Saturday, February 27, 2010

DIY Table Numbers and Luminaries

Your DIY luminaries will arrive at your doorstep ready-to-assemble. These elegant table number luminaries are 8-1/2" tall and measure about 3-1/4" in diameter. All you'll need to do is unpack these beauties, assemble them and place them over a votive candle that's inside a glass holder. They are quite sturdy and self-standing. Other options are also available. You can also customize designs, contact the IlLUMIEnate shop on

Friday, February 26, 2010

Designing a Monogram

This may be above the abilities of some brides but all is not lost! offers their services to assist you in having a unique look for your monogram that you can add to everything from stationary to invitations to favors.  Prices are around 49.99 for each monogram. 


If you want the expensive look of calligraphy for your invitations without the cost, look for calligraphic fonts that look like the real thing.  These are readily available and some are even free!  A few free font sources are:,, (the font from above is from

Thursday, February 25, 2010

DIY Elegant Wedding Invites

Karen Bartolomei, owner of Grapevine Paperie, has published a book called "Paperie For Inspired Living" which is available at Borders, Barnes and Noble and

If you've ever seen her work on her web site or in one of the many wedding magazines you know how stunning her wedding stationary can be.

While her book may not give you the exact designs she produces for her clients "Paperie for Inspired Living" will get you started on a beautiful DIY project. To see Karen's gorgeous work go to her web site.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Placecards For An Italian Wedding That Doesn't Take Itself Too Seriously

This placecard makes me smile, so I thought I'd share it with you! My family has a sense of humor and would laugh, gauge your family's funny quotient before using these!

On a plain piece of of placecard like paper type:

Yo Krista!

You Sit Here

(Put an arrow below pointing down)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How to Paint Edible Springerle Cookies

Springerle cookies make great wedding cookies, but adding some paint to them gives them an added elegance. I personally love the white heart below. It's easier because it's monochromatic and you don't have to worry about outlining or only highlighting specific areas.

How do you paint Springerle cookies? Paint cookies after drying overnight but BEFORE baking. Use paste food colors available in cake decorating shops. Mix 1 egg yolk with 1/4 teaspoon of cold water and Mix well with a fork. Divide this into as many small containers or "puddles" as you wish to have colors. To these containers (or "puddles" on aluminum foil) add some paste food colors and mix with toothpicks.  (see easy monochromatic look below)

Keep in mind that the yolk is yellow and will change the hue of the paste colors. The colors also change slightly as the cookies bake. Use narrow artist's paintbrushes that are new or are only used for working with food.

Rub 'n Buff® is another option for deocrating your springerle. Rub 'n Buff® is a wax-based, metallic finish and is not recommended for children.  This method works best with a sponge brush (Spouncer™) or a piece of foam (you may use your fingertip). With very little Rub 'n Buff®, you can create a unique patina finish depending on the color of the base coat. For faux finishes, we recommend a dark gray base coat for silver, green for copper and brass, and dark brown for bronze. 1. Apply base coat, and let dry. 2. Dab a small amount of Rub 'n Buff® from the tube onto your brush. Replace the cap immediately (Rub 'n Buff® dries very quickly). Dab nto the raised edgs of the design and let dry.3. Buff with a soft cloth. Note: Rub 'n Buff® also comes in a variety of colors

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Using Rycraft Cookie Stamps on Clay

 A great reference book for different ways you can use your cookie stamps to make decorative gifts is "The Art of Clay Casting." This book is available on the Rycraft web site. They describe this book will teach you "to use Rycraft cookie stamps to make charming claycast creations with the special techniques, complete project instructions, and full-color photos included in this book. Make beautiful picture frames, tie pins, wreaths, greeting cards, gift tags, napkin rings, serving platters, decorative boxes, and much more. The handmade gifts and keepsakes you create will bring as much enjoyment as the cookies you and your family have come to love."

The Tradition of Springerle

About Springerle

The Tradition of Springerle

The origins of detailed hand carved springerle plaques (pronounced schprin-girl-eh), are lost in Central European history (the first known printed recipe for the dough was in 1688). The plaques, onto which the anise-flavored dough is pressed, took on the same fine detail as illustrations for books, which were also carved on wood. These scenes were taken from mythology, the bible, folklore, and ancient ornamental patterns. As the illustrated cookies became more elaborate, they became Christmas gifts to favored guests of the nobility. Plaques being produced now are less elaborate with mostly seasonal subject matter.

How to Use Cookie Stamps for Springerle

ALL cookie stamps work well with springerle-type dough if you are careful to maintain uniform thickness of stamped (imprinted) dough.

