This past weekend, we had the honor of celebrating one of my very best friends, Kelli, as she and her husband await the arrival of their baby girl. Kelli is one of the most artistic and creative people I know, so you can imagine how intimidating it was when we offered to host a baby shower for her. Lucky for us, she and her husband had recently attended a couples shower and they really liked that idea. So rather than a cutesy, girly theme, my partners in crime – Kim and Andreia – and I opted for the more relaxed, gender-neutral, less conventional approach by hosting a barbecue. Or in this case a BaByQ!
I love how you can take a simple theme, add a few little touches to pull it all together, and suddenly you have yourself a special affair rather than your ordinary party. A barbecue turned BabyQ was the perfect opportunity to spruce up your typical barbecue.
For starters, the menu was a breeze. We considered going the burgers route, but weather could be an obstacle and we had no interest in spending the entire event over a grill. Instead, inspired by Kelli’s roots, we went with a focus on pulled meat and traditional southern barbecue sides. Add a splash of gingham and twine, and you have yourself a party!
Here is a look at some of my favorite details from the party:
Apron BaByQ Invitations
Did I mention that Kelli is some kind of paper craft genius? Taking on a paper craft without her mastermind behind it was a bit risky, but since this was her shower, I decided to let her sit this one out 🙂
Inspired by a couple of apron cards I saw online, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the invitations. After spending a couple of Alister’s nap times designing, cutting, and pasting, I was very happy with the result. I could have taken an extra step and added a ribbon around the “waist” but I wanted to keep it simple for fear of overdoing it. I did not have any luck finding instructions online, so I plan to post apron card instructions at a later date.
To say I handcrafted my tablecloths would be a stretch. It was more like buying fabric, trying to cut in a straight line along the gingham pattern, and ironing the edges inward to create a fake hem. I may get around to actually sewing a hem at a later date, but for the purposes of the party, the ironed hems did the trick and added the little bit of gingham splash on each of the tables.
Here is a look at the dessert table. You can see the splash of gingham on the table along with my impromptu centerpiece. Since our flowers are well past their prime and my mums have completely faded, I decided to embrace the food theme of the shower by displaying red apples, tomatoes, and potatoes in vases. Not my proudest moment, but it added a little dimension to the table.
I made mini carrot cake cupcakes (when making mini cupcakes, bake for 12 minutes) while Kim stayed in line with our southern barbecue theme and made a multi-berry cobbler and a cherry cobbler. Both were delicious!
Caramel Apple Favors
When planning the favors for an October shower, we were not planning for 90-degrees. We dismissed the lingering summer heat and moved forward with Kim’s suggestion of caramel apples. Thanks to the genius of Paula Deen, who we turned to for more than one recipe when planning the menu, we were able to pull caramel apples together with a few simple ingredients. Add some paper, a bag, and decorative ribbon, and we had ourselves a favor. A very sticky favor. If I did this again, I would have placed a small piece of wax paper or parchment paper between the apple and decorative paper. After taste testing it myself, I can honestly say that if the guests had the patience to pull off the little pieces of paper from the caramel, they uncovered a very tasty treat!
Again, we kept it simple and true to barbecue form by serving up a selection of water, lemonade, iced tea, beer, Arnold Palmers, and John Dalys. And to add a bit of gingham to the drink station, I wrapped gingham and plaid washi tape around the red straws and cut a flag pattern out of each.
How many crockpots can you fit on a table? We were destined to find out this past weekend. One contained pulled pork, another had pulled chipotle chicken, the other had homemade macaroni and cheese, and the last one had southern baked beans. Both beans and macaroni and cheese were Paula Deen recipes. Say what you will about the woman, but when it comes to southern recipes, she knows what she’s talking about.
Other sides included chips and onion dip, chips and guacamole, a corn dish, roasted red potatoes, sweet potato fries, and two types of homemade bread.
Here’s another way to spruce up the presentation of plastic spoons, forks, and knives. Wrap them in a paper napkin and tie a ribbon around it. Andreia ordered personalized ribbon for the apples with the phrase, “Sugar and spice and everything nice” and we had plenty left after we finished the apples. I was handed the remaining ribbon and instructed to use it when decorating. I couldn’t think of a better place to use it than the servingware, particularly since the phrase includes “sugar and spice.”
Keeping with the – you guessed it – gingham theme, I pulled together a banner to place above the fireplace, where I anticipated they would open presents.
Here is a shot while Kelli and Adam opened presents. We are so excited for these two!
And with that, I am out of details to share about the party. Which means, time to share some of my favorite photos of the event!