Monday, May 8, 2017

Wild Baby Shower

I am so insanely excited for my sister-in-love and big brother. They have baby #2 (affectionately titled Baby Bean for now) on the way! This is definitely because Bean is my brother's nickname and this is their first boy! 

I have really loved planning parties with my own hostess momma as of late, so we jumped at the opportunity to plan a baby shower for their second (although it took some convincing my sis that baby showers are OK for a second baby. I mean, a boy is a completely different reason to celebrate, right?

I'll admit that I had a general idea right off the bat for a wild baby shower, since my brother was obsessed with plants, tigers and jungle themes growing up, but for some reason it wasn't pulling together like I had in my head. I'm not a big fan of the cartoon jungle animals and I just hate monkeys in general, so I started to hone in on the plant aspect of the wild kingdom. I'm so happy it went that direction because it turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself! 

Since I originally thought the venue was taking care of the centerpieces until about 4 days before the shower and my momma was in Florida, I had to do some quick thinking! I went to the dollar store and bought out their selection of margarita, sundae and mini fish bowl glasses. With a little bit of rose gold spray paint and some succulents from the Hy-Vee garden section, they looked like they fit right in! 

To further tie in the plant life, I hacked into the Hostas in our front yard the morning of the shower and wrote the guests' names on them in a metallic gold marker to make our name cards! 
We decided to "rent out" the balcony of our Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens (which are freaking amazing, by the way). I put quotations because they really did us a favor since they don't actually rent out the balcony normally. They were fantastic through this process! Our amazing server, Jessica (above) not only took care of us for our party, but even loaded up gifts and helped carry them out afterwards! 

What we didn't anticipate was how much the heat would be magnified on a 75 degree day! While mom and I were setting up, we were literally sweating. The staff came to the rescue and brought a huge fan, which helped immensely! 

To help even more with the heat, we had a lavender mint lemonade and water bar. There was coffee available as well, but I'm pretty sure no one even touched it! 

I also designed menus to match the invitations. 

I know I'm on succulent overload, but these are so stinkin' cute! 

And what is a baby shower without at least one game? I sheepishly forgot to take a picture, but I designed a game to match the menus and invites. Each person matched the gestational period of each jungle animal on the sheet. Oddly enough, we had to do a 4-way tiebreaker! And check out the momma's adorable nephew, Ryker, above. I couldn't get enough of his chubby cheeks! 

I almost forgot to mention the best part: dessert! We each had chocolate mousse, key lime mousse and chocolate cookie bars cut into sweet little hearts. 

We took some time to open gifts. I selfishly only included the gift my husband made for his nephew. But seriously, a little wooden truck? :) 

And I'm so excited that my sis suggested a group shot! We missed a few who had to leave early, but this is such a fun way to remember everyone who came! Plus, I'm not usually in any photos, so this was kinda nice!) Thanks to our awesome server for taking this photo! 

And to top off the event, each guest took home one (or two) of the centerpiece succulents! Lord knows I can hardly keep the house plants alive that I already have. I don't need 20 more! 

This was such a blast in spite of the heat and I'm sure my sis would agree that we can't wait until Baby Bean makes his arrival in June! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

A&A's Vintage Literary Shower

It doesn't take long to get to know Aaron. Once you're around him for five minutes, you realize he is earnest and intelligent. Having known him as my honorary big brother for my entire life, I feel like I have a wonderful history of perspective. More than brilliant in his classroom or in a simple discussion, he is passionate. He is passionate about Christ, about literature, and now about his bride-to-be, Addie. 

As soon as they announced their engagement, my amazing mom and I knew we wanted to host a shower for them. Knowing that Aaron is a hopeless romantic and a complete book worm, I envisioned vintage books, card catalogs and draping greenery. After seeing it all come together this past weekend, I'm happy to say it was everything I imagined! 

