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holiday | Happy Halloween 2011

Monday, October 31


Love these little ghost cookies the kids made for our Annual Operation Phantom Pumpkin?
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My three girls and two of my cousins spent their day off of school last Monday...baking!
And helping to prepare the Phantom Pumpkin treats we'd be delivering to neighbors and family...
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Kalie, my 15 year old cousin, frosted most all of the cookies.
 Then between her, Ema and Beau, (my 12 year old cousin),
they added the little black eyes to create little ghosts.
ghost cookies3756wm

We waited until it was dark and then it was time...
The usual dark shirts, black under our eyes, treats and signs printed & ready to go.

We decided to wrap all of our treats (cookies & candy) in tissue paper rolls this year. *wink*
The girls did a GREAT job wrapping them and tying them off with curly ribbon.

It's an annual tradition we all look forward to every year...
I just can't believe it's been over 15 years I've been doing this!
I don't even feel 15.
(most days anyway) *wink*
It's nuts!!

Thanks Kalie & Beau for the extra help this year!!

Be safe everyone and have fun!!

Aside from preparing the paper printables and making the frosting...
the kids really did everything else. 
I forgot.
I did have to clean up the mess...
I'll have to work with them more on that next year! *wink*

Guest Blogging | Half Baked - The Cake Blog {Halloween Centerpiece}

Friday, October 28

I'm guest blogging today for the amazingly talented Carrie over at Half Baked - the Cake Blog.
And when I say talented...
I mean talented!

She was just featured for the SECOND time in BRIDES Magazine 
with this stunning cake...
2nd cake feature in BRIDES magazine
Read all about it from Carrie's blog

LOVE her style...
and she's just as sweet as the cakes she bakes! *wink*
(Pinch me because I get to spend a little time with her next Saturday)!!

back to what I was saying...
Go check out this post on Carrie's Blog to find out what I did with this...

A brown paper bag and a few extras...*wink*

Have a great weekend everyone!
See you back here on Halloween!!

I'm beside myself with excitement...
What a GREAT way to start the weekend!!

halloween | special delivery

Tuesday, October 25

I received a VERY special package in the mail yesterday...
A package for my soon-to-be three year old, Ella....
Sent from Made by Morgan...




Inspired by the Vintage Style Haunted Halloween Party styled by Anders Ruff Custom Designs
and featured on HWTM...
I knew immediately Ella would be a little Vintage Witch for Halloween this year.
I LOVE it!!!

A VERY special thank you to Morgan...
You made my day yesterday!!

I was so excited and surprised to see the witch hat included in the package as well!
When Morgan and I first discussed the order, the hat wasn't something that would be included.
I intended to try to find one on my own.  
I settled on one I found at WalMart over the weekend.
I was beyond thrilled to have received a perfectly plain black little witch hat in the package yesterday!
There's also a little cape that I ordered with the outfit as well...
But we'll have to wait until Halloween night to share the full costume! *wink*

Ella is SO excited!
She helped me open the box yesterday and 
she's already put on her dress and hat.

life | family time...

Monday, October 24

I'm up extra early trying to wrap up some loose ends in the studio...
Hoping to free up a good portion of my day since my girls have the day off of school.
A couple of my cousins will be spending the day with us as well so...

Looking forward to a productive morning...
and ultimately a fun day filled with...


If you happened to miss the TWO late-afternoon posts on Friday...
you won't want to miss them.



Have a great Monday everyone!!!

Because of several conflicts in our schedule this weekend...
So guess what we'll be doing tonight?! 

tutorial | Cupcake Coring

Friday, October 21

I gave you the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake recipe yesterday...
Now I'd like to share with you a super easy way to add a filling to your cupcakes...

Start with cupcakes that have cooled completely.

Introducing the Cuisipro Cupcake Corer
(or some people use an apple corer)

An easy-to-use gadget that works like a charm.

Twist and push the Cupcake Corer into the middle of your cupcake

Remove the Cupcake Corer 
Your cupcake is now a "crater cake"
with an easy to dispense leftover "cupcake core"

Fill the empty cupcake with a cupcake filling of choice 
(Use a piping bag or ziploc bag with a snipped corner)

Continue coring and filling all of your cupcakes 
Don't be scared...Fill them up.
 I even tapped my filled cupcakes on the counter to help the filling settle so I could add more *wink*

I even used a plastic syringe-type piping tool I happened to have in my kitchen drawers
(it came with the Babycakes Cake Pop Maker and is actually a filling tool)
to make tiny wells into my mini cupcakes so I could fill those too. *wink*


With the cupcakes filled...
it's time for the frosting!!

