Right off, I'm forewarning you that this post is long, so if you don't want to hear LOTS of food and decor details from Lovebug's birthday party, DON'T read on! You could just scroll down through the pictures...It's ok, I promise I won't be offended :)!
Alright my friends, THIS is the long-awaited (and long) 1st birthday post...yes, it's been 2 months since the event took place but whatever. I have had this thing in my draft folder for forever and darn it, I'm posting it regardless of how long it has been!
The party was so lovely and turned out so well and our little birthday girl enjoyed herself immensely! I certainly feel for those with December birthdays (and their parents) now though as it truly is harder to put something together during the holidays. Sometimes it seems the children get the shorter end of the stick because of it, don't they? I want to ensure that never happens to Lovebug though, so I tried to make it as un-touched from the holidays as possible.
First off, Lovebug LOVES animals and always has. In fact, she has this beloved wooden puzzle that her grandparents gave her of farm animals when she was a tiny baby. SO we decided to go with a farm animal "theme" of sorts. We emailed Pingg invitations with this photo...
The next thing I tend to decide after the invitation is the ensemble to go with the theme/design of course! I searched for quite some time but finally found the right Eliza Gran dress. I loved the vintage-y almost farm-ish look to it, and the colors and adorable ric rac were perfect! I had the hardest time though tracking it down and never could find it in Lovebug's size despite many calls and emails. I ended up scoring it on sale, but the catch was that it was 1 size too big. It all worked out though because it fit her pretty well except in the shoulders, so just a few temporary stitches here and there and VOILA, Lovebug's party dress! It was a little long too but I thought it looked cute that way actually and it didn't seem to bother or hinder her.
I normally make Lovebug's hair clips but I sourced the felt cow out to Two Punky Peas who makes adorable ones. She had a great holiday deal going on and I had never attempted an animal clip before, so I left it to an expert. I made the satin ribbon headband and Gracious May made her cute shoes that we already had. I highly recommend both of those gals and their Etsy shops.
I really like to incorporate presents, if there are any, into the party decor, so one of Lovebug's birthday presents was the vintage Fisher Price farm we got at Antique Weekend this last fall. She won't be playing with it for awhile though since it is plastic, which in general, we don't allow. We will make exceptions however for well-made vintage toys, but only if it's something Lovebug won't be sucking on. Anyway, it became the centerpiece of the table...
The table was accented with some mini hay bales that I bought from this truly lovely Etsy seller. She makes them herself at their farm up in New York and they're very reasonably priced. They will work for future events or seasonal decor too which is great. Isn't Etsy the BEST? Nearly all of the decor came from wonderful Etsy sellers! The vintage white cloth napkins with red, blue, and yellow trim were all bought from different vintage Etsy sellers SO reasonably priced and will get lots of future use. I don't think you can ever have too many cloth napkins! The little vintage metal plates have cute farm animals in the center and were also an inexpensive Etsy find from Happy Day Vintage and Lovebug now loves to play with them :). You truly can find amazing stuff if you do a little searching.
I tried to incorporate mini red ric rac here and there to compliment her dress so I sewed some onto the table linens and made an entry banner outside with some. I made a little garland of it with a "1" in the middle made from cardboard, some Eco Glue, and some leftover raffia I've had lying around forever that I simply cut up to look like hay. Then I accented it with some felt farm animal puppets from Mahar that I know Lovebug will love to play with when she's a tad bit older.
The ric rac accents worked really well because I incorporated it into our Christmas decor too which I ended up loving! For the party though, I made a little "happy birthday" banner with it that hung over the table. I used mini clothespins, leftover red and white cardstock we had lying around, and vintage crossword letter cards from Boston Bag Lady. She went through all of her cards to fish out the exact letters for "Happy Birthday" and "Merry Christmas" because I turned around and switched the cards out for the holidays which worked out perfect! Again, isn't Etsy the best?
