Posts Tagged DIY

Brown Bear Birthday Party

On Saturday we celebrated Jaylen’s first birthday. One of his favorite books over this past year has been Brown Bear by Eric Carle (even these past 3 days he’s been bringing it to me to read as his bedtime story). So I decided to use Brown Bear as the theme for the party. There are tons of great ideas on Pinterest, of course. We had Jaylen’s party at the Heller Nature Center with family and friends. It was a great venue with a little nature area kids could explore.

Here are some great photos that capture the day by Jake Preedin of Dirt Cheap Photography. If you ever need a photographer in the Chicago area, he’s very affordable and great to work with!

10030-0O5A0938-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

Banner from The Banner Shoppe

Banner from The Banner Shoppe

The centerpieces were flowers in the animal colors from the book.

The centerpieces were flowers in the animal colors from the book.

My little baby model...look at that pose!

My little baby model…look at that pose!

10027-0O5A0368-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

10073-0O5A0488-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

10031-0O5A0384-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

I made a banner with Jaylen’s monthly growth photos. We could only use painter’s tape to hang things so that’s why it doesn’t look as nice. I don’t have a picture of both strands of the banner, but you can see it behind the table in some pictures.

10009-0O5A0336-Jaylen's 1st Birthday 10026-0O5A0366-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

Jaylen is one quarter Korean and first birthdays are a big deal in Korean culture. So my mother-in-law set up the traditional Korean first birthday table for Jaylen (my husband had a similar table on his first birthday). The objects on the front table represent different careers Jaylen might choose in the future (stethoscope – doctor, paintbrush – artist, tambourine – musician, Bible storybook – ministry, little basketball – athlete, apple – teacher, rope – long life, marker (which I added in after this picture was taken) – writer). We had guests vote for which career they thought Jaylen would pick.

Traditional Korean 1st Birthday Table

Traditional Korean 1st Birthday Table

Korean Rice Cake

Korean Rice Cake

10098-0O5A0556-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

10113-0O5A0588-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

Love this one. :)

Love this one. 🙂

We lay all the career objects out on the floor and let Jaylen pick one out. He was definitely drawn to the book first–a boy after his momma’s heart! So maybe he will have a career in ministry. We let him choose a second object and he picked the tambourine. So we said he’ll be in music ministry. Then we drew a name from the people who said he’d pick ministry as his career and Jaylen’s Uncle Pearson (who is a pastor) won the prize! It was a little owl ornament because Jaylen loves owls too.

10134-0O5A0646-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

I also got this great poster from Petite Lemon to hang on the wall. It’s available as a free download. I got it printed at Staples for less than $10, which is not bad consider how large the poster is! The photos are 8×8 printed from Mpix (the picture Jaylen’s blocking is one of his newborn photos). I plan on doing this every year, but next year I’ll probably print the poster and laminate it so I can reuse it instead of printing a new one each year. I just noticed Jaylen always seems to be standing with the same pose…haha.

Poster from Petite Lemon

Poster from Petite Lemon

Lovin Oven Cakery did a great job with the birthday cake. If you order a first birthday cake from them they also give you a complimentary smash cake. Pretty good deal!

10024-0O5A0916-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

I made the “I am One” banner from some instructions I found on Pinterest. It’s really easy to do and I thought it turned out great.

10173-0O5A0769-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

Jaylen loved all the attention. He smiled while everyone sang to him. 🙂

10187-0O5A0808-Jaylen's 1st Birthday 10218-0O5A0882-Jaylen's 1st Birthday

Playing around the nature exhibit

Playing around the nature exhibit

One other thing we had guests do was write a letter to Jaylen that he will read on his 16th birthday. That’s something my mom did at my first birthday party (and subsequently did not do it for my younger siblings…that’s what happens when you’re the firstborn). I thought it was a really cool idea back when I was 16 and I hope Jaylen feels that same way in 2029!

This last picture isn’t from the party because the shirt arrived at our house while we were at the party, but it’s a personalized birthday shirt from Petite Lemon. It’s hard to get a one year old to sit still for photos so this is the best I could get. Love the shirt though!


