Sunday, September 21, 2014

Southern Inspired Cake Tasting + Wedding Workshop Photos

On Saturday September 13th I hosted my first Wedding Workshop and Tasting.  I invited a few of my "Dream Wedding Team" vendors and friends and a few new Brides-to-be.  When you work from your home, the challenge to transform the space into a wedding or event venue becomes more difficult.  But, with some teamwork, we pulled it off (my team was my wonderful husband).  It also doesn't hurt to have an amazingly talented florist (Ivy Weezner) by your side, and a rental company (Y-Knot Party Rental) with beautiful tableware to make everything sparkle! Kelly Beeby,  from La Tavola Linens of Scottsdale,brought me the most beautiful linens for the welcome table, sweetheart table, and late night buffet.  Molly Marie of Love Story Films, and Julie Read from Juju's Tutus rounded out the "Dream Team" list of special ladies.  Molly made everyone, including me, tear-up with her touching wedding video.  Julie looked absolutely angelic in the Serendipity Skirt from her newest collection, and shared tips to make the littlest members of any bridal party feel really special.  As always, a very special thanks to my very dear friend, Diana Elizabeth Steffan, once again, for making everything I do look so beautiful in photos
A beautiful yellow and grey linen provided by La Tavola Linen graced the Welcome Table
 I chose a blue color scheme for this event, 2015 promises to be inspired by the color blue, in all shades and  forms.  My adorable LOVE flower vase greeted everyone at the front door with sprigs of blue flowers.  It is a luster champagne color that blends with every color palette, always one of my favorite little touches.
Sweet Southern Inspired Dessert Table
The Pure Elegance Backdrop has been covered in a gorgeous satin finish caramel taffeta fabric and topped with a Swiss Dot Vintage white lace and hung with gold finished mirrors and sconces.  The sconces are from my personal collection, French antiques purchased specifically for this backdrop.
Sweet Southern Inspired Dessert Table with Pure Elegance Backdrop
The white linen on the table is made up of yards and yards of white chiffon.  Romantic and flowing just like the blush color from a few years ago, I just love the delicate feeling of this fabric.  I've been saving this white lace and beaded border for a special table, and this was the perfect occasion.
Southern Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting
 I've been developing some new flavors in both Gluten Free and Non-Gluten Free flavors........Peach Mojito, features Rum infused Vanilla Bean Cake with fresh peaches, Peach emulsion and mint Butter Cream topped with a sprig of fresh mint.
Bourbon infused Vanilla Bean Cake with Blackberry Butter cream , Blackberry Syrup Reduction and Fresh Lime Curd (my favorite)
 Double Chocolate Toffee Crunch with Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling

 The one of my favorites, simple, sophisticated and wrapped in plant-dyed silk ribbon.  The pale blue color of the sugar flowers took me HOURS to get just the right shade of blue.  Not too pink, not too grey, to compliment the beautiful, natural color of the blueberries, and the ribbon.  In the end, I loved it, even though the color blue has never been one of my favorites, this one is really growing on me.
The antique gold finished tier was brushed with several different luster finishes to achieve just the right tone, trying to match the finish on the various mirrors and sconces.

 The cake stand is White Italian Marble with vintage crystal and gold "ball 'n claw" feet, originally from  a vintage furniture piece.  The stand, as well as the backdrop and all props are available for rent.
 The blackberries featured on the cake are sugar, and one of my favorite little touches, dark grey sugar pearls!  The ribbon is a new find from Silk and Willow, plant dyed silk ribbon, vintage-look, and such a find, they are my new obsession.

 Vintage French Scones

 The large silver vases and cake stands are part of the Angela Saban Design Decor Collection and are available for rent with a Floral Decor Package.
Place settings by Y-Knot Party Rentals.  Special thanks to Christine Young for joining the party, educating guests about all the gorgeous rentals available including the gold flatware and vintage-look chargers.  The pale blue hydrangea linen from La Tavola Linens paired perfectly with Magnolia blooms. Kelly Beeby absolutely reads my mind every time I visit the Scottsdale showroom, it's like she reads my mind!

 Dessert Taco Late Night Station with Lemon Curd and fresh strawberries, Red Velvet  and Cream Cheese Cake Shooters.  Gold Chevron table runner from La Tavola Linens.  Thanks to Kelly again!

 I picked up the YUM letters at Micheals, they are ivory leather-look and so cute!  All props and stands are available for rent as well..
 Blue thistles in the adorable bride's maids bouquet.
 Jamila Watson, the mastermind behind Parties on Purpose  shared some ingenious ideas for bridal showers, including this collection of "Favorite Things".  Such a brilliant theme, a collection of a bride's favorites as gifts for her guests.
Jamila shared a few of her recent parties and themes. 

