Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Halloween Baby Shower

Happy Halloween everyone! I thought I'd celebrate my favorite holiday by sharing some of the crafty and culinary creations that went into the Halloween baby shower I had earlier this month.

It was a joint planning effort between my mama, my mom-in-law, and myself, and together (with the help of my husband, dad, and sister-in-law) we turned my little 2-bedroom apartment into a full-on Halloween party central.

I'm super-proud of this banner. I could not find anywhere that sold Halloween-themed baby shower signs, either online or in the stores. So, using cardstock, mini-clothespins, and fun orange/black baker's twine, I made my own banner!

 My mom took the idea one step further. She taped more colorful cardstock onesies in the entryway, and encouraged guests to leave their well wishes for the baby. They were cute decorations, and now are precious mementos. Definitely more fun than a sign-in book!

Decorating was such a team effort! My mom- and sister-in-law were climbing like monkeys to get the crepe streamers and balloons up, while my mama spent the evening before making these pumpkin-esque puffs out of tissue paper. 

My contribution to the decor: these adorable Halloween sock monkeys I scored at a card and gift store. I only bought two, then after walking a block away, turned back to buy the third and last one. I also found the cute skeleton-bear at JoAnn's (I think I see a theme-within-a-theme here...).

For favors, we gave out cute tins stuffed with Halloween socks, a notepad, no-sharpen pencil, and candy. I also made little tags for them out of cardstock and "thank you" stickers I ordered to match my invitations. For the kids, we had little plastic cups stuffed with candy. We would have had more for them, but we didn't know they were coming until the day before!

 We had so much food! This is only a fraction of it. In addition to the veggies, fruit, wrap sandwiches, and cheeseball, we had butternut squash soup, spanakopita, baked potato bites, and lots of cookies.

Also, note the stack of plates in the right corner. My mama found these vintage milk glass party plates at an estate sale. I admit, when I first saw them, I was really skeptical. However, once they were in play, I can't imagine the party without them! They came with little matching cups that were perfect for the soup, and were much sturdier (and attractive) that paper plates. I'll definitely be using them again.

The centerpiece of the table: the cake! It was a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, from this awesome bakery in Berkeley called Love at First Bite. It was SUPER-rich, and one 9" cake was more than enough for 14+ guests. 

As for the message, we've been calling the little guy "The Tadpole." We're pretty much set on his name at this point, but I'm a wee bit superstitious and don't want to use it until he's actually born. Who knows? Maybe we'll look at him and decide that name choice #2 is actually more appropriate!

My mom-in-law makes some of the absolute best gingerbread cookies, and was generous enough to bake a couple of trays for the festivities. Mama and I contributed some nutter-butter ghosties, which are super-easy to make. You just dunk the cookies in melted white chocolate and add two mini chocolate chips for eyes. That's it!

After all that work, it was great to see everyone having a good time and enjoying the food and decorations. Here they are playing a game my mom-in-law coordinated, to see who could match and roll 12 pairs of baby socks the quickest. It was tougher than it sounds! As a bonus, I got to keep all the socks. 

The hostesses before the party began: my mama, myself, and my mom-in-law. Since they live so far from each other, it's rare that I get to hang out with them both at the same time, so it was wonderful having them both there. I couldn't have done this all this without them. 

As for the shirt, I saw one on Etsy that I fell in love with, but couldn't justify the price tag. As a total surprise, mom and sister-in-law gave me one the day of the shower. It was perfect!

And yes, I'm totally wearing that shirt again today. Have fun and be safe tonight, everyone!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Embroidered Mexican Linens (Picture Heavy)

Pregnancy is a lot more tiring than I thought it would be. The first trimester (Spring) was mostly spent curled up in a ball on my couch, too nauseated and exhausted to do more than watch Ugly Betty and Arrested Development on Netflix. The second trimester (Summer) was a lot better. The nausea went away, as did most of the fatigue, but I still had trouble rallying to do much more than what I had to (chores and writing).

Sadly, this involved crafting. There were weeks at a time when I couldn't motivate myself to stitch, none the less put together a cool new pattern to work on. If it hadn't been for my stash of pre-stamped Mexican linens, I might have gone all season without embroidering.

I picked up a slew of these little beauties at my hometown swap meet a few years ago. They're mostly 13"x13" cloths, perfect for bread (or tortilla) baskets. I also snagged a few larger ones (17"x17") for some pretty table decorations.

This is one of the smaller ones. All the little petals were deceptively time-consuming to stitch, especially since I decided to get fancy and do the whole thing in split-stitch. I used variegated floss, which is most obvious on the stems and leaves.

When it was done, I backed it with some pretty Dia De Los Muertos fabric. Note the zig-zag stitching. It was my first attempt at using this stitch for, well, anything!

It's kind of a "companion piece" to the first linen I stitched up last year...which I realize I forgot to post about.

See? Perfect for tortillas!

I also stitched up one of the larger pieces. I fell in love with the fruit motif, and I thought it was an appropriate piece to celebrate the late summer harvest. I already miss the lack of good berries and stone fruits in the stores.

I tweeded the floss for the fruit to get a more "natural" tone, I backed this one with a more classic fruit n' flowers fabric.

This one I'm planning on using more as a mini-table cloth sort of thing. If I can bear to put anything that might stain on it!

I still have about ten more of these babies. It's nice to know that if the crafting blahs set in again, I have a pile of ready-made projects waiting for me.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happiness is...

...getting your contributor's copies...

...and seeing your story in print. 

Shakespeare Shaken is now available in print as well as a series of digital downloads (including a solo of S.H.R.E.W.) from Red Stylo Media. Having seen it in person, I highly recommend splurging on the print version. The artwork pops so much more on paper than on a screen.

Really, though I don't care how you choose to read it, as long as you give it a peek!