Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Bouquet: Peony & Daisy Bridal Bouquet

I am on SUCH a daisy kick lately... there is just something about the simplicity of this pretty flower mixed in with a fancier arrangement that I keep coming back to.  ::sigh::

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Feature: Made by Girl - The Love Series ( A great wedding gift idea!)

 It's Friday & I feel like sharing the love - literally!  A few months back during one of my web peruses I happily stumbled upon artist Jen Ramos and her fantastic blog & shop Made by Girl.  Pretty, fresh & fun much of her artwork is customizable for that extra special touch.  How is this wedding related you ask? Well I don't know about you but I am quite fond of the idea of giving a couple a little something different as a part of their wedding gift.  One often gives something from the couples registry for the shower and then a check for the wedding gift, but why not add a thoughtful little something - like a custom print!

I bet Vicky & Marcus loved this one (available in other colors as well)

& you can never go wrong with a classic "LOVE" print - especially one in lavender!

& not romantic, but a personal favorite of mine (also shared with me by ms jacin
Wouldn't you love to receive one?

*All of these design is copyrighted by MadeByGirl/Jen Ramos. Copying this work for resale is a violation of ownership copyright.

p.s. be sure to check out her adorable & slightly sassy cards too!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

1 Thing I love: Wedding Dresses with Dyed Crinoline

I have very few "regrets" or things I would have done differently for my wedding (I truly could count them all on 1 hand & they honestly did not detract one bit from my day) but this is one of those things if I could go back and do it again I would - dye the crinoline under my wedding gown.  Wouldn't it be so charming to have the crinoline under your gown tinted to just the lightest shade of a peachy blush pink (similar to the Sparkle & Hay header color)... I may have to see if this can be done before my wear it again session...

or for those of you who want even more color (a la the Gwen Stefani look) dying the bottom tip of the gown is a gorgeous option as well!

All of this inspired by this pretty image from SMP yesterday!

 a perfect little something blue no?

*note; I did TRY to have my dress dyed but unfortunately it was at the last minute - at my second to last fitting a mere two weeks or less before the wedding and my fitting expert Akelina at Kleinfeld strongly urged me not to chance it.  So if you are considering this learn from me and ask about it early!

Thursday Purseday: LL Bean Pink Madras Plaid

Oh yes, I did just choose an LL Bean bag as my Thursday Purseday pick - and how could I not.  It is so preppy, so, sweet, so durable and so, so SPRING!

p.s. I would suggest ordering now while it's still in stock!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A French Bistro Inspired Backyard Garden Party Rustic Chic Wedding - Devon & Joel by Jennifer Eileen Photography

Devon & Joel got married... in the most lovely of French Rustic Chic style that it makes my heart skip a beat each time I catch a glimpse of one of these beautiful photos.  Filled with nostalgic vintage details, this sophisticated garden party wedding by Jennifer Eileen Photography was inspired by a french bistro with its leisurely yet chic ambiance.  In lieu of a dance floor/party reception this sweet & stylish couple chose to have a dinner party with an accordion player serenading the four course meal.  Tres Magnifique!

Dramatic draped linens, the most perfect lighting, and old fashioned hurricane lanterns hung from hand welded high sheep hooks (by the grooms brother) transformed the groom's parents backyard into - dare I say it - a fairytale land. 

& the paper for this wedding was divine.... wood stamped wedding invitations and escort cards of chip board tags with individualized button/fabric combination's that corresponded to their seating tags so fun and unique! (and I love how they are separated by bride & groom side!)

These tables... oh where do I begin with these tables... there is burlap, and moss, and mason jars, and babys breathe, and vintage glassware - really does it get any better?!

and that dress - oh that dress!

I simply adore everything about this beautiful celebration.  The love, care & attention to every last little detail is truly evident and I am so happy for this sweet as can be couple. Congratulations Devon & Joel and thank you & Jennifer so much for sharing your gorgeous day with us!

