Thursday, June 30, 2011

{Inspiration Board} 4th of July BBQ

The Husband and I are hitting the road again this weekend to take the partying to more family...this time in the Philadelphia, PA area!  Here’s a little sneak peak of the inspiration for our Independence Day Celebration:
Sources: (top left to bottom right)
    Braided Garland - Hank and Hunt
    Chips & Salsa - Hungry Happenings
    Paper Tube Rockets - Smilemonsters
    Rag banner - Second Chances by Susan
    Hanging Stars - via Wedding Bee Boards
    Cupcakes - Taste of Home
    Crepe Paper Runner - Good Housekeeping
    Crayon Luminaries - Aunt Peaches
    Crepe Paper Flag - via Rock a Bye Baby Music
You can find even more inspiration for your July 4th over at my Patriotic Pin Board!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

{Roundup} July 4th Printables

What can I say?  I know I love this country, and it seems like a lot of others do too!  There have been so many floating around that I had to separate them into two boards!  (In no way is this the definitive list of free Independence Day printables available to help in your July 4th celebration; but it’s a pretty good start!)

 Sources: (top left to bottom right)
    God Bless over Sheet Music - Agape Designs
    Land of the Free - Sugar Tot Designs via I Heart Naptime
    Bingo Cards - Makoodle
    Bunting Printable - Landee See, Landee Do
    50 Stars 13 Stripes - Madigan Made
    Striped Bag Topper - It Is What It Is
    Stars Party Printables - Paperbox Press Parties via Kara’s Party Ideas (only a portion shown)
    Let Freedom Ring Toppers - Lovely Paper Blog
    Home of the Brave and Land of the Free - Tattered and Inked

Sources: (Top left to bottom right)
    Home of the Free Because of the Brave - A Little Crafting
    Subway Art - Bits of Everything
    Framed Subway Art - Today’s Fabulous Finds
    America Rocks - Ladybird Ln
    Declaration of Independence - Random Crafty Georgia Girl
    Subway Art with Flag - All Things Fabulous
    Let Freedom Ring - Kiki Creates
    Of Thee I Sing - Taidye Original
    Red Background Subway Art - Junk In Their Trunk (two versions available)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Death by Chocolate

About twenty years ago, Marcel Desaulniers at the Trellis restaurant in Williamsburg, VA created a new chocolate dessert that took everyone by storm.  It was and is the ultimate chocolate cake; basically combining every single chocolate dessert into one incredibly rich and decadent cake.  It takes no less than two days to make, and requires over three pounds of chocolate and was dubbed Death by Chocolate.

This was the dessert that I conquered for my husband's Birthday and Father's Day Crab Feast.  To give you some background information, the Husband has raved about this cake to me since we first met.  His mother is a very adventurous cook and one summer the family made a three day adventure of making this dessert.  When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday this year his instructions were "either something chocolate or something strawberry or a combination of the two".  My first instinct was this cake.

It took me three days to make.  Of the six different recipes it takes to make the seven layers in the cake, I had to re-make no less than three (so incredibly frustrating!).

Here's a rundown of the layers:
1) Brownie
2) Ganache
3) Cocoa Meringue
4) Mocha Mousse
5) Brownie
6) More Ganache
7) Chocolate Mousse

It is served over a pool of mocha rum sauce.  Each layer is so tasty, but the meringue actually adds a nice bite to the cake.  I had every intention of documenting the process with my camera as I got started...but reality set in too quickly and I didn't get any photos after the first layer.  Someday I will remake this monster of a cake, but until then you can find the recipe here.  Hopefully then I can actually make all six recipes only once and get the ganache a bit smoother!

This post is linked up to the parties at the bottom of my page, including:
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Friday, June 24, 2011

{Guest Post} Amazing Cupcake Star from JC's Loft

Continuing with guest posts for now; Paula's joining me today from JC's Loft.  If you haven't been over to her blog, you should definitely go check it out.  She's full of crafty ideas that have inspired tons of people (me included!) .  I'm so happy to have her share with us an adorably crafty cupcake display that's perfect for your July 4th celebration!

