Let’s do this again, same time next year!

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts- our family and our business have relocated from rural PA to the Finger Lakes in NY. Overall, it has been an amazing change for all of us! My husband is enjoying a new work opportunity, our daughters have made new friends at an excellent school, and Happiest Days Designs has been able to expand into a new artist collective and wedding collective. The community has been warm and embracing. But…..

We lived in PA for over 20 years. The home we left, a historic Chester County farmhouse- we loved. The people we had built friendships with and family members ( we still have- because even though we’ve moved we haven’t let go of our PA people!) we loved. We had sooooo many family traditions. Traditions and rituals that marked the celebrations of each season of the year. These little celebrations we celebrated sometimes just in our little family, sometimes we invited neighbors and friends. Now, in a new place- doing some of the same rituals help ground us. Our little family has been through so many changes in the last 7 months. Although, overall it has been positive, change is still hard. It feels like everything is moving so fast.

So yesterday was Pi (e) day. Even though, I was working on orders and had to do BIG Grocery Shopping and still pick up the kid before 2:30pm and make dinner. I took the time to make Chocolate Banana Cream Pie. Because, the Pie was more than a pie- its a tradition. My husband and eldest are both huge MATH GEEKS- they wear that title with honor. Yes, we celebrate Pi (e) day every year. Right now, we all need somethings to remain the same. Although, the kids are now teens- they still appreciate pie on Pi(e) day. Anything that can bring the teens to the table and chat about what’s happening in their lives- is enough to make me ( good ol Mom) do that Big Grocery shopping and make the pie.

Of course, since I’m in a new area- the grocery stores aren’t all the same and a key ingredient ( corn starch- like who doesn’t have corn starch?- Apparently the Aldi I was at…) my new store didn’t carry. So, I looked up substitutes for corn starch – saw tapioca and flour. I went with the tapioca ( bad idea if you don’t like tapioca pudding). I finished sieving the vanilla pudding and felt that the texture was just too different from what we are used to- so yes, I started again. I am glad I did ( this time I used flour- but less than not in the quantity the website suggested ) and the vanilla pudding came out silky and delicious. PIE SUCCESS!

However, at this point I had spent 2 hours making pie twice and I hadn’t even started on dinner. This is where the husband comes in. You see now, because of the move he gets off work earlier ( big perk) and he walked in just when I was getting ready to start the Fritatta ( Italian Egg Pie) for dinner. We tag teamed- he made the fritatta and I contemplated how is it possible Aldi doesn’t carry corn starch? So yes, things have changed- Kevin is now home in enough time to make dinner- when I just don’t want to anymore, and things have remained the same: Pi(e) on Pie day.

My daughters were appreciative & home for pie. We actually sat around the dining room table had dinner and dessert together. Absolutely worth the BIG shopping trip. The told us about their day, the “tea”, and other teen stuff. Because no matter how much life changes, we as a family remain connected. Its important to make that extra effort to create your own family rituals and traditions. They help anchor you together. That is an excellent excuse for pie!

Recipe- Chocolate Bananarama Cream Pie

Enjoy! xoxo Shawn – Happiest Days Designs

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Black Diamond Sledding or Mid-life Crisis?

So, we recently moved the Finger Lakes. Kevin and I have enjoyed exploring the area. We love snow, so we wanted to go sledding. The kids wanted to stay inside and do their homework. Boo! Responsible kids. Kevin and I decided, we didn’t need the kids to go sledding, this was something we could tackle on our own. So we loaded up the minivan with two inflatable pink donut sleds and headed out to Rice Sledding Hill in Taughannock Park. The rest speaks for itself. I suggest you watch the whole way through… the best part is when Kevin takes the hill. So glad we didn’t break a hip! Lol!

xo Shawn –Happiest Days Designs

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When Jingle Bells become Wedding Bells!

Pop the Question

The time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day is truly a magical time of year.  There’s  holiday festivities, time spent with family and friends, and if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere cold – snow!  As such a happy and love-filled time of year, it’s no surprise that it’s a time when many couples get engaged.  That’s right, engagement season is coming!

Engagements are a couple’s first step towards a long and happy life together.  It’s a moment that the pair will remember for the rest of their lives, and it should be as thoughtful and special as they are.  Our “Pop the Question” dessert plate is an adorable and unique way to ask your significant other for their hand in marriage.  Re-think the cliched ring in cake approach with a new twist: this time, it’s the plate that’s doing the asking.  The plate can be customized to include the names of the couple in the heart as well as personalized text around the rim. The best part is that you will forever have a physical reminder your engagement story.  Whether you hang it on the wall or eat coffee cake on it, the plate will forever be a keepsake of your love and dedication to one another.

