Monday, February 28, 2011

Baby Shower Week - Day 1: Setting the Scene

I've been totally immersed in planning our daughter Sara's baby shower the past few weeks. I've had so much fun making the decorations, choosing recipes, and coming up with ideas that would make it a fun and happy occasion for everyone attending.

I plan to do a week's worth of blog posts about our little event, since I know most of you will love seeing all the details. Some of my guy readers may want to tune out this week - I'm warning you, this will be very girl-y!

Since Sara has chosen blue and green as her nursery colors, I went with that for the baby shower colors, too. Luckily, my living room and dining room are decorated in the same colors, so I had the perfect backdrop for the party. I spent a few hours online, searching for baby shower ideas, but found very little to inspire me. I wanted something sweet and cute, but not typical, and was having a hard time finding it until I came across the Domestic Fashionista blog and saw her adorable party banners. I loved the idea, but gave it my own touch by using a variety of patterned fabrics rather than paper. Yay! I finally had a theme/motif that I could build the rest of the decorations around!

First we had to construct the pennants. I bought a variety of checked, striped and polka dot fabrics from the baby section at Jo-Ann Fabrics, along with about 20 yards of Pellon Wonder Under fusible web. My mom volunteered to help, so I put her to work making bias strips of a solid blue fabric to turn into double fold bias tape. Meanwhile, I fused fabric yardage together so that my pennants would be pretty on both sides when they were hanging. I used a wavy blade in my rotary cutter to cut out all of the triangles for the pennants, then stitched them to the bias strips. (See below for step-by-step instructions.)

The pennants strung across the living room had blue circles with letters spelling out "BUNDLE OF JOY" and "SWEET BABY BOY". It gave the rooms such a festive, party feel!

I decorated the fireplace area with a line of baby clothes cut from the same fabric as the banners, and displayed baby pictures of Sara and her husband, Ian, on the mantel.

I made covered cord for the clothesline and hung the baby clothes with tiny clothespins that I found at a crafts store.

For the baby picture display, I used all the blue cups from my egg cup collection and cut floral foam to fit inside. I painted wooden skewers green, then hot glued on fabric leaves cut from the remnants of the pennants. (Since the fabric leaves were a little floppy, I hot glued toothpicks to the backs to stiffen them.) I know, I know, by this time you're thinking "Leslie has gone way over the top this time!" But just look how cute everything turned out!

Black and white photos were cut into 2" circles and adhered with double stick tape to the flower centers, which were then hot glued to the top of the stems. Preserved moss covers the floral foam and adds a finished look to the diminutive flower pots.

The living room coffee table was covered with a pretty vintage table cloth and held a display of wrapped prizes and an antique pitcher filled with flowers.

In the dining room, I layered another blue and white cutwork tablecloth over a solid blue one. Why use only one when it looks prettier with two?

The centerpiece was a beautiful medley of blue delphinium, white roses, pale blue hydrangeas, and assorted green flowers and fillers.

The vase was customized to coordinate with the fabric decorations.

For dishes, I used my everyday Pfalzgraff Cloverhill plates, which just happen to coordinate perfectly with the shower theme colors. The green floral square plates were a great find from TJ Maxx.

I've looked for a silverware caddy for years and finally found a shabby chic one from that coordinates with all my dishes and vintage linens.

I raided my stash of flea market linens and gathered a bunch of pretty embroidered cutwork napkins to use. Each one was given its own fabric napkin ring.


Even the chandelier was decked out for the occasion. The shades were replaced with grosgrain ribbon bows.

Later this week I'll be telling you more about the menu, but here's a preview of the luscious cupcakes I served. (The pastry stands were also from So cute!) 

Is your mouth watering?

We had a full house for the party.  I had been hoping for weeks that we wouldn't have a late-February blizzard, and fortune smiled upon us - it was a gorgeous sunny day. How lucky was that!? Doesn't it just make everything nicer when the sun is shining?

Sara opened her gifts ...

The glider rocker she's sitting in was refinished by her dad, and I made the soft cotton chenille cushion covers. 

Grandma Saundra made the cutest baby quilt! The appliqued animals have three-dimensional paws/feet, and it's all made of soft, snuggly flannel.

The baby shower games were challenging, but the prizes made it all worthwhile - if you were the one who was lucky enough to win!

Everyone from 80 year old grandmothers to 4 year old cousins joined in the fun.

 As a take-home favor, each guest was given a bag of my homemade toffee to enjoy on the way home.

Tomorrow I'll be telling you all about the yummy food I served at the shower. Be prepared for some great recipes coming up!

And now for the instructions I promised ...

How to Make Fabric Pennant Banners

Make double sided fabric for the pennants:
- Lay out a large piece of fabric wrong side up.
- Lay Wonder Under on top of fabric, paper side up.
- Fuse the Wonder Under to the fabric by ironing with a hot iron, according to manufacturer's directions. (It is important to hold the iron in place for at least 5-8 seconds to thoroughly melt the fusible onto the fabric.)
- Peel away the paper layer.
- Lay another piece of fabric on top of the fusible and smooth it carefully.
- Iron thoroughly to bond all three layers together.

Make the pennants:
- Decide on the size of your pennants.
- Draw temporary cutting lines on fused fabric with a pen that contains air-disappearing ink
- For wavy lines, use a pinking blade in a rotary cutter to cut on marked lines. For straight lines, use a regular rotary cutter blade or scissors.

Make the banners:
- Decide on the finished length of your banners. Allow extra at the ends for tying or fastening.
- Make or buy double fold bias tape. My strips were cut 2" wide to give a finished 1/2" bias tape.
- Lay bias tape and pennants out on a table. Dot glue along the inside of the bias tape. (I use fringe adhesive or Tacky Glue.)
- Dot glue along top edge of pennants.
- Place pennants on bias tape and fold down the bias to enclose the pennants.
- Allow glue to dry. Press with a warm iron to speed up the drying process.
 - Machine stitch along the edge of the bias to hold the pennants in place.

Add circles for lettering:
- Trace circles onto paper side of Wonder Under.
- Fuse Wonder Under to wrong side of fabric.
- Cut out circles on marked lines.
- Peel away paper and fuse fabric circle to pennant.

Add lettering:
- Print out lettering in the desired size on paper, using a computer and printer.
- Trace each letter MIRROR IMAGE onto Wonder Under.
- Fuse Wonder Under to wrong side of fabric.
- Cut out letters on traced lines.
- Peel away paper and fuse fabric letters in the center of the circles.


  1. I see that taste is not out of fashion. The decorations are very inviting and everything is lively without being flashy.

  2. Everything is just perfect! You are going to be a wonderful grandma! :)

  3. This would make me want to have a baby! Sooo darling! Great job!

    Lana @ ilovemy5kids

  4. I am totally speechless!!! Everything was beautiful and it was such a treat looking through all of the pictures! Thanks for sharing!!!

    Bobbie K (a fellow drapery lady and big fan!)

  5. Leslie, I know how long it took to cut out all those little things (numbers, clothing, pennants) b/c I've done them for kids rooms. What beautiful keepsakes and memories you have created for Sarah.

    And your Mom.... she outdid herself with that quilt! Hello Saundra.. nice work!! :-)

  6. Definitely not an 'everyday' baby shower. Your creativity is amazing Leslie. You are going to have so much fun with that grandbaby boy. Congratulations !

  7. If you think the pictures are was even more beautiful in person! It was very lovely Leslie!


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