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

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