Wednesday, March 16, 2011

4 weeks to go! Nursery Sneak Peek

Well, the clock is ticking. In 4 weeks (at most), we will have a new little family member. I have been having fun putting the nursery together, with lots of help from Seth and from my mom. It's not done yet, but here are a few blurry, hastily-snapped sneak peeks. 

Smudgy iPhone photo, apparently taken as I was falling down or running through the room with my eyes closed.

Bedding. My mom made this bedding to my annoying specifications with some fabric I bought on for $40, some red bias tape from JoAnn, and a clearanced bumper from Target underneath. She did a fantastic job. We still have to add the ties to secure it to the crib. Wow, that's blurry. But that will just make the final reveal that much more special. Or something.

When we reassembled Graham's old crib, I was amused and a little horrified to see all the teeth marks on the back of the railing. I didn't even realize he had been gnawing all up and down the front of his crib. Sorry, buddy!

Dresser. Sigh. It's not perfect, but after seven million coats, a girl has to know when to throw in the towel and accept "good enough." Overall, I love it (if I don't look at it too critically). I'm pretty sure my newborn won't care at all. It will be a little low as a changing table, but that's okay. Here's a blurry iPhone photo with the promise of a slightly less blurry picture to come.

Please excuse the crap leaned up against the wall, including but not limited to: shattered picture frames, mop handles, curtain rods, and an Ikea twin mattress! Believe it or not, I am not a professional prop stylist.
I totally dorked out and busted out the label maker for inside the drawers. This is helpful if you have lots of sweet folks over watching the baby (or if you have a Virgo OCD streak and don't want your husband putting a sleeper in with the onesies--heaven forbid!) (or maybe if you got a label maker for Christmas and haven't yet had time to flex your OCD muscles with it). Sidenote: I am only OCD about things that don't matter, like labels and how towels are folded. The rest of my house, particularly my floors and my bathroom, could benefit from this kind of attention, but they do not interest me.

Rocker(s). Oh my gosh, you guys. I am so spoiled. My very sneaky, very sweet family and friends surprised us with a baby shower at brunch a couple Sundays ago! I thought we were going to meet my sisters, mom and grandmother for brunch, but I was shocked to find about 20 of our friends and family waiting for us!

Our varied and hilarious reactions as we rounded the corner into our surprise shower. Me: beginning of the Ugly Cry. Seth (who knew)--well, that's about as excited as he gets. Graham just loves any kind of a surprise and a chance to work the room. Also, I think he may have just spotted the tower of cupcakes from across the room.

And if that weren't insanely sweet enough, some of them pitched in and bought us the super-hip rocking chair of my mood board dreams!

This rocker looks SO CUTE in my living room--note how it perfectly matches the round throw pillows on my sofa. I dug up this random yard of Amy Butler fabric I bought a couple months ago to see how it might look as a throw pillow, and it and the rocker became fast friends. Pillow to come soon!

My first impression is that it is quite low to the ground (seriously, about 8" off the ground) and might not work in the nursery for overnight feedings those first few weeks after a c-section (it is so hard to get up and down from a seated position, especially carrying a sure-to-be-giant baby, when your abdominal muscles have been cut all to hell), so we're still going to put Graham's old glider in the nursery, maybe just at first. After I'm all healed up, we'll swap it out for the hipster rocker. Maybe. I'm really getting attached to how cute it looks in my living room! Who says you can't have a couple different rocking chairs, right? Mom stitched me up a red microsuede cover for Old Reliable to  match the new nursery.

Graham's old rocker--the sweatpants of the glider/rocker world. Neither fancy nor hip, but comfy and dependable. Also, like sweatpants, good for just after surgery. Robot pillow from Aunt Kara.

That's all I have for right now. I still have to (have Seth) hang the new light fixture to replace the glamorous bare bulb that's there right now, finish the window treatments, and make a little art project for over the crib. I'd like to get a little more done on Graham's room as well before his baby brother joins us, but we shall see.

I can't believe I only have four weeks left! Hopefully that will be enough time to finish the room and take some blurry (but less so) photos for you. Pin It

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Penny Carnival Baby Shower

We finally had Mimi and Kevin's long-awaited Penny Carnival baby shower over the weekend, and it was an adorable success! My friend Sharon graciously offered up her home, which has a great open layout for parties (plus no toddlers or chihuahuas to disrupt the fun), and along with Jessica, we hosted a fun and memorable shower to celebrate little Penny's impending arrival.

