press: styled bbq for Mom mag

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The backyard BBQ article I styled at the request of the fabulous Natalie Klein of Hot Moms Club for Mom magazine is finally here!

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The assignment had two parts. First, create a look that could be perfect for the upcoming July 4th holiday, as well as all summer long. My immediate thoughts went to mixing traditional patriotic patterns and colors with traditional summer colors, hence the pops of yellow and green! The second part of the assignment was to involve the kiddos.

My tips are in the blue boxes to the right on each page and here on the first page of the two-page spread. You can see my lemonade service and apron craft (the burgers belong to Chef Sam) in the images.

  • Lemonade service - mason jars are a charming way to bring the party outdoors and colorful straw slips are the perfect way to help your guests tell their beverages apart (get these FREE printables).
  • Flowers - I went with these beautiful sunflowers, the traditional yellow and a vibrant red (dyed by the florist), nestled in a bright blue tin vase to give the table a little pop.

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Here’s a closer look at the apron craft. I stopped in the craft store and picked up white, child-size aprons, fabric paint, stencils (you can find just about any shape and lettering) and sponge brushes. I set the boys up outside and placed wax paper (to contain any paint that may bleed though) between the apron and the table. They held the stencil in place with their hand, then using a round sponge brush dabbed the stencil on. It was really quite easy with quick clean up.

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And here on the second page you can see my ice cream service idea, my choice of primary dot plates and napkins from Inviting Company and the invitation craft.

  • Ice cream pails – For the ice cream I picked up some red and white mini pails and some clear plastic cups. I’m a big fan of pre-scooping your ice cream before your guests arrive and refreezing the scoops on wax paper. It just takes too much to scoop while they’re there; I’d rather be mingling myself! For serving, I arranged the pails on a tray, filled each about 1/3 way with ice, inserted the plastic cup and then popped in my cones. And if you have a variety of flavors you can take orders and use a cute little tag (get these fun tag/placecard printables FREE) so you don’t get your orders mixed up.
  • Invitation craft – since I own a custom invitation company my first reaction was to design something fabulous, but since the assignment was to make something the kids could help with, I went “old school” and used scrapbooking supplies (cardstock, vellum and ribbon) and a fun star tablecloth weight as a little favor.

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Make sure you pop over to my post from Monday to see closer shots of the printables I used to style this article!

Thanks again to Natalie and the wonderful ladies at Hot Moms Club for giving me this opportunity. And thanks to Jennifer Sbranti of Hostess With The Mostess for mentioning me to Natalie. I’m honored to be in these fabulous ladies company! And finally, thanks to my little boys for sitting still long enough for us to get these fabulous pictures of them. Of course the ice cream helped! {wink}

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As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

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red, white & blue inspiration

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Today’s post is a bit of a prelude to the excitement around here. But before I tell you all about it, I want to share some true patriotic inspiration with you from the fabulous crafters and planners at Martha Stewart, a group of people that inspire me often and this latest issue didn’t disappoint. I was candidly taken aback at what they did with pop-ups. You know, those paper party pieces that are often thought of as inexpensive looking… well not when the Martha team puts them together, with a little added style that is. The ones above are the only ones I could locate on the site, but make sure you pick up this month’s issue for some truly super fun ideas that will have your July 4th table looking beautiful in no time.

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And then there are so many fabulous ideas from previous years. I fell in love with the star table runner idea and actually used a version of it on my own table last year. I also thought the sand & firework centerpieces were quite clever, as well as these festive utensil sleeves. Remember, everything doesn’t have to be matchy matchy. As a matter of fact, I’m a huge fan of mixing and matching patterns and fabrics when entertaining.

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 A few other craft musts to bring your table together are these patriotic pinwheels. You can find all of these ideas, and a ton of others, in one location on the Martha Stewart website. Make sure you scroll through the entire bunch!

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As for my big announcement, it’s actually tied to the upcoming patriotic celebration. I was asked back in April by the talented Natalie Klein of Hot Moms Club to style a backyard bbq bash for the summer issue of Mom magazine. The idea was to create something that could be perfect for the upcoming July 4th holiday, as well as all summer. The ice cream you see above was one of my favorite images to style. I picked up these sweet little pails from the craft store and some clear plastic cups. I filled the bucket 1/3 way with ice and inserted the plastic cup (because let’s face it, who knows about paint these days), then added my star sprinkled cones and served them on a red and white speckled tin tray. And since I love my readers so very much, I’ll be giving away the placecards you see attached to the serving bucket, as well as straw slips and napkin rings in tomorrow’s post when I share the entire article.

As always, I hope you’re inspired for your next celebration!

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beverage services to wow

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Born and raised in the South, transplanted to Ohio in my mid 20s, I need a few things to keep me grounded in my Southern roots. And laugh if you wish, but one of those things is my Southern Living magazine. {wink} The articles, the recipes, the images of the region… ahhhh!

So this weekend when I curled up with a cup of coffee and the latest issue, I saw this perfect shower idea for a beverage bar (right image). The half carafes are simple, inexpensive and a very cute way to offer multiple choices.

After going to the web, I found a few more things, like this chalk board beverage tag idea. The only thing I would do differently is use a whimsy template for a more ornate look. 

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And what about these very clever berry ice cubes (inside the drink) and decorative bottle coolers (around the drink). Love it! And for those of you that know anything about the South, creative ways to keep your beverages cold in the summer is a necessity!

Happy Monday!

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flip flop crispy pops

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For our deep blue sea bash I also made flip flop rice crispy pops.

