Friday, October 30, 2009

Feature Friday: Handmade by Heather

Etsy is one our favorite places to find unique, handmade touches for the parties and events we design. Today we'd like to introduce you to Heather Mattos, owner of Handmade by Heather!

Remember Katie and Jon's wedding this summer? We had the sign pictured above custom made for the event. The wooden sign was displayed on an easel at the entrance of the venue to welcome guests and later moved to the lawn where the reception took place.

Best of all, the newlyweds had a gorgeous keepsake they could display in their home long after the wedding!

Handmade by Heather specializes in personalized wooden signs. When we say "no detail is overlooked" this is the kind of thing we're talking about when personalizing an event for a client.

A personalized tiki bar sign will be making an appearance at the In Luau of Christmas party in December!

Every child should have a special birthday outfit, right? Handmade by Heather's birthday t-shirts are a-DOR-able and the child can wear the t-shirt long after the actual birthday.

The "initial tee" would also be a thoughtful surprise for the guest of honor.

Remember that Handmade by Heather takes custom orders of just about any kind! Have an idea? Send her a message. We have a 1 year-old's birthday coming up and will be submitting our order for a custom birthday bib shortly!

Be sure to take a peek at Handmade by Heather's shop and stop by her blog. She has got some amazing recipes, fun craft ideas and gorgeous pictures.
Thank you Heather, for letting us feature you this morning!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teresa's Baby Shower

Last weekend was Teresa's baby shower! Tom (daddy-to-be) and Teresa, along with their family and friends, gathered to celebrate the pending arrival of their new little one, A.M.

The shower was built around "A is for Apricot, B is for Baby" and the decor was inspired by shades of apricot/orange and aqua/blue.

The dessert table featured French Meringues, Apricot and Blueberry Thumbprint cookies, Coconut-Apricot Macaroons and Mini-Cheesecakes with apricot and blueberry jam.

We made a simple bunting string out of various fabrics that complimented the color scheme-- orange sherbet gingham, blue paisley, a shimmery aqua and apricot and blue florals.

"A" and "M" are the initials of Tom and Teresa's bundle of joy. They took the wooden letters home to use in her nursery!

Instead of traditional flower centerpieces for the tables, fresh herbs were used, giving the tables a country-chic feel paired with the blue linens and white accents. Using fresh organic herbs is also environmentally responsible as they can be used long after the baby shower is over.

How gorgeous is that aqua table cloth? The simple herb centerpiece stands out beautifully against the cool blue backdrop.

We used scraps from the bunting to create custom newborn onesies for Tom and Teresa to use for their baby girl and they also acted as decor for the shower.

The appliques included the initials "A" and "M", an apricot, a flower and a baby rattle.

We wish Tom and Teresa all the joy in the world with their new baby girl!

Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your celebration!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Feature Friday: MKL Designs

We love when we get to feature brand new businesses and even though MKL Designs is new, we are head over heels for owner Melissa Larson's gorgeous work. Melissa is the mother of two gorgeous girls and calls herself an "amateur" photographer although the photos on her blog could easily pass for professional. MKL Designs debuted this fall and we are loving their fresh, simple, and beautifully bold designs.

Check out these gorgeous save-the-date's (which could just as easily serve as wedding invitations themselves.)

After the wedding you may be in need of these...

And then these...

And then these!

Why not get a jump on your Christmas cards this year? MKL Designs has tons of holiday card options to choose from and welcomes custom orders.

Go check out MKL Design's shop and Melissa's blog and be sure to submit your holiday order soon!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Inspiration Board: In Luau of Christmas


This is for a surprise party we're planning so we can't say who this inspiration board is for but in lieu (or in 'luau'-- get it???) of egg nog and Honey Baked ham, this family is going to be enjoying Mai Tai's and and pulled pork this Christmas.

Our plans for the party include Roasted Pineapple Hot Buttered Rum as the signature drink, Broiled Pineapple with homemade vanilla ice cream for the starter, a traditional Polynesian menu, bright and colorful decor, a Christmas tree ornamented with hibiscus flowers and surfboards, and a special photo op for party-goers (who are requested to wear Hawaiian-inspired attire.)

We can't WAIT to put this fun, festive party together!

Check back on Friday for this weeks' featured business and again next week for pictures of Teresa's baby shower coming up on Saturday.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Feature Friday: Sweet Expressions Desserts

About a month ago we mentioned that we had a "*sweet* feature" to bring to you, and we finally have it! Meet Kiiki Pittman, owner of Sweet Expressions Desserts.

Kiiki had been making desserts for friends and family for years and after a person hears, "You should do this for a living" so many times, they start to think that might actually be a good idea. For Kiiki, it turned out to be a great idea! Kiiki's dessert business is mainly word-of-mouth and referrals (which is the BEST way to get business). She made the leap to be her own boss after being laid off from her 9-5 job and, like many other entrepreneurs, has found success in doing something she loves.

Sweet Expressions Desserts has an extensive list of treats they offer but they will happily do their best to fulfill any custom order. Here are some of their delicious dessert choices:

  • Baklava
  • Banana Pudding
  • Brownies (over 17 varieties)
  • Brownie Pops
  • Brownie and Cookie Sundaes
  • Cakes (over 17 varieties)
  • Cake Poppers
  • Cheesecake : Traditional (plain), cherry, blueberry, double chocolate, strawberry, chocolate chip, toffee bar, peanut butter cup, pumpkin (seasonal)
  • Cheesecake on a Stick
  • Chocolate Fountains
  • Chocolate Dipped Fruit
  • Chocolate Truffles and candies
  • Cookies (over 23 varieties)
  • Cupcakes
  • Cupcake Parfait
  • Cupcake Towers
  • Flan
  • Fresh Fruit (seasonal fruit kabobs and fruit bowls available)
  • Lemon Bars
  • Parfait
  • Petit Fours
  • Pecan Bars
  • Peanut Butter Chewies
  • Rice Krispie Bars
  • Sugar Cookies (decorated) - we have over 100 different shapes
  • Tarts
  • Trifle
  • Monogrammed Treats

I don't know if you caught that, but Sweet Expressions Desserts offers 17 varieties of brownies. YUM. We've sampled their brownie pops and they are amazing.

Sweet Expressions Desserts has done candy buffets (pictured above), dessert buffets, and ice cream buffets. They also frequently have "just because" customers... I mean really, do you need an excuse to enjoy dessert? We sure don't think so!

If you are in the Sacramento area, don't miss Kiiki and Sweet Expressions Desserts on Fox 40 next week! She is doing a cooking demonstration on Wednesday, October 21 at 11AM. Set your DVR's.

If you need to satisfy your craving after all this yumminess, give Kiiki a call at 916.508.3293 and check out their website here.

Enjoy! And thank you to Sweet Expressions Desserts for letting us feature them!

Do you know someone who owns a small business that is related to the event planning industry in some way? We would love to feature them and learn more about their business. Send us an email at And don't forget to check out our new website:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Inspiration Board: Teresa's Baby Shower

Theresa's Baby Shower

Teresa's baby shower is at the end of this month and the hostess requested a color palatte of apricot and blue. We opted for apricot and aqua for this "A is for Apricot, B is for Baby" coed shower. We're looking forward to helping Teresa and her family and friends prepare for their baby girl!

Monday, October 12, 2009

DIY Decorative Votives

The secret to the black damask votive holders we used for Christine's baby shower? Packing tape. Keep reading for the details...

Choose your votive (or vase, or table cloth, or glass-- the possibilities are endless) and cut a length of decorative packing tape to fit. For these we wrapped the packing tape from top to bottom on all four sides. Depending on the pattern you choose you could cut out certain sections and apply the design or just wrap the tape around the votive.

(Votive image from Wholesale Flowers and Supplies and packing tape from the Paper Source.)

I bet you didn't know packing tape came in so many varieties!Shop Kate's Paperie for the styles above or search "decorative packing tape" on Google. You will be amazed at how many there are to choose from! Using decorative packing tape to coordinate elements of your party is cost-effective and makes use of items you already have (read: environmentally friendly).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Feature Friday: The Peasant and the Pear

Today is a Pear Tree Feature Friday first-- we are featuring a venue! We couldn't think of a better locale to share than The Peasant and the Pear in Danville, California. The Peasant and the Pear was the site for Heidi's Baby Shower last May and since then we have been itching to find another excuse to host a party there.

If you didn't know it was there, you could easily pass by The Peasant and the Pear while walking down the streets of downtown Danville and never know it. The rear entrance is tucked back away from the street between two charming brick buildings and before you reach the door you are surrounded by patio seating in a quaint garden-like area with a few small tables. There is street parking available near the main thoroughfare however if you drive around to the main entrance, away from the hustle and bustle of the main street, there is a separate parking lot with ample parking.

When we arrived for Heidi's baby shower to set up, the restaurant manager immediately offered two of the hostesses to help us unpack and set up. Every staff member we had the pleasure dealing with was unbelievably friendly and willing to assist.

Here is The Peasant and the Pear's story:
San Ramon’s Bishop Ranch was the site of the world’s largest pear orchard around the turn of the last century. This fact, paired with our rustic menu, gave us the idea for our name. We opened The Peasant & The Pear in San Ramon in April, 2004. We quickly outgrew our space, and moved to a much larger and more beautiful facility in downtown Danville in February, 2006. Our location may have changed, but the most important things remain the same: our name, our fresh, seasonal menus, and our dedication to offering delicious, unpretentious food and friendly service at fair prices. We promise to do our very best to bring you a wonderful experience, and look forward to having a long relationship with the communities of Danville, San Ramon, and beyond. Enjoy!
The Peasant and the Pear is perfect for an intimate lunch or a festive party for 40. There is a semi-private area in the back of the restaurant and the gracious staff will help you select the perfect menu, whether it be a full lunch, appetizers, or simply cocktails.

If you're ever in Danville, stop in and see for yourself. We promise you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Christine's Baby Shower

Here are some photos from Christine's Baby Shower! We are starting with dessert, just because we can.

Christine knew she wanted Sprinkles cupcakes and chose red velvet and dark chocolate. We adorned them in Lu Lu black and white damask Bella Cupcake Couture wrappers.

The mommy-to-be also knew she wanted a modest candy station for guests to make their own favors. There were only 16 guests so we offered a selection of licorice, chocolates, taffy and jelly beans. Enough, but not over-the-top.

Pink candy was not difficult to find in October, thanks to Breast Cancer Awareness month!

Favor labels were custom made for the occasion by Sarah + Abraham and were also used on the cookie favors used for guests' place settings.

A pink and black damask table full of sweets.

When seated, guests were treated to onesie-shaped sugar cookies with pink royal icing. Each favor contained one large onesie, one mini-onesie, and one mini-heart shaped cookie. The large onesie cookies had a black polka dot design and the "F" on the mini-onesie stood for the guest of honor's last name.

Centerpieces were clusters of pink gerbera daisies in white vases surrounded by damask votive holders. (We'll show you the secret behind those DIY votive holders next week!)

We always go into an event knowing things may not exactly happen "according to plan" and this baby shower was no exception. Although when we finalized details for the party with Christine, her mother (who was the gracious hostess of this event) had other ideas about how the tables should be arranged. Instead of using two long rectangular tables situated beneath a canopy for guest seating, she wanted to use these three round tables (shown above) and use the rectangular tables and canopy for the buffet line for the food.

We made it happen-- even if it meant plastic table cloths on the round tables. Sometimes you just have to go with it!

Regardless of logistics, Christine had a beautiful baby shower that was made even more special by the attendance of her family and friends. The party lasted well into the evening and we are pretty sure not a single Sprinkles cupcake was left over.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Feature Friday: Blooms by Martha Andrews

We are so thrilled to introduce you to today's featured business! Blooms by Martha Andrews is a highly sought-after wedding and event florist in Northern California. Her work is absolutely stunning and fabulously unique. Without further ado, meet Martha!

"Weddings have been a part of my life since childhood when my mom and grandmother were wedding coordinators. I always tagged along and helped out with receptions. When I was 17 I fell into a job at a florist, taking orders, washing buckets, sweeping etc…then I started pestering them to train me and they did! I worked in the shop, Relles Florist for 4 years then left to free lance. I had a booming business for a few years and then stopped it all to have children. I say stopped but you never really stop because friends, family and the community always ask you to do something."
We asked Martha how she got started in her own floral business...

"I always knew I would start my business, I was waiting until my baby was 6 or so thinking it would take a few years to build up to busy, but my first wedding season out I did 28 weddings. That was the 2006/2007 season, the last 2 years I have done over 55 weddings from April to November. I always take November through Feb. off to do the holidays with my family."

And if there have been any surprises in her experiences as a small business owner...

"The biggest surprise for me was media attention, I have been featured in all the local magazines, t.v. and national wedding magazines as well, it is very flattering!"

Blooms by Martha Andrews is a Style Me Pretty Little Black Book member and has most recently been featured in Sacramento's Kidaround Magazine.

From Martha...

"My specialties are weddings! I do other events, but I love weddings, I really strive to make each one as unique as the bride. For most people it is the biggest event they will plan in their life time so I want it to be a memorable one."

And any challenges she has faced in running her own business?

"My biggest challenge has been the sudden growth and managing my family. I home schooled my 7 children for 15 years, I am used to being a full time mom, it was my career, now I feel like I have 2 full time careers and we all know we can’t do it all. I have some ideas I am trying to implement to 'solve' this 2 career dilemma, Next season I am going to limit the amount of weddings I take and I have put a minimum on them."

We love business who put family first and Martha Andrews is a mother first, who just happens to be ridiculously talented when it comes to all thing floral. One of the many things that sets Blooms by Martha Andrews apart is her Signature bouquet. She has developed a modern twist on the cascade bouquet. Pictured below is her Chandelier Bouquet.


We love it when boutonnieres are creative and different-- and these are no exception. Blooms by Martha Andrews uses a variety of floral elements combined with gorgeous embellishments.

The most difficult part of today's feature was deciding which photos to use. The sultry black feathers and glamorous crystals make this table setting absolutely pop!

The bright, beautiful yellow flowers make the table scape below look elegant and playful at the same time and compliment the black and white perfectly.

Carnations give this chic table setting a natural, welcoming feel.

We love how the photograph below shows that even in the most beautiful of outdoor settings, the right flowers can make your ceremony stand out and at the same time not distract from the beauty of the surroundings.

The flower balls below give this hallway such a high-impact punch of color and would set the tone of your reception for guests as they arrive.

Excellent use of petals to designate an aisle. Couldn't you envision flower girls in little white dresses gracefully walking down that path before the bride? Beautiful.

Delicate orchids paired with fresh hydrangeas... I think we may have set a record for the most time we've used the word "perfection" in one post! But really-- absolute perfection.

There is so, SO much more eye-candy over at Blooms by Martha Andrews website and blog. Head on over to both sites. A warning though, you can't blame us if you end up spending WAY too much time there-- and we're speaking from experience.

Happy Friday and thank you so much to Martha Andrews for sharing with us today!

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