Tuesday 31 May 2011

Silver and Green 40th Birthday

Well, after nine months planning our party has come....and gone. It all happened so quickly but fortunately I did manage to have a brilliant time!

When I do projects and parties for myself I tend to make it up as I go along.  I like to let ideas flow and not be tied to an idea too much. Until last week I wasn't even sure if I would make a cake.  I knew I wanted a dessert table but realised with a few days to spare that it would look much better with a focal point.  However I didn't want a big tiered cake so I went for three separate ones.  I made a baby one to tie in with the invitatons.  I intended to decorate the middle cake like my butterfly cake but with graduated colour, however I recently bought some lace moulds and decided to give them a go. I kept the graduated colour though which I love.

 I knew I wanted to paint the final cake somehow, but I also included lace to compliment the middle cake.  Real flowers on top also nodded to the decorating scheme... (ok, I was running out of time.)
They were all coconut and lime, soaked with rum. (Mmmm)

Here is the dessert buffet, as well as the three main cakes I made cakepops, lemon poppyseed biscuits, chocolate espresso biscuits, macaroons, elderflower and gooseberry mini cupcakes with painted discs and mini Key Lime pies.

I went for 'green' flavours if you know what I mean!  I found the edible stars on the macaroons in my local cake craft shop, how cute are they?

The rest of the decorations were a mix of different plants and pots and a huge amount of moss  Unless you have the budget of Amy Atlas sometimes it's good to embrace difference.  So I collected  various containers in keeping with the colours I had picked.  I used old tin cans, white and cream pots, glass jars and I covered empty cocoa tins with silver serviettes.
I was very pleased with my stash and had it all boxed up to take to the venue. I thought to myself that instead of two boxes of decorations to share around ten tables I needed a box for each.  But once we had added candles, olives ,dips, a platter of cheese and bags of cookies for guests to take away it was perfect.  A local baker friend made bread, sausage rolls and cheese straws which went down a storm.

I had quite a few invitations left so the kidlets helped me make them into bunting, because you can't have a party without bunting!  We strung them across the hall with the help of some tall friends.

As the invitation suggested it was a sedate affair, with lots of chats and my Mum singing some jazz for us.
It was a lovely chilled evening to catch up with many pals who we haven't seen in years.

 I think I'll start planning our 50th now!

Monday 30 May 2011

A Special Party Invitation

On Saturday Mr LD and myself celebrated our milestone birthdays together with a group of family and friends.
We had a really fabulous night, I shall be sharing some photos soon but just to tease you here is the invitation.

When I asked my other half what theme he would like for the party (because everyone knows you need a theme!) he had no idea, but he didn't want anything too girly.

So I took myself to look at various party reference on the net, it was hard work but someone has to do it!  I found lots of gorgeous decorations in silver and green, a the combination I really liked.  I wanted the invite to tie in with the colour scheme, so I made a fairly plain cake and added some silver and green elements.

The invite read;


Please come and help celebrate our 40th Birthdays.

Gentle music,comfy chairs
and the opportunity to discuss
house prices, school places
and parking problems 
with like minded adults.

Gents; a nice shirt and comfortable shoes, no tie.
Ladies; wear your spanks!

Rennie and rescue remedy supplied on exit.

No slippers!

More pics soon I promise!
ps only a week to enter the competition to win a party from Amelie's House.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

My kidlets have asked to join in again this year.  I'm not sure if our party will be as big as last year, see here, but we'll see!
Why not pop over to A Fanciful Twist and see the excitement for yourself?

Mrs Mouse's Cupcakes (part two)

Finally, I have found time to show you the actual party.

When I first met Gretel she was wearing these boots, well not this actual pair but the same make and style.  (I believe they are army surplus, but could be wrong.)  Anyway she didn't let me down and was sporting this fine pair for her launch party.  She had bowed to convention and bought a dress, but these are her quirky illustrator boots.  I was trying to persuade her to go for a quirky illustrator hat, but I think she is right.
You can see her hand above clutching a Sharpie and signing my copy of 'Peggy's Lost Pennies'.  I was so pleased for her, this was a day long in the coming but very much deserved.
You can also see a small picture of Gretel realising she had called the wrong number on the raffle, swearing, and then remembering it was a children's party!

