Last year, my 28th birthday was one of the best days of my life. Just hours before, I had given birth to my sweet baby boy, and on my actual birthday, many of my close friends and families came to the hospital to meet him. I was so swept up in my own happiness that I honestly kept forgetting it was my birthday, and this year followed in much the same way. I planned his party on my actual birthday, since his fell on a weekday.
Initially inspired by a crab onesie I purchased before he was born, I came up with a red/white/blue nautical theme because his birthday falls right after the 4th of July.
Finding a slightly cuter, simpler crab online, I stenciled him onto everything – the bunting, his monogrammed birthday shirt that my mom made, the invitations I designed in PhotoShop, and lots of other decorations. I created nautical bunting using beachhouse wallpaper samples and the crab stencil I drew, stringing them together with twine I picked up in the DIY section at Wal-Mart. I made 2 strands – one for the wall, and one for the cake table:
I carefully debated how to display all of the monthly onesie pictures I’d been diligently taking all year. I had already included them in his baby book and in the slideshow we watched, but I had extra prints that I wanted to incorporate into the party decor. Then it hit me, and I scoured local antique stores and thrift shops for a vintage nautical wheel, but no luck. I found a few online, but continued my search until I found one at World Market. It was white, distressed, wooden, perfect, and $25. But I settled for a $5 plastic one at Party Starts Here to use to frame the pictures. (I also picked up a large red anchor, as well as nautical plates, napkins, and cup that were 50% off because they were part of a “bon voyage” graduation party set). I’m a little excited that I came up with this completely on my own, instead of relying on Pinterest for the idea:
On another doorway, I (admittedly, still) had the wreath I made to display our Christmas cards, so I swapped out the cards for spring-themed cards we’ve received lately. I made the wreath with wire ribbon, hot glue, sparkly silk berries, a wooden base, and clothespins.
I picked up a simple navy Chevron table runner from Etsy that would have been more expensive to make myself. I filled empty glass coffee-mix bottles with bright-red cherry sour candies and Swedish fish for a pop of red on the food table, and my husband’s grandmother gave me a gorgeous centerpiece of red, white, and blue flowers for my birthday:
My son has a whale bank that I bought at the Target dollar spot years before he was born, tucking it away until we were ready to have a family. It complimented the nautical theme perfectly, but I felt awkward with a piggie bank on the table. So I stuffed the money slot with blue tissue paper, making it look like a water spout. Most of the rest of the menu WAS inspired by Pinterest and modified:
Crabby croissants (thanks to my sister and little niece for bringing them to life just minutes before guests started arriving!) …and also for assembling the red, white, and blue skewers of strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows – yum! I found the nautical tray at HomeGoods, one of my favorite stores, and I regret not buying the pair that I found. Have you ever noticed things there are typically featured in pairs?
We finished off the table with a decorative crab cookie, fancy shell chocolates, sand dollar snickerdoodle cookies, watermelon triangles, Auntie A’s yummy sweet and salty kettle corn, veggies, and chips/dip. I got all the 4th of July bowls at Michael’s for $2 after all my discounts.
I’ll save the birthday cake, cupcakes, and double smash cakes for another post… I am SO not a baker and did NOT like spending the first half of my birthday up to my elbows in messy icing that I find impossible to spread (despite it being homemade and yummy), but nevertheless I had faith in the process, didn’t toss it out the window like I wanted to, and was pretty pleased with the results!