Holiday Mocktail Party

IMG_7779_1A couple of years ago I threw a fauxtail party, and this year I decided to revisit the idea for our holiday party with a few changes (If you want to see the original fauxtail party, go here).

Everyone came in “snooty” attire (which meant a lot of fur and bow ties). We also opened up the glamper as an extra room for the party.

I only did three drinks for this party and instead of playing bartender the whole time, I put them into closed pitchers so everyone could poor their own drinks and choose their own garnish. I put three examples out along with what was in the drinks (on chalkboard to the left).

IMG_7763_webHere are the Mocktail recipes:

Crandandy Cooler
2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
A squeeze of lemon
1 cup gingerale
maraschino cherry to garnish

Mango Bellini
2 cups mango juice
2 cups white grape juice
1 cup sprite
blueberries to garnish

1 bottle of mojito mix
2 cups of club soda
1/4 cup of lime juice
lime and mint to garnish
(serve “on the rocks” with ice)

I have the little folded tags (as seen in picture below) for you to download should you decide you want to do a party like this here: DOWNLOAD FOLDED MOCKTAIL CARDS


Hope you are celebrating this holiday season too!


Witch and Wizard Party—Kids Halloween Party

Saturday I threw a Witch & Wizard Party for my kids. I have to admit that I didn’t come up with the idea. My niece Caroline gave Siri a card inviting her to a pretend witch party a couple of months ago(which btw never happened). But the idea got stuck in my girls’ heads, and they asked if we could have a witch party. How could I say no?

This party was relatively easy to plan and prepare for. I used a few of my own ideas as well as ideas I found online. I’ve given you links and recipes here in case you decide you want to have your own witch party.

(WARNING: This is a photo-heavy post and if you show your kids, they WILL want a Halloween party too!)

The main activity for this party was potion-brewing. “Making potions” has been a popular activity in our family ever since Siri read Ivy and Bean. There is something so magical for kids about mixing, pouring, stirring, and imagining up spells! Grandma and cousins all have been into the “potion-making,” which has sometimes resulted in the most amazing messes. If you want an activity that your kids will completely adore, you will want to try potion-making at your party!

I basically created two areas for this party: the game area and the potion brewing station. The games were played on a quilt under a tree in our backyard and the potion station was on the patio. Here are some of the highlights:
1. My new favorite idea: Using wrapping paper as a table cloth. I used a black and white polka dot that I found at Home Goods. The great thing about this paper? Also great for other parties that are not halloween themed.
2. I purchased a couple of skulls from my local craft store to place on the tables for added “spookiness.”
3. I dislike silk flowers except at Halloween. These black hydrangeas were cute on the food table.
4. I used my Carta Bella All Hallow Eve’s Line for place mats. Easiest place mats ever! Add a Swizzle spoon (usually for cocktails…I got mine from the World Market) and a green glass bowl (aka caldron) from Tai Pan Trading and we are ready to mix!
5. I used glass vases I had from around the house and mixed in some little bottles with corks from Michaels and more green bottles from Tai Pan Trading.  I placed them all in the center of the table with the skulls and some flowers.
6. I set up a quilt and decorative crepe paper balls (purchased at Tai Pan Trading) under a tree for all our games and activities. Plus, it felt way more witchy!
7. I used a number of different food colorings to make the potions more inviting. Just pour a single drop of food coloring at the bottom then pour in water.
8. This fancy feathered own is a witch or wizard’s best friend. Purchased at Michaels.

(Photo above) Paper from All Hallow’s Eve is used as a place mat for potion brewing. (Photo below) The table is set with all the potions in the center of the table and food on a side table. Siri, Felicity, and Eva check out the bottles before the rest of the guests arrive.

