I’m Christine Castro Hughes, a designer, writer, and mother of two darling children. I also run a graphic design studio out of my charming, crooked craftsman house. Brunch is my blog. More »
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« my city boy on the farm | Main | letter to henry : 1 year »

p is for party

I was pretty giddy the weeks leading up to Henry's 1st birthday. Beyond the obvious occasion of celebrating one year of his marvelous existence, I was excited to throw a good party. I knew that Henry wouldn't remember the day at all, but I wanted a celebration for me and Rama and our family, too. A celebration that said, "We did it! We were parents for one whole year and we did an awesome job!" A celebration that also said, "Thanks for being part of our son's life!"

Inspired by this party and using my current favorite palette of red & aqua, I went to town planning an alphabet and flash-card themed bash. To keep things simple, we opted for a menu of pizza, salads, snacks and cakes (yes, plural). Then, I designed a few pretty touches to make it special, starting with the above invitations. Rama illustrated our son's adorable mug for the cards. He is king of portraits and can capture anyone's likeness.

Since most of our guests were adults and babies, our party favors were something people of all ages could enjoy. I baked lemon cookies, put a few in glassine bags adorned with "C is for Cookie" labels and sealed them with some Japanese masking tape.

I am a sucker for gift wrapping. I scored this aqua wrapping paper for 99 cents at Party City. I made the "H is for happy" tag and found the red ribbon in my stash.

I made a birthday banner and tacked it to a nearby tree. In addition to the party favors, we provided bubbles and sidewalk chalk for the young and young at heart.

Our cake was the best, lightest, fluffiest mango cake from Red Ribbon, a Filipino bakery. It has become a family tradition that my parents bring it to our shindigs. Note the imprint from the birthday boy's little hand and the robot topper gifted from our friends at Giant Robot. Too cute.

I also hired our friend Emilyn Chin to bake some mini cupcakes. Her talents fill the void of the late, great Leda's Bakery that was my favorite in LA until they closed early last year. The cupcakes are white cake filled with lemon curd and topped with buttercream frosting, and yes, they are as yummy as they are pretty.

Henry wasn't sure about all the fuss at first, but I think it's safe to say he did end up having a blast.

It was a hot, hot day, but as the sun set, we were blessed with some shade and a little breeze.

We did it!

Lastly, I crafted "lucky duck" thank you notes to match. The little duck illustration is by me. The last cupcake was eaten by me, too!

Photo of our family and cake-covered Henry and me by Stacy de la Rosa. All other photos by yours truly.

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Reader Comments (21)

OMG. so unbelievably cute! where did you ever find the time? maybe party planning is your next calling... a little birdie told me it was sooo fabulous.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermindy

What a beautiful birthday party for sweet Henry! I love all the details, C!!

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersally

oh, what a precious first birthday - one to be remembered and treasured! congrats :) warmly, s

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersperlygirl

Gracious woman! I vote for you for mama of the year! So cute!

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpenny


August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrené

I just KNEW you'd craft the most wonderful 1st birthday for henry :) Looks like it was a blast! Wish I could have tasted all of those delicious lemon treats myself! you and rama are great parents :)

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

Great party and what a beautiful family portrait Christine!

I'm so sorry we missed it. Anyway, thanks for making me feel so inadequate. KIDDING! Private joke. Love ya.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

so cute!!!! i couldn't get it together to anything so coordinated for F's first :) love it all. and happy birthday again to the little h! [he'll be walking and talking so soon!!!!]

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlisa s

That picture of the three of you is PRECIOUS...so much love. :)

August 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSwirly

OH! WOW!!! Just getting caught up, and just read this post. I love everything about your party...(especially getting to see the birthday boy--precious!) The invites, cookie stickers...everything! Just SO ADORABLE. I think my favorite is the thank you note. SPOT ON PERFECT!
Congrats on doing up birthday number 1 with so much love and style :)

August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

Thank you so much, everyone! I splurged on the details & stationery and let go a bit on food & drinks. Maybe next year, I'll be able to do both.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterDarling

Wow, those are the most adorable party touches I've seen. Lucky baby! Precious family photo, too.

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

Thank you, Joy! So glad to have found you & your blog.

September 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDarling

sooooo adorable! what a great party!

September 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

oh wow love the details. looks like a great party too.
i've been planning alphabet party as well, this october.
and happy birthday henry! :)

September 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterira

Thanks, Monica & Ira!

September 23, 2010 | Registered CommenterDarling

Oh what a great party, I love it! And I'm planning an ABC theme baby shower for my sister, thanks for the inspiration!

PS. Love the background graphic on your site too, the cakes and flowers and teacups and pretty colours are super fun!

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdomestikate

I'm not sure how I even happened onto your blog. I have four children ages 10, 16, 20 and 22. Throwing unique birthday parties has always been a passion of mine. You are one amazing lady! Your love for your son is evident, even to a complete stranger. Enjoy Henry, he will grow up fast....and he will appreciate your effort some day.

October 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Thanks, Kate & Janice!

October 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDarling

Love this idea! My little guys name is Henry too! Cheers~

January 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLobotoME

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