Holidays My Life Parenting

Eleanor’s First Birthday Party

We celebrated Eleanor’s first birthday last Sunday. There were plenty of paper daisies (I knew I’d find a use for them some day!), a happy birthday banner, pink baloons, and floral garland across the windows.

Eleanor's First Birthday Party

Eleanor's First Birthday Party

Eleanor's First Birthday Party

Eleanor's First Birthday Party

The weather even cooperated for us.

Eleanor's First Birthday Party

Eleanor's First Birthday Party

Eleanor and Brandon

Oh look, an elephant! Too cute, right?

Eleanor's First Birthday Party

That vase is actually a teapot, but it’s adorable when filled with flowers.

Eleanor's First Birthday Party

Eleanor was a gracious host, thoughtfully opting to skip her nap so as not to miss a moment of her party.

Eleanor and Me


She was in a good mood the whole time though, despite being tired toward the end.

Tired Birthday Girl

I ordered a cake for the party, but I asked for it to be left completely plain with just pale pink frosting. I wanted it to be a blank canvas, but the bakery apparently thought that I meant “smash a bunch of crumbs all around the edge, and pipe some frosting shapes as a border around the whole cake”. Oh well. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with it anyway; I just knew I wanted to decorate it myself.

Birthday Cake

I made Eleanor’s silhouette out of chocolate for the cake. I melted chocolate chips in a sandwich bag, snipped the end, then laid parchment paper over a template that I had printed out to size. I did the best I could, piping the outline first and then filling it in, and I placed it in the fridge afterward to harden. I also wrote “Happy Birthday Eleanor” in white, lightly scratching the letters in the frosting with a toothpick first as a guide. The cake was not perfect, but it was fine. The guest of honor seemed to like it quite a bit.

Eleanor Loves Birthday Cake!

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • Grace Hester Designs
    May 10, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Happy Birthday Eleanor! Was it not so long ago that you were just a pea in mama’s pod? :o) You look so lovely in your (Liberty of London?) dress!

    Nicole, I love the decorations for the party and I totally felt your *bummer* on the cake – I had to repeat and repeat and clarify my request for my 2-year-old’s party. I guess it’s hard for bakeries to get the plain cake concept :o)

    Where did you get that cute dress from???

    Grace Hester Designs

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2010 at 11:23 am

      Which dress? Eleanor’s was from Target (Liberty of London, as you guessed), and mine was from Anthropologie.

  • Jenni
    May 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

    that cake is beautiful!

  • meta
    May 10, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Happy Birthday Eleanor! And I love your garden!

  • Scraps
    May 10, 2010 at 8:57 am

    What a fun-looking party! Happy first to Eleanor and that cake looks absolutely lovely.

  • erika edith
    May 10, 2010 at 9:00 am

    so elegant – what a lucky little girl :) i can’t believe it has been an entire year already. i bet it goes even faster for parents.

  • uglygirl
    May 10, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Oh my – it’s all completely lovely.

    Lucky girl!

  • daily decorator
    May 10, 2010 at 9:02 am

    That looks like a HAPPY birthday girl! Love the Making It Lovely touches!


  • Heather
    May 10, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Beautiful party decorations. Love the pink!

  • The Glamorous Housewife
    May 10, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I just adore your understated style and grace. Eleanor’s birthday was just perfection. Thank you so much for all the inspiration.

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

  • Amy Awesome
    May 10, 2010 at 9:03 am

    What an awesome party!

  • Allison
    May 10, 2010 at 9:04 am

    What a lovely cake! I never thought of ordering a bakery cake and adding my own decorations to it. Well done!

  • Ludmila {}
    May 10, 2010 at 9:11 am

    she is so lovely!!! you did a great job with the decorations, Nicole!

  • Candice
    May 10, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Aw! Happy Birthday to your little one and Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  • Pirusca
    May 10, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Very lovely party!

  • minitoko
    May 10, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Happy ! What a cake ! Lovely !

  • Amy
    May 10, 2010 at 9:43 am

    What a perfect party for that sweet little lady! Your details are perfect and thoughtful as always.

