So often it is easy to get focused on one individual project: in this situation, I had been working on stuff for the Baby Shower for so many weeks that I am very proud to show off the finished product! I had never done a baby shower before, and really had never done ANYTHING that I had decided to do, so it was all learn-as-you-go, and make mistakes, and research, and try and try again. I hope this post will help some other fortunate (but in an I'm-new-to-this-and-lost-kind-of-way unfortunate) soul out there who wants to throw an amazing shower without any experience. Most of what I ended up doing stemmed from countless hours on Pinterest, reading other blogs about how-to plan a baby shower, and looking at magazines when I had a few moments. One of the biggest suggestions I could give to any one planning a baby shower is Ask the Mommy to Be what she likes! I picked what I liked, and then asked her what she thought! She found quite a few things that went well with what I was thinking, and in the end, I was able to do everything she wanted (and more, I hope!)! There are quite a few different decorating things I did here, and quite a few different tutorials I followed, so I will try to point them out as I go along!
Welcome! How to make your house stand out
The first thing people encountered as they arrived at the shower were the balloons on my mailbox, letting them know they were in the right place. This is something that I had seen done, but never knew how to do it. It was very simple: I took a length of ribbon approximately 1 yard in length (choose ribbon that is only 1/2 inch wide, or it won't tie well, also preferably without a satin finish), a few balloons that I blew up myself, nothing special. You do not actually need helium balloons to do this, as the pressure you will put on them by the way you tie them will make them sit well. Once you have blown your balloons up, tie them to the ribbon (without cutting the ribbon) approximately 6 inches apart. This is easiest done by tying the little loop where you want it, and then slipping it over the balloon base and tightening it quickly. Once you have as many balloons on each ribbon as you would like (I did 6 per ribbon), tie them to your mailbox. And voila!
Come on in! Door Decoration for the Shower
Next up was the homemade rattle I made. This provided a little difficult to hang, though I just used some clear Scotch Brand tape laid neatly over the ribbon on the back, and used that to provide the tension it needed. The tutorial for this can be found on my blog at http://beaufleurs.blogspot.com/2012/04/diy-easy-and-elegant-baby-rattle.html .
Pretty Pretty Princess: Decorations for the Adult Princess
Inside the house, I had followed some inspiration I had seen, and hung reams of tulle from the arches in my home. This was pretty easy to do, though it took a little figuring out. I was very concerned that I did not want to damage my walls, but I still wanted to achieve the Pretty-Princess look. Because the tulle is not heavy at all, I found a pretty ingenious solution. When hanging things from the ceiling, you cannot use a normal hook, as they will probably fall off. I used the Command Strips Brand Cord Organizer Hooks, and tied a little ribbon around the tulle with a little bow. The ribbon then laced through the cord organizer hooks, and they hung very nicely!
I made pomander balls (I learned the official name for them while researching how to do them) from the tutorial located on Martha Stewart's craft website ( http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/tissue-paper-pom-poms-how-to ). I used a mix of tissue paper poms and fabric and flower pomander balls. The flower pomander balls were very simple to make, and I will post a tutorial on them very shortly! The fabric pomander balls were simple, but certainly took much longer to make. For a great tutorial on these, check out http://www.oncewed.com/24140/wedding-blog/diy-wedding/diy-fabric-poms/ . This is the absolute best tutorial I found out there! You can see my handiwork below:
The really nice thing about the pomander balls is that they can be used after the shower as decorations in the baby's nursery!
Thank you for the gifts! How to display the guest's gifts
Given that I did not have much tablespace available, I wanted to find a really unique way to display/collect the gifts. I decided to go out antiquing (one of my absolute FAVORITE activities) to find an antique victorian baby cradle. The cradle I ended up finding was a full size cradle, in excellent condition, for a total STEAL! I then cut out cute little tags out of two different color purple cardstock, and tied them with a sheer chiffon ribbon on to the cradle. I used a thin line purple Sharpie to write the word 'gifts' on to the tags, and it left no confusion, and added a lot of character!
Don't mind my mess: Mess Hiding Tulle 'Skirt'
My next favorite finish on the baby shower decorations was the tulle 'skirt' that I placed around the wood block serving stand that I have. I noticed that it is not always feasible to 'hide' all of my things when cleaning for the baby shower, so I decided to use tulle to simply mask my things (and keep them out of sight of the little kiddies hands). This skirt was actually really easy to make (I should have taken pictures as I went along). Simply cut a length of 1/2 inch wide ribbon approximately a foot longer than you will need for your table. Tie the ribbon loosely to two chairs, and scoot them apart until the ribbon is taught. Then, take two (or however many you would like) 25 yard spools of decorator's tulle (the tulle on these spools is approximately 6 or 8 inches wide) in whatever your shower colors are. Mine were lavender and pearl, so I found a creamy ivory tulle and a soft lavender tulle. Cut your first length double the length that you will need for your table (from where the ribbon will sit to the floor), plus about two inches. Then continue to cut lengths (keeping both of your colors separate), until you have about 50 to start. Next, you simply fold your length in half, and the reach the ends through the loop created at the middle around the ribbon. Just keep doing this and alternating colors until you are done! I think it was pretty easy, and turned out very well. It is a little time consuming (about 2 hours) though, so make sure you plan for that! I then used double sided tape in just a few spots to stick it to my wood block.
Party Favors: Easy Sugar Scrub
One of the things I found is that there are SO SO many different favor ideas out there. Since our shower was really very DIY meets Crafty Goddess meets Elegant Princess, I wanted to do something that would reflect all three. I ended up deciding to make home-made sugar scrubs, in 5 different flavors: peppermint, lemon, sweet orange, vanilla and rose. It was very simple: I bought almond oil at my local health food stores (I would suggest the NOW brand), bought 5 different essential oils (all also by NOW, also at the health food store) and bought a 25 lb bag of regular sugar from Wally World. I used the following recipe:
Homemade Sugar Scrub
1/2 cup carrier oil of your choice (I used organic almond oil, you can also use olive oil, though don't use EVOO as it will smell like olives. Coconut oil felt the absolute best on my skin, but it hardened after it sat and cooled)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cups sugar table sugar works just fine; if you want a more harsh scrub, you can use brown sugar
5 drops essential oil of your choice
Mix it all together and voila! Remember, the above are just suggestions: you can add more sugar or oil as you need to get it to whatever consistency you want (I liked it a little bit more runny, just so that it would pour well into and out of the jars). Also, depending on the scent of oil you choose, you may need more drops of essential oil to be able to smell it (I found the vanilla was the hardest to smell, so I had to keep adding more and more, while the lemon was very easy to smell from the get go). I then packaged them in mason jars I bought at Wally World. I did not like any of the Kerr or Ball jars that I found, so I actually chose the plain Wally World brand in a pint size. Those were a little large in the end, but I didn't mind! I then tied a sweet little ribbon on them, with a tag I cut out on my cricut. I chose a different color tag for each flavor (pink for rose, yellow for lemon, green for mint, etc.). I wrote the recipe for the scrub on the tags, and attached a little charm I found at Michael's in the shape of a heart saying 'It's a Girl!'. They were a pretty big hit!
What everyone came for: the Food!
One of the main pieces of advice I found for Baby Shower was the the food will determine the success of the shower! Because our shower was at 11:00 a.m., I wanted to go with a light brunch style food theme. I have always wanted to have a tasting party, and I figured that this was a perfect opportunity. In order to promote conversation and keep it light and fun, you don't really want to have a sit-down meal, or even large portions. A tasting party was the perfect solution. I made finger foods, and put small portions of delectable desserts in small glassware (identical plastic-ware can be found at Party City), and provided itty-bitty tasting spoons for ease of eating. Our menu was as follows:
I didn't make the cake: it was a raspberry cream cake from a local bakery, with fresh cut flowers on top. I also bought gluten-free cupcakes from my local gluten-free bakery, in three different flavors that I absolutely love! (Most of the recipes were altered to make them gluten-free, because, sadly, I can't eat gluten anymore).
We had deviled eggs, and truffles from our local tea house that stocks home-made truffles. We also had a banana cream delight dessert ( http://media.pier1.com/img/pier1com/pier1studio/tastingparty/banana-cream-delight.pdf ), and peanut butter bars ( http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/03/easy-no-bake-peanut-butter-bars.html ).
We had fresh fruit salad, gluten free italian pasta salad ( http://www.glutenfreespinner.com/2010/06/italian-pasta-salad.html ), flourless dark chocolate cookies ( http://www.divine-baking.com/2011/04/deep-dark-chocolate-cookies.html#more ), and one of my favorite desserts:
Nummy Pistachio and Oreo Pudding
1 pack of Oreo Cookies (or two packs of Glutino Gluten Free Oreos)
2 packages of Jello Pistachio Pudding Mix
1 container of vanilla ice cream (quart was good), melted
1 cup milk
Homemade whipped cream, as needed
§ Place two rows of broken up Oreos on the bottom of the tray
§ Mix milk, pudding mix, and melted vanilla ice cream until pourable
§ Dump over the Oreos and place in the fridge for one hour
§ Take mixture out of fridge and cover with whipped cream and last row of Oreos
§ Chill in fridge for four hours
In the end, I was very very happy with how my table turned out! I made the banner on my cricut from the same colors of cardstock that I used for the 'gifts' tags, and made the bows from the same tulle that I used to make the table 'skirt'.
Of Course, the Drinks!
As a brunch shower, we really didn't need alcoholic drinks. (I also didn't really want to make the mommy-to-be feel left out, so we decided to make the majority of the drinks virgin. We made a mock champagne ( http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mock-champagne-2/detail.aspx ), and a virgin mojito ( http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/07/lime-mint-spritzer-aka-the-virgin-mojito/ ) recipe. We also had ice water and strawberry lemonade, both with fresh strawberries and fresh cut lemon slices to add that extra kick. I cleaned and cut the strawberries the night before, and then froze them in a glass container in my freezer and used them as 'ice' the next day. They actually kept the drinks very very cold throughout the whole morning and well into the evening.
A parting favorite: Homemade Lollipops
My final favorite item was a collection of homemade lollipops I ordered from a friend I met at a craft fair. She made six different flavors of lollipops, in three different colors (a creamy white, a dark purple, and a lavender purple), all in the shape of a teddy bear. I tied them with matching ribbons, and put them out for people to take with the favors. They weren't really necessary, but they were fun for the kids, and a cute little add-on. Plus, they were delicious!
I have to admit, I was kind of sad to see it end. It was all a lot of hard work, a TON of fun! I would love to do it again sometime!
Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions, or if there is anything I can do to help you!
Yours in Beauty and Love,