DIY Gold Leaf Painted Acorns


Here in the Bay Area we’ve been experiencing disgustingly hot weather almost every day for weeks. I took advantage of the first day with temperatures in the 70s to cross my fingers that Fall might finally be on the way, and tackled a quick and easy craft project – gold leaf painted acorns!

For this project you’ll need:

  • Gold Leaf Paint (I bought mine at Michael’s craft store.)
  • Small paintbrush (foam ones work best, though I didn’t have any on hand and used a soft bristled brush.)
  • Acorn caps
  • Acorn nuts – either acorn nuts already attached .. or able to be re-attached to the caps, or polymer clay to make your own acorn nuts.
  • Protective gloves
  • Respirator mask (strongly recommended! The gold leaf paint is pretty potent, and even the bottle label is loaded with warnings about adequate ventilation.)
  • Something to cover your work surface, preferably plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  • Glue (to make sure your acorn nuts stay attached to the caps. I used two part epoxy because that’s what I had handy.)

This project is so easy that it probably doesn’t even need visuals, but if you’re anything like me, photos are always encouraged!

DIY Gold Acorns - If you already have acorns with the cap and the nut attached, you can skip this part. The first thing I did was to make faux acorn nuts with polymer clay, as I’d only collected these cute little caps while out for a walk.

I used the Sculpey “lightweight” clay since it’s really soft easy to mold for this type of project. I baked the clay acorns according to the package directions and let them cool before moving forward.

DIY Gold Acorns - victoriaallison.wordpress.comOnce cooled, I fitted a clay nut to each cap, to make sure I had a match for each one. They’re pretty cute as is, aren’t they? I debated leaving some white, but I can always  make more later if I feel the need to change up the decor.

DIY Gold Acorns -

Once I’d matched the nuts to the caps, I separated them – but kept the nut close to each cap – and then I got to work painting! I found it was easiest to start at the bottom of the clay nut, and then sort of “stick” it to the plastic while I painted the rest of it – from the bottom/widest part up towards the small point at the top. You can see here why the gloves are necessary for this! Some of them required a second coat/touch up after the first layer was dry.

If you have real acorns, make sure you’ve properly dried them out before using them for any craft projects. Acorns fresh off the ground will get moldy, and could also be harboring insects.

DIY Gold Acorns -

Here’s the group of painted clay acorns drying! They dry fairly quickly in low humidity. You could also paint and leave them outside to dry if you don’t have proper indoor ventilation.

Once the paint was dry, I mixed up my two-part epoxy glue and re-attached each cap. As mentioned earlier, you could use other types of glue, whatever your preference is. I like the epoxy because it has a really strong bond with most any material.

DIY Gold Acorns -

So pretty, and so very easy!

DIY Gold Acorns -

I haven’t yet decided what I’ll do with them, but I’m sure they’ll make a nice accent to my other Fall decor.

Happy Crafting!

Homemade Vanilla Extract Wedding Favors Doubled as Place Cards


I’ve realized I’m very far behind in adding the DIY/tutorials posts from our wedding, so I’m going to try to get some of those up for anyone working on their late spring/summer weddings!

One of the fun and easy projects we created combined two tasks in one – favors for our wedding guests and name cards/place cards (sometimes known as “escort cards”,) to help our guests find their seats. Many of our guests enjoy cooking and baking – or live with someone who does! – so we decided to make a big batch of vanilla extract and divide it among our guests as favors. We dispensed it into adorable little glass bottles, adorned with sticker labels indicating the guests’ names and seats. We also had children attending our wedding, so we filled their bottles with miniature M&M’s candies.

wedding favors

Homemade vanilla extract wedding favor

I designed the sticker labels to match our wedding invitations, which was a fun and easy way to tie in the existing design elements and color scheme. Each label had the guest’s name, followed by the table number they were to be seated at.  As a little extra, I made the simple little ‘chalkboard’ style sign in front.  Since I added this piece at the last minute, we didn’t have time to find any small chalkboards. I made a quick little 4×6″ graphic and inserted it into a photo frame from Michael’s craft store.

vanilla-extract-favors-seating-signIf you’d like to make the same favors/seating guide for your guests, feel free to use the sign! I took our initials out of the heart, so you may download the image, or download the file as a .pdf to print it at a higher resolution, available here:


For the bottles, I purchased the clear glass 1oz size from Container & Packaging Supply:

You can find those here. I used the corresponding small silver bottle tops to go with them, but I do believe they also have white, and possibly black, in the same size. When you view the product page, it shows you the other items that fit with the bottle.

