Well hello lovely friends, it’s so wonderful to be back. I needed to take a few weeks off blogging to give myself a little creative breathing space. I enjoyed slowing down and even managed to do a few recipe shoots, so keep an eye out in the New Year for some delicious Summery baked treats.
Good morning dear ones. I have been looking forward to sharing this photo shoot with you for a very long time. It literally grew out of the ashes of a dangerous bush fire near our local beach village in the peak of a stifling Summer last January. The flames came perilously close to homes, although thankfully all were spared.
Each time I drove past this particular section of bushland all I could see was beauty. The traumatised trees stood defiantly in the bare earth, looking naked without bushy scrub at their heels. At first the scorched land seemed too damaged to recover, but eventually green shoots began to emerge. New life. It was truly breathtaking.
In my obsessively creative mind, a picture began to form of a vintage dessert table nestled amongst the charcoaled aftermath. I wanted to set a scene of contradiction with a table of delicate desserts in striking contrast to the harsh forest. Everything needed to be out of context. An old dressing table laden with vintage cakes and cupcakes and pretty buntings hanging from trees. Elements more suited to a bridal shower than a camp ground.
Of course dreams in my head usually take a while (often years) to become reality, so by the time I was able to execute this one, fresh new buds of life had turned into spindly clumps of grass dotted over the landscape. Not to be deterred! It was still beautiful. The day I scheduled the shoot it was raining, so we stood huddled under the shelter of our van boot waiting for a break in the weather. Eventually we had a window straight from Heaven. The sun came out so we quickly moved furniture, hung up buntings, trudged desserts over fallen twigs and hustled into position. We ended up with one hour of glorious afternoon twilight.
Oh my heart. Perfection.
Dear Miss Mary was my model, with a guest appearance from Bertie the bunny. Both were incredibly photogenic, but I may be a bit biased there.
Keeping the colour palette soft and muted with a feminine touch, I created desserts to match the pastel peach of Mary’s dress and headband.
I wanted to create an oasis. A tea party in the bush. An atmosphere of discovery and delight in the midst of adversity. One thing I have learnt is that the sweetest moments in life often arise out of the greatest trial. Beauty can indeed emerge from the ashes.
So often as a mother I wrestle with my own failures. Sometimes on a daily basis. No matter how hard I try I will never get it all right all the time. It’s just not possible, and yet I know I am not alone in being swallowed up by perceived or real mistakes made and opportunities lost. I imagine most mothers feel this way sooner or later.
Harsh words are spoken that cannot be taken back, frustrations spilling over into anger, the wrestle within to keep from putting self first, feeling like we aren’t good enough and our kids are going to be all messed up. We can get caught up in thinking that if only I were this or that, or could do this better, or was more like that mother…if only I were different, if only I wasn’t the way I am…then I would be a better mother. We let the fire of lies blast us bare.
My youngest daughter Kitty is quite affectionate, like most six year olds, and lavishes me with hugs, kisses and affirmation of her undying love for me. A few weeks ago she was saying grace before a meal and started thanking God for her mummy, saying that I had a pretty face and was “everything I ever wanted my mummy to be when I was in Heaven before I was born”. I was so touched by her genuine appreciation for who I am simply because I am her mother. She was satisfied that I was good enough, confident that I was capable to be her mother just because I am me. How hard it is to rest in that knowledge and let the wisdom of babes speak truth over us.
So, the next time self doubt creeps into my mother heart, I will trust that the Lord actually knew what He was doing when in His wisdom He made me the mother of my children. He alone will bring forth beauty from the ashes of my failings, mistakes and weakness. All I need to do is stop where I am and take a good look around me. I might just see that the view from here, although bearing the scars from trial, is still pretty special.
Well a big hello my Lovelies! How’s things?
I know it was a couple of months ago now, but who watched the Royal Wedding? Sigh. Wasn’t it just gorgeous!?