There is nothing like kid-friendly food that is as fun to look at as it is to eat. Here’s what we had:
1. Bloody worm tonic. Recipe: Sprite + Maraschino cherry syrup + Pick with a gummy worm
2. Mummy hot dogs with baby carrots. The Mummy hot dogs are made from puffed pastry wrapped around hot dogs.
3. Witch Cupcakes. Idea from of Martha Stewart.
4. Candy Corn flower Cupcakes. This is a simple way to decorate your cupcakes with m&ms and candy corn.
5. Microwave Witch Carmel Corn (Recipe below) I used All Hallow’s Eve stickers on the bags.
6. Oreo spiders.

4 Microwavable bags of Blast O Butter Popcorn
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margerine
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of black food dye

Pop the popcorn using the instructions on the bag. Place all the popcorn in a large brown paper bag.

Over medium heat, mix all the other ingredients except the M&Ms. Once everything is combined,  cool for a few minutes (2-5 minutes).

Pour syrup over the popcorn in the bag. Roll down the top once or twice to close the bag, and shake to coat the corn. Dump the popcorn out onto waxed paper, and let cool until coating is set. Store in an airtight container.

To make life easy, this party was kept simple by starting with games on the quilt, moving to the potion station on the patio, then having dinner (also at the potions table), and then ending with a movie in the house (we watched The Nightmare Before Christmas).
1-3. BINGO: We played Bingo using the Haunted Digital Bingo Card Printables and Candy Corn. Once you got bingo you could eat the row of candy corn!
4-5. TREASURE HUNTING: Yes, witches like to dig for treasure too! The tubs were purchased from Michaels (for 99 cents!) and sand from Home Depot. Rings, jewels, and other little trinkets were hidden in the buckets.
6-8. BOBBING FOR DONUTS: Hang a donut in a tree and the witches will happily try to eat them. This is a great activity to start with as guests arrive.

(Photo left-above) Felicity works hard as she “bobs” for her donut. (Photo right-above) The best surprise with when Grandma Mary showed up dressed as a witch as well!!! Best grandma!!

(Photo left-below) Gracie is still looking for treasure as the bigger kids play bingo. (Photo right-below) I call out the numbers for bingo as the kids place their candy corn. The simple decorations make this spot in the yard feel festive!

When I asked my kids what their favorite part of the party was, the answer was unanimous—Potions! To set up your own potions table, here’s what you will need:
Glass bottles (I used clear and green ones in different sizes)
Bowls or cauldrons (the green bowls were nice because they were festive but the kids could still see what colors they were pouring in).
Spoons for mixing
Food coloring (red, black, green, blue, yellow)
Other mix ins (At this party I bought Halloween sprinkles and candy like candy bones, orange & black sprinkles, gummy skulls, candy bats, and leaf sprinkles. We have also in the past used flour and sugar for making potions.)
A pitcher (to refill empty bottles)

As the kids mix the potions, the adults refilled the bottles (so keep the food coloring and pitcher nearby). I just let the kids dump their potions into the grass next to patio when they were ready to start a new potion (yes, it makes a mess but that’s why I chose things the kids would either eat, would wash away, or I could throw into the trash).

(Photo above) Siri is excited to start potion making. While “brewing” the kids were saying things like, “Will you pass me the dead toes, please?” (Photos below) Eva, Siri, and Felicity play on the blanket under the tree. My niece Lola mixes her potion.

(Photo above) Felicity brews a rather nasty looking spell! (Photos below) Felicity and Lola pose for my Instagram picture (@carinagardner)!

Hope you were inspired and you have a Happy Halloween!


Weekends and Blueberry Crumb Cake

I always look forward to the weekend—I work a little less, have Josh around, and get around to cooking more. A couple of weekends ago, I started making the Barefoot Contessa’s Blueberry Crumb Cake. It’s totally divine, light, and could be breakfast or dessert (a major plus). A new cake is baking as I type so that when I get done with this post, I’ll be digging into a little bit of sweet.

This weekend, we finished setting up the tradeshow booth for Quilt Market. Sure, it’s a month and a half away, but this is my first time and I wanted to be sure to get it write. You can check out a couple of the instagram pictures on my sidebar or on my facebook page. Yes, I know that doesn’t give you the full picture of what we are up to, but I’m taking lots of pictures now and we’ll show off closer to the show.