For the labels on the bottle, I went with a 1-1/2 x 1-1/2″ square sticker labels. There are plenty of additional sizes as well as round labels if you prefer, but I liked the look of the square to go with our theme/designs. These are the ones I used:


You can find those here. One pack comes with a total of 600 square labels, which is a LOT! Plenty of extras for trial & error when you’re testing out your prints.

Last but not least, making your own vanilla extract is incredibly easy! This is the general guidelines I use, as follows:

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Ingredients for 8 oz of extract:

1 cup vodka

4-5 whole vanilla beans

glass jar with lid


Slice the vanilla beans open lengthwise with a sharp knife. Add the vanilla beans (the whole bean,) and vodka to the clear glass container. Give it a good shake, and store it in a cool dark place for at least 3 months. Every week or two, shake the container again. You’ll notice the little vanilla seed flecks floating around – this is perfectly fine, they are the bulk of the flavor!

Optional: Once the mixture has steeped and is a nice rich brown color (the darker the better,) remove the pods from the jar and pour the liquid into a separate vessel, if you so desire. Some people like to strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve, but I personally don’t do that. It’s entirely at your discretion.

A great source for vanilla beans is Vanilla Products on ebay. I’ve been buying from them for years.


Even if you aren’t getting married, vanilla extract makes a great gift for your fellow bakers! Be sure to start steeping it well ahead of your event for gifting.

The wedding photographs in this post were taken by Sarah Jayne Photography.

Italian Pasta Night Dinner Party

When my husband and I got married, we decided to finally get some “grown up” dishware to replace the set I’d purchased when I was 18 and had been using ever since. (They were clear glass – not very exciting, but they didn’t conflict with any of the decor through my numerous moves and held up for over ten years!) We decided what better way to celebrate the new dishware – and silverware – than by hosting a little dinner party for some friends? Our theme was “Italian Pasta Night.” We had an enormous array of food, and everything was delicious.


Our menu included:

– Two kinds of homemade pasta (spaghetti and fettuccine)

– Two kinds of homemade pasta sauces (pesto, and a red marinara sauce)

– Garlic bread with a delicious herbed garlic butter

– Caesar salad with homemade Meyer lemon Caesar dressing

– Vanilla panna cotta topped with grated dark chocolate, accompanied by almond brittle


What would a dinner party be without the decor though, right? OK, maybe I get a little bit more excited about this kind of thing than other .. normal.. people do, but I really wanted an excuse to be fancy and try out some projects that were on my DIY list!

Italian Pasta Night Dinner Party 3I spent a little bit of time sourcing out different candle holders for the center grouping. I found some for .49cents each at Ikea, which conveniently can hold either a stick candle or a votive! I also went to our local thrift store and picked up a few other clear glass candle sticks in varying heights.

Italian Pasta Night Dinner Party 2

The blue goblets were already part of my collection. They are vintage “Kings Crown” style goblets, by Indiana Glass company. They were made somewhere around the 1960s-1970s. I loved them so much when I first got them, that I ended up buying the same ones in different colors for the head table at our wedding. (You can view those here!)

The silver colored chargers were on sale at Michael’s craft store, 2 for $3. They added a nice touch!


I am quite obsessed with these place cards! Obviously they weren’t necessary for a small dinner party, but when I saw the idea, I just couldn’t resist. They were one of the easiest crafts I’ve ever done. You simply take a sprig of fresh rosemary and bend it into a circular shape, then secure it with a little piece of floral wire. Adorn it with a bow of your choice, and a name tag clipped from a piece of printed cardstock. My rosemary stalks were pretty sturdy, so I had to break them just a little bit in a few places as I formed the circle. It wasn’t noticeable at all, and it achieved the nice wreath shape for each of them. I used a little bit of kitchen twine for the bow. You could use colored ribbon or whatever you’d like!

DIY lemon leaf garlandOne of the biggest projects was the lemon leaf garland. I didn’t take too many in-progress photos, but have included one so you can get a better idea of what I did. I found a tutorial online, and it was actually a really simple project!

