Saturday, May 4, 2013

Eco-Friendly Baby Shower

The invitation read,
"We love Stephane, and Stephane loves the Earth! So we’re throwing her an eco-friendly shower, where we’ll have reused, recycled and shopped local in honor of Steph’s desire to reduce her family’s carbon footprint. Steph welcomes gently loved or handmade gifts. [She had registered at a local kids consignment store.] Recycled or reusable wrapping is a plus!"
The party was yummy and fun, and you're free to use any of the following ideas to throw your own eco-conscious shindig.

Decorations, Game Prizes and Favors

Rather than buying new, I hunted through local flea market My Favorite Place (5596 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Chamblee, GA 3034) for invitations and game prizes. I think the favorite prize was a bright red faux leather Bath & Body Works travel duffel. I filled a pair of ceramic pots with thyme and basil bought at a local community garden during the Wylde Center's Plant Sale. Other finds were pottery cannister, ceramic napkin rings, travel jewelry case and ceramic measuring cups.

For centerpieces, I pulled together the following from around the house: 2 old beer growlers + scrap fabric + 6 safety pins + cereal box and recycling bin cardstock. Neighbor Suzanne Conreaux, owner of local florist shop, Blooms of Dunwoody, donated the lovely flower arrangements that pulled the look together.

The kids helped string up our toilet-paper-rolls-cum-garland (thank you Allison from a Glimpse Inside via Pinterest for her tutorial -- note: I skipped painting the insides of the rolls and stapled rather than hot glued the petals together). Think it came out lovely all the same - see below:
Cloth linens, china, glassware and silverware made for a waste-free table setting. For favors, I made egg candles using local eggs for the shells and beeswax from Georgia's Hidden Springs Farm (available at several outdoor farmers markets throughout Atlanta). The labels were printed on the back of a Trader Joe's grocery bag, and I sectioned the egg cartons to create take-home holders.

Games and Menu

I repurposed an old baby photo cube by filling it on 3 sides with cross-stitched baby animals, leaving the fourth side open for a "Blessings for Baby" sign (to be replaced with a baby pic after baby arrives). Guests were asked to write wishes for baby on cards made from sections of cereal boxes and a baby gift bag, sewn back-to-back to conceal the cereal box design (use a 16 gauge needle and hand-knot the end threads to finish).

As we sipped on Cherry Raspberry Ginger Tea Punch and Mango Swiss Chard Smoothies (mango, banana, dates, ice and swiss chard from our deck garden), guests tested their sustainability awareness at Eco Baby Trivia with questions like,
1. Name the children’s book (recently adapted to film) written by Dr. Seuss that includes the quote:  “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” (Email me for a copy of the complete list with answers).

Then it was time to mangia!
 Displayed on the backside of a sectioned pasta box, our menu was:
  • Minted Sweet Pea Dip (thank you Pamela Salzman - love the way you cook!) with fresh mint from the guest of honor's garden, and watermelon radishes for dipping, from local Crystal Organic Farm at Morningside Farmers Market
  • Baba Ghanouj (awesome made from scratch at local Cafe Sababa)
  • Black-Eyed Pea Salad (email me for recipe)
  • Pasta Primavera with Chicken (email me for recipe)
  • Arugula Brie Sandwiches (made with the most delicious organic kalamata olive bread from Magnolia Bakery at Morningside Farmers Market - email me for recipe)
We played a second game of "Name the Baby Fruits and Veggies" by asking guests to label 12 seeds displayed in egg cartons. When we were done playing, we gave the seeds away to spur some home gardening.

Then we moved into the living room for gifts, several of which were handmade and sported reused wrapping paper. Some of the guests really got into the theme, creating newspaper gift bags, regifting their children's old books, and writing messages as inscriptions in books instead of using cards.

Finally it was time for some tea and Carrot Mango Cake with Cream Cheese Icing (email me for recipe). The cake was a hit -- there wasn't a crumb left. Everyone picked out an egg candle favor and we called it a day!

I really enjoyed dreaming up every aspect of this party. It was fun brainstorming ways to solve the puzzle of how to incorporate local eating, patronizing local businesses, reusing and reducing waste into a classy, pretty and delicious shower. I think it came together wonderfully and I'm so glad, because I love my friend dearly, and I wanted this afternoon to make her a lovely memory.

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