hello summer stargazing party

Summer Stargazing Party

Inspired by the late night sky, I am excitingly planning our first party of the summer – a stargazing party! Dinner outdoors, drinks by the fire, kids running around with metal helmets on, and blankets laid on the grass. Basically my dream party. I’ve been busy printing star guides for everyone to use, and plan to have prizes for the first spotting of some famous, and some not-so-famous constellations.

Stars make for such a simple and bold party on their own. For our party, I plan to pair their graphic simplicity with my usual bright summer inspirations. From invitations to food… I can’t wait to share.

Deck lights

We have a pretty huge yard and I’m thrilled that Pier 1 is partnering with us to gussy it up, just in time for this first summer party. We are keeping the decor fairly monochromatic (so the stars can be the shinning center), with the exception of these bright outdoor party lights. I bought them in mass last week and can’t wait to see how they’ll work with our new chairs and other outdoor goodies.

We’ve already got our play list ready too (an important part of planning any party). Matt and I spent a long time searching for the perfect stargazing songs. I love every one. They make for a great summer party play list, and are equally as nice to listen to in a pickup truck on a summer stargazing date night. You can download it right here…

Here are a few stargazing ideas that have been really inspirational in planning for our party.  

Posted May 21, 2014 3 Comments
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s’mores birthday cake

S'mores Birthday Cake

Bonfire season is here and my aching to make a big batch of s’mores is running very high this week.

I’m obsessed with making s’mores that are really worth the time (like stuffing them with cotton candy or filling s’mores with Reese’s Pieces). But today’s variation might just beat them all. This newest creation takes-the-cake as my favorite way to eat s’mores.

A s’mores cake! Delicious graham cracker crusts layered with marshmallow filling, and a chocolate ganache creates a treat that explodes with sweetness. A cake that will make you wait for summer all year long.

S'mores Birthday Cake

S'mores Birthday Cake

S'mores Birthday Cake

The s’mores cake is layer after layer of chocolate and marshmallow goodness seeping out in every bite, from the moment you cut inside. Just the way this most beloved treat should be enjoyed. Made squared to look like real s’mores, or circled for more of a campfire birthday look – the cake has a fun presentation and an amazing taste. A wonderful finish to any summer night.

S'mores Birthday Cake

Toasted Marshmallows on S'mores Birthday Cake - with a hand torch!

The “toasted marshmallow” look is the finale that makes this cake so special. And you don’t even need a bonfire to create the look. Toast your own marshmallow top by using a small blowtorch to gently brown the tops of the marshmallows. If you don’t have a blowtorch handy, bake marshmallows separately in a hot oven for a few minutes, then place them gently on top to decorate your cake.

S'mores Birthday Cake

To make the s’mores crust cake you’ll need; 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1 box white cake mix, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1-1/2 cups water, 2 egg whites, 4 tablespoons canola oil, 1 package of marshmallows (regular or mini) for decorating.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9-in. cake pans.

In a large bowl, beat graham cracker crumbs, cake mix, sugar, water, egg whites, and oil for 2 minutes. Divide and pour the batter into two cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for a few minutes. Remove cakes from pans and allow to cool completely on wire rack.

While the cakes cool, make the chocolate ganache frosting using; 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, 2 teaspoons light corn syrup, and 12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped.  

Posted May 20, 2014 11 Comments
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let’s host an american flag party

This time of year I’m starting to see flags popping up everywhere! Memorial Day is just a couple weeks away. Wouldn’t it be fun to host an American Flag party? The idea is simple, bold and an easy one to pull off for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July… really any summer BBQ. I did a little pre-party research and came up with so many amazing flag themed projects. The Internet is the best! Here are my favorites:

Flag Party Straws

Printable Flag Water Color Straws. Flags on a straw! Awesome for a sweet iced tea, lemonade, and making any drink a little more festive and fun. The tutorial includes a free printable template to use – no flag drawing experience required.

Blueberry-Pie

Flag Inspired Blueberry Pie. This pie looks absolutely scrumptious! It will set your flag theme into full blown party mode. The fruit popping through definitely has me in the mood for some fresh blueberry pie.

American Flag Cake

American Flag Cake. WOW! I absolutely adore this patriotic sweet treat. Learn how to create this amazing cake, which is a lot easier then you would think. Each bite includes white, red and blue velvet cake. So yum!  