I used about 2 large bunches of fresh lemon leaves, which I purchased at a florist. I clipped off each leaf, leaving about 4-5 inches of stem below it. Cut a long length of twine and attach each leaf/stem to the twine by wrapping floral wire around it. Wrap the stem, lay the next branch over it, and wrap again. You will keep overlapping each branch with the new leaves until you get to the end. How close or far apart you wrap them is completely up to you. I ended up wrapping 2-3 at a time for a full look. The garland extended the entire length of the table!

I made this in advance, so I stored it in our guest shower, and misted it with a spray bottle of water 2x a day for 2-3 days. I wouldn’t advise making this more than 3 days in advance, or it will dry out. 1 or 2 days is preferred, or even same day if you have the time available.

To accent the garland, I simply placed fresh lemons around it on the table. So easy, and beautiful! As you can see, our dinner party looked really elegant without a whole lot of time or money spent to decorate the table.

Don’t worry, I am not leaving you without any recipes.. here’s the recipes for the vanilla panna cotta, and the almond brittle. Both are very simple and incredibly delicious.

Vanilla Panna Cotta

yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings

This recipe was created by chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado. It’s part of a special menu he created for Epicurious’s Wine.Dine.Donate program.

Start this recipe a day before you plan to serve it. Both the pear jam and the panna cotta are best if chilled overnight.


  • 4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin from 2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise


In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cream. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, in medium saucepan over moderate heat, whisk together milk and sugar. Scrape in seeds from vanilla beans; add beans. Heat, whisking occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cream mixture. Strain through fine-mesh sieve, discarding vanilla beans, then ladle mixture into 8 (4-ounce) ramekins. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Unmold and serve:
Run thin sharp knife around inside edge of each ramekin to loosen. Dip bottom of 1 ramekin in bowl of very warm water 6 seconds. Put plate over ramekin, then invert panna cotta onto plate, gently lifting off ramekin. Repeat to unmold remaining panna cottas.  (Note: I poured my mixture right into a fancy glass serving dish, as shown in the image earlier in this post. I did not unmold it, and instead left it in the pretty dish. I topped it with grated dark chocolate.)

Almond Brittle

Yield: 13 servings


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
3/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Combine sugar and syrup in a 2-quart glass bowl. Microwave at HIGH 3 minutes (sugar mixture will be clear and bubbly). Stir in almonds. Microwave at HIGH 3 minutes or until mixture is a light caramel color, stirring every minute. Stir in butter, vanilla, and salt. Microwave at HIGH 1 1/2 minutes or until mixture is the color of peanut butter. Add baking soda, and stir until texture is foamy. Quickly pour mixture onto prepared pan. Spread to 1/4-inch thickness. Let stand 30 minutes. Break brittle into pieces, and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Cranberry Scones with Lemon Curd

While lemon recipes are notoriously popular in the spring, lemon-anything is right up my alley. I try to work the flavor into recipes that are more seasonal and ..ahem.. currant. (Har har..)

Cranberry Scones with Lemon Curd

I had some fresh cranberries that needed to be used up, and some leftover lemon curd – which probably would have otherwise been eaten straight from the fridge by the spoonful. Instead, I tried a recipe for Cranberry Scones. They were really easy, and delicious! The perfect mix of tart cranberries, savory almonds, and sweet lemon curd.


Cranberry Scones with Lemon Curd

I’m not certain if there’s a recommended serving size, but I just loaded it up by the spoonfull(s). I’ll definitely be making these again!


Cranberry Scones Recipe


2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup (76 grams) cold unsalted butter

1/2 cup (50 grams) dried or fresh cranberries (cut fresh cranberries in half)

1/3 cup (50 grams) mixed candied fruit and peel

2/3 – 3/4 cup (160 – 180 ml) milk

1/4 cup (25 grams) sliced almonds

Powdered (Confectioners or Icing) Sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven. Butter or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Gently stir in the cranberries and mixed fruit, making sure not to crush the berries. Add the milk and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough four or five times and then pat, or roll, the dough into a circle that is 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 1 1/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick. Cut this circle into 8 triangular sections. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and then brush the top of the scones with milk or cream. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. 

Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.   If desired, serve with Devon cream and/or your favorite jam.

Makes 8 scones.


This is my go-to lemon curd recipe. It’s so easy and always turns out really delicious. The entire recipe can be made from start to finish in about 15 minutes. Try this once, and I guarantee you won’t want to ever buy pre-made lemon curd again. (Nor should you!)

