Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Banner Day

I love party banners! What's not to love? Color and pattern and fun shapes—some of my favorite things! Fabric banners make great do-it-yourself decorations for a child's room. If you have a box of leftover fabric scraps like I do, and even the most basic sewing skills, you can whip up one of these yourself. Pretty flag banners are also fitting for many special occassions—baby and wedding showers, holidays and special days of all sorts— but are most commonly seen at birthday parties.

Once upon a time, Pottery Barn Kids had this one, above, for sale but I'm not sure it's still available. The colors and lower case letters make it very sweet and soft—perfect for a little girl or a baby's first. This banner is also stitched together from pretty patterned fabrics and the letters are embroidered.

This cute banner, above, for a little girl's birthday, was made using layered scrapbook papers and letter stickers strung onto a grassy green ribbon. (A brief aside: Isn't that the best, craziest mantelscape?! This looks like a FUN household!)

Here's another example, above, of the kind of fabric banner you could make yourself if you were so inclined. Applique the letters either by machine or with iron-on bonding. Don't possess the crafty/sewing gene or have the time to use it if you do have it? Click on the photo and buy this one!

This etsy crafter makes banners and all kinds of fun things. Click on the photo, above, to visit her shop and find out how to order a completely custom banner made just for you.
Owen and Mason's crafty mom made this cute banner, above, to go along with their pirate-themed second birthday. Strung up on the mantel with an assortment of ribbons, it's a party all by itself!

I've had this photo, above, from in my files for a while now. I don't remember what the occassion is—summer holiday or birthday or shower—but it looks like a lot of fun is about to happen! Imagine this photo without the banners. The space wouldn't look nearly as festive, would it?

The photo above was borrowed from an online company that makes wedding and party favors and this is a serve-yourself candy buffet. The flags are a perfect mix of sweet colors. This space is so pretty (not to mention full of candy) that I want one for myself right here in my own house. Excuse me while I go make room...
Five years ago, for my daughter's fourteenth birthday party, I put together a banner to hang in the house. There was another banner, larger and older (from her third birthday), outside—plus games and music and ping pong and a bouncy house of all things that these great big girls had so much fun with!—but this little banner was for the (relatively) quieter area where we sang and ate cake. I swagged it from a long valance rod.

The banner was crafted in a very quick, easy way. First, I chose five or six different colors and patterns of 8 1/2 x 11 scrapbook papers. My finished banner required 18 flags, that's 9 whole sheets. All of the patterns are small and simple so the letters will stand out against them. I cut the papers in half so that the finished flag size was 8 1/2 x 5 1/2. Next, I cut 9 sheets of standard white copy paper in half. On each white sheet, I drew a single block letter, first in pencil to get it the way I liked it, then with a fat black magic marker.

I cut out each letter, around the outside of the marker line, and used a glue stick to attach it to a colored flag. The outlining helps the white letters pop against the colored paper. Finally, I punched holes in the top corners of each flag and strung them onto a long ribbon. (If you place a strip of scotch tape over the ribbon where it runs across the back of the flag, you can space the letters to your liking and know that they will stay put.) We have used my daughter's banner for every birthday of hers since her fourteenth and occasionally even for my husband and myself—with her name taken off the end, of course!

Today, my daughter turns nineteen. For the first time, she won't wake up here in my home on her big day. Will her roommates think to put up a banner and balloons while she's sleeping? And sing to her when she wakes? Will she miss any of it if they don't? Like all the well-intentioned, empty-nested, ever so slightly intrusive moms who came before me, I have taken matters into my own crafty hands. I made a new banner. And packaged it up with some balloons and birthday candles. I know she'll love it. And I hope she'll use this new one again and again too. To celebrate the birthdays of friends as much as her own. She's a very generous young woman. She likes to make things fun and nice for other people. She already bakes a better cake than I ever have! She's taken on a lot of responsibility at a very young age and is growing every day. She's creative and smart and thoughtful and curious. She wants to know everything. She wants to see everything. She's well on her way to becoming an even more remarkable, extraordinary person than she already is.

Happy Birthday, Katey! XO

Click on any of the photos above, except for my own three at the bottom, and you'll be taken to the source of the banner pictured. Try your hand at making your own banner. They're easy and fun and personal. Make one for your own birthday! Send one to a friend! Use another message or none at all. Hang one somewhere that only you will see. It will be like having your own private party every day!


María Cecilia said...

Hello Tracy, thank you very much for your lovely comment in my blog. I have been having a look at yours and I´m surprised for the beauty of all your images... a wonderful blog.
Muchos cariños
María Cecilia

Jennifer, Inside Out Colour and Design said...

Your post made me cry! I too have a fabulous daughter but a bit younger than yours - she's only 9 and I know in the blink of an eye she will be rooming with friends and doing her own thing. I hope Katey has a fabulous 19th birthday and you get to have a special moment with her - but then again, aren't they all?

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

You made me tear up, Tracy! I was you last year; this year my son transferred because he changed his major and he's back home. He's 19, too. I missed him so much, but like you packaged things up and sent them on. This time last year I sent him and his roommates Halloween decorations, candy, little plastic pumpkins for their candy and a few other things.

To the actual post ~ the banners are real cute and I like the ones I've been seeing around blogs for Halloween and Fall. They seem to work for any occasion.

Colette said...

Today's post made me realize how important it is to create family traditions- I only have a baby and 2-year-old, but you've totally inspired me to create banners (or something along those lines) for their bdays to bring out every year for them!!!

Anonymous said...

I liked your banner the best... seriously. Very cute and fun. Your post was so sweet. I don't have any kids leaving the nest, but I can imagine it would be a bittersweet experience. It sounds like Katey is a wonderful person and I hope she has an awesome birthday!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I like to do these with Christmas Cards all around the kitchen!!

Happy Birthday to Katey!!

Struggler said...

Ahh, happy birthday Katey!

This is a lovely post on banners (I agree, they bring such a festive twist to a party) and I see a lot of love and pride in your writing too.

The Pleasures of Homemaking said...

Happy birthday to Katey! I don't even want to think about my daughter having her birthday and not being at home (she's 17 my time will come soon).

I've only made one banner. Last year I made a fall banner. I really think they're cute and I should try to make more.


Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

Can you believe that I have lived 47 years and had two kids and I have never made one of these...shame on me! I will try to do better...

KayEllen said...

How sweet!!Love the banners:)
and Happy Birthday to Katey!!


Lauren said...

awwww i love them!!! Happy birthday to Katey!!!! such an inexpensive, yet WOW thing to add to a party!


DesignTies said...

Now I want to have a party!! :-) Great variety of banners -- my favourites are the ones hanging in what looks like a barn. I can envision a huge party there with loads of people and yummy food and good times :-)

Thanks for checking out my post about Tommy's tiny apartment. I'm with you, I'd need a kitchen too!!


P.S. Happy Birthday to Katey!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Happy belated birthday to Katey!

Your party bannes is a great idea! I was lucky to find a Pottery Barn Kids "Happy Birthday" banner in masculine colors in their discount section last year. I snapped it up knowing I'd use it for my grandson's first birhtday. I can't believe that is only a couple months away!

Jessica E. said...

I know this post is quite old, but I wanted to tell you that it's still inspiring people. I was looking for ideas for birthday banners for my twins' first birthday and used this post as my jumping off point. The fabric banners I made should last us for years to come! I really appreciated the inspiration this post gave me and wanted to say thank you!

Suzanne said...

I love this! What font did you use? Adorable!