Top 5 - Year In Review

I decided to do a "Top 5 Posts" of the year review even though it's really of 2011. I'm only a few years behind. Let's pretend I haven't aged any since then, okay? 'kay.

It seems I will never catch up to present day with this blog... that should be my New Year's resolve ["should" being the operative word].

I was actually surprised to see which posts were reader favorites - based on page views and some blogger stats. A couple wouldn't have made my own top 10 list. No matter... here it is!

I wish you all the sweetest New Year!!


Christmas Treat Round-Up

A small holiday round-up of treats I found in my "Misc Christmastime" folder.

Cupcakes for work decorated quickly with a reindeer cupcake wrapper and toothpick cupcake topper set I found at the dollar store. Also topped with another dollar store gem - cute printed plastic cupcake picks.

More of the same vanilla cupcakes utilizing a snowflake wrapper/topper kit and some edible snowflake wafers I found at Michael's Craft Store.

A clever coworker made a delicious rice cereal treat wreath.

My new favorite Christmas cookie: Fig Crescents. They were super labor intensive for me but the deliciousness overrides the amount of work that went into making them.

Easy gingersnaps made from a gingerbread cookie bagged mix. [The white stuff on the edges is powdered sugar, I sprinkled it all over but the cookie absorbed it.]

Peanut Butter Rolo Cups made in a mini cupcake tin. I undercooked the cookies so they were a huge pain to get out of the pan but they still rocked every one's taste buds.

Soft Italian Pignoli Cookies made from doctoring a Pillsbury sugar cookie mix with almond paste. I have to have these every year.

My family always has an overflowing cookie platter that accompanies our Christmas Eve dessert table.

I assembled some Martha Stewart cookie boxes to give out to friends and family.

That concludes my 2011 Christmas recap.
Be Merry!


Super Mario Gamer Party

Way back in October of 2011 I was contacted by Jen, a party stylist for Banner Events, asking if I would be interested in contributing some of my Mario themed fondant cupcake toppers. The party she was styling was for two 10-11 year old boys who are best friends and share a love of gaming. I immediately jumped at this unique opportunity and arranged to send 2 dozen toppers on their way to Puyallup, WA.

The birthday party took place Dec. 20th, 2011. This is my only [not so nice photo] of the fondant Super Mario theme cupcake toppers before I packaged and shipped them off to Washington state.

Here is the start of the professional photos Jen shared with me. Aren't they perty?

My toppers look glorious [if I do say so myself] on top of Oreo, Peanut Butter Cup and Classic Chocolate cupcakes from Wanna Cupcake?

Here's a little cupcake collage created by Jen for your viewing pleasure:

A sneak peek of some of the party designs.

The All Access Gamer Dessert Table.

Table set with party favor boxes & cute little "power up" water bottles.

Table setting details.

Dessert table featuring my cupcake toppers and decorated cookies by Sweet Surrender Cookie Company.

The welcome table kindly asked who "got game?"

Chocolate Mario mustache pops and all access gamer passes awaited the party guests.

The coolest part of this party is the Game Truck! It looks like an arcade on wheels!

My Mario cupcake topper is waiting for the birthday boy to make his wish.

There it is...

I hope their birthday wishes came true!

If you have a little gamer in your life, you’re going to love all the fun details in this SUPER MARIO inspired birthday party by Jen of Banner Events! [I highlighted the pretty things she had to say about my work.]

This content was originally posted on Hostess with the Mostess blog on April 9th, 2012 HERE.

