Archive for the ‘Guest Blog’ Category

celebrate with kate: noah’s ark themed birthday party

Noah's Ark Themed Birthday Party from Layla Grayce
Styling and Photography: Kate Landers

Noah's Ark Themed Birthday Party from Layla Grayce
Styling: Kate Landers, Photography: Liza Voll

Noah's Ark Themed Birthday Party from Layla Grayce
Styling: Kate Landers, Photography: Liza Voll

Noah's Ark Themed Birthday Party from Layla Grayce
Styling: Kate Landers, Photography: Liza Voll

Noah's Ark Themed Birthday Party from Layla Grayce
Styling: Kate Landers, Photography: Liza Voll

Noah's Ark Themed Birthday Party from Layla Grayce
Styling: Kate Landers, Photography: Liza Voll

Noah's Ark Themed Birthday Party from Layla Grayce
Styling: Kate Landers, Photography: Liza Voll

This is Kate Landers, thrilled to share with you my son Noah’s second birthday party! Having a son named Noah who is turning two and is fascinated by animals, I thought a Noah’s Ark-themed birthday party would be perfect for him.

Here are a few special details from the party, plus helpful hints I learned along the way:

My dear friend and paperie designer Loralee Lewis created the most spectacular “Noah’s Ark” collection for our celebration, including a set of six animal prints we hung in his room. I love using printed items from my parties in a nursery, bedroom, or playroom to enjoy long after the party.

The cake topper, an amazing gift from one of the most extraordinary fondant artists in the world (Brenda of Sugar High, Inc.), absolutely took my breath away. You can keep an edible work of art like this one for many years; we store our ark under a bell jar for easy admiration.

Cupcakes are one of Noah’s favorite sweet treats, so we had the most adorable fondant animal cupcake toppers created by my incredibly talented friend Brittany of Edible Details. I love using desserts as a centerpiece for children’s parties, so in this case I stacked two graduated cake stands from Layla Grayce, creating a “tower” to display the darling cupcakes.

We kept party favors simple and age-appropriate, including a precious ark favor box filled with animal finger puppets and bottles of bubbles. To get the look, spray paint plastic animal figurines and attach to the top of the lids of jars or bottles full of your party favor.

Noah loves building blocks, so we surprised him with wood grain-printed cardboard blocks for the party. He and his fellow party-goers were able to help “build the ark”, a PERFECT activity for toddlers. I suggest incorporating your child’s favorite type of toy into the party as we did for a fun surprise!

It was an absolute joy celebrating Noah’s second birthday. As a mom, I love each stage of his life more than the last, even when I didn’t think that would ever be possible. As an event stylist, I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to design such a special event for my own son. I cannot wait for his next party, when he can become involved in the planning process!

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Swaddle Designs Picks From Our Favorite Mommy Bloggers!

We simply adore Swaddle Design’s cozy collection of baby essentials! Soft and eco-friendly, these stylish blankets, burp cloths, sheets and more bring playful personality to the nursery with colorful prints and patterns. And we’re not the only ones who can’t get enough of this comfy line! Excited to share their Swaddle Designs picks, check out the favorites from our amazing mommy bloggers:

Swaddle Designs and Top Mommy Bloggers from Layla Grayce Swaddle Designs Marquisette Receiving Blanket Chevron Turquoise

A fabulous graphic designer-blogger-mom-tastemaker (wow!) known for her exquisite taste, Kelley Lilien of Mrs. Lilien delights readers with her keen sense of style, inspiring DIY ideas and everyday tips. Lilien’s favorite Swaddle Designs products include the cute Marquisette chevron turquoise receiving blanket, the zzZipMe animal print sack and the luxuriously soft swaddle duo. Combining darling looks with smart functionality, these items keep both mom and baby happy!

