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Hooray for Baby! A Baby Shower Brunch

5.22.2012

Last month I put together a small baby shower to celebrate three dear friends who all happen to be pregnant at the same time.  The 'Hooray for Baby!' theme started oddly enough as the subject of an e-mail I sent wishing them congratulations.  The more I thought on it, the more it felt like the perfect concept for a shower.  Because two of the moms-to-be opted not to find out what they're having, I picked a gender neutral palette of mint green + yellow.  I've always loved these colors for spring, and they worked especially well for an outdoor brunch.  I wanted to keep things simple and budget friendly, so I put together my own menu and a few DiY projects to make the morning special... 



The little floral arrangements were created from baby food jars that I partially dipped in mint green paint.  I wasn't sure how it would work out, but the effect was charming and allowed me the opportunity to send one home with each guest.


My favorite project to make was actually the tassel poms, a new take on the popular tassel garlands.  I created the tassels from this tutorial, and fixed them to wooden dowels with a bit of hot glue.  They looked great as a centerpiece on the brunch table and held up well when waved around as pom-poms. (Okay sure, the shower was for grown ups, but these would be a great activity to make with your kids!).  I even used the extra tissue to make bits of confetti and tossed it along the table... hooray indeed. 
 



The brunch menu included the following: Zucchini Tart w/ Smoked Gouda + Tomato*, Chicken Apple Sausage, Mixed Berries with Greek Yogurt and Pecan Granola, 'Baby' Lemon Muffins with Cream Cheese* and Grapefruit Spritzers (2/3 grapefruit juice + 1/3 sparkling water with lime) to drink.  See below for recipes with an *.





For dessert, Michele of Cakewalk Baking served as my partner in crime once again and baked up the most moist & delicious yellow cake with chocolate frosting... and as a special treat she brought over some incredible homemade french macarons.  Just for fun, I designed a set of hooray bunting flags and strung them across the cake between paper straws.  I also ordered custom megaphone cookies from Auntie Bea's Bakery with a script hooray to coordinate with the invitation- they were a huge hit!



The favors were ribbon trimmed burp cloths that I made with Michele's help (because I can't sew to save my life), to which I attached custom 'Hooray for Mamas!' pennant flags.  The sticks are actually just wooden rock candy sticks, ordered from Confetti Sunshine
 

I have
Sherry Heck to thank for all the beautiful photos of the shower details.  As special treat for the moms though, I offered up a little maternity photo shoot for each of them after brunch.  I never had maternity photos taken while I was pregnant with my daughter and I regret not having made it a priority... so I thought it would make a nice keepsake whether or not they were professionally done.  The last image is one I took of all three soon to be moms together.  You've gotta love that they unintentionally coordinated in ombre shades of blue. 


Credits
Graphic Design & Party Styling: CAKE.
Cake & Macarons: Cakewalk Baking
Cookies: Auntie Bea's Bakery
Rock Candy Sticks, Paper Straws, Cupcake Liners: Confetti Sunshine
Photography: Sherry Heck
 

Zucchini Breakfast Tart w/ Smoked Gouda
adapted from Food Network

Ingredients 
1 sheet (half of a 17-ounce package) frozen puff pastry
2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 (14-ounce) can ready-cut diced tomatoes, well drained
4 large eggs
1 cup grated smoked gouda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions 
Remove the puff pastry from the package and let thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or until no longer frozen but still cool. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, or until the onion is slightly tender. Stir in the zucchini and saute just until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in the drained tomatoes and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is tender but not mushy and the juices have evaporated. Let cool.

Lightly butter a dark-colored 9-inch tart pan. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into an 11-inch square. Fit it into the tart pan. Trim off the overhanging pieces of pastry with scissors. Refrigerate the crust, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or up to 8 hours, covered.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, and cooled vegetables. Spoon the mixture into the tart pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry is brown and a knife inserted in the center of the tart comes out clean.

Let the tart cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before slicing. It is best to serve this tart very warm rather than piping hot.

--

‘Baby’ Lemon Muffins with Cream Cheese

Ingredients
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons (packed) grated lemon peel
 1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup whole milk

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add grated lemon peel and juice. Mix in dry ingredients alternately with milk.

Pour batter into lined mini muffin cups. Bake about 12-15 minutes, until toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

When muffins have cooled, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until texture is light and whipped like frosting. Add to piping bag and pipe onto muffins.

