As seen in the Fall 2014 issue of Ella and Annie magazine and on Amy Atlas, this fall inspired Dessert Station was created with the DIYer in mind. I was inspired by the colors, smells and flavors of fall and wanted to design something that was easy to recreate. There are so many fabulous vessels and utensils that can be found in your own kitchen! With a little bit of creativity, you can turn almost any item into a cake stand or dessert tray. I utilized baking pans, bundt pans, cupcake trays, pie tins and jars as cake stands, cookies trays and more! Everything is reusable and adds a lot of depth and height. I didn’t have to purchase a single item and I feel it gave the whole table a very warm, homemade feel.
A friend of mine has a gorgeous vegetable garden and a lot of the vegetables were incorporated into the decor. I found some coordinating scrapbook paper and made paper medallions and garland in order to add a bit more detail. The PolkaDot Pickle sewed a gorgeous fabric bunting banner and used her Cricut to make the leaf garland. With natural setting such as your backyard, the amount of decor needed is minimal and the garland and bunting were perfect!
For the desserts, I focused on mini tarts and an assortment of cookies and chex mix. By purchasing pre-made tart shells, you can make your own filling and turn any mini tart into an inexpensive, easy dessert option while still giving the guests several flavor options to choose from. The egg cartons were the perfect size for guests to fill with mini tarts and take them home. If you don’t have time to bake several different cookie recipes, head to your local grocery store for an assortment of cookies! You’d be surprised at all the options you can find during the holiday season.
Let me start by saying I am a HUGE Walking Dead fan. I have always had a love for all things zombie and am counting the days until the next season starts. When Miriam Corona contacted me with a referral for a client who wanted a legit Walking Dead dessert station, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I am still saying thank you to Miriam for sending THE raddest client my way. We had a phone consultation and the first thing out of her mouth was, “I have to have The Governor’s head collection somewhere on this table”. Yes, please! This wasn’t going to be a cutesy set up, she wanted details, gore, had some great ideas and totally let me run with it. We’ve had many Walking Dead related conversations since! I had a blast designing the station and am now a big fan of the coolest zombie loving family, EVER!
I started by having The Pixel Studio design a dark, wooded, zombie filled backdrop. Can you spot them? A huge shout out to James Litho for the phenomenal print job and excellent customer service. They got the job done fast and made it really easy to display the canvas on pipe and drape. Of course, I had to have Daryl and Rick make an appearance. This is them right before they went to work exterminating the zombies.
I found some old oil barrels and plywood for the table and PonchoDave on Etsy sold me some of Daryl’s poncho material to drape over it. I also made a mini poncho for my littlest man and he had a lot of fun wearing it around the house. Considering how the last season ended, I knew we had to include Terminus in there somewhere. The signage and grill with our custom packaged “dipping body parts” served as take home favors for the guests. I’m pretty sure Terminus is full of cannibals and we shall soon find out.
The client had originally wanted a whole wall of zombie heads in real aquarium tanks but the venue wouldn’t allow glass or much water so, we improvised. An aquarium full of the Governor’s trophies served as the centerpiece and cake stand for Sweet and Saucy’s recreation of the prison. They even turned Michonne into a replica of the birthday girl. She was a pro at warding off the zombies.
For the desserts, there were SO many memorable quotes and moments throughout the seasons that is was hard to not go overboard with every idea that popped into my mind. I decided to focus the majority of this table on the most recent season and chose a few of my favorite quotes as flavor tag and tent style table decor. I still have these tent cards in my office as I just couldn’t part with them.
Lets start with Carl’s infamous pudding. I called upon Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop to create some chocolate pudding inspired dessert shots and she knocked it out of the park in both look and taste. These were SO delicious and gave the guests a chance to share the love of pudding.
I loved Merle’s character and the transformation that he went through. One of my favorite lines was “I’ll bake ‘em a cake with pink frosting” so of course, we had to have some mini cupcakes. These served as a “choose your weapon” display with the most detailed fondant toppers by Edible Details. That crossbow? Seriously amazing. I did leave one cupcake sprinkled just for Merle. The other cupcakes (salted caramel flavored) had chocolate brains on them.
You can’t have a zombie table without some guts and let me tell you, those cream puffs with the oozing green goo went right along with the theme.
There had to be some zombie grub on the table so as a nod to Glenn finding Maggie’s engagement ring, I had Bella’s Bakery and Bowtique create finger cake pops. Displayed in a baking pan, they looked so real in person that I had to remind people they were, in fact, edible. The edible ring was found on one of the fingers as an extra treat. I can’t stop staring at these fingers and am still in awe of how incredibly gruesome they were! She also created scrumptious eyeball cake bites. I spy with my little eye…. the Governor’s infamous patch!
Chocolate coated Oreos gave guests a chance to show their team spirit. Who’s team are you on?
Of course, Daryl Dixon can be on my zombie killing team any day. His ear collection can be found strewn across a jar of chocolate gummy ears and is accompanied by a jar of “Penny’s boogers” (TWD fans will know who she was).