One of the first things I knew would be created was a table runner made from vintage pages. It was astonishingly easy to create and ended up looking pretty amazing, if I do say so myself! And the centerpieces were even better than I imagined. I owe a big thank you to the East Des Moines Hy-Vee for working with mom and me to make our description come to life! If you can't see it too well in the above image, we had a quote displayed with each centerpiece as well. 

Once the elements started coming together, it only seemed appropriate that we serve an almost-proper tea with mini tarts, chocolates and mini cheesecakes with loose florals about the room. But given that the groom is a coffee connoisseur and half of those in attendance are Swedish, we had coffee as well! 

But seriously, these flowers were amazing! And placing them in card catalogs? I wish these had been at my wedding! 

As guests entered, they came upon a typewriter sign guiding them to write a letter to the bride and groom that would be mailed during the first few months of their marriage. Leaning up against the wooden box is one of their invitations for the shower. When you flip back the vintage book page, the invitation details were on a second sheet underneath!

Aaron's dad took his letter-writing seriously!

Also draped around the room were heart garlands made from old books that mom and I worked on for quite a bit of time! They ended up adding a perfect touch to the ambiance. Definitely worth it! We also offered party favors of tiny leather-bound journals for guests to take home. 

As much as I loved how the decor pulled together, my favorite part was seeing everyone get to know each other before the wedding and just have a wonderful time hanging out. 

I know I'm biased, but my niece is the cutest! 

We wanted to keep with the ambiance of the afternoon, but what fun is a shower without at least one game? I found some British Tea rules and decided to make it into a True/False game. It ended up being quite a bit of fun (competitive, even!) and I was happy that I actually was able to fool a few! Can  you guess which ones are false? 

My dad then gave a brief devotional about how building your spouse's self-esteem is so vitally important and one of the biggest things couples want to learn how to do. After praying for the couple as they start out their marriage, it was time to open some gifts!

It ended up being such a fun afternoon and I think truly captured the essence of Aaron and Addie. I also wanted to give some accolades to Endor Woodworks for creating these amazing card catalogs for the centerpieces. I'm married to the owner, but I can still be impressed and brag a bit! They turned out perfectly! 

Aaron & Addie, thank you for allowing us to host your wedding shower. it was truly an honor and I hope you had as much fun as we did! I love you both and can't wait for your wedding next month!  

Monday, January 23, 2017

In the Morning when I rise...

Since my husband and I moved in to our home about a year ago, we've been consistently making it our own. It is a beautiful home already, but it's so fun to add personal touches and more character. So when the hubs was on a work trip in December, I became determined to put up curtains in the kitchen before his return. (It's amazing how quickly you can get something done when you realize that the entire neighborhood can see you baking by yourself at night!)

So in typical fashion, when I got that project done, I realize there is something else to tackle. As soon as I had the curtains up (I used wall anchors and everything!), I noticed that they looked a little low. They were straight and all, but now there was this huge empty space above the windows. I knew I wanted to fill the space with something meaningful, since it is a main focus point in the house, and I knew I already loved the phrase, "In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus." It was just a matter of finding the right way to display it. 

Add in the fact that my husband is a pretty amazing woodworker and owns his own business, and the outcome is pretty much unavoidable! (For real, though, he creates some beautiful pieces! Go check out ) He helped me pick out a beautiful piece with some sweet looking gnarls and grain, then prepped it for me. All I had to do was paint! 

Don't get me wrong, it took a while to paint, but it is pretty relaxing and I'm SO jazzed about the outcome! Now every time I walk into my kitchen, I get this amazing reminder that all I need to start my day is Jesus. Plus, I think it really completes the aesthetics of the room. 

Wookiee doesn't seem to care or notice. I suppose as long as he can still look out the window at the neighbor dog and cat, he's happy. 

Since my hubs and I make such a great team, we've added painted signs like these to his repertoire, so   check out his website if you're interested in a sign like this for your home! That is about as salesy as I get, but I'm pretty proud of it and it has transformed our kitchen to a home with a purpose!  

