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Easter Feaster

I don’t know what it is about Easter, but it brings out the decorator lady in me. The last time I updated my website (as you probably have realized)  was during LAST Easter. Well, what can I say, I’m up to my old tricks again.  I want to cover everything in daffodils and berries and baby ducklings. I want pops of yellow and pastel blues and little girls dressed in smocked dresses and lace gloves and little boys wearing bow ties and straw fedoras. I want picnics. I want to read Jamberry. And I want to decorate ALL of the dining tables. I want to do them in every single color! I think that’s at the root of what I love so much–the excuse to use lots of spring colors!

 

So…with Easter/Spring fever upon me, there was nothing to do but give in. And, in all honesty, I really have missed the creative outlet that blogging about my home decorating projects and ideas gave me in the past. So…I’m hoping this will be the fresh start I need to motivate myself. So. I’m back. I’m happy. And I’m super glad you’re here. I hope you’ll continue to check back in for all of the good stuff to come!

 

ANYWAY. All of that to say, I decided to jump on the Easter decorating table bandwagon. It’s the first time I’ve decorated a table before a holiday, but you know what, it was really fun. No stress the day of the actual holiday to cook, decorate, and try to get good pictures! It also allowed me to take a few days to try lots of different ideas. It was a little like playing house, except I’m a grown up. 🙂 This year I decided to go for a color combination that was both a little traditional and a little modern–the classic blue and white with pops of corally pink and gold! I’m really into this color combo in my own home right now, so this was easy to pull together from things that I already own.

 

I will happily admit that not everything is from my personal stash. I purchased four things in total, but I still feel like I kept to my original purpose of making it budget friendly. The first purchase? The blue and white gingham “runner.” It is actually a curtain panel from Pottery Barn Kids that I found at Goodwill for a few dollars. It was the perfect length–I merely folded it in half, and voila, the perfect pop of color and classic Easter pattern! The 2. thing I bought? The cake stand which is holding that delectable pavlova (that my daughter made!). It was another Goodwill find–only $2.  I know. !!!! I thank the Goodwill gods, who smiled upon me that day. #praisehandsforthecakestands

 

The table name card was a basic white set of tags that I found in the Target One Spot sometime over the past year and hoarded until the right moment. I painted the edges to add a little definition and make it pop. Mission accomplished. Hoarding vindicated.

The other two items I purchased? The flowers and a few pieces of silverware. The flatware was actually also from Goodwill and silver. I mostly wanted to test my concept of gold flatware before spending money on any such thing, so I just bought these and, you guessed it, spray painted them. I ended up loving how they looked! So I may have to invest if I can find a great set. I’ve also used plastic flatware in gold that looked remarkably good as well (in fact, I only bought a few pieces of real silverware at Goodwill–the rest of the items were plastic cutlery I spray painted).

 

 

The flowers are another sort of secret decorating life hack as well. I mixed real flowers in with faux. Could you tell?? You might have wondered a bit if they were all faux or all real (or maybe I tricked you and you didn’t wonder at all??), but the truth is it’s a mix. I mixed them to help fill out my bouquets without breaking the bank, as this many flowers would be quite pricey. I think one of the keys to making the bouquets look real is to make sure you have really good greenery–it really does help to fool the eye.

In our home we don’t actually have a separate dining space, and it can drive me a bit crazy at times, as I am one of the odd people who loves a separate space. But that being said, I do love our little eat-in nook for all of the sunlight! Plus, I can watch the kids playing in our backyard, which is a really amazing space (and the main reason we bought the house!)

 

 

Now, let’s be honest, I know there are some of you out there that are thinking, “Yeah, this is really nice. Buuuuut…I just don’t have an eye for this stuff.” People! I’ll tell you right now the secret to creating a beautiful table like this. It’s so simple that people often discount it. Lean in close, I’m about to divulge state secrets here. The key to creating an Easter table that you love is to really allow yourself to play! Now, I’m not going to lie and say that there’s no such thing as people having a natural flair for this sort of thing, but I think it’s only fair to say that I often consider myself among those that don’t feel like it comes naturally! I have to play around with things, move things around, and just give myself permission to fail spectacularly!

Start with something that you own that you really love. For me, it was my cute bunny figure that I’ve had for years and my collection of white tureens. For you, maybe it’s a special egg plate that your grandma always used, or a huge vase of daffodils from your yard. Try not to let the voice in your head that says, “this is probably going to be a dumb idea” into your mind. Give it a try! There’s no grade for this exercise. 🙂 This time.