We’ve lost so many beloved characters so I decided to create an “in memory of” cookie collection. Firefly Confections creates crazy amazing cookie designs and was able to take the characters faces and immortalize them in the most delicious sugar cookies. I’m tempted to have a set made just for me so that I can put them in a shadow box on my wall. Yes, I love them that much. Oh Dale and Hershel, how I miss you.
I hope this temporarily eases the longing for a the new season to begin. If you’re anything like me, you’re itching for it even more!
Dessert Station concept, design and styling: Sweets Indeed
Backdrop design, paper goods and photography: The Pixel Studio
Backdrop printing: James Litho
Chocolate “pudding” dessert shots, cream puffs and mini cupcakes: Meringue Bake Shop
Finger and eyeball cake bites, custom Oreos: Bella’s Bakery and Bowtique
Prison inspired cake: Sweet and Saucy Shop
Custom cookies: Firefly Confections
Fondant Cupcake Toppers: Edible Details
Dip-A-Body Part, chocolate brains, ears and hearts, gummy frogs and “Penny’s boogers”: Sweets Indeed
In June of this year, my 7 year old niece was diagnosed with leukemia. I was quickly reminded how precious life is and how things can change overnight. My family came together to support my sister and brother-in-law as they dropped everything to be by their daughters side. We formed a fundraising site in order to help relieve some of the financial stress and allow friends to join in the ranks in surrounding them with love and encouragement. The outpouring of support has been immeasurable and we will be forever grateful. To donate or acquire updates on Lily’s progress, you can go to http://www.youcaring.com/other/love-for-lily-belle/193491
My daughter’s 10th birthday approached shortly after Lily’s diagnosis and she so graciously decided that she wanted to “donate” her birthday to her cousin. The two had spent Avie’s birthday together for several years and this year, Lily would be unable to attend. We decided to throw a festive and fun “fruity flamingo” party in order to celebrate summer, hope and life.
We had a ton of fun planning the details and there were so many fantastic party people involved! I was inspired by the Oh Joy! for Target summer collection and all of it’s bright colors. I picked up some of the cups, plates, a fruity tray and a few other pieces and planned the color palette around those fun pieces.
The TomKat Studio designed a printable party collection which provided the perfect flamingo flair. The collection can be purchased in her shop at The TomKat Studio. The shop also has a fabulous assortment of honeycomb balls in all different colors and sizes. I knew these would be perfect to create over sized fruit decor with. The Pixel Studio helped me design a template for a pear, apple, and strawberry and the orange honeycomb balls were ready to go as is. The Tomkat studio will have a DIY tutorial on her blog which will include the templates and how to create your own fruit decor!
Couture Party Decor provided a plethora of gorgeous colors and sizes of paper lanterns. I used the lanterns and the honeycomb fruit to create a backdrop for the sweets and sorbet stations and as decor underneath the tiki umbrellas. The kids also loved playing with the decor on the lawn. These were such easy, inexpensive decorative items and they filled up the space beautifully making the party bright and fun.
The tables, linens, chairs and the tiki umbrellas were from Jump Connection. Those tiki umbrellas were full and fabulous. I LOVED them! Each place setting had an Oh Joy! plate, a cup for ice and some perfect items from Shop Sweet Lulu. Their soda pop bottles held lemonade and striped straws and I used The TomKat Studio printables to hold the utensils. Shop Sweet Lulu’s Daffodil Yellow Triangle napkins looked darling under the CUTEST pineapple cups and flamingo straws from Oriental Trading Company. Each party guest was ecstatic about their own mini pinatas by Lisa Frank of Handcrafted Parties. Talk about darling and unique! Those pinatas actually had candy in them and were the real deal! I added tissue tassel garland details and painted faux fruit throughout the party.
I used fruit stickers and sunglasses from The Oriental Trading Company and the kids had a blast decorating their own sunglasses. This was the simplest and most fun “craft” station and the party guests each went home with new shades.
Floral arrangements added fun to the food stations and tables. These darling mason jars were hand painted by Always The Occasion. After placing flowers in each one, I felt like it needed something more. Made By A Princess created custom, glitter flamingo cupcake toppers but I couldn’t help using them in the floral arrangements.
I had to have some yard flamingos and found the perfect ones via Oriental Trading Company. Inspired by Carmen Miranda, I made little fruit hats for each one and placed them all over the yard. The girls were pretty excited to play “models” in some pretty adorable outfits. Each outfit was created by Redeux Kidz. I am a huge fan of up cycled items and they take vintage clothing and make them into one of a kind pieces. The company always donates a percentage of their profits to charities and the owner is the absolute sweetest.
From left to right, the girls wore custom Redeux Kidz outfits. Kids Aztec Dream Kaftan, Lemonade and Cherry Peasant Dress, Canary Palazzo Pants, Sunset Orange Bloomies, Aqua Floral Pleated Sun Dress
Of course the birthday girl had to have something special and there’s nothing better than a custom party hat that can be kept long after the party is over. Among many other things, Shawna Brockmeier Events makes the most adorable, custom party hats. This one was perfect with it’s tropical print and fruit details. Avalon still parades around the house with it on.
