It’s birthday party week! Last Saturday, we threw Lila’s first birthday party (she turns one on the 28th, but due to scheduling conflicts we celebrated a bit early!). So this week is a series of party posts!

The inspiration for the party theme? Her nickname. We’ve been calling her Lila Bug since she was born. Only made sense to have a Lila-Bug themed 1st birthday party! And we knew it had to be colorful.

The greatest thing about this party was how much help we had pulling it off. EVERYONE pitched in – – which was truly wonderful. So thank you to all of our family and friends!

I have to say that I got a lot of ideas for the party from the TomKat Studio’s blog. Kim does some AMAZING things at her parties and always posts the most beautiful pictures! It’s a great place to browse ideas and choose the ones that work within your time limits and budget. The idea for the marshmallow bug pops came from her post on her daughter Kate’s third birthday party. I just added some black licorice for antennas. The handy step-by-step instructions on the Hostess with the Mostess blog were really helpful, too!

Even though I would have loved to be able to slave over some of the handmade paper items that appeared at Lila’s party (well, maybe… could be the mom guilt setting in), I simply don’t have enough hours in the day. Enter Etsy. If you haven’t had a chance to check out this ebay-type site for makers of handmade things and those that love to buy ’em, you should. I found tons of sellers that handcraft adorable birthday banners and signs. A quick email to Kelly at Burley Girl Designs and I had a gorgeous ladybug happy birthday banner and door sign!
Although I usually like to use local vendors for things, print costs are often high. Online shops are usually more economic — and TinyPrints has been my online savior for all things stationary. I worked via email with a designer to customize the text on one of their ready-to-pint designs, added a photo of Lila, and the invites arrived via mail in about 7 days. Didn’t they turn out cute?

Last but not least (in terms of the design!), were the ladybug centerpieces. I had seen the wheatgrass/gerbera daisy centerpieces while perusing the Hostess with the Mostess blog’s cute post on a Modern Ladybug Party Theme. I sent the photo to John at The Cutting Garden in Westminster, and he came up with a Baptisia greens/Gerber daisy version. I added the pink and green ladybugs – – ordered from Bugs-n-Bloom online.

I created most of the signs and labels myself and, in the process, found this great site called 1001 Free Fonts. FABULOUS!

More about the food tomorrow! In the meantime, tell us about your first birthday party experiences by leaving a comment! What themes have you used? (We love to see pics too!)