3D bright paper stars

3D bright paper stars

There is something about colorful stars that seem downright magical in the summer – and not just the red, white and blue variety. While prepping for our first party of the season, I knew I wanted to include a small galaxy of festively bright stars.

These 3D paper ones are my absolute favorite! They look amazing hanging as garland (the backdrop to our party). They make sweets shine when bunched together and stuck into a cake. The stars are a great way to give any outdoor space a festive punch of color this season.

3D bright paper stars

3D bright paper stars

3D bright paper stars

3D bright paper stars

3D bright paper stars

To make the 3D bright paper stars; you’ll need bright paper, scissors, a dish, ruler, and a pencil.

Start by making a circle – I found tracing a bowl to be the easiest way to get a perfect circle. We used three different size bowls to make these stars.

Next place a dot on the circle at the top. Measure the circle’s height and divide by two. Then begin measuring out that distance with a straight edge ruler around the circle and placing dots as you go.

For example, if you circle is 8 inches long – then the next dot will be placed 4 inches away from the first. Keep going around the circle, placing the dots as you go. Once all the dots are in place, draw a straight edge line between them, and cut along the line – you’ll now have a six point star.

3D bright paper stars

You only have to do this once! Now you have a star template you can use for tracing and cutting the other stars out. To make the stars 3D, you’ll need to fold in on the low points and fold out on the high points.

Use fishing line and hot glue to make a garland that looks like a bright and festive floating galaxy. Or attach a kitchen skewer to the top and bottom points to use the stars as cake toppers. String onto presents as wrapping details. You can even make a sweet mobile with these beauties.

3D bright paper stars

However the stars are used, they bring a festive punch to any space. From the Fourth of July, through early September I will be using my bright galaxy to make every evening pop with pretty summer color.

(Photography by Jocelyn Noel for A Subtle Revelry)

Posted June 24, 2014 7 Comments
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revelry lately

Tips for gardening with succulents

We made it through our first week of summer break! I am really enjoying life’s slower pace while the kids are home – I love the idea that we are on a summer countdown. I’ve got 14 summers left with my littles and hope to enjoy them well.

I wanted to share a few things I’ve been up to lately. Here are some projects and posts I’ve written elsewhere this month:

Tips for gardening with succulents (photo above).

How to sun bleach paper – this is such a fun summer project to keep the kids busy!

Tips for shooting great still light photography

How to shoot stellar still life photos (photo above).

Six favorite cupcakes from around the world.

Colorful roped vases.

Finish off your cards with paper lace.

8 tips for taking the best Instagram shot you can.

Fabric food toppers – so you can eat summer sweets bug free!

Wedding pop-up esscort cards

Lastly, I made this DIY escort card kit in collaboration with Darby Smart. See the details and purchase the supplies (including an awesome set of stamps) to make your own – right here.

Have a happy summer weekend.

Posted June 20, 2014 2 Comments
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3 refreshing summer float recipes

Pre-frezze ice cream in dixie cups for easy to make summer floats.

With warm days ahead, we have been running to ice cream every chance we can. Although, I love Popsicles – there is something a special about an ice cream float. The extra step it takes to layer the ice cream, with a sweet drink, makes any day feel special.

To make your own day even better with an ice cream float, try out one of our 3 creative float flavors.¬†We’ve been drinking this adult version for some time and have now added these fun flavors to our rotation. They are each amazingly refreshing for summer.

3 favorite summer float recipes

Pre-freeze ice cream for easy to make summer floats

For a fun twist on summer dessert, set out a float bar. Use Dixie cups for smaller serving sizes and be sure to keep a stash of long handled spoons on hand. Fill the cups with the ice cream beforehand and freeze until ready. When freezing the ice cream in the smaller cups, only use 1 scoop of ice cream (pushed to one side) so the soda has the opportunity to get in and around the ice cream.

Bring the ice cream cups out on a tray and let each guest add their own bubbly for a spectacular dessert that will keep everyone cool and happy. The combinations are endless – here are my favorite three.

Strawberry Cream - Ice cream float

1) Sweet strawberry cream!

Mix the best strawberry ice cream you can afford (the kind with bits of real strawberry inside) with a cup of 7-Up, or champagne. The result is sweet, fresh, and reminiscent of my mom’s most prized strawberry cream summer pie.

Mint Chocolate - Ice cream float

2) Mint twist

We are all familiar with the awesomeness of a root beer float. Traditional. Excellent. But not quite as awesome as it is when you add mint to the picture. Combine a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream with root beer for a taste that is even better than you remember.

Orange Creamsicle - Ice Cream Float

3) Orange Creamsicle

What do you get when you mix orange soda with pure, creamy vanilla ice cream? Only the most classic taste of summer! A creamsicle in float form is always a raging success with my crew.

Ice Cream Floats

Our favorite summer floats are just waiting to be enjoyed at your next party or lounge filled dinner outdoors. With the pre-freezing the desserts are a cinch to make, and will have everyone tasting… just one more.

Do you have a favorite float flavor? I am going to keep trying out different combo’s all summer long!

Posted June 19, 2014 6 Comments
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shampoo bottle craft caddies

Shampoo bottle craft caddies

Teaching the kids to craft sustainably is such a fun summer challenge. I love the chance to show them how one thing, like a shampoo bottle, can be completely transformed with just a few simple craft supplies. It’s like magic to a five year old!

