Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Monday and Happy Memorial Day to all of those fans in the USA! Hope you are having a great weekend!

This week we decided to go with a Beach Wedding. Different from the Nautical Wedding in quite a few ways, we wanted to show how you can incorporate the sand and the sea with beach touches and not boating touches.
First up...the Invitations!
 First up are these handmade paper invitations from Simple yet luxurious! These are really feminine invitations that would set the mood for a very elegant occasion.
If you are looking for something more gender neutral then these gorgeous invitations from may just fit the bill! With a real sand dollar in the center of the boxed invites these are sure to Wow your guests and it definitely sets the scene for a beachy wedding.
 If you plan to get married ON a beach, not just overlooking one, then this is a wonderful idea. Walking on the sand in heels is a very hard thing to do and a lot of people are not comfortable, especially in formal wear, kicking off their shoes. This boardwalk makes it easy for everyone to get to their seats or to the head of the aisle.
But if you are going for a more casual feel to your ceremony and have invited everyone to kick off their shoes, including you and your Groom, then this is a gorgeous way to go. Using flower balls, drift wood, large shells and a layer of white sand for your aisle runner, this aisle makes a bold, elegant statement!
 Flowers for a beach wedding can be everything from a full bouquet made from shells to something like this gorgeous bouquet from Daren Fong which is just accented with shells and an elegant starfish broach.
We fell in love with this boutineer from Creative Bridal Solutions. Very simple, very elegant and very beachy at the same time!
 A sand ceremony is a wonderful way to include other family members, especially if you have children. Each member gets their own color of sand to pour into the keepsake container...
Then you have a gorgeous keepsake to spotlight in your home. This particular set was topped with a votive candle which makes the sand glow. This is my own personal sand sculpture with each of our kids pouring a bit of colored sand in for our renewal ceremony.
Little touches, like this Beach Wedding sign, are a great way to add special details to your wedding ceremony. In fact you could use this as just one of many signs pointing the way to the ceremony, the cocktail hour, the reception, the bar, etc. Really cute idea using drift wood for this project!
And speaking of cute would it be to take a photo as Husband and Wife with your own shades on while holding this sign! Totally adorable!
 Onto the reception! And what a great way to let your guests know which table is theirs but to write their names/table numbers on sand dollars or shells. These have ribbons attached so your guests can use these as home or holiday decor after your wedding!
Or use pretty paper cards and put them into shell place card holders set into a bed of sand then...
use the same place card holder style for your tables to let your guests know which seat at the table is theirs.
 The canopy idea is wonderful if your reception is up on a bluff over the beach. It shades your guests but also adds a lot of charm to your decor.
Beach dining is becoming a special touch that many couples are deciding upon for their receptions. Using tall wooden poles set deep into the sand, this look includes twinkle lights and a hanging light fixture to really make it elegant.
 There are several wonderful ways to set a table using shells and flowers...or omit the flowers completely! I love how they submerged the shells in water in these trifle bowls and added floating candles. 
Or you can add flowers in a big way and accent them with shell or beach themed details like these ceramic coral based vases filled with shells and water and topped with floating candles. Lovely.
 Do you want a really unusual guest book!?! Yup, a surfboard! Have it painted with your names and wedding date and then leave out sharpie markers for your guests to sign their names. What a wonderful keepsake!
Beach favors are pretty easy to find online. Everything from candles to bottle openers, wine stoppers and chocolate shells. We really fell in love with these stoppered sand and shell decorations from
 Finally there's the Cake! I'm featuring two of my own designs this week. The light blue and navy blue confection above is decorated with edible rope trim and chocolate shells on a bed of cookie crumb sand.
If you are not a fondant fan then maybe this buttercream Ocean Dreams cake would fit the bill. Covered in piped buttercream and decorated with edible handpainted shells, starfish and sand dollars as well as poured sugar coral. Just enough for 30 guests but you could make this same style in a tiered cake if your guest list is a large one.

Hope you enjoyed our trip to the beach! Next week we'll be spotlighting another birthday idea!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Monday! With all the Summer Weddings on the way it may be time for you to plan a Bridal Shower for your best friend or sister. Now, technically, according to the etiquette masters, family isn't supposed to throw the shower but it doesn't mean you can't throw it and ask for some help from the rest of the Bridal Party and then just say the Bridal Party is the hostess! Or just throw convention out the window and do it anyways...we won't tell the Etiquette Police, I swear!

