Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy BIRDday to you

I had no intention of posting these, but a friend recently asked where I had come up with the ideas I'd used for decorating for Seven's first birthday party. I told her about the hours I'd spent scanning blogs and noting my favorite ideas. Then she asked why I hadn't returned the favor and posted my own pics to serve as inspiration to other Mommas. Ummmmm ... because it hadn't occurred to me? 

To remedy my bloggy faux pas, I present ... the BIRDday Party.

The entrance
We live in a townhouse with a narrow front walkway. Since balloons or cute yard signs or anything of that nature wouldn't have been seen from the street by our guests anyway, I commissioned Jo and her best friend to set the stage in chalk.

The cupcakes

With the number of kids in attendance, cupcakes were the way to go. Easier to serve and, given that we'd be outside, no plates would be needed unless someone was just feeling particularly neat and tidy. I saw these sweet bird's nests, but decided that snipping marshmallows and whatnot was probably less fun than spending my time enjoying the birthday girl. So I simply saved a bag of robin's eggs candies back at Easter time, pulled them out of the freezer in September and, voila! Cute little nests!

The highchair banner

I really, really wanted to do a highchair banner. I have no idea why, but I saw some on etsy and fell in love and, well ... I just had to do it. So I did.

Seven's was a two-evening project for Jo and me. I bought coordinating scrapbook paper from the craft store, a few embellishments to sprinkle here and there, and we set to work.

I drew out a pattern for a fat little birdie, then we cut out a bunch of bodies and wings and had fun mixing and matching. It really was a fun, no-rules craft. And I liked the results so much that I'm keeping the banner to reuse when Miss Seven turns 2. 

The serving area

Since the actual party was outside, we just needed a staging area in the house. So I pushed my kitchen table against the wall, and used it as a buffet. I went with all kid-friendly and loosely bird-themed nibbles.

There were twigs (pretzel sticks), flowers (fruit kebobs), suet cakes (rice crispie treats), and birdseed (sunflower seeds). Jo and I made these markers while we working on the banner.

Located on the wall above the serving area was what turned out to be everyone's favorite part of the party: the year in pictures.

This was so, so easy and yet so sweet and fun. I simply took one photo from each month of Seven's life, printed it as a 5x7, and hung it on a color-coordinated ribbon with a mini clothespin. To anchor the ends in a classier fashion, I covered the tips of my pushpins with yet another cutout of a paper bird.

To label each month of this amazing last year, I printed out a free template and used leftover scrapbooking paper from the high chair banner. My handwriting isn't as fancy as some of my computer's fonts. I let it do the pretty part: I printed out "birth" through "11" on white paper, then glued it on to the little tags. Mr. Blandings loved this so much that he moved it to the wall in Seven's bedroom, where I get to enjoy it every day. And Jo (who is going through a teen phase of valuing originality above mere imitation) is convinced that she's going to be seeing this particular decoration "copied" at every little one's birthday she attends for years. Really--it was that cute!

To cement the theme, I put together a playlist of all bird-related songs ... but since we spent 90% of the party out on the back hill, I'm fairly certain no one noticed "Bye Bye Blackbird," "And Your Bird Can Sing," "Three Little Birds," "Blackbird," and the like. But I knew it was there. :-)