Hi there! Mrs. linville here for a change. I just thought I would blog a little bit about a super awesome past event that kinda took over my spare time for a few months. And by a few months I might mean like about 6 months…you know. I was excited. As soon as I found out that one of my best girlfriends was going to have a baby, my creative party planning juices began to flow…and when those juices flow, there isn’t much you can do but go with the flow.
To better understand the reasons behind such crazy long planning, I will provide some background. First off, Claire is such a sweet, compassionate, and loving friend that I just couldn’t help but want to give her and little soon-to-be-born Eli the most amazing baby shower I could manage. She deserved every bit of it. Her husband Kenny also happens to be one of my husband’s oldest and best friends, so all around, an awesome family. They needed an awesome baby shower.
Secondly, I was excited, like I stated previously. Sometimes I just get that itch…that certain “I need to throw a crazy party” itch…and it must be scratched. Oh yes. It must. I love to make things and be creative…and lets face it, there are so many mind blowing DIY things you can find on the internet these days, there really is no reason why you can’t do affordable and fun all at once.
Thirdly, I had a very small budget. And by small, I mean that my goal was to stay under $50. Food, decorations, everything. I did get pretty close to sticking to it…I think if I added up absolutely everything I bought for the shower, it probably was about $60 total..so not too bad, right? Anyway, one of the major reasons I started planning so early was because of my slim budget. I knew that the more items I could find on sale or at thrift stores would mean a cheaper event for me in the long run. Thankfully, the seminary here has a “Share Shop” (pretty much just like Goodwill except everything is free as long as you are a student, spouse, or employee at the seminary). I found the bulk of my party materials there for free (though much needed some DIY loving).
So on to the shower. I decided to do a vintage and garden inspired tea party since it seemed to fit Claire the best. She is a very feminine person and loves tea, so I thought she would like it. However, as amazing as an actual garden tea party would be, we live in an apartment and there really weren’t very many nearby options, so I decided to make it an indoor garden party. This worked out in the long run anyway, since the weather was still pretty hot at the time. Having been pregnant in the summer myself, I knew that would most likely be miserable for Claire as well. Keeping the hot weather in mind, I also decided to make it an iced tea party. Let me just say it was a good choice.
I made invitations on Vistaprint as well as some “mommy cards” and only had to pay for shipping (love Vistaprint!!!). I also bought a roll of printed kraft wrapping paper from our local Dollar Tree and made my own envelopes for the invitations. Since all but a couple of the invitees go to our church, I was able to add some cute cut out teapots and ribbon to the envelopes and not worry about them going through the mail–I just handed them out. Saved on postage too 🙂
I knew I wanted the decorations to be different than your average baby shower–Claire and Kenny decided to do a green/yellow/brown nursery with a forest animal theme, so your basic blue was out of the question. This also tied in well with the “garden” aspect of the tea party–I wanted natural and outdoorsy tempered with femininity, since the shower was technically for Claire and I wanted her to feel pampered, though I didn’t want it so girly that you forgot that the shower was also for a little boy. What a delicate white picket fence to traverse. Traverse it I did, though, and rather successfully in my humble opinion.
I should probably apologize in advance right now. A lot of the things I did for this shower were ideas I got from browsing other people’s blogs and crafts. I will give credit to everyone that I can remember, but I’m afraid I wasn’t thinking about blogging this event when I started the planning process, so I really don’t have a clue where I got most of the ideas. I am so sorry.
I started with a couple different garlands. No crepe paper streamers here! My first was some fabric bunting. I know, they are everywhere. But so cute! How could I resist? Since I had a pretty decent stash of vintage sheets and material scraps, I dug out my pinking shears and started cutting triangles. I then cut out strips of fabric and ran everything through my sewing machine. Easy and awesome. I also cut strips of coordinating green, yellow, and white patterned fabric. I think I cut at least 3 hours if you add it all up. My fingers were not very happy, but they persevered. One green striped clothesline from the dollar store and many many many fabric knots later, I had yet another wonderful garland. For good measure, I also made some lovely paper heart garlands out of old wedding magazines. I just picked pages that were mostly in my color scheme. They turned out great, although I would suggest making them right before you intend to hang them up…otherwise they tend to get messed up, even by being set in a box for a couple weeks. Or just use sturdier paper.
Another fun decoration idea I had was to make a double tier lace “chandelier”. I made it in the style of a ribbon chandelier, so out came the pinking shears again. I did a lot of cutting for this shower.
