Wednesday, June 30, 2010

They Have Feet!!

Anyone who has successfully made macaroons exclaims that sentence at least once.
I attempted to make macaroons for the first time for my Enter Eden party.
Aren't they beautiful?! I have been intimidated for months. Everything I have read talks about how finicky they are and how difficult it is to get them just right.

So, I mentally prepared. I knew mine were going to turn out. Lots of deep breaths and positive thinking later, I pulled my first batch out of the oven and did a little happy dance! They have feet! Of course, I was home alone dancing and screaming about feet. Lucky for me my dogs aren't judgemental of my crazy antics!

These babies are just plain macaroons with a simple chocolate ganache filling. I cannot wait to try new flavors! They were so delicious!

Macaroons....I Heart U.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Enter Eden--Inspiration to Creation!

Its time for the big reveal! Enter Eden, the evening garden party dessert table...Taa Daa!
Let me share some secrets about this table. The table cloth is actually a bed sheet, covered by a sheer curtain, and then yards of brocade fabric draped over it. I already owned all but the brocade. Of course, I got the fabric on sale!
The flower vases are empty wine bottles I was holding onto for just such an occasion!
The food was all handmade and home baked by me! Loads of work, but awesome end result.
My favorite part is the Berries and Bubbly! I served champagne with fruit to create strawberry or blackberry Bellini's. One of the girls even got a little creative and mixed the two together, deee-licious!

Another of one of my favorite details is the food labels. I took macro photos of flowers around my gardens and then "water marked" them with the titles of the food.
Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate with us for very long. Little more than an hour into the party it started to rain. The ladies helped me bring all the goodies into the house and we decided to quickly reconstruct the table indoors. This is the "indoor version"!
First challenge party is deemed a success! Now the question is, what to do next month??

Monday, June 28, 2010

Enter Eden--The Inspiration

This weekend was my first "official" party in my monthly challenge. The theme was "Enter Eden". It was an evening garden party to show off my backyard. I didn't want a traditional pastel palette for a garden party. Since this was an evening party I went with more rich hues.
Here is the teaser for inspiration board!

Top Row:
Scrapbooking Supplies: Websters Pages Postcards from Paris Collection
Mason Jar Vase: Style Me Pretty
Floral Dessert Table: Eat Drink Pretty

Second Row:
Lantern: Google images, source unknown
Peacock: Google images, source unknown
Champagne Macaroon Display: Theurel & Thomas

Third Row:
Plates: Marah Johnson, originally discontinued Pottery Barn design
Peacock graphic: Google images, source unknown
Party Set up: Sex & The City 2 Soiree from Celebrations at Home

Stay tuned for "Inspiration to Creation!"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yarn Ball Hanging Decor (DIY!)

Today's tutorial is also from my Sunshine Surprise dessert buffet. You can customize these simple yarn balls into any color you like.
Here is what you need:
Craft Glue
Clothes pins

First start by cutting lengths of yard for your balloons. I used approximately 24 inches of yarn, about 15 lengths per balloon.
Mix equal parts water and glue.

Soak your yard pieces in the glue, and wrap around balloon.
Clip your balloons onto wire hangers with the clothes pins. Allow to dry over night. Make sure to put some newspaper below the balloons to catch drips.

Once dry, pop the balloon, and pull out of center. Don't worry if the shape "deflates". Pull out the balloon and then mold the yard back into shape. I chose to hang a crystal in the center of each ball with fishing line. Try adding paper flowers, butterflies, or just leave them plain.

Aren't they unique hanging over the table? Fun, easy, cheap, and probably most importantly, unexpected!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Custom Color Cake Stands (DIY!)

I promised in my Sunshine Surprise post, a tutorial on DIY cake stands. Before I get to this super easy (and cheap!) tutorial I have to give a shout out to Kim over at Frost Me! Yesterday she posted some great Fourth of July party ideas, one of which was my Red White and Blue star cookies! Thanks Kim!! You can check her Fourth of July post here. You can see my post on the red, white and blue cookies here.
Now, onto the tutorial!

Dollar Store Trays/Platters
Dollar Store Taper Candle Holders
Spray Paint Primer
Spray Paint in your choice of color
Gorilla Glue (or whatever super glue you prefer)

Begin by covering your workspace, you don't want to get paint on everything! Remove the stickers from your pieces and lay them out on the table.

Using your spray paint primer, begin to paint each piece.

Allow to dry. Flip pieces over and prime the other side.

Allow to dry and repeat process with your color spray paint.

Stack your candle holders and platters, adhere together with super glue. For the base piece, I put the fat side of the candle holder down. However, for the second tier, I put the fat side up, attaching it the base of the top platter. This allows for more platter space on the lower tier.

Keep in mind these platters are NOT food safe! Please remember to line your platters with doilies, or use wrapped items on these trays.

