November 18th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Winter Confections

Looking for some inspiring winter confections for your upcoming holiday events?  Look no further than this sophisticated color palette and decorations ideas from Jill of Modern Cupcake.  Debuted in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine, use this chic color palette for your Christmas or seasonal soiree.

Dip store-bought sugar cookies in white chocolate & dust with glistening sprinkles or adorn a 3-tiered store-bought cake with satin ribbon & white chocolate trimmings.

photography by Jessica Downey Photo

November 17th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Unlock the Spirit of the Holidays

Jessica Kirkland of Pen ‘n Paperflowers put together a stunning winter white dessert table for the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  It’s warm and fuzzy, with vintage touches all over….jam-packed full of inspiration that you can use all winter long.  Here are more of the details from Jessica…

Drawing inspiration from a blog entry I posted almost two years ago, I wanted to create a dessert table filled with an organic holiday warmth. Knowing the holidays tend to feel a bit chaotic, I wanted to convey a sense of a seasonal sanct- uary among all of the holiday hustle and bustle. It takes a concerted effort to actually reach that place of refuge we all long for during the preparations, celebrations and ultimat- ely the exacerbations of the holiday season. Therefore, I wanted to include a subtle reminder that if we are to reach that place refuge, we must be intentional in “unlocking” the spirit of the season; thus giving life to the theme “Unlock the Spirit of the Holidays”.

I decided on a French-Vintage theme using a tone-on-tone color palette of creamy whites, a little bit of burlap, tea- stained paper doilies, lace and yarn. The mix of textures was perfect for pulling off the sense of tranquility I was hoping for.

The vintage design elements used throughout the details were to illustrate the memories often stirred as we gather together with friends and family. Ornate keys were used as accent pieces on the dessert table in various forms, symbolic of “unlocking” the Spirit of the Holidays.

Some of my favorite design pieces came from the beautiful Etsy shoppe, Cloth & Patina. The vintage skeleton key place card holders, repurposed glass vintage bottles adorned with french vintage labels, small burlap favor bags and the unique repurposed funnel centerpiece were absolutely gorgeous and added an extra touch to make the entire table unique and beautiful. The stunning custom designed sugar cookies and matching petit fours created by Bee’s Knees Creative were exactly what I had envisioned for tone-on-tone confections. Not only were they charming, they were absolutely delicious.

Knowing I wanted The Pastry Pedestal™ to take center stage in order to showcase the various petite pastries that can be displayed on them, as well as debuting the brand-new Platform, I decided to use three different desserts. Using the petit fours from Bee’s Knees Creative, homemade mini and regular sized cupcakes topped with a cream cheese frosting. For the final touch on the cupcakes, I added a single mini white chocolate key I made from a candy mold. I love that The Pastry Pedestal can be customized or personalized for any event. For this occasion, I wrapped some of the rounds of The Pastry Pedestal™ with beaded ivory trim and others with a ribbon-like fabric. I also wrapped the rods with vintage shredded paper, thereby allowing the lucite rods to blend beautifully with the vintage-vibe of the table.

Fresh rosemary cuttings from a neighbor, were the finishing touch to the kraft paper wrapped gift boxes used as focal and accent pieces. I felt a real sense of peace and calm looking at how beautifully everything came together. I hope to carry this feeling throughout my home beyond the holidays and into the every day life.

 

November 17th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Pumpkin Macarons

Looking for a fun dessert for Thanksgiving celebrations?  These pumpkin macarons will definitely do the trick.  A recipe developed by Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, and featured exclusively in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine….these macarons are a festive spin on a favorite stand-by, and are definitely worth a try.

Basic Macaron Recipe:

1 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup almond flour (purchase pre-processed or grind blanched almond slivers in a food processor. Process whole dry-roasted almonds for a more “rustic” look.)

2 large egg whites (room temperature)

pinch of cream of tartar

1/4 cup superfine sugar (granulated sugar processed in a food processor works well for me)

1/8 tsp cinnamon pinch of nutmeg few drops of orange food coloring

Filling:

1/2 cup caramel made from sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand; find instructions on eaglebrand.com)

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

Sift powdered sugar and almond flour together in a bowl. With an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add superfine sugar and and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form (add orange food coloring to egg whites just before the end of whisking). Sprinkle flour mixture over the egg whites and fold mixture gently until smooth and shiny–be careful of the amount of times you fold, and watch the mixture carefully while you’re folding. You want it to spread evenly (no peaks remain) when you drop dollops of it, but you don’t want it to run all over the place. A few times looking at the recipe as it goes and you’ll be good. Transfer mixture to a piping bag with a 1/2 inch round icing tip and pipe 1 1/2 inch rounds on parchment covered baking sheets. Bring down on counter to release air in macarons. Let sit on counter until the tops of the circles have started to lose their shine, 30 min to 2 hours, depending on environment. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Reduce oven to 325 degrees and bake 1 sheet of macarons at a time, about 10 minutes, until firm but not brown on top. Reheat oven to 375 degrees between sheets. Let macarons cool and then transfer to wire racks to cool. Cook all filling ingredients in a non stick pan until thickened. Let cool and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip. Sandwich macarons with 1-1 1/2 tsp of filling. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. May also be frozen for up to 3 months (defrost on counter 30 minutes before serving).