1 - Shape 1 1/4-inch balls from portions of chilled dough.

2 - Rub powdered sugar** into the design of your stamp. Tap stamp on work surface to release excess sugar.

3 - Place balls of dough on a floured cookie sheet and press down with cookie stamp using a gentle but firm rocking motion. Press each cookie to the same thickness for uniformity.

4 - If the dough is sticky, thoroughly chill it. Using powdered sugar or flour on your hands and work surface insures each ball of dough will have a non-sticky surface for easy stamping.

**Some cookie bakers prefer use of all-purpose flour, rice flour or corn starch.

Painting Edible Springerle Cookies
Paint cookies after drying overnight but BEFORE baking. Use paste food colors available in cake decorating shops. Mix 1 egg yolk with 1/4 teaspoon of cold water and Mix well with a fork. Divide this into as many small containers or "puddles" as you wish to have colors. To these containers (or "puddles" on aluminum foil) add some paste food colors and mix with toothpicks.

Keep in mind that the yolk is yellow and will change the hue of the paste colors. The colors also change slightly as the cookies bake. Use narrow artist's paintbrushes that are new or are only used for working with food.

Non-Edible Cookie Ornaments

A ribbon hole can easily be made in unbaked cookies with a toothpick or small stirring straw. Paint cookies AFTER baking with water colors. A clear matte finish Krylon spray and freezer storage preserves the ornaments for many years of use and enjoyment.

From, Gene Wilson, Hobi Molds

Sur la Table's Recipe for Springerle Cookies

Makes 3 to 12 dozen, depending on the size of the cookies.

2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 large eggs, at room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar (1 1/2 pounds), sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon oil of anise or lemon or orange.
Lemon or orange zest, optional
1 2-pound box of sifted cake flour, plus 2 1/2 additional cups for kneading

Dissolve the baking powder in milk and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they are thick and lemon-colored. This takes about 10 minutes in a strong mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar, then the softened butter, beating until creamy. Add the baking powder mixture, salt, flavoring, and, if desired, lemon or orange zest. Gradually beat in a s much flour as you can with the mixer, stirring in the remainder of the 2-pound box to make a very stiff dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead with the extra flour (at least 2 cups) until the dough loses its stickiness. The amount of flour to add depends on the humidity, size of eggs, etc. On a smooth surface, well dusted with flour or powdered sugar, roll as much dough as you can handle comfortably to approximately 1/3” thick. Dust the top with flour or powdered sugar. Gently and firmly press the springerle mold or cookie stamp into the dough to imprint the design. Cut the cookies apart using a knife, pizza wheel, pastry wheel or cookie cutter. Place the cookies on a kitchen towel or pastry cloth and allow o dry uncovered for 12 to 24 hours. Bake on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet at 225° to 325° F, just until the cookie bottoms are barely golden. To determine the correct time and temperature, test by using a single cookie. If the oven is too hot, the cookie will puff up and/or brown quickly.

Cool the cookies on a rack and store them in lightly-covered containers or in zipper bags in the freezer. Springrle keep for months and improve with age – make them in October or November for Christmas.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

DIY Chocolate Cake Balls

Cake Balls (decorate in colors to match your theme)

Ingredients (Makes 36)

1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1 (16 ounce) container prepared chocolate frosting
1 (3 ounce) bar chocolate flavored confectioners coating


Prepare the cake mix according to package directions using any of the recommended pan sizes. When cake is done, crumble while warm into a large bowl, and stir in the frosting until well blended. Melt chocolate coating in a glass bowl in the microwave, or in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Use a melon baller or small scoop to form balls of the chocolate cake mixture. Dip the balls in chocolate using a toothpick or fork to hold them. Place on waxed paper to set.

These are easy to make, don't need a lot of ingredients, and the only time consuming part is decorating them.

This web site sells the chocolate confectioner's coating that you need for this recipe, your local craft store probably carries it as well. You can buy higher quality chocolate coating but it's more difficult to work with. .  Your local craft store or Sugarcraft will also sell the candy cups to place your chocolate balls in for display purposes.  They come in a variety of colors.

DIY Italian Peach Wedding Cookies

Rustic peach wedding cookies are a beautiful additon to and Italian theme wedding. While they take a bit of work to put together, the oohs and ahs from your guests make them well worth the work.

The recipe makes 15 cookies. Remember, even if you're having 100 guests you don't need one cookie per person if you are making an assortment of cookies. You can make this recipe in larger quantities once you decide it's perfect for you weddding cookie table.

