Party Planning: Clara’s First Birthday

Clara’s big birthday shindig is tomorrow! Along with her actual birthday. It seems utterly insane to think that this time last year she was just arriving. Oy, how time flies. And since so many of you were asking for par-tay details I figured I’d toss up a quick little pre-party-prep post about all of my “supplies” for the bean’s big day. You’ll have to excuse me if you think I’m going overboard. I’m just a little obsessed with our girl and we’re so honored and excited to celebrate her first year here (more on the reasons for my über appreciative b-day behavior here).

First I made Martha’s ubiquitous paper poms with tissue paper and some string in our three main party colors (blue, green, and pink- just like her nursery).

You’ll probably remember those colors from her invite (which we made here). Those hues are based on her bedroom- she just loves blue, green, and a hint of pink. At least for now. She’ll probably go through a goth black-loving phase someday so I’ll take pink, blue, and green while I can.

Now we have a handy little numbered photo. Because we all know I like listing stuff. Explanations below.

  1. This is a cloth party hat that gets passed around our entire family for every child’s birthday. It was last worn in October by Clara’s older cousin Emanuel on his first birthday and she’s been eying it ever since.
  2. This is the birthday fabric that we designed on Spoonflower for Clara’s 52 week photo. We also plan to use that as a backdrop for a little photo station where everyone at the party can stand and hold those white pieces of paper with colored borders while they pose for a pic. We plan to take each photo and add the person’s name on the blank piece of paper in Photoshop and make a little album for Clara so she can start to learn and see names like “Granny” and “Nona” (her two grandmas) and look back to see everyone who came to celebrate her.
  3. Here are the fun patterned napkins and plates that we got from Party City on sale. Since our party’s “theme” is based vaguely on Clara’s weekly photos (which inspired her invitation) we thought the patterned napkins and plates looked like a background we would have chosen for one of her weekly shoots.
  4. Those are giant punch balloons that we grabbed from Target (I thought they’d look fun hanging from the trees on the patio if it doesn’t rain on my parade party).
  5. These are the two banners I’ve made (one a long time ago with paper, and one recently with my stubborn sewing machine) full of fun patterns and colors that also remind us of backdrops for those weekly pics.
  6. Here we have piles of pink, blue, and green balloons from Target that I’d love to blow up and make into huge balloon garlands to be swagged around outside (or inside if it rains).
  7. Those are two tablecloths in pink and blue. Just to cover things like odd outdoor tables that don’t match and to add more pops o’ color.
  8. This is a festive table runner that I made with some of Clara’s weekly fabrics (just like her quilt, but it was way faster and easier- I’ll post the detailed instructions for ya soon).
  9. Then we have some sidewalk chalk to entertain the kiddos out on the patio. And next to that are little containers of bubbles shaped like ice cream cones (from Target) that will serve as favors for our wee guests (I want to personalize them with each of their names).

I still have to make her smash cake and arrange for the rest of the food, but that shouldn’t be too hard (famous last words?). Oh and we’re going to make a little time capsule that guests can add stuff to for her to open when she’s 18. That should end up being hilarious. I hope.

Operation Start Blowing Up All Those Balloons is about to commence.

We also mentioned that we wanted to DIY a piñata a while back, but the jury is still out on whether it’s going to work. So far I made paper maché (mixing approximately two parts water to one part flour)…

… and blew up one of those punch balloons from Target that wasn’t in our color scheme (the orange one)…

… and cut a bunch of newspaper strips…

… which I paper machéd to the big balloon…

… which I then let dry a bit overnight and then hung outside this morning to hopefully speed up the drying process (since it was still soggy and looking a bit – uh – questionable). Might be a wop-wop project. We’ll have to see.

I still have to let it dry, pop the balloon, fill it with little toys or candy, and add ruffled tissue paper all over it so it doesn’t look like a big goiter (we actually want to make it a pull string piñata since that works well for smaller kids but we’ll have to see how it goes and post details if we get ‘er done).

But more nerveracking than my homemade piñata’s fledgling looks is the forecast. Boo. What’s the deal with the whole scattered t-storms thing?

Please for the love of balloons in trees and bubble yielding ice cream cones, let it be clear and sunny-ish for just two early afternoon hours. Then it can rain cats and dogs all night.


  1. says

    I LOVE the pom poms (as well as Martha, of course)!! I was thinking about doing this for my wedding shower. They’re so fun!

    All of the decorations look great! It looks like it’ll be a colorful and fun day. Hopefully it doesn’t rain by you!

    For the balloons, you can rent a helium tank at a party store or buy a small one. My mom had bought one of those mini ones forever ago and it lasted for a looong time.

    • Ted says

      Not to worry about the fire. After you turn off the oven, you wait a minute or two for the heating element to cool off. Then there is no direct heat, only residual heat. And from the book of the same name, paper burns at 451 farenheit, so 200 isn’t too hot. If you’re worried, use 150 or 175, it just takes a little longer.

    • says

      re: oven – won’t that pop the balloon? It might not set on fire, but I’d think heating the air inside the balloon would cause it to expand and might mess up the final product… ?

  2. Laurie says

    Tomorrow is our 2yo’s birthday party too and we’re doing the “no rain” dance up in Northern Virginia as well!

  3. says

    Have a wonderful weekend Petersiks and don’t you DARE approve or reply to a single comment tomorrow. You deserve a day off!
    Happy birthday to the bean and happy baby birthday to you two

    (did you know in Holland it’s a tradition to give presents to the mother on the first few birthdays instead of the child? my ma had lots of dutch friends after living there for a while and so she loved this tradition).

  4. ashley says

    So cute and cheerful. Thanks for the preview. :)

    Just had a random thought…you could do a “52 weeks” picture today on the Clara fabric and a “1 year” picture tomorrow on the quilt.

    Hope it’s nice and dry for you guys – have fun!

  5. Sara says

    I’m doing the Non-Rain Dance (or Sun Dance, perhaps?) for Clara – trust me, it’s very effective ;)

  6. Chanelle says

    Everything looks really cute! Doesn’t papier mache have glue in it? That might be why it’s a little droopy. Good luck!

  7. Michelle says

    It’s all adorable! Happy 1st Birthday to Clara! Sending good weather vibes your way (all the way from California!)

  8. says

    We are in Raleigh and were planning a yard sale for this weekend…so the weekend forecast is really being a tease with this whole “exactly half of a good chance of rain”… I am equally freaking about the weather. Nothing says a bum yard sale like wet grass, runny/ruined signs and dismal weather… so it’s looking like it’ll be postponed.

    But.. I’m sure Clara’s birthday will be a great day, and very memorable, no matter what the weather.

  9. says

    Love love the color scheme, my favorites too!! Hope the rain holds off for ya’ll so you can take full advantage of that patio!

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