Sunday, September 5, 2010

Gracie's First Birthday: A Barnyard Bash

I had so much fun planning and putting together Gracie's birthday party. I wanted it to be extra-special since it was her first, but I also wanted to not break the bank (as I've been known to do for birthday parties past). I think it turned out FABULOUS! Everything really came together the way I wanted and I was able to stick to my budget.

We decided on the farm theme several months ago. Gracie loves her Baby Songs: Animals video and "Old McDonald" is one of her favorite songs, so we went with a farm theme with emphasis on farm animals. Once we had the theme in mind, I was able to pick up things here and there in the months leading up to her party. I really think the details are what really pulled everything together. And it was SO easy.

For her 12 month pictures display, I decided to do a "flower garden" of sorts. The materials were cheap and easy to find. I saved the cans for several weeks (most of them were mandarin oranges, lol) and spray-painted them white. The red, wide farm animal print ribbon was around $3 from ebay. I also scored the gingham ribbon from ebay--10 yards for $2! The wooden dowels (Walmart craft section, $.98) are secured into floral foam (Dollar Tree) and sand (free!). The paper shred was also from Dollar Tree. I made the petals from summer-themed scrapbook paper from the $1 aisle at Target, and just printed the pictures from home. A little craft glue and hot glue pulled it all together. I think the end result was simply darling! All of Gracie's guests just loved browsing her photos.

The banner hanging above the display was also hand-made. I purchased a jointed "Congratulations" banner (Dollar Tree) and used the letters from it to spell her name (everything but the E, but it was easy to piece together). I covered them in the same scrapbook paper used for the flowers and hung them onto the gingham ribbon. I thought it was adorable--loved it!

*I actually added the written numbers on at the last minute with a Sharpie. Not what I'd envisioned at ALL, but I sort of forgot the numbers, lol, and that's how it ended up.*

The goody bags were also fun and easy to make. I purchased resealable bags from the craft section at Walmart ($3 for a million of them). I created the labels using Picnik (my absolute FAVE photo editor) and printed them on card stock. They were simply folded in half and stapled to the filled bags. I managed to find some fruit-shaped marshmallow-something-or-other candies at Family Dollar and I think they just made the bags! I forgot to take a picture of the back, but "Thanks for coming to my party!" is printed there.

Displayed in a gingham basket I found at Goodwill for 75 cents.

The cake and cupcakes were something else that I really wanted to be extra special, But, I am No Baker (like the talented,Amanda), so I knew going simple was best. For the barn cake, I just made a sheet cake that I let chill in the fridge for a while. Then I scored a simple barn shape and cut! Super easy. I used regular canned frosting (I know--I'm bad!!) and used gel food coloring for the red. My small Pampered Chef offset spatula/spreader was the perfect tool to make the "slats" in the barn--just dragged it through the icing in straight(ish) lines. I then piped on white frosting with regular and star tips to create the doors (which are not centered, ack!) and the roof-line and silo top.

I thought the cupcake toppers were especially adorable--and easy to make! I used regular self-adhesive craft foam (pack of 40 sheets, $6.97 at Wal-Mart). I traced simple snowman-esque shapes on the back, then cut them out, along with some ears and snouts and beaks. Having the self-adhesive paper really made it easy to stick on those small ears and cow spots! I then used a fine-tip Sharpie to make simple eyes and smiles, then attached them to cut-to-size skewers we already had. I tinted the frosting according to animal and that was it!

I have tons more photos that I'm going to try to post--sorting through them has been fun, but is taking a while. Between my mom and I, we took several hundred photos!! I'd like to do a post about the food and table scapes, as well as just some general kid cuteness!!