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I have a treat for you all today! I have SO MANY details to share about this fabulous pink dessert table I created in May. This project is an excellent example of how I pull together a dessert table from my own baked goods, source treats and even design imagery for the theme. It was also a special project for me because I had a chance to collaborate on the design with another very stylish blogger.
Through the magic of social media I have made a connection with many style savvy people with interests in interiors, events and desserts. Tisha Leung of TISL Style is one of those people and she has been a wonderful sweets cheerleader for me on Instagram (she also interviewed me for her blog, you can see that here). I have enjoyed following her lifestyle blog, featuring urban living with soul and bits & bobs of beautiful thoughts and finds. It was just our luck that she lives in NYC as well, so I proposed a sweets table for her daughter’s 2nd birthday party at Brooklyn’s Pier 5.
The inspirations for the party were simple: Tisha loves to dress her daughter in a raspberry pink color, rather than a precious pink, little Zoe loves shoes and Tisha is a fan of retro paper dolls. Without calling it a theme, I easily had a “theme” to create a fondant shoe cake topper and a paper doll for imagery. We didn’t officially name this theme but I nicknamed it Little Miss Goodie Two Shoes, obviously because of the cake topper and age of her daughter.
From vintage paper doll inspirations, particularly Betsy McCall, I hand drew and watercolored a Zoe doll for the thank you tags. This cutie will be a printable in my Etsy shop and I welcome custom requests to personalize her hair and dress color, I can change all of that in Photoshop!
We started the table off with a small cake for Zoe’s happy birthday song, a timeless buttercream vertical ruffle that I topped with raspberry pink Mary Jane’s with gold toe tips. I crafted these of fondant in just the right toddler size proportions so not to look like baby shower booties. Cupcakes with gold sugar sprinkles were also served and included a set of gluten free for Tisha’s husband.
In working with Tisha’s requests and ideas for this table we were also able to source some beautiful treats and favors.
A sparkling lollipop was a must since we knew the outdoor light would highlight the glitter inside of this one from Sweet Caroline Confection’s Etsy shop.
Tisha wanted to acknowledge her Chinese ancestry with fortune cookies, which I ordered in bulk, dipped in chocolate and then added edible glitter.
While almost all of the treats were take home worthy, including my Zoe Doll cookies, Tisha choose personal fruit pies boxed in a kraft box and miniature paper doll sticker books for the kids as favors.
I suggested the purchase of ceramic initial trays, found here, since the 3 letters of Zoe’s name wouldn’t be too much to invest in and could be used for countless other parties as well as home décor. We filled them with an array of pink candies.
Other treats included pink Pocky sticks found on the international aisle in most grocery stores and chocolate cookies.
For simplicity, I used all white serving pieces including some vintage milk glass; I’m starting to accumulate quite the collection for my dessert tables!
While sweets were aplenty, savory foods were too, Tisha’s guests treated themselves to Brooklyn’s Smorgasbord during the party, I thought this was a great idea and perfect planning on Tisha’s part.
The gorgeous backdrop of lower Manhattan was a much anticipated part of the table design. Tisha went to the site bright and early that morning to snag the best spot and we were so very lucky to have beautiful weather for this event. Ive worked on 2 dessert tables at Brooklyn’s new river side parks and the trick to getting a public table for your party is just about getting there early, at least by 9am.
A big thank you to Tisha and her family for letting me create this table for Zoe!
This post features pictures we both took. So what’s your favorite part?
While I should probably work from oldest to newest in catching up with my cakes and sweets, I cant help but to post a cake from just a month ago. It is the grandest cake I’ve ever made, I am still in awe of it! My client was a former neighbor that admits a frou frou cake wasnt her style but fell in love with some of the magical & dreamy carousel cakes on pinterest. It didnt take much convincing for her birthday girl to choose this pink and gold style when she showed her some examples. A carousel cake was on my wish list of to-dos so I was so ready for it! This party was at Jane’s Carousel in DUMBO, Brooklyn, now a must see and do part of NYC. The top tier of this cake was not edible. Macy and I came up with a hack to Wilton’s carousel cake kit that ensured I wouldn’t have stress or failure with the plastic horses, poles and carousel top. Wilton’s kit by itself is just asking for trouble. I could only see disaster happening by using it the suggest way, which is to sink the 4 poles into your cake and set, without any fixation, the carousel top onto the poles. WHAAAT? As a user of Craftsy classes and a fan of Jessica Harris Cakes I decided to use what I learned from Jessica’s Cakes for Kids class and combine that with Wilton’s kit. Mainly, I added a PVC pipe center idea. This made a huge improvement to the stability. I also premade this topper using a stryofoam dummy as the base to sink the PVC pipe and horse poles into (its easy to find 24″ pipes to cut down with a small hack saw at Lowes). The one other hack I made was to use a cardboard cake board round with holes for the poles and PVC pipe under the carousel top as a placeholder for keeping everything in line. All of this hacking took planing and time to execute. Im glad I took my time well before I was in baking mode to create the topper and I was ecstatic at how easy and secure this set up was when I finished! To assemble it with the cake all I had to do was set it in place. When the party was over it all came back apart and went back in the kit box (including my additions). I used non edible paint on the horses and poles. The rest of the decorations on the topper