why don’t we… count down the days

Advent Calendar countdown

Advent starts this weekend! Counting down the days of Christmas season is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s not just the day of, but these couple weeks before that seem so filled with revelry and magic. Whether we are planning family activities (here are 50 of my favorite!), writing secret Advent notes or making reindeer cookies – the season always feels special.

Do you count down with an Advent calendar, chocolates, or a chain? This year I am wanting to simplify our everything and I love this idea of marking the dates on small pieces of paper and just moving an ornament over every day. Simple and special in the midst of a month filled with intense revelry.

Here are a few other advent calendars from the past to help count down the days this month:

Photo Advent calendar to send in the mailPrintable candy boxesString wrapped candy Advent countdownPaper bag Advent | Christmas in a bottle | Numbered Advent balloon countdown | Pinata Advent calendar | Pyramid box Advent countdown | Paper tree Advent boxes

Have a great first weekend of Advent… I’ll see you here on Monday to kick off the holiday season in Subtle Revelry style!

(Photography © Lumina).

Posted November 28, 2014 0 Comments
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golden glitter star cake toppers

Golden glitter star cake topper.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are having a gorgeous day filled with turkey, family and love. For those who are checking in today I have a fun DIY that is perfect for a last minute celebration (because there’s always room for one more cake!). This would also make a great pre-holiday project to get glittery with after the turkey is through. Because, if there is one thing I want after cooking all day, it is glitter! And wine :)

These fun glitter stars will make your next cake look outstanding. They are inspired by the very cool holiday line that Fossil just released and the stars will fit in to just about any celebration you’re hosting this coming month. Their classic watches will fit just about anyone on your gift list.

Glitter star cake toppers

glitter star holiday topper

For birthdays, Christmas, New Years Eve… these shining stars will be your go-to topper all season long. They’ll also look fabulous topping presents and treat boxes. To make the glitter stars you’ll need: gold glitter, hot glue and wax paper. Supplies that should be easy to find even in the after turkey stupor.

golden glitter star cake topper

Make golden stars with hot glue and glitter.

Start by making a star shape (or dot shape, or heart shape, or any shape you want!) with the hot glue directly onto the wax paper. Cover with golden glitter and allow to dry. Once the glue is completely dry it will peel right off the wax paper. Use one more dot of glue to secure the stars to kitchen skewers for a cake topper that is filled with festive shine.

Fossil holiday gifts

The stars go perfect with any of the gifts over at Fossil, but I especially love how they look presented with the Decker Chronograph Stainless Steel Watch and the Pave Ball Stud. With this cake, that watch, and those earings, you’ll light up any holiday room – in crafty, classly (looks like I worked a lot harder than I did) style.

Golden star cake toppers.

Happy celebrating!

The post is done in promotional partnership with Fossil, a brand I’ve owned and loved for years. 

Posted November 27, 2014 2 Comments
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raspberry marshmallows and gifts for foodies


I am all for DIY gifts, but there are some people on my list this year for whom crafting just isn’t going to cut it. Like the foodies in my life. I cannot craft a cast iron skillet, it is just not my wheel house! For this, I was incredibly grateful that Sur La Table sent me shopping online.

I powered up my new Nespresso VirtuoLine and found a few favorite items that will make the foodies I know very happy this year. Adding in a cute owl mug and simple homemade treat that even the most kitchen challenged among us can do will give a festive and thoughtful kick to the gift!


Make these raspberry marshmallows the cheater way with a bag of mini marshmallows, heavy whipping cream, and a package of raspberries.

Melt the marshmallows with 1/2 cup of heavy cream on the stove stop stirring consistently. Never stop stirring until they are completely melted. Pull off the stove and pour half the mixture into an 8×8 pan. Fold in the raspberries and then the other half of the marshmallows. Allow to cool until set.

The marshmallows taste great when added to coffee! Cut into small squares they’d be such a thoughtful way to end off a foodie gift. Here are a few favorite items I found to gift along with these marshmallows:


Snowman mugs | Cupcake wrappers | Cake stands |Cast Iron Skillets | Nespresso VertuoLine Coffee System | Juicer for the non-coffee foodies

This post is done in promotional partnership the new Nespresso VertuoLine System, which brews American-style large-cup coffee and authentic espresso at the touch of a button – the perfect gift and entertaining essential and Sur La Table who’s products I use daily. Happy shopping!

Posted November 26, 2014 4 Comments
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wreath wrapped gifts for creatives

Wreath topped presents

We don’t normally do much in the way of gift guides here at A Subtle Revelry, mostly because there are always way too many holiday DIY’s I am dying to share. This year I will be posting a couple different gift ideas. There are a few products to buy and a few details to make that I like too much not to share. Hope the gift ideas and the festive crafty elements (that will obviously be included!) are helpful to you this season.

