NOTE: The Autumn Monkey Boy Baby Shower story below is submitted by Jacquie Donaghy, Lansdale, PA, USA. She is the 2nd Place Prize winner of our Baby Shower Contest in 2011.
My daughter, Jennifer, has waited a long time to become a Mom. She has watched patiently as her younger brother had a baby, Eli, and smiled even though her arms ached to own a baby of her own. At the end of May, this year, I finally heard those words she has been dying to say "Mom, I'm pregnant!"
Within days I was planning our newest grandbaby's shower and starting making things for our special day which was scheduled for Saturday, October 29, 2011. Weeks turned into months and we found out Eli would have a lil buddy, Grayson George to play with shortly after New Years! That really pushed this Maw Maw (I'm only 46 but that's what Eli has named me!) into overdrive!
This past August I was asked to plan an 80th surprise party for my beloved neighbor next door. That got me thinking. How could I make that party, a Luau, fit with our boy baby shower theme to save money? And that is the day that "The Coolest Autumn Monkey Green Shower" was born!
Jen knew Grayson's room would be decorated in a monkey theme and I knew I wanted to use my favorite season, autumn, for a shower date. Our winters in Pennsylvania are becoming very unpredictable and we wanted the shower before it got too cold so we could utilize our patio out back.
I got to work on Freecyle.org and at local second hand stores and sales so I could go green and help our planet out while we were at it. It took a few months but I found twenty different chairs that other freecyclers were glad to part with and I painted them in Luau colors which happen to be autumn colors as well!
Orange, Green and a soft red have become our boy baby shower colors. I bought all of our plates, cups and plastic ware in bulk with our colors in mind.
I had my husband, Brian, a pickle fanatic, eat jars of his treats for two months and save me the jars. For the Luau I filled them halfway with sand and decorated the outside with netting and shells. Inside we lit candles and used them for centerpieces of each of the eight card tables I collected from freecycle.
I bought long table cloths in our colors at rummage sales (all you can put in a bag for $2!) and brought them home and cut them in half to make two table cloths for each table. They looked lovely for the Luau with the chairs around them and the decorated jars lit up!
I began making items for the party at the same time as the Luau. I either freecycled, shopped at rummage sales which begin in September around here or went to thrift stores which often have brand new items with tags intact, for a tenth of the price.
top of the page of Autumn Monkey Boy Baby Shower
I custom made thirty invitations with packets of card stock that was on sale at my local craft store.
The background is white and at the top left it says "soon, there will be a new pumpkin in the patch to love."
Cut out with fancy scissor. Underneath, I made a baby jack-o-lantern that is asleep with a smile on his faces. He has a blue pacifier in his mouth. Around it at the bottom are three different colored autumn leaves cut with a ridge scissor. To the right cut with fancy scissor is black card stock with white on top, cut with a different pattern.
This is the invitation itself. It asks you to join us in celebration of Peter and Jen's new son, Grayson George. Full details of the party, including a rain date, are listed in simple detail.
I used the scissors and took left over construction paper from the Luau and made a sign for the yard that read "Grayson's Baby Shower" with an arrow pointing to the patio.
Jen gave me some maternity clothes that she didn't really like (I was given most of her clothes from freecycle) and I made "Delta" a happy scarecrow to be our greeter at the boy baby shower.
Mom and baby Delta has a felt face, an autumn hat from a rummage sale (in that $2 bag) and was stuffed with fallen leaves from the ground. Her baby "Dawn" (My sister named them after the song "Delta Dawn" before my time!) worse a newborn Halloween suit (from that $2 bag sale) and also has a felt face. A jack-o-lantern bib finished her look.
The plan was they were to be sitting at the end of our driveway so guests would see them first. I was going to take used baby shoes (sales and freecycle) and have them trail to the patio so guests could follow them. (You will find out this was not to be…) Delta and Dawn sat in the corner of the living room, very happy.
