introducing mod candy cane

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The Mod Candy Cane collection is the first of two Christmas/Winter collections that you’ll be able to find in The Celebration Shoppe this season. This collection offers a whimsy, yet sophisticated, take on the candy cane. I’m still very much in love with the luxury of the red and Tiffany blue palette. Isn’t it lovely!

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Once the invitations are mailed (already in the shoppe waiting to be customized), start planning a fabulous “Sweet Spot” on your table for all the fabulous goodies you’re going to share. 

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Like Peppermint Bark,

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Peppermint Sandwich Cookies (super easy DIY way to pull these off: buy tea cookies from the bakery, fill them with vanilla icing and roll the edges in crushed peppermint or sprinkles… YUM!),

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 Soft Peppermint,

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Peppermint sprinkled cupcakes (picks come with Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a full sheet of snowflakes; shown with foam adhesive square for 3-D effect), and

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fabulous snowflake and Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday (your choice) butter cookies from our partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage and available with this collection!

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 Here’s a closer look at the lovely and melt in your mouth cutout snowflake and whimsy frame, which you can personalize if you like (see below).

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And don’t forget that your guests might want to “Warm up” with a little hot chocolate or maybe even a toddy! You can be preppared with soft peppermint sticks for stirring and peppermint schnapps for extra warmth. {wink}

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And a personalized cookie as a placecard or with your guest’s mug could be an adorable touch, don’t you think!

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If you’re guest’s prefer the sparkle over the warmth, then label their stems to help them keep track with our beverage markers, and

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make sure you have plenty of bottled water on hand too. (These are beautiful as vase and votive wrappers too!)

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And you can’t let your guest’s go home empty handed, so make sure you pack up some goodies in these adorable take-out boxes (available at Dollar Tree) with our favor tags and red grosgrain ribbon, or

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send them home with prepackaged goodies in our cello toppers that say “Have a sweet day!” (Our partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage ships our cookies in heat sealed cello bags–for freshness as they have no preservatives–that are the perfect fit for our cello topper printables. All you’ll need to do is print and attach. And remember, shipping is included in our Sweet Tooth Cottage pricing as they ship directly from the bakery and separate from the rest of your order. E-mail us at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com with any quesitons.)

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Here’s a look at how beautiful your table can be with a little DIY inginuity. Our “Sweet Spot” sign is attached to a small white dowel wrapped in red ribbon for that candy cane effect. Much less sticky than the real thing. And our cake plate centerpiece is made of large plastic snowflake ornaments stacked on top of one another and balanced on a square white cake plate that was flipped on its end. In the top shot you see that we used the bottom tier for our cookie rounds (printed sugar paper with the same designs as our cupcake rounds). I also used those same large snowflake ornaments under and on several of the other plates on the table to break up the solid white tablecloth and hung them from the ceiling on clear fishing line to give the table height.

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Last in the line-up, but the first thing to greet your guests is our “Welcome” sign. It’s 8×10 and can either be trimmed out as we have done (hung with a beverage wrapper) or matted in a white frame. Or even hung over a beautiful white wreath on the front door.

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This collection will be in the shoppe on Monday, November 15 (new dates!) and then the printable collection will be 40% off through Wednesday, November 17! As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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new collection tomorrow!

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We wrapped up the photo shoot for our new Mod Candy Cane collection over the weekend and I was really hoping to be able to share the entire collection with you this morning, but alas photo editing work can’t be rushed. So I’m hoping this will be enough to tempt you to return tomorrow for a look at the entire collection and some creative DIY ideas on how to style your own “sweet spot” dessert table that won’t break your holiday budget! Oh, and did I mention the printable collection will be 40% off through Saturday! {wink}

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Okay, one more image… I just couldn’t resist! Happy Monday everyone!

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natural Thanksgiving placecard

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Since I live in Ohio I get to truly experience all four seasons and admittedly I love them all (okay… winter could be a touch shorter). While summer offers mild temperatures and beautiful play days, fall offers an abundance of natural and colorful elements that are perfect for entertaining.

This first idea from Better Homes and Gardens has been on my “must do” board since early August. I love using the left over gourds and small pumpkins after Halloween for indoor decor so when I saw this elegant stencil idea I fell in love. Plus, it gives the pumpkin yet another use and doesn’t require cutting or cooking! 

I found these felted acorn placecards at Southern Living Magazine.com. Not only are they adorable, but the felted acorns are from Fairyfolk  and can be purchased directly from their Etsy shop. (Photo: Jennifer Davick)

And since pears are all the rage this season it goes without saying that I had to share this simple, yet lovely, idea from Country Living.

Last, but never least, is an idea from Martha Stewart that takes me back to my childhood. My grandparents had a sweet-gum tree in their yard in Alabama and in the fall you couldn’t cross the yard without these little spurs being underfoot. That said, they were great for throwing at my big brother while he was chasing me!

