Pinwheel 1st Birthday Party Details

Disclosure: I am a Tiny Prints affiliate and was compensated with products for this post. While this post contains affiliate links, the opinions expressed are all mine! Note: I only promote and share products I personally use and recommend! To learn more, please review my disclosure policy here

Pinwheel first #birthdayparty - cookie pop cupcake topper|

We started dreaming up Brielle’s first birthday months before the big day. We knew a few things: a) we didn’t want a ton of people so we were going to the “family only” route b) we wanted to cater the food so we didn’t have to cook c) it had to include some DIY elements! So please excuse this photo overload post but I’m very excited to share the details of Brielle’s big day and her pinwheel themed 1st birthday party!


Pinwheel first birthday party: @TinyPrints invitation #birthdayparty |

I knew that I would be doing a bunch of DIY craft projects for the party so when it came time to invite our guests, I decided not to design my own but instead went straight to the experts – Tiny Prints! After clicking through page upon page of 1st birthday invitations, I settled on a chalkboard like design called “Precious One” and ended up being so inspired that I added chalkboard accents throughout the party!


Pinwheel first birthday party: DIY Pinwheel centerpieces with pool noodle foam as center #birthdayparty |

With a theme like pinwheels, I made sure there was a bunch on display. I made my own using this technique and hot glued them to wood skewers and paper straws. Yep they were for display only and did not spin. Look for an upcoming post with a little more detail about these guys.

Pinwheel first birthday party: Dessert Table #birthdayparty | spotofteadesigns.comThis dessert table became my main focus for the party décor. I was very lucky to reuse the polka dot garland Allie made for my baby shower as the background for Brielle’s dessert table. The top was also a semi homemade approach using a Martha Stewart garland kit that I altered to hide the curtain rod.

Pinwheel first birthday party: Faux Chalkboard Stats Sign and Pinwheel cupcake toppers. #birthdayparty |

I brought in the chalkboard look inspired by my Tiny Prints invitation with faux chalkboard signs. I used a metallic Sharpie on black foam core to freehand one of those trendy “First Birthday Stats” boards. I love how it came out and showed off all that my daughter was up to these days!

The center of the table showcased an old Martha Stewart Crafts cardboard cupcake stand I had from my days at EK, that I dressed up with some punched border pieces. Homemade cupcakes were lined up on top with yet more DIY pinwheel cupcake toppers.

Pinwheel first birthday party: Chocolate covered Oreo dessert #birthdayparty |

Pinwheel first birthday party: Smores desserts with yellow chocolate #birthdayparty |

Colorful homemade chocolate covered Oreos and Smores rounded out the dessert selection.

Pinwheel first birthday party: customized napkins and cookie pop #cupcake topper #birthdayparty |

If guests made a mess, they could easily pick up a custom birthday banner napkin that matched our pink, teal, mint green and bright yellow décor.

Pinwheel first birthday party: Monthly Photos displayed on dessert table in frames with @Krylon spray paint #birthdayparty |

Each month I had been taking photos of Brielle in monthly onesies on the pink rocking chair in her nursery. I displayed them in vertical frames throughout the dessert table that I spray painted for the party.

Pinwheel first birthday party: Drink Party station with signs to direct guests to other drinks. #birthdayparty |

Since we redid our garage last summer and added a second fridge, it became a convenient place for the drinks for a party.

Pinwheel first birthday party: Party Drinks Sign. Let guests help themselves! #birthdayparty |

I added a little drink station on Derek’s work table (which will be featured in an upcoming Garage Makeover Part II post) and made sure to include signs to direct guests to all the drink options available.

Pinwheel first birthday party: Look who's one faux chalkboard sign #birthdayparty |



Pinwheel first birthday party: @Shutterfly photo book with blown up photos on each page to serve as guest book #birthdayparty |

A Shutterfly photobook served as a guest book for everyone to sign. It included some of our favorite photos of Brielle blown up to fit the full page, which was fun to flip through.

Pinwheel first birthday party: One Highchair Garland. #birthdayparty |

Brielle enjoyed her second taste of sugar on her big day. (The first was a few days earlier on her actual birthday). A custom highchair garland was needed to capture this fun moment! And boy did she love that icing!


Pinwheel first birthday party: Kid favors #birthdayparty |

Each of the cousins who came to celebrate received a rolled up coloring book and pack of crayons for future coloring adventures! I love encourage crafty art time with the kids!