are fondant but not meant to be consumed. Hopefully, if I use this set again it will be another pink and gold cake, otherwise I’ll have to experiment repainting with some really good quality paint. This bottom tier of the cake was 10″ and for me that is HUGE! I do believe I have overcome a few of my fears doing this cake. First of all making a cake that big was not often a client request. I typically get asked for 8″ +6″ which is a great size for birthday parties. Or I make the bottom tier a fake 10″ + real 8″. But because the Wilton kit only fit 8″ or larger cakes I had to go up on the bottom tier. The other fear I’ve always had is delivery, which in NYC is a nightmare. You are never more aware of every pot hole in Brooklyn as when you deliever a cake! But I have found that refrigerating a cake (even though many cake decorators dont condone putting a fondant cake in the fridge) is the only way to ensure the least possible shake, shift and buldge during a car ride. This one was perfect when I set it up at Jane’s Carousel and I was told still without any flaws when they cut and served it about 2 hours later. YESSS thats what I want to hear! The kids and parents as well as my clients LOVED this cake! The children in particular were in awe. I feel like Santa unpacking his bag of gifts as I set up my tables, the kids always surround me and ask all kinds of questions. Kids are always curious of fondant, they want to touch it right away. I never mind letting them; poking their little fingers into a birthday cake is like a tradition. But they dont really know what to think of this hard icing, “what is it?” is what I hear most. I tell them is like play doh but made of sugar. “how did you make this?” is the other I hear, “with lots of practice” is the shortest answer I can give them! I was told after the party that the kids refused the cupcakes that were intended for them. They all wanted a piece of that carousel cake! Having my cakes in public view is a great, I love the feedback and kind remarks from passerby’s. This is the second party I have done at Brooklyn’s new riverside parks. It’s not an easy one to plan for the hostess (but so worth it) as the tables are first come first serve. Getting there early is the key, the park gets hoping by 10am so if you are planing a party at Pier 6 or Brooklyn Bridge park definitely get there before 9am to snag a table. I also made the cupcakes and cookies for this party. I often get asked for combos like this for parities: cupcakes for the kids, a smaller cake for the adults and cookies as take home favors. When a client is interested in taking the aesthetic of the party to the next level, I more than welcome their questions and freely give suggestions for resources and my tricks for table design. This included service when ordering sweets with me works well as the client is hands on in gathering and assembling decorations for their table and I get to see my cakes and treats surrounded by a well thought out table design. I also enjoy the collaboration with creative and excited hostess that are passionate in celebrating the special people in their lives. I also offer full service design and installation of desert tables with the same creative passion for aesthetics and sweet treats but without any work for the hostess on the day of the event. Either way full service or collaborations with clients makes me one happy girl!
Ive been saving the pictures from Halloween 2013 to post this year because on November 1st, no one wants to look at Halloween anymore. I on the other hand could look at Halloween inspiration everyday.
Last year Hudson, my now 4 1/2 year old son, chose our family costumes. He decided on his own that he wanted to be an astronaut. So we went with it, we were an out of this world Cosmic Family. His costume was super easy. Although I could have went a creative DIY route with it I decied a long time ago that its best to mix homemade with store bought to save time. So, Hudson’s costume was an offical NASA jumpsuit and a very awesome space helmet available still through NASA’s website, potter barn kids and various costume shops. DONE!
Jake was excited in implement a costume we’ve seen other families create as a space themed group, Mission Control. His costume was fairly easy to gather, real clothes and a few costume pieces like the headset and retro glasses. I found inspiration for the look from a gallery picture on NASA’s website, as well as a name badge to alter, I just plopped a pic of Jake in it and printed it in black and white.
We had to scratch our heads a little for Macy’s costume. She wasn’t as excited about the theme as the rest of us. But we found inspiration from Chanel Dror’s shooting star costume on CamilleStyles.com, a full DYI is on the link, check it out!
It was really right up Macy’s alley, it sparkeled and all we needed was a metalic leotard, ribbon and some glittery foam sheets. We scored a gorgeous mask too. Macy wanted a skirt instead of a unitard and I went with a multi star head band instead of a single star, I was inspired by this headpiece. (sorry the source has been lost).
I choose to be a martian AND the most exciting part for me was finding the best inspiration for a vintage martian. Not weird or scary alien, not sexy martian, just retro and just perfect!
These handmade costumes from the 60’s were found on Fritz Liess flickr site and he captions them saying that his mom made them for his cousin and she and her date won a costume contest at a dance. Of course they did! These are awesome!
So I had to make one for myself, which once again I dont really know how I did it, I just did. Without a pattern just from looking at these pics. It was time consuming but the other costumes werent so I had the time to really focus on mine. Making some changes like the length and head piece to suit me better.
Your getting a peek of my party table from our open house on Halloween night, there is more to come about my treats and decor finds!
Although there is always decor and good food at every holiday in our home, we really love Halloween because of the costumes. We’ve made it a big deal out of it since our college days and love that we could incorporate it into a family affair.