After the engagement comes the wedding planning. Happiest Days Designs offers wedding design and planning packages at all levels, that will get you from engagement to honeymoon. Now located in the Finger Lakes region of NY, we can help you plan the destination wedding of your dreams, whether that be outdoors on the lake or by a waterfall, a rustic barn wedding and BBQ, or a swanky club wedding. Your wedding will reflect your story with details custom made for you. Our designers and artisans will take your ideas and your budget and create something amazing with your stamp all over it. We will handle all the little things right up to and through your wedding, so you celebrate and have fun. Your family and friends will treated with the utmost consideration and your happiest day will be a memory to hold onto your whole lives through.

View More: http://laurawightphotography.pass.us/vineyard-wedding-editorial-lwp-2017Photgrapher: Laura Wight

As a thoughtful host, creating a wedding registry takes the guesswork out of gift giving for your loved ones. Happiest Days Designs now offers a wedding registry. You can register for handmade porcelain dinnerware or a set of fun ice cream bowls. Couples can fill out a simple form online (or if you would like, give us a call!) and indicate which items they would like to put on their list.  We will then set up your custom registry and provide you with a link to share with all your family and friends.  Personalized dessert ware and hand built keepsakes are a perfect way to start a home and a life together.  Who wouldn’t want to celebrate their love every time they drink out of a coffee mug?

© Justina Bilodeau Photography_0474 Gold rimmed plates 2 Stone Barn Maine editorial

Photographer: Justina Bilodeau

Lastly, as Association of Bridal Consultants members, Happiest Days Designs works with Sandals and Beaches Resorts to get your great deals on honeymoons. You can book directly with us! We are a great resource as you are trying to find just the right package and destination in your budget. Sandals offers great properties with unique amenities such as over the water bungalows, all inclusive gourmet meals, and excursions for snorkeling and golfing. You can peruse your options with our Sandals/Beaches portal right on our website.

Personalized Heart and Key Bridal Bouquet Charm

Happiest Days Designs wants to be the place you go to find unique, custom, handmade gifts for weddings, birthdays, new baby, new home, and holidays. Our artisans will help you create meaningful objects that are touchstones to your loved ones and the happiest days you share. Our company is founded on love, community, and celebration! That’s what we share with you.

xoxo Shawn- Happiest Days Designs

 

 

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A gift to remember

zola registry

Wedding day, the happiest day of your life! Joy and love spread through the air as two people vow to spend the rest of their lives together, through thick and thin. This year the  most popular day to get married is coming up quickly, October 20th. Family and friends find themselves wondering what is the perfect gift for a perfect couple?

Above, the handy dandy infographic map tracks the most popular wedding gifts of the year as compiled by Zola- registry .  Zola found the most popular wedding gift for each state, so anyone can see what is trending where they live. Zola is a great site to use to find the great gifts for lucky love birds!

If you are looking for something personal, custom, and unique Happiest Days Designs offers gorgeous heirloom gifts. We offer personalized dinnerware and decor, gifts to remember. We offer an onsite registry featuring our designs that you chose, a little helping hand for your guests.

Our designs feature personalization with the couple’s names and wedding date, celebrating their happiest day all year through. Below are some of our most popular wedding gift designs:

Bridal Bouquet ( with color) – cake plate and domeBridal Bouquet Picture Two

Every couple can carve their names into a tree to show how their love will last forever with these two designs:

Apple Tree Fine Dessert Set for 2 – ( Couple’s names in the heart on the tree- wedding date in the apple

Apple Tree Fine Dessert Set for Two

Apple Tree Folk Dessert Set for 2 ( couple’s name in tree, date in the apple)

Apple Tree Folk Dessert for Two

Or doodle their love notebook style on a platter with our Sweethearts design. TLA- True Love Always:

Sweetheart Platter Image OneSweetheart Platter Image Two

 

Between Zola Registry and Happiest Days Designs couples are sure to bask in happy homemaking and domestic bliss for years to come! Be sure to give them a gift to remember!

xo, Shawn

Ps. This post was done in partnership with Zola

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Let it Snow…unexpected magic

RyanYannSnow-1

It’s the end of September and there is finally a slight chill in the air, a harbinger for the winter to come. Now, I love Summer BBQ’s and Fall barn weddings as much as the next wedding planner, but there is something wonderful about the unexpected magic of a snowy Winter wedding.

Last December, I had the pleasure of  planning Ryan and Yan’s celebration in Old Town Philadelphia. The day of their wedding Mother Nature graced us with the perfect amount of downy snow, not so much to cause headaches for travelers, but just enough to transform the celebration into a winter wonderland.

Honestly, I am not surprised that the fates smiled on this amazing couple! Ryan, the bride, is the perfect package of beauty, kindness, and razor sharp smarts that no doubt made her French husband Yan fall head over heels for her. They met in Paris ( of course) and he was smitten from their first meeting.

Ryan with pink stole

Yan on the Bed

Their wedding was a perfect blend of their two cultures and personalities. Friends and family from France and all over the US traveled to Philadelphia for the wedding.

Ryan and Yann Old City

The bride is a writer and felt drawn to the Paris in 1920’s as a jumping off point to inspire the design.

