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Ooh, Baby, Baby!

We’re expecting a new baby in our family! A baby girl, to be exact. In our world, it’s Baby Shower season. So we’re sharing these wonderful ideas to personalize a Baby Shower from¬†Parents Magazine.¬†Check out these great ways to help shower parents-to-be with attention, affection and gifts.

For An All-Girl Guest List

“Onesie”-Painting Party

Let your guests to get creative by making clothes for the baby. Have plain “Onesies” (cotton snap-crotch undershirts) and fabric paints, brushes, rubber stamps, and clean sponges on hand, and each guest can decorate one (or more!) for baby to wear. Be sure to buy an assortment of sizes so that baby has a supply of personalized threads that lasts the whole first year.

High TeaTea Party Baby Shower

Forgo the usual “theme shower” in favor of a simply elegant tea, complete with china tea set, finger sandwiches, and traditional British goodies like scones served with jam and clotted cream (extra-thick cream available in gourmet shops and online). Serve a selection of teas, and give tea packaged in pretty containers as favors. For the right mom-to-be, it would be a lovely “grown up” choice.

“Knit-a-Blankie” Shower

At this version of the old-fashioned quilting bee, each guest knits a 4-inch square, which will be sewn together to make a patchwork blanket for the baby. It’s not necessary for everyone to know how to knit–as long as there’s at least a couple of guests who know what they’re doing, they can teach the others a simple garter stitch in no time. Hosts should supply the yarn (in a color or colors chosen by mom-to-be) and needles (for those who don’t have their own set). If you use big needles and thick yarn, it should be easy even for novice knitters. The most experienced knitter should be assigned the job of sewing the squares together.

For a Co-Ed Group

“Build-Baby’s-Library” Shower

Each guest is asked to bring a beloved children’s book or a tape or CD of favorite kids’ tunes. This is a great shower for co-workers to hold in the office (it spares everyone from bringing in bulky boxes and keeps the costs down).

“Safety” Shower

Guests bring baby-proofing devices such as specially designed locks for appliances, cabinets, and toilets, protective cushioning for sharp edges, and safety gates. If the shower is held at the baby’s future home, the guests can even install the gadgets — even though the house won’t need baby-proofing until baby starts to crawl, it’s a great time saver for the new parents to have this chore done.

“Send a Message to Baby” Shower

Each party goer is given a thin piece of cardboard and a thick felt marker and is asked to write a greeting, a wish, or another special message for the baby. The host then takes a picture of each guest holding up his or her greeting (a Polaroid instant or digital camera, for immediate results, makes this the most fun). The photos can then be assembled in an album or saved for the baby book. As he grows, the little one will surely get a kick out of seeing familiar faces and receiving the messages sent to him by close family and friends before he was even born.

“Nursery Set-Up” Shower

The new parents will be wildly grateful when the shower guests go to work on the baby’s room. Assign a few especially handy types to assemble the crib and other nursery furniture, while the rest of the group paints or hangs pictures, curtains, etc. (be sure to tell everyone to wear old clothes). Have a barbecue after the work is done. It’s probably best to forgo the usual gifts at a shower like this — expecting guests to buy a gift and work for their meal is probably asking too much.

For Repeat Parents

“Stock the Freezer” Shower

For parents who already have most of the baby gear, throw a “bring-a-dish-to-freeze” party, so that Mom and Dad don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner when they’re adjusting to life with one more. If the guests of honor don’t have enough freezer space to store everything, the host or hosts can keep some of the dishes, to be delivered periodically after the baby arrives.

“Home Entertainment” Shower

Guests are asked to bring gifts for parents, who’ll probably be spending most of their Saturday nights at home. This could include videos or DVDs of their favorite films, music CDs, a nice bottle of wine, and board games.

“Coupon” Shower

Guests are given paper and markers and invited to make a personalized coupon, to be exchanged later for a specific favor, such as a night of baby-sitting, a trip to the grocery store, or a load of laundry. This is a thoughtful idea for parents who have small children and no family members living nearby. They’d probably consider your freely offered help the greatest gift in the world.

Tea for Two? Or three, or four, or forty?

Tea Parties

We were inspired by pretty and practical ideas for a bridal shower tea from Martha Stewart Weddings and so excited to share with our readers! Start by sending guests invitations that fit the tea theme. How about using tea bags with handwritten, accordion-pleated messages enclosed in pink envelopes? Plan a shower that takes the tea theme one step further than most. Each guest is asked to bring an antique cup and saucer set as a gift. The result is a tabletop no bride could ever plan or resist.

Flowers fade, but beautiful china can be enjoyed long after the shower is over. Collect cups and saucers from flea markets, rent them from party rental companies, or, for a sweet touch, borrow them from family members of the bride. Stack them high, secure with Museum Wax, set votive candles in the cups, grace every saucer with a single rose or more, and you’ve got yourself a super-inexpensive centerpiece that’s graceful, unique, and perfect for a tea-themed bridal shower.

Smoked Salmon and Endive Tea Sandwiches

When filling sandwiches, make sure salmon slices go slightly outside the bread; when you cut off the crusts, the filling will go to the edge.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 scallion, white and light-green parts, finely chopped
  • 4 slices black bread
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon, preferably Scotch, thinly sliced
  • 1 head endive, leaves separated and washed

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with a wooden spoon until soft. Stir in scallions. Spread mixture thinly on bread.
  2. Place salmon on 2 slices; top with endive. Cover with remaining slices and press down.
  3. Chill until firm, trim edges of bread to form rectangles, and cut lengthwise into quarters.

What’s a Party Without a Little Decor?

Decorate any tea party’s distinct character with these Victorian decorating tips.

  • Arrange several small tables – round or square – in the room rather than one or two long tables.
  • Cover tables with white linen or lace tablecloths. Scour thrift shops and antique stores for them, or have the lengths cut at a fabric store.
  • Set out real plates, saucers, and teacups. Use china if you have them. Ask the bridesmaids, mother of the bride, and relatives to donate their plates and cups so that you have enough for everybody. The same goes for glasses, silverware, sugar bowls, and creamers.
  • If you wish to designate seating, create a lovely place card for each guest.
  • Hang paintings depicting Victorian life, or frame an embroidered sampler.
  • Place green plants around the room.
  • Allow in as much natural sunlight as possible. Or, for a soft, warm glow, use only low lighting. If you can control the light with a dimmer switch, lower it to a comfortable setting. Otherwise, use a lamp or two as your dominant light source. Accentuate the feel of a Victorian tea party by lighting several candles or a fireplace. You may need to turn up the lights when the bride opens her gifts.
  • Drape a tapestry across the wall.
  • Lay table runners or doilies beneath lamps and vases.

Tea-Tin Centerpieces

With their beautiful ornamentation and lettering, biscuit and tea tins bring old-fashioned charm to a bridal shower and perfectly fit in with a tea theme.

New or vintage, the containers are inexpensive and easy to find at specialty food stores, tag sales, and online auctions. Test tins to make sure they’re watertight before filling with single-flower arrangements.

If any do leak, use plastic bags as liners. Choose an array of flowers in the color palette of the shower or wedding.

For more information on decorating for any event, give us a call at Accents Event Decor & Photo Booth Rental. If we don’t carry it in stock, we’ll be happy to special order decor just for your event. We know that every event is as unique as each individual celebration!