One of our most loved and also well published family costumes is our Wonderland Family, check it out!
I have so much to share in this post. This post is not about sweets or interiors or even ballet. Its about being a proud parent and an exciting event in my daughters life. Its a post about that one time (of many more to come maybe) Macy was in a movie! It is info, picture & video heavy because Ive been saving it up for two years, not joking. And Im really using this post as a personal web log to save and cherish, I hope you enjoy reading along.
In April 2012 as Macy prepared for her 4th grade state tests we receive a call from her agent that she had been “booked” for a feature background role in a movie. Macy had been going on auditions for about 9 months with a couple of call backs and a lot of disappointment. Im no stage mom and I hardly knew what was going on half the time or what we were getting ourselves into but I understood the word “booked” and it was a big deal. Macy didn’t audition for this role, in fact I had blacked out her week for state tests, meaning I told her agent she was unavailable. We really couldnt believe that of all weeks this would come up on this one. But it seems that the director had hand picked Macy from her headshot and she was guaranteed the part, we just had to say yes. So we did what any parent would do, we freaked out. 4th grade state tests are super important in NYC, the results are sent to middle schools when the application process happens in 5th grade. We thought we were pretty crazy for allowing anything to disrupt Macy concentration but fortunately the filming took place in the afternoon after the tests. So it was actually possible for us to let her do this without any conceqences.
We weren’t told much about the movie, just it was a pre-production flash back scene for the character “Young Marie”, it was set in 1960’s Brooklyn and called Blood Ties. I was able to find out other info just because the movie already had an IMBd page. It was a crime thriller and full of well know names, squeal! The cast includes Clive Owen (Chris), Billy Crudup (Frank), Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, James Caan & Lili Taylor (Marie). It is directed by Guillaume Canet a french director and husband of Marion Cotillard.
Macy was to have a wardrobe fitting on Monday and the filming was on Wednesday, so we handled it like this: We told Macy that she had won the part but it wasn’t until Friday so there was no point in getting all excited until after the tests were done. We went to the monday fitting but we surprised her and pick her up at school early on wednesday afternoon after her test was finished. Heres a video of me picking up Macy from school and telling her she was doing the scene that day:<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90596255″>surprise news</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
The wardrobe fitting was fun, it was in Williamsburg (Thats Brooklyn FYI) and Macy tried on three 60’s era outfits. The costume department went with a vintage white peasant top, jeans and blue keds.
We were to report to a Little Italy address for the filming. The location was the production offices where we met the other two children that were in her scene and the kids were dressed. The scene would include a Young Frank played by Eli Tokash and Young Chris played by Austin Williams. I got to chat with the other parents while we waited, Young Frank had taken a red eye bus from Virgina and Young Chris lived in NYC, he was a seasoned child actor who worked for 6 years One Life to Live and also had roles in Michael Clayton and The Good Shepard.
Since this was a pre-producitons scene there wasn’t a lot to it. It wasn’t like the trailers and cables and crew that we run across in NYC everyday. No catered food tables (darn!) It was just a small crew and the scene was to be filmed with a real Super 8 camera as it was to be used as a home video that one of the characters watches in the movie.
We loaded up in a van with the director, crew, the other kids and their families and they took us to a gritty park in the Lower East side, I think they intended for the kids to just play baseball there. We waited around for a while while the crew and director discussed the location. It wasn’t to the directors liking, he envisioned grass. So they loaded us up again and took us to Central Park. I took a few videos while we were waiting and watching. My favorite is the part where the director is talking with the kids and shows them the vintage gloves they are to use. Macy tells him hers isn’t good, it has no laces. I wanted to be mortified that she was giving him any grief but this is typical Macy, she’s not really trying to be difficult she was just letting him know. He does seem to mind though, he just gives her another one.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90589812″>Macy filming blood ties in NYC</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
The kids played tag, baseball and climbed on the natural rock formations in Central Park, the director acted as the “Dad” filming the kids with the Super 8 camera, directing them to do what kids do, including picking on the little sister. There was no real acting or lines. It was very casual and fun for Macy and it didn’t take more than an hour. After we were done we returned to the production office and Macy changed. And that was it. Then the anticipation began!
We over heard a lot of information just waiting for this scene to take place, such as the filming to end in July, so I knew it would be a long time to wait before the movie was released. I assumed it would be at least a year. So we tried not to get too excited because this didn’t seem like a very important scene and we all know that scenes get cut from movies all the time. We also knew that we wouldn’t be told anything about the movie before it came out or invited to any pre-release screenings, it just wasn’t that big of a role. So we kept the news about it all very low key, only telling our family. As the filming got started I was able to see press on the other scenes being filmed all around NYC, a lot were in Brooklyn and Queens. Here are some press shots.
Then in May 2013 we got really excited, the film was shown at Cannes International Film Festival! Release dates for other countries started showing up but there wasn’t any US dates! Something obviously was going wrong with the distribution in the US, it was killing us to know that the movie was done and we couldn’t find out if Macy’s scene was in it!
