Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Put Some Sparkle in Your Easter

I'm like a magpie: I love things that sparkle. And I really love things that are just a bit girly. Naturally, I had a lot of fun making these glittered eggs. I used Martha Stewart brand glitter and glittering glue, which worked pretty well. The yolks of the eggs were blown out well in advance with plenty of time for the insides to dry. The glue comes with an applicator brush built in. Next time I might try some washable foam brushes instead, as the brush tends to pick up glitter and deposit it back in the glue bottle. I recommend using a fine grain of glitter—one of my attempts was with a chunky fools gold-like glitter and the result was a clumpy mess. The rest went from a twinkle in my eye to twinkling on my table in no time at all.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Now You've Blown It: Make Mini-Quiche

I've been blowing the yolk out of a lot of eggs this month (for projects like this one), but I'm not one to waste a good thing. That's why I decided to try my hand at making mini quiche. Using mini tart tins plus a size larger I was able to bake up some bite- and palm-sized egg pies.

I'm a huge quiche fan, mainly because as long as you have eggs it's a great way to use up leftover veggies. It's also incredibly difficult to mess up. Normally I'm a strict recipe follower, but I've found with quiche a little (or a lot) more of one ingredient rarely creates a problem.

Below is my recipe for quiche, as told to me one day over the phone by my mother. I'm pretty sure she made up the amounts at the time, as she was nowhere near a cookbook, but this basic recipe hasn't failed me yet.

Basic Quiche:

4 eggs
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup minced onion
Pinches of salt and garlic powder
8-ounce shredded cheese package
1 package frozen chopped spinach

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Thaw the spinach, squeeze the water out of it, then fluff it up with a fork. Whip the first four ingredients together, then mix in the rest. Pour the mixture into a frozen pre-made pie crust. Cover the crust with a rim of aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or more if the quiche is still looking quite runny.

Use this as a launching pad to mix up the ingredients and have fun. I often use minced fresh garlic rather than garlic powder. For mini- and palm-sized quiche in tart tins you'll want to make your own crust rather than using a full-size pre-made pie shell. I use the classic Better Homes and Gardens recipe here. Or you can purchase a refrigerated pie crust that you can unroll, cut, and press into the tins. If you aren't a spinach fan I recommend bacon and tomato, broccoli and cheese, or mushroom and sausage quiche. Be sure to cook and squeeze the moisture out of your more watery ingredients. Quiche is my perennial favorite for Easter brunch—I hope it will become one of your traditions too!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Bright Bunny Bunting

Take a look at this amazing craft tutorial by a woman who is far more talented than I! Dana Willard of Dana Made It gets crafty for Easter with felt, making a rainbow assortment of Peeps-inspired bunny shapes strung up as bunting. I'm dying to learn how to sew, just to make something half as adorable as this!

Dana has posted detailed instructions plus a pattern in the tutorial section of her website. Click here to take a look and get started on your own beautiful bunnies.

(Found via Party Perfect. Photos via Made)


Sunday, March 28, 2010

DIY Centerpiece: Easter Kissing Ball

Remember my post on holiday kissing balls from Christmas? I did a special version of my own for Easter this year, to be used as a centerpiece or to hang in a doorway or above a buffet.

I took a grapevine ball, which can be easily found at a local craft store or florist, and fit a few blown-out eggs through one opening. If you've never blown out eggs it's pretty simple, just a bit tedious. Pierce opposite ends of an egg, making one hole larger than the other. Use something sharp (I use a metal cake tester) to break up the yolk, put your lips to the small hole, then blow the egg out. Wash with water and expel as much of the moisture as you can, then let the egg dry thoroughly.

I topped my Easter kissing ball with a loop of pretty green ribbon for hanging. The grapevine gives the feel of a large nest wrapping around the eggs. Couldn't be easier!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Needle Some Bunny To Love

Ever since discovering Jenny Hart's Sublime Stitching, I've been itching to get my hands on an embroidery hoop. Now thanks to an "Easter" search on Etsy I've spotted my next project—these sweet cross-stitch patterns by Kattuna. I'd love to hang this bunny in three different colors on the wall behind my Easter buffet. And wouldn't it be just as darling at a baby shower or on the wall of a nursery?

But the sweet stitchery doesn't stop there. They may not be Easter-themed, but I love the Spring-y feel of this deer...

...and the little bird!

Kattuna offers these as patterns via PDF so you can stitch your own, or email the shop via Etsy to discuss having one stitched for you!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Easter Goodies from William Sonoma

I always like to see what Williams-Sonoma has cooking for the holidays. For Easter this year, they have a few items that are definitely worth mentioning. Here's a little round up of the best—take a look!