Lemon Curd

Gourmet  | January 2001

yield: Makes about 1 1/3 cups

active time: 20 min

total time: 1 1/4 hr



1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest

1/2 cup sugar

3 large eggs

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut up


Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes.

Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour. (Can keep chilled in the refrigerator 1 week.)


If you find yourself with some extra lemon curd left over and want to know what else to do with it, I also have a recipe for lemon curd stuffed vanilla cupcakes, with coconut topped frosting. Check it out!

My Handmade Wedding Gown – Images and Overview of the Design Process

VictoriaandFrank-115Photograph taken by Sarah Jayne Photography.

When Frank and I got engaged in May of 2013, the very first thing I did was plan a visit to a local bridal shop to try on wedding gowns. I was so excited that I booked an appointment a mere week later. When the day arrived, I quickly found myself surrounded by a sea of tulle, beads, and lace, in too-tight polyester nightmares which left me feeling breathless – and not in the good way.

I managed to try on half a dozen vastly different gowns before leaving the store. I was feeling disappointed, sticker-shocked, and uncomfortable… but the one thing I was sure of was that I did not want a strapless gown – weren’t they so “typical”? (Not to mention, I was convinced that my petite frame couldn’t pull off the strapless look; it probably didn’t help that all of the sample gowns were 8 sizes too big for me.) At that point I decided to spare myself from further dress shopping, and start the process of making my own wedding dress.

You might be thinking, “Is she nuts?” Well, maybe I am, a little…but I did graduate from FIDM with a degree in Fashion Design, so I had that knowledge working for me! Granted, we never made wedding gowns…or anything remotely similar.. but, nothing ventured/nothing gained, right?

Dresses-1-2Images by Sarah Jayne Photography.

Before I got started, I had one major hurdle: I’d already made my wedding necklace – hand formed clay roses accented by vintage faceted glass beads and freshwater pearls – and I had my heart set on wearing a gown that coordinated with it. Clearly this situation is different from the “normal” bride who picks out her accessories after she has her gown, but I am a full time jewelry designer – thus my priorities are a little different than most!

Dresses-3-4Images by Sarah Jayne Photography.

I spent some time that summer draping different silhouettes onto my dress form, and researching various fabric options and notions. For a while, I was still convinced that strapless wasn’t for me.

Then one magical creative day, design inspiration struck: I had draped a sweetheart neckline bodice (with the full intent of adding straps to the design,) and on a whim, added a curved trim piece to the top of the bust line. Suddenly my design vision was clear – the curved trim on the neck line was the perfect way to mimic the roses from my necklace, without screaming “floral” from the bridal rooftops! I tried on the sample top along with my necklace, and was excitedly surprised at how truly fitting it looked.

I finished sewing my sample by giving the bodice a natural waist line to accentuate my figure, along with a dramatic A-line silhouette with an over-sized layered flounce and modern wide hem trim. I knew I had a winner; I was elated! Our wedding theme was to be a mix of vintage and modern, with a trend of looped ribbon elements, and this design was a perfect fit for both myself and our big day. I happily pranced around in my sample gown while showing it off to my parents over a Skype video-chat. I think that is what most brides must have felt like when they tried on The One!


Now that my design was solidified and I had made final fit adjustments, I had to get to work on patternmaking.  The above images show the sample I draped for the oversized flounce idea. This was one very long piece of fabric (cut on the bias grain line, in a circular shape) with large folds in specific places in order to create the “layered” look all the way around the waist line. I made two of these pieces – one for each side, starting at the center front waist line and ending at the center back. The really difficult part about this was making sure I marked my sample in a logical way in order to transfer the fold placement markings to my pattern, and then to my final fabric. Yikes! If you can’t see from the images, I used a different colored pencil for each fold grouping.


Reminiscent of my FIDM patternmaking days, our pup Butters always takes the opportunity to lend a helping paw. Or, you know, distract me from getting my work done. Transferring the muslin pattern piece to the paper pattern gave me the opportunity to make some corrections in length. This piece shows a portion of the flounce. The final pattern piece looked like a giant elongated “C” shape.


Between the outer silk fabric (Italian ivory silk taffeta) and the silk chiffon lining, I’d lost count of how many pattern pieces went into this design. I’d included princess seams (my favorite!) on both the front and back of the bodice, plus both center front and horizontal seams on the bust section.


