First Birthday Party Fun

This past Sunday we celebrated Hannah’s first birthday. Her actual birthday is this Sunday, but I thought it would be fun to coordinate Hannah’s birthday party with our July potluck at church. It was a day of good friends, good food, and a refreshing swim in the church pool.

I can’t believe I planned my first birthday party and lived to tell the tale! It was so much more work than I thought it would be, and what I did was incredibly simple compared to the so many talented mommies out there in the blogosphere. I’m proud of what I put together, though, since party planning is really not my thing.

Although I had grand plans to make the cake and cupcakes from scratch, I ended up using cake mix. Thank goodness too, because even that took forever. For the cupcakes I used a yellow cake mix—I’m not a big fan of vanilla—and a chocolate fudge cake mix. And for the cake I used chocolate fudge mix also. The trouble I ran into with the cake mix was that it’s so light that I had a heck of a time moving the cake layers from the pans, to the cooling racks, and then onto the cake plate in one piece. Oh well, nothing that a little frosting couldn’t hide.

And speaking of frosting, I did actually make my own. It was delicious! Not sickeningly sweet like so many recipes out there but definitely sweet enough to satisfy the sweet tooths in this house. I used this recipe and this tutorial with my 1M frosting tip to get the rose effect. It was my first time ever piping frosting and I never had a mess up. Super easy and quick! My only complaint was that I put too much red dye in my batch of pink frosting for the cupcakes and it turned out more coral than pink. At least I got the cake frosting right.

For the table layout, I used two desert towers from Joann’s to display the cupcakes. I didn’t really love the way the yellow and chocolate cupcakes looked side by side but this dilemma was unavoidable since I wanted people to be able to choose from two kinds of cupcakes. The cake was was just a simple two layer cake with frosting, sprinkles, and a target candle. The pictures were Hannah’s birth announcement and her 1 year announcement/invitation. How I love those Costco photo cards! And lastly, one of the table centerpieces, a tissue pom flower, so that the centerpieces on the tables would match the birthday table.

Hanging above the birthday table was a collage of Hannah’s first year month by month. I mounted 5×7 prints on scrapbook paper with double sided tape and then glued them onto posterboard. To make the garland, I traced and cut letters from my scrapbook paper scraps and glued them to a long piece of ribbon.

For the tables I made really simple but somewhat time consuming tissue poms. There are a bazillion tutorials out there, but I came across this video on youtube, which was pretty straightforward and easy to follow. The vases were 79 cents at Ikea!

I didn’t really have a super cohesive theme, but I was sort of going for pink and yellow floral to match Hannah’s dress. Overall I’m pretty pleased with how things turned out. There were a few bumps in the road along the way but I’m just glad that I got everything done and that we had a lot of fun celebrating Hannah’s first year!

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Conversation Hearts Felt Garland Tutorial

This is my very first tutorial! I suppose it’s best to start off with something simple and it doesn’t get much easier than a felt garland.

Conversation hearts are such a fun part of Valentine’s Day, so I thought, why not turn them into a felt garland. What a fun and easy way to get into the Valentine’s Day spirit.

Supplies You’ll Need

felt blocks–I used white, light pink, purple, lime green, and bright yellow

heart stencil–I printed out a clip art heart from Microsoft Word

red fabric paint with an easy squeeze top

sewing machine, unless you want to hand stitch the hearts together

First decide how long you want your garland to be. Make sure to include some extra length so that it’s long enough to drape it. (When I made the circle felt garland for Christmas, I almost forgot to do this. A stick straight garland would have looked ridiculous!)

Once you know how long your garland should be (with extra length for draping!), create your stencil. I find that shapes that are about one inch x one inch work best for most felt garlands. This also makes it easy to figure out how many hearts you will need to make your felt garland the right length. To create my stencil, I used a clip art image from Microsoft Word and sized it to approximately one inch x one inch.

Trace your heart stencil onto your felt blocks. If your heart stencil is one inch x one inch, divide the length in inches of your felt garland by 5 (the number of colors) to find the number of hearts to trace onto each felt block.

Then cut out your shapes, keeping them separated by color.

(I used these blue hearts for my example since I forgot to take pics when I made my garland…oops)

Now it’s time to sew! Since I didn’t want to make a color pattern, I grabbed randomly from each of the color piles to until I had a new pile of hearts in random order. The only thing I avoided was putting two of the same color next to each other. To sew, you simply place one heart after another under the presser foot, sewing the length of each heart until you have no more hearts. Remember to backstitch on the first and last heart. And voila, you have a felt heart garland.

To turn your heart garland into a conversation hearts garland, you’ll need to whip out your handy dandy red fabric paint. I always call it puffy paint, although I’m not sure it technically is puffy paint. Anyway…

Lay out your garland on a long, flat surface so that your hearts are all facing in the right direction. Now it’s time to add the fun sayings. I looked up conversation hearts on google image search for ideas. Use your fabric paint to carefully write out your witty sayings. Make sure not to put the tip of your paint directly onto the felt. I found that when I did that, sometimes it would sort of catch on the felt fibers and was kind of a pain, so make sure you apply the paint just above the surface without touching the felt fibers.

Let it dry for a little while. It actually doesn’t take too long. Then, admire your adorable conversation hearts felt garland!


Circle Felt Garland

Christmas is my very favorite holiday! Every year my husband has to tell me to be patient and to wait until Thanksgiving is over before putting up the Christmas tree. I love everything Christmas. I even abandon all forms of music except Christmas music for the entire month of December. This year, though, has been a total change of pace for me. Instead of putting up all the decorations as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, or the next day if it’s a year where I’ve somehow mustered enough self control to wait, with a new baby, I’ve been putting things up a little at a time.

Lately I’ve seen so many variations on felt garlands in the blogs I follow, so I decided to give it a go with some extra red and green felt I’ve had lying around for years from a holiday project I completed long ago. It was super easy! All you do is cut out the shapes you want in the colors you want and start sewing, adding one shape after another until you reach the desired length. Luckily, I did a pretty good job eyeballing it and got the right length with my first attempt. I think it definitely dresses up the windows in our living room and adds some extra holiday spirit.

It was so easy, maybe I’ll make garlands for other holidays–hearts for Valentine’s day, shamrocks for St. Patricks day….the possibilities are endless. If I get inspired, I could even use a variety of shapes. A Halloween garland could have pumpkins, ghosts, black cats, etc. I wouldn’t ordinarily do this, but with a little one, holiday decorations are so much more fun!