It’s been a hot summer and I wanted to do something different for the kids so I designed a sorbet station with Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop. Known for creating the pushcake, her push pop containers were perfect for sorbet. My mom spent a whole day perfecting recipes and filling containers. Sawyer Leigh Boutique sent die cut fruit and flamingos to match the party colors. They were perfect for separating flavors and added the right amount of detail to each treat. Sweetly Chic Events and Design created hand painted letters which clearly made the Sorbet station stand out. I attached them to the table and they were perfect! Spoons from Shop Sweet Lulu came in handy when the party goes wanted to share their sorbet and I placed a few pineapple cups from The Oriental Trading Company to remind guests that drinks were nearby.
Of course I HAD to have a dessert station and collaborated with some of my favorite dessert vendors. Mallory of The French Confection Co. created the perfect, most delicious cake and we almost didn’t cut into it as it was just too cute! Mallory also made scrumptious confetti cupcakes with fondant fruit details, the most popular fruit macarons (let me tell you…the coordinating fruit fillings were to die for) and mini strawberry tarts. All of the desserts were displayed on our cake stands on top of a custom tie dyed table runner by Cupcakes With Character. It was gorgeously detailed in person and added the perfect pop of color.
Bella’s Bakery and Bowtique made the most perfect chocolate covered Oreos and pineapple cake pops. Each one is like an edible piece of art.
I teared up when I opened the box of custom lollipops by Lollipics. A picture of my daughter and niece made each lollipop extra special. I’m all about personal details and this company creates just that in edible form. Displayed next to our Pineapple Candy Kabobs, they went home with party guests as one of many party favors.
Kate Aspen sent their “All That Glitter” gold favor boxes and I hot glued pink flamingos to the top. Inside each box was a “Love for Lily Belle” bracelet and some fruit shaped erasers. They added the perfect touch of glitter to the table.
The kids also munched on cotton candy from Dolly’s Cotton Candy. Let me tell you, you haven’t tasted flavors as fun as watermelon, orange crush and lemon. Their cotton candy lolli’s were a huge hit!
I had a little kids splash area and used tissue bunting garland from Shop Sweet Lulu as a backdrop for The TomKat Studio “Happy Birthday” banner that I made using tissue paper garland from Fancy and Fold. I added pictures of the birthday girl and my niece to the cutest felt fruit garland by Fizzy Party. Both of these are now hanging as decor in my daughters room.
I can’t thank everyone enough for bringing this party to life and in turn, celebrating my daughters birthday and the hope we have for Lily’s recovery. I am truly blessed!
Sweets Indeed – Concept, Design and Styling, Pineapple Candy Kabobs, Dessert Station Cake Stands - www.sweetsindeed.com
The Pixel Studio – Photography - www.thepixelstudio.com
The TomKat Studio – Printable Party Collection and Honeycomb Balls - www.thetomkatstudio.com
The Oriental Trading Company – Yard Flamingos, Sunglasses and Fruit Stickers, Pineapple Cups, Flamingo Food Sticks, Flamingo Straws and Fruit Erasers - www.orientaltrading.com
Redeux Kids – Upcycled Vintage Clothing - www.redeuxkidz.com
Shop Sweet Lulu – Striped Straws, Soda Bottles, Pink Lemonade Spoons, Tissue Bunting Garland, Paper Doilies, Daffodil Yellow Triangles Tableware Collection - www.shopsweetlulu.com
Meringue Bake Shop – Pushpop Containers – www.meringuebakeshop.com
The French ConfectionCo. – Cake, Fruit Macarons, Cupcakes, Fondant Fruit Toppers, Fruit Tarts - www.thefrenchconfectionco.com
Lollipics – Custom Image Lollipops – www.lollipics.com
Dolly’s Cotton Candy – Cotton Candy Lollipops – www.dollyscottoncandy.com
Bella’s Bakery and Bowtique – Custom Oreos and Pineapple Cake Pops - www.facebook.com/BellasBakeryandBowtique
Sawyer Leigh Boutique – Die Cut Fruit Shapes - www.etsy.com/shop/SawyerLeighBoutique
Kate Aspen – “All That Glitter” Gold Glitter Favor Box - www.kateaspen.com
Sweetly Chic Events andDesign- Custom Sorbet Letters - www.sweetlychicevents.com
Fizzy Party – Fruit Felt Garland - www.fizzyparty.com
Fancy and Fold – Tissue Paper Tassel Garland – www.facebook.com/fancyandfold
Always The Occasion – Flamingo Mason Jars – www.facebook.com/alwaystheoccasion
Lisa Frank – Mini Fruit Pinatas – www.handcraftedparties.com
Made By A Princess – Glitter Flamingo Toppers – www.partiesinstyle.com
Couture Party Decor – Paper Lanterns - www.couturepartydecor.com
Shawna Brockmeier Events – Birthday Hat – www.facebook.com/pages/Shawna-Brockmeier-Styled-Events
Jump Connection – Tiki Umbrella’s, Linens, Tables and Chairs - www.jumpconnection.com