April 6th, 2010 |

Dress-Up Your Cake Plates!

It’s not just for cupcakes anymore!  You can now dress up your cake plates (round or square) with these lovely paper, filigree wraps.  Hmmm….my cakes just got a little bit prettier!

April 6th, 2010 |

Lemon Tarts

 

With the weather getting nicer everyday, I find my self suddenly craving my very favorite dessert….a lemon tart.  It’s light, citrus-y flavor makes this the perfect Spring/Summer dessert and I always find myself counting down the Winter months until it’s “appropriate” to bring this favorite dessert back into rotation!

I’ve tried numerous recipes over the years – but I have to say that my two favorites are from Tartine and Barefoot Contessa.  What about you?  Do you have a favorite recipe you wish to share?!

P.S. With the dessert table craze still going strong, I absolutely love the idea of making mini lemon tarts – they would be perfect for a dessert table with a yellow color story!

Images: slices of lemon tart (annstratton.com), individual lemon creme tart (bonvivant.wordpress.com), bowl of lemons (cafelynnylu.blogspot.com), mini lemon creme tart (foodbeam.com), individual lemon blueberry tart (lemonmeringue.com)

 

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April 5th, 2010 |

Spring Wine & Cheese Party

spring wine and cheese party

We often associate wine & cheese parties with the Fall – maybe it has something to do with the harvest, or maybe it’s just because the crisp Fall air makes us want to cozy up with a good glass of wine to keep warm.  But let’s be honest – wine tastes good just about any time of the year – so why not plan a wine & cheese party this Spring?!

Perfect for a girl’s night out, a bridal shower, or a special birthday celebration – you can create a wine & cheese party with a Spring-y vibe!  Save the full-bodied reds for Fall, and serve a selection of crisp whites, and fresh bubbles.  Food can be as simple as a large artisinal cheese plate, with accompaniments such as grapes, an apple, a pear, honey and walnuts.  Olive oil tasting can be really fun too.  Cut up cubes of french bread, and line up small bowls of different oils to taste.

Keep your decorations light and fresh with flowers in shades of white, peach and lime green.  I love the idea of arranging them in a white vessel – either a footed bowl, or a low bowl with a filagree pattern.  It just adds to the light look of the arrangement.

Send your guests home with a small bottle of olive oil as a party favor.  Beau-Coup has a darling bottle that comes with a customized label.  It’s the perfect reminder of a fabulous evening!

Images: living room (styleathome.com), cheese plate (annstratton.com), olive oil tasting (brides.com), olive oil party favor (beau-coup.com), centerpiece and lemonade (stylemepretty.com)

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April 5th, 2010 |

Giveaway: Estilo Weddings

It’s a happy Monday here at The Party Dress!  We have a fabulous giveaway for you from one of our sponsors!

Estilo Weddings is one of those sites that I go to purely to drool over the stunning party accessories.  Amazing floral details, cupcake wrappers and plenty of fabulous things for your party or wedding.  So, ladies….here’s where it gets good.  Estilo Weddings is giving the winner of this little giveaway a $100 gift certificate their shop.  Fabulous, right?!

So, here’s how to enter: simply visit the Estilo Weddings shop, come back here and comment on what is your favorite item.  Simple as that!  So head on over….and good luck!  The contest ends Thursday night at midnight.

April 3rd, 2010 |

Welcome! Nicole Jane Home

Next up is Nicole Jane Home….a beautiful home shop from Canada!

Nicole Jane Home offers customers a sophisticated mix of products for the home, table and gifts.  Everything from servingware, to dinnerware, to home decor – trust me, you will find something you must-have!  They have a great assortment of vessels for centerpieces too (like these white milk glass pots – I must have these for Spring!).  They are offering a 40% off sale right now (on almost everything in the shop) – so head on over and check it out!

April 3rd, 2010 |

Welcome! Hostess Jo

It’s a fun Saturday over here at The Party Dress as we welcome 3 new advertisers!  First up is Hostess Jo – a darling shop full of entertaining essentials and accessories that you just can’t live without!

I love the assortment of products Hostess Jo offers – anything from beautiful serving pieces, to festive drinkware, to fun accessories such as these ice cube shooters!  (how fun would that be for a bbq this summer?!)  Head on over to check out Hostess Jo – and hurry, because she has a huge sale going on right now on her Spring/Summer collection!

April 1st, 2010 |

Trend Alert: Spring Artichoke Season

 

One of my favorite parts of Spring is that artichokes are in season!  Not only are they delicious to eat (we’ll get to that later!), but they can also make for fabulous decorations in your home, or accessories on your table.

Images: bowl (thedailygreen.com), votive placecard (blogs.glam.com), pitcher of artichokes (midwestliving.com), purple artichokes (lidiasitaly.com), egg cup (thekitchn.com), spinach artichoke dip (horchow.com), basket of artichokes (delallo.com)

 

March 31st, 2010 |

Easter Candlelight

Looking for ways to use those dyed Easter eggs?  I love this idea….nestle them into small bowls (fill them with bath salts or lentils) and place a votive candle into them.  A simple, yet stylish Easter centerpiece!

Image via Gemma Comas

March 31st, 2010 |

Buttercream Frosting Technique

buttercream frosting technique

The most frequent question I get asked about cupcakes is regarding how to make buttercream frosting.  I get told it turns out too runny or too thick.  So I thought I’d share with you a buttercream recipe that I use, that works like a treat each and every time.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

250 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature

400 grams icing sugar

1 tbs milk (optional)

2 tbs vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and cream for 5 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl occasionally.  Add sifted icing sugar, milk and vanilla.  Beat for a minute further.  Add food coloring as desired.

Buttercream can be stored to up to three days in an airtight container in a cool place.  Do not refrigerate.

Now that you have perfected making buttercream, it’s time to decorate.  A really simple, yet effective way to decorate cupcakes is to pipe the buttercream in a rose or flower design.

First, you’ll need a closed star piping tip.  I like to use a Wilton 2D tip.  Pop the piping tip into a piping bag and fill with buttercream.  Starting from the center of the cupcake, work your way to the outside in a circular motion.   If you don’t get it the first time, please keep practicing, you will get the hang of it in no time and be producing beautiful cupcakes like these!

~Sharnel, My Life My Loves

Images: yellow cupcake with pink butterfly (by me!), cupcakes (shamsD via flickr.com)

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March 30th, 2010 |

Easter Brunch: A Pretty, Pink Party

pretty pink easter brunch

I love the color pink.  Always have.  Especially when it’s paired so neatly with white!  Keep your Easter brunch looking pretty and sophisticated by setting a table with all pink accents.  Pink tulip centerpiece, pink lemonade to drink….the end result will be stunning!

Two updated ideas for your decorations:

  1. Use ribbons to create a chain-link garland to drape over your mantel or over windows.  This is a project that kids will love to help with!  Typically done with paper, the ribbon will give it a more luxurious feel!
  2. Instead of using traditional placecards on your table, create larger cards and attach them to ribbon.  You can tie them around the back of each guest’s chair.  It will add an unexpected element to your table setting, and keep your table looking clean and uncluttered.

Image: table setting (epicurious.com), ribbon garland (familycircle.com), wreaths (jubileeevents.com), pink lemonade and chair placecard (stylemepretty.com), Easter sugar cookies (hello naomi via flickr.com)

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