 

November 16th, 2011 |

Elf on the Shelf Calendar

Does your family have a beloved “Elf on the Shelf“?  While designing the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine, my assistant editor, Charynn and I came up with the idea of creating a calendar of ideas of places to hide your elf.  Cute, creative, amusing (to both adults and kids) places to put your elf for your kids to find every day.  We had SO.MUCH.FUN coming up with these ideas and hope that you will all get a kick out of them.

The calendar is below (if you click on the picture, it will take you directly to the free download) – please print it off, share it with friends and let us know if you try out any of these ideas!!  Enjoy!

 

November 16th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Elf Party

When designing a new collection of party goods, I always try to think thru designs so that they can inspire other elements for the party.  Decorations, desserts – patterns that can be carried throughout the event from start to finish.  Our brand new Elf Collection debuted in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine, and judging from the response, I would say our darling little elf will be making the rounds among LOTS kid’s holiday parties this season!

Designed to be oh, so classic with a crisp red, white and green color palette, snowflakes and our darling elf, this collection features all of the items needed to throw the perfect party.

When it came to decorations, we focused on red and white and saved the green for accents.  A touch of sparkle here, a crisp ribbon there.  Paper lanterns were decorated with ric rac and buttons (this is something you could do for any type of party!), and oversized swirl lollipops served as centerpieces.

When it came to desserts, I compiled a team of some of the most talented bakers I know.  I gave them each a copy of our collection designs and couldn’t wait to see what they came up with.  These darling fondant elves were made by Two Sugar Babies, and completely dressed up store-bought cupcakes!

Cake pops from Flour & Iced were decorated with red, white and green sprinkles (the little ball shape of sprinkles mimics the polka dot pattern in the paper goods). Allyson Jane made elf cookies by using an upside down ice cream cone cookie cutter! The Marshmallow Studio created these darling elf pops, and we styled them in a cute polka dot pitcher, which could also serve as a table centerpiece!

One of our favorite dessert ideas was to serve ice cream in tiny striped mugs, with a “dressed-up” cupcake topper in them.  Jars of candy were dressed up with striped ribbon and a coordinating candy jar tag (I love the little snowflake on them!).  Kids LOVE bringing sweets home as a party favor, too.  We got creative while filling the tubs of candy by striping the colors to mimic the collection patterns, and our cute little elf made one last appearance on the gift tag tied to it.

November 15th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Fizzy Fig Cocktails

The Holiday season is upon us and you know what that means……one opportunity after another for cocktails!  Creating a festive cocktail for your guests is a great way of adding your own personal touch to a dinner or holiday party.  Maggie Hemsworth from Delish Catering Chicago shared a unique fizzy fig cocktail recipe using homemade sugar cubes (which we LOVE giving as a hostess gift!) in the recent issue of The Party Dress Magazine.

Cocktail

Simply mix 5 oz. of prosseco with 1 or 2 sugar cubes, and add a fig sliced in half.

Fig, Vanilla & Black Pepper Sugar Cubes

Ingredients

4 tbsp Jo Snow fig, vanilla & black pepper syrup

1 ½ cups pure cane sugar

Directions

Cover a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Heat the syrup in the microwave for 20 seconds. Pour syrup over the sugar. Use a fork to combine the sugar and syrup. It should be grainy, kind of like fluffy sand. If too wet add more sugar. If too dry, add more syrup to get correct consistency. Pour on to pan. Using only about ¼ to 1/3 of the pan, pack sugar in to a rectangle. Using a bench scrapper or knife, cut sugar into ½” squares. Allow to dry for about 40 minutes. Then carefully pull cubes apart and allow to dry for another hour or two.

