Category Archives: Parties & Entertaining

Peas in a Pod: A baby shower for twins

I was pretty quiet last week because I was busy with preparations for one of my best friend’s baby showers.  Specifically, I was most busy making this shower cake!

Twins Baby Shower Cake

I love how it turned out, though I wish we hadn’t had humidity issues in the 3 hour car ride, because it caused a little bleeding of the colors.  Oh well.

Because Reba is expecting twins, her sister and mother chose the theme of Peas in a Pod, and they did such a great job executing it!

PicMonkey Collage

Clockwise, from top left:  one vase was nestled inside another so that frozen peas could be added.  A clothesline of bibs above a table with fabric markers so we all could decorate bibs for the babies.  My cake.  Party favors were Pea in Pod wildflower seed bombs from Pulp Art on Etsy. Twins Baby Shower02

My friend made button art monograms in shadow boxes for the nursery, which you can see on top of the fireplace.  They are awesome, though she said she burned her fingers with the hot glue a ton while making them. Twins Baby Shower03

Have you ever heard of Advice Diapers?  Neither had I, but it was cute.  Guests were able to write some advice for the new parents on diapers.  I got a chuckle thinking of a daycare provider going to change a diaper, only to find a message written on the front of it…

Baby Shower Advice Diapers1

These two handmade baby quilts stole the show as the most imaginative and handmade gift.  The nursery will have an accent wall with green stripes and a tree mural. . . and these two quilts each have half a tree, which forms a whole when put together.  Love it!

Below Reba is posing with the maker of the quilts, whose name I didn’t get.

Twins Baby Shower11

Twins Baby Shower12

Oh, and if the house in the shower looks familiar, it’s because we used it for my other good friend’s Safari Theme baby shower last summer, as well as Reba’s post-wedding brunch this March.  A huge thanks to Reba’s mom for always opening her home to us when we’re in Richmond. :)










DIY: Teal Ombré Floral Arrangements & Tablescape

For my friend’s surprise birthday dinner last week I got to decorate, and chose to do a teal/blue ombré theme complete with ombré floral arrangements.  I think this was my first time “officially” doing a tablescape for a dinner, and I had so much fun with it!

Blue Ombre Tablescape with DIY Burlap Planter Boxes | The Borrowed Abode

When C’s husband said to me “the restuarant said that we have a semi-private space and can come in an hour early to decorate, if you want to” – I jumped at the chance!

The only catch? I didn’t have any inspiration for the decor!  I didn’t want to do something so typical as  a fall theme.  I hopped onto Pinterest and started doing for phrases like “tablescape” and “dinner party table”, etc.  I stumbled onto some images of ombré floral arrangements, and the rest is history.

Sidenote: Thanks for understanding that I’m not sharing the cost because it was for my good friend.  With advance planning and use of coupons and sales at craft stores, you should be able to obtain the flowers and candle holders on sale for 40-50% off.  If you don’t do that, the cost of fake flowers will add up quickly.

Ombre Teal Tablescape and Ombre Floral | The Borrowed Abode

A collage of random vases filled with flowers of all sorts would have been awesome, but would require lots of faux flowers, thus increasing the cost.  Second, having to cart a ton of fragile vases into the restuarant would be more cumbersome.

Planter boxes, however, would be easy to transport safely, and I had enough scrap wood to build them. 

I ended up using some very warped boards to build the planter boxes. I was in a hurry and was attemping to bake a cake,  so I forgot to take photos and make  tutorial.  It’s probably for the best, since the wood was so warped that the boxes ended up looking awful.  But it was late and I didn’t have time (or wood) to try again, so I grabbed leftover wedding burlap to wrap the boxes.

Burlap Wrapped Flower Planter Boxes | The Borrowed Abode

I simply wrapped the burlap inwards and stapled it to the insides of the boxes, being careful to fold neat and tidy corners on the sides.  Even though I hadn’t meant to bring burlap into the decor scheme, it worked in a pinch.

Creating Faux Floral Planter Box | The Borrowed Abode

I lined the insides of the planter boxes with floral foam, then cut the stems short using wire cutters.  After that it was as simple as popping each short stem into the foam, fluffing the flower petals a bit, and tucking in some of the leaves.

I love how they turned out, especially that gorgeous dark teal color.

Ombre Tablescape Blue Hydrangeas | The Borrowed Abode

I also wanted to add some sparkle and glam to the table, so I snagged three votive holders at the craft store. They were in the Christmas decor section, and I figure they could come in handy for holiday decor in the future.  (Ryan has since told me they’re ugly and he hopes I will never use them again. :)

Silver Mercury Glass Tealight Candle Tapers | The Borrowed Abode

I also DIY’ed some little silver votive candles.  They came 12 to a box, so that’s what I went with.  I used some Silver Liquid Leaf paint and some 3M painter’s tape to create designs on the glass votives.  Honestly, while I’m happy with the designs, I’m disappointed in the lustre, or lack thereof, of the silver paint.

