Saturday, December 27, 2008

Party Puppy Centerpieces

I think these centerpieces are my favorite experiment so far! They turned out better than I thought they would. The puppies, made from white chrysanthemums, seemed to be bouncing out of the bowls of pink carnations. No doubt they were excited about Holland's first birthday party! Their little paws seemed to peek over the front edge, and their little tails over the back. The puppies were complete with handmade paper party hats to celebrate the big birthday bash. I used plastic eyes (the kind used for teddy bears) and triangular buttons for noses. The silver pedestal bowls were about 8" in diameter, making the whole arrangements about 10" wide and 12" tall. The party goers went crazy over these centerpieces, as well as the matching puppy cupcakes (see other posts for photos!). It was such a fun party to get to decorate! (Thanks Steph!) Large puppy centerpieces as pictured, $35

Peeking Puppy Centerpieces

Ok, so I saw this idea on the Internet and I always wanted to try it! Luckily, Baby Holland loves puppies and her first birthday party was the perfect venue! They turned out really cute. These were smaller arrangements of pink carnations, with little puppy faces in white chrysanthemums peeking out the top. Each puppy had ribbon bows on top of their ears (like they'd just been at the groomers!) I used various items for eyes & noses...buttons, washers, pom poms. Each puppy had their own personality that way! Small puppy centerpieces as pictured, $25 each.

Carnation Cupcakes

This is another type of centerpiece I created for the big first birthday bash. I saw this idea on the back of a bus once, although the ones I've seen are tiny, actual cupcake size. This arrangement was in a container 8" in diameter. I used all pink carnations to make the "frosting" and used shiny blue berry picks (which were readily available this season) for "sprinkles". The birthday candle is an 8" taper candle, and in the interest of safety, I topped the candles with paper "flames". They were fun to make, and just the right mix of whimsy and elegant for a kid's birthday party. Carnation cupcake as pictured, $30

Carnation Tree Centerpieces

I made this centerpiece for the big first birthday bash I've been talking about. I used all white carnations with silver and pink glass bulbs scattered throughout. This single 16-inch tree in a small silver pedestal bowl made a dramatic centerpiece for the buffet table. And it complemented the theme and colors for this wintery first birthday celebration. (Carnation Tree as pictured, $50)

Clip Art Centerpiece

This is one of the centerpieces I made for baby Holland's first birthday. They were simple arrangements of pink and white carnations (mimicking the pink with white polka dot theme) with winter blue berries "sprinkled" on the carnations. They were set in small silver pedastal dishes and topped with a clip art "lollipop" made from wood dowels and foam core board. (The client found the clip art on the Martha Stewart website.) These were very simple, yet pretty high impact with the art work adding some nice height. Wouldn't a cookie pop be a nice topper as well? Many possibilities... Clip art centerpiece as pictured, $23.50

Birthday Girl Cake

This was the special Birthday Girl Cake I made for Baby Holland's first birthday party. It was a 4" cake topped with 2 cupcakes that made a little "Westie" dog. The dog was covered with piped icing and the face decorated with marshmallows, M&Ms, a Raisinette nose and a Starburst tongue. I also topped the cake with the obligatory "1" candle. Holland was very dainty as she dug in to her frosting-covered extravaganza! She sat and licked frosting off of her fingers for the longest time! Single person birthday cakes start at $15.00

First Birthday Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes (150 total) for my friend's daughter's first birthday. The party was in December, and the theme was pink & white polka dot, puppies and winter. I think it was a nice mix of first birthday and holidays. I made 3 flavors of cupcake (double chocolate, pink vanilla, and cookies & cream) with 5 different designs (Westie "pup"cakes, snowflake cookies on white frosting, pink frosting with white piped polka dots, pink frosting with sugar sparkles, and blue frosting with sugar sparkles. (See my other photos of "Pup"cakes and "Snowflake Cupcakes" for more detailed descriptions) I also made the cupcake toppers shown on the cupcake tower above using clip art from the Martha Stewart website (provided by the client) The cupcakes were a big hit! In fact, my friend Steph says people are still talking about the cupcakes and centerpieces a week later (see other posts for centerpieces!) Homemade cupcakes start at $2.50 each

Christmas Cookie Gifts

I made these cookies for my daughter's friends for Christmas. They are my homemade sugar cookies with a thin layer of royal icing and decorated with candies (sprinkles, M&Ms and candy canes). I packaged the cookies in clear cellophane bags with simple ribbon and a tag. They turned out really cute and were well received by the kids (and their parents!) Cookie gifts with candy decorations start at $2.00 each.


