

  29. […] do a class in Denver?), her graphic designage is so gorgeous, I want to come to her parties (dinos for Penelope? LOVE), she sews fantastic stuff for herself!, I love her tutorials, and I’d take her entire […]

  30. […] a big deal out of her birthday and her baptism I threw her a party. The first real party since her dino brunch (favors, printables, invitation) when she turned three. I’ve got an amazing track record, […]

  31. Kelley says:

    I love the invitations. Would you send me the layout and I could change the details? My little one is turning 3.

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