Pinwheel first birthday party: Favors #birthdayparty |

For the adults and older kids, I was VERY happy and honored when my friend Cherylin offered to make her adorable sugar cookies. You’ve already seen Cherylin’s cookie magic for my work bridal showerwork baby shower, and Brielle’s first Christmas and now you can see what she does for parties!

Pinwheel first birthday party: Cookie pop favors with @TinyPrints thank you tag #birthdayparty |

She suggested (and I was on board) for pinwheel cookie pops with cellophane bags so I gave her the color palette and let her do her thing. A pretty Tiny Prints gift tag sticker completed the fun favor for their ride home. (NOTE: Even though I believe this sticker was originally designed for Valentine’s Day, it worked perfectly for Brielle to show her love to her guests!)

Pinwheel first #birthdayparty - cookie pop cupcake topper|

Cherylin also create a cookie pop for Brielle’s cupcake when we sang Happy Birthday. Look how cute this is!!!

If anyone in the Central New Jersey area is interested in using Cherylin’s cookie making services for you next event, check out her Flikr page to see her other work and contact her here: CherylinsCustomCookies(at)gmail(dot)com. Tell her I sent you :)


Pinwheel first birthday party: @TinyPrints thank you card #birthdayparty |

While this will be a spoiler for most of my guests, I also ordered beautiful Thank You cards with another photo from our pinwheel birthday party invitation photo shoot. She’s actually clapping in this photo! :)

Overall, I was so happy with how the party decorations came out, but even more happy with the BEAUTIFUL weather that day and the fun Brielle had with all her family around!

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Wooden Folding Chair Makeover {BEFORE and AFTER}

Wooden Folding Chair Makeover with Before and Afters photos |

I originally shared this project way back in February 2011 when I first started blogging but thought it could use a refresh for all my new readers. I didn’t take as many high quality tutorial photo back then but I hope you can appreciate my new “after” photos showing off our fun chairs!

Wooden Chair Makeover: Before and After Photos |

Backstory: I found this great pair of wooden folding chairs at my Father-in-Law’s house during a yard sale clean out.

Wooden Chair Makeover: Before and After Photos |

I looked up any information I found printed on them to find they were from a now defunked manufacturer in Fort Wayne Indiana in the 1950s. Can’t you tell from the yellow paint job and plastic covers? Looks like something out of my grandpa’s era!

Wooden Chair Makeover: Before and After Photos |

They had a solid wood base and the seat flipped up to be foldable storage. Who doesn’t need extra foldable seating for their home? I decided they needed to come home with us and a facelift was a must!

Wooden Chair Makeover: Before and After Photos |

These babies were cakes in a thick layer of paint so I got to work removing as much as I could.

Wooden Chair Makeover: Before and After Photos |

I laid out a dropcloth, donned my protective facemask, goggles and junky clothes and got to work using chemical strippers to strip the paint. This was a more time consuming process than I realized! (Notice this was all done in our then dingy garage space, which was not yet turned into the beautiful work room it is now!)

Wooden Folding Chair Makeover with Before and Afters photos |

After a lot of work scrapping the paint, I painted the wood parts with two coats of white paint for a fresh new look.

Wooden Folding Chair Makeover with Before and Afters photos | spotofteadesigns.comI reupholstered the seats with new foam and this fun home décor fabric found at JOANN’s Fabrics and I now have two DIY chairs as extra seating in our new home!

Wooden Folding Chair Makeover with Before and Afters photos |

Aren’t they cute?

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One Year With Brielle: A Recap

First Birthday Party Invitation Photoshoot: pinwheels |

One year ago today, our life changed forever when Miss Brielle came into our lives. Since then we experienced so many happy, tiring and proud moments as first time parents! In honor of her special day, I thought it would be a great day to recap some highlights of my baby girl!

Pregnancy Announcement

We announced our pregnancy to family and friends with a fun postcard featuring our wedding shoes.

Stash or Stache Fortune Cookie Gender Reveal |

A few weeks later, we learned that our little poppyseed was of the pink variety!

Colorful Baby Shower Garland |

A few weeks later my bestie Allie, mom, sister and sister-in-law all threw us a beautiful colorful baby shower with lots of handmade gifts!

Pink, White and Grey Baby Girl Nursery |

Derek and I worked to get her pink, grey and white nursery all ready for her arrival (even though she didn’t end up sleeping in it until 6 months!)

baby name garland |

She came into the world surrounded by crafts.

Baby Tutu Tutorial |

She became a great model showing off many headbands and clothing items I made for her, including her Newborn purple headband, Christmas tutu, Halloween costume and St. Patrick’s Day headband.

