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O Baby! Baby Shower + Free Printables

3.24.2011

I don't often spotlight baby showers, but this one is near and dear to my heart.  I was in Atlanta the other weekend to celebrate a shower for friend who now also happens to be my sister in law.  Wait, what?  To make a long story short, one of my best friends from college married my husband's brother.  They met at our wedding, lived happily ever after, and are now expecting a little girl almost exactly a year after our own daughter was born.  Unfortunately I don't get to see them very often since they live in Dallas, so it was extra special for me to be able to share this occasion with her.

Since I wasn't hosting the shower I didn't want to be a control freak, but I simply couldn’t resist contributing some favors and party printables.  The baby’s name is going to be Hannah, but we’ve all been calling her ‘baby O’ since the beginning {the couple’s last name begins with an O}.  I thought it would be fun to play off the nickname with some ‘O baby!’ designs.  The ‘O’ I found also just so happens to look like a baby face silhouette with a lock of hair, so it worked out rather nicely.  So nicely in fact that I thought I’d offer up some of the printables free to you!   

The favors were simple: ribbon tied cello bags filled with chocolate mints, sour apples and grape candy to fit the party colors, with 1” labels. I also did some water bottle labels, tags, party circles and made a little ‘O mama!’ ribbon for the mom to be. The party circles were meant for the cupcakes from Mon Amys, but the fondant flowers were just so pretty that we couldn’t stand to overshadow them with toppers.  Fresh flowers, colorful hanging onsies and pom flowers rounded out the d├ęcor, along with framed baby photos of the mama-to-be. The highlight of the afternoon had to be the onsie painting though... the girls let out their inner artists and came up with some adorable & hilarious hand painted creations!









images ©cake. 2011

Download O Baby Printables HERE

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spotted: a whale of a birthday cake

3.23.2011

LOVE every bit of this whale cake. Spotted it on Spaceships & Laserbeams and had to share... it doesn’t get any cuter than this.

{photos by jessica lorren}

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real parties: a vintage spring tea

3.22.2011

Last Sunday I was supposed to co-host a garden tea party with Cakewalk Baking, but we had to make a devastating last minute decision to re-schedule due to rain.  Ironically, I happened to receive some lovely photos of this vintage tea party, designed by Thetis of Little Sooti.  Since she lives 'down under' she doesn't have much rain to contend with this month, so the party for her niece's 10th birthday went off without a hitch.  I hope you enjoy this sweet spring event and sit tight for our own version, coming next month.  Read on for details from Little Sooti...








{images via little sooti}

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure in styling a Vintage Tea Garden Party for my beautiful niece Chloe's 10th birthday along with her mum, my beautiful sister Stella. The setting was their beautiful big backyard under a gorgeous tree on a perfect sunny day, which made for the most elegant set up. The party had two parts, the Vintage Tea Garden Party and then a Moroccan Themed Sleepover in the evening. 

The table setting was  for 10 very excited little girls. Each girl had their own vintage tea cup and saucer, a vintage napkin and a mini glass bottle filled with pink lemonade. The vintage tea cups are my mums and are part of a full dinnerware set as are the pretty little napkins. My sister purchased some pretty fabric in which my mum turned into a table runner. Desserts and finger food included mini vanilla and strawberry cupcakes, raspberry macrons, strawberries and cream (the girls loved this), fairy bread, raspberry jelly shots, marshmallow teacups, yummy cucumber and assorted finger sandwiches, as well as mini gourmet sausage rolls and party pies.  

Gorgeous flowers were placed in assorted glass jars decorated in doilies, lace tape and twine. Other decor around the garden were hanging lanterns, a long doily garland, a hanging crochet blanket which was the backdrop for the girls photobooth area. We also set up the umbrella with a blanket and some throw pillows for a sitting area. The cute mini glass drinking bottles from Little Sooti were wrapped in lace tape and really gave them a pretty look.

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spring it on: lollipop garden cakes

3.21.2011

In spite of the continued dreary weather in California... the 1st day of spring has officially arrived!  I can't think of a better way to cheer on the season then with these adorable lollipop garden cakes, can you?