  • Danni
    May 10, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Love the dress….I have the same one in Marigold (or whatever shade of yellowy-gold it is). It’s from Anthropologie and it’s my go to weekend dress!

    That color is amazing on you.

  • Gwendolyn
    May 10, 2010 at 9:49 am

    You did a great job! She looks so cute in her birthday hat and dress!!!!!

  • Danni
    May 10, 2010 at 9:51 am

    PS—She looks great and happy….way to go on not having a cookie-cutter decorated party. The special touches will always remind her of Mom.

  • Wendy
    May 10, 2010 at 10:06 am

    How cute :) Aside from the crumbs on the side, I think the cake is very cute!

  • Mandi
    May 10, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Happy birthday to her! (And happy year-anniversary of her birth to you!!)

  • NancyV908
    May 10, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Wow, I’m just stunned that a year has passed! Kind of bittersweet, right? Well, it was for me with my kids, but then again I’ve found each age has so much to offer. Looks like you put together a great party. Happy Birthday, Eleanor!

  • valerie
    May 10, 2010 at 10:18 am

    happy birthday eleanor!! your baby-blog-follower Jake will be 1 in just a month! this has given me some cute birthday ideas!

  • Elisa @ whatthevita
    May 10, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I love your backyard – perfect for a small backyard! Filing that away for my backyard inspiration folder, thanks for sharing!

  • Liz
    May 10, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Happy Birthday Eleanor! Your party looks so pretty and love all those details that your momma added. I’m sure you’re taking notes from your momma when you want to decorate your room ;)

  • Erika
    May 10, 2010 at 10:42 am

    What a lovely party for a lovely 1 year old!

  • Baker Lane Gange
    May 10, 2010 at 10:52 am

    That is adorable! I am in the process of planning a bridal shower for my future sister in law and the paper daisies will be a perfect addition to the decor.
    I just love your blog and enjoy reading it daily.

  • Pretty Party Studio
    May 10, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I am dying over that cake!

  • Melissa
    May 10, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Wow what a fast year! She is so adorable and I loved the party. Fun pretty decorations.

  • Kathleen
    May 10, 2010 at 11:12 am

    My how time flies. It seems like just yesterday that you were doing her first Eames chair shot. And what a fabulous party.

  • Jules
    May 10, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Just lovely, Nicole. And I can’t believe how great you did writing on the cake! Very impressive.

  • Bonnie
    May 10, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I can’t believe it has already been a year! The bday party decor is fabulous! I know I haven’t commented in a while, but I really do enjoy your blog. :) You both look so beautiful and I LOVE both of your dresses. Simply a gorgeous event all around. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

    Have a lovely day!


  • cathiehong
    May 10, 2010 at 11:22 am

    the cake is fantastic — the silhouette & handlettering on the cake look professional! seriously, you could do this for a living.

  • Leah
    May 10, 2010 at 11:31 am

    The cake turned out so cute! What a great idea! I also really love the elaphant teapot! So lovely!

  • Melissa
    May 10, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Everything looks so lovely! Sorry to hear about the cake. I do like the silhouette that you added, it adds a really nice touch.

    Happy Birthday, Eleanor!

  • Stacy
    May 10, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Looks like Eleanor’s birthday was a success! Loved all the details even the cake. Great idea about the silhouette. The cake turned out so pretty!!!!

  • Elisabeth@YCCII
    May 10, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Aw, BEAUTIFUL! Happy Birthday Eleanor.

    Make I ask where you found the print of the little girl in glasses? My bespectacled daughter Beatrix would love it I’m sure.

  • melanirae
    May 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Wow! I can’t believe it’s been a year. She is so adorable. And I love that she is happy in the cake eating picture :)

  • dana
    May 10, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Soooooooooo pretty! I can’t believe it has been a whole year! Seems like just yesterday you were announcing you were pregnant! The party is so beautiful! Gives me loads of ideas for my wedding decorations — inspiration daily! That is what you are! xoxo

  • wishful nals
    May 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    i adore the little elephant pots! too cute!