The first gift idea I am excited to share is a simple combination. The idea is to encourage the creatives on your gift list to take an art break! Plumb Notebooks came up with the idea of #artbreak to encourage people to take a few minutes out of their day to stop and create art. Writing, sketching, planning for posts… whatever art looks like. A gorgeous notebook and a few supplies can become a beloved a gift of expression this year.

pipe cleaner wreath present topper

A few of my favorite notebooks for gifting are this dotted book which is awesome for writing, a large yellow notebook that has huge pages with various paper options for sketching, and a gorgeously backed green notebook that looks great left out on the coffee table all year long.

As an extra touch to the gifting; every #artbreak sketch posted results in Plumb donating $1 to the nonprofit 826 National. Give for good! Here is a 20% off Plumb product code just for us: Type in REVELRY20 at check out to grab a notebook and give the gift of an art break this season.

DIY wreath present topper from pipe cleaners

ribbon and wreath topped presents

No matter what I am gifting, wrapping it creatively is always an important part. While using one of the notebooks to sketch a few blog ideas, I came up with this easy pipe cleaner present topper. To make the wreath present toppers; take two glittered pipe cleaners and wind them together. Top with a thick ribbon and small note of holiday cheer.

Stock pile notebooks, pencils, paints, coffee gift cards and other creative elements to give an #artbreak moment – a fabulous gift for creatives.

Sketching wreath topped presents

PS. More holiday wrapping ideas right here!

This post is produced in promotional partnership with #artbreak – an initiative I strongly believe in. Read more about the campaign right here.

Posted November 25, 2014 2 Comments
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4 thanksgiving party tips

With Thanksgiving coming in just a couple days, we are in last minute prep mode around here! As much as I adore large, organized parties… sometimes it’s the little details that really take a gathering from everyday to amazing. During a busy week like this one, there isn’t enough time to do everything from scratch. That is why I love hints and tricks that give our gatherings those homemade touches that seem natural (and are super easy to achieve). This way, you can still have time to baste the turkey!

I am thrilled to be partnering with Marie Callender’s this season to share 4 Thanksgiving party tips to help with a your last minute touches.

Temporary table runner made from contact paper

One of the wonderful and crazy things about a Thanksgiving is the need for more surface space. No matter how big our table is we always need an extra one for seating, setting desserts, bar service etc. Normally I pull up our fold out tables and use a tablecloth which always ends up wrinkled and looking out of date. This year I decided to stick with the natural wood of our tables and just add a graphic detail with contact paper!

Forming a contact paper table runner is really easy and will make your party space stand out. The contact paper works just like a sticker so it is a completely temporary update and can be done in any shape, color, or pattern you choose.

Contact paper table runner

Contact paper table runner

DIY contact paper table runner

To make the contact paper table runner, start with a basic design (download our hexagon template right here). Purchase contact paper at your local big box store, or order it online right here. Working on the backside, trace out the template and cut. Remove the backing and place the decal stickers on whatever table you are using this year. The result is a festive, modern take on a traditional table runner.

Temporary table runner made from contact paper

Party tip: Make your pies chatty with chocolate letters!

Get your pies and your guests chatting with a sweet typography pie topper. The hardened chocolate letters are a great way to give thanks and celebrate! Make miniature pies as place cards, or big ones with notes of gratitude on the top. Adding elements like hardened chocolate letters make for a dessert that definitely has the homemade feel, no matter how you managed to get the pies done. Because we all need a little room for slack and whimsy this year.

Chocolate letter topped pie

pie for days...

DIY chocolate letters

DIY chocolate letter pie topper

To make the hard chocolate pie typography – start with a printed version of the text you’d like to use (download our examples right here). Lay the paper out on a baking sheet and layer wax paper on top. Heat up chocolate candy-melts per package directions and place into a fine tip plastic squeeze bottle. Trace the letters onto the wax paper and allow to fully dry.

Once the chocolate is dried simple remove the text and place on your desserts. The letters will keep in a plastic container for up to a week – so make them tonight and be ready to easily add your perfect final touch come Thursday.

Last minute party idea: Chocolate letter topped pies!

Party tip: Use old necklaces to top holiday pies.

Here is an amazing last minute way to make your table shimmer and shine! Use old costume jewelry, or grab a couple new chains (thift stores have a great selection) to adorn your napkins and your pies with bling! A little shimmer and a little shine can make a huge statement on a holiday dessert table.

Gem topped pies and napkin rings!

Party tip: Use old necklaces to make napkin rings!