So here it is March 2014, nearly 2 years after the scene was filmed and Jake and I run across Blood Ties on iTunes. I could say that we were a little disappointed that it didn’t make it to the big screen. We honestly don’t know why, it had all the right names to make it there. I really wanted to see Macy’s head 10′ tall and scream out “thats my daughter” to a bunch of strangers in a dark theater. But at least it was finally available to watch. Then the real suspense began. At this point I almost didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to know for a fact that the scene was cut. We already knew that Macy wasn’t listed in the cast on the IMBd page. Young Frank and Young Chris were, but I also knew that the boys had a bigger scene to film together that didn’t include Young Marie.
So we didn’t tell Macy, we put the kids to bed and we watched it with very low expectations. The movie is 2 hours long and we both liked it. It was a good story about brotherly love, hince the title Blood Ties. One brother is a cop, one is a criminal that just can’t be good. They don’t get along very well but do what matters most for each other. So at 1 hour 54 minutes into the film Clive Owen (Chris) sits in his living room with a projector and watches old family movies. Jake and I jump up and run to the screen. Its like 5 seconds tops but it shows the boys climbing the rock formations and at the last second MACY COMES RUNNING AT THE CAMERA SMILING AND LAUGHING!!!! We scream, its midnight at least but we don’t care what the neighbors think, OUR BABY GIRL IS IN A MOVIE!!!
So here is the scene, don’t blink because you’ll miss her!<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90596023″>Macy’s scene in Blood Ties</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
When we told Macy the good news she reacted the way most people would, she jumped up and down in excitement. Big or small it was an experience that she enjoyed and also even thought she wasn’t in the credits (double darn!) she can put it on her resume. We do plan on getting her name on the cast list on IMBd, there are several extra actors that have attached themselves to the list that are uncredited, we think Macy deserves that just as much.
Blabla Kids makes contemporary hand knitted dolls, apparel, toys and blankets. Since 2001 its precious stuffed critters and dolls have been created from natural fibers and knitted by artisans in Peru. I could call them heirloom toys but it seems every kid I’ve come across carrying one of the stuffed animals nearly loves the thing to death. Luckily parents have figured out that the toy can be repaired and I’ve seen several miracle repairs shared on social media. So it seems that they really are meant to be a life long friend for some kids. When my neighbor asked me to do a cat cake for her daughter’s 2nd birthday, I knew that the cat had to be her Perchance Blabla doll that she calls “Cat”and is never seen without.
There are several Blabla cats to choose from but its not perchance that my neighbor’s daughter carries the one that blends in purrfectly (I had to do that one) with her home decor, shes cool like that. Ive raved about her wallpapered column before and its now been an awesome backdrop to 3 of my cakes (Ive yet to post the new superhero cake)
I love to do petite cakes, 6″+4″ are my favorite. I was extra inspired by all of Blabla’s joyful designs, when I sat down to sketch a cake I couldn’t stop coming up with beautiful ideas. I now have a few to-do cakes that I look forward to making soon.
Hudson’s 4th birthday has snuck up on me this year. I usually have a few ideas for what theme or gifts he might like bouncing around in my head way before Christmas, but there really wasnt any more room for more thoughts this past December! I realized his birthday was a month away and I had no theme, no gift idea, no date, no location…..luckily Im pretty seasoned at this, instead of freaking out I just got started. I thought that since I was at the very beginning of my party design process that I’d document it and share.
First of all I had to get Hudson to give us a theme. It went sort of like this: “Hudson, its almost time for your birthday, what kind of party do you want?” Hudson age 3years 11months: “a red bird and a blue bird and a black bird party” He then got to work and drew me this picture:
Clearly there is a bird, he tells me that the orange parts are a house (duh) and I got excited when I thought he drew blue party chairs, (CHAIRS!! Im a chair fanatic if you didnt already know) but those are “short caterpillars” and at the bottom are green checks. So you see, he pays attention to my methods and habits, I make a lot of lists!
Hudson is a cool little kid that doesnt take that long to make a choice and he STICKS with it. I refrained from saying “Sorry Baby, a bird party is not on my grand party list of themes that Ive fantasized about since having you” but I did show him some parties on Spaceship and Laser Beams, a party site that specializes in only boy party themes and printables. I asked him what he thought about some specific themes, hoping that he would like something from my grand party list. There was one image of a monster party that he got excited about and that was that. He liked it, I liked it and its on my list! Hudson is having a Monster Bash party this year and since that night it is all he talks about.
There are plenty of party check lists out there for timelines of when to do what to get it all done. I dont really work like that. I do have an order in which the process has to happen and I have a rule about sending invites 2 weeks before. But thats about it. I think the least amount of start to finish time I ever accomplished a project was a dessert table for Macy’s 5th grade Luau in 2 weeks and it rocked! I can easily think of many parties that I started on 2 months or more in advance. I do know one thing, the longer I have to plan and design a party the more it ends up costing, so short on time really means less time to shop and thats not a bad thing!
