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Katie & Phil tie the knot

by karoline on August 18, 2014

katie and philThis past weekend, my second cousin, Katie, married her sweetheart, Phil.  Wasn’t she a stunning bride??  Wow!  (You gotta love Facebook…since I was setting up the desserts, I missed the ceremony.  I found these really awesome pix online, taken by one of the bride’s friends.)

Back up a little bit…more than a year ago, there were rumors about their pending nuptials.  With cake baking on the mind, I shot off a quick email asking her if she would like me to do the cake.  Who would turn down an offer for a free wedding cake?  Of course, she said yes.  And, here we are.

wedding cake

Katie was the easiest bride in the world to work with.  She took the “you know best” approach to things and gave me very few guidelines.  This seemed to work out well since I knew exactly what I could do and how things would work best.  And, I’m pretty sure she didn’t worry about much.  We chose a simple buttercream-iced cake just for the bride and groom to cut.  Katie’s florist provided a few flowers, and she picked out the adorable motorcycle topper.

motorcycle wedding cake topper

Too cute, right?

simple wedding cake

I think it’s best to keep things clean and simple when it comes to wedding cakes.

wedding cupcake tower

The guests at the Patrick Haley Mansion (a gorgeous venue) enjoyed a choice of chocolate or vanilla cupcakes.  I was able to order the gigantic, 200 cupcake-holding tower on Cupcakestand.com and received a huge discount for my work with Icing Smiles.

wedding cupcake tower

Yum.

wedding cupcakes

They were such a hit that every single cupcake was gone by 11 pm!

wedding cupcakes

Again, I chose to keep the decorations simple: white buttercream swirl, white/ pearl dragees, and a white fondant heart cutout.

While I have done small contributions to weddings before (here and here), this was the first one where I did the whole thing.  It turned out great, and I was so happy Katie let me play this role in her big day.  Wishing the newlyweds many happy years together.  Cheers!

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“I Do”

by karoline on August 11, 2014

chocolate coconut cupcakes

The hubby’s cousin is getting married later this year, and O is going to be the flower girl.  I am BEYOND ecstatic.  This is just one of the many reasons I LOVE having a daughter – wait till you see the princess dress we bought for the event.  WOW!  This past weekend was the wedding shower for the bride, Melissa.  O and I made the trip down to Edwardsville/ St. Louis area.  Melissa and Kevin were at our housewarming party last year, and she really enjoyed the chocolate coconut cupcakes I made for B’s birthday.  So, that’s what I made!

bridal shower cupcakes

I saw these cute cupcake toppers on Etsy, but they were very expensive, and I waited too long to think about ordering them so I was having a hard time finding someone who could get them to me without a rush charge.  Instead, I made my own.  Not quite as cute, but made from things I had around the house (read: FREE!) and matching the color of the bridesmaid dresses perfectly.

sprinkle cupcake

As I mentioned, I used a coconut cream cheese frosting for this batch, but I didn’t stir in the coconut — I pressed it into the frosting like a Snowball.  God, was it good!  O, however, was pretty turned off by the shaved coconut that I was pressing onto the other cupcakes.  She asked for a “pwain one” and added her own special touch.

cupcakes and toddlers

She was pretty pleased with her work.

wedding shower

Somehow, I forgot to take any other pix at the party.  I guess that’s what happens when there is a lot of family catching up to do.  This is the ONLY picture I took of the beautiful bride…OOPS!  Can’t wait for the real deal in November!  Congrats, Kevin & Melissa!

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Gluten-free/ vegan smash cake

by karoline on August 3, 2014

gluten free smash cake

A friend of mine’s son is on a gluten, egg, and dairy free diet.  So, when it came time for his first birthday, she attempted to make his cake herself.  The baking of the cake was a big success, but she didn’t have so much luck working with the vegan buttercream.  Since O and I were planning to attend the celebration, she enlisted my help with decorating the cake.  I can’t take any credit for the baking of the cake, but I did manage to make it look respectable.  I used a recipe for vegan buttercream from The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbookand while it was a good starting place, I ended up using way more powdered sugar than the recipe called for.  The frosting was just too soft to work with.  After messing with the frosting and pulling the cake in and out of the freezer several times, I was finally satisfied with the results.  I even used a special allergen-free chocolate to make the inscription on the cake.

