Once Upon A Birthday Party- Part II

In my last post (which was ages ago thanks to all the pre-Christmas craziness), I discussed how I came up with a great book theme for Juliette’s first birthday party.  Of course, a theme is only as good as it’s execution.  Luckily for Juliette, I take my party planning pretty seriously.

First, I did quite a bit of web browsing to see what other crafty people out there did with a children’s book theme.  For years, I would cut and paste these links into an email to myself and keep replying to the same gmail thread to keep all the ideas in one place.  This worked, of course, but was a little labor intensive and required opening a lot of windows to look at the various links.  Fortunately, one of the pages I came across in my google search was Pinterest.  It was the perfect solution for creating a story board for Juliette’s party.  You can find my original idea bulletin board here.

Next, I set to work on my decorations and party favors- in primary colors to echo the colors in the invitation. I was feeling very much like Martha Stewart and lo and behold, Martha had an excellent idea for book garland on her website. I must have been feeling a little hippy when I set down to make my garland because I couldn’t bear to let all that work go to waste on paper books I was going to toss later, so I made my garland functional by making large books (one 8×11 page folded in half) of sign language flashcards using images from babysignlanguage.com and smaller books (one 8×11 page folded x 8) using these free printable Itsy Bitsy book templates. Juliette is still carrying her little books around!

For party favors, I decided to give each child in attendance a book with a handmade bookmark.  I purchased coloring activity books for the older kids, soft books for the babies and found 4 packs of mini Dr. Seuss books for $8 at Costco.  I made a bookmark template on Word, printed on card stock, cut them out with my handy, dandy paper cutter, used a decorative punch to jazz them up and embellished each with the child’s initial.

No kid party is complete without a goodie bag, so I purchased clear plastic bags at the party store along with Curious George and Winnie the Pooh blow outs and filled them with goldfish, fruit chews and chocolate.

I bought inexpensive paper party hats and added colorful pompoms, alphabet ribbon and each child’s initial. This turned out to be a little more work than I originally thought so I enforced a mandatory wearing of party hats!

Since the kids in attendance varied in age from 3 mo to 7 years, I wanted to come up with various activities to keep them all entertained. I ended up purchasing washable crayons and markers, book character stickers and photocopying coloring page templates with various book characters including: Dr. Seuss, Alice In Wonderland, Thomas the Train, Curious George and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

For the adults, I modified a version of the Alternative Names for Popular Children’s Books Game. I found this game on multiple sites, but recommend reading about A Bookish Baby Shower on PinkTea-cj-blogspot.com or OhdeedOh.com for a link to a free printable version via Scribd.

Michelle of the blog So Wonderful, So Marvelous threw a Dr. Seuss-inspired party for her son’s 2nd birthday and used Dr. Seuss’s Happy Birthday to You book as a guest book.  I love guest books and had one for Juliette’s baptism, so I was ecstatic to borrow this idea, modifying her Dr. Seuss rhyme slightly.

Thanks for joining me on my special day.

Just one more request before you go on your way.

This is the most important thing- truth be told.

A message I’ll treasure ’till I grow old.

Write a little or write a lot,

On the front, the back or any open spot.


With all the preparations in place, I couldn’t wait until Juliette’s special day.  You’ll have to wait until Once Upon A Birthday Party- Party III to see how it turned out!

Free Printables Available at my Scribd Account:

Sources of Inspiration


Once Upon A Birthday Party- Part I

Since Juliette’s bday party was the catalyst for the creation of this blog, it is the topic of my first real post.

First birthday parties are no laughing matter in the world of Moms.  It is a tremendous accomplishment to birth and keep a child alive for an entire year. This accomplishment calls for a major celebration.  Apparently, this celebration MUST have a theme. I thought this a little silly at first.  After all, what is my Juliette truly into aside from putting everything she sees in her mouth. But it was only silly until I came up with my wonderfully marvelous theme- a book party.

You see, my Juliette spends most of her play time knocking her books off her rocking chair onto the floor and then putting them back on the chair.  She can do this all day and usually does.

Juliette and her books

Now that I had a suitable theme, I needed to create an invitation. I decided to create a story based on our favorite books: On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman, I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rosetti-Shustak, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.  My biggest challenge was that I was working on my husband’s dilapidated Mac and its version of Word did not feature book fold. But that was solved easily enough. I made each page of the book one page in Word, downloaded an app to convert it into a PDF booklet and voila, I had a great looking invitation.

Invitation Cover1st page

2nd and 3rd pagesLast pages

On the last page of the book, I included all the pertinent party information and a request that guests bring a book in lieu of a card.

 I also included a bookplate for them to paste in the book.  I was planning on making my own, but found a great site with free printable bookplates. I chose these animal bookplates by Rebecca Thongkham and vintage Golden Book Designs by Sweet Jessie. 

Needless to say, after all that work, I hope this invitation got its due fridge time!

Until Once Upon A Birthday Party- Party II where I’ll discuss some of my other party DIY projects including book garland and bookmark party favors.

Sources of Inspiration