Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shower Power Weekend: Part One

Well, I survived the Weekend of a Thousand Baby Showers. Okay, just two baby showers. But they were at the same time! I felt like I was in some stupid movie where I would jump up during my date and pretend to go to the restroom, only to rush off to a second date, changing bridesmaid dresses, hiding behind menus and wearing fake mustaches and whatnot. Perhaps I am mixing up my movie plot devices (we don't make it out to the movies much), but you get my point. There was a lot of running back and forth, and enough tissue paper pom poms to choke a horse.

You may remember the gender-neutral, "shower" mood board I suggested for my sister Laura, co-host of her dear friend Jennifer's baby shower. She loved the theme, and so we ran with it!

The adorable "Shower of Love" invitations from Paperspring fit our theme perfectly and set the tone for the shower/raindrop motif. The mom-to-be loved the invitations so much that we framed one to display at the shower.

We hung green and white tissue poms with raindrop garland over the food and gift tables. I made the garlands by cutting raindrop shapes from textured, shimmery cardstock in blue and green, and then sewing (read: begging my sweet mom to come over and sew) them together with blue thread, leaving a couple inches in between them.

Can I just go on the record here and say it: I hate almost all shower games. Especially baby shower games. Who thinks of these things?. Sniffing chocolate candybar poop? Guessing the poor, swollen mother's girth wth toilet paper? Sucking a plastic fetus out of an ice cube? I can't think of many less pleasant ways to pass a couple hours with distant relatives. And my disgust has nothing to do with baby squeamishness--I say this as a mother myself, who has dealt with plenty of real baby poop, and with my own enormous pregnant stomach, and --well, I have never unfrozen a tiny fetus with my mouth before. I can't even begin to understand where this "game" came from. Luckily, the only "game" we played at Jennifer's shower was to guess how many diapers were in the adorable diaper cake my sister had made. I didn't even come close. Jennifer, who has made probably 20 of these diaper cakes herself, guessed the number right on the nose (56, I think?) and won the Panera gift card.

We decorated the sweet candy buffet with a name banner. Jennifer and her husband are keeping the baby's gender a surprise, but somewhere along the way, they began referring to the baby to be as the bean, and finally as "beaner." We liked the idea of a pretty banner with the goofy nickname written across it.

I don't have a fancy die-cut machine (someday!), so I just make stuff like this freehand. I cut sheets of cardstock into triangle pennants. Ordinarily I would print the letters on plain copy paper then trace them onto cardstock to cut them out; HOWEVER, our old janky computer hates me right now. Seth had to install an entirely new hard drive, and he's in the process of installing software, so right now we don't even have Microsoft Word. (I like to pretend this is all an elaborate ruse to surprise me with a new Mac Book on my birthday. THIS WEEKEND.)

Ahem. So, with no technology at my disposal, I got old school and used A CUP and A RULER to trace circles and lines, and I freehandedly (did I make up a word?) formed letters from them. I think it worked. Just don't look too closely. I glued the letters to the pennants; then, I sewed (okay, my mom again) a rick-rack border across the tops to hold everything together. Total cost: about $2 for the cardstock, and $2 for two 4-foot spools of rick-rack trim (I already had the glue. And the cup and the ruler, ha). Holla!

Also on the candy buffet were these adorable favor bags for guests to fill with treats, and some super-cute Kate Aspen "bun in the oven" candles.

In addition to candy and various other sweet and savory treats, we had beautiful and delicious petit fours.  I cannot stress how adorable and scrumptious these were.

This was my first experience with A Perfect Bite, and I assure you it will not be my last. Owner Katie Winstead makes the most intricate, detailed treats that seriously melt in your mouth. Laura liked the tiny baby bootie petit fours Katie featured on her site, and when she mentioned the shower/raindrop theme, Katie was happy to come up with some designs in that motif as well. I can't wait for an excuse to order up some more treats from her. Nashvillians, take note!

Man, I could go for some more of those right about now.

All in all, I'd say the shower was a huge success! We wish Jennifer and Kevin all the luck and happiness in the world with their little bean-to-be. Thanks for letting me be a part of your special day.

My sisters Laura and Mary Ruth, my niece Dulcie, and me (left) at the shower.
Note the weird, Vanna White arm and head tilt.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Graham's Big Boy Room

So, as I keep telling everyone within earshot, Graham is turning three next month. His room has stayed pretty much the same since he was born, with the exception of a lighter, striped rug, and  a stupid toddler bed that is both too large for his crib mattress and too small for a twin mattress. But I digress. He's outgrowing the toddler bed, or at least the too-small mattress that's stuffed in there with what's left of his crib bumpers, very attractively and safely. I think it's time to find a twin bed for him, and to transition the room from a nursery to a little boy's room.

