Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Seersucker and Sazeracs 2014

I think Seersucker and Sazeracs has become my favorite party that we host all year, even over Mardi Gras, shocking I know! This is our third year to host this party that celebrates our state cocktail. You can view the previous year's parties here and here. This year we decided to move the party up to the first weekend of May. We used to host the party in late June and it's simply just to hot. The weather was great for our party and everyone had a wonderful time. 

I created the invitations in a multi layer pocket fold holding an rsvp card and tied up with yellow twine,  a blue pineapple wax seal and mailed in a matching white envelope with a yellow liner. An rsvp card always makes it so easy to get a head count since it's so easy for people to fill them out and send them in. 

My new creation for this party was a new decorated window pane. I had one last year but the corner was broken and that always bothered me. I bought a new one at a garage sale in my neighborhood. I printed out the recipes of the cocktails we served and taped them behind the glass and traced them with a white paint marker. I added some simple drawings of cocktails and the liquor bottles on the sides of the logo. I hung it over the bar and tied it with seersucker fabric pieces. I had my original glass signed that I've used for the past two years but the stand broke so I just bought a simple white open back frame from Hobby Lobby and placed it with that to hang over the food table.

For the food I made four different dipping sauces to serve with fried chicken nuggets. All the recipies came from my go to, Southern Living. I made White BBQ Sauce, Comeback Sauce, Remoulade and Jalapeño Mustard.  In addition to the chicken we served a caprese pasta salad with a lemon vinaigrette dressing. I also served my mother's marinated cheese which is always a crowd pleaser and there is never a piece left!

I decorated using my seersucker tablecloth runners and simple floral decorations of yellow and white flowers in blue mason jars. I had some cute yellow pom pom trim that I've saved forever because I thought it was so cute. Who doesn't love a blue and yellow combo?

We served Abita Beer (of course) and also had a little washing station so people could rinse out their glasses so they can try the Mint Juleps, Pimm's Cups and the Sazeracs. We made the Mint Juleps in large batches with mint flavored Simple Syrup and everyone loved it because you only had the mint garnish instead of the muddled mint at the bottom of your glass that people sometimes don't like.

I don't know if any other states have an official state cocktail but Louisiana does and we love it! If you've never tried a Sazerac you should! Here is a great recipe.

The Sazerac
3 ounces of Rye Whiskey
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
Peychaud's Bitters to taste
Hersaint or other Absinthe substitute
Lemon twist for garnish

1. Chill an old-fashioned glass by filling it with ice and letting it sit while preparing the rest of the drink.
2. In a separate mixing glass, muddle the simple syrup and Peychaud bitters together
3. Add the rye whisky and ice to the bitters mixture and stir
4. Discard the ice in the chilled glass and rinse it with the Herbsaint by pouring a small amount into the glass, swirling and discarding the liquid.
5. Strain the whisky mixture from the mixing glass into the old fashioned glass.
6. Garnish with a lemon twist. Traditionalists (like myself) only squeeze the lemon over the drink and do not drop the lemon into the drink itself. 
7. Put on your seersucker and enjoy yourself!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Firetrucks and Fun! Jackson's 3rd Birthday

Today is my son Jackson's third birthday so I figured I'd share the pictures from his birthday party this weekend. He is all boy and requested a "Pirate - Firetruck - HOT WHEELS!" party. We settled on a firetruck theme party with a monster truck bounce house. I decided to go pretty simple this year and used some party supplies I had from Audrey's last birthday. I took the Pottery Barn Kids Skyline Boxes from her Superhero party and added flames using some craft foam. Plastic table cloths and tissue balls I made finished off the scene. The cutest thing on the table was the cake that matched the invitation perfectly!

We went simple on the food too with grilled hot dogs (Jackson's favorite food), chips and drinks. I created special labels to dress up the condiments as well. It's such a simple addition that always makes a great impression.

In addition to the bounce house we have a friend that owns a vintage firetruck. He brought it over and the kids had so much fun taking turns being the "driver" and turning on the sirens and lights. For their party favors each child received fireman bubbles, a coloring book, colors and a plastic fireman's hat. They all look so cute climbing all over the firetruck together wearing the hats and posing for pictures.

It was such a fun day and it's so hard my little wild man is 3! Time flies and after this year's party request I can't wait to see what he comes up with next year. Happy birthday to my sweet baby boy. Your humor and attitude keep us laughing all the time and your sweet demeanor and curious mind are things I hope you always keep. We love you so much!

Invitation, paper products and styling: Magnolia Creative Co.
Party favors: Amazon
Birthday Boy's custom T-shirt: Collins Creations

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Go Jack Go! Jackson's 2nd Birthday Party

As I'm preparing for my son Jackson's third birthday I realized I never shared the pictures from his second. We call Jackson our little wild child. He has two speeds, stopped and RUNNING! I chose the theme of "Go Jack Go" because it just fit him so well. His birthday is in April so the weather is warm enough to have an outdoor party too. 