First things first, I always start with an inspiration that comes from something personal about the guest of honor. Last year was easy, Hudson was obsessed with superheros. This year he doesnt have a current favorite toy but we always have a few favorite books. The Monster That Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz is a great book that we all love. Besides the message I adore the colors and illustrations by Kristie Edmunds. So I wanted that book to be the spring board for our party. I pin and pull images into a desktop file like everyone else and if I have the time I like to make mood boards. Even my husband doesnt really understand my vision sometimes unless I do a mood board.
So here is my mood board and Im super happy that there are a ton of inspiring Monster Bash parties out there and even the perfect printable set on etsy to be the imagery for Hudson’s party.
This post is already lengthy enough so I wont describe each item but I am working in a different way with this party. We will be having it at a local cafe and I will not be allowed to bring in my own cake and cupcakes!!! OH NO what will I do?? Dont worry, it will be fine. Im pretty sure simple fondant toppers on the cafe’s cake and cupcakes will satisfy our guests and my discerning eye. Plus Im looking forward to all of the benefits of a party thats not at home…like not having to clean up my apartment!!
In addition to the mood board I have a list that I refer to when Im forming the initial design of a party. I think about all the party supplies I will need to find or make. Which ones will work or not work for my party, which ones I think should be spectacular or just supportive in the theme. Knowing what products are readily available is a good way to make a budget and keep myself on track for my favorite part, the hunt and gather! Ive made a cute little check off sheet to share and included my favorite party supply resources below. Whether you are in NYC or not you can check out any of them online, most of the time their speciality items are worth the shipping.
NYC Local Stores:
Online Only Resources:
Happy party planning, more details to come!
Well, it must be a tradition for me to become so busy in October that I can’t post regularly. It happened last year and again this year. Its nothing new for me to become entirely occupied with my projects daily, but this year I can’t place the blame on just a Halloween party and our fabulous costumes. We have been consumed with my my 11-year-old daughter Macy’s ballet life. Our chic tween, will be a solider in The Nutcracker with New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center this year. We are so proud and excited for her! She is a student at School of American Ballet and throughout the year she has amazing opportunities to be invited to perform with NYCB, last May she also performed in Firebird. Since the last week of September she has attended 2 days of rehearsals a week on top of her 4 days of regular class. Starting the day after Thanksgiving she will be in performances every other day…24 performances in 6 weeks to be exact!
While my cookie, cake, Halloween and craft to-do posts have piled up, I really just want to fast forward to current events because the Christmas season happens in a blink and I want to enjoy it and share it! So lets just talk Nutcracker gifts, shall we? Since I proudly made Macy’s announcements on social media Ive gotten a few requests for gift ideas to commemorate her experience, as well as other ballet moms asking for ideas for their own ballerinas. I already had a pinterest board and desktop file full of gift ideas so why not make a post for it?
I looked for gifts that were not only a symbol of the nutcracker suite, but also sings to a ballerina’s heart: hello gorgeous pointe shoes! What really fueled the idea for this post was my excitement for a tastemakers tag sale at One Kings Lane featuring vintage and bespoke NYCB items. Signed point shoes, vintage costumes & play books and beautiful canvas prints. I hopped on One Kings Lane 5 minutes before the sale started yesterday, I banged on the door at “0 minutes” and I went straight for a colorful tutu print by Wendy Whelan, NYCB principal dancer and photographer. After I bought it within in 2 minutes of opening, I watched all the signed toe shoes be scooped up with in 5 min and half the entire sale sold in 10 minutes. My print was limited to a dozen and sold out in 30 minutes. Im so glad I was on top of that one!! I intended to make a post with one of a kind items from that sale, but there isn’t anything left! I sill included 2 items for inspiration in your search for a special gift. See item info and links below.
1. Nutcracker Sugarplum Fairy fine art print 8×10, $35 – Clementseye.etsy.com
3. Signed Pointe shoes from Tiler Peck, NYCB principal dancer, $150- One Kings Lane, sold out :( Signed pointe shoes pop up in different places like eBay too, so be on the look out, having a pair that once belong to well known ballerina is a dream for aspiring young dancers. If you can’t find a signed pair, a custom made embellished pair of pointe shoes are the next best thing – Pointe Creations, (prepare for beauty overload when you click on this link)
4. Nutcracker set of 8 note cards, $19 – Clafoutis For her thank you notes to friends coming to see her perform!
5. This SWEET Clara doll has a disclaimer: you have to make it yourself! Wee Wonderfuls sells rag doll patterns…but maybe you could request a custom doll, its worth a shot!
6. Tutu Print by Wendy Whelan NYCB principal dancer and photographer, $55 – One Kings Lane, sold out :( again sorry to post an unavailable item, but its TUTU gorgeous to not include. Use this image as a inspirational springboard for your search of a similar print. UPDATE: OKL has renewed quantities of this print, but sale ends 12/15
7. Official NYCB Headshot of Allegra Kent, $15 – eBay So graceful, so ethereal! I’m thisclose to ordering this for Macy. Allegra Kent was a NYCB principal dancer joining at age 15 in 1953, she danced for 28 years!
