Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Little Halloween Giveaway

Well, the big soiree is only four-ish days away and boy am I excited! I thought I'd start the week off with a little giveaway...

This year, the same Allison that designed the wonderful invites also provided me with favor tags and cupcake toppers. The emblem, you'll notice matches the skull on the invites. We removed the glasses from the design, because I really didn't want to get too matchy-matchy or cutesy.

The toppers are 1" round and the favor tags are 2" round. The toppers were super easy and I was able to crank out 100 of them in no time at all! You'll find the instructions for both below. Try printing them on ivory or light gray paper for best results. I used a metallic ivory text weight paper for mine and they turned out beautifully!

1. Cupcake Toppers

2. Favor Tags

To make the toppers: 1. Cut out the topper, using a 1.5" round paper punch. Put like colors together, in pairs. 2. Put permanent adhesive tape on the back of one of the toppers. 3. Position head of skewer (I used bamboo) in the center of the topper. You'll end up with something that looks like a lollipop. 4. Cover stick with second topper and press to bond.
These are also perfect for use in hors' d oeuvres.

To make the tags: Simply punch out tags using a 2" round paper punch. Use a 1/8" hole punch to create a hole at the top of the tag. Run ribbon or cord of your choice through the hole and tie the ends. Affix to package or favor. Try using them without the hole for a chic alternative to a hanging tag.

I just loved these both so much I couldn't help but share them with you. I hope you enjoy them and Happy Halloween from Renegade Soiree!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Carving Up Some Fun!

In the spirit of the spookiest month of the year, I thought I'd give up a few of my favorite tips and topics. Starting with Pumpkin carving! These two little beauties I found while browsing through the Martha Stewart Living website. The got me thinking about what I look for and what I try to accomplish when carving pumpkins. I came up with a few tips to share with you.

1. Search for the perfect pumpkin. For me, picking out the pumpkin in the best part of the process. I always take my time (too much time, if you ask The Hubbs). Look for fresh ones with sturdy stems, flat bottoms and no bruises. Beyond that, the possibilities are as limitless as the sky!

2. Cut out the lid. Always cut at an angle as this will prevent the lid from falling in when you replace it. Boning knives, fillet knives and other smooth blades seem to be best suited for the job.

3. Remove all the goop. Yes, goop. It's a technical term. You could go out and purchase an expensive, specialized tool to do this, but for me, an ice cream scoop does the trick. You'll want to try to thin the inner wall of the carving area. For best results, don't go any thinner than about 1 1/4". This will make it easier to pierce the shell.

4. Steady the 'kin when you begin carving. I like to sit with the pumpkin in my lap, with the face gazing up at me. Do not cut at a slant, up and down slices have the prettiest results. For intricate designs, try a small saw. You can find pumpkin carving kits all over the place. Target, Walmart, Williams-Sonoma, you name it. Martha Stewart also has a great article on her website about household items that can be used to create the perfect pumpkin. (that's what my Mom always did and we had the best pumpkins ever!)

5. Perserve your pumpkin. Rub petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on the cut edges to seal in moisture and slow shriveling. If your pumpkin starts to shrivel anyway, try putting the pumpkin face down in ice water for up to eight hours.

6. Safety first. If you like to leave the lid on while candles are lit, simply cut a small "chimney" in the lid to allow the heat to escape. First, allow the candle to burn for awhile with the top on, then cut a small hole where the lid has blackened. Always use flickering LED lights in pumpkin where children and pets are likely to get at them. Small fingers and paws can be easily injured. If using real candles, never leave them burning unsupervised.

The most important tip I can give you? Have fun! Pumpkin carving is something best done with friends and family. It was always a big tradition in my family (pumpkins, cider, toasted pumpkin seeds and monster movies on AMC). Someday, I hope to create joyful, lasting memories with my children ( I also want to be the Mom who makes the best school lunches and chocolate chip cookies).

Need some ideas to get you started? Martha Stewart has it all. Truly inspiring!