Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The darling is in the details | DIY baby shower decorations.

This weekend I hosted a baby shower for my dear friend Linnet. She is due right around my birthday and if the baby is a girl, her middle name will be Day - my maiden name. Sure, the name was chosen before we met but, in my mind, this child is my name sake. Who else could possibly host the shower? Obviously no one but Maggie Day Conran.

(PS - whether the baby is a boy or a girl, it will always be Dennis to us. This is the name Liam started calling it months ago when he needed to refer to the baby as something other than the baby. So Dennis it is! As in, When can Pete, Linnet and Dennis come over for dinner? Who is going to hold Dennis when he comes out of Linnet's belly? How long until Dennis gets here? Are we going to help take care of Dennis? And so on, and so on...)

I love hosting parties but especially parties that involve real invitations. There's just something so special about sending paper mail - it's one of my all time favorite things to do. Done right, invitations kick off the party as soon as the guests rip open their hand-addressed envelopes. Not only do they set the tone and give a taste of what's to come, they are something in the mailbox other than bills and junk. I feel festive just thinking about it!

I found these invitations at Target and was really impressed with the quality of the paper and the overall look. They were easy to print at home and, at about a $1 each, delivered a lot of bang for not a lot of buck.

While I didn't go with a theme for the party, I did use the colors on the invitations as a jumping off point for decorations. Everything was muted neutrals/earth tones - orange, blue, green, brown, yellow... a perfect palette for a unisex shower. Here's what the house looked like as the guests arrived:

The poofs hanging from the porch were easily made with tissue paper and fishing line. The idea came from a friend who sent me to this site for step-by-step instructions. They were really easy (although I still managed to mess up as many as I got right...) and added some colorful whimsy to the front porch.

I made the hanging sign with scrapbook paper in coordinating colors (I drew and cut the letters by hand - thanks student government for giving me mad sign making skills!). I strung yarn between stick-on hooks and attached the letters with itty bitty clothes pins. It was a super cute way to welcome guests to the party and was lots of fun for me to make. I love projects like this and was happy to have a legitimate reason to get crafty.

This project was fairly easy as long as you don't count the time it took to make it happen. Picking out scrap book paper was an adventure in and of itself that required more than one trip to competing craft stores. Liam went with me, of course, and as we walked up and down the paper aisle for the hundredth time he asked, "Mama, what's wrong?"

"What do you mean, 'what's wrong'? Nothing's wrong! Why?"

"Because you keep saying, 'Ugh! This is making me crazy!'"

"Oh. That. Well, buddy, I guess Mama is just really picky and indecisive. That's all."

(PS - if you think scrap booking would be a really good legitimate reason for me to get crafty, you can think again. I lack the ability to do projects like this without making a humongous mess - the kind of mess that makes me itchy and uncomfortable for days on end. Scrap booking, while tempting, would most certainly be the death of me. I prefer to keep my memories tucked neatly inside the computer where I am less likely to trip over them.)

My living room is under there somewhere.

Inside, I kept the decorations to a minimum since my house already kinda matched the party (coincidence or clever planning?). I set out a few pots of flowers with coordinating ribbon (they doubled as game prizes!) and hung scrap book paper flags over the food table (double sided triangles strung together with yarn).

To get good use out of the leftover scrap book paper, I made little cards for the guests to write wishes for Dennis and Linnet (we shared them out loud when we sat down to open presents), made BINGO cards for baby present bingo (everyone filled in their game card with things they thought Linnet might get then crossed out the squares as she opened her gifts - it totally takes the pressure off mama-to-be), and decorated a sign up sheet with tiny paper houses (it takes a village to raise a child...this sheet gave us the chance to tell Linnet exactly what we want to do to help with Dennis!).

The yellow flowers are actually pens!
(Martha Stewart paper flower kit - $2 score @ Big Lots!)

The center square is a decorative freebie.

As far as food and drinks were concerned, I went with a pretty basic brunch menu that could be eaten standing up: sausage balls, baby quiches, muffins, pastries, fruit with cream cheese dip, mimosas and coffee (or plain OJ for preggo).

That cuteness in the back there? That's a gDiapers diaper cake that a friend of ours (who also happens to be Linnet's childbirth educator) made for the shower. This was not only incredibly thoughtful (Linnet plans to use gDiapers with Dennis) and adorable, it was also a really good excuse for us to get together for beers to "coordinate colors" and "match the cake to the shower decorations". I am nothing if not thorough.

I had a lot of fun planning and decorating for the shower and was happy with the way everything turned out. Most of all, though, I was grateful to have a few hours with the girls to celebrate our friend as she transitions from pregnancy (only 4 weeks to go!) to motherhood. It's an amazing journey; one that definitely deserves a celebration.


sunT said...

that is an amazing white house you have!!! lol

Delaney Mae said...

This is all super cute! I love the signage banners on the front of the house especially. I'm suffering from Wedding Blog Immersion (so. much. inspiration!) but this gives me hope that my girlfriends and I can make some classy-looking decorations (tissue paper poms!) without, you know, having to take out a second mortgage.

No Mommy Brain said...

a friend of mine did all her wedding decorations and they were adorable. at the time i was in awe - now, i still am but at least i know how she did it! she strung tissue paper puffs and white lights all over the ceiling - the effect was very wow. :)

Linnet said...

This was THE most beautiful baby shower! You are the Queen of the Crafty and the best hostess and friend a girl could hope for!!

rowena___. said...

awesome, maggie! i love it all. and your house looks great. :)

and bless liam's heart, i LOVE that he already named the baby!