I found the Circo robot twin bedding on super clearance at Target--16.99 for the whole bed in a bag! (It's pretty cheap online now, too!) The robots are adorable, but I don't want to make the room too themey. Graham hops from one favorite thing to another constantly; plus, in my experience, any theme in a room invites relatives to pile every known item within that theme upon you. ("Oooh, I brought Graham some more robot toys! And a giant inflatable robot slide! And robot curtains!") No thank you. I chose the bedding primarily because the colors work so well with his existing wall color and rug. Well, and because it was cheap.

Excuse the shoddy makeshift Publisher graphics, but here's what I'm envisioning . . .

I'm trying to use as much of his existing stuff as possible to change the room around. We'll keep the wall color and the rug (Dwell for Target, no longer available), and we'll bring in some oranges and reds to go with the bedding. I'm excited to spruce up his room a little, and I'm currently on the prowl for a twin bed (preferably with drawers underneath) and a big ol' Ikea bookshelf.

Bookshelf: Ikea Expedit, photo via Ohdeedoh. Fabric drawers: Closetmaid and Circo, from Target. Lamp: photo from Good Housekeeping; similar available at HomeGoods. Child's table: Target. Stool: Ikea. Posters: Etsy sellers sugarfresh and cutpasteprint.  Robot pillow: Branch Home. Pin It

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shower Power

Somehow I'm decorating not one, but two baby showers this Saturday. Somehow, they're at the exact same time! Luckily, though, they're also about 15 minutes away from one another. I will be doing some serious running back and forth, but I think the results will be worth it.

I've already talked a bit about Jennifer's shower, which I am excited to show you next week. The second shower is one that my friend Niki had planned to host for her sister-in-law, Erin. Unfortunately, Niki was in a serious traffic accident (on the way to a different shower for Erin, oddly enough) a few weeks ago, and she fractured two vertebrae. She BROKE her BACK. Because Niki is Niki, she was more worried about this baby shower than her three months of bedrest and rehab. My friend Sara and I offered to step in and take care of the decorations, and our friend Jenny from Pied Piper Creamery and her family at Pied Piper Eatery in East Nashville are taking care of the edible side of things.

I don't really know Erin, but Niki had some ideas that Sara and I were happy to run with. Niki wanted to plan the decor around her niece-to-be's bedding, the Love Birds set from Bananafish:

Sara and I are drawing from the bedding's cheery colors, the birds and the branches for our inspiration. This shower is being held at Niki's family's church, in a reception room. On the one hand, thank goodness for these kinds of rooms--they're often free or inexpensive, and no one has to deal with the stress of having an event at her own home. On the other hand, they're usually very beige and boring, so it takes a bit of creativity to liven them up. Sara and I are employing a "use what you have" mentality to create a cheery party on a very tight budget. Here's our plan, with real pictures to follow after the event:

We want to do something branchy as a nod to the branches in the bedding, so Sara thought of tissue blossoms on real branches. We'll put them in her adorable blue mason jars. I have made a pennant style banner or bunting to hang over the mantel. Tissue paper poms are a given here--they cost about a dollar apiece to make, and they take up a lot of vertical space and bring color and texture to the ol' greige church room.  Between the two of us, we have several pieces of Fiesta, McCoy, and other colorful pottery that fits into the shower's color scheme, so we'll put the food on those pieces instead of fussy silver trays. We'll also  try to bring in birds in other ways (read: scrounging up bird figurines from friends and family).

I'm a little exhausted from folding and cutting tissue paper every night this week, but I am excited to see the results on Saturday! Pin It

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mappy Birthday!

Well, Graham's map obsession continues, so we are moving ahead with the map-themed birthday party!

I've had a few fun ideas so far, and if I don't document them, I'll forget them completely, so here we go.

1. I had originally been looking at all kinds of vintage map textiles, but that was getting a little cluttered and expensive. I decided to back up and just use the map of the US, which Graham knows inside and out, as the backdrop for the dessert table and the starting point for the color scheme. In addition to the ubiquitous tissue paper poms, I'll be hanging some inflatable globes over the table. I happen to have an orange beverage tub (grabbed on clearance at Target for $1.14!) and two white tubs (they're reversed in the picture, oops).

2. In the favor bags, I'll have an earth punch-ball (which is kind of messed up, if you think about it. Punch the earth! Hit it!), and some nerdily named geography-themed candies. I have no idea what these candies taste like. Please tell me if they're gross.

3. On the cupcakes, would you believe, tiny toothpick flags for each state?! It was meant to be, right?

4. Our backyard backs up to a golf course, and it's not fenced. I need some kind of demarcation to keep the little ones wrangled and contained, so I think I will put up some stakes and hang a line of state flags, bunting-style, from them. And every few stakes or so I'll tie a group of balloons.

