Monday, August 3, 2009

In The Kitchen

Week of July 26 through August 1

As my best friend's wedding draws near, wedding festivities are becoming the main focus around our house. I've been spending my time planning parties, attending parties and crafting things to take to parties. It seems that every weekend until the wedding we will be celebrating in some way or another. So fun! I think every single-person I know should get married immediately so that I can continue to enjoy this party-girl lifestyle. With crafting. If Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton had a child, I would be her right now.

This weekend, my mom and I hosted a Kitchen Shower for the bride-to-be. Even better, it was a Pampered Chef kitchen shower. Melissa could not have chosen a shower we would have had more fun giving. My mom loves the kitchen gadgets (and could sell Pampered Chef products to Julia Child simply because her excitement over them is infectious) and I love to plan parties.

As soon as we knew what kind of shower Melissa wanted, I started hunting for invitations. I knew I wanted them to be aqua and brown (the wedding colors) and I knew I wanted them to have a detachable recipe card. Kind of a tall order, and I was totally prepared to design something myself, because I just knew I wouldn't find anything that fit my vision. Which was why I was so excited when I found the perfect invitations at the hardware store. Yes. The hardware store. With hardware.

You know that really awkward time at a party, when everyone is arriving and no one really knows what to do until the festivities start? Yeah, I hate that too. To break the ice as people started to arrive, we asked the guests to identify fifteen spices by scent alone. As people made their guesses, it sounded like we were having a convention for allergy sufferers in our kitchen. There was much sniffing and snorting to be heard, following by lots of laughing at the sniffing and snorting. Using the invitation as the basis for all of the party goods, I made coordinating answer cards and spice tags for the spice game.

To add a little splash of color to the party, and to coordinate with the perfect invitations, we added green to Melissa's aqua and brown color palette. I spiffed-up a store-bought brown tablecloth with a band of aqua-and-green floral fabric and a stripe of aqua rick-rack. I also made napkins from the floral fabric, and from a coordinating striped fabric. We wanted the party to look fresh and a little mod, and I think the combination of fabrics and colors worked really well.

Since we were hostessing a Kitchen Shower, my mom attached a miniature bamboo spoon to a lily (the bride's favorite flower) to make a corsage. For centerpieces, my mom arranged white flowers in large Pampered Chef batter bowls. Then, to add to the kitchen-kitsch, she added Pampered Chef scrapers and bamboo spoons to the arrangements. Each piece we used for the centerpieces was a kitchen tool that Melissa had registered for, and they made our arrangements so much more interesting and fun!

The best part about hostessing a Pampered Chef Kitchen Shower, was that I got to watch my mom in action doing what she loves to do. She's been a Pampered Chef consultant for more than ten years and she's so entertaining and fun and so great at it because she really loves the products. She did a cooking demonstration to show off some of the tools that Melissa registered for, and while the demo results were in the oven, we played another fun shower game. Mostly to keep the guests from gnawing on their own arms in anticipation of the deliciousness we were cooking, but also because there is an unwritten rule about bridal showers and games here in the South. If a hostess doesn't slightly embarrass the bride-to-be, then she isn't doing her job.

Shower embarrassment can come in many forms, from the slightly silly tiara-wearing ritual, to the all-out mortifying raunchy game of wedding night bingo with your grandmother in the room. The level of embarrassment inflicted by the hostess is inversely proportional to the number of hours said hostess has spent volunteering for the Junior League Charity Ball. Also related, whether or not the hostess owns any monogrammed panties.

To embarrass Melissa we asked her to model an apron covered in kitchen tools. We are really good at this hostess job. We then asked the guests to remember as many gadgets as they could after only viewing the bride's ensemble for one minute. I made the apron from the same floral and striped fabrics I used for the table linens, and an adorable retro apron pattern from McCalls (M5643, view C).

The winners of our shower games were awarded with kitchen towels that I embellished with bands of our party fabrics.

Guests then had the opportunity to choose a gift to order for the bride-to-be from her registry. To prevent duplicate gifts, and to make their selections easier, I made a tag for each item Melissa registered for and hung them on a small wire tree. Of course, the tags coordinated with the invitations, and with the other paper goods for the party. I'm very meticulous and detail oriented, and my head practically exploded from all the fun The Crazy was having making everything match.

As guests began leaving, we handed out sweet party favors. I made small fabric bags from aqua striped seersucker and my mom filled them with the dry ingredients for a sugar cookie recipe. We tied the bags with brown and aqua polka dotted ribbon and attached a heart shaped cookie cutter and a recipe card for "Cookie-ing" up a Lifetime of Love. So cheesy, but they looked really cute, especially since the recipe card also coordinated with the invitation. Of course it did.

I truly hope that Melissa had as much fun at her party as we had preparing for it. I'm never happier than when I have a reason to plan a party and spend hours-on-end in my craft room. To be spending that time on a wedding shower for my best friend made it even more enjoyable. I really loved putting this shower together for her, and I hope I was able to create something special and memorable in her honor.

Below are a few more pictures from the party. Enjoy.

All Around Our House Next Week: Creative Cards

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