Thursday, August 29, 2019

Iowa Baby Shower

Pam's sister, Jenni Schwartz and Roger Wood, are having a baby and we traveled to Iowa for several baby showers. Jenni lives in Des Moines, Iowa and that shower was held at the Raccoon River Nature Lodge. I was on task to help set up. Pam ordered several dozen tiny wicker baskets which were intended to hold thank you presents for this hot air balloon themed party. She ordered them online and had the boxes shipped to Jenni's home. The baskets turned out to be VERY tiny only able to hold one candy. In desperation, she made a run to a party store which was going out of business. A few items were on the shelves but many items were scattered on the floor. It was a post apocalyptic scene.She did find some silk gift bags which fit three pieces of ganache and truffles, as opposed to the one that could be held by a basket. She wanted to leave the baskets behind to be returned, but I insisted they were a much needed decoration item.

The lodge had a gorgeous view overlooking a lake to the south. Floor to ceiling windows made the view amazing. We were responsible for all the set up and break down for the event. We rolled out 5 round tables and covered them with white plastic table cloths. Center pieces were rectangular blue place mats with a bowl of caramel/cheese popcorn and the candy bags scattered about. I discovered that the baskets were just big enough to hold 1 Starburst candy, so I raided all the candy to just find the Starbursts.

My main job was to build the balloon arch. I blew up most of the balloons. Jenni blew up the golden balloons since they were easiest to blow up. When they were inflated, golden confetti inside would blow around like they were in a tornado. All the other balloons were blue or white. That is a clue that baby Wood would be a boy. There was one very big blue balloon in the bag, so I tied a basket under it to make it onto a hot air balloon.

Pam designed cute cards with a fox and rabbit riding in a hot air balloon. She brought a stuffed red fox which sat on the serving tables and a metal basket containing baby diapers had balloons attached to it to make it resemble a hot air balloon. We also had paper hot air balloon decorations with a cloud and star hanging below each. I taped them to the blinds on each floor to ceiling window and they were raised or lowered based on how high or low the blinds were raised. The balloons didn't have baskets, so I placed a basket on the window sill ledge below each making it seem like the balloons had launched without their baskets.

The cake was beautifully decorated reproducing Pam's fox  hot air balloon cartoon. However the cake imploded when we were transporting it. It had a creamy salted caramel filling which caused the layers to slip like tectonic plates. By the end of the evening the cake had slipped and twisted making it look like a California earthquake had hit. It was still incredible delicious....when eaten with a spoon.

About 35 people RSVP'd to the party, but only 15 or so arrived on this Friday night. When they arrived they were invited to put a fingerprint on a hot air balloon image with the fox and rabbit, and sign it, for it to later hang on the nursery walls. The diapers were to be inscribed with messages so the mother could have a giggle when she had to change them in the middle of the night. I drew a poop emoji and signed it. Some of Jenni's co-workers were giggling and writing on diapers for most of the party.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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