1st birthday · birthday · decorations · floral · handmade · homemade · party food · raspberry buttercream · raspberry lemonade · real · vintage

Nora’s Vintage Floral Birthday Party

I go all out for birthdays. I get kinda crazy with making them super special and something totally tailored to the guest of honor. For Mateo’s last birthday I made him an adventure map with flaps to lift up for each portion of his special day – children’s museum, spaghetti restaurant, movie theater… . He also spent the day wearing a handmade birthday cake crown and finished out his birthday adventure with a strawberry mochi ice cream cake. Like I said, I go all out.

My baby girl’s 1st birthday party was no exception. Before I get into the beautifulness of her special day let me just say that you will not find studio quality photos with perfect lighting, styling, and portraits in this post – I wish. What I do have to offer are real pictures of a real birthday party in real time in a real house with bad lighting. Sorry, not sorry. 😊 I hope the homemade recipes and handmade decorations inspire creativity and adventure in your own real home 😉 (tell me if I’m using too many emojis). So without further ado, here is all about Nora’s special day.

For me, the decorations make a party. My eldest son would totally agree with me on that score. Nora’s decorations were adorable crafts to make. I started by looking around for invitations I liked on Etsy. I wasn’t looking to shop as much as I was looking for inspiration. I settled on a vintage floral theme as I had just finished putting Nora’s nursery together and still had vintage on the brain. I used some of the same floral paper I used in her room to cut out hearts for her banners.

Nora's Vintage Floral Birthday Party photo garland

I used mini clothespins to pin the hearts between pictures of Nora throughout her first year. A dollar store ribbon served this project perfectly. I finished the banners by tying coordinating ribbons to hang off either end.

Nora's Vintage Floral Birthday Party raspberry layer cake
Grandma ordered those adorable dress cookies you see peeking out of the basket.

I used the same vintage floral paper to make Nora a cake topper. I found a “1” I liked on google images and used it as a template to cut out the number in pretty papers, glued them to a wooden skewer, and added a pink ribbon for extra girlyness.

Nora's Vintage Floral Birthday Party decorations

I printed out pretty little sayings like, “isn’t she lovely” and “let her be little,” and put them in dollar store frames. I nestled them on tables and counter tops that held food, cake, and drinks.

Nora's Vintage Floral Birthday Party door decoration
Pardon my reflection.

I made a door hanger in similar fashion by taping a printed sign onto a dollar store mirror and looping a pretty pink ribbon through the back.

Nora's Vintage Floral Handmade Birthday Party favors

Nora's Vintage Floral Birthday Party table decor

Nora's Vintage Floral Birthday Party ribbons and flowers

Handmade surprise heart packets served as party favors and added to the table decor. I found this idea on Craft with Mom. I cut out paper hearts, put two together only gluing half of the edges closed, stuffed them with treats, and then glued the rest of the edges together – all with a simple glue stick. Dollar store jars, flowers, and floral garlands also decorated the table. Pink paper lanterns, more floral garlands, and pink, peach, and teal ribbons hung simply on our chandelier.

Nora's Vintage Floral Birthday Party food

The birthday menu included sausage cheese balls (I use Jimmy Dean’s recipe), fresh fruit, mushroom quiches, a big bad cheese platter, sauerkraut & dill tuna salad (recipe follows), balsamic broccoli and bell pepper pasta salad (recipe follows), and a strawberry spinach salad. Nora’s cake was a boxed vanilla cake mix doctored with fresh raspberries baked in and frosted with fresh raspberry buttercream (recipe follows). I also served orange-scented iced green tea and raspberry lemonade (recipe follows).

Nora's Vintage Floral Birthday Party 13

“Happy birthday to me y’all!”

Sauerkraut & Dill
Tuna Salad
(A.K.A. The Best Tuna Salad EVER!!!)

2 cans Chicken of the Sea light tuna packed in water (do not use another brand), drained
4 green onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped thin
¼ tsp dried dill
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
¼ cup sauerkraut(I use homemade), chopped
¼ cup mayo or to your liking
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well.
2. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or mayo to get the flavor and consistency you like.
3. Refrigerate in an air-tight container for a few hours for flavors to meld.
* Double this recipe for a party.

Balsamic Broccoli & Bell Pepper Pasta Salad

(This is an adaptation of the recipe found at picsandpastries.com)

7 mini multicolored sweet bell peppers, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
1/3 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins
½ cup diced red onion
12 oz box bow tie/rotini/penne pasta, cooked el dente
½ cup Bolthouse Farms Balsamic Yogurt Dressing (found in the cold case of produce sections)
½ cup mayo
½ cup toasted walnuts
½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
dash Balsamic vinegar
salt to taste

1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl and stir together.
2. Taste for salt. Add additional balsamic yogurt dressing if it needs more creaminess.
3. Refrigerate in an air-tight container for a few hours for flavors to meld.

Fresh Raspberry Buttercream

(This is an adaptation of the recipe from Sweet Celebrations by the owners of Georgetown Cupcakes)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 30 minutes only
4 packed cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
½ cup fresh raspberries, rinsed and allowed to dry

1. Place raspberries in a food processor and process into a puree. You should end up with a little less than 1/3 cup of puree.
2. Cream butter in a stand mixer for 30 seconds with your paddle attachment.
3. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat with butter until creamy.
4. Beat in salt, raspberry puree, and vanilla extract.
5. Beat in last 2 cups of powdered sugar.
6. Scrape down bowl and beat for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
* Make two batches to frost a four layer cake.

Raspberry Lemonade

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1 ½ to 2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 cups raspberries
2 to 4 cups water

1. Make a simple syrup by heating 2 cups sugar with 2 cups water on medium low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir gently until sugar is completely dissolved and you can feel no more granules at the bottom of the pan as you stir. Cool to room temperature.
2. Place raspberries in a high speed blender with 1 cup water. Blend on low until raspberries are broken down, then slowly increase speed to high and blend on high a couple of minutes.
3. In a large pitcher add 1 ½ cups lemon juice, 2 cups simple syrup, all of the raspberry mixture, and another cup or two of water. Taste for sweetness and tartness according to your liking adding in more simple syrup, lemon juice, or water as you see fit.
4. Strain lemonade through a fine mesh strainer for a smooth drink.
5. Refrigerate until cold.
6. Garnish with fresh raspberries and lemon slices.


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