Italian Peach Wedding Cookies


1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons instant tea powder
2 1/2 tablespoons brandy
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup red decorator sugar
1/2 cup orange decorator sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
Combine sugar, oil, milk, eggs, baking powder and vanilla in large bowl. Blend in enough flour to form a soft dough. Roll into walnut size balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cookies will be pale. Remove to rack to cool. Hollow out cookie center. Reserve crumbs. Combine 2 cups crumbs, preserves, almonds, cream cheese, instant tea powder, brandy and cinnamon. Mix to blend. Fill cookies with crumb mixture. Press 2 cookies together to form peach. Brush lightly with brandy or water and dip one spot in the red sugar for blush and roll entire cookie in orange sugar. Top with a icing leaf or purchase the plastic peach leaves.

You don't want to know the nutritional info on these, trust me!

Friday, February 12, 2010

For DIY Italian Cookies, Meet Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray Cookbook

If you want to have cookies as favors or just as part of a sweet table and want to make them yourself, the cookbook "Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray: A Cookbook" by Maria Bruscino Sanchez is a great reference book for you. Available from and other major booksellers, Maria's cookbook is a fantastic resource for recipes that range from drop and molded cookies to filled ones, biscotti, biscuits, taralle and pizelles, and many more. Cookie lovers will find plenty to devour in this compilation of Italian American favorites. Maria grew up in a closely knit Italian family, surrounded by Italian traditions and celebrations that her family brought with them from the 'old country.' As an adult she opened up her own bakery called "Sweet Maria's." It was at "Sweet Maria's" that she developed her recipes into Italian cookies with an American twist. Sanchez's precise directions ensure consistent results in the home kitchen, although you may need to go to the Italian Market to get all the ingredients needed. If you try it, please leave feedback on which cookies were a hit!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Want Something Unique to Serve Your Guests?

Try serving your guests some homemade Tequila Spike Popcorn! This salty snack flavored with tequila is easy to make and can be stored for up to a week. 

Tequila Spiked Caramel Corn

Prep: 1 hour 15 minutes; Makes 16 cups.

16 cups air-popped popcorn
½ cup salted roasted peanuts
1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
3 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1½ tablespoons tequila

Preheat the oven to 250° and position racks in the upper and middle thirds. Toss the popcorn with the roasted peanuts in a large heatproof bowl.
In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar with the butter, agave nectar, corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Boil over moderate heat for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Using a long spoon, stir in the baking soda and tequila; the syrup will foam. Immediately pour the hot syrup over the popcorn and peanuts and, using 2 spoons, toss to coat thoroughly.
Spread the popcorn on 2 nonstick baking sheets and bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally and switching the sheets halfway through, until golden and nearly dry. Turn off the oven, open the oven door completely and let the popcorn cool completely before serving.

The caramel corn can be kept in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Do It Yourself Invitations

Designing and printing your own invitation can save you a lot of money.  There are plenty of kits available at local craft stores like Michael's or online at  
Samples selections are pictured here from the web site listed.  You can choose any type of invitation from simple to more complex, but this site helps you narrow down your selection by theme or type of invitation.

Fortune Cookies for Your Italian Wedding?

OK, OK! I know, fortune cookies are Chinese not Italian. But I ran across some great Italian proverbs that would be a kick to insert in fortune cookies. You could dip the cookies in chocolate and decorate them with jimmies to make them more 'wedding-like.' The recipe is from Try printing the Italian proverb on one side of the fortune and in English on the back. If you don't want to make you own try this web site: They make the fruit flavored beauties at the top left, and the sprinkle adorned assortment at the right. If you want to go another route go to  where you can buy cannoli fortune favors, complete with fortune and tied with a ribbon, but they also sell the shells to add your own fortunes to.  If you want to make your own fortune cookies or cannoli try

Italian Proverbs about Marriage

"Ne di Venere Ne di Marte non si sposa ne si parte!"
Neither marry nor depart on the day of Venus or of Mars!

"Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata"
A wet bride is a lucky bride (referring to rain on the wedding day)

"La buona moglie fa il buon marito"
A good wife makes a good husband.

"La moglie e' la chiave di casa"
The wife is the key of the house.

"Tra moglie e marito ... non mettere il dito."
Don't put a finger between wife and husband.

"Moglie e buoi ...dei paesi tuoi."
Wife and bull ...from your home-town.

"La prima e' Matrimonio, la seconda comagnia, la terza un'eresia."
The first wife is marriage, the second company, the thrid heresy.

"Meglio il marito senz'amore, che con gelosia."
Better to have a husband without love than with jealousy.

