baby shower

Well, almost eight months later, I am finally sharing the baby shower my sister Kate and I threw for our dear friend Katie–back in April.  She brought a beautiful baby girl into the world on May 28th of this year…so no time like the present to share the party we threw in her honor. 😉  It was so fun to plan and prepare for with my sister, and it was very rewarding to be able to celebrate such a good friend of ours.

Because Katie and Matt were surprised about the gender, we knew it had to be a ‘gender-neutral’ theme.  So we went with a carnival/circus/state fair look.  It helps that Katie (and the hostesses) happen to love ‘state fair-esque’ food  (soft pretzels, corn dogs, mac and cheese, sliders, popcorn, fries…) –it made the menu planning easy!  Here are some pictures from the day…_DSC0002

Kate and I created these paper “wheels” using card stock…

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….and the effect of a “big top” with red & white crepe paper:

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I used the same template from Emmeline’s first birthday to create the banner to welcome Baby D!

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Giant gumballs topped the cupcakes…

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…party favors were iced animal crackers…

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Kate has a really cool gold “trophy” that we used to hold our centerpiece…which tied in nicely with the food labels perched atop smaller trophies!

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We wrapped the silverware using carnival tickets:

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For drinks, we served virgin lemonades as well as an alcoholic version (lemonade+vodka+club in Mason jars. We called them “Baby Bliss” cocktails.

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Kate and I wanted to further play up the element of  surprise by having guests choose their paper straw according to their prediction of boy or girl.  We had so much fun designing and adding the little touches to the paper straws!

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As part of her shower gift I made Katie an alphabet canvas to match the baby’s nursery:

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Some of the party guests…(you can see a certain someone is losing it at this point)…

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Thank you for letting us shower you, Katie! What a wonderful day we’ll always remember 🙂

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birthday diy, part two

Here is the rest I promised from ECB’s big day!  Now that I’ve recovered (it was a lot of work, but so worth it), I feel as if I can type with eyes NOT held open with toothpicks.

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As you can deduce, there was lots of *pink* that day!  Since we were surprised by Emmeline’s gender, it was my way to really go all-out girly. (Like I don’t do that every single day.) The garden stools are borrowed from my parents, but it is my dream to one day own a pair! : )

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The invitation…there were two versions I mailed.  The other had a predominantly pink & orange lattice border.  I was excited to do this very inexpensively!  I found the blank cards in the sale bin at Paper on the Avenue in Richmond, then just added the wordage and cute elephant motif at home.

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Pardon the lame food spread at the point at which this photo was taken…had to get a few snapshots in before all the food was laid out and the guests arrived!  The full menu included chicken teriyaki skewers, sesame noodles, potstickers and mini egg rolls (both Costco purchases!), edamame salad (a recipe I just “wung” but turned out well; I’d be happy to share!),  an Asian cracker & nut snack mix (also a Costco find), and of course birthday cupcakes!

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I made the food labels on Word, then taped them to napkin rings so they’d stand upright.  The how-to for the cupcake sparklers is featured here.

The smaller elephants were a World Market find, painted white and donated to me for the day (thanks Mom!).  I found these pink “theme-appropriate” lotus votives at Hobby Lobby.

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Disposable paper products were a must, with 30+ adults and nearly 15 children in attendance!  The pink square Chinoiserie plates had been stockpiled from my Mom, and she kindly gave them to me when she heard I was in search of just those!DSC_0533 DSC_0556I was rather proud of my centerpiece, seeing as how I am a complete nincompoop novice when it comes to flower arranging.  I had ordered 2 1/2 dozen pink carnations (January’s birth flower), and fearing that they wouldn’t be enough, ran to Trader Joe’s and picked up 2 bunches of white mums ($3.99 each).  I’m glad I did, because they were certainly needed! I used Dollar Store floral foam and plenty of pebbles to get them to take shape, because I learned you don’t by Dollar Store floral foam…it will undoubtedly float.

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TThe paper lanterns were sort of a last-minute idea, when I realized the tablescape needed a bit more.  I relied on my first grade teacher crafting skills, and with scissors, scrapbook paper, tape and a hole punch, created these beauties!  Kate gave me a tutorial on how to create VERY easy tassels, which I will share with you in a future post! I used string leftover from my pennant banner.

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Drinks for guests of all ages…

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Smash cake for the birthday girl was created using a giant cupcake mold I found at Five Below.  It was rather easy to bake & assemble, but I hit a wall when it came to frosting the bottom half…sooo instead I crafted a “cupcake liner” out of aluminum foil, folded accordion-style.

At first, Emmeline was quite tentative when it came to eating her cake.  How can she be my daughter? But after a short time she dug…and I mean DUG…in.

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Wrist-deep in pure, unadulterated sugar heaven!

After we got her cleaned up (which required an outfit change), we were ready for presents!  Lots of lovely, special gifts from wonderful friends.

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You might notice the slight exhaustion mother and daughter were both feeling at this point…

Party favors for the guests!

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I have to credit Jason here for coming up with the idea of giving out fortune cookies…when the thought came though, we found it was too late to order online. So, we went to our neighborhood Pei Wei where they kindly sold us a box of 300 for $5! Speaking of which, if you have any, and I mean ANY need for fortune cookies, we have about 250 in our basement.

I dressed them up by dipping each in pink Candy Melts, and dusting them with two different kinds of pink sprinkles.  Tags created on Microsoft Word.

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Now Emmeline won’t remember her first birthday, but we sure will! And we’ll gladly tell her all about it and show her pictures from her special day.  Jason & I felt greatly rewarded by how it turned out, and to be surrounded by friends & family at this important event was the true icing on the cake! : )

half birthday

Emmeline turned six months yesterday on the 4th of July! I can’t believe she’s been in our world half a year already 🙂 Our lives have been so blessed by her.

Here are some favorite pics from the start of summer:

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I had to add that last one–she looks so distressed despite wearing an adorable dress! This was the day after her 6 month shots–the cranky aftermath was not such a pretty sight 🙂

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Happy Half-Birthday, sweet girl!