Nautical Baby Shower

The Creative Erb – Nautical Themed Baby Shower

Nautical-themed baby showers seem to be all the rage. I got to throw my good friend’s own shower in a house with the perfect setting–the home overlooks a local lake and already featured nautical interior decor! I wish this friend had a blog because she is truly the most well-rounded creative person I know.


We set the mood for the party by peppering the whole area with mini paper flags atop wood skewers, anchored in jars full of sand. Even in a home with a perfect setting, I think it’s very important to use decorations to designate the party area and to show that today’s event is extra special.


We also crafted rope vases and filled with dried hydrangeas. Like everything else, we got the idea from Pinterest. What’s not mentioned on Pinterest is how expensive this little craft can be! Here are my tips when making these rope vases:

  • Pick a small container to wrap. The thickness of the rope really adds bulk. We used plastic peanut butter containers!
  • Check your local farm supply store for the rope. The rope was much more expensive than we anticipated, and it took several yards to make each vase!
  • Choose a thick rope. Not only will this make wrapping a lost faster but it will save some money.
  • Cut the beginning and end of your ropes at an angle to make it easier to hide the ends. This takes a very sharp cutting tool! Using flowers that hang over the top of the vase also helps hide flaws.

Shower activity that isn't cheesy

The latest trend in baby showers is to provide interactive activities instead of cheesy games. The best part is that if it’s something crafty, the mother-to-be can take the creations home and the items can serve a purpose. We decided to ask guests to help us fill out 18 birthday cards with special birthday messages for the baby, then sealed them so that baby and momma have to wait until each birthday to open the messages!

Bucket List for Baby's First Year

We also created a “bucket list” asking for suggestions of special activities to do with baby during the first year.




Refreshments included a beach of cupcakes created from brown sugar and oyster cookies complete with a marshmallow “pearl.” We tried over and over to make the sand dollar sugar cookies, but this was an epic pintrosity, LOL.    nautical-theme-shower-invites

The invites are now available in my Etsy store!

Nautical themed baby shower




Palette Wall and Plank Sign

Stained wood planks make the perfect signs

Valentine’s Day has given me motivation to share my “Love Me” painted wood sign, which means I also need to share photos of the palette wall in our bedroom since we made the sign from it’s leftovers.

Make a plank wall using cedar fence boards

After watching pin after pin of palette walls last year, I had to have my own wood plank wall. Since I was prego, there were some definite precautions I needed to take. After reading this post from Funky Junk Interiors about the hazards of reusing palettes for home projects, I decided to play it safe and headed to Menards to buy untreated cedar fence posts. I got them on sale for a total of $75, but if you wait until summer you can also get cheap ones from their discard pile, and the imperfections make perfect imperfections. Yup. I bought cedar for two reasons: 1. it’s untreated, meaning no chemicals where I sleep 2. it’s untreated, meaning it will take stain instantly. A light sanding and a few days in the garage to acclimate and I was ready to go.

Make your own stain from vinegars, coffee, tea, and steel wool!

Next came the stain. Again, since I was pregnant, I was eager to try my own home concoctions of coffee, tea and vinegar stains. I mixed a variety of jars trying out different vinegars with bits of shredded steel wool adding some coffee grinds to one. 24 hours later and I was set to go. One jar was just super strong brewed black tea. I literally rubbed the tea bags on the bare wood. The key is to try all sorts of different things so you get a good mix of light and dark boards in the end. Some boards I went over two or three extra times. I also wish I did the sides of the boards since every once in a while an edge showed on the finished wall. I really loved how they turned out!

DIY vinegar stains on wood

We painted the whole room a muddy grey, including the palette wall. Then we literally took a nail gun and went at it. We started at the top and alternated sides. To make sure it had a lot of variety, we cut a few boards down to odd sizes to through in the mix. We also alternated boards of different widths. Everything went quick and smoothly, and to make it easy to make cuts we just passed the boards through the window.

The only challenges were cutting around the outlet and the small area to the left of the window. The window just kind of worked itself out–we had to cut two pieces down on a fancier saw (thanks, Dad!) but it wasn’t a deal-breaker. Most other people just kinda cut around the outlet cover and place the wood on top, but I wanted a more tailored look so we pulled the outlet socket out, screwed it to the wood plank, then placed the plastic cover back on. Much better looking!

I love my new palette wall in our master bedroom

Overall, a major thanks to my Dad and Hubby for doing this project for me. I majorly HEART my palette wall! I had a few boards leftover, so that’s where this wonderful beauty came in. We made an accent sign by nailing together some of the boards and freewriting “Love Me” in matching paint. Next up is new furniture and bedding, along with crown molding!

Use leftover boards to make signs!




Lovin’ the Bun in the Oven

Bun in the Oven Shower Theme

Several of us gals helped pull together a baby shower for our friend Kim to welcome baby Kennedy. Lots of love was poured into her theme, “Bun in the Oven,” partially because how great of a friend Kim is and partially because we’re all vouching for our sons since Kennedy is one of the few girls born amongst many boy babies recently.

