Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kelsi's lemon + lime theme bridal shower

Update:  I decided to offer a few free downloads of the invitation, water bottle labels, and sugar scrub jar labels I made for the party.  To learn more and download them, visit this post.


My family has always been very close, and when my cousins son Collin announced he was getting married, I immedietly knew I wanted to throw a bridal shower for his fiancé. In some families your soon to be 2nd cousin in law is someone that you barely even know, let alone want to host a shower for at your home, but not in our family. I adore Kelsi and couldn't wait to have a shower for her. Plus - party to plan!!! Here's all the details and a ton of pictures:

I started with the invitation. Prior to making this I had no idea of a theme, what we wanted the shower to be about, or color palette. I found the yellow background first and loved the pattern. I created the invite in photoshop and just randomly paired the kelly green with it (as most of you know green is my favorite, and it just looked spring-y to me with the yellow.) My mom (who helped me host the shower) and I randomly decided to call it a "culinary shower" so we could do the recipe card thing for Kelsi. More on that later.

the invite

Fonts used on invite: BP Script and Quicksand. Both of them modern and fresh and clean.

Decorations came next. I had recently seen the awesome vellum mobiles that Jordan had made and posted about on Oh, Happy Day. I looked for vellum a few places but it was not cost-effective in our local stores and I didn't have time to order it online at this point. I decided to go with 12x12 sheets of cardstock from the scrapbook section at Hobby Lobby. We used 6 shades of green and yellow to match our invites and my mom used her paper cutter to cut them in 1 inch strips. It ended up working great!

entry decorations

My sweet cousin Valerie came over one afternoon to help me sew them all together. It was an easy project but very helpful to have another person to hand me the paper strips so I didn't have to move my hands from the sewing machine. That made it go really fast. I put a piece of Japanese masking tape on my sewing machine as a guide to where I should lay the strip to have it sew right down the middle, and then sewed a continuous strand, leaving about 1/8th to a 1/4 inch between each strip. We had accidentally made two really long ones, too long to go over the table, so we hung them up in my front entryway where people would see them as soon as they walked in, to get a feel for the party. The other 6 we made went over the table.

from the side

For the other decorations we just kept buying things in either yellow or green - because we knew that they'd all match each other well enough. The cute striped square plates are from IKEA. Yellow forks and knives from the dollar store. Green napkins from the party store. I bought the lemonheads in the awesome bulk section of Winco. The white hydrangeas are from my moms back yard. All the serving dishes and platters are mine (yeah, I apparently have an abundance of yellow and green) except for the white square ones which were borrowed from my friend.

the whole table

I also just bought a ton of lemons and limes in bulk from both the grocery store and Costco. I had regular limes, tiny key limes, regular lemons, and some super huge lemons on steroids that Costco had. I knew I'd be using them for both decoration and cooking. I put most of them in clear vases for the table and then you can see the huge lemons on some of the serving plates, and also used to hold down the plates and napkins from blowing away in the breeze (my sliding glass door to the backyard is right next to the table.)


I had seen and bought this super cute lemon fabric with the idea of making a table runner to go underneath the serving dishes on the table. I could never decide on how to make it (plain, pieced, quilted, etc) and once I got the table set I thought a table runner underneath would just be too cluttery. So I made this bunting instead. I used the yellow fabric to make a long binding strip and then freehanded a triangle pattern out of cardboard for the flags. I traced the triangle template onto stacks of fabric and then cut them out with my pinking shears so I didn't have to finish the edges and they wouldn't fray.

lemon bunting

I cut out 8 flags from the yellow and 8 flags from the lemons and then just sandwiched them between the binding strip as I fed it through the sewing machine to sew the binding closed. I left a trail of about 20" of binding on both sides in case I ever want to tie it up somewhere (in the picture it's just pinned up to my mantle). It was very quick and easy to make, I did it in about 20 minutes.

lemon banner

The other thing Valerie and I made together was the homemade sugar hand scrub to pass out as favors. We bought the 4 oz jelly jars and I designed labels to fit on the top of them. I printed them 12 to a page on sticker paper and we cut them out in circles. For the sugar scrub we made a huge bowl of it by starting with 8 cups of white sugar and then adding olive oil to the sugar and mixing with a whisk until we had a gritty, but still slightly goopy, texture. We added the zest and juice of about 3 fresh lemons, and then also added a few squirts of lemon juice from the fridge. I filled the jelly jars and then shredded more zest on top .... it ended up taking a lot of lemon scent to cover up the distinct olive oil smell. There's a bunch of tutorials online (Google: sugar hand scrub tutorial) but we just kind of winged it because we wanted it to be lemon-y and also we couldn't find any recipes in the amounts we needed. Read: a lot!

hand scrub

The one thing we learned was to NOT use a mixture of white and brown sugar for the sugar scrub. Just something about the brown sugar wasn't soaking up the olive oil creating a nasty, congealed mess. Plus it was a gross brownish gray color and not the pretty light yellow that worked better with our theme. :)

Another simple thing I did was make custom water bottle labels. Using the same pattern and fonts from the invite and sugar scrub labels, I figured out how many I could fit onto an 8.5x11 piece of paper and created them again in Photoshop. They were about 2 inches tall and the width of the paper. I printed them on regular printer paper and then cut them out using a paper cutter. I had Mason pull off the labels on the bottles - he was sooo excited to have a "job" to help get ready for the party. I attached them by taking a piece of packing tape a little longer than the label and first sticking the label to the tape, then centering the label on the bottle and wrapping it around, sticking the tape down in the process.

water bottles

They were super simple, cheap and quick to make, and everyone loved them. I definitely will always be making custom water bottle labels for any future party. Little work for a lot of impact! We also had lemonade to serve.

