Holiday Family Fun

I sure hope you guys are enjoying your holiday season.  I've been so busy checking items off our family fun list that I just realized today I never posted it to share as I did in the fall.  I know it's only a week until Christmas, but I hope it still inspires some extra joy for you + yours.  It would be nice if I had a chance to post some of these activities in progress too, but I think you'll have to settle for the occasional instagram this year.  Happy Holidays!
This printable © Merry Happy by CAKE. for personal use only. Please do not re-distribute. If sharing on your site, please credit CAKE. events blog and link directly to this post.

Holiday Cheer | Free Printable Gift Tags

Hello friends & happy Thanksgiving week!  Before we blink it will be December.  Have you started your holiday shopping yet?  Now that I work near Union Square in San Francisco, I can tell it's going to be a dangerous season for my wallet.  The shiny objects are already beckoning me from their gorgeous window displays.

To enhance your gift-giving enjoyment this year, I've teamed up with The Tomkat Studio to design some fun & cheerful printable gift tags.  These tags are being featured with other great ideas in their 2012 Holiday Gift Guide.... it's a must read!  They've got options for everyone that will definitely inspire your shopping.

These tags will look their best printed on white letter-sized card stock.  Just download, print, cut and enjoy.... here's to a merry happy holiday season.

These tags and images are ©Merry Happy by CAKE. and are for personal use only. Please do not re-distribute. If sharing them on your site, please credit CAKE. | events + design and link directly to this post.

Happy Halloween | Black + Pink Skeleton Chic

I never got around to posting pictures of my Halloween projects this year, but I've been excited about sharing this party for weeks.  Michele of Cakewalk Baking hosted this adorably chic skeleton party for her son Graham's 7th birthday.  It was originally a traditional orange & black color palette, but it was Graham who suggested a pop of pink instead... what an awesome kid.  I helped out by designing the invite & CD favors, but Michele herself did all the rest.  She even made seven kinds of cupcakes to celebrate... yes, that's right seven! And each one better than the last.

 Enjoy the party pics and be sure to visit Cakewalk Baking for all the details.  Happy Halloween!

photos © cake. 2012

DiY Rustic Fall Wedding | One Year Later

Hello Friends! I'm stopping in with a very special share. Today is the one year anniversary of my friend and feature photographer Sherry Heck's wedding to her husband Kevin.  Sherry and Kevin share a love of biking and french wines, and their wedding reflected this love with a subtle nod to French provincial style. They married at the Sausalito Woman's club in Marin, an Arts & Crafts era building designed by the renowned Julia Morgan.

This wedding was a DiY affair in every way, and I was happy to be able to assist with the planning and styling along with designing the invitations.  My favorite project was the ceremony canopy pictured below. I created it by mixing tonal shades of paper lanterns and wicker balls, strung together along wood beams and hung between the oaks.  Read on below for the rest of the wedding details, including an incredible array of desserts by Cakewalk Baking.

photos © chyna darner

Details Cont. Michele of Cakewalk Baking created an assortment of rustic deserts, including a gorgeous white 2 tier wedding cake with a simple ribbon band and fresh wildflowers.  In addition were apple cider donuts, pecan tarts, salted caramel tarts and the greatest little hazelnut macarons you've ever tasted. When styling the dessert table we incorporated vintage silver trays and a signature monogram that complimented the invitations, wood-burned onto a tree stump as a nod to the oak trees of the ceremony.

On the tables, mason jar centerpieces held wildflowers in a beautiful assortment of blues and orange, along with a bloom at each setting in a BILT metal container.  These modern boxes are designed by a friend of Sherry's and became the favors for each guest to take home.  Table numbers were enlarged prints of French stamps and corresponded with the place cards which were embedded into wine corks.

Chalkboards were used for the menu + programs, accented with navy + white striped ribbon that coordinated with the bride's bouquet and wedding cake.  We had a number of extra paper lanterns from the ceremony canopy, and grouped them together on the stage to liven up the dance floor.  The 'getaway car' was a vintage bicycle built for two, adorned with tin cans and a basket of flowers and well wishes for the bride & groom.  

- Invitations + Graphic Design: Merry Happy by CAKE.
- Cake + Desserts: Cakewalk Baking
- Photography: Chyna Darner
- Caterering: Back to Earth
- Venue: Sausalito Woman’s Club
- Favors: BILT

Wedding Sneak Peek | Bicycle Invitation

Next week I'm going to be sharing out a wedding that I helped to style last year. Yes, it's taken nearly a year to get the pictures posted... though to be fair that's partially because we wanted it to be seasonally appropriate. I don't want to give much away, but as a sneak peek I though I'd post a version of the invitation I designed for the occasion, that I'm going be selling along with a reply card on Etsy. I do hope you'll come back on Monday to see the complete wedding post. It's a beautiful DiY affair, with lots of detail and charm.

Click HERE to purchase.