Library Shot

absinthe

Detail keys

So, wedding favors included small bottles of absinthe and handmade porcelain keys (made by Happiest Days Designs) with tags in both French and English. Tables weren’t given numbers, but names of influential writers and artists from Paris in the ’20’s. Table name

But the night wasn’t all about style (although there was plenty), it was a full out celebration of fun! The delight that Ryan and Yan had at their First Look was infectious!

Ryan and Yann First Look

The couple walked through a shower of bubbles at the end of the ceremony and that set the tone for the night.

Ryan and Yann bubbles

Special moments caught with family and friends show how much love they all share

Ryan and Nikki

and how to have some serious fun.

Dancing fun

The Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Philadelphia was the perfect venue. Modern twist art deco decor in a historic building. The food and service were amazing. They handled ceremony, roof top cocktail hour, and reception to perfection.

Cake

I can’t tell you what a joy it was to work with so many talented and top of their game vendors:  Chic Cosmetique (Make up), Glamster Girls (hair), Beautiful Blooms (floral design), Philadelphia String Quartet (Ceremony Music), Kimpton Hotel Monaco (Venue and Catering), and

Lauren Brimhall- Photography: https://www.laurenbrimhallphotography.com

All the GORGEOUS PHOTOS taken in this post were by the Marvelous Lauren Brimhall! She was so easy to work with and really understood how to capture the soul of the day.

end of the night independence hall

All in all an amazing wedding topped off with a little shimmer of snow. How beautiful!

xo Shawn- Happiest Days Designs

 

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Home Made Broccoli Rabe Pizza – YUM!

Cutting the Pizza

The above masterpiece is what the Broccoli Rabe Pizza looks like when it’s all done! So let’s back up and explain the steps to get you here 🙂

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough

Olive Oil

Broccoli Rabe (fresh bunch)

Lemon Juice

Garlic

Provolone Cheese ( 6-8 slices)

Fresh Mozzarella ( 4-6 oz. ball)

Step 1- Pizza Dough- When Kevin and I got married over 20 years ago- we were gifted with a bread maker. That bread maker has been a workhorse and has been used at least one a week for the past 15 years. Since my eldest daughter was 2- we have Pizza night every Friday night. It’s a tradition. Most of the time we make our own pizza, but sometimes we do take-out. The point to the recipe however, is that usually we make the pizza dough in the bread maker with the quick rising yeast. If you have a bread maker-its an easy solution and works really well. If you don’t most grocery stores sell frozen dough in the freezer section or if you are really stuck – use a boboli or even french bread works well.

2. Roll out the Pizza dough. We like it about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Then lay out either on a sheet pan (oiled or sprayed) or a pizza stone (put into a cold oven and them warmed up in the oven as the oven pre-heats).

3. Wash off the broccoli rabe and cut off the bottom third- woody stems. Saute the broccoli rabe in a little olive oil (two-three swirls around the pan) garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. When the broccoli starts to wilt- and the stems are a little soft- it’s all done.

Broccolli Rabe

4. Olive oil the pizza dough and layer with Provolone slices.

Provolone on dough

5. Layer with the broccoli rabe and fresh mozzarella.

Broccolli Rabe on dough

Pizza with mozz into oven

6. Into the oven for about 15 or so minutes at 500 degrees. The crust should get crunchy and the cheese will melt and spread.

Pizz oven in

7. When it comes out it’s all golden brown and bubbly and delicious!

Cutting the Pizza

8. Happy Husband! Yum!

Kevin and Pizza

xoxo Shawn – Hull’s Happiest Days Designs

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Handbuilding: Floral Mug- Start to finish

 

Step 1- Roll out the clay, measure and cut out the shapes.

Roll out of flower mug

 

Step 2: Form the cylinder around a tube.

Forming of mug cylinder

Step 3: Cut out a circle base- slightly larger than the cylinder.

Flower Mug Cylinder and Base

Step 4: Attaching the cylinder to the base

Attaching Flower Mug base to cylinder

Step 5: Attaching all the way around. Then smoothing

Process of attaching base to mug cylinder

Step 6: Rolling down the lip.

Rolling down the lip

Step 7: Pulling the handle

pulling the handle

Step 8: Attaching the handle.

Attaching the handle

Step 9: Forming the flowers

Making the flower

Step 10: Attaching the flowers

Attaching the flowers

Step 11: Attaching the dots

Adding the dots

Step 12: Selective drying. The lip and the handle with flowers.

Drying the mug

Step 13: Uncovered & Drying for 3 days

Day two drying

Step 14: Bisque Firing. Firing and cooling at least 12 hours.

Bisque Firing mug

Step 15: Glazing. Then firing to vitrification – at least 12 more hours.

Glazing mug

Step 16: Back to the kiln to fire to vitrification. Another 12-16 hours.

Bisque Firing mug

Step 17: Final mug! Yay! I hope Karen loves it 🙂 Check out the website and let’s collaborate and make something for you!

Finished mug after final glaze firing

xoxo   Shawn – Hull’s Happiest Days Designs

 

 

 

 

 

 

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