Ok, now keep your hands up if you loooved Megan Markle’s wedding dress. Sorry folks, but my hand goes down right there. I know I know…simple elegance, but nah, I tried, but I just could not see past an ill fitting, dare I say it, plain gown that did nothing for my expectations of royal nuptials. ( Please don’t throw anything at me! ) Thankfully her stunning veil saved the day and of course the sweet Duchess of Sussex is just so darn attractive she looks fabulous in anything.
The cake however, now there is a trend setting piece of sugar work that I am hoping will take the world by storm. Although, yes, admittedly, it too was rather plain for the palace, I was impressed by it’s daring simplicity. Sitting there on possibly priceless gold cake stands, were these very basic (dare I say rustic) cakes that gosh, even home baking amateurs like me could have a crack at.
What excites me most about this rustic marvel is the rough edges. That brilliantly buttercreamed border has announced to the home baking world that it is finally ok not to have that all elusive perfect razor sharp edge on your cakes. (Although I still love that look and hope one day to achieve it) But oh my, this is something to celebrate my friends. What a revolution! And honestly, isn’t it just so pretty?
So, it is with the greatest respect to Claire Ptak from Violet Cakes I offer you my nod to Violet. A celebration of the imperfect cake. To keep some vintage originality, I chose to give my cake more of a shabby chic look, using the prettiest pale pink roses and gorgeous ‘Wedgewood’ food colour. I hope we see a lot more of this cake decorating style in the future.
The Royal wedding cake was elderflower and lemon. For my cake I made a lemon and coconut cake with layers of raspberry swiss meringue buttercream and homemade lemon curd. Store bought curd will do, but let me encourage you to make your own as it really does taste so much better. I use this super simple recipe from Donna Hay.
Lemon coconut cake with raspberry swiss meringue buttercream
A subtle lemon cake filled with layers of fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream and homemade lemon curd.
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp each baking powder & Bicarb soda
- 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
- 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
- zest of two lemons
Raspberry swiss meringue buttercream
- 12 egg whites
- 2 1/2 cups castor sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 625 grams unsalted butter, chopped and at room temp (2 1/2 blocks) It needs to be quite soft
- 1 punnet fresh (or frozen) raspberries
- 2 - 3 drops pink gel paste I used Wilton Rose colour
- 1 cup lemon curd to put between cake layers I used Wilton Rose colour
- 4 -5 drops Americolor "Wedgewood" food gel paste For final coat of frosting
Preheat oven to 180C
Grease and line three 20cm (8 inch) round cake pans
In a medium bowl, using a hand whisk, beat eggs until well combined.
Add vanilla and oil. Whisk well
Add sour cream. Whisk until well combined. Add coconut and water, whisk well.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, bicarb soda
In another separate bowl, measure sugar. Add zest of two lemons and using your fingers rub the zest into sugar until well combined and fragrant.
Add sugar to dry mix and whisk together until well combined
Carefully pour wet mixture into dry mix. Whisk well.
Divide cake mixture into three prepared cake tins.
Bake in moderate oven for 25 minutes. Check and continue to bake for another 5 minutes if needed.
Place tins on a wire rack to cool. Leave cakes in tins for 10 minutes before turning onto rack. When completely cool, wrap each cake in plastic food wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (I leave mine overnight)
Swiss meringue buttercream
Carefully separate egg whites, ensuring no yolk gets in. I find it best to separate each egg in a small bowl before adding it to the mixing bowl, so you don't contaminate all of the other whites if some yolk gets in..make sense?
Keep two egg yolks to make your lemon curd
Place egg whites in your electric mixing bowl.
Add sugar and hand whisk until well combined
Put the bowl carefully over a medium saucepan on a stove, with 1 inch of simmering water in it. Whisk to ensure sugar and eggs are combined
Wait and watch for about ten minutes until you feel no sugar granules as you rub mixture between your fingers. NOTE: mixture will be hot but shouldn't be too hot to touch. Never do this if you are making caramel!!