Photographer:  Jennifer Eileen Photography * Caterer:  Dillans
Floral Designer:  Garden Grace Designs * Musicians:  With Strings Attached
Reception Venue:  Private Residence * Cake Designer:  The Dotted Apron
Paper: Kari Joy Hodgen Design

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Inspiration Board: A Romantic Engagement Weekend

Last week I was overjoyed to participate in a very special Valentine's Day post over on the always-so-sweet Hank & Hunt blog called "A Rainbow of Inspiration". I simply adore Jenny (the super sweet and always inspirational crafty creator of H&H) and was honored to be asked to participate alongside some absolutely fantastic inspiration board building bloggers. My color of the rainbow was yellow - a departure from my usual fall backs of blushy pinks, burlap tone toned, and creams.  And as I began to search and gather images I felt a story emerging... and my inspiration became a romantic weekend mini-break away at a chic b&b in the countryside. Best of all; it included a surprise engagement with a canary diamond ring.

What do you think?  Was I able to capture the story in my head with these photos? And if you missed it please go and look at Jenny's wonderful blog and all of the beautiful other colors of the rainbow of inspiration!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Little White Dress: Lilly Pulitzer does Bridal

This past week a little bit of spring was delivered to my door and I'm not referring to my pretty Valentine's Day flowers from Dan, I'm talking about The Lilly Pulizter Spring Catalog!  Opening it was like a breath of fresh air and further enhanced my springtime itch.  As usual Lilly's assortment of little white dresses did not disappoint, so I thought I'd share with you a few of my favorites (these would make the PERFECT shower or rehearsal dinner dresses).

(this one is my FAVORITE... I may just have to purchase for this summer)

all little white dresses from Lilly Pulitzer

And for my Lilly loving brides who want to wear one of her dresses on your big day I have fantastic news - Lilly Pulitzer now has a bridal line! Featuring some of your favorite Lilly P prints in "white on white" and of course filled with signature Lilly lace, these dresses do nothing less than dazzle!

(you know I have a serious crush on this lightest of pink & lace one!) 

all wedding dresses from Designer Bride

and in even BETTER news, all of my fellow Connecticut brides can check out this fabulous collection exclusively at The White Dress by the Shore in Clinton!

And in celebration of this AHdorable new collection The White Dress by the Shore is offering 10% off the Lilly Pulitzer collection through March 12th  - so what are you waiting for go try one on!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Finds: Wedding Giveaways & Goodness from Around the Web!

I cannot begin to thank you all enough for all of the love and support you've shown this week and another extra special thank you to the fantastic La Vida Dulce Cake & Suzanna March Photography - you ladies are the BEST.  I must admit I've fallen a bit behind on some of my usual blog reading, so last night I took a little peruse around and found some AHmazing things to share with you today!

First up; Boston Photographer Kelly Dillion is offering one lucky couple the opportunity to win a free *LOVE SHOOT*

A love shoot would be either an engagement shoot OR an “day after wedding” portrait session - complete with (vintage) styling and inspiration!  How fun and stylish is this?  Go share your story & enter to win now through March 13th!

San Francisco area Brides - today is your lucky day! The FABULOUS vintage & handmade rental company Heritage & Craft has come to town!


From the creative mind of Erin Taylor (Bustle Events) Heritage & Craft is the go-to company for design, styling, and vintage rentals.  Can't find that piece you're picturing in your mind? They will make a custom piece especially for you!

And it is a week of celebration over at Lovely Little Details as the new logo has been revealed!  On top of her always fabulous wedding inspiration this week Jacin is spreading even more love with so many great giveaways; some pretty pom-poms, a little something blue, a special burlap runner, mugs to hold coffee for two!  

