A Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday: The Details

Thursday, January 9, 2014
The previous birthday post was more about birthday party itself. Now I am going to take a moment or two to talk more about all the little caterpillar-y details that pulled it all together.

The Dessert Table:
I think this is the part of a birthday party that is the most fun to put together. Sure you could just do a themed sheet-cake, but you could also take the theme and run with it for all kinds of fun desserts and candy. The two-tiered hungry caterpillar themed cake was the focal point. I am in love with how the cake turned out. Heather Peterson at Slice at a Time made it (no, I do not have those kind of cake skills and probably never will). We talked for weeks about the design because I could not find anything on the internet and pinterest that I liked. Most of the hungry caterpillar cakes I found were covered in white fondant and shapes of fruit...and it looked a little like angry fruit salad to me. I wanted something more pretty and a little less literal, plus I already had a plan to do fruit-shaped cookies. The bottom tier (the tree stump) is chocolate cake with a peanut butter filling while the top leaf-looking tier is white almond cake with a raspberries and cream filling. Then there is a little caterpillar crawling out of the top of the cake and up the fondant "1". One of my favorite details is Perry's name carved into the "tree stump".

The smash cake was white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting (better for smashing). Heather kept it simple and did green on green polka-dots.

Liz Morgan at Sweeter Indulgence made amazing fruit shaped cookies for the dessert table and to be used as take-away favors. Each one had a tiny hole cut out, looking like it had been nibbled by a caterpillar. "On Monday, he ate one apple..."

Our friend, Lyndsay Abel, painted the three canvases that hung over the dessert table. She is such an incredible artist. I showed her a picture in the book and the quote I wanted on it and she did an amazing job. Those will be finding a permanent home on a wall in our house somewhere.

The Food:
The "A Very Hungry Caterpillar" book makes it really easy to plan the party food menu because you can serve all the things (or a variation on the things) that the caterpillar eats...and subsequently gets a stomach ache.

We served sandwich pinwheels (not in the book...but a good and easy main lunch course), lots of cheeses and crackers, fruit, a pear and walnut salad, little smokies, pickles, and chocolate covered strawberries.

Water bottles were wrapped in DIY printed labels. Green and red polka dotted paper straws (re-purposed from a store's Christmas aisle) were dressed up with printed straw tags. The drinks themselves were kept simple, tea, water and lime sherbert punch.

Other little details:
A tissue paper wreath made to look like a caterpillar dorned the front door and a coordinating "Happy Birthday" banner hung from the mantle. I borrowed little containers of faux grass from my mom-in-law for the mantle and then made a caterpillar of craftpaper circles and dowels to stick in it. We used a copy of the book as a guestbook and asked everyone to write a message to our "little caterpillar" in it. I made little tags for the favors (the afore mentioned fruit shaped cookies) that read "Thank you inches and inches, Love, Perry." I don't have strong photoshop skills, so I ultimately used powerpoint (which I can manipulate well) to do most of the tags and labels.

The stairs and the food table were dressed up with colorful DIY garland of craft paper circles. I really liked the dot motif on the cover of the Hungry Caterpillar book and wanted to bring it in somehow. It was simple to put together but definitely a labor of love as it was a little time consuming. My circle punches and little adhesive squares made the process much easier though. Containers of fruit made for other easy decorations with little tags with quotes from the book.

Colored craft paper is a wonderful thing and can be used for all sorts of DIY party things: a wreath in the shape of a caterpillar to show how Perry has grown month my month over the year, little caterpillar links hanging from a chandelier, and a super cute party hat.

 Our little caterpillar, aka the Birthday Boy!

It was so fun to put this party together. I know one day Perry will start having an opinion on what he wants his birthday parties to look like and be about...until then I will savor the opportunity to have full creative control.

Happy First Birthday Perry!

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