felt watermelon cake toppers

Felt watermelon cake toppers

In the middle of summer, I eat a diet filled with watermelon. The fruit is so wonderfully refreshing and an icon of the fabulous, laid back days of summer. If you don’t want to go all out and make an actual watermelon cake, or a cake that looks like a watermelon, then these toppers are a simple way to bring the bright tasty fruit into your celebration this season. Or you can use all three ideas, add a pitcher of watermelon soda, and throw an entire watermelon themed party! Summer done right.

Felt watermelon cake toppers

Felt watermelon cake toppers

To make the watermelon cake toppers; you’ll need pink, black and green felt.

Start by cutting a circle out of the pink felt. Cut small triangles from the black. Then cut a hallowed out circle for the green rim of each watermelon.

Fold the watermelons in half (this allows the cake to look great from any direction) and glue the two sides together with a skewer inside. Gently glue the small triangle seeds onto each watermelon.

Felt watermelon cake toppers

Align the watermelons around the cake for a bright and festive summer treat.

(Photography and project design by Claire Cassidy for A Subtle Revelry)

Posted July 21, 2014 4 Comments
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why don’t we – wear our jewels everyday

Let's wear a fancy necklace

We’ve spent the week in Las Vegas under a very hot summer sun. Most of the time was spent in bathing suits and tank tops – but I did get dressed for one excursion to my favorite store to buy a new set of jewels.

When the sun is blazing not many of us are willing to layer and structure accessories for a party. Who wants to mess with that when its 100 degrees outside? Instead I just throw on the biggest necklace I have. I love how quickly a gorgeous set of jewels instantly changes the look of anything I’m wearing.

I’m sold on the style, and plan to dust of my jewels for daily wearing when I get home. Since I don’t have an unlimited budget – making a few more necklaces will be perfect! While I spend the rest of the weekend sweating and enjoying my new jewels, here are some favorite DIY party necklaces that you could make in an afternoon:

A minimalist necklace made with a plumbing elbow – pipes never looked so pretty:)

Chevron and Ombre out of clay

Layered collar necklace

A clay beaded necklace in the prettiest summer shades.

A southwest inspired necklace made with Popsicle sticks

Felt gems charms that look amazing large or small.

Stone roped necklace

Painted wooden bead necklace

Utility ropes made into gorgeous necklace strands

(Top photo by Classy Girls Wear Pearls.)

Posted July 18, 2014 0 Comments
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plastic animal stir sticks

Pony run stir sticks

Cups filled with ice and yummy drinks are a staple this time of year. To gussy ours up, I added swizzle sticks and ponies! The playful summer combo is quite refreshing.

The animal stir sticks are great for parties; a cowboy cookout, a western bonfire, or an afternoon princess party. The pony sticks adapt easy and can be reimagined with any plastic animal you can find. They’re equally as rad to cheer up a long summer Wednesday at home.

It’s the little revelries that make everyday feel special.

Pony run stir sticks

Pony toy stir sticks

Create your own pony run swizzle sticks with just a few simple materials. Read on here for the full tutorial and learn my sneaky way to make the paint kid and drink friendly.

Posted July 17, 2014 4 Comments
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lively work balance

Everyone of us hits a space in life where things seem tipsy, a little chaotic, and euphoric all at the same time. It’s moments like these that I’ve most often found something amazing about to happen.

Writing a post on my work/life balance almost makes me laugh out loud, which is why I decided to title this post something different. Because at the end of the day, work and life are not two opposing ends that I am hoping to balance.

My life is work and work is my life.

Some of that work happens behind a computer. Some of it happens running around town on a photo shoot. Some of it happens while bathing my kids, and cooking their dinners. Some of it happens while helping a friend.

It is all work. It is all life.

I don’t think when we look back on our life one day we will have that clear delineation I often aim for. This was my work… that was my life 50/50. No. We will look back at the entirety of our life, every day, every moment being what we are actually living. Our Life. And we can not do it alone.

When you think about it that way… all the lines of stay-at-home, work-from-home seem to fade away. We are all working, and breaking for lunch, and living, around the clock – it is life.

I learned a long time ago after starting a new business from home the whole work ends/life begins ideal would not work for me. Because, inevitably a child will become ill on a work day, or a book deadline will have to be attended to in my evening hours at home. I’ve decided to stop fighting it and to simply embrace what I am calling my lively work balance.