This workshop was SO much fun, and worth every minute.  The brides had fun, the vendors networked and made some great new connections, and most of all, I was able to share my inspiration for the upcoming wedding season.  My heartfelt thanks goes out to every one of you!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sweet Southern Tasting + Sneak Peeks

This week has been all about Wedding Decor.  I have been designing, sewing, hanging, and prepping for our Wedding Workshop on September 13th.  The ideas that our guest speakers will be sharing are invaluable to any newly engaged couple, even if you are getting ready to walk down the aisle soon, there's something for everyone.

I gave a sneak peek at the linen for the Dessert Table earlier this week on Facebook.

I really love how it is coming together, although a good steam is in it's near future!

The Pure Elegance wall has been recovered with a gorgeous Caramel Taffeta, and draped with Swiss Dot Lace.  I can't show it off yet, don't want to give away too many secrets.

The cake is also coming together today, a sneak peek at some of the sugar flowers that will  be placed on the sparkling gold layer.

Not finished with them yet, they get two more rows of big petals, some gold leaves and tiny blue hydrangeas added to the mix.

The Glam Doughnut Bar is almost ready too!  This is probably my favorite setup for desserts.  Usually I use my Ceremony structure outside, but I have recently starting renting it for indoor setup, when ceiling space allows.  Draping a Sweetheart Table is beautiful, but when I stack mounds of tiny doughnuts on a table and surround it with yards and yards of white lace....something magical happens!

If you haven't purchased your tickets yet, better hurry, tickets sold at he door are $45.00 for two people, instead of $35.00  Tons of ideas, you can ask all the questions you can think up, and you get to try LOTS of fun food ideas for your big day.   Join me, and my very special friends form Diana Elizabeth Photography, Juju's Tutu's, Love Story Films, La Tavola Linens, Y-Knot Party Rentals, and Parties on Purpose. for a few lovely hours of Design, Decor and Dessert!!!!  See you on Saturday!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sugar Flowers or Real Flowers + Wedding Cake?

Some girls just KNOW what they want.  Others are not so sure, especially when it comes to choosing real flowers or sugar flowers for their wedding cake.

Real Flowers on a Butter Cream Cake
So, lets explore the advantages, disadvantages and reality of the question "Should I use real flowers or sugar flowers on my wedding cake?"  
Sugar Flowers with gold tipped edges
When using real flowers on your cake there are a few things to consider:
1.  The flowers should be special ordered by your florist with no pesticides.  The stems may be inserted with a straw to protect the inside of the cake, but as the petals and leaves touch the cake, the pesticides may be transferred to the edible area on the exterior of the cake.
2.  The  flowers may wilt or fade.  When the flowers are placed on the cake, there will not be water provided for the stems, so there is a possibility that the petals may become limp and unappealing. 
3.  Using real flowers can be beautiful and budget friendly!   This is a plus, as your florist my have stems left over from the other arrangements they are providing and may be happy to supply these extras for the cake.  In any case, it doesn't hurt to ask.

When using sugar flowers:
1.  I may be a bit biased, but sugar flowers can be anything you want them to be.  Whimsical, fabric-like, tipped in gold or silver, centers of pearls or rhinestones, or entirely realistic duplicates of your favorite blooms.
2.  Sugar flowers may be preserved.  The hard sugar paste used to create these magical blooms can be preserved in an airtight, cooled environment for a very long time.  I actually used a preserved topper from a couple's wedding on their 25th wedding anniversary cake!  It was beautifully preserved in a little cardboard favor box, and will again be handed down to their own children, possibly to be used again! 
3.  A bigger than life element, sugar flowers can be larger than normal, an unreal color, or an exotic bloom that is out of season, exotic,  or even unattainable through any other medium. 

Last, but not least, maybe flowers are not your style at all.  There are beautiful options such as bows, blinged-out sashes, scroll work, or vintage lace.  Whatever your style, MAKE IT YOURS!  The best advice is not to let "trends or friends" dictate your style. Go with your heart and choose something that makes it truly flutter.  Then, find a cake artist that can make it happen for you.  And, if that's me.....then let's talk!!  Don't miss my Sweet Southern Tasting on September 13th for a sample of new and exciting flavors and ideas.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sweet Southern Tasting + Wedding Workshop

Updated!  Register here

Join us for a few lovely hours of dessert, design and decor!
A fun little Soiree for anyone dreaming of an elegant wedding day, shower, engagement party, or celebration.

“Experience my distinct style that honors the storied traditions of Southern hospitality
paired with a modern aesthetic and flair for the unexpected.”    

