Friday, August 9, 2013

Nautical Baby Shower Successfully Sailed!

So, let me begin by saying that my client was beyond wonderful to work with. A woman who was open to ALL my ideas and could make a decision on a dime. Which all led to an extremely smooth project, and one that I am so proud of. We had our first meeting on June 29, and the baby shower was on August 4. With only 5 weeks to create a vision, plan every detail and execute (shopping excursions and crafting to my heart's content), we proved that with creativity, organization and passion, the spectacular can happen in record time. 

The theme was nautical (the decor little boy Nash's nursery). A taste for the seafaring life began when you were dropped off at the door by a shuttle (parking on the street and a long steep driveway up to the main house, in the heat of summer Atlanta, warranted that decision). I purchased the two life rings with a letter kit made specifically for life rings (the letters are somewhat bigger at the top than the bottom, so  they fit on a curve nicely). The nautical bunting leading up the stair rail was super good quality and will surely find a use in the baby's room, even dismantled with the flags individually- or group-framed. I came up with the idea for the custom doormat and was able to get the product, with online coupon, for only $21.50 (and that includes shipping). Although it probably won't be used again since it's so event-specific, how can you not love it as part of the entry experience.

Once inside the home, the stately foyer begged for a statement piece, and so with the help of many items from the homeowner's own nautical collection, created this vignette. The large lantern was lit with a candle, which gave the whole table a very authentic feel.The table was the perfect place to lay out the nametags.

Oh, the nametags. Fun fun fun to craft. With close to 50 women on the invite list, we agreed it made sense to have nametags. I found painted wooden cut-outs which needed just a tad of  sumthin sumthin. On the boats I made little baker's twine and paper bunting and topped the mast with a banner flag. The anchors just needed some colorful "rope" trim. 

For the moms and grandmas, I made special nametags with fabric and nautical buttons. Their name was stamped onto a piece of card stock hung from the "flower" center with baker's twine.

Pin backs glued on, names written, Nametags done.

I brought my own rocker from home for the mom-to-be to sit in while opening gifts. It's my rocker from when Harleigh was a baby, and what better perch for mother than a chair that smiles with good memories. And dressed it up with a whale pillow.

For all my events where opening gifts is involved, I always do a custom clipboard and paper. Here I used a hardboard clipboard and spray painted it blue. (Helpful tip: For the place where the spring clip rests on the board, it's tough to hold that open while spray painting, so I keep it closed and paint — which leaves a thin strip that isn't painted. I spray paint a wooden fan handle and then once dried glue it over top of the strip.) Because of the abbreviated timeframe, we went with online invitations.I like to give the guest of honor one of the invitations for her scrapbook, but with this being a digital invitation, I printed it out and Mod Podged it onto the clipboard. The back of the board got a painted wood ship's wheel and the clip, a glued on ribbon and anchor charm. For the paper, I used blue, ruled composition paper, cutting off the binder holes. And embellished it with a whale stamp. Included a simple red marker (one with no writing on it).

The hostess asked me to do all the flower arrangements. While not a floral designer by any stretch of the imagination, I knew I could tackle it and make something pretty. I decided on all-white flowers and ordered the following: Hydrangea, South American Roses, Astilbe, Dahlias, Peonies, Mini-Carnations, Spray Roses, Ranunculus, Baby's Breath, and  . . .  Bunny Tails. I had seen Bunny Tails online and fallen in love with them. So so sweet. And in person, even more awwwwww-worthy. For the vessels, the hostess had lots of clear glass vases, and so I covered them in nautical-ish fabrics and papers with ribbon, rope, baker's twine and wood adornments. The paper-covered vase uses a color print-out of a nautical chart found online. 

Next to the mom-to-be, we put a table with a small flower arrangement. At the last minute, I decided to cover a tissue box. I knew there might be tears shed and wanted to have a box nearby (and, of course, dressed appropriately!).

The 12' dining table was covered in a white cloth. I made a seersucker runner for the table, and with the extra fabric covered boxes to add height and showcase the food. I really had quite a bit of angst over the end of the runner. Nothing was coming to me. And then I played around with ribbon and one of the wooden cut-outs. With a little Allene's Tacky Glue, came up with what may be one of my favorite handiworks of the entire shower.

At the end of the table we used one of the hostess's many model boats, this one huge. I made the bunting, pulling in fabrics I'd used elsewhere. I mimicked the number/letter coding of mainsails by painting the baby's initials and predicted birth date on a piece of white muslin. I knew I couldn't paint directly on the model boat's sail, so this was the best alternative. I tacked each corner in place with a single stitch of thread, easy to cut and then remove for the mom to take home.

For identifying the food (a lovely spread of heavy hors d'oeuvres from Fancy Pantry), I had intended on making little paper boats (seen here), but the hostess had a ton of glass globe vases that her sister really wanted to put to use. At the suggestion of incorporating live fish, we had a winner. I purchased blue aquarium rocks for each bowl. The challenge was to figure out where to put the food ID labels. I came up with using wire, topped with a craft seagull, and simple paper tags. But then I got to thinking that I just didn't like the idea of just the fishbowls, so I took a bunch of heavy-duty cardboard tubing I had, measuring off sections, and went to my neighborhood Lowe's where I sweet-talked an associate into cutting them for me. With a little paint and rope, instant pilings. The pilings and fishbowls were used on the dining room table and throughout the house (bathrooms, bar, kitchen table).

