I have always been anti-baby shower. Not in the ‘bah-humbug-grinch’ kind of way, more in the ‘it-seems-so-Americanised’ and ‘I-don’t-see-the-point-or-need-in-buying-both-a-baby-shower-gift-and-a-gift-when-the-baby-is-born’ kind of way. Ok, so maybe a bit bah humbug. But don’t get me started on stupid baby food tasting games or nappy changing time trials. This post from Joanna almost changed my mind though – the idea of a collective of womenfolk sharing advice, storytelling of war stories and triumphs, gathering together to celebrate their friend or sister or daughter entering into motherhood – that I could probably do. And not keeping it exclusive to women too, that appealed.
Matt asked me a few months ago if I thought I’d have a baby shower. I said no, well not unless someone really wanted to throw me one, but my closest friends and sisters were pretty much in the same school of thought about baby showers as me. Everyone except my Yankee friend Amy, of course. So she wanted to throw me a baby shower, I said yes hesitantly…and quickly stipulated that it wasn’t to be too-showery, no gifts, no silly games, it was to be just at our home and Matt, our male friends and brothers were to be included. We had been thinking we’d like to have our friends and family over to our new/old home for a collective catch-up since returning home, a housewarming of sorts (but Matt was still refusing to call it such as he thought it ridiculous to ‘warm’ a home we’d already lived in, touche). All this lead to an idea – the concept of celebrating not me in particular, not us becoming parents in particular, but rather celebrating our village. Our wonderful village of close friends and family who are exactly the reason we want to live here, bring our baby home here, raise our family here. Our wonderful village who we know will support us in this pretty momentous stage in our lives. Our wonderful village who have already supplied us with all that we need materially for our soon-to-be baby, and will supply us with all that we need emotionally as we pick our way through the early stages of parenting. Our wonderful village who will help raise our baby.
Yes, let’s celebrate them.
With the concept conceived, I set to work designing some simple invites – I wanted to work with kraft card (my staple papergoods go-to), and had in my mind a colour palette of glittery gold and mint for this soiree – throwing in some peach and navy to balance out the ‘if-it’s-a-girl’ / ‘if-it’s-a-boy’ scenario. I sourced a little ‘village’ illustration, chose my fonts (Antrokas and Brain Flower) and tried to word the invite to correctly convey the kind of gathering we were having. The words ‘Housewarming’ and ‘Baby Shower’ were pretty much vetoed by Matt, but I had to use them unless he could come up with another term (he in fact vetoed the whole idea of invites but I think he’s forgetting who he married!) I did put in ‘House(re)warming’ as I did tend to agree we couldn’t very well have a legitimate housewarming here!
Using some washi tape in gold, mint, peach and navy I wanted to create a bunting across the top of the invites. I punched two holes at the top and threaded through a piece of white embroidery string I had (I measured it to be about three times the width of the invite). After a bit of trial and error I discovered it was much less fiddly to put the tape on before attaching the string, position the string in the middle of a piece of tape (mine were about an inch long) then fold the tape over. Trim a little triangle out of the tape to create a pointed bunting, or you could make triangles, or keep square.
I experimented with both tying and sticking the tape at the back of the invite, deciding that tying was better because the string could still move and I didn’t have to be too pedantic about getting the tape in the dead centre of the string.
Along with the invitations I made little cards, printed on mint card, explaining that we would not like gifts for our home or our baby – ‘our generous village has supplied us with all that we need’. I did however like the idea of receiving books for our baby, you can never have enough books! The book can act as a card with people writing in them, I like the idea of reading the sweet children’s books to our baby one day and knowing who gave them this gift before they were even born and it will keep on giving for years of enjoyment. Books rule! The cards I embellished with some shiny gold dot stickers and more washi tape.
Voila! It takes a village indeed, a village which ought to be celebrated and thanked accordingly, which we plan to do with gusto (and a barbeque and Guinness cake).
Did you have a baby shower?
Got a generous and fabulous ‘village’ too?
Warmed a house twice by any chance?