With the tradeshow coming up, you can bet I’ll be in full swing sewing soon with my new line Songbird due out in June. Of course in the meantime, I’m still sewing up some lovely stuff for Paris and Company (out this April!). The lines are totally different, which makes deciding how I want to use them that much more fun!

And there’s the oven timer going off! Hope you are having a lovely weekend too! —Carina



Fauktail Party Recipes

fauk  tail /fok-teyl/ noun 1. a faux-mock-cocktail party;
2. a festive event where non-alcoholic beverages and appetizers are served to adult friends as they mix-&-mingle in their christmas best; 3. involves dressing up in your favorite faux-mock-cocktail clothing for general hob-nobbing and chit chat; 4. a cocktail that does not require taxi service at the end of the night.

And yes, I threw my made-up-name party this last weekend. Good friends, sugary drinks, and lots of food…it makes a girl happy! We tried to invite folks that we have been friends with in different walks of life—friends from Minnesota who had also relocated to Utah, roommates from our undergraduate days at BYU, and people we work with. It was a wonderful group and it made me pretty happy to see friends that I haven’t seen for over 5 years!

It was a great way to kick off the holidays and I find myself wanting to throw another one!

If you want to throw a non-alcoholic but adult-like event, here are my biased rules for getting it done—1. Don’t have your cabinets laquered a day before the party (your house will be very cold from airing it out); 2. Buy all your food and flowers from Costco (It’s one trip and all the appetizers are easy to make); 3. Spend most of your time shopping for cute glasses (the part I enjoyed the most!); 4. Designate someone to take pictures (what you are seeing here is about all I got!); and 5. Once the first couple walks in, let it all go (as in I hadn’t finished cleaning my daughters’ bedroom and I knew people were going to walk through it. I got over it.).


Want to throw your own fauktail party? Here are my recipes…but be warned, I made these up and the quantities are simply estimates of how I made them. They are all super (may I add dooper?) delicious. Feel free to add or subtract from these faux-mock-cocktails. Most make about 3/4ths of a pitcher (about 4-6 glasses depending on the size of the glass).

TROPICAL FIZZ (inspired by Planter’s Punch)

2 1/2 cups orange juice

2 1/2 cups sprite (or ginger ale)

1 1/2 cups pineapple juice

2 cups of orange sherbet (you can also substitute pineapple sherbet)

1/2 cup of sweetened lime juice

garnish with 2-3 cubes of fresh pineapple on a skewer

Blend all the ingredients together and garnish with the pineapple skewer.


TOMMY COLLINS SLUSHIE (inspired by Tom Collins)

1 package of slightly melted Edy’s Lemonade Fruit Bars (Use all 6 Popsicles in the box)

4 cups of Minute Maid Lemonade

2 1/2 cups of Ginger Ale

1/2 cup of Wildberry Martini Mixer

Raspberries (dropped at the bottom of the glass)

Blend all the ingredients together. Drop a few raspberries at the bottom of a glass. Pour in the blended drinks.


3 cups of Martinelli

3 cups of Ginger Ale

1/4 to 1/2 cup of Sweetened Lime Juice

Granny Apple wedge

Stir together the ingredients and garnish with a Granny Apple wedge on a martini glass.


CARINA’S SHIRLY TEMPLE (obviously, my take on this recipe..because I didn’t feel like mixing sprite and gingerale:)

4 to 5 cups of sprite

1/2 cup of Maraschino cherry syrup

2 Maraschino cherries on a pick or 1 Maraschino cherry with it’s stem dropped in the bottom.


My fifth drink was just a number of different bubblies from Costco and the supermarket that was garnished simply with a strawberry on the rim of a wine glass. That gave guests another option and freed me up to make more of the other drinks.

At the end of the day, “fancying up” a fauktail is all about the garnish or some salt/sugar to the rim of a party glass. Messing around with recipes just made it alot more fun for this hostess.

Hope you get to make a fauxtail for yourself soon!

Cheers! Carina