Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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I still remember the first day I saw the words “Kitten” in gold foil on a new shop window in Parkdale almost 2 years ago- I immediately knew whatever was opening up was going to be a new favourite spot. When Kitten and the Bear actually opened a few weeks later I automatically became a regular customer, stopping in for jam and scones whenever I possibly could, and before long I was on a first name basis with the lovely owners Sophie and Bobby.

Flash forward a few years and my fridge is stacked with almost every kind of Kitten and the Bear preserve available. I still constantly visit the shop, and I’ve become quite close with all the staff. During a routine girl-boss meeting a few months back Sophie and I decided we should work on a shoot idea together, and so the Pastel Xmas Par-Tea was born.

On top of helping with sourcing, styling, and planning, Sophie and Bobby came up with all sorts of wondrous creations for our festive tea party, like christmas tree cucumber sandwiches and mini scone canapés. But of course a party isn’t a party without a few cocktails, and Kitten and the Bear had just the thing- a jam infused Sugar Plum Fairy Punch!

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Ingredients //

12 oz gin
4 oz Cointreau
8 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 oz Kitten and the Bear Black Plum & Earl Grey jam diluted with 6 oz water
1/2 c sugar
16 oz dry champagne

Instructions //

(Yields 8-12 cocktails)

– First, peel the zest from the lemons with a vegetable peeler, and muddle with sugar at the bottom of a mixing bowl (for a full recipe) or cocktail mixing glass (for a half recipe).

– Add KATB Black Plum & Earl Grey jam and water, and mix/muddle until the mixture is smooth and all of the sugar is dissolved and jam is diluted. Then, add gin, Cointreau and lemon juice (everything except the champagne), and stir.

Option 1:

If you will be serving your cocktail in a punch bowl for a “serve-yourself” presentation, fine strain the whole cocktail into your punch bowl, and chill in the fridge until your guests arrive.

For a festive sugar rim, generously rub the edges of your coupes with a lemon wedge, then dip gently in a saucer of sugar (mixed with edible glitter if you choose!) without letting the coupe touch the floor of the saucer. Then, tell everyone sugar plum fairies came overnight and danced on the rims!

When ready to serve, remove your punch from the fridge, add cold, bubbly champagne, and stir to combine, and garnish with thinly sliced rounds of plum. Display your punch bowl on your bar with sugar rimmed coupes and fancy drink stirrers.

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Option 2:

If you will be mixing and pouring rounds of drinks to-order, add ice to your cocktail mixing glass and stir for about 30 seconds with a bar spoon.

Rim your cocktail coupes with sugar (directions above), and pour through a fine strainer directly into the coupe. Serve, and dance the night away!

All barware available at BYOB Cocktail Emporium!

Get Creative

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Those of you who follow me know how much I love florals and flower arranging, and who better to give a lesson on the RAOP blog than local magic-maker Becky of Blush and Bloom? I’ve been a huge fan of her work for ages now, and it was so amazing to finally get the chance to work together on the #PastelXmasPartea shoot last month. I was so impressed by the whimsical floral designs she created for the set that I begged her to share some of her pastel magic wisdom, and that’s how this centrepiece arrangement tutorial came to be!

Scroll down for full instructions

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Supplies //

-A vessel (preferably silver or gold)
-Pastel blooms and festive greenery
-Clear or green florist tape
-Florist pruners or secateurs

Instructions //

1. Choose your vase or ceramic container

2. pick your flowers. Try to have assorted types of foliages, at least a few stems of a big, fluffy bloom, a few filler varieties all in whatever palette you prefer. Obviously we would have PASTEL BLOOMS!

3. Create a grid with clear or green florist tape across the top of the vase, allowing the tape to come down over the sides to keep it secure. We did 3x rows each way. Fill with water, nice and full!

4. Start by adding foliages ( we chose dusty miller) and other greenery to fill some of the holes in the grid, forming a base to hold up your flowers.

5. Begin with the biggest bloom that will be in the middle, or focal point of your creation. Make sure to keep this variety in prime real estate!

6. Slowly begin filling up the space surrounding the large, fluffy blooms with your filler flowers. We chose spray roses and garden roses, and a few ranunculus. Your arrangement should be getting full and the stems should not be wobbly! If they are, create more stability with foliage or more flowers.

7. Remember when building to cut stems on an angle with florist pruners or secateurs, and make sure you get them into water within 5x seconds, so think fast!