I created the invitations to look like a set of keys. I downloaded a key shape from the Silhouette store and used my machine to cut out two keys (because he was turning 2) out of metallic silver paper for each invitation. The information for the party was printed on the "key chain" and each was tied together with some striped ribbon. I created a cute little car and dog logo as well. 

I called my friend Alyson from Aly B's Bakery here in Shreveport and had her create a dog cake for the party. She also created some adorable race car cookies. The cake was precious and delicious but I must admit, once it came time to cut into it I felt bad! I just felt a little brutal and I kept having a flash to the Steel Magnolias scene when they cut up the amarillo cake. I also ordered race car cupcake toppers and placed them on top of cupcakes from Sam's Bakery. I made coordinating cupcake toppers and wrappers to go with the theme.

We served water, lemonade, hot dogs and chips (Jack's favorite food). I purchased precious little ice cream cups and filled them with vanilla ice cream. I punched out red, yellow and green dots out of vinyl and added them to the spoons to resemble a stop light. Jenny from Craft that Party created the most adorable garland that matched the color scheme perfectly, I used it wherever I could. She also created a precious Go Jack Go peg which Jackson carried around everywhere!

The activity for the party was a race. I spent months collecting child appropriate sized boxes that the kids could decorate themselves and make their own race cars. I saw this fabulous idea from Jordan from Oh Happy Day in an issue of Parenting Magazine. I created an art station with aprons, markers, glue, paper, stickers, paint, brushes, you name it, we had it! The kids had so much fun decorating and I think the adults did too. We set up a race course in the yard and held several heats. Everyone took their race card home and from what I heard from all the parents is they continued to play with them at home - what a bonus!

At the end of the party every child went home with their own new plush puppy friend, some candy and some dog shaped suckers. It was such a good time and we couldn't have asked for better weather. Jackson's third birthday party is this weekend and I'm hoping we have as good of weather too. His theme this year also involves wheels and dogs, boys never seem to change I guess. 

Invitations, party paper, theme and styling: Magnolia Creative Co.
Dog cake and race car cookies: Aly B's Bakery
Race car fondant toppers: Cakes and Kids
Cupcakes: Sam's Bakery
Ice cream cups and spoons and paper straws: Shop Sweet Lulu
Crepe paper garland and Go Jack Dog peg: Craft that Party
Party favors (plush dogs, favor boxes, dog bone candy, dog suckers): Oriental Trading
Jackson's birthday shirt: Collins Creations
Race car activity inspiration: Oh Happy Day

Friday, February 14, 2014

GIVEAWAY - A Rouler Gold Foil Print and a King Cake for Mardi Gras

So this giveaway is in it's third year and always seems to be a popular one. It's fun to see people in get so excited about the possibility of winning a King Cake, but honestly who can blame them! In Louisiana it's a heated debate on who has the best King Cake. From Lafayette to New Orleans people will argue as to who has the best and EVERYONE has a favorite, even in Shreveport people battle it out.  Gambino's is my favorite (they did my wedding cakes so I'm partial to them), Haydel'sRandazzo's are the top contenders around the state but there are many, many more! To celebrate my favorite holiday and this heated ongoing debate, I'm giving away a FREE Gambino's King Cake shipped overnight, straight to your door and ready for your Mardi Gras party AND one of my new hand lettered gold foil Rouler Prints, in your choice of white or Mardi Gras Stripe to add some flair to your Mardi Gras party decor.

1. Pin your favorite Rouler Print image on Pinterest - 2 Entries
2. Post your favorite Rouler Print image on Instagram - 2 Entries
3. Like the Magnolia Creative Co. Facebook page - 1 Entry

IMPORTANT: Be sure to use the hashtags #RoulerPrint and #MagnoliaCreativeCo in order to be counted for the Pinterest and Instagram entries

The giveaway will end Thursday, February 20 and your king cake will be delivered to you on Monday, March 3 in time for Mardi Gras. 

Good luck and laissez les bon temps rouler!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

TUTORIAL: Watercolor Valentine Flowers

Hello! I'd like to share my new tutorial for Red River Moms magazine. It's a fun little craft that I actually adapted from a lesson plan for with my art students. It's easy to do, fun for kids and creates a very pretty result.

Valentine’s  Day is such a wonderful holiday, hearts, flowers, sweets and chocolate of course. This fun craft is actually an adapted version of a project that I’m doing with my talented art students. It’s very hands on and something you and child will enjoy doing together for yourselves or as a gift. You also have the option to add some sweets at the end too.

