Baby’s first birthday

Making it through the first twelve months is such an amazing milestone for both baby and parents. Baby has blossomed into a toddler becoming more and more mobile and vocal. As a mom, seeing my son turn one was bitter sweet: I’m so excited for how far he has come, but also so sad that my little baby is growing up. 

When I hosted my daughter’s first birthday party I got stressed and even overwhelmed at some points. Don’t get me wrong everything turned out fine and we had a blast, but I knew that I wanted to take a more laid back approach to my son’s party. With that in mind I started planning Bobby’s wild ONE party when he was about six months old.

The idea was to choose a theme that would work for a Texas January. Which means it could have been anywhere between 35 – 65 degrees. So a lodge/ forest wild ONE seemed the perfect fit. Plus we can re-use some of the buffalo plaid decor at Christmas. For my daughter’s party, I made many of the decorations on short notice which contributed to being stressed. This round we grabbed balloons, table cloths, and banners (more banners) months ahead of time, for less than $40 (including shipping). It was a good thing we ordered so far in advance since shipping from this site can take six weeks or more. To save ourselves some time and stress we decorated the afternoon before the party. Seeing everything in place made it very easy to make a list of items we still needed to grab before the party. We did the standard 1- 12 month photo banner and added a “my first holidays” banner (not pictured.) Table cloths went down on the sign, snacks, and goodie bag tables; and our wild one balloons hung above the gift area. Other than that we didn’t do much decorating, we figured with the majority of our guests being under ten they would most likely be on the floor or outside in the bounce house. 

Part of the cash we saved on decor went toward a cake smash photoshoot with Willie + Rose Photography, which has become a family tradition. These photos will last forever so I definitely think it is worth getting them done by a professional. We used our favorite shots for his party invites and thank you notes. Another budget efficient tip we used was only mailing invitations to out of town family and opted for a Facebook event for the remaining guests.

Keri’s Kreations makes the best custom treats in Waco, TX; they are almost too beautiful to eat. Keri did the cake & cookies for my daughter’s birthday so naturally she is who we chose for Bobby’s forest themed cake and woodland animal cupcakes to serve at the party. Both the the cake and cupcakes tasted like heaven. Bobby did not dig into his smash cake as expected, which was a bit of a bummer but I think he was taken back by seeing everyone sing to him. 

Although we we’re aiming for a laid back celebration, I’m a sucker for a good theme party and always looking for a reason to bust out a costume. Bobby’s first outfit has been dubbed the little stinker. He was such a good sport with this one he loved the little footie paws and kept rubbing the fuzzy section on his belly.

Bobby really enjoyed this little skunk outfit gifted to him at Christmas (thanks Uncle Nat), but couldn’t keep it on for the whole party. He started getting a little sweaty about an hour in. Assuming things would get messy we brought something to wear for after cake. Comfort is key, so we chose buffalo plaid joggers from B3 Wraps (using the code “Bobby” saves on your orders) and a custom birthday T-shirt from Hustle Darling. This was also one of the outfits from his birthday shoot.

Originally I hadn’t planned on doing goodie bags. I read an article about parents not wanting cheap little toys that break and the risk of food allergies or anti-sugar households and basically all the things that could go wrong, but my mom found the cutest little Pinterest project a couple days before the party, and I couldn’t help myself. So we put our own spin on it and made s’more kits with chocolate chips, marshmallows, and teddy grahams. The mix was put in snack bags and I added tags made out of cardstock. We thought a cheesy-yet-adorable bear pun would put it over the top, so I made stickers from mailing labels with my Cricut. I think they turned out super cute!

I told Bobby’s dad the day before the party that I felt much less stressed preparing for this one. To which he replied “second child syndrome” and chuckled. He was obviously joking, but I would be lying if I said that it didn’t sting a little. As a mother to siblings I strive to give both babies the same amount of effort and affection. I’d like to think that Bobby’s party was less stressful because we were able to use the knowledge gained from hosting Betty’s first birthday to make it easier for everyone involved to focus on the fun. The lesson I learned from hosting both is that the best part of any party is celebrating with people you love. Seeing all of our friends and family play, smile, dance, and laugh in honor of Bobby’s birthday was the highlight of the day. All the decorations, costumes, and gift bags are useless when you don’t have anyone to share them with. Our little family is so incredibly lucky to have people that show up for us and our babies.

