I met Christy in my freshman year of high school in our World Civilizations class. I didn’t really know anyone, as most of my friends from junior high had gone to the other high school across town. She took pity on me and befriended me. We were fast friends and remained so for years to come. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding, where she met her husband to be, Mark, in the buffet line at our reception. Now, 18 years after our first meeting, I had the honor of giving a baby shower for Christy, Mark, and their baby boy to be.
Once Christy asked me to throw her a shower, I took to Pinterest to gather ideas. I was a little scared I was going to have to have a John Deere themed party, as Mark is a country boy and loves John Deere. Everything I found, though, was a little…how do I put this delicately? It made my eyes puke a little. This was my favorite one.
Realistic and classy.
I was relieved, then, when I joined Christy to help her with some registry shopping and she settled on a blue and brown safari animal theme. And I learned something new about my friend; she adores giraffes.
Christy wasn’t particularly keen on anything super babyish, so I wanted things to convey baby without being overly cutesy. One of my favorite things lately is canvas art. It’s not expensive, it’s not too terribly difficult, it’s not necessarily time consuming, and the paint dries quickly.
For this project, I began by painting the entire canvas in a solid color. I like using the black wedge foam brushes for the even coverage. I left the canvases a little streaky so it would seem a little more wild and rustic. Once the paint dried, I used letter and animal stencils. I thought it would be cute to create something that mimicked learning flash cards, i.e. G is for giraffe, E is for elephant. The bonus of this decoration is that it can also be used to decorate the nursery.
My dining room table would serve as the buffet. Since it has been sufficiently loved, it was going to need a tablecloth. Neither my co-hostess, Sarah, nor I could find a tablecloth we liked that fit with the theme. So it was decided that Sarah would make one. Incorporating a chevron pattern into the theme was important to me, given how much Christy had squealed over a blue and brown chevron baby blanket. So I may have squealed a little in the fabric store when I found the perfect chevron fabric.
Check out Sarah’s online store, Sarah’s Stitches.
You never know where inspiration will come from and when it will strike. My bank account and I have noticed that it tends to strike while wandering around the craft store. This little bit of safari flair came while I was perusing the silk flowers and found safari print flowers.
I feel like favors can be the hardest part of shower planning. You don’t want to spend a huge amount of money, but you also don’t want to give people something that is going to make people limply say, Gee, thanks, and then lose it or throw it away. I find that food is usually the way to go to avoid all those pitfalls. For this shower, I decided to make savannah animal chocolate lollipops. While they aren’t particularly difficult, they can be a bit time consuming, depending on the detail of your mold. I found for the small details, like the zebra stripes and eyes, it was easiest to simply use a toothpick to dab the chocolate in place. If you decide to make any sort of chocolate mold, you will need to use tempered chocolate. You can find it in most party supply, craft, or cake/candy supply stores. If you decide to flavor the chocolate, (which is probably a good idea for the white chocolate, especially) make sure you use oil based flavorings. Anything with a water base will cause the chocolate to seize and clump. I flavored my pops with amaretto and champagne flavorings.
Let’s be honest; shower games are the worst. Paper and pens are handed out to everyone, and then everyone puts their heads down and scribble silently, (with the occasional exclamation of exasperation because it’s on the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t think of the name) unscrambling words like onesie and stroller. So I tried to keep the games short, sweet, and entertaining. For the first game, I split the group into two teams so there would be interaction. I simply had them guess the baby names of different savannah animals. (Hint: most of them are calf.)
The second game was a little bit of payback for Christy. When I had my first baby, she and our friend, Jill, decided to have us all play “guess the poo”. (Because, let’s face it, when you become a parent, you become an expert in inspecting and deciphering healthy poo.) To play, you simply melt various different candies, (preferably chocolate) into different diapers. They must then write down their guesses for what type of poo/candy is in the diaper. Note: It’s probably good to consider your guests and whether anyone is squeamish or overly appropriate/prude…..and then do it anyway because watching everyone squirm is fantastic!
Sarah and I wanted to make sure Christy and Mark had a couple special gifts/supplies for the hospital and once baby comes. The first is a hospital survival kit. We packed it with comforting goodies like soft socks, lip balm, lanolin, gel nipple pads, and snacks. (They are on orders to sneak food into the delivery room so she can keep her strength up during labor, even though everyone knows it’s a great idea to practically starve a woman during the birthing process. *Liz Lemon eye roll*)
The next goodie was Sarah’s diaper cake, complete with her homemade cloth wipes, embroidered cloth diapers, and wet bags.
For the sandwiches, I made tarragon chicken salad, smoked salmon with cream cheese and dill, and cucumber sandwiches.