5. I am the queen of Beating a Theme to Death, so I'm carrying it over into the food. We're just having snacks (in addition to our ice cream and cupcakes), and so far the menu includes Buffalo Chicken Wings, Idaho Potato Chips, Hawaiian Tropical Fruit Skewers, Floriday Key Limeade, and Tennessee Tea. And Sierra Nevada beer for the grown-ups. Each item will have a little map-themed card, because God forbid anyone miss out on what a dork I am.

6. I can't decide how many games to do--a lot of these kids are three, and I don't know how long I can hold their attention--but I have to get one of these giant inflatable globe beach balls for them to throw around. I'm also considering Pin the State on the Map, and maybe a globe pinata (again with the violence against poor ol' Earth).

I'm quite sure I'm more excited than Graham is for his birthday at the end of September, but I know he will love the party. Pin It

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mapping Out a Great Party

Well, I thought I had my soon-to-be-three-year-old's party all figured out. But his recent obsession with U.S. geography has me considering other options.

This all started in June, when my husband and I took our first trip without him, to Florida for our friends' wedding. My mom watched him for part of the time, and she bought him a Melissa and Doug U.S. map puzzle to help him understand where he was (in Tennessee) and were Mommy and Daddy were. By the time we got home, he knew about ten states on the map. Two weeks after that, he knew the name of every state and where it went on the map (he may have, ahem, corrected my placement of a couple states), then the state flags. Now we have moved on to capitals, of which he's learned over a dozen. Did I mention he's NOT YET THREE YEARS OLD? Okay then. (I'm genuinely not bragging--well maybe just a tad--I'm more bewildered than anything.)

Anyway, he now has a giant atlas, two diferent map puzzles, and state-specific flash cards (all at his request--I am the opposite of a pushy mom when it comes to things like this).

I fooled around in Publisher and made a draft of a mappy invitation, above. I thought it might be fun to try a map-themed party, which sounds a lot easier than it is. Try googling "map party" or similar terms, and you'll be met with a deluge of pirate maps, wedding maps, and a host of other unrelated mappy things. I broadened my search to school supplies, vintage and repurposed maps, and map textiles and that's when I hit the jackpot.

 I'm hoping to score one of those giant globe beach balls for a game for the kiddos. I have a paper bunting project in mind involving state flags. I'm envisioning a "pin the state on the map" game,  instead of a tail on a donkey, map fabric or wrapping paper as tablecloths, and maybe some of those globe punching balloons for favors.

This idea just popped into my head a couple hours ago, so the planning is in the early stages to say the least. I'm getting really excited about it, though, and I think Graham will really love it, so it may be the theme we stick with. I would appreciate any map-related (especially United States maps) ideas anyone can offer! Pin It

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hypothetical Nursery for a Hypothetical Girl

I mentioned a couple posts back that we had been considering having Baby #2 in the Spaghetti Arms house. We have no concrete plans yet; it's just an idea we're slowly warming to.

Before I had Graham, I thought that I always wanted a little girl. Now that I have him, I've found out how great little boys can be, and I realize I'd be happy either way--if Baby #2 (who is, I must remind you, hypothetical at this point) turned out to be a boy, we'd already be so prepared with all of Graham's hand-me-downs. If we had a girl, we would get to have a totally new experience this time around. If we have twins, well, we'll have to sell our house, so let's not think about that just yet.

In my typical fashion, I have begun to plan for this hypothetical baby. Of course, none of my planning involves anything practical--finances, for example. But boy, do I have some ideas for a girly nursery, should the need arise.

Since I first stumbled upon them via Ohdeedoh, I have loved Baby P's nursery and Norah's nursery. Big surprise there--I love almost anything that combines turquoise and yellow. I have been thinking about how to create something similar in our guest room, the last "available" bedroom, using mostly what we already have in our house. Much like our next baby, this room is in a very abstract planning stage, but this little Polyvore mood board is a good start.

cheerful girl's nursery
Fashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

We already have the StorkCraft Ariel Stages crib from Graham's nursery. We had originally bought the Pottery Barn Kids Sadie rug (no longer available in store; it does pop up on eBay from time to time) for our living room, but decided against using it becasue of our two elderly dogs who don't seem to understand that rugs are not for peeing on. Graham's changing table (actually an old bookshelf) would get a makeover by simply changing out his lime green bins for bright pink ones, and the armoire I have in mind is the one my sweaters currently live in (an $85 find on Craigslist a few years back). All that's left to buy is a can of paint (Benjamin Moore's Robin's Nest) and some fun floral fabrics.

Obviously, the room (and the baby plan) need some more work and consideration, but it's fun to daydream sometimes! Pin It