Go HERE to check out a tutorial for achieving this FUN frosting finish...


I hope you found this tutorial informative, easy, and especially inspiring!!
Here's to many delicious center-filled cupcakes ahead for all of us...
Think of the possibilities...
all of the little surprises you could add to your cupcakes!!
(little candies, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips...)

Let's face it...
there are plenty of "gimmick" kitchen tools out there that we ALL buy.
You know...
the ones we realize later are completely unnecessary and a total scam.
I sort of thought this cupcake corer might end up being one of those gimmick gadgets.
I'd use it once...
realize it was a waste of my money...
and add it to my collection of unwanted kitchen gadgets for the next garage sale.
I. was. so. wrong.
And I'm SO glad.
I bought the Cuisipro Cupcake Corer months ago...
finally having the opportunity to use it made me a believer.
It really took the cupcakes to a whole new level and it was really fun to use. 
You could TOTALLY have your kids help you core the cupcakes too...

tutorial | Cupcake Frosting Finish using French Pastry Tip

Want to know how to achieve this frosting finish for your next batch of cupcakes?

You'll need one of these...
a JUMBO French Pastry Tip

Insert the tip into a pastry bag or ziploc bag and then fill the bag with frosting.
The frosting will need to be light and fluffy but somewhat dense/thick in order to hold it's shape.
I used a Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting for these cupcakes.

Start with a squirt/blob of frosting that looks something like this...

Tap your cupcake on the counter or flat surface until the frosting settles to your liking...

Top with a candy of your choice...

Works like a charm for regular cupcakes...
(These are peanut butter-filled cupcakes...go HERE for the tutorial on cupcake coring)

and even mini cupcakes too!

If you want to get a little more fancy...try a three tier effect using the same technique.
The trick is to pipe on the first layer, lifting up but not completely detaching from the first layer to begin the 2nd layer.
Make the 2nd layer slightly smaller...lift without detaching and repeat with smaller circle of frosting to complete 3rd tier.
(I SO hope that makes sense)
Again, tap the cupcake on the counter or flat surface until the frosting settles and add a small topping of choice.

I've fallen in love with how easy this tip is to use.
I can't wait to come up with other creative ways to use it.

recipes | chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

Thursday, October 20

As promised...
THEE Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake recipe I promised to share with you...


Use this link to download the recipe card
(folds in 1/2 to form a 4x6)
recipe adapted from

Those of you who know me well and have been following along for quite some time...
You know I have a weakness for any treat with a peanut butter and chocolate combination.

I've been holding onto this recipe for some time...
just dyin' to try it out and just not having a free moment.

But I made it happen...
and it was worth the wait.
I altered the recipe to include using the peanut butter filling AFTER baking...
instead of including it as part of the baking process. (I think it's easier this way anyway??)
Tutorial on this coming tomorrow using a new cute little tool I finally tried after purchasing a couple of months ago.

I must warn you...
These are very rich...and very peanut buttery.
Which for me is heaven.
If you don't want so much peanut butter - skip the filling.

• buy a box of chocolate cake mix 
• skip the filling (although not recommended because it's so yummy and it's really a cinch to make)
• make your own buttermilk by adding 1 TBSP. of vinegar to 1 cup of milk.

I think I've had the recipe for almost a year now...
Can't believe I've JUST gotten around to trying them out.

the pastry pedestal | weekly styling inspiration

Tuesday, October 18

While I'm finishing up the post(s) for the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes recipe
along with a fun cupcake filling and icing tutorial...
and a super simple centerpiece idea...

I wanted to share with you the latest collection of images from creative customers
struttin' their stuff using The Pastry Pedestal™...

Celebrating her 5th Blogiversary with a computer-techy-blogger theme...
serving up mini cupcake BYTES...

and "MAC" and cheese...


