you’re invited: the wee one’s birthday party, 2014.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

The Wee One is officially 4 years old! Can you believe it? She’s got some nerve, growing up this fast. When I started the blog, she looked like this:

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

chubbsters!

Now, she looks like this: grown up enough to be slightly awkward and self-conscious in posed photographs. To me, it’s just another delightful way in which she and I are identical.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

aarrgghh…what do i do where do i put my hands ugh. can’t look at camera.

So on with the photos! This year went roughly the same as in years’ past, with a few speed bumps along the way. I meticulously designed invitations that I never printed – they were emailed, after I stopped holding out hope that I’d be responsible. I had some sassy guest issues which I am, yes, still mildly perturbed about – that is my way, people, and my intensity doesn’t allow for anything different. Also, when you are lucky enough to have a 4-year-old who is freakishly well-behaved, your tolerance threshold for misbehavior in other, oftentimes older, children (and adults, sometimes) is low. When those kids sass me? Well, friends, I don’t play that game. So that part was interesting, shall we say. We also had oppressive heat to contend with: no games outside this year, or we honestly would have melted. We set up games downstairs, but sadly, there are no photos of this: too much fun was going on and I was manning the prize station.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

yes, i could have cleaned up before i took this photo. and yet…

Speaking of, there it is, sitting on the floor to the right. If it looks vaguely familiar, it’s because I made it for her party last year, and dug it out for this year’s game time. It’s a great repeated-use craft for parties: I have instructions on how to make it here. This year, all I had to do was assemble some new trinket bags and off we went.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

…aaaand there’s my coffee cup. sorry.

What the heck do I have going on behind the prize board, you ask? Oh, that’s just my version of the Kim and Kanye flower wall. The Wee wanted a “pink! tea party! mommy!” this year, so I thought a wall of flowers would be appropriate, and I made those yarn letters awhile back to hang in her room, and they fit in perfectly to the theme. I’ll do a little tutorial in case you have need for a fireplace-covering flower wall at some point in the future. And yes, it is still up. I don’t go to this much trouble decorating to take it down right away. Or until October.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

get. away. from me.

My dog would disagree with this decision. He is unimpressed by tissue flowers.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

We threw paper lanterns in front of the windows inside, which were also going to be duplicated in our trees outside, but with the heat, outside decor was nixed. They’re a great indoor decoration, though, especially to front windows; you get lots of colorful light flowing through them during the day, and if you add those battery-operated tealights, you get this at night:

 you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

It’s like fireflies! Really adorable. We turned them on while it was still daylight – you can’t see them, but as the sun sets, they start to glow, and it was magical.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

The color palette was fun to work with: The Wee’s pretty big on pinks, but I threw some vintage-y blues and greens in for fun, with tiny bits of burnished gold to accent. Paperware matched (and mismatched) the tissue flowers, and get a load of that plastic white cutlery: if the lords and ladies of Downton Abbey needed plastic utensils, those would fit in perfectly at the estate.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

This year, I went simple with gift bags: they were literal bags versus jars or metal pails, and they exceedingly practical (a rarity for parties in this house). I gave each of the kids their own personalized bag, outfitted that bag with a pack of crayons, and they used them to collect prizes they won from the games. Fun for the kids, fun for parents (because no one had to shove prizes in their purse).

But I know what you’re all waiting for…the menu.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

Et voilà! The official rundown of what we had to eat at the party: always impossible to really capture on film, but take note of both the roasted tomato gazpacho and lemon dill campanelle: they were both exceptional. The roasted tomato gazpacho I made from this recipe on Savory Simple with no changes except a bit of extra basil, and the lemon dill campanelle I’m tinkering with for a future post.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

No party in this house would be complete with me making something (or in this case, somethings) from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook; it’s just a given at this point because events provide the opportunity for me to keep my cake-making skills up to snuff and to mess around with their recipes a bit.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

