Welcome, baby Cosette!

March 29, 2010

This weekend, I hosted my fourth in a series of six parties in a month. (And that’s not counting dinner parties like last night, where we ate this wonderful, creamy soup with biscuits and this rich, gooey cake with vanilla bean ice cream and played pictionary telephone until our faces hurt from laughing.)

It started with a Night at the Academy, and then I had a spring swap, where eight of my stylish friends brought stuff they didn’t use anymore (you know, all those beautiful things that you once loved and can’t bear to give to Goodwill but are also taking up valuable space in your garage/attic/closet/purse) and we traded them for stuff we could use. There were many coin tosses, rounds of ro-sham-bo, and much posturing over some West Elm sage-colored curtains, a set of cake stands, and a cruet. But the little metal monkey photo holder? That was ALL MINE.

Party number three was held in honor of Saint Patrick, who may or may not have been Irish and whom I may or may not have incorrectly referred to as St. Patty (it’s Paddy! and apparently everyone knew this but me!). Eight of us crowded around two folding tables for corned beef, Irish (or, as I’ve learned, bastardized and Americanized) soda bread, cabbage, red potatoes, carrots, and these amazing cupcakes:

Guinness cupcake + chocolate ganache + Bailey’s frosting + shamrock sprinkles? Why, yes, thank you.

But, oh, party number four. This is where the real magic happened. I’ve been planning, I mean, looking forward to this shindig for months. It started with an invitation that was mailed in a box (as all good things are).

Now, I’m not a very “themey” person by nature. And that’s an understatement. My favorite fashion and decorating mantra is from Clinton and Stacy: “It doesn’t have to match; it has to go.” Instead of trying to pick a theme or buying out the baby girl isle at Party Depot, I trusted my instincts and brought together vintage, outdoorsy-chic (the mom-to-be’s nursery theme) and feminine.

Sign calligraphy by Jenna Hein (of course). Outfits from various sources, including Baby Gap and Janie & Jack. Candle from Anthropologie.

Okay, this is not the greatest photo, but I need to tell you something. These paper pom-poms by orangekisses are a-ma-zing. In December, I followed the Martha Stewart tutorial for making these myself, and the end result was less (way less) than stellar. Suffice it to say that they were not part of my Christmas decor. I’ve also tried the MS kit (available at Michael’s), which yields better results but still not anything I would show off. But orangekisses! Pure bliss! I’m not sure if it’s the quality of the tissue or the way they’re assembled (or both), but transforming them from flats to puffy balls took less than an hour for all five, and they’re perfect. Round and fluffy and delightful (as opposed to loppy, wilted and irritating, as my previous attempts were). You can’t even tell that I carelessly tore the tissue in a few places. As far as tissue paper crafts go, this is as close to foolproof as you can get.

I also made this tart (which happened to be my first tart) and it was a huge success. Dorie Greenspan knows how to wield a mean spatula and her baking cookbook is the quintessential guide for anyone who has ever made, or wanted to make, a show-stopping baked good.

Of course, we all know that the best part of any shower is the gifts! And let me tell you, these girls know how to wrap. All-time cutest assortment of gift bags and wrap.

That giant jar on the right? Filled with diapers and everyone had to guess how many were in there. For reference, there were 44. And the mom-to-be tied for closest guess at 45. (I think she’s ready for this whole mom thing.)

I’m not sure if I had more fun picking out the baby clothes for the clothesline or the items for the memory game:

Showing off all the items also gave me the opportunity to talk about Etsy and how amazing it is. Where else can you get baby earflap hats made from felted cashmere sweaters?

Oh, and in case anyone is interested, I made a PDF of my game sheets for the shower. Page one is the memory game; you bring a tray out for a short period of time (say, two or three minutes) and then after you take it away, your guests have to list everything they saw. (Bonus: Everything on the tray is a gift to the mom and baby.) Page two is a game where the mom-to-be chooses which traits she hopes the baby will inherit from mom and which from dad, and your party guests guess her preferences. Enjoy!

Everyone got a few trinkets to take home with them…

I should’ve taken photos of all the different ones, but the muslin bags were stamped with various images. I topped the lip gloss tins with the world’s smallest nests and mushroom birds. Inside the muslin bags were a tiny lined notebook and a bit of chocolatey goodness. Because the sherbet punch and pear tart didn’t put us into enough of a sugar coma already.

Thanks to all the wonderful girls who came and made this such a lovely day for Sarah!

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  1. I’m way late to the party…, have to say, Allie my dear, you are ridiculously amazing and now I see why you’ve created a 4 day work week!

    Your perfectionist domestic Goddess is out there on the leading edge of creation – for sure!

  2. Your invitations are absolutely beautiful! Where did you get them?

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