Hi guys my name is Paula and I am visiting from JC's Loft.  You can usually find me blogging about DIY projects, home decor, crafts, party planning, baking, etc...Today Leslie has asked me to bring some 4th of July inspiration over to Pampers Playdates & Parties.
I made this "Star Shaped Cupcake Stand" for my son's birthday party that you can see here.  I think this would be an absolutely perfect addition to your 4th of July dessert table.  Following is a tutorial on how I made this cutie...enjoy!
-Large 2" inch thick of brick green floral foam (you can use white)
-Enlarged copy of image you want to make
-Plastic tablecloth (color that matches your icing)
-2" thick ribbon
-Dowel Rod
-Base...such as a wrapped piece of floral foam or a container with foam inside
 I like to place my image on top of the floral foam and use a knife to "trace" the image into the foam.  Then remove paper and cut image out of foam.
 Now you should be left with your image in floral foam.  Doesn't matter if it's not perfect...the cupcakes will hide it!
 Foam breaks really easily so don't fret if you break it.  See I did it while making my star.  Just take a metal u-shaped floral pin and pin it back together.
 Next cut out your shape from a plastic table cloth about 2 times the size.
Pin the plastic to the sides of your shape with the u-shaped floral pins.
This is what it should look like when you are finished.
Now take your ribbon and start pinning it around the sides of your shape (I like to use pearl headed pins).
This is what it looks like when finished.
Now take your cooled MINI cupcakes and starting placing them on your shape.  
Take one toothpick and pierce the top of the cupcake and push it all the way until you can feel it went through the foam.  
The tip of the toothpick will biggie.  We'll cover it with icing here in a bit!  I put two toothpicks in the cupcakes near the bottom since they would be "holding" some of the weight from the ones on top.
I usually color my own icing, but when I saw this blue icing in a can with 4 different shaped tips I grabbed it and ran! 
And it worked like a charm with NO MESS!
Ok now here's the tricky need to stick your dowel rod at the correct angle into your base and CAREFULLY push the back of your shape onto the dowel rod.  I would suggest waiting until right before the party to do this part because it makes transporting it easier!
Here is the finished product on my dessert table...
Side view...
You can see other shapes I've done here, here, and here

Thanks again to Leslie for having me.  Hope I inspired you and got your mind thinking red, white and blue!

Thanks, Paula, for sharing that fantastic tutorial!  Everybody else...head on over to JC's Loft to see ideas like this and so much more!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

{Guest Post} July 4th Tablescape by Swanky::Chic::Fete

I'm taking a short break from posts right now to spend time with the Husband in the wake of renovations and parties.  In the mean time, I've scheduled a few guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers.  I'm so thrilled to share my first guest post from Lili of Swanky::Chic::Fete.  Her blog is filled with gorgeous inspiration and real parties...and she's sharing some of her fantastic photography and inspiration with us here today!  Keep reading for a gorgeous July 4th tablescape that would be easy for anyone to replicate!

the summer heat is on and unfortunately for us here in texas, it's worse than ever. the humidity is so bad that fourth of july celebration usually ends up inside the house instead of out in the patio!

for this guest blogpost, i am thrilled to be here as a guest blogger for pampers, playdates and parties as i'm sharing a simple red, white and blue tablescape perfect for your July fourth party. i started with a white tablecloth and then topped with a red, white and blue madras paper liner and the star of our table is a blue-tinged phalaenopsis orchid that my sweet mom picked up from the grocery! it is a lovely and perfect centerpiece for this table!

a duo of pinwheels accents a napkin matching the madras liner and a red tin can as napkin holder ~ it gives a casual fun look for the table setting!

thank you leslie for having me, i'm having a blast here!

Thanks so much Lili for guest posting for me today!  Don't forget to head over to Swanky::Chic::Fete to check out all of Lili's great ideas!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

{Etsy Finds} Independence Day Fun

I can't believe how soon July is going to be here...and with that comes fun Independence Day celebrations!  I went searching on Etsy for some fun finds to add to a little barbecue we'll be having and I was overwhelmed with all the amazing crafts.

Sources (Top left to bottom right)
    Lady Bug & Whale Invites - Cuties Tie Dye Boutique
    Baloon Die Cuts - PG Treasures
    Sandwich Cookie Crayons - Red Elm Designs
    Paper Straws - Isa Kay Boutique
    Flag Cupcake Toppers - Mimi Cafe Union 
    Bloomers - Jirah26
    Wafer Papers - Queen of Tarts
    Block Letters - Craft Junkie 28
    US Shaped Flag Cookies - JDuCour
    Lady Liberty Cookies - Sweet Ambs

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

{Real Parties} Birthday and Father's Day Crab Feast

Whew!  It’s been a real whirlwind over the last week or so!  Between work, renovating our mudroom, putting together the Husband’s birthday and Father’s Day party and hosting my brother-in-law and his wife; I’ve been a busy bee!  At least I’m able to share with you some pretty pictures from the party this weekend!

I know I posted an Inspiration Board for this event, but this party truly grew organically.  In reality, I just tried to rack my brain for ways to make pretty table that can handle all the beating and muck that comes with a crab feast.

The Menu:
Cruditee with Hummus & Old Bay
Crab Chips
Steamed Crabs (of course!)
Steamed Shrimp
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Summer Slaw
Cake: Death by Chocolate (More to come on that later!)