November 14th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Turkey Cupcakes

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, it’s time to plan out those fun little treats for your kids that will make it a memorable holiday.  This charming turkey cupcake was featured in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine and is the perfect combination of charm + deliciousness!  Made to compliment her kid-friendly Thanksgiving table, Stefanie at Anna & Blue Paperie came up with these simple, DIY instructions for creating these turkey cupcakes:

12 cupcakes

2 cups chocolate Frosting

¼ cup white frosting

6 large marshmallows (halved crosswise)

Crème-filled rolled wafer cookies

Orange decorating gel

24 mini chocolate morsels

12 orange gummy candies (halved)

12 candy corns

Wax paper

2 resealable sandwich bags

Star decorating tip

 

Frost your cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

Using a microwave-safe bowl, melt ½ cup chocolate frosting for 10-15 seconds.  Stir every 5 seconds until mixture is thin.

Dip uncut side of marshmallow halves into the melted frosting, turning to coat.

Place cut side of marshmallows on the wax paper and let stand until set.

Once set, place coated marshmallow half slightly off-center each frosted cupcake.

To create the turkey beak, place a small drop of melted frosting onto the center of the marshmallow.  Place the yellow end of the candy corn onto the drop which will keep the candy in place.

Using the gel, pipe a turkey wattle up and around each beak.

Place white frosting into a sandwich bag.  Cut a small piece from one corner.  Pipe two small dollops on the marshmallows to create eyes.  Place two chocolate morsels on top of the white frosting dollops.

To create turkey feathers, break the wafers in half and insert pieces in a half circle around the marshmallow.

Fit the second sandwich bag with the star tip and add remaining chocolate frosting into the bag.  Pipe frosting around the edge of the marshmallow.

To create the turkey feet, press 2 gummy candy halves below the marshmallow for each cupcake.

November 14th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner with kiddos, it’s important to keep them happy and occupied!  Stefanie from Anna & Blue Paperie put together this darling kid-friendly Thanksgiving table using her new printables collection for the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine, and there are tons of details that you can recreate for your own holiday table.  Stay tuned for the details as told by Stefanie…

Everyone looks forward to sitting down for a delicious Thanksgiving meal after hours of preparing, cooking and baking. Sitting through a long meal can be challenging for the little ones though. Why not set up a dedicated table just for the children to make their mealtime entertaining as well? A special table decorated for kids and a fun game of Tic-Tac-Turkey will ensure a pleasant gathering for everyone. It can also help to keep them entertained and seated for more than 5 minutes.

To create a warm and festive feel for the table, I designed a printable collection using a color palette consisting of chocolate, pumpkin, burlap and cranberry. Personalized place-cards give an inviting welcome for little guests at their table. A quick and easy centerpiece was created using pumpkins and pine cones. I created cornucopias made out of waffle cones and filled them with pumpkin candies as a fun touch for the table. The place settings were created using construction paper which serve as place mats as well as a canvas for kids’ doodles. The turkey cups were a simple DIY project made from silly googly-eyed stickers, construction paper and felt. I filled the cups with crayons to beckon kids to their seats and to give them a fun coloring activity while the turkey is carved. For young children, stick with unbreakable plates and heavy weight wooden utensils in place of silverware. During their meal, the children can use their checklists to ensure they eat all of their Thanksgiving goodies. Make sure they leave room for their dessert. Cupcakes were created to resemble turkeys that are sure to please! Who can resist gobbling up this special treat for dessert?   (Stay tuned for the DIY instructions on the blog this afternoon!) This year, start a new tradition by putting together a fun, kid-friendly table to give thanks and to create special memories that will last a lifetime.

November 10th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Photo Tips for Holiday Cards

I spent my week down in Houston at our Holiday trunk show working with families to design {the perfect} holiday card, and have been talking “pictures” all week long!  It’s that time of year, where every single family I know is trying to get {the perfect} shot to use for their holiday card.  Whether you are taking the pictures yourself, or having a professional photographer capture your little ones….we could all use some tips!

Photographer, Laura Winslow, offered up some fabulous advice in the Holiday issue of TPD Magazine.  Words of wisdom to help you get thru the stress of it and come out with a perfect picture that captures your family’s personality.

November 9th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: DIY Nailhead Pumpkins

These DIY nailhead pumpkins by Christi Bennett of P is for Party is one of my favorite features in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  It’s simple, it’s modern, and it speaks to “fall”, not necessarily a holiday.  I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for those non-holiday decorations that make my home look cozy, yet updated….and this fits the bill perfectly.

Step 1:

Gather your supplies: pumpkin, nailheads, a pencil, and decorative ribbon

Step 2:

Think about your design before you draw it on the pumpkin.

Step 3:

Draw your pattern onto the pumpkin (you could use a stencil too)

Step 4:

Once your design is drawn on the pumpkin, start inserting the nailheads one by one. (line them up so they are touching on both sides)

Step 5:

Finish up your whole design or letter and voila! You have a modern update to a traditional pumpkin!

Tip:

You can use nailheads on any type of gourd – not just pumpkins!

Images by Ellenzilla Photography

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