Valentine’s day usually slips by me unnoticed each year. My time is so valuableand with 8 children at home, I have to choose my party styling endeavours very carefully.Valentine’s Day comes hot on the heels of our wedding anniversary and just before our first birthday of the year, so I have conceded that I simply must let this love fest go. This year however, I was in for a pleasant surprise when some ladies in our church wanted to have a Valentine’s day party. I couldn’t possibly let an opportunity like this pass me by, so it was with reluctance and hesitation (not!) that I asked if they would like me to put together a small dessert table. I had less than a week to throw a few things together and bake like crazy for our sweet little vintage Valentine’s Day celebration. I enjoyed it so much that I think I might just have to squeeze it into my yearly party planning schedule.
Last week I was delighted to be a part of organising a romantic afternoon tea for a special young couple who were getting engaged. The groom- to- be enlisted my help in setting up a pretty tea table out in a wooded grove where he surprised his sweet girl and asked for her hand in marriage. As you may notice from the photos, the location was actually an old historical cemetery – not the first place you would imagine proposing to your girlfriend! But this grove was beautiful. It was a private, shady hideaway that oozed charm and character. The requested colour was yellow, with a distinctly vintage feel. The bride-to-be loves chocolate and peanut butter, and so the afternoon tea was a simple affair, with my own Chunky Monkey cupcakes, chips and dip (her favourite snack food), and peanut butter chocolate. Perhaps the most exciting element of the table was the placement of the engagement ring. I have an old silver dish with a lid that slides over the top. I tied the gorgeous ring with yellow string and laid it on a bed of crocheted doilies to be discovered by the lovely lady. It was all very romantic. For the props, I strung a few of my handmade doily hoops from the trees, along with some old timber frames and a yellow fabric garland. Other vintage props were scattered around the setting.
The stage is set. Stay tuned to see what happens next!!
Last year I had the honour of creating a high tea party for a group of sweet young ladies who wanted a fanciful afternoon tea together. A shabby theme was chosen, with soft pink and green being the main colour scheme, with an added hint of lilac.
The menu included Chicken and tarragon ribbon sandwiches, a summer fruit platter, and an array of homemade treats such as rose with french vanilla cupcakes, white chocolate covered Oreo cookies, lemon blossom sugar cookies and raspberry melting moments.
Each place setting was adorned with a pretty rose tea cup, linen napkin and surprise cookie for the guests. Personalised favour boxes contained a cupcake to take home and were topped with a handmade name tag. A little jar of mints was also given to each guest.
The table decorations were kept minimal, as I wanted the pretty tea cups and food to take centre stage. It doesn’t really take much to create a beautiful table setting that can delight your guests. These sweet young ladies certainly enjoyed their spiffy afternoon tea!
I am very excited about sharing my Woodland Christmas table with you. Our family celebrated together in late November before our oldest three left for missions. Months ago I decided on this whimsical theme and began searching for moss table runners, tree slices, berries and gold deer topped mason jars..(which I could NOT find anywhere on the web or in the shops until last week!!) Not to worry, I found some christmas decorations and spray painted them gold before gluing them onto mason jars.
I particularly love the personalised tiny tree slice name tags with moss I found on Etsy. My mother spent days boiling up an incredible christmas pudding, while I made a very rough and rustic spicy gingerbread cake with caramel peanut butter frosting and ganache. The guest favours were scrumptious nougat christmas puddings that my mother brought.
My son made all the dinner which was an orange glazed baked ham, honey maple roasted vegetables and greens. There happened to be a large hay stack near our table, (awaiting use as mulch in our garden), which served as the perfect prop for my timber pallet table.
We set up our long timber dining table outside under the tree to enjoy the summer sunshine with our family and hopefully create some special Christmas memories for our young children.
In September our precious little Mary turned five and I could not resist throwing her a vintage “Mary Had a Little Lamb” party. After extensive internet research, I discovered that there aren’t a whole lot of parties out there in blog and Pinterest land with this particular nursery rhyme theme (but oh what fun I had looking!!). Not to be discouraged at all, as I had spent a lot of time thinking about the look I wanted to create and many of the details I wanted to incorporate.
Starting from the table covering up, I wanted the overall design to be very textural and woolly. I used a large fluffy woollen blanket (thanks for the loan Mum!) and this super gorgeous ruffle throw from IKEA.
Pastel pink and blue gingham checks (my all time favourite fabric) were chosen as the main colour scheme, complemented by soft lilac and white. I used a few different types of white wool to wrap around the milk bottles and on the fabric bunting. I had a vision to use mini white picket fences around the grass topped wooden risers for the cupcakes and larger fencing to frame the feature cake. While they proved difficult to source, I eventually found them online and thought they added to the display considerably. My potted cottage garden flowers were perfect for supporting the flower cookie pops, adding delight to the little party guests as they discovered edible treats in unexpected places!
My talented daughter Alice made the birthday girl’s beautiful costume.
Hand made ‘Thank you’ bags were sewn in matching vintage fabric, with sherbet sweets inside. I also gave a vintage Little Golden Book to each guest.
A small lolly buffet was enjoyed by little guests who had personalised mini tin buckets to collect their treats in. Sweet mini baskets were also given to guests with a lamb cookie in each. Chocolate covered Oreo biscuits, marshmallow pops, mango and white chocolate cupcakes, number 5 sandwiches and sugar cookies were all on the menu.
One of my favourite elements of the party was the hanging door backdrop. I picked up this old wooden door from the garbage tip recycle centre for $30. I hand stitched Mary’s name onto pretty vintage fabric panels with “..had a Little Lamb” on the last panel, putting a lovely vintage wooden lamb underneath it. I made a paper bunting from an old ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’ picture book to hang under the door.