Merry Happy by CAKE. | Halloween Invites

I kind of can't believe it's the first day of fall.  Now that my daughter is old enough to appreciate the seasons, I feel like it's time to up my game.  I'm already thinking about her Halloween costume and I'm stuck somewhere between Olivia and a Neverland Pirate, because clearly she watches too much TV and all I really want to do is dress her up like a cute owl again. Last weekend I even went so far as to write one of those seasonal to do lists that seem to have become so popular on Pinterest. I tried to keep it general so I can actually get to some of these activities, and then enjoy that a-type satisfaction that comes from crossing things off a list. If you'd like a copy of the list for your own fridge, go ahead and grab it...

Maybe you recognize the design?  I was being lazy so I borrowed elements from the fun retro Halloween Party Invitation I designed last year.  You can find it on Etsy, along with a new invite for this year that's a littler darker and a lot more chic.  It was adapted from a birthday invite I'm doing for Cakewalk Baking.  That party is still in the works, but I can't wait to share it around Halloween... it's going to be awesome.

Click here to purchase invites.

Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Labor day weekend is just around the corner and these cookies might just be the perfect addition to your BBQ. I made them for an Olympics party earlier this month and nicknamed them 'Ugly Americans'.  Because really, what could be more self indulgent at an event promoting athleticism and good health than eating a cookie filled with bacon, chocolate and booze?  Yes, I'm kind of a jerk.  It's just that I pinned them forever ago and was dying for an excuse to give them a try.  Anyway I'm pretty confident these cookies are worth their weight in judgement... they are truly, ridiculously good.

photo © cake. 2012

Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from whisky disks

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 strips bacon (thinner bacon cut is recommended for crispiness)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
2.Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings and set aside to cool. Crumble the bacon.
3. Beat the butter and reserved bacon drippings in a large bowl with a mixer on until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the granulated and light brown sugar until creamy, about 4 minutes, then add the egg and bourbon and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 more minutes.
4. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions, scraping down the bowl as needed, until just combined. Stir in bacon and chocolate chips. Form the dough into 1″ balls and arrange 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake for about 8-10 minutes.

Hellos + End of Summer Cake

Well hello, and happy... mid August?  Summer is winding down already and I've been basically terrible about following up on my commitment to post my personal projects along the way.  It's interesting how quickly I fell out of the habit of blogging regularly... my extra time was almost instantly eaten up by other things and I can't exactly say how I was managing to keep up with it for so long.  Major credit must again be given to all of you who find a way to keep the balance. 

I have been stockpiling a few things for you though, including some of my recent baking projects.  Before summer and peach season are over, you must add this peach upside down cake to your to-do list.  I discovered it via pinterest and gave it my own twist by layering the fruit in a spiral round. It's  not the world's most attractive cake, but I assure you what it lacks in visual appeal it more than makes up for in taste. I mean, we're talking caramelized fresh peaches here... I made this on July 4th and it was polished off in about 10 minutes flat.

I hope you all enjoy the final days of your summer... I'm winding down with a family beach weekend this month, but I'll be back soon with more good things this fall.

photo © cake. 2012

 Peach Upside Down Cake
adapted from midwest living

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2-2 cups sliced, pitted and peeled peaches

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk

Place 1/4 cup butter in an 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Warm in a 350 degrees F oven about 5 minutes or until butter is melted. (Be sure to watch carefully to avoid overbrowning the butter). Remove pan from oven. Add brown sugar, stirring until sugar is completely moistened. Spread sugar mixture evenly in pan. Arrange peach slices evenly over brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in granulated sugar until well combined. Add egg and vanilla, beating until combined. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to beaten butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Spread batter evenly over the peaches in the pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen cake from sides of pan; invert onto a large serving plate. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.

Two at the Zoo | Second Birthday Celebration

Okay, so I didn't intend to fall off the grid for as long as I have, but it's been a busy month my friends.  My daughter turned two and we've had back to back celebrations, including a trip to Disneyland and this little party I put together for her (lucky girl, isn't she?).

We have a family membership to the Oakland zoo and my daughter just loves all the animals, so it was the perfect place to host a small birthday picnic.  'Two at the Zoo' was the theme and I have to say I'm digging the new invite design.  Here's the link if you're interested in purchasing one on Etsy and yes, it can definitely be customized for a boy too. 

As usual, I enlisted the help of Michele of Cakewalk Baking to make the cupcakes, and ( usual) they were over the top amazing. This time I had her do chocolate with a cream cheese frosting and rainbow sprinkles, and I found some little zoo animals on ebay to use as toppers.  Simple, delicious and super cute. 

I kept the picnic pretty basic with labeled sandwiches, chips, strawberries & juice boxes.  I couldn't resist doing a favor, so I found these cute animal masks and designed a tag for them... the kids had fun playing with them at the zoo and I figure they'll make for a good playdate activity down the road.  The pictures aren't much but you get the idea... it was easy and fun and the food was good, which is just about the best you can ask for when you don't have a lot of time to plan.


My little hostess passing out the cupcakes...

photos © cake. 2012
Graphic Design + Party Styling: CAKE.
Cupcakes: Cakewalk Baking
Animal Toppers: Ebay
Masks: Oriental Trading Co.