Monday, May 16, 2011

Birthday Party Q&A

How did you come up with a theme for her party?
I'd been thinking about this for a while and honestly? I first thought I'd just go with the owl-theme for her (per our usual go-to). However, I kept just seeing myself unhappy with that, like we'd overdone it. One day I was sitting in her room, in the chair, nursing her--when I looked in her closet and saw a dress I'd gotten her last year before she was born from the Baby Gap (I had a gift certificate). It's navy blue, with a big sunshine that bursts from the side/bottom of the dress. Just like that, I knew the theme would be something using yellows/whites/blues, and boast of "you are my sunshine".

Wait, what was the theme again?
Technically, it was a "You are my Sunshine" theme. Although, themes are whatever in my book. Basically? I wanted an overwhelming amount of bright yellow, pops of blue & white, daisies, gingham fabric, and a picnic'y type feel. I think we got that.

Where did you get the banner?
I made it. It's actually a paper banner, made from various pieces of scrapbook paper that I picked according to the feel I wanted. I cut the triangles, then used 1.5" thick ribbon, folded over, and then pinned, and sewed using my machine all along to hold the whole banner together. And yes, you can sew through paper, no problem.

The letter cutouts spelling out "You are my Sunshine" are done using my sister's Silhouette machine. 

Where is the ceramic owl from?
Ross, in the home goods section. For like six bucks. I figured an owl had to make at least one appearance :)

How on earth did you get flowers on those pretzels?
They are pretzel-stick molds. You can find them at craft stores (I got mine at JoAnns fabrics) for like $1.99. You just melt chocolate in them, lay a pretzel stick in, put in the fridge, and voila!

What did you buy & what did you make?
I made the banner. With help from my sister I made the cake pops, the sugar cookies (and decorated), the floral arrangements (just bought some daisies in bulk for cheap), the button "E" sign, the month by month photo hanger, the photo props, even the chalkboard. Oh I almost forgot, I even sewed my own table runners from yellow gingham fabric, and some table cloth toppers, too. I'm a DIY type gal if I can help it. Oh, and the cupcakes & smash cake were made by my SIL, Lyryn.

As far as things I bought...the candy (but on sale majorly), the balloons, paper plates, napkins, the craigslist highchair ($20), yellow spray paint, oh and I also bought the cupcake tower for $9 but I spray painted it of course. Was originally black.

All the vases come from my sisters collection (seriously, we could own a party planning business, we have SO MUCH), including the cake plates, platters, etc

How did you take the photobooth pictures?
We set up a camera on a tripod, including instructions, set with a self timer. We wrote out the instructions on a piece of foam board, had them posted, and up there were the chalkboard, chalk and props in a basket nearby.

I'll be printing them and putting them in a book for Emeline, since everyone wrote her little wishes on the chalkboard. I want her to remember them and see them in the future.

Where did you get the photobooth props?
I made them. I used the hard(er) felt from the craft store, free-hand drew them, (Art teacher here. Don't forget.) then hot glued to thin wooden sticks I found for .20 cents at the craft store. I had two pairs of glasses, two mustaches, and one bow tie.

The chalkboard was a plain piece of wood (from the unfinished wood section of the craft store), and then painted with chalkboard paint.

How did you get your invitations on magnets?
I made them in Picnik. My husband helped resize them in photoshop. I then uploaded them to where they have the option to buy as magnets. I bought my envelopes from the office store (Staples), and they were all done for under $24 total.

What are your plans for the highchair?
Right now it's going to live at my parents house as an option for another highchair when we're there for dinners, gatherings, etc. Plus, they have the space. In the future it'll likely get repainted (and repainted) by me for future photoshoots with future children.

Where do you get huge balloons like that? 
I got them at They are 36" latex balloons. (FYI: They take a LOT of helium. I rented a small tank from our local Party City.)

How did you not break the bank?
I didn't, at all, and it's not an option. Plus, I've been gathering, collecting, making for the past three'ish months. I used the money from my Etsy Shop income to cover the costs of the party. My parents also helped us by taking care of the food buying, which is something they always generously offer. This took a huge financial burden off of us. Also, re-using old vases from my wedding, platters, and re-purposing decorations is another way I saved.

What websites/inspiration did you use?
I'm not really big on following party blogs (in fact, I don't look at any really). The rest of the inspiration came from my head, or things I just have picked up stored back in the files of my brain. But if I found any inspiration anywhere it came from Pinterest

Most of all, how did you plan this without being an emotional basketcase the whole time?
Who said I wasn't? Okay, a few times I broke down in little sobfests. If you ask my husband, my main hangup was the concept of time, and just how freaking fast it goes. It makes me sad (a little) that she's not a "baby" anymore. But, I know and love that she's growing healthy and learning new things. I had a tiny little cry (okay, more than tiny) the week before her birthday. However, I enjoyed her party and didn't shed a single tear. I was just so happy that day, my girl deserved to be celebrated, and she was. 


I think I answered most the questions. If you want to see all of the first birthday pictures (including all photobooth pics), you can check them out on my Flickr photostream.


  1. Thanks for this post. I am in the process of gathering ideas for C's party and need all the help I can get :) Great job.

  2. I looooved the photobooth idea ... especially that you made the idea up yourself and made the crafts! Very friendly on the wallet! What a great memory not only you, but Emeline and your guests will take away from her special day! I have a feeling you'll be seeing a lot of bloggers 'borrwoing' this idea in the future!

  3. Your party was so sweet and perfect for Ememline. As we (who am I kidding... as I!) plan Connor's party, it will be simple and sweet as well. As I was planning food over the weekend? I finally realized why I registered for all the platters and dishes I did while married. I can finally dust them off and use them!

  4. I love this post-Great idea! I love Pinterest too:o)

  5. I love the photo-booth party so much! Wish I would have thought of that for Lizzy's first!

    I'm with you--picnic type parties are always the best!

  6. You're amazing! End of story.

  7. Thanks for sharing all the behind the scenes info. Everything was beautiful and looks so well put together. You did great!

  8. I'm SO glad you did this post. I've been trying to figure out ways to make Noah's 2nd party this summer Curious George themed (obviously), but also make it cute and fun and unique. I love crafting, so that's not a problem. It's just coming up with ideas that I usually need help with. Hope you won't care if we use a couple of yours... those massive balloons are awesome! :)

  9. The party looked amazing! You did a great job pulling all your ideas together! Pinterest is great :)

  10. What great ideas - and seriously, what a fun first birthday for Eme!

  11. We for sure have the same style :) Love it all! I call Ella my sunshine.

  12. So great... LOVE the props! If you weren't at the beach this week I would totally drive over to your house and steal them for Brynn's 1st bday party THIS Saturday. OMG!

  13. Thank yo so much for this post! I was wondering how you did the photo booth. I'm going to try to do one for my husbands birthday party this summer. :)

  14. I just saw a "You are my sunshine" baby shower a friend on FB threw last week. What a great party! I would love go overboard with the details but it seems like the $ and time runs out for me but hopefully in the future I'll be able to plan in advance and pull off something adorable like this. Great work!

  15. HI!

    I love your blog! AND the birthday theme and color!! Can you please tell me what font your used for the "You are my Sunshine"? I know you mentioned that, but I cant fine it.

    Thank you!!! <3