Party tip: Use old necklaces to top holiday pies.

Jeweled napkin rings, made using old necklaces!

To make the jewel napkin rings you will need a couple costume jewelry necklaces. Using scissors or needle nose pliers when needed, remove the jewels from the necklaces and thread or glue onto a piece of thread. Combining different jewels and designs makes for a table setting that will really WOW your guests. If you’d prefer not to permanently damage the necklaces – you can simply wrap the entire necklace around the napkins, layering around and adjusting the gems as you go. Use glue dots to hold the gems in place temporarily. The look is so pretty and perfect for any holiday meal.


Jewel topped holiday pie

The same concept works to gussy up holiday pies as well. Marie Callender’s pumpkin and pecan pies are so easy to make, they have a rich and traditional homemade taste, and with an added element like jeweled edges – no one will know your freshly baked pie was not started from scratch. Our little secret.

To adorn the pies, you will need to start by thoroughly washing the gems with soap and water and allow to fully dry. Layer the necklaces around the edges of the pies and build up with the gems for a dessert table that will not be ignored!

Freeze whip cream and make cut-outs with cookie cutters to top a pie!

This last party tip is a great way to top end of the night drinks, pies, or anything you might be baking. Using cookie cutters to make festive designs out of frozen whip cream will be the hit of the night. Any night you do it!

Freeze whip cream and make cut-outs with cookie cutters

Freeze whip cream and make cut-outs with cookie cutters

Freeze whip cream and make cut-outs with cookie cutters

Frozen whip cream cookie cut-outs

To make these whip cream cut-outs. We first covered a pan with a layer of parchment paper, then sprayed an entire can of Reddi-Wip into the pan. Smooth the top out with a spatula and let freeze fully overnight.

When drinks and dessert are ready to be served, simply pick out your favorite cookie cutters and push them into the frozen whip cream. Carefully push the molded whip cream out of the cookie cutter and place onto the treat. Pie with a side of adorable detailing is a fabulous way to end a Thanksgiving feast!

Freeze whip cream and make cut-outs with cookie cutters to top pies!

MC LogoYou don’t need the juggling skills of a big-top performer in order to host a successful holiday gathering. Careful planning, time management and an eye for adding quick and easy ‘homemade’ touches will make your gathering one for the memory books, while still having plenty of time to enjoy the company of your guests. This holiday season, let Marie Callender’s arm you with everything from decorating tips for the home, to pie-serving tricks from the kitchen. We’ll show you our secrets to getting the homemade goodness your guests crave while spending less time in the kitchen and more time with family. To discover more secrets worth savoring, check out Marie Callender’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MarieCallendersMeals?ref=br_tf

Compensation was provided by ConAgra. The opinions and ideas are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of ConAgra. Thanks so mcuh for supporting our sponsors!

(Photography © A Subtle Revelry by Jocelyn Noel).

Posted November 24, 2014 2 Comments
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why don’t we… light candles in cupcake trays

Tea lights in cupcake trays for the party table.

Tea lights in cupcake trays for the party table.

There’s something about this time of year that makes me gravitate towards easy tips and tricks. My good friend Brenda recently shared this idea of putting tea lights in cupcake trays to act as candle holders for the table. Such a simple idea and one I immediately needed to replicate with the holidays knocking at our door. The idea works for birthdays, holidays, or anytime you want to add a little sparkle to the table without a lot of fuss.

It’s been a fun week of sharing some favorite tips and tricks before we jump head first into the holiday season… Thanksgiving is next week! Craziness. Here are a few other quickie ideas to make this year’s parties more festive and fun:

Adorable printable pie labels | Secret Santa with a twist | Umbrella + lights makes a huge statement | Sock wrapped wine | Text printed marshmallows | Apple pie ships | 8 office party hacks | Potatoes in the dishwasher | Paint your pumpkins white next Friday and call them snowmen | And the ultimate bloody merry!

Have a great weekend. xoxo

Posted November 21, 2014 3 Comments
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let’s talk about wrapping and wine

Wine gifts wrapped in tights and socks!

Wine is obviously one of my favorite party elements for the holidays and an awesome gift to give. If done right the present is not only simple to buy, but can be personalized to become a really special gift. We are giving some of our favorite wines this year that match the region of origin for our family, match the year our friends got married, and match the number of years that each of the kid’s teachers have been teaching.

To wrap up our wine gifts I cut off the bottom toes on a few pairs of socks and tights before sliding them up the bottles. Our “wrapped” wine bottles have the look of a gift you’d actually want to receive. They’re also a festive way to showcase a wine bar (or wine tasting) at the next holiday party.

