Here are three things I learnt from Jamie’s first birthday and baptism celebration:
Firstly, if you have any perfectionist or OCD tendencies, you cannot organise your one year old’s birthday party in one week without giving up sleep. For the whole week.
Secondly, it is very hard to track down plain white paper cups. And by plain white cups, I mean the ones that don’t scream Dora, Wiggles, Spiderman, or Barbie. The ones that aren’t pink or pastel blue or charcoal grey or bright purple. The ones that aren’t plastic. The ones that don’t require a minimum order of 2000 because the supplier thinks you own a coffee shop or two. If you are after a niche business idea, I have the answer for you: plain white paper cups.
Lastly, if I were to star on The Apprentice, I want my husband and my father-in-law on my team. “Put those chairs in the car! Bring those two crates! Grab the gazebo! Pack, pack, pack! Drive, drive, drive!” Such were the instructions I was shouting at home about an hour before the party was due to start. Yes, one hour. And at the other end? “Put up the gazebo! I want tables here, here and there! No, I don’t want this table anymore. Move this back over there. I want that one. Yes, that one! Hang that garland up. And that one. Make it look nice. Bring that table back inside. Put up those streamers. Yes, put them close together. Yes, hang them all up. Make it look good! Ice in the bucket please. Twenty minutes to go? We need to move faster! Go, go, go!!!” Okay, slightly dramatised, but you get the picture. I was one stressed out mummy. But my amazing husband and his dad made it happen. They are legends. They did everything I asked and they helped make my vision happen. Oh, how I love them!
And so. A run through of what Team Mason did:
Believe it or not, this welcome table was an entirely impromptu setup. For some reason, it had completely escaped my very exhausted mind to have a place for the orders of service and the ‘welcome’ sign. That’s one of the prices you pay for late-night, last-minute party planning. Thankfully, I’d packed all these ‘back-up’ items (as you do, I mean, who doesn’t grab old Pepsi crates, bags of lemons and pot plants from the laundry and bathroom when leaving for your kid’s birthday?), and they sure came in handy!
The chalkboard was one that we made ourselves using a white photo frame and a spare chalkboard sticker/decal that I had in storage. Rick cut the decal down to size for me and it worked brilliantly!
This was my most favourite table of all: the party favours table!
From left to right:
- Play Doh cone favours! Basically I made cones using white cardboard, Kraft paper and yellow washi tape. I then used yellow tissue paper to line the cones before placing a small tub of Play Doh inside. It held together really well, and I was then able to place them in the pail like a bouquet. I got the idea for Play Doh when I stumbled across a packet of nine for only seven dollars! And more importantly, they were a hit with the smaller kids.
- Pinwheels made using the DIY tutorial and free printable from Oh Happy Day. I was stingy and didn’t want to use up all our toner to print the black stripes so made up for it with the stripy pencils from Smiggles. And guess what, they actually do spin!
- Little bags of ‘Gold Nugget Bubble Gum’ from The Little Big Company. When I saw these on their website, I knew they would be perfect for the bigger kids, and I loved how they tied in with our yellow/vintage theme.
As for the rest of the table, I used two hessian sacks as the table cloth, and Rick’s old suitcase from when he was a little boy as a prop for the pinwheels. I’d also designed and printed some small cards to label the three different favours. We used a smaller table too so that the kids could see it at their eye level.
I actually think that the party favours were the hardest part of planning the party because I wanted to do something a bit different yet I didn’t want to spend too much. But all the mulling paid off in the end. I loved how it all turned out, and it was great that the kids got to choose more than one favour to take home!
Thank goodness Schweppes was on sale at Coles and thank goodness they have nice packaging, with colours that co-ordinated conveniently with my so-called theme. We also had bottles of mineral water on ice for the kids, along with some lemon and lime diet cordial. The metal bucket and the burlap table cloths were from Bunnings, and yes, I found my paper cups in the end. Yellow, not white.
I have to thank Facebook for all the lovely food, because it was through Facebook that I learnt that my friend Alice had just launched a sweet treats catering business. I wasted no time in contacting her and was very proud to be her very first customer!
Seriously, if you are looking to outsource the sweet foods for your next party, Alice is the one to call. Not only was she ever-so-accommodating with customising her menu items to suit my (OCD) needs, but she delivers to your doorstep and her food is divine. Everyone loved her chocolate cookies, coconut cupcakes, butterscotch madeleines, and chocolate banana brownies, and the kids particularly loved her vanilla cake pops with yellow sprinkles!
And of course, the birthday cake: an amazing coconut angel cake creation by Alice with an ever-so-fluffy sweetened whipped cream topping. It was de-li-cious. Every single bit of it disappeared. Every bit. I’m not even sure whether Mary (Rick’s mum), who was busily helping me cut the cake, managed to get a piece!
Originally, I was going to fashion mini bunting as a cake topper but at 4am in the morning, any ability to use my hands abandoned me. So instead, I simply designed, printed and cut out the letters of Jamie’s name and then stuck them onto skewers. Worked a treat! The lovely cake stand was on loan from Mary, the colour of which inspired me to bring along an aqua ‘Lunch’ sign from our family room as a backdrop for the cake.
And naturally, some photos of the boys:
In terms of what we did to keep the kids entertained and amused, that will have to be a whole other post!
p.s. You see that yellow pom pom garland you see in the background of Angus’ photo? That only took me about five or six hours to make. I refuse to throw it out because I intend to use it over and over and over and over again. You’ll see.