It’s the balance Matt and I dance around to daily.

It’s all work. It’s all life.


I was writing the ackowledgements for my book a few months ago and realizing how many people actually help me day in and day out. I am grateful for the ways my husband, family, friends and neighbors have jumped in so many times when I’ve needed help with whatever I was doing.

When all of life is work – then everyone becomes my co-worker.  

Posted July 16, 2014 2 Comments
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how to take bright photos – anywhere

How to take the best travel photos

Having photos to remember trips by is one of my favorite things about traveling. I like to think of them as mini souvenirs we collect along the way. Whether I am snapping shots of the kids in Las Vegas this week, or getting the perfect angle on photo shoot location back home – I’ve learned a great tip along the way for taking bright and festive shots when not I’m not in the studio.

Use your camera's snow setting year around to take the best travel photos.

To make travel photos bright and clean, I use the snow setting on my camera (or phone).

Haven’t we waited months for the opposite of snow you ask? Well yes. But the “snow” setting on my camera is going to give me brighter photos all around. It’s designed to make the whites brighter, it’s naturally going to give the shot a great balance of light achieveing that perfect bright look – no matter how strong the sun is shinning.

I’ve shared this and 8 other traveling photo tips right here, if you’d like to see.

(Top photo by A Beautiful Mess, bottom photo via Classy Girl Wears Pants)

Posted July 15, 2014 5 Comments
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how to cook (and eat) a lobster

How to cook and eat a lobster

Now that we are in the thick of summer. I’ve been thinking about a few things I really want to be sure we make happen. Eating lobster at home is one of them!

Hosting a lobster boil with friends around the table and drinks in hand will make for such a great evening that everyone will remember no matter how far I may live from the beach. Have you ever boiled lobster before? Would you be willing to? I’ve heard they scream – eeek! I can’t wait to try it.

I’m so pleased that Morgan sent over these instructions from her own lobster boil to help me out. Just follow the PDF below for eating your own lobster like a pro. And our no fail recipe will have you easily cooking lobster meat to perfection.

How to eat a lobster

How to eat a lobster

Click here to download the PDF for lobster eating reference and print a stash of them out to set on your guest’s lobster boil plates.

How to eat a lobster

How to perfectly boil a lobster:

You will need one large stock pot for every 2 lobsters. For our party, I plan to invite guests to bring their own stockpots – since the dinner is really more of an experience.

Fill the pots with water 3/4 of the way up and add 1/2 cup of sea salt. Bring to a heavy boil. Cool tip – if you live by the ocean you can collect and use ocean water instead of salting your own water for a better tasting broth. You can also add in seafood seasoning at this stage, or even pieces of seaweed for a tasty ocean broth.

Next place the lobsters in the pots. Keep the rubber bands on the pinchers and lift the lobsters with a firm grip, on a pair of metal tongs from the backside. Put the lobsters in the pan head first and cover quickly.

Wait until the water is back to a full boil and turn down to medium high. Cook the lobsters 8 minutes per pound (to get correct cooking times, only take the poundage of one of the lobsters in your pan). So 2 – 2 pound lobsters will boil for 16 minutes.

Once the lobsters are done boiling, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

Captin Jack's lobster boil drink

The girls at Commerce Street Events also came up with an awesome drink to host at the bar that goes perfectly with lobster, that I will totally be stealing it for our summer lobster boil. It’s being called the “Captain Jackson Cocktail” – so fun.

Make it by mixing 2 mashed strawberries, 4 mashed blueberries, 1/4 cup strawberry lemonade and 1 shot of gin. Shake over ice, strain and serve with a lemon wedge.

Lobster boil

Lobster boil

To set out a great lobster boil table, give guests all the tools they need to eat the lobster at each place setting, a knife, fork, small bowl for the shells, a nutcracker and a small mallet for opening the lobster’s body. Small jars of seafood seasoning is a sweet way to say goodbye and to inspire your guests to try out their own new summer tradition.

(Event Styling, Photography and Paper Products by Commerce Street Events for A Subtle Revelry, linen by La Tavola Fine Linen, tableware by Corzines).

Posted July 14, 2014 4 Comments
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