Thursday, May 28, 2015

May party place cards

The place cards I threw together for this party don't really need a tutorial as they were so simple. But I quite liked the look of them and in fact think they'd look pretty cute on top of a cake as well, or marching down the middle of a table spelling out a message, or as signs for food on a buffet table.
I used a pretty light weight wire and wrapped it several times around a large marker to create the round paperclip part at top, then bent it down and wrapped it around the middle of the animal and sort of tied it off to itself to keep it fixed. I didn't have to use and glue or pliers, it was easy enough to do with my hands and just a wire cutter the cut it off at the end. Like I said, simple and of course encouraging for my small animal collecting habit.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May party favors

I found these little shaped boxes at the craft store and immediately knew what  I wanted to do for favors. I just loved the idea of a teeny tiny pinata box and I figured it would be such an easy thing and a great place to stash a special truffle or something as a favor while also tying into my (mostly color themed) party table easily. Sometimes a new or different material will spark an idea. 
The favor boxes looked pretty cute added to the table in their ombre color pallet, and I imagine they could hold a variety of other things as well. Jewelry perhaps, a charm that tied in, though I always default to something edible because, well, I really like sweets and candy, especially when packaged up all cute.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A May celebration

I was thinking about celebrations and congratulations so for this months party I thought I would do something that could possibly work for a graduation, but still was flexible enough to work for some other event. 
I started with the pink and red crepe paper backdrop which I cut with fringe scissors and taped to the wall. I cut the letters out of card stock and hung them with thread on top.
The place settings were a mix of some basic white dinner plates and these scallop edged floral bowls my mother found for me at a thrift store, a mix of glasses and gold flatware. I made the place cards by  wrapping wire around a herd of black and white animals I had from another project, and cutting down some card stock into triangles.

I covered the table with a roll of brown butcher paper and then topped it off with an odd piece of black and white patterned fabric I had in my stash. Down the middle of the table I lined up some tall brass candlesticks I found at Goodwill, along with some shorter votives from a yard sale.
Since I used mostly things that I already had again the budget was pretty reasonable but here's how it shook out.

candlesticks...............................................2.50 each
favor boxes...............................................3.00

And I'll be back with some details about the favors (not shown here) and the name tags next.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

creme brulee (first try)

I have loved creme brulee forever. When  I was in Paris I had some every day. I never really considered it as something I could make myself because I figured it was complicated and also the use of fire was intimidating. But I don't think intimidation should keep me from one of my favorite desserts, so I have decided to give it a shot.
This was my first attempt, just a basic vanilla custard, and I learned a lot from the experiment. The custard seemed to fall a bit on baking so next time I will fill the ramekins up to the very top and not worry about overflowing. I plan to try some more experimental flavors, like coconut, persimmon, maybe even lavender and it's very exciting that this is something to be made ahead of time and then brought out to be finished when it's time for dessert. Super convenient.
 Also that moment of cracking the burnt sugar crust is even more satisfying if you made it yourself.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

all of the cacti ever

One of the places my mom and I checked out when in Palm Springs was the Morton botanical gardens. I had heard them mentioned a few times before and on Sunday we decided to check it out. It's a small botanical garden but a really wondrous array of succulents. There were a bunch of paths running through the larger ones outdoors, and then a spectacular greenhouse full of more crazy looking cacti than I've ever seen before as well as a nursery area if you wanted to bring some of the different varieties home with you. I would totally recommend seeking out this spot, though I do think it would have been even more enjoyable if we had not gone on the hottest day of our visit.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Houses of Palm Springs

On Saturday my mom and I rented bikes (from this place and they were awesome) and did a bit of a self guided tour of Palm Springs neighborhoods. We said we were looking for some pretty houses were pointed in the right direction by the guys at the shop. We got our bikes at about 9 in the morning and rode for a few hours until it was too hot and we were too tired to continue and so we called it and got lunch. These were just a few of my favorite places I saw, as you can see, I have a thing for doors, gates and hedges!

The above door was my favorite (how could it not be it looks like a pink chocolate bar!) and I was so so excited to find it. So the moral of the story is, if you are visiting Palm Springs, I highly suggest biking as a way to see a bunch more of the area, and some of the beautiful midcentury design that it's known for. As you can see below, I very much enjoyed myself.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Palm Springs

I just got back from a long weekend in Palm Springs. I've never been there before but always heard great things and from the pictures it looked like such a beautiful place I have had it on my to-visit list for a while. My mom and I made a deal when I was seven, that we would meet for a trip the year I turned 30, so when we finally sat down to figure out where to go this past January, and both wanted to go somewhere warm with water and things and pretty shops and maybe a pool and some tropical drinks, we ended up deciding on Palm Springs.
We drove down from the bay area, and while it wasn't a short drive, it was very beautiful winding through the desert We saw a bunch of spectacular clouds and even got rained on. Twice!
The place we ended up staying at was found on Airbnb. It was a little condo on the edge of town. The neighborhood was quiet, it had a pool and bocce ball and a small kitchen and a big private patio out back. As Palm Springs isn't that big we actually found it very nice to be on the edge, since it was so easy to walk to the main street and anywhere we would like to go, and then retreat back to our little oasis when we wanted to hang by the pool.

The whole place was very color coordinated, everything was orange or hot pink and there was lots of mirrored furniture pieces. It made for a fun home for our vacation.

There was a lot of wandering around during our stay, checking out houses and poking around it shops. I found that most of the pictures I took were of succulents or doors. The light was just so nice that everything ended up looking pretty great.
We ate at several pretty delicious spots but we went to Cheeky's Sunday for a mother's day breakfast and that was by far the best meal of the whole trip. The fresh juices were perfect ( and I loved the little individual beakers they were served in) and in addition to the excellent pulled pork hash with avocado I also got a bacon flight (!!!!) for us to taste which was amazing.

(there was tons and tons of bougainvillea covering every wall and climbing most of the fences. I have never seen it in so many different shades of pink and purple. I have about a hundred similar pictures because I just loved every bit of it)

We also visited a few of the hotels, even though we weren't staying in any of them, the design was fantastic. The Parker in particular had the most amazing mix of furniture and some very lovely grounds to wander. I loved the little couches and hammocks tucked into nooks along the paths. It really added to the luxurious and relaxed feel of the place.

As I said all the food we had was pretty excellent, but I do feel like I should mention Great Shakes (I wanted to try every single milkshake on their menu and their five star yelp review is totally warranted) and Birba (right next door to Cheekys) where we got a super tasty dinner our last night in town. In fact the meal was so good (and the cocktails, I had something with grapefruit and bitters and st Germain and it was wonderfully refreshing) that I didn't take any pictures. I was too busy scarfing it all down! So I will just have to make due with this picture of the nifty marquee light "B" that they had outside.
Since there are so many of them I am still editing down all the photos of houses that I took on our bike tour so I will try to have those pulled together by tomorrow.