 

The only other advice I would give is to get yourself some fresh flowers and pick some colors. I ended up picking that coral pink because I had some striped curtain panels (clearly, I  have an obsession) that I’ve kept. I actually took my normal dining bench covers off and layered these curtain panels over the seat! It’s not a permanent thing, and if I had let my inner “that is such a weird idea to put curtains on an eating bench” voice stop me, I wouldn’t have had such a fun backdrop that added so much to the color scheme! Or I wouldn’t have put a smaller cake stand inside of my white tureen and put my bunny statue on top…because that initially looked pretty weird too. Don’t be afraid to take a few risks is all that I’m saying! I bet you anything that those little “weird” ideas will probably end up being your favorite part if you give them a chance! They may not all work out (trust me, there were a few ideas that didn’t make it on this table), that’s ok. Have fun!

And let’s all be real here for a minute–that jelly jar really needed me to put some jam in there. Or honey! It should have been honey. With thistles in it. Missed marketing opportunity. Dang it.

Doh well. I guess I’ll fix that in next year’s Easter post. 😉 Happy Early Easter!

 

Easter Entertaining Recipes & Wheat Grass Tips

We just wanted to thank those of you who made it to our first Creative Class again. It was such a fun night, and we loved having you! We hope you will come again for the classes we hope to host in the future. Until then, we thought we’d put all of the recipes and a few wheat grass tips in one place for you to reference! Happy Easter Entertaining!

Speckled Robin’s Egg Cake

1 White Cake Mix (prepared according to directions on box)

Frosting

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash salt
Liquid blue food color

Speckling Chocolate

1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Vermicelli (Rice Noodle) Nest

1 bar semi-sweet bakers chocolate
1 package rice noodles

Steps
1 Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; set aside.

2 In large bowl, add cake ingredients; beat with electric mixer on low speed until well combined. Divide batter evenly among pans.

3 Bake 22 to 28 minutes or until cakes spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool cakes in pans on cooling racks 5 minutes. Turn cakes out onto cooling racks; cool completely, about 30 minutes. Level cakes using large serrated knife or cake leveler, if needed.

4 To make Frosting, in large bowl, beat softened butter and powdered sugar with electric mixer on low speed until incorporated; beat on high speed 3 minutes. Add vanilla and salt; beat 1 minute longer. Add blue food color 1 drop at a time, beating until a light blue color is achieved.

5 Fill and frost cooled cake. Refrigerate frosted cake 1 hour or until frosting is dry to the touch.

6 In small condiment bowl, mix baking cocoa and vanilla. Load unused (new) stiff-bristle paint brush with cocoa mixture. Using fingers, flick loaded brush bristles toward cake creating a splatter pattern. Re-load brush; cover entire cake with chocolate speckles. Refrigerate cake 30 minutes.

 To make Vermicelli Nest

Melt one bar of semi-sweet baker’s chocolate. Melt baker’s chocolate in microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Tear portions of vermicelli (also known as rice noddles) into a bowl and pour a few tablespoons of chocolate over the noodles. Form a loose nest shape, taking care to make sure there is enough noodles to create a bottom to the nest as well as the sides. Place a cup in the middle of the nest and place in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Attach cooled nest to cake with dot of frosting. Place 3 speckled egg candies inside nest.

 Before serving, bring cake to room temperature. Store cake loosely covered with plastic wrap.

Tips for growing your Wheat grass centerpiece

Soak wheat germ berries overnight. A great place to buy fresh organic wheat grass is Amazon, link here.

Liberally pour thin layer of wheat grass seeds over potting soil in a container that will not leak. Cover the wheat grass with a layer of newspaper and spritz with water from a water bottle several times per day–whenever you see that the paper has dried out. After a few days, the seeds will sprout. Keep newspaper in place until the sprouts look like spiky grass, then remove newspaper and continue watering multiple times per day with the spray bottle.

Brunch Inspired Appetizer Recipes

Key Lime Dip (via Dip Recipe Creations)

Chicken Salad Puff Pastry (via Stone Gable)  (note, Katie made this appetizer herself without a recipe, but this is a close approximation). 🙂

Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey, Mint, and Lime Syrup (via Epicurious)

Helpful Non-alcoholic Mimosa Guide here