  • Heidi
    May 10, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Happy 1st Birthday Eleanor and happy first year of motherhood to you!

    The party looks delightful and I really love that the aesthetic fits in perfectly with the home you guys have created for your little family.

  • Melissa
    May 10, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Happy Day!

  • A Merry Mishap
    May 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Happy Birthday Eleanor!
    That went by way too fast, a year already?

  • Licia
    May 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I am planning a baby shower for a friend and your elegant touches inspired me (I have two boys so I need an outlet for my feminine tastes!).

  • Kalee
    May 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Happy Birthday Eleanor! I love the silhouette on top of the cake, such a unique idea!

  • Kelly
    May 10, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    happy birthday eleanor – what a party!

  • D
    May 10, 2010 at 1:38 pm


    I love your hair and Eleanor’s dress is adorable.

    Could you share what type of fern you have in your green hanging pot? Would love to have one just like it.


    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2010 at 11:27 am

      I don’t know what type it is, but I bought it at The Home Depot.

  • Faith
    May 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I was waiting for these! So lovely! I love that you kept it simple and pretty without an overplayed theme. Do that while you can because the older they get the harder it is to resist all those commercial things catching their eye! Also, her dress is dreamy. Is it liberty of london?

  • wanderluster
    May 10, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Happy Birthday Eleanor! You threw her a perfectly sweet party. Love the cake (even with the crumbs) and the silhouette (I did something similar for my Chloe’s party!). And happy birth-day to mom and dad – you’ve made it through the first year! Congratulations!!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2010 at 11:29 am

      I know! I was going to print her silhouette out onto little circles, but then I saw that you had done just that. I don’t know if it was coincidence or if I had seen you talking about it, but I didn’t want to be a copy-cat (accidentally, but still). So I came up with the chocolate version instead. :)

  • Mary
    May 10, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Happy birthday to a super stylish & beautiful girl! The party looks divine, and the last picture is a classic.

  • Nuit
    May 10, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    what a great birthday decor! you did beautifully!! and Eleanor looked like a princess =D Happy birthday Eleanor!!!!

  • Brigite
    May 10, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    It looks like a wonderful party!

  • Melissa
    May 10, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Cute party! Where is Eleanor’s dress from?

  • Lindsey Rockers
    May 10, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    love it… so cute! i’m starring this article… i love the silhouette cake!

  • Natalie
    May 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Aww what a beautiful little party!
    I loooove her Liberty of London dress!
    And your new chairs on the patio look fantastic!
    Where did you get her high chair? It is so very chic!

    What a good mom you are for creating such a special day for your little one :)

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2010 at 11:36 am

      Thanks! The high chair is by Graco – we got it at my baby shower from Brandon’s sisters.

  • jbhat
    May 10, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Happy Birthday! And what a sweet party. Everything looked just right.


  • Gail
    May 10, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Love the outdoor patio furniture…it looks fabulous. Your photos are stunning and the decorations looked so fierce. Great job! Eleanor is one lucky little lady!

  • Lisa
    May 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Such a pretty party! What a lucky and blessed little girl!

  • Miss B
    May 10, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Lol, this was very sweet and I think it’s so funny that the cake people took it upon themselves to fancy it up. The chocolate silo? Bril! Happy Birthday dear Eleanor what a lucky baby you are!

  • Stacey
    May 10, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Adorable. The cake is incredible (even if it didn’t turn out how you originally intended), the party looked so cute and special, and I want Eleanor’s dress in my size… :]

  • Sixty Fifth Avenue
    May 10, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Everything looks so pretty and I love the idea of a chocolate silhouette!!
    The chairs you went with outside look great, so does your yard!

  • laure
    May 10, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Love that party! Everything looks so magical and perfect and I love the garlands!

  • CJ
    May 10, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    What a magical party! The outdoor table setting looked beautiful. I can only imagine what will happen when she gets older and her parties become more elaborate!