Silver Liquid Leaf Painted Votive Candles | The Borrowed Abode

The next night at the restaurant, however, it didin’t seem to matter that much. Candlelight always looks pretty, and it was dark in the restaurant.Ombre Tablescape Silver Leaf Votive | The Borrowed Abode

For the final touch, I took a cheap white sheet that I already had, cut it into strips, and dyed them in three different gradiations of teal.  This was directly inspired by Jenn’s photos from the Portland Blogger’s MeetupThanks, Jenn!

To get three variations from one box of RIT dye, I simply made three different small vats of dye, using only a little dye in the first, more in the second, and the most in the third.  Unfortunately the table was only long enough for me to use two of the gradients, so it wasn’t the total ombré effect I was hoping for – but I still think it looked great!

And now that the party is over, where are my ombré floral planter boxes?  Well, one is sitting on our dining table because we both love how it looks.   The other’s fate is yet-to-be-determined. :)

Teal Ombre Floral Planter Boxes | The Borrowed Abode

A Safari Theme Baby Shower & a Free Printable!

I recently helped host a baby shower for one of my closest friends.  It took place in a gorgeously decorated house, so we didn’t have to go overboard with the decorations, but we had some fun playing with the Safari theme we chose.

Baby Shower for Crysty |

For party favors I created little DIY Herb Kits, a project that came together pretty easily and for about $3 per favor. I know that’s not super cheap, but these days it’s nearly impossible to create a good (i.e useful and not crappy) party favor for less than 3 bucks.

DIY Herb Kit – Supplies Needed

  • Mini Plant Pots
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic sandwich or other baggies
  • Packets of herb seeds
  • Glassine Seed Envelopes (or jewelry-sized ziploc baggies from the craft store)
  • Plant Markers (or wooden craft sticks)

These little pots were on summer clearance at the craft store, marked down from $5 to $1.75, and I had a 15% off coupon that brought them down to less than $1.50 each.  I already had some biodegradable plastic baggies on hand from Nashville Wraps, and they came in handy to hold the soil.

DIY Mini Herb Kit Party Favors |

How To Make DIY Herb Kit Party Favors

  1.  Place a plastic bag inside the plant pot and fill it with soil, then close up the baggie with a twist tie or ribbon.  (A sandwich or Ziploc bag could also be used.)
  2. Put a few seeds for each type of herb into the small glassine envelope, then seal it with a piece of pretty tape.  Put a label on the front, or write the names of the herbs and days to germination on a small piece of paper.  Tuck the mini seed packet into the pot.
  3. Using a tongue depressor or plant marker, write the names of the herbs on one end.  Stick the plant marker into the pot too.
  4. Insert the DIY Herb Pot into a larger plastic baggie, then tie with a ribbon and attach a little note, if you want to.

My friend had created a small thank-you note which I printed out and affixed to squares of safari-patterned scrapbook paper.

As for the decorations, the co-host ordered a safari decor kit with water bottle labels, banners, mini garlands, and some other items, but I still wanted to make a few decorations.  My easy fabric bunting method came in handy for a few triangular banners using safari-themed fabrics.

Baby Shower Safari DIY Bunting |

We set out the food in the kitchen, and boy did we have a feast. Better too much than too little at a party, right?

Baby Shower Food |

You do know about Jenn, the amazing food blogger at Peas and Crayons, right?  I made her infamous Spinach & Feta Quiche Cups.  They were a HUGE hit, and so easy and fun to make.  I love how the wontons make anything into an easy finger food.

Spinach Feta Quiche Wonton Cups |

Cheese Platter with Figs and Jams |

For dessert, the co-host made cute safari cupcakes and I made strawberry shortcake shooters – a random experiment that I am now madly in love with.

I snagged some (supposedly) disposable shot glasses at the party store.  To fill them, I chopped both strawberries and pound cake into tiny cubes.  I layered pound cake, whipped cream, strawberries, and more whipped cream in the shot glasses.

We had to hone the skill of “throwing back” a strawberry shortcake shooter s that it all popped out and into your mouth, but once the skill was mastered they were a fun and easy way to enjoy a bite of dessert while mingling!

Strawberry Shortcake Shooters |

Safari Snack Baskets  |

The beverage jars from my wedding rehearsal dinner came in handy for the shower.  I got the wooden elephant cutouts at the craft store and wrote the beverage names on them, then adhered them with tape. Nothing fancy.  Strawberry Lemonade (lemonade with slices of strawberry and lemon floating) and Mint Limeade (just toss fresh mint and lime slices into limeade) were the beverages on tap.