Swaddle Designs and Kelley Lilien from Layla Grayce 1. Swaddle Designs Marquisette Receiving Blanket Chevron Turquoise 2. zzZipMe Sack Cotton Flannel Little Chickies True Blue
3. Swaddle Duo Circus Fun Blue

Justina Blakeney wows readers with her vintage-boho style, environmentally-conscious values and personal belief that design can save the world. Her funky, contemporary flair offers a fresh source of inspiration to moms and home decor lovers everywhere! Blakeney is a fan of the Swaddle Designs zzZipMe mod circle sack, SwaddleLite safari print set and Marquisette chevron blue receiving blanket. These adorable products hit the mark with both eco-friendly fabrics and eye-catching prints!

Swaddle Designs and Justina Blakeney from Layla Grayce 1. Swaddle Designs zzZipMe Sack Pastel Puff Mod Circle Blue 2. SwaddleLite Set Safari Fun, Lush and Medallion Blue
3. Marquisette Receiving Blanket Chevron True Blue

The power team behind Rookie Moms, Heather and Whitney motivate parents with helpful how-to’s, fun baby activities and more. Written for both new families and expert moms, this inspiring blog is here to help you every step of the way with your little one! Heather and Whitney’s favorite Swaddle Designs picks include the SwaddleLite blue safari set, the zzZipMe green chick print sack and the mod circle flannel crib sheet. Practical and precious, these cozy, machine washable products are the perfect high quality essentials for long lasting use.

Swaddle Designs and Heather and Whitney of Rookie Moms from Layla Grayce 1. Swaddle Designs SwaddleLite Set Safari Fun, Lush and Medallion Blue 2. zzZipMe Sack Cotton Flannel Little Chickies Pure Green 3. Flannel Crib Sheet Mod Circles White with Kiwi

Ready to take cue from our fabulous mommy bloggers? Add snug style to your baby’s bedroom with nursery must-haves from Swaddle Designs! Shop the new collection here.

Inslee By Design: July Edition

Inslee By Design Rebecca Minkoff Fashion Illustration @LaylaGrayce
Inslee By Design

Summer is here! I’ll keep it short and sweet, because if you’re anything like me, you’re ready to get outside and enjoy it. It’s time to pack a bag, like the Rebecca Minkoff Ikat Studded Tote for example, and head to the beach! Wouldn’t the colors of this bag be just perfect for a patriotic getaway look? Happy 4th everyone!

Celebrate With Kate: 4th of July Mason Jar Pies

Glorious Treats Apple Pies in a Mason Jar @LaylaGrayce
Baking, styling & photography: Glorious Treats

Mason Jar Apple Pie Recipe from Glorious Treats @LaylaGrayce
Baking, styling & photography: Glorious Treats

Kate here again to share with you a fabulous Fourth of July dessert by Glory of Glorious Treats! When considering a patriotic summer dessert to share with you, I immediately thought of fruit pies. My mom bakes the best pies all summer long with in-season fruit, and we never celebrate the 4th in our house without fresh pie and homemade ice cream!

I knew I needed an expert food blogger and stylist for help and immediately thought of Glory, who knew just what to create: her favorite dutch apple pies in small mason jars. A charming set of free printable labels and dessert flags were a must, and I turned to paperie designer extraordinaire Loralee Lewis to help you dress up your desserts like Glory’s.

Read further for the recipe, an interview with Glory and the free printables link.

Crumb Topped Apple Pie (Dutch Apple Pie) in Jars by Glorious Treats

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1 sheet of prepared pie crust dough (available in the freezer section of the grocery store), or one recipe pastry pie crust
  • ~ 4 large tart apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled and chopped (about 5 1/2 cups chopped)
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ~1/2 cup sugar
  • ~ 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • ~ 3 Tablespoons flour
  • ~ 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ~ 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)

Topping Ingredients:

  • ~ 3/4 cup flour
  • ~ 1/4 cup sugar
  • ~ 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • ~ 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ~ 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature

Supplies:

  • ~ 6, 1/2 pint wide mouth canning jars (usually available from Walmart, or your local grocery store)

Directions:

1. Thaw the pie crust (if using frozen), or prepare pie crust. Please note, frozen pie crust sheets usually need to thaw several hours.

2.  Preheat oven to 375*F.

3.  Use the ring from the lid of the jars to cut 6 circles of dough. Place one circle of dough into the bottom of each jar and use your fingers to press the dough into the bottom of the jar and up the sides a bit.

