Searching for a theme for your young child's birthday? Emily let her daughter Poppy's name be her inspiration for this colorful, crafty party: I decided to pour a lot of handmade touches into my daughter's first birthday party, somewhat as a way of distracting myself from the fact my baby was turning ONE!
I decided on a theme of birds and flowers, since Poppy is a Spring baby (her birthday is April 11th), and used bright colors to showcase her sunny personality. I made the majority of the decorations for her party by hand and had a great time doing so! In the weeks before P's birthday I regularly visited local craft stores (such as Joanne Fabrics & Michael's Crafts) and used coupons and sales to save money when purchasing supplies. I also used the Dollar Tree to purchase a few goodies - brightly colored flower banners made from tissue paper, cups, plates, utensils and some cute wicker purses with flowers on them, which i used as napkin & silverware holders.
One of the first crafts i made for the party was the most labor-intensive: little plush felt birdies which I stitched by hand with colorful thread as ornaments for the guest's gift bags! The bags also included packets of Poppy flower seeds and were filled with Hershey kisses for a sweet treat.
I made 6 different banners to hang for the party - created from scrapbook paper and colorful cardstock, and strung on printed cloth ribbon. The largest banner spelled out "Happy Birthday Poppy" and was about seven feet across at its longest point - had to get some help from my dear husband when hanging that monster up! But it can be used for many future birthday parties, along with many of the other crafts I made so it was well worth the time and resources invested! I'm actually planning to use some of the party crafts for nursery decor as well, so making so many handmade elements turned out to be a great investment.
One of my favorite crafts was created about a week before the party, after I was looking online and found that Jones Soda Company lets you personalize their soda labels with a photo of your choice. I fell in love with the idea but it was already too late to meet their shipping deadline! So I created my own custom labels for Thomas Kemper sodas using scrapbook paper from the banners I'd made, some color copies of the photo of Poppy used in the party invites, and a glue stick! The sodas turned out SO cute - they were really a standout feature for the food table and so much fun to make.
The food for the party was actually inspired by another blogger - Sarah of The Stroller Ballet. When Sarah's lovely daughter recently turned one, she mentioned making lasagnas for the party - I thought the idea was absolutely perfect, since it's delicious, filling, and can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. So along with a huge 5-cheese lasagna, I served: roasted garlic asparagus, herbed foccacia bread, summer sausage with sharp cheddar, marinated olives & capers with blue cheese, tomato & mozzarella salad with sea salt & olive oil, multigrain crackers, chips & salsa, and fresh strawberries with sweet cream dip. I also served a selection of beer & wines for the adults, and had mini bottles of water & juice boxes for my tiniest guests. On the table I rounded out the birds & flowers theme with cute ceramic flower pots filled with candy, flower vases filled with silk daisies, pinwheels, and long-stemmed flower-shaped lollipops, and a few chubby ceramic birds I picked up at the Dollar Tree.
I decided to have an open, casual format for the party, so we didn't plan any structured games. Instead I just placed a tote full of toys in the middle of the living room and let the little ones go to town! The children all had a great time amusing themselves with whatever toys looked most appealing, and it was really easy for the adults to keep an eye on the kids while still being able to visit & enjoy their drinks & snacks. Not pictured in my blog post was a large inflatable ball pit borrowed from my parents, which some of the kids romped around and played in.
As a whole, the party was a huge success! We had about 20 guests total including 4 under the age of 2 - all the little kids played marvelously together and the adults seemed to have a great time as well. It was absolutely worth every second of effort I put into the planning and I was actually able to pull the whole thing together on a pretty reasonable budget. I'd estimate that the costs of the crafts and decor ended up being around $60, and the food & drinks were another $50, which puts the total at barely over a hundred dollars. Decidedly worth every penny for such a lovely and memorable day!