Born 10 weeks before Little E, Little D had his birthday celebration nine weeks earlier and his parents OE held the celebration in the multipurpose room in our condo. I was happy to help brainstorm and create party materials, decorate, set-up and help tear down. There was a little bit of self-interest because then I didn’t have to start from scratch in laying out the room and some other ideas.
Last Sunday, it was time for E’s first birthday bash and while I had been back at work for two weeks, it was because I was reusing some materials and plugging away at others in the evening and constantly thinking about it that it all came together quite nicely, if I do say so for myself. For someone who hates “event planning”.
We invited 49 guests and 38 ended up attending including seven families that are originally NPY’s friends, three couples that are his immediate family, one family of my friends and my cousins. I’m so glad that everyone got to meet. My friends have been hearing about E’s little cousin E (same first name) and he made an appearance. And D met little and new D (same first name) born nearly a year apart (on Big D’s birthday party day, in fact). And E’s two cousins (“Other E” and A) are actually “birthday twins”, born on the same day about two hours apart, earlier this year. We hosted 24 adults and 14 children age six and under.
The very first thing I did on Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. when I gained access to the party room was put the drinks in the fridge to start chilling them and to hang up our welcome sign. I made a similar one for D so carried over the design for E. While D had a panda themed party, we went “Jungle/Safari” theme. I found a set of cut-outs deeply discounted at The Party Bazaar and that saved me from having to draw. I could have easily downloaded images, too. Font is Google’s Delius Unicase, one of the two main fonts I used.
Monthly photos garland
When I hung the monthly photo garland around a corner like I did for D’s party, it did not fare very well so this time, I hung it over the food table which everyone has to visit, right?
I’ll get to the food later …
Children’s play area
It was easy for me to figure out how to amuse the babies and younger toddlers. We already have the toys! I pinned the rest of the cutouts to the wall surrounding the baby area and hung balloons for ambiance. I followed the tip to weigh down the balloons with a coin.
Birthday garland and balloon wall
My large “pièce de résistence” is the balloon wall that took about 2.5 hours to make: blow up, knot, affix to the wall and then adjust their spacing. My friends are so lovely and three of them came earlier and pitched in making the streamers and taping things up while I endlessly pumped air into 70 balloons. The balloons (from the dollar store) are affixed to the wall with specific tape that has an end that loops through the balloon’s knot. To make the streamers, I printed lines onto green cardstock so it was fast to cut along the lines.
The backstory is that E is currently totally fascinated and floored by spherical and circular things. He loves his spongy softball and any balloons we happen to get for free. So I wanted him to be really happy at his party and give him a lot of visual interest. He was very happy with the hanging balloons and three helium balloons (found balloons at The Party Bazaar with safari animals), swatting them. He was initially afraid of the balloon wall – silly baby – but then took to it with some apprehension by the end.
The birthday banner is one I created for D who had pandas flanking the words instead of safari animals. They are foam letters on regular white paper on green cardstock with a thick ribbon strung through. Su said I could keep reusing it and that is my intention!
At our gift table, we laid out gifts for E and gifts from E. I had fun Google Image searching “cute free safari animals” which I printed onto white labels with our young guests’ names. I used the MV Boli font which is sans serif and breezy in feel. From D’s party, I was inspired for what to fill the goody bags and I had a great time at the Dollar Spot area of Target to buy some items that were different from what OE found for D’s party.
My small “pièce de résistence” is the chalkboard sign. Just as I love birth announcements and made one for E, I love birthday signage summarizing the year and this was my chance to create a chalkboard look. At some points, I thought I was going to give up and pay someone through Etsy and the rates were between $8 and $30. $30! But when I created my own, I could fill it with relevant fields. For example, many chalkboards list what the child can say (which is nothing coherent at this point) and the child’s nicknames. We don’t call him anything especially different. “Evan’s nicknames are Evans, Baby, Punk and (more recently) Brat” Haha.
Can you believe that I was just so busy I forgot to take any photos. I only have a photo of the room before any decorating began. Besides being too busy, when I did remember, I was a bit abashed to be stopping to document my handiwork. So you can barely see the food in the picture that does show the food.
My homemade touch for the food included S’mores rice krispies and rainbow fruit skewers, the latter created by stringing together a red strawberry, orange cantaloupe, yellow pineapple, green kiwi and blue-purple grape. I wanted to make “million dollar spaghetti” but didn’t have room in my fridge to store it or time to make it!
The trays of Chinese food was catered from Ken’s Kitchen and supplemented with Uncle Fatih’s pizza.
We ordered our cake from Yan’s bakery, our fourth time using them. They can make a smooth whipped cream that looks like fondant and I provided the last photo to show my inspiration. They couldn’t do the green flaps over the edge without using fondant and 3D animals would have cost too much in labour so I found a wide image that she “screened” onto the cake. Finding leopard spotted ribbon (in the correct width) was very serendipitous at Michael’s. The candles cost a pretty penny but created visual interest on an otherwise empty cake top and matched the cut-outs.
Above image from spaceshipsandlaserbeams.com