This, my friends, is the Momofuku birthday cake from awhile back, altered to fit a more classic tea party theme. Identical flavors, just stripped of some – not all – of the sprinkles to give it a polished appearance. The original has stark-white frosting, making it easy to dye a perfect powder pink. Look for a little tutorial in the near future about how to make the adjustments necessary to achieve this, plus a few more detailed photos of the cake.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

It would only make sense to make the confetti cookies to go along with the cake, and those stayed sprinkle-filled. Because the corn cookies were so much fun to throw on sticks, I thought I’d do the same this year with these. These are a bit more challenging to make than the corn cookies were, for a few reasons, but I’ll detail all that out in the cake tutorial as well, because it can be done if you know what you’re doing.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

My favorite bit of the birthday this year (and the Wee One’s favorite as well) was the appearance of these sweet ballerinas from Movita Beacoup. I know lots of you are fans of her blog (and if you’re not, what gives?), and in addition to loving her work, I consider her to be a good friend of mine (I like when I write that and immediately wonder if she feels the same, because if she doesn’t, awkward). I fell in love with these wee ballerinas the minute I saw this post; long story short, Movita flew these girls in all the way from Canada as a gift to my Wee One. How nice is that? Incredibly nice, that’s how. They matched the cake perfectly (I actually customized the frosting to match their outfits) and were the most perfect addition to the party ever. They even got little sprinkle-crumb stage lights.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

And you better believe I snatched those ballerinas right off that cake post-candle blowout too, because I didn’t want anyone messing with them. I plan to keep them always. If you want ballerinas like this to delight your party guests, you can make them! Head over here to Movita’s post about how to create wee ballerinas of your own.

you're invited: the wee one's birthday, 2014.

And that’s it, friends: the birthday this year. As always, I wish you could have been here to celebrate, because I know all of you would have had a lovely time, and maybe you could have helped with the food. Just saying, you’re food people, so I would trust you with that.

The cake and cookie pop tutorial is coming soon: first up, the Feast article for September. I talk about prickly pears this month: have you had those? If you live in Arizona and your name is Natalie, I know you’ve actually kicked them off peoples’ front walks (because of the abundance) and hurt yourself trying to eat them; a ringing endorsement if there ever was one. That’s coming up this weekend.

This August also marks the 3rd birthday of this little corner of the internet. Most of you know I began writing this blog in August of 2011, shortly after the Wee One’s very first birthday. I don’t always make a huge deal of my blog anniversary: for me, it becomes a time to reflect on where this space has taken me so far, and think about where I want it to lead me in the future. As my short history would suggest, this is nearly impossible to predict, but fun and exciting to think about just the same. I’m not much for surprises, but the ones I’ve been graced with because of youawards and recognition for absurd baked goods, a regular writing gig, getting to know a pretty incredible group of people – I simply adore and am super thankful for. So thank you for reading, and I hope you like what I do in my fourth year of blogging just as much as you’ve liked the first three years.

Thanks, guys.

♥ – Shannon

 

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29 Comments on "you’re invited: the wee one’s birthday party, 2014."

  1. Faygie says:

    As always, the party looks like it was wonderful. You throw the best parties: fun & pretty, without going overboard. And you can never go wrong with anything Milk Bar. Or pink.

    I love that picture of Stella as a baby. So cute! And, yes, they grow SO fast.

    p.s. I can’t wait for the new season of Downton Abbey :)

    • shannon says:

      ha! so i think Mr. Table would argue with the “not going overboard” bit, but i actually do try to reign it in a little and not make it cluttered; not a big fan of the overdone party, that’s for sure. And agree: you really can’t go wrong with anything Milk Bar, period. It’s perfect for celebrations…any celebration, really.

      Aw, i know, right! SUCH PUDGE!! I look at that and i completely remember what she was like at that age and it’s so amazing how in such a relatively short time she’s grown so much. So, so much: i mean, her personality has always been inside of her, but it’s just really started to come out and it’s great to watch, as I know you know. :)

      ME TOOOOOO! I know we have a few more months yet, but i’m started to get excited.