8. Sugarplum Fairy t-shirt, $24 – Covet Dance She’d wear it proudly all year!
9. Nutcracker Illustration Art, $15 – TheArtfulBumblebee.etsy.com These colorful and playful illustrations come as cards or 8×10 prints
10. Nutcracker cookies, $54 per dozen – By yours truly! Nikkiikkin.etsy Im making these puppies like hotcakes this season, fresh, homemade, so delicious and an absolute knockout in detail. This Romeo has special powers, watch as the little girls squeal with delight, I promise some nearly cried from joy when Macy passed them out to her dance class last year.
11. Jewelry is always a girls best friend. Ive selected 3 necklaces that will be a special reminder of the hard work and beauty she displayed on stage. Tutu Style, $38 – SharonTasker.etsy.com, Little Ballerina Ballet Shoes, $24 – SmallBlueThings.etsy.com, Personalized Nutcracker Necklace, $27.50 – BeautifulAsYou.etsy.com
12. It’s a trinket box, it’s a decoration, it’s just really dreamy. Sugarplum fairy holiday box, $30 – SparkleLovesWhimsey.etsy.com
13. Sugarplum fairy ornament, $24.95 – PetalBelles.etsy.com Macy still loves the idea of fairies and their magical world, this is a nutcracker crossover, so its perfect and there is no reason that it has to be packed away with the Christmas tree.
I hope you enjoyed my list and found something that you think your ballerina would cherish. I also have a pinterest board with many other ideas, check it out HERE.
Last year this Halloween dinner party was featured on Amy Altas just a few days before Halloween. We all know that as soon as its November 1st no one wants to look at Halloween pictures anymore. So I’ve held on to these pictures for almost a whole year!
My party was inspired by vintage Dennison Bogie Books. After deciding that I needed to know the origin of the iconic screeching Halloween cat face that pops up everywhere, I did a little research and discovered Dennison Boogie Books dating as far back as 1912. I fell in love with its wholesome and kitschy suggestions and illustrations of a bygone era. Most importantly I found inspiration in revitalizing the use of crepe paper as in inexpensive decoration material.
I sought out a few vintage Dennison Halloween die cuts and illustrations on ebay to reproduce, ordered a republished copy of a 1926 Bogie Book and a few rolls of crepe paper. The rest of the decorations were from our curated Halloween collection. And of course all the treats were made by me!
The invitation is vintage, sort of, I designed and drew it 8 years ago….pre photoshop knowledge. Back in the day, I loved to make hand cut and one of a kind cards from card stock. A reader informed me that the technique I used to make this card is called typesetting, who knew? I just did what I had to do to get stuff done, I still do! You can check out more about this card HERE and know that you can still create a beautiful invitation even if you don’t have skills of a graphic designer.
What about that about that wall??!!! I love big showy backdrops and I was channeling Dorothy Draper with the black and white stripe fringe crepe paper. Crepe paper can deliver that big of a punch without breaking the bank, it was so easy to create and so inexpensive. I covered a 12 foot wall with just 6 rolls at $2 a roll!
The placemats are vintage Dennison illustrations that were once used on crepe paper banners. The desert plates are crate and barrel and target. We always cruise the thrift shops for Halloween decorations, the older and creepier the better. These candle sticks are brass cast-off that we spray painted black.
The crow curio is a combination of a glass dome sitting and a styrofoam round decorated with fringed crepe paper. You can see an up close how to about it HERE.
The treats included a scary black cat and spider web cookies, mummy Oreo pops and a three-tiered Trick or Treat cake.
A cake this size would easily serve 100 people, so I made two of the tiers as fake dummy cakes. The cake layers features a Dennison Cat made from fondant, silhouettes of dancing witches and a harlequin pattern reminiscent of a paper lantern. I finished the cake off with a witch, moon and bat silhouettes fondant topper. You can see more of the cake HERE. And I have had a request to share the template I used for the dancing witches. Well, there wasn’t one, I drew it! But I might go back through my files and see if I can find the inspiration and my original sketch. If I can I’ll clean it up and share it as a download.
Instead of caramel or red candle apples I came up with “Black Magic” candy apples by coloring the sugar with black gel coloring. Then I dipped it in black sanding sugar for extra sparkle. See more about them HERE.
I had more guest (and more decorations) than one table could hold, so the littlest kids at our party had their own table. Here I used more Dennison inspired imagery. I created a paper chandelier right from the instructions in a Bogie Book and made tussie mussies to hold candy for the the kids to take home.
And just incase you’re wondering, I didn’t rent orange chairs, those are our own dining chairs. We use orange in our home decor so it was easy for our Air Chairs and Panton Jr chair to become part of the party decor.
Each year our Halloween decorations box grows, it grew alot last year and I cant wait to reuse almost all of these decorations this year at our Halloween Open House party. But the questions is do I wait another year to share those pictures or do my readers want to see Halloween posts in November?
It’s officially Halloween season in my book. I believe in everyone else’s too. It seems that costume catalogs, store displays and pinterest started early this year, but I dont mind. Ive watched the searches and stats on our Wonderland Family Costume post rise since the beginning of September and then this week it was featured on Lil’ Luna as part of a top 65 DIY Halloween Costumes, check it out here for some amazing ideas for kids and adults.
