Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nell's First Birthday: A Sprinkles Themed Party

The weekend after Nell turned one, we had a birthday party for her.

Inspired by a beautiful photo of a pink-frosted cake with confetti sprinkles I had seen on Pinterest (where else?), I decided on a theme of sprinkles for Nell's party.  Confetti sprinkles, as much as possible, but any sprinkles would do.  Having a theme helped me start coming up with ideas for the kind of party I wanted to have for Nell.  So, having a chosen a theme and a date, I put invitations in the mail.

I started spending my spare moments thinking of foods and decorations that could involve sprinkles.   And I decided to also draw on turquoise and coral colors, because I like them.  And because it could motivate me to finally paint the wooden high chair I had bought back in December the pretty turquoise color I had settled on.

I love how the chair turned out, don't you?

I got peach and turquoise balloons, along with clear balloons I filled with confetti.

And I made a few paper circle garlands in confetti sprinkles colors.

In a rare moment of weakness I had spent $20 on a polka dot dress I found on eBay that was just too, too perfect.  Because every girl having a confetti sprinkles party needs a polka dot dress.  {It was totally worth it.}

In the end, Nell's party wasn't perfect (for example, my house wasn't altogether clean, ahem), but it did all come together - despite sore throats and ear infections invading our home in the weeks prior to the party.

There was iced tea and pink lemonade, with mason jars for guests to drink from, complete with confetti polka dot paper straws I got from this Etsy shop.  Only a few dollars, and totally worth it for the cuteness factor they added!

Of course, classic circus cookies with sprinkles were a must, as were chocolate-dipped pretzel rods with sprinkles.  And giant smarties, which look like confetti sprinkles.

I also served Deb's Black Bean Confetti Salad (from Smitten Kitchen), because, hey, not only is it a favorite of mine, but it has the word "confetti" in the name.

For a relatively balanced menu, I included foods that didn't involve sprinkles, too.  Like cheeses and crackers, homemade hummus with pita wedges, and a mixed berry salad.

And I made this arugula, carrot, and chickpea salad, subbing farro for the wheat berries.  {I took one bite and it swiftly jumped into the ranks of my top five favorite salads of all time, by the way.}

I made a four-layer chocolate cake, using another wonderful Smitten Kitchen recipe, then made Deb's Swiss Buttercream Frosting and used Wilton's 'creamy peach' gel coloring to get a coral shade.

Since Nell wouldn't be able to blow out a candle anyway, I decided on a paper cake-topper of her {nick}name that I cut out using an x-acto knife.


I also made Nell a little 'smash cake' using this relatively healthy recipe for Maple Apple Spice cake (and subbing more maple syrup for the brown rice syrup it calls for).  I was running short on time and frosted it very imperfectly {shall we call it 'rustic chic'?} with a cream cheese frosting.

Family and friends at the party gathered around Nell's high chair to sing 'Happy Birthday,' and she absolutely loved it.

I presented her with the smash cake, and was a little disappointed - though not surprised - that she didn't exactly dig into it.  

She patted it gingerly...

Smiled for the camera...

And finally tasted some only when I offered it on my fingertip.

No thanks, Mom.

Not surprising, coming from a baby who wasn't too keen on any solid foods until recently, I suppose.

So, no photos of cake smeared all over this little girl.  On the bright side, she kept her dress clean!

The weather was getting chilly, so we moved the party into our living room, where the grown-ups ate cake and ice cream.

Nell was still happy and didn't seem the least bit tired... she was ready to open presents!

We all got a good laugh when she opened a pretty pair of Robeez from Melissa and joyously exclaimed, "DAAAAAAA!!!"

Ahh, a girl's love of shoes can begin so early in life.  


Mama and Daddy gave Nell the book Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.  A book I encountered through my friend Story, and a must-have for every baby's library!

And I had spent a couple of late nights making Nell a Waldorf blanket doll of soft purple flannel.  Her first doll!

Of course, I enjoyed Nell's party.  I was grateful to have family and friends there to celebrate with us.  I loved how cute Nell was in her dress, thought the shade of coral in the cake frosting turned out just right, and enjoyed the way the little details came together into a cute, sprinkle-themed party that seemed whimsical and fitting for my one-year-old girl.  But what I loved the best about Nell's party was how much she enjoyed herself.  She is such a personable little girl.  She just loved having all the people there.  She relished the attention, and seemed to be having the time of her life.  I loved seeing her enjoying her day with such beautiful smiles, such shrieks of delight.

MWAH!  Baby girl, we love you so.  Happy first birthday.


  1. Just too cute! What a beautiful party and beautiful birthday girl. Way to go, mama!

  2. I love all of it! I want to copy the cake topper for a shower. Any advice? How thick was your paper or cardboard?

  3. That swiss buttercream recipe is my absolute favorite for cakes! I found it trying to recreate my wedding cake for our anniversary one year. Love the polka dot dress!

  4. What a great idea for themed birthday party, I might just have to borrow the idea for my little girl's third birthday. The pictures are gorgeous by the way and the cake looks delicious (both the professional and the "rustic" lol)

  5. I'm totally crushed that you didn't let me cut out the cake topper. I don't think I'll ever get over it. Maybe Story will let me.

  6. Thanks Kelly! I appreciate it, especially coming from you -- you have a great eye for everything, if your home decorating skills are any indication! And yes, I love that picture of her with the shoes. So funny!

  7. Wonderful pictures, Sarah! And such a great theme and implementation. It all looks so bright and cheery and fun.

    And I made one of those Waldorf sort of dolls for Emma (and stayed up way too late a couple of nights to do it too!) and I wish I could say it became her most cherished doll... But alas, no such luck. I hope Nell enjoys hers!! I think they are adorable!

  8. I love the design of her chocolate layer birthday cake! We have an old wooden high chair too and we still use it without the tray since the height fits perfectly even with our table top. Were you able to paint it easily? I have a little kitchen cabinet thing that I'd like to paint too and I'm wondering if a special spray paint is the way to go.