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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visiting Disney for Halloween

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At the beginning of October my hubby and I took my boys to Disney for a long weekend and we attended the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We had the best time from the nighttime parade to the fireworks to the constant trick-or-treating around the park! And not only was the party itself lots of fun, but it wasn’t overcrowded. My two favorite times of year to go are early March, before all the schools let out for spring break (I know… I won’t be able to do that much longer since my oldest in now in Kindergarten) and fall (again, difficult with school age children, but worth all the homework you’ll have to make up!).

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The night of the party the boys were dressed up as swat team officers, but when we ran across the face painting Alex really wanted to be a pirate, and

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Cole really wanted to be a puppy… aka Goofy.

And not only did we go to the Halloween party we visited all the parks. I have over 500 images and I swear I could sell some to Disney for advertising they were so cute {proud mama}. I even turned around backwards (cart in front of the boys) on a few mini roller-coasters and took pictures of them screaming. The pics were great, but I was nauseous for 30 minutes afterwards! 

But instead of sharing those with you, I’d rather tell you what a fabulous company Disney is from the perspective of a family struck with food allergies. I’ve been on my soap box about this lately (with my allergy free Halloween treats and sorry, I can’t eat cow milk posts) and while I’m on the topic I want to share with any families who are waiting or debating about going to Disney because of the allergy (and I’ve talked to many moms and dads who are), go! I’ve taken Cole now twice and both times I’ve been overjoyed. Soy milk and fresh fruit choices are on every menu, a chef comes out at all the restaurants and a manager comes out at the “fast food” locations to discuss options with you and to prepare something special that doesn’t come in contact with other ingredients. And it doesn’t stop there, at the Magic Kingdom (and likely the others) there is a restaurant, the name is alluding me at the moment, that offers vegan (great for egg and dairy allergies) choices including treats! They even sell Divvies, a fabulous little company created by a mom, who like me, wanted her son to be able to enjoy the same foods that other kids do. Long story short, Disney is fabulous at Halloween and takes special care of food allergy families!

Happy Halloween everyone!

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sneak peek: mod candy cane

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This is my favorite time of year, celebration after celebration! Now that Halloween is almost here it’s time to start pulling out the new Christmas collections! My modern twist on the candy cane has been on the inspiration board for months now and can be perfect for a cocktail party, a family open house, a whimsy kid cookie decorating party and even a winter birthday or baby shower (the cupcake picks come with a sheet of Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and a sheet of solid snowflakes)!

I’m so excited to say that the invitation is already available in the shoppe as of this morning! And with the photo shoot for the entire collection including the printables scheduled for next Thursday, November 4, the rest won’t be far behind!

This storyboard only shows you snippets of what mod candy cane will offer: cupcake picks, cupcake wrappers, dessert table tags, whimsy dessert table beverage mat, cello toppers, favor tags, welcome door sign, beverage wrappers and so much more! I can’t wait to share it all with you! Join us on facebook and twitter for regular updates and a few sneak peeks of the photo shoot along the way!

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allergy free Halloween treats

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Each year we get together with all of our neighbors and I host our annual Halloween block party. The premise is that everyone brings their favorite Halloween or fall treat and we all reminisce about the summer and tell any plans for the upcoming winter (besides hibernation of course!).

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This year I used my Candy Corn collection and gave it a little lighter twist from how I styled it in August for the shoppe.

And since I couldn’t control the desserts, or their ingredients, I made mostly dairy and nut free goodies. As many of you know my youngest has severe food allergies and I can’t stand for him to feel left out! There is nothing worse than that little face looking at me with sad eyes and asking me “Mommy, is that my kind?” His “kind” meaning made with soy milk or vegan butter. Of course unless I made it myself the answer is typically “I’m so sorry baby…” And any mother with a child who suffers from food allergies can attest that it breaks your heart!

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All of my desserts that night were inspired by the yummy candy corn and the first on my list was a cupcake… imagine that! By the way, Brach’s candy corn has milk in it, but the Kroger brand is dairy free (has egg though)!

So using a Duncan Hines Butter cake mix and Smart Balance Light vegan butter (be careful that you get the light; the others have dairy in them) I whipped up these cupcakes. My only advice on the butter is to use a little less than the recipe calls for because it has a very buttery taste.

And if your little one also has an egg allergy, which my little guy did for the first three years of his life, try making your cupcakes out of a brownie mix instead. Just make according to the recipe and fill your cupcake liners higher than normal. I would also suggest that you either use the tin/silver liners or you use cupcake wrappers, like we create for our collections, to hide the wrapper as brownies have oil in them and will discolor your wrappers.

For the icing I simply used Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing and tinted it using gel food coloring (liquid food coloring  thins your icing). Using resealable bags with a slit corner (for easy cleanup) I just piped one layer at a time. It was as simple as that!

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Next I made rice krispie treats, a dessert every kid… and let’s face it, every adult loves! These were gone in a flash! I used the normal ingredients, but in the place of butter I used Smart Balance Light vegan butter again.

