Monday, March 16, 2015

Snakes, snails and puppy dog tails...

I recently hosted a baby shower for my cousin's wife, Brittany. They are due to have their second child, a boy, in just a few weeks! My sisters-in-law co-hosted along with another couple of friends from church. Thanks to a lot of advanced planning, we were able to set it all up in about an hour!

At University church, we have a tradition of giving a hand-embroidered quilt to the first baby a family has at our congregation. Since Abigail was born before they began attending church with us, Baby Boy Carpenter (yep, that's all we've got right now...y'all better get busy on a name!) was the lucky recipient of the quilt.

The lady who normally organizes the quilt-making was unable to do it because of an illness in her family, so I decided I'd give it a try. Although I've never really quilted, I have sewn...a lot...so I figured I could handle it. It was a challenge, but I did it!

Brittany has not chosen a "theme" for the nursery, but had picked out bedding in a green gingham check, so I used that as the starting point for my decorating. Andy's father is a chicken and cattle farmer, and I know that they spend a lot of time on the farm, so I decided that baby farm animals would be a great addition to the baby's room! 

I searched the web for simple pictures that could be used as embroidery patterns. Once I had them. I sketched out my quilt pattern, determined all my measurements and then went fabric shopping. I asked several of Brittany's friends from church to each embroider a square. Even those with little or no experience were glad to help. I taught Jewell how to backstitch, and she actually did two squares!

Once I got the squares back, I put them together and bound the quilt. To keep it simple, I stitched in the ditch instead of hand quilting.  I think it came out really cute!


Here is the finished quilt. I used it as part of the decorations
on the gift table.

With baby farm animals as a theme, I decided to go a little more "country" with my decorations. I pulled several things from around my house and even a few items off my deck! I love my chalkboards. I have amassed quite a collection over time thanks to Hobby Lobby's 50% sales!

When I picked out the fabric for the quilt, I bought a couple of extra yards of the backing fabric to use as toppers on the food and gift tables. It also served as the jumping off point for my color scheme and decorating. As usual, I used my white tablecloths as a base and then added some rough lime green burlap with unfinished edges for a splash of color before topping it with fabric that matched the quilt.


Here you can see a little of the food table. Not sure why you can't see the lemonade stand on the other end...maybe I decided not to include it because I broke the top to the dispenser as I was unpacking it! It was forced to attend the shower topless! (Scandalous in church, right?) Funny thing - I had been eyeing a new glass dispenser with pretty Arthur Court-esque details at Costco lately, but passed since I didn't need two. Guess I get to go buy it now!


I decided to keep the menu simple and traditional...petit fours, mints, cheese straws and nuts with lemonade to drink. I purchased the petit fours from a local grocery store where one of our elders' wives runs the bakery. She did a fantastic job. They were delicious! I made the mints myself and you can get the recipe here.


Here's a close up of another chalkboard and some pretty decorative watering cans I used as planters. Little iron birds dot the table, as well.


This old blue milk can is very special to me.
My grandfather used it when my mother was little.
I thought Andy would appreciate it since it was his grandfather, as well.

I have to admit a little secret about the flowers. The Wednesday night prior to the shower, there had been a dinner at Faulkner's lectureships honoring my parents on their upcoming retirement. Dennis Itson, husband of my partner-in-crime, Nancy, had done all the flowers. Dennis is an incredible decorator in his own right. He and Nancy make a super couple, but I digress.

Dennis saved me three of the floral arrangements from the dinner. I made sure they had plenty of fresh water and left them over the weekend in the church kitchen. I kept my fingers crossed all weekend that they would survive! On Dennis's recommendation, I cut some nandina from my yard to use as filler. I cut daffodils at my mother's house and even stopped on the side of the road Saturday to pick the pretty little white bell-shaped weeds flowers you see in the arrangement above! I took the leftover arrangements apart and re-purposed them into new bouquets. I think they turned out beautifully!


I literally pulled this sign off the wall above the door going from the kids' bathroom into Brack's bedroom. I used it and some mini-bouquets of daffs to decorate the plate return window.


Nancy made Brittany's corsage as part of her gift.
It's made of tiny baby socks!
Once you untie the ribbon, they're ready for use!


Jewell and my nieces, Mary Reagan and Annie, served as mini-hostesses.
They greeted the guests as they arrived.


Oh my! I hoped they looked a little more like this when the guests got there...


Much better!


Brittany had a wonderful shower and received lots of precious baby boy things! I heard several people comment how it made them want another baby. Not me - it just makes me want to throw another shower!

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I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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