Sunday, May 3, 2009

Colin's First Birthday Party!

So bittersweet. My baby is ONE! It is my last first birthday party. And yes, I say "my" birthday because isn't the first birthday really all about mom anyway? Such a major accomplishment to conceive and bear a child and sustain him or her for a whole year and manage to remain relatively sane. Besides, by their second birthday, they start having their own ideas, likes and dislikes.

I had so much fun planning the party. The planning started back in January when I saw the most adorable jumbo whale cupcake on a flyer for a cake decorating class at Michaels. I started planning the entire party around this cake!
I decided upon an Ocean "One"derland theme. I had seen this play on words on one of my new favorite blogs, Everyday Celebrating, and loved it. Michelle had planned an adorable Winter ONEderland party for her son's 1st birthday, so I adapted it to fit my theme.

Shortly after, I found these adorable paper plates, bowls and cello bags in the dollar bins at Target, as well as these plastic plates and placemats which made wonderful party favors. They were perfect because of their juvenille look...most of what I found on-line was too realistic looking for a one-year old's party.

I designed the invitations to look like the whale cake.

Decorating was really fun, too! I borrowed yet another idea from Michelle from Everyday Celebrating. The popcorn cones were really easy to make following Michelle's tutorial. Each "whale cone" held Crunch 'n Munch that guests could carry around and snack on.

I made this pod of whales using terra cotta pots, chennille sticks, wiggly eyes, foam and a hot glue gun!

One of my favorite decorations from the party was the time line that I made using ribbon, scrapbook paper and glitter sea creature shapes that I found at JoAnn Fabric back in January. The time line showcases pictures from birth, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 10 months and 1 year.

No party is complete without balloons!

The Birthday Boy!

The guests had a fun time decorating foam sunglasses with foam sea creature stickers, all purchased from Michaels.

I made this cupcake stand using this tutorial I saw on I had to modify it a bit, as I could not get my hands on cake dummies so I used an oatmeal container. I used rick rack and wrapping paper instead of satin ribbon.

The Jumbo Whale Cupcake!

Colin did a great job digging into his cake!

Opening his gifts!

In keeping with the Ocean "One"derland theme, I used beach pails and shovels for the favors. Each bucket contained a plate, a matching placemat, a package of sea creature capsules that grown in water, and three sea creature lollipops made with Wilton cnady melts! The two baby guests recieved smaller buckets containing a Pepridge Farm goldfish shaped goldfish holder and a packet of goldfish. Each bucket had a tag that said, "I hope that you had a Whale of a Time!"

The "Baby Buckets"

Starfish, seahorse, sea turtle, tropical fish, and shark lollipops! YUM!

The best part was that Daddy was there for the special day. He flew home for a quick weekend visit!


Not just a Mommy! said...

I heart this party! I absolutely love all your personal touches, and I'm so going to share this with my readers! And yes, getting through that first year of childhood is a miracle, you almost need a "Survivor" party just for being a mom. :)

michelle said...

I saw your party on Everyday Celebrating. Fabulous!

Not just a Mommy! said...

Hi again, and welcome to my merry band of stalkers!

Katie Olk said...

you are SOOOOOO cute. This is the most precious party ever!! You are so creative!! Hope you and the boys are doin well!!

lisalyn said...

I saw your party on Everyday Celebrating and I just have to say, Wow, what an awesome party! I love your little whales made out of pots. Everything looks so fun!

Michelle said...

Hey! Your party was on One Pretty Thing today! :)


Vintagesquirrel said...

Wow...This whole party was just fantastic. You should consider going into the children's party planning business.

Parties by Hardie said...

OMG, I love it! I did those same whale cupcakes for my second son's second birthday, aren't they the cutest?! You did a great job with this party. Do you mind if I feature it on my blog?


Mandy and Jack said...

I love it!! Thanks for the fabulous idea!!

~Bobbi~ said...

This party is absolutely amazing!!!! Awesome job Mama!

Girlfriend said...

You did a wonderful job! I saw your party on One Day When I Have Time and I agree with everyone else I love this party I am planning an Ocean/Under the Sea themed party for my soon to be 6 year old son and I just want it to be one of the best parties so I hope and pray that everyone will show up and they really have a great time! again lovely party

Georgine said...

What a great party! I love your attention to detail. I am hoping to do an ocean theme party for my daughter this year, Would you mind telling how you did the whale invitations? Did you hand cut the whales or did you you a cutter like a cricut? And my sister LOVES your lollipops. You did a wonderful job.

Georgine said...