Although I was stressed the week of the party because my birthday was that Monday, Jaylen’s actual birthday was on Friday, and I had lots to do to get ready for the party on Saturday, everything turned out just the way I’d planned. Jaylen and everyone else had a great time and our parents did a lot too with getting the food (we catered Chinese and Gerald made some Korean food–kimchi fried rice–since Jaylen’s Chinese & Korean…and white), bringing things I forgot, and just helping out in general. Thanks to everyone who helped set up and clean up too. Jaylen won’t remember this party, but these pictures will help him relive it when he’s older!

Vendors I used:

Invitations/Favor tags/Food Tents // Bee Bee’s Dezigns

Photography // Dirt Cheap Photography

Venue // Heller Nature Center

Banner // The Banner Shoppe

Birthday Poster // Petite Lemon

Flowers // Mariano’s

Cake // Lovin Oven Cakery


, , , , , , , , ,


DIY Wedding Decorations

CMJ, the name my sister (Melissa) and cousin (Justine) and I call ourselves, was reunited this week since Justine visited to help with some wedding prep. I’m not the most creative or artistic, so I’m sooo glad I have her and Melissa to help with wedding decorations and other stuff. Melissa’s going to be designing our invitations, the program, and the escort cards based off of a design I found that I liked. Since I was sick on Monday and then back to work the rest of the week, M and J were extremely helpful in going out to buy supplies and starting to put together various wedding projects I gave them. Tiffany, another bridesmaid, came over with M and J last night and they started putting more things together.

I thought I’d showcase some of what they’ve been doing for anyone else who wants some do-it-yourself wedding ideas (CMJ colors are part of the wedding color scheme).

Make Your Own Pew Decorations: Justine became a ribbon and bow expert when she helped make decorations for her friend’s wedding. She’s now using those skills to create pew decorations for my wedding too. We got black and white ribbon from Hobby Lobby, some sheer white ribbon and ribbon wire to make these bows. If you want instructions on how to make the bows, let me know and I can have Justine send me instructions to post up. I didn’t actually do any of them myself, but it’s fairly easy. Then they bought some silk flowers from Michael’s and used a hot glue gun to glue them to the ribbons. These will be hung on the pews in the church and then connected using white tulle.

We measured 10 feet of ribbon for each bow.

Tiffany folding the ribbon. She's crafty too!


These are the types of flowers we used.


Justine practically made all the bows.

Finished product!

One of each CMJ color

For the getaway…I decided to make dowel rods with purple, blue and pink ribbon attached to them for the wedding party to wave as Gerald and I exit the church to head into the limo for the reception. The rest of our guests will have bubbles, which we ordered from The Knot store. I think this will make for some really nice pictures.

These are pretty easy to make. Melissa and Tiffany did all eight of them in about 15 minutes. You just cut the ribbon and we used a hot glue gun to glue the ribbon to the dowel rods.

They glued the ribbons like this.

The finished product!

Very Easter color-ish, but will look nice with the black dresses & tuxes.

Guestbook: I don’t have pictures of it, but Justine was helping me to create our guestbook, which is basically a scrapbook. I bought the scrapbook from Target and got lots of prints of Gerald and me printed from Shutterfly. Melissa and Justine bought some nice paper and are using it and the ribbons to decorate the pages of the scrapbook. We’re going to have all the pages lying out on a table before the ceremony and during the reception so people can sign it. I’m saving some room in it to add some of our engagement pictures too because we’re taking those this weekend. 🙂

My apartment's becoming wedding central

So lots of wedding stuff got done and is underway this week. They also bought a card box and are decorating that with ribbon and tied ribbon to a white wicker flower basket for the flower girl (it’s really an Easter basket). We’ll just have to get some white satin lining to glue in the basket too. It’s exciting though to see all these things start to come together. It makes the wedding more real in a way. I’m looking forward to what the next few months have in store!

, , , , ,