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I LOVE THIS! A friend of mine stumbled upon these amazing cookie-cutters from Williams-Sonoma, via the amazingly adorable Creature Comforts blog,  and passed them along to share.Also be sure and check-out the video on the WS website to get your very own tutorial. We love these, and at $19.95- it’s a totally affordable kitchen addition. A super sweet favor for guests at bridal showers, or engagement parties. Love.

So this year seems to be the year of the shower… I know that normally that gets followed up with the wedding, but I have so many this year that I can’t attend because they all seem to fall on the same day! So my attention has turned to the showers. I received an invite in the mail yesterday for a Bridal Shower Tea down in Tennessee. No joke. Adorably rhymey right?

So I started thinking about the Bridal Shower Tea and what a cute idea it is. Well Martha thinks so too… I mean why wouldn’t she. It’s  not for everyone, but if your bride falls a little more conservative, loves her tradition and seriously enjoys her tea, this is a really lovely and unique shower option.  Here are some easy DIY ideas to spruce up your bridal shower tea!

CENTERPIECES/GIFTS

 

Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Martha says…

In addition to bringing your gift for the lovely bride-to-be, Martha suggests asking each guest to bring an antique tea cup to the shower for the bride to eventually use in the many tea parties with eclectic non-matching tabletop parties she will throw once she’s hitched.

I say…

In theory- it’s a great idea if you have room for 50 or so antique tea cups. Otherwise, maybe the bridesmaids can go flea market/thrift store shopping and find some mismatched tea cups that can double as party centerpieces and keepsakes down the line. 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Martha says…

New or vintage, the containers are inexpensive and easy to find at specialty-food stores, tag sales, and online auctions. Test tins to make sure they’re watertight before filling with single-flower arrangements. If any do leak, use plastic bags as liners.

I say…

Great idea. Especially for casual backyard showers or summer time showers that allow for mismatched wild flower arrangements.

 

FAVORS

Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart
Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Martha says…

Buy loose tea in bulk. Trim the tops of tea bags (available where loose tea is sold, this is by T-sac) with scalloping scissors, and fill with one teaspoon of tea. Tie with baker’s twine. Print a message onto card stock, and cut out. Punch a hole, thread onto twine, and knot.

I say…

Genius. I love it. You can buy loose tea just about anywhere and if you want to add a little extra personalization and you have access to an amazingly talented friend,  calligraphy  the tags instead of printing them.

 

SWEETS N’ TREATS

 

Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Martha says…

Make some homemade cookies and place them in labeled jars. This way, your guests can choose their favorites. Set out glassine-lined bags and seals for packaging cookies to go.

I say…

Brilliant again. You can find cheap ribbon to decorate at raft store sales or fabric stores.

 

Photo Courtesy of Hostess With The Mostess Blog

Photo Courtesy of Hostess With The Mostess Blog

Just in time for Derby Day ladies… The Kentucky Derby is Saturday and if you haven’t already planned your Derby Day party, you best get a move on.  Break out those big hats, pinch your mint plants back and get ready for the most exciting 3 minutes in sports history… the Run for the Roses!  OK that was a little dramatic. But still… exciting!  I love horse racing… and big hats. I grew up going to the track in Saratoga in the summers with my family, so in some ways it’s in my blood I suppose.

If you can’t make it to the actual derby, here’s a wonderful recipe for Mint Julep Cupcakes from one of my favorite daily blogs Hostess with the Mostess!  The recipe is adapted from Cooking & Booking and was first discovered via YumSugar but we trust anything that comes from HWTM. LOVE IT! 

The full recipe from HWTM is below- but check out their blog for more derby day inspired ideas!

MINT JULEP CUPCAKES
{adapted from Cooking and Booking}

Ingredients:

Cupcakes
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup bourbon (or whiskey)
1/2 cup Creme de Menthe

Icing
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mint extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
milk

*****

Directions:

Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350º F, and grease or line 30 cupcake cups.

Combine salt, baking powder, and 1 3/4 cups of the flour. Beat butter, sugar, eggs, and extracts in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the milk and liquors to the batter, then the rest of the flour (1 cup). Mix as little as possible, just until the batter comes together. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool.

Icing
Combine the powdered sugar, salt, extracts and melted butter and beat until creamy. Gradually add milk until the texture is right for piping. When the cupcakes are completely cool, pipe or spread the icing on top. Garnish with cake sparkles or sprinkles, a straw (trimmed to size), and mint leaves.

Personalized Cookbooks from TasteBook

Personalized Cookbooks from TasteBook

So everyone has probably been invited to at least one kitchen shower in their lifetime right? Bring a gift and also fill out this retro recipe card and bring a kitchen doo hicky (mine= corkscrew, spatula, wooden spoon) that you can’t live without to throw in the doo hicky basket when you get there. Right?