Details, Details…My grandson, Eli, 2, helped his Maw Maw with special decorations. We took long walks in the woods and our local parks to scavenge for nuts, pine cones, paw paws and any other autumn fair that we could find. The pickle jars turned into flower arrangements with ease.
I kept the sand in the jars and took off the netting and the shells. They were replaced with tiny silhouettes of baby feet on a green or orange back ground, one on top of the other on both sides of the jar. On the opposite sides are green card stock with black card stock on top, cut with patterned scissor.
On top of that on white paper, typed in a fancy font and cut with a second scissor and that says "Grayson George walking into our hearts" thus the baby feet silhouettes. I was given many beautiful silk autumn flowers by a fellow freecycler who used them in her wedding last year.
I used these to make small arrangements for the jars and Eli and I collected mini cat-o-nines to finish the look. I wasn't quite sure until Jen took one look and smiled. "They're perfect, Mom!" That's all I needed to hear!
I took all of the things off my bakers rack in the kitchen and festooned it with lights and pumpkins, pickle jars with corn meal from the cupboard (sand isn't yellow and this gave it that extra punch!) with flickering battery operated candles from the dollar store, acorns, nuts, pinecones, etc from outside, a robot baby from the $2 bag sale, a stuffed baby monkey wearing a pumpkin suit from the second hand store (new $2) and many other items helped make it a fun backdrop for my dining room table where the food was going to be served.
To the right I have a shelf that was Grayson's. Old wooden blocks ($2 bag sale) were painted white, then crackled blue. I then took a black marker and in a scary hand wrote "welcome Grayson". I added some blue pot pourri balls and woven sticks behind the blocks.
Next to that sat a medium pumpkin that was painted and crackled blue and covered in silver glitter. I then blue crackled a tall square vase and turned it upside down. Inside, I put a plug in candle and it shown thru the crackled part in a very pretty way when lit.
My living room was completely decorated from the window sills to my parson table behind the sofa. (there is a walk way between the two) A green mirror, a raven, some curly sticks from my willow in a black wine bottle with a big orange bow. A dozen wine glasses of different heights are on there and they are each half filled with black rice from the Asian Market.
They each have an orange ball candle inside which was switched out with the flickering battery candles for the shower. A candle of Pumpkin spice sits in the middle and a huge odd shaped brown vase with a trailing vine (real) sits on the left. A fake raven from our haunted houses of years past sits on top of the vine. This is my favorite thing in my house as it is the focal point from every angle.
I spent countless hours online surfing other baby shower sites for ideas. I noticed a general theme for the Mom's. A majority of them had their own chair to sit in for the boy baby shower. I knew this would make my beautiful daughter feel as special as she is.
I chose the one from our cache of party chairs that looked the most comfortable and disappeared into my craft closet for a moment. While watching one of my shows I created a seat cover within a half hour. I had some yellow fabric and a feather pillow, lots of felt and an odd throw pillow. Grayson's room colors are going to be brown, green and yellow so I went to work on this as much for the boy baby shower as for his future bedroom.
Using the yellow fabric, I sewed two pillow covers, large for the feather pillow for the back and smaller for the throw pillow for a seat.
I created a baby monkey out of felt and hot glued him to the seat. He wears a white diaper and has this silly look on his cute little face. I accidentally dripped a gob of glue near his face and smeared it while trying to remove it. I sat back trying to figure out what to do when I had an idea that became Jen's favorite part of the monkey. I cut out a felt banana and glued it over the mistake and put it in his paw. PERFECT! I cut strips of fabric and sewed it onto the outsides of the pillows so they could be used as ties on the chair. It is adorable and Jen was so excited she squealed!
But I wasn't finished. This boy baby shower is just as much for Peter as for Jen! He is a Star Trek "trekkie" so I just couldn't resist making him a seat backing for a chair with a "Spock Monkey"!