{I just have to share a little something extra as two of these items are special to me... both fall 2010 brides, Jacin & I became fast friends through the wedding planning process and when it came time for each of us to be married she in September, me in October, we both gave each other a little gift.  Jacin sent me a special "something blue" with both Dan & my name and our wedding date to be sewn into my dress - the perfect little detail.  I sent Jacin a ruffled burlap runner, which she used for her escort card display.}

Another fantastic photo giveaway from {13:13 photography} & Postcards Pretties! One lucky reader can win a free FULL WEDDING photography package & a LOVE SHOOT!

With their dreamy soft photo-journalistic style this is not a giveaway to miss!

Finally four fun things for Sparkle & Hay!

I was tickled pink to be named to Zankyou 's 99 Best Wedding Sites – The Zankyou International Awards 2011!

& I am also nominated alongside some amazing other wedding blogs for The Lovelies Wedding Blog Awards

Finally, I am so excited to share that Sparkle & Hay will be teaming up with Florabond for a very exciting new inspiration... and Etsy sellers we need your help!  If interested in learning more please email me for details!

So many wonderful goodies to enter to win this weekend - now go and Enjoy! xo

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to Decorate a Cake! A tutorial from La Vida Dulce Cake! {with homemade buttercream icing & homemade fondant recipes!}

This may be the sweetest day yet in the history of Sparkle & Hay... why you ask?  Because today is completely dedicated to the prettiest & sparkliest of cakes and cupcakes!!!  I was oh-so-lucky to learn how to properly decorate these delightful treats by a master of the sugar arts - Lydia of La Vida Dulce Cake as a part of the S&H inspiration shoot with Suzanna March Photography!

Today I am beyond excited to share with you the how-to create this...

& this

 from this!!!

*Tip - this DIY is still very doable, but does require some extra tools of the trade (& possibly an instructor, like Lydia - who by the way Connecticut is available for parties too!)


As you can see the first secret has been revealed - all of the cakes in our shoot came from a box!  So the first step to this DIY is to pick your favorite flavor and back as directed.

Next up...  homemade frosting!

Lydia was so sweet as to make her homemade buttercream frosting fresh right in front of us and ever sweeter to share it with all of you here!!!

La Vida Dulce Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks salted sweet cream butter
4 tbsps milk
32 ounces powdered sugar (1 bag)
2 tsps vanilla extract

1. Let the butter reach room temperature.  Beat together the butter, milk and vanilla extract.
2. Add the powdered sugar to the mixture one cup at a time, blending well in between each cup.
3. Decorate!

{Download the Buttercream recipe here & also as a bonus download her homemade fondant recipe here!}

Prepping the cake.  Using some homemade icing, Lydia gives a generous smear to the base of the cakestand (to hold the cake on steady) she then gives another HEALTHY layer of frosting between layers of the cake and a heavy frosting on the outer layer.  Something I learned from Lydia is that it is always best to over frost, then remove excess frosting so that there is a thin layer.

If you are looking to create a smooth buttercream cake, you let the first layer dry (a good hour) then repeat for another layer or two to your desired thickness/look. For this shoot however, Lydia had a different design in mind - a pretty ruffled ribbon look.  ::swoon::

& on to the decorating... filling bags with icing ready for piping on design - Lydia uses the Wilton decorating bags and tips (found at JoAnn - about $20 for a full kit)

and then handed the icing bag over to me for a try!  basically you are making a little "s" zigzag up the side of the cake.

{sidenote: holy roots - I need a refresh on the highlights - sorry all!}

 You decorate the entire perimeter of the cake first, then move on to the top.  Dividing it into pie slices, filling in each triangle.  

and top with the topper of your choice!  We used a pompom of tissue flowers from Treasured Editions {who is offering 20% off to S & H + SMP readers now through March 15th with the coupon code SPARKLEANDHAY11}

similarly, the technique for the petal cupcakes is to make a half of a heart, keeping the tip tilted up. {the added edible shimmer was brushed on after all icing was complete)

and with a quick drop of dye into the frosting and the change of a tip, a simple squeeze & lift technique works to create little stars to make it look like the cupcakes are kissed with the frosting.

is that not the prettiest little thing? 
{and Lydia made the doily cupcake wraps based on this template - so easily to do!}

While it may not be as easy as the other DIY's from our shoot, I hope that this has showed that you can decorate a pretty cake yourself!  Like some of the other DIY's, this is not a last minute project as decorating the big cake took (me) nearly 2 hours, so plan accordingly! {it will stay good without refrigeration for 2 - 4 days} Or if you're not up for attempting it 100% yourself give Lydia a call and she'll make one for you!