The mantel sort of served as the centerpiece of the event, with Penny's big name banner (made from scrapbook paper and cardstock, sewn with grosgrain ribbon, and lettered with the help of my Christmas present--a Cricut Expression, using the Carousel Lite cartridge). We flanked the mantel with big jars of animal crackers and circus peanuts. Underneath we pinned photos of the happy couple to some leftover red ribbon. We left the hearth open to collect all the gifts as guests arrived.

Over the food table, we covered Sharon's chandelier with poms and lanterns, making sure not to let any of the paper touch the hot little bulbs. I actually "borrowed" the fabric we're using for my own baby-to-be's window treatments to make a quick table runner. You will see it again in valance form (hopefully soon!).

I wanted a fun backdrop (to cover Sharon's lovely but non-theme-specific curtains), and I had been searching for striped fabric or something else to use, when I decided just to use white sheets I already had, and make the stripes out of red crepe paper. I tried to steam the sheets (I promise!), and if I had it to do over again, I would have ironed them, but whatever. Total cost: $1 for a roll of red crepe paper.

I made silly, carnival-inspired signs for the food: "Hot Dogs! Peanuts," "Cake Walk," and my personal favorite, "Food on a Stick."

Amidst all the junky fair food, we wanted to work in a couple of healthy options, especially for the pregnant ladies, and we figured putting it on a stick kept it theme-appropriate.  I made little flags for the skewers out of leftover scrapbook paper. My collection of Fiesta Ware came in handy here because it matched some of our decor.

My friend Jessica made delicious sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting tinted to match the shower decorations, as well as some fantastic chocolate cupcakes topped with animal crackers.

I made the "popcorn" cupcakes (tutorial here), and displayed them on a red tray I scavenged from my kitchen (my coffee maker usually sits on it--picture here). I ordered the cupcake collars from Oriental Trading to save myself a little bit of time.

Jessica's little niece received a popcorn machine for Christmas, and she was so sweet to let us borrow it, even writing out some too-cute instructions on how it worked.

We placed some  different seasonings and some plastic popcorn boxes (snagged on clearance in the Target dollar zone a while back for about twenty-five cents a pop!) nearby and let people help themselves.

Candy tables/bars are everywhere, but the "penny candy" idea was just too appealing to pass up. We kept it small since we already had other sweet treats available, but we made sure to include some penny-esque chocolate coins.

Guests used the remaining popcorn boxes to fill with their favorite sweets-to-go. We added a little color to the table with one of my pashminas--how's that for cheap and cheerful?

We had big tubs of bottled water, sodas, and beer outside, and we offered up lemonade inside as well. The "Test Your Strength" version contained alcohol; "Kiddie Rides" was nonalcoholic.

We didn't have any traditional shower games (I think I've been pretty clear on how I feel about those, so I was relieved Mim felt the same), but we did have one optional guest-participation activity: guessing Penny's "fortune." I made a goofy fortune teller "booth," inspired by the machines I'd seen at arcades and carnivals, and let guests write down their predictions. The base is actually part of a hat box I bought to go in my little one's nursery.

At the last minute, I worried that we didn't have anything to hang on the front door. I grabbed the box lid from the striped base of the "fortune teller" booth, stuck a Cricut-styled "P" to it, and hung some leftover bunting over it.

We hopped on the popular "photo booth" party trend, setting up Jessica's tripod in Sharon's back den and offering up some goofy props for the guests. I can't wait to see how those photos turned out.

Kevin and Mimi passed out some fun, creative favors: scratch-off lottery tickets, complete with a "lucky penny" for each guest.

Kevin and Mimi had a great time, and I think all the guests did, too. I was so happy to be a part of celebrating their baby-to-be and her awesome parents.

Poms, bunting, banners: handmade using the Cricut "Carousel" cartrdige for all lettering and die-cuts.
Cupcake stands, striped cupcake collars, some candy: Oriental Trading.
Lanterns: Asian Ideas (repurposed from Ruby Anniversary party)
Beverage jars: Target (snagged on clearance last summer, but still available at full price--$20-ish-- in the glassware section)
Photos: My charming sister-in-law, Kara Knox Pin It