Look Whoo’s ONE: Charlotte’s Owlish first birthday party – Part 1

Well it’s done. Months of pinning, sewing, folding, taping, cutting, hole-punching, tying, gluing…all for an event that was over in an afternoon. Do I regret that all my hard work and fabulous creations were put up and taken down within 48 hours? Not a bit. Do I feel like all those naptimes I spent on party prep were wasted? Heck no! Thanks to you, dear readers, I get to relive the whole experience and revisit the fabulous day whenever I want to! (Or at least until google decides blogger is a waste of resources and it goes the way of google reader…but let’s cross our fingers and hope that is a long time from now.)

For those of you who are not planning a one-year-old’s birthday party in the near future, feel free to skip over my laborious descriptions and simply scroll through the pictures, taken by my very talented personal photography team (my hubby and brother).

The theme, of course, was owls, but I was kind of over the bright green and pink from her nursery, and decided to change it up a bit by using aqua and pink instead. I thought the color combo was dainty and pretty without being too wildly girly. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a lot of aqua or turquoise for some reason (apparently it’s not in vogue this year) but thanks to the half-off scrapbook paper sales at my favorite craft store I was able to bring in plenty of my chosen colors.

The original plan called for an indoor/outdoor set-up, but as the weather forecast became increasingly gloomier (pun intended) the closer we got to the big day, I reluctantly changed gears to an indoor layout. I was worried it would be too crowded in our cozy (read cramped) living room for all the guests, but we moved the ottoman out of the way to ease the flow of traffic to the couches, set up chairs around the perimeter, put toys within easy reach of the youngest party guests, and the room actually felt fairly spacious.

I read somewhere that your biggest impact decor-wise should be what the guests see when they first walk in, so I decided to start with the front door. I found the huge painted owl for half-off at Hobby Lobby, and cut the speech bubble out of scrapbook paper (the staple of my party decor, as you will see). I was planning on running the pennant bunting along the backyard fence, but moved it to the porch where I think it looked very cute and festive.

The birthday banner came with the invitations I ordered from Etsy. I had everything printed at Office Depot, since the cost of ink if we printed it ourselves would be just as much or more than having it done on professional machines. For some reason the setting on the printer was wrong, so it printed the first set of banner letters two-sided (which doesn’t exactly work). Since he had to re-print it, the copy expert gave me the messed up pages for free. I realized I could spell out Charlotte’s name, print it myself, cut out the letters, and tape them on top of the messed up pages to make the banner personalized! I love the finished result, and plan on reusing the banner every year (in fact, Charlotte may have a pink and aqua owl-themed party every year).

I was planning to set up a photo booth on the back porch, but when that was a washout (again, pun totally intended) I decided the entry would work in a pinch. We moved the bench from our dining table here, added tulle, paper owls and a vinyl sticker tree from my baby shower, and voila! A festive photo booth! Not everyone was into the props, but I conned a few friends into posing with them (I downloaded the templates here).

My dear friend and party planning expert, Joy, lent her expertise to fashioning the tissue paper pom poms for the “chandelier.” My accommodating and oh so tall brother hung them for me, adjusted, and re-hung them until I was happy.

I had painted huge wooden letters spelling O-N-E for Charlotte’s one year photo shoot, and decided I should definitely use them as decorations for her party. But where? Inspiration struck…the mantle! Of course that meant redecorating the whole thing…I left the shutters, but took down everything else and culled from my party decor stash (I’ve been buying and hording everything pink, aqua, girly, or owlish I could find cheap since February). I found the mini-pails in the bargain bins at Target, the paper flowers I made from an American Girl craft kit I found on clearance (also at Target), and the photos were taken by my very talented hubby, printed at Shutterfly, frames bought at Hobby Lobby. And of course the owl pillow that had inspired Baby Girl’s nursery and been featured in every month pic needed to have a place of honor…the mantle seemed appropriate. 🙂

I found lots of examples of chalkboard “stats” boards on Pinterest, and since I just so happen to have a giant framed chalkboard I decided I definitely needed to make one for the party. It took me an evening to plan and two naptimes to execute (thank goodness it was the day Charlotte took two 2 hour naps!). We moved the console table from the entry to the living room to serve as a gift table and covered it with a plastic table cloth and a cloth runner (made out of fabric I had in my stash from one of C’s Christmas presents). I had despaired at finding aqua tablecloths but Wally World came through for me. At 97 cents I bought three. 🙂

I used paper flower I had made with scrapbook paper and the craft kit to decorate the end tables in the living room, along with pictures of Baby Girl from the past year.

I will pause now to give credit to my wonderful hubby, parents, and brother, who spent three hours the night before the party putting up all the decorations while I directed, instructed, and generally bossed them around. I could never have done it all myself, not before midnight anyway, and it was such a treat to see my party vision come to life!

Next post: Part 2 – food and drink (and smash cake!)


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