  • Lori
    May 10, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    That is my favorite liberty of london dress! She is gorgeous. I don’t know you at all but feel happy for you and your family, after watching Eleanor’s first year through your blog. I found making it lovely when researching ideas for my daughters nursery and I have received so much enjoyment and inspiration over the past year. Thank you and congratulations on Eleanor’s first birthday.

  • laurajane
    May 10, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Freakin’ adorable. I love the shot of her rubbing her eyes, haha.

    Love the whole party! Esp. the elephant teapot/vase! :)

  • Alicia (Atypical Type A)
    May 10, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    What a great idea to do a chocolate version of the silhouette on the invitations. The paper decorations are darling.

  • Traveling Mama
    May 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    No. No way. It is JUST not possible that a year has already passed! She is such a little beauty and it looks like she had a very special celebration! Happy Birthday, Eleanor!

  • luuve
    May 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    although you think the cake is “okay” it looks awesome!

    this looks really fun and pretty..and you and eleanor look sooo pretty!

    way to go! 1 down sooo many more to go! they get better and better! :)

  • oddaudra
    May 10, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    VERY CUTE!! Happy 1st birthday to your beautiful little girl!! I LOVE all of the decorations!! Not b-day party related- may I ask where you got the beautiful silver “eat & drink” sign? :)

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2010 at 11:38 am

      The letters were a gift from my mother-in-law, and she got them in a store in Des Moines Iowa.

  • Pencils
    May 10, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Happy birthday to Eleanor! That’s funny, I only found those paper daisies right before my daughter’s first birthday party after I had invested in loads of paper pompoms. Too bad, because her party had a flower theme. This year, however…

    Anyway, nice Liberty dress on Eleanor. And I’m impressed that she wore her party hat, Aurora kept ripping hers off before I could even get it straight. And the cake turned out very pretty, even if they didn’t do what you asked.

  • Terrah
    May 10, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Yay!!! Happy birthday Eleanor! And I hope you had a lovely Mothers Day Nicole. Much love from Texas ~ Terrah

  • Jujube
    May 10, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Oh so cute :)
    It is a lovely party. Happy Birthday Eleanor.
    I fancy the garlands, you handmade them?

  • sred_kitty
    May 11, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Oh wow! It looks like it was so much for for everyone, including Eleanor :)

    I have that elephant teapot in black. Actually mine has permanently transformed into a vase now that my roommate broke the lid

  • lion
    May 11, 2010 at 5:07 am

    lovely.. :) Happy Birthday Eleanor… you have a great MOMMY !!!

  • Mrs. Kinne
    May 11, 2010 at 5:58 am

    The party looks adorable– and that silhouette is a fantastic idea.

  • Céline
    May 11, 2010 at 6:16 am

    Oh, Happy Birthday Eleonor and congratulations for you Nicole ! I can’t imagine that it’s been already a year Eleonor’s birth: i started reading your blog, you were pregnant and ready for your baby. Time goes too fast !

    I love your pictures, they are so lovely ! Thank you for sharing with us this happy day !

    Bisous from France :)

  • Lou
    May 11, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Happy 1st Birthday Eleanor! Thanks to your mummy, you’ll be able to remember it for years to come… clever mum!

    I loved your way of personalising the cake Nicole, even if you didn’t think it was perfect. Also, love the paper decorations- might have to ship some down under for a friend’s upcoming 40th…hmm… off to order lovely things now…

  • Laura Gaskill
    May 11, 2010 at 8:02 am

    What an adorable birthday girl!! Happy 1st birthday, Eleanor! Everything looks delightful, Nicole – and now I really want one of those elephant teapots :)

  • Jennifer
    May 11, 2010 at 11:39 am

    so lovely! ADORE the pic of her rubbing her eyes, they are so cute when they do that. thank you again for posting the links for the starbursts and garlands – we are holding our daughter’s 4th bday party in our house (has previously been at Nana’s) and I want to do it up!! sorry if you have addressed this before: is it easy to hang up the starbursts? did you use fishing wire?

    congrats on what looks like a wonderful celebration.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 13, 2010 at 10:42 pm

      Fishing line and tape. And safety pins in the living room.