Bunny S'mores ($24.95 for eight)

Fudge Brownie Farm Animals (currently on sale for $21.99 for four)

Italian Alabaster Eggs (currently on sale for $21.99 for six in blue and and green or pink and yellow)


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Puppy Cupcakes = Pupcakes?

Whenever I see a cute craft or baking project in a magazine or online, I always wonder if I can get the same results at home. For a real life success story, check out these fantastic cupcakes made by photographer and mom extraordinaire Jamie Escheman Shields for her nephew's first birthday.

Jamie found the recipe online at Family Circle—click here or search www.familycircle.com for "playful puppy cupcakes." The candy details on the cupcakes are what really take the cake: Jr. Mints for noses, caramel squares and Tootsie Rolls rolled out for ears, Starbursts flattened and shaped for tongues, and more.

It wasn't just Jamie who made these doggy desserts. Her kids (ages 8, 11 and 14) dove right into the project. Jamie showed them this video then let them create! Thanks, for sharing, Jamie. I won't hesitate to try this project for the next kids party I throw.

Got a real life party success of your own? Send pictures and details to hostess@host-itnotes.com. I'd love to hear about it!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Edible Easter!

My goodness, this is going to be the cutest Easter ever! The Cookie Shop took the ubiquitous chocolate Easter egg and dressed it up in fondant. They've got baby chicks, an Easter bunny with carrots, even a Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head!! The results are unbelievable, and the method looks simple enough for anyone to do.

Head over to The Cookie Shop for details and to get a glimpse of those terrific Potato Heads. Have a happy edible Easter! {Pictures via The Cookie Shop}


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Friday Giveaway Winners: Tote Bags

Hooray! We have two Friday Giveaway winners this week: Poppy and Intotheninth. Congrats to each of you on winning one of these Old Navy tote bags. Enjoy!


Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

I just popped over to Our Best Bites, where there's a fabulous demonstration of how to dye eggs using silk ties you can find at any thrift store—and the results are dazzling!

You won't need much more than a few strips cut from 100% silk ties and some white vinegar. Click here for printable instructions, plus find more pictures and tips here.

I just love this! Keep in mind how you wrap the eggs and place the majority of the folds where you can hide them when displaying in a nest or an egg cup. If you try this technique, please send me a picture! I'd love to see your results.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Warm Up to Easter with Felt

I've been thinking about Easter lately and have a few fun things in my Easter basket. To start you off I've found the perfect nest to display your Easter best. Remember those Irish Green Felted Stones from a recent Friday Giveaway? Donni Webber at Fairyfolk whipped up not just those pretties but also the charming felted nest and robin's eggs above. What I love about this felted nest is it is the perfect starting point for Easter fun. Perfectly cute as is year round, I've also swapped out the felted eggs for Chocolate Toffee Robin's Eggs from Fiona's Sweet Shoppe, a quirky candy store that brings classic U.K. treats to San Francisco.

Once I get my eggs dyed for the season this will be a snug little display for a single egg. Until then a plain old placeholder egg will have to do.

For a nest of your own, check out all that Fairyfolk has to offer, including these adorable felted bunny toys. Donni's on vacation but back this week and checking her Etsy conversations in the meantime. Shoot her a line to get the scoop on her availablility. More Easter fun to come!!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Giveaway: Your Hostess Gift is in the Bag

A gracious guest never arrives empty-handed. Before heading to your host's home, call ahead to see if you can bring anything edible to add to the party. A bottle of wine always helps, especially if you know what your host is already serving. Other standards include a crusty loaf of bread, some quality chocolate, or flowers. Edibles beat out flowers every time, though—a busy hostess would rather keep an eye on her kitchen than rush around looking for a vase.

To make your functional hostess gift fun, hand it over in a cute bag. These Old Navy totes carry your offerings in style and are a handy way to say thanks. Leave one with your hostess at the end of the night. She can always pay it forward.

To be eligible to win one of the bags above, become a Host-It Notes follower via Google Friend Connect (scroll down and look for the logo on the right of the screen), or email hostess@host-itnotes.com. Google Followers are automatically entered to win in each and every Friday Giveaway!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Freebie Fun: Old School Baby Shower

Are you throwing a baby shower soon? Check out these fabulous freebie downloads from One Charming Party. Turn them into gift tags, favor stickers, or attach them to sucker sticks to make cake toppers (see One Charming Party's cupcake topper tutorial here). Positively charming!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

When it comes to making green food for St. Patrick's Day, it's easy for things to go wrong. Sometimes emerald eats turn out looking unappetizing, or you use drops to add color without adding anything really special to otherwise ordinary food. That's why I like something that combines a hint of green with a bit of flavor, like the mint chips in these just-green-enough brownies by dessert genius Bakerella.