Please pop on over to the new La Vida Dulce Cake facebook page where you can ask Lydia any questions for additional tips or techniques, see some more of her work, and contact her about making you a custom cake for your wedding, shower, or party! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You're Invited to... A Virtual Shower for Stephanie!

We could not possibly let this occasion go by without sending all of our LOVE out to Miss Stephanie of Bubblerock Studios who is getting MARRIED on this Friday the 18th!!!  One of the most caring, sweet, and considerate people out there, all of the TWIPS (Twitter Wedding Inspiration Pals) have loved taking her wedding planning journey with her - and let me tell you Miss Steph - we could not be more thrilled for you!  So naturally we had to throw a little "virtual shower" for our sweet girl; pulled together by the fantastic Jacin of Lovely Little Details without further ado, Steph here are our wedding wishes to you!

Stephanie;  I am so beyond happy for you that the big day is finally here.  Treasure every single moment and remember to step back from time to time to take it all in.  Most of all, revel in the fact that you are now MARRIED to the LOVE of your LIFE - and that is what the celebration is all about.  Enjoy and all of my love, xo Erin

For more loving words come join the party at

Real Wedding Inspiration Projects: DIY Chalkboards

You didn't think that was it did you??  Still a few more real wedding DIY's  to go (including some fantastic cake tips from La Vida Dulce Cake!) starting with this fantastic DIY chalkboard project!

Second to the heart tea bags, this may be the easiest (do you notice a theme here? easy DIY projects?) ever.  And chalkboard paint may be my new favorite thing... and let me tell you I was skeptical at first, but it really does work!!!

What you need
Chalkboard Paint (I got this rustolem brand paint at home depot - $10)
Foam paint brushes (also home depot, about $0.79 each!)
Wooden Shapes to Paint (heart available at any craft store)*
Fasteners - we used mini clothespins (JoAnn - about $3 for the pack) and toothpicks!

*after seeing how easy this was, I really do think you could paint just about anything - an old frame that you wanted to turn into a chalkboard menu, windowpanes for seating charts, a piece of wood to make a sign... endless possibilities!  But we kept it simple for the purposes of this DIY...

1) Mix the paint.  WELL.  Cannot stress this enough - the thicker the better (and the less coats you will have to do, I did have to do 2-3 coats on some earlier test pieces)
2) Be ready to get a bit messy.  Cover the surface space you are working on with newsprint or paper, remember you are painting here, and will be holding the piece, but often times dripping will occur.
3) Evenly paint the wooden shape - brush out any bubbles.  Let the piece set and dry for about 30 minutes (so it is dry to the touch).
4) Paint edges and re-coat top layer (if needed) or flip and paint other side (if you want two sided) but be sure to always have 1 side dry enough to put it down on the paper.  If you place a wet side down the paper will stick and when you lift the finished shape up it will have shreds of paper on it (not pretty).

And that's really it!  Add whatever fastener you want - in this case a hot glue gun was used to attach one of the mini clothespins.  Note: tacky glue or super glue works just as well.

**BIG TIP.  This cannot be a last minute DIY project.  Just as though you were painting a wall, the paint takes a while to fully dry - as in 2-3 days before it is suggested you write on it.  So plan any chalkboard paint projects out ahead of time!  (also, you do not want to chance having any black paint somehow stuck on you for your wedding day!)

A huge thank you again to Suzanna March Photography for capturing all of these fantastic photographs!