Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Crafting a First Birthday Party

Now that February has arrived, I can finally look back at the whirlwind that was November through January. On top of the usual holiday fun, we had an extra-special event that landed smack between Thanksgiving and Christmas: Vinnie's first birthday!

Hooray! We made it!
I was quite excited to put his birthday party together. I've hosted dinner parties, a Halloween baby shower, and St. Patrick's Day parties, but this was the first time I've put together a child's birthday party (even if most of the guests were adults).

As comedian (and father of 5) Jim Gaffigan pointed out, "the baby's first birthday party is not a party for your baby; it's a party for you." So, I didn't get all crazy with a meticulously coordinated theme or blow a bunch of cash on an expensive smash cake (especially since I had a feeling Vinnie wasn't even going to touch it).

Doesn't mean I didn't get crafty, though! I opted for a primary color scheme and some "Baby's 1st Birthday" plates and signage. I got a lot of my gear at Daiso, (a large, Japanese dollar-store) including serving bowls, plates, invitation supplies, and decorations. My favorite were the pre-folded tissue paper puffs; much safer and (eco-friendly) than balloons, and they're re-usable.

Party favors for everyone!
For favors, I made large gingerbread cookies in the shape of a 1. I bought the cookie cutter from an Etsy store called West Tin Works (check them out, they have lots of fun shapes!). My mama and I decorated the cookies with royal icing. We did this pretty late at night, and I think our exhaustion fed into our creativity.

Batman, zombies, vampire clowns...the usual for a 1st birthday, right?
 Mama and I also baked the cupcakes for the party. OK, my mama did pretty much 99% of the work on those, which is awesome (especially since she used to be a professional cake decorator).

I've always wanted a cupcake tower!

For decorations, I didn't want to go too overboard since I had rented a nice space in our apartment's complex. The main attraction were the galleries of photos of Vinnie, which were mounted on colorful cardstock trimmed with decorative-edge scissors. I did one section that was Vinnie at each month, one that was Vinnie with friends and family, and one that was some of Vinnie's "greatest hits." It was a really nice way for guests to see some of my favorite pictures of the little guy, since I don't post many pictures online.

I think my favorite thing we made for the party, though, were Vinnie's birthday bibs. I finally followed through on my threat to applique. I used the same "1" shaped cookie cutter to make a template for the fabric, then attached it to the terrycloth bib using fusible webbing. My mama then sewed it on with a super-close zig-zag. We made two, one for his birthday at home, and one for the party the next day.

Hmmm...wonder which party Vinnie liked better?

Not that I had to worry about my little man getting messy. As I predicted, he didn't even touch his cupcake. It was still amusing to watch.

"You want me to do what with this?"

I had a lot of fun putting this party together. I had a LOT of help from my family--especially my parents, who flew in from out of town--and I feel so lucky to have been able to gather so many people together to help the Professor and I celebrate our little man's first birthday.