Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year's Eve to all of you!  What will you be doing?  Getting engaged, perhaps?  Approximately 20% of all engagements happen over the holidays in December, according to a study by Conde Nast Bridal Group!  That's probably why we get so busy in January.  ;-)  I'm enjoying my last day of unofficial low-season vacation, because we here at Tradewind Tiaras always see a huge jump in activity on January 1st.  Something about all the new engagements and the rest of the brides realizing that they've just taken a three month holiday break from wedding planning!   To the bride who put in her order on Christmas Eve--smart girl, getting ahead of the crowd!  You might not need your veil until March, but it will be mailed out on Monday!

We're having a casual, family-friendly gathering to celebrate the new year.  We're inviting over a few families, firing up the wood-fired pizza oven I built in the backyard for some delicious food...

...playing fun German-style Board games like Settlers of Catan and Puerto Rico, and I'm sure we'll pull out the Wii...

..and of course, wear silly hats and make lots of noise come midnight.

 Leftover Christmas crackers are excellent for those who don't bring their own silly hats.

It's too late to order the supplies this year, but bookmark this tutorial and source of materials for making your own Christmas crackers for next year.  These are the supplies and directions I used for the ones I made for the Sugar Plum Fairy party.  It was easy and fun, and I loved being able to make my own custom fillings.  Fill them with noisemakers, notes with hopes for each person in the new year, a pen and paper to write down a resolution, and of course, a silly party hat, and you have a perfect New Year's Eve cracker!  (And do I have to mention what a marvelous DIY favor homemade crackers would be for a December wedding?)

Our oldest has always been incredible at staying up late--never cranky or difficult, so she'll easily make it to midnight.  Our 19 month way.  So I'm going to use the brilliant idea over at the Frog Prince Paperie blog for an early celebration for little ones.  Inspired!

Wishing the happiest of new years to everyone!  See you in 2011.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elevation: The Key to a Gorgeous Table

When creating a display table--whether it's a dessert table, a buffet, or a merchandise display--the fastest way to make it look interesting and professional is to create different levels of elevation.

The classic catering trick is, of course, to put boxes under some pretty fabric.

Photo by Upper Crust Catering.  Look how much more lavish and interesting that looks than if all the platters were on a flat table?  It's also an easy way to incorporate beautiful fabrics in smaller quantities than it would take to make an entire tablecloth. 

But my very favorite way to create elevation is with cake stands.  They're available in an astounding array of designs, from elegant to whimsical to rustic.  You can even make your own, like I did for the Cornish Fairy party I designed:

 But they're also readily available from current retailers, antique shops, and artisans, so if you're not crafty, don't despair!

For versatility, you can't beat a set of white enamel cake stands like these, only $57 for the set on Amazon!  (Want!  Are you listening, Santa?)

Or for a gorgeous eclectic look, you can't beat these designs from Crafty Clementine on Etsy and Wedzu:

Can't you just imagine a gorgeous display full of complimentary vintage pieces? 

Adding elevation quickly takes the table design to an entirely new level, if you'll excuse the pun.  Such a simple trick, but one that creates such dramatic results!  That's the kind of tip I like best.

Monday, December 6, 2010

We Love Custom Work!

I'm very excited to show you a recent project we worked on.  I was approached by Kate Landers Events, LLC to contrubute a custom tiara for her newest signature party, a Nutcracker Suite Ballet party! 

 Kate knew that her color palette contained pinks ranging to touches of cranberry with silver accents, and gave me free reign on the design.  Something that a little ballerina princess would love!  I used Swarovski crystals in light rose, rose, and fuchsia, and some gorgeous deep pink pearls to fill in the basic structure, which I formed out of Swarovski rhinestone elements in crystal AB.  The Aurora Borealis finish (an iridescent coating) added extra depth and sparkle, and really picks up on surrounding color.   Just perfect for a little girl!

If you haven't yet seen how it all came together, here's a quick glimpse:

How absolutely stunning and magical!  I was so proud to have contributed a small part to this amazing party.  Many, many more pictures on Kate's blog, so definitely check it out.

I also want to mention that these gorgeous images were captured by the talented photographer Liza Voll.  I know from personal experience how difficult it is to photograph tiaras, and Liza did it gorgeously!   I wish she were local so I could take advantage of her for all our photography needs!