Party Beverages Mint Limeade Strawberry Lemonade  |

Free Safari Baby Shower Bingo Printable

The PDF file has bingo cards in blue, green, gray, and pink, and it prints two bingo cards per page.  I recommend printing it onto cardstock paper. The bingo squares will be blank, and you ask guests to fill in items they think the baby will receive.

I used PowerPoint to create this template, and for our shower I typed in items that I thought she’d receive.  It was a little time consuming to type them in, in a radomized fashion, on 15 or 20 pages, and I realized afterwards that I left some key items off.  That’s when I decided that it was better to leave the squares blank.

Safari Theme Baby Shower Bingo Printable  |

We used a bottle of champagne, a travel mug filled with candy, and some Save the Amazon chocolate bars as Baby Bingo prizes.

I feel like I should have some clever way of wrapping up this post, but I don’t – so imagine a stork flying off into the sunset.   As for the baby in waiting, he’s due any day now.  Fingers crossed for an easy arrival – his mom’s decided to do a natural birth.

As for the typical post-wedding question of when I’ll be attending my own baby shower . . . let me just say that we will *not* be decorating a nursery at The Borrowed Abode anytime soon.  :)

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Sticks Wedding Favor

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels: Edible Wedding Favors

Early on in the planning process Ryan and I nixed the idea of wedding favors.  So many weddings include them, and brides are now spending upwards of $4 a person on a trinket that is supposed to provide a lasting memory to the guest who attended.

And let’s be honest – not many favors appeal to all people, or they end up adding clutter to their homes. And most of the affordable options out there are not biodegradable and are most definitely Made in China.

But at the last minute we decided to offer our guests something sensible and something sinful:  bottles of water and chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks.

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Sticks Wedding Favor

The chocolate-dipped pretzel rods were a pretty easy project that was accomplished in one evening with the help of a friend.

Did you know you shouldn’t use chocolate chips for coating pretzels?  I learned that the hard way!

After dipping the pretzels, we had some issues getting the chocolate to harden.  It turns out that chocolate chips have additives that help the chips say soft after the cookies are baked.  You don’t want that quality when you’re making chocolate-coated pretzel rods.  Baking chocolate, on the other hand, will harden nicely.  Another option is to use the candy disks that they sell at the craft stores, but I’m not a fan of them because I don’t think they’re great quality and I’m a chocolate snob!

Total cost of wedding favors for 85 people? Less than $100 !


  • Pretzel rods
  • Ghirardelli dark semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • Sprinkles

Here’s how we did it:

  1. Line your counter top with wax paper, if you’re making a ton.  In my case, we had to make 140.  If you’re making a smaller amounts, you can set the pretzels on a baking sheet or across the top of a bowl to dry.
  2. Break the baking chocolate into a tall container.   We used a tall, wide-mouthed mason jar.  You need to be able to dip a good part of the pretzel!Melt Chocolate In Tall Containers
  3. Microwave it, checking every 30-45 seconds to stir the mixture and prevent burning.  You’ll need a pot holder so you don’t burn your hands on the container.
  4. After a few minutes your chocolate should be smooth and melty.   Dip each pretzel stick in, then pull it out and let the excess drip off.
  5. Set it on the wax paper, and then shake the sprinkles onto it before it hardens.Drying Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods
  6. Continue the process, re-microwaving the chocolate and adding more chunks whenever it starts to harden.
  7. Let dry overnight to ensure they harden fully before you package them.

It’s so easy!

Packaging the Pretzel Rods

To ensure our treats weren’t wasteful, I ordered skinny biodegradable plastic pouches from Nashville Wraps, my go-to packaging source for Janery.  They were the perfect size to hold two pretzel sticks.

I tied the pouches with ribbon and added fun little tags.  Cute packaging makes all the difference!!   I created the tags using a “thank you” stamp and the same lace stamps used on our escort cards.  The tags were cut with a die cutter from the craft store.

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels Wedding Favors

Easy Personalized Water Bottles

To dress up the water bottles for the occasion, I created some labels with our initials, in our wedding colors.  We then printed them, cut them out, and wrapped them around the bottles, securing them with a small piece of tape. If you’re really particular you can use double-sided tape.

Free Printable Water Bottle Labels

I created the labels in  PowerPoint, and I’m sharing it as a free, customizable printable where you can change the initials, colors, or even the image background if you want to.  At least this way you have a guide to work off of.  It fits most standard small water bottles.

Get Your Free Printable Labels!

Click here to access the water bottle labels. 

At the wedding the favors were on a table, with a framed sign in the middle that read “something sensible and something sinful”, with arrows pointing to each.  Unfortunately the table didn’t look as amazing as I’d hoped, because I totally forgot to pack containers for the pretzels.  As a result they were just piled on the table.

I suppose the poor display won’t make or break our marriage, though. 😉

Wedding Favor Table

 PS: If you’re new to the blog, click here for more wedding project posts!