The twins helped me craft these caddies for Unilever Project Sunlight and I quickly saw how easy it can be to teach the kids about reusing and recycling. The shampoo bottle caddies are a great project for corralling all the little doo-dads and party leftovers in the play room.

Now every time I go to throw something out, we have a kid-prompted conversation concerning what it could become, and “can we keep that mom?”. My garage may not thank me for this.

Craft caddies made from shampoo bottles

Shampoo bottle craft caddies

Making the shampoo bottle caddies is simple enough that the kids can easily help. To make them you will need a stash of shampoo bottles (or really any type of bottle – lotion, sunscreen etc will work). Save them up throughout the summer. You will also need fun printed fabric and Mod Podge.

Posted June 18, 2014 3 Comments
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blogging class blow-out (last chance)

Upstart blogging class blow-out

After over two years of running our upstart blogging program, and seeing hundreds of readers take the course, we are going to be closing out the course out at the end of this month. It has been a valuable resource and I am so happy to have been able to provide the course (and consultations) over this time.

As I am looking forward to the ways A Subtle Revelry is continuing to grow – managing this course and it’s subsequent consultations are one of the things that has to go.

In case you are waiting to take it, now is the time! See all the info right here.

I will be leaving the course open until June 30th. After this date the course (and the consultations) will no longer be available for purchase.

Thanks for all your support – I am so excited about all the amazing revelries to come!

Posted June 18, 2014 2 Comments
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ice cream sandwich cake

Ice cream sandwich cake

I have come to believe that any treat is always better in cake form. S’more cakes? Yes! Rice Krispies cake? For sure. A donut cake? indeed!

Anything is better when you make it into a cake – that could be my new motto in life.

And ice cream sandwiches are no different. Huge and scrumptious ice cream sandwiches stacked vertically create the best summer birthday cake imaginable. A nostalgic treat made so much better.

ice cream sandwich cake

Ice cream sandwich cake

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

The gooey sweet ice cream is a perfect compliment to a batch of huge, warm, home baked cookies. Make this cake to celebrate any summer day – birthday or not. It is a recipe that will quickly become both a seasonal tradition, and one that is asked for all year long.

How to make huge homemade cookies

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

To make the ice cream sandwich cake you will need;

  • 2-3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/4 cup (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (bittersweet or semi-sweet)

Double the recipe to produce six 6 inch cookies. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars to the butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, stopping the mixer to scrape down the bowl and paddle when necessary.

Add the eggs and vanilla on low speed and mix until just combined, mixing gently and scraping down the bowl as needed until thoroughly blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 1/3 increments, mixing gently and scraping down the bowl as needed until thoroughly blended. Slowly add in the chocolate chips and mix gently until they are evenly distributed.

Place plastic wrap over mouth of bowl and refrigerate cookie dough at least 30 minutes to an hour.

How to make large homemade cookies

Measure out about 415-420 grams of cookie dough onto a kitchen scale. Measuring out each ball of cookie dough ensures that each cookie will be about the same size when baked. Tip: place a piece of plastic wrap on the scale and zero the scale. Then add the cookie dough. Form the dough into a ball using the plastic wrap. You can wrap the dough (and not get your hands dirty!) and place in the fridge until it is time to bake.

Ice Cream Sanwich Cookies

Place two balls of cookie dough on a baking sheet, spacing them on opposite sides of the sheet to give them enough room to spread. Bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back at the 10-minute mark. The cookies will spread and have slightly dark brown edges.

Remove from the oven and after 5 minutes, carefully transfer the cookies onto a wire rack. Let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough. You will end up with 6 large cookies approximately 6-6.25 inches in diameter. Place in a container with wax or parchment paper in between cookies, or wrap them separately in plastic wrap until ready to use.

ice cream sandwich cake

To assemble the ice cream sandwich cake you will need;

  • ice cream, in a few favorite flavors.

For our ice cream sandwich cookie cake, we created 3 layers of ice cream using mint chocolate chip, vanilla bean, and strawberry. We used 4 large cookies but feel free to use all 6 cookies in this recipe to create a taller ice cream sandwich cake. It may be harder to cut through the layers, but it will still look stunning.

For the bottom layer: take container of the first flavor of ice cream and let it sit at room temperature for only a few minutes to soften (but not too much! We learned the hard way). Position a cookie on a sturdy plate (that you can put in the freezer), flat side up; this will serve as your base. Scoop out a few scoops of ice cream and with an offset spatula, quickly spread and smooth out the ice cream almost to the edges of the cookie. The amount of ice cream you put is up to you; our ice cream layers were about 1″ thick. Wrap the layer in plastic wrap and place in freezer to harden, about 4 hours.

Repeat the above steps with the rest of the ice cream layers, building the cake and placing it in the freezer after each ice cream layer is applied. It doesn’t matter which side of the cookie faces up for the middle layers, just make sure the top and final cookie has the flat side facing down. You can fill in the spaces of the ice cream layers using an offset spatula to fill and smooth the edges. After the cake layers have been built, wrap the cake and allow it to set in the freezer overnight.

ice cream sandwich cake

When ready to serve, let the cake sit out for a few minutes at room temperature. Be careful cutting the cake as the cookie layers will be hard; they will soften the longer they are out. Once the cake is softened and cut, be sure to eat quickly – it is ice cream after all!

(Photography by Althena Plichta for A Subtle Revelry. The cookie recipe was slightly adapted from Standard Baking Co. Pastries)

Posted June 17, 2014 9 Comments
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