I also made a teacup wreath. In my hunt for serving ware I ran across a handful of mismatched teacups. With just a little ribbon, hot glue, and a grapevine wreath I found, it turned into a really cute first impression for the party. Some strands of fake pearls and a cute sparkly pin finished it.
Goodness, there was a lot. Well, as this post is getting rather long, I will try to keep the explanations short…I made various chalkboards out of old picture frames to serve as menus. There was a “rose tree” fashioned out of sticks and rolled fabric roses to hang encouragements and advice cards on. For party favors I made a ton of rolled fabric rose headbands (which I am going to start selling in my new Etsy shop, Make All Things New. Listings coming soon!). I made my own cake stands and serving tiers out of vintage plates and candlesticks. There was a baby clothes clothesline full of things Eli will eventually be able to wear. I made a diaper TRAIN. Yep, a train, not a cake. It was so fun! I kinda wish I had taken a picture of it now, but I was really busy at the time. You know how it gets. In fact, I didn’t actually take any pictures myself. All of the lovely photos in this post are from my gracious and wonderful friend Adrienne Fox who is a photographer (check her out here . She does amazing wedding photography and I believe she is also branching out into family and maternity shoots as well.)
For the menu we had tea sandwiches, a veggie plate with dip, cranberry scones, deli meats, cheeses, and crackers, and fruit with dip. All the ladies in our small group brought at least one of these items–it was all so good! Thanks girls! I would not have been able to pull off that much food by myself. The fruit turned out especially well–I used 3 white teapots as my bases, then turned them into those edible fruit bouquets you see for sale. Not as hard as you would think, and it makes for a pretty cool presentation.
Dessert was the one area of the party that turned out ok in the end, but fell rather short of my original grand designs. I had planned to make tiramisu served in individual teacups, and two of my girlfriends offered to bring a chocolate cake frosted in almond icing and pie pops. Well, I had never made tiramisu before (I am notorious for trying new recipes out for events without testing them first…call me confident), but how hard could it be? I started making ladyfingers and the creamy filling…when disaster struck. In my tired state, surrounded by a very messy kitchen with very little counter space, I managed to knock the whipped cream onto the floor. It went everywhere. As this transpired around midnight the night before the shower, I almost had a melt down. Thankfully, my sweet husband and our amazing next door neighbors the Smith(s) were there to comfort and be creative with the ingredients I had left. In the end, there was no tiramisu, but a very rich and creamy peanut buttery concoction that I dubbed “Midnight Peanut Butter Insanity”. We dished it out into the teacups and nobody was the wiser. Thank you, Smith(s) !!! Apparently dessert was giving my other two girlfriends a hard time as well–the almond frosting wouldn’t stick to the cake and the pie pops didn’t appreciate being put on sticks, so we ended up with a basic (but very tasty) chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and mini apple pies, sans pops. Just goes to show you that we have plans, but God directs our steps. I’m thankful that everything tasted just fine though 🙂 God is good.
We had tea! Lots of tea. There was regular sweet tea, orange spice tea, raspberry tea. We also had lemonade, water, and lime punch. There were coffee and hot tea options as well. Mmmmm. That reminds me of one other crafty thing I did. I got a pack of straws at the dollar store and sorted out the yellow, green and blue ones. Then I cut out butterfly shapes from some pretty scrapbook paper (thank you Martha Stewart!) and put them on the straws. Everyone wrote their name on the wings in order to tell which drink was whose.
I did a couple games as well. Both were super easy and pretty fun. The first one was “Don’t say Baby”. Essentially, everyone is given 2 clothespins at the beginning of the party. The goal is to have the most at the end. The way you get extra clothespins is by listening to the conversations around you and calling out anyone who says the word “baby”. That person then has to give you one of their clothespins. The other game we played was guessing how big Claire’s tummy was by cutting off various lengths of yarn. It was pretty entertaining to see extremely long or short pieces being cut off. The winners got a prize–one was a cute green apple teapot full of tea and cookies, and the other was a spa/bath basket with bath salts, a candle, and some other pampering items.
I also had a time of prayer and encouragement for Claire. It was so sweet to hear all the wisdom and love coming from the ladies as they prayed and fellowshipped. Such a wonderful time.
In the end, I think we had about 35 people show up. Claire and Kenny were blessed with many useful and cute baby things for little Eli, and the party was a hit. I was very blessed to be able to do something for them and am so thankful for everyone who came and contributed so much to the party. It was so much fun to create and throw for the Hilliard(s). Maybe I’ll do another one sometime. For now, however, my itch has been scratched. My husband probably thinks that is a good thing too, at least for the time being. 🙂