December 6, 2013
I’m a bit tardy with this post, but better late than never, right? With Christmas right around the corner time has definitely gotten away from me … ’tis the season!
After 3 months of planning and organizing and crafting … Aylah’s BIG 1st Birthday bash was a great success! Most (if not all) of the elements of the party were Pinterest inspired … and I’ll try to include info and links wherever I can to credit the original sources …
Once I decided on a theme of hot air balloons, the party planning took on a life of it’s own … and I’m so happy with how everything turned out!
Here are the invitations … with matching envelopes. I designed the invites myself in Photoshop and got them printed at my pro lab. The picture of Aylah in the hot air balloon was done in my studio, as well as the 3-d clouds … the other elements were purchased from MyClipArtStore on Etsy and I just changed the colours to match my theme in Photoshop. The envelopes are just plain white with a cutout of a hot air balloon stuck on with double-sided tape.
Guests were greeted with signs outside and inside the front door welcoming them to come on in … the white frames were purchased from Ikea. They had matching frames in all different sizes which was perfect because I had a lot of things to frame and of course wanted everything to match. They also come in other colours … you can find them here.
I obviously wanted Aylah to wear something special for her party. In an Etsy search for “hot air balloons” I came across this, which I almost purchased. I just couldn’t get past the fact that the colours wouldn’t match the rest of the party … so why not just make one myself, right? So off I went to the mall to find the perfect plain onesie (thank you Old Navy), and then to Michael’s to buy felt, thread and buttons. This project took me many hours, but I think it’s super cute and don’t regret a minute!
But then of course she would also need an outfit for her cake smash during the party … so that shirt got some felt and thread too. Hehe!
We knew Aylah would be getting lots of toys for her birthday, so when we came across this little chair at Toys R Us we thought it would be a perfect gift because it will last her for many years. The sheep was a total impulse add on … but common … isn’t he just the cutest!! I can’t handle his knobby knees … cracks me up every time!
I saw this really simple backdrop idea on Pinterest here and I thought, why not!! I just used the same scrapbook paper from Michael’s that I used for everything else …
I got these ONE letters at Walmart, but they were white, which I knew wasn’t what I wanted. First I tried to paint them … big mess and it looked horrible! My eye caught the pile of leftover felt I had bought for the onesie and a lightbulb went off … COVER THEM IN FELT!!! Brilliant!! I also used these in some birthday photos that I did with Aylah in the studio … you can see them here.
This was the idea that sealed the deal for the hot air balloon theme! When I saw this idea on Pinterest there was no going back. Here is the original inspiration, but I must humbly say that I think mine are much more put together. Lol!
The brown baskets came from Dollarama. I used wooden dowels and wrapped brown yarn around them … they are hot glued to the inside of the baskets. All of the little circles were punched out of the scrapbook paper (bought a 1 inch punch from Michaels … my new best friend!). And all of the adorable Beenie Boo creatures came from various stores as I had to ensure that no 2 were alike … and I needed 20, lol.
I thought kites would be an appropriate addition to the hot air balloon decor, so all of my leftover scrapbook paper went towards the kites.
These 3-d hot air balloons and clouds were by far my favourite elements of the decor. I saw them here and here on Pinterest, and then I went to Google to figure out how to make them. This is what I found … they were actually pretty easy.
And what’s a party without streamers? But no ordinary streamers would do! I also bought a 2 inch circle punch from Michales … and tada!
Coming from a background of merchandizing, signage is very important to me … this is where all of those matching Ikea frames came in handy …
This chalkboard-style info board is really popular these days. I drew most of my inspiration from this example, but I created mine from scratch in Photoshop. I got the chalkboard background for free from this generous blogger, and I got all of the various chalkboard fonts from my favourite font site!
I saw this 1st year collage on Pinterest as well and just loved it. I inserted the images chronolocially … 3-4 from each month. It was so fun to see how she changed in appearance over the first year. The collage is now hanging in our house and probably will be for some time ‘cuz I just love how it turned out! The series on the right I posted on my blog here … and it also came from pinterest inspiration which I found here.
I also had an album printed of Aylah’s first year. I took a picture of her each month and wrote a little blurb about the new things that she was doing and learning. That first year goes by so quickly and they change so much, I knew I wanted to do something to remember all of the little things … the inspiration for this came from Pinterest as well, surprise surprise … you can find the source here.
I also wanted to have a guestbook at the party so all of Aylah’s friends and loved ones could write little notes to her. My brides often use their engagement pictures in a guestbook like this and I thought, why not for a milestone birthday party too?
Bunting banners are all the rage these days. This one I made by hand so it would match everything else … Pinterest source here.
This is the table spread in its entirety, but I will break down the details as well …
The nacho dip cups were a huge hit … super tasty, and not too hard to make either. Got the idea here. I found these shallow plastic cups at Party City … they were perfect because the top was wide enough to fit your hand in for dipping. The olive skewers were my idea though … all hand made with toothpicks, scrapbook paper and hot glue. I knew I wanted signage for the food, and I’m happy to say that the design for those came straight from my brain, lol … no Pinterest credit required! I got the little silver placecard balls from Michaels (got something neutral so I could use them again for other parties), and then I made the little hot air balloon signs to stick in them.
Same idea with the veggie stick cups … individual servings was very convenient for our guests. Got that idea here. And of course some cherry tomato skewers to finish them off.
The beverages we offered were bottled water and punch, but I simply had to put labels on the bottles and cups (‘cuz, well, I’m crazy like that). I got the template for the bottle labels here and the template for the cup sleeves here. Designed the artwork in Photoshop … Bob’s your uncle.
I’ve seen these fruit skewers a few different times on Pinterest and I just think they’re so cute and colourful. Example here.
We also had a strawberry cream cheese fruit dip which was amazing!! Here’s the recipe.
Now here comes the really impressive part … the baked goods. I have an amazingly talented friend who I took these designs too and she made it a reality for us … I couldn’t be more grateful!! Here is the cookie picture I showed her and here is the cake picture I showed her … she knocked it out of the PARK!! I knew if anyone could do it, she could do it! THANK YOU Christina!!!!
After all of the finishing touches were laid out on display, all we had to do was wait for the guests. This is the calm before the storm …
The Birthday Girl was so happy and well behaved (even sans nap) … she made her mommy very proud!!
All of the kids (and hopefully adults too) seemed to have a great time!
It certainly was a full house … but we made it work.
Aylah has more toys and clothes than she knows what to do with now. Thank you so much to our very generous family and friends for blessing her with so many truly beautiful things!
And last but certainly not least … the cake smash. This was actually her second cake smash. If you follow the blog regularly you would have seen her studio cake smash blogged here (cake also made by Christina). We did another mini smash at the party, which really just resulted in her eating parts of the animals that were on the top of the cake, lol. The high chair was decorated from inspiration I got here, and of course she needed a custom party hat to match. Instead of doing the traditional elastic that would go under the chin I used one of her elastic headbands and attached it at the front of the hat (instead of the sides) … that way when we put it on her the elastic would go behind her ears instead of under her chin. I know for a fact that’s the only reason it actually stayed on her head, lol. Tricky mommy …
The elephant’s left ear was the first thing to go, and the right ear was quick to follow, lol!
All in all it was a WONDERFUL celebration and I had a great time planning and executing it!! I want to send BIG shout outs to all of the helping hands that made it possible … my amazing hubby Craig, my mom Kim and mother-in-law Pat!
And also BIG thank yous to my awesome second shooters Shawn and Courtney who so wonderfully documented this event for me so that I could enjoy it as a mom and not as a photographer.