When you are sure the sugar is dissolved, remove from stove top. Put bowl into electric mixer and using the whisk attachment whisk on high until meringue forms with stiff peaks. About 5 - 8 minutes
Stop mixer and change over to paddle attachment. (Give the whisk to the nearest child who walks past and s/he will love you forever)
Turn mixer onto the LOWEST speed and gradually add pieces of soft butter, one at a time. This will take some time.
Wait and watch. This is where SMBC can get tricky. When all of the butter is in, the mixture will change consistency and flop slightly. It will then change to look soupy, then curdled like scrambled eggs. Don't panic, YOU WANT THIS TO HAPPEN. Don't give up when it looks weird. It will take about 15 minutes to turn into silky smooth buttercream and you will be beside yourself with how fabulous it looks.
TROUBLESHOOTING: SMBC can be temperamental. If it still isn't coming together after say 25 minutes, then it probably won't. The experts say to refrigerate for 15 minutes then mix again, but this has never worked for me and I find it easier to admit defeat and start all over again. Yep, that means another dozen eggs, so be prepared.
If all is going well, rejoice!
Add vanilla bean paste and mix for another minute or so.
Separate icing into two bowls. Reserve half for final coat of frosting. Colour with "wedgewood" Gel paste.
Add raspberries to the second half of frosting. Add food gel paste to make it pink if that hasn't happened naturally. (frozen berries may give more colour than fresh)
Assembling the cake
Take your cold cakes out of the fridge. Using a serrated bread knife, carefully level cakes until flat on the top. They should be pretty flat already.
Put one layer of cake onto a cake board and onto a turntable if you have one.
Spread a spoonful of lemon curd onto the cake, then some of the raspberry meringue buttercream.
Repeat with second layer.
Turn third layer upside down and place on top. Eyeball the cake to check it is level.
NOTE: The cake I made in the photo has 4 layers. If you want the cake this tall you will need to make two batches, putting a third of the mixture into one 20cm (8 inch) round tin. I used the rest of the second batch to make cupcakes.
Using a cake spatula, smooth the sides of the cake and put more icing on top. Smooth as best as you can, adding more icing to cover the entire cake with a thin coat. This is called a 'crumb coat' and stops crumbs getting into your final coat of icing.
Refrigerate cake until crumb coat has crusted.
Use the remaining blue coloured buttercream to frost the cake. (Keep frosting at room temperature and beat on low to get back to desired consistency if necessary)
Just a few things to note. This recipe makes a three layered cake, not four like the photos. One batch will split evenly into three 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins. For my cake I made two batches and put a third of the extra batch into one cake tin. I baked the rest as cupcakes, which reminds me, all of my cake mixtures are interchangeable with cupcakes, so you can make either. Bonus.
You know my favourite outfit at the Royal wedding? Although Oprah came a close second in my eyes, I thought her Majesty the Queen rocked it with royal splendour. Did you notice how fabulous she looked? Wearing the brightest, almost neon lime green accented with deep purple feathers. Seriously, the woman is a legend. Who else could wear those colours? All I could think about was how gorgeous those colours would look in a cake, so watch this space.
God save the Queen. xx
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Good morning Lovelies. Isn’t it wonderful that Autumn has finally poked his chilly head up after a long and tiresome Summer (sorry, I know most of you love hot weather, but not me!) He has taken his time this year and most days are still quite warm, but I am relishing the fact that my flannie jammies and slippers are finally out of the cupboard at last.
Last Spring we welcomed a precious family into our home for afternoon tea. They live in Singapore, although they are an Australian family who are blessed with 13 children. I wanted to spoil them so I set up a really simple tea party using some colourful flowers as my inspiration. Never overlook cheap supermarket flowers. While some of them are quite ordinary, you will often find enough pretty ones to mix and match with greenery from your own garden to make a lovely table centrepiece. The key is to get creative with your presentation and put flowers in something unique, like these gorgeous vintage thermoses or painted mason jars.
