Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Ellison in Onederland" - Invites and Decorations

Last weekend we celebrated Ellison's first birthday with a tea party.  Her actual birthday is Labor Day Saturday, so we decided to have the party the weekend before just in case people had already made holiday plans.  I worked on her birthday party like a crazy person for over a month!  It all turned out so sweet though and I'm glad that I took the time to really make her first birthday special.

The theme of the party was "Ellison in Onederland".  I'll break the birthday posts up into a few different posts because I have TONS of photos that I want to share!  Let's start with the invites, location and decorations.

I knew I wanted Ellison to have a tea party first birthday almost since she was born!  I started looking for inspiration and ideas months ahead of time and even made a secret Pinterest board to log my finds!  The invitation was one of the first items I found and it became the centerpiece for the rest of the party as far as look and color scheme.  I ordered the PDF files from a great Etsy shop called Goodies Designs.  I also ordered the matching cupcake toppers and favor tags.  I was so pleased with the way they turned out!

We reserved the recreation center at Elon Park here in Charlotte.  I wanted an indoor space because it's August and AC was a must!  The Rec Center at the park worked out so great because it is only five minutes from home and they provided all the tables and chairs!

I made pretty much all of the decorations for Ellison's party, including her shirt, with things I already had at home plus some extra paper, flowers, and embellishments that I picked up over the last few months.  I tried to stick with a mostly pink and aqua theme.

These little white rabbit signs were all along the road leading from the entrance of the park back to the Rec Center.  At the entrance to the park was a sign that read "Follow the White Rabbit to Ellison's Wonderland."  These were just printed on card stock, laminated, and then taped to garden stakes.  And yes, I did have to hammer them into the ground thanks to the abundance of clay in NC.  :-)

The tulle high chair skirt took about 3 yards of tulle, twine, and about an hour of my day to make!

I'm kind of in love with the way the cake topper turned out.  It's just two paper straws, twine, and a tiny banner I made with scrapbook paper.

These are Ellison's month by month photos.  I just backed them with cardstock and strung them on twine.
I bought that pink tea pot on clearance at Michael's for $1.  It was a plain ceramic pot that I painted with hot pink acrylic paint and a clear sparkly glaze.  The little heads on the rice krispie treats are just cut out hearts placed on a toothpick, and it's a little hard to see, but there's a Cheshire Cat smile on the pink and purple cupcakes!
I also found these frames on clearance at Michael's...$1 for 2 plain wooden frames!  I bought a few packs of them and painted them light pink.  Actually, I had my dad paint them light pink two days before the party!  I backed the frame with glitter cardstock and printed out the "Sign Me" card instructing guests to sign the Alice in Wonderland book we'd gotten for Ellison.

Along the front of the tables I hung playing card garland.  It's hard to tell, but the cards are all pink.
The tiered stand was a cheap cardboard stand I found at Wal-Mart.  I bought ribbon that matched the color scheme and hot glued it around the edges to jazz it up a bit.
Barrett and his mom found these tea cups last minute (like Friday afternoon) at Goodwill!  We used them to hold sugar packets for the tea, mayo and mustard for sandwiches, and some pink Jelly Bellies.  They matched the colors perfectly, and bonus: we only spent $4!
These tissue paper puff balls are my go-to party decoration.  They are SO SO easy to make!!  All you need is fun tissue paper and some string!  They make any room feel festive and Ellison LOVED them!  I wish that I'd remembered that eyesore of a bulletin board was on the wall.  I would have much preferred to have had it covered up.  Ugh.
We picked up a bundle of aqua, pink, and white balloons from Harris Teeter, because what's a party without balloons?!  We played the original Disney Alice in Wonderland movie on the TV that was in the room for a little background noise.  All of the children who came to the party were under 2 years old, so we just brought in some of Ellison's toys from home, some bubbles, and bought a cheap baby pool and balls for activities.  It was a hit and so easy!
This "which way" sign and talking door knob turned out really cute!  The signs were clip art arrows and I typed words into text boxes, printed, cut out, colored, and laminated.  The backing is just a yard stick that I painted black.  (P.S., I have a plan in mind for that yard stick now that the party's over!  More on that some other time!)  I found a template for the doorknob online and just cut it out and taped it all together!
The Rec Center provided all the tables and chairs.  I bought cheap white tablecloths and then made runners for them out of the same fabric I made Ellison's shirt with...hot pink with white polka dots for the round tables and aqua with a subtle silver design for the food tables and gift table.  The tables were supposed to have bud vases for the flowers, but we forgot to bring them (oops!) so we just laid the flowers out on the round tables. The "Happy Birthday Ellison Banner" was also incredibly easy to make, just a little time consuming!  I found printable banner letters here, but you could also very easily make your own in a Word document with auto shape triangles.  I printed them, cut them out, backed them with card stock, cut them out again, and strung them on twine.
Here are a few more of the wooden picture frames.  Three of them have Ellison's 1 year photos and the fourth has her invitation in it.
I made Ellison's onesie out of the same fabric I purchased for the table runners.  It may or may not be a fashion faux pas to match the tablecloths, but I think she's super cute!  I also made her lace bow.  I bought the tutu skirt off of Zulilly.
I hot glued some googly eyes onto fake flowers to mimic the talking flowers from Alice.
I taped the paper cupcake toppers onto lollipop sticks.

I printed the food cards using another Word document and then glued the shapes to striped cardstock.  A hole puncher and some raffia finished them off.

One of the party favors was a sweet popcorn treat that I made using popcorn, golden Oreos, mini marshmallows, and pink Wilton candy melts.  It was yum yummy!  The party favor for the little ones was a big bubble tube.  All of the favors were tagged with a "Take Me" sign.

That's it!  Fun and festive!


  1. Oh my! You did such a great job! I love the theme!

  2. jennifer apgar ponnwitzSeptember 4, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    So sweet,amazing job!!

  3. Hi. I do really like your design work here, however do you realise someone could stalk your family/put your daughter in danger with all of this information (including names birthdate's and the address for your local park)? Think about it carefully and protect your family please.