Okay, whilst I was pregnant, I ate ALOT of Rocky Road, you could have put me in a bath of it, and I still wouldn’t have been able to get enough…(lets not talk about the ‘baby kilo’s’), so when the very talented Gillian Brown from Crumbs of Comfort Cake design shared with us her no fail, scrumptious and oh so versatile (with allergy free alternatives in the notes) recipe…well, lets just say it will be a Rocky Road trip this weekend….
Here is Gillian’s wise words for her very own Rocky Road Recipe….
‘I personally find Rocky Road of of the most versatile recipes that can be customised to each clients table and dietary needs.  Below is one of the multitude of combinations I use.  I find if I stick to the ratio of ingredients ie choc/nut.coconut/marshmallow/dried fruit it doesnt matter what combination I use it’s always a winner!  It has become one of my biggest selling items, due in fact to the chocolate I use.  People come back to buy it by the tray long after their event!’

Gillian’s Gourmet Rocky Road

250g Marshmallows
100g crystalised ginger
150g pecans
50g shredded coconut
400g chocolate – I have recently changed from callebuat to Felchin which is simply divine.  But any decent chocolate is absolutely fine.
Method
Melt chocolate in a bowl over pot of simmering water.  Altenatively you can melt it in the microwave by heating in 30 second bursts.  Stiring after each burst.
I simply snip all ingredients with scissors and place in a large bowl, then pour over melted chocolate and mix.  place in a lined lamington tin and refrigerate for and hour.  Slice with warm knife.
Obviously this is a small recipe so just increase it to your needs.  My standard tray takes 5 times this recipe!

Tips:
The key is to experiment with flavours.  Rocky Road can be nut free, gluten free, and dairy free.  Check labels as many high cocoa chocolates are naturally dairy free.  Also the ingredient wheat glucose syrup, is infact gluten free.  This is because, although derived from wheat, the production process (ie it is so highly processed) removes ALL traces of gluten.
For more: ‘like’ Gillians page http://www.facebook.com/crumbsofcomfortcakedesign
Photos supplied by: Mel of Musie J Photography: www.facebook.com/musiejphotography

Rewind some 15 years ago, my career was very green in the world of events, and I was off to Fashion Week. This years venue for a high end swim wear label was a huge, dark warehouse. Lighting the way to the stage was a path of paper bag luminaries. A simple idea, yet so effective….and romantic.

Of course you can get some really fancy designs. However you can also keep it simple and make them yourself…They look especially effective placed on stairs, a deck, a garden path or a pier.

You’ll need:

  • Paper bags with a flat bottom
  • Punch – circles and stars work well, although you can experiment with anything.
  • Pillar candles (candles should be in glasses, with the wick below the top of the glass to ensure no fire display at your event. Also ensure they have enough burn life for the period of your event.
  • Sand to fill the bottom of your bags.

Step 1. Fold down the top of your bag, say 1/2 inch, and tear away the top. It doesn’t matter if its jagged, thats the idea.
If your looking for a more fancy approach, use a edge punch (available from scrapbooking stores)

Step 2. Fold the bag into thirds from the top to where the base begins.

Step 3. Unfold and refold the first 1/3 and start punching. You might like to draw some patterns if you would like it neat, or go freehand if your feeling brave.

After completing the pattern on the first third, then repeat with the second third folded. I would recommend having a few extra bags on standby so you can experiment a little.

Step 4. When setting out your bags, place a little pile of sand in the bottom to ensure the base has some weight and your bags don’t re-position themselves, or fly away! The sand also helps give your candles some height, ideally they will be positioned from where your design starts at the bottom.

Step 5. Light your candles at dusk and watch the path come to life.

Meet the event stylist: Melissa from The Sweet Society

Black and White elegance by The Sweet Society

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One for the Adults…Antipasto and Cheese table recently featured on Marabous

I recently was contacted by Melissa from The Sweet Society to make a bespoke paper garland for an approaching event. When I saw photos of her work, I immediately thought ‘this is a classy gal’…even in her recent Reptile Rumpus party (featured last week by Amy Atlas) – a very boyish theme still beheld Melissa’s elegant style. With a family of three boys and hubby, Melissa says ‘The event styling is my little piece of feminine heaven’ …which I am sure you will agree definitely brings elegance to her table.

Describe your style in five words? Elegant, classy, vintage, clean & modern

What has been your favourite theme/event to date? Definitely my children’s birthdays. I love seeing the look of excitement on their faces, when they see their chosen theme be brought to life.