Glassine pastry bags serve as invitation envelopes and sealed with a sewn seam

We started with some custom invitations, which are now available in my Etsy store. It made perfect sense to use pastry bag envelopes to go with the baking theme, so after sending a few testers through the mail, the invite was tucked in a glassine bag and completed with matching address labels and sewn shut.

Red and gray modern bun in the oven showerWe chose a red and gray modern theme to match the swanky location at Hotel Indigo. Red cutlery and a napkin were tucked away in more pastry bags which the guests used to take home cinnabuns afterward. And what 2012 party is complete without stripey straws and chevron, LOL?

The centerpieces included chevron fabric and framed photos including matching subway art. The posters each had a bible scripture highlighting the word aBUNdance somehow, celebrating the birth of baby Kennedy. These make a perfect freebie printable so scroll down to the bottom of this post to download your own aBUNdance posters!

Centerpieces include giant round balloons and frames filled with photos and subway poster art

Shower activities included “Recipes of Love” advice cards that guests left in a recipe box for the mom-to-be. We also had a “Meal Tree” suspended between two mug tree towers with bakers twine. Different dinner ideas hung from the line and interested guests took a card and left their contact info so that someone could coordinate meals for the family once baby arrived.

To make the room pop, we filled giant round balloons and put one on each table, anchored down with gray crepe paper fringe. Giant round balloon centerpieces with fringe streamers

Of course Kennedy was showered with plenty of frilly pretties–remember, the majority of our friends are having boys so we all had to shop for our lace and ruffles somehow!

Guest of honor and mother-to-be

So happy for Baby Kennedy–I hope she remembers that I would throw her fabulous parties as her future mother-in-law!

Giant balloons with fringe serve as perfect photo prop

Now enjoy your own printable aBUNdance scripture posters!

aBUNdance scripture subway art




Custom Bun in the Oven Invitations Now Available!

Guess what? You can order your own Bun in the Oven party invitations like the ones above on my Etsy Store.

Bun in the Oven Invitations


Halloween Camping is a Circus

handmade circus sign cardboard

We made the sign by spray-painting cardboard red, printing the letters out with a nifty font, glue them to the cardboard sign, then poke white lights through. So simple, yet big impact!

We have a family tradition of heading to Lake Rudolph in Santa Claus, Indiana for their Halloween Camping weekends. I know it sounds crazy–I really didn’t understand the hype until we finally went. What a blast! We are hooked!

Each weekend not only features site-to-site trick-or-treating, but competitions for the most elaborately-decorated campsites and Halloween costumes. People even decorate the rented golf carts! This is a full-blown Halloween family extravaganza. There’s also tons of activities for the kiddies, including a dance party that us 20-somethings love to crash (somebody’s gotta teach these kids some moves, right?).

Though we’ve not won a grand prize for the best-decorated campsite, the last three years in a row they’ve actually created a new award category to give us recognition for our unique setup. Our secret is that we focus on setting up games for the kids. Last year we did a Price is Right theme and this year we did a circus.

As you can imagine, setting up circus games was easy. We just used our camping pop-up tents, lots of lights, and rolls of plastic table clothes as back drops and dividers. We do most of our crafting at the campsite Saturday morning (nothing like a little Martha Stewart Campsite Edition). Our games included a witch hat ring toss, a ball toss, balloon pop, and a fortune-telling table.

DIY circus booth setup carnival

A circus setup can be cheaply done–alternate red and white plastic table clothes as a back drop and add some large bulbs. Add some bunting flags made from the extra table clothes for extra measure!

The bigger challenge each year has been to come up with a theme that lets 12+ people come up with a group costume. This year we had lots of special guests…

halloween circus clown

Of course you have to have a clown

circus costume strong man ringleader

No circus is complete without a ringmaster!

circus costume strong man mime

Jen and Bugs didn’t bother dressing up–they just came as themselves

bearded lady halloween circus costume

Aunt Kathy went as the bearded lady

maternity halloween costume beer

Jackie (aka “Jack”) rocked a creative maternity costume as the creepy balding guy with the beer gut

homemade halloween costume birds adult

My favorite–Robyn went as the bird lady! She made her costume by hot gluing feathers and wings to gloves and feathers all over her clothes. She even mod-podged feathers to her face!

circus costume carny halloween

The husband did a great job as a carny–we found all the perfect gear at Goodwill: a velour red and black striped shirt (comfy!), vintage high-waist dress pants, completed with a top hat, suspenders, and a homegrown mustache that I couldn’t wait to wipe off his face!

carnie gypsy halloween costumes

My maternity gypsy costume let me sit while telling fortunes, but I looked more like a purple-clad Mary with my belly! But it was a comfy choice!