September 13th, 2014 from Noon until 3 PM

  • Deliciously decadent tasting of Southern inspired desserts including a preview of new 2015 WEDDING CAKE flavors and trends and an exciting new LATE NIGHT DESSERT MENU including artisan doughnuts, & dessert tacos
  • Personal appearances and expert advice from Diana Elizabeth PhotographyLove Story FilmsLa Tavola LinensJuju's Tutus,  and Parties on Purpose
  • 3 DIY projects that will turn any wedding, shower, party or event into a Southern Soiree.  
  • How to use specialty linens, lighting, flowers and decor to infuse elegance, grace, hospitality and personality into your event 
  • Southern Inspired Double Wedding Ring themed dessert table and tips for DIY features
  • A Sweetheart Table with a custom canopy that will make any couple feel like royalty
  • How to make your guests feel like family and have the time of their lives with an event design that tells a deeper story and arouses emotion. 
  • Debut of the Exclusive AS Designs Decor Collection available for rental and custom installations
                             Updated!  Register here

This event is open to all Brides and one guest $35.00 ($25.00 for each additional guest) , 
Wedding Planners & Wedding/Party/Event Industry Professional & Students $50.00 per person 
Please contact for reservations and payment info
September 13th, 2014 from Noon until 3 PM
5401 West Alameda Road, Glendale, AZ 85310

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Geometrics + the new black?

Geometric designs are everywhere I look, or maybe I'm just obsessed?  I just know that I was very excited when the team from BTS Events contacted me about a fun, bright, 40th birthday party recently.  Just a few days after my own birthday, my brain went directly to the new geometric cakes I've had my eye on.   Therapeutic, making squares and then rectangles and piecing together the design.
Three tiers, Double Chocolate and top layer is Vanilla & Raspberry
Raspberry, Blueberry and lemon Cupcakes
Raspberry Lemonade Sugar Cookie Bars in Geo shapes

Lemon Cake Pops

Monday, June 23, 2014

Minecraft Creeper Birthday Cake

My boys (not boys anymore) have ALWAYS loved video games.....I know, I know, what boy doesn't love video games, right?  Well, now my boys have boys of their won, and guess what????  They LOVE video games!  No big surprise that this year, my grandson, Tyler requested a Minecraft cake.  And, it had to have some character named "Creeper" incorporated in some way.  Other than that, it was up to me to design the special cake to celebrate the BIG 8.  So, I did some research, surfed Pinterest and Cake Central.  Lots of cute ideas...lots of little squares.  Cubes, squares and pixels of earth-toned colors, but how to bring some excitement and action into the day?  Stab a sword through the top of Creepers head!  YES, and some TNT
candles to blow out.  Score....he loved it, and I didn't end up cutting thousands of little squares of fondant.  After all, I like a good party, and I prefer not to be falling over from exhaustion because I stayed up all night finishing the cake.  Yea!

I love this kid SO much, he's smart, so kind-hearted, and has a BIG sense of humor!  He makes me laugh and melts my heart.  We don't get to spend a lot of time with him, because he lives in California, so when he comes home in the summer we have to cram a lot of loving, swimming, jokes and fun into just a few weeks at a time.  Next up, some Creeper cake pops for the twins in Nashville.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Scottsdale Culinary Festival + Cake Decorating Competition

So after much thought, I decided to enter my first competition.   Believe me, I almost backed out many, many times before I put this cake into my car and drove to The Scottsdale Conference Center and Resort to deliver it for judging.

I was invited to participate last year, but just couldn't muster up the guts to do it......what if I failed, or was embarrassed.....all these thoughts, I was defeated before I ever started.

So, this year when I got the invitation, I decided to just enter, and not look back.  But, I did look back, changed my design at least a hundred times.  Found every reason in the world not to get started, then at the last minute....just went for it.

So, second place.....not bad for my first time competing.  I tried out some new piping techniques using the Lambeth method, did some very detailed hand painting of Venus and drew inspiration from Georgia O'Keeffe for the huge 3 dimensional flower exploding out of the top tier.  The "LOVE" sculpture is covered in two tone modeling chocolate, and the board and inside lower tier are covered with gold leaf.  I think my favorite element of this cake is the ballet slippers supporting the upper tiers.  Made from Rice Crispy treats and covered in fondant, they were the most challenging item and also the most delicate and lovely.  I would love to try these again in different sizes and colors with embellishments.

I will definitely enter other competitions as they come my way, the fear is gone and I loved meeting the other decorators and seeing what their interpretation of the theme "ART" became. The next post will include their cakes as well.