  2. this party looks bananas – and your menu is A-MAY-ZING. i seriously have no idea how you have the energy for all of that! will you come out to AZ to plan my bday next year? It’s in March so you will be due for a nice vacay from the cold by then and wee one can come too!

    • shannon says:

      I wouldn’t chalk it up so much to energy as it is a love for trips to Michaels, random tissue paper, and spacing this stuff out over weeks. Also, i have a helper in the Wee One: she handed me all the tissue flowers when we assembled the wall, so without her, it would have taken a lot longer.

      I’d TOTALLY come to AZ for your birthday. you want me to bring the flower walls? Because AZ in the spring is beautiful.

  3. Ashley says:

    Happy Birthday, Wee One! You are totally an awesome mom, making such an incredible party for her! And I’d leave up the paper flower wall until Christmas! It’s fancy and fun!

    After making only one cake, I feel the same way about the Milk Bar cookbook. It’s not a truly special occasion unless I get to make something from it. Hence cake + cake balls for my own birthday, ha! I’m already planning the apple cake for Thanksgiving and the carrot cake for Easter. I love how you customized your cake, it’s genius and makes it extra special.

    And happy anniversary to you and your blog! I can’t wait to see what this next year brings!

    • shannon says:

      She says thank you, Ashley! She had a very happy birthday: although i think at this point (based on little experience with other kids’ parties) she assumes everyone has parties like this. It’ll be a rude awakening when she finds out that not all moms are crazy. :)

      The flower wall = STILL up.

      the apple pie cake is SO DELICIOUS! as is the carrot cake, which was the first one i did, but the apple pie cake (of those two) was my favorite. Talk to me when you get ready to make it: i still think the frosting part could have been better, but we’ll discuss if you want.

      thank you! i’m excited myself: i’m in a good place with it, and with any luck, i stay organized and on top of things enough to keep the ball rolling. We’ll see. :) Speaking of, miss ashley…

  4. So much awesome in one post! I need you to plan/execute my next birthday! So glad you and Stella liked the toppers, and that they are now in protective custody.

    Now – and more importantly – WHY ISN’T THAT DOG FEATURED MORE FREQUENTLY ON THIS BLOG?

    • DUDE. SHANNON. WHAT IS UP WITH THE DOG. I mean, I don’t think I’ve missed many of your posts. If any, ever. I AM JUST NOW FINDING OUT THAT YOU HAVE A DOG.

      I love that you do not give it a name in this post. It’s just “my dog.” Hilarious.

      I love reading about Stella’s birthday parties. They’re my favorite posts (not that there isn’t a lot of great reading in between!)

      • shannon says:

        What IS up with that dog? NOTHING is up with that dog: i honestly don’t know if he’s been on the blog before; no reason but that he’s usually busy…sleeping.

        I can’t stress this enough: he’s not like your dogs, Katherine. THIS IS THE SUM TOTAL OF WHAT HE DOES ALL DAY. in fact, i just looked over to see what he’s doing? That’s what he’s doing, only on the floor versus on the sofa, just to mix it up.

        So, his name is Kennedy: i have a habit of naming dogs after presidents. Prior to this, i had a dog named Lyndon Baines Johnson, “Baines” for short. So this one is JFK, but Tim thinks he’s a conservative (although I don’t know that he is truly, but let’s not ruin that for him) so he refuses to call him by his Presidential moniker. Because of this, his name is – most of the time – Sheetz, short for “Shih Tzu.” (because “shih” is pronounced “sheetz” and not “shits.”) Sometimes i like to call him The Shizz or Shizzles. You may refer to him as any of those above names and he will probably answer to them. But no matter how many names he has, he still. does. NOTHING.

        well thank you: i love writing about her birthday parties, because she has so much fun with them. honestly i think if you asked her, she has MORE fun putting the decorations together with me than at the actual party, but that’s because she’s an introvert like i am: the party part really wears us out, but we could decorate for DAYS.

