Airplane First Birthday

My son is now one year old…crazy how fast time flies, and how a sweet little baby can grow into a spirited and happy boy. He has been such a pleasure to get to know over this past year, as I watch him interact with his papa, copy everything his big sister does and smother me with loving wrestles. He picks up on things quickly, so even though the inspiration for an aviator-themed birthday party was entirely my own, he didn’t hesitate in flying his new wooden airplane, bearing with me for a few seconds as we tried to snap a picture of his new sunglasses (while laughing with us in his little join-in-any-laughter way), and especially digging into his delicious slice of smash cake.

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Guests were greeted at the door with a clothespin airplane and a snazzy new pair of sunglasses, personalized by StickyImages “affirmative” and “ready for take off.” Each little guest will carry these happy memories with them through the bright summer years. The long lasting detail on these glasses is amazing–we chose the shiny silver to contrast the black and were extremely pleased with the results. The glasses are also very sturdy and a great fit for a wide age range.
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Little post party sunglasses detail. Love it!IMG_3100IMG_3092Clothespin airplane tutorials found on our Pinterest page:
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I’ve always loved the order and beauty in the somewhat chaotic art of watercolor. Perfectly captured in PDF form, Blixa6Studios provided us with an astounding array of colorful blue splats, shapes, lines, and swaths. With a bit of effort and a lot of patience, I unbound this adorable Kraft brag book I picked up on clearance at Hobby Lobby, then easily printed my creative choice of watercolor marks on the pages. Once I get the photos (that I requested guests take in front of the backdrop) printed I will add them to the book and continue to add to this personalized book at his next and future birthdays.

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“Happy Birthday little chubby ballon.” Admittedly I’ve called him this a once or twice since reading these touching words from his eldest cousin.

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Fabulous string art custom made by CraftedOnThePlains. I love to hear the excitement in other artists (even if it is only an email, I can hear the excitement in my head). When I presented her with the question of creating a biwinged airplane for this special party she excitedly obliged. I didn’t specify any more, leaving the creative genius to her, and this piece of art really blew me away when I received it in the mail. I couldn’t have asked for more perfect colors or detail!

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That’s my boy! Dresden’s “favorite things” chalkboard detailed with skill by ADEprints. I, having terrible handwriting myself, am always awed and impressed by the immense skill of those who can create pieces such as this, hand painted and designed with care. I’ll treasure it forever.

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Yummy and extremely practical (thanks to a good friend, sister, and nearby Costco), we fed the entire crowd with extra to send home with the helpers. Pizza, fruit, veggies and dip, pasta salad, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, and pickles…because my kids like pickles.
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Inspired by Pinterest, I wouldn’t let go of my vision for a watercolor backdrop, so unable to spend an arm and a leg for a custom print I experimented and created my own! Starting with a 6×9 canvas drop cloth from Home Depot (for only $11!), I then spent some time pacing the paint isle at Hobby Lobby. After much deliberation (I wanted to be able to water it down to create the “watercolor” affect, and it must be flexible with the material) and a tiny suggestion from the employee near by, I purchased a bottle of blue ink ($6). She had suggested using a spray bottle which I tried but didn’t love (it had too much of a “drop cloth” look instead of a “backdrop”). I rushed back to HD to try again, this time I used a ramekins to slowly water down the ink a few droppers at a time. I went to work with a cheap paintbrush. Looking back at the inspiration (from Pinterest on my phone) from time to time, the paint’s abstract shape began to be revealed, and through some additional trial and error…voila!

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Tips: if possible, try to save a little paint at the end. I thought I had it perfect, but after it dried and I brought it inside and hung it for inspection, I discovered some color inconsistencies I didn’t really like. Back to the front yard it went. I had to use a different color which I wouldn’t have preferred, but thankfully was content with the outcome.
Secondly, make sure the sprinklers are turned off…while rinsing out my ramekin and paintbrush, the garden hose water over sprayed ever so slightly onto the freshly “painted” cloth, leaving tiny little water spots. Uh-oh…I rushed over with my hose knob on mist and got the entire piece damp, and was able to smoothly ease out the spots. When the sprinklers when on that night I almost had a heart attack. Thankfully, I had washed my initial experiment piece, and I discovered that when fully soaked, the colors simply fade slightly. Once I realized that was what happened, I could breath again, sorry for kinda freaking out hubby.

BALLOON ARCH!!  When you’re on Pinterest all the time, it can be funny to see what original photos inspire the creativity. A bright pink flamingo arch was the most beautiful I’d ever seen, and once I got into my head the thought of an “abstract balloon cloud,” I had to try it!

