Last year, one of my oldest friends had a beautiful baby boy. While she was pregnant I offered to throw her baby shower. I know a lot of English people are against Americanisms like baby showers and engagement parties but I think they are a fantastic idea. They don’t necessarily have to be about gifts, but the idea of acknowledging and celebrating these huge life milestones is, to me, a lovely one.
So I was really excited to throw this baby shower. However, I had two problems: one, I had very little money (story of my life) and two, the only weekend mum to be could do was after a very important exam, meaning that I would only have 1 day to tidy the house and sort food. After an exam I am usually exhausted and useless, so I wanted to get as much done ahead of time as possible!
The first thing that I made for her was a mum-to-be sash. She loves being center of attention, and there was going to be at least on other pregnant lady there, so I figured why not draw attention to the fact that it was her special day? To make the sash I purchased some extra wide satin ribbon, and sticky back felt. I cut out the letters using a template I had printed and carefully stuck them to the ribbon. It’s quite fiddly as felt is easily stretched, but I think it looked great and she definitely appreciated it! I didn’t sew the end of the sash together as I wasn’t sure how big her bump would be, so I left it loose and we just pinned it on the day.
The baby was named well before his birth, so around the same time that I made my niece a canvas with her initial on it in buttons (see post) I also made baby his initial decorated with buttons.
His nursery was going to be white with brightly coloured accents, so I went for as many colours as I could on this one. Keeping with this brightly coloured theme I also made a blanket with small squares of fabric and ribbon stuck on the edge. I used a lovely soft fur on one side and brushed cotton on the other side, and stuck different textured ribbons and fabrics all round the edges.
I tried to use ribbons of different sizes and different fabrics so that some were crunchy, some were rough and some were soft. One of the ribbons I fokded the edges down and sewed it together to make a thicker edge he could chew on while teething.
I also made these baby-to-go bags the day before the shower. The idea is that they contain everything you need for a nappy change in a convenient bag that mum or dad can grab if the are just popping out, or keep in the car for emergencies. They are numbered so that you know when you have used number 4 you need to refill them all.
I put a nappy, baby wipes, hand gel, and disposable changing mat in each one, and gave mum spares of each item so she could refill the bags herself. I ummed and aaahed about whether to give her full size nappy wipe packs or travel size packs. The travel size packs I found only contained 10 wipes, and experience with my niece when she was a baby told me that may not be enough in an emergency situation. I wanted mm to be able to reuse these during the first few weeks when she’d be settling down and probably need them most, without having to go and buy more supplies, so I decided on full size packs. I figured you can never have too many baby wipes, but you can definitely have too few! I’d seen something on pinterest which I thought was a lovely idea, but didn’t have time to make them in the weeks leading up to the shower (thanks exam). I found all the bits I needed online at bargain prices thanks to quite a bit of hunting, so all I had to do was sew the bags and assemble them. I used Cath Kidston fabric that I had left from another project and strong white ribbon.
As for the actual event, I am pretty lucky to have a back garden complete with a ‘mancave’ which is essentially a large shed with electricity that my fiancé has transformed into a den complete with overhead projector, sofa and bar. It’s pretty good for gatherings, but obviously I wanted this to be nice and girlie! I hid away all the alcohol (there was a lot) and hung up this banner, which I bought of eBay for about £6. The letters are individually strung onto a ribbon, so I will be able to reuse it spelling out whatever I need in the future which I love!
I also made some candle jars which you can see in the bottom of this picture. They are nothing too special, just food jars that I washed and added some ribbon and lace to. I needed something to put on the bar once I’d gotten rid of all the drinks!
I also put a milk bottle with some roses from my garden out. I need to figure out how to grow them with longer stems…
It was a beautiful sunny day, so we all sat on the decking while mum to be opened her presents, and we played games such as guess the chocolate bar melted into a nappy, and guess the flavours of baby foods.
To help out with foods since I wasn’t going to have much time to cook I decided to have the shower at 3pm. That way, i hoped, most people would have eaten something for lunch, and only wanted snacky bits. I was lucky as a lot of people brought crisps and dips, and I served sausage rolls, sticks and dips and crisps. One of the guests is a very talented cake maker, so she brought cupcakes for everyone (including GF ones for me!).
As for drinks, I had to improvise to keep costs down since it was such a warm day I knew we were going to need a lot to drink. I bought orange juice in cartons but jazzed it up by presenting it in a large jug with orange slices and ice. I also bought plain lemonade but made a blueberry puree by blending frozen blueberries to make it a little more interesting. This went down very well, and I ran out! Finally I made some iced coffee (decaf), simply by brewing coffee the night before, adding a little toffee sauce and leaving to cool in the fridge overnight before blending with ice and milk.
All in all, it was a lovely day, the mum to be felt very spoiled, and we all had a great time.
What are your tips for throwing a great event on a shoestring budget? Let me know in the comments.