As far as decor goes, I wanted to give a nod to the nautical aspects of crabbing, without going overboard.  The Husband’s design style is ultra-modern/contemporary so I knew that using a lot of vintage nautical touches would not represent him well.

The first challenge that came to mind was the table covering.  Usually we just cover the table with newspaper or trash bags...but of course I couldn’t do that!  That’s when I came up with the idea for the book-page tablecloth. (Full tutorial coming soon!)

I first saw placemats oriented this way on the Purple Pug...and I still love it!
After finding the melamine plates from Target and remembering the peach/orange lanterns I already had on hand, I had my color scheme.   I added some netting, braided rope and succulents to keep the decor simple and (mostly) masculine.

Linking up to the parties at the bottom of the page, including:

Join  us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap 
 up           party!Visit

Friday, June 17, 2011

{Inspiration Board} Crab Feast

I mentioned earlier this week that the Husband's birthday is always around Father's Day.  In fact, he and his brother have the same exact birthday...and it's so close to Father's Day that my Father-in-law always refers to their birthday as the actual Father's Day.  On top of all this, the Husband's grandmother's birthday was earlier this month, but she was out of town at the time - which means we have a lot of celebrating to do this weekend!  

One of the Husbands favorite things to do is to pick crabs, and with a birthday right in the middle of crab season, having a crab feast was a given.  Here's a little bit of inspiration to give you a peak at how we'll be celebrating:

Sources (Top left to bottom right)
    Thatched Book Page Wall - Aunt Peaches
    Crab Picking Party - Sarge Charlie
    Crab Pot Chandelier - LoomRugs
    Crabs in Bushel - Sarge Charlie
    Driftwood Garland - BHLDN
    Rustic Garlands - Whipperberry
    Chocolate & Cream - Via Pam’s Midwest Kitchen
    Succulents - Up in the Tree

Thursday, June 16, 2011

{Inspiration Board} Father's Day

How do you celebrate Father's Day?  Do you cook something special, throw a big bash or just stay in with family?  No matter what you do, here is some classic inspiration for a fantastic Father's Day:

Sources: (Top Left to Bottom Right)
    Faux Fast Food Basket - Bakerella
    Baseball Bouquet - Event Lucky
    Shirt & Tie Cake Pop - The Cake Pop Shoppe
    BBQ Set -
    Beer Mugs - The Hip Hostess
    Golf Cookies - Pinzy4
    Beer Mug Cake Pop - The Cake Pop Shoppe
    King of the Grill Platter - The Perfect Touch Blog
    Tool & Beer Mug Cookies - Sweet and Sassy Goods

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

{Roundup} Father's Day Printables

It's that time again...time to share just some of the dozens of free printable files I've found around the blogosphere for Father's Day!  I wish I could share all the amazing printables, but there are only so many hours in a day, and so much space in a post.  If you have a printable you'd also like to share, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog post!

     Sources (Top Left to Bottom Right):
Father’s Day Room Service - 733 Blog 
I’m so glad - Holiday Snob 
Pops Soda Labels - Delightfully Noted 
Who needs a Superhero - A Mama’s 2 Cents 
Red White & Blue Subway Art - Homespun with Love 
Subway Art - Today’s Fabulous Finds  
Love You to Pieces - Nothing But Country 
iDad Candy Wrapper - Nothing But Country 
Tie Candy Bar Wrapper - The Idea Room 
Superhero Printables - Home Confetti 
Origami Shirt Cupcake Toppers - Bird’s Party Blog   

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

{Trend Spotting} Little Man Parties!

This week is all about men!  Well, either Dads in general or just my Husband.  The months of June and July are always incredibly busy for us.  The Husband and his brother both have their birthday this time of year.  The Husband's Grandmother also has a birthday in June.  In all, I have no less than ten family birthdays in the months of June and July!  

So to celebrate the men in our lives, I thought it would be fun to share some of the “Little Man” parties that have been so popular lately.  Filled with lots of bowties, mustaches and neckties - this is an adorable party theme that works for a man of any age.

The best thing about these parties is that everything is so adorable in miniature.  Top your cupcakes with miniature neckties or mustaches; make mustache lollipops; make photo booth props or even cute little drink stirrers like these!
Image via JL Designs
My favorite way to see this theme carried out is with the browns, oranges and powder blues reminiscent of the 1970s.  Pair this with short sleeve button down shirts and a plaid pattern and you’ll feel instantly taken back in time!
Image via PaperCrave
Apparently I’m not the only one who has had this thought, because Natalie of Shindig Parties, put together a sweet Father’s Day Tie-riffic party, featured on Kara’s Party Ideas!
Image via Kara’s Party Ideas
There are far too many photos to share in just one blog post, so head on over to my Pinterest board for more inspiration on this theme!