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Already having a hundred pearly white balloons, I set out to look for some hints of blue, grey, silver and patterned balloons. Being sorely perturbed at the discovery that the Party City near my house had been closed, I popped into Hobby Lobby again, Target, and a couple different dollar stores (apparently most grocery stores don’t have any sort of a non-helium balloon variety available). I found the polka dot ones at Hobby Lobby, the white at Target and a variety of blues and grey at dollar stores. I wasn’t a fan of the dollar store balloons–they were thin, took on strange shapes as you inflated them and the colors were hardly true to the original expectation. Unable to find clear balloons anywhere I experimented with filling the white balloons with pale blue tissue paper confetti  (too faint to show up through the white) and shimmery blue mylar paper which I loved! It truly static-ed to the balloon, unlike the tissue paper, and its vibrant nature was so unique.

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(More tips and a DIY video to follow! For a one-stop tutorial on all I have learned about balloons through this experience, stay tuned!)

Now on to these important and really spectacular balloons. 5″ balloons provided by the Luft Balloon Store are double stuffed, and colors are custom created to match your vision. Elain was a delight to work with and such an inspiration, I sent her a few abstract watercolor images from Pinterest and she replied with perfectly-matched balloons from her shop! Their brilliant color and glossy sheen amazed me and the small size made them the important and final factor in making the balloon arch full and complete.

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This gorgeous table cloth is pure linen made by LinenMe in Lithuania. The texture and beautiful natural color is absolutely perfect for any occasion! Machine washable and ironable–I’ll definitely be bringing this lovely piece with me to more parties, so keep an eye out for it in future posts!

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“Let them eat cake!” I wanted to provide variety and versatility for dessert. In addition to a couple different flavors we included a gluten free cake to ensure all our guests could enjoy this joyous moment. A simple, powder sugar frosting and a covering of plastic wrap kept our cakes nice and moist for 24 hours, allowing us to bake the day before and save me a bit of pre-party stress.

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A little wooden airplane, gifted by his awesome aunt, made the perfect cake topper. I used a large flat head screw driver to scrape the red trim from this simple 1 candle from Big Lots, (since a plain white candle is like impossible to find).

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Happy girl in her new sunglasses…She’s gotten used to wearing them over this summer since, in her words, the sun is “hot” (she means bright)…But she didn’t seem to mind wearing them the entire evening indoors either. 🙂

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Child-sized aviators provided by StashClothingxo are very reasonably priced and ridiculously adorable, stop in the shop and see for yourself! Such a little stud, he has no idea how seriously cute he is… but now I have these darling pictures to brag about with for a long time to come.

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And adorable kiddos sporting their pairs.  Absolutely Radical, the birthday boy showing off his aeroplane-themed aviator glasses, it doesn’t get much cuter than this… Ok maybe a cute cousin in addition with cool sunglasses makes it a tie. 😉

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A play area especially for the kids. Naturally they didn’t all stay here for too long, but it was a fun constant to come back to and play at. The mini balloon cloud turned out to be a fantastic play piece for all, as they rallied together and tore most of it down, running around the house with a dozen balloons. Surprisingly (and thankfully!) not many popped. The Lufa balloons held up especially well.

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I decided to create a “runway” for the little toy airplanes. With chalkboard paper from our last baby shower and Google images, it wasn’t too difficult to create a simple piece to inspire creative play.IMG_3305 The highlight was the natural wooden blocks cut and created by vermontbranchcompany. They made this imagination area complete and drew the attention to a more focused and calmer state of play. Ah, truly a reprieve for the parents, I absolutely love Montessori style toys and these beautiful smooth blocks where a huge hit. Vermont branch company creates so much, from weddings and parties to home and office, such natural elegance and beauty.

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Pre-birthday cake, he flew his new airplane around his head making a sort of small growling sound.

IMG_3434Caught off guard, he completely froze when we started singing happy birthday.IMG_3444

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I realized I hadn’t taught Dresden to blow out candles, so his sister stepped in and did the honors.

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Nom nom nom, he’s a natural!  

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Oh the glory of a smash cake…I opted for giving him just a slice of cake, but upon hearing his one and only word, “more,” I couldn’t help but treat him to a little more, followed by lots of fruit. He throughly enjoyed this moment.

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Love the detail of his party? Then I’m sure you’ll love his sister Cozette’s first birthday Garden Party.

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