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.
"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.
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.