Friday, December 30, 2011

Raspberry, White Chocolate, and Almond Trifle

Its a HIT every year! Ive been making this every Christmas since 2009 and without fail the desert gets raving reviews, its SO easy to assemble.

Makes 16 servings
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 5 hours 45 minutes (includes chilling time)

3 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
12 ounces high-quality white chocolate
1 1/4 teaspoons almond extract, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
7 ounces Boudoirs or Champagne biscuits
1 cup raspberry jam, melted, divided
1 1/2 12-ounce packages frozen unsweetened raspberries, partially thawed, divided
2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Bring 1 cup cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate; whisk until smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 10 minutes. Beat 2 1/2 cups cream and 1/2 teaspoon extract in large bowl to soft peaks. Fold in white chocolate mixture.

Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar melts. Mix in 3/4 teaspoon extract; remove syrup from heat. Quickly submerge 1 biscuit in syrup; shake excess back into pan. Place dipped biscuit in bottom of 14-cup trifle dish. Repeat with enough biscuits to cover bottom of dish.

Spread 1/3 of melted jam over biscuits in dish. Top with 1/3 of partially thawed berries with juices. Spread 1/3 of whipped chocolate cream over. Repeat layering with dipped biscuits, melted jam, partially thawed berries, and whipped chocolate cream 2 more times. Mound fresh berries in center of trifle. Sprinkle almonds around edge. Cover and chill at least 5 hours and up to 24 hours.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nutcracker Tea Party

Lauren from Lulu Events with Style in Texas is a talented event planner, she is passionate about what she does and therefor her creativity is driven - she never ceases to amaze me with her beautiful themes and ideas - so when she calls on me for paper goods - I am only too pleased to help out however I can!

Lauren works closely with Shane & Jennifer Willard of Jennifer Willard Photography. They certainly make magic out of their photography capturing family, weddings and events.

I absolutely adore nutcrackers - they are so whimsical and awkward at the same time - but alas the only reason I don't have a tremendous collection of them is because I am not keen on the traditional reds - for Christmas 2011 I really wanted to create a nutcracker in silver and white. I love the little character I created and hope to get to use him over and over again.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Homemade Gifts: Fleur De Sel Caramels

Christmas 2011 I decided to make all those near and dear to me my favorite candy in the world - Salted Caramels! I have hung onto this recipe for a very long time, shopped for my specialty salt and have simply been waiting for the opportune time to bake and share [otherwise Id be afraid, if I had that many in my home I would EAT THEM ALL!]

Below are the easy steps on how to make your own!
1 cup golden syrup (i.e. Roger’s or Lyle’s can be found at World Market or most British shops)
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
fleur de sel or flaky sea salt 
(Sur La Table has an amazing selection)

  1. Line the bottom and sides of a 9″x9″ baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil.
  2. Combine the syrup, sugar and salt in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. 
  3. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. 
  4. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook uncovered, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 305°F. 
  5. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan ; turn off the heat and set aside.
  6. When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. 
  7. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally at the beginning to more frequently at the end, until the mixture reaches 260°F for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F for firmer, chewy caramels.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for an hour or so, until slightly firm but still tacky. 

  1. Sprinkle the surface lightly with flaky salt, pressing gently to help it adhere if you need to. Leave for another 3-4 hours, or until firm.
  2. Invert the sheet of caramel onto a dry cutting board or sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the foil, sprinkle the other side with more salt. Cut the caramels with a large, sharp knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.

Vintage Photo Christmas Card

This gorgeous black and white photo was taken in 1946.
The young lady portraying Mary is my clients beautiful grandmother. What an honor to be asked to create a Christmas card using such a special piece of history and so close to ones heart. I wanted to create a design that would show off this photo and not compete with it - my client wanted to keep muted tones with hints of gold - nothing too busy. I have seen my clients home and her style is very lush and unique with allow of attention to detail. It was with this in mind that I wanted to follow suite with the card.
The cards were printed on a off white, recycled, textured cover stock adding to the feel of the aged content.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blushing Bride

ETSY Treasury Feature
Thank you Lexie from Scissorhands for featuring my pink Missoni style invitations on your ETSY Treasury list - and to be amongst such beautiful items too - I feel so special!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Children's Gift Guide

Thank you so much to JPwithLove for mentioning my holiday straw flags in your ETSY Treasury! What an honor!

JPwithLove has the most adorable little goodies - great for stocking stuffers pretty much in any color you can imagine! I have a set of the teal earrings on my polyvore page with jeans a white tank and a cute teal purse - quite cute if I don't say so myself!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Props for the woodland party theme!

Thank you so much to the Childrens Party Network for featuring my Woodland Themed party printables on your front page! I'll have you know...this was where my business inspiration started - I created these designs for my daughters first birthday!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cookie Swap

Photo Courtesy of Andrea Ritchie
Do you need a GREAT Recipe for your cookie exchange? I just went to my first cookie swap {so much fun!} and was clueless on what to bring. I LOVE salted caramel - so it was a good risk to take. I made these bad boys and they were a hit!
Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Prep Time: 30 min  |  Cook Time: 12 min  |  Ready Time: 90 min  |  Yield: 6 dozen cookies
1 (17.5 oz.) package Pillsbury® Sugar Cookie Mix
2 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup butter, softened*
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 egg whites, beaten until foamy
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
2/3 cup Smucker's® Caramel Flavored Topping
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt

Preparation Directions
HEAT oven to 350°F. 

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, if desired.
COMBINE cookie mix, flour, softened butter, egg and almond extract in medium bowl. 

Mix with spoon until soft dough is formed.
USE level measuring teaspoon of dough to make 3/4-inch balls. 

Dip into egg whites, then roll in pecans. 
Place on prepared cookie sheet. 
Make a rounded indentation in the center of each cookie.
BAKE 10 minutes. Remake rounded indentation in cookie. 

Fill with scant 1/2 teaspoon caramel topping. 
Bake an additional 2 minutes or until lightly browned. 
Sprinkle caramel with a pinch of coarse salt. 
Cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. Cool completely.
To soften butter: Heat unwrapped butter in microwave 10 to 15 seconds.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Festive Straw flags

Festive Straw Flags

I am so excited about these cute little party decor touches I couldn't decide what color theme to do - So I did them all, I created 5 different kinds!
• North Pole Wood
• Festive Chevron
• Candy Cane
• Nutcracker
• Red Damask

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tree Lighting In SEH

Photo Courtesy of Ed Philbrick
December 4, 2011
Once upon a time, in the cute little town of San Elijo Hills, there was a great gathering of neighbors, big and small, short and tall they came from over the hill, beside the brook, above the pizza parlor and next to the creek - they all came in unison to celebrate the lighting of the village center "Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
It was a festive occasion as all expected, the children played in the dewy grass while the Christmas Carolers sung like larks but best of all! Calculated Whisk made the most delicious cupcakes and Splendid Paper+Goods got to "dress" them for the grand occasion!
It sure is most wonderful time of the year!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Candy Cane Cocktail!

Festive Jar Label
One of my super cute customers is making Candy Cane Cocktails in a mason/ball jar and sticking MY labels on the outside! What a fun and festive welcome drink at your holiday party or cookie swap party!
Wanna give it a try? 

1 shot vanilla rum
1 shot white chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva)
1 shot peppermint schnapps
Candy cane, garnish

Add all liquid ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. 
Shake well and strain into martini glass. 
Garnish with candy cane.

Just A Touch of Damask

Thank you so much for featuring my pink damask straws on your Etsy treasury Ahavah Mebust - I always have such a fun time putting these together - they are great for baby showers, bridal showers or girly get togethers!