I was inspired by these gorgeous vintage printables from Kay and May‘s Etsy store, and will definitely use their designs for future projects. I used them to make cupcake toppers, cake topper, ‘Thank you’ tags and name tags for the party.
This party was not without it’s challenges as the hot spring winds gusted through the yard all afternoon, and the heat played havoc with my fondant and gumpaste! I take my hat off to the professional party people who make their outdoor events look flawless!! I nearly lost the cake more than once and those hay bales were anything but stable for my drink dispensers!
All in all, I was very happy with my Little Lamb party. I really wanted the whole display to be very textural and have a cottage garden appeal to it. I would love to do another nursery rhyme theme one day. I absolutely loved creating this sweet little event for my darling girl, and her delightful response to the whole afternoon was heart warming.
You may need a hot cup of tea as you look through these photos. I do apologise that it is a long post, but there are so many elements I want to share. I hope you like my “Mary Had a Little Lamb” party with a vintage twist.
As a full time mother of many, my days are so often filled with endless piles of laundry, mountains of dirty dishes and seemingly mundane jobs that keep going on and on and on….
Beauty, peace and order can seem so far away at times.
This week a local friend I haven’t seen for a long time called and wanted to come over for a visit. Immediately I was consumed by an overwhelming desire to set a simple tea table for just the two of us, out on the lawn, away from the disorder of my home. I wanted to create a little haven of beauty in the midst of my busy, messy (glorious!) life. It was a bit tricky and did involve some bribery on my part…. yes, I confess that there was an exchange of cash involved in ‘encouraging’ the older children to mind the younger ones for an hour or two!
We didn’t have a whole lot of time together, and it seemed as though the minute we sat down, our household took on an influx of more visitors….but amazingly, my friend and I were able to share our hearts, sip tea, eat cupcakes and refuel ourselves for the enormous task of living life.
” The day is always his who works in it with serenity and great aims.”
One of our daughter’s friends was turning 16 and wanted a 1940’s style tea party in a wooded grove on their family farm. It was so delightful planning this party as we are very close friends with the family and I was graciously given free reign over the styling and baking!
While a 1940’s theme was chosen, we also wanted the styling to have a vintage and slightly shabby feel to it. The birthday girl wanted some of her favourite old books on display and we brought some lovely vintage furniture and very old suitcases outside to set up under the trees. It was a real mish mash of pieces, but everything came together beautifully. Hand made doily buntings were strewn along the trees and a pretty lampshade hung over the tea table.
Two of our daughters (one from each family), who happen to be best friends, dressed as gorgeous bush maids to serve the party guests. They were wearing outfits designed and made by my incredibly talented oldest daughter (from Alice’s Place).
The table was set with fresh flowers, pretty china tea cups and decorated cupcake favour boxes served as name settings and a gift for each guest to take home. Vintage cake forks were also tied to each box.
The whole party was a huge success. The girls looked very authentic in their vintage get up and red lippy! They finished the afternoon with a game of croquet and badminton with the boys.
Without further ado, pin up your victory rolls, slip on your pantyhose and have a swingin’ good time as you wander through our lovely 1940’s garden tea party. xx
(I apologise for the length of the post, but there are so many details I want to share and the girls all looked so marvellous, it is more like a visual story)
A week before easter, I received a phone call from a lovely client who wanted a cake for her dear little grandson’s Christening which was to be celebrated on Easter Sunday. When she casually mentioned that his name was Noah, I knew right away that this would be an opportunity to create something very special. Our family has a Heavenly son called Noah and I felt such a heart connection to this display. I loved using his name and having a rare opportunity to do something for another Noah that I was never able to do for my own son. To be honest, yes, it was a bittersweet experience and a few little tears escaped while I was making the display, but I also found it incredibly therapeutic and meaningful. Every letter of his name was made with love and great care. As much as I wanted to do this for my client, I knew that more than a little part of me was also doing this in honour of my beautiful Heavenly son. x
I was given free reign with the styling of this table. (Yes, a christening cake turned into a cake, cupcakes, cookies and a simply styled dessert table!!)
My only instructions were to include elements of Easter in the cupcakes, and cross biscuits were requested. The client also wanted to use light blue and have Noah’s name featured on the cake. A vintage theme was decided upon, so with a tight budget and a truck load of enthusiasm I had five days to create a small masterpiece!!
It has been quite a year this year! Not only have we said farewell to our oldest son as he ventures out of the nest to embrace his future, but our darling youngest baby has just turned two! Not a big deal to a lot of people I guess, but when you have been pregnant and birthing babies for almost twenty years, this is a milestone indeed! Not so much having a two year old, but having a two year old and not being pregnant with the next one!!!! This is a first for Mama Bear.
A lot to process.
I am continually reminded that life is fluid, and things don’t stay the same for long. Children grow, family dynamics change, relationships change. Nothing seems to stay the same for long. Just when you think you have figured out how to deal with toddlers or teenagers, they grow and change a little bit more and throw new things at you that you don’t quite know how to deal with.
Our baby has turned two.
A lot of my friends are on the cusp of empty nests. They are experiencing new found freedom and talk about foreign concepts like overseas travel, climbing mountains, scuba diving, eating out….sleeping!!! While a part of me takes a deep breath and makes a long, silent sigh at the mere thought of more than ten minutes alone to think, I am so incredibly grateful to still have a home full of youngsters. I am still breastfeeding my baby. I am potty training her. I am teaching my 6 year old to read. I am talking to my 14 year old son about his next Lego creation, I am sitting next to my 17 year old daughter as she learns how to drive. I am listening to my 8 and 10 year old daughters share their excitement about life. I am disciplining my 4 year old who still thinks it is okay to say ‘NO’ to her Mama!
I guess you could say I have my hands full.
And somehow I think that is way better than having them empty.