Honestly, one of the most rewarding parts of designing – for me  personally – is sewing in the final fabric! (This outer layer is referred to as the “self” fabric.) It feels amazing to put the pieces together and see the garment come to life. The image above is the silk self layer of the bodice, still in progress.


This was a close-up shot in progress of the middle layer of the bodice, which holds the boning. I used plastic boning, since I didn’t need super heavy-duty boning for this garment.


For the hem of the flounce pieces, I added in horsehair braid. Nowadays this is made with a flexible nylon material, not actual horse hair. It’s very stretchy and fun to play around with! It helps add volume to your hem lines by flaring them away from the garment.


At this point, I was working on the hem of the skirt portion. The ideal way to do this would have been with long strips of my silk cut on the bias, but I was on a budget and wasn’t able to purchase all of the additional yardage I would have need to accomplish that. Instead, I did it the hard way!


One of my favorite parts – notions! I found these beautiful vintage glass shank buttons from a shop on Etsy. I had exactly two of them left over after finishing my gown, and used 1 button in each of the two silk flower corsages I made – one for my mom, and one for my mother-in-law. I’ll post pictures of those later on. The close-up shot here was before I added the hook-and-eye closure at the top. I just really love these buttons! They looked great with the vintage glass on my necklace, and are so beautiful and unique.


I spent about four hours hand stitching each of the flounce hems closed with a catch stitch. Each length was multiple yards long! I would venture to say that it was one of the most tedious parts of this process. Although I find hand finishing hems rather relaxing, I did spread it out over the course of two weekend days, so as to not put too much strain on my body or eyes. After I finished them, it was time for another test fitting for length! I wanted it to be floor length, and had quite a bit of extra fabric to remove. It’s always better to initially have it too long than too short, though!


A friend of mine who was a fellow FIDM classmate assisted me with finalizing the hem length. You can do a lot of work yourself, but I would never advise measuring a hem on yourself, for yourself, alone. She did a fantastic job, and the length came out perfectly! For the finishing touch and that “something blue,” I added a little extra personalization by embroidered our wedding date and initials along the inside of the hem.

VictoriaandFrank-514Image by Sarah Jayne Photography.

Whew! That was a lot of work, but I really think it was worth it.. Don’t you? 🙂 If you’d like to see more images of my gown and our DIY handmade wedding day, please head on over to my full blog post about it, found here:

DIY Backyard Brunch Wedding in New Hampshire

SarahJaynePhotography-CampAllisonWedding1Image by Sarah Jayne Photography.

This past May, I married my best friend and partner of 10 years! We held our ceremony and reception in the backyard of my parents’ New Hampshire home – complete with a mix of sun, rain showers, and heavy downpours (in true New England fashion,) a cupcake chandelier, and a make-your-own waffles brunch.


My husband and I spent nearly an entire year planning, DIY’ing, and vintage sourcing, with help from our lovely family and friends along the way.

One of my biggest projects was designing my own wedding gown. As a graduate of FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising,) I don’t think I would have forgiven myself if I didn’t put my skills to good use, especially for such a momentous occasion in my life! I also made my necklaces, bracelet, and the accessories for the wedding party.


Our dog Butters joined us for the event, of course.  He wouldn’t leave my side the entire time I was getting ready that morning!


Frank and I both enjoy cooking, and decided to host a waffles brunch reception. We tested out various waffle recipes and purchased 4 double-waffle irons for our guests to use. My sister and I mixed the dry ingredients for the batter the night before the wedding, and our fabulous friends John and Amanda finished the batter the morning of. There was no shortage of fun toppings, from sweet to savory! (One of my “must have” toppings was real maple syrup! We purchased a gallon of it from a local farm, Ben’s Sugar Shack.)


We wanted to break away from traditional floral centerpieces and invoke a “wow!” factor as our guests entered the tent.  Some of my favorite DIY projects to achieve it included hand-rolled crepe paper rosette pomanders. I chose three colors – mauve, white, and olive – and made of them in varying sizes, which were hung above our head tables by my brother-in-law and Best Man, Jim. With the help of our friends and family, we cleaned and spray painted nearly 100 recycled and vintage glass bottles! We arranged them along the center of the main reception tables, over burlap table runners.



For the head tables, mom and I collected vintage milk glass and vintage goblets in amethyst and olive. I sewed looped ribbon table runners and matching napkin rings, while my mother-in-law and nieces helped us fold and set all of the cloth napkins.


One of the best parts about these decorations was that I got to keep them once the wedding day had ended!