These Dark Chocolate Mint Chip Brownies remind me of when I used to wear a hint of green to grade school in order to avoid being pinched on St. Patty's Day. Sometimes a little is just the right amount.

Are you feeling even more ambitious? Want to go beyond the brownie? Bake up Bakerella's Chocolate Matcha Bundt Cake.

For brownie recipes and more pictures, click here. To get your Bundt baking started, head here.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Party Inspiration: Milk and Cookies

Oh my goodness. It doesn't get any cuter than this. I just stumbled onto pictures from an amazing 1st birthday party created by A. Party Style. Anne Powers threw her daughter Aubrey an outstanding "Milk and Cookies" themed party. The cake is amazing, and the paper details are handmade. It's truly inspiring.

Click here for more pictures and to find out more on how Anne made it all happen. Just look at that amazing cake!! This party is definitely worth the milk mustache you'll be sporting. {Found via Party Perfect}


Monday, March 15, 2010

Sleek Sipping

Ooh, I love this: Polished stainless steel straws ($18 for six) from Brook Farm General Store, a cool Brooklyn-based store with great stuff for sale online {found via Oh Joy! Eats}. These straws would fit right in at any funky or retro party, look sleek and classy at a chic cocktail soirée, and bring just the right amount of edge to a soft, flowery fête. I want to serve mine up with some creatively mixed cocktails poured into science beakers. Sip on that!


Friday Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Host-It Notes follower April—winner of this week's Friday Giveaway of St. Patty's Day-licious green felted stones. I hope they bring a little whimsy to your table!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Giveaway: Falling for Felt

This week's Friday Giveaway aims to put a little green in your life just in time for St. Patrick's Day. I'm giving away a set of 6 Irish Green Felted Stones by Fairyfolk. They're handmade by wet felting 100% wool around real river pebbles. Incorporate them in a centerpiece for your table, use them as cheery paperweights or (what I would do) place one on the dinner plate of a guest to anchor a namecard or printed menu. For dinner serve the traditional corned beef and cabbage, with Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes for dessert.

To enter the giveaway, become a Host-It Notes follower via Google Friend Connect (check the lower right of the homepage), or email me at hostess@host-itnotes.com. Followers are automatically entered to win in each and every Friday Giveaway. Let's close this contest Sunday at midnight so I can get these pretties out in the mail to the winner on Monday morning.

Hope you have the luck of the Irish! (Wow. Terrible pun.)


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Floral Arrangements That Keep Going...and Going

I've been meaning to do a post on Urban FarmGirls for a while now. Founder Tina Vietmeier is immensely talented and churning out some of the most creative floral arrangements I've seen in ages.

Tina creates custom container gardens set in amazing handmade pots, but where she really shines is in her sustainable, succulent wreaths. I'm a big fan of succulents. With some infrequent watering and the right combination of partly-shady, partly-sunny placement, you have an affordable, low-maintenance arrangement that offers big-budget beauty.

Urban Farmgirls works with a variety of succulents, air-plants and other companion plants to create water-wise and drought-tolerant living arrangements. No more wilted flowers or dry and dull decor for you! Her living wreaths boast of a breadth of color you'd never expect from the muted color palette of succulents. They are beautiful hanging on your door or wall, or place one on your table with pillar candles in the center for a unique centerpiece.

Prices start at $45 for 8" hearts and $75 for 8" rounds, then go up from there. They're worth every penny when you remember that these living plant creations will continue to look fabulous long past the expiration date of even the fanciest cut flower arrangement. Tina also does custom orders (I'm dying for a living arrangement that runs the length of a dinner table). For contact information head to UrbanFarmGirls.com.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ceramics to Give a Ship About

Lots of dot pitcher (above, front center $35)

I'm always tormented when I find something I love online from a company based in another country. The shipping adds such a huge cost on top of the product itself. For me it all comes down to the economic value of the item's attractiveness. (I subject my long-suffering friends to this whenever we go clothes shopping. It's not "How does this look?" it's "What's the monetary value of its cuteness?")

Birds and Bunting Cream and Sugar Set (above, $75)

One artist who has me convinced that no price is too much to pay for shipping on wonderful ceramics is Ninainvorm. I found Nina van de Goor, who works out of The Netherlands, and her amazing pieces on Esty. The bright colors, whimsical designs, and the mix of new and old are so fresh and fun I can't resist! Nina works with both new ceramics and old pieces she up-cycles into new and inventive pieces. Check out her banners, her dots, and her bold colors. They're good enough to eat! Or at least eat off of....

The Spirograph Turns Mandala Bowl (below, $65)


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