Farewell Fete Favorites

Yes, you read that correctly. You might be wondering just where your weekly cocktail is, but we switched things up just a bit to share the bittersweet news of A Feteful Life’s upcoming closure. We’ve been blogging at AFL for almost a year now and love, love what we’ve done in this space. But our lives have grown busier, our plans ever-changing, and so we’ve decided to take a blogging break. But don’t worry. We continue to come up with middle-of-the-night ideas for our future, so we’re sure we might be back some day.

In the meantime, after tomorrow, all the AFL content we’ve posted over the past year will be available right here. Rebecca will continue to blog activities, DIYs, and celebration fun at her family-friendly lifestyle blog, Not-So-SAHM. And Suzanne plans to continue to pursue her love of graphic design and photography.

In celebration of our next to last day, we’ve each combed the AFL files for our Fete Favorites. It was hard task for both of us and we hope the blog has been as much fun and a source of inspiration for you as it has been for us. Thanks so much to all our family and friends (new and old) who have read, commented, and hired us! As always, friends, FETE ON! {and, don’t worry, they’ll be a farewell cocktail tomorrow!}

Rebecca Farewell Fete Favorites 

A Feteful Life: Rebecca Farewell Fete Favorites

celebrate / create / eat / give / love

Suzanne Farewell Fete Favorites 

A Feteful Life: Suzanne's Farewell Favescelebrate / eat / love / create / give

 

Party Time: Fall Harvest

Fall, fall, fall… after what felt like a bit of a slow start, we’re finally full swing into the most wonderful season of the year. We’ve been apple picking, we’ve visited the pumpkin patch, we’ve picked out Halloween costumes, and now it’s time to get outside with our friends to celebrate the bounty that fall has to offer. There’s no need to buy expensive party decorations because mother nature has provided more than enough for you to get the party started. So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors because you know that polar vortex will be here before you know it!

A Feteful Life: Fall Harvest

  1. A grouping of pumpkins always look festive. Simply write a welcome message on one of the larger ones and you will instantly make your guests feel welcome.
  2. This simple yet stunning garland is made out of real leaves! I love it!
  3. Apples and floating candles make a beautiful centerpiece and harken back to the old bobbing for apples game.
  4. Some bundles of hay with some simple fall colored garland makes a fantastic photo backdrop wall.
  5. A punch is one of the easiest ways to serve a big crowd. And, this beautiful apple harvest punch looks amazing!
  6. Looking to unload some of those apples you picked at the orchard? Set up a DIY caramel apple bar and let your guests pick their own toppings.
  7. Doesn’t this stuffed pumpkin look amazing?! Not only does it look impressive, it is filled with everything that is delicious.
  8. Send you guests home with something delicious, like these delicious pumpkin pie parfaits.

 

 

Dia de los Muertos Party Inspiration

I mentioned way, way back in our first Fete Favorites my love of Dia de los Muertos. I still haven’t convinced anyone to have an actual party celebrating the holiday, which I really cannot understand. It’s much more upbeat, colorful, and well styled than Halloween. So, I’m obviously going to have to throw myself my own party on November 1st. Here’s what’s topping my list of inspiration.

A Feteful Life: Dia de los Muertos

1. These gorgeous wedding invitations are obviously slightly more upscale than I need for my own party, but I love the idea of combining the bold colors with geometric prints.

2. I love the idea of a large communal table for dinner and that table runner is ahhmaazing.

3. Sugar skulls + edible confetti = party happiness.

4. Mini tissue paper flowers for striped straws!? That’s a new one (to me) and a must make.

5. Pan de Muerto is a traditional Day of the Dead pastry and looks delicious.

6. Obviously our Almond Milk Horchata Cocktail will be in circulation (and probably our Blood Orange Tequila + Lime Spritzers, too).

7. Decorated candles look like a simple enough DIY to help keep things festive.

8. Papel picado!

9. I’ve really been waiting for a good time to try a honeycombed wall and this seems like the perfect opportunity.

DIY Watercolor Art

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorDuring the summer my son came home from camp with a simple scribbled drawing in crayon that was covered with watercolor paint. I adored it and it gave me some great inspiration for this easy DIY project. I always have a hard time finding art for my home. I’m well past the point in my life where I’m hanging movie posters on the wall but still can’t really afford a one of kind piece of art from a gallery. So, what’s a girl to do? Make her own art of course. And, it’s so simple that you should do it as well. Here’s how to do it.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorI decided to keep my design simple and graphic so it was easy to sketch out on a piece of graph paper.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorOnce I finalized my design, I went over with with a dark black pen so it would be easy to trace onto the watercolor paper.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorNo light table? No problem. I just taped my graph paper to a glass door (or window would work) and placed the watercolor paper over it. Instant light table! I also used masking tape to tape a border for my painting. This isn’t necessary but helps create nice clean lines if you want them.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorOnce I had the watercolor paper all taped up, I used a white crayon to trace over the design. Please do not use a washable crayon if you are using watercolors as the crayon will wash away as you start to add the color. You want a nice waxy crayon to repel the water.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorIt’s a bit hard to see but you can see the white crayon lines on the paper.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorYou don’t need fancy supplies to make art! I’m using the kid’s watercolor palate from IKEA along with their paintbrushes.

