Monday, April 12, 2010

My Best Friend's Wedding - the invitations

The wedding invitations are complete! Mailed out early last week, they have a quick turnaround time, but as this is a destination wedding, a lot of information has been communicated via email and the couple's website. The invitations were more of a formality, but what a fun one! As mentioned previously, the colors we're using for this wedding are turquoise, red, and orange, so naturally these were the colors we used in the invitations.

The end result:

The elements:

The paper components were ordered from I found the paper to be of good quality, but not too thick. This worked well for me, as I was printing them at home. Invitation Outlet was quick, efficient, economical, and even found me a better deal when I called them to make a change to the order!

The invitations were individually hand stamped using rubber stamps from Paper Source. LOVE THEM! Such great quality stamps, and they really came out well. Very consistent.

I used a combination of the solid and outline mum stamp in different colors. 

All stamped and ready to be assembled...

Remember the fabrics I chose several months back? You can find the post on those HERE.

Well, those fabrics were cut into 8" by 8" squares and one square was included in each invitation with this notecard explaining what to do with it:

You'll see more on that project when the time comes :)

The response card was fun and casual, with plenty of space for invitees to write a nice note:

Part of Zett and Bryan's wonderful story is how they met: while working diligently in Florida on the Obama election campaign. And since President Obama was essentially the one who brought them together, he should of course be invited to the wedding! I had fun addressing this invite (went through 4 envelopes just to make sure it was perfect!)

Did you know that there's a whole office in the White House dedicated to dealing with correspondence such as this?? Well, there is! Find the address below.

They have included a letter with the invitation, explaining their story, and our hope is that they at least get a standard response from an intern with a rubber-stamped signature! We shall see...

(That smudge is from my photo editing to remove the house number)

As you can see, I decided to use a more casual handwriting font, rather than a traditional calligraphy. Fun to use, and easier on my wrists with 175 addresses to write!

All in all, I love the finished product. More importantly, so do the bride and groom! And the great thing about the rubber stamps is that we can use them again and again - favors, place cards, programs, table numbers - anything!

So, what do you think?

Posting to these fabulous websites:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Two tiered chocolate and fondant cake

I promised an update to Joel's Baby Shower - The Results! with recipes for some of the menu items. The cake was really pretty simple and utterly delicious!

I used Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe (from her Baking Handbook and her Cupcake book) and adjusted the batch size for my cake pans. I really just eyeballed it. I made 2 batches of the cake batter, and combined them in a large bowl (just in case they somehow were slightly different, the batters would be uniform in consistency). I used 2 9" pans for the bottom tier, and 2 6" pans for the top tier. I decanted the batter into the cake pans to the same level in each cake pan, and baked them all at the same time. I had some batter left over, and made some cupcakes just for the hell of it :)

I put one 6" pan on the same shelf as a 9" pan and then put the 6" pan on the shelf underneath the 9" pan and vice versa (to keep good air/heat circulation in the oven). When baking different sizes at the same time, just keep an eye on the 6" pans after the recommended baking time because they will be done first. And be sure to rotate the pans halfway through baking (I even switched the bottom shelf pans to the top shelf, and vice versa - makes for very even baking).

This chocolate cake recipe is honestly the best one I've tried. It is very versatile (just as great in huge cakes as it is in mini cupcakes), and heavy enough to be handled and carved, but light enough to eat plenty without feeling overwhelmed with chocolate. Be sure to use top quality ingredients and definitely sift everything!

For the filling between the layers and also my crumb layer, I used Martha Stewart's Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing. Again, the best in the business. Yes, it has 3 sticks of butter in each batch but it's worth every calorie! So quick and simple to make - the mixer does almost all the work!

For the fondant, I made my own. Having never made my own fondant before, or really ever worked with fondant to cover a full sized cake, I was a little nervous. No need as it turns out! Making your own fondant is relatively quick, easy, and very rewarding as it also tastes great. 