The same yellow fabric (just enough left!) was used for the background of the boy baby shower. Instead of a diaper, Spock Monkey wears the blue Star Trek command shirt with a tiny gold communicator on the chest. Spock Monkey has his fingers splayed out in Spock greetings fashion and he has green pointed ears to match.
Peter loved him and so did all of the Treekies in our lives! Water Bottles. A case of 24 mini bottles for $3 at our local store. Lighter Blue card stock cut with fancy scissor. White labels cut with a second pattern. Black fancy font reads: Congratulations Peter, Jennifer and Grayson! My father-in-law's favorite thing at the boy baby shower.
top of the page of Autumn Monkey Boy Baby Shower
I showed them to my grandson, Eli's Mom, Joyce, a very talented cake maker and asked her if she would make us a cake that matched the one on the invitation. She was thrilled and it was amazingly gorgeous! Serving plates or trays with our colors, baskets to put food or gifts in were found and members from my local freecycle family gave me many of my autumn decorations for the boy baby shower.
I made my very first diaper cake with a monkey at the top holding a doll baby bottle. I put a tag with "Grayson" on it and used three cans of formula that a friend's Grandbaby couldn't use as the base. I found autumn ribbon at the craft store for a dollar a roll and wound it around the cake to hold it in place. Small things for less than five dollars from a local store surrounded the outside of the cake: a thermometer that has a glow bug and light, funny little pacifiers, rattles and a cute teether. I topped the "cake" off with silk autumn leaves and some sunflowers.
I made many, many small items as I sat and watched TV at night during the week. (I have a bum shoulder, surgery to fix it is on the day before Thanksgiving so sometimes making things was a slow, painful process) .
You can also buy Lil Jungle Money diaper cake here.
One of my friends gave me leftover plastic wine glasses from her wedding two years ago. ( I made a pitcher of Sangria in August when we had a mystery cake party/soiree to find out what whether we would be meeting Grayson or Haley in the winter and it was fantastic so I knew that I would make it again for Grayson's shower. That was a great success; I would love to share with you sometime.
Only our medical tech and the bakery knew what his sex was, the rest of us were clueless until Jennifer and her mate, Peter, cut the cake to reveal a blue inside!)
I thought the dirty diaper game sounded like fun!
I cut a thick poster board in half and decorated it with blue streamers off the bottom. I wrote "What's in that Diaper? EWWW!" with thick marker. Underneath was 1-8 lines with the answers to each diaper. On top of that I used blue card stock to tape over each answer. Underneath that I made three yellow felt diapers with mini safety pins and glued them on for decoration. With white felt, I cut 8 triangles and folded each, making eight diapers. Super huge safety pins (out of my craft closet, a gift from a friend's mother) and blue ribbon with polka dots decorated each diaper.
Then I took the blue card stock and made a circle for each diaper and glued them on the front. Then I printed the numbers from one to eight on paper and cut them out and glued them onto the blue circles. Very cute!
I had my son choose the order of eight different candy bars and I wrote up the answers for the day of the boy baby shower. That morning, I melted a bit of each candy in a diaper (pins off!) and VOILA a "poopy" diaper which made the non-parents at the party yell "EWWWWW!"
The game was a riot and the prize was all the left over mini candy bars (56 in all) in a small green, metal bucket that I covered with saran wrap and decorated with autumn leaves. The inside of the house looked so festive!
I quickly made a second diaper game and discarded this amazing little wash line set up I made for outside and made a small one for inside (I made a teensy one out of paper and teensy weeny clothes pins and put it on the front of our 48" TV with blue spiraling ribbons. It looked darling).
I cut tiny clothes out of fabric and put a letter on each to spell "Welcome Grayson". This was to go on a top clothing line outside and underneath, on a second line, were to go all the clothing that Grandpop and I picked out for our newest little baby.
The plastic wine glasses were plain so I made what I call a Moravian star cut out (six-sided star) out of blue paper with holes in the middle. The wine glass attached to the base in the middle and I just slipped the Moravian star in between. That gave the wine glasses a little added "wow factor" to make it special for our day!
I also made fancy tags for the food. I have a set of a dozen fancy scissors and used them to vamp up our tags. I typed what each food I was serving in a fancy font on the computer and cut that out with one type of scissor. Then I glued that onto a blue piece of card stock and then used a different pattern scissor to cut that out. The final result was then glued onto black card stock and folded in half backwards to place at the front of each food. Ex: "Salmon Canapés" or "Popcorn Chicken"
ALL of the food was in miniature form: mini tacos, mini meatball sandwiches with slider rolls, homemade fudge sliced very small. "Baby-sized" for a baby shower!
The party was scheduled for 2 p.m. so making a full-sized meal was not an issue.
Of course for scrapbooking this party (it will be just behind the soiree pages!) I typed and printed the full menu for the party in the same font as the food tags. It looked amazing!
Jen and I made up a new menu,(still tiny foods) I made new food tags and set out just some of the favors.
I love, love, LOVE to make party favors and they must be unique and amazing! This shower was to be no different. I made two types of favors and am pleased with their outcome. Grayson's Dad, Peter, was sickly as a kid and because of that he is a healthy eater, has strong work out ethics and is a firm believer in the power of hand sanitizer and lots of it.
Together, Jen and I bought tiny hand sanitizers, keeping with the mini food and tiny items idea for the shower. I made covers for bottles first with black card stock and then printed this out with an elegant font " Keep em clean so you can hold the ones you love…Welcome Grayson George" and the date of the shower. That was cut out with patterned scissors and glued onto the black cover.
I arranged the bottles on a small wicker basket and scattered our nuts and paw paws around and stuck some of the sunflowers in the weaving. It looked sweet.
Our second favor was elegant and fun.
I made black pillow boxes out of card stock and cut an elegant pattern with scissor on a lighter blue. On top of that, in a fancy computer font was white, cut out with a second pattern scissor and these words: "A Baby's a brewing, a baby to love. A sweet little angel sent from above. Welcome Grayson George".
I made sixty favors. In twenty I enclosed two packages of "It's a Boy" mints (dollar store) and a packet of instant coffee. In twenty the same mints with a wrapped tea bag and the last twenty held the mints and a packet of hot chocolate.
There are so many, many more details but I have only two hours left to enter this contest and much to do! Trust me, it was awesome!
Five people braved our crazy little blizzard to come out to see Jen and Peter and we had a fabulous event.
Lots of laughter and cute little gifts and I put on a great puppet show with our Jen and Peter puppets that I made Eli for Easter.
He rolled with laughter when the puppets went away for a moment and his auntie came back with my fist in her tummy area because she had a baby in there!
The food was great and it was a great fore runner to the "real" party tomorrow!
15 people out of 40 showed up and the party was tight quarters. We had a nice day that lasted almost six hours.
Grayson received so many wonderful gifts! Jen is having a third shower at her apartment in a week before she moves home about five blocks from home. I packed up most of the left over party items and sent them home with her. They will be recycled AGAIN.
We have enough favors (I just gave some out to local Moms and Dad's who came with their trick-or-treaters) and my son, Rob, as I type, is having a Halloween party in the rest of the house with all of the autumn décor and the left over shower foods.
We took anything to do with babies upstairs to the spare bedroom!) So I have had a great time, cutting, pasting, creating and doing all that I could to make my beloved new Grandson's entry into this world a memorable time.
At the very last minute, I took all of our family photos off our living room wall and created a double line with falling silk leaves (a gift from a friend) and this became the favorite thing of our boy baby shower!
I enjoyed every minute and was sad when it ended but I know there will always be another party just around the corner! (next time I will share Eli's shower with you! His Daddy, Rob, was 17 and 60 people came to that one!!!) Thank you for taking the time to read this.