I'd be excited to share this party with all of you under any circumstances, but I wanted to show these pictures to highlight the fact that we at Tradewind Tiaras love custom designs!  It's so much fun to work with a bride, to hear her ideas, see pictures of her dress, her venue, her hairstyle, her heirloom jewelry, and more.  You never know where the inspiration is going to come from, but it's so incredibly gratifying to create something custom that suits a bride's needs perfectly.  So if you don't see something that fits your needs on our website, please don't hesitate to contact us to see if we can create something just for you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Busy, Busy Couple Days

Hi Everyone--

Between massive computer issues and prepping for a big party tomorrow, my blogging is going to suffer this week.  I'll be back on Monday with a ton of new content.  I wish I could show you a sneak peek of what I'm working on, but those photos self-destructed right along with my computer.  Good thing I have backups!  I just don't have time to reinstall them all, or a viable machine to put them on at the moment.  

I do have this, one of the inspiration pictures I used when designing the party.  Can you guess?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Featured at Frog Prince Paperie

Head over to the fabulously inspiring Frog Prince Paperie blog for a guest post I wrote on tips for making your very own genuine gingerbread house.  Paula from Frog Prince Paperie wrote a wonderful blog post last week about her adventures making her very first (spectacular!) gingerbread house.  She truly did a marvelous job, and figured out a lot of great insights about the process in her first attempt.

My family has made thousands of gingerbread houses over the years.  We've made every mistake possible, and have figured out a few tips through trial and error that make gingerbread baking go smoothly.  Head over and check it out!   While you're there, stop by the shop to see their amazing printables.  Such marvelous designs!

And you see that decorated gingerbread house in the picture?  That just happens to be a little sneak peak for a party I'm putting together in just a few days.  Keep an eye on the blog for tons of photos, festivities, and how-tos in the weeks ahead!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fabulous Products: Artistic Cookie Favors

I've already shown you some of the remarkable work done by Sabrina, the incredibly gifted owner of A Cake Dream, when I showed off her amazing Swarovski accented cake.  But she does so much more.  We've all seen cookie favors, but look at these (literal!) works of art.

A Cake Dream used the amazing artwork of the artist Karen Sloan of Wall Flower Studio to create these edible masterpieces.

Wouldn't those make absolutely gorgeous favors, or a fabulous addition to a dessert table?  Are you using scrapbook paper to create some of your decor or invitations?  How about a coordinating cookie?

And who could possibly resist these gorgeous chocolate-covered oreos?

Think beyond the cake when you're talking to your baker.  I love consumable favors anyway, and these are truly spectacular examples of what can be done.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Product: The Rhinestone Napkin Rings are Now Available!

Just in time for the holidays, our new Rhinestone Napkin Rings are now available on our website!  I created them out of frustration with the napkin rings I was able to find commercially.  They're so pretty in concept, but I was always unwilling to bring myself to spend so much money on nice designs made with really low quality materials.  I started experimenting with the Swarovski product and pearls I have on hand for designing tiaras, and came up with these beauties.  They add so much sparkle and style to any table setting.  

We're also introducing a new product model on our website with this product:  rentals.  Love the idea of 150 of these glittering on the tables at your wedding, but don't have the budget to purchase them (or the need for 150 of them after the wedding)?  No problem--select our rental option!  

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fabulous Product: Black Friday Edition

I've been wanting these black amethyst cake stands for years now.

Alas, I did not buy them when they were readily available, and I haven't been able to find the set for almost two years now.   I tried to convince myself that I didn't really need more cake plates.  Silly, silly me.  I have wanted these exact plates at least half a dozen times in the past couple years, and I've always regretted not buying them.

That's why I was so happy to find these custom cake plates made by Sarah's Stands.

They're available up to 22" in diameter, too.  Do you know how hard it is to find large cake plates like that??  Those large sizes are often needed for wedding cakes, and they are incredibly rare.  

I would buy one (or more!) of these gorgeous custom cake stands and use them all the time, but I understand that I'm not like most people.    My husband teases me about my cake stand fetish regularly.  ;-)  Love the look but don't want to foot the entire bill for the cake stand?  Most cake decorators I know are passionate about great cake stands, too.  Send your decorator the link to the shop, and see if it's something he or she would like to have in inventory, and just rent it for your wedding.  It's worth asking, at the very least!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wedding Pie, Possibly the Finest Thing in the World

As I'm up to my elbows in flour and the kitchen is a disaster and there are magnificent smells coming from the oven as one of the pies bakes, I had a thought.

Who says you have to have a wedding cake?  Fellow pie lovers, unite!

