My coworker Jessika, whose wedding was featured here a few years ago, recently posted photos of her daughter’s first birthday party, where the centerpieces were handmade by her mom. Pool noodle palm trees!
First off, WOW. And second, WOW! How creative and fun! It’s a genius concept. I’m constantly amazed by the variety of ways one can use pool noodles — Lifehacker has a list of silly but clever ways — but you can add this seventh use. Decorations.
So, as you can see, Jessika’s mom used a pink pool noodle as the palm tree’s trunk (using rocks with PVC pipe to make it stand up), and used two types of green paper to make up the palm leaves. There are paper coconuts hanging from the tree, and one of them on each table has a picture of the birthday girl. So cute, and so genius.
Here’s the base — a green bucket with plaster of Paris weighing it down, sitting on top of pink netting with yellow and white plumeria (real blossoms, although I’d be careful of using them at a children’s birthday party since they’re toxic when ingested). The buckets, which have Jessika’s daughter’s name on them, hold napkins, utensils and chopsticks. Functional!
Have I mentioned how much I love the idea of pool noodle decorations? It’s perfect for a child’s birthday party — cheap, colorful and safe. Why are they safe? Well, they’re lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about injuries if any rambunctious older kids pull them down. (And that sort of thing happens all the time, and not just by children.) And, if they do happen to get pulled down, they were cheap to make, so no harm, no foul — which would not be the case if one had used a $30 flower arrangement.
The birthday party took place at the Ken Miller Recreation Center in Torrance, where there is a great big stage. (The South Bay has wealth of municipally-owned venues where you can have a party or wedding, remember.) Colorful buckets line both the floor in front of the stage, plus the edge of the stage, and the front of the stage was decorated with fisherman’s netting and a banner Jessika said she got from Etsy that spells out “Happy Birthday Mila.”
*Edited to add some clarifications from Jessika! Thanks Jessika!