Are these the cutest? I made these "pup"cakes for a first birthday party. The "fur" is made from homemade buttercream frosting. The ears & snout are marshmallows, and each has a Raisinette nose, M&M eyes, and a tongue molded from pink Starbursts. I made these "Westie" dogs because they matched the color scheme of the party (pink, white, blue, winter...see other cupcake photos) but I can do other types of dogs as well. I mixed these in with other cupcake designs for the party, but the kids seemed to all choose these first! Pupcakes start at $3.00 each.

Cookie Pop Centerpiece

I created these cookie pops to use as a centerpiece for my sister-in-law's shower for Baby Emily. The letters are separate cookies attached to the circle cookies. I hand painted all the terracotta pots filled with styrofoam and topped them with paper krinkles. They made a really pretty display on the desert table and a nice bonus gift to give to the mom-to-be. I have lots of cookie cutters...the possibilities are endless when it comes to customizing cookie pops. And I make each cookie and all the icing from scratch; I think they're delicious as well as beautiful! (Again, sorry for the not-so-great photo...old camera!) Custom cookie pops start at $3.50 each.

Baby Cookie Pops

I made these cookie pops as party favors for my sister-in-law's baby shower. The crawling babies are made with two circle cookies and royal icing details. They could also have a written message on the baby's diaper. (My apologies for the poor photos...this was before I got my good camera!) Baby cookie pops start at $3.50 each


So I discovered a new talent this year - styrofoam carving! For the past few years, we have been collecting pieces for a miniature Halloween village. On a trip to the Department 56 store in Downtown Disney this fall, we were inspired to create a kick*&$ display like the one they had in the store (did you see it? it was awesome!) So we went dumpster diving to find all the styrofoam (our part in "going green" this year - reuse & recycle!), got a "hot wire" tool for carving, bought some spray paint & went crazy! I created this display which is customized for our particular Spookytown pieces, so in the "grotto" was our mummy and pirate pieces, and on the top level was our "town" pieces (Frankenstein's lab, the cemetary, dead man's mine, haunted houses, etc). The whole thing got several coats of spray paint (I discovered that oil-based spray paint eats away the styrofoam! Actually, it made a really cool "lava rock" type effect). The layers are held together with bamboo skewers. And the bottom level "grotto" got a thin layer of sand glued on. And the water we created by painting the styrofoam, then covering the area with clear caulking and painting the "white caps" with white acrylic paint. The waterfall was a mixture of blue cellophane, clear saran wrap, and hot glue. Topped off with some aquarium gravel rocks and dried moss, Spookytown was quite the holiday display this year. To check out more photos of our Spookytown, you can access the Lemax Spookytown website with the following link: Look for "Jeremy & Jennifer Stonebarger" towards the bottom of the list and click on our names. The whole thing was quite a project, but alot of fun. So all of you Department 56 or Lemax collectors out there, if you need a custom display built, let me know!!

Elmo Invitation

This was an invitation I created for my daughter's Elmo-themed first birthday party. It's a cutout Elmo head that opens up to reveal the party information. Elmo's face includes a paper nose and real "googly" eyes. I'd seen this idea on the Internet and recreated it myself. The birthday girl loved them, and the googly eyes gave it that extra "punch" that I love so well. This invitation idea could also be adapted to other Sesame Street characters (Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Big Bird, etc.)

Pumpkin Party Invitation

My husband and I love Halloween! This was an invitation to our annual Pumpkin Carving Party. The card comes as pictured on the right, a simple black fold over jacket with the party info on the cover. At the top, the tab says "pull". When the invitee pulls the card from the top, another card pops out from the bottom of the invitation as well!(see photo on the left.) My guests were talking about that invitation for weeks! It's a fun idea and can be adapted to any occasion.