With these sunshiney flowers as my inspiration, I built the entire theme around their bright colours. Sunset orange, fresh yellow, watermelon red with a splash of green became my colour palette.
Looking through my collection of vintage aprons I selected those which matched the theme, instantly adding a retro feel to the set up.
Another easy way to add a bit of fun to your tea party is to dress up some glass bottles. I raided my scrapbooking supplies to see if I had anything that would suit the colour scheme and found bright washi tape and cute wooden flower pegs. By adding string, paper flowers and matching straws to each bottle, I brought cohesion to the theme and delight to my guests. By adding white tags to each bottle, guests wrote their name, keeping their own bottle throughout the party. A win if there are a lot of children buzzing around.
What could be easier than giving guests soda water with fresh lemon slices and mint leaves to drink. Tea parties do not need to be complicated. It is all about presentation!
For the adults, I served tea in my gorgeous Johnson Australia cups.
To keep things super simple, I only served one cake for afternoon tea. I made a generous sized carrot and pecan cake with cream cheese frosting, decorated with flaked coconut and fresh flowers.
The rich colours of this tea party ooze the essence of Autumn, but could equally be a celebration of the arrival of Spring. Whichever hemisphere you live in, with Mother’s Day approaching, perhaps you will find inspiration to gather some of your favourite things together to host a little tea party of your own.
Hello Lovely ones, how’s things? Life is looking pretty good from where I am sitting. It’s such a crazy ride at times, and today is no exception, but somehow, at the moment, I have a peace in the journey and I will hang onto it. Yes Please.
We had a bit of a city escapade for a couple of nights this week. There is an exhibition from the British Museum (sigh…number 1 on my Bucket List) on Ancient Egypt that I have been trying to get the kids to for aaages. Finally the stars and planets aligned and we got there. Oh my heart. It was incredible. Like three and a half thousand year old bread in the tomb incredible….I feel things deeply and to stand there looking at ancient tablets from before the time of Moses impacted me profoundly. These people were so intelligent, talented and skilful. I was impressed by their attention to detail and artistry. By the painstaking ritual of respect shown to the departed in preparation for the afterlife. Amazing.
One day I will head to London and spend an entire week in the British Museum. I know it’s big, but I want to see every single thing. Ironically, history and things past fill my heart with life. As I said goodbye to the artefacts, mummies, childrens shoes and three and a half thousand year old bread, I felt I had made new friends. I shared in the tiniest part of living history and it absolutely filled my heart to full and overflowing.
Yeah, I’m a bit of a sentimental old fool like that.
Back to reality driving home as we were expecting nearly twenty young Christian Surfers to arrive and set up camp in our back yard for the night. Our oldest daughter is also bringing a carload up from Sydney to join them for a weekend of surfing, fun, eating, sitting by the open fire and enjoying sweet fellowship. I love having these precious young adults in our home. They are so full of life and energy and see the world as it should be seen, full of hope and opportunity.
Speaking of hope, is there anything more gloriously hopeful than welcoming precious new life into the world? This baby shower is very close to my heart as the family are sweet friends of mine. You may even recognise my lovely model from the Easter shoot I did recently. This baby shower was for her sister.
We kept everything minimal (new for me!) as it was quite a small gathering. I helped out with some gluten and dairy free cupcakes and the feature cake. The family provided all the savoury food and I set up a very simple dessert table to showcase the sweets.
The shower was held in the stunning Blackwood House AirBnB. Oh my. If you are after luxury accommodation near glorious ByronBay, then look no further. It is truly spectacular.
I kept the styling fairly minimal, with a distinct earthy focus. Wooden cake stands and handmade tree slice cake stands were used for the succulent cupcakes which I decorated in deep shades of violet and avacado green. I threw in a bit of bling with gold sequin fabric draped over the timber trestle. I love to add a touch of quirky to my tables so I used vintage salt and pepper shakers as name card holders.
