Almost a year ago, we celebrated my daughter Natalie's first birthday. It was a fun get-together with family and friends. We decided to have it at the park since the weather was gorgeous and we didn't have the space to accommodate the number of people we had invited. I had about a week to put the whole thing together - very unlike me! My plan of attack was to keep things simple and stick with a color scheme of pink, purple, and green to keep things cohesive. I didn't want to have a specific theme like "princess" or Dora the Explorer, so i just worked with the location and decided on fun outdoor elements like flowers and a fun "county fair" type of look.

Butter cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting

Garden themed cupcake tower. It took me about an hour just to pipe the grass.

The favors. I ordered the cupcake boxes online and decorated them with ribbon and homemade stickers.

With the help of my dad, I created 3 sweet stations: one for the baked goodies, one for candy, and one for ice cream. They were child size, and turned out great! I spent less than $70 for it all. I wish I took pictures of the entire process. Here are the materials we used:

1. Plastic heavy-duty garage shelving. Instead of assembling them stacked, I divided the 4 tiers into 3 as the base for the stations. Luckily our white cooler for the ice cream station fit perfectly in one of them! We simply discarded the top shelf for access into the cooler. I really wanted to avoid having to hammer anything or use wood, and wanted to be able to take-apart and re-use the materials for other purposes. Because I designed them to come apart, it was really easy to transport them to the location. After the party, we tore everything down and everything is being used again. The shelves are in the garage, keeping stuff organized.

2. Sheet Vinyl Flooring. They have huge rolls of vinyl flooring at Home Depot. I picked a pattern that resembled real wood. I covered the bases with the sheet vinyl, almost like wrapping a present. I left holes on the 4 top corners to insert the PVC pipes for the canopy.

3. PVC pipes and elbows. I assembled 3 pairs of U-shaped poles to support the fabric canopy. They just slid into the hollow holes of the shelves. About 3 cans of spray paint gave them that delicious pink color.

4. Fabric. I picked up some at the clearance section at JoAnn's. I then cut them to size, and sewed them with pockets in each side to accommodate the PVC pipes.

Everyone enjoyed decorating their own cupcakes with sprinkles, sugar, and food color spray.

I stacked the favors by the cupcake tower, and decorated them with some hand-made paper carnations.

And here's my little one, posing for the camera!