Banner Birthday Party

A crafty mama took inspiration from a garland of fabric banners for this sweet celebration.

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Heather Knowles

Ava's party started with a pretty garland of handmade fabric pennants, used in the backdrop of a family portrait six months earlier. Mom Amanda Pair, of Birmingham, Alabama, worked with her own crafty mother to add to the decorations. "Pennants are fun without being too 'themed,' and I liked the sentimental aspect of using that original one on the table," says Pair, a professional photographer. Diving into Pinterest for more ideas, Mom and Grandma threw a celebration that was tailor-made for sweet Ava. "When everyone sang 'Happy Birthday,' the look on her face was pure joy," says Pair.

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Heather Knowles

Invites Anyone Can Make

Pair designed an invite and printed it onto 5"x7" cardstock. She used a triangle punch to cut pennants from scrapbook paper and a needle threaded with jute to weave them onto the cards.

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Heather Knowles

Present Palace

Guests gathered 'round as Ava's dad, Allen, opened presents with his princess under a small fabric tent that Pair's mother, Deborah, had made a few months earlier using Amy Butler fabrics.

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Heather Knowles

DIY Hanging Flowers

"Ava kept pointing and reaching for the big tissue-paper pom-poms hanging over the table," says Pair, who learned how to make them from how-to videos on YouTube. "They look complicated, but once we got the process, they were so easy."

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Heather Knowles

A Parade of Pictures

While guests helped themselves to cake pops, they got eye-candy, too -- photos of Ava's first year! Pair used Photoshop to crop snapshots and add a Polaroid-like border. She then used tiny clothes pins to hang the shots on jute.

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Heather Knowles

A Tradition Is Born!

During the cake-cutting, Ava wore a hat from Dainty Couture. "Until Ava tells me 'no more,' I want to get her one for every birthday," says Pair.

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Heather Knowles

Casual Fare

With a 10:30 A.M. start time, Pair kept the food light. The menu included skewered mini pancakes (the frozen kind!) with syrup for dipping; pb&j triangles; cupcake bites (two mini-muffin tops with an icing-middle); cake pops; and Rice Krispies Treats pops. To make these last ones, Pair stuck a lollipop stick into prepackaged Rice Krispie Treats, dipped the bar in melted white chocolate, and drizzled on red-tinted white chocolate.

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Heather Knowles

A Centerpiece Splurge

Pair had one word for the cake: "Delish." A local bakery, Dreamcakes, whipped-up a heavenly two-tier cake cloaked in buttercream icing and spirited fondant pennants. Pair crowned the confection with cardstock flags wrapped around lollipop sticks. The top tier worked as Ava's smashcake at candle-time.

Originally published in the July 2013 issue of American Baby magazine.

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