One request was a photo backdrop. I loved creating this very bohemian feature piece with lace and doilies fitted into embroidery hoops, sewn together with fishing line. I cut strips of old lace curtains from the op shop and sewed them onto the edges of the doilies (just in case you were wondering how I made it!) It looked quite dramatic up against the beautiful black timber wall. While it was not a quick project to make, it now hangs proudly in our entry way here at home.
It was an honour to play a small role in celebrating the imminent arrival of this dear little one. Baby showers are definitely my favourite parties to style. Those darling bundles of gorgeousness just take my breath away every single time. I am so thrilled for this precious new mother, who is about to embark on the greatest adventure of her life.
Welcome to the world darling Husky. You are perfection.
Good morning my Lovelies,
I know I have said this more than a few times this week, but Oh my heart!! I struggle to express how delighted I am to share my Easter photo shoot with you. To be able to turn this little idea of mine into a reality, and oh my what a beautiful reality it was, just about fills this mama’s heart to full and overflowing.
My inspiration came from a few areas. Firstly, I have been longing to do a shoot in this location for years. It is a local farm with grazing cows and the most picturesque trees. As chance would have it, I was driving along the cute bumpy road one morning and met the owner of the farm, who readily gave me permission to do a shoot on his property. Win. All we needed to do was avoid the warm fresh cow pads as we hauled our goodies through the boggy grass, as it had been raining for a week. Well, we missed most of them. Yikes!
My vision was to create a whimsical Easter desert table in pastel tones, with a distinct vintage style. Lots of pretty pale pinks and baby blues with pops of yellow and fresh flowers. Instead of one feature cake I wanted to be a little bit more extravagant with three cakes taking centre stage.
I filled the dessert table with some of my favourite treats, including passionfruit curd meringue cupcakes, choc coated Oreo pods with edible nests made from vermicilli noodles mixed with green tinted white chocolate, Easter themed sugar cookies and meringue kisses.
Part of my signature style is the use of vintage props on dessert tables. I love picking up quirky bits and pieces to incorporate onto my tables, keeping them unique and interesting. I am especially fond of kitsch baby planters and egg cups. Their pastel tones and very cute characteristics make for delightful cake toppers or sweets holders.
Every time I do a photo shoot my girls take turns modelling for me. They are all so adorable and love dressing up and posing for me. Miss Kitty was so excited that she would practice standing and smiling for everyone at home to show us how she was going to pose for the photo shoot! Too cute. I love that we are making memories together and I can give them a childhood filled with creativity, wonder and beauty.
Life is a gift that needs to be cherished. I know I often get lost in the everydayness of the pressing needs around me and fail to look up, look beyond my messy house and breathe. As I scroll through these pretty photos I am reminded that life, childhood, family and friendships all need to be celebrated. For me, I guess that looks like creating beautiful dessert tables, sweet treats and having fun baking and dressing up with my girls. For others it is taking the boards to the beach or riding bikes through a park together. Whatever it is you love to do with your tribe, let me encourage you to get out and do something fun together this Easter weekend. Create memories, build up the family love tank and leave the washing till next week.
All my love xx
Concept, styling, props and desserts || Mama Bears Kitchen
Photography || Sarah Rickard Photography
Flowers || Alstonville Florist
Cookie stamps || The Cookie Stamp Co
Models || Kitty, Daisy & Parker
Hello dear ones,
It’s been an age since I have joined you here, but oh it’s nice to be back! As we all know, blogging is only a snippet of my life and it takes pretty much all of me to love my hubby and dear sweet lambs plus run our home and pastor a church. I have spent the first part of the year getting the tribe sorted and into the rhythm of our family / school / homeschool life and routine.
The good news is that I am now resuming my weekly blog posts. Every Saturday morning you will find my latest creative ventures, themed party, styled shoot or cupcake recipe. I hope you will join me. Despite my blogging absence, I have been quite busy creating new content and I can’t wait to share it all with you.