Coffee filters (not the cone shaped ones)
Spray starch
Small plastic containers (Yogurt, Sour Cream, Small cups, etc)
X-Acto knife
Green pipe cleaners or florist wire
Green construction paper
Vase or other container

Start by cutting the coffee filter into an organic flower shape, wavy edges or cut with pointed petals. You will use two coffee filters per flower. Make sure you cut one shape a little smaller to create the inside layer of your flower.

Next have your children color the coffee filters using the markers however they wish. Since there will be two layers for each flower make sure they coordinate the colors.

Lay your coffee filter on top of your small container and spray liberally with starch.  Using your fingers you can “sculpt” the flowers into a shape you want. You will need to allow the filter to dry for several hours, apply another coat of starch then dry overnight.

The next day lay the smaller flower inside of the larger one. Using a x-acto knife cut a small slit in the two flowers. Twist two pipe cleaners together to make a strong stem and push them through the hole in the flower. Twist your pipe cleaner into a small knot or loop in the inside center of the flower to help hold it in place and another knot on the underside of the flower.

Using scissors  cut two leaf shapes out of the construction paper and glue to the stems as leaves. You can also use the pipe cleaners to make leaves as I have done in the pictures.

Place your flowers into a container or vase of your choice. Fill the container with colored gift wrap shred or valentines’ candies and enjoy your beautiful arrangement.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I'm so excited to say that I'll be a months contributor to our local parents magazine here in Shreveport, Red River Moms Magazine. It's such an honor and I'm having a lot of fun coming up with the content. Here is my January column all about my favorite holiday and how to tackle writing thank you notes with your children.

The holiday season is behind us and now it’s time for a new year and new celebrations. Before we get to far into 2014 we need to stop and be thankful for the things given to us in 2013 and having your children write their own thank you notes for Christmas gifts is a great way to do this.

Teaching your children to be gracious, compassionate and authentic is a very important lesson that they in turn will pass down to their own children one day. Writing thank you notes for many children seems like a chore but the trick is to make it creative and fun so they are free to express themselves. Spend a few minutes talking about the gifts and what made them special. This is especially helpful for a child who’s great aunt gave them a hand knitted sweater instead of a fun toy. You can discuss the time that she spent creating a special, one of a kind gift and how thoughtful that was. When you are ready to start, help your children create their own correspondence kit. In their own labeled container gather a favorite pen or pencil, stickers, their own address book and personalized stationery or blank thank you notes they pick out themselves. Another fun addition is to purchase their own personalized address stamp to make them feel a little bit more grown up. You can now find multi colored stamp pads at most hobby stores and kids will love this added touch of color. Allow a block of time to get it done, if it’s rushed no one will have fun and it will seem like a chore. Writing thank you notes can be a bonding time as well as a learning opportunity. Write a list of  synonyms for your child so the note doesn’t become so repetitive, this is helpful for older children capable of writing their own notes but may get stuck on what to say. For younger children you can help them by allowing them to dictate to you what they want to say but leave a spot for them to sign their own name or draw a picture. One last way to make note writing a fun experience is to take photos of the child wearing, using or playing with the gift. Have them printed and then write the thank you note on the back.

January 6 is the start of Carnival Season with the Feast of the Epiphany or the Twelfth Night and lasts until midnight on Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Anyone who knows me knows that this is my favorite time of year. Mardi Gras is a celebration of food, fun and all things Louisiana, what’s not to love? The three colors of Mardi Gras have special meanings, Purple for justice, Green for faith and Gold for power. You can host your own special Mardi Gras celebration for children with a few fun crafts and yummy treats.

Party Invitations: Children can get involved making their own party invitations by decorating simple circle cardstock cutouts with markers and glitter. They can create their own Krewe emblem on one side and the party information on the back. Punch a hole in the top and run ribbon or a bead through it and you’ve got your own custom bead invitation.

The Children’s Mini Parade
: This is an annual event at our party. Guests decorate their own wagons, bikes or tricycles and parade in front of the house. This can be a wonderful activity especially if you theme their parade by picking your child’s favorite movie or cartoon character. Gather some “judges” and award prizes to the funniest, best decorated and most original floats.

Décor, food and fun: Decorations are pretty easy to find in this area but you can get your kids in the spirit by having them make their own. Cut the center out of a paper plate, flip it over and allow kids to decorate them like king cakes. Add extra embellishment by adding glitter or streamers. String them all together to create a fun party banner. Speaking of king cake, it’s a must at any party! Add a fun twist by serving it with Mardi Gras, simply add purple or green food coloring. Dip the rims of the cups in melted chocolate and roll in colored sprinkles. Play Cajun or jazz music to get everyone in the Mardi Gras spirit.