Thursday, October 9, 2014

Country Child - A Rustic Autumn Baby Shower

We held a baby shower here in my backyard for our beautiful radiant friend, CarolAnn. You might remember her adventurous "bachelorette" retreat, and her foresty redwood wedding....well, the plot thickens. They are expecting a little Scorpio boy due around Halloween.



Before I get down to the details of the party, here we are: the crew. Doniella, Rebecca and I planned and executed the party. While I put in some time on prep and decor, I gladly give all the real credit to my two sidekicks there as they did most of the work and stayed up late and arose early to prepare and make all the food and the adorable little mason jar peach pies you'll see in a bit.


We envisioned a rustic, countryish affair celebrating the harvest, autumn, and babies. CarolAnn is a quilter and loves all things handmade, so we hoped to create a charming and inviting homespun atmosphere: we're talking haybales, pumpkins, mason jars, burlap, flowers....you get the picture. Rebecca created a pinterest board of ideas and inspiration and we took it from there.

In the days leading up to the party I re-learned how hard it is to plan a party or do anything out of the ordinary with two babies to look after. Enter Pops. My eternal errand runner, chore-doer, and toddler swinger. 
Rebecca is a pro. She seriously needs to start a party planning business on the side, she is a woman of immense vision. She's actually pretty much good at everything she does. (But hates to have her photo taken.)

Little hands "helping" and super cute fabrics.


Sylvan is about to turn ten years old. That's why it's super heart warming how he is so good with the girls. And it's rewarding to me to see how much he seems to legitimately like being here and being around them, he makes me feel like I've created a fun home here.

And now, the shower! The morning of the party, Suzanne and Sara went to the farmer's market to pick up fruit and flowers. We also had some potted chrysanthemums (the ones that didn't get demolished by the deer a couple evenings previously) that we set around the yard.



Pops made the wooden signs and I painted them. Learned on this first one that tempera paint is not the same as acrylic, whoops! But when you're going for "rustic" ...  messy can work!


The tiny mason jar peach pies. I kind of think are the star of the show (besides the baby bump of course.) We displayed them on my weathered old antique wooden high chair.




Tiny baby clothes, vintage suitcases and children's books, and pumpkins for a cozy little fallish scene. 



All the food was homemade and prepared by Rebecca, Doniella, Suzanne and Sara the night before. My favorite were the roasted pear and brie sandwiches. 


Mint tea, lavender lemonade, and orange juice for the mimosas. We painted the front of our homemade "bar" (it's a stage prop leftover from Epic Dust days) with chalkboard paint so we could write the beverages under each jar.




If you remembered which fabric scrap you chose, you could easily identify your glass later throughout the party. 


Suzanne and Sara spread the napkins.

Food table, plentiful abundance. It has to be good luck for a new baby, like a cornucopia of love and richness. Too bad it was so hot that day! We had to move things around to keep the cheeses from melting.


Rebecca making final touches.


We fixed up the little shed out back to be a station for a really sweet activity. Guests chose a number and wrote a little card for the baby to open at the corresponding birthday. I wrote to him at age eleven. CarolAnn will keep the cards in a little box to bring out on his birthdays so he can hear the blessings and advice of all his crazy aunties. :)




Rebecca cut all the fabric flags and Becky helped string them a couple nights before. They encircle my entire backyard are one of my favorite touches from the party. I still have them up out there making everything feel festive.


Rebecca and Doniella had sent each guest a little organic baby onesie for them to decorate and bring to the party. We hung them all out on a clothesline along the edge of the yard and later CarolAnn went along and examined each one.


I had taken down the pool about two weeks prior, and even though Rebecca and Doniella assured me that it was no big deal, the dead dry spot left behind was worrying me. However, after Pops picked up some haybales for me at the feed store, we created a circular seating area and it started to look really cute. After September's two rainfalls, there was actually some new grass growing, and in fact the whole yard was looking really pretty and green, but that's all a thing of the past already.


We had spread out quilts for picnic style seating as well, but that poor shrubby little rose of sharon tree was offering some coveted shade and became the party hotspot for awhile.


Wheelbarrow for gifts.


Desserts under Joey and Emily's wedding arch, which was made by my mom's husband Jack.


Sara pops some champagne, guests start to mingle, this party is officially happening!


The guest of honor enjoying the goods with her mama. When someone offered to bring her something to eat at some point I heard her respond, don't worry, I'll be eating all day!


I finally got to meet Carina's beautiful twins, Wrenna and Arlo. They are spunky, active little one year olds and so so adorable.


My brother Matt and his family had come into town for a brief weekend fling. I guess that's Matt's excuse for being the ONLY DUDE at an all-women party. They're all old friends anyway, and you gotta know he loved it, hung around as long as possible ;)

Carina and CarolAnn, feeling the love; everyone's getting so excited for this newest mother. 


CarolAnn and Mary: I share so many stories with these girls; it feels like old times when they're all around.

....with lots of giggles of course.

Some of our cute miniature party guests:






and of course this is what it's all about, ladies enjoying themselves and each other.










Bella had spent the night before here; it's so fun having her around and she's the best little helper with my own bundles. I see many slumber parties in our future!

Bringing out the ultimate baby shower gift: the glider.

CarolAnn got a lot of thoughtful and handmade gifts because she's just that kind of person.

Toward the afternoon Darin came back, napped with Lucy and eventually they joined us. (We still had a wedding to go to that evening!) It was just us left and Addie, this little group of friends that spent New Years together back in 2001, before Darin and I were even together. we were all just best friends roaming the streets of Ashland Oregon and keeping ridiculous notes in tiny books that we shared and wrote down each other's quotes in and laughed over so hard we cried. We called ourselves the "BAPs" for Books and Pens club. It's the dorkiest thing in the world and it makes me sit here with a big fond smile of love on my face.

We've hung out a million times since then of course, but the occasions when we are ALL together are becoming fewer and farther between. Addie, who is definitely part of our group, but not on that original trip with us, took our picture to commemorate the reunion of the BAPs: Darin, me, Doniella, Rebecca, Mary and CarolAnn.


And the best thing about it is that we just keep growing.