Baby showers aren’t known for being the most fun activities, but at the same time, you want to get together to celebrate your friend or family member during this special time. Here are our tips are for the more casual shower.
Know your mom-to-be
For some, the idea of being the center of attention is enough to make them want to opt-out of the whole shower idea, while others are much more comfortable in the limelight. Consider what she will be most comfortable with and how to make a gathering that she’ll enjoy.
Make the guest list
These days there are lots of options when it comes to who to invite. Some people opt for a Jack and Jill shower where men are invited, others want a small gathering of their closest friends, and then there are bigger events with friends and family of all ages. Refer to the parents to be.
Send out invitations
Keep it simple and go digital. This makes it easy to track RSVP’s and send follow-ups.
Have an activity
Note that I didn’t say a game! Unless your mom-to-be loves these sorts of things, a game can go cheesy very quickly. We recommend having an activity of some kind that helps break the ice and helps people who may not know one another have something to talk about. Working with your hands to create something for the baby on the way is a great place to start. This could be dyeing onesies and other cotton baby items like we did (instructions below), or it could be a different project for the nursery. It could be as simple as having guests write down notes for the parents and baby in a pretty blank book or painting alphabet blocks.
Plan the menu for ease.
You want people to mingle and chat, so things people can eat with their hands are often easiest. This is especially good if you have a large group and not enough seats.
Plan a few special touches
Remember, it doesn’t have to be Pinterest-worthy but shows that you care. These days there’s so much pressure for an event to look beautiful, but remember most of all this is about showing the mom-to-be you love her.
Sometimes this is tricky if the parents live out of town, but most often presents are opened at the shower. Have a spot designated for guests to leave presents, and make sure someone is designated to write down who gave what. Have supplies for opening gifts on hand (recycling bag for paper, scissors for tight ribbons, etc)
Consider having a friend or local photographer take photos and share them after the event.
Dyed onesies, swaddles, socks and baby hats
Dyeing items for the baby is a fun way to give the mom-to-be something she can take home that's made by hand from each of the guests at her shower. You'll want to buy baby clothes that are good for dyeing (cotton or linen) and scour them at home before the party. Some items are fine to dye without scouring. You'll also need 2-3 big pots, cups, large and small spoons, soda ash, fiber reactive dye, rubber bands and a set of rubber gloves.
Step 1: Simply scour by washing the clothes in the washing machine with soda ash.
Step 2: Let people decide what they'd like to dye and have them attach their name with tape and a safety pin. They'll then soak their item in a big pot of water (temperature doesn't matter)
Step 3: While the baby clothes soak in the water you can mix the dye. We use Procion Fiber-reactive dye (safe for babies). Take 1 tablespoon of dye and slowly make it into a paste by adding 1 cup of water. Make sure it's mixed thoroughly.
Step 4: Pour the prepared dye into a container large enough for the clothes to move freely. Add room-temperature water to your dye, enough that it will cover all the clothes in the container when they're added.
Step 5: Fold the clothes and bind with rubber bands. Or dip dye them. You can find more folding techniques in Living with Pattern. Then drop them into the dye bath.
Step 6: After 10 minutes add the soda ash. Dissolve 1 cup in warm water into the dye bath and mix it. Let the fabric then soak for 60 minutes.
Step 7: Rinse out and unfold the clothes so people can see the results. Then be sure to take them home and wash the clothes and deliver them to the mom-to-be.
For a full run down of shibori dyeing pick up Rebecca's book Living with Pattern.