How is it that my little girl is already 1. YEAR. OLD?
I know, I know. Every mom says this as her kid’s birthday approaches, but I really never understood the weight of it before becoming a momma myself.
One day you’re smelling the sweet scent of your sleeping newborn’s head and then *BAM* that same innocent, immobile baby is walking and babbling and learning and giggling and growing faster than a momma’s heart can handle.
Despite the bittersweetness of it all, I knew her first birthday party had to be special.
You see, our first few months together didn’t pan out so smoothly. (More on this later…) I didn’t know it at the time, but I had postpartum depression, and we experienced all kinds of other tiny bumps throughout the beginning of our mother-daughter journey: thrush, colic, milk protein sensitivities, gas, plugged ducts, and mastitis, just to name a few.
During my recovery from postpartum depression, when things would feel really dark and whenever babe was having a particularly rough night, I would undress both of us and step into the bath for skin-to-skin time. We would just lay there snuggling, soaking up the scent of lavender Epsom salts and enjoying each other’s presence. My daughter would calm down almost instantly and nurse.
Every night, we would do this while I would sing “You Are My Sunshine” to her. I didn’t know much, but I knew the intense love I felt for her and how it meant I would fight to hell and back to find our new normal—and because of that, everything would end up okay.
So it was only fitting that I celebrate her first birthday with a You Are My Sunshine theme.
And since I’m not the kind of gal who wants to drop buckets of money on a first birthday party, I put on my thrifty mom hat and got CRAFTY AF.
Here are some DIY projects I did to keep costs low while decorating our pavilion with a You Are My Sunshine theme:
DIY Flower Sun
I wanted a colorful backdrop for the food table without having to fork out a ton of cash. So I had my husband save the giant cardboard box that our outdoor furniture arrived in and did my best to trace a large sun on one of the sides.
I will warn you that the execution wasn’t pretty. I am just about the most accident prone person you could imagine. Like the one time that opening a can of green beans ended in a gory laceration, 10 stitches and a cute scar to prove it (but that’s a story for another time).
Somehow I managed to do this with a bread knife. I 10/10 do not recommend this. Someone much smarter than I will likely have a better method of cutting cardboard… but hey, it got the job done!
My Poppy (aka-grandfather) let me go through some of my late Grandma’s storage bins of artificial flowers and I found exactly the colors I needed. (Thanks, Grandma!) One by one, I plucked the flowers from the stems and hot glued those suckers on. Fairly certain I have only half my fingerprints left, but it was worth it.
This one is so funny to me because I SWORE I wouldn’t be one of those girl moms to obsess over giant bows and tutus. Before pregnancy, I always imagined myself a “boy mom” and figured it was inevitable that any daughter I might have would end up a tom boy just like I was.
Fast forward two years and I’m racing to Hobby Lobby at 9 a.m. buying three yards of white and yellow tulle. Time and time again, motherhood has a way of making me eat my own words.
Anyways, this one was a cinch to make. All it required was some sparkly elastic and tulle, both of which can be purchased from pretty much any craft store. I cut the white and yellow tulle into even strips and tied them interchangeably until the tutu was complete. (Don’t ask me how long I made them. If it required any measuring, I probably would’ve stopped right then and there. I eyeballed it and thanked my lucky stars when it turned out the way I’d hoped it would.) Voila!
DIY Scrap Fabric Table Garland
I searched everywhere for a banner and just wasn’t happy with any of the available colors or choices. So during my trip to Hobby Lobby, I went to the clearance section and grabbed three colors of fabric that fit her sunshine theme. I simply cut the fabric into strips and tied them in a pattern around a thin piece of tule. (Try your best to ignore the chaos that is my pantry.)
*Pro tip- After I had already purchased the fabric, I realized Hobby Lobby had a section of fabric that was returned from other customers, rolled back up and severely discounted. Had I known this prior, I would have totally scouted out that section before buying new. You could also head to Goodwill or another thrift store to scrounge for patterns/colors of clothing, sheets, pillows, etc. to fit your theme and really get the most bang for your buck. Totally going this route the next time!
You can wrap the banner around a table, or hang it up elsewhere like I did in the photo above. I initially planned to decorate the cake table with it. But once I saw how pretty the colored fabric looked when a gentle breeze would make it dance in the wind, I kept it hanging up high.
What are some ways you cut costs on your kids’ birthday parties? I would love to see pictures of some of your crafts!
Love and awkward hugs,