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  1. While the treats are still warm mold them into triangles and insert lollipop sticks. Do this before you ice them or your could crack your icing, plus you want to form the treat back around the stick so that there aren’t too many pockets of air. 
  2. Gently push down, don’t crush the cereal, on the top of your treats. You’ll want a flat surface, or as flat as you can get it, for icing.
  3. Using a #7 tip, a connector and a resealable bag, outline your treats with white icing, leaving no gaps or your icing will run.
  4. Melt a small bowl of white, yellow and orange icing (one at a time) in eight second intervals. Carefully spoon the icing into the sections and pull icing to the corners with a toothpick. You want your icing warm, but not too hot and soupy or it will remelt your marshmallows. 
  5. Allow treats to dry completely before inserting them into cello bags.

I also served dairy free licorice, candy corn inspired pretzels sticks (made with tinted “real” milk chocolate so I’ll share those in a separate post) and my little guy’s favorite, gummy worms. My oldest will eat anything sweet so I knew he was covered! {wink}

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As for decorations, instead of using my cupcake picks in the actual cupcakes, I hung them from tree branches to create a dramatic and tall centerpiece (you all know how much I love height on a table!).

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And filled the glass apothecary jar, turned vase, with what else… candy corn!  You’ll notice that candy corn was also the fillers for the rice krispie treat bowl and the pretzel jar. Inexpensive and bright, just my style!

I can’t let you go without pointing out the crepe trim on the cake plate (shown in the first and third images). I just made tiny folds back and forth to give it a ruffled look and then attached it to my square cake plate with just a drop of hot glue here and there. It looked lovely, only took minutes and came right off with a light tug.

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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DIY fabric fall wreath

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It doesn’t get any easier than this: a DIY no-sew fabric wreath. All you need are two to three fabrics of your choice cut into 3″x3″ squares, a straw wreath (available at any craft store) and a screw driver.

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And if you want, a little quick embellishment!

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This is how you do it. Just place your fabric square, right side out, on the tip of a screwdriver (a flathead would be best so that it doesn’t puncture your material) and push it gently into your wreath. It’s that simple. And this idea isn’t just great for holidays, it could be perfect for birthday parties, baby showers, any occasion that brings guests to your front door.

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And maybe even punch up the entry way with a coordinating, but not matchy matchy throw pillow. As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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simple spray painted pumpkins

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This weekend was beautiful and we packed each day with baking new Halloween treats (some dairy free for us moms who deal with food allergies), decorating pumpkins (the super easy way) and spending time with some great friends. 

I’ll share the treats soon, but I wanted to start with the pumpkins. I’ve never been much for cleaning out pumpkins. It’s messy and in Ohio some years it can just be down right cold. Long story short, I look for alternatives. This year we thought we would go the super easy route and just spray paint the pumpkins so that the kids could help (at least a little; it’s too toxic for them without a mask and taking breaks every 30 seconds or so).

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I started by going to Better Homes and Gardens and letting the boys select their own template. My oldest chose a Frankenstein stencil and my youngest chose a spooky skeleton stencil. (We also made a “Enter if you DARE” stencil with a cricut and circle punch.) Next we cut out the stencils and attached them to the pumpkins. For the Frankenstein pumpkin and Enter if you DARE pumpkins we wanted a menacing effect so we just attached the stencils with hot glue, leaving the edges up so that some of the paint would get in around the stencil. For the spooky pumpkin we wanted harder lines so we covered the area with painters tape, attached the template and then I trimmed it out with a straight edge.

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Using a piece of burlap to protect the grass, we lightly sprayed both pumpkins with a constant back-and-forth motion, allowed them to dry and then peeled off the stencils.

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The entire process took about an hour and the boys were thrilled with the outcome!

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apple pie pops

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As all of you know, I’m a huge Better Homes & Gardens fan. Well when Dina from the Buttercream blog posted this beautiful pictorial (and this is only half of it) of the smart and yummy treat shown in the September 2010 issue of BHG (page 28 with recipe on page 212), I just knew I had to share.  

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These beauties, along with my “harvest” collection, will grace my Thanksgiving kids table this year, but likely as the BHG leaf version since I already own that cookie cutter. {wink} Happy Monday everyone!

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easy Halloween candy apples

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Hi everyone! I’m Amy from Living Locurto and thrilled to be guest posting today for Kim. As a fellow party girl, I thought sharing one of my favorite recipes would be the perfect topic for today. I served these last year at my Halloween Boofett and they were the hit of the party! Make these for any fall event and your guest will love them! You can also wrap them up with a bow for teachers gifts as well. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bag (14 Oz.) Caramels
  • 8 Apples
  • 8 Wooden Sticks(or real sticks from outside for a rustic touch)
  • 1 Large Bar of Your Favorite Candy Bar (I used Snickers)
  • 1 Cup Melted Chocolate Chips

And here are a few simple instructions: 

  1. Melt the caramels in a microwave safe dish for about 3 to 5 minutes until melted.
  2. Put sticks in the apples.
  3. Melt chocolate in the microwave. Chop up the candy bars.
  4. Dip apples in caramel and roll in the candy bar.
  5. Place on a cupcake wrapper and pipe chocolate over the apple.

YUM!

I hope you’ll visit my blog for lots of free printables and fun! Thanks for having me here today Kim. I’m sure you’re having a wonderful time at Disney!! – Amy

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