Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Giveaway: Feeling Punchy

I know summer doesn't officially kick off until June, but the weather is warming, spring has sprung, and that means it's time for one thing—punch! Cool, fruity beverages are tasty in any sunny season. For this week's Friday Giveaway, Host-It Notes is offering up a copy of PUNCH, by Colleen Mullaney. To win these fresh, fruity recipes become a Host-It Notes follower via Google Friend Connect (scroll down on the homepage and look to the right). Or, send an email to hostess@host-itnotes.com, subject line "Punch Giveaway." Contest ends at midnight on Monday (PST).


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mini Cupcake Magic

Check this out: It's like a waffle iron that makes miniature cupcakes! Perpetual Kid is selling this Mini Cupcake Maker for $29.95. I think I must get one...if only for the fact I've never made a mini cupcake before, and now I can make 7 at once. According to Perpetual Kid, it takes just 5 minutes to cook up a single batch. I'm already dreaming about mini carrot cakes, brownie bites, teensy muffins for brunch, and, of course, chocolate frosted mini cupcakes. Tiny and tasty!!

*** What's this? Mini Cupcake Maker, you're out of stock?! My cupcake need has been denied. Perhaps I'll take your arch rival, Mini Donut Maker home instead!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Más Cinco de Mayo, Por Favor!

More Cinco de Mayo, please! Remember yesterday's Martha Stewart-created Cinco de May decor? The TomKat Studio has made things even more fiesta-licious with free printable circles inspired by Martha's creations. Use them as tags, cupcake toppers, or affix them to your Cinco de Mayo invites for a splash of color. Download them at The TomKat Studio. Olé!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cinco de Martha

Martha Stewart and her amigos plan a mean party—and Cinco de Mayo is no exception. Here's a look at a fancy fiesta in the making over at MarthaStewart.com and the links to take you there. Mix up a margarita and start planning!

Up top: Cinco de Mayo Tissue-Paper Decorations; Down below: Party Place Mats.

Fiesta Invitations

Serve up tacos, tamales, homemade guacamole, and top the meal off with fruit cups—squeeze lime juice over melon, papaya, and pineapple then sprinkle with a light dusting of chili powder. Happy Martha de Mayo!

{Photos via MarthaStewart.com}

Monday, April 26, 2010

Paper Source Round-Up

The Paper Source is such a fun store, full of pretty paper, stamps and gifts. I've been loving their latest catalog, so here's a quick round-up of some of my favorite Paper Source Goodies. Above: Place Setting Placemats—a hand-drawn, disposable take on a fancy china setting (50 paper place mats for $21.95). Below: Chalkboard Placemats ($15.95 each, includes chalk and eraser).

Royal Crowns Kit—super cute pre-cut crowns for kids parties ($14.95 for 12 crowns).

Desk Embosser—I think embossed monograms are very elegant, but I never really thought that look was something I could achieve...until now. For $28.50 you can have a little embosser at your fingertips, and custom plates can be ordered separately that let you show off your initials, motto, return address and more.

PS also offers up this tasty-looking book on whoopie pies ($16.95).

Other favorites include their Cupcake Hole Punch, their Cake Hole Punch (both would make great birthday confetti!). It's all deliciously fun. Head to www.paper-source.com for more ideas.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rack 'Em Up

Whether you're looking for a great gift for a guy, or just want to keep your wine corked in style, check out these pool ball wine stoppers from Knobstoppers. They're made from real billiard balls and look fantastic. Very cool for a bar area near a pool table or at your next billiards party.

Pool Table Billiard Cupcakes ChalkNot a wine drinker? Cupcakes might be more your taste, like this terrific batch from Pink Cake Box.

Close up of Pool Ball YellowIf your local bakery can't rack these up for you, here are some instructions for making your own.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Berry Good Things

Here's some delicious decor for your table. Fill these farmers market baskets with berries, flowers and other goodies, and show them off all summer long. Rather than cardboard or plastic, these pretties are made of bone china with a glossy finish. You'll find them online at Jayson Home and Garden ($20-$38). Berry nice! {Found via Creature Comforts}


Friday, April 23, 2010

Recycle Style

Here's a great find over at Poppytalk: free, downloadable recycling bin labels. I love the color palette! Whether for use on your everyday rubbish bins or for labeling multiple containers at your next party, these little labels are both stylish and helpful. Head to Poppytalk to download these for yourself!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Real Party Inspiration: Star Wars

