I am proud to say that this party was featured on "Sweet Designs" by Amy Atlas. Check it out here!
Wow, so much happened since the last time I posted about a homemade party I hosted... Among the major changes is the fact that we've moved (and are still in the process) and I started an online business selling digital custom partyware kits (check it out here if you haven't yet, or just click on the "SHOP" tab on the menu bar above.)
Considering our already pretty full days (and life, thankfully!), I really don't know how we are managing to do it. There's truly a lot more power in us than we give ourselves credit for :-)
Besides not having our beloved "stuff" and furniture with us yet (again, we are still in transition...) I managed to organize and style a few simple and yet beautiful parties that I'm now happy to share with you. I'll start with a baby shower I styled for one of my oldest and closest friends here in the US.
This baby shower was a joint effort of a few friends to celebrate and cherish our dear friends' baby on the way. I was in charge of the decoration and party favors, and inspired by the tastefully decorated nursery, I set the tone with yellow and grey colors. One of my favorite pieces from the baby's room is a lovely blanket with birds imprinted on one side and stripes on the other, so a "nesting love birds" concept immediately came to mind.
This charming baby blanket was my inspiration for this party
I used bird references throughout the party - yellow and white ostrich feathers as a table centerpiece, mini bird's nests holding Jordan almonds and yellow-coated chocolate, ceramic egg crates, bird houses, wood branches and distressed bird cages.mise en place": food cards attached on absolutely adorable metal bird place card holders...
I took my yellow console table to the host's place and set the water bottles there. For decoration I added grape wood branches, wood and metal birds (adorned with a polka dot patter patina), dotted yellow and grey drinking paper straws, customized water bottle labels and pennant flags (both available at my shop.) Above it all, I hung a large ornate frame from Ikea that I spray-painted in white (which was such a challenge, since our small rental apartment has only a tiny balcony area that I could work at without intoxicating the whole family with paint fumes...) Inside I framed a piece of grey and white dot fabric and added felt cutouts of birds and hearts. This project took way more time than I ever expected, but it was all very worthy at the end. I simply love, love, love the result!
I included some "Baby Facts" on the water label, a play on the nutritional facts box :-)
A closer look at the patina birds. I used the same easy technique for the wooden letter "K" I used at this vintage baby shower. I painted the birds in grey and yellow and let them dry completely. Then I traced their shape on the polka dot paper from my collection, cut around and glued on the birds with mod podge.I offered a fun and whimsical welcome drink - I put pieces of pink cotton candy (it's a girl!) inside glass flutes and poured champagne over, melting and blending the candy with the bubbly.
This event was an evening affair, so we had lots of delicious savory treats to please every palate :-)
shower invitation. The glass candle holders (found at a Goodwill store) got a band of lace as well.
An overview of the main table
Framed graphic art displayed throughout the main table, plus a painted wood bird house and an adorable yellow ceramic egg crate.
Party circles glued to toothpickscollection, twine and wooden skewers and used it as a cake topper.
I was lucky to find these beautiful distressed metal birdcages in the party colors.party kit in the center. It was a little challenging to style a party that wasn't hosted at my own place. I wasn't sure about the space I had for the decorations (I usually set up the table at least the night before a party, sometimes a week or a couple of days before the event!) or what I could do for backgrounds. At home, I will hang decorations on the wall using tape or nails, but at my friend's house I knew she probably wouldn't appreciate it :-) So to make sure I wouldn't damage her walls or windows, I figured out a nice way to display my paper rosettes: I hot glued a bread twist/tie behind each one of them and secured them onto a vintage framed piece of chicken wire.
It was a lovely evening among much loved friends and I feel blessed that I could be part of this celebration and make it a bit more special for the happy couple.
Cherry Walnut Brownie Bites
yields approximately 16-20 mini brownies
(I adapted this recipe from another one I found online. Unfortunately, I lost the source to give its proper credit...)
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur (or apple juice, for a non-alcoholic version)
- 3/4 cup chopped unsweetened baking chocolate
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (I prefer European-style butter, such as Plugra or Kerrygold)
- 1 cup raw sugar (demerara, muscovado)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 15-ounce can pitted dark, sweet cherries, drained (chop them if you want smaller pieces in your brownie)
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Generously butter/oil a mini muffin tin and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the dried chopped cherries and the Amaretto and simmer for a couple of minutes (you want to infuse the cherries with the liqueur) Set aside to cool.
4. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently until smooth.
5. Add the sugar and salt, whisking continuously. Set aside and cool to room temperature (about 10 minutes)
6. Once cooled, transfer the chocolate mixture to your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or do it by hand as I did, since we don't have our beloved stand mixer with us yet...)
7. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the chocolate mixture.
8. Add the flour, baking powder, soaked cherries, toasted almonds, canned dark sweet cherries and chocolate chips. Mix well.
9. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan.
10. Bake the brownies for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester (or knife) inserted into the center comes out clean.
11. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before removing them from the pan.
12. Dust them with 10x powdered sugar or coat with dark chocolate ganache on top.