So, of course we start out with the one item that sets the mood, lets your guests know what the theme is, what the color palette is and how formal or casual the event will be...the Invitation! These from were just SO perfect for our "Lemon" theme. Cute, affordable and simple...with that wonderful punch of the striped envelope! Remember, even if your invites come with plain white envelopes you can use one of those as a template to cut out new envelopes out of fun paper instead and end up with your own cute envelope! I actually have a set of plastic envelope templates for just such an occasion!
Obviously, with a Lemon theme, you need to have Lemonaid to serve! It doesn't mean you have to make it from scratch. Of course, if you have an old family recipe or this happens to be one of your signature drinks then go ahead and make it from scratch. But if you, like most people, don't have a great lemonaid recipe then go ahead and cheat a bit. Buy the frozen concentrate or the bottled version and put that into your pitcher with some fresh sliced up lemons and lots of ice! 
Right before the party starts pour about a dozen glasses of lemonaid to set out in front of the decanter or pitcher and dress those up with decorated stir stick, like those pictured above, or pretty striped plastic or paper straws! These tall elegant glasses, all dressed up with their little pom poms and flags, are a perfect added decoration for a simple drink.
If you are thinking about a more formal event you can always put out place cards to help your guests know where to sit. These tiny envelopes are simply attached to stir sticks that are inserted into fresh lemons! Just write the guests name on a small card and let it peak out of the top of the envelope. Too Cute!

Here is another version of that same idea without the complication of the envelope. Just cut out ovals with a pretty edged punch and write the guests name on the oval. Then just use a push pin to attach it to the lemon. Easy peasy but so adorable!
Onto the flowers! Now if you are using green as your accent then this centerpiece would be perfect for your party. The use of green flowers with just touches of yellow sets off the freshly cut lemons in the vase. 
In case you don't know how to do this I decided to add another "vase" of lemons to show you how to stack the lemons around the sides before you add the water. Don't forget the second glass vase inside the helps hold the lemons in place. This is also another way to go with your color palette! The pinks and purples of the flowers work very very well with the bright yellow of the lemons giving another pop of color for your tables! 
Maybe another pop of color isn't what you want or need. Maybe you want to stick with yellow and white as your whole palette...well, there are plenty of pure white flowers you can use! From white roses to daisies to baby's breath, you can find a bunch of flowers to fit your vision. 
Lastly, think outside the box when it comes to the vases that you use. Mix and match containers so you have different sizes and shapes. You can use mason jars, pitchers, glasses and, of course, actual flower vases all on the same table to get more textures into the mix.
 Time for the food! Bridal Teas are all the rage this season so why not work your menu to include ginger scones with lemon curd and Devonshire cream! Not only are these totally yummy but they are easy to make and they will disappear quickly off the plate!
Going for a lunch menu...and a little more grown up? How about lemon drop drinks with a bit of whipped cream on top?! Serve in martini glasses with a paper straw that's been cut in half to make two and you have a gorgeous grown up drink for your guests! Ok, don't want alcohol at your party then make this lemon pudding, topped with whipped cream and make the straws little pirouette cookies!
Now onto the favors. how about a pretty jar of lemon body sugar scrub? Stick on a pretty label and ribbon and you have the perfect favor! Of course you can find these online to buy already made up but it's easy to make your own  and could save you more than just a few bucks. If you are crafty then you may want to consider this a DIY project!
But here is an even easier DIY favor for you to make. Michael's has these little apothecary jars that you can fill with lemonhead candies, put a label or tag on with a ribbon and you are done! Easy to do, affordable and nearly everyone loves lemonheads!
The beautiful tablescape featured above has all of the parts we have been talking about so far. The varied centerpiece vases, the favors on the plates, the use of green as an accent colors but there is another touch here that I simply love. Each wooden slat chair has a strip of yellow fabric draped over it. This is SO easy to do! You can actually have the people at the fabric store cut the strips for you and then just use iron-on adhesive to hem the ends. Then all you have to do is thread it through the slats and you have a wonderful way to add color and detail to your table. It's all the little details, like this, that make the party shine!
Lastly, of course, is the cake. This Martha Stewart creation is simply wonderful. Even a single tiered version of this would be simply adorable at your party. I would make this lemon chiffon cake with lemoncurd buttercream filling just to complete the theme but you could also pack a surprise in there like pistachio with mango filling or dark chocolate cake with an orange cream filling! YUM!

Hope we gave you some ideas. Keep in mind that even though we spotlighted these ideas for a Bridal Shower you could use them for any birthday party, summer dinner party or even a baby shower or engagement party! See you next week!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Monday! I do hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day here in the US! I know I did! Of course I didn't rest, I threw a party instead! LOL! Yup..couldn't resist making alot of those Mother's Day Brunch Ideas I've been posting on our Facebook Page for the past two weeks. ( So here is a look at how ours turned out....

 We actually used a fabric remnant for our top tablecloth. Underneath was a plain white one that fell all the way to the floor with this beautiful yellow and white silky cloth over the top of it. It draped a few inches over each side. I simply adore the blue and yellow color palette so, since we already had the blue plates and glasses, I just added the yellow and white!
 We used different shades of cream to yellow roses from our own gardens. For mini centerpieces we used little mason jars with the center lid left out to make cute little vases for more flowers at each place setting.
 For our main centerpiece we used a pitcher for our vase! Very "French Country" feeling. When coming up with centerpiece ideas you want to look outside the ordinary vases and glassware and use items you wouldn't normally use for flowers. You can even use boxes or cans if you put a plastic container inside to actually hold the flowers and water.
 Brunch started out with these delicious fruit kabobs! Of course you can use any fruit you wish but we are berry people so I used raspberries, blackberries and strawberries and then filled with fresh pineapple (you can used canned chunks) and used grapes as a stopper on the pointy end.
 I'm just nuts for Caprese Salad! There is just something about the combination of basil, tomato, mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinegar that tastes SO good. I think I could have it every day! I made mini Caprese bites by skewering basil leaves with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella chunks onto toothpics and then drizzling them with the oil and vinegar...YUM!
 We have a few carnivores in our family so I had to get some meat on the table as well! I made these taco cups by rolling out canned biscuts and putting them into muffin cups. I baked those till they started to get golden brown and then added the already cooked taco meat that was mixed with grated cheese. I did have to push down the centers of the cups because they had puffed up a bit before I put in the taco meat. Finally I topped them with a bit more cheese and put them back in the oven to finish browning up. They were SO good my guys are asking for them to be served more often! LOL!
 The other hit was these Sausages in a Blanket. Same idea as pigs in a blanket only I used flattened biscuts and Brown & Serve sausages. One thing I did learn is that they want to roll apart while baking so either place them close together or secure with a toothpic so they don't open up too far. But they sure were GOOD!
 As I mentioned...we do have carnivores in this family so we also served a pound of Platter Bacon. Now my "secret" on cooking them is to place them on a broiler pan or onto a rack over a cookie sheet that has been covered in foil with a few slits knifed into it. Then I bake them for about 20 mins at 375, turning the bacon over about mid way. Your bacon turns out gorgeous and flat and evenly cooked without you having to stand over it and get splattered with hot grease! 
 I also made these little Quiche Cups. I used phyllo dough cups, you can get them at the grocery store already made up, instead of pie crust dough. I whipped together eggs, cream, chopped spinach, salt and pepper and grated cheese and used a scoop to fill up the phyllo cups. I then baked them at 375 till they puffed up and were golden brown.
 Finally I made up these little pancake stacks. Just make several quarter sized pancakes, stack and use a toothpic to hold them together and cover the toothpic with a berry...yup, that easy! We ate ours with syrup or berry jam. YUMMY!
 To drink we had these Strawberry-Banana smoothies along with Bellini's and Coffee. The smoothies are just 1 cup milk, 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries and 1 tsp sugar. Whip those up in a blender and serve with more berries! Of course you can make all of the dairy ingredients fat free if you wish...we always do.
We topped off our day with these mini cakes! One for each of the Mom's in our family. From the back left we have Tory's, then Krista's, then Mom's with the yellow rose, of course, and finally mine with little sweet peas on it. Just vanilla cake on the inside but they were SO good! When I say we topped off our day with these I mean we went to the movies after Brunch and had these after dinner that night! We were WAY too full from Brunch to even consider eating anything else for hours! LOL! You can find out more on how to make those over at the Cake Blog:

By making our Brunch all "mini" foods we were all able to have a lot of different tastes all on one plate. This made it easier to feed a lot of different people who all have varying tastes.  We hope you consider this for your next Brunch!

See you next week!