First up for 2018 is this Easter dessert table I set up for a flower crown workshop I hosted in my home. My goal was to create a pastel sweets table with a distinct vintage feel. I wanted to draw out the child in each of us, with matching lollies, cookies, cake pops and cake.
The girls and I got our bunny cookie cutters out to give homemade coconut ice an Easter makeover. I was pleased with how easy it was, and how cute they looked. Even your toddlers could help in the kitchen with this one.
Another super easy snack I made with the kids was choc dipped Oreos. We simply melted white chocolate (with a drop or two of candy oil colour, or you could use candy melts if you have a microwave, which we don’t). Dip half an Oreo biscuit into the chocolate and sprinkle with your favourite sprinkle mix.
I’m not much of a cookie decorator, but I couldn’t resist these adorable radish and carrot cutters. Piped with pastel coloured buttercream and displayed in cute Easter bowls and plates, they added a bit of Easter cheer to the table.
What’s an easter dessert table without lollies? I know I shouldn’t, but I have a bit of a weakness for these tempting little sweeties. I have many a fond childhood memory buying bags of lollies, back in the day when twenty cents filled a huge bag to the brim! Ahh..the good ole days…
I love displaying sweets in cute little vintage planters, jars or timeless white milk glass dishes. They just look soo good all dressed up.
Perhaps my favourite element of any party is the take home favours. A gift giver at heart, I love to bless my guests with goodies to take home, which are preferably edible. For my Easter party I decorated cheap gift bags with fabric strips, ribbon, paper flowers, string and cute vintage easter tags, for guests to put their lollies in. I also spray painted the lids of plastic cylinders and filled them with jelly beans for the children to take home.
For the ladies I set up a tea station with my pretty tea cups on a white vintage dresser, decorated with a simple fabric bunting to tie in with the theme. I also decorated glass milk bottles with string and paper flowers in pastel colours.
Another weakness of mine is vintage aprons. Oh my heart, they are just soo adorable and make the perfect decorating accesory! My favourite way to use them is strung across the dessert table as a garland, or even as a backdrop. The colours are so pretty and I love that real women wore them as they cared and cooked for their families. A reminder of beauty in the every day.
Thanks for taking the time to scroll through my photos. Hopefully you go away inspired to create your own Easter gathering with the kids, family and friends.
I am so happy to be here. Life is pretty big for all of us, and I am so thankful for the tiny time and space I get to meet with you and share my passion for all things sweet, pretty and vintage. Stay tuned and don’t forget to pop in next Saturday morning where I will share with you my latest Easter photo shoot, which I am so excited about, I think my heart will burst!
See you then. xx
Good morning Lovelies. It’s so nice to be here. Time out from a busy week for all of us no doubt. A few moments to sit still (my number one desire for the past 22 years), and look at pretty pictures of cake and flowers.
One of my favourite aspects of baking and decorating cakes is using fresh flowers to dress up each unique creation. I love popping into my favourite florist to peruse the latest stock of buds and blooms, then carefully make my selection…so many incredible colours and textures. It really is inspirational. Then taking them home to play is a creative dream come true .
This wedding cake was taken to Fig Tree Restaurant which is one of the most stunning venues in Byron Bay. I felt a bit special setting up my baby there, and even more excited about joining the wedding as a guest. (Just quietly, the food was to die for!) The best part was actually being present when the cake was cut and hearing all of the appraisal from satisfied guests. The top tier was lime, pistachio & coconut, with the bottom tier a traditional chocolate cake. You’re welcome.
To compliment the wedding cake, I made matching cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream flowers, which was almost as much fun as playing with the real flowers. While I’m still very much a beginner, I’m happy with how they turned out. Such a nice way to take cupcakes to the next level for a special event.
Buttercream cakes dressed with fresh flowers and a simple wooden topper make for a wonderfully romantic wedding cake. There is a timeless appeal about them that suits any rustic or vintage celebration.
