Vintage Circus Cupcakes

March 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

I am so psyched about how these turned out. They were a ton of work but well worth it! Half the effort was making all the paper designs in Photoshop which could have been avoided by just buying the paper at Michael’s.

Here are the basics:

  • Circus striped cupcake wrapper download the template here
  • To make the clown hats I first printed this harlequin print
  • I found the hat template here and used it to cut out the cones
  • I glued on the gold ric-rac trim, mini white pom poms, and red pom (all from Joanne’s) with craft glue
  • the flag was made with music notes paper and toothpicks (the music notes paper turned out blurry so I’m not going to give it to you!)
  • the little glitter “E” was easy to make, I just drew the E with pencil and went over it with a glue pen, the immediately dusted with glitter

…aaaaand they tasted just as good as they looked. I used the vanilla cupcakes and chocolate buttercream recipes and added some extra fun by filling them with raspberry puree (1 cup of fresh raspberries smashed and whisked with 2 tablespoons baker’s sugar.)

I owe the gorgeous frosting job to my $15 decorator from Target which also came with a special tip for injecting the filling. It’s not at Target anymore but posted here if you want to try to find something similar. The best part is the trigger so you only need one hand to decorate.

My brother in law has a soy allergy so I reserved some of the buttercream before adding the chocolate and mixed it with fresh raspberries and topped it with a berry. I love how pretty it turned out.

If you are into the Vintage Circus party theme, Hostess with the Mostess had a great feature on a circus themed baby shower here.


DIY Gold Chain Statement Necklace

March 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ever since seeing the gorgeous statement necklaces in Confessions of a Shopaholic I’ve been obsessed with them.

I stumbled upon a DIY posting for this super cute one made from two gold belts and some ribbon at the fashionista blog Behind the Seams. Click here to see the full instructions. I know what I’ll be up to this weekend!

Somethin’ Bit Me!

March 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Trying to remember what movie that line was from but that’s what popped into my head when I saw this amazing piece from Over the Top Studios. I’m baking and decorating cupcakes for my adorable nephew’s first birthday and was perusing for inspiration when I came across this vintage Circus display.


Intense details.

This is where I’m drawing most of my inspiration from for the cupcakes- lucky me the site owner is from Seattle and gave me some great pointers on where to buy supplies. Click here to see the full posting. What kind of cupcakes am I making you ask? Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and raspberry puree filling!

Guacamole with Cumin-Chili Chips

March 23, 2010 § 1 Comment

After trying about a million guacamole recipes I found a winner. This stuff tastes EXACTLY like the kind they serve table side at Rosa Mexicana. If you are entertaining- the key is to cut and mash the avocado at the very last minute so it is as fresh as possible. Some recipes tell you to make everything ahead of time and store in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld- not true.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning if desired
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, pitted, peeled, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 3 large flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • salt to taste

To make the guacamole:

  1. Mix together the cilantro, onion, jalapenos, salt and lime juice and muddle with a mortar and pestle or just a spoon handle (you can do this well ahead of time)
  2. Add the avocado and mash into the mixture, making sure to leave nice big chunks of avocado
  3. Stir in the tomato and serve with chips immediately

To make the chips:

  1. Brush tortillas on both sides with olive oil and cut into wedges
  2. Add chips to a large skillet on medium-high heat and season with spices and salt
  3. Cook until golden brown, flipping periodically- remember to turn on the fan as the spices tend to burn!

For a healthier alternative, lightly spray tortillas with olive oil and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

Design Makeover- Laurie and Dave’s Bathroom

March 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Recently my cousin Laurie asked me to help her take on the master bathroom in the fixer-upper house she bought with her husband Dave. I took some pictures and used Photoshop to lay out photos of products I found on the web. I love using Photoshop to design room layouts and decorating schemes- all you need to do is copy and paste the images into the tool, then cut away and background color and ctrl+T to begin resizing to fix the perspective.

Not bad by any means but Laurie and Dave are a young couple and the 90’s theme doesn’t fit them- time for an update!

I like to call this the “potty nook.” My motto is “a place for everything and everything in its place”- and that place is out of sight. I recommended Laurie replace the shelves with a floating cabinet to conceal clutter.