Now if you'll excuse me, I could use a little bit of Jesus and coffee this morning. Have a beautiful week! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Star Wars Throw Pillows

December usually finds me obsessing over all things Christmas, which is completely true this year as well. However, this December in particular brings on another obsession of mine as well: Star Wars! 

Rogue One will be released this month (my husband pre-ordered our tickets for opening night!), so at the same time my excitement was building for this new movie, I was also trying to figure out what throw pillows to use for our bedroom re-design. It's pretty safe to say my excitement for the movie influenced my pillow choice! 

I quickly decided that I wanted Star Wars-themed throw pillows, but couldn't find exactly what I wanted that was half-way affordable. Thus- I busted out my crafting side and make it happen! If you live under a rock and have not seen the original (and better) episodes IV, V & VI, these are some snarky names used by Han Solo and Princess Leia for each other. My hubs and I are both pretty sarcastic with each other, so with our love for Star Wars, this was perfect! 

It was super easy as well; even the non-crafter could easily do this in an hour or two! I ordered the pillow cases on Amazon and found some craft pillows at JoAnne Fabrics. If you can sew instead of buying the cases- go for it! The only other item I used was a fabric pen. I personally selected a Sharpie fabric dye marker from Hobby Lobby. (I'd recommend two in case one dries up)

If you're like me and already messed up your first pillowcase and want a bit more of a satisfaction guarantee, a pre-printed design might be a good option. I printed the text in a SW font and secured it underneath the fabric in the placement I wanted, first tracing it with a pencil, then filling it in with the marker. It ended up being so easy! Pay attention to the directions of the marker or dye you use, as some need to be set with an iron before use! 

For a pretty easy craft project, these pillows turned out better than I had hoped! I love the addition to our bedroom without affecting the aesthetics too much. I mean, if I were to do a full Star Wars room, I'd just go all out and get a hovercraft bed, Wampa-skin rug and Rancor head wall-mount. (A girl can dream, right?) 

I also kinda love the Darth Vader plush to make the point a little stronger. It happened to be one of my punny valentines from a few years ago! "The force is strong between us" never gets old. :) And it's a miracle the dogs haven't destroyed it yet like they did the Yoda plush. "Yoda one for me!"
...  funny, right? anyone? Bueller? 

Hopefully this has inspired you to personalize your pillows. Wookiee doesn't look too thrilled, but I'm sure he is inwardly wishing I'd make him his own mini-pillow. 

Let me know if you're going to be doing your own version of this project- I'd love to see them! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Be Still and Know

I ran into a friend of mine at the craft store a few days ago. We hadn't seen each other for years, so I felt terrible that when she asked how I was, all I could do was say "busy!" and apologize as I asked about how her kiddos were before rushing out the door to my next deadline and destination. 

As I drove away, I thought about that conversation and realized that the last few months have been the craziest I've experienced in a while! It's been the type of fall that I've been getting up early to work on things before my full time job and staying up late to get things done before hopping into bed to start over.

I typically have a hard time saying "no" and end up stressing myself out a bit. As I look back on the last few months, I realize that I need to sit down and spend some time in the Bible- just being still and knowing that He is God. It's so hard to do when you have a to-do list a mile long, but my soul needs it!

Now that I can finally take a moment to post from last weekend's session, I love looking back on these images. Even through a shorter session, we had fun and were able to capture some beautiful moments. No chaos, no rushing, just taking a moment to capture the beauty of family. I can almost hear the birds singing as the sun slowly sets on a Friday night!

You may remember Harper from my last post, and she has already grown in the last few weeks! 

Harper is already super loved- they are a fantastic big brother/big sister team! 

I love getting these shots! It's pretty typical that couples want photos of the family and the kids, but so rarely get photographs of just the two of them! They were so sweet and I'm glad we took a moment for this! 

I hope you're all having a beautiful week enjoying the last weeks of warm(ish) weather. As for me, I'll be talking myself into taking a break soon!