I have a few exciting projects coming up that I am busting to share with you. I think I am finally out of Christmas denial and ready to accept that it is only about four weeks away. I know, I know…pathetic right? I am hoping to sneak in one more photo shoot before Christmas, as my collection of tartan tins and red vintage checked thermoses are starting to scream at me and seriously need to be styled with yuletide sweets!
Next week, however, I am going to share my Christmas dessert table from last year. I’ll show you how to take inspiration from a piece of fabric to create an entire dessert display and place settings for your Christmas table.
For now, I hope you can all manage some down time this weekend. I’m hoping to make gingerbread men with the girls and rummage through my Christmas props to plan my photo shoot. Watch this space, because a little birdy is telling me that this Mama Bear may be seeing her work published a couple of times over the next few weeks! (squeal!!) More on that later.
Lots of love xx
Good morning dear ones, thanks so much for dropping into my little happy place today.
In September two years ago, our precious son and his beautiful bride got married. (You can see their lovely vintage wedding here). Between August and December of that year we actually had five weddings! Hubby, being a minister, officiated at most of them, while I had the honour of styling desserts and cakes as well. Most of them were young friends of our son, so it was pretty special, albeit quite busy, being a part of such celebrations.
For this wedding, the young bride’s vision was for a vintage wedding with burlap, lace and lavender as the chosen colour scheme. She wanted an extensive dessert table, catered largely by myself, with added homemade sweets. She also requested a lolly buffet, providing the sweets and glassware herself, which I styled.
I really love lolly buffets. They are always such a hit at weddings and the potential for colour coordinated styling sends me into a frenzy! I’m just crazy about them! All you need are a few key vintage pieces, and by matching the colour palette to your theme you can lift your desserts to the next level. Take a look at a similar lolly buffet I created for my son’s wedding, using a different colour scheme.
Two of the easiest ways to jazz up your lolly buffet are making a fabric garland backdrop to frame your display, and marquee letters to create an eye catching centrepiece.
As a very tactile person, I love working with fabric and paper. It’s easy to make a backdrop garland by using a selection of cheap fabric cut into two inch strips and bunching them together on a length of string. Go for volume and make a lot of strips. Include lace and ribbon for added texture.
Marque letters are available from Spotlight stores, for around $15 on special. I glue coordinating fabric letters onto a cardboard template and pop the lights back in. Too easy.
The dessert table had a more rustic look than the lolly buffet, while some elements were carried through to give continuity. Touches of lavender on the food cards and some pastel sweets softened the look. A bunch of fresh of lavender in an old silver teapot on top of some of my favourite books kept in with the vintage theme.
A generous hessian tablecloth topped with vintage lace covered the long table, with timber palettes giving height and interest to the display, along with my gorgeous tin cake stands, wood slices and timber boxes.
For the dessert menu I made white chocolate Tim Tam pops and white choc covered Oreos, plus a selection of cupcakes including lime & pistachio, lavender & earl grey and cookies & cream. They didn’t last long!
I couldn’t resist sneaking a few photos of my dear ones as they were clearly delighted in being together so close to their own special day. Young love. Sigh.
Good morning Lovelies. How’s things? The girls and I flew solo this week as hubby took our 18 year old son adventuring in Tassie for a dose of hiking, snow seeking, white water rafting and bush walks. He has worked so hard this year, often at three jobs, so we wanted to give him a pat on the back and tell him how proud we are of the amazing young man he is becoming.
Time out is good for all of us. As stay at home mums of littlies and middle size kiddies would know, it’s not that easy to go on adventurous holidays. Actually, even just holidays. I think we’ve tried about three times to get away this year, but between the dog, two cats, rabbit, chickens, brand new chickies and kids agendas, its been nigh impossible.
To be honest though, I’m not that adventurous anyway. I really love my home, my kitchen, my books, tea, hearth and larder….ahh Bilbo Baggins, I see you. We don’t use our hearth much, but I am honestly very happy in my own space. This week one of my daughters suggested I should go out into the veggie garden more often…I can’t remember why she was saying that, but the first words that popped into my mouth were…”Why would I want to leave my kitchen?” Even I was taken aback by my candid reply. I was instantly struck by my own honesty….yes, I would rather be baking in my kitchen than pretty much anywhere else.