I ventured into the internet for this recipe, and after about an hour of research ended up using a classic fondant recipe from the Food Network. I was back and forth reading about the buttercream and marshmallow versions of fondant, but decided for my first endeavor in making fondant that I should go with the classic recipe. It can be found here

Some of the ingredients cannot be found at the grocery store, but they were right there in the cake decorating section of Michael's. The best part about fondant is that you can make tons of it ahead of time and keep it for MONTHS! Fantastic! The kneading is the time consuming part, but it's a great upper arm workout :)

This cake was a definite winner in my book. I really don't think you can go wrong with any of the recipes I used. I will continue to use these as my go-to cake recipes until I come across something better. 

What are your go-to staple cake recipes? And what about working with fondant - good or bad experiences? Please share your stories!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Joel's Baby Shower - The Results!

Oh my, have I been busy these past few weeks! What with planning Joel's shower, designing, printing, and addressing Zett's wedding invitations, turning 30 (!), Easter weekend, and full work weeks in between - it's been a lot to take in. The shower was a huge success and I would like to thank all of the lovely ladies who attended and made such a special day for my girl. She looked so adorable with her baby belly and we all had a wonderful time.

My intention is to supplement this post with some additional posts about some of the individual elements that went into the planning and execution of the party. So this will be a fun one with lots of photos! (I must admit, that I am not the best photographer, and I am terrible about remembering to take photos - so most of these photos are courtesy of my friend - the lovely and talented Danielle).

Also created by the lovely and talented Danielle were the invitations and thank-you cards. She used the crib quilt design that Jo registered for at Land of Nod as inspiration. 

Aren't they fantastic??!!

The shower was at lunchtime, and we had just enough people that I could make a large table in the kitchen to seat 12, and have the food served buffet style on the kitchen countertops. The dining room table was set with the desserts and the elements for a game, and then in the corner of the kitchen I set up a small table with the self-serve candy "bar" - as part of the favors. Gifts and appetizers were in the living room.

The menu:

Soups from Panera Bread: Cheese and Broccoli, Low Fat Chicken Noodle, French Onion, and Vegetarian Creamy Tomato.
Breads also from Panera Bread: French, Wheat, and Sourdough
Homemade sandwiches: Egg salad on whole grain white, smoked turkey and cheddar on wheat, and imported ham and swiss on rye.
Egyptian Bread Salad (recipe coming soon)
Field greens mix with balsamic vinaigrette


Two-tiered chocolate cake with fondant icing
Buttermilk vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing

I had such fun decorating the cupcakes and making the cake. Both were delicious. I'd never worked with fondant on a large scale before, so was thrilled with the end result. It also tasted great as I made the fondant from scratch - so much better than anything store bought. 

The chrysanthemum cupcakes were from Martha Stewart's Cupcake book - page 267 - yum! A bit tedious, but once I got in the groove with the piping they were done in no time.

The favors were lovely narcissus in pots, wrapped in tissue paper and tied with a ribbon. 

The other part of the favor was this candy bar, where guests were invited to take a selection of candies home with them.

Jelly beans, rock candy, jelly apple slices, candied grapefruit slices, meringues, gumdrops, chocolates and more - all in the same color palette as the shower. 

The table was decorated with a lovely paisley blue and green tablecloth. I had various white jugs, urns, and vases with gorgeous assortments of white, green, and yellow flowers. The giant pompoms hanging above were handmade by me - some also adorned the front porch to greet guests (forgot to get a photo).

I really loved the way the decor turned out - everything looked so crisp and elegant. The sunshine outside certainly helped also - a gorgeous day despite the chill in the air. (The yellow kitchen and newly painted white cabinets helped also!) :)

Flowers everywhere! Just some potted tulips - 3 pots per metal container - covered in some spanish moss to make them look like they are actually planted in the containers.

We decorated the four windows in the living room with clothes line and baby clothes in the same color palette as the shower decor. So cute!

Danielle made this lovely diaper cake - so easy and so adorable!

A success! We all had a great time, and can't wait for the arrival of Baby S in May!

Check back soon for updates to this post on the cake and cupcakes, recipes, decorations, and more!

Posting to these fabulous blogs: