Saturday, March 30, 2013

S.S. Bunny

Last summer my mother and I (a bit spontaneously) took up kayaking and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the lake in our local state park and also meeting a delightful group of new friends. When winter brought we kayakers inside- we realized we missed socializing as much as paddling and held an "almost spring kayak party." I attempted to make puff pastry kayaks filled with chocolate and strawberries. 
This got me thinking, as my basket of chocolate bunnies looked on- why not let the Easter bunny set sail in his very own watercraft/dessert, After all, he has a lot of ground to cover and his legs must get a bit tired.

This is also fun way to use any leftover Easter candy -not that that is usually a problem in my house

a cargo of jelly beans and flower candies
 These sweet bunnies and many more at

You'll Need:
frozen puffed pastry (thawed)
assorted chocolate bunnies, peeps and other seafaring folk
assorted candies and sweets
wooden skewers
paper printables, scrapbook paper or doilies
meltable white or colored chocolate

Roll out thawed pastry on cutting board.
 Cut out boat shape depending on the size of your "captain"
Using sharp pointed knife cut shape for opening in boat without cutting all the way through dough.

Bake according to directions and when cooled pop out cut section to create open area

create sails attaching printouts, scrap paper or doilies to skewers or large toothpicks
vintage graphics from the fabulous Graphics fairy
the sail and banners can be found on our Printables Page

Insert sail into boat, securing with melted chocolate if desired

Using melted chocolate attach crew and accessories
If desired add paper sailor caps for a truly nautical look
let chocolate harden completely

Have fun with a variety of shapes and sizes for a fun flotilla! Set sail on a sea of colored coconut.

A doily makes a fun but not very seaworthy sail

You can perch the boaters on assorted cake stands

These can also make adorable place cards

this darling image and more from zazzle

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Good Egg

Shadow Box "Sugar" Eggs


White Chocolate Hatching Chicks

 Maybe I'm showing my age, but some of the sweetest confections I remember from Easters past are beautifully crafted colorful Sugar Eggs. These fancifully decorated hollow eggs, always featured a tiny charming vignette inside, and were far too precious too eat. An online search found a few tutorials to make your own and some specialty shops which still craft them, but I thought I'd give a nod to these sweet creations with a much easier but non-edible holiday project. And so we don't miss out on a good sugar rush, there's also an egg inspired easy DIY white chocolate and peep confection that's something to tweet about!

Inspiration images from and Easter Sugar eggs  
You'll Need:
Large plastic eggs with clear fronts (I got mine at the Dollar store)
An assortment of supplies of your choice: Easter printouts, faux flowers and foliage
Clear or crystalline Glitter
Paints which adhere to plastic 
Hot glue
Modge Podge

Eggs Before*
*if you can't find these, just leave the lid off of half of a solid plastic or paper mache' egg shaped box
 I painted the backs similar but softer shade and sprinkled glitter into wet paint
I then glued printables from the Graphics Fairy onto sturdy card stock with spray adhesive and gave them a quick brush of Modge Podge and sprinkled with clear glitter
Allow to dry and cut out shapes
I glitter-glued a toothpick to create a pole for the banner. Glue images together
Fold a strip of card stock accordion style as a backing for the character and hot glue into egg to create dimension
 I brushed the floral accents with Modge Podge and again sprinkled with glitter to create "sugary" flowers and butterflies
Carefully hot glue accents into place
"Ice" border of egg lids with squeezable paint and sprinkle with more clear glitter to simulate frosting

reattach clear plastic cover or leave open as desired
I perched this one on a dollar store glass candlestick spruced up with paint and sparkle
this one rests on an egg cup
For a fun display, create an assortment of eggs using different colors and imagery. 
Please note, handle the eggs carefully as glitter and paint can chip off easily
Add some sparkly friends to your vignette

 White Chocolate Hatching Chicks
For this and other charming images visit Sugar Moon's Vintage Easter art

While you'll see Peeps appear in dozens of incarnations this season, from Peep-tinis to s'mores, this very simple recipe has been a hit with my friends and family for several years now, and needs only a few minutes and a few ingredients. These are also delightful perched upon frosted cupcakes or nested in cupcake liners and boxed for a gift.
You'll Need:
Marshmallow Peeps
Meltable white chocolate
shredded coconut
food coloring
place generous amount of coconut in zip lock baggy and add several drops of coloring (I used pastels)
shake bag and knead thoroughly until color is evenly distributed and spread on plate
Melt chocolate according to directions
Dip bottom part of peeps to coat well leaving heads and necks uncovered
use a spoon to distribute chocolate evenly
immediately dip bottom of peep into coconut to create nest and rest on wax paper
 A sweet bite with a cup of afternoon tea
and a handful of jelly eggs

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Teatime on the Bunny Trail

Spring is in the Air
It seems the celebrated Puxatawney Phil did not, indeed, see his shadow this February 2nd, coyly tempting us with the promise of an an early Spring. Though science may not legitimize rodent's prediction of weather patterns, I'm optimistically faithful in Phil and thought I'd get a head start with a simple springtime themed little tea party suitable for a certain springtime bunny on the go.
Spritely rabbits, singing birds, and eggs, have always been the stars of the season. For this post, I opted for more "Spring is Here" than overtly "Easter" (that post is coming later), more neutral naturals than a plethora of pastels, and subbed in plain eggs for painted. Of course, these Spring projects can still easily carry over perfectly into your Easter celebrations and decor.

O, wind, if Winter comes,
can spring be far behind?

~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Set the Scene with a 
Spring Topiary Wreath
I have a neighbor who, with a simple pair of garden shears can wield graceful magical shapes from his plants and shrubs a la Edward scissorhands. Unfortunately my horticultural skills are much more limited. Recently I've attempted to tame small pots of supermarket ivy, winding the branches around a rounded dry clean hanger to create what I thought would be a lovely wreath shape I'd seen in floral shops. Instead it resulted in a wilted sad brown loop of twigs. To the rescue "faux" ivy and flowers, a 99 cent hula hoop and a few nature inspired Spring accessories. No watering required!
You'll Need
a child sized Hula hoop* or large one if you're feeling adventurous
1-2 garlands of faux ivy or flowers
accessories: birds, nests
a small bunny or garden theme statue if desired (mine is from Homegoods)
This is simply an inexpensive way to make basic wreath on a bit larger scale
 I gave my hula hoop a quick spritz of green paint, which didn't adhere particularly well but helped camouflage the color a bit. I then wrapped ivy or garland around hula hoop securing with tape or glue if necessary. Hot glue or wire on flowers or accessories as you like
 Display it with potted spring bulbs or statuary or you can hang traditionally on a door or wall.

 I set up part of the tea on an antique bench to free the dining table for sipping and nibbling. Here it is during the set up process and before the treats were put out.

Nibbles and Sweets
Simple Bunny-friendly Fare
Carrot Cake Scones
Cucumber Baskets
Assorted Herbal and Black Teas 
Strawberries and Orange whipped Cream

Of course for a heartier or more formal tea, any added assortment of tea sandwiches, salads or a lovely carrot soup would be wonderful

Carrot Scones
Of course carrots are a must have on the menu, and this buttery but not too sweet scone highlights their mild flavor. There are several recipes online, I adapted this delightful one from Created by Diane, and finding myself pressed for time, subbed her adorable icing for a simpler quick dusting of powdered sugar
Well I tried my cookie cutters and the result was a bit more post-modern than charming bunny- I also cut some into traditional triangles - No worries, with a dusting of sugar everything looks yummy.

Cucumber Cream Cheese baskets
This is a fun way to serve cucumbers and are a refreshing counterpoint to the richness of the scones

You need just three ingredients
I used chive and onion cream cheese but other flavors would would work as well

 Peel strips from whole cucumber to make "striped" pattern and cut into small " cups"
Scoop a small well in center with a melon baller and let drain on paper towels

 Take a blade from a fresh chives and gently slip one cut end into either- far easier than it sounds
Hold upright to form basket handle while "gluing" on with flavored cream cheese
I used a icing extruder with a star tip - super easy and quick
add a garnish if desired

Berries and Orange Whipped Cream
Make the most of the first berries of the season by simply accenting with fresh orange whipped cream.
 I found this recipe from a lady named Grandma Berries; so I knew it had to be good.
I used blood oranges which I happened to have on hand and created a lovely pale pink shade
A sudden burst of sun brought the tea out on the deck
Mismatched cups and serving ware are in tune with the unfussy feel
Attach pretty gift tags to teapots to label different teas
pop bunny themed accents around room in unexpected places- the powder room, window sill etc

The 5 Minute Tiered Tray
I recently heard a tremendous crash in my dining room, running only to find the door of my armoire swinging on it's hinges, one of my glass cake stands in pieces on the floor and a somewhat guilty but not terribly distraught cat observing the scene. 
Since there are dozens of clever DIY ideas for cake stands and tiers online, I thought I'd look around to see what I could put together myself before I bit the bullet and bought a new one. Since this tea has a rustic picnicky feel, I reached for my old straw picnic plate holders (99 cents a pack) and some leftover plastic disposable glasses.

You'll Need
straw plates
clear plastic glasses
hot glue
faux flowers, moss or ribbon to accent

 Fill glasses with faux flowers or moss, making sure the arrangement looks nice from all angles. 
                               I quickly glued the flowers to moss before inserting in glass to secure
Run a rim of hot glue around glass top and press plate on top. Be careful to center plate to ensure stability. Repeat with next layer. 
If desired add some large pebbles to bottom glass for added weight.
Cut paper doily to fit around cup if you like

Top with a spring accent- I used the same bunny from my Secret Garden post but a small pot of flowers would be charming too
I think of these plates as "semi-disposable" and since the texture makes them a bit tricky to clean, if they get too many spills, you can just toss the tier and make a new one next year without breaking the bank.

PennyWise Tips
Fresh out of planters and Pots? Inexpensive Supermarket flowers get a quick makeover by replacing their paper wrappings with a square scrap of burlap- simply rewrap pot and secure with the original elastic.

Send guests home with a favor of a small pack of herbal tea or an individually wrapped scone topped with a printout of one of the recipes.

Wishing everyone all the Delights of Spring!

From the Graphics Fairy