"Chi ha moglie ha doglie"
Who has a wife has strife.

"Chi non ha moglie non ha padrone."
Who has no wife has no master.

"Casa senza fimmina ‘mpuvirisci"
(Sicillian proverb) A house without a woman is poor

"Matrimoni e viscuvati, di lu celu su mannati"
(Sicillian proverb) Weddings and bishops are heavensent

Sunday, February 7, 2010

For inspiring books about weddings try The Book Depository at They offer a variety of books that you may not find in your local Barnes and Noble or Borders Books.  Spend some time browsing their party planning and wedding books.  Some are European titles that you may not be familiar with but will treasure. 

If You're a "Perfect Pear"

Take the pear vase fillers at the right and turn them into sparkling pieces for your table cards or centerpieces.  The box has 15 pears for eight dollars at Target.  Apply some Martha Stewart Florentine Gold Glitter over a thin coat of watered down white glue and shake off excess.  Add a vintage look leaf and you have a perfect pear!

Brown Bagging It

Quick and easy DIY favors, table numbers OR seating cards are all way to use this brown bag of strawberries.  Brown bags from your favorite craft store (I picked these up in Michael's) with a sticker with your monogram for favors, or add the table number or the guests' names for seating cards make this one diverse DIY project!

Having a Holiday Wedding? Try Making this Cranberry Flavored Liqueur

You can easily make this cranberry liqueur for your guests. Either serve it as a beverage or give it as a favor.  It's beautiful red coloring makes it perfect for the Christmas season or Valentine's Day weddings. You'll need a large stock pot and a spatula.
large stock pot, a food processor or blender, strainer and/or cheesecloth, a funnel, and a very large clean bottle or steeping jar with lid, and for each batch of this recipe 4-6 small decorative bottles with lids to hold the finished product.


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 whole bag fresh cranberries cleaned
4 cups reasonable vodka


1. Pour water and sugar in large stock pot over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves and water looks clear. Let cool.

2. Place cranberries in food processor and pulse until cranberries are finely chopped. Add to the cooled sugar water and then add vodka. Stir.

3. Pour into large steeping jar or bottle. Seal and store in cool dark place. Steep for 2 to 3 weeks, shaking every other day.

4. Pour mix through strainer to separate solids. Using cheesecloth will remove more impurities.

5. Use funnel to pour into small individual bottles, tie ribbon around the fun red liqueur and voila! Makes 4-8 gifts depending on bottle sizes. Cost is about $5 to $10 dollars per gift depending on vodka and individual bottle cost.

Other fruit options include but are not limited to: vanilla bean, simply slice in half and place in storing. I recommend steeping this a month. Orange or lemon peel (avoid rind). The bottles store for one year.

Make SURE to check out Genevieve Nisly’s blog for tons of wedding eye candy and inspiration!

Make Your Own Silhouette Cookies

Victor Trading Company will make a custom cookie cutter silhouette of you and your groom that you can then turn into silhouette cookie favors for your guests. Choose a recipe that has a good stiff dough and a flavor that lends itself to icing. Add a ribbon to coordinate with your wedding colors and it's a perfect wedding favor for your guests.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

DIY Cookie Favors

William Sonoma has a product that will let you make favors yourself. It's a cookie cutter with a place to insert a message like "I love you" or "the perfect pair." The kit comes with three different shape cookies cutters, a heart (this authors favorite), a star, and a rectangle. You can add the alphabet letters (you get three sets) and it has some common sentiments already spelled out for you. Add a little decoration and you have high impact favors for your guests. The recipe for the cookies comes on the package. Check it out at The Wedding Queen at and purchase the kit at

To Barter or Not to Barter

To my great surprise I've talked to several brides lately who cut the costs of their weddings by using the good old fashioned barter system. They traded things they were skilled at doing for things they needed for their reception. One provided childcare for her wedding planner. Another drove a limousine to pay for their limousine and a bus to transport guests back and forth from the wedding. Yet another couple designed web pages for new businesses who they had been interviewing as vendors. One groom and his brother built a deck for a vendor. So stop and think, what can you do that you could barter for? What do you need that you really want but can't afford? Is it that fancy photographer and videographer? Upscale floral arrangements and bouquets? And this isn't just something the brides are doing. Their partners are involved too. No one wants to start out their lives paying off debt. Nor do they want their parents spending a fortune on their wedding. So start your life as a couple now by planning how to swap your skills and sweat for vendor services.  Links to some bartering sites are:,, and  Don't restrict yourself to just contacting people listed on these sites, be proactive!