One thing I can do from home, to my delight, is create adorable baby showers and parties. When we heard our first grandchild was on the way, I was quick to talk with my son and his wife about the baby shower. As I was the stylist and sweets caterer for their gorgeous Vintage barefoot wedding, I knew pretty well what style they both like. Mostly vintage with a splash of sunshine, green from the earth, timber, natural textures and pops of colour.
My son requested that the shower be suitable for both guys and girls, as they wanted their friends to attend. I therefore kept to a fairly neutral palette, with lots of light timber, raw textures, white and hints of pink to celebrate that their baby is a girl. You can read about my heartfelt reflections on becoming a grandmother in Part 1 of this baby shower post HERE
I chose a bit of a boho woodland theme, keeping the design elements simple and not overly cluttered. I used some greenery, grasses, succulents, and one of my favourite vintage design elements, a homemade fabric garland, as a statement piece along the front of the dessert table. The timber pallets were a main feature of the display, which are a cheap and versatile way to dress up any dessert table. My husband made the backdrop timber board with wood panels from Bunnings, which was painted white.
I had fun creating the dessert menu for this baby shower. I decorated sugar cookies to look like flowers and gave chocolate coated peanut butter crackers a touch of cactus love. Caramel corn cupcakes were topped with cute foxes and woodland animal printables and the most delicious raw cakes topped off the dessert table.
I found these cute birch log card holders on eBay that matched my theme perfectly.
Apart from the main dessert table, my talented son made up antipasto platters for an extensive grazing table. He has a natural way of putting savoury food together, so I left that in his capable hands. I pulled out some of my quirky props, including old suitcases, wooden crates, enamelware and even an old set of scales. It is so easy to dress up a food table by using whatever funky things you have around your home to add height and interest to serve your food.
One of my go to serving ideas is to wrap small luncheon rolls in coordinating fabric or ribbon scraps. Such an easy way to dress up your table. It’s the little touches that turn an ordinary gathering into something special.
Another little idea I almost always do is get my kiddies baking biscuits or cookies for the table. A sweet homemade touch that goes the extra mile in making your guests feel spoilt, and your kids will feel important too.
Something else the kids can help with is decorating the drink glasses or bottles. I usually use mason jars or glass milk bottles, both available from cheap shops. They are so versatile and can literally be dressed to suit any theme or event. Personalising the name tags also helps make your guests feel valued, and encourages them to keep the same glass throughout the day.
Of course no baby shower in my home is complete without a tea station. I saved up most of the pink to use on my funky pink dresser that I just adore. I made up a ‘tea’ banner with coordinating printables and embellished it with matching fabric scraps and hung it across the mirror. Carefully selected tea cups sitting on the dresser were pretty enough to make any tea lover sigh with immense satisfaction! Not to leave the coffee drinkers out of action, I set up my retro Johnson Australia coffee cups, which also happened to match my theme. Score.
Whenever I host a baby shower I love to decorate a baby or doll cradle to hold gifts for the expectant mother. In this case, a dear friend painted the cradle as a gift itself to the delighted mama.
Lastly, and perhaps my favourite element of any party is the take home favours. I am a gift giver at heart, so I’m always on the lookout for cheap, suitable party favours that say a hearty ‘Thanks for coming!’ to any party I host. I found these brightly coloured fragrant candles half price in Lincraft and knew they would be perfect for the baby shower. By adding cute ‘thank you’ tags tied with string I had gorgeous little gifts for guests to enjoy at home.
Thank you for taking a little tour around my baby shower with me. As I mentioned in Part 1, this event was especially close to my heart. I am so blessed to have a loving family and it was an honour to create this special party for them.
Next week I will be sharing with you my absolute favourite cake I have made so far. It’s a bit of a bomb! Stay tuned, and have a great weekend. xx