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.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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.