My sister Amity arranged both of our beautiful bouquets (peonies and lilacs, adorned with extra green ribbon from our reception decor projects.)


Frank’s cousin Annie made all of our cupcakes and our cake. They were delicious -chocolate cake, and chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting piped into rosettes.  One of the highlights after the cake cutting was the lowering of the cupcake chandelier, which was designed and fabricated by my husband! A former stage rigger, he also hung all of the pendant lights to illuminate the tent.


After the reception, we headed to the local ice cream shop (Kimball Farms) for a giant banana split.


After our ice cream, we headed across the street to the beautiful field for some post-reception photos. Of course, I had to perform a quick change of my shoes and jewelry to be more “field appropriate!”



Nearly 3 months later, I still feel like I have wedding-planning fever. With that being said, I want to share a series of some of our DIY projects with you! In addition to my usual recipe and jewelry posts, I’ll be adding tutorials and photo posts for those crafty brides-to-be out there, in hopes that it might add some inspiration to your own wedding planning.

Here’s a list of everything we made ourselves (photo posts and tutorials will be posted and linked later. Check back on this post!)…

My wedding gown

– Bridal necklaces

– Maid of Honor and flower girls’ jewelry

– Corsages

– Ribbon boutonnieres

– Flower girls’ hair accessories

– Invites/RSVP’s

– Clay rose ring holder (ring pillow alternative)

– Ceremony arbor

– Burlap table runners

– Paper-cut cake topper and table numbers

– Hand rolled crepe paper rosette pomanders

– Looped ribbon table runners and matching ribbon napkin rings

– Cards box

Homemade vanilla extract favors/seating placements

– Spray painted bottle centerpieces

– Cupcake chandelier

– Chalkboard signage

If there’s any tutorials you want to see first, let me know, as I won’t be working in chronological order.

Happy day!

All images in this post were taken by our fabulous photographer Sarah, over at Sarah Jayne Photography. She also has a blog and Facebook page. Hair and make-up by the talented Regina Garnett.

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe


Okay, let’s face it – hot fudge sauce does not need much of an introduction, does it? Rich, gooey, chocolately deliciousness that’s perfect atop waffles, ice cream sundaes, or eaten straight from the spoon. (Ahem.)


The most shocking aspect of this post? The fact that it’s taken me so long to try my hand at the homemade version of this classic topping! The recipe was really easy, and the finished product can easily be kept in your fridge for a couple of weeks….. if it lasts that long. (In our household, it did not.) Store it in a glass jar for easy re-heating when you’re ready to serve it.


Bonus: It would make a great gift, if you’re feeling generous enough to share!


Homemade hot fudge sauce - close up


I know what you’re thinking, and I’m here to tell you that it absolutely tastes as good as it looks!


Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe

Yield: A heaping 2 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


2/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, divided in half [note: I used Ghirardelli “60% cocoa” baking chips. I stand by that decision!]
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream, syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt and half of the chocolate to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low (enough to maintain a low simmer), and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate, the butter, and the vanilla extract, stirring until smooth. Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes before using (it will thicken as it cools). Store in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To reheat, microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute until it’s pour-able but still thick.

(Recipe slightly modified from Brown Eyed Baker.)

Wedding Season – Matching Jewelry for California Almond Orchard Engagement Photo Shoot

Happy March! Wedding season is upon us, and this year I get to make the jewelry Almond blossom - by Victoria Camp

for my own wedding! I’ve already designed the necklace I will wear, and next items on my list are the jewelry for my sister (maid of honor) and her daughters (flower girls.)

Last weekend we took a drive out into the California valley, and had a mini engagement shoot in an almond orchard. We were a little late in the blooming season – most of the blossoms are at their peak around mid February, but we were able to find one area that still had some pretty white petals.

Of course, I made myself a bracelet and earrings set to match my dress! The bracelet is multi-strand and features beautiful vintage glass, olive and plum freshwater pearls, and large link brass chain, all finishing with an ivory satin tie-up ribbon. I made some petite vintage glass drop earrings to go with it.

The bracelet and earring set..

Engagement Photo Shoot Jewelry - Victoria Camp Designs

A close-up with the bracelet, and a different image where you can see it in action!

Engagement Photo Shoot Jewelry - Victoria Camp Designs


I absolutely had to take a photograph of my beautiful engagement ring (an Edwardian antique) over one of the almond blossoms in the orchard!