Last year I held on to Macy’s costume pictures because it seems that when October 31st ends everyone is ready for Christmas. So nearly a year later, I am ecstatic to finally share her Corpse Bride costume from Halloween 2012!
Macy chose this costume character because our entire family loves Tim Burton movies, hence the reason we choose his verson of Alice and Wonderland to create our Wonderland Family. As is the year we did that group costume, finding the perfect clothing items to make the character seem real is the key. I dont think you have to have the exact same outfit but clothing that is inspired from the character, this always helps to keep the cost down too. When I found this vintage bridesmaid (or maybe it was a bridal gown) I knew that Macy could pull off the Corpse Bride.
The dress had pink rick rack detailing that we cut off and although it killed me to cut the arm off of the dress, I knew that we had to in order to make the skeletal arm. We didnt have to alter it other than that, it was petite enough to fit her perfectly. Make up is so important for Tim Burton characters and the Corpse Bride was on the simple side. I heavily powdered her face to give the illuminating pale glow. I recreated the big doll eyes of the animated character with blue eyeshadow and liquid liner and painted in the expressive eyebrows. Her arm was first outlined with a liquid eye liner, filled in with white face makeup and the negative space was covered in black eyeshadow. Macy’s hair is so naturally beautiful why cover it up? We choose not to add a blue haired wig but to use blue face paint to highlight strands of hair. I made a blue flowered veil from wire, lace, ribbon and tulle and we added creepy black roses, skeleton hands and skulls into her bridal bouquet.
Macy had fun posing for pictures for people stopping her on the street. We love trick or treating in our little Brooklyn neighborhood, Carroll Gardens. Although we decided not to do a family costume in 2012, we do have a plan for 2013!!
If you missed seeing our Wonderland Family costumes, its a cant miss!
If you’ve followed along with my blog for a while you probably notice this pattern: I have several posts and then I wont have any for weeks. My silence is not laziness, during those weeks that I don’t post I am always super busy making the beautiful sugar works that I share! I wish that I could be more consistent and always have a regular MWF blog but it’s just a lot of work when the majority of my content is all my creations. If you would like to see sneak peaks of my day-to-day creations you can follow me on Instagram (my live feed is in the sidebar). If you do follow me, then you have seen the beautiful cake I made for my daughter’s 11 birthday.
Macy loves nautical striped shirts, first it was just the plain navy ones, then J.Crew started making ones with sequined hearts & anchors. She has striped dresses and skirts, all mostly in navy. In general navy is a neutral for all of us. We often go out as a family looking very stripey, bluey and coordinated. Not on purpose, we just all like it! Ok, Hudson doesn’t really know what he likes but we like it on him (currently his favorite shirt is one that we tie dyed, he calls it his “color shirt” it makes him very happy to wear it…with navy shorts of course).
For the first time ever Macy didnt have a party for her birthday. It was a break that had been decided when we planned on during the planning of her Dylan’s Candy Bar birthday party last year. So there was no disapointment for her or me, it just the decision that was made. I still knew that I would make a beautiful cake. In fact, I did plan to make several cakes (all fake except one for us) but I had too many other projects going on that it fell to the wayside. Hopefully I can make the beautiful Nautical Suite of cakes that I sketched out, I just have to make it a project on my list.
I made Macy’s cake an extra tall 6″ round. It had 2 layers of chocolate and 2 layers of vanilla cake with swiss buttercream. I used brand new recipes for every bit of the cake and I am so happy with them! Both the chocolate and vanilla cake recipes were suggested by Jessica Harris of Jessicakes, they are the sturdiest cakes Ive ever made. They are definitely the type of cakes you need to get a flawless fondant finish. If you are new to fondant and find it frustrating to get perfect, it’s probably your cake and icing that is the problem. I know when I started researching the best tips and techniques I found my fondant skills were fine, my cake stacking skills were really bad! So along with Jessica’s recipes I also used the upside down icing technique, (its crazy sounding but for small cakes it really works!!) and I’m a big fan of the wax paper transfer method for applying cake decorations. With horizontal stripes this is the ONLY way to achieve perfect level stripes all the way around. You will lose your mind and too much sleep any other way. I will post links to recipes and tutorials at the end of the post.
So the design was simple really, it mimicked the stripped shirt Macy loves (and now has 3 of). The sugar sequins technique on the anchor was new for me, new in general really. I had seen it somewhere on the internet and filed it away in my mind. In going back to look for any tips or the example I had seen I could not find anything anywhere. So I winged it. I pressed candy sequins into still soft fondant and let dry over night. Then I painted on metallic luster dust. It turned out beautiful but I’m sure there must me some other ways to cover the candy sequins more completely. The thicker I painted on the luster dust the less definition I got on the shape of the candy, I tried the spray color too but it didn’t cover the colored sprinkles at all.
Over all I liked the creation enough to make cupcake toppers for my etsy shop with this technique. These cupcakes were not for Macy’s birthday but I still had the nautical theme in mind when I combined them with stripped Simply Baked baking cups I purchased from Pick Your Plum ( you can also get them here or here and on amazon) I’ve listed heart shapes in gold or silver in my shop, but really the shape and colors are limitless!
