Friday, June 10, 2016

Hugs, Kisses, Sweet Baby Wishes - Gender Neutral Baby Shower

Any of your friends or family members expecting a little bundle of joy this spring, summer, or fall?  Many expectant couples want to be surprised when baby finally arrives so keeping the baby shower simple, gender neutral and a little vintage works for either gender.  I recently helped organize a baby shower with this theme in mind.

I combined a neutral palette including burlap runners, a khaki-white-gray color scheme, baby's breath and other white flowers, and cute little chalkboards.  The scheme was just right - not too boyish or too girlish.

INVITATION - We're Having a Baby...Shower

I also had the graphic artist create an "advice card" for the mom and dad to be.  I used kraft paper envelopes to mail invitations.

I purchased a chalkboard art inspired invitation and additional card insert which instructs guests to bring a board book instead of a card.  Etsy has many shower invitations which can be customized for your occasion and then downloaded.  I highly recommend having your invitations printed at a local print shop such as Kinkos or FedEx, especially the blackboard invites because these take a lot of ink.

I created chalkboard art which looks very similar to invitation. It's hung with burlap ribbon to welcome guests.

Using the vintage dough riser as the center piece, I mixed children's books with glass bottles or jars filled with baby's breath and lilies.  

The small chalkboards interspersed in the arrangement have chalk art messages like "You are my sunshine" and "I love you to the moon and back".  I also interspersed typography letters - J - in different styles.

My co-organizer and I decided that we would order food for our shower to save time.  We ordered Petite Pita Sandwiches and the Hummus Trio Tray from Zoe's Kitchen.  A couple of other helpers brought a pasta salad and fresh strawberries with cream.  It was a perfect light snack for an afternoon shower.  We draped two burlap runners on the island then arranged the food on white serving dishes.  I created little chalkboard "place cards" to identify the foods and drinks in the decanters.

KITCHEN TABLE - It's All About the Cake
I purchased black chalkboard cupcake toppers at Hobby Lobby. I embellished toppers with the onesie stickers and "sweet baby" in chalk pen then dusted lightly with chalk.  

The small but special cake (for mom-to-be to take home) sits front and center on a footed cake stand.  The single tier Coconut Cream Cake is first frosted with coconut cream frosting then covered in fondant.  I tinted and texturized the fondant to look like burlap.  I used a onesie cookie cutter to make imprint on top of cake and filled in the frosting.  I wrapped an embossed fondant ribbon around cake and created a bow as well.  A chalkboard inspired cake banner with ribbon welcomes baby.  Confession time - I may have pressed the onesie cookie cutter into fondant a little too hard which cut all the way through.  Not good!  It doesn't show in the picture below but by the end of the party the fondant had gradually fallen down the sides of the cake.  It was such a mess that I couldn't bear to take a photo of it.  In hindsight, I wish I'd made the Coconut Cream Cake as I did in the original recipe and added something babyish to top.

For the shower guests, I baked 5 dozen Coconut Cream Cupcakes in gray cupcake liners using the same recipe for the small cake.  Using two cupcake risers, I place rings around main tiered cake stand, placed a gray and white dotted table cloth over risers.  Cupcakes were placed in two concentric rings around main cake.

I interspersed chalkboard and burlap triangles for the fireplace bunting.  I found the burlap bunting in the dollar section at Target.  I alternated pink and blue bows and white onesies on the black triangles.  I threaded a twine ribbon to hang the bunting.  


I placed blue jelly beans in one small jar and pink jelly beans in another jar.  The party goers guessed how many jelly beans were in each jar.  The best guess without going over won that jar of jelly beans. 

The hardest part of setting this up was counting the jelly beans.  I also placed Hershey's kisses in middle of pink jar to displace jelly beans so each jar had a different number.  


We arranged the party favors on top of the piano in the entryway so people could grab one on their way out.  We placed a burlap runner along top of piano.  The party favor sign was placed in the middle on an easel then flanked by two silver cupcake tiers filled with favors.  A few extras were interspersed around the sign.

I found tan and white chevron print baking cups at World Market for $3 for a package of 12.  I filled each one with Hershey's Kisses and Hugs.  I tied a kraft circle tag and sticker with burlap ribbon and embellished with a little silver pacifier charm that I found on etsy.

Hugs, Kisses, and Sweet Baby Wishes!

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Complete Jewelry Storage Solution - Finally!

I've struggled with storage options for my jewelry collection over the years and never actually had it all in one space.  I had an organizer for my favorite earrings which lived on my chest of drawers.  I carved out another area on a shelf in my closet to store necklaces (mostly) but several pair of rogue earrings, pendants, charms, and watches also took up residence least some of the time.  Things really got out of control and the area became a tangled mess and other non-jewelry items also invaded the area.  I actually found a few interesting items as I purged the shelf into keep, donate, and trash - a plastic Easter egg filled with my youngest son's hair from his first haircut (he's 12 years old!), my expired passport, and a new car sticker from my college alma mater.  The jewelry, among other things, seemed to be here and there and everywhere!  I finally put a simple (and functional) system in place that's allowed me to organize ALL my jewelry in one spot.

My inspiration came in the form of an email from The Container Store which advertised the elfa closet system on sale for 30% off.  Woohoo!  Have you ever used this simple but super functional closet organizing system?  It's awesome!  We installed this system in all the small closets in our previous home to utilize the vertical wall space and expand our storage options.  But it's not just for closets.  I currently have the platinum line in my laundry room and we created a wall-mounted desk area in my son's room.  There are myriad uses and components with a variety of finishes.  

But back to organizing my jewelry... I created my storage solution using elfa door and wall rack components in white.  

I quickly installed it on the outside of my closet door with a helping hand from my husband.  I think it took us longer to find a park at The Container Store than actually installing the system!

  • First things first - we installed the standard rod using the over the door hooks which means we can take it with us if we ever move.  Once set, the system comes together in no time at all.
  • I added two skinny utility boards (~17" x 2.5") and hooks for necklaces at the top.  The top board holds extra long necklaces.  The lower board holds shorter necklaces.  I placed 14 hooks on each board.  
  • I placed a third board under the necklaces and inserted 4 plastic bins for bracelets and watches.
  • I inserted two slim hooks directly into door standard below bracelet organizer.  I found multi-pouch earring organizer which hangs from hooks.

This system takes up very little space in an area that generally goes unutilized.  I didn't have to find space - it was already there.  The elfa door and wall rack components allowed me to make the back of my closet door a functional part of my dressing area.  I use this system every single day and my jewelry has never remained this organized.  Do you know why I love this jewelry storage system?  Because it works!