This was the inspiration for her cake.  She wanted a simple, white iced cake with inscription and a few real balloons.  Sadly, our balloons didn’t look quite like this, but I think we came pretty close.

smash cake

Marty, who is quite possibly one of the happiest kids I have ever met, loved every minute of his smash cake session.

smash cake

Yuck!  He really did a number on it!  I left the cake in the fridge until about an hour before we served it.  I was concerned that if it stayed refrigerated, it would be too cold and hard for him to enjoy.  With the August heat and the nature of the vegan buttercream, it was pretty soft by the time he got around to it. But, Marty loved the feeling of the frosting between his fingers, massaging the cake, spreading it around, and even beating on it like a drum!

cucpcake

And, it wouldn’t be a party unless O got messy eating cupcakes!

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A very hungry caterpillar

by karoline on July 29, 2014

very hungry caterpillar cupcakes

The hubby’s cousin is having a baby – and we already know it’s a BOY – so when I got the adorable Very Hungry Caterpillar  invite, I jumped at the chance to make the cupcakes for the shower, too.

very hungry caterpillar cupcake toppers

For half of the cupcakes, I used printables from Pea Pink Paperie and Kids Party DIY.  I love the colors!

very hungry caterpillar

O insisted they have pale green sprinkles.

very hungry caterpillar

I chose these toppers because of their ability to tell the story itself.

caterpillar cake

For the other half of the cupcakes, I put together one of these super simple caterpillar cupcake cakes.  It requires about 20 cupcakes and one 4-inch cake for the head.  I used about one single batch of cupcake batter.  After making a few fondant facial features and legs, you simply pipe on the green frosting swirls, making sure to overlap the gaps in between the cupcakes.

very hungry caterpillar cake

The theme is so cute I almost want to have a Very Hungry Caterpillar  party just for the fun of it.

diaper cake

I can’t take credit for this diaper cake, but it’s just one of the great decorations created by the party hostess.  I absolutely adore it

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Working on O’s Room

by karoline on July 20, 2014

painted bookshelf

I love reading my friend, Brandy’s site, and she is always posting about the fun furniture and decorating projects she does.  She inspired me to post a few of the pix of projects that I have worked on for O’s room.  Let’s be honest, I really enjoy making crafts WITH O, but there is something to be said for good, old-fashioned, grown-ups only projects FOR your little ones.  We purchased this bookshelf eons ago while living in Boston.  It remained unfinished for ages.  Suddenly, I found myself with a garage and space for projects.  I decided to put this shelf in O’s room and paint it white to match the trim.  It was quite the success for one of my first attempts at painting ANYTHING, but it should be noted that I first tried to stain it with an all-in-one varnish, and that was a complete disaster!  I’ll stick to painting.

name letters, nursery

These super cute O-L-I-V-I-A letters were from my baby shower for O.  Man, that feels like ages ago!  My dad spray painted them all brown, and then my friends and I all got a letter of her name & decorated them to match the color scheme of the nursery.  The lady in the photo is O’s namesake: her great-great-grandma Olivia.

painted dresser, nursery

While I can’t take any of the creative credit for this one, I did come up with the idea.  The dresser was my sister-in-law’s when she was a child.  A basic, pine dresser, it was sturdily constructed and built to last another 30 years, but it was quite old fashioned.  I hired Barb Erwin to add her unique touch & modernize the piece.  She did a wonderful job and was able to add many more details than I would have been able to.  (I can’t seem to find her contact info right now, but if you have a project in mind for her, let me know & I will find it.)

ikea hack, spice racks

I saw this adorable idea on Pinterest.  Of course, we have SO MANY books in O’s room that they are forever piling up and tumbling on the floor.  I bought these spice racks for very cheap at Ikea and spray painted them pink.  Once hung on the wall, they make great shelves for kid’s books, making the books easily accessible from our big, comfy reading chair but also organized for mommy’s peace of mind.

bow organizer

Saw this idea on Pinterest, too when I was looking for a way to organize the many hair bows that we have recently accumulated.  I wanted to make something that only utilized things already in my house without spending any money on it.  I had the frame lying around, and the paper was from O’s 2nd birthday banner.  Buttons and ribbons were from my baby shower.  Voila: cute, organized and cheap.  O loves picking out her hair bow every morning from the cluster on the wall.