Real party awesomeness! Sarah and Thom DeGriselles threw a special Star Wars-themed birthday party for their kids, 4-year-old Luke and two-year old-Leona (Luke "Skywalker" pictured above). Sarah made all the kids Jedi cloaks out of brown felt. They served up Jabba Jello Jigglers, Wookie Cookies (chocolate chocolate-chip—add coconut to make them furry!), Han-burgers, Obi-Wan Kebabs, and Yoda Soda (green punch with Sprite). They even dipped pretzel sticks in colored melted chocolate to make "light sabers." But the best were these R2D2 cupcakes. All you need is a little food coloring, blue gel frosting, and an R2D2 for inspiration. Thom and Sarah even drew R2's signature pattern on each cupcake wrapper with a blue marker. Throw in a few inflatable light sabers and the kids and parents both had a blast!

Have you thrown a great party of your own? Have the pictures to prove it? Send your party pics and details to hostess@host-itnotes.com and show it off!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cake Stand Love: Strawberry Short Cake (Stand)

I was a big fan of the Strawberry Shortcake characters as a kid. I've grown up a bit since, but this cute cake stand captures some of my Strawberry nostalgia. It's a Pottery Barn piece that clocks in at only $19.95, making it a little too hard for me to resist. I think I may have to get one, then top it with some mini strawberry shortcakes of my own.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Friday Giveaway Winner: A Little Wish Fulfillment

Congrats to Host-It Notes follower, Jessica! She's won a copy of What's New, Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Happy baking, Jessica!

Needin' Some Eden

Oh my gorgeous. Have you ever popped over to Eden & Eden? Click on their Home Time tab and you'll find some amazing serveware and decor (up top: Turquoise Wine Goblets).

(Clockwise from left: Button Coasters, Vintage Lace IV, Gold Wine Goblets, Architectural Plate, Grey Ornate Mirror, Silver Goblets)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Real Party Inspiration: Alice in Wonderland

I missed the boat on getting this party up in time for the premiere of Alice in Wonderland in 3D, but with a few tweaks this garden party could work for any sweet summer celebration. Cups, saucers, lace, and flowers dress up an extra long table with style.

Card-topped cupcakes fit the Alice in Wonderland theme. But the pièce de résistance is this honeycomb chiffon pie.

The pie is made from a recipe found in Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Pie and Pastry Bible. After seeing this masterpiece (I'm told the secret here is using bubble wrap to get the honeycomb design!), I'm determined to add Berenbaum's Bible to my baking library.

Here's Mike, creator of this bee-utiful pie, serving up a slice (what a corny bee pun!). It's a darling tea party spread—I love the added touch of a toadstool on the table. If this is what Wonderland looks like, I'll fall down the rabbit hole any day.

{Photos courtesy of Mike Willen}

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Giveaway: A Little Wish Fulfillment

These adorable rubber ducky cupcakes have been calling to me for weeks and weeks. Every bookstore, every home goods store, even clothing stores (Urban Outfitters, I'm talkin' to you), they're all taunting me, saying "Don't you want to make sweet cupcakes like these?" Frankly, I do. And so do you...I'm guessing...you read this blog, after all.

So I decided to cheat on my self-imposed book hiatus (you should see all the books I have stacked up to read and review for Host-It Notes!). I got myself a copy of What's New, Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, and I picked up one for a friend. That friend could be you! Become a follower on Google Friend Connect (look to the right on the homepage and scroll down) or email me at hostess@host-itnotes.com. The winner will be chosen randomly on Monday night and announced on Tuesday.

Amazon has some great excerpts up from the book. Click on the link for the recipe and instructions for making An Apple for Teacher Cupcakes.

Click on the link for the recipe and instructions for making Playing Koi Cupcakes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Don't Call It a Comeback: Bar Carts

(Duncan Bar Cart, Restoration Hardware, $549)

Bar carts are back, baby! Or maybe they never left? I adore a good bar cart or beautiful butler tray. Not only are the handy for organizing and saving space (more on that later) but they're indispensable for a hostess who is serious about her drinks. Channel your inner Emily Gilmore (people, if you aren't Gilmore Girls fans, you should be), and serve it up right.

(Sasha Waddell Furniture, £645.00)

For those who choose to booze, a permanent bar cart is a great idea. Wheeled versions and butler trays are perfect because they can remain in situ months but are easily moved should you need to rearrange furniture for a party.