Next up: food! We were having the shower later in the evening so we didn't have a need to serve anything of too much substance. Of course I was going to continue the lemon + lime theme into the food so that made it easy to decide on the menu. I made lemon bars, lemon poppyseed muffins and lime cheesecake. My mom made the yummy lemon bundt cake and then bought a lemon meringue and key lime pie to round out the food.

lime cheesecake

I recruited my friend and neighbor Annie to make a few things for me in exchange for some handmade throw pillows so I'd have a few less things to bake the day of. I have had her baked goods many times and she always makes delicious things, but she really went over the top with the things for the shower. She made tart lemon and key lime cupcakes and also delicious cookie dough bites dipped in melted green and yellow chocolate. Everything was amazing.

cookie dough bites

She dropped things off the morning of the shower and it was all I could do to keep Mason away from the cupcakes all day - he was drooling over them when they were on the table and then trying to scale to the top of the pantry shelves when I put them up. The little discs on top of the cupcakes are the chocolate melty things you can buy in the baking supply section of most craft stores.

tart lemon and key lime cupcakes

On the invitations we had asked everyone to bring a family recipe to share with Kelsi. I had wanted to design and print up recipe cards that matched our invitations, but eventually just ran out of time. Lucky for me Melissa from the blog ISLY had done the work on these darling cards that perfectly matched our theme, so I just printed them out on cardstock. All the guests had fun filling out favorite family recipes to share with Kelsi and she ended up with a great collection. (Including the one card from some mystery person that said: pizzahut.com - they deliver!)

Thanks for letting me snag your pictures of your cards, Melissa. Apparently I was having too much fun at the party to remember to snap a pic of the ones I made! :)

The shower turned out to be a great success and really fun time - everyone was impressed by all the little details - some of which were just the small things (uniting everything with a color theme and making custom touches). I was going for a fresh, spring-y, clean look that wasn't too cluttery or overdone.  A lot of people will call that too simple but that's exactly what my decorating style is.  Can't wait for the wedding later this month!

bride to be and I

More pictures of the shower in my Flickr set here.


Update:  I decided to offer a few free downloads of the invitation, water bottle labels, and sugar scrub jar labels I made for the party.  To learn more and download them, visit this post.


  1. This is spectacular Erin! How did you ever find time to do all of this amazing work? I love the theme and your execution was just spot on. It's so nice to see such kindness toward your new family member. I'm sure she appreciates the warm welcome immensely!

  2. This is amazing! I'm in total awe of your party-planning ability and creative skills!

  3. I'll admit that I don't spend a lot of time thinking about bridal showers, but that's a great idea and really looks cheerful. Well done!

    (though I still think you should have worn yellow pants)

  4. Hey Erin,

    You might want to exchange the comforter for the drapes because it's MUCH thicker and better for shooting.


  5. Amazing! I think you could be a party planner. Seriously. I love the mobiles and the party favors. The food looks awesome. how cool to do an exchange with Annie. Love it!!


  6. What a gorgeous party! I'm founder of www.catchmyparty.com and I'd love to feature your shower on our homepage in our Party of the Day section. My email address is jillian@catchmyparty.com. Please email me if you are interested. Again, beautiful job!


  7. Every thing is so pretty! Love it all!

  8. It was so much fun! You did an amazing job Erin--seriously!! Just looking at that table makes me hungry!!
    When we getting together again??

  9. This is seriously the cutest shower I have ever seen.

    That's it. You're planning every party in my future.

  10. Lovely party! All your hard work and planning really shines through. I featured your happy party today at http://howtohostess.wordpress.com

  11. Cute party! I love the mobiles. I have been wanting to do them every since I saw that original post! Great job!

  12. This looks like something you' see on a pro event planner's blog. Great job, Erin! After seeing all the nice details (love the lemon and lime truffles!), I realize I NEED to find someone to throw a shower for.

  13. Love this! Just wanted to let you know I included it in my 2011 Ultimate Gift Guide (101 tutorials/recipes)! Check it out: http://danimariedesigns.blogspot.com/2011/10/2011-ultimate-diy-gift-guide.html

  14. Great ideas! Awesome outcome! I love the lemons as napkin weights :)
    Brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses, so that is why it wasn't soaking anything up for you. A wonderful party favor for sure!



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