Saturday, April 2, 2011

Harper's Vintage Schoolhouse 1st Birthday Party!

I’m SO super excited to finally share images and details from my daughter Harper’s 1st Birthday Party! It's still a shock to me that our Little Girlie is already 1! 

For those of you who are new to my blog, or haven't experienced me in "party-planning-mode", be WARNED...there are a lot of details and pictures...but I always like to give more information than is really necessary ;) Enjoy! 


When planning parties I almost always start with an inspiration piece and the rest of the theme seems to flow from there. The inspiration for Harper's party came from some items that had been in the attic at my parent's house for years and years.

About 15 years ago, my mother purchased a box full of classroom materials from her elementary school teacher’s garage sale. The box included some original Dick and Jane paper dolls that I’ve always loved...that's where it started. I tracked down the box and it was all downhill from there!

The same day that I decided on the theme, I found a vintage chalkboard at my friend Barb’s shop, Cross Creek Antiques, and that sealed the deal! I started accumulating fun, vintage school items to incorporate into the party. I found things everywhere…local thrift and antique shops, online through ETSY and eBay. I was on a mission!

I collected so many fun, vintage items that really brought this party together. Some of my favorite finds were the vintage vocabulary cards I used throughout the party, vintage lunch trays, alphabet blocks, a super cute abacus and of course the teacher’s bell.

Printables and Decorations

Once I had the theme and color scheme nailed down, I contacted the fabulous Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff, of Anders Ruff Custom Designs. I told them my plans for Harper’s party and sent them an inspiration board I had put together to give them the color scheme and other fun details. They designed the BEYOND adorable invitations, bookplates, thank-you tags, tent cards and party logos. This process was so fun for me and I am in-love with what they created!

UPDATE: The SUPER cute line of printables designed for Harper's Party are now available for purchase through Anders Ruff Custom!

I also found some adorable vintage-inspired pennant straw toppers and paper straws from Fort and Field. I contacted Jessica to request the sayings on the tags be personalized to go with the party. They turned out SO super cute! I used them on the straws and to decorate the Apple Pencil Cake Pops.


The vintage-style Alphabet garland and the pennants used to decorate the highchair came from Pretty Little Studio. They fit in perfectly with the vintage-feel of the party and I love that I can use them as decorations now that the party is over too!

The backdrop we used for the dessert/cake table is a large piece of particle board that was sprayed with chalkboard paint. I decorated using fun Tissue Poms I bought locally from Kate Ford.

I also made the fabric bunting/garland that is hanging on the backdrop. I found a group of vintage quilt blocks made out of old feed sack material and cut into them with pinkers. Disclaimer: I don’t sew. This bunting isn’t going to win any awards for technical skill…but in the end I think it turned out cute and got the job done ;)

Party Fun!

We made a chalkboard table for the kiddos to play with and it was a HUGE hit! It kept them entertained for the entire party…seriously…the entire party! To make the table my husband chopped the legs off of an old kitchen table we had that was already painted black, and added two coats of chalkboard paint to the tabletop…voila…pure genius…sometimes the simplest ideas really are the best!

I had collected (i.e. obsessively hunted down and acquired) vintage school chairs, desks and student chalkboards for the party. These were all out for the kids to enjoy too ;)

The Favor bags for the kids included flashcards, a small board book, candy (so they could continue the sugar high at home) and super cool, customized Alphabet Crayons made by Touch of Pink! I requested 10 sets of the letters ABC and told her the colors I would like. For a minimal charge, she even individually bagged them for me, so super cute….plus I didn’t have to attempt to make them myself!


The dessert table treats were all made by yours truly! I had SO MUCH fun coming up with treats for the party, and trying new recipes and techniques that have been on my to-make list for awhile now.

I created a tutorial on my site so you can make your own Apple Pencil Cake Pops. They were a BIG hit and looked so super cute…they would make perfect Teacher Appreciation Gifts!

The homemade marshmallows were delish, it was my first time making them and they’re definitely going into heavy rotation! I also made ABC Squares using Alphabits cereal that the kiddos really enjoyed.

I baked and decorated both of the cakes for the party. Let me just say here, normally I work on a much smaller scale (think cupcakes)….but  I saw a tutorial for a breathtakingly beautiful Rose Cake by Amanda of i am baker and was dying to try it out! I wanted to make a multi-tiered cake, even though the most I’ve stacked in the past was two tiers.

I figured I had a special reason to go all-out and try it. The end result was pretty, a little sloppy, had a lean in the back (I turned it so no one could see)…but it was made with love for my Little Sweet Roll and that’s what counts!

At the Drink Station we served Strawberry and Skim Milk Cartons purchased from a local Elementary School. The hobnail milkglass pitcher and glasses were all purchased at local thriftshops.

The Birthday Girl

I spent more time than I’m willing to admit searching for Harper’s Birthday outfit. I ended up with a few options…you know…in case she needed a mid-party wardrobe change. When I found THE dress listed by Luxe Starling on Etsy I knew that it was perfect! It is a vintage party dress that is so simple and sweet, it was perfect for a little girl who spends most days in grubbies chasing around after her big brother ;)

Finding a headband that went with the vintage dress took some work, but it was another Etsy Shop to the rescue! Bellasma has an amazing line of headbands that are so reasonably priced you'll want an armful!

