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Pink Elephant Baby Shower: My Favorite Things

July 20, 2017
Pink Elephant Baby Shower

You will recall that I recently completed a pink version of the Elijah pattern for my upcoming niece. The pink elephant was by design, since I knew I was going to be throwing a baby shower. What better theme for a little girl than pink elephants? Somebody described elephants once and the reincarnated souls of some really decent people and I’d have to agree that I think that elephants are some of the most caring, intelligent animals out there. Those qualities are a great thing for a little girl to strive for, so I thought elephants made a great theme. 

I decided to make the theme a little bit more fun by incorporating the pink into the elephant idea. I normally don’t go for hardcore gender stereotypes for babies but:

1. I had just finished my pink Elijah.

2. I had pink tablecloths leftover from my wedding.

3. The mom likes pink. I like pink. Pink is cute.

Because I live in a teeny tiny apartment, my mother graciously allowed me to use her house to host. This meant that I had lots of room for fun decorations and activities. Here is some of what I did:

Baby Elephant Guest Book

Pink Elephant Baby Shower - Baby Elephant Guest Book

I owe most of this guestbook to AJ at Aspen Jay. She has made this adorable elephant print available online here. Perfect for my pink elephant theme! It’s a 11 x 14 print, which we were able to print at home. You can also have it printed a Office Depot for less than $2 (I checked.). You can customize it to be blue, pink or yellow and it can say the babies name or just “welcome little one”.  I picked “welcome little one,” because I don’t wanna cramp the momma’s style by tying her down to a name too soon. I cut out different shades of pink paper using a 1 inch Circle Punch Tool. Guests signed a circle and stuck it to the print using scrapbooking tabs. After the shower, I just moved the glass to the from of the frame and voila! Easy nursery decoration!

Pink Elephant Baby Shower - Photo Booth

Baby Shower Photo Booth

I used a pink tablecloth and some mylar balloons to create a quick and easy photobooth! The mylar ballooons were bought at Michaels are were totally easy to use. You just blow them up with a straw and they seal shut. The balloons I got even had pre-made little tabs to string them up with. (Otherwise, I’ve heard that you can tape a straw to the back and thread string through that.). To go with my DIY photo booth, I added a foam board Polaroid frame (I just eyeballed the dimensions and my dad cut it out with an exacto blade and a straight edge. Along with that, I cut out some shapes (found here) and glued them to little sticks that I found at the Dollar Store. I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Pink Elephant Baby Shower - Baby Headband Station

Baby Headband Station

I was afraid about how this was going to work, but it turned out to be a lot of fun! I bought several packages of fabric flowers from Hobby Lobby (on each day with a 40% off coupon.) and used these Elastic Baby Girl Headbands from Amazon. The rest is everyone’s creativity! We set up two hot glue guns (on plastic placemats, to protect the table and tablecloth) and a sign and everyone just went from there. The baby headband holder was made from an oatmeal container, painted white and then covered in fabric, hot glued to a candlestick! I’m really pleased with how it turned out!

Note: If your shower has little kids in attendance, you may not want to have the glue guns left unattended. Ours was adult only, and therefore I figured everyone could handle a glue gun.

These were my three major DIY efforts for the shower. I have so much  more that I didn’t get good pictures of. It went by so fast! Not picture are a LOT of pink chocolate drizzled rice krispie treats (so many…) and pink chocolate dipped nutter butters, both of which turned out really well. (Pro tip: apparently you can thin colored candy melts with shortening, which would have made my life so much easier.) There was also cake, and fruit, and I even made 7 layer dip and queso for the first time ever! We decorated the mantle and a special chair for the new mom and also made really cute favor bags for my circus animal cookie favors. Whew!

I feel so accomplished. 

I had a lot of fun to planning and throwing this baby shower. I’ve realized that I really like planning things like this and I can’t wait to do more in the future! I can’t wait until I have a home of my own to host in too. Have you thrown a party recently? What was your favorite part of it? Any recommendations for new things to try? Let me know in the comments!

 

Finished Object Knitting

Pattern Review: Elijah by Ysolda Teague

June 15, 2017
Pattern Review: Elijah by Ysolda Teague

The first project of my Summer Knitting List is complete! Meet Elijah! Elijah is made following the pattern by the same name by the great Ysolda Teague! Seriously, she is one of my favorite designers. Everything she makes is so whimsical and elegant. And yes, an elephant can be elegant.

Elijah was made to be a baby warming gift for my new niece, who will be born this summer. I am throwing a baby shower and I couldn’t resist a good pink elephant theme. I can’t help it! Elephants are simultaneously cute and smart and kind, which is what I hope this new baby will be.

Pattern Review: Elijah by Ysolda Teague

The Pattern

Ysolda’s methods are so clever that I’m always wonderfully surprised at how her patterns turn out. I’m not a very visual thinker, so I don’t always see where she’s going with her instructions. But then, a turn or a flip or something and it all comes together and I’m like, “oooooh, that’s what she was doing!”

Elijah, as a stuffed animal, is a little more complex than your typical hat or shawl, but it’s really more labor intensive than it is difficult. It does feature short rows in the ears, so if those bother you, beware! There’s also a lot of pick up stitches, which I don’t always enjoy. The diagrams on this pattern are very clear however, and let you know exactly what to do. That being said, I think I picked up the stitches for the ears about 6 times, because I didn’t like the angle. That was user error though, not the pattern.

The other thing to note about this pattern is that it does rely on double pointed needles, which are…not my favorite. I ended up switching to circular needles as soon as possible on the arms and legs. This may also have been due to the fact that I could not find a whole set of my DPNs at once…

The finishing on this pattern is where things have the tendency to look wonky. I still may redo my french knot eyes. I’m not super experienced in embroidery, so one of the eyes looks a little funny to me. Also, when stuffing, be careful not to stuff TOO firmly. The head and body can be stuffed pretty tight, but the arms and legs should be looser to flop around, otherwise your elephant won’t be able to sit down!

Pattern Review: Elijah by Ysolda Teague

The Yarn

The yarn I used to this was a heavier weight than what was called for in the pattern (which calls for DK). I used Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash Hand Dyed in my favorite color: Liptstick! Because speckles are a thing right now and I love them. The yarn stood up pretty well to the pattern, but did get a little splitty when using the smaller DPNs. Nothing to cause major issues, though. I just had to slow down and pay attention. I also appreciate that this yarn is superwash, because this is going to be a gift for a baby, and you know it’s going to need a bath at least once in it’s life!

Overall, this was a very satisfactory knit. It was made with a pattern I love, from a designer that I love, using a yarn that I love. Can’t get any better than that! Have you ever knit a toy before? How did your experience go?

Featured Finished Object Knitting Lifestyle

Jubilee Cardigan: Pattern Review and FO

April 20, 2017
Jubilee Cardigan: Pattern Review and FO

If today’s blog post were a book chapter it would be titled, “The Jubilee Cardigan: In Which Tori Has No Clue What Size Babies Are.” Seriously. I have a decent reference point on toddlers…maybe. But I have no clue how big an infant is. Can’t figure it out. If you are like literally everyone I know, you will tell me that this could be easily solved by having one of my own. I will politely deflect this comment in some way because nothing scares me more than thinking about my own motherhood. So lay off, people!

Despite not knowing how big babies are and being terrified of having kids, apparently I make a pretty decent aunt. Really. My 3 year old niece told me just this Easter that I was her very favorite Tori. The Hubs asked her if he was her favorite uncle, to which she replied, “No, Tori is.” Clearly, I am succeeding in the Aunt department. Bubbles, candy, and My Little Pony figurines help too.

Since I’m feeling pretty good about this Aunt thing, I am excited to double my aunthood this summer with the addition of another niece. Ya’ll know what this means: baby knits! Oh, I have plans. I have visions of knitting another Elijah elephant; this time in speckled pink yarn, because #specklesaresohotrightnow.  Heck, I have visions of a while pink elephant themed baby shower (It’s gonna be cute!) The first of my baby knits, however, is a pattern I’d been waiting to use for a long time. It’s the Jubilee Cardigan from the 2010 Holiday Gifts Edition of Interweave Knits.

Jubilee Cardigan: Pattern Review and FO

 

Jubilee Cardigan: The Pattern

The Jubilee Cardigan is an easy short sleeve raglan cardigan with a lower lace detail. It fastens at the top with three buttons, while the lower section is left to fall open. It’s super cute and super easy and I think I still managed to mess it up a little. The only tricky part (and the part where I think that I messed up) is remembering where to make the button holes. They’re probably supposed to only stay in the raglan section, but I put the buttonholes wherever. Oh, well.

My only qualm with this pattern (and it may just be me, because see above) is that I think that sizing may be way off. I knit the 6 month size, or at least I thought I did, but I appear to have a cardigan that would fit a 1 year old. Again, my knowledge of baby sizes is very poor, but I’m pretty sure this knits up large.

Jubiless Cardigan: Pattern Review and FO

Jubilee Cardigan: The Yarn

I used Universal Yarn’s Bamboo Pop for this project. It’s 50% cotton and 50% bamboo, which makes for a nice summery (washable) knit. I’m always stumped on yarn for baby projects. I don’t like acrylic because it can melt at high heats. I know wool is the technical good choice, but what mom is going to hand wash baby clothes? Every  mom I know would felt a wool knit in the wash in minutes. Cotton is a good choice too, but I hate knitting with it because it feels like twine.

Bamboo pop ended up being a good choice for this project, but I won’t say it’s my favorite. The bamboo gave it a little bit more stretch and bounce than plain cotton, but it also made it more slippery. I also found it to be fairly splitty, though it doesn’t appear to show many splits in the finished product. It just meant that I needed to concentrate more while knitting. Still, they have a good range of colors and I would use this again for another baby project if needed.

Jubilee Cardigan: Pattern Review and FO

I’m setting this one aside for now to wait for it’s future wearer, but I look forward to working on more baby knits in the future. I’m thinking toys and blankets and maybe a hat or two (but definitely not baby booties, because they are my kryptonite!). Yes, this baby is going to be fully stocked by the time I am done with it.