These are the felt characters that are in Mrs Mouse's Cupcakes and Peggy's Lost Pennies.  Aren't they amazing?  Gretel very kindly raffled off some of her felt works for charity.  Unfortunately we didn't win! Ah well she is threatening to hold another fund raiser next year.

There was also a cake stall to raise money.  Many of Gretel's friends donated cakes and then bought more back!

As it was a children's party there was plenty for them to do other than eating cakes.  
There were games, a competition to sculpt Mrs Mouse out of playdough, toys, face paints, a literary quiz (we didn't win that either) and a table full of food.
I chased this beautiful cat around all day trying to get a picture.  I eventually found him curled up on a sofa as the party was finishing, obviously exhausted from the festivities.

We had a lovely day and the kidlets were full of awe to meet a real author. 
You can find Gretel's blog here and you can buy her books here.

Thanks Gretel...see you next year, if you've recovered!

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Painted wedding cake

I delivered this cake last week to a gorgeous hotel, Michaels Manor in St Albans.  It was for a fabulous couple and I was very privileged to bump into the bride as I delivered it.  It's such a pleasure to see peoples faces when you show them their cakes.  I'm always really nervous that I will have done something completely wrong, but so far this has never happened.  The bride was totally thrilled and thought the cake 'perfect'.

She wanted a painted cake to match her bouquet of ranunculus,  hydrangea, peonies and pine cones.
I have never really painted any of these flowers before so I was quite nervous, I always am with new designs, until I have started and can see it will all be OK. I really enjoyed painting the ranunculus which are one of my favourite flowers.  They have an almost abstract feel, but so romantic.

   It was an absolute pleasure to paint this cake.
If you would like to learn how to paint on cakes, I have some spaces available in my next class.  It is 25th June in Berkhamsted, Herts (UK I'm afraid).  Please e-mail me at nevie-pie@hotmail.co.uk for details.

Monday 16 May 2011

Mrs Mouse's Cupcakes

Image copyright Gretel Parker.

Twenty years ago I was a bright young thing setting out to college in Newcastle.  It feels like another lifetime ago, before I became someone's wife and then someone's Mum, I was my own person. The sound track to those years was shoe-gazing Indie music, we wore checked shirts and Doc Martins, drank cheap beer ,and lived a life of freedom. While I'm happy to enjoy wine and a little bit of country now, I'm also glad some things haven't changed, and one of those constants is the fabulous Gretel Parker.  She was a fellow illustrator on my course and has never given up on her dream.  
So last Saturday it was with great pleasure that I and my family took ourselves off to a launch party for her first books. 
 It is funny how we have both found a love of something other than just painting.  I have my cakes and Gretel has become an expert at needle felting.  Her quirky creations are much sought after and it was an obvious step for her to turn some of her characters into childrens' books.

So her two books are now officially launched (I know this because I went to the party).
Her first is Mrs Mouse's cupcakes...of course being about cupcakes it is close to my heart.  You can see the  gorgeous felt cupcakes at the top of the post.  Next in the series is a story about Meggy and Peggy Goose (or is that geese?)

For her party Gretel wanted to include a cupcake stall to raise money for a child bereavement charity.  You can read a moving post here to find out why this particular charity.
So I brought along some cupcakes for her sale.

As well as the good old staple, buttercream swirls, I included some painted versions of Mrs Mouse's house.  

The reason I chose this image is because it reminds me so much of Gretel's work at uni.  She has always had such a gorgeous whimsical style.

I also had to make some of Mrs Mouse's cupcakes, which I hope did the originals justice.