I’ve mentioned before that my youngest has severe food allergies and these are a great non-dairy (and non-egg) treat, but you can make them the normal way too. They’re really super simple to make and a great end of summer treat even if you’re not having a party!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rice crispy cereal
  • Marshmallows
  • Butter (Smart Balance Vegan for non-dairy)
  • White cake icing
  • Gel food coloring
  • Resealable bags (2 per color you plan to use)
  • Icing connectors, #4 and #103 Wilton tips (both easily found at craft stores)
  • Candy decorations
  • Wax paper
  • Lollippop sticks
  • Flip flop cookie cutter (available with our sleepover decor)
  • Toothpicks
  • Optional: Clear cello bags and ribbon

And here are the super simple steps:

  1. Lay out a piece of wax paper and grease your cookie cutter with a little bit of butter.
  2. Make your rice crispy treats like you normally would and as soon as you can stand to touch them, while they’re still hot/warm, mold them into the flip flop cookie cutter (making your top as flat as possible for easy icing), set them aside and let them cool. TIP: A little butter on your hands will keep the crispy treats from sticking to you! (One batch should yield 8.)
  3. Now tint your icing and separate each color into two bowls. One will be for flooding and the other for piping. We used green and blue to make them as boy-like as possible. {wink}
  4. Insert your lollipop sticks. You want to do this before icing them. If you wait your icing could crack.
  5. Insert your piping icing into a resealable bag with a #4 tip and connector. Pipe an outline, like you’re coloring a picture, around each flip flop you want that color and allow them to set for a minute. (Tip: You are creating a barrier for the thinned icing, known as flooding, so if you see any gaps between your barrier and your rice crispy, pipe in a little extra so that your thinned icing doesn’t run out.)
  6. Insert the second set of icing, the same color as the barrier, into a resealable bag and heat it 10-15 seconds or until runny. Snip a small corner off the bag and pipe it into the center of your flip flop. You may need to pull the thinned icing to the corners with a toothpick. Allow the icing to set if you want it to be one color, OR using another color of thinned icing you can drip (for polka dots) or drag (for stipes) while the first color is still wet.
  7. For the flip flop straps, use a #103 Wilton tip and start just next to where the big toe should be! {wink}
  8. Embellish with a candy; we used stars. And since my guy was turning five, we also piped a five on each flip flop.

Here’s another shot showing how we displayed them in sand buckets!

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Just be creative and let the kids join in. It’s a little messy, but super fun! Oh, and we made some shark, fish, turtle and seahorse chocolate pops too using a Wilton candy mold and colored chocolates.

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I’ll share our splash bash favors with you tomorrow and you can find all the party supplies in the shoppe. Happy baking everyone.

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), connect with Kim on twitter, pinterest and on instagram. And don’t forget to shop the party store for birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies. Oh, and now you can follow the blog with Bloglovin too! Hope to see you around!

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watermelon cookies

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I came across these at The Decorated Cookie, a must visit blog, and had to pass them along. They’re perfect for a picnic and much less messy than the real thing. {wink}  She’s laid out all the details with step-by-step pictures. Oh, and the other great thing, you don’t have to have a special cookie cutter. If you have a circle or you use a glass, just cut the shape in half. Enjoy!

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patriotic table decor

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In search for a few table ideas for our family fourth of  July gathering this weekend, I liked these the most. The image above is from Pottery Barn. My favorite is the berry cupcakes… imagine that!

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These are both from Martha Stewart and I have to admit that my favorite pieces are props in the background: the bucket with ribbons and the red, white and blue lollipops. Just goes to show that you can dress up any table with a few simple accessories.

Happy 4th everyone!

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independence day sweets

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Okay, say what you will… BUT I swear I was planning to make the exact cookies tomorrow and of course post them here for you. Oh well, I’ll still make them, but now you’re getting them a day early from Martha. Here are the how tos.

And since Independence Day is upon us, I thought I would repost my flag cupcakes. I really enjoyed making these! Here’s the original post with how tos.

Happy 4th everyone!

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American flag cupcakes

We should all treasure our American holidays: Memorial Day, July 4, Veteran’s Day. I’m proud that as a country we celebrate those who serve to protect us and those who have fallen to save us. 

These cupcakes are my (small as it may be) way of saying thank you to those in my family who have served (my grandfather, several great uncles, my hubby, all of his brothers, his dad and our neice and nephew; the two youngest in Iraq). I hope you enjoy them and make them for your next American celebration!

Here’s what you’ll need to decorate your cupcakes:

  • Red, white and blue icing (remember that gel food coloring work best)
  • #46 icing tip
  • Lollipop sticks
  • 2 resealable plastic bags
  • 2 icing tip connectors

And here are the simple steps:

  1. Once cooled, ice your cupcakes with white icing {cream cheese is my fav!}.
  2. Color some white icing red and some blue. You’ll likely use several drops to get even a small amount of icing bright enough.
  3. Snip the corners of your resealable bags and insert your connectors.
  4. Spoon your red icing into one bag and your blue into another.
  5. Apply your #46 icing tip to your blue bag and using the flat side pipe three stripes (1/3 the length of your flag) and then another stripe from the top {see picture}.
  6. Take your icing tip off the blue bag, clean it out and apply it to the red bag. Pipe the red stripes starting at the top of the flag using your blue stripes as a guide to keep them even. Make sure you skip just below the blue as that should be a white stripe.
  7. Finally, cut a lollipop stick in half and apply it to the side of the flag for your pole.

Have a wonderful holiday and as always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake and create!

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