Best Kids Parties: Butterflies

My Party

Name: Ada (1)
Location: Columbus, OH

For my daughter's first birthday I choose butterflies as the theme. I was just going to have flowers and bright colors, but when I remembered I had Martha Stewart's butterfly shape paper cutter I went for it.

Everything was DIY'd! For her one year photo shoot tutu I looped 4 different colors of tulle around a pink ribbon so I could easily tie it on. The ONE is paper mache letters bought at JoAnn's and painted 3 shades of pink. I got them to stand up by cutting 6" lengths of a wire clothes hanger and poking 2 wires through each of the bottom of the letters then sticking them in the ground.

I have recently had to adopt a gluten free diet for health reasons. So it was a challenge to plan an afternoon party along those lines. The food turned out to be a hit and I really loved everyone marveling at how delicious the GF food was! Her cake and cupcakes are the gluten free lemon cake with lemonade glaze on top from She Knows How. Fruit was put on short skewers with butterflies on the ends. GF pretzels and colorful veggies were dipped into guacamole and hummus mixed together. Watermelon slices, a bowl of cherries, and almonds were placed around the table. The brie and GF crackers were a hit. My mom made the gluten free chocolate cookies with some chipotle chili powder added in for a little kick.

I punched the butterflies out of scrap card stock and sewed them into a garland on my machine. I tied lengths of it around bamboo skewers to make a garland for the cake. For the party hats I cut up a 1999 Anne Geddes calendar I had had sitting around for .... oh, 13 years - glad to finally find a use for that! I used the party hat template on Oh Happy Day!'s blog. I glued fake flowers and feathers into the holes on top and punched holes in the sides to attach ribbon to. I printed all my Instagram photos of her from this past year using Snapstagr.am and hung them above the desserts.

In lieu of gifts, we had guests bring things representing the past year to put into a "Time Capsule" for her - not to be opened until her 18th birthday! I made up some cards for people to write on with one saying "Predict Ada's future!" and another just made up with the date so they could write her a little note. I made her dress from a free pattern on Smashed Peas & Carrots and bloomers from Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing book. We attached fake flower sprays to her high chair with left over tulle to jazz it up a bit. They're still on there actually and she loves looking at the flowers every day.

Afterwards I put some pieces of the decor and her outfit into the time capsule. I'm planning to print the pictures from the day and putting those in before we seal it up and hide it in the back of the closet!

All in all it was such a fun party and looked so beautiful for the extremely low budget we were working with. Interestingly, most of our budget was used up on the balloons. In the future I think I'll skip the balloons and opt for some cheap fun lanterns that can be used again. It seems such a waste to spend so much on something that was gone by the next day!

Beautiful - thanks Julia!

(Images: reader Julia)

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Family, Entertaining at Home, My Party

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.