Antique engagement ring over almond blossom - by Victoria Camp

Most of the blooms here had already fallen, giving way to the little green leaves, but you can see there were still a few hanging on. The ground was filled with flower petals.. they were dropping right before our eyes!


There were LOTS of honeybees buzzing about. I’m daydreaming about almond blossom honey..Mmm.

Honey bee in almond blossom - by Victoria Camp

This is my favorite time of year – spring is well underway in California!

New Year – BuzzFeed Article Feature – and Custom Map Quote Compass Necklaces!

Happy New Year! I know, I know, it’s February and I’m a little late to the 2014 game. I think it’s socially acceptable to wish someone a Happy New Year up until January 31st, after that, well.. what can I say?

I spent the first couple of weeks of the new year catching up on orders from December, and then spent the last part of it working on a happy flurry of new orders, thanks to a Buzzfeed Travel list that included one of my designs!

Map Quote Compass Necklace featured in Buzzfeed Travel

The article was titled “21 Things Every Traveler Wishes They Owned” and can be found here. The quote on the back of the compass can be personalized with anything you wish – poetry, a special message, a birthday, etc.

This piece is a really fun design for me with an amusing story about its conception. It started over a year ago, and was inspired by a Christmas gift I gave to my parents: a GPS for their car (how ironic, no?) I didn’t have the GPS on hand yet to physically give to them – it was being shipped from the store to their home – but I still wanted to give them something tangible in the mean time as a place holder. I mailed them an envelope that I’d made out of a paper road map, and on the front of the envelope I displayed the following Robert Frost quote, printed onto paper that I had tea-stained:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by.”


My mom called me and said how much she loved the envelope, and was carrying it around in her purse to hold coupons. She was so sad when it started falling apart, that I decided I needed to make her something a little more permanent that she could carry with her.. subsequently, I made her a compass key chain with the same design – a map clipping background, and the same quote on the same tea-stained paper. And with that, a new design idea was born!

Lately, I’ve had a lot of requests to personalize the map behind the quote. I don’t typically do this, as I like to use maps cut from the same atlas used in the sample photos (it’s a vintage atlas with beautiful earth toned colors and really great fonts!) However, I do love to make my customers happy, so I worked on a design that does allow for a custom map in the background behind the quote/text area. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of small towns available, but do have the major cities and large suburbs of most areas in the U.S., and major cities worldwide. Both the map and the quote are protected under a hard glossy layer of jeweler’s resin, for a professional finish and durability.

Personalized map quote compass necklace

The sample shown is with a map of the San Francisco bay area. I’m using prints from my antique atlas collection for these – the atlases are nearly 100 years old!

Large Compass - Custom Map and Quote 3 - Sm

I made a samples showing 8 different cities, but you can of course request your own different city!

Antique Map Compass Options

You can order your own Custom Map Compass Necklace with Personalized Quote here:

Speaking of quote compasses, I need to go make some more tea-stained paper. Happy February!

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars Recipe

This recipe can really be described in just a few words: fresh, sweet cherries, buttery crumb cake, and a hint of almond. It’s sort of a multi-occasion treat – served best warm, or cold, or for breakfast, or for a mid-day snack, or even for dessert… and probably amazing with fresh whipped cream, although I didn’t think to make any before we cleaned out the entire pan. (Twice… I’ve made this two times in the month of July already, it’s that good!)


Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars

If I were to change anything else, I’d probably sprinkle sliced almonds onto the top layer of the batter before putting it in the oven. I did add a little splash of vanilla extract and almond extract to the cherry filling,, which wasn’t called for in the recipe but was something I felt it needed. I also omitted the orange zest, as we had fresh squeezed OJ but no zest.


Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars plated

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars

Recipe found on Bakeaholic
Yield: 30 1 1/2 inch Bars

Crust and Topping
1/2 cup brown, packed
1/2 cup white
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange
Cherry Filling
4 cups cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Zest and juice of one orange

*splash of vanilla extract and almond extract (about 1/2 tsp. each) Optional, but I liked the addition


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

In a large bowl (or food processor), stir together 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and orange zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter (or pulse mixture if using food processor) to blend in the butter and egg. [I used my hands to gently mix. It was more fun, and achieved the same consistency.] Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, juice and zest of one orange , *and extracts, if using. Gently mix in the cherries. Sprinkle the cherry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.