4. Peel and chop apples and place in a large bowl. 

5.  Add lemon juice and toss to coat well.

6.  Add both sugars, flour and spices and stir to fully coat apples.

7.  Scoop apples into the prepared jars, pressing the apples in as tightly as possible. Divide the apples between the 6 jars.

8.  Prepare the crumb topping by combining all ingredients and mixing together with a pastry blender, or fork until the butter is in small pieces and the mixture is crumbly, yet well combined.

9.  Top each jar of apples with a generous portion of crumb topping, pressing down a bit as needed. The apples will cook down quite a bit while baking, so you want to start with full jars.

10.  Bake the jars on a large baking sheet (because the pies will likely bubble over a bit while baking). Bake 35 minutes at 375*F.

11.  Cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Serve as is, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. The pies may be made up to two days in advance.  Keep covered and in the refrigerator when storing for more than 1 day.  Serve at room temperature, or heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave before serving.

Let’s learn a bit more about baking expert blogger Glory! She learned to bake from her mother, and began entering her winning pies in country fairs at a very young age. I had the lovely opportunity to interview her recently, and am excited to share our conversation with you!

Q: Please provide us with a brief introduction to yourself and Glorious Treats!

A: I’m a mommy to two sweet little girls, and wife to a supportive husband/taste-tester/editor. I spent eight years as a floral designer, and after deciding to stay home with my girls, I felt a need to find a new creative outlet. After a one-night class on cookie decorating (through my local parks and rec.), I was instantly hooked on decorative baking! I sought out all the books, websites and classes I could find and have spent the last six years or so baking up a storm! I feel so lucky to have found/created a job that allows me to work from home on my own schedule and keep up with my girls’ activities.  

Q: Tell us a bit about how you came up with this recipe, and why you think it is perfect for the 4th!

A: Certainly apple pie is the quintessential “All American” dessert. Now, technically, since I added a crumb topping (instead of a top pastry crust), this style of apple pie is called “Dutch,” but so far, every American I’ve fed this pie to has had no complaints!

Q: How do you celebrate the 4th of July? Any tips on food to serve, and ways to serve/display it?

A: We usually celebrate the 4th of July by taking a picnic dinner to a local park that has a fireworks display. These little pies are perfect to just pack in the cooler and enjoy anywhere. If you are enjoying these apple pies at home, they are extra delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

Glory also recommends styling the dessert using these free printable labels and flags, along with red, white and blue baker’s twine.

Download the darling free printable dessert flags and labels by Loralee Lewis, here.

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Inslee By Design: April Edition

Inslee Haynes Petunia Pickle Bottom Illustration for @LaylaGrayce
Inslee By Design

Happy April! As the days get sunnier and warmer I’m always reminded that it’s almost Mother’s Day. This year it will be on Sunday, May 12th, so mark your calendars and start shopping for something sweet for the woman who taught you everything. 

As an only child, I always look forward to this day to share with my mom. I consider myself something of an expert at planning special days for the two of us. She planned so many wonderful birthdays and special occasions for me as a little girl and now I love getting to plan things for her. We’re planning my wedding together right now actually! 

So as an expert, let me suggest a few good ideas for Mother’s Day shopping. Wouldn’t this Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag  be such a cute springy carry all for a new mom? And whether new mom or seasoned expert, every woman will enjoy the beautiful new pieces from Kendra Scott. And a word of advice, skip the breakfast in bed. She’ll end up with a mess to clean up! 

Celebrate With Kate: Everyday “Hooray!” Moments

Kate Landers Ideas for Celebrating Everyday Moments @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Ruffled Cake Inspiration @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Paper and Bamboo Party Essentials @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

There are so many events in life, big and small, worth celebrating. This is Kate Landers, here to share with you a personal event, along with some tips on creating your own simple and unique party.

Our son Noah was diagnosed with severe plagiocephaly and torticollis as an infant, and underwent treatment including a helmet. You can read about our story here.