See how having them color coordinated pulls it all together? Your total cost is less than $10, depending on how many trays you decide to make. I can tell you from personal experience, this is addicting!!
Happy Painting!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sunshine Surprise!

What a great weekend!! I made a special trip back to Wisconsin to celebrate one of my best friends, Tammy's, 30th birthday. Tammy's stepdaughter Mindy started planning this surprise nearly a year ago. She contacted me to see if I would come down and do a birthday cake. Of course I agreed! As the months passed, the plan evolved into a dessert buffet.
Tammy's favorite color is yellow, so my table was based on that. 40+ people gathered on Saturday in Tammy's home. Her clever husband had gotten her out of the house for a few hours. She came home to find everyone standing in her dining room singing Happy Birthday. Since I came down from Minnesota, everyone thought it best if I hide, and be sort of a "second" surprise. Just as she was taking it all in, I popped out from behind the door to more screams and excited tears. Then Tammy realized there was a sunshine yellow dessert table, just for her....

I found a great tutorial for a unique yard "egg" decoration. I made a few and hung crystals in the center of each. (Details on how to make these yourself will follow soon!)

I also found another great tutorial on painting and creating dollar store cake stands (Details on how to do this yourself will also follow soon!). I was able to make matching stands for under $10!

I crafted a simple yet elegant cake for the centerpiece.

It was a vanilla cake with chocolate filling.

As you can see, Tammy couldn't wait to bite into it!

Monogrammed sugar cookies, special for the birthday girl.

Dipped marshmallows...which were a huge hit! Especially with the kiddos!

Mini cupcakes with pinwheels and blooms.

Yellow hued oreo cookie balls, also a hit!

It wouldn't be a sunshine-y summery theme without pinwheels!

Here I am with the birthday girl. Yes, I did wear yellow on purpose! Overall the party was a huge success, the buffet was fun to make, and well worth the time, effort, and driving across Wisconsin for my friend. Happy Birthday Tammy!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Recently at my job, one of my coworkers resigned. He worked for us full time but was also a fireman. He accepted a full time job traveling the world training other firefighters. As a going away give, I made him these!

Cute hey? I was inspired by a picture on google images. Sadly, the original source is unknown. Thanks whoever you are for this great inspiration!

The cupcakes were vanilla and the frosting was vanilla almond buttercream.

Good luck at your dream job John!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who needs White Castle??

Tis the season to be grillin...and that got me thinking. There is nothing like a hot summer day and freshly grilled hamburger. But what if you could have your hamburger and a hamburger cookie?!

The cookie sliders were born! In regular and mini versions!

Aren't they cute together??

Chewy sugar cookies filled with chocolate buttercream, green tinted coconut and some "mustard and ketchup" royal icing.

Then again, what burger is complete without fries?!

These mini's just make me giggle. you want fries with that?!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Turning 30....

Recently I read a blog post about a woman who is planning 30 parties before she turns 30. (Is this you? I cant find the link anymore!) I was intrigued. I am going to be 30 in January. I know I cant pull off 30 parties in less than 7 months, but I can pull off at least 7 really great parties between now and then! My goal is to create a new theme each month with as much DIY fun and budget friendly creations as possible.
My first challenge party is coming up!! Here is the invite:

My parents own a greenhouse. This year they supplied me with an abundance of plants and flowers for my yard. I plan to show them off by having a fantasy garden party called "Enter Eden". This a ladies only event: friends, food, fun all surrounded by flowers!
Photos to come!
While I'm on the subject of turning 30, there are loads of websites out there with things to do before you turn 30. Boy I wish I would have found this stuff sooner! Just for fun, here is one list. Of the 30 things on the list, I've accomplished 22 of them. Guess I'd better get cracking!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Martha Saves Dinner!

Martha Stewart is my hero. She is a genius. I follow her site and read her magazine religiously. Martha emailed me (I believe the email subscriptions are sent directly by her!) this great recipe for an Asparagus, Snap Pea and Avocado Pasta. Sounded delicious and easy. Turns out, it was! Here is how to make it....

Gather your ingredients:
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch lengths
1 pound sugar snap peas
1 pound bow tie pasta
4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 avocado, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint, parsley or basil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

I chose to use fresh basil cut from my garden.

Prep all of your ingredients.

In a large pot, boil salted water. Cook asparagus until bright green. Add in peas and cook another 30 seconds. Remove veggies with a slotted spoon.

Return water to a boil and add pasta. (I'd like to point how challenging it is to photograph while pour pasta into hot water!)

Cook pasta according to box directions. Drain the pasta but reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

In pot, combine asparagus, peas and garlic with 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook, tossing until tender. (2 minutes or so).

Add remaining butter, cooked pasta, avocado, basil, cheese, and pasta water. Toss to combine.

Season with salt and pepper, serve with additional cheese.

This dish was easy and delicious and a different twist. The avocado really adds something special to it. Thanks Martha!
(See original recipe here.)


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