To hear more holiday tips and wine talk… Please join A Side Of Sweet‘s Kelly Egan, and me on Thursday, November 20 from 9 – 10pm ET for the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau #CelebrateBN Twitter Party. The more, the merrier!

Wine bottles wrapped in socks for gifting!

Bring a wine bottle wrapped in sock for easy wrapping.

Wine bottles wrapped in socks

Did you know that every year, under French law, at 12:01 on the third Thursday in November, Beaujolais Nouveau wine is released. Nouveau Day harvest celebrations take place all over France with fireworks, fanfare and festivals, and bottles are uncorked into the wee hours. And they are all covered in socks! (That last statement is not exactly true). This French law might be my favorite law ever created and we’ll be ringing in the new vintage stateside tonight!

The arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau kicks off the holiday season, so on Twitter tonight we will be chatting about how you make merry: traditions, getting into the spirit, what you’re drinking, what you’re eating, what you’re listening to, and what you’ve been counting down to all year! PLUS, we’ll be armed with tips on how to throw a Beaujolais Nouveau or holiday shindig of your own.

We will be giving away away ten $50 gift cards throughout the hour. That’s the spirit! But you must RSVP to the party to be eligible to win. (US residents only).


Date: Thursday, November 20 – Nouveau Day
Party Time (excellent!): 9-10pm ET
Where: #CelebrateBN on Twitter.
Who: @ASubtleRevelry, @ASideOfSweet & @GeorgesDuboeuf
Prizes: Ten $50 gift cards and Georges Duboeuf-branded items be given away throughout the party. Must be a US resident to win.
RSVP: one2onenetwork.com/ready-set-fete-georges-duboeuf-beaujolais-nouveau-celebratebn-twitter-party/

(Photography © A Subtle Revelry by Jocelyn Noel)

Posted November 20, 2014 2 Comments
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3 effortless tips for holiday parties

Festive holiday drinks

I love throwing holiday parties, but always seem to end up rushed this time of year. To allow for my dreams of revelry to come true, I’ve found a few simple tricks for making a holiday gathering come together in a pinch. A simple cocktail, a shared appetizer, and a decorative element that makes a big statement makes having friends over this time of year basically effortless!

Large floating balloons

String garland with extra large balloons for a holiday party!

Float holiday garland with extra large balloons!

To set this effortless holiday table, I started with a party element that is easy to pull together and gives everyone a big WOW. Hanging garland with extra large balloons is a great way to make that happen. Local party stores have these 36-inch balloons in stock (or you can order them here). I love using large balloons for the holidays because they fill a space with festive style quickly and they will stay inflated for a couple weeks – meaning you can buy them for Thanksgiving and still have them floating for Christmas cocktails. Last year, ours even made it until New Years Eve!

Use glad to keep holiday garland separated and fresh looking

1. Perfect Garland Year After Year

I use a lot of garland in our holiday decorating and I found a simple tip to keep it shaped and looking fresh year after year. I wrap the strands in Glad Press n’ Seal before carefully storing them away. The wrap keeps everything from getting tangled and allows my holiday garland to look perfectly shaped year after year.

pipe cleaner holiday garland


To add an extra festive touch to this year’s table decor, I am lining our greenery with a bright-linked garland. To make this garland I used a package of pipe cleaners cut into thirds. Start by making a circle and twisting the ends to secure, then combine another and another to form this festive garland. The bright touch adds so much fun and whimsy and can be used all season long.

Ice cube mimosas

Freeze juice in big ice cube molds and add champagne for festive holiday mimosas!

2. Unexpectedly Whimsical Decor

For our easy-peasy holiday drink, I will be serving mimosas all season long! I grabbed these awesome large circle ice cube holders and froze orange juice and cranberry juice, our favorite mimosa mixings. Once I popped the ice cubes out of the molds, I wrapped each in more of the Glad Press n’ Seal which made them look like big pieces of candy — a really fun element to our holiday cocktail display. Pop an ice cube in a cup and add champagne for a bar that could basically serve itself.

Festive ice cube ornament mimosas

Line any bucket in Glad press and seal for an instant ice bucket! Add tinsel to the ice to make it festive.

3. Silver Lining

I found this deer printed holiday basket in the dollar section and thought it would make an awesome ice bucket. To transform it, I added a layer of Glad Press n’ seal to the inside. It kept the ice contained and the bucket dry – which basically means I can now turn anything imaginable into an ice bucket! Baskets, bowls, vases, boxes – anything can be transformed with this simple holiday party trick! Yeah for a cocktail table that is stylish and effortlessly fun.

This post is brought to you by Glad. Freshness, wrapped up.


Posted November 19, 2014 3 Comments
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