When Noah completed his physical therapy and helmet treatment, we decided to host a little celebration! You can also celebrate your own “Hooray!” moments, such as running in a charity race, performing in a recital or finishing a thesis, with very little prep time. Here’s how we did it:

1. Simple Decorations: In our light green and blue color scheme, we decided on two simple decorations for Noah’s party: Fluffy tissue poms on the cake table and surrounding floor (no need to hang from the ceiling with fishing line – this kept set up very quick) and a “Hooray for Noah!” garland.

2. Handmade Party Products: Handmade party products are on-trend, whether you craft them yourself or support your favorite handmade party business. My dear and incredibly talented friends of Icing Designs custom-created pennant garlands with festoon trim, ruffled crepe and hand-glittered letters, along with matching invitations, cake topper and rosette pins reading “Hooray for Noah!” for guests to wear.

3. Ruffled Cake: If you follow wedding and party sites, you’ve probably seen many ruffle frosted cakes. Whether frosted on the sides, top or all over, they add a festive touch. We went with a pale blue cake ruffled only on the sides so the cake topper would stand out.

4. Bamboo Cutlery & Paper Party Products: Finally, opt for simple and classic paper party products! I love using the ever-popular bamboo cutlery at my events. We kept ours plain, but there are many options to decorate with tape, stamps, glitter and more. In addition, we used rectangular paper plates with coordinating napkins. The best part? Each place setting fit perfectly into a darling matching paper favor bag, creating a pretty display of meal essentials that guests could easily grab. Noah absolutely LOVED sliding the plates in and out of the bags, so it served as a surprise dose of entertainment for the littlest guests!

Lastly, don’t stress with steaming those fabric table linens… a simple white table works perfectly. We even repurposed a desk drawer to display the place setting pouches as described above. These touches kept everything so simple, especially due to a quick and easy set up and clean up!

I am THRILLED to say that Noah’s helmet is nothing but a memory now, and we cannot wait for our next “Hooray!” moment as an opportunity to gather loved ones and enjoy cake and laughter.

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Inslee by Design: March Edition

Inslee Haynes Pine Cone Hill Illustration @LaylaGrayce
Inslee By Design

Spring is right around the corner and I’m dreaming of flowers! I’d love to begin my spring cleaning with a garden full of tulips outside and a new set of bed linens inside. This Pine Cone Hill Watercolor Flowers Duvet is right up my alley. Crisp white linens dotted with vibrant watercolored flowers – so perfect for springtime. I’d pair it with the Arteriors Zoey Mustard Dot lamp to keep the colorful, bright theme going. I happen to love a round mirror over a bed. Especially one with an inlaid quatrefoil like the Regina Andrew Decor Lula Gloss White Mirror. What a cheerful room to welcome in the new season. Happy Spring!

Celebrate With Kate: Easter Inspiration

Kate Landers Easter Cake @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

White & Pink Eastern Party by Kate Landers @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Easter Party @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers here to share some celebration inspiration for spring, my favorite time of the year! One of my very favorite childhood storybooks for spring is about a fluffy white rabbit, and these desserts were inspired by a rabbit’s white cotton tail. Read below on how to get this look for your Easter celebration!


1. The Coconut Cake Bite Tower WCreating the dessert tower is incredibly easy and is sure to wow those you serve it to! You can use cake bites, cake pops or even donut holes!

To achieve the look shown, you will need approximately 4 dozen 1″ cake bites, 1 styrofoam cone (4″ diameter at base by 8″ tall) or to keep everything edible, a frosted rice krispie treat that mimics that shape, and several small toothpicks. Insert a toothpick on a slight angle upwards into the styrofoam starting at the base. Attach a cake pop onto the toothpick, and repeat for the entire bottom of the tower. Work your way up to the top until finished.

Display on a petite round dessert pedestal and you are ready to serve. I had some lovely embroidered blush cloth napkins on hand, perfect for guests to hold under their cake bite to catch any loose coconut.

2. Rabbit Printed Details Loralee Lewis has a gorgeous printed white rabbit collection seen here that utilizes a soft blush color. I used an “EASTER” banner to hang behind the tower, a small dessert sign and some favor carton labels (details below). Simple yet sweet.