      • Jennifer
        May 14, 2010 at 1:07 pm

        many thanks!!

  • Mandy Saile of Bijou's Whimsy
    May 11, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Oh so sweet…I am 32 and I think I’d be over the top happy with all those beautiful decorations for my own party, ah ha…espeacially the elephant:D

  • Angela
    May 11, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I LOVE the cake and just posted a shot of it here: Happy Birthday, Eleanor!

  • Amanda
    May 11, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Love her LOL dress!

  • John @ Young House Love
    May 12, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Happy Birthday Eleanor!

  • LiveLikeYou
    May 12, 2010 at 7:15 am

    What a sweet dining room. She’ll look back at her 1st year pics as an adult and think her mom had style!

  • nancy breslin
    May 12, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Lovely party!!! Love the pink zig-zag rug in the tv area? Where is it fro?

  • portia pirnia
    May 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Happy birthday! What a lovely party. I LOVE your yard — so beautiful. Where did you find that fantastic (wicker?) egg chair?

    • Making it Lovely
      May 13, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      The egg chair was from Pottery Barn, but they no longer carry it.

  • juliet
    May 12, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Hi! I like the clothes (especially dresses) you wear! I just recently graduated from college and got a job and need a fashion crash course! For the past few years I have lived in jeans, hoodies and converse/vans! Can you recommend some places for me to shop? I work in design, so corporate attire is neither necessary nor desired! I just don’t know how to look fashionable, a little edgy, a little feminine, and appropriate! Any help would be awesome! If you prefer, you can answer to my email address. Thanks in advance!

  • Fiona
    May 13, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Eleanor is a beauty! Looks like a great party, too.

  • paola
    May 13, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Happy birthday!! She is happy!! what an amazing hat she has!!

  • lauren
    May 13, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    She’s so beautiful!! Love the tissue paper decorations too. Btw- Have you lost weight??

  • Christy
    May 14, 2010 at 9:47 am

    I was wondering if you knew where I could find decorations on how to make the paper daisies. I would like to try & make them before buying them. I also wanted to let you know I think the silhouette idea for a 1st birthday cake was wonderful. You did a fantastic job. If you had not posted anything about the cake & the bakery screw up we’d have known no difference. It all tied in wonderfully. Thanks for sharing.

  • mom101
    May 14, 2010 at 10:44 am

    What an incredible set up! Absolutely inspiring. And to think my kids’ first birthday parties were mostly about the sangria. (For us – not them. Promise.)

    Happy birthday to your beautiful girl. You’re lucky to have each other.

  • marcy
    May 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    that cake turned out ridiculously cute and i love the idea of ordering the cake plain and then decorating it–genius! i always make the whole thing from scratch for my boys’ birthdays and it can be a bit much with all of the other preparations that go into making the parties happen. and i LOVE her dress–liberty for target, no? dying to get my niece one for her birthday…keeping my fingers crossed they still have them. happy belated birthday to your little angel. she’s a doll.

    • Lulu
      May 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm

      So cute and I have to say your house is lovely too. Where is the bird wallpaper from?

  • Brittany
    May 14, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    OK… that chocolate silhouette is AMAZING.

  • Trishna
    May 15, 2010 at 9:45 am

    This is all too cute.

  • Tanya
    May 17, 2010 at 7:13 am

    So simple and pretty♥

  • rei
    May 17, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Beautiful and whimsical!

    I love your eat and drink sign. Where can I get letters like that?

  • Kathleen L
    May 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I love the pom pom decorations you used! And I love the silhouette cake you made too!
    But I especially love the elephant tea pot, turned vase you have. I actually went out and bought one just like it after seeing yours!!

  • Sarah
    May 20, 2010 at 2:52 am

    I love your photos! Where is the picture on your wall from? The one of the dark haired girl holding the egg, above your daughter’s high chair?

  • Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so. » Blog Archive » Urban Chairs
    May 25, 2010 at 9:22 am

    […] you notice our backyard patio among the pictures from Eleanor’s birthday party? Just in case you missed it, here it is […]

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