Petite Social
A gorgeous display of princess themed cupcakes and treats with
The Pastry Pedestal™ taking center stage...
Pink Princess Pastry Pedestal CenterpieceEDITED

Pink Princess Pastry Pedestal Centerpiece2EDITED

A clever display of spell-bounding treats
served up in mini cauldrons on The Pastry Pedestal™ for this Wizard-themed birthday party
Halloween Cauldrons - Petite Social.tiff


Chris Nease • Celebrations at Home
A gorgeous display of beautifully glittered (and completely edible)
chocolate bonbons from Bedazzle My Bonbons.
Bedazzled Bonbons


Fun Baby Shower Ideas and More
A fun, cheerful rainbow themed party using chocolate candies and ribbon
to adorn the outer rim of The Pastry Pedestal™.
LOVE the clever use of Jumbo Candy Dots lining the truffle bowl.

I'm just LOVING all of the photos pouring in from customers.
It makes me BEYOND happy to see the creative things people are doing with The Pastry Pedestal™.
I hope you are inspired as well...

I also have two bits of EXCiTiNG news regarding The Pastry Pedestal™
• They will be making a small debut at a NYC Tradeshow this week, thanks to Bedazzle My Bonbons
• Preparations for the next phase/accessory launch for The Pastry Pedestal™are underway...
(The new accessory will debut in the upcoming Holiday Issue of The Party Dress Magazine)!!

Happy to report that Ella is feeling much better - almost back to 100%.
That means I'll be playing "catch up" over the next couple of days...*wink*

In the kitchen | a peek at the results

Monday, October 17

For those of you who happened to check in on Friday...
You know Ella and I did a little bit of baking...

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If you happened to guess that we were making Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes then you were right...
Here are just a few photos of our YUMMY and FUN results...


I can't wait to get these on The Pastry Pedestal!!!
Full recipe, simple tutorial and some really easy centerpiece ideas coming up later this week...

Here's to a GREAT Monday for all of us
and a super productive week ahead!!

Ended up at the Urgent Care with Ella (my almost-three year old) on Saturday morning.
By Friday night she'd developed a croup-like cough with a relatively high fever.
I couldn't bare to wait until Monday to take her to our regular pediatrician.
So...a couple of days of antibiotics and she's on her way to being 100% again. 
I'm SO grateful!!!

in the kitchen | can you guess what I'm baking...

Friday, October 14

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Another free photo slideshow by Smilebox

Thought I'd leave you with a little something fun as we head into our weekend...
I'll be back next week to show you the outcome of what this is all about...

Ella's been battling a fever on and off for the past few days.
It finally spiked last night...
and she has since developed a cough along with it.
Pretty much NO sleep last night for her...
or me.

No sleep = grumpy me.
No sleep + cough + fever = grumpy Ella.

The best remedy for the both of us?
Do something that makes us BOTH happy...

behind the scenes | it starts with a vision

Monday, October 10

For any of you out there who've hosted...
or collaborated on an event...
or photo shoot...

You know good and well...
It takes a lot of planning...
a lot of prep work...
tons of inspiration...
and a vision.

That's right.
It starts with a vision.
If you can see the outcome in your mind...
you will miraculously orchestrate everything...
so that it comes together beautifully.
In fact...
I often find the process a bit magical.

Today I wanted to share some photos with you...
some of the key elements that added the "magic" I was looking for...
as I put together a photo shoot for another upcoming feature in The Party Dress Magazine.

I'm not going to give away the "theme" of the shoot...
Nor can I share the photos that will soon be published...

I definitely want to share the gorgeous design elements...
created by some very talented...
amazingly creative vendors I was fortunate to work with...
Items from fabulous vendors that ultimately brought life to my vision...


A gorgeous shoppe filled with an abundance of  stunning Vintage Rustic Wedding and Home Decor items...






Bee's Knees Creative
Lovely, delicious confections custom designed to match any celebration.
I simply relayed to Renee my vision for tone-on-tone confections...
 with an elegant french-vintage touch and she worked her magic.
 Coordinating gorgeous sugar cookies and petit fours...


The French Nest Co.
Vintage inspired Hand-stamped spools of fabric, lovely trimmings, lace, embellished clothespins and more...
All packaged just as beautifully as the items themselves!





A very special thank you to these vendors who provided beautiful products for a magical photo shoot...
I hope you're inspired!!

This was one of my very favorite photo shoots to put together to-date.
The feeling...
everything about it just struck a chord in my heart.
I love when that happens!
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