Matilda's first birthday is still a few days away, but we had her party over the weekend due to a conflict this coming weekend. There were several reasons that inspired the theme for Matilda’s first birthday party. The obvious reason is that I sing "you are my sunshine" to her every night before she goes to bed. It's always the go-to song that seems to lull her to sleep. The other reasons are pre-Matilda, starting with mine and Brian's surprise-inscriptions in each other's wedding bands. I had his inscribed with "one sunset at a time", where he actually went with "you are my sunshine" for my ring. Funny that we both chose quotes that dealt with the sun, and then of course it rained on our wedding day! Since moving into our house, we've slept under those same words each night, via a DIY painting project we did a while back. Another inspiration for the party theme was Matilda's very own nursery, which has a 'sunny day' vibe with the sky blue walls, red & white gingham curtains, grass green rug, and sun yellow ceiling fan. Of course the party day almost held the same fate of rain, but in the end it was a beautiful, sunny day!
I truly saw this party as not only a celebration of her first year of life, but as a celebration for Brian and I that we had survived the first year of parenthood. Not that it was an overly difficult accomplishment, just your typical-getting-used-to-caring-for-another-person woes!
I made several DIY projects for the event, starting with the invitations. I had fortunately bought a Groupon for Vistaprint which came in handy! So once the design was done, printing was a breeze... and printing is usually my weakness and always ends up taking way longer than anticipated, causing much anguish and stress. SO, this was definitely the way to go! I love the chalkboard craze right now, so decided to play off the popularity of that to add to the theme of the party. After downloading some free chalkboard fonts & backgrounds, and finding some clip art images online, I set off to create my one-of-a kind invite for my little sunshine!
We've also taken a picture in the laundry basket each month to commemorate monthly birthdays, as well as to chart growth, so I knew that I wanted to incorporate those photos, as well as the laundry basket itself into the theme of the party. Since the "you are my sunshine" theme lends itself to a sunny day, the clothesline seemed to go along with that. I decided to display her name on a banner of "laundry", hung with clothespins on the mantel, incorporating some of our favorite teams/colleges... Clemson for me, Tulane & Davidson for Daddy, and the Braves. The laundry basket was displayed below, holding toys to be easily accessible for the kiddos.
As for the photos, I printed each one as a 5x7 and then created paper frames in the colors of the party theme, and hung them with pale blue ribbon from the picture rail above the couch, so they could be easily viewed as guests arrived.
I also love the smash cake photos that you see of 1 year olds with that first taste of cake, and it was only fitting to have a seat fit for a princess for this first experience. I had found an antique highchair that I painted a pale blue (more on that here), and then I decorated it with simple ribbons, balloons, and a homemade banner to dress it up a little for the big event!
I used toys from around her nursery to decorate the house and food table, anything that was rainbow actually fit the bill. My great Aunt Millie had given her a name puzzle when she was born, and it's rainbow letters were perfect as part of the centerpiece that also included her stacking rings and nesting bowls.
The food table was adorned with (mostly) yellow food, with some rainbow colored veggies and fruit as well. Pimento cheese sandwiches, cheese and crackers, bagel bites, popcorn, and lemonade. The yellow sun cupcakes were my mom's creation, inspired by pinterest, and they turned out great and were a huge hit! And the smash cake was from Sugar Bakeshop, where our dear friends David & Bill are the owners, and their cakes are always a treat! At the last minute, I decided to make chili in the crockpot, since it was easy and something substantial to serve!
I made pom-poms from blue, yellow, and gray tissue paper to hang outside on our shed (which served as the backdrop to the party), along with a Happy Birthday banner that I bought at Target several years back.
I visited my favorite antique store, Attic Treasures, in search of anything yellow, blue, or gray to use as vases or food serving dishes. I came across 4 beautiful clear turquoise glasses that I thought would look perfect with flowers to set around the house. For the other flower arrangements, I actually used old baby formula tins.
The activities for the day included croquet, which came to mind due to it's rainbow colors. It always takes me back to my childhood, when we'd play croquet in my grandparent's yard. My dad still had their old croquet set, and let us borrow it for the party! He also provided the cornhole boards for more fun in the yard, it is football season afterall.
As for favors, I wanted to include a fun activity for the kids (and adults) and have each family create a suncatcher to take home with them, only a rainbow 'sun' catcher would do. I found these in Oriental Trading, along with suncatcher paint pens, but I must admit that this was quite messy, and rather than have an 'activity', I probably should have bought actual suncatchers.
The blocks were a last minute "guestbook" that I found online. I thought it was such a great idea, and was probably my favorite thing from the whole party! I bought the blocks on Amazon for less than $25, just natural wood blocks. There are 80 pieces, and they come with a little pouch for storing them. Anyway, the idea is for each person to draw/write on a block and sign their name, so that she we always have them as a memory of the day when she plays with them. Here's the little sign that I made to go along with it...
The other sign you see in the photo above was originally supposed to be a poster, but that fell through, so maybe I'll try to print it again for her room someday soon, but it's also the chalkboard theme, and looked like this...
It was a perfect ending to a perfect year, and the best beginning of many celebrations to come!
And a few more photos from the special day...