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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“fall breather” 2012

When Lovey and I were in college our school kept an atypical academic calendar.  In October we got a long weekend called Fall Breather, and in January we could take a single class during a three-week stretch called Interterm.  A few presidents later–we had three in my four years there–many things have changed.  Interterm was eliminated, then, thanks to the Student Senate my senior year, reinstated for those who would come after us.  But as far as I know Fall Breather never returned.  Thankfully, Lovey and I were able to escape for our own version of it a few weeks ago when my cousin got married.  We headed to my hometown on Friday after work/class and stayed with S, my lovely best-friend-since-high-school.

mixing the dough

We packed all the fun we could into Saturday!  First a hearty homemade breakfast, then a thrift-shopping trip that made me remember why that town is such a thrifter’s dream.  I’ll have to post separately about the day’s thrift scores–each amazing in its own way.  While we shopped, Lovey chainsawed wood with S’s dad.  After completing our thrift-store circuit, we stopped for lunch at S’s parents’ house so we could visit for a while before taking home my exhausted Lovey.  He recuperated (kind of) while we baked.

rolling the dough

In the photos above, S is busy preparing povitica, which looked like this when it was done:

swirly loaf in pan

And which, much like the dinner pictured below, tasted like: mmm-mmm-mmm….

crock pot lemon chicken and oven-roasted autumn veg

Dinner was Crock-Pot lemon chicken, roasted vegetables, and focaccia.  Oh, the flavors!  It was a wonderful meal for fall–rich in flavor, and therefore as cozy as comfort food, yet light enough that I didn’t feel like hibernating after we ate.  In fact, dessert was a real waker-upper: rhubarb crumble.  (My mouth watered as soon as I wrote that.)  Rhubarb, guys.  If you’re not feeling fully alive, have a little taste of rhubarb and you will know!  The Cool Whip was not an embellishment but a necessity.  Yee-umhaw!

rhubarb crisp

I should have taken at least three times as many photos as I did; sometimes it just feels weird pulling out the camera.  “Um…can I take a picture of us sitting on the couch reading together?”  (We did that–both of us were reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  The fact that we both related strongly to that book’s thesis is only one of the many reasons we are friends.)  So here’s the next best thing to a reading picture: us smooshed together in the coziest chair ever.

us two in the comfy chair

I loved our time together–a much-needed breather before the craziness of the holidays begins.  Love ya, sis!

us two a little closer

Pinterest-palooza!

You’ve all been exposed to, if not completely sucked in by, Pinterest by now, right?  Well, it got real in my life recently.  No, I didn’t date a movie star or get a cute little tattoo with my best friend; but I did go to my friend J’s Pinterest party.  Each guest brought treats inspired by a recipe found on Pinterest, then we made a Pinterest craft together.  We kicked off the evening with our “light dinner.”  The top-heavy food pyramid included…

pumpkin dip with nilla wafers and apples

…light-as-a-cloud pumpkin dip with Nilla wafers and apple slices…

apple bread

…sweet apple bread with aromatic autumn spices…

banana-chocolate chip oatmeal muffins

…wholesome-but-tasty banana-chocolate muffins with oatmeal…

peanut butter bars

…butter-laden peanut butter cup bars…

no-bake type chocolate balls with flax seed

…and no-bake chocolate treats that were a little like no-bake cookies but better for you.  I’m not sure of all the ingredients but I remember that flax seed was involved.  So, yes, it was a dessert-dinner, but there were redeeming elements.

dessert dinner: apple slices, pumpkin dip, oatmeal banana-chocolate muffin, apple bread, chocolate treats

After we chatted and grazed for a while, we put on our thinking caps to decide what wise words to permanently emblazon onto mugs.black Sharpies

plain blue mug

It got really quiet while we thought about what saying we wanted to wake up to every morning–or maybe unwind with every evening.  Finally everyone settled on something and set about lettering it onto her mug.  Here are S & S carefully writing out their inspirations while a cozy fire flickered in the background.

S & S carefully writing on their mugs

We chatted a little more while we baked the mugs at 350 for 30 minutes.  Some crafters who went before us claimed that this technique wouldn’t make the writing really permanent, but it didn’t smudge when our mugs were cool, so we’re going with Myth Busted.  (And we’ll hand wash them, just to be safe.)  Here they are:

four mugs with Sharpied sayings on them

They say:

1. You are precious and honored in my sight. You are loved.  (The other side paraphrases the rest of Isaiah 43:4, which says, “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and nations in exchange for your life.”)

2. One who kneels before God can stand before anyone.

3. Wisdom begins in wonder. -Socrates

4. beautifully (The whole thing, continued from the other side, is “Live life beautifully.”)

Here’s a parting shot of me with the evening’s lovely host, J:

M & J

She suggested making craft night a monthly-ish event, and I really hope we’re able to get that going!  It’s so refreshing to spend a few hours bonding over beautiful things with other ladies.  And delicious things don’t hurt either.  We can definitely bond over those!

Have you whipped up anything creative or edible lately?  Maybe both?  Send me a link to it if you want.  I think it’s fun to see how people adapt Pinterest ideas to fit into their real lives, because we can’t all live in treehouses or dress children in knickers and knee socks.