Thursday, May 29, 2014

An Octopus Garden Party

I know, months have gone by since I've posted!  I keep taking pictures and videos, and filing ideas away under "Blog this Later" in my head.  But when I finally sit down in the evening, my brain goes all foggy and the best I can do is catch up on Facebook or take a Buzzfeed quiz.

This past weekend, an expecting friend allowed me to throw her a baby shower.  I say, "allowed" because she was initially kind of anti-shower, but recognized the benefit.  After I promised no cheesy games, activities, or fuss, she warmed up to the idea and even suggested a theme: An Octopus Garden, because that is the theme for their nursery.

At first I thought, "What is in an octopus's garden, anyway?" But I needn't have worried, because, Pinterest.  So, we hosted An Octopus Garden Party, with cupcakes and mocktails.

I found some perfect table supplies at Party City, with blue and green sea creatures.  I had the most fun making the octopus decorations, though.  Because, of course, there are octopus in an Octopus's Garden.

This guy was easy.  We saved toilet paper rolls for about a month.  I painted him and five of his siblings in light blue, sea green, and coral.  I meant to take a picture of the whole family, but forgot.  After letting the paint dry, I cut eight slits about halfway up for the arms.  I put a rubber band around the center of the tube to make sure I cut the arms (fairly) evenly.

Then, I gently rolled the arms out.  I wanted to put something on the bottom of the tentacles to be like the suckers, and settled on pom-poms.  A little hot glue:

I originally thought I'd use them the whole way up the arms, but one at the end of each was perfect.  And, of course, the googly-eyes.

I also made these guys:

My intention was for them to be octopus, but I think he might look more like a jellyfish, so, you know, whichever.  These felt more time-consuming to me, and required a bit more an assembly line approach.

First, I painted paper plates, although I certainly could've used colored paper plates.  I also thought paper bowls would've worked well.

I then cut all the lengths of streamers for the tentacles - I just guessed at the length, and then used one as a template for the rest.  I think they're about two feet long.  I used eight per critter, and just scotch-taped them around the inside.

I also cut two lengths of string with which to hang the octopus/jellyfish, and taped it at the four edges, and in the middle for good measure.  What a mess, right?  So, I took a plain paper plate and attached it to the bottom.  I intended to use my go-to, hot glue, but it didn't work out with the ridges.  So, I used double-stick tape all around, and that held up fine.

So here's how everything looked the day of the party:

In the center of the table is a gummy-fish bouquet, with gummy-fish skewers I found at Wegmans and fish lollipops from Amazon.  There's a tiny fish bowl (a candle holder from Michael's) with assorted colors of Swedish fish, and the homemade cupcakes have either a gummy-lobster or gummy-whale on top.  I thought maybe we needed something to balance out the cupcakes, so I made fresh fruit bouquets...maybe not in an underwater garden, but garden-y, yes?  And I can't believe it didn't occur to me to get goldfish crackers to put in the tiny fish bowls, as well!  Oh well.

I lived dangerously and did plan one (possibly) cheesy activity.  Ok, two, but one is more interesting than the other.  The less-interesting one was just to have slips of paper out, asking people to give advice to the expectant parents.  However, I also encouraged people to give advice or their favorite inspirational quote. Not everyone is a parent, and I remember always being at a loss at baby showers when I was asked to give advice before I was a parent.  Not that I have great advice now, necessarily! But I hoped that helped non-parents not feel as awkward.

I wish I had a better picture of the second activity.  I bought a small, cheap-o wooden frame at Michael's and painted some coral-looking stuff on it, and left the rest of the frame blank.  I put out paint markers and asked people to doodle their favorite sea creature on the rest of the frame.  We had everything from starfish to a crab to one of those glow-in-the-dark fish. I was a little worried about how it would turn out, but it came out better than I expected.  Here's a picture of one of the guests working on her fish:

You can kind of see the frame.  If the guest-of-honor sends me a photo of the frame, I'll update with it.

Finally, or I guess, it was really first thing since it happened before the shower - I asked everyone to send me their favorite children's songs, and I made a compilation CD, with who submitted each song in the track listing.  I think it was the mom-to-be's favorite bit of the shower.

I should add that I travelled to Pittsburgh alone for this shower, leaving Miss A home with her daddy.  I missed her so much, but enjoyed hanging out with the one guy at the shower.

This is one of the guest's little guy.  The shower really zonked him out, but he was most charming during the party, in his little suit!  

Ok, ok, for CERTAIN friends and family who will be disappointed they read this whole post, and didn't get a single picture of Miss A, and who say, NO, a cute picture of another baby WILL NOT CUT IT:

Here she is getting tickled by her Daddy on Memorial Day.