This party was truly a labor of love. I poured so much time and energy into all of the details because I wanted to create something special for my little girlie. During the planning process, I know (I KNOW) I can get a little (okay a LOT) obsessed…but I LOVE to do this! It is so rewarding to create these kind of memories and even though Harper is only 1….and as people kept reminding me “She won’t even remember it”….I will, and that’s enough ;)


All of the party pictures were taken by the uber-talented and super amazing Kara Hinzie of KV Photography. Kara’s work is truly inspiring! I feel SO lucky to have found a photographer that I adore…and one who can deal with the “crazy” that is my family ;) She has captured so many amazing moments in priceless images that our family will cherish forever!

Thanks SO much to all of our friends and family. YOU all helped make Harper's Party extra special! Now I have to get crackin' on Dane's 3rd Birthday's just around the corner ;)


Party Sources
KV Photography all party photos
Anders Ruff Custom Designs Invitations and coordinating party printables
Fort and Field Customized School house pennants, paper straws
Pretty Little Studio vintage style flashcards used for garland
Cross Creek Antiques large vintage chalkboard, serving pieces
Touch of Pink Customized Alphabet Crayons
Luxe Starling Vintage Party Dress
Bellasma Headband

Harper's Party has been featured on the following sites!



  1. I am in LOVE with this party! It is more than SUPER DUPER cute! It is AMAZING! How fun! Oh, and your sweet baby girl is so adorable!It is so crazy how fast they grow up isn't it?!

  2. Fantastic! You did a great job on your daughter's party--down to every detail.

  3. What a beautiful and fun party! I especially love your chalkboard table!

  4. Darling, darling, darling on every level! You thought of it all, and it shows how much thought, time and love went into this special celebration. Your rosette cakes are GORGEOUS!! If only you lived in Las Vegas so you could make one for me! Wonderful job, I really loved the unique theme and special treasures you incorporated throughout!

  5. I love everything about this party! So beautiful and clever!

  6. WOW...this is gorgeous!!!!!! I love the vintage details...way to go!

  7. Gorgeous party!! Every detail is simply beautiful!!

    ps - I'm your newest follower :)

  8. Visiting from Under the Table and Dreaming....just have to say I LOVE your party idea! I am a teacher and have always been drawn to vintage school stuff. Great job for your little one year old! :o}

  9. very adorable! what a great party.


  10. All I can say is wow! Every detail is so perfect! Amazing! Your daughter is a lucky girl!

  11. this is sooo cute!! what a great party!!

  12. What an awesome party and cute little birthday girl! I found your link on I Heart Naptime. I would love to feature it on my new blog -

    Let me know if you are interested!

  13. Thank you ALL for your super sweet comments ;) I'm definitely feelin' the love!

  14. Found you on Tatertots & Jello. I am OBSESSED with this party. Totally adorable!

  15. Great theme! I love it! It all turned out so great, you really did a great job!

  16. So stinkin cute!! You did a fabulous job!!
    (coming from the Made by You Monday linky)

  17. I LOVE it!!! You did an AMAZING job!

  18. So, so gorgeous! But, the pencils in the cake pops....genius!

  19. I love ur creative ideas ... the apple pencil tops are jus out of the world ...

    - Smita

  20. What a beautiful party! So lovely and adorable with a vintage touch. TFS!

  21. Super cute!!Adorable, love everything, great job!! Milenna

  22. I just found your blog and am your newest follower. This party is brilliant -- you have one lucky little girl! Thanks for creating such a fab blog full of inspiration.

  23. Wow, that's a birthday party that I would actually love to attend lol. That's amazing!

    I'm following you from Tutorial Tuesday.
    Please follow me at:

  24. Wow! What an amazing party! First of all, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the name Harper--so beautiful! Her party looks incredible--so detailed and creative and fun! Your blog is WAY cute . . . I'm your newest follower and so excited to take a peek around your blog!

    Rachel @ Maybe Matilda

  25. Very beautiful!!!!! SO much work!!

  26. Wow! You certainly went all out and I love it! Fabulous job!

  27. I LOVE your style! And Harper is such an adorable name. The party is stunning. Vintage is my fave!

  28. Lots of great attention to detail. Cute party :)

  29. This is SO beautiful! i love everything about it! especially those flowers around the chalk board - so cute!

    I'd love for you to link this up to my new link party, Your Whims Wednesday!

  30. Beautiful invites, decor, etc. etc.!

  31. This party is wonderful, love all the vintage details!

    I'm a new follower, I would love for you to stop by sometime and check out a couple of my birthday parties!

    Have a fantastic day,

  32. Well, this is just precious.

    Thanks for sharing!


  33. What a perfect party! You have great taste in names! I have a Harper. She'll be 5 in May.

  34. Hi! Again...I LOVE your blog! I am giving you the versitile blogger award! Head on over to my blog and follow the instructions! CONGRATULATIONS!

  35. Amazing party!! The cake turned out great, and that vintage dress! Beautiful!

  36. Wow, this is just adorable!! I love everything about it, well done. I love the cakes, very pretty indeed.
    The White Interior Studio.

  37. This is hands-down one of the most adorable parties I have ever seen! All of the details are amazing and I absolutely love the vingtage schoolhouse theme! We loved having you share it with us last week at Inspiration Friday and we hope to see you again this week!

  38. This is absolutely gorgeous from start to finish...every little tiny detail looks amazing! I can't believe you pulled all that together with a one-year-old running around too! :) Happy Birthday, Harper, and Fantastic Job, Mama! I am super impressed!!

  39. what a beautiful party! you thought of everything! i love the colors you used and your attention to detail!

  40. love, love, love your party! Fabulous job! The rose cake is probably my favorite touch, but you know I love your apple cake pops, too...

  41. Bonita fiesta, maravilloso.... Felicitaciones.