    • shannon says:

      The ballerinas have their own room at the house, and are closely guarded by a felted wool sheep who doubles as their personal bodyguard. She’s been trained in hand-to-hand combat now, so she’s like a ninja sheep. it’s a perfect setup.

      There’s a long and very random story as to why he gets referred to as “my dog.” We have a tumultuous relationship; sometimes he’s just The Dog.

      Honestly? because that right there in the photo? That’s all he does. I’ll try to take more photos, but it’s not like Katherine’s dog in the way that they, you know, MOVE. If you ever want to know what he’s doing? Refer to the above photo…unless he’s eating, that’s going to be accurate.

  5. Happy birthday, Stella wee one. I love your birthday party and i hope you had as much fun as your mom did. She must love you an awful lot to give you such a special partay! I think that flower wall should stay there forever.

    • shannon says:

      She says thank you for her birthday wishes! She had a lovely time at her party, as we all did. (psst: i do love her an awful lot, and that flower wall is totally still standing.) :)

  6. Deb says:

    Such a exquisite post! Time seems to slide by as we live our lives, the everyday, the mundane. To stop and capture a moment to remember the nuances of the time and place is magical!

    • shannon says:

      thanks Deb! It’s fun to think about these parties being “on record” as the years go by: i never thought about it like that until recently, but it’s great to look back on past parties and have them all documented in one place. a perk of blogging, for sure, and arguably me at my most organized. :)

  7. Mimi says:

    What a pretty party! You’re so talented!

    • shannon says:

      Thanks, Mimi! I don’t know if it’s talent or just a innate desire to craft things out of tissue, but it was a fun party, and we have a great time putting it all together. I’m happy you enjoyed it!

  8. Happy BIrthday, wee one! Great party and fun post. Thanks.

  9. Brianne says:

    What a fun party! I love the yarn letters and the flower wall. And that cake! Your Wee One is lucky to have you :) (P.S. I just learned about the new Milk Bar cookbook coming out…sometime, and I’m super excited for it!)

  10. elizabeth says:

    Ah-mah-zing, as always. Those little ballerinas are just incredibly precious!

  11. Dana Staves says:

    Shannon, my birthday is in January. I’m telling you now so you can plan because THIS PARTY IS AWESOME. How lovely! And what a fantastic tea party menu. I confess, I’m jealous. I’m jealous of a four year-old.

    I’m not ashamed of who I am.

  12. Monica says:

    Gosh, kids grow so fast – too fast! Looks like your wee one had a wonderful birthday. I love everything about it – mostly a mommy’s dedication to make such a pretty event come to be. Sorry there was a little speed bump there at first…I’m sure it was nothing you couldn’t handle! ; ) Your little one looks so sweet – I hope she had a wonderful time at the party. And you guys enjoy this last year before kindergarten starts!
    PS- love the cake and ballerinas, of course!

    • shannon says:

      Too fast, you’re right about that, Monica! I do get pretty focused on her parties: we don’t host any big blowouts through the year, so i always consider this our big “to-do”, and one deserving of a handmade celebration. :) We handled the speed bump, definitely: i suppose that’s common considering the age of the guests…i guess i’ll prepare for that more in the future.
      thank you! She loved her dress, and her party, and i DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT KINDERGARTEN STARTING stop. :)

  13. I simply cannot believe it’s been a year since your last gorgeous birthday party for your daughter. You have once again outdone yourself and made all of us non-crafty people bow down in utter amazement. Happy belated Birthday to your Wee One!

    • shannon says:

      me either! it seems like i just did the 3yo party…time truly does fly where kids are concerned. Thank you for your sweet words! Crafty is all in the genes (and perhaps how willing you are to cultivate it, and i’m really quite willing). :) Thanks!

  14. You throw the best parties ever! Now I want my name written in yarn for my photo studio and peg dolls , just because.

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