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Merry Happy by CAKE. | Hooray for Baby!

5.21.2012

I've been excited to share this baby shower since I hosted it, and last week I finally had the time I needed to pull everything together (I've been amazed at what I've already been able to accomplish with just a few extra hours each night).  I thought I'd offer up a preview of the invitation I designed... it's one of my favorites to date and I've just added it to my Esty shop.  I love the way the stripes look with the iconic megaphone, don't you?  Tomorrow I'll be sharing the actual shower I put together, and it's also going to be featured on Bump Smitten... Elizabeth has a wonderful blog filled with inspiring baby shower details, so please be sure to head over and check it out!

photo © merry happy by cake. 

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Things I'm Afraid to Tell You.

5.14.2012

Last week there was an awakening in the blogging community and ironically, because I’ve been away dealing with some personal issues I almost missed it. I've been feeling the need to open up to you for a while now, so even though I was slow on the uptake I think this was the universe sending me a sign to go for it.  It’s taken me some time to think through, and I hope you’ll consider reading and sharing your thoughts.


It began with a post, titled "Things I’m Afraid to Tell You", inspired by Jess of Make Under My Life and initiated as a project by Ez of Creature Comforts. I’ve been reading other blogger's posts as time allows and copied down a few thoughts that resonated with me personally:

Instead of visiting a blog and feeling inspired, we quite often leave feeling less than, and like our life can never really match up to what we see. – ez, creature comforts

Blogging lately has gotten very pretty, and I’m not against pretty at all, but I kind of miss the funk, the artlessness it used to have before it became a business. – rena tom

 I’m panicked at the thought of failing. – stacy, hello cupcake

I sometimes tire of writing about art/design/visual inspiration, because I fear I’m contributing to a false sense of reality.  – erin, design for mankind

 I only realized just recently though that blogging has begun to make me doubt what I have, and the way I live. – ez, creature comforts

It all comes back to something I've been unable to resolve within myself… the sense that in this ever more crowded space, I’m no longer able to measure up. There are so many brilliant, beautiful design blogs out there and I find myself making excuses that my own could be better/smarter/prettier if only I had more time.  But let's face facts... I'm a full time working mother.  I don't have more time and that's not likely to change any time soon.  So I’ve been battling with an internal struggle… is it worth continuing to pursue something that I don’t have the time and energy to commit to with my whole heart?

And so, the thing I’ve been afraid to tell you is this… I don’t want to be a 'blogger' anymore. What used to be a source of excitement and creative inspiration now feels like a full time job, and it’s pulling me away from my family, my work and lately even the joy of living in the moment.

I’ve been maintaining this self imposed pressure to keep up and I'm growing tired of it all.  With the trends, with social media, with who got the latest book deal and who just came out with the best party, DiY, new business, online magazine, etc.  I mean no offense by this truly. I strongly believe that everyone deserves to share and celebrate their own success. But right now my priorities need to shift, and if I’m being honest my perspective does too.

I'm realizing that I need to be more present in my life, which also means acknowledging that I can’t do everything. What I’d really like is to have more time for the things that drew me into blogging in the first place…. designing, party planning, crafting and baking. And these things I will happily continue to share with you.

A while back I opened an Esty shop to house my invitation designs (which is another thing I’ve been afraid to tell you because it’s never felt ‘ready’). Maybe I’ll find the time to spruce it up and announce a Grand Opening one of these days. You haven’t seen the last of me guys… I can assure you there is more to come. But for now at least, I've made a decision that CAKE. is going to become a place to celebrate my own work, posted on my own terms. And I can’t begin to tell you how cathartic it feels to say that out loud.

I sincerely hope you’ll stick with me, and pop by occasionally to say hello. And should you happen have your own awakening and decide to share it with the world at large, please let me know so I can support you in turn. Thank you friends… for reading, for indulging me… for everything.  Here's to more good things on the horizon for us all.

To read more about this project, please visit this post as well as it's links to other bloggers.

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Simply Styled. | Derby Day

5.06.2012


via home modern

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This too Shall Pass.

5.03.2012


Forgive my absence.  There was a death in my family this weekend... it was sudden and scary and so terribly sad.  I am working hard to keep my chin up and hope to be back with you again next week.

image via the love shop

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