WOODLAND GNOME 1st BIRTHDAY PARTY
Somehow Rowan is already two and I'm only just now getting around to be blogging his 1st birthday... but. Here we are. If there was one thing Rowan's 1st birthday party taught me--it was that my Dad Jokes are on point, for a mom. My pun game knows gnome bounds. GNOME. BOUNDS.
INVITATIONS & THANK YOU CARDS
I designed the invitations myself using Eccentric, Goudy, and French Script fonts. I drew that little gnome myself in PowerPoint! In fact, as usual, I designed this entire invitation suite in PowerPoint. I used VistaPrint for printing. They honestly are not my favorite and had to have these sent twice before I felt the quality was acceptable (there was weird haziness around some areas the first go-round). But--I love their glossy finish and the site is easy to use and affordable and when I brought up the issue they sent a new set without a huge hassle.
Linens were plain white table cloths I invested in because it became clear I'd end up using them enough to justify the expense. Table runners were holdovers from the Pinwheel Carnival Wedding. Centerpieces were potted ferns from Home Depot. They were refreshingly inexpensive at $6 a pop. I hid little plastic gnomes from Oriental Trading in the pots.
If ya don't gnome, now ya gnome! We held the party at a neighborhood clubhouse so tacks in the wall were a no-go. In order to hang these banners, I brought long strips of wood and used the table to hold them up against the wall with the banners tacked into those instead. In a perfect world I would have attached them to the wall and hung them higher. I had Jamie at Lyon Cub Crafts (search FB for the private group) heat press the banner, which I loved the look of, but we'd never used this particular banner before and it curled up quite a bit. If I did this again I'd do this way in advance so I could stack a thousand pounds on top of them to try and uncurl them before the event. Megan at Xavi's Toesies appliquéd the gnomes using a pattern I purchased from Rainy Day Applique on Etsy.
Guests were greeted outside by Henri the Gnome.
I made the highchair streamer banner myself from fabric scraps. The "ONE" banner is from Moonflower Nature Art on Etsy.
The photo area was comprised of a burlap playroom tent, a felt mushroom and acorn banner by the same vendor who made the cake topper, wooden crates from a nearby Mexican restaurant, and toadstool stools. Currently the banner, tent, and toadstools all live in Rowan's playroom which is woodland themed because I never waste an opportunity to re-use. (AKA I AM A STYLISH HOARDER.)
Fun tip: beer maid costumes actually double as great Lady Gnome costumes! Slap on some leggings, boots, and a gnome hat and you can convert this sexy costume into 1st birthday-ready attire. Rowan's costume was bought from a reseller on Instagram but can also be found here.
CAKE & COOKIES
One of my best money-saving tips is to purchase a plain white whipped icing cake from Giant. I order it ahead and ask that they not add any trim to the top or bottom of it. Then I really go in on the accessories.
I'm such an obsessive planner that I commissioned this felt gnome cake topper from BestDayEverDesign on Etsy in September and this party wasn't until March. I was truly obsessed with how it turned out. The same vendor also made the acorn & mushroom felt garland draped in the photo area pictured above.
The cupcakes were also from Giant. I ordered plain red whipped icing cupcakes in chocolate and vanilla and then stuck white chocolate chips in them upside down. I pilfered this idea from a 14 year old cake genius who made the cake for the Woodland Baby Shower I threw.
Gnome and mushroom cookies were ordered from SweetArtSugarCookies on Etsy. I purchased the smooth felt bricks from Michaels and made the textured bricks by gluing felt sheets onto floral brick foam.
The polka-dotted "1" candle was from Party City, where I also purchased red polka dot plates and napkins.
Gnom-Gnoms! By buying mostly pre-made gnoms, I was able to really go over the top with food without investing too much time or energy.
I designed the food tags to match the invitation suite and laminated them with a little at-home laminator machine. The gnome placecard holders holding the food labels were a vintage find from SouthernTouches on Etsy.
Glass cloches were purchased from Home Goods. I made the "Marsh-Rooms" myself by sticking skewers into large marshmallows and then dipping them in melted red chocolate and sprinkling with large white sprinkles. I stuck them into floral foam bricks that I covered in sheets of moss and set them onto moss rounds, purchased from Michaels.
These pies were actually from Whole Foods but that didn't sound as good on the label.
Mozz' & 'Mato Mushrooms are string cheese cut in thirds with half of a cherry tomato on top--held together with a toothpick. Ladybel Bugs are Babybel cheese with the center wax 'strings' pulled and curled up. I added black dots with a Sharpie. I debated if that was okay on an edible item but figured no one eats the wax part so it's okay?
Mac-a-Gnomey & Cheese was from Panera. SO GOOD!
Snail Sammies were ordered from Costco. These are also super good and you should def order them for your next party. To make them look like snails, I turned them on their sides and stuck them with pairs of white-balled picks from Amazon that I drew black dots on with Sharpie.
I knew there would be quite a few babies in attendance so I wanted to provide an easy food choice for parents to share with them--so I labeled baby puffs as Organic Pixie Puffs and added them to the spread. I should have been more clear though that this was baby food. I noticed lots of adults eating this who probably thought this was just very bland dry cereal.
Plain beverages were made 'on-theme' by added the "Pour 1 Out for Your Gnomies" sign. The 1 was drawn to match the birthday cake candle.
I was originally a bit mystified as to what we should do for actual fun at a party for a one year old, so I was careful to remember that most of our guests would not be turning one. There'd be a lot of adults and a lot of 1-5 year old children.
I purchased Gnome Bowling on Ebay and called it Rollin With Ma Gnomies Bowling.
I found Gnome Easter Eggs on Oriental trading and filled them with random goodies--spinning tops, loose change, candy, stickers--and hid them throughout the party and setup this area with little baskets and chalk markers to mark off how many had been found. (Spoiler alert: no one marked this off.) The eggs aren't available anymore but basically they were Easter Eggs that looked like gnomes.
Little bags with mushroom stickers served as both favor and pinata treat bags. Favors included little mushroom spinning tops and paintable gnome banks, both from Oriental Trading as well as the gnome and mushroom cookies.
For other fun activities, we had a piñata, a ball pit (the Pit of Gnome Return), and wooden gnomes to paint (Paint by Gnome-ber). Because we were renting the clubhouse space, we restricted the painting to adults only. Some people also got a headstart painting the party favor gnome banks here. We also brought a tree activity center that is slightly visible in the ball pit photo below for the super little humans.
I don't gnome what else to say. Twas a good time, gnome mean?