Melissa and her three boys at her eldest sons 1st Communion. The table is styled by Melissa

Melissa and her three boys at her eldest sons 1st Communion. The table is styled by Melissa

Where do you look for inspiration (what inspires you)? I’m a huge fan of the 1920’s era, classic, elegant style. I generally start by using pieces I love, that I think will suit the theme of the event I’m styling.

Name one of your all time favourite event décor elements? What is that makes this element so fabulous? I love Vintage and Apothecary glassware because they’re so elegant, yet very versatile, you can use them for decorating, candy or add your theme to them, for example they can become Terrariums.

What is your number one piece of advice for planning an event? Being well organised, keeping it simple, choose a theme and try to stick to 3 colours.

For more go to: www.thesweetsociety.com.au

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheSweetSocietyAU

Reptile Rumpus Party featured on Amy Atlas Events

Reptile Rumpus Party featured on Amy Atlas Events

DIY Friday Recipe: The Yummiest moistest egg free chocolate cupcakes

The yummiest egg free and super moist chocolate cupcakes

The yummiest egg free and super moist chocolate cupcakes

 I made these a while ago when I was out of eggs, and I just keep coming back because the recipe is so  super easy and the cakes so deliciously moist, even a day or so later. So….whilst it is on the old blog, I just HAD to share the recipe on the new blog…its just so good!

Cupcakes:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

Icing:
6 tablespoons butter, soften
3 tablespoons milk or soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
food coloring (optional)

Method: Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350ºF for 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Makes 12.

For icing: In a bowl, beat together the butter, milk/soymilk and vanilla until smooth (about 3 minutes). Add in confectioners sugar; beat very well until smooth, adding more if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Add in food coloring (if desired) and mix well.

Tips to planning an event: Calling in the Professionals?…The event planner, stylist, event manager

Make my wish come true clipboard by decoy lab http://www.etsy.com/shop/decoylab

Make my wish come true clipboard by decoy lab http://www.etsy.com/shop/decoylab

You have an event planned, the date is selected and you are now at the crossroads of deciding to go solo or with the help of an event planner. Before you make your decision based on budget, there are a few things you should consider. Today we take a look at where the value lies in hiring an event professional, what they do and how they do it,,,after reading this I am sure you will find there is a lot more value for money in an event planner than you might have first thought!

Time management: When does the venue need to be booked? How long does the baker need to make your cake? Time management is a key factor in planning an event. The event planner will work with you to ensure all the key elements are executed at exactly the right time and without stress.

Access to suppliers: Do not under-estimate the power of the planners access to suppliers. Event planners have been seeking and building relationships with suppliers since the initiation of their career. They know the strengths of their bakers, décor suppliers, florists, venues and can help you choose the perfect person to make and bake for your event.
Additionally, the event planners experience ensures the brief is communicated to achieve the event of your dreams.

Ideas: It goes without saying that the event planner is inspired by the industry on a day to day basis, they have probably seen more event features than you have cooked breakfasts. Their mind is brimming with ideas, which they are waiting to use on the next perfect event.
The best event planner will work with you to achieve your creative ideas and even enhance your ideas to create a vision way beyond your expectations.

Décor: The event planner has access to a range of décor which they can use to make your event look amazing…think drink dispensers, vintage crockery, cake stands, risers, tables, cloths, backdrops, candelabras, the list is endless. No doubt they have been collecting a bank full of amazing pieces or know where to source the perfect unique piece of décor to give your event the perfect edge.

More often than not, they will include the hire cost for their own pieces in the event management fee, giving you the perfect unique edge for your event at minimal cost.

Bargaining power: This is where you really get value for money. The event planner has been working with their suppliers for some time. Their regular commitment to these suppliers means they will get the best value for money.

It is important to know that if a ‘less than retail’ arrangement is available to the event planner it is usually a confidential agreement at the suppliers discretion. However the most important thing to know is that this is a contribution towards the over all value of your event, particularly if the fee arrangement is based on a percentage of the overall budget.

Keeping on target and on budget: A good event manager will work with you on developing the creative and execution plan for your event. An even better planner will keep your dreams within your targeted budget. They have the tricks and the tools to ensure your budget is referred to throughout the planning phase, giving you the option to keep your ideas within the targeted costs.

Onsite management: Have you ever had a party where you play the host and don’t get to mingle with your guests? Say no more! Even if you do not hire an event planner for the pre-production phase of your event, you might consider hiring someone to execute the bump in (setup), brief the suppliers onsite and attend the event ensuring the flow and execution of each element is seamless…ensuring you can enjoy yourself with those who you love, on this most important day.