SUPER MARIO PARTY DETAILS, as told by Jennifer…

As a mother of 3 boys I am very excited to share with you a party theme especially perfect for boys of all ages!  I hope you enjoy my Mario-themed “GAMER” party!
My son and his best friend, not only share the same name (JACOB), but the same birth month and also the same favorite hobby: playing video games!  After talking to Jacob’s mom, who happens to also be one of my very best friends, we thought the most fitting theme to celebrate the fact that our sons were both moving ’1-UP!’ a year in their ages would involve allowing them to do what they love most–play video games!  We surprised them by planning a joint Mario-themed ‘GAMER’ party!
I was so privileged to work with the talented Lauren McKinsey who designed an entire Mario-themed printable package from scratch!  She was so thorough!  She even did her own research by playing the game with her children so she could get the feel of the invitations and designs precisely right!  (I had told her I wanted the graphic designs to allude to Mario, without being overly character rich.)  The results were even more amazing than I could have ever imagined!
The boys were so thrilled to mail their invitations which asked their guests the most important question of all, “Are you game?”  What pre-teen boy wouldn’t jump at the chance to get his game on for a ‘super’ time? Lauren even designed matching address labels.  Too cute.
Upon arriving, each boy was greeted at the welcome table and presented with a customized ’All Access Gamer Pass’.  Lauren did such a fun job designing these.
The welcome table was decorated to catch their attention and foreshadow the fun to come!  Chocolate Mario mustache lollipops displayed on the welcome table excited many of the boys.  They couldn’t wait for the opportunity to use those as photo props and ‘accidentally’ take a few nibbles.
The moment the guests walked into the party, I wanted them to feel like they had stepped into the classic Super Mario Brothers video game at their favorite video arcade!  I thought the decorations should reflect the scenery most common to the game.   I kept the color palette simple with primary colors (red, blue, green, yellow). Both the welcome table and dessert table were decorated in Mario style.  Caprisun boxes were spray-painted to look like bricks.  PVC piping from the hardware store was cut, assembled and painted to look like the famous green tubes Mario goes down.  Red and white polka dotted piranha plants were created from spray painted styrofoam balls & terra cotta pots.  I asked Lauren to make me oversized versions of the mushrooms and star (big symbols from the game) that I could print and cut out.  I also created an oversized cloud to hang from our blue sky backdrop (cloud/sky butcher paper purchased at Michaels).  Smaller versions of these were strung around the dessert table as a garland.
Putting the dessert table together was my favorite part of styling this party (isn’t it always?).  I wanted this to be their ‘Energy Boost’ station where they could refuel after their game playing.
Lauren designed a fabulously colorful banner for me which I strung from our blue/sky cloud backdrop.  Bricks were stacked and green tubes were added to give some character to our table.
I loved the idea of using some of the props to actually function as serving vessels (thank you for the inspiration GreyGrey Designs, so some of the green tubes housed our yummy & amazingly coordinating pretzels by Amanda at Pretzels Pleaze.
Aren’t those little sugar mushrooms adorable?  (Her pretzels have been a highlight at 3 events I’ve styled so far!  People can’t get enough!)  The idea for the piranha plant was found on Pinterest.   Not only did they add some much needed height to our table, but the plants held Mario’s ‘fireballs’ (Atomic Fireball candy).  The kids got a kick out of that!  Of course, the dessert table was flanked on each side with colorful polka dot balloons from Shop Sweet Lulu.  They have wonderful products for every kind of party!
The focal point of the dessert table was definitely the scrumptious cupcakes & unbelievably detailed cookies.  I happily added 3 new and amazingly talented dessert artists to my arsenal of go-to businesses.  Wanna Cupcake? provided delicious cupcakes (Oreo, Peanut Butter Cup and Classic Chocolate) for the event.  I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to sampling a little of each flavor.  Yum!  I dolled up the cupcakes with green, red & white polka dotted liners & seriously jaw-dropping custom fondant work by Sugar Butter Baby.
I couldn’t believe how cool the fondant work was.  All of the classic characters were present.  The boys actually wanted to SAVE their toppers and take them home to show their parents.  Yeah, they were that amazing!
Definitely a treat, Sweet Surrender Cookie Company sent a few dozen of their Mario-themed cookie favors.  They were flawless and so delicious.  I love having individually wrapped treats that can easily be handed out and either consumed on the spot or saved for later.
In addition, our dessert table included some candy.  Custom candy bar wrappers were included in Lauren McKinsey’s designs and a candy bar was covered for each guest.  I also had glass dishes filled with red, green & white ’Yoshi Eggs’ (Cadbury mini eggs) and chocolate gold coins (just like the coins Mario earns in the game!).  Glassine bags from Nashville Wraps were decorated with cute little party circles created by Lauren for filling with the candy.  And finally, each boy needed his own chocolate Wii remote favor.  What’s a gamer party without your own game controller?
The party tables were so colorful, thanks to more fun striped and polka dotted products from both Shop Sweet Lulu and Polka Dot Market.  Each place setting included a fun red polka-dotted gable box (Shop Sweet Lulu), with a personalized name hang tag designed by Lauren.  The boxes were decorated with a fun label: “Game over.  Wii thank you for coming to our party.”  These boxes were used to fill up with treats from the dessert table to take home as party favors.  To quench our little gamer’s thirst, small bottled waters (Power Up Potion & Power Up Water) were included at each place, along with cute striped straws (Polka Dot Market).  The cookies from Sweet Surrender Cookie Company added an amazing splash of color and fun resting next to each plate.  Centerpieces were created from Tootsie Roll Banks, covered in coordinating paper and decorated with mushrooms peeking out on sucker sticks.  These acted as perfect balloon weights for more polka dotted balloons.
Our boys were so excited to sport custom Mario and Luigi appliqué shirts from Sew Lucky Embroidery.  The iron-on  appliqué was so easy to do and washes up great!  Plus, how cool to represent the main characters from the Super Mario Bros. game!
The best part about this party was the ease of the entertainment!  We hired Game Truck Seattle.  What exactly is a game truck? Think of it as a video arcade on wheels that has several big screen t.v.s and various gaming systems allowing our entire group of boys to play video games all at the same time!  Their selection of games was amazing and included all of the new releases.  Two hours in the game truck were enjoyed by all!


