Caroline’s First Birthday: Good Ideas

This feels a little bit self congratulatory (especially since the party hasn’t even HAPPENED yet, so I have no proof these things actually WERE good ideas) but I am pretty excited about some of the stuff I’ve put together. This is the 4th party I’ve thrown since I discovered how much I LOVE hosting, and I’m finally getting the hang of it. And by “getting the hang of it” I mean “not spending a zillion dollars on unnecessary crap” and “make sure the guests have fun instead of just making the pictures look good”. So here are a few of the details I think are worth explaining a little more in depth than the coming soon post-party picture post.

DIY lace paper

A fancy hole punch can make regular paper look expensive. I bought this Martha Stewart edge punch at Michael’s with a 50% off coupon I tore out of a magazine. I’ve had it in a drawer for months and has started to think it was a dumb purchase, but it ended up being PERFECT for Caroline’s invitations. Then I carried the pattern over to the signs for the cocoa bar, food labels, cocktail recipes and the favor bags. One $10 box of blank invites and one package of white cardstock was the only other cost. There are tons of patterns that would be cute for other party themes, but the lace worked nicely with my snowflake decorations.

Party favors

I’ve spent a lot of dough (PUNNY!) on stupid crappy plastic party favors in the past, but I’m really excited about this idea. I made two double batches – one pink, one blue – of sparkle play dough (using this recipe I found on Pinterest), divided each color up into 10 smallish balls, popped them in sandwich bags and stapled on a label. It worked out to pennies per favor and I think they kids will really like it. I also made a triple batch of plain white glitter play dough I’m going to have out with a bunch of plastic cookie cutters for the kids to play with at the party. They’re all going to be COVERED in glitter but I figure then they’ll just match my theme better.

Christmas tree turned into a Caroline tree!

Twinkle picture in action

I figured since the Christmas tree was already prominently featured as part of our decor (because it is a GIANT TREE covered in lights in the middle of the room where we have parties) I should make it more Caroliney for her birthday. I am very conscious of the “My birthday never felt special because it was too close to Christmas” problem EVERYONE I MET told me about when I was pregnant. I dreaded telling people I was due December 26th because they always told me about their mother/brother/cousin/dog who was born that week and has hated it their whole life. My attempt to prevent that feeling in Caroline is why we are having this party at all, so I’m doing my best o make the day ALL ABOUT HER. But really, photos + clothespins on the tree is a cute idea with ANY photos.

Which reminds me I made this:

I crack myself up.


DIY Pull String Pinata

I think this is the project I am most excited about. Ever since I saw Young House Love’s party post about their daughter’s 1st birthday I’ve been dying to try making my own pull-string pinata. The idea is a one year old is too young to smack a pinata with a stick (and also hello December birthday in New England, we’re INSIDE, maybe giving kids bats to swing isn’t the best idea) put they can pull a ribbon and have the treats fall out. To make the base, I followed their tutorial here. My original concept was a giant snowball or snowflake but I like how this ended up even better. I just folded coffee filters in half and glued them around with hot glue, overlapping layers.

Close up of the coffee filter petals

My last good idea isn’t so much a really good idea as just a “Why didn’t someone TELL me that before?!” I bought a small glass pitcher at Goodwill to put the cream of coconut in for my grown-up drinks. I figured no one could identify white stuff in a glass pitcher as cream of coconut, so I was just going to write on the glass with a black sharpie and it would be my cream of coconut container FOREVER. But it turns out magic eraser takes permanent marker off of glass super easily.

p.s. I have terrible handwriting

It also worked on clear plastic, which is perfect for my dipping sauces. Regular dry erase would get smudges and illegible as soon as it got dripped on/touched but I tried smudging the sharpie and I can’t.

I’ll try to have a full party recap up on Monday, unless I am so exhausted I end up sleeping straight through Sunday. It’s entirely possible.

Thirty Hand Made Days

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16 Responses to “Caroline’s First Birthday: Good Ideas”

  1. molly says:

    OMG! I love it all. The lace puncher thingie is my favorite. Now will you please just start a party planning business and then fly to Missouri to help me plan the two parties I’m supposed to host in the New Year? Dear God, I’m worried. I’m just not good at DIY.

  2. Sara says:

    I never find pitchers worth anything at Goodwill!

    You are a brave girl with all that glitter, but I’m sure it will be so much fun! :)

  3. Mae says:

    Um. Yet another reason for us to get up out of Florida and make the move up there. Looks gorgeous!!!

  4. Other Erin says:

    Nail polish remover will also take sharpie off of glass.

  5. Sarah-Anne says:

    where were YOU when i was trying to plan my sweet 16 birthday party?!
    you are the best party planner. evah.

  6. TMae says:


  7. barbra says:

    Gorgeous, I can’t wait to see the photos from the actual party! I like the punch – I want one (or ten) but was having trouble justifying the purchase because I didn’t have a specific project in mind. But I think if I had a cool one on hand, that would inspire a project!

  8. StraderSpiel says:

    Just an FYI: copying a permanent marker mark on any surface with a dry erase marker and then erasing will remove the permanent marker. I know for certain it works on laptop computer screens & dry erase boards (just ask me how I know about the laptop screen & after I’m done hyperventilating I’ll tell you the story of how the youtube tutorial literally saved my 2 year olds life).

  9. Kimberly says:

    I’ll be stalking your blog on Monday! I can’t wait :) Everything is GORGEOUS and BRILLIANT.

  10. Brigid Keely says:

    My dad’s birthday is December 31st. He celebrates his birthday on the feast of the saint he’s named after. If Christmas birthdays get to be too overwhelming for Caroline you/she can always just pick a different day to be her party day.

    Your decorations look AMAZING. You have such excellent taste!

  11. Cole says:

    Your party planning puts the rest of us to SHAME. The person above who suggested you start a party planning business is right… but only if you offer discounts to your internet friends!

  12. merin says:

    Perfect! We are already glittery from a morning art project, so the more the merrier! Can’t wait to see you this afternoon :)

  13. I’m in the midst of planning Genevieve’s first birthday party for early February. I love all of the ideas that you have, but I’m wondering what the pasta sauces are used for? Are they dip sauces for tasty breadsticks? Did you have a pasta bar? I was considering doing a pasta bar at Gigi’s birthday party (along with a hot cocoa bar), but wasn’t sure how it would work out with so many guests. I’m also considering a taco bar (which could be even messier), a variety of soups and grilled cheeses (how would they stay warm? oven?), or maybe just taking the easy way out to buy a platter of Chickfila nuggets and then have some easy side dishes. Also! I have that lace punch, LOVE it! I use it on everything!

    • bebehblog says:

      I did mini pasta on sticks (which were a little to sharp and pointy for the youngest toddlers but great for the 3+ year olds and grown ups). They weren’t as gorgeous lying on a plate as they looked on Pinterest, but everyone loved them.

  14. […] play dough party favors (more details in this post), yarn wreath, mirror frosted with […]

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