Let me just preface this by saying I have nothing against the kitchen shower. In fact I rather like the kitchen shower. HOWEVER, the recipe cards could use a kick in the pants. I mean. I’ve tried the recipe card thing and they always end up falling between my stove and the counter. By the way they’re not very helpful down there and I’m currently waiting for “Braised Brussel Sprouts” to catch on fire down there…

Ok. So, my cousin got an invite to participate in a modern day kitchen shower where instead of bring recipe cards, everyone collaborates prior to the shower to create a personalized recipe book for the bride-to-be from all of her favorite ladies in waiting on one site.

Personalized Cookbooks from Tastebook

Personalized Cookbooks from Tastebook

TasteBook, has turned the recipe card concept on its head and given it a modern day spin.  It’s a site that offers personalized, hard back, cook books with personalized recipes.  There are over 100,000 recipes from top sites, cookbooks and magazines to choose from OR you can input your own to make this a very special collaborative shower gift.

There are instructional videos on the site to help you figure out how to get started, but here’s a quick breakdown on starting your group gift for the bridal shower. First, choose a point person. You are in charge.

1. Go to the site and click Join (It’s FREE)

2. Click “Create a TasteBook” on the left hand side

3. Choose your cover- These are some pretty awesome photos, and you could do a few if you wanted to (Cupcake themes, Cookie Themes, Locally Grown, Vegetarian etc.)

4. Name your TasteBook  (Sara’s Cookbook: Recipes for a Lifetime, Erin’s Seasonal Cookbook, Meghan’ and Jon’s Newly-Wed Cookbook)

5. Now, you can either drag and drop recipes from existing TasteBooks, or import your own

I suggest importing your own, you can type it in right there and add your own personal photo. OR. You can choose from hundreds of recipes that are already available from Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Food & Wine, Epicurious and more!

Or you can import your own. (can you tell which I prefer?)

So once you have imported your recipe. Share it with the other people who will be attending the shower.

Send an email to the friends you want to help you collaborate, with your sign-in and password information. Everyone can then sign in and add a recipe to the TasteBook and personalize it by clicking on the “Create” “Recipe Page” Tab.

Once everyone has input their favorite recipes with photos, you (the responsible one) will go back in and order the TasteBook, adding a dedication page and forking over your credit card number.

The books start at $19.95 (those include 25 recipes) and range to $29.95 (50 recipes) and $39.95 (100 recipes). Someone pay for it or split it. Trust me this is pocket change in the grand scheme of your bridesmaid bank account withdrawals.

Once you have created and ordered your book, you can share it with all of the attendees via email, so everyone then can keep a copy of said TasteBook on file in their account on the site.  Here’s how you SHARE.

6. Click on the “Share” tab on the top

7. Select the TasteBook you want to share with friends and then import your address book from your e-mail account.

8. Click “Share TasteBook” and an email will be sent out to all of your friends!

Now, if you’re short on time and you waited until the last minute to do something cool for your bride-to-be you can always purchase a TasteBook that has already been created. Click “Shop TasteBooks” and you’ll see a whole bunch of organized books with titles like “Mostly Mediterranean, Classic Cocktails, and Stealthy healthy.

OR

You can search by the recipient, buying items…for the Organic and Healthy…for the Perfect Hostess or … for the Dessert Maven.

Also, you can keep  Grandma’s old shortbread recipe with the new digital version, by ordering recipe sleeves (Pack of 10- 7 x 10 for $4.95) to keep everything together.

Then….click the gift box box and get FREE GIFT WRAPPING with a personalized sticker. SO great!

 

I firmly believe that every woman (and even man) should have their own personalized  signature cocktail. I’m big on this, and I think it’s a great addition to any kind of party- shower, bachelorette, engagement or otherwise.

 

Having a signature party drink that’s personalized makes the guest of honor feel even more special plus, it’s unique and fun.  Make it a punch or a shaken cocktail, a beer margarita or a frozen dessert.  Whatever it is, make sure it reflects your guest of honor’s tastes, style and personality.

 

Here are some tips to keep in mind when naming your party beverage. 

 

  1. Follow their Tastes: If they’re a vodka drinker, the main ingredient probably shouldn’t be gin. If their sweet and social go with something that reflects that, sugary, sweet, citrus etc. If they happen to be a bit more brooding and mysterious, make it work. Keep the time of year, the type of celebration and your guest list in mind as well. 

 

  1. Name accordingly: The name of the drink is the most important part (after the taste of course.  Go with their hometown, Jason’s Long Island Ice Tea, their nickname, Bobby’s Backyard Brew; their maiden name, their soon-to-be new last name, or a combination of both, BurchWoodtini, their personality, their major… the possibilities are endless.

 

 

  1. Aliteration and Rhyming are your Friends: Throw in those adjectives up front: social, sweet, silly, naughty, blissful, kinky, crazy, dirty etc.  Using adjectives that start with the guest of honor’s name is nice, and rhyming is even better: Kinky Katie’s Maine Magic, Crazy Corinne’s Upper East Side Slide, Dirty Dana’s Desert Twist…

 

Serve in a fun container like an oversized Mason jar, pitcher or right in a glass. Write out a label so guests know what they’re drinking and have a good laugh when they realize its signature and special to the guest of honor.

 

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