A Feteful Life: DIY Watercolor

A Feteful Life: DIY Watercolor

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorNow, just start painting… whatever colors your little heart desires. I usually do a wash of my base color first and then add some little variations of colors once that base is down.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorOnce the paint has dried remove the masking tape boarders and then trim the paper down to whatever size you want. Voila. Easy DIY art that anyone can do. Fete on!

DIY Candied Jewels

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

While I’m getting a bit sad that warmer weather will be on its way out soon (although it has been super hot and humid around DC lately and I won’t be sorry to see that go), I love love to see fall jewel tones make their arrival. Couple that with my general love of all things sparkly and a real sweet tooth (it is some serious kind of cruel that Halloween candy is already in stores), I thought I’d try my hand at making some edible candied jewels. Now, as I’ve said before, I’m really not much of a baker. I just lack the ability to measure exactly and patiently work in that particular arena of the kitchen. And while I love how these candied jewels turned out, they certainly pushed my frustration meter to the limit. It took me lots and lots of tries to get a good batch and, even then, I’d make a random bad one. They’re not difficult, but they require some time to concentrate. I do think they’d be beautiful as a lovely little favor packaged up in a glassine bag, served alongside a cup of cider or hot toddy, or even topping a plain cake. So set aside some time to slow down and try them yourself!

DIY Candied Jewels (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup water
– 2 tablespoons corn syrup
– gel paste food coloring
– 1/8 teaspoon of flavor extract, such as lemon, orange or cinnamon (optional)
– cooking spray

Other Equipment
– hard candy gem molds (such as these)
– candy thermometer
– pyrex measuring cup

Directions
1.  Spray molds lightly with cooking spray and set atop waxed paper or aluminum foil.

2. Bring sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat in a saucepan. Heat until mixture reaches 300 on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat immediately and add 1-2 drops of food coloring and 1/8 teaspoon of flavor extract if using. Transfer mixture to a pyrex measuring cup and let settle for 15-30 seconds.

3. Slowly pour mixture into candy molds sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Fill molds until just below the top. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Tips
– Make sure the mixture is heated to exactly 300 and then remove quickly from the heat source. If it’s under that temperature, the candy will be sticky. If over, the mixture will caramelize.
– Pour less than you think will fill a mold cavity to start out — the mixture expands a bit once its in there.
– If candy hardens inside of your saucepan and/or pyrex measuring cup, fill the saucepan with water, place measuring cup inside, and bring to a boil. Discard water once residue melts.

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

Back to School! Breakfast

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

Woohoo! It’s back to school for my kiddos today! We were actually all so excited about it that I thought it’d be fun to have a low-key “back to school breakfast” for my loves. And it forced me to finally “interview” both of my kids, which I’ve really been wanting to do, so I’m going to pretend it was my plan all along to do a back to school interview. It’s all up over at Honest to Nod today — check it out!

Want to hear your own kids say sweet and funny stuff? Just click right here to download our free Back to School Interview printable!

And thanks to The Land of Nod for gifting us the Meri Meri Toot Sweet Collection items and the growth chart!

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

DIY Painted Tin Cans

A Feteful Life: Painted Tin CansEver since I did those spray painted pumpkins for Thanksgiving last year, I’ve been looking for any excuse to transform things with spray paint. And this is one of the easiest and most inexpensive transformations that I’ve done. Think twice before tossing that empty tin can in the recycling bin because that can be a custom vase, pencil holder, make-up brush holder, utensil holder or planter (i.e., pretty much anything you want it to be) within just a few minutes with a few easy steps.

A Feteful Life: Painted Tin CansWith either painter’s tape or simple masking tape, tape off the portion of the can that you don’t want to paint. Any size you want. You could even do stripes if you wanted to, but I just did a solid area because I wanted the can to have a dip-dyed effect. Also, make sure the tape along the edge that you’re painting is pressed smoothly against the can or the spray paint will bleed under the tape.

A Feteful Life: Painted Tin CansDon’t over spray to get a full coating on the first time. Spray paint works best with several thin layers built up on top of each other. This is especially true when working with the tin cans because if you over spray, the excess paint might drip into the ridges of the can.