I love an art medium.  I love gorgeously decorated cakes.  I love decorating cakes gorgeously.  I'm a big fan of cake, really.  But if I'm going to eat a sweet treat, pie wins every time.    And I'm clearly not the only one.

Amanda and Nick chose to serve pies made from their cherished family recipes:

I particularly love the old family photos of the honored family members baking!

Just to the right, you can see that they had recipes out for each pie, beautifully printed, complete with a picture of the family member from whom the recipe came.  What a wonderful way to incorporate missed loved ones, and honor family history!

And how cute are these miniature pies?  The only thing better than a slice of pie is a pie all to myself.  Plus, miniaturized anything amps up the adorable factor.  Those toothpick banners are the perfect finishing touch, and a great way to incorporate the color and theme of your wedding.  Photo courtesy of Sweetwater Portraits.

Obviously, wedding pie would be perfect for a fall or an orchard themed wedding, but I think it's perfect for any season.  

Now, back to my own baking!

If only I didn't have to wait until tomorrow.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Wedding Cake with Swarovski Crystal Style

I was first contacted by Sabrina from A Cake Dream when she was looking for some advice on Swarovski crystal elements, and how best to mount them on wire.  When I learned what she was up to--creating a wedding cake with Swarovski elements in the centers--I knew I had to see the pictures.  I already put Swarovski crystals on everything else that will hold still long enough--of course a Swarovski wedding cake would be spectacular!  I wasn't disappointed.  Just look at this incredible cake!

Gorgeous photos of this remarkable cake courtesy of Samantha Shay Photography, LLC, from a photo shoot at Exquisite Bride.

Just goes to show you, Swarovski crystals and rhinestones aren't just for tiaras and accessories.  If you're interested in getting this look for your cake, contact us.  We're happy to supply you with Swarovski components that are a perfect match for your accessories, so you can give them to your baker for inclusion in the cake design.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Emergency Wedding Day Kit: Essentials to Pack

You know the concept.  The little bag full of emergency supplies.  Things you might need on the day of the wedding, to help remedy and disasters that might happen.  Each list should obviously be customized for each bride, but here's a good place to start.

  • Band-aids.
  • Safety pins. Some people recommend a sewing kit, but I find that safety pins pretty much cover all those needs.  Plus, I've done some very creative things with them when working as an assistant to a wedding photographer.  Very handy things, safety pins.
  • Snacks!  Even a bride with the very best intentions to eat on her wedding day can easily get swept up in the business and chaos of wedding prep.  Carry a granola bar, nuts, some sort of substantial, portable snack in the emergency bag, just in case.
  • Money.  Throw a $20 in there.  You might be sending a bridesmaid out for coffee, need to tip someone.  Who knows what might come up, but it's best to be prepared.
  • Tide To-Go pen.  They're not perfect, but they do a surprisingly good job getting rid of stains in a pinch.  Similarly, white chalk can cover up an offending spot if there's an unfortunate spill before the wedding.
  • Bobby pins.  Someone will need a bobby pin or two at some point during the day.  I always have a pocket-full whenever I assist wedding photographers and have always had a need for them. Every single time.
  • Clear nail polish.  Handy for stopping runs in panty hose, painting on earring posts for people with nickel allergies, glue for stray beading on the dress, and of course, manicure touch-ups.
  • Emery board.  This one has only the one obvious use, but if you need it, you'll be really glad to have it.
  • Any makeup you might want for touch-ups through the night.
  • Imodium.  It's not a pretty thought, but nerves can work a number on the digestive system.  Best to be prepared, just in case.
  • Pain reliever.  Again, just in case.  Walking down the aisle with a headache is not a fun thing, even if you're a bridesmaid.  
Add or delete as needed, but this is a good place to start.  I used pretty much all of those items at one time or another on my wedding day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fabulous Product: Colorful Crinolines!

I can't tell you how much I wanted a lavender crinoline to go with my wedding gown (which had a lilac sash) when I got married nine years ago.  I loved the idea of seeing flashes of color as I danced the night away.  Alas, I couldn't find anyone offering such a product back then, and had to make due with boring white.

If only designers like Ann Swank from Swank Underpinnings (what a perfect business name!) were around when I was getting married. Look at this beauty!  What a fun, fun way to have "something blue" in your wedding wardrobe!

The petticoats are custom-dyed, so the color possibilities are nearly endless.  Already have a crinoline?  Swank Underpinnings will dye it for you, for an incredibly reasonable price!

I love the personality that pops of color add to a wedding, and this is one of my very favorite ways to do it.  Let's hear it for pretty petticoats!