 

Step-by-step cake topper: Stranger Things

Custom cake toppers are one of the most ordered items from Hustle Darling, and are so much fun to do. My most recent client requested a birthday topper for a Stranger Things party. Her only request was that the topper include the birthday girl’s name and new age ( Avery/ 13) My boyfriend and I immediately re-watched season one and started season two for inspiration. This show is awesome! No wonder Avery wanted it as her birthday theme.  After some marathon watching I came up with the design below.

Stranger Things topper

In order to turn this computer version into reality you will need the following:

SUPPLY LIST:

Feel free to use similar items, supplies do not need to be exact.

First thing I like to do before cutting anything out is to double check my Design Space image and make sure it is welded. This welds all the pieces of our topper into one large image and will ensure that it is cut out in one piece, instead of several little ones that will need to be glue together later.

Second step: Duplicate the image four times. The first three duplicates will become the center of your topper. You may want to add or remove a layer or two depending on the desired thickness. I like three layers because it ensures the topper will stand firm without being too heavy. The last duplicate will need to be flipped (this is a design space feature) horizontally so it is a mirror of the main image. This mirrored cut will be the back of our topper.  I like to keep the center cuts a different color than the front and back, so there is no confusion when assembling. Once duplicates are created, flipped, and color coded you may begin cutting with your machine.  You can see my results in the in the photos below.

Final step: Assemble your topper! I have two beautiful babies at home who love to get into stuff so anything having to do with spray adhesive (or paint, epoxy, ect…) gets done outside. Even if you don’t have babies or pets in the house you should probably do this outside because FUMES and spray adhesive could get all over your space and that could get real gross real quick. Grab a glove, the center cut outs (the white ones shown above) an empty diaper box, and head outside. My favorite spray adhesive is Easy-Tack, IMG_0238I prefer it to regular glue purely out of convenience. I do not want to brush on glue and wait for it to dry in between each layer. That’s just a personal preference, at times I’m inpatient. The glove goes on my left hand, this way I can sit the cut outs on the glove and spray with my right hand. If you are left handed I recommend wearing the glove on your right hand. Doing this inside the empty box helps keep spray adhesive off of my patio rug and plants. Once all of the core pieces have been attached to each other remove the glove and use both hands to ensure the pieces line up correctly. The Easy-Tack takes a few seconds to sit before it becomes too sticky to move, so if you’re quick you can slide the pieces a bit until everything is lined up accurately at the edges.

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I like to wait about 10 min before attaching the front and back pieces. This ten minuets should give you enough time to grab the remaining cut outs and let the center section dry enough to support the front and back pieces. When adding the last two sections back piece should go on first, the mirrored/ flipped image. I choose to do the back side first because the glove is usually sticky from previous spraying and if we start with the front there is a risk of getting sticky-ish smears, when holding it against the glove to add the back. No one wants glue on their topper near the food, so be delicate with the last two pieces.  Hold the center section in the gloved hand, spray the back side with adhesive, and add the flipped cut out. Then slide it to line up the edges, letters, and images. Let it sit for a min or two before doing the same to the front side. When finished, I like to sit the topper under a heavy object like a thick book for an hour or two so that it dries flat. The pressure from the weight of your object will help smooth out any awkward sections of the topper. Be sure the edges of your topper are free of glue or it could get stuck to your object. My results are below.

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I made sure a little of the center section showed through on this one to cause a shadow. Stranger Things is a little spooky, so I thought this would be a cool touch.

What you maybe asking yourself is where is the stick? I recently switched from wooden skewer sticks to clear card forks. This choice came after a client mentioned preferring a clear option for ascetic reasons, and another said the skewer wasn’t long enough for her cake. Which led me to the card forks, they allow the cake topper to slide into the fork and be removed easily.  Prior to switching I was hot gluing the skewer stick to the middle of the center cut outs then  assembling the rest as described above. The new clear forks offer my clients the option of cutting it to fit their cake size. They also create an option to easily reuse the topper in the future.

Cake toppers are a Hustle Darling favorite. Really fun to make, and even more fun to customize for our clients. Have a party coming up? Feel free to reach out to us for custom cake toppers and party decor.