Brielle eating Happy Baby Puffs |

Soon she was growing like a weed and graduated to finger foods, starting with puffs.

#Nursery #Craft: DIY Headband Hanger made from a picture frame |

She assisted mommy in many photoshoots, documenting the projects mommy made.

Baby made Mother's Day cards |

And she got her hands messy with her own adventures in crafting, making footprint and finger painted handmade cards for valentine’s day, momsdads and summertime fun!


She was the inspiration for informative series about first time dads and moms.

Watermelon #Baby Footprint Cards - painting green |

And the best mini crafter I could ever ask for!

Happy birthday baby girl! I look forward to many more exciting years with that smiling face!

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Creating A Family Wall Gallery with Shutterfly

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I was also compensated with free product for this post, but know that I will only promote items I personally use and stand behind! For more information on my disclosure policy, please visit this page. Family Photo Home Decor Accessories from @Shutterfly | Friends know how long I patiently waited for Derek to pop the question. After nine years of dating, we FINALLY got engaged and ten months later we were married. I was so excited to finally be a Nehil and loved to add that family element in our home. Turn a blank wall into a fun gallery display | Months after we came back from our honeymoon I converted this blank wall in our living room into our Nehil Family wall, which included a “Nehil” frame gifted by my bridemaids, a collage frame of our wedding photos and a big decorative “N”. Fast forward a few months and now we were a family and not just a married couple. Brielle needed to be included on our family wall! Family photo home decor accessories from @Shutterfly | Luckily, Shutterfly gave me the chance to make this happen. In just a short amount of time I was able to put together some fun items that worked perfectly with my family wall display. And since there wasn’t any room on the wall itself, I made great use of the console tabletop right in front. (You know the table that houses our bin of toys, as seen in the #KeepingItReal first photo from this post?) Family photo home decor accessories from @Shutterfly - display a photo book on their easel | Guys, did you know Shutterfly sells a book easel? What a cute way to display your latest favorite Photo Book! I currently have the photobook I made from all the photo taking events of 2013. I love this large 12×12 size and think I’ll make one every year from now on! TIP: It’s sooooo much easier to work on it all year long than try to do it at the end! I already have my 2014 one in the works. Oh and you can’t forget the M&Ms on this table – a staple snack in our house! Family photo home decor accessories from @Shutterfly - photo cubes | Next I made three of these 4×4 sized Photo Cubes and stacked them front and center. The picture seriously does not do these justice. The matte finish is hard to photograph, which is why it looks more dusty than the beautiful way they look in person. My mom was over when I got them and of course hinted that these would make a great Christmas present! I included some of our favorite shots over the year, making sure to get some photos of us as a family, each of us with her and some of her at all different ages. They have photos on 5 sides, as the bottom is open and the inside is hollow for a nice, lightweight home décor piece. Family photo home decor accessories from @Shutterfly - metal plaque| I also got a chance to check out these desktop plaques, which are a more upscale option than just framing a photo. I used my current favorite family photo – one taken on Mother’s Day and created the 5×7 vertical plaque in neutral colors. Family photo home decor accessories from @Shutterfly - frame your baby announcements | Lastly, I added our photo announcement that we shared with family and friends after Brielle’s arrival. I love me some chalkboard trend, don’t I? I feel like my living room is much more complete, now that Brielle’s presence has been added to our family wall! :)

Shutterfly 50 Free Prints 300x250

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Custom Baby Onesies: Iron On Letters

DIY Baby Onesies using iron on letters: great #babyshower gift! | A while back I shared a baby shower gift I made for my sister who was expecting her second child. monthlyonesies1supplies.jpg I bought 4 four packs of onesies, each in the four sizes for the first year, and ironed on letters so she could have onesies for her monthly photo shoots. When buying these packs, I ended up with 16 onesies, when I only needed 12 for the gift. monthlyonesies7all.jpg After I learned I was expecting, I went ahead and made my own custom designs using the left over onesies and yet more iron on letters! Check out the designs I came up with and watch as Brielle grows up right before your very eyes! DIY Baby Onesies using iron on letters: great #babyshower gift! | Nehil is our last name so it was fitting to put this phrase on the smallest size I bought in the bunch, 3 months. Nehil-family-photo2 At only four weeks old, little miss wore it for our first anniversary family photo (where we wore our wedding shoes)! DIY Baby Onesies using iron on letters: great #babyshower gift! | Of course I always said my blog was more about my creative side than a scrolling family diary. DIY Baby Onesies using iron on letters: great #babyshower gift! | But you know this little one makes plenty of appearances in baby related crafting and creating posts, so might as well have the onesie to go with the occasion! DIY Baby Onesies using iron on letters: great #babyshower gift! | Isn’t the littlest/youngest always a favorite at family get togethers? :) DIY Baby Onesie: Current Family Favorite | This was the best shot I could get of her as a then 7.5 month old. DIY Baby Onesies using iron on letters: great #babyshower gift! | This was based on a onesie I once saw pinned on Pinterest that was screen printed right on the fabric. But I think the colorful iron on letters still do the trick! DIY Onesie using iron on letters. Reads "A Derek and Tara Production" | At eleven months this “I’m running right at you because I don’t sit still” shot is the best I can do to show off how cute it was on her!