(Butler Tray + Stand, West Elm, $59 + $179)

If you're just a temporary tippler, a long-term dedicated bar might not be a practical use of your space. My favorite use for an off-duty bar cart is as extra storage for all of my entertaining serveware. Get a rolling cart with shelves that you can wheel out and stock with drinks and glasses for parties. The rest of the year use the cart to store dishes, pitchers, cake stands, cloth napkins, serving utensils, and specialty glasses that you don't use frequently. This keeps your kitchen cupboards free to hold your items you use daily. Or buy a butler tray that can be easily folded up and stored when not in use.

(Luxembourg Bar Cart, The Conran Shop, $650)

And bar carts aren't just for drinks or storage. Bar carts a great for displaying art, books, serving up a light brunch, or just creating some extra counter-space in your life. Do you have another great use for a bar cart? Leave a comment below with your ideas!

(Roberta Serving Cart, Target $169.99)

Finally, check out this amazing bar cart project I saw over at BHG.com. A couple turned an old baby changing table into a crazy-cool bar cart!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Put Your Stamp On It

(Wooden Alphabet Stamp Set, Kikki.K, AUD $24.95)

I found a pile of adorable items over at Kikki.K, an online store for Australia-based designer Kristina “Kikki” Karlsson. She has stamp sets, stationery and lots of other goodies.

You snooze you lose, though—I didn't jump on these adorable stamps sooner, and now they are no longer available online. Alas, alack! (Wooden Stamp Set: Love Mail, AUD $24.95).


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Friday Giveaway Winner: Happy Animal Time

Congratulations to my reader, Laura, who is the winner of this week's Host-It Notes Friday Giveaway! You'll be receiving Junzo Terada's collection of postcards called "Happy Animal Time" (curious cats not included). My condolences to those who played and lost. Check back this Friday for an all new Friday Giveaway.


Pretty Patterns

Maybe it's because the weather is starting to turn gorgeous here in San Francisco, but I've really had an eye for bright colors lately. Enter Brainstorm Studio's vibrant mandala prints, which are giving me my color fix for the day. Up top is the Brain Star Mandala Table Runner and Napkin set ($72). Below are Pretty Primrose Mandala Napkins ($32 for four).

Right now Brainstorm Studio has a sale going on in honor of Mother's Day: buy two items get 20 percent off any third item. Don't mind if I do!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Decor By The Numbers

Savvy City Farmer has a brief tutorial on how to make great stenciled bottles out of vintage containers. City Farmer used vintage bottles, number stencils, black craft paint, a stencil brush and spray satin poly to create the look. Stencil, let it dry, spray with poly then you're done!

I say, why stop with black? I want to try this with some bright primary colors for summer, or paint letters to form words and names with them. And who says the bottles have to be vintage? I think I'll try them with some new bottles in quirky sizes and shapes and see how it looks. I'll be sure to report back when I do. Use them in a centerpiece, or just place them on a shelf or windowsill.

{Found via iDIY}


Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Giveaway: Happy Animal Time

Correspondence is the cornerstone of every good hostess. From invitations, to thank you cards, to notes that simply say "I'm thinking about you," keeping in touch is key. As much as I love email, putting the occasional card in the mail is an easy way to go the extra mile. (Host-It Notes Tip: buy a pack of postcard stamps and pre-stamp a batch of postcards for later use. This makes it easier to get a note out on the spot the next time someone's on your mind—no more searching for stamps).

That's why for this week's Friday Giveaway I've picked up a charming collection of postcards called "Happy Animal Time." This pack of 30 postcards by Osaka-based artist/illustrator Junzo Terada is full of cute little animals doing sweet and quirky things.

Here the postcards are enjoying a little "Happy Animal Time" of their own—that furry blur is my kitty Kimya trying to bite them.

To enter the giveaway and win this postcard pack, 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. The contest closes at midnight on Monday. Best of luck!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Slip Into Something Colorful

Just a little something I like for the day—Dimmalimm Home's slip-on felt coasters. I've never been a fan of wine charms, but these dainty and colorful coasters make it easy to identify your glass of wine while protecting your tabletops. At the end of the night you can soak them in cold water to remove any wine stains. The coasters come in two styles—Citrus and Hibiscus—and you can select the color combination you want (6 for $24 at Dimmalimm Home).

{Found via Twig and Thistle}


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