Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nursery Rhyme Birthday Party

I normally don't post specifically about events but since this was a pretty significant event in MY life, I decided it was just too big not to post about it.

I remember talking to my neighbor about the first birthday celebration when I was pregnant.  Our conversation is still so vivid in my mind.  She said, "Your life changes so much after having a child, you change, your marriage changes, everything changes.  The first birthday is a big deal because it's a celebration for BOTH of you.  It's a celebration that you BOTH made it through."  I probably would have never understood that before I had a baby.  But now I do.

It IS life changing.  This year has been full of changes.  But all fun, and good.  I love being a mom more than I ever thought possible.  And I really wanted to throw a party that celebrated all of these changes.  This certainly was one BIG celebration!

I decided I wanted to do nursery rhymes for a few reasons.  My daughter LOVES books and her room is actually decorated in vintage mother goose.  Finding things to go with a Mother Goose theme at the store? Forget it.

Luckily, I started several months in advance just scoping out ideas online and what invitations I wanted to use.  I made all the invitations myself tying in nursery rhyme sayings (buying the printed cardstock online).  I also purchased fabric online and had my seamstress sew a quick hem on them (I would have done this myself but being sick with bronchitis and a baby with croup for the weeks leading up the event prevented the time to do this!)

I made homemade banners by buying the program on Etsy. I just added the letters I wanted and printed on cream colored cardstock from Michael's.  I printed 3 large and 1 small banner and glued them onto ribbon I found at Costco with a glue gun

I found humpty dumpty balloons online along with a star for "Twinkle twinkle little star...".  I also found little nursery rhyme books in the fall at Target.  Each of these had little book mark tags (also found on Etsy) which were personalized with a little saying of "Thank you for attending my birthday party..."

I bought flowers from Costco, roses, for the "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue" rhyme.  I bought 4 tiny violet plants, too.  I cut the roses short and put them in green foam in small square vases, then wrapped them with ribbon.  The violet plants were also wrapped in ribbon.  I then wrote a little rhyme on cardstock that said "Roses are red, violets are blue.  Giuliana is one, and beautiful too."

I also bought bulb flowers in terra-cotta pots.  I painted them white and wrapped them in ribbon, too.  A card sat next to each plant that said, "Mary Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?"

I also put little pint sized waters in a large silver pail wrapped in ribbon and a card that said "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water".  The wine had, of course, another saying that incorporated wine.

Of course there were Three blind mice cheese and crackers and Mary Mary quite contrary garden veggie tray.

The real star of the show was naturally the dessert table.  Here is a list of a few things:

Little Bo Peep Lost her Sheep Cupcakes--vanilla bean cakes with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.

Ba Ba Black Sheep cupcakes -- chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache whipped frosting.

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater pumpkin cupcakes-- pumpkin cupcakes with mascarpone whipped frosting.  For the recipe, click here.

This little piggy went to the market cupcakes-- strawberry cupcakes with raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

That's what girls are made of, sugar and spice and everything nice cookies -- Egg nog snickerdoodles

And a random assortment of other goodies:
-Godiva inspired cupcakes:  Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache whipped frosting, some with Italian meringue in both vanilla and raspberry.

-Confetti cupcakes with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream

-Dorie's Chocolate chip cookies, for the recipe click here.

-Dorie's World peace cookies, for the recipe click here.

- Martha's peanut butter cups, for the recipe click here.

-Berry crunch bars, recipe from Magnolia bakery.

And FINALLY-the CAKE.  I signed up for a class at Michael's--the month of her party.  Unfortunately the class was delayed a few weeks in the month so I only had 2 intro classes on how to work with fondant and gum paste.  Luckily, it was just enough and between that and You Tube, I was able to successfully cover my cake in fondant.

The cake was a 2 layer cake, all revolving around a nursery rhyme.  I was flying by the seat of my pants while doing this and did rhymes I could think of at the top of my head.  I made my own fondant the week of the party (one batch) but it was white and I didn't want the hassle of dying it so I ended up buying everything from a local cake store.

The bottom layer was an 8-inch chocolate cake, filled with raspberry Italian meringue buttercream then frosted with Swiss meringue buttercream.

The top later was a 6 inch banana cake filled and frosted with Swiss meringue buttercream.  I actually went out to BUY a 6 inch cake pan but the two stores I went to did not carry them, so I ended up baking this in 2 8-inch pans and cutting it down an inch on each side (I saved the scraps in the freezer for a trifle)

I covered the bottom later in purple fondant, and the top in baby blue fondant.

Can you guess all the nursery rhymes on the cake?

Patty cake, "Patty cake baker's man".....pat it with a "G" for baby and me.  My daughter's name is Giuliana so instead of "B" for's G.  I also had a star for "Twinkle Twinkle", "Little bo peep lost her sheep", "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick", "Queen of Hearts", "Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon and the dish ran away with the spoon", "Humpty Dumpty", "Hickory Dickory Dock", "Mary Mary quite contrary.."

Most of the shapes were cut out free hand (much thanks to all the clay design classes I took in high school!) and cookie cutters (I have about 1,000) no-joke).  Never in my life did I think I would use the mouse cookie cutter...but I now have a new use.

I will post new recipes on a separate post so they are easy to find in the blog roll.

The party was SO much fun!  Overall I think I had 150 cupcakes!  I had little 'to go' cupcake boxes assembled so everyone could take some home as a party favor.  I mean...who doesn't like a cupcake??

You know what they say.... "A cupcake a day keeps the doctor away".

What?  They don't say that?  Huh...well they should!

Always keep it sweet.

Cafe Coco


Ang~* said...

Everything looked amazing Courtney! You are so talented, the cake looked wonderful!!!
~*Angela Maicki

Ang~* said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allie said...

the sheep cupcakes are to cry for. I am having a nursery rhyme themed party for my daughter's 2nd birthday in a few days and would like to make these. Do you have some tips with getting the face of the sheep done?

Allie said...

Your sheep cupcakes are to DIE for!! Do you have any tips on how to decorate them?

Sweet as Coco said...

ALLIE- I used a #12 tip from Wilton. Start from the top of the head, and finish with the snout by giving less pressure on the piping bag to get the contrast in size. You can use a smaller tip for the eyes and ears. I think I used a #12 for the ears also (I can't remember--it was trial and error for me). Hope this helps!

lanenvalentine said...

you have no idea how many times i have looked over your page! this has been the biggest help planning my own daughters 1st birthday! its in two weeks and i hope everything turns out half as good as your party did! THANK YOU!!!

lanenvalentine said...

you have no idea how big of a help this blog page has been! its helped me plan for my own little girl's 1st birthday and thi is deff the best page on the whole of the web to get ideas from! thank you! youve helped more than you know!!!

Katie said...

I love everything! It has really helped me prepare a nursery rhyme 1st birthday party for my daughter. I wanted to aske you where did you find the Humpty Dumpty balloons? I can't any nursery rhyme balloons online anywhere. Thanks!

Sweet as Coco said...

Katie, I bought the balloons at but I just checked and it looks like they no longer carry them. I DID see some on eBay, so I would check there!