Posted May 15, 2014 Comments Off
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outdoor balloon stakes

Summer Party Balloon Stakes

There’s not much that beats a bunch of balloons on a stick (except maybe ice cream on a stick!) These balloon stakes are so much fun and a perfect introduction to any party this summer. They stick right into the ground, so showing guests the way up to your door is a cinch.

I placed a couple stakes around the yard while we hosted a birthday party recently and they instantly livened up the space. The massively stacked balloons made the birthday girl feel extra special.

Balloon Stakes

Balloon Stakes in the Garden

Outdoor balloon stakes

The best part about these outdoor balloon stakes is that they don’t use any helium! No helium makes any balloon project so much easier. It means no last minute run to the party store and you can literally make hundreds of them for ten or twenty dollars. Check out my step-by-step instructions for creating your own balloon stakes right here.

Just ignore the weeds in my yard. They are so long that they’ve moved from annoying to magical – especially when staked with balloons.

(Photography by Joceyln Noel for A Subtle Revelry)

Posted May 14, 2014 4 Comments
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paper folded light strands

Paper Folded Light Strands

We spent the majority of our vacation last week outside (specifically at the Beach and at Disney). It was a trip that left me dreaming of summer and long nights out on the deck… under lights. I always try to gussy up our porch this time of year and these folded paper light covers are a great way to do it affordably. They’re festive and fun for a party and the kind of strand I could see leaving up all season long.

Paper Folded Light Strands

Paper Folded Light Strands

Paper Folded Light Strands

The folded paper lights are bursting with color for summer. They can be resized to fit any bulb strand (I suggest an LED strand for safety). Can you imagine inviting friends over for early evening cocktails under these pretty colors? Summer bliss! The simple paper folds easily stand in for new/updated lights outdoors, or in. I am excited to hang a couple strands in the kitchen to brighten up a bland corner of the house.

To make the paper folded light strands you’ll need colorful scrapbook paper, scissors, and a bit of glue.  

Posted May 13, 2014 6 Comments
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farmers market inspired fruit cakes

Fruit Cakes

Farmer’s market inspired sweets are great fun to serve at brunch this season. Nothing says treat like the bright reds and oranges of my favorite fruits. And these ones are even better than the normal market stash… Because they are birthday party cakes!

Fruit Cakes

Fruit Cakes

Fruit Cakes

I love these individual fruity cakes for brunches and showers. Really for any reason to celebrate this summer. Such a sweet way to say – happy anything and welcome in a season of fruit picking, sun drenched parties. I can’t wait to serve these and watch the kid’s faces as they realize what looks like a watermelon is actually their favorite cake flavor! A birthday party surprise that will not be soon forgotten.

Fruit Cakes

To make the fruit cakes you’ll need: 1 box cake mix (we used french vanilla) or your favorite cake recipe, 2 cans of white frosting (14-16oz), food coloring (standard box of food coloring — red, orange, green, blue, as well as black, and pastel yellow if making lemon). A 12×17 sheet pan, parchment paper, wax paper for templates (parchment paper is ok too), small ziploc bags, knife, ramekins/small bowls and plastic spoons to mix food coloring and frosting.

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (follow these instructions for fitting parchment into a pan). Grease and lightly flour the pan. Make cake batter according to recipe instructions and pour the batter into pan, evenly distributing it. Bake in oven for 17-20 minutes, keeping an eye on the cake. Remove and let cool.

Fruit Cakes

Prepare your fruit templates by printing out the template sheet to create these simple fruit shapes. Cut out the fruit shapes. Also cut pieces of wax (or parchment) paper slightly bigger than each fruit shape. Lay a template over wax paper and cut out the shape of the fruit. Repeat with other fruit shapes.

Fruit Cakes

Start in a corner of the cooled cake. Lay the wax paper template over the cake and use it as a guide. Take a knife and gently slice around the outline to create the fruit shape. Remove wax paper template and use again, or discard. Repeat with the other shapes. On a 12×17 pan we fit 2 strawberries, 3 lemons, 2 watermelon slices, and 3 orange slices. With an offset spatula, gently lift each mini cake from the pan and place on another piece of parchment to frost.   

Posted May 08, 2014 2 Comments
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