3. Cottontails-to-Go There are many spring holidays I remember heading for a relative’s house for an afternoon dinner, and being very hungry in the car on the way. These “coconut cottontails” are a perfect sweet treat at home or on the road to hold you over. It was important to me that special take home packages were provided for guests so they could enjoy while heading to their final holiday destination. The white ice cream/soup cartons from Think Garnish work perfectly! In addition, Loralee’s labels are a lovely fit for the lid and to wrap around the carton. You can personalize them with guests’ names or simply print with a seasonal sentiment.

4. Spring Flowers There is something so cheerful about spring blooms. Hyacinth, rannunculus, tulips…and adding a small bouquet of these limited-avaiable-stems to the dessert table set the spring tone. They look beautiful arranged in a vase, small pitcher or urn.

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Celebrate With Kate: Valentine’s Day With Loralee Lewis

Loralee Lewis @LaylaGrayceKate Landers here, thrilled to share Valentine’s Day dinner party inspiration and free exclusive printable gift tags courtesy of the incredibly talented designer, Loralee Lewis. It is with great joy that I can take this opportunity to introduce you to Loralee (whose favorite holiday happens to be Valentine’s Day!) and her latest collection, debuting right here on Layla Grayce. Loralee is founder of her self-named business, Loralee Lewis, a company specializing in event paper and fine stationery for special events. She also serves as the party editor of Babiekins Magazine. When she isn’t designing wedding suites or styling photo shoots, you will likely find her trying to keep up with her four small children.

Loralee Lewis Paper Boutique @LaylaGrayce
Design, Styling & Photography by Loralee Lewis

I asked Loralee if she would design a few free printable Valentine’s Day gift tags exclusively for Layla Grayce readers, and she said yes! I wanted a sophisticated yet simple design, using soft pink and another color such as grey, gold or emerald green. I knew with very few guidelines, she would create something absolutely perfect. Two of the gift tag designs feature sweet love phrases, which Loralee suggests can also be use yearlong attached to favors for weddings, baby showers or a girl’s first birthday.

Loralee Lewis Paper Design for Valentine's Day @LaylaGrayce
Design, Styling & Photography by Loralee Lewis

In her own words, “Paper gives hosts and hostesses the chance to express themselves and their personalities beyond flowers and a table setting. When done correctly, paper can bring an event to life! Each paper item is adorned with cheeky phrases, such as ‘Take Me. I’m Yours.’ to keep guests on their toes. My goal is to create paper people will cherish for a lifetime, tokens of happy memories.”

Loralee Lewis Valentine's Day Paper Suite @LaylaGrayce
Design, Styling & Photography by Loralee Lewis

Much like other admirers of Layla Grayce, Loralee values quality and exceptional design. She is always innovating and creating new paper items for that “wow” factor. Stay tuned as Loralee will be releasing a digital Summer Party Resource Book in the coming months, and the expansion of her event paper products, including her newest item, the personalized favor boxes you see here in this shoot. I look forward to printing these tags myself, adding some silver german glass glitter and raw silk ribbon to attach to gifts for my loved ones. Click here to download the gift tags.

Loralee Lewis Valentine Paper Suite @LaylaGrayce
Design, Styling & Photography by Loralee Lewis

Inslee By Design: February Edition

Inslee Haynes Jessie Steele Illustration @LaylaGrayce
Inslee By Design

The most romantic month of the year has arrived! Bring on the pink and red everything, the flowers, the chocolate, the excuse to send valentines and – best of all – the excuse to get in the kitchen and cook something decadent for someone you love. I’ve never been a big fan of the white-tablecloth-restaurant date on V-day. I prefer spending time at home, cooking something from the heart and skipping all the formalities of going out.

But don’t get me wrong, staying in doesn’t mean spending Valentine’s in your yoga pants. A sweet little black mini dress would be an unexpectedly romantic date-night-in look paired with bright pumps. And since you’ll be in the kitchen, I’d add the Jessie Steele cross stitch hearts apron. Whip up some macarons and you’d be the ultimate picture of loveliness.

Speaking of macarons, wouldn’t these limoges be the perfect gifts for all your favorite girlfriends on February 14th or any time of year?