The hostess's husband (and father of the mom-to-be) had passed away recently from pancreatic cancer, and so they asked me to think of things that they could do to honor him. We had a single white rose in a glass vase with a purple ribbon (for pancreatic cancer). I suggested a picture of him in a frame for the baby's room. The hostess had it engraved with a sentiment. (This is why I had a Kleenex box.)

We had shot glass desserts, an array of chocolate, key lime and strawberry delights. Placed on glass and pewter cake stands, each dessert is served with a tiny spoon and graced with a nautical pick. The Pottery Barn oars were on the mom-to-be's registry, and I suggested that the hostess buy them and we use them in a big vase ala flowers. Anchored them with some white sand and flanked the cylinder vase with some vintage almanacs. A mini "fish bait" bucket was used to make a floral arrangement.

The drink table was pretty simple. A banquet table covered in a white tablecloth. I took an idea from Pinterest and wrapped some manila rope into a giant fishbowl. We also had a model boat on the table. 

The mom -to-be requested that in lieu of cards, guests put their sentiment into the inside front cover of a children's book. The hostess had a large "baby Moses" basket that gathered all the books.

I was also asked to come up with ideas for a little something that the hostess could give the two mothers  of the mom- and dad-to-be (the hostess herself is the stepmom). Each was gifted with a basket (chalkboard labels on each side give them a lot of mileage) holding all sorts of things that will be helpful when the grandbaby comes to visit. (Thanks to my mom for this idea!) 

[The vase on the left holds all the leftover flowers once the arrangements were made. Added some nautical ribbon to a clear glass cylinder vase to give it a more finished look.]

The lighthouse (complete with a lit-up lantern room) was a borrow from the baby's nursery. With a bit of leftover bunting from the dining room table boat, it became a major focal point in the hallway. The hostess dug around in the garage and found this red, white and blue rope. Daggone, we just made us a vignette!

A group this big translates to a lot of gift-opening time, so while the hostess had wanted me to come up with game ideas or craft ideas, we decided on two things that would not jeopardize the timing of the shower. We did the timer game. I set a timer, and whoever's gift the mom-to-be was opening when the timer went off got a prize. The hostess had five gift bags to choose from.

We also did the pacifier game where everyone gets a pacifier necklace and if, in conversation with someone, you say the word "baby," that person gets to take your necklace away. The person at the end of the shower with the most necklaces wins a prize. I found the perfect ribbon online (the red and white anchor ribbon you see en masse) and bought out their entire stash — and supplemented it with some other designs, like the one in the right-hand image.

Code Flags Garland: Nautical Seasons
Life Rings and Lettering Kit: Sailboat Stuff
Welcome Doormat: Personalization Mall
Large Anchor, Fisherman's Netting/Corks and Glass Japanese Floats on Foyer Table: Hobby Lobby
Toppers on Dessert Shot Glasses: Etsy — foolishworkerbee
Chevron Whale Pillow: Etsy — bakerbaby
Anchor Ribbon on Pacifier Necklaces: Amazon (this link is to the blue ribbon, all that's left in stock)
Plastic Pacifiers: Michaels
Wooden Cut-outs for Nametags:  JoAnn and Michaels
Catering:  Fancy Pantry
Online Invitation: Punchbowl
Whale Stamp: Michaels

Please email me (my contact link is on the right-hand sidebar) if you have any questions or would like additional vendor information.


Martha Dehne said...

All I can say is WOW! .....remember the days when baby showers were a surprise and they served Jordan almond and a cake? :)

Kb_Mal said...

Beyond stunning, Dawn. Thoughtful and impeccable... every last detail. Every single person at that party is going to want you to do a party for them now! Because if they don't, their parties won't be able to compare! p.s. I need a kleenex box now!

Molly Hargather said...

Love, love, love it all! But the fish bowls + pilings are my FAVE! well done. so proud of you, and not the least bit surprised at how amazing it all turned out!

Mona said...

This whole shower is amazing. Every last detail is perfect. I love it! Did you glue pins on to the backs of your name tags? They are so adorable!

Dawn Gahan said...

Mona, don't have a way to reach you, so hopefully you'll come back here to see my reply! Yes, I used standard pin backs on these, glued on with my all-time favorite glue — Allene's Tacky Glue.

Mona said...

I did come back and saw your reply. My daughter's shower is Oct. 18th so we still have time to do this! Thanks so much!

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mark lawrence said...

This baby shower party looks wonderful. I just loved seeing these photos. Everything was really impressive in this cute party. In my sister’s baby shower event I would love to use your décor inspirations. Currently I am finding one of inexpensive venues in Atlanta for party. Could anyone help regarding this?

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