Rutherford Design

The Olive House

wild one

I have dreamt of planning a child’s (my child to be more specific) birthday party since before I can remember. The thought of picking a theme, choosing out little plates and balloons, DIY-ing his decorations and sending out invitations had me giddy with excitement. Some may dread the idea of party planning, or even the thought of throwing a party in general - but, as simple or complicated as you make it, the birthday boy/girl isn’t looking to see if you frosted the cake perfectly to the bottom, or got the decorations just right. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of birthday parties. My Mum would throw the sweetest, most wholesome little gatherings for me - including and never forgetting a fun little game called “pass-the-parcel” (I will share a DIY on that little gem down the line). There was yummy food, fun games, good company, and above all the chance to blow out birthday candles.

Fast forward 20 some odd years, and now I’m throwing my very own child’s first birthday party. I decided seeing as though my son must have been a wild animal in one life or another, we went for a “Wild One” theme (punny am I right?).

I sat down and probably overthought everything that I wanted to do for this little celebration. You are probably thinking, “it’s just a birthday party”, but for me it was a chance to be creative and come up with something that Henry could look back on in 20 years (because let’s be honest, aside from the photos who remembers their first birthday…), and think fondly


of the love I put into creating my version of special for him. At least that is my hope *sigh

I have no problem admitting that I went a little overboard on his party, but how often does your child turn 1!

Time is a precious thing these days, and between being a full-time stay at home Mum, part-time graphic designer, and a lot of other part-time things; wife, dog owner, house maid, rock collector, etc., I started gathering party materials all the way back in June (his party was in September), that way I wouldn’t feel completely overwhelmed.

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click here for paw template


I designed a stencil of a bear paw (filling it in using sidewalk chalk), and it was the perfect thing for guests to follow up our driveway to a little hand painted sign that set the “Wild One” theme. I found some cardboard letters at the craft store, covered them with moss and lichen (using my mortal enemy - the hot glue gun), and strung them up on one of our chalkboards. I even went through the trouble of building a paper-mache beehive using a large balloon and a mixture of flower and water (eye roll). I am not going to lie to you - that one took a little longer than anticipated… The final product was very cute, but guess who forgot to put all of the sweets in the piñata (that’s right - me).


The main colors for the party were white, yellow, black and gold (aside from the green mossy letters). The party went from 2 to 5 in the evening, so finger food was essential for guests grazing between meals. Madelines, plain Ruffles chips, veggies + dip, banana bread (that my darling mother made from scratch), some donuts and a birthday carrot cake (which I will share the recipe for - it is so delicious!) all adorned the buffet table.


A big galvanized tub filled with ice cold old fashioned sodas was a big hit. We had a blanket and some cushions set out for the little party animals to play on, as well as chairs around for the adults. White balloons were scattered throughout the yard, and a big gold #1 for the birthday man was tied to the Yeti coolers.


Below is my favorite photo from the day. We didn’t give Henry any sugars (added that is…), for the first year. So I am guessing that initial mouthful of cream cheese frosting was probably ‘mouth-puckering-ly’ sweet, but the look on his face in this photo (along with the death grip on his new bear) while he stares at the #1 brings me such joy. You want to know a little secret? I spent about 2 hours making a banner to go on his highchair, and I completely forgot to put it on! I am not even going to show you it (okay, I will if you are really desperate), but after such an amazing party, with friends and family traveling from Beaverton, Bend, Idaho and even as far as California, it wasn’t until afterwards that I realized. You want to know another secret - I didn’t really care! In the end, it wasn’t about all of the details. It was about creating a fun, welcoming atmosphere for everyone to gather and celebrate a very special little man.


So happy first birthday Henry Scott - may this year bring you plenty of adventures. We love you!

And just incase you were wondering - there was some blood and tears spilled that day, but it was his birthday and he could cry if he wanted to.

(please tell me you get that reference…)

- JR

To get that amazing carrot cake recipe click here!