Laurie loves Paris and wanted her bathroom to match the style and colors of a print she had in the room.

Ta-da! Here the what and why:

  • replace the flooring with slate tile and the counter tops with crushed recycled glass
  • sand and stain the cabinets and add updated handles
  • the long mirror made the room look narrow, so I broke up the space by having his and hers framed mirrors with floating shelves below
  • the main elements of the room are dark with the rich blue color of the walls, espresso wood, and the slate tiles- I made a contrast by adding decorative elements in white and glass that really stand out in the room, such as a cascading fall of CB2’s hanging globe candle holders, white vases, and apothecary jars
  • The white medicine cabinet had to go- I was not a fan. I found a floating espresso cabinet to go in between the sinks so both Laurie and Dave can reach it easily and once again clutter is hidden.
  • I am in love with vintage bathroom fixtures so I added the cute faucet I found at

Laurie’s favorite piece was the Eiffel Tower bookends I used on either side of the white towels. The floating cabinet I found at Ikea as part of a TV storage system. The right side of the picture is Laurie’s shower curtain from Crate and Barrel. I can’t wait to see the finished product and post the before/after pics!

St. Patty’s Day Cupcake Outfits

March 15, 2010 § 1 Comment

After seeing blogger Jeanne Benedict’s adorable St. Patty’s Day Cupcakes I had to try some myself. The great thing about it is now I have this handy little pattern to make cupcake wrappers for every occasion! To make the pattern all I did was cut the shape below and trimmed to fit the cupcake. Because of the tapered sides you don’t even need to attach a bottom.

I am so sorry for the horrid picture quality- I took the pics with my Android. When inspiration hits I don’t always have my camera with me!

Leprechaun-style: I used green felt, a small length of black velvet trim, and shiny gold paper to make the buckle

I made the pot-o-gold wrapper out of this really cool black paper I found at Michael’s which had a rough texture that made it look like cast-iron. I next added gold sprinkles and a paper rainbow. If I had it my way I would have sprayed the frosting with edible gold spraypaint and made the rainbow out of a sugar cookie.

The cupcakes had to fit the theme so I found this great recipe for Bailey’s Cupcakes with  Buttercream Frosting. They were not as sweet as I would have liked but my family sure loved them!

Alice in Wonderland Theme Parties and Tea Parties- best on the web

March 11, 2010 § 2 Comments

Earlier this year I posted on my Mad Dinner Party with an Alice in Wonderland Theme which was an unbirthday for my real birthday. Now that the genius Tim Burton has taken the magical story into his own hands everyone seems to be throwing unbirthday parties and Mad Hatter tea parties and royal croquet tournaments. I have compiled my favorite ideas and saved the best for last (seriously it will knock your mismatched socks off)

Cute hand-painted oversized teacup tower makes a big statement- this is something you can make from teacups from the thrift store, some paint and a glue gun. This post came from a kids party featured on Party Wishes complete with a white-roses-painted red bush and a croquet court.

This rose wreath is adorable. Way to stay on theme. This one is from a toddler Alice party on Lark and Lola Idea Blog– even better they have detailed how-to instructions (with pictures!) here.

Classic Sir John Tennian style cupcake toppers from Fancy Flours

“One side will make you grow taller, the other side will make you grow shorter”– The Caterpillar. Mushroom cupcake how-to featured on Cupcake Decorating Ideas.

Seriously? You people and your darn creativity. See the full details on the birdcage bird at The Mama Dreamalogues.

“A” for authenticity!  Alice in Wonderland decorating ideas from Instructables

The Queen of Class Amy Atlas had to join in on the fun. See the full posting here– love it!

Another darling kids’ party featured on Hostess with the Mostess, Japanese lanterns are key.

Ok here’s my all-time favorite and you’ll see why…

I couldn’t just pick one picture so I have a few

This was from a teenager’s coming out party

If this party wasn’t featured on MTV’s “My Super Sweet Sixteen” it should have been!

I don’t even want to know how much this cost but it leaves for fantastic ideas. See the full article at Trendhunter.

And of course we can’t forget the fabulous Miss Gwen Stefani’s take on the tale- so what you waiting for? (skip ahead to 3:30  to bypass the intro)

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