Thursday, October 22, 2009


Instead of calling today TO DIE FOR THURSDAY, I feel like I should rename it TOOT TOOT THURSDAY since this post is going to be all about Gabrielle & Alaina’s first birthday party and I'll be doing just that on my own horn.  But It’s been a month since the big day and I’ve gotten several e-mails from asking for pictures and details so a tooting we go! 

I really wasn’t planning on throwing a huge bash for the girls but as it got closer, the plans grew bigger and bigger.  Gabrielle and Alaina were born 12 weeks early and there were so many people rooting and praying for them during their first year that my husband and I wanted to include all of them in our celebration.  Combine that with the fact that I adore party planning and what could have been a simple kids party quickly morphed into MY FUN & FABULOUS FIRST BIRTHDAY.  It may not be a day they’ll remember, but I certainly will!

Every good party starts with great invitations, right?  When I saw the pocket invites a fellow MoM created for her twins’ birthday:

I knew I wanted her to design ours.  Because Gabrielle and Alaina were born at 27 weeks, celebrating their first birthday was a huge milestone for us.  Loree, of Double E Design, came up with the perfect way to combine our party theme, butterflies, with the sentiment that summed up the day – “What a difference a year makes.”  I mean, really, how cute are these?

The super sweet invitations set the tone for the party and we got so many compliments on them.  I’ll definitely be calling Double E Design again next year when it’s time to start planning the girls’ second birthday! 

My next order of business was finding someone to photograph the day.  It may seem silly to hire someone to take pictures of a first birthday party but I knew that I’d be too busy to do it myself.  Besides, I wanted to actually be IN some of the photos too!  And thanks to Ariana, I actually was.

I’ve been a fan of the fantastic blog Becoming Mom since before the girls were born and if you haven’t checked it out, you should.  Ariana is mom to 14 month old Jasper and she writes candidly about her experiences with motherhood and also shares some terrific photography tips.  She lives nearby so I reached out to her about documenting Gabrielle and Alaina’s big day and she did an AMAZING job. 

Almost all of the beautiful pictures in this post were taken by Ariana and you can see more of her work on Becoming Mom - including her post on G&A's big day and Jasper's monkey-themed first birthday bash - as well as her new photography website

We held the party on the rooftop deck of our apartment building and I was so relieved when we woke up to a sunny day!  The views from the roof are pretty stunning so we kept the decorations minimal and went with a few fun things in bright, poppy colors. 

We set the tables with colorful table cloths, silverware, cups and plates from Party City and hung tissue paper Pom Poms above them:

I posted yesterday about how much I love Martha Stewart and the Pom Poms are one of my favorite projects of hers.  They’re easy, inexpensive and great for decorating birthday parties, showers, etc.  I’ve even seen them used in nurseries.  You can buy Martha’s Pom Pom Kits or make them from scratch yourself with these step-by-step instructions

Another website that was a huge source of inspiration for planning this party was The TomKat Studio.  Kim, mom to TomKat (aka Tommy and Kate), has thrown some incredible birthday bashes for her two kids and runs a shop on Etsy with great party supplies.  When I saw this cupcake tower she had for her daughter’s party, I knew I wanted to do something similar:

I got the cupcake tower from Wilton and used double stick tape to secure different width ribbon to each tier. 

I love that I can use this tower for years to come and decorate it lots of different ways.  Not bad for $19!

I “borrowed” (okay, stole) another fun idea from The TomKat Studio – chocolate covered Marshmallow Pops.  I can’t even begin to tell you how big of a hit they were at the party.

The Marshmallow Pops are so easy to make - just dip a marshmallow in some melted chocolate and add sprinkles - and with a little creativity, you can customize them to match any theme.  Big and little kids alike couldn't get enough of them!

I was pretty proud of myself for making the marshmallows and the cupcake tower (with a lot of help from my super crafty mom!) but when it came to a happy birthday banner, I knew I’d be in over my head so I headed to Etsy and found the cutest banners by AE Scrapbooking.  This seller was so easy to work with.  I sent the invitation and they made two custom banners to match our color scheme, one that read Happy Birthday and another that said Gabrielle and Alaina.  The result was 1000 times better than anything I could have come up with!

The quality of the banners was fantastic and even though it was a windy day, they held up perfectly.  At the end of the party, I was extra careful taking them down because I know we’ll use them year after year to celebrate the girls’ birthdays. 

Now what’s a birthday without cake?  I’ll be honest - I can’t take any credit for ours.  We ordered it from Flourpatch Bakery and when it arrived, I nearly screamed because it was so cute!