Red Carpet Invitation

This simple invitation was for a friend's 30th Birthday "Gala" where guests were asked to dress up as their favorite celebrity and come "walk the red carpet". The invitation was a white linen card stock, double mounted on silver and black card stock. The filmstrip overlay was hand stamped on vellum and wrapped around the invitation and the response card. The silver star motif was carried throughout. I'm a big believer in traditional, mailed invitations that set the tone for your event. Everyone was excited for this party before it began, and it was a real blast!

Diaper Invitations

This was an invitation I did for my sister-in-law's baby shower. The invitation (on the striped paper) inserts into a foldover "diaper" (on heavy white paper). The diaper is secured with a plastic diaper pin. It really set the tone for the pastels & pink theme. (See "Baby shower cookie pops" from the same party) I love the diaper pin detail to give the invite a little "pop"!

Hawaiian Christmas Tree

This is the Hawaiian Christmas tree that I usually put up in our family room as a second tree. Yes, a second tree is a little extravagant, but we always put the live tree in the living room and then spend all our time in the family room. So we purchased a fake flocked tree (since both my husband and I always wanted a flocked tree as a kid and neither of us ever got our wish!) and carried our "Tommy Bahama" home decorating style into Christmas. I love the copper and green color scheme and all the pineapple ornaments that we've collected over the years. I top this tree with a bow and stems of silk orchids and copper branches. It may be a few years before we see this tree in our home again, since all the bulbs are glass and Jackson (my 8 month old son) is already a handful!

Christmas Decorating

This is our living room decorated for Christmas this year. I went with a peppermint/candyland theme this time. Luckily, my 2 year old daughter has never been one to bother the Christmas tree. I love to bring out all my holiday decorations each gets us in the Christmas spirit every time we walk through the room. I would love to start decorating other people's homes for the holidays. I can use your existing decorations and add a little sparkle of my own. Or let me design a whole new look and buy some new pieces for your home. I also do custom gift wrapping, hand-tied bows, and floral arrangements and centerpieces.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Snowflake Cupcakes

This is my favorite new idea for extravagant cupcakes. I made these cupcakes for a first birthday party with a winter theme. Each cupcake is topped with homemade buttercream frosting, sparkle sugar, and sugar cookie, which I baked from scratch and decorated with a thin layer of sparkly blue royal icing and piped white frosting details. My sugar-addict husband, who is "never satisfied" by a measly little cupcake, really loved this idea where he could top his cupcake off with a cookie chaser. They were so elegant and quite delicious, if I do say so myself. I thought it was a cool way to dress up a cupcake. (Prices start at $4.50 per cookie cupcake)

Easter Sugar Egg

Remember the sugar eggs we all saw (or nibbled on) as kids? I got a set of molds for creating sugar eggs and we went crazy. It turned out so cute, that I actually wrapped it up and saved it, and now I pull it out every Easter for our table. The molded sugar egg and the royal icing decorations all dry to a cement-like state, so it looks surprisingly good each year. I have varying sizes of eggs (this is actually a cake pan - the biggest egg size I have) and they can be made vertically or horizontally. It would be a fun project to do with kids too, if they have the patience (my 2 year old is not quite ready to help!)

Snowman Cake

This was a snowman cake I made to bring to a Christmas party last year. He turned out so cute with his gumdrop buttons, candy cane broom, piped frosting details, and coconut "snow" coating. The party hostess ended up using him as a centerpiece for her holiday table. In fact, I'm not sure she ever ate the cake. Too bad, the one we made for us was tasty!

Baby Shower Cake

This is a cake I made for a couples' baby shower (my friend & best client Stephanie!) The two square layers were covered in homemade buttercream frosting, then topped with pink fondant, which I "quilted" for a soft look. The daisies were also handmade of white fondant and chocolate icing. I created the bassinette cake topper out of a small (4") cake topped with ruffles and a sleeping baby under a blanket (all fondant). The bassinette canopy I made of molded sugar with piped icing details. I also painted the ruffles with pearl dust to give it an irridescent shine. The couple actually made me cut the cake at the party because no one else wanted to "ruin" it. Luckily, they got over it when they tasted the cake below! Cake pricing starts at $2 per person served.