The birthday crown was inspired by Ruby Ellen's beautiful ones but we used Amanda's instructions in her book. My Love actually made it all himself which I think is super special. We kept it simple using white 100% wool felt with some red ric rac lightly sewn on in a few places and a mini cow button that we got from yet another Etsy seller (SHOCKER I know). Our plan is to add another little button or adornment that fits with the "theme" of each birthday party every year. You can take the elastic easily out if desired (we tried it) so hopefully she'll enjoy the special crown her Daddy made her for many birthdays to come!
Lovebug's other little present was this beautiful set of wooden farm animals...aren't they adorable? I searched and searched for the right ones and finally decided on these because I love their colors and modern design. In case you're interested, Cheekeyes is the brand and they have some other cool animal lines that I cannot wait to get in the future. Anyway, these went on the coffee table in the family room, so again the present became part of the decor...
Let's talk some food, because a party isn't much without it, is it? We kept it super simple since it was in the middle of the day between lunch and dinner. I made some of my "treehugger bark" and some mint chocolate chip cookies in lieu of cake.
My favorites were the popcorn balls and the below mini apple bites, which were both on a stick. They were super fun and the paper sticks got composted post-party so no worries about the waste. I got the general idea for the apple bites here, but we just did vegan chocolate chips and some chopped up almonds. They are really easy once you get the hang of the melon baller in the apple.
The popcorn ball recipe we got here but used coconut oil in lieu of vegetable and added sunflower seeds and raisins. Personally, I really appreciate when food is labeled so I always try to let people know what they're eating. For this party, we used a mini chalkboard we found at Antique Weekend a few years back and just had it simply sitting on the table with the menu listed on it.
For beverages, it was spiced apple cider, coffee, or water, and the drinks had labels of course which is a must at our nest parties seen here and here :). As also is customary around our nest, it was a waste-free event with cloth napkins, and real plates and glasses. In addition to the obvious green aspect of this, it just takes the party up a notch in my opinion.
I know most everyone goes to a first birthday party waiting to see the little ones either tear into their presents or dive into their cakes. Well, we did neither of these :). I searched forever for a vegan nut and wheat free cupcake or mini cake option that I could bake. We don't want Lovebug to have wheat, nuts, or grains for another year and had a couple failed attempts with coconut flour unfortunately. Thus, we decided to just go with something easy that she loves without the stress or worries - SO chopped up banana it was! It's one of her favorites already so we knew she would love it. We added some strawberries (which she didn't love) and for fun, we added some vegan coconut cream icing. This recipe is yummy and I highly recommend it! A much healthier option to powdered sugar icings and can be used on coffee cakes, bundt cakes, cupcakes, or whatever!
In lieu of any games, we had a little slideshow of Lovebug's 1st year that was constantly playing on our TV as the entertainment. It was nearly 40 minutes long :) so people got bits here and there but it's a great keepsake for her box and I think we'll do one every birthday now to re-cap the year for her in pictures. The children mostly played outside...poor Lovebug wanted to go out there with the older kids so badly.
I love coming up with ideas for party favors as I think it's a fun little tradition to send the guests home with something. However, especially with the holidays, we decided that in lieu of any favors, we would make a donation to Heifer International, which is one of our favorite causes we like to support. Plus, it went with the whole "theme" of farm animals :). Anyway, please check out Heifer's online catalog as they are a wonderful organization with such an incredible mission! We also requested that in lieu of any presents, guests make a donation to them as well because our nest is already super blessed.
Well thank you for reading the birthday post...yes yes yes, lots of details with heavy emphasis on the decor, but you must remember I am an event designer by trade so my little personal parties are my outlet! :) It was definitely a successful party in my eyes as I think the guests enjoyed themselves and, most importantly, Lovebug had tons of fun. Here she is rolling around in the leaves after we finally let her outside...she might have enjoyed this more than anything else from the party!
So THERE, it's DONE...I feel SO much better now that I have posted this and can finally scratch it off my list! :) Thank you to anyone that actually read the whole thing. I highly recommend you check out the above Etsy sellers when you have a chance. Happy Friday!!!