Some of my Facebook friends have been asking to see the prep for Eric’s first birthday party, and I am so excited and can’t wait another few weeks before posting pictures! I love having a vision for an event and then watching that vision unfold: choosing a color scheme, collecting fabrics and crafting, creating an atmosphere, and trying to make a magical place for people I love to feel safe and happy in.

Soon after Katie was born, I knew what the theme of her first birthday party would be. Our song is “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, and it was easy to theme a party around that song. We served apple strudels, a kid-friendly take on schnitzel with noodles, tied her presents in brown paper with strings and dried flowers, etc. Eric and I have a song, too. We sing it every night, just as Katie and I sing hers. His song, though, is a little more abstract, and I wanted a different feel for his party.

I debated between a cowboy theme and a 1950s retro theme, and I decided the cowboy theme would be more fun for Eric when he is just a little older. Since it is summertime, too, a 1950s retro theme would translate well to the backyard. Symbolically, the 1950s childhood backyard party was also right on point: Eric’s namesake spent much of his childhood growing up in the 1950s. Bill, also, had his first birthday in the June of 1950.

So 1950s backyard party it was.

I started by finding the invitations:

This is an image from the online source for the invitations, My Retro Baby. I deliberated among several invitations from different sources, but I loved this one because to me, it evokes Katie giving her little brother a birthday cake. I love that this invitation celebrates the sibling relationship, because when Eric was born, Katie also had something extraordinary happen to her: she became a big sister. His birth also gave birth to her new role.

I also decided on games. Pin the Tail on the Donkey is old-fashioned, and my mom suggested a hula hoop contest and drop-the-clothespins-through-a-milk-bottle. Then I found this game of horse shoes at the retro candy store in Old Town Temecula. Score!

These handmade honey almond oatmeal shea butter soap bars are going to be some of the prizes for the games. I also need to prep some oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie mixes to give as prizes, as well. I have mason jars on hand, and I am planning to cover them with the fabric used for the bunting and the tablecloth.

This wrapping paper I found at Hallmark, and I was thrilled! It fits the color scheme and mood of the party perfectly. I got lucky there! The paper was resting on top of the bunting here.

One big question that lingered: where do we find a milk bottle made of glass? There were expensive sources online, but I knew there had to be one around town. My mom thought to call Henry’s, and sure enough, they sell milk in glass bottles. Yay! I also found these recipe cards in our colors (to tie onto the cookie mixes) for $1.oo at Michael’s (a craft store).

I couldn’t resist hanging up some of the bunting for a preview. The bunting is actually several, several feet longer than you can see here. This is just looped a few times between two trees. In actuality, the bunting goes all the way around both parts of our patio cover. It also, to measure another way, wraps in a complete circle around the bottom floor of our whole downstairs (through the living room,entry way, family room, kitchen, dining room, etc). It took hours to sew but was a very straightforward project. There are differing instructions all over the web about how to make a fabric pennant bunting… for me, the easiest way was to cut out about twenty-five diamond shapes from each of eight different fabrics, fold the diamond to make a triangle, sew up the sides, pink them with pinking shears, and then sew them all into the fold of the red bias tape.

I have enough fabric leftover to make a patchwork tablecloth (which has been started but is still in development since it is one of those create-it-as-you-go-along projects for me).

Projects still to complete:

* Tablecloth

* Saving up enough glass jars and tin cans to use to display flowers

* Homemade cookie mixes

* First Year Together scrapbook (worked on that a little more today)

* The “Eric Every Week on Sunday” picture display (mount on cardstock, pink with shears, display on window)

* Finish prepping the yard (which entails many little things, but my dad is graciously helping with this!)

* Make a thematic playlist

We have finalized the menu and are hunting down coca-cola in glass bottles. My mom and I think we actually saw cases of them at Costco a month and a half ago. I know, that would be too good to be true, right? I have to go check on that.

I am having so much fun with this retro theme! I hope the weather is beautiful that day!

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