baby, baby!

Immediate Notice to Mother-in-Love and close friends: it’s not my baby!  I will not use my blog to announce to you when that time comes; count on it.  It’s my friend Nicole’s baby, and it was her party.  Ready?  Here we go!

The non-pregnant gals in this picture, Janene (left), Krystal (right), and I, planned the baby shower together.

planners and mommy-to-be

The baby’s gender is unknown so we picked “rubber duck yellow” and “toy boat blue” as our theme colors–and then all wore those colors too!  Funny thing: Nicole didn’t know what the theme was and she still matched.  Her sixth sense is for parties, I swear.

Vintage baby furniture greeted the guests when they walked in, along with a vintage door-turned-chalkboard Janene found.  (Or maybe made?)  She hung a little line of pregnancy pictures across it for sweet personalization.  I love that silhouette picture in the middle, don’t you?  As guests came in they put their gifts in the crib.

vintage high chair and crib

Because I’m me I have to zoom in on the flowers!  I mixed pale blue hydrangea with yellow tulips and “creme kiss” roses, with seeded eucalyptus as the filler.  I wanted it to be sort of rustic but still sweet and related to the theme colors.

blue hydrangea, yellow tulips, seeded eucalyptus, and creme kiss roses in blue Mason jar on high chair

A matching arrangement in a larger Mason jar sat on the food table, and what a food table it was!

blue hydrangea, yellow tulips, seeded eucalyptus, and creme kiss roses in blue Mason jar on food table

Between the three of us we pulled together a sinful menu of sweets: fruit pizzas, cheesecake bites, chocolate-dipped pretzel rods, pirouette cookies, & a peanut butter ball with apples, crackers, and pretzels.  To drink we had cucumber water, ginger ale/cranberry cocktail with lemon slices, and coffee.

all the food

We served the drinks out of clear Mason jars with striped paper straws that added tons of fun to the table.  But upstairs the fun was only beginning.  After guests had a while to graze and chat, we moved downstairs.  The guys (our hubbies) went to town with the short to-do list we gave them during party prep.  We asked them to hang paper lanterns, thinking they’d suspend them all from the ceiling, maybe varying the heights a little if we were lucky.  Instead…

floating paper lanterns in the corner

…they designed some sort of installation art in the corner.  I don’t know all the details, but they used small metal easels as anchors (the hosts are professional photographers, which explains why a multitude of small metals easels was lying around) and wove twine between the anchors and the ceiling to make a structural web.  It was amazing.

There were more flowers here too.  The bouquet on the card-writing table was yellow alstroemeria, white stock, and green hypericum berries.

On the opposite side of the room, a streamer curtain blocked off the home office.  The streamer had a mix of muslin, burlap, lace, ribbon, and crepe paper.  It was very textural in person.

mommy and daddy opening gifts

At the end of the night, the parents-to-be took home a bundle of paper lanterns and a passel of presents to feather the nest for their new little one.

Adam with lanterns

He or she is due next week, so watch this blog for the announcement!

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beads rebirthed {or, earrings made from a necklace}

I never spend much money on my jewelry.  We’re talking $10 and under for most pieces.  I like to change it up frequently, without guilt.  I like to hold children, without worry over what havoc they may wreak.  And yet when favorite pieces break I still feel a little sad.  Certain pieces, such as a red glass-bead necklace I bought on my first trip to Chicago, have a story that makes them precious to me despite their not-even-semi-precious gemstone status.  When my necklace’s cord broke, I put the beads in a bag in hopes of someday restringing them.  But when inspiration struck, it urged me to make something new instead of recreating the old.desk strewn with jewelry supplies

That started a frenzy of making “new” pieces from old beads I had lying around–and then I mentioned my jewelry-making to an aunt, who immediately sent me beads and supplies she was no longer using.  Oh boy!

desk strewn with jewelry supplies

Over Christmas vacation my niece and nephews did some beading with me, and then I made a pair of earrings for my mother, who just got her ears pierced for the first time in her life!  I won’t say how old she is but…older than me, obviously.  I adored the vibrant blue of these teardrop beads, but I don’t wear much blue so I knew these beads would probably end up as a gift.  They were great for earrings, and when I completed my project I realized its hue perfectly matched the post-sunset sky in the mountains.  Simply lovely!blue iridescent drop earrings match the night sky      What do you do with old jewelry?  Have you ever saved the pieces and transformed them into something new?

paper and paint

a dictionary and a mixing bowl form mending the crack {paper mache bowl project} (2) mending the crack {paper mache bowl project} (1)

Before Thanksgiving I started making the large paper mâché bowl pictured above.  I set it aside to work on a smaller paper mâché bowl I wanted to give as a wedding gift, then took some time off before revisiting the original.  The three photos above offer a brief recap of how the process began:

1. Flour-and-water paste on blank newspaper formed the structural base, which was too snugly molded to remove from its mixing-bowl form.

2. I had to slice my beautiful bowl to pry it loose.

3. Duct tape is the answer to half my problems.  (The answer to the other half is WD 40.)

4. (not pictured) I added a layer of dictionary clippings, brushed into place with DIY Mod Podge, which is half school glue & half water.  Thank you, Pinterest people.  (Original source seems to be Life in Rehab, but I found it via Pinterest.)

Which brings us to the present.  May I present the effect of a paper bowl meeting a gold-dipped paintbrush?

gold inside, paper outside

From the rim downward, the whole inside is gold, while the outside remains a hodgepodge of dictionary words.  Those words are carefully selected to give clues to, if not outright tell the story of, my history with Lovey.  “Dandelion,” “beaker,” “starry,” and “mailbox” are references to a bouquet he gave me, his chemistry degree, our first date (and many subsequent ones), and our long-distance summer.  “Matrimony,” “kiss,” “lover,” and “marvel” are more about now.

gold inside, paper outside  (2)

Here’s a glimpse of how the paper and paint textures play against each other.  I love the contrast of gloss and matte, just one way to bring the high-low concept into a room.  I also have to show you how gold paint became to this bowl what a topographic map is to a landscape:

empty bowl gold inside

So, full of oranges as I imagined from the very beginning, or empty with its silver gold lining agleam, I love this practical craft project!  It was time-consuming but worth every minute.  What’s the last thing you made out of paper mâché?  Are you ready to reimagine the medium?!