Book-themed baby shower

[Posted by Susan] Friends that know me well know that I looooooove baby showers. They'll also accuse me of being sarcastic when I say that.  I confess that for most of my adult life, I found it incredibly painful to sit through so many staid gatherings or uber-sugary sweet soirees for expectant friends and family members.  Sure, I'd show up, smile along with all the aunts for the ooh-ing and aaah-ing at the tiny onesies that the baby will wear for five minutes and fein interest in the silly diaper-themed games.... and then bolt for the booze---or the exit (especially at the dry ones)-- at the first opportunity.  Jeez, you ask, why the bad attitude?  Well, without launching into a long diatribe, I'll simply say that my aversion mirrors my attitude about most consumer-driven holidays and traditions:  It's just SO. MUCH. STUFF.  And for such little creatures, babies sure seem to get a $#!T ton of stuff.  I just personally find it all a little (and sometimes a lot) overwhelming.

Soon after my dear friend Pip shared with us she was pregnant, I immediately offered to help organize a baby shower.  "But you don't like baby showers," she said.  (She knows me well).  "Yeah, but we'll make it a fun party!" I replied.  And I actually wasn't being sarcastic that time.  Ok, a bit of backstory:  most of my best-est gal pals, Pip included, share a deep love for garage sales. We've gone to extremes to clear our calendars in order to have a couple hours to go garage-saling together.  It's a fun, social, and oh-so-satisfying way to get a crazy-good deal.  Pip also happens to be an extreme coupon-clipper, master deal-maker, and occasional dumpster-diver (oh, the stories I could share!).  The girl's got some serious skills!   So when I agreed to help plan the shower, I just knew she would already have most of the baby gear she'd need from garage sales and hand-me-downs, making a traditional gift-giving bonanza really unnecessary, and thus we could just plan a really cool party.   Rather than a traditional baby gift registry filled with tchotchkes from China, she asked for guests to bring a book to help to build baby's library.  Bam!  Brilliant!  And so, the idea for an entire book-themed baby shower was born.  

So over the course of several happy hours and dinners as part of our supper club (we're one of four couples that gets together every Wednesday night for dinner, rotating houses each week) our little friend group plotted and planned a pretty darn cool little baby shower (if we do say so ourselves).  

So what were the winning ingredients?  

  • Boys!  It was a couple's shower, so the dudes could come along and join in the fun. 
  • Booze!  Duh!  It's not a party without a little libation (in my book).  
  • Blooms!  Second only to booze, a party isn't a party without some fresh flowers.  There were lots and LOTS of flowers from Buckeye Blooms that added so much warmth and color to the historic home where the party took place.
  • Books!  We used new and old classics to decorate the entire space, from pairing books with food on the buffet table to combining titles with some of our vintage vessels.  Ok, so, yeah, we *may* have gotten a little too literal with the Puss in Boots-themed vase, but what-evs. 

Oh, and tons and tons of sweets and desserts---including an incredible book-shaped cake (keep scrolling for photos!) 

In the weeks leading up to the shower, my friends and I scoured garage sales (and the attic at the farm) for food-themed titles or other books that would pair well with the party fare and our collection of vintage baby shower vases including ceramic elephant, dog, duck and baby booties.  Flipping through my dad's famous attic inventory book always brings a few tears...often followed by giggles in bemusement at his level of organization. Sure enough, he had kept most of my books and those of my brothers from childhood.  They were all tucked away neatly in box M.  In addition to finding some classics to use at the shower, I also snagged a few for J.B. so he could expand his library beyond  his many volumes of truck-themed titles.  

All the books and flowers added a festive flair to the party.  At one point I remember looking up to see an entire table of people engrossed in reading some of the books.   In eschewing traditional shower games (most of which I think are pretty cheesy) my friend Michelle coordinated a cool little pub quiz-type game with trivia questions centered around characters in children's books.  It was waaaaaaay more fun and interesting than seeing who can melt their ice cube--- that has a tiny plastic baby frozen in the center---the fastest. (I'm not making that up---I actually had to play that game at a baby shower once....and NO, it wasn't a drinking game. I remember being stone cold sober for that one and wishing I'd packed a flask!...) 


My two year-old helped to decorate the moon and star-shaped cookies above---can you tell?!?  : ) 

All in all, it was a fabulous affair.  Pip & Erich were showered with lots of love and lots of books for their wee one's library.  The final gift that they opened was a special title my friend Michelle gave to them:  The Dumpster Diver.  A book that she she found, conveniently, at a garage sale.  It was a perfect bookend to a perfect party.  Ok, I'll stop the book references now.  (I promise!)  

Ok, maybe just a few more photos....