– Complete Event Styling: Jen Carver, Banner Events (Laurie Lallatin, assistant)
– Graphic Design Printable Package & Invitation: Lauren McKinsey
– Photography:  Rebecca Pierce, Mi Vida Photography

– Cupcakes: Wanna Cupcake?
– Custom Fondant Cupcake Toppers: Sugar Butter Baby
– Mario Themed Sugar Cookie Favors: Sweet Surrender Cookie Company
– Gourmet Chocolate Covered Pretzels with Sugar Mushrooms: Pretzels Pleaze
– Polka Dot Balloons & Gable Boxes: Shop Sweet Lulu
– Striped Straws: Polka Dot Market
– Glassine Favor Bags: Nashville Wraps
– Mario and Luigi Appliqué Iron-ons: Sew Lucky Embroidery
– Game Truck entertainment: Game Truck Seattle
– Cloud/Sky Butcher Paper, Ribbon, Green Paper Shred: Michael’s
– Red Polka Dot Vinyl Fabric, Red Planter Containers: IKEA
– Moustache Lollipop Mold, Wii Remote Mold: Amazon
– Gamer Pass Plastic Badges: Walmart


Wild About Baby

This next baby shower "project" started off with a few crazy ideas. My close friend, who was making the invitations and decor for another friend's girly zoo themed baby shower, wanted a big tree cake centerpiece with monkeys hanging from it, animal face cupcake toppers, and decorated sugar cookies as favors. Unfortunately due to time constraints, budget, and level of difficulty involved, we decided to play up the animal prints and leave the cute animals to the paper embellishments.

For the cupcake toppers - I found animal print edible cupcake tattoos from Chef Duff's line of products sold at Michael's Craft Stores. Instead of placing them directly on the icing, I adhered them to white fondant discs and placed them on top of colorful fondant flowers.

I baked vanilla cupcakes in coordinating leopard and zebra print cupcake liners, iced them in vanilla buttercream, and added the fondant animal blossom toppers.

Here's another view from the top. They kind of look like mini animal print plants [or something].

I needed to make 60 cupcakes so I made some covered in sugar for those that don't like to eat fondant. I swirled the buttercream icing onto the cupcakes and dipped them in a bowl of pink sugar crystals, creating a nice smooth surface.

The centerpiece was a simple 6" round cake covered in white fondant with purple fondant blossoms and a pink fondant banner around the top. I used Wilton edible sheets in zebra print to add a border to the bottom of the cake.

The cupcakes were arranged on a tower and we used the cake centerpiece to display a couple of extra cupcakes on it's flat top. The table also held some black and white swirl lollipops with custom labels and colored curling ribbon.

The baby shower decor was so cute, my friend did a really great job, the food was delicious and people were dancing to the DJ by the end of the day! Certainly no one missed the big carved jungle tree cake... maybe I'll attempt it some other time.


Mini Tier 25th Birthday Cake

This is one of those projects I'm hesitant to share because I didn't really like the outcome.

The task was to make a mini tiered cake for a friend of a friend's 25th birthday. The request seemed simple enough – something super glittery with stars and using red, yellow (or gold? I can't remember), and black. I don't know why I made it so difficult.

The first mistake I made was stacking the two little tiers together instead of covering them with fondant separately.

Luckily the cake was small enough (I think a 6" and a 4" round double layer cake) so it wasn't completely disastrous, but I did get a bunch of wrinkles at the bottom.

The second mistake was trying to "glue" black fondant letters to sugar-glitter-coated yellow stars. I used too much water and the black bled everywhere.

The last mistake was trying to get the edible glitter to stick to the cake after steaming it to add shine. It ended up quite globby.

I'm not proud of this mini cake but maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself…  it ended up coming out [barely] cute, just not up to my own personal standard of work. Plus, I did learn a lot from all those little errors and Hannah looks super frickin' adorable at her birthday dinner!