To conclude: After a career stemming some 15 years experience in the events industry, I can assure you that the event planners role is not one which can be paid for by the hour. The event planner lives their job, brainstorming and thinking about the creative and execution of your event almost every waking hour of their day. They are inspired by everything and every moment around them, with the passion to deliver the most fabulous signature event for your day.

At the end of the day your value in choosing an event planner lies in their experience and their passion to live, eat and breathe your event from your initial briefing through to execution and debrief. There really cannot be a dollar value placed on that.

Reptile Rumpus Party by The Sweet Society

Reptile Rumpus Party by The Sweet Society

Once you jump on board that train to the party industry, you soon become a fan of the Amy Atlas website and the amazing parties they feature from all over the globe. It becomes a dream to be a part of those amazing creative talents and one day…see your work featured amongst them.

Well its happened to us! AND its no surprise that the vehicle to take us there is the ever so talented (and classy) Melissa from The Sweet Society. We LOVE every detail that Melissa has included in her Reptile Rumpus party, from the Lizard cake pops, to the craw lie straws, terrarium, gold fish jars, crocs eggs and fabulous printables…to be inspired by this unique theme, check out the feature here: http://blog.amyatlas.com/2012/06/reptile-rumpus-guest-dessert-feature/

A very special thank you to Melissa for including such a great shot of our garland and of course the girls at Amy Atlas for including it!! 🙂

oh, and if you didn’t notice…we LOVE working with creatives on unique designs for you theme, so contact us redelephantcreative(a)iinet.net.au if you have a theme you would like us to work with you.

Gecko Garland by red elephant creative

Meet the event stylist: Lilian Oliver from Lily Chic Events

LOVE this ‘Breakfast in Bed’ themed photoshoot for e-magazine My Little Jedi.

LOVE this ‘Breakfast in Bed’ themed photoshoot for e-magazine My Little Jedi.

Stunning red and white baby shower

When I saw Lily Chic Events portfolio the first phrase that came to mind was Beautiful, Chic yet Diverse! Lilian from Lily Chic has a knack for making each theme Unique adding different elements and textures to their settings, yet maintain a beautiful presence throughout each event. When you see how Lilian responded to our stylist interview…it all makes sense how she achieves her Unique sense of style….(and then I saw the size of her family…which has left me wondering about her superpowers – are those twins!!??)

Describe your style in five words? Unique, experimental, different, personal and chic!

Lilian (top left) and her very beautiful (and big) family! Makes us wonder how she does it all!

What has been your favourite theme/event to date? I have to say my favourite has now been my nephew’s Hungry Caterpillar Theme! It was so much fun to do!

Where do you look for inspiration (what inspires you)? I find it very hard to be inspired by other stylists as I see so many parties, so I get my inspiration from interior designers, food stylists and the days of old.

Name one of your all time favourite event décor elements? What is that makes this element so fabulous? I would have to say flowers. I always use flowers or elements of greenery in my tables. It just softens it for me.

Very Hungry Caterpillar Party

What is your number one piece of advice for planning an event? Have fun! Find out lots about the person your planning it for…even down to their favourite linen…you will be surprised how much easier it is to plan an event when you have this information

For more info go to: www.lilychicevents.com.au
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LilyChicEvents

Friday DIY: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake Topper Tutorial

When I very first started exploring the party industry, I came across this photo of this fabulous Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake, and fell in love with the work of the Creator. That very clever woman, Bronnie has been inspiring me with her beautiful eye candy (or eye cakes I should say) since that day nearly 12 months ago and I feel very priveledged to say that she is going to share some more of her work with us over the coming months…

There are HEAPS of wonderful recipes and cake tutorials on Bronnies blog, Bronnie Bakes (including parts two and three of this fabulous Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake tutorial). Do make sure you ‘like’ her Facebook page to stay up to date with Bronnies latest….

****(excerpt taken directly from Bronnie Bakes)*****

Today I’m going to show you how to make the gorgeous caterpillar cake topper that was featured on the cake at Zoe’s Very Hungry Caterpillar Party.

I will preface this tutorial by saying that with all the fondant I’m using I have mixed in some tylose powder (1/2 teaspoon to 250g of fondant) so that the caterpillar will dry hard. I also suggest making this as early in advance as possible (I made mine a week beforehand).

Begin with shaping some red coloured fondant (I buy the premixed red colour… the cake art brand),  and then shape into a curved rectangle.

(and yes… your hand will turn red with the premixed colours!)

Roll out some yellow fondant and stamp out 2 circles (if you don’t have a circle cutter, you could try using a straw)

Place on the head to check for size and then set aside to harden.

I’ve placed some baking paper onto my surface so that I will be able to remove the caterpillar easily once it has dried.