Sources {clockwise from left}

Martha Stewart’s Lollipop Garden Cake
(Carrot Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting)

Cake Ingredients
Makes 2 eight-inch layers

* Butter, for pans
* 4 medium carrots
* 1 cup golden raisins
* 1 cup walnut pieces
* 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
* Juice and zest of 1 lemon
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground allspice
* 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* 4 large eggs

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 eight-by-two-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment; butter, and dust with flour. Grate carrots in food processor; measure 2 cups, and transfer to medium bowl. Add raisins, walnuts, applesauce, and lemon juice and zest to carrots.
2. Wipe food processor bowl; fit with blade. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice; pulse to mix. With motor running, pour in oil and eggs; process until smooth, scraping sides. Add carrot mixture; pulse. Pour into pans; bake about 40 minutes, until tester inserted in middle comes out clean.
3. Cool in pans on rack for 20 minutes. Remove; cool completely, right side up.

Frosting Ingredients
Makes 7 3/4 Cups

* 24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
* 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, (3 sticks), room temperature
* 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Directions
1. With electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add butter, 1/4 cup at a time, and beat until smooth. Reduce speed to low; add confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Chill before spreading.

To Put Together
1. Tint 2 cups frosting light green, and tint the remainder dark green; chill at least 3 hours. Place bottom layer on cake round; use small offset spatula to spread 1 1/2 cups dark-green frosting over top. Add second layer; spread 1 1/2 cups dark-green frosting in a thin layer over entire cake. Refrigerate 40 minutes until frosting is firm.
2. Place cake on rotating cake stand; spread another layer of dark-green frosting over cake. Fill a pastry bag, fitted with a #113 tip, with light-green frosting. Place tip at base of cake; pipe elongated varying sizes of leaves up sides of cake. Chill at least one hour before serving.
3. Just before serving, insert lollipop sticks in cake.

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real parties: zebra at the zoo

3.17.2011

Jen of Sweet Everythings Photography sent in this adorable zebra inspired 'Wild Time at the Zoo' theme, designed for her daughter's 4th birthday.  Since the party was actually held within the zoo, Jen had to get creative with ways to decorate and bring everything along with her.  She has some incredible tips & DiY details and has been kind enough to share them with us... read on for more below!








For my daughter's 4th birthday celebration, she requested a party at the zoo.  After 3 years of parties at home, I quickly realized that parties outside of the home - while convenient - have lots of restrictions that make creativity a challenge:  we could not hang anything, we could not have anything inflatable (including balloons), and we only had 15 minutes to setup & tear down!

I didn't want the cliche zoo animal decor, so I instead went with a black/white zebra print paired with a fun palette of fuschia, turquoise & lime green.

I've always made a custom birthday banner for my daughter's parties, so I scoured the internet for alternate solutions and finally found one.  We used bamboo sticks secured with a ponytail holder on either side as stands, then attached paper lanterns in the party colors (as a balloon substitute) to each stand.  We were then able to attach the party banner (custom made with my cricut) from one end to the other, and have it "hanging" over the main table without attaching it to any zoo property.

The kids were kept busy with fabulous face painting, foam animal mask crafts, their very own lunch box filled with "animal food", delicous cake/cupcakes, and the grand finale: a group ride on the zoo carousel!  The pavillion was in the children's zoo, so they were also able to take advantage of all of the other fun things the children's zoo offered like a playground and a petting zoo.  We chose not to disperse everyone into the main zoo during the party because of the 2 hour time limit, so some families arrived early to check out all of the animals.

Vendor Details:

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st patty’s day salute: guinness chocolate cake

3.16.2011

Forget the corned beef & cabbage this year and ring in your St Patrick's day with this Irish confection, courtesy of foodie blogger What Katie Ate.  




{recipe and image by what katie ate via design sponge}

Guinness Chocolate Cake

Cake Ingredients
250 g (1 c. and 2 tbsp) unsalted butter
250 ml (1 c.) Guinness
75 g Dutch process cocoa ( 3/4 c.), sifted
275 g (2 + 1/4 c.) all purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking soda
400 g (2 c.) sugar
2 medium eggs
150 ml (2/3 c.) sour cream
1 tbsp. good quality vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients
300 g (1 + 1/3 cup) cream cheese
150 g (1+1/2 c.) powdered sugar, sifted
150 ml (2/3 c.) cream, whipped
Instructions
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

Directions
1. Add butter, cocoa and Guinness to a saucepan. Warm over a medium heat and stir until melted. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly.

2. Add flour, baking soda and sugar to a large mixing bowl and mix together well. Pour in the Guinness/cocoa/butter mixture, lightly combine, add the vanilla, eggs and sour cream and beat everything together until well combined. The batter should be thick and dark chocolate in color.