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Sprinkle

by karoline on July 12, 2014

sprinkle invite

The sprinkle shower is a new concept to me, something I had never heard of until I saw it pop up on moms’ sites and Pinterest.  At first, I thought, “Who hosts a sprinkle?” Then, later, “I do.  That’s who.  What a fun excuse for a party!”  In case you still have no idea what I’m referring to, a sprinkle is a small shower thrown in honor of someone who is pregnant with their second child.  Typically, the party is given when the gender of the second child is different than the gender of the first — when new clothes are a must.  Kelsea, one of my dearest friends from high school, and I have a longstanding tradition of celebrating together.  I catered her college graduation party (before I kept e-records of such things), made her 30th birthday cake, her wedding cake  (and here) and the cake for her first baby shower.  It was so much fun to put together this sprinkle with her mom.

sprinkle

I’ve amassed quite the collection of party ware over the last couple of years, and I was happy to be able to reuse mason jars, table cloths, vases, cake stands, and parasols.

sprinkle, it's a boy

I think it is pretty obvious what flavor bun is in the oven this time around.

balloon wreath - boy baby shower

Can’t wait to reuse this balloon wreath for O’s 3rd birthday party.  She has requested a Cookie Monster theme, and I figure all I need to do is replace the bows with Cookies!

rain boot vase, baby shower

We saw this cute idea for a flower vase on Pinterest and instantly fell in love with it.  Not only are the rain boots great for the sprinkle, but the mom-to-be can take them home & use them for her little one….eventually.

blue candy

O helped me fill these vases :)

cloth diaper cake

I’ve made a diaper cake before, but I used disposable diapers.  Cloth diaper cakes are a little different but still pretty easy.  You can put one together with only 12 inserts, keeping the cost reasonable.

7 layer salad

You can never go wrong with the old-school classic 7-layer salad.  The best part is that you assemble the whole thing the night before the party and are free to tend to last-minute items the morning of your event.

sandwiches

And, don’t be afraid to cheat a little.  Since things have been a little crazy for us (in the 2 week wait of our first IVF cycle), my co-host and I decided to purchase pre-made sandwiches from Casey’s — excellent decision on our part.

sandwiches

Simply remove purchased items from the tacky plastic trays and place them on a fancy cake stand, and Voila!

duck cupcakes

For dessert, we had chocolate cupcakes with blue buttercream.  This was my first time sculpting fondant.  While the ducks do look a little bit like they were born in Chernobyl, I think the overall effect was pretty cute.

sprinkle cupcakes

And, of course, they tasted incredible.

frosting face

Sign of a good cupcake, right?

sprinkle

Mom, dad, and big sister opened all of their gifts.

big sister

Big sister clearly has mixed emotions on the subject.

baby sprinkle shower

sprinkle

But, she sure did love sitting in mommy’s (shrinking) lap to open all of the cards.

sprinkled with love

Party guests took home a tiny mason jar of sprinkles as a thank you.  (The themed labels came from Simply Sweetness.)

Congratulations, Kelsea & Ryan…can’t wait to meet your little guy!

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Born on the FIFTH of July

July 4, 2014

My dad wasn’t exactly a firecracker baby, but with a July 5th birthday, we consider it close enough.  Since his birthday celebration tends to fall on the 4th itself, I like to make a patriotic dessert like this flag cake or this berry trifle.  This year, O and I decided to make simple iced star […]

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Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Madel

June 29, 2014

A while back, I wrote about how bummed I was to have missed the destination wedding of a dear friend of mine in the Dominican Republic.  Thankfully, she hosted a giant block party/ carnival for all of their friends and loved ones who couldn’t make it to the D.R.  I’m happy to say that we […]

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Summer Berries

June 19, 2014

Baking old school desserts chock full of summer berries or other fresh fruits is my jam.  Pardon the pun.  These types of desserts are the reason I wanted to be a baker and the things I like to whip up when I am in my kitchen.  Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing like the […]

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