Using a modelling tool, make 2 holes on the head for the antennae

Roll out some purple fondant into a thin sausage shape, making a point at one end.

Add some water or edible glue to the holes and insert the antennae

I did end up removing the antennae while I made the body of the caterpillar so that they could have some time to harden into shape. This is because when you set the head flat, it is easy for the antennae to bend out of shape.

To get the marbled effect for the caterpillar’s body, I used Americolor’s Leaf Green

Divide your fondant into 3 balls

Colour one ball with a decent amount of green colouring, then remove a small portion of that ball and mix in with another white ball to end up with 3 balls of differing colours.

Does that make sense?!! Basically… rather than trying to colour two of the balls, the best way is to get a really strong coloured ball and to make a mid coloured ball by using a small part of the strong green fondant into the white ball (rather than using food colouring again).

Place the balls on top of each other and start mixing them in together by twisting them around.

Set aside a small amount of marbled green for the eyes and nose, and divide the rest into different sized balls, attempting to make your caterpillar shape.

It doesn’t matter whether these are smooth or not (you can see the lines in mine!) – it all adds to the character of the caterpillar.

Dab each ball on either side with some water or edible glue and then stick them together and squish them up in shape.

Dab some glue/water to the left side of the head and carefully move the body and attach it to the head.

Glue on the antennae and the yellow eyes.

Roll out a small ball for the nose and then stamp out two circles for the eyes (smaller circles than the yellow eyes).The alternative is to roll up two small balls for the eyes and to flatten them into shape.

Attach to the face.

Carefully insert 3 toothpicks as these will be used to attach the caterpillar to the cake. You can see that I was worried about one of the antennae bending out of shape, so I used a bit of baking paper to sit behind it so that it will harden in the right place.

Here is a close up of the topper on the cake :-)

For the rest of the elements of the cake, go to
http://bronniebakes.com/2011/09/11/hungry-caterpillar-food-tutorial-part-1/
http://bronniebakes.com/2011/09/14/hungry-caterpillar-food-tutorial-2/
http://bronniebakes.com/2011/09/17/hungry-caterpillar-food-tutorial-3/ 

Top 10 Wedding Trends of 2013: Birds

Well call me a bird…and a lucky one at that! Week two of the 3D Memoirs feature on 10 Hot wedding trends for 2013 and we make the shortlist … AGAIN! I KNOW!!! So looks like they hit the nail on the head as this is definitely our most popular cupcake topper…the teal striped bird, do click on the link below to check out the beautiful range of bird selections that guest blogger Gail has found (who incidentally also writes 663 must have wedding ideas available on etsy)

Look to 3D Memoirs as a source of inspiration and ideas related to beautiful and creative event decor for a variety of events, especially DIY events…and for lots of event styling eye candy…

Meet the event stylist: Vanessa Morris from Little Pear Events

Picnic in Paris

A Classic Vintage wedding with ‘Make your own Cupcake’ stand

We recently worked with Vanessa from Little Pear Events on a fabulous ‘Touch of Neon’ Party. From the first party of Little Pears which I spied, I could see their unique sense of style would definitely trademark their work. A team of two great gals, Vanessa and Amys dream was born from a love of creating occasions to share with their very special family and friends, and now they share their events with Australia and the world in their recent feature on the Amy Atlas Blog!

We asked Vanessa about her work, this is what she said.

Describe your style in five words? Organic, clean, thoughtful, vintage, handmade.

What has been your favourite theme/event to date? An Art Deco wedding with lots of cream lace and gold accents, some lovely bronze and Chrystal vessels to hold the desserts and a fun “bake and make’ cupcake station!

Where do you look for inspiration (what inspires you)? Pinterest is our new best friend! Old magazines, patterns and colours of vintage fabric, that quirky piece found at the second hand shop, or just simply one of the clients favourite things!

The Little Pear Girls, Amy (left) and Vanessa (right)

The Little Pear Girls, Amy (left) and Vanessa (right)

What is your favourite Decor element? What is that makes this element so fabulous?  We love adding something handmade to our events, a little felt garland or some old doilies to adorn favour bags, or even a hand sewn ‘pin the tail on the bunny!’  it creates a unique and homely feel that hopefully puts your guests at ease the minute they walk into your event

What is your number one piece of advice for planning an event? Stay true to what you love, if you have a favourite place in the world, movie or even an era plan an event around that, it shows a little side of you that some of your guests might not already know!

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A touch of Neon Disco Party

Want to see more?

w. www.littlepear.com.au

f. www.facebook.com/LittlePearEventStyling