Gingerbread House (2006)

Gingerbread! Every year we (try to) make a gingerbread house as a family. This piece from 2006 was about 2' x 3' (in total) and about 2' high. This is actually a replica of my own house, complete with our two dogs (piped in icing) on the front lawn. I created a template by taking photos of the house, creating cardboard templates for all the walls and the roof, and cutting & assembling each piece from homemade gingerbread cookies and royal icing. We used (to name a few) ice cream cones, candy canes, licorice ropes, mini m&m's, gumdrops and starlight mints to decorate. We even used green sugar sprinkles for grass, "nerds" candy for pebble walkways, fruit leather for the roof, and white and green royal icing for the details. We have done similar showpieces for Halloween, Easter and we're thinking about a Valentine's house this year (we just didn't get to our gingerbread this Christmas, so check back in late January!) They last for months (if you can keep little nibblers away) and they make the house smell fantastic. If anyone is interested in a complete custom gingerbread house, please contact me for pricing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cookie Pop Favors

This was an order for cookie pop favors for a teenage birthday party. I baked these sugar cookies on wooden dowels so they were extra sturdy, and individually wrapped each one in a cellophane bag. Together in the vases, they also made cute centerpieces for the buffet table. I stuck with cirlcle and square cookies with a simple monogram initial for this project, though I have a ton of different shaped cookie cutters. These are always a big hit! Custom cookie pop favors start at $3.50 each.

Kissable Cookies

I hosted a Mary Kay party for Valentines Day where we focused on Lipstick and lip products. These cookies were a big hit with the ladies. Wouldn't they also be great at a teenage girls' birthday? A couple cookies packaged in a cellophane bag with little bow would make a great party favor, or a great calling card for all you Mary Kay consultants out there (I'm actually a consultant myself, if you'd rather order the lipstick!) Contact me for prices on custom cookies.

Diaper Cake Centerpieces

I made a series of 5 smaller diaper cakes for my friend Maria who was hosting a baby shower for her sister-in-law. She used them as centerpieces for the shower, then gave them to the mom-to-be as a gift. She told me that people without babies wanted to take them home because they were so pretty! I thought it was a practical alternative to flowers for a baby shower, and much more personal. I left these unwrapped so that the party-goers could see all the goodies. I kept the decorations simple - just a few washcloth roses and silk flowers each, plus a "cake topper" of bottles, bibs & booties. (These small, 2 tier diaper cakes start at $20.)

Deluxe Diaper Cake

This was the mother of all diaper cakes! I made it for my dear friend Stephanie's shower. It was my first 4 tiered cake (still a jumbo pack of newborn diapers, with an extra tier made out of 4 take-out boxes filled with goodies). I included a ton of stuff - bath products, toys, booties, onesies, bibs, washcloth roses, pacifiers with homemade leashes, clothes, diaper cream, gas drops, and handmade hair bows (a girl has to learn to accessorize!) It was so fancy that Steph wouldn't open it at the shower, and she told me she kept it all put together as a decoration in their home until baby Holland arrived. (Large, 4 tier diaper cakes start at $5o).

Baby Girl Diaper Cake

My friend Heather ordered this diaper cake to send to a friend. I kept it simple, with a couple bath products, a cute bib, and a bunch of baby washcloth roses (just unroll & use!) This was the cake that forced me to figure out how to make them secure enough to mail. (Let's just say MacGyver would be proud!) Note the final gift-wrapped version (I always wrap these in cello, and nothing leaves my house without a showy bow!) This medium size (3 tier) diaper cake starts at $40.

Twins Diaper Cake

I created this diaper cake for a friend having twins. In addition to the Jumbo pack of newborn diapers, I included bath products, pacifiers with homemade pacifier leashes, booties, blankets, and onesies. I decorated with silk flowers and pink & blue ribbon. (This medium size, 2 tier diaper cake starts at $30.)