Thanks so much for commenting me back! However, even though I have a craft room, I don't think I could plan a party quite like yours! I don't know that I have such a steady hard for cutting, so I am going to try and find some cutters (we have a store called Archivers, that has a huge die library and a cutout machine). Again, I love your creativity and I will contact you again if I have questions. You are so sweet to offer.

Mandy said...

This looks like a fabulous party! i love that it was all at home and how creative you have been, i agree we deserve the party too after 1 year of hard graft and lots of cuddles!!

Anonymous said...

All the work you put into this party is unbelievable and amazing. My grandson's first birthday is coming up and I was wondering if you would consider sharing any information on the whale cupcakes that you made, I'm sure he would just love them! Thanks-

Gesch Family said...

The whale cupcake is a actually a jumbo cupcake from a Wilton book called "Cupcake Fun."

I would love to share with you anything that you need to know to make it if you dont want to buy the book. Feel free to email me at

twinkee_55 said...

wow! you did a great job! my baby girl annika will turn 1 this august so ive been very busy starting the preparations for the party as early as now. I'll have the same theme for her under the sea/princess ariel, please share where did you get those lollipops, and ur stuff for the giveaways (beach pail) please. thanks in advanced!

Gesch Family said...

I got the beach pails at Micheals as well as the sea animal capsules that grow in the water. I also purchased the foam glasses there and the foam sea characters to decorate them. The cello bags, plates and placemats (not pictured) I found in the dollar bins at Target, but it was a while back and I am not sure that they still carry them. They do have a lot of cute new whale themed things though. I made the lollipops using Wilton candy melts and a Wilton mold.
Good luck and have fun planning!

bcbanks said...


I just read your blog about finding the perfect cupcake and creating your theme around it. Well our story is almost opposite to yours. My soon to be four year old son, who has been obsessed with whales since our trip to Hawaii, requested that his birthday be a whale theme this year. So I went shopping and bought everything I could whale, although I could not come up with a cake. A week or two went by and I decided to go back to Michael's. So today we ventured to Michaels and sat in the cake aisle for over an hour... Then we decided maybe we could cupcakes.... Deciding how to make a whale, what colours to use, back and forth my son and I talked about whale cakes... Finally he shouts out "LOOK MOM!!! That is a good whale cake" On the back side of a banner there was THE MOST PERFECT WHALE CUPCAKE. I came home to search the internet on to how to make the cake and I came across your blog. The funny thing is so many things in your party are exactly like my party, we used that paper punch for our invitations (although yours are much nicer) I bought the same lolly pop mold (again, you did a fabulous job) even your loot bags are identical (I actually thought I was being original with the bucket as a loot bag) It was so neat to see that we had so many of the same ideas, and I had never even seen your page before.

Anyways, back to the cake. I could not find the Wilton book that includes the instructions on making these fabulous whale cupcakes, my question is HOW DID YOU MAKE THE TAIL?!?!?! If you could fill me in, and offer any tips or tricks to this I would totally appreciate it!

Thank you in advance, Crystal Banks.

Gesch Family said...

Another whale party! So much fun!!!!
For the whale cupcake, if you go to the Wilton site and click on "publications" you will see the "Cupcake Fun" book that you can order. I actually bought mine at Michaels

But if you dont want to order/buy it, here is how I did it in a nutshell. First I baked the jumbo cupcake as well as a heart shaped cookie (which will be the tail). Then I attempted to adhere the heart shaped cookie to the cupcake with frosting so that the top of the heart was laying off the side of the cupcake. Then, if I remember correctly, I frosted the whole thing (cookie and cupcake) so that it was even, and then I used a tip and frosting bag to pipe the stars on.
I actually had trouble getting the tail to stay, to be honest. If you look closely in the pictures, I used a little food coloring bottle to hold it up while it was drying (forgot to take it out from under the cookie before I brought it out to the birthday boy).
I hope that makes sense. Good luck, and if you have any questions, send me an email.

bcbanks said...

Thank you so much. I am making 36 regular sized whales, should be a challenge.

Thanks so much for your tips, they are useful. Wish me luck!!!

dholdhamaka said...

wow your party seems rocking.I must say You enjoyed a lot.The excitement of First birthday party is differnt from other party.My kid 1st birth party is around the corner.I am very excited.I learned many things from your blog.Thanks so much for sharing your party with us.You are creative.Great idea.

Phiscator's said...

I so love this idea for my little girls first bday party! Where did you find the whale stencils or clipart? I have looked and can't find anything that looks nice but juvenile enough.


Mominstilettos said...

Love the photo timeline! I'm going to steal that idea for my daughter's under the sea 1st birthday next weekend! Thanks so much!