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)

March 29th, 2010 |

Easter: The Kid’s Table

We’re talking Easter ideas for kids today on The Party Dress and Project Nursery!  So, we’ve already covered the craft and decoration ideas….now onto the food!  If you are hosting a big family brunch with a lot of little guests, considering setting a separate table for the kids.  Something low to the ground, with the table setting and the food, geared completely towards them!

 

Although I wouldn’t normally recommend cloth napkins for kids, this bunny napkin is so cute…..it’s a must-do this Easter!  The candy-embellished face will make the kids giddy with excitement!  What child doesn’t love peeps?!  Incorporate jelly beans and peeps into your centerpiece – your flowers can coordinate with the “grown-ups” table, but the candy will add a sweet, child-like feel to it.  If you are serving a traditional honey-baked ham for dinner, make ham sandwiches for the kids.  To make them a little more stylish and festive, use a bunny rabbit cookie cutter to make an indent in the top of the sandwich.

Create a cute party favor display by planting a large tray or basket with grass.  Brush waffle cones with red and yellow food dye (let them dry on wax paper) so they look like orange carrots.  Tie jelly beans in green cellophane, and place into the cones.  Stand them up in the grass….and they look like carrots for the Easter bunny!

Images: bunny sandwiches (parents.com), carrot party favors (goodhousekeeping.com), peeps and tulips centerpiece (thecelebrationshoppe.com), bunny napkin (via Napkins with a Twist)

 

 

March 29th, 2010 |

Easter Ideas for Kids

I’m sharing some darling Easter ideas for kids today over at Project Nursery!  Head on over and check it out!

Images: egg flower centerpiece (familyfun.com), sock bunnies (familyfun.com), bunny bags (goodhousekeeping.com), candy baskets (parents.com)

 

March 26th, 2010 |

Simple Easter Decorations

simple sophisticated easter decorations

Easter is one of those odd holidays for me.  My husband and I don’t have children yet – so sometimes I hesitate going all-out decorating our home for holidays.  Especially ones like Easter, where the decorations can tend to lean towards the child-like or cheesy-side.  But, I love switching up the decor in my house, so I am always looking for simple, sophisticated ways to decorate.

I love the natural feel of all of these ideas:  they scream “spring” and hint “Easter!”  This trio of pots would be darling on a front entry table or as a centerpiece for Easter brunch.  I love how they filled each one with something different!  You have all heard me talk about my bowl full of moss balls that typically sits on my coffee table…..I am LOVING this easy update for Easter: mix in a few blue robin’s eggs.  Simple, and a lovely touch of color!

I still dye Easter eggs – sometimes I can coheres my husband into participating, sometimes I do it all by myself!  I love the idea of polka dotted eggs – and presenting them in a bowl with some twiggy moss.  And lastly, a simple update to your house plants: sponge paint your pots with a soft metallic paint, and add some moss at the roots.  It will take it from boring to beautiful instantly!

Images: pots, moss balls with eggs, and metallic pots (potterybarn.com), polka dot eggs (styleathome.com)

March 26th, 2010 |

Delightful DIY Spa Party

do-it-yourself spa party dessert table

One of my newest internet finds is Nonpareil Magazine.  A new on-line magazine brought to you by a combination of talented bloggers, photographers, designers…..let’s just say a whole lot of creative people!  It’s beautifully edited, and has some amazing do-it-yourself download-able templates!

I literally jumped for joy when I saw this idea in their recent issue.  Dessert tables are one of the hottest trends out there right now for parties….and these talented ladies took the concept and expanded it.  They created a “dessert table” full of bath products that look as delicious as baked goods!  Including sugar scrubs, mini soaps, and cupcake bath bombs – which would be the PERFECT compliment to a spa-themed party!  Totally cute, right?!  Even better, they have download-able templates for each one of these darling labels on their website!

I get so many requests for Spa themed parties – both for little girls and for big girls!  This idea would be darling for a birthday party or a Mother’s Day girl’s night out.

Head on over to Nonpareil to check out the rest of their fabulous eye candy and tutorials!

March 26th, 2010 |

Easter Brunch: Blue & Lime Green

blue and lime green easter brunch

Blue and lime green are the perfect palette for an Easter brunch.  This invitation from WH Hostess sets the tone for a cheery event full of darling details.  Welcome your guests with a beautiful, Spring-like wreath on your front door.  This concept is so simple to….simply attach loops of ribbon to a styrofoam wreath, glue in some white “eggs”, and voila!

Use a combination of two ideas as your centerpiece: first, string Easter eggs (that you have blown out, and died blue and lime green) to make a garland and then swirl it down the center of your table.  Second, place died Easter eggs into egg cups with petal rims to look like flowers.  Create a simple place setting with these darling bunny napkin rings, and by placing a small vase of flowers on each guest’s plate.  It adds a nice, natural touch to the table, and will also serve as a party favor.  You can also repeat the use of ribbon from your wreath by tying small pieces onto straws to create flags.

Images: invitation (whhostess.com), egg garland (bhg.com), ribbon wreath (hgtv.com), bunny napkin rings (organize.com), drinks (stylemepretty.com), egg flowers (goodhousekeeping.com), flower place setting (brides.com)

WH Hostess is a preferred sponsor of The Party Dress.  For information regarding advertising, please click here.

March 25th, 2010 |

Cupcake Topper

I came across this darling cake on epicurious.com – talk about a darling cupcake topper!  This would be so cute for an Easter brunch, a birthday party or shower.  If you aren’t up for making a cake and cupcakes from scratch – cheat a little!  Order the cake from your local bakery, and bake your own cupcakes (the cupcakes don’t have any special decorations….just different colored frosting!).

March 25th, 2010 |

Bunny Cupcakes

I wish you had all been sitting with me when I first saw these cupcakes….I couldn’t hide my “ooh!!” if I had tried!  They are so cute, so unique….and are sure to get rave reviews from guests young and old.  Here is the recipe from All You:

Ingredients

  • 1  16.5-oz. roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 3/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2  cups  confectioners’ sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  egg-white powder (such as Just Whites)
  • Red and green food coloring
  • 1/2  cup  each light and dark pink decorating sugars
  • Large flower décors
  • 2  cups  chopped sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1  16-oz. can vanilla frosting
  • 24  cupcakes, any flavor

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Knead dough and flour together until smooth. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out bunny shapes using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Transfer to baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Reroll scraps; continue cutting to get 24 bunnies.

3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Make cookie frosting: Stir confectioners’ sugar, egg-white powder and 3 Tbsp. warm water until smooth. (If frosting is too thick, stir in more water, 1 tsp. at a time.) Spoon 2 Tbsp. frosting into a ziplock bag. Tint remaining frosting light pink with a drop of red food coloring. Keep frosting covered to prevent drying.

4. Working on 1 cookie at a time, spread a thin layer of pink frosting on top. Sprinkle top of frosted cookie with light or dark pink decorating sugar to coat, shaking off excess. Snip a small corner from bag with white frosting. Pipe a few dots of white frosting on cookie; attach décors. Repeat with remaining cookies. Allow cookies to dry, 1 hour.

5. Place chopped coconut in a ziplock bag. Add a few drops of green food coloring; massage to tint coconut evenly. Put coconut in a shallow bowl. Spread vanilla frosting on cupcakes. Roll edges in green coconut. Press a cookie on top of each cupcake.

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