You can buy your own Gretel Parker's books here.
She has two lovely blogs. Middle of Nowhere has lots of little insights into her work, and Cotswold Peeps is a blog about her wanderings around the Cotswolds.
Keep a look out for her work, someone with such a great take on cupcakes is worth watching.
(I have photo's of her launch party but I'll save them for another day.)

ps don't forget to enter my giveaway here.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

DIY party give-away

It's party time!
There is so much to celebrate at the moment at Amelie's House: a little while ago I hit 600 followers, very soon both myself and Mr Lemon Drizzle shall be having a party to celebrate our milestone birthdays, the too-long-in-the-making site redesign is here...and finally some very good friends have opened a gorgeous online store - more of which later.
When dreaming up a give-away I wondered how to give one lucky person a party as well?  Now, I would love to come to your house and set up a dessert table and bake you a cake (I am ready to party at the drop of a hat), but it's quite impractical. So I shall do the next best thing and send you a party in a box...

So, you could win...

...6 hand-painted personalised cupcake picks.  (I can paint either boys or girls, or something different if it's not for a child's party)...

...6 hand-painted cookies to match your party theme...

...cake bunting from the fabulous Heartfelt Handmade...

...aaaand, last but not least, I come to Lacewings by Jay and Jay.  This is a company set up by a pair of gorgeous twins that I worked with BC (before children). They have a lovely pretty feminine style in their work, and use gorgeous fabrics embellished with beautiful embroidery. Ruth and Helen will give the winner some of their bunting in colours to match your party.  It is four metres long and comes in a little bag to keep it safe.

We will send the special box anywhere.You can have 4 months to claim your prize, giving you time to organise a party!

I can see you're excited and want to know how to enter...well, I will tell you!

To enter this give-away firstly must be a blog follower of Amelie's House.
Next, go and visit Lacewings website, then come back here and leave a comment telling me which of their gorgeous products would look good in your house. That's all you need to do.

 BUT ..if you tweet, blog or facebook about the giveaway you can also be in with an extra chance of winning -(please leave a separate comment telling me if you have done that, and I'll get Mr.Lemon Drizzle to do whatever technical thing he needs to do to check. You'll then get an extra entry into the give-away.)

I will draw the lucky winner's name out of a hat on Monday 6th June.
Thankyou, and good luck!

Monday 9 May 2011

Amelie's House make-over

'A whole new world, with new exciting things to do....'

OK, it's not a whole new world, but it is a whole new Amelie's House. It's been tidied and neatened and sorted and dicky-dooed up: I hope you like it. Have a look around and let me know what you think (and please tell me  if you find any glitches).
 To celebrate I shall be announcing a whole new give-away tomorrow!


Friday 6 May 2011

Channel4 Food, best baking blog

I was very excited to be included in Channel4 Food's best baking blog list.  Especially when you see the other blogs there.  I was listed as a blog for 'Keeping Up Appearances.' 

"Want to decorate your cakes with something other than chocolate buttons and butter cream? Got the enthusiasm but not the skill required to create edible works of art? This blog gets points for prettiness but the main appeal is how professional cake decorator Natasha Collins is able to take everyday products and recipes and add easy to make decorations with step by step instructions. You'll soon find yourself uttering the words "Oh that, it's just something I knocked-up earlier," as friends gush over your creations.

Now I feel some pressure!

Here are the others in the list, if you like baking you'll enjoy these.
For fun - Katiecakes
For the adventurous - An American Cupcake in London
For good advice - Maison Cupcake
For getting groovy - Delicious Delicious Delicious
For a sure thing - The Boy Who Bakes
For getting experimental - The Pink Whisk
For the gossip - Let Her Bake Cake
For tips from a profeessional - Coco&Me
For being naughty - Evil Shinanigans


Thursday 5 May 2011

Easter Wedding

Hello lovelies!
I'm sorry that I've been under the radar recently but too many holidays and orders have kept me away from Amelie's House.  However there is a big surprise coming soon!  So keep watching this space.
Anyway I thought I would quickly share with you one of the projects I've been working on.

Some cookies for an Easter wedding. There were also rabbits!