A Feteful Life: Painted Tin CansThe can in three various levels of being painted. First coat for the white, second coat for the purple and final coat on the mint green.

A Feteful Life: Painted Tin CansRemoving the tape after the spray paint has dried. Last step, deciding how you’re going to put these cans to use!

A Feteful Life: Painted Tin CansA Feteful Life: Painted Tin Cans

Cocktail Hour: Blood Orange Tequila + Lime Spritzer

A Feteful Life: Blood Orange Tequila + Lime Spritzer

Yes, another fruit-laden cocktail from me this week. I can’t help it — I’ve just been loving the combo of fresh fruit and spirits all summer long. This one’s a two-stepper and requires a few days preparation, but it’s worth it. I first made blood orange infused tequila, which sounds fancy, but is super simple to do. And then I shook that pretty colored spirit up with lime and club soda for a refreshing cocktail. Hey it’s good to hydrate while imbibing, right?

Blood Orange Tequila + Lime Spritzer (A Feteful Life)
Serves 2

Ingredients
– 4 ounces blood orange tequila (recipe below)
– 1.5 cups club soda
– 1/8 cup fresh lime juice
– 1/8 cup agave nectar
– 1 lime, thinly sliced (set aside a few slices for garnish)

Directions
1. Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice and add all ingredients. Shake, shake, shake.
2. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with extra lime slices.

Blood Orange Tequila 

Ingredients
– 1 bottle good silver tequila (750 ml)
– 2 blood oranges, cut into 1/2″ slices

Directions
1. Place blood orange slices in a large container (like an 800 ml mason jar) and pour tequila in (I had a little tequila leftover that wouldn’t fit — I’m sure we’ll use it somehow).
2. Place in refrigerator for 3 days, giving it a good shake and rotating it daily.

A Feteful Life: Blood Orange Tequila + Lime Spritzer

A Feteful Life: Blood Orange Tequila + Lime Spritzer

A Feteful Life: Blood Orange Tequila + Lime Spritzer

DIY Kids Party Favors

I know some people are anti kids party favors, but I have to say that I am firmly in favor of them. I think it is important for my kids to understand that having friends attend a party, whether or not a present is involved, is something they should be thankful for and show their appreciation. And I feel like they get that and truly want to show their thanks to friends and family for helping us celebrate. That said, I always try to have my kids help me make party favors for their party and generally provide something either consumable, educational, and/or not just more plastic toys. I happened to LOVE the DIY rock candy party favor we had at our science club last month, which got me thinking about what favors I might get together for upcoming kids parties. Here are some of my favorites!

A Feteful Life: DIY KId Party Favors

1 / What kiddo doesn’t love making art? Lovely Design put together these adorable collage packets to send a little art project home with each child. Perfect for post-party-sugar-rush winding down at home.

2 / I’ve wanted to make story stones for my kids for some time now and I think a little muslin bag with a few stones would be the perfect thing to help keep a kiddo occupied on the ride home.

3 / OK, so this one is candy, which I try not to do since I’ve inevitably just filled up kiddos on sweets at the party. BUT sending this bubblegum necklace home in a little kit for each child would be a great consumable activity.

4 / It looks like tasty salt water taffy, but this one is ingeniously disguised sidewalk chalk. What a perfect favor for a summertime party!

5 / Another win for Lovely Design with these personalized pennant flags. I like to try make party decorations last by using them in my childrens’ rooms. I love that Lovely Design took this concept to favors and I can imagine all the littles so excited to find their own initialed flag.

Dining Al Fresco… Greek Style

If I could pick one place in the whole world to visit, it would be Greece. I’ve never been and I’m absolutely dying to go. Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Athens… I don’t care, I want to go and soak up the culture and food. Since that dream isn’t happening anytime soon, I think it’s time for me to bring a little bit of Greece to me. Here are some of my favorite ideas to throw a Greek inspired al fresco dinner. Fete on!

A Feteful Life: Greek Inspired Al Fresco Dinner1. Nothing screams Greece to me more than the combination of blue & white and these beautiful dishes from West Elm are no exception. I love their modern yet organic feel.

2. Candles are essential when it come to al fresco dining. There are a lot more ornate or detailed lanterns on the market these days but these simple wood ones from Crate & Barrel would be perfect!

3. Start out with a simple mezze platter of dolmas, olives, feta & hummus like this one from PopSugar. Add some chicken souvlaki and some greek yogurt with berries and you’ve got yourself a meal!

4. While dining under an olive grove would be best, I’ll have to settle with creating my own grove of olives by using olive branches as the centerpiece.

5. Keep things casual but elegant by decanting some greek white wine in a decanter and serving the wine in tumblers rather than wine glasses. I love this rustic blown glass set from VivaTerra.