I love love love the cookie decorations.  Custom birthday cakes can be so expensive and using cookies to embellish a simple homemade or store-bought cake is an easy and cost-effective alternative anyone can do at home.  And a cake with cookies?  It doesn’t get any sweeter than that.

My mother made Gabrielle and Alaina little butterfly smash cakes too.  Can you tell from these pictures how much they loved them?

So let’s see, I’ve covered the invitations, photography, decorations, birthday banner, cupcake tower, marshmallow pops and cake.  I have a lot more to share but want to make sure to give everything its due so you’ll get the scoop on the cupcake toppers, party favors, special birthday “1”sies, tutus and more next TO DIE FOR THURSDAY!  But I do have one more fun treat for you….

AE Scrapbooking wants to help prettify your next party! One lucky AFOMFT reader will win a $20 gift certificate to the store. You can get a banner, some cupcake toppers, whatever floats your boat! To enter, visit AE Scrapbooking and leave a comment here telling me what you'll buy with the $20 credit if you win.

For additional entries:
  • Subscribe to AFOMFT or let us know you are a subscriber.
  • Visit AE Scrapbooking and the shop to your Etsy favorites. 
  • Become a fan of AFOMFT on Facebook --
  • Follow AFOMFT on FB by clicking the link on the right side of the blog.
  • Follow AFOMFT on Twitter and tweet this giveaway:  Enter to win a $20 gift certificate to @aescrapbooking at A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS @AFOMFT -
  • Follow AE Scrapbooking on Twitter - @aescrapbooking
  • Grab our button and put it on your blog or website and post a link here showing us.
  • Blog about AFOMFT or this giveaway (worth 2 entries) and post a link to the post.
Please leave a separate comment for each entry and make sure to include a link to your tweet, blog post, etc. This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and ends October 29th at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be selected by and announced on AFOMFT on October 30th. If the winner doesn't contact AFOMFT within 48 hours, a new drawing will be held so be sure to check back to see if you've won!

Have you thrown a brag-worthy birthday bash for your little one? We want to see! Send us pictures and links to any projects or products you recommend and we’ll feature the party here on AFOMFT!

Images: Double E Design, Ariana Falerni, The TomKat Studio
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  1. I added the shop to my Etsy favorites!

  2. a&e scrapbooking is now in my etsy favorites!

  3. i'd get some cupcake toppers for the boys' second birthday coming up. or maybe the elmo doorhanger, because they're obsessed with elmo! :)

  4. Danielle, everything came together perfectly. What a great theme and follow through! I can't wait to try my hands at those marshmallows.

  5. I would love to get cupcake toppers. For their next bday, I want lots and lots of cupcakes!

  6. What a great party... the cupcake toppers are really cute.

  7. I would get the cupcake toppers, the boys' second birthday is coming up and those would be cute. I also really like the banners.

  8. I would choose the Happy Birthday banner. So cute!

  9. I added AE Scrapbooking to my Etsy favorites.

  10. I follow you on Twitter.

  11. I have your button on my blog.

  12. I would love that blue and green banner...I think it be used by my son or daughters and reused every year! They are so cute!

  13. Also, I am a subscriber to your blog!

  14. I LOVE THELittle Birdie Turtle Custom HAPPY BIRTHDAY BANNER to Match Any Party Theme!! CUTE STUFF!!



  16. I honestly don't know what I would choose. It is all so pretty!!

  17. I have your button on my blog.

  18. I would buy the "Purple and Pink HAPPY BIRTHDAY BANNER to Match Any Party Theme"
    I love the colors, so pretty!

  19. I am a follower of AFOMFT & I tweeted:

  20. I am a follower of @aescrapbooking.
    I am @ThatTweetThing


    I'd get the purple and pink Happy Birthday banner


    following ae @halfbluesky

  23. It was hard to decide, but I'd get the cupcake banner! That's so cute!

  24. I would get this banner for my sons Dec Birthday:
    Green and Blue Themed HAPPY BIRTHDAY BANNER to Match Any Party

  25. Follow & tweeted:

  26. Have your button:

  27. Blogged:

  28. Blogged:

  29. I love the party you put together! So so very cute! I have made those marshmallow pops too and I absolutely agree...they are EASY to make and always a hit! :)

  30. I would buy the pink and brown cupcake-themed birthday banner - it's so cute!

  31. I added AE Scrapbooking to my favorites [I'm pomegranateandpink].

  32. I follow AE Scrapbooking on Twitter [I'm @ScrapItUp].

  33. I love the Primary Colors Birthday Banner. I would use it year after year!

  34. Hi. I saw your party on the creative hostess, how lovely! Just wanted to let you know I am running a contest where you can win $100 gift card to Anthroplogie- I think your party would be a great addition-



Thanks for the love!