8. Lastly, look over your arrangement from above, below and all angles to make sure there are no holes or negative gaps/spaces that should have product, or conceal any tape that might be exposed. Remove any damaged petals or leaves, and take that arrangement to the table!

9. Be sure to fill with water daily over the sink to ensure all flowers are getting enough water.

10. ENJOY your new creation!

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Party Time

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We’ve all heard the phrase “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”, but for years I’ve been trying to figure out how to make my holiday season as pastel all possible. Typically defined by red and green, Christmas isn’t all that pastel friendly, but every December I find more ways to celebrate RAOP style. Last year I started a collection of treat-themed decorations, and a few years before I bought myself a tiny pink sparkly tree, but there’s always been something missing: a pastel Christmas party!

After almost a month of waiting I’m so thrilled to finally be sharing the Pastel Christmas Par-Tea photoshoot. I dreamt up this styled tea party with Sophie from Kitten and the Bear, and together we reached out to some of our favourite local talent. One by one the dream team came aboard, each offering something unique and sparkly to the tea that was too sweet to resist.

On the day of the shoot we all met at Blush and Bloom’s floral studio, a space that smelled like roses and Christmas cheer all at once that morning. We unpacked boxes of sparkling flamingo sugar cookies and christmas tree cucumber sandwiches topped with gold leaf stars. Next we hung the stocking with care, sprinkled glitter in each of the model’s hair, and added a few pink birds to Blush and Bloom’s wreath creation.

In the end everything came together so flawlessly that it truly felt like Christmas magic- from the glittering wardrobe to the sugary sweets table, it truly was a perfect Pastel Christmas Par-Tea.

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Tea has a way of bringing people together, and we highly recommend you find the time this holiday season to get all dolled up with your besties and enjoy a hot cup, some sweets, and maybe even a cocktail (or two!)

Credits // 

Stylist and Director: Random Acts of Pastel

 Co-Director + Buttermilk Scones and Artisan Jam: Kitten and The Bear

 Photography: Sounds Like Yellow

 Florist: Blush and Bloom

 Sweets: Sweet Bake Shop

Tea Sponsor: Sloane Tea

 Watercolour Details: Johanna Martin

 Calligraphy : Alena Ravestein

Party Supplies via Meri Meri

Originally published on the Hooray Magazine Blog

Party Time

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It’s officially December, which means sparkle season is finally upon us! Though the final shoot release date is still up in the air, I decided I could’t help but share some behind the scenes snaps in the meantime to get you in the pastel Christmas state of mind.

From the floral arrangements, to the cocktails, to the gold flakes atop each buttermilk scone, no detail escaped our elf-like festive magic, and these glittery scenes are just a taste of what we have in store…

Stay tuned for more DIY projects, recipes, and the final photos coming soon!

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Get Creative

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There’s something special about wrapping up a hand-picked gift, but turning the wrap itself into a work of art really takes things to the next level.

I teamed up with @blousesandhouses, my artistically-inclined partner in crime here at RAOP, and together we created a roll of dreamy watercolour gift wrap! With a colour scheme inspired by our upcoming #pastelxmaspartea shoot, we chose shades of pink, purple, and blue, carefully blending them together to create pastel Christmas magic. Super simple and oh-so pretty, this is the perfect way to personalize the presents under your tree. You could even throw a DIY holiday wrap party if you felt to inclined…  

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Supplies //

-Roll of white drawing paper (found at art supply stores)

-Watercolour paint in tubes

-small paint brushes for mixing

-small plastic containers (yogurt etc.) or a palette with deep compartments

-Rags

-Cups of clean water

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Instructions //

1 // Roll out your paper on a clean surface, use weights or clamps to secure it.

2 // Designate a container for each colour you’d like to use. Drop about a dime’s worth of watercolour paint into the bottom of the container. Add a few tablespoons of water and mix well.

3 // Dip the rag in a cup of clean water to saturate it, then dip into a colour mixture and in broad sweeping motions apply to paper. Try not to oversaturate the paper with water as it will tear!

4 // Once the paper is dry you can add another colour – We don’t recommend using more than 3 as the paper could become too weak.

5 // Allow to dry fully with the weights or clamps. Once dry (ideally next day) lay a clean towel over the paper and on a low setting lightly iron over it to smooth out any wrinkles.

6 // Start wrapping!

Note: Try not to overlap contrasting colours (ie: green and red) as this will make brown. Stick with cool or warm colour families to avoid making a mess of your artwork!