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Ready. Set. Back to School with Kiwi Crate – Join today and get enriching hands-on projects, delivered right to your door! Save 50% on any new subscription and receive a bonus welcome kit with code BACKTOSCHOOL10.

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Bright Starts Having a Ball Toy Collection {Review} reviews Bright Starts Step n Ride Lion and Hide n Spin Monkey |

Disclosure: I was compensated with a product sample by Bright Starts for this post, but the opinions are all mine! Know that I will only promote items I personally use and stand behind! For more information on my disclosure policy, please visit this page.

A few weeks before Brielle’s 1st birthday, we received a nice big package on our doorstep from Bright Starts!  Upon opening it, I found the above two items from their “Having a Ball” Collection: a 3-in-1 Step & Ride Lion and the Hide and Spin Monkey. reviews Bright Starts Hide n Spin Monkey |

It didn’t take long for my inquisitive 11 month old to explore the boxes and see what they were all about. She took to the monkey character right away, as just like her dad, she loves silly monkeys! I sat back and watched her look over his face then begin to press the buttons inside the box. He was approachable right off the bat!

After searching through our tools for a long, skinny screwdriver (since the first three I pulled out were too short and wide to fit in the specific screw holes), I was able to easily assemble both toys pretty quickly. reviews Bright Starts Hide n Spin Monkey |

There are several things Brielle is into at this age: music, pressing buttons, and putting things into other things, so this Monkey was right up her alley!

I watched her figure out this toy all on her own. She loved to press the buttons on his hat and do her little “I’m bouncing my butt” dance move (seen above) when the music played. She’d take the balls and put them in the hat on top, which was the perfect height for her. reviews Bright Starts Hide n Spin Monkey |

If you press his nose, the monkey will hide in the barrel then release all the balls from inside and put them in the spinner at the bottom. Once it’s done spinning, it’s time to pick them up and put the balls back in again. reviews Bright Starts Hide n Spin Monkey |

Or, as Brielle discovered the next day, you can also put the balls inside the front of the barrel too! Needles to say this Hide n’ Spin Monkey was a hit! reviews Bright Starts 3-in-1 Ride Lion |

The lion had a similar packaging style so she went over to meet him. Once she hit the button on his nose and the balls in his mane began to spin, she was a little apprehensive about him. Just like her momma, she doesn’t care for loud noises and the volume button had been set to the loud level inside the box. But we took our time to put him together and explore all the options he had to offer! reviews Bright Starts Step n Ride Lion |

The seat can be used to take a ride, or you can flip it up and they can use the lion as a walker. Honestly she liked this part of him much more than actually putting the balls inside. The noise of the mane going around just isn’t personally her thing, but I can see how other kids would love to interact with a this friendly lion character. She is much more content to push him all over the living room floor, which she does often!

Learn more about Bright Stars on their website or follow them on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Youtube.

Thank you again to Bright Starts for more entertaining toys to take over our living room. :)

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Dem Bones say Congrats!

I’m sure you looking at the title of those post and have no idea what it’s about.

Handmade Graduation Card for someone earning a degree in Radiography |

Remember Kristin who shared her decorated graduation cap a few weeks ago?

"Rad to the Bone" Decorated Graduation Cap (for someone with a degree in Radiography) |

Well, when you know someone who is graduating from school with a degree in applied science in radiography who’s ready to work with X-rays for a living, you get to have a little fun for their graduation card! Hence the fun girly skeleton card I got to make!

Handmade Graduation Card for someone earning a degree in Radiography |

Congrats again Kristin!

Supplies: Patterned paper: Martha Stewart Crafts | Adhesive Borders and Die Cut: K&Company Spooktactular Collection

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