Although we didn’t party like rock stars, we did spend the whole day celebrating Macy, with a movie, dinner, stroll in the old neighb (Lower Manhattan) and she had a friend stay over. It was a beautiful and unseasonably cool August day, we enjoyed our stroll on the Battery Park City Promenade as we always do.
My chic tween rocked a new Target dress with an on trend origami bird pattern on her birthday, she added to it a glitter Crewcuts belt (the type that inspired the sugar sequins technique) and a brass whistle necklace she bought at the Brooklyn Flea, oh and a navy blazer, lol.
Check out my new Sugar Sequin toppers here.
My new favorite Vanilla Cake recipe for a dense sturdy cake here.
My new favorite Chocolate Cake recipe for a dense sturdy cake here.
Swiss Meringue recipe by Martha Stewart here.
One more time, sorry for the glitch!
This is a super short post, I just wanted to share a 15 second video I took of my kidos yesterday at Conservatory Gardens in Central Park. They were mesmerized by the life in this lily pond, specifically a baby turtle. If you use instagram you know that the video app is only for capturing impromptu moments, you cant edit or save what you record. Although I wanted to record this moment and its feeling, I didnt know I would catch them being so loving toward each other. They were so sweet the entire time we were near this pond that other people were taking photos of them and telling me how “lovely” they were. Needless to say, I could tell that they both enjoyed themselves so much and we will have to return to this garden as often as we can.
My family & I are traveling back from Tennessee today & I’m blogging from the road! I’ve never tried to post from my iPhone before but here it goes! Keeping it short because I have a hard enough time being grammatically correct at the desktop.
I thought these modern fondant flowers would be the perfect little post to share. This flower is a stylized chrysanthemum. The bigger the flower gets, the more the layers. Silver non pareils give a little shimmer in the center.
Originally designed per a clients request they are now a regular listing in my Etsy shop. I created them as a cake set of a dozen flowers in various sizes. The smallest flower could also make pretty cupcake toppers.
Click HERE to see the Etsy listing for these flowers.
We are so fortunately to live in a Brooklyn building with a wonderful family friendly community. Many families have children the same age as my son, in fact at one point we counted up 7 little ones, mostly boys, all born with in 2 months of each other! One of which even shares the same birthday as Hudson! So Hudson is never with out playmates and playdates also give me a chance to chat with some pretty cool moms and dads.
Aesthetically speaking one family is on the same wave length as us in their interior design style, with several of the same furniture pieces and even the same Oeuf Sparrow crib! They came up with the most awesome way to cover the 30″ diameter column in their apartment with a mod wallpaper by Joy Cho at Oh Joy! We have the same prominent column in the middle of our dinning area, I could almost steal this design idea!
ANYWAY, this post is supposed to be about sweets! When they asked me for a cake and favor cookies for their son I pretty much knew that the party theme would have the same feel as their interiors. Their little guy loves music class, especially the drums so his mom asked me to make the cake in the shape of a drum and to compliment the invite she had custom made from an Etsy artist. Here’s what I came up with, simple but in just the right style for this hip family. AND to my delight they wanted to set it next to the gorgeous wallpaper wrapped column. I LOVE that its in the shots of the cake!
Yesterday my Luau Dance dessert table was featured on Amy Atlas, its always an exciting honor! (see the full post and pics HERE). I made this luau table for my daughter’s 5th grade dance. I didnt have much time to let my ideas evolve for it, as this was a fast track project. My offer to create, design & budget were all submitted for approval in just a day or so. So I was lucky that I didnt have creative block, but this isnt my first luau either! I immediately knew I wanted to make a centerpiece that mimicked the bountiful fruit offerings at a traditional luau but I couldn’t do it with a cake. This crazy idea to make a cake pop pineapple came out of know where. I kept thinking that it reminded me of a croquembouche but in my research I couldn’t find many attempts of other cake artists doing a cake pop croquembouche. I either had a brilliant idea on hand or an epic fail!
So I sketched it out, trying to eliminate any potential bad ideas and in my head it seemed like an idea that should work. I basically decided I was just “chocolate-glueing” cake balls onto a vertical stryofoam surface. If it didnt work, plan B was going to be a tissue paper pineapple for the centerpiece and just cake pops elsewhere on the table. Having the plan B definitely helped my confidence. That, and asking for advice from my sister Jes and friend Jen. They always put me in my place, they don’t sugarcoat it for me when its just wrong. As I started down the road on this experimental trip I took pictures with my cell phone and had a group message going to them about my “pineapple progress” Thats about as much DIY tutorials I do around here….sorry!
It seemed yesterday most of the comments on Amy Atlas’s Facebook picture of my party (its up to 250 likes btw!) were about the cake pop pineapple. I figure some people might be wondering how to make their own sculpted cake pop creation. So took a look at my text message pictures and sure enough, I had enough to pull together a behind the scenes board on how I made it. Its not a styled DIY or step by step tutorial by any means, but you can get the concept along with my descriptions. So here it is! (Click on the image to enlarge it to full screen for better readability).