Yeah, I know I could have gone for more symmetry, but the wiener dog platter and Scampers the squirrel basket are beloved members of the family.

At more than one point while I was preparing for this birthday party I thought to myself...Is there a “DIY Fails” blog? And how close am I to qualifying to be in it? Yes, it turns out there is one. There is also Pinstrosity. However, they’re really not that great. I can fail better—and do so—on a regular basis.

All thoughts of success and failure aside, in the case of my daughter’s birthday, there is no such thing as overdoing it. She loves lots of pink birthday spectacle, but she also has a weird side (for which I take credit). Hence the sub-theme of creepy “We Like You” signs (as seen here) and odd, questionably up-cycled paintings that you may spot in the background of some of the photos (she was allowed to choose her gift from the paintings on the walls).

Looking back on the photos, I’m pleased that I managed to create a splash entirely with reused stuff. (Okay, technically, the balloons were new.) In the process, I discovered a couple of gems for decorating on the cheap: I thought using knitting needles as stands for pictures, paper flowers and balloons was rather inspired. Also, if you have an Abraham Lincoln aftershave bottle sitting around, it makes a memorable cake topper.

I humbly offer the following additional “Ill-prepared Hostess” DIY hints.

And since I spent several valuable minutes of trial and error figuring out how to make a paper flowers, I’ll share my wisdom for the benefit of others who follow behind me.

1. Fold a piece of paper (roughly 6″ to 8″ wide) accordion style, beginning and ending with the printed side on top. You’ll want 5 “mountain” creases as viewed from the printed side.
2. Fold the accordion in half to find the center.
3. Trim the edges to create a floral scallop.
4. Staple the center of the fold.
5. Tape (or staple) the edges of the fold together in two places.
6. Deploy your fabulous flower.
Gift wrap paper works great, but any kind of paper works fine (newspaper would be nice). If your paper is much wider than 8″ you might need to add another mountain crease (somehow geometry related) and it might be hard to staple—in which case a stitch of thread would work.

Here’s a slideshow that includes illustrations

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