I have twin daughters who were born in China and each year we celebrate Chinese New Year with the families who traveled with us in China when we all met our daughters.
This year our annual party was also a surprise baby shower for one of the families who is getting ready to travel to China to adopt their second child from China. This time it's a boy!
You can see more photos of the event at: www.andbabiesmakefour.com
Everything was decorated in the traditional colors of Chinese New Year -- red and gold -- but I added a little copper as well. I also filled large glass hurricanes with clementines, a traditional Chinese New Years symbol, and had two vases filled with pussy willow branches.
I wanted it to look like a fun and festive Chinese New Year party but I also wanted it to look like a baby shower so I added little touches to honor our friends' new son. His name -- Dan -- was spelled out in standing letters several places and I used his photo in the lanterns on the tables, on stickers on the napkins and on stickers that were on the party favors and game prizes.
Traditional with a twist.
Tassel Garlands - Pomflair.
I had one string on the fireplace and a second on a pier mirror in our front entry.
Tablecloths - fabric is from JoAnn Fabrics and the tablecloths were made by my dear friend Michelle at My Modern Whimsy.
Red Round Lanterns - Hobby Lobby
Chinese Lanterns - 99 Ranch Market in Cupertino, California.
Drums used on the napkins - Oriental Trading Company
And these are some of the things that I made:
Cupcake Toppers - I made these from beautiful hung bao envelopes purchased in Chinatown. I just used a 2-inch circle punch and attached two circles back-to-back on a bamboo skewer.
Lanterns on the tables - I made these from red wooden IKEA frames. I removed the plexiglass that comes in them, printed photos I took in China on vellum and then reassembled the frames with the plexiglass behind the photo. I then hinged the frames together using red duct tape on the inside and put four votives on the inside.
Photo stickers - I "antiqued" the referral picture of our friends' new son in Photoshop, printed it on sticker paper and punched out 1.5-inch and 2-inch circles. I then used gold ink around the edges of the circle to frame the photo. I used the smaller stickers on the napkins and the party favor glassine bags and the larger stickers on the game prize glassine bags.
Chocolate-dipped fortune cookies -- I bought fortune cookies at World Market and Belgian milk and dark chocolate at Trader Joe's. I then melted the chocolate in a sauce pan, dunked the fortune cookies and put them on parchment paper to cool. The milk chocolate ended up with spots on it so I microwaved each of the milk chocolate cookies to warm up the chocolate again and then I sprinkled decorating sugar on it.
Golden letters - I purchased the large "D" at JoAnn Fabrics and the smaller letters at Hobby Lobby. They are just made out of paper mache and were only a couple dollars each. I painted them with metallic gold paint, also purchased at Hobby Lobby. They actually looked like they were made out of metal! The same letters would be cute painted to look like they're silver or zinc.
I adore the tissue paper garlands! They are simple but make a big statement. Plus, they just scream, "party!"
I also really like the golden letters. It was a simple way to personalize the event inexpensively. Plus, the mom and dad took the letters home with them to use in their new son's room.
The traditional red and gold color scheme is what really sets the tone of a Chinese New Year event. Also using lanterns, oranges and other traditional elements gives the event an authentic feel.
If you have a local Chinatown you can find lots of wonderful, and inexpensive, decorations there. You can also order great Chinese items online.