3. Pour into a greased and lined 10″ angel food pan (or another straight-sided tube pan) and cook in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake.*Note: This cake is very moist inside, so use your judgment regarding the skewer test. Do not leave in the oven until the cake has totally dried out — cook long enough so there is no uncooked cake on the skewer but there may be a few moist crumbs sticking to it after an hour of cooking. [Please note: Katie baked this in an 8.5" x 3.5" pan. If you make this in a regular angel food cake pan, you should start checking for doneness at least 15 minutes early.]

4. Leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the cake tin and placing on a wire wrack to cool completely.

Frosting Directions
1. Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a mixer and beat on a low-medium speed using a whisk attachment (I find a paddle attachment tends to over-beat the cheese). Whisk until the cheese is smooth and there are no big lumps remaining.

2. Gradually, using a large spoon, add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat gently to combine. After 2 to 3 minutes, stop the machine, scrape any excess frosting from the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed until lump free.

3. Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream, mixing to fully combine.

4. Place cooled cake on a cake stand and add the frosting, spreading out just to the edge without going over the side (never go over the sides of the cake) until the cake resembles a pint of the creamy black stuff! The idea is to capture the essence and simplicity of a pint of Guinness.

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flying solo... be back soon!

3.11.2011

I’m headed on vacation.  Flying solo down to Atlanta for an extended girls weekend and baby shower- guaranteed to be a good time.  It’s my first time away from the baby overnight so I’m a little freaked {okay yeah, so I might have tried to pack her}, but I’m looking forward to some much needed r and r, and perhaps even a full night’s sleep.  I'm also planning to unplug while away, so I won't be replying to e-mail until I return next Tuesday.  See you soon!

 {image copyright birthday girl 2011}

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real parties: a bright sunshine-y 1st birthday

3.10.2011

I’ve been a longtime admirer of the blog Grey Likes Weddings, but I only recently discovered that Summer also writes a family blog Grey Likes Baby.  I came upon a birthday party she styled for her nephew Hudson and fell head over heels in love.  The vibrant colors and variety of pom flowers, honeycombs, fans, flags etc are really just too cute to bear.  Even a handmade paper chandelier! She also set up a vintage toy buffet for the kids (‘and kids at heart’) including parachute men, card games, Japanese finger traps, kazoos and rubber glasses.  But you know, paper junkie that I am, my very favorite thing is actually the invitation... that cheerful sunshine print paired with a lined aqua envelope makes me swoon with pure happiness.










{images by t&h photography}

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cake obsession: call me cupcake

3.09.2011

If you haven't yet visited this gorgeous cake blog, it's a must. Eye candy abounds...

{images via call me cupcake}

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party inspiration board: mardi gras madness

3.08.2011

Happy Fat Tuesday! As some of you know, I spent my college days in New Orleans and that crazy, crooked city is one of my favorite places in all the world. Mardi Gras is an incredible time to feel the life and spirit of the city... you just can’t help but get caught up in the whirlwind. Case in point: one year I chased Harry Connick Jr's float down over 10 city blocks, and nearly broke my arm in the process. Perhaps not my proudest moment, but you better believe I still have those Orpheus beads he threw me for my effort. But I digress... here's a little New Orleans flavor to perk up your day.  As they say in the Big Easy... Lassiez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

 {click to enlarge}

Photo Credits
Row 1: mask cookies via sweetopia; king cake via brooklyn farmhouse; bbq shrimp via martha stewart
Row 2: bengiets via epicurious; beads via one hungry mama
Row 3: confetti via etsy; cupcakes via my bakingdom
Row 4: mask via flickr; macarons via shop sucre; wreath via deep friend kudzu

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paper monday: boy girl party

3.07.2011

The shop at boy girl party has some flippin fantastic birthday cards, featuring original artwork by Susie Ghahremani.  Here is my current fave... inside it reads: your entourage is here to celebrate... happy birthday!
 
{image via boy girl party}

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real parties: hydrangea dessert table

3.03.2011

I'm a bit late to the party, but I couldn't help sharing this lovely & delicate hydrangea dessert table from Susana of Citrus & Orange.  Not only because it's pretty and makes me happy, but also because I finally ordered one of these jadeite cake stands for my very own and that makes me happy too.  Susana designed the table for her 40th birthday, based on her love of green & lilac. She used milk glass from